Initial thoughts on Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

Back when I was out hustling, trying to get Old and Dirty into as many bookstores as I could, I had an interesting conversation with a clerk in a store in Sacramento.  We were talking books and asking each other if we had read this or that like a couple of pseudo intellectuals, and when the topic of David Foster Wallace came up, I remember the clerk raving about him and Infinite Jest and how it was so brilliant.Image

“Did you read the whole book?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

Immediately, I started laughing inside my head and did my best to hide what I was thinking.  You gotta be kidding me, I thought.  All these people.  All these books.  They love David Foster Wallace, but yet, I’ve never met anyone who’s actually read Infinite Jest from cover to cover.

Don’t get me wrong.  David Foster Wallace is a genius, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m nowhere near his talent, but I gotta be honest.  The only people I’ve ever met who’ve read him are white guys in their late twenties to early thirties, who wear thick framed glasses and tight jeans and soccer shoes.

I don’t know what that means, but for some reason it just rubs me the wrong way, you know?  Like how all these girls love Twilight, or something.

I mean, I’ve tried to get into David Foster Wallace’s writing a few times, but I’m a such a prisoner to plot and climax that the moment the book gets too complicated, I lose interest.  Like Blood Meridian for example.  Time magazine called it one of the three best novels ever and I remember reading it waiting for the picture to clear in my head but it never did, and I ended up reading it for reading sake, which I’ve sworn to myself that I will never do again, but whatever, I’ll probably do it again because I’m stubborn.

That all said, while I can’t see myself diving into Infinite Jest, I have found myself fascinated with the man himself.  Like I’ll spend an entire night listening to his interviews on YouTube because I like listening to him talk.

So when I saw that David Lipsky had written a non-fiction book about their road trip together, I couldn’t help it and decided to buy the book, and for the first time in a long time, I was geeked out about a book and couldn’t wait to read it.

I’ve read the first few pages and so far so good.  Hopefully I read the whole thing.

Bret Easton Ellis called Wallace, “the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of [his] generation.”

Maybe one day, someone will say that about me.

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RIP: Ultimate Warrior. You were the David Foster Wallace of wrestling.

I, Hulk…Hogan, have a question…to answer your question. As you, Hulk Hogan, travel to…WRESTLEMANIA…by conventional means, the normals you travel with experience malfunctions. As you realize ALL THAT IS LEFT is total self-destruction, do you, Hulk Hogan, show self-pity? DO YOU, Hulk Hogan, try to reason why? Do you, Hulk Hogan, try and comfort the normals that have even more fear than you?

Or do you, Hulk Hogan, kick the doors out? Kick the cockpit door down. Take the two pilots that have already made the sacrifice so that you can face the challenge. Dispose of them, Hulk Hogan. Assume the controls, Hulk Hogan. SHOVE THAT CONTROL INTO A NOSEDIVE, HULK HOGAN! Push yourself to total self-dstruction. As you realize, Hulk Hogan, you are about to enter a world close to Parts Unknown. Ah, smell it, warriors. Do you, Hulk Hogan, look for a place to hide? Or do you, Hulk Hogan, face the challenge that may be more powerful than EVEN YOU ARE, HULK HOGAN!

You, Hulk Hogan, must self-destruct so that you will know, Hulk Hogan, who is…The Chose One. FOR HULK HOGAN, I am not the Chosen One…that you speak of. I am not. I, Hulk Hogan, am…the only…one…

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30 for 30: The Bad Boys

I can’t wait.

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My Final Thoughts on HIMYM

I can’t believe after nine years it’s finally over.  And while I’m still trying to process the ending as I sit at my desk when I should be sleeping, I think the beauty of HIMYM is that it always forced you to look at your own life and it made you appreciate all the memories along the way, no matter the end result.Image

God. In 2005 we still had MySpace.  Think about how antiquated that sounds for a second.

I was just starting out, working my first real job, just like Ted, and just like Ted, I was going out at night, wondering if this was gonna be the night I’d meet the one.

