04 December, 2009

Sirocco Research Labs Update!

Hey Everyone! We made a Flickr account for the Sirocco Research Labs. On it are pictures archiving the Hang Zone's various projects starting when we moved in last October. The account contains, but is not limited to, the following photos:

Click here for the whole set.

29 November, 2009

safety zone

A couple of days ago while building the submarine set for Red Moon, we had our first real accident in the Safety Zone. One of the fly walls, which was supposedly being supported by some 2x4" pieces of wood at the bottom, toppled unexpectedly to the ground. Fortunately no one was standing in its path, or they would have suffered the same fate as this iron:

Didn't make it out alive.

It unfortunately set the Safety Zone Accident count back to day one, but we've fixed the problem, continued our pursuit of putting safety first, and have gotten back to work on the submarine.

Stay tuned everyone! We've got some fun things happening down here!

25 October, 2009


In August my friends and I shot a short film titled Cleo in the Universe. It's a movie* about confronting the infinite with the intimate. The picture was shot at our labs in Yakima, Washington over the course of one intense, heat-drenched 24-hour period. However, during the transfer from super 8 film to digital, fate revealed some of the shots we thought we had nailed were never actually burned onto celluloid. After a real quick nervous breakdown and recovery, my cinematographer and roommate Jaro suggested instead of trying to edit the film around the missing footage, we build new sets here in Los Angeles at the Sirocco Research Labs and fly our star Katie Reardon in for some re-shoots.

While the August production was both dramatically and unreasonably rushed (totaling one week from the purchasing of the set's lumber and paint to calling wrap and everyone driving home), this go-around was much more leisure and enjoyable. The movie set was constructed in my kitchen, for example, rather than a 100+ degree warehouse without ventilation or local lighting. The labor process proved to be much more cathartic as well; the geometric patterns broke down several creative-blocks I have been experiencing with Red Moon's set design (specifically the blue-line geometries in the pictures below). What's more, the construction of the set truly broke in the Labs here in LA, and I feel more at home than ever. The creative community I've stumbled into in southern California is a sincerely wonderful group.

Here is a series of pictures documenting the new set's fabrication beginning last Sunday through the shooting late last night.

We shot until 4 in the morning, and sat on the kitchen floor drinking wine until 5. Several hours later we woke up and went swimming in the ocean.

*moving picture.

18 October, 2009


There's been a lot of on-goings in the hang zone in the past month. For starters, I'm now the host of a hit new TV talk show called "The Jazz Hour with Jimmy Marble." It's a talk show where I interview my friends and discuss their forthcoming jazz albums. So far two episodes are "in the can," (look how industry I've become!) and are waiting on editing. Once the first five episodes are shot I'll put them all together at once and release the first season.

In a different pursuit all together, last spring I became interested in making and designing wallpapers done in the style of my water color comics. My idea was to start developing a portfolio over this past summer, but in large thanks to an overwhelming schedule, I wasn't able to. But, now that I'm in sun-drenched, care-free Los Angeles, California, I am finally giving it a shot. To buffer my sometimes-too-big ambitions, my first go at wall paper design is in the form of a dressing screen. It is a four-2x6' panel, accordion-style folding screen. Here's a video of Martin and me making the frame:

The actual screen is a cityscape on the edge of a river. In the river is a whale. And above the city in the sky is series of clouds with an airplane flying a large banner across the Welkin saying, "ça ne tire pas à conséquence." I'm maybe halfway done with the water coloring, and I'm excited about it. I think the screen's going to look pretty cool.

Last August, at the Yakima, Washington branch of the Sirocco Research Labs, some of my closest friends and I shot a short film titled Cleo in the Universe. Unfortunately when it came time to start editing the project we realized there were a few scenes in need of re-shooting. Fortunatel
y, my friends Adi and Martin are currently en route to the Hang Zone for a slumber party. We're going to watch an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, shut our eyes, wake up in the morning, make some coffee, and start building movie sets. Then, Tuesday evening Ben Sellon and Katie Reardon are showing up with a muppet-style puppet and spacesuit in tow ready to re-shoot a motion picture.

