So I have an account on pretty much every blogging service where I have friends at the moment - facebook, xanga, myspace, and livejournal. Why do I do this, you ask? Because I like to keep in touch. Someday I'm going to decide I like one of them better than all the others and stick with it, but probably not for a while.|
Anyway, I'm sitting here in my bedroom trying to write a farce and a paper and a review and thinking about how great it is that A) I live in New York, and B) I have three things that I have to write today.
Saw "Bach at Leipzig" the other evening and I'd just like to say that it was one of the funniest things I've ever had the pleasure to witness. It's a farce about classical organists, if you can imagine such a thing. Just called my best friend from high school to see how he and his family were doing, and the answer is "fine, thank you." He's the one who went off and had a stable life with a degree from a local college and a nice wife and a house he's building himself. It's strange to see how far apart our lives are now. Anyway. New York is wonderful. Hope all my friends who are reading this are doing well.
Help me, I'm:
The sounds of: Jackson Browne - Saturate Before Using
May. 16th, 2005 @ 12:35 am
Hello, hello. Well, I suppose it's been a few weeks since I've posted anything up here. Updates: I have a paying and regular freelance job that is making my day - I saw a really awful show for it the other night, but this was assuaged by the idea that I would actually receive compensation for taking a bullet for my reading public, so that's very good.
I am also fully in my new apartment. This makes me happier than I can tell you, though it has turned out to be more expensive than I thought, living by one's self. I'm actually not totally alone - I've got a couple of roommates, but they're both like, thirty, and I'm, like, twenty-three (although this post is making me sound, like, seventeen).
Been reading Terry Pratchett's "Thief of Time," will probably break down and purchase his new book before it has a chance to go into softcover, because that's the kind of glutton I am. Good Lord, this guy can write. Everything he touches turns to literature. I actually heard Pterry speak a few months ago and it was almost transformative; it's always encouraging to me to meet my heroes and discover that they are, in fact, real human beings who just put their mind to whatever it is they're good at, and then did it.
Got my application in after much running around screaming; now I have two, possibly one more to go. I really am going to do this, like it or not. I think teaching is probably the most noble thing I'm capable of doing with myself, and I don't want to work in customer service for the rest of my life, even in a cool place like this, because the best thing for some customers would really be to tell them to go fuck themselves. Many of them are lovely, sweet people, but catering to the spoiled is not high on my list of ways to spend my life. Still, it ain't a bad way to spend a year, and certainly not in a cool city AND a cool office, with a fun moonlighting job.
Today's fun picture (from a comic book, naturally)
This was one of my favorite comic books in high school. Your glimpse into Sam's world. It's a strange place.
Incidentally, I fucking hate Valentine's Day and hope whoever invented it chokes on a maraschino cherry.
Help me, I'm: interesting
The sounds of: Johnny Mercer - Ac-cen-chu-ate the Positive
Discovered this online; was relieved that I had not accidentally ripped it off for a piece that I wrote late last year (the things you forget you didn't come up with yourself!). Anyway, Gail Simone's version is much funnier.|
My reviews are now at www.curtainup.com; am very pleased and hope that gig is start of long and fruitful relaionship; would actually settle for PAID relationship, but whatever. They're poor, and I can sympathise with that.
Am reading "The Lion in Winter." Perversely, it is making me miss female companionship. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're due for a good laugh when you see it yourself. Wonderful play.
Help me, I'm: Hungry for worlds.
The sounds of: "Puttin' on the Ritz" - Unidentified band from the 80's
HA! [sings]If that's movin' up, then I'm... MOVIN' OUT. I'm movin' out![/sings] Like Billy Joel on the first track of The Stranger, I am going to McLean, Virginia. Actually, there's no real evidence that Bill was headed to McLean, but I like to think that he was.|
I have a room in a townhouse rented starting the fourth of February, hooray. I will finally be able to pay my own rent/groceries/utilities and miscelleneous stuff, good for me. I will become a Responsible Child in a Grown-Up Body. Grad school is actually looking like a distinct possibility, as well, so that is similarly nice.
This is a great place to be Sam, which is something I'm pretty good at. Life is interesting, the city is a good place to work and eat and wander freely, and I have a wonderful church and family nearby. Most of last year was kind of despairing; I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself, or if I'd be able to do it. Now I sort of do, and I'm sort of on my way to doing it and doing other interesting things in the meantime.
