brothercyst: May 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Finished The Pregnant Widow.  Something happened to Amis before House of MeetingsHe got good again.  Good and bitter.  These last two novels have been intensely delicious.  The Pregnant Widow is the sloppier of the two but it has better lines.  And it's what Amis has always wanted to write--a book full of fascinated and indulgent disgust about the sex lives of young men and women.  About women's sexual power.  ("Women's sexual power" being a very different thing in Martin Amis's mind than it would be in the mind of the average self-identified female feminist.)

Today I left my neighborhood in the morning but my car began to overheat.  So I called AAA.  As I was waiting by the roadside (this in the middle of West LA), a Parking Enforcement Officer pulled up behind me and told me to move, as I was parked in the red.  I explained to him that I was waiting for a tow truck and he sourly told me a number I needed to call in order to save myself from an expensive ticket.  And I want to say that the incident really made me aware of the citizens of Los Angeles, their sense of community and civic spirit--because as I stood there in the road, explaining myself to the toad-like PEO, not one or two but three passing motorists leaned out of their cars to hurl angry words at him. They thought he was giving me shit, and they wanted to give it back to him. They wanted him to be as miserable as possible while he did his mean and menial work. The drivers in the city of Los Angeles hate the parking police.

Then what?  My car was fixed.  There's a cat staying in my apartment.  It's pretty smart and friendly.  Sometimes it meows at me with a kind of maddened pathos.  I think that means it wants to go outside, but because my neighborhood is full of opossums with big claws and scary Eskimo faces, that might not be a good idea.  So when it meows I just get out the catnip, and then the little guy just passes out for a while.  It's so cute.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


And saw this on the way:

And last night I saw a black goldfish just sitting in a bowl outside on my street.  It's a strange world.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Walking at night, I passed a possum shambling down my street and glaring at me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I just took a long nap. My sleep schedule is fucked up.  Last night I saw Pulp Fiction at the New Beverly and didn't sleep until 5 a.m.  Today is the first day since last Sunday that I didn't go swimming.  Feel strange.

A few nights ago I went on a very bizarre date.  I just reread an email I wrote to a friend afterward summarizing it and I felt like did that really happen?  I'm going to cut and paste part of that, with some edits for identity/confidential stuff:

"We met at this restaurant and sat outside.  These older guys were sitting next to us... this military-ish guy with a mustache and his quieter, drunk friend, probably in their late 50s.  The mustache guy started offering us food, like "try this, try this."  Then a seemingly homeless woman with bleached blonde hair wandered by, ranting and raving, saying we were evil and criminals, "spending American money," saying "fuck this, fuck that, fuck you" etc.  She kept coming back, passing by and asking for money, then asking for cigarettes.  Finally the girl, the one I was on a date with, gave her a cigarette.  The mustache guy continued to talk to us.  He started talking more to the girl, who was sitting right next to him (we were at one of those cramped outdoor things where you're seated really close to the person next to you).  The homeless woman wandered by some more, really screaming now.  The mustache guy introduced himself as Bill.  His friend seemed embarrassed by him.  He started putting his arm on the girl's shoulder a lot and saying, "I'm a rascal... I'm a rascal."  Some taciturn young foreign guy sat down on the other side of Bill.  Bill kept talking for a long time.  My conversation with the girl was now completely hijacked by Bill.  He said, "Next Thursday at 9, I'll be here.  If you happen to be here.  I'll be here.  That's not a joke.  Remember that.  Thursday at 9."  Bill's friend got the check and asked me to read it to him, then apologetically said that his eyes were no good anymore because of too much masturbation.  Meanwhile Bill said to the girl, "Do you really want to leave it to chance, or do you want to put your number right here," and handed her his phone.  She gave it back and said she was insulted that he didn't trust fate.  I was watching in amazement.  He was very drunk but also in control of his "game"... the only time he was shaken was when we asked him what he did, and he kind of squirmed and seemed discomfited when he said he worked for some sort of armed forces website.  "Bill," the guy's friend said, "let's get out of Dodge."  So finally he got Bill to leave.  Then I noticed that the "homeless" woman had sat down with the taciturn young foreign guy.  They were having a conversation.  She was snarling and being surly, but they seemed to actually know each other.  He kept saying, "Joyce--Joyce--you sound like an ignoramus.  Do you want to sound like an idiot?"  She said something about Salvador Dali that made him really angry, and they started shouting at each other to shut up.  Then he turned and apologized to us for making so much noise.  Then he leaned over and touched the girl's shoulder, the girl I was on a date with, and apologized and asked her name.  He said his name was Adrian but she said he looked more like a Jerome, and kept calling him Jerome.  Then she started telling me a story, but I have no idea what that story was, because Joyce, the crazy woman, started shouting at Jerome that uncircumcised cocks were disgusting and she repeated the phrase, "cut your dirty fucking penis off!" over and over again.  People were staring but incredibly she wasn't asked to leave.  This went on for a while.  Jerome touched the girl's arm several more times and creepily apologized to us.  At this point I felt like I was losing my mind.  We finally got the check and left. We walked around for a while and the girl told me stories about [redacted].  I tried to kiss her but she just wanted to walk around for a while.  Some car was playing a Jeff Buckley song and she wanted to get away from it.  We walked a while and sat on some steps.  I set down my new hardcover Martin Amis book.  Then I convinced her to come over.  She came over to my apartment and nothing happened, except she told me a lot more stories about [redacted].  At that point, at like 4 am, I realized I had left my Martin Amis book on somebody's front steps miles away, hours earlier.  Fortunately her car was still parked back there, so I just drove her back -- and found my new book, completely undamaged, right where I'd left it."