(Concerning the Cleo shoot, I realize I haven't written anything about the production and the shooting of the movie. But, I'm waiting for the trailer to be cut first, and I definitely thought come mid-October it'd be finished. Once these re-shoots are out of the way, I'll for sure write a post explaining the short film and the Sirocco Research Lab-in-general.)

In the meantime, here are some stills from the super 8mm footage:

Cleo and Lt. Baby Baby in heart-felt conversation.

Duke Jupiter waiting for Cleo on the Moon.

25 September, 2009

The Hang Zone: Los Angeles

For as long as I can remember, whenever the topic of Los Angeles creeped into conversation I've met it with violent eye rolls and phrases synonymous with, "What a shitter." But, as the late Arthur C. Clarke pointed out in several of his publications, reality is much stranger than fiction, and you wouldn't believe it, but I'm a firm believer that Los Angeles might just be America's best kept secret.

More on that soon, but, in the mean time, here's a my new apartment and home to the Sirocco Research Labs, located in the concrete canyon's of Downtown Los Angeles:

11 September, 2009

Let's go, okay?

Last year right now Chad Robertson and I were putting the final editing touches on a documentary about meditation and education in a small village in northern India. I was meanwhile packing my bags for what I was expecting to be a four month stay in Paris, France. But, the four months turned into nine, and my 23rd year revealed itself to be filled with by far the most fascinating and exciting days of my life.

Today, some 365 days later, I'm starting over again. Which is nice. Sometimes getting into a car filled with books and shoes, a bicycle, and an old lamp is the only way to set things right.

Next stop: Los Angeles, CA.

There's no time-line, which terrifies me. But, that's fine. I typically try harder when I'm scared; it's why courage exists. Plus, like Ben Sellon explained to me over the telephone last night, my future is wide open, and all I have to do to move forward is what I love: Write things, make things, and meet people. How can the future not be nice? We make it!

I hope the sun melts my heart. You know what I mean?

01 August, 2009

Inside Cleo's Universe

Here's a video Ben shot tonight down at the Sirocco Research Lab:

CLEO LEAK from Benjamin Bearclaw on Vimeo.

18 July, 2009

12 July, 2009

Where I've Been

You know the Kings of Convenience song, "I'd Rather Dance With You," with the fantastic verse, "Even if I could hear what you say/ I doubt my reply would be interesting for you to hear/ Because I haven't read a single book all year/ And the only film I saw, I didn't like it at all"?

It more or less sums up why I haven't written an entry in the past month. The truth is, unless I'm going to work (another bag of beans all together), it seems as though I only leave my bedroom for my German lessons, dinner with my family, or a Bellingham weekend. Or, on the occasion when someone with a delightfully sweet heart prays hard enough, I'll sometimes show up in an explosion on the other side of the world.

My joys have all been too intimate to share in such a public venue, and my day-to-day much too flat. But, in the next few weeks I'll try to muster energy up to write blogs explaining some of the art projects I've been working on, my August plans, and why I've decided to put graduate school on the back burner for now.

I maintain that the future is categorically exciting, and if a phrase were to be stitched into my heart by this summer, it would undoubtedly be: Ad astra per aspera.

10 June, 2009

What's it Like?

It's pretty good, in general. I'll start with that.

For example, tonight I was sitting at my sister's kitchen table with my four-year-old nephew Henry while he colored a rocket ship. We were sharing my i-pod, listening to Grandmaster Flash's epic "White Lines," and Henry was jiving. EB, my sister, was writing a thank-you card to Henry's pre-school teacher and asked him what else he wanted her to include on the card. "This song," he said coolly, not taking his eyes off the rocket, his head bobbing to the hypnotic bass. I thought I'd die I felt so envious of this child's wit. It's a humbling feeling to covet a four-year-old's cleverness.

