brothercyst: January 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Somebody posted this in a comment thread at HTMLGiant.  I like what I see.

Preparing for vacation. I have to pack. A fuck-up has happened regarding luggage (someone has taken or stolen it!!) and I have to buy new luggage for ~$150 right now. Filled with irritation.

Just went swimming. Feel okay. Reading On Writing.  The memoir part, which I just finished, is excellent.

Today at the pool a woman lost a blue key and I had seen it through the wobbly water while I was swimming, so then I was looking around for it, swimming under/around lap-swimmers across lanes, searching the bottom of the pool.  It was like some sort of dream.

Experiencing some restlessness/anxiety.  So annoyed about the luggage.  The errands I have to run in the next few days are nearly uncountable.  Fortunately, it's nice out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Woke up at 9 am this morning from a nightmare about being at my old job, saw HUGE snowflakes filling the window; wtf, blizzard?  Went back to sleep, woke up ninety minutes later, the sky and streets were clear.  Feel like I'm losing my mind.

This essay is the best response I've read to the Katie Roiphe sex-writing essay that appeared in the New York Times a few weeks ago.  Of course I like it; it's full of James Salter appreciation.

Odd how at least three people have brought up Stephen King's On Writing to me in unrelated recent conversations.  I own it but haven't read it.  I guess I will, starting now.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Birthday yesterday.  Haven't had time lately to do very much; preparing for my long Los Angeles vacation.  Warm weather to come, thank god.

Not long ago I briefly considered 2009 in the light of the new year's arrival.  As I turned 27, I considered the year I was 26:
  • Creative life as a 26-year-old:  Super good.  Wrote a lot, including several things I'm pretty thrilled with.
  • Professional life as a 26-year-old:  Mostly bad.  I did publish Midnight Picnic, but that was at the very beginning, and after that everything was shit.  I didn't submit much short work so there were few small publications to maintain my sense of self-worth -- though interviews with Park Chan-wook, Michael Haneke, & Francis Ford Coppola were awesome.  But that's writing about someone else to build credit and get cash, despite the fact that all three men are heroes of mine and I would leap at the chance to talk to them in a non-formal-interview context.
  • "Professional" life as a 26-year-old: Full of exciting transitions.  Laid off from the comfortable but tepid/menial office job I'd had for almost exactly four years, since I graduated college.  The managing director of my department had also been hired directly out of college, two decades earlier.  He'd wanted to be a novelist but had come to love the company instead. 
My birthday was good.  I never have a party or celebrate.  Went to lunch & movie with ASB.  Had some sort of freakout during the movie, huddling with eyes closed in a psychic swamp of shame and despair, thinking that 27 was going to be the worst year, unbearable, full of disappointment and mortification. Recovered & finished the movie, then watched Mad Men dvds and went to sleep.

Anyway.  I just bought My Work Is Not Yet Done, and I can't wait to read it.  Bought Down and Out on Murder Mile and can't wait to read that.  I liked Digging the VeinTrying to get some copies of Fires that still exist, as it may not be available on Amazon (or anywhere?) much longer. 

I am aching to travel.  I want so badly to be back in a tropical place somewhere, or somewhere without a lot of people and without distractions or appointments to be kept.  I want to be in a place where I do three things: read, write & eat.

Actually, that sounds a lot like prison.  Let me add two more things: Surf & be around women.

Unrelated: No more griping about split infinitives ever, please.  They're allowed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


My copy of the Mud Luscious Press {first year} anthology just arrived.  Fucking awesome.  This includes my short story "Rat Beast" and it also includes a ton of other writers.

The contributors:
ken baumann, shane jones, jimmy chen, brandi wells, blake butler, nick antosca, sam pink, james chapman, colin bassett, michael kimball, jac jemc, kim chinquee, kim parko, norman lock, randall brown, brian evenson, michael stewart, peter markus, ken sparling, aaron burch, david ohle, matthew savoca, p. h. madore, johannes göransson, charles lennox, ryan call, elizabeth ellen, molly gaudry, kevin wilson, mary hamilton, craig davis, kendra grant malone, lavie tidhar, lily hoang, mark baumer, ben tanzer, krammer abrahams, joshua cohen, eugene lim, c. l. bledsoe, joanna ruocco, josh maday, michael martone.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I'm briefly introducing Blue Velvet at the Rubin Museum (on 17th St and 7th ave) tonight.  It's part of their "Red Book" exhibition, which is worth seeing while it's still there.  Jung's notes and handwriting, etc... amazing.  All info HERE.

And I talked a little bit about the film with The L Magazine, HERE.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Red Cross: Text "HAITI" to the number 90999 to donate $10, which will be added to your next cellphone bill.

The earthquake on the other side of the island happened almost exactly 48 hours after I flew out of the Dominican Republic earlier this week.  Have no way of getting in touch with the Haitian guy we know in Playa Bonita.  My good friend and college roommate who made the Midnight Picnic book trailer is Haitian and has family there who he's trying to contact.  I am hoping very hard for the best.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I just wrote a long post on HTMLGiant about surfing and writing.

I want to see this movie, Chloe, directed by Atom Egoyan, who made the sublime The Sweet Hereafter in 1997.

Chloe looks completely absurd and "steamy," kind of like a Cinemax softcore movie, only starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore and a naked Amanda Seyfried. I saw the trailer on Jeff Wells' Hollywood Elsewhere website, where it is followed by this priceless comment from commenter "LexG":

A movie like CHLOE would appear to be an example of why MOVIES ARE BETTER THAN LIFE.

Like, where does this EVER happen in real life? Has this ever happened, ever? To ANYONE?

