29 July, 2008

moving closer towards an aesthetic of lesser quality

Last Saturday afternoon at my parents house my Aunt Jan called me into the guest bedroom for a word, to share something with me. She handed me a piece of paper and told me that she reads this as a devotion each and every morning. She told me that it goes against everything she was taught growing up a Marble, but that the advice typed onto the paper had liberated her for a more open and uninhibited life.

Here's what it said (click for a larger, clearer view):



The previous night, my older brother Andy and I had discussed how nearly all celebrated and important artists, filmmakers, or makers-in-general of the 20th century had prolific output. They were always making; for every masterpiece, there were volumes of shitty works.

If I ever write a manifesto for my creative life, I want it to be titled "Toward an Aesthetic of Lesser Quality." I'm bored with products of quality; I'm sick of people taking their mediums so god-damned seriously.

First, however, before any manifesto should even be considered (I have the worst habit of putting carts in front of horses), I need to change my lifestyle to one of creation. For example, right now, I'm only sort of working on a couple of scripts -- a terrible sin. My August resolution is to start making for pleasure: creating as my go-to pastime.

(wish me luck.)

25 July, 2008

do it! it's fun! write something!

Last summer when my loneliness would fall into despair, I found myself compiling various lists as evidence that life was, despite my state, truly wonderful. Lists like: Things That Don't Need Translation, Reasons Why Paris is a Nice Place to Live, Different Reasons Why Clouds are Good -- but my favorite list of all was -- Reasons Why Joy is Important.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about how people insist that there is more "truth" in suffering than in joy. I disagree on principle. My reasoning is that I think most of life consists of one type of suffering or another; most things are depressing. To me, artists who dwell upon the misery of existence are being lazy. To instill an impression of gloom with one's art is a cinch. However, for an artist to take on the task of creating within the viewer that elusive and marvelous feeling of actual joy: what daunting task, to be sure. Joy is the exception. The euphoria of joy, the moment when one reaches their head above the clouds and finally sees the stars; that fleeting feeling of it all coming together is the terrible rarity.

Granted, it may be pessimistic of me to assume that loneliness is the natural human condition. But I think that the assumption makes sense; it's probably why things like Friendship are so sought after, and why Joy is cherished.

Anyway, here's a project that I think deserves collaboration:


I'd like to get upwards of 20 essays, so don't feel like you should only write one. You should write a lot. I have an idea for three different essays, and I've already written the forward (see Joy, Noun) for the anthology. The more people that participate, obviously the more dynamic the book will be.

Ideally, the essays should be analytical. So if you're interested in memoir writing, it'd be best if you deconstructed it as best you can. I'd be more interested in reading why the experience had such an impact, rather than how it simply went down. And don't be afraid to have your topic be open ended -- something like how joy is a topic you don't understand or can't comprehend is just as perfect as the time Franny and Zooey made you feel like you could float...

we're all in the gutter
but some of us
are looking at the stars
--oscar wilde

24 July, 2008

hobby time in san francisco: the dream

Moments ago I woke from the most light hearted and fun dream I have had in I don't know how long:

It started out with me hanging out with Michael Ian Black, and I don't remember exactly what we were doing, but we were in San Francisco, and having a lot of laughs. We were just sort of gallivanting. I think I met him outside a movie theater where I went to see a movie, but after seeing what the marquee had to say, chickened out at the last minute. We met in a parking lot next to a fire pit close to where I had parked my car.

The next thing I know I'm hanging out with the full cast of Stella, and they were living in a rock hut -- one very similar to rock hut in the movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars. They had a lot of friends over, and everyone was gathering around the fire. Michael Ian Black and I were peering at everyone from one room over, peeking in through the doorway a la Dave and Nick in the first Sirocco Research Video. To Michael Ian Black and I, the party looked a little bit dull, so we decided we'd try and spruce things up a bit, make things a little lighter.

In order to break the heavy mood, I suggested to Michael Ian Black that we should start smashing pop cans with our feet -- because as everyone knows, smashing cans is a one-way ticket to fun. Immediately he started laughing at how fun of an idea that was. So we burst into this room where Michael Showalter and David Wain were hanging with all their friends, and started throwing cans at everyone, turning the party out, and smashing them with our feet.