It was either while I was in the Costco parking lot a few weeks ago with my mom, or while I was driving to Bellingham last weekend, when I realized being in America is a lot like playing Super Mario 3 on the NES in world 4. Everything's gigantic! It really is the land of plenty! The cars, the roads, the mountains! Being back has been a bit of a thrill in this regard. I could basically go anywhere I want right now, order something, then ask, "Do you have a bigger one?" And they probably would. And for some reason it'd probably be cheaper somehow. Because that's just how things get done here. What a country!

I'm in Yakima, Washington for a couple of months, and I've been re-exploring it via bicycle these last several evenings. The roads are incredibly wide in this town, and I feel like I'm on an interstate whenever I'm heading somewhere, making the experience terrifying. Plus, every other vehicle on the road is an oversized pick-up truck. It'd be interesting to do a survey of Yakima in order to find out just how many people are actually hauling things around. If the trucks are any sort of indicator, the citizens of Yakima are wild about moving stuff. I can't even imagine what sort of stuff it might be, but they've got to move it out of here! I feel kind of embarrassed to be on my little blue bike out there, like I'm totally out of place and alien. So I can't even imagine what the guy in the muscle t-shirt with the 5-inch lift is thinking. This is more or less a perfect example of how I imagine the summer is going to progress. Lots of this doesn't really make sense kind of moments.

Other than that I split a bottle of white wine with my mom in the evenings, and eat my breakfasts in Paris each morning with the sweetest girl I know.

Oh, and I'm going to start learning German next week. It's cool.

03 June, 2009

On the Wall inside the Men's Room at the Up and Up:

The Universe is becoming aware of itself.

As a rule I normally don't believe in poetry, but it's hard not to when such a strikingly simple sentence is scrawled onto a dirty, tattered wall.

15 May, 2009

So Long, Fox C.

Little Ciara got on a bus today taking her away from me and Paris, France toward the airport and the rest of the world. Last night we stayed up late thinking of which animals best suited our friends and ourselves (for example, I'm an elk while Ciara's a koala). We did the same thing on the metro ride to Port Maillot. It's the lightest way to spend time with a friend when you don't want to think about how sad you are.

Before we fell asleep she asked me what my favorite part of outer space was. I told her it was how things can be at the same time very big and very small. I prefer a universe where things don't make sense. At her going away party on Wednesday we smiled and held hands the entire night, emptying bottle after bottle of wine, saying to each other, "I'm so happy and so sad right now!" If you have to be sad, the only way to be is smiley, I'm positive. It's the natural way of our universe. We have to contradict ourselves. We weren't happy, but sad. We were happy and sad. One breath, two things.

We stayed at Le Perle until they kicked us out and moved to Stolly's where we danced together even though no one else was. I think they were playing Bob Dylan, and I don't remember it being especially dancy. You just have to dance though when you're with people you love. There's no getting around it.

Time is incredible. These 9 months have been a dream. It seemed impossible that I could become so attached to a city in such a brief amount of time, let alone new people. Last night while walking along Rue Saint Denis with Bevan, I said to him Hemingway may have described Paris as a moveable feast, but that I see it much more as a rocket ship perpetually headed toward good.

On that note: Right now I need to go meet with Ben, drink some whiskey, and lament it all. We've got to turn this rocket back in the right direction. We have to go back.

F.C. et moi, rue Humboldt circa 2007

14 May, 2009

I Can't Believe I Forgot to Show You!

What it looked like when I invented hanging out at the beach:

The funny part is I was actually looking at something.

10 May, 2009

Always Try to Have a Good Time

On Friday morning at Gare de Lyon I boarded a train for Cote d'Azur. I love train rides, and I love the idea of train rides. I like getting somewhere without any effort. I had five hours to sit and catch up on reading and writing. Like always, my goals for the train ride were lofty. I brought a novel and three different notebooks, and I was hoping to have finished the book and outlined all kinds of brilliant new projects by the time I was back in Paris. But coming up with an idea on a train is hard. Everything's distracting. Who are these people? What was that just whizzing by? The sway and the hum. It's a spectacle! What modernity! I did, however, work on an essay about the fragility and wonder of love in our arrestingly large universe, which I hope I get to share with some of my readership very soon.

I hadn't taken more than three steps off the train before Rhiannon jump-hugged me from behind, welcoming me to Nice. I gave her some of the bonbons Gretchen and Wade had given me for the train ride, and the two of us laughed at how absurd it was to be greeting each other in the South of France. She walked me to the hostel we were staying at. Conversationally we covered a lot of ground on this trek: 1. I needed cigarettes and a sandwich. 2. Let's get an espresso. 3. Let's forget the tourist stuff and pitch camp at the beach and not move all weekend. And that's precisely what happened. I was in the water almost immediately, doing somersaults, getting salt up my nose.

That night, under Ben Sellon's recommendation, we went to a bar named "Jonathon's." Ben had warned me that the place would look closed from the outside, but to ring the doorbell and we'd be let in into a magical world. It was exactly as he described. Rhiannon and I rang, and a woman with a warm smile ushered us in to the bar, and we ordered Ricards. With our drinks we moved downstairs into an arched-white-ceiling dungeon where Joe Danger was throwing a sing-along on his acoustic guitar; everyone loved him. He played all the hits from "What a Wonderful World" to "Paint it Black." We were the only Americans in the place, and all the Frenchies were having the best time, singing, drinking, and laughing. We stayed late, and the refrain of the night was always, "How did we get here?"

We spent from noon to 18h laying out on the shore Saturday afternoon. I'm actually terrible, my body has revealed, at applying sunscreen evenly. I have the worst splotches of sunburns here-and-there all over my stomach. Half of my neck is red, and half is fine. My back, where Rhiannon helped me out, is great. But my legs are touch and go. We drank rose and ate bonbons and fruit. We smoked and listened to music. I never noticed until this weekend that a lyric in "Comfy in Nautica" is coolness is having courage. I thought I'd die. It was just the best thing to hear. I went back for another swim.

Rhiannon had to leave early this morning, leaving me a whole afternoon to myself before my train at 4:30. I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has free entrance for everyone, and had the pleasure of finally seeing in person Andy Warhol's Diamond Dust Shoes. The painting was formatted larger than I had anticipated, making the experience all the more mesmerizing. It's like a crime scene of glamour.

Tomorrow I am going to wake up and make a watercolor of two people on a tandem bicycle, and then visit the park. Being in Paris is always a dream.

30 April, 2009

catching up

Though it's insanely beyond me how time has gotten here, I'm somehow expected back in the United States of America in less than one month. I can't imagine packing up my little apartment with its rooftop views and sky, taking down the comics from my walls, let alone saying goodbye to the spiral of Parisian friendships. The month of April has been lifted from Hemingway's imagination with late night wanderings (scrawled into my notebook: I'm walking through Paris holding onto a gym bag: Tuileries is closed, the metro is closed, and even the Eiffel Tower is turned off asleep. How can I be walking by the Louvre right now?), days where I'd sit and write for hours and hours, as if I were writing to save my life (which can't be too far from the truth), and naturally the nights, and sometimes afternoons, of endless Cloud Berry. My brother visited. I've met people. I can walk from the Arc de Triumph to Rue de Pyrenees with my eyes closed shut. April has been the month where life in Paris felt like I was living in Paris. I cracked wise with a Taxi Cab driver en francais.

I started a new blog specifically for my comics: Deuce-Love. Why call it deuce-love? Because it doesn't make sense while sounding somehow familiar, a characteristic I'm interested in pursuing with all my creative projects from here out: There and not there all at once.

In May I plan on going swimming in Nice, row-boating at Versailles, and sneaking into the Opera. I'm going to finish reading Wuthering Heights and All the King's Horses and finally knock out Intimacy, too. I need to start writing the script for the movie Jessica Tracey and I are starring in this summer. So far all I have is the line, "How can we believe in poetry? We've put a man on the moon. Robots said everything we'd ever want to..." Working title: A Light-Hearted War.