Nine years later, and my college roommates are all married with kids, and so is my childhood friend Doc, who’s expecting his first son in June, but here I am, in no position to take that step, living like Uncle Jesse from Full House while I watch my younger brother raise his family.

To watch him while his daughter tries to wake him up in the morning, I can’t help but wish I was as lucky.

My favorite episode of HIMYM will always be the Slutty Pumpkin.  It was the first episode I ever saw and for some reason, I can just identify with Ted as he waited hopelessly on the roof, waiting for the Slutty Pumpkin to come back into his life.

A distant second is the Game Night episode where we find out why Barney became Barney, and in a close third is Zip, Zip, Zip, when Robin and Barney have a bros night out.

There’s something about that first season that does it for me.

And now it’s over.

The characters have aged since the pilot, and so, too, have I.  I mean, I freaking used to have hair back then.  I guess it’s some kind of coincidence that I lost interest in the show around 2010, when I started to look a lot less like Ted and more like Ranjit.

I only found out about the last episode on Sunday, and when I did, I knew I had to watch it because, first, I’ve been waiting for this moment since 2005, and second, I wanted to feel some of that first season innocence again.  I wanted to feel like Ted’s eyes in that pilot episode, and I wanted to see if he still had them in the series finale.

And the funny thing about that, was as he sat on the bench in the train station, sitting next to that old woman, I saw a glimpse of myself.

“Go talk to her,” she told Ted, and like I would’ve done, Ted snapped back and said, “All right.  Just be cool, lady.  Damn.”

Of course, I would’ve said it with a few expletives but it was pretty much on point.

For the first time in a while, it made me realize that I’m not so dead inside yet, and that I still have a little bit of that thing that makes people smile.

The generation before me has Friends, and the generation before that has Seinfeld, and now my generation has a show to call its own.

It’s not so bad when I think about it.  Things could be a lot worse.  I mean, I’d hate to think what the generation below me will do when The Big Bang Theory ends its run.

LOL.

And with that, it’s getting a little late.  No big ending or clever saying to end this blog entry.

We met the mother and realized that love is a lot more complicated than it seems, and for once, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way.

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Walking toward the light and finishing the first draft

After all this time neglecting my website and Twitter account I don’t know what to say exactly so I’ll just stream this and see what happens.  Going back to a regular life and becoming a productive member of society wasn’t very good for my writing, especially since I guess you could say there was nothing to blog about either.Image

I had an unfinished manuscript staring at me through my mind’s eye and every day that I didn’t write, I felt guilty.  And since I’m one of those people that has a hard time multi-tasking, for the last few months I’ve neglected my health and my hygiene because it bothered me that I couldn’t just lock myself in a hotel room and finish this thing like I had done with Old and Dirty.

But here I was, about to put the finishing touches on a manuscript that had seen many starts and stops and given that this was my sixth or seventh manuscript, I knew how I wanted to celebrate.  Just give me a handle of something rough and a cigarette and maybe a dive bar and some music to sit and think and on occasion smile at the feeling and the process.  But as I put the finishing touches on the last page and I typed the last period, I, to my surprise, felt like doing nothing except maybe eating, which by the way I’ve done a lot of the last three or four months.

Yesterday, I tried surfing again and found that carrying 30 pounds of extra fat will make it hard to stand up, but to my surprise, I’m fairly buoyant now, so good for me I guess.

Anyways, unlike the last two things I’ve written, the self-published route will not be taken and I’m going to edit these pages and send the fucker off to get rejected until somebody believes in me, and while I’m busy with that, there’s another idea that has come to my head that needs attention, so I’ll be writing again and torturing myself mad until the first draft is done and thus, the cycle continues for this wannabe writer who can’t shake the addiction.

Thirty-four ain’t so old to be a writer, but it ain’t so young either.

Winning at life requires persistence?  Or is it assistance?  I can’t remember which one.

Old Dirty sent me a link to a letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote to a fan, and in it, Mr. Vonnegut told the fan to write a poem and quickly burn it because, “You will find that you have been already gloriously rewarded for your poem.  You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.”

Easy for an established writer to say, but I can dig it.