It's all brilliant and saucy and sexy on screen, but in REAL LIFE, has there ever been a pasty middle-aged couple, where the wife gets worried about her husband's infidelity, so she HIRES a SMOKING HOT BLONDE 23-YEAR-OLD to *hit on him* which leads not just to phone booth BJs, but to the wife eventually getting SEDUCED BY THE HOT CHICK?????

A lot of YOU GUYS are married. This sound like your day-to-day? 99.9999% of relationships in the world, this scenario and this movie would end three minutes in, with Julianne hitting Neeson over the head with a ROLLING PIN and him buying some flowers like a douche and them putting it behind them. On what planet do 40-something wives HIRE A HOT CHICK TO SEDUCE THEIR MAN, then when the husband takes the chick up on it, the wife goes, "eh, while I'm at it, she's hot, I'll sleep with her too"?

Again, I'm ALL FOR IT as a movie personally, more power to Egoyan for getting the usually sunny, sweet and lovable Seyfried to agree to this shit under the hilarious auspices of "art"... but it's about as realistic as "Avatar."

Just funny that when an "artist" like Atom Egoyan, an Altman, a Kubrick makes such an obvious horndog lech-fest, we all have to assume it's for some noble artistic purpose, but when it's Michael Bay shooting Megan Fox through golden filters hunched over a motorcycle, it's some sexist, tacky antifeminist objectification.

It's all the same thing. Just these middle-aged directors enjoying their (awesome) privilege of shooting beautiful women in various states of undress. More power to them... I just don't know HOW they explain it to the wives.

...Which reminded me of Bourne Identity director Doug Liman's infamous and funny post about directors claiming their "process" involves ridiculous things like napping on the set and groping the production assistants.


Tonight I had a hypnosis session but I was tired and took a nap shortly beforehand.  When I woke, it was later than I thought. Woozily I texted my hypnotist: "Running couple min behind. Fucking dome make everything all complicated!"

When I got there, he gave me a strange look and said, "Blowjob situation?"  And I had to explain that no, I had simply been confused when I woke up... from a dream in which we were "under the dome," like in the Stephen King book.

In fact, after I had rushed out of my bedroom immediately post-nap, I'd run into my roommate Rachel, who asked what I was doing in such a hurry.  I said, "Oh, I'm going to hypnosis, but I'm late because..."  Long pause.  "... oh.  We're not under the dome, are we."

Monday, January 11, 2010


A spoiler-free test screening review of my friend Chris Peckover's horror movie, Undocumented.  I haven't seen it yet (although I read the script), but I will when I go to L.A.  Can't wait...


It's really dark out.  In the DR it didn't get dark until about 6:30 at night, and the sun came up at 6:30 am.  I miss it already; it was wonderful.  My face is peeling a little.  My body aches and feels battered and drained.


The dark made me think of this. Once when I stayed in New Haven over the summer I had a job working at the phone bank.  My job was to call alumni numbers from a never-ending list generated by a computer and ask them to pledge money to the alumni fund. We worked at night because that's when people are home (during & after dinner) and most likely to answer their phones.  I was living by myself in a three story house that was falling apart.  In theory I had rented a single bedroom on the third floor, but the other two roommates were away for the summer and neither of the floors below me were rented out... so it was very weird and a little disconcerting. And the street was mostly deserted too, because this was summer and all the students were away, and most of the houses on the street were rented out to students.

So one day I was calling at the phone bank and somebody answered one of the phones.  I heard a fuzzy noise and a mumbly voice. I said, "Hello?"  A little kid, a boy I think, said, "Mom?  Mom??"  I asked him to put his mom on the phone, but he just kept saying in a higher and higher voice, "Mom??"  I was kind of amused and I told him not to worry, his mom would be there soon, and was there anyone in the house I could talk to?  But then he started crying and said, "Mom where are you? Mom, it's getting dark. I don't want it to get dark. Mom, it's getting dark!" -- which creeped me out a bit.  And then he hung up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Went surfing yesterday.  Covered in bruises (any point of contact with the board, ah).  But very fun.  It's brilliantly sunny out... last morning here.

Ned Vizzini blogs at Focus Features about having his novel turned into a movie (shooting now).

A huge frog just hopped into the water near me.

I'm about to go back to freezing weather.

Finished Under the Dome.  Loved it.  Genre feast.  Classic King... for some people the door is always open.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


It's balmy.  Pure relaxation today.  Sleepy weather.  Four more days here.

Happy to see Fires mentioned on here (thanks google alert).

Don't date writers if you are a writer.

About halfway through Under the Dome.  Vintage Stephen King--love it so far.

Monday, January 04, 2010


I posted an interview with Michael Haneke, director of Cache, Funny Games, and The White Ribbon over at HTML Giant.  Check it out, it's long and fun.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


I enjoyed this Times article by Katie Roiphe about the sex scenes in the Roth/Mailer generations vs. the ones in the Eggers/Chabon times.  That's one of the things I like least about the novels of the newer contingent (although it's a little weird to group that writers that she does) -- their writing w/ regard to sex is so fucking hip and twee.  The scene she describes in the Eggers is particularly eye-rolling.

That was one thing I like about Netherland though.  These guys could learn so much from Alicia Erian.  In fact I prefer her writing in nearly all respects, not just this one.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Now I sleep all afternoon, stay up all night, and go to the beach in the morning. The waves are rough so I don't stay in for four or five hours at a time like I did in the summer, just an hour or so. I've grown a beard. I finished reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians and I really admired what it was up to.  I basically devoured it in a way I devour few books.

It's raining really hard.  I'm under a canopy at an open air bar. I just walked over here from the house and saw five or six huge bullfrogs.  Tiny frogs come in the house at night: