Monday, December 15, 2008

holiday sands: revisited!

ok, so i know that i posted my holiday sands piece like a year ago, but i just recently revised it in an attempt to procure a job as a legitimate writer of young teen girl fiction. here's hoping i have a chance. but here's the revised version, a little tighter and hopefully a little better.

I want to tell you why I love Ohio. But there are some things you should know first. I love Ohio in the way that Justin Timberlake loves ‘N Sync - it was great starting out and I’m glad it happened, but I’m much happier where I am now. But the difference between me and JT is that the haircut I regret was a bowl cut in seventh grade and his was some sort of curly Family Circus ‘fro that the whole world had to witness.

But dropping the anecdote for a second, Ohio is a great place to grow up in, complete with friends, family and a countless number of Chinese buffets.

But Ohio will always remain just that – a place to help shape people into decent human beings then have them fly away and return only for major holidays. . . and sometimes not even Easter. It’s the sad truth of the buckeye state, but something you learn with age.

At times I wish things weren’t this way, that Ohio and I could share a lifetime of happy memories together, but life started calling and Ohio doesn’t get very good reception. In fact I think it’s still in Extended Network.

But I, as well as other re-populated Buckeyes, have an enduring love for the state I call home. I get a special warmth inside when my change from a morning coffee gives me a quarter with Warren-born Neil Armstrong glistening in the morning fluorescence. Or when I hear The Black Keys or see Carmen Electra eloping in Vegas, all I can be is proud of what Ohio has had to offer.

But there’s so much more than the scattered famous faces Ohio has produced. There’s real people, real relationships and real, real good stories.
- - -

- - -
Growing up, my family lived just outside of Kent, Ohio. It was always easiest just to say we lived in Kent, but where we live is actually called Twin Lakes. It’s a nice part of Ohio that straddles a state route and offers, as you can guess, two lakes. They are by no means twins, but I have urinated in them so many times they do share some kind of special common thread. Among other things, this is something that you learn by living so close to a lake- public urination is usually frowned upon on dry land, but once half of your torso is submerged it is a veritable urinal designed for you and you alone.

I’ve learned that in cold waters like California peeing in your wetsuit can warm your body and help you better acclimate to the chilly saltwater of the Pacific. In Ohio, lakes can often reach temperatures of most baths, so warming yourself up isn’t really the desired effect. Usually it’s out of laziness, to gross your friends out or an accident that can really put a halt on a game of Marco Polo – but rarely does it occur to help.

The amount of child urine that has touched the fair shores of West Twin Lake is something I’d rather not think about. Mainly because this is the same place I have swam underwater in with my eyes open, exposed a staggering amount of open wounds to and, on occasion, drank as a result of dehydration on my ragged catamaran.
While this may seem utterly unhygienic and disgusting, I have yet to really see any side effects from it. Now and again something that I can only describe as “worm-like” passes across my eyeball, but for all I know that was there before I learned how to swim and is probably not the hatchlings of some northeastern Ohio bacteria. Here’s hoping.

While being exposed to what I’m sure is a wild assortment of lake germs may seem like a bad thing, living in close proximity to a lake really had its benefits. I never really needed a babysitter, drowning has never really been an issue and scouring my body for any piece of sand leftover from the beach has given me an impeccable sense of self hygiene. Impending punishment from your mother for tracking sand into the house really makes you completely investigate every nook and cranny.

But as much fun as the lakes were, special summer days called for a little extra adventure in aquatic fun. If we were lucky enough, my parents or a friend’s parents would take a day to go to Holiday Sands, a water park of sorts located in Ravenna. If you do not know of Ravenna, Ohio, then I would consider you lucky. I rarely use the term “armpit of America,” but Ravenna seems to aptly fit the description.

As bad as Ravenna is, Holiday Sands somehow took it up a notch. Holiday Sands was like the Amsterdam of summer water fun. Even though I was only a kid going there, I had this feeling that pretty much the craziest shit you could imagine was made possible. You wanna swing on a rusty chain into water that may or may not be deep enough to dive into? Go ahead. Want to know what a 100 foot spiral staircase made entirely out of slippery, decaying metal feels like soaking wet? Give it a shot.