I'm going to see a play tonight for review, which I heartily anticipate. Hope it's good; would like to rave about it; severely doubt possibility of rave, but oh well. Here's hoping.
I have new friends, which is nice and has been a long time coming. After having nothing but my comic book collection to keep me company for several months, it's nice to finally start connecting with people. So. Jill, Sarah, Sandy, Dave, Patrick, you are on The List. Congratulations.
The abandoned refrigerator of December has been lifted from the three-legged puppy of my soul, and the puppy has finally found something dead to roll in.
Help me, I'm:
The sounds of: Neutral Milk Hotel - The Aeroplane Over the Sea
|» All-Powerful Sam|
I have done it. I have finished my play. I have sent it to the University Of My Choice. I am invincible. I can see my house from here. Also, I am watching my Christmas presents (the Lord of the Rings) and find, much to my surprise, that I actually like them more than I did the first couple of times. They're wonderful and inspiring, and it actually helps the creative process to watch them in bits and pieces between long bursts of playwriting. I'm very proud of my new one, incidentally. The characters are less generic and are turning into real people; another three plays from now I should have something really good (yes it is too encouraging! Shut the hell up!).
Job is good. May find an apartment soon. Am reading "Sin City" by Frank Miller in my spare time, which is even better than I had hoped (art will be posted below). Finished reading "The Phoenix and the Carpet" today, which was wonderful and by E. Nesbit and can be found at your local bookstore for a pittance. Still have no friends. Am working on this problem. Note: Change heading to "Nigh-Omnipotent Sam."
- From Frank Miller's Sin City, the emo of comic books.
|» Holy Job Satisfaction, Batman Redux|
Well, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has a new employee (me). I got my badge today, and the little springy thing that attaches to my belt. I feel like James Bond trying to get into work every day; there's a lot of involvement with security here. This is a really cool place to work - there are nice people my own age in the office; the canteen has food that is cheap and good; it's closer to my house; and Dad works right down the road. Also, there's a huge chocolate lab that sometimes comes to work with my boss and placates people who want to complain. It's hard to demand satisfaction when faced with a big brown dog who looks up over the counter in an effort to see what all the fuss is about. I think it's also kind of a shock to be immediately faced with a large, guileless animal in an office building, but it's a good shock, and most people end up baby-talking to the dog about ticket prices.
Every day, we get something over e-mail saying, "Come to the symphony tonight if you don't have anything better to do; we've got tickets."
Christmas was fun; Mom's side of the family is always a little... passive-aggressive, but whatever. I'm a grown-up. Called as many friends as I had in my phone on Christmas, some of whom never called back (one of my professors who shall remain nameless, but is no big surprise), and some of whom it was surprisingly sweet to talk to. I thought I had grown apart from a lot of people, but I guess some things stay the same for longer than I thought.
Santa brought The Lord of the Rings ext. ed. on DVD and the Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics (among other things, but those are the presents I'm excited about). Fran (my sister) also knitted me a scarf just in time for the bloodydamn cold DC winters. Am working on a short story, as usual. Am proud of the concept, but having a hard time with the execution, which, in a nutshell, is the Sam Thielman condition. This coming year promises to be a good one; grad school; cool job; new and interesting books, music, and film are on their way. Not to just drown in materialism or anything, but we also get kick-ass deals from Dell for working at the KC, so hopefully the, um, President's-day fairy will bring me a decent laptop.
Someday, I hope to be this funny.
Sam's Top Ten Things Participated in or Purchased in 2004, in no order -
-Hellboy 3-disc collectors' edition DVD. This even has a cool little pamphlet that looks like the Ogdru Jahad book and has illustrations and made-up words by Mike Mignola, the guy who wrote the comic book.
-Sunny 16 by Ben Folds. A better EP than most albums, without a bad or boring track on it.
-Large Brown Dogs. A joy and a comfort; larger than a breadbox, smaller than a horse, and a wonderful name for a band. Drooly O'Doul and the Large Brown Dogs. It sings.
-Neil Gaiman's short sory "A Study in Emerald." Already linked herein and highly recommended. If you can't find it, or if the site has been taken down, go buy "Shadows Over Baker Street."
-"McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales." A fantastic book of the best short stories in genre fiction. Comprehensive and loads of fun.
-Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios. I want to ride them forever (and ever).
-"The Final Solution" by Michael Chabon. More novellas, please.
-"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. Two magnificent volumes. And more on the way!
-E-mail. The tie that binds.
-ID Badges. Nothing gives you a simultaneous sense of purpose and identity like a little piece of plastic with your name on it that opens all the doors you really care about.
Sam's Top Ten Things to Participate in or Purchase in 2005, in a similar lack of order -
-E-mail. I like being bound.
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hopefully this will be better than the last one and there will be no GAPING PLOT HOLES. Forgiveness comes slow to literary offenses.
-The 49ers by Alan Moore and Gene Ha. An addendum to Top Ten, possibly the finest comic book ever produced.
-Batman Begins. No real explanation is necessary, I hope.
-Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman. The next novel from the man whom I am slowly coming to regard as my favorite writer.
-Thud, by Terry Pratchett. A close second in the favorite category.
-Graduate School. TBA.
-All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. My favorite writer and my favorite artist at work on Superman. Oh, it will be good.
-Ben Folds' New Album. Due out 1st quarter this year. Hooray!
-The New Thielman Laptop. I will play games, I will watch movies, I will hold my head high and say, "My computer is better than your computer."
|» (No Subject)|
So it's about that time. Am rereading "Season of Mists" from "The Sandman" and it's just amazing. Highly, highly, very highly recommended.
I cannot even begin to tell all of you how much I am looking forward to not working here anymore. Today has been so stupid that it kind of leaves you awestruck and you just have to stand in admiration of whatever it is that hates you enough to make all the stupid little things happen at once. The cute girl down the hall asked me out to the movies and then disinvited me without anything except excuses; my entire department went out to lunch to say goodbye to one of our guys who's leaving and didn't bother to invite me; all of the clients are incredibly, mind-bogglingly rude to me and treat my like some sort of contagious bacterium that must be briefly and brutally dealt with and then abandoned without so much as a "thank you;" the program I want to apply to for graduate school has moved its deadline forward. That last one is probably not the fault of my job, but I figured it out while at work, so I'm counting it. I'm only a couple of short steps away from picking up and moving - just leaving for parts unknown to see what happens. I think you have to have some sort of masochistic streak to want to do reception work. It's just paid abuse. Maybe I'll be a prostitute. The pay is better, and you get more respect.
Oh well. I'm probably just tired and need to sleep and read interesting thing to get some perspective. Then I'll edit a short story, buy a couple of comic books, and straighten something. And continue to plan my escape.
...and as I sit here, literally as I sit here typing this, said cute girl walks up to my desk and deposits a burned CD, gives me a big smile, and walks away. So there's that part of the day made better. I, um, told you so.
From "Season of Mists:" http://www.sequart.com/sandman/sandman04.jpg
|» A Brief from the Moon|
Well, things are looking up. I'm this close to a cool job at the Kennedy Center and the joyous oppurtunity to leave all the crap at my current job behind. Which is a good thing. An e-mail from Susie that, contrary to my character, I actually completed and enjoyed more than I thought I would (is there anything nerdier than making lists? Probably not). Think of all the wonderful things I could have done while I was doing this. Looking at this thing now, I feel kind of generic. I'm sure there are hundreds of other 23-year-old men who have the exact same answers to these questions. But maybe that's not the worst thing in the world.
It's amazing the difference that one really cool person can make. Katie, my only friend in the corporate beehive, is one of those really cool people. The world is cruel to people who like five-dollar Mexican dinners, and we must cleave together when we can. We found a place called "El Paso Mexican Restaurant," but the words "El Paso" had faded, so it appeared simply to be called "Mexican Restaurant." Love at first sight, I'm telling you - the place comes complete with fresh guacamole and that white, watery cheese sauce that you can actually dip a salsa-covered chip in. Most of the important conversations in my life have happened over a meal that cost less than ten dollars including tip. So Katie makes my days a little better, which may be the most you can say about anyone. Anyway, here are my nerdy lists. I encourage people to try it out for themselves and then respond.
Thirteen Random Things You Like
13. Transformers. They are, indeed, more than meets the eye.
12. Really good comic books. Anything by Craig Russell and/or Neil Gaiman.
11. Prunes. Yes, really.
9. Kittens who think that they can "take" me.
8. Old silver coins, medallion-size.
7. The Metro.
6. Anything by Rodin.
5. Whatever it is that my red blanket is made out of. Hell with it;
make it my red blanket.
