brothercyst: 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 SUCKED?

I just went to the movies with my old high school teacher (ten years!) and had a fucking great time.  Had lunch.  Listened to Leon Russell.  Feel good.  Got back from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the "secret city."  Met some relatives I'd never met before, who were awesome.

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Went to church a few days ago.  First time I'd been there since I was probably 14 or so.  I thought "This'll be fine, I can zone out, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, think about things or about nothing... I could use a break."  What I forgot is they design it so you can't do that.  Stand up!  Sit down!  Sing!  Kneel!  It never ends.  Getting on your knees and waiting there for four, five minutes is miserable.  I don't know how those old people do it.  A lifetime of kneeling, I guess you get used to it.

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The first time I went to church I was four years old.  My mother whispered to me to explain what was going on.  When they did the communion bit, she said, "They're Catholic, so they believe that actually turns into his blood, and that actually turns into his body."  A few minutes later, I screamed in the middle of church: "Oh my God, they're eating him!

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EDIT: What on Earth?

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Reading about people's miserable 2010s on Jezebel is addictive.

I guess I had a relatively good 2010.

The Bad: Depressing breakup early on.  Didn't get a writing job I wanted.  Fired old agent.  Didn't see family much.  No reliable source of income.  Irregular freelance work can't stop money from dwindling.  Didn't read enough novels.

The Good: Glorious Dominican Republic trip in January.  Fun in Los Angeles.  Started driving again.  Made lots of good new friends.  Got new agent.  Wrote multiple scripts with Ned.  Was best man at wedding.  Midnight Picnic won a Shirley Jackson Award.  Swam outside in warm sun and driving rain.  Published some short stories.  Stayed in cool new places.  Wrote new script at the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'M IN TENNESSEE / NSFW MUSIC VIDEO

It's cold here.

Pleasing music video / horror movie homage -- "Invisible Light" by Scissor Sisters

NSFW

Monday, December 27, 2010

MOVIES

Calvaire, aka The Ordeal, is an amazing movie.  Feels like Texas Chainsaw Massacre as directed by Bruno Dumont.  Very little violence onscreen.  True dread.  A Christmas movie. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DAY AFTER

Long Thomas Ligotti post on Dennis Cooper's blog.  I love Ligotti; he's one of my favorite living writers.  I wrote about Teatro Grottesco on HTMLGIANT a while back.  Have you read Teatro Grottesco yet?  Read it, read it, read it.  It's incredible.

Friday, December 24, 2010

LIMBO

Yesterday I saw True Grit, which I loved.  Today I saw Tron, which I also loved.

I have to go do some Christmas shopping.  I don't want to look at my bank account.  I've made less money this year than any year since I graduated college... far, far less.  Today I looked at my Amazon wishlist for the first time in years.  Here it is, rich patrons.  I deleted a bunch of old books.  My mother made a delicious meal that will supply leftovers for a few days.  I haven't written or read anything except some magazine articles in a few days.  Feel worthless, have to muster life force.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"AND MORE SINGING FROM THE PRINCESS!!!"

The legendary, legendarily awful Star Wars Holiday Special.  I couldn't watch the whole thing either, although I did watch a good chunk--in delighted horror. 

I'm in Maryland, and there's snow everywhere.  When I was in elementary school we planted some small fir trees beside the driveway, and now they're huge.  It's a very weird feeling, looking at them.

I read some of David Grann's amazing The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, which contains a number of best articles I've ever read in the New Yorker, including the ones about Krystian Bala, Frédéric Bourdin, and the Aryan Brotherhood.

Today I saw Unstoppable, which was fun even though I'd already seen it five thousand times as a trailer before every movie that came out this year.  It's a strictly paint-by-numbers things, executed with extreme competence, entertaining, whatever.

Now I'm going to go watch Lake Mungo, a horror movie I'm very excited about.

Monday, December 20, 2010

FASCINATING WEATHER

I look out my window and it looks like a jungle covered in fog.  I expect to see gorillas coming at me any second.  I got David Grann's The Devil and Sherlock Holmes.  Excited to read it.  Got some Ken Grimwood books, too.  I haven't read anything by him but am excited to.  Other than that, just reading about the Bunnyman.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

HORROR MOVIE REPORT CARD

I fucking love horror movies.  Night of the Living Dead and Jaws are two of my earliest movie-watching experiences, and NOTLD, oddly enough, was one of the formative experiences that made me want to write novels.  The atmosphere of dread and encroaching threat inspired me.  It's something I tried to capture in my first novel.  Over the past two weeks I watched many, many horror movies.  Its ostensibly for something I'm thinking about writing, but it's also for my own pleasure.