I think the best description I can give of Holiday Sands is that there was rumored to usually be one fatality a summer, and everyone just accepted that as the cost of doing business. When you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. And in this case, it wasn’t so much fire as it was insufficient supervision in a water park made up of death traps.

The place itself was a freshwater lake nestled off of State Route 14, boasting an array of activities from shallow end monkey bars to a set of rings crossing the lake at one edge of it. It was a pretty good size lake, and from what I remember it was naturally made. But there were concrete walls on some edges so I think it was partially man-made. “Naturally made with some human influence,” you could call it. This human influence led to things like a platform with two rings for people to swing out and jump off into the water on. An idea that sounds simple in theory but nearly fatal in execution.

To start, the platform I think was made out of butter. Well, maybe not butter, but whatever it was the lifeguards on duty most assuredly waxed it down on an hourly basis.

This slanted wooden deck was pointed down towards the water and potential swingers had to shimmy down it to grab the ring, which was dangling from two chains that had seen more service time than the entirety of the first Gulf War. If they were lucky enough to stay on and grab the ring, they had to go back up the ramp, this time with resistance from the chains. If nothing else, the ring swing was a vital lesson in applied physics with drunk, overweight hillbillies.

Once the ring was secured came a true test of skill. Said test was no more than trying to swing out and land on the people that just went before you. If you got lucky, you had a lifeguard glancing away at a cute girl or a smarmy redneck, and believe me there were plenty of both, and you could take aim. Having been on both sides of this operation, it was never a good idea –but, like most ideas around the age of 12, it was there and you’d be damned if you were going to let it pass you by.

As a result of this, you learned what kind of power a lifeguard has, and how agonizing being banished from the water until next break could be. I would try and sneak around to the other side, hoping I wouldn’t be seen, but somehow the eagle eye vision of lifeguard justice would find me. As mad as this made me, I was impressed. Being a fairly normal looking gangly boy without any birthmarks, rashes, glass eyes or missing teeth, this ability to pick me out from a crowd was a true testament to the caliber of the lifesaving Holiday Sands employed. Or at least their ability to hold a grudge.

While waiting for your sentence to end, or if it was break, Holiday Sands provided a playground for kids to play on. It was fairly large, covered in sand and offered some pretty atypical playground paraphernalia. Sure there were conventional slides and swing sets, but the makers of this playground must have cut a deal with NASA to purchase their dated zero-g training equipment.

Now believe me when I say this, there was a contraption there that could never have met safety standards in times before the Industrial Revolution, let alone the early 90’s. It essentially was a souped-up carousel, but instead of creating mild dizziness and laughter this brought pain and suffering.

The main structure was an elaborate set of bars making a circular wheel. The middle was then connected to a pole about 20 feet high with chains stretching up from the middle “spokes” to the top of the pole.

When turned around, the chains would slowly wrap up on the pole. This caused several things to happen. First, the actual wheel part would begin to rise up off the ground as the chains constricted themselves against the center. The higher it got, the fewer kids could keep pushing. So they had to just grab on and wait for everyone to finish. Some kids would begin sitting on it and let other people do the work. Those kids were assholes.

So, once the tall kids pushed the contraption as far as they could, everyone grabbed on and hoped for the best. To lend an example as to what was next to happen, I can give you a mental picture. Imagine placing a fan face-up on the floor. Then boil a pot of spaghetti. Toss these wet noodles onto the fan and turn the fan onto its highest setting. Watch as noodles fly off, splaying in all directions. Some land on each other, some skid off yards away. A lucky few may have actually wedged their way in the blades and are somehow clinging on whether they wish to or not. Now instead of spaghetti, imagine it to be the supple bodies of two dozen children wearing nothing but swimming suits.

I had always learned that hourly breaks were meant to keep you safe and not let you get tired, but there was no such thing at Holiday Sands. After you spent a solid 45 minutes exerting yourself in the water, you had to stare death in the face as young bodies flew at you at speeds incomprehensible by a 10-year old.

Centrifugal forces caused you to become completely parallel with the ground as you held on with all you had. Then, when the sweet lord deemed it to be, your hands gave out and you soon realized the benefits of wearing a t-shirt while you tempt fate on a playground. Blood was all too common, as were the soothing sounds of pre-teen yelps and chains grinding against metal. But all of this seemed to be forgotten come next break.