4. My computer.
3. People who enjoy the little things.
2. Socks. Hooray for socks.
1. Books of short stories.
Twelve Random Movies You Like
12. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which Charlie Kaufman
expresses the single most mature sentiment committed to celluloid.
11. Punch-Drunk Love, in which a completely unlovable neurotic
actually manages to attract and win a wonderful girl.
10. The Lord of the Rings, in which epic literature is faithfully and
successfully adapted for the screen.
9. Heist, for which better dialogue is written than in any other film
of that genre.
8. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which is a character study
cleverly hidden behind a cowboy hat.
7. Unforgiven, the last Western.
6. Miller's Crossing, the greatest gangster film ever made.
5. Out of Sight, in which Steven Soderbergh proves that you can make a
good crime movie that you can take a date to see.
4. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, in which all of Sam's childhood
fantasies are portrayed on screen.
3. Rushmore, in which Sam's high-school self is made the hero of a
film about the way that he has acted for years.
2. Fight Club, in which men are actually complex and interesting
characters, rather than white knights, sex-driven maniacs, violent
crazies, or lovable doofuses.
1. Shakespeare in Love, which gives me hope.
Eleven Random Bands/Artists You Like
11. Ben Folds
10. Modest Mouse
8. Jackson Browne
7 Fountains of Wayne
6. The Beatles
5. Elvis Costello
3. They Might be Giants
2. The Flaming Lips
1. Fatboy Slim
Ten Random Things About You You Like
10. My left elbow.
9. My nose.
8. My lack of a self-destructive streak.
7. My beard.
6. My left hand, on which I take notes.
5. My taste in comics, books, and movies.
4. My ideas.
3. My friends.
2. My family. (I know, I'm cheating, I'm sorry)
1. My fingers.
Nine Random People You Like
This entry has been deleted to protect the innocent. If you actually bothered to read this far, you may assume that you were on the list.
Eight Random Foods You Like
8. Brie Cheese.
7. A good spicy tuna roll.
6. The Garlic Soup at Chez Lulu.
5. Chocalate Chip Cookies.
3. Spaghetti with tomato sauce.
2. Celery raw with blue cheese dressing.
1. Tomatoes, but never, never, never cooked. Never.
Seven Random Things You Wear Almost Daily
7. My glasses.
5. My 2-year-old black Ecco hiking boots, which I will miss when they are gone.
4. My belt, until recently.
3. A suit coat.
2. An undershirt.
Six Random Things That Annoy You
6. Holes in my bloody socks.
5. People who wait for you to stop talking so that they can start.
4. Cat hair.
3. Being told that I can't do something without an explanation.
Five Random Things You Touch Every Day
5. The bloody alarm clock.
4. Some kind of book.
3. The switches on the lamps in my office.
2. My socks.
1. My Leatherman.
Four Random Shows You Watch
3. The OC (I'll admit it).
2. Family Guy.
1. The Daily Show.
Three Random Celebrities You Have a Crush On
3. Natalie Portman.
2. Liz Phair.
1. Kate Winslet.
Two Random People You Have Kissed
2. I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.
1. I also refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate other people.
One Person You'd Spend Your Life With
1. Myself. Because I don't know what I'd do without me.
|» Art Time|
Hello again, everybody.
I've been reading these back to myself and they all sound incredibly pompous compared to everyone else's reasonably honest self-assessments. Sorry. Not very good at that kind of thing, as I'm sure you all know. I'm applying to CUNY, Columbia, Catholic, UCSD and other grad schools that are not in the south. My academic statement of purpose is basically glorified begging, but I think mostly the impetus to get a Ph.D. is the knowledge that I am now the only male member of my family over the age of twenty-one who does not begin his name with "Doctor."
New book for Sam: "The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocked Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases." This is what happens when you reach a critical mass of sci-fi/fantasy writers in the same room (or on the same e-mail list, I suppose): a book of factitious maladies spontaneously generates. It's very funny in a sick kind of way. Neil Gaiman's entry is the best, but I like everything he writes and am prejudiced.
Long-distance relationships are both great and awful at the same time; I did not realize this until I spent some time in the physical presence of my current pen-pal and then had to leave her to go back. Things will eventually work out one way or the other, I have no doubt, but I don't like the in-between time. I like movement.
I have art for people to look at; I hope you like it. These are some of my favorite images by people I like; mostly comic book guys. Hope you enjoy.
"Optimist" by Dave McKean
"Reason" also by Dave McKean. Be sure to scroll down and click on the link to actually play the short.