Babysitter Wanted (2008)
Jonas Barnes & Michael Manasseri

This was the biggest surprise of my horror marathon.  Hear the title and you may think, as I did: Oh, it's House of the Devil, except I've never heard of it.  It's in fact much better than House of the Devil, which I also enjoyed.  Do not watch the trailer or take anything from the poster, which suggest that it is torture porn.  It's not.  The nastily elegant script concerns, as you might imagine, a young woman who answers an ad for a babysitter and finds herself in great danger.  This rather familiar premise tilts a little with the introduction of certain atmospheric details (a creepy child who will not take off his cowboy hat, a fridge full of meat and buttermilk) and then takes a hard left turn about halfway through the film, a turn which I will not spoil.  I get a very specific kind of aesthetic pleasure from this sort of basic structural ingenuity; it's like watching a casual magic trick.


A Serbian Film (2010)
Srđan Spasojević
What to say about this?  A Serbian porn star, now retired, is offered a tremendous amount of money to return to his old profession for one last film -- on the condition that he know nothing about the film before shooting begins.  Needless to say, the nature of the film is rather beyond traditional pornography.  A Serbian Film is a glossily made feature, with a real budget, good actors, and professional technical standards that seem comparable to a mid-level Hollywood film.  It also contains scenes of sexual and homicidal depravity that are, to put it mildly, bracing.  Allegedly the film is a comment on the relationship of the Serbian people to the Serbian government, but I don't know enough about that situation to comment intelligently on the film's nuances (if they exist) in that regard.  I just know that it is grueling to sit through, and I mostly kept watching out of sick fascination and curiosity.  When it is over there is no sense of groping intelligence or transgressive beauty, as there was with Martyrs, a similarly beyond-horrific horror movie I watched earlier this year.


The Stepfather (1987)
Joseph Ruben
A classic.  I'd seen it before but watching it again was a pleasure.  The Donald Westlake script is like a template of how to structure a "Suburban Normalcy Disrupted" horror movie, and the plot--about an angry man who marries single mothers, then kills them and their children when they "disappoint" him by not fulfilling his idea of a perfect family--is a vicious satire of Reagan-era family values.  Terry O'Quinn (Locke from Lost) is the Stepfather, and the scenes where his grip on his assumed identity starts to slip ("Wait... who am I here?") are profoundly creepy.  The subplot with the survivor of the previous massacre trying to track him down is a little dull, but doesn't detract in any significant way.  Like The Shining--although not quite, since The Shining is the best horror movie ever made--The Stepfather exploits the inherent menace of the father figure. Also, it has a great, creepy score.


Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
Narciso Ibáñez Serrador
An infamous and infamously banned horror film about a married couple who visit an island where the adults seem to have disappeared and the child... well, something is wrong with the children.  The woman is pregnant, which is an easy and reliable way to make a female character more vulnerable but has a special resonance, obviously, in this film.  I was a bit disappointed by this not-particularly-upsetting film, in part because of its use of horrifying footage over the opening credits, in which we see children ravaged by global conflicts.  Nothing in the film that follows matches the horrifying effect of that footage.  Space and sound, two of the most vital weapons in the horror filmmaker's arsenal, are not employed to any striking effect.  The film is conceptually horrifying, but not all that disturbing or scary, and not nearly so profound as it believes itself to be.

Pieces (1982)
Juan Piquer Simón 
A camp horror classic.  Not even remotely scary, and not intended to be, this is the ultimate early 80s ridiculous sexy-teens-get-killed horror movie.  It's sort of like Clue, or like one of those Grindhouse trailers, except it's a real movie.  And it's fucking delightful.

Session 9 (2001)
Brad Anderson
Another one I'd seen before but needed to watch again for research purposes.  Shot on grainy digital video and almost entirely at an abandoned New England mental hospital, Session 9 makes stellar use of space and sound to disrupt and unsettle.  The actors take a naturalistic style, talking over each other, bantering, playing everything subtle.  It drags a little, but mostly it works.  And Josh Lucas wandering around with the big metal spike in his eye is particularly memorable.