For anyone that gives a hoot, I’ll try and blog and tweet more but who knows.  For anyone who might think I’ve given up as a writer, I want you to know that I haven’t.  When you’ve gone this far, been writing for ten years, it’s gonna take more than rejection to quit.  I’m too far down the rabbit hole and I already know behind the next epiphany is another idea, and hopefully behind the next idea, I find more of that soul Vonnegut seems so fond of.

Going through life like Matthew McConaughey in True Detective is tough but all right, all right, all right.

Here’s to hoping there’ll be a party at the Moon Tower.

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Burning the Fat off our Souls, Part 2

The mat arrives on Saturday, and on Sunday morning, Raymond and I wake up at five in the morning and go for a jog.  For one mile, he carries a twenty-five pound disk while I follow behind him and ride my bike.Image

The first off-season wrestling tournament of the year didn’t go as planned.  Despite training his butt off over the spring and summer, Raymond went 0 and 2 even though he wrestled well in both matches.

It’s a process, I keep telling him.

As we journey blind through the morning dark, I think about the manuscript sitting in my computer and how I’m only 32,000 words away from finishing the first draft.  Just lock yourself in a room for the next two weeks, my conscience tells me.  It’s so easy to tell other people what to do, but when it comes to my own life, I have to remind myself that it, too, is also a process.

Embrace the grind.

All those clichés make sense when you’re the one telling it to yourself.

There’s this sense of devil-may-care in Raymond, and in many ways I envy the way he can process life and not let it get to him.  After another two hours of drilling and working on his moves, I take him out for breakfast at Richmaid diner in Lodi because it reminds me of what I think the Midwest looks like and I like the food.

“I’ll have a coffee,” he tells the waitress.

“Since when did you start drinking that?”

“I drank it before when I was in the Philippines.”

“How old were you?” I ask.

“Like nine.”

If a teenager from America had Raymond’s life, they’d probably find it as an excuse to do drugs and get into trouble, but to him, it’s whatever.

Born in America but live in the Philippines until sixth grade?  No problem.

Meet your dad just once in your life and you can only remember that he bought you a Gameboy?  Still, no problem.

Come to America and realize over time that you no longer think in Tagalog?  Again, no problem.

I tell him he’s had a weird and interesting life, and with a smile he agrees, but fuck, what can he do about it?  We order the two-for-two-for-two meal and settle into breakfast, and while I pour the syrup over my pancakes and stare at all the Veterans eating around us, I say, “Please choose the Navy over the Air Force.  I don’t want you somewhere in Afghanistan.  Just go to the Navy and stay on the boat and after twenty years, you’ll only be thirty-eight and retired.  Believe me,” I continue, “it goes by fast.  If I was in the Navy, I’d be five years away.”

He has yet to discuss the situation with his girlfriend, and as I chew on my food, I reflect on my own experiences and wonder about all the mistakes I have made along the way.  Even though I can speak English without a problem, my communication skills with women are terrible.  Maybe Raymond is right, I think.  Maybe it’s better to just shut up and listen.

“If anything ever happens to me,” I say, “I want you to do my eulogy so that people know that I wasn’t always a miserable asshole.”

He laughs.

“I’m serious, Raymond.  I want my ashes scattered across the Pacific and I want you to tell everyone that I wasn’t such a bad guy.”

He laughs again and asks the waitress for a refill and an hour later we drive back home.

I can’t remember who said it, but some actor said this about psychiatry.  “If Woody Allen can afford the best doctor and this is all they can do for him, then what’s the point?”

After a quick shower and a short nap, the manuscript waits for me with open arms like a cruel mistress and I can’t help myself.

Like Raymond, I’m wrestling something inside me, but unlike Raymond, I have no idea who it is.

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Eyes by Rogue Wave

Missed the last train home
Birds pass by to tell me that I’m not alone

Over pushing myself
To finish this part
Handle a lot
One thing, I miss
It’s in your eyes

In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes

Have you seen this film?
It reminds me of
Walking through the avenues

Washing my hands
Attachment scared
Land on the ground
One thing I miss
It’s in your eyes

In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes

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