brothercyst: February 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I just saw The Crazies.  Really enjoyed it.  It has multiple excellent setpieces, most notably the one that takes place in a carwash.

Earlier in the day I saw (allegedly) L.A.'s first chessboxing match.  (Rounds of boxing interrupted by rounds of speed chess.)  Ned Vizzini, Ken Baumann, Danny Franzese, Matt Patterson, & Russell Eida were in the audience, among many others.  The winner won by checkmate, not knockout.

Exhausted by this week.  I started Thomas Ligotti's My Work Is Not Yet Done more than a week ago but still haven't finished it although I'm really enjoying it.

Look at this foot-long reptile I saw at the pool:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Not a pleasant morning.


Joint report on Kevin Sampsell reading for HTML Giant w/ Ken Baumann.

 Saw Shutter Island.  I hated the novel.  Liked the movie a lot, largely for reasons of style.  It's a pulp feast.  The twist ending is still pretty atrocious, although I'd forgotten the revelation that (SPOILER) he'd rescued her from Dachau.  But they revealed that so quickly and cursorily that one could have been forgiven for missing it completely.

Also, it has Ted Levine, one of the most underrated film actors alive.  (He was Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.  He's been in everything from Joy Ride to The Fast and the Furious to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.)  And he has one of the best little moments in the film, which is just a brief car ride.

I like this short film by David Michod.

I looked it up because I'm so interested to see his film Animal Kingdom, which showed at Sundance and got picked up recently.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I'm exhausted.  Last week was buy the car, get settled, learn how L.A. is laid out.  This week was go around and meet people, all day every day.  It was fascinating.  One day we had lunch with an acquaintance who invited us to her cousin's house in the Hollywood Hills.  She said that four or five men lived there, one of whom was a gay porn actor.  ("He walks around with a pacifier in his mouth."  I didn't know what that meant, whether to interpret it literally or not.)  Later on we went up to the house, curious.  It was a fucking insane house.

When you walk in the front door, you're walking over a koi pond.

It had a pool and an astonishing view.

The master bathroom has a wall entirely of glass that looks out on the lawn, so you shower in full view of anyone outside.  (Ned is standing under the shower in that picture.)  Uh, what?

We met the gay porn actor, who seemed like a calm, normal, and friendly fellow.  He did not have a pacifier in his mouth.  I don't know what the other people in the house did, but they were young, and, to put it delicately, I was extremely puzzled as to how & why they were living there.


I love that there are so many places to swim here.  Tonight it was cold but I swam in a heated pool.  Steam was rising off the surface through the lights.  It looked and felt amazing.


It turns out that one of the mirrors in my bathroom is a two-way mirror with a hole cut in the wall behind it.  Apparently the person who lived in this house before I did was fairly fucking creepy.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This picture's from the office of SDS Auto, the place where I bought my L.A. car.

The guy who sold it to me, Brian, was an Irish immigrant with a heavy Irish brogue who said he came out here "for a few months" ten years ago.  I told him I had been to Dublin and gone to Dublin City University one summer when I was a teenager, and I thought the country was beautiful and the people were lovely, which is true.  He said, "It rains all the time."

He also had a bunch of swords:

The car is a '97 Honda Civic with 165K miles on it.  I dropped $3K on it upfront.  I've been driving it for a week.  It seems to run okay.  Who knows.


Monday.  Went swimming yesterday.  Olympic-sized pool, outdoors.  Felt so good.

HTML Giant post on the shitty new HBO TV show started argument in the comments.

Reading over finished novel manuscript(s).  Exasperated and depressed re publishing stuff. 