Orphan (2009)
Jaume Collet-Serra
Not a "good"movie, but an interesting one, with far more gloss and pedigree than it deserves.  The twist is conceptually horrifying, so inherently creepy that it carries the whole movie.  The little girl is a little more "creepy" than she should be--you know something's wrong with her right away, and it's hard to believe that these people would want to adopt her.  The Freudian aspect of the whole thing is the most compelling part.  It feels cheap the way they open with a horrifying dream sequence, as if to reassure that this is a horror movie even though we don't even meet the "orphan" until more than 15 minutes into the film.

The Strangers (2008)
Bryan Bertino
Saw it in the theater when it came out.  From a narrative perspective this is just a straightforward home invasion movie.  But the execution makes it remarkable.  The first half is the scariest part of any movie I've seen in the last ten years.  The image of Liv Tyler standing in the house while, unbeknownst to her, a masked figure stands calmly in the doorway behind her... fucking amazing.  Whatever Bertino makes next, I'm there.  I remember watching this in a Times Square movie theater one afternoon when i was supposed to be at work, and being too freaked out to go back to work afterward.  I just walked around.
 
The Orphanage (2007)
Juan Bayona
The best movie on this whole list, and a marvel of screenwriting structure and ingenuity.  I'd already seen it many times, but it remains scary as shit.  (The only disappointing element is the very end, which diminishes an element of menace.)  The scene in which she has to play the game she used to play as a little girl, but all her playmates are now dead, is one of the best horror scenes of all time.


The Signal (2007)
David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry
The first 30 minutes are extraordinary and deeply unsettling.  A woman leaves her lover's apartment, where a strange signal has come over the TV, and encounters an aggressive man in the parking garage.  Fleeing him, she returns to her apartment building, where the halls are crowded with ranting, angry people.  A sense of terrible claustrophobia and dread is achieved.  The digital video photography is used to great effect.  In the woman's apartment, her husband and his friends are beginning to heatedly argue....  Unfortunately the film is divided into three parts, and after the first one (which I believe was directed by Bruckner), the movie turns into something completely different, a splattery slapstick reminiscent of early Peter Jackson.  Mildly entertaining, but still shitty, and totally paltry compared to the opening.  After a while I just went back and watched the first 30 minutes again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MORNING

Posted about raccoons on htmlgiant.   With pictures from last night.

Re-watched The Conformist last night... what a fucking great movie!!  One of the most visually striking movies ever.  Storaro was such an incredible genius.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

LETTERS

Weird.  I got two letters from the cops regarding a complaint I filed way back in the spring in an effort to get reimbursed for about $400 in tow yard fees I had to pay to recover my car when an Ivan Drago lookalike cop took it. The whole situation was such bullshit that the desk sergeant took one look at it and waived my police impound fee so I figured why not try to recoup the other costs too.  I'm sort of pleasantly surprised they even replied to 4 or 5 page long cranky letter.  Their two letters were sent on the same day, ostensibly from the same office (although the letterhead is different; weird) but one says my complaint has no grounds whatsoever and the other acknowledges "the involved deputy acted rudely."  Fair enough.  I did encounter some very nice people at the sheriff's station.



Also, here's an interesting document that was posted in their station.  Does this mean that if the police come into your house with a search warrant and toss the place, you owe them $10?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WHAT'S THE MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO?

I recognize the music at the beginning of this fake commercial, but I can't identify it.  What is it?? 

ABSENT

I've been away from the internet for a few days, sort of. All I ate today was a pumpkin pie and a piece of leftover pizza, and some oysters from a tin. I've written quite a bit. And I've watched a ton of horror movies, taking notes as I went. If I get around to it, I'll write a roundup post about them soon. The biggest surprise was Babysitter Wanted, which I'd never heard of before and loved.  It's not what you think it is from the torture-porny cover.  Also wonderful is the original The Stepfather.  I haven't read a book in almost a week.  Which is bad because I have to read something soon to review it.  Tonight I was going to see a screening of Heat but canceled at the last minute because I needed to stay in and work.  Last night I had a gigantic deep dish pizza.  It was so deep it was like lasagna.  I'm not permitting myself to sleep until I reach a page goal for today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MARWENCOL

Go see the documentary Marwencol.  It's fantastic.

DOLL HUNT from marwencol on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

STUFF

Pre-order special on Paula Bomer and Mike Young's new books from Word Riot.  Buy!

Got an email from someone I haven't talked to in forever that began, "strangest few days. had a dream last night which involved your old apartment in ny. but it was filled with half-dead horses."

I like Jeffrey Wells's would-be Esquire "what i've learned" piece.

Last night I went to a party that was so crowded I thought I might suffocate.

All day yesterday, I sat around writing.  The sun came up this morning after two or three days of rain and cold.  It's nice.  I got a blue velvet chair.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

STUFF

A reader of this blog just told me about In the Land of the Long FingernailsI just ordered on the basis of the title alone and will read it in good time.

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Today my friend interviewed me for a documentary she's making where she interviews people about their religious beliefs or lack thereof.  I decided that for an agnostic, all days can be divided into two categories: Crimes and Misdemeanors days and Hannah and Her Sisters days.  The former are the days when you think, "If there is no God, then there is no ultimate justice, and it is in fact possible to get away with murder."  The later are the days when you perceive the world through the lens of "If there is no God, then your time is really quite precious, so you better enjoy every moment of this consciousness thing."

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There's something so conceptually unpleasant and dread-inducing about water that won't go down a drain.  It's like that part at the beginning of Sex, Lies, and Videotape where Andie MacDowell talks to her therapist about the garbage barge that's stranded off the coast and can't dock, and how it keeps her awake at night.

Friday, November 19, 2010

ON ACTING

A great article about/interview with Ken Baumann and the process of acting.  Ebert just twittered this: "This article revealed more to me about how actors work than any other I have ever read."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CHILLY

It's a little chilly.  The day was beautiful.  Last night I went to a Human Rights Watch event about protecting LGBT rights internationally.  Boris Dittrich and Steave Nemande spoke--both of them excellent speakers as well as passionate, intelligent activists.  Nemande started his own rights group in Cameroon.  This was his first time in California.  He said he thought it was beautiful.  If you have any money, you should give them some.

I've got a cable hookup now, but no TV.  I just got internet.  I live in a monastic space.  My room's very small.  The Manhattan living experience.  But the view is beautiful.

Later last night at a birthday party, I met the director of Hostel.  I mentioned two horror movies I liked or at least admired and he said they were "shit."  He gave an example of a recent horror movie he liked, and I said it sucked.  Then I unintentionally damned-with-faint-praise a movie that his friend had made.  (Not The Last Exorcism; I liked that and wrote about it back when I saw it at the LAFF.)  Then we agreed on two horror movies we both liked: The Orphanage and Man Bites Dog.  He told me to watch three movies: Punishment Park, Pieces, and Who Can Kill a Child?  I'm excited to watch them.

I had an enormous lunch today.  A BLT with grilled shrimp.  Then I just fell asleep.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HM

Looking out at a gorgeous view right now.  Am exhausted.  Am paying really cheap rent.  Wrote a new short story this weekend.  Went swimming.  Got The Orange Eats Creeps.  Need to get a new TV.  Ate a plateful of eggs and tomatoes and spinach.  Have been watching The Walking Dead.  The episodes always end really effectively.  Bought some pants.  More soon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

BLACK SWAN

Saw Black Swan tonight.  Aronofsky talked first.  He has a little mustache.  Vincent Cassel came up on stage.  The man exudes confidence and charisma.  What a badass.  Then Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Mila Kunis, and Natalie Portman came up.  None of them talked.  Kunis is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen.  Aronofsky said, "Sylvester Stallone is here!  Everyone, Sly... are you here?"  People looked around and then Stallone yelled, "I'm here."  He was about eight rows behind us, wearing sunglasses in the theater.  The movie started.  It was good.  It is relentless in its focus on female discomfort, and on the discomfort of things like clipping toenails, being painfully massaged by a doctor, tugging loose bits of skin off your body, and accidentally masturbating in front of your mother.  Barbara Hershey is extremely unpleasant (in a good way) as a controlling, infantilizing, humiliating mother.  Cassel is sleazy and awesome, especially in the scene where Portman comes to his apartment.  Portman has one expression for most of the movie.  Her one great scene is when she gets cast in a role she wants and calls her mother... what she does with her face is perfect in that scene.  The movie looks great... incredibly atmospheric and kinetic, unsettlingly grainy.  Clint Mansell's score is effective, but will he ever write another score as good as Requiem for a Dream's?  I doubt it, just as I doubt Aronofsky will ever make a movie as good.  Mila Kunis is great.  There's a fairly long scene where she performs oral sex on Natalie Portman.  For real.  The end is really pretty silly (and is kinda the same as The Wrestler), but much of what comes earlier is terrific.

Monday, November 08, 2010

DREAMS

Incredibly vivid dreams last night.  First involved my dad being hired as a documentarian for a former African dictator-king.  I was helping him out and we went to this storage house where he had lots of the dictator-king's belongings.  It turned out almost all the "belongings" were hacked off body parts.  We had to move them from one side of a big room to another, and as we did, we snacked on them.  Also, there were some Alaskan crab claws mixed in.  Those I set aside because I was afraid they'd gone bad.

Then I dreamed I had a house next to a bar.  We were holding a party at the house but a lot of people we didn't know had showed up.  Actually, I don't want to type this all out right now.  But at the end, after the party was over, there was a pitch dark room I thought I was alone in, and a little light came on illuminating the face of this stringy-haired old man.

Friday, November 05, 2010

CRASHING ALL OVER

The weather's been weird the last few days.  I'm moving into a new place soon, and in the meantime I'm crashing on couches because my sublease just ended on the other place.  I'm at my friend Russell's house.  We went to Morocco about a year and a half ago.  Haven't read a book in a week or so.  What should I read right now?  My books are packed away for a few days.  Haven't had the will to post anything to HTMLGiant or pitch to any of the places I freelance in the last few days.  But I did write a new novella, which I will now begin to revise. 

Going to see 127 Hours tomorrow I think.  Reading Orange Eats Creeps soon.  Good cover.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

BLACK BALLOONS

In the last two days, the girl who lives next door (whose window is right next to mine, so I'm subjected to many of her conversations) and the girl who lives somewhere in my building whose ventilation system is somehow connected to mine (so I'm subjected to many of her conversations) have both broken up with boyfriends, so for the last 24 hours I've been hearing near-constant ranting and tantrums from either side of my apartment.  Yeah, well, you can't tell me what I should do.  YOU'RE NOT MY BOYFRIEND ANYMORE.  And so forth.  It's intense.  On Friday night I went to a horror night/haunted house type thing.


 That was fun. A friend got us in cheaply.  Certainly I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I had to pay full price.  Last night I went to a Halloween party.  There were art installations.


Today I shaved my face with an actual razor for the first time in probably more than a year.  It's really tender.  This was a mistake.  My face will be all rashy and painful for days, I anticipate.  I downloaded a movie called Bad Ronald that I can't wait to watch.  Here's me in a room full of black balloons.

Friday, October 29, 2010

SMASH-UPS

Saw multiple car accidents this week.  BANG.  I turn around, smashed-up cars are drifting to the side of the intersection.  I come around a curve, mutilated luxury sedans are strewn across the road, a car horn still blaring.  In one of the accidents the drivers staggered out and they both had bright red hair.  Quite a coincidence.  The girl looked really scared, the guy looked peeved.  I think it was the guy's fault but the girl was making a left turn so she'll probably have to pay.  Full of mixed emotions this week.  Writing a new story called The Obese.  Can't imagine who would ever publish it.  I like it a lot.  Got lots of rejections this week.  Saw two documentaries, both spectacular.  One was Exit Through the Gift Shop.  My friend had been urging me to see it saying he found it inspiring.  I found it the opposite--depressing, disheartening from the perspective of somebody trying to "make art" (in the broad definition, counting writing as "art").  But it's a terrific movie.  Even better was Waiting for "Superman," one of the best things I've seen all year from a dramatic perspective.  The "climactic" sequence is incredibly suspenseful.  The whole thing made me pretty woozy.  I sent my mother an email afterward.  And today I sent my high school teacher an email.  The movie reminded I probably wouldn't have gone to a good college or tried so hard to be a writer if I hadn't met him.  Just ate dinner: eggs, Crystal hot sauce, toast, and cheese.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BACK

Still this weather?  I've been away on a trip upstate with my friend N., from my previous life... the trip was refreshing and stressful and pleasant and a little sobering, as we spent most of the hundreds of miles of driving on subjects like prospects seeming bleak, no one being trustworthy, the future appearing when visualized as a sort of black glacier overcoming the horizon, and the iniquities of the prison-industrial complex.  ("Republican strategists love the war on the drugs because it makes blacks and Hispanics into felons, so they can't vote!" etc.)  Cheerful times.  I read Just Kids, by Patti Smith, which is pretty lovely.  Sometime in the last week something happened with that Lolita post I wrote on the Paris Review blog a while back, because a bunch of comments all of a sudden appeared (they get automatically emailed to the post's author).  In the hotel we watched a movie so utterly false and contrived with regard to the way human beings behave that it seemed obscene.  I believe it was made by sociopathic aliens who have never encountered a human being.  The lead actor is profoundly off-putting in both appearance and performance, and every decision made by the filmmakers, from the casting to the catering, is disastrously wrongheaded.  Then we watched several episodes of Entourage, which I hadn't seen in years, but which seemed pretty good.  Just those two episodes guest starred, off the top of my head, Eminem, Sasha Grey, John Cleese, Malcolm McDowell, Christina Aguilera, Minka Kelly, Mark Cuban, Queen Latifah, Carla Gugino, Peter Berg, and I think some others. And then I had this dream that my family moved into a new house in a neighborhood sort of like the one I actually grew up in, and these tricky old men tried to sell us a cat that they'd caught in the neighborhood, but when they went away and we looked more closely at the cat, we realized it was some kind of dog.

Anyway, I'm back.

Monday, October 18, 2010

BOMER INTERVIEW

A great interview with Paula Bomer, author of Baby, the devastating collection out this winter from Word Riot.

And another great interview, this one with Chris Peckover, directed of Undocumented, a fucking harrowing horror movie that debuted at Fantastic Fest.

Both Chris and Paula are friends of mine, and incredibly talented people.  I'm proud of my friends... they're doing amazing stuff.

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Went swimming today... feel good.  Day otherwise uneventful.  I haven't seen the Mad Men finale yet, so it's practically a media blackout for me until I do.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"GREAT WHITE... BEAUTIFUL FISH"

I just woke up from a dream where first I was in a house with some of my relatives.  Bees kept bothering us.  My parents wouldn't discuss the bees.  I got stung all over my wrists and ankles, which swelled up like huge scarlet cuffs.  Then I went into a room where my cousin was showing a movie she had made.  I seemed to be in the movie, wearing a white t-shirt, unshaven.  I was in a bar or lounge of some sort, laughing and yelling at people.  Then my cousin turned off the movie because her father was there and she didn't want him to see it.  Then I went on a trip with my friend R.... we traveled to Egypt, where there were beaches.  We were all in the water when a siren went off.  Everyone ran out of the water.  We looked back in and finally saw some fins.  Big black triangular fins that somehow also looked like giant black butterfly wings sticking out of the water.  Then suddenly the water was clearer and we could see the shape of an enormous great white shark (think imagery from Jaws, a formative movie of my childhood) under the surface, eating something.  I scrambled to get my camera to take a picture, but then the shark was already gliding away.  We saw other fish where it had been, presumably eating its leftovers.  Then my friend R. and I went into some small Egyptian coffee shop, and for some reason I tried to explain to him one basic presumption about the concept of a "soul": that if you had your nose or eyes or face amputated, you would still be you, but if you had your soul amputated, you wouldn't.

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I was briefly in New York this weekend.  I didn't tell anyone because it was such a short trip.  I was in Brooklyn Oyster Bar with ASB at night when, as we finished eating, we noticed it was raining.  We figured we'd wait out the storm but it quickly and violently got worse.  Hailstones the size of prunes roared down.  You could hear the parked cars rattling.  The street was full of water.  A family who'd been unfortunate enough to get caught outside rushed into the oyster bar for refuge.  We stayed for an hour or so, until the storm died down, and the bartender kept giving us free drinks.  The place became a little shelter.  It was good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

THE COSMOS

Charming, and NSFW. (via Daniel Franzese, via Facebook)


EL GUINCHO | Bombay from MGdM | Marc Gómez del Moral on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

THURSDAY

It's Kind of a Funny Story, the novel based on my screenwriting partner Ned Vizzini's YA novel, comes out tomorrow.  Go see it!  They've done a terrific job of adapting it.

The end of the week. I saw The Social Network several times and read Darin Strauss's Half a Life, which is very good. I saw Darin read on Monday; he was as good as ever.

Today the sun came out.  Yesterday it was pouring.  I had lunch with my friend Chris, who's in town from Australia, and then I went swimming in the rain.  It felt amazing... it was raining really hard and I swam for a long time in it, and the surface of the pool looked all roiling and white from underneath.

And this is cool, The Rumpus posted Sara Habein's review of Midnight Picnic under their "last book I loved" banner.

Also, I got new shoes.  These.  I really like them.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

TOP OF WANT-TO-SEE LIST


That looks so good.