Looking back, I can understand why people ride bulls professionally. Not because they’re stupid, but because of the rush it brings them. For cowboys, it’s the glory of holding on for eight seconds and staying on a bucking animal. For the youth of northeastern Ohio, it was feeling that first layer of palm skin peel off from the rusty bar you couldn’t let go of. That, or the feeling you get when you blast a 7-year old in the chest as you zip around a steel monster created by Satan himself.

But the main draw of Holiday Sands was a huge metal waterslide, standing tall in direct defiance of safety considerations everywhere. Not only was it a terrifying piece of metal that would warm to unimaginable temperatures, but climbing up the beast was the scariest part. A twisting metal staircase led you up to the top of the slide, with nothing but a small railing to keep you from plummeting onto the hard cement underfoot. For a young boy, every step you take really lets your mind do some thinking.

The first dozen or so steps greet you with excitement and anticipation. Once you hit, oh I don’t know, step 30 doubt begins to creep in. “This is very slippery. How far up am I? Was that a scream? Did I just step on bone marrow?”

Right when you near the top your mind is in full-blown pandemonium, forcing some to even make a frightened and incredibly dangerous walk back down. Honestly, once you got to the top it was probably best to just suck it up and go down the slide, because walking down a spiral staircase capable of accommodating one reasonably small Asian man was a death wish.

The unbelievable truth was that of a constant wait of about ten people once you got to the top, so you not only had to climb the stairs but then stay on them. When you are standing atop a huge metal structure that seems to barely be standing, thoughts start running through your head. Thoughts like morning newspaper headlines: “14 Dead in Waterslide Collapse” or even “Tall, Malnourished Kent Boy Plucked From Water Park Wreckage.” A mind begins to wander as you notice every strong gust of wind a hundred feet above concrete. (Just as a side note, the slide may not have been 100 feet tall. Actually, I can probably guarantee it. But to a child, any height over 30 feet is intimidating.)

But as I would wait to go down the slide, I was witness to a side of life my parents did a great job herding me away from – the life of Ravenna locals. Now I am in no way speaking ill of them, but more in admiration of a life I could never lead - a life of fast trucks, long cut tobacco and the working knowledge of field-dressing deer. I would never be able to fit in with these people outside of Holiday Sands, and I’m pretty sure our school systems planned it that way, but on these sunny afternoons I glimpsed a life I only saw in professional wrestling Monday nights, and I appreciated it.

I could see the new fashion in cutoff jean shorts and eventually grew to appreciate the intricacies of lower calf and back tattoos. I even learned a few new curse words that I wasn’t quite aware of.

But the most important thing I learned was to relish life, which was done by watching full grown men leap out onto a slide stories above pavement. The thrill for them was the added drop and extra speed they received by “getting air,” heaving their hairy bodies out into the heavy Ravenna air. The thrill for me was seeing them land half on the slide and then shift their body weight back onto it, tempting fate on, of all things, a hot, metal monster designed for children.
Then it was my turn, where I simply went down feet first and hoped that every support would hold, keeping me and my newfound appreciation for life safe from the apparent ‘Ravenna crazy’ that was in the water.

But after each time I went down that slide, I would eventually get up and do it again. Why? It is the mystery of Holiday Sands. Like the song of the sirens, it always leads us back.

This tenuous relationship with a small water park in Ravenna is eerily similar to my relationship with Ohio. Memories that Holiday Sands were able to give me are lifelong, either because of the fun or the fact that there may be some serious emotional trauma. But do I wish I could return there time and time again, creating new and better memories? Not really. If I end up having children will I long to take them to a place where they can see what almost drowning feels like? Nope.

Mainly, because that shit is dangerous. Also, and more importantly, I’ve moved on.

I love Ohio, and I love its sketchy water parks, but it’s more appreciation for how I’ve ended up. Sometimes you just have to make that solo album and tell Joey and Lance that things are over. Maybe we can do a reunion tour in the future, but right now this is the way things are going.

Maybe if Holiday Sands ever has enough money to pay the outrageous insurance premium I’ll get one last reunion tour, but I should just be happy as to what I’ve learned from it.
Seeing the glistening, flowing locks of an inebriated man flow in the wind as he gracefully shifts his body back onto a metal slide high above the ground is something you can’t see anywhere else. No teacher can show you life like a poorly groomed man from Ohio can. The highs, the lows. Holiday Sands made sure you didn’t give up on your dreams. Not because it cared, but because it was proof that anything is possible – especially creating a veritable wonderland of things that could easily kill small children.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

roll with the punches

it's not that i think i have a tick living in my butthole that is the problem. the problem is that i think i have a tick in my butthole and have just accepted it and moved on.

i even named it rick.

there's an animal possibly inside of me and the best efforts i've given at getting it out are sitting down really hard and leaning in different angles while i fart.
that's sort of the way i deal with stuff now, not really letting it get me down and so i move on and go drink a couple beers and throw rocks on the half-frozen lake.

parts of my toes have been numb since may. only one door of my car has a functioning lock. my glasses are held together by superglue in two different places. i sat in dog shit three weeks ago and my jeans are still in the trunk of my car because the cold doesn't make them smell.
i'm really only a few dvds and about 90 dollars from being homeless.

but i've come to realize that i think that's what i like about my life.
i recently just did americorps, a grassroots hippie socialist movement somehow funded by the united states government. in it i did a year long, country-wide tour of manual labor. i roofed houses, sanded maintenance shacks and painted the cafeteria walls of inner city new york schools.

what i also did was step into a world that won't allow me to go back to normal human interaction. meeting up with old friends at thanksgiving sort of brought everything into focus for me. sure everyone had great stories, but most of them were about struggling through their jobs and taking their few chances at excitement, doing very normal things like vacations, hiking, or possibly going back to school.

then this unemployed asshole (read: me) shows up, drinking all of their beer and telling them all stories about how he thinks he has a tick living in his butthole and 'for fun' one night he threw about 15 ears of corn in a worksite port-o-potty. lets get our coats, i think we should leave.
waking up in a daze on thanksgiving morning made things quite apparent of the lifestyle that was mine. i can't escape it if i want to.

i can barely go ten minutes without using the word boner. i don't belong in professional settings.
but i think americorps helped me understand something - i don't want to be in a professional setting. the cliche office job we're led to believe is what we should do after college is good for some, but i've come to realize that i don't need it. an invaluable lesson i learned working with countless numbers of office workers volunteering on the weekends, prisoners to tivo and daytime droning fluorescence.

for some, offices are great. i just guess it depends on which one you're in. but i know that a man shifting around in attempts to remove the wildlife in his anus has no place in an office. no place at all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

back with a vengeance!

hi everyone! i'm back!
sorry for the extended break...i sort of got busy helping america. but i'm back in kent and have even less to do than before, so that means good news for the five people who actually read this thing.

anyways, here's the first of what should be many new posts. hope you like it.

This is a story about why I hate waking up early and still get sweaty palms whenever purchasing prophylactics.

Starting about when I was eleven or twelve, I was on a bowling team with two of my closest friends. I’m not sure as to how we became inundated into the greater Portage county bowling scene, but somehow we were. The league we were in occurred every Saturday morning, starting roughly around 10 or so. You bowled three games and went head-to-head against another team. After the three games one team was the winner of the day and the other suffered crushing bowling alley defeat. Well, that may be a bit much, but I’m sure somebody’s parents were disappointed on a weekly basis. What? Another loss? Get in the fucking van, we have to go practice again…and get daddy’s Skoal.

The league was also divided into age brackets, so normally you would bowl teams of your age and ability. You had an off chance of playing older teams, but usually handicaps would work to even out everything.

If you are not privy to the world of junior league bowling, each person had an average score. Then you would add enough pins to equal a game of 150, I believe. So the better you were, the smaller the handicap. That’s where the older kids got the bone-job. Their rippling muscles and nicotine stained fingers were no match for my 96 pin average. Although they were by far the best bowlers, they pretty much always lost because they had little to nothing to work with as a handicap.

And I feel they also lost because they were bowling against 12-year olds on Saturday mornings, and where I come from that is the exact opposite of “winning.”

So every Saturday morning we would all get up and get dropped off in this magical world of splits, spares and ill-fitting shoes. To us, it was an amazingly fun way to enjoy a day off school and a fun source of competition. Oh, I also forgot to mention – I hate competition. Like, really really don’t like it. I am six feet six inches tall and didn’t play anything remotely close to an organized sport in high school or college. A mystery - a creature birthed of giants… with the athletic drive of Bruce Vilanch.

So for me bowling was the one time I actually had fun while competing. It was something I was good at and couldn’t feel very intimidated by. Essentially, it’s a sport for fatties, and that was the mental edge I needed.

For me, going to Kent Lanes every Saturday was like gearing up for the Thunderdome. Every morning I woke up ready to take on the next team. I went in, got my shoes, then promptly found my favorite 12 pound ball with appropriate chip between the thumb and index finger holes. My chainmail. The armor I suited myself with. The weapons I needed.

To anyone else, I’m sure it just looked like an awkward looking 12-year old going to bowl in the aftermath of a Friday night bowling alley booze bender.

In the eyes of my parents, I feel the internal monologue went something like this: Every time he comes back from that bowling alley Jeff smells like someone dumped a wet ashtray down his elastic-lined pants and made him do sit ups. (Yes, up until age 13 I couldn’t wear pants without elastic bottoms. God knows why.)

True, my time in league play was all before a smoking ban snuffed out Ohio. This was far ahead of that, to be honest. This was nearly a time harkening back to the beginning of cigarettes, where people couldn’t smoke enough. Smoking was beautiful, majestic. And I smelled like it for five to seven hours after I left the lanes.

But I was fine with it, it just sort of seemed to be what happens when you go to a bowling alley. If there were two things that complemented each other perfectly, it’s bowling and smoking. Well, to be fair, drinking, too. It’s like a special trio reserved for the alcoholics and poor dressers of the Midwest.

But the lanes did not only introduce me to wonders of second hand smoke, but also jump-started my foray into sex education.

Now, many bowling alleys are geared towards families. The fun black light bowling, the charming birthday parties – all of it is to bring in that coveted 5-12 demographic left in the wake of Chuck E. Cheese and Patrick O’Shenanigan’s Funtime Pizza Parlor (doesn’t exist.).
But in the 90’s, bowling alleys hit a few demographics hard - mainly drunken, lonely rednecks. These people are the bread and butter of bowling alleys, truly. They love to bowl and drink indoors.

But what you also must understand is that sometimes after a few cocktails, drunken, lonely rednecks may find someone. It could be a “wrong lane” ball toss or the classic “next round of Keystones is on me,” but whatever it is love sometimes can blossom in the dirtiest of places. And with any kind of love, you need to make sure of a few things. She’s 18 and you’ve got some rubbers.

Well, Kent Lanes was fully prepared to help you out with the latter. Nestled back in the darkest reaches of the mens room was a shiny treasure trove of prophylactics. While I’m sure it was a lifesaver Friday night, Saturday morning as it eyed me at a urinal was unnerving. I might even say terrifying.

The first time I saw it I had little clue as to what it was. A hand dryer? No, because that stained re-circulating hand towel next to the sink was there for that. Fake tattoo dispenser? No, the only skull on it seems to be hand-drawn.

Then I was informed. This was done by a fellow league member purchasing one and throwing it around the bathroom.

This was apocalyptic. Up until the age of 22 I was never even able to comfortably discuss sex. In any way shape or form. Every health class resulted in me needing to apply double the amount of anti-perspirant. So when I found out that this balloon being shot around the room was for “sexing up,” it’s safe to say I freaked out. I think I had to have a long talk with my mom that night. It mainly proved that grown up church kids are not meant to be lurking in bowling alley bathrooms.

It also proved that it would be a very long time before I would a) be needing to purchase something like this and b) be comfortably purchasing something like this. To this day I have to buy at least 10 dollars worth of unnecessary items just to cover up the dirty little secrets I’m buying. As if three packages of Big League Chew will help balance out the torrid evidence of my premarital sex. It’s almost like I’m making a non-verbal thesis on why I’m a good guy. “Well…although I’m purchasing this package of condoms…I’d like you to notice all these astronaut stickers and wacky candy bars I’m buying. So…you know…I’m just sayin…PLEASE DON’T TELL MY MOTHER.” I’m a pretty weird dude.