Did a lot of work last week.  Dividing time between collaborative projects and my own stuff.  Enjoying the weather; it's gorgeous and blue out there now, at 8 a.m.  Here's what it looks like from my deck, looking sideways (click for big):


 And here's my parents' backyard yesterday:

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Just watched the French horror movie Martyrs. By chance I happened to watch it cold, with no idea what it was about or what it contained.  It is fucking insane.  Unpredictable, beyond grisly, beautifully shot, and built around an utterly crackpot philosophical premise.  I hesitate to say anything about the plot, except that only those who are fans of Haute Tension, Oldboy, and maybe Irreversible should be able to stomach watching it.  It is absolutely not as good as the latter two of those movies, but it is a fairly fucking unforgettable experience to watch it.

Friday, February 12, 2010


"The film equivalent of being jumped by a gang of Hollywood actors and having $10.50 stolen from your wallet."


Enjoying LA so far.  bought a '97 Honda Civic, kind of a piece of shit, runs okay, was cheap.  I try to avoid driving and stay far from the highways.  The roads out here suck.  Mulholland got eaten by a sinkhole yesterday.

Wrote about smoking on HTMLGiant.

Spent the day with Ken Baumann, who is the no-shit star of a TV Show, is 20 years old, and just started his own press and published his first book.  I got it and it looks great.

We also spent over an hour wandering three 5-story identical parking complexes looking for his car.

Then we went to the beach.

Saw a band called The Binges at the Viper Room.  They were good.  Then I got nervous because I'd been away from home too much.  I came here to work.  And that's what I have to focus on.  We've been superproductive so far in at least one regard, so that's good.

Yesterday I also read an unpublished fresh short story by a friend plus a forthcoming novel by another friend and they were both really good.  I'm excited.  Some people are good writers!  The publishing industry may be in trouble but good new stuff is coming into existence.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Took these a moment ago. Turned the iPhoto temperature up slightly to enhance the glow, but only because my shitty camera washed it out and can't capture how amazing the view is from the naked eye. Click for big.


I've been all stressed out for a few days and have neglected a lot of emails; apologies to anyone who emailed me; a response is forthcoming. I bought a cheap car today and I'm calmer.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Spent the day traveling.  Woke yesterday, Saturday, quite ill.  Threw up a lot (it was fun), then lay in bed clutching stomach, sweating, dozing, and watching Mad Men.  Whoever casts that show is a genius.  Watched the whole second season yesterday, fell asleep at 2:30, woke at 5:30 Sunday morning (today) in 17 degree New York, went outside into the freezing fucking air, got into a cab, went to JFK (full of stomach-calming pills), boarded a plane, flew for six hours, and emerged into 60 degree weather in Los Angeles, where I'll be taking an extended vacation.  (I'm still a New Yorker, don't worry.)  Since I don't have a job, why not spend the winter out here before I have to get another one?  Went straight to the house where I'm renting a room (my roommate is the talented director of Dockweiler, which I wrote about before; strange how things come together), which has a jawdropping view from a deck which, as Nick pointed out, is a little unstable (it has a big hole in it) and hangs over a roughly three-story drop directly onto cacti.

The deck is, however, stable enough for me to go out and read books on it in the afternoons, which I'll be doing a lot.  Productivity TK.

Went from there to the Superbowl party of a college classmate, saw old friends etc, then went to eat Israeli food with Russell, now back and about to read some Tony O'Neill.  It feels fucking supernatural that I was in 17 degree weather this morning and the sky was slate blue here.

Also, I don't have a car and I have to buy one immediately.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


District 9 is nominated for an Academy Award.  I'm glad; I liked it better than anything else I saw this year.  I wish The Escapist and Public Enemies had been nominated too.

I interviewed Paul Tremblay on HTMLGiant.  About sleep!  It's an interesting interview.

I like the cover of Tao Lin's next book.

I was supposed to have a phone call with my screenwriting partner at 11 a.m. today & I slept until 1:30 in the afternoon.  I feel bad.  I did wake up around 9 a.m. and my skull felt like a bowling ball encrusted with dried slime, so I went back to sleep.

Last night I had drinks w/ friends, ate a large cheeseburger, learned two excellent stories (one about Miles Davis, other about a manatee), and came home early to bring ASB benadryl.  I should have gone to sleep right away but stayed up until 3 reading nonsense on the internet.

Sending out my latest novel manuscript now.  This is my favorite novel that I've written, I think, in that I had the most pure fun writing it.  I hope some editors like it.  Read it.  I can't think much about the process of trying to get books published, or I get too depressed.

Time to go watch more Mad Men and internalize the cold pragmatism of Draper.

Monday, February 01, 2010


I can't sleep.  Feel like something's wrong with me.  Oh wait something is wrong with me, namely my nose won't stop running and my head is terribly clogged with wet cotton.  Spent all day packing stuff, moving stuff... (I'm not moving, I'm still a New York resident, I'm just taking a long vacation, except it's not really a vacation because it's work, all work and no play; fortunately I love work).


Really awake!  On that physical cruise control, that eyelid thing where they lock at half-mast.
Because I can't sleep I just wrote a bunch of emails and email replies.  I've been corresponding with another writer who I admire very much and who, for reasons of personality and also various external circumstances, makes an excellent correspondent.  I just wrote a bunch to him.  My emails included the below paragraphs (with minor errors now fixed).


"Let it never be said that you haven't had an interesting life.  While I was in the ocean in the DR I was thinking about this; given the exceedingly limited time in which I will be able to experience consciousness on this earth, and given the incredible good fortune I've had to be born in a wealthy nation where I don't have to work in a mine or sweatshop, shouldn't my primary goal be to live an interesting life?  To experience as many diverse and interesting experiences as I possibly can during the time I'm here?  Since then I've been doing thought experiments in my head, would I rather have X's life or Y's?  You know who I realized has an interesting life?  Jesse Ventura.  He was a Navy SEAL, a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones, a professional actor (in Predator, remember?), a professional wrestler, Governor of the state of Minnesota, and now he chills and surfs and whatever.  I'd much rather have his life than Brad Pitt's, I decided."


"That's a good story about your friend. I could never have sex with a prostitute. Unless I was so obscenely rich I didn't know what to do with myself or something. I've been to four strip clubs in my life--the Penthouse club in Manhattan, a club in Youngstown, Ohio (while visiting Noah Cicero) where lapdances cost $5, one in Nicaragua, and one in post-Katrina New Orleans.  Manhattan sucked; the others were fun but not in a turn-on way."

Actually on second thought I don't know why I wrote that; the one in Nicaragua was terrible, too.  I don't know why we went; we were just walking past and it seemed like tempting fate, somehow, to go in.  It was creepy inside, but kind of sleek and fake-classy, much more like the Penthouse club in Manhattan than the Youngstown or New Orleans ones.  They gave us some drinks that they charged a lot for, and as soon as I took a sip I knew something was wrong.  I whispered to my friend, the guy on the trip with me (who is gay), that I was pretty sure the drinks were drugged.  We left.

"[ASB] had to go to her friend's house to get photos taken.  The friend needed to do portraits for a photography class and [ASB] had agreed to be the subject.  Later she emailed and said they went on the friend's roof and took pictures, which turned out lovely (the friend put them on flickr here:, but in between posing for those very lovely/untroubled pictures, [ASB] started violently projectile vomiting.  She had gotten a stomach virus or something.  I like that story."

It really adds something to the pictures, I think.


That happened this afternoon.  I'm sleeping (or not sleeping, rather) on a futon in the living room, desperate to avoid catching whatever bug it is.  I do not need this to fuck with my travel plans. 


Watched a lot of Mad Men episodes last night.  John Slattery is amazing.  I like the scene in the first season where he rides the girl around the office.  And later when Don slaps him.  What a brilliant show.  Better than The Wire, certainly.  Better than The Sopranos.  Better than The Shield?  Only if it can top The Shield's ending.


My eyes just won't close.  [UPDATE: I just slept for like ten hours.]