At that point I was just incredibly relieved to get the book back.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Snapped outside the Arclight Hollywood yesterday, where Survival of the Dead was being screened:

That's after I saw Iron Man 2.  Man, does that movie make you hate Tony Stark.  What an asshole.  This spray-tan wearing, Van Dyke beard-having smugshit right-wing radical, prancing and mincing in front of Senate subcommittees and casting soulful eyes at the lizard-like Gwyneth Paltrow, bragging about "successfully privatizing world peace"... Seriously, vomit.  I just wanted him killed.  However, the movie does have two excellent elements: Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell.  I wanted to see those guys the whole movie.  They were great.  Rourke didn't have enough screen time.  He was a beast.  Anyway, the best part of Iron Man 2 was the trailer for Inception.

Also finished reading Feed by M.T. AndersonTurns out this is kind of a masterpiece, a genuine canon-worthy chunk of funny and amazing satire.  It's a "YA" novel, except it's not.  It reminded me of  A Clockwork Orange and American Pyscho without the ultraviolence and rape.  There's no "adventure" plot or traditional structure... the narrator is a lot more like Alex from ACO or one of The Informers.  There are scenes of really beautiful writing and imagery, too.  Like when they're in a hospital on the moon and they go to look at an "air-loss garden" where the plants are being dragged toward the sky by the leaking atmosphere, and they look like "squids in the love with the sky" or something like that.  And in another scene they go to a "filet mignon farm" where there are miles and miles of meat being pumped with blood and harvested, and there is a "steak maze" for the tourists, and sometimes the genetic coding has gone wrong and a horn or an eye is sticking out of the meat.  There are so many amazing things about this book, and I can't recommend it highly enough to pretty much anyone.  Forget that it's marketed to adolescents.  It's an ingenious, awesome book.

Got The Pregnant Widow today. Soon to read.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


What did I do this weekend?  What's the answer to that... it's pretty much always wrote and read and swam, I guess... yeah.  Sleep schedule fucked up again... I just woke up.  Hm.
  • Watched MoonQuite good, as everyone says.  The Rockwell effects, awesome.  Good script.  Surprisingly "happy" ending.
  • Finished Big Machine.  Pretty excellent.  Weird fusion of Victor LaValle style with... monsters.
  • Reading Feed.  Yeah, late on this one.  It's fucking awesome!  I've only read half so far.  It's Clockwork Orange without ultraviolence, but with much more ingenuity and humor.
  • Writing some stuff, both jointly and solo.
  • Swimming Saturday and today.  Feels good.  Feel weird if I don't.
  • Mother's Day brunch.  Forgot it was Mother's Day*.  Surrounded by mothers.
  • Barbecue Saturday night with some friends at Ned's Los Feliz place.  Good food, drank a lot.
  • Going to see Pulp Fiction Friday night at the New Beverly.
  • Reading about Bohemian Grove.  Can't believe this thing exists!  Listened to tape of Richard Nixon calling it "the most faggy goddamn thing you could ever imagine."
*I mean in relation to having brunch.  I called my mom before brunch.  But it didn't occur to me, oh it's mother's day, brunch today will be a clusterfuck.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


So yeah remember how I said back when I wrote those other two sex stories, that were in Nerve (kind of not a good story) and Spork (I like that one more, it's better and funnier), I wrote a third one?  The third one was just published by Annalemma, check it out.  (Not you, Mom.)  Accompanied by photography by Michaela Knizova and the biggest headshot ever.

I'm reading Big Machine at the pool right now.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


That bomb in Times Square seems to have been about half a block from where I used to work.  Damn.


So this weekend it became illegal for me to drive my car, the one I bought three months ago when I thought I was only staying here for three months, the 1997 green Honda Civic that ran extremely reliably.  (Admittedly it had some weird things about it, like parts were sort of torn up and the paint on the hood was kind of scorched away or something.)  I liked the car, but it had no plates, which caused the cops to hassle me about it, and the DMV didn't give me plates and registration by the time the temporary operating permit expired... thus, illegal to drive my car.  The dealership told me to come in and leave the car there while the DMV stuff was sorted out, and they'd give me a loaner in the meantime.  But when I got to the dealership I was extremely stressed out and in a fit of frustration told them fuck this shit, take the car back and I'll buy another one--with California plates already on it.  I paid $3000 for the Civic in February and got $3000 for it yesterday, after some argument, so what I lost were the fees and taxes, about $600, and the fucking towing fees w/ the impound, about $400.  So basically it's like I rented a car for three months for $1000, which I guess isn't so bad.  I bought a 1997 BMW 528i which was surprisingly not much more expensive.  The only cars I've ever driven are Hondas, and the BMW feels like a different kind of machine.  I liked driving the Honda more, honestly.  And parking it was easier than parking the BMW will be.  But maybe the fact that gas costs more will encourage me to drive less.  Last night I saw Kick-Ass again and was so tired I fell asleep briefly a few times.  Then I'd wake up and think, Where am I?  Oh no, I have no money... oh, it's this scene, I love this movie.  Now looking for a job. Ugh.

That said, it's been a good, if weird, week.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


... by googling "Can you smoke sea urchins?" I say: You intrigue me.