But amidst all these bathroom hijinks, we actually became good bowlers. Like, actually good bowlers. I even scored a 225 once. I know. I was fit for a beer gut and Chevy tattoo before I could vote.

But, by the hand of God, things changed. Everyone else started to get better and I was on the decline. People were learning how to throw the ball so it curved out and then came back in towards the pins. People were bringing bags of chalk to the lanes. CHALK. I don’t even know how that would fucking help you?!

So as everyone enjoyed fruitful Saturday mornings full of high scores and higher fives, I sat in agony. Until I came upon the great realization: I hate waking up early. With a passion. Completely despise it.

If I get a great new job and they require me to show up at 6 am, I would send my apologies and walk my ass out the door. If I could go outside and see Venus eclipsing the sun at 7am on a Saturday I would rather see my head eclipsing my pillow. I truly loathe being awake before 10.
That’s where my life went from “maybe I’ll buy that 15 pound ball and put in extra hours of practice” to “let’s start drinking and not wake up until Sunday.” The sand was there and the line was drawn. Fuck bowling, I’m sleeping in.

I can say it made me sad, because I didn’t see my friends with as much frequency, plus I also was in the dark on what was the fashion trend for lower calf tattoos. But no matter how many turkeys or spares I could have earned, nothing could compare to that feeling of wasting half of my day doing absolutely nothing. Because even though I could sense my friends’ disappointment every morning they called, I knew that I was making the right decision. A decision leading me towards hazy late night memories and leading the rest of the league to 215 pin averages.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

great business ideas

"alright everyone, now you are all well aware of the seriousness of this advertising campaign we have just picked up. i'm talking billboards, television and print of all kind. this is what we have been waiting for."
(murmurs of approval)
"quiet, everyone. please quiet down. now we have the general idea of what we want the message to be. we've put our best people to work on it and i think that this is our "where's the beef." yes, it's true. the ideas that have been put before me are amazing. we are going to kick the advertising world in the balls with this one.
but there's just one thing we can't seem to figure out. we have the content, but we just need the style in which we portray it. actually, we just need a font that will make the ad sizzle. you know? we just need something that can do justice to what we have in front of us. so i am opening the floor up for open discussion. our design team has been stumped, and nothing we think of really hits the spot. so we're begging all of you...please give us this missing ingredient."

"well...have we tried papyrus?"

"oh god yes. we tried the shit out of papyrus. but literally 80% of other businesses are using it. we need something that is unique, something that will help us stick out from the crowd."

"umm...i mean...the star wars font?"

"get the fuck out of my office."

"umm, may i interject something sir?"

"why you're just a janitor."

"a modest janitor, yes, but i have worked here as long as any of you. i windex your windows and quietly peel your pubes from the company urinals."

"which by the way you're doing a bang up job of."

"thank you. but...oh it wouldn't work."

"no, no. say it. you deserve a chance to say whatever you want."

"well...whenever i read anything, whether i'm at night school, driver's ed, alcoholics anonymous, a 4H raffle, the ice capades, chuck e. cheese, the local sporting events, local easter egg hunts, felony hearings, seedy male strip revues, childrens bmx races or secret santa gift exchanges there's always one font that makes everything light, funny and overall an enjoyable experience."

"yes? what is it, good sir. what is this cup of christ you hold before my lips?"

"ms comic sans."
"prince of persia!"
"of course!"
"why yes!"
"right fucking on!"

"you, janitor. what's your name?"

"my name sir? i'm stanley clemover, sir."

"clemover, you just became the richest janitor since richard pryor. grab my hand, i'm buying you a fucking pony."

weirdest entry ever.

Monday, January 28, 2008


ok, if you're reading this blog that means you've most likely stalked me on the f-book. this also means you probably now i'm leaving for americorps for a while. so...i don't know the frequency in which i'll be able to post. hopefully i'll have some chances, but who knows.

so before i leave, here's a poorly crafted entry to tide you over.

i'm horrible to sleep with. and not that way, perv, just in general. i'm not someone you want to be partnered with in a bed. i'm huge, i'm squirmy and there's a lot of noises coming from my body. said noises entail a horrible teeth grinding habit and a lot of incoherent dream dialogue.

the dentist just told me i have 'severe incisal wear.' that means my vampire teeth aren't looking that good. good news for transylvanians, bad news for me. now i have to sleep with a mouthguard. and by 'sleep' i mean put it in for five minutes and then immediately spit it out because i can't breathe. at least it's a step in the right direction.

but the main reason you probably don't want to sleep next to me is that i say some pretty wild shit. from what i've been told, it's not often long lines of dialogue or full sentences. oftentimes it's just quick, one word yelps that wake you from sleep and also put a healthy 4am fear into you. from what david has told me, whom i lived in a tent with for a summer, most of the nighttime vocal workout was things like "knife!" or "don't!" being yelled out into the crisp silence of a california night.

if this were a play rehearsal for streetcar named desire, then things may have seemed normal. but when it's you and another person alone in a wood-planked canvas tent, the last thing you want to wake up to is someone shouting out names of potential weapons - especially ones you know are merely feet away.

"shank!" "six feet of shorn extension cord!" "dave! dave! dave!" - all things you don't want to have pierce nighttime silence.

but even worse than me yelling weird stuff is that i've been told i sleepwalk. i'm not sure if it happens anymore, but i used to. quite a lot. my freshmen year roommates would tell me tales of me getting up at night just to slam open and shut my dresser drawers. i then tried the door to the hallway but by the hand of zeus it was deadbolted shut. the last thing i want to surprisingly wake up in is a dorm bathroom. scratch that, just a dorm period. that shit's worse than a nightmare.

so when i was little, my mom would oftentimes catch me sleepwalking. as a rule of thumb, i heard, you're not meant to wake people up if you catch them. just simply guide them back to bed, because they won't ever stop if you wake them up. it's like the saying 'teach a man to fish...' but instead its the uneasiness of knowing any jar of mayonnaise in the house could be demolished in a sleepy time feeding frenzy.

one time, i walked into my parents room. a dim glow from the hallway outlined my figure as i just stood in their doorway. feeling the presence, my mom asked me what was the matter. after saying nothing, she figured i was sleepwalking.

then i stepped shit up a notch.

carrying on with what i felt was sleepwalking business as usual i proceeded to treat their room as the room i thought i was in - the bathroom. the good old water closet.

i let rip a sleepwalking pee stream the likes of which are yet to be topped. a rich river of frothy urine cascaded onto their shag carpet as i stood with full sleepwalking confidence that this was just another pee.

but this was no ordinary pee. it was far from going into an ordinary toilet bowl. no, friends, this pee reached out and shook hands with the carpet, a pair of my father's shoes and a wool sweater soon to be donated to goodwill. it was the night sleepwalking turned into a tangible problem.

being smart, my parents didn't tell me what happened for quite some time. i would have felt very guilty and embarrassed and the whole ordeal would have just gotten worse. so they waited, and when they did tell me enough time had passed that it all seemed pretty funny.

upon hearing i voiced my apologies and found it it had never happened again. this was relieving. nearly as relieving as the sleepwalk pee that led me there in the first place.

well, i'm on nyquil and getting a little loopy. hopefully you enjoy it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

oscar buzz

So I’ve been thinking of routine pieces I can write for this blog. I’ve had a couple ideas but one that seems really good is a returning feature called “Forgotten Acceptance Speeches,” where acceptance speeches that never were given have been miraculously found. Now most acceptance speeches are reserved for winners, achievers and leaders in their respective fields. In “Forgotten Acceptance Speeches,” you will see none of these things. Enjoy.

“Forgotten Acceptance Speeches – Kevin Costner Wins Academy Award for Waterworld

1995. Found crumpled and thrown into a back alley Los Angeles restaurant dumpster. Possible tears/blood found on lower corner of paper. Also, apparently stage directions have been written into the speech. They remain in the text to keep historical accuracy.

Oh, wow. I…I really don’t know what to say. This is truly such an honor for this to happen to me. I haven’t even prepared anything! (Rub hand through hair in astonishment. Fish out crumpled piece of paper with names. DO NOT READ. Proceed with memorized speech.) Well, that’s not true, I have only a few names on a piece of paper.

First, my thanks to Kevin Reynolds, the director of this masterpiece. When I think of him, I seriously consider him to be in a league with the best. Scorcese, Welles. Soon you all will be saying “Kevin Reynolds is the best American filmmaker that has ever lived.” And you’ll know where you heard it first. The fucking C-Man.