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Huffpo link rather simplifies my Paris Review post...

But, oh well, so does Book Bench...

Who cares.  Links are good.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

3 GOOD MOVIES AND A SKUNK

My apartment's been smelling like a skunk for some reason.  That reason is a) A skunk became upset outside my window, or b) someone is using/storing/dealing extremely strong marijuana right nearby (which is fine, since California just decriminalized it!), or c) my room was so messy and dirty it smelled like a skunk.  I cleaned it quite thoroughly and the smell lingers, so I don't think it was c).  Annoying.

I saw The Social Network and Monsters and another screening of It's Kind of a Funny Story.  All excellent.  It's Kind of a Funny Story, which I'd seen at an earlier screening, did a terrific job of translating the book, and it held up brilliantly on a second viewing.  Go see it when it comes out next Friday.  I'm going to see it again. 

The Social Network is gloriously elegant and intelligent.  It goes so fast, especially at the beginning, that you have to keep up, an experience that feels rare and exciting.  And it's a terrific portrait of how rejection, especially romantic and social rejection, drives ambition.  I'm going to see it again tomorrow.

Monsters is fascinating.  It was shot for super cheap, and concerns a future America where half the country is an "infected zone" inhabited by giant glowing migratory octopus-like creatures from outer space that are in constant conflict with the US military.  A photojournalist is assigned to escort his boss's daughter through the infected zone to get home... the effects, all apparently done on the director's computer, are excellent... the locations (in Mexico) are atmospheric... my only issue was with the casting.  The female lead looks like Paris Hilton and is an utterly boring actor.  The male lead is a bit better.  But the movie is very very good, overall, particularly because of a beautiful, poetic, really haunting moment at the end.  It was totally unexpected and made me love the movie and admire the director, Gareth Edwards.

Friday, October 01, 2010

FRIDAY / MP / PARIS REVIEW BLOG

The Social Network is out today.  I'll go see it sometime in the next four or five days, whenever I have time.  Maybe today?  But tonight there is a screening to go to, so it'd have to be in the afternoon.  It's Kind of a Funny Story comes out next week -- go see it!

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Jonathan Cann wrote some nice words about Midnight Picnic.

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I've got a post on The Paris Review blog called "Reading Lolita at 12."  It's about how I totally got the wrong thing out of the book the first time I read it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

GOLD STREET

Shit, really?  I've been to that building like a million times... it's almost identical to my old one and right down the street from it, run by the same leasing company.  On the same day, I read about my old firm laying off a huge chunk of their workforce.  Everything feel ominous.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WALL STREET / FREEDOM

Today I saw Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and I finished reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom.

Wall Street was entertaining, occasionally messy and slapped-together, but also electric and eccentric.  Stone does certain very minor but nonetheless interesting formal things that take you by surprise, like augmenting simple passage-of-time transitions with jarring inserts of subways cars rushing by, up close, as if you're about to fall under them and die (as one character does, early on).  Michael Douglas, Josh Brolin, Shia LaBeouf, and Frank Langella all do pretty well for themselves -- especially Douglas in his "Oscar clip" scene on the Met steps.  Eli Wallach, too -- not the only Sergio Leone connection in the movie.  There's a weird third act reversal that doesn't entirely work, and some of the soundtrack choices are agreeably strange... yeah, so.  It was good.  I recognized scenes shot one day when I was walking home from work last year, on the real Wall Street -- just west of William Street.  The whole crew was blocking my building.  I snapped a phone picture and just found it still in my iPhoto:


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Freedom is, as so many reviewers have said more eloquently than I can now as I'm about to fall asleep, a masterpiece, a work of genius, a great novel... whatever phrase you prefer to use... it's the sort of big and comprehensive social novel that Tom Wolfe is always trying to write, except a thousand times better and made infinitely more durable by the addition of what feel like the most psychologically realized characters you could ever hope for.  I can't think of any novel that's better captured the excruciating vicissitudes of sexual/romantic desire: wanting somebody very badly, then not wanting them as soon as you get them, then wanting them again even more as soon as they're gone, and so on forever, and always weighing what has to be sacrificed or what opportunities have been missed.  It's such a pleasure to read a novel that you feel like you're actually living in, however briefly.  Except for going to the movies, reading it was basically the only thing I did today.  Some reviewer or other said that it was a good example of David Foster Wallace's observation that the best fiction serves to make readers a little "less lonely."  Yes -- that.