Now here's a peculiar moment of the dream: In the dream's reality, when a can got smashed it turned into coins. It wasn't magic or anything, it was completely natural and no one thought twice about it. But, here I was, smashing cans with my feet, coins just appearing (admittedly, I do remember thinking in the dream, "I can't believe I have never noticed this before."), when slowly the cast of Stella changed into the cast of Hobby Time, and I was making a new episode with Dave and Karl --- Spoiler Alert!! -- Guest starring Sage Price!

We were filming an episode of Hobby Time there in San Francisco where Stella had just been living. In the episode, at our Rock Hut of a House, a beautiful leggy model in a charming orange cocktail dress was showing interest in me, which was for some reason bumming my character out. So he goes to David's character, and asks Dave to take care of this girl for him. This ends up being the entire plot of the episode: David taking the dreamy girl out on a double date with Sage and another girl, while Karl and I spy on them. There was a hilarious montage with Dave and Sage and the two girls at a park. By the end of the montage, for some reason, Dave and Sage have beards. But the montage was done in a Benny Hill sort of way, so it was way cheeky and fun. At one point the girl Dave was courting was wearing his beard, and I thought I was going to die laughing (can one laugh in their sleep? I must have been...). All the while Karl and I are sneaking behind bushes and lampposts, keeping our eyes on the lookout.

I also remember thinking in the dream, while we were filming the show/watching it, that I needed to get that model's phone number in real life. I wish I could describe how much of a knockout she was, but she's so faded in my memory already. Her knees were knobby, and her legs had a nice glow about them. But this is truly an incidental side note.

Anyway, right as we were wrapping up the montage scene, the cops showed up to the park. Because we didn't have filming permits, either Dave, Karl, or Me, yelled at everyone to book it --- cast, crew, and all -- because we'd all get busted otherwise. To real Jimmy, as well as Dream Jimmy, this was a hilarious situation: Acting as though we were drinking underage at a busted party, running for our lives to avoid getting MIPs; but for filming! It was a gas, it was a play.

The remaining part of the dream was me running down a long street in San Francisco, my laptop tucked inside my clenching arms. Normally when I have dreams about running I have heavy legs and can't do it. But to my relief, last night I had beautiful and full strides, and with each pump of the leg all I felt was joy.

23 July, 2008

Pictures From the Lost Continent, Pt. 1

Okay, so here's a long story short: Last summer in Europe I brought my dad's old digital camera with me. Around early August I thought that I had managed to break it. Discouraged, I stopped carrying it with me. However, as luck would have it, a little over a year later I have discovered that the camera was not broken, but in fact out of batteries. Granted this makes me look like a huge dumb-dumb, but it also allowed me to take a nice stroll down memory lane last night when I finally was able to upload those pictures (which I have dubbed Pictures of the Lost Continent) onto my computer. Over the next few days I'll be posting some of the high lights that in normal circumstances I'd probably just upload to Facebook or Flickr, only, I don't have an account with either of those websites.

To begin this ongoing series, let us start with some of my favorite art found at Centre Pompidou in Paris, France:



The Chair Collection (I remember specifically thinking Karl would love this room)

by Gerhard Richter

I forget who did this, but it's dazzling.

Gerand Gasiorowski.

I have a huge affection for Henri Matisse. Before I had only seen his "master works" that text books had shown me. But after going to the museum and seeing his portraitures, I was convinced that more than any other artist, Matisse understood that he was a painter. This is especially true when looking at his paintings of rooms; the color comes first, the subject always second.





22 July, 2008

the new guys-- series finale

If you've hung out with me or my friends for longer than a week, one characteristic of the group you'll notice is how we deal with our lives as if it were a sitcom. We refer to moments in our life that never really developed as "deleted scenes" (for example, me working at Kent's Nursery three years ago: huge deleted scene), and talk about life as a "cross-over episode" if one of our friends from Seattle comes to visit; an especially busy week is known simply as "sweeps week."

Anyway, we've dubbed our sitcom life as The New Guys. The show has quite an archeology, and is interestingly a spin off of the lovable, but ultimately unprofitable campy Saturday morning teen show Good Morning, Ms. Duben's JV Tennis Team. Well, some of the key writers from that program got together and started thinking that they may have had something in the characters Jimmy and David. They pitched a pilot to the networks of two college kids, both writers, who were trying to make it in the big world, all on their own for the first time. The test audience enjoyed it, but unanimously agreed that there needed to be a third character: a zany, curly haired, lovable jokester. The character Abiel was born, and so was the first season of The New Guys.

Since then countless characters and story arches have been introduced and cherished. Who could forget last season's tear jerking finale when Jimmy left for Paris? Or the cult classic "Bags of Hair" episode?

But the series has reached its finale, and all story lines are being tied up. Under the supervision, guidance, and creative mind of David Drori, I present you with the trailer to the much anticipated and critically acclaimed series finale:



**also, i think it's really funny watching the progression of the "voice" i used throughout this blog piece. it went from me talking about my friends, to like, this weird, pseudo-t.v. guide blip write-up dialect.

21 July, 2008

dinosaurs

here's a story i wrote a little over a year ago. i think it'd be a funny monologue. anyway, i found it tonight, and it made me laugh. i hope you enjoy it! mind the curse words!


I Hope My Dad Learned a Lesson from Boozing

My mom’s a brachiosaurus. My dad’s a brachiosaurus. My step-father’s a stegosaurus. My mom left my dad for him. His name is Mortan. I call him The Mortan. He’s from Sweden and his tan skin makes me curl inside. I’m dating a triceratops. My dad disapproves. But he’s only reacting to mom’s interspecies marriage. Twenty years ago he wouldn’t have thought twice about it. In fact, his sister married a tyrannosaurus rex, and up until the divorce when my dad kind of lost it, he and my uncle played cards every Saturday night. My girlfriend has really full breasts. I think they’re too big. At night when we’re curling up next to each other under a tree, my enormous hoof squishes into her chest. Raptors have the best racks. That’s a fact. My best friend Stanly, he’s a sauroposidor, (and he’s also the captain of the basketball team. No one can nail a jump shot like him. If you want my opinion, he’s the reason the team took state. USC is scouting him. Anyway,) Stanly and I have been friends forever. He’s the one that introduced me to Vanessa-- that’s my girlfriend, by the way-- the triceratops with the huge tits-- he’s dating a raptor. She’s captain of the dance squad.

But I’m rambling.

So, like I was saying, my dad went fucking nuts recently after my mom got remarried awhile back. You see, The Mortan works at the plant just outside of town, he stomps rock into gravel-- he’s a legend out there. Hold on, I have to back up, what really happened was my dad got to boozing. Growing up he always had nice wine on hand, that was just his style, but when Mom married The Mortan, Dad was doing a few bottles a night, a few bottles a morning, a few bottles a meal. It started affecting his job and long-story-short he got fired and couldn’t make rent on his new condo. So down and out, like I was saying, he shows up to the Mortan’s gravel plant outside town and is looking for trouble. He’s there, super sauced, stumbling around, making a lot of noise, moving a lot of earth, yelling things at The Mortan like, “You fucking shell back,” which is like, I mean, you can’t offend a stegosaurus anymore than that. So The Mortan, who I guess was like all-state wrestler back in his day, is up in my dad’s face. My dad then surprises everyone and says, “I ain’t gonna hurt no-one. I’m fucking-- I’m fucking gonna dance. I’m gonna fuckin dan--“ and then he starts doing the Fug out of no where. On his hind legs. Right there at the gravel yard.

No one really knew what to do so they all started doing the Fug along with him. My dad is an uncoordinated fuck. I mean, by nature we brachiosaurs are pretty docile. We’re the dinosaurs at prom that hang out in the corner getting high. Well, he trips over a mound of gravel and twists his hipbone out of place. He let out a tremendous yelp that the town mistook for a nuclear explosion and crumpled to the ground. He fucking crushed The Mortan and killed him instantly. I mean, he probably weighed like 50 tons. But yeah, Mom’s suing him for emotional damages and he’s getting charged with manslaughter. But I mean like, who does that happen to, you know?

18 July, 2008

riding a bicycle

Somehow this video managed to slip through the cracks of the internet and never made its premiere on Run Just For Fun. Judging by my far-too-short of hair cut, I shot it during February of this past winter just after going crazy for a little while.

I needed to send my European super 8 footage to the lab in Seattle, but my camera still had about 2 minutes of film left inside. I decided it'd be a nice idea to ride my bike up to campus and shoot the remaining film while cycling around my favorite sculptural pieces at Western. In the video you'll see work by Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi, and Mark de Suvero. Richard Serra (one of those great names that requires one to never sever the first from the last) just, incidentally, had a big retrospective at the MoMA in New York City during 2007. He's still hot stuff after all these years.

The music inside is by Boards of Canada:


15 July, 2008

hear ye! hear ye!

I officially proclaim:



By The Field I mean this neat little tee-ball field I found out on Eldridge St. about a half mile shy of Squalicum Beach.

Let me know if you want to play! It's free! Everyone who shows up will be a winner! It will be 3 on 3. Hopefully more than 6 people show up. See you then!

**I did in fact spell whiffel ball incorrectly, and I don't intend on making apologies.**

14 July, 2008

summer jobs

If you're a reader of this blog, but not in daily contact with me, you're probably curious if I ever solved that pesky unemployment problem which curtailed my June. The answer is a resounding yes: I won! I turned in over 15 resumes to local Bellingham businesses: restaurants, clothing stores, bakeries -- you name it. But, on account of their not being interested in my services, I was forced to head home to the drawing board and reassess. Cue me spending two days scouring Western's job boards for odd jobs. Well, on the second day, in the depths of my despair, I found a listing looking for someone to maintain a Japanese Garden. I called and left a message detailing who I was, what my experience with gardening has been (incidentally, not much), etc. Later that evening, the gentleman Dr. Richard Francis (a retired professor of the Humanities school -- his specialties were Architecture, Film, and Classic Literature) gave me a telephone call saying he'd like me to come out to see a look at his garden. The next morning I was there, and by the time I left I had a job.

Now, being a gardener makes it seem like I'm actually a gardener, while in reality it'd be more accurate to describe my position as a paid gardening buddy. Dr. Francis, in as exquisite shape as he is, can't quite do all the mulching and weeding, nor heavy lifting he used to. That's where I come in; and the entire time we're chatting like birds on a wire. This afternoon, for example, I found out that his father was an Olympic pole vaulter, while his mother was an Olympic sprinter. Often times he'll tell me about his days at Yale, or when he taught at Brown. He's also remarkably sharp for an older man, so his stories are told with plenty of zest, and he never repeats himself. I work for him two days a week, five hours a day. My favorite moment so far was when I was playing in the shade, putting mulch beneath rhododendrons, while Richard was lunching inside with the windows open: with my knees in the cool dirt, the classical music floated to me. It didn't seem real, but I was very pleased.

The second job I have is even more interesting, and also came thanks to the Western job board. For all intents and purposes, I'm a friend-for-hire. However, I find that description to sound a little bit crude; it is more accurate to describe my position as a Guide to Fun. I hang out with a young man who has had the cards stacked against him his whole life. He's a capable guy, but learning isn't something that has ever come naturally for him, and he has limited social experience. He gets his schooling through a series of private tutors, and he is working toward his GED. His parents are trying to wean him toward a more independent lifestyle, which is where I come in: I'm teaching him how to go out and have a good time in the world on his own. So, we go sailing, or go to movies, or go out for walks, or take a swim.

Basically, this summer my vocation is friendship. It makes me feel like I could grin forever.

10 July, 2008

the aesthetic of a moral person: Bill O'Reilly

This whole recent episode with the Rev. Jesse Jackson having an "open mike" moment on Fox News leaves me with a frustrated taste in my mouth. Not so much that the Rev. whispered [with refreshing candor for a person in politics] that he wanted to cut Barack Obama's nuts out, but with the unresolved way in which Fox News has handled the reported "un-aired" sound clips of the Rev. speaking.

Longtime asshole Bill O'Reilly even issued a statement, which the Drudge Report posted last night (now no longer up), which stated that indeed more sound bites apart from the nut cutting clip exist. However, the ever-moral Mr. O'Reilly, furthermore-d that the clips in question were of such poor taste, that he would be refraining from putting them onto the airwaves.

Here's my beef with what seems fishy about all this: A. Fox News hates Rev. Jackson, and has never before backed away from juicy smear opportunities before; and, B. The Fox network has made it's goddamn name in indulging the public in programing of poor taste.

It practically goes without saying A+B is adding up to Fox News dubiously playing heretical politics, all the while investing into O'Reilly's own mythology of "looking out for the folks." Indeed, O'Reilly's operative of smearing the outspoken Rev. Jackson of liberal-agenda fame, has taken form in this scenario by creating an aesthetic of a moral high road. My guess is that there are no other sound bites, and that O'Reilly is simply hamming this opportunity up. If there were sound bites that existed which put Jackson in an even more unflattering light, there's no doubt that O'Reilly would let loose on the Rev., calling for his proverbial head on a platter.

O'Reilly has fashioned an aesthetic of caring about his own personal integrity over some hot new, flash-in-the-pan scoop that would garner ratings, sure, but regardless, a story which at the end of the day still just wouldn't be right. He is implying that Rev. Jackson has said something so outlandishly terrible, something made of such raw, evil absurdity, that the O'Reilly Factor, for the good of the "folks," would disallow said comments from entering into the No Spin Zone. He never actually had to take a high road; there was never even an opportunity for O'Reilly to make an actual moral decision. O'Reilly has quite literally taken nothing, perverted it, and has weaseled his way into looking like a Good Guy. And he did so by manipulating current events, lying to his audience, and furthering the trope that having a conscience is a thing of the past.

Granted, I'm basing this on my own disdain for Bill O'Reilly, and I'm admittedly speculating entirely, but still: what a time for it.

09 July, 2008

time to get the ball rolling

in response to the terrible sensation of feeling unproductive, i'm heading down to avellino to write a short story. i'm expecting this productive trope to carry on from today through my last breath. expect posts!

i had a conversation with ben sellon about what the two of us should expect our lifestyles to be like once i relocate to portland, oregon in the fall. some ideas we threw into the hat: waking up at reasonable hours, staying up late, creating without a care for quality, never a moment of lag.

furthermore: the sirocco research lab

05 July, 2008

the devil and my friend, stef!

Presumably inspired by the novel I just finished reading, The Master and the Margarita, last night I had a dream in which I met with the Devil, who was using his alias Woland. I wish I could recount it in full and exquisite detail here, but the dream's chronology seems to have escaped me for the most part. Which is a tragedy, because the dream was full of so much light hearted behavior, brilliant colors, and fancy trickery, that I'd like to write about it all afternoon long. Instead, I can only offer highlights:

Stef Warmouth and I were hired by the Devil to turn back time. We had to accomplish a certain task that involved she and I wearing red and white striped t-shirts. The task we had to perform required precise timing on our parts, and I am pretty sure it demanded us poisoning people because I have a very vivid visual of a frothy red potion foaming from a glass milk bottle.

When the Devil explained to Stef and me the effects of our duties, he showed us a linear time line on some poster board. However, instead of a normal, straight linear line, the time line looked more like a stock market board, with the time line jetting up and down at various points throughout history. In any event, with his metal indicating stick, the Devil pointed out on his chart where "today" was. After "today" the time line stopped advancing forward, and instead, as the Devil highlighted with his baton, began traversing backwards! What dubious powers!

At any rate, it was one of my more peculiar dreams. Woland actually seemed like a decent enough guy, though. But, then again, how could he not be? If the Devil is the King of the Shadows, it's implied that he's the result of Light. And if Light is Truth, then maybe evil isn't so terribly malicious after all. Regardless, I wonder why he needed Stef and me to turn back time.

02 July, 2008

creatures/unemployment

Because Ken Marble had terrible allergies, pets were always limited in the Marble family. Dogs, sure. Fish, only if they were survivors. But certainly, never, without exception, would there ever be a cat in the Marble home. Regardless, the new wave of Marbles are proving to behave and think in ways previously unimaginable and duly unsavory to the old garde. Indeed, the third child born unto Ken and Marlyn, me Marble, officially lives with a kitty cat. Hearsay! Attach the leaches! His blood has turned bad! I can already hear their shouts and taunts at the dinner tables. But! Let them shout if they must! I have to be me, because at this point, I'm all I've got. That, and a kitty cat named Thea.


Thea stands on the couch, July 2nd

I should mention, however, that Thea isn't my cat. She's my roommate Dee Dee's. But still, I'll get to pet a cat for the next two months, and that's fine with me. So far my favorite part of having a live animal in the house is the feeling of decadence it gives. I feel like I'm Herod from the Bible, with all sorts of creatures roaming around. Earlier today Thea and I were playing with my yellow hankie, and I couldn't believe how much joy she was getting from something I use to blow my nose. She truly makes the most out of any scenario. With my being unemployed without any real prospects, I think there's a lesson to be learned from Thea's outlook on life. Today I'm going to try and enjoy what I do have, rather than what I don't have (mainly money, source of income, purpose, etc).

Because you know what? I've got a notebook, lots of ink, and I'm on my 10th punch at Avellino. Let's get to work, people!

Inspirational quote of the day:

Well, I'm not going home. I'm gonna get on my boat, and I'm going up river, and I'm going to kick that son-of-a-bitch Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it!
--Colonel William F. Guile