Also, I would like to thank David Rubin for casting me. Although I was not the first choice, I always had a saying around my house: “If at first you don’t succeed, perhaps the fourth time you try and succeed will be the time that you actually succeed.” And I feel we did that. Although I was the fifth choice.

At any rate, I would like to thank everyone that worked with me on this film. It truly was a ‘whale’ of a time! (Wait for water-themed laughter to subside.)

Now even though it seems like it was easy, making this film was rather turbulent. We went through our ups and downs, ebbs and flows, but we managed to make what I feel is the most important film made in this century. I truly do.

I mean sure Citizen Kane can be touted as one of the best, or even something like Casablanca. But you know what both of those movies didn’t have? That’s right, a renegade mutant mariner drinking his own urine and following a girl’s back tattoo to dry land. (Pause. Stare at anyone smiling. Like, really stare. This shit is serious.)

That is what tugs on the heartstrings. That is what people connect to. Because a world where the ice caps have melted and bands of tobacco renegades roam the high seas in search of dirt and saltwater foreplay is not far off, colleagues. It really isn’t. Have you watched MTV recently? (Wink at that RuPaul thing.)

I hope Waterworld could serve as not only my shining moment in thespian history, but a wake up call to those afraid of trusting mutants with the lives of our children.

The year 2000 is rapidly approaching, friends, and I for one am not taking it lightly. At home I framed a newspaper story where a child was born with three arms. Three arms. Do you know what that means? That’s two arms for holding you down, and one for fucking killing you. Now I am sorry for the strong language, but I am passionate about this. (Breathe from inhaler. Flex abs.) If we don’t take the film legend Waterworld into serious consideration as the future of mankind, then I truly did not deserve this award.

But if there are enough you out there, and I think there are, that feel the same way as I do, then together we can make the future a great place.
A place where more films like this great nautical epic can be made.
Which brings me to telling you the juiciest bit of Hollywood gossip your sweet ears have ever heard. (Pause for shocked murmurings to settle.)

Yes, friends, that’s right. A sequel. I won’t spoil it by telling you what happens, but I am at liberty to tell you the name….
Waterworld 2: Field of Wet Dreams.

Friday, January 4, 2008

strong enough for a grown ass man

so for the third day in a row, i'm wearing womens deodorant. not by choice, mind you, but because i ran out of my own supply.
unlike other things like underwear or shoes, opposite sex deodorant is actually something you can get away with wearing. it by no means feels right, but you can manage. if i attempted a "girdle tuesday" after i went through my clean boxers then there would be issues. but as it were, i've been doing relatively ok with the secret. the upside is that i don't have to buy new deodorant, and with my current financial situation that is a tremendous thing. but there's one big downside - and that is smelling like my mom.

if it were the anti-perspirant of a significant other, then maybe it'd be better. it'd be a cute thing i do in the morning as we both get ready for the day. she dressing up to tackle the working world and myself making a nest of blankets and knick knacks before price is right starts. i'd softly blow bubbles in my chocolate milk as she makes her lunch, gathers her things and, while walking out the door, makes sure i see both middle fingers pointed directly at me .

but thinking back, i actually don't really recall any of my past girlfriends' deodorant smelling, let alone smelling like my mom. is this some kind of cruel 50+ trick the deodorant company plays on women everywhere? once you have officially become old you have to smell the part, too?
i'm thinking yes, because if i snuggled up to a girl that smells as i do now we would absolutely have no future together. my armpits smell like smurf shit.

but perhaps there's some kind of unscented deodorant that i don't even know about. or my mom doesn't know about.

or maybe it's the whole "ph balance" thing secret always seems to harp on. you know, the whole "strong enough for a man, but ph balanced for a woman." maybe i have the wrong ph balance. maybe whatever balance is going on in my pits causes normal deodorant to smell like the open grave of liberace.

it's secret's male deterrent. "secret, strong enough for a man, but ph balanced for a woman. and if you're a man and you wear this, you have a 100% guarantee of not getting to second base. ever. because you'll smell like your mom. i mean, she's a great lady and all, but you're 24 years old. you should smell like the wilderness, bowling alley sex and an old catcher's mitt."