Two weeks ago I had a dream where the Beatles got back together. What's more, they asked me to write a song for them to perform. Later in the morning I made a girl smile on the metro. I was an inch away from asking her to marry me. I think she would have said yes. We'd have been gorgeous.

PS: Thanks to everyone for patting me on my back about San Francisco; I think you're all great, too. We did this together, you know.

07 April, 2009


I got a letter in the mail today informing me I have been accepted to San Francisco State University to study for a Masters of Fine Arts in cinema beginning in the fall of 2009.

It's strange, but I cannot help but feel as though I've been preparing for this moment my whole life...

If you happen to be in Paris, let's get a glass of champagne, no?

01 April, 2009


Over the past few weeks I've been recording my debut EP under the name SEAWIND. It'll probably drop sometime in the beginning of May. The concept album is titled "SECRET SONGS." It's a collection of five songs done in the genre of secret music found at the end of albums, typically minutes after the presumed last song. Last night I recorded what I can only assume will be the EP's memorable hit single, "Ghost Friends."

This will probably be the album art:
With SEAWIND in big white type across the top.

31 March, 2009

Dreams Are Atomic

I'm interested in the uninvented inventions. Specifically the impossible ones. The Safety Bomb, for example: The bomb dropped into neighborhoods and communities where kids aren't allowed to go outside, women are afraid to walk at night, and the dudes are all caught up in the hustle. When it explodes, buildings become more efficient and secure, and everyone lightens up, giving out high fives and "You look greats!" to everyone they thought were rivals. I haven't yet thought of what goes on inside the bomb to produce these sort of effects, but I'll keep thinking about it. In a Universe where infinity exists, everything's possible. I'm sure we can figure it out. After all, I just figured out how to make, in theory, my favorite and most fantastic uninvented invention just recently: The Dream Recorder.

I had originally been going about it backwards, trying to think of a way to, in layman's terms, hook a VCR to my brain and record my dreams that way, onto some sort of phantasmagoric videotape. Then, just recently I had a Eureka! moment. Dreams are, after all, just atoms. All I need to do is build a machine that can read the atomic structure of my dreams, gather other atoms, and then (re)construct my dreams on the atomic scale. It's as simple as that. We'll be sharing dreams in no time.

20 March, 2009

Red Moon

You may have put together based on a few previous posts that I've been working on a project based on Doug Sacrison's one-act play Red Moon. Here are some questions you may have formulated on the topic:

What's Red Moon?
Who's Doug Sacrison?
How have you (
meaning me) been "working" on a play that has already been written?

Red Moon is a tale of tragic love. It takes place in the late 1980s aboard a Soviet nuclear submarine, and the trick to it is that the submarine's captain is a werewolf.

Doug Sacrison

Doug Sacrison is a friend I've known for nearly eight years now. We met at Camp Cispus at a week long leadership camp when I was just 16. At the time, Doug was actually going by the presumed named Dickie Fox, and impressed me greatly with his uncanny ability to link movie stars to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. Through good fortune Doug also ended up attending Western Washington University, where we rekindled our friendship's flame. Together* we founded the now-legendary Team Sea Bear, a group of explorers and adventurers most famed for poorly attended, but always delightful, Day of the Dead parties, and our eerie ability to show up at themed parties (non-themed, too) in conflicting constume:

Cocktail party, circa 2005

Doug is also a talented writer, specializing in the comedic and absurd. I have a lot of admiration for his work, and am spell-bound by his work ethic (hitting his stride typically at 5 in the morning, wearing his briefs and a sunglasses). There are few people in this big world I'd rather work with.

I'm currently adapting his play into what I am anticipating to be my next short film. I'm very pleased that Doug has graciously let me have such freedom with his script, and working with him has given me a lot of happiness. I'm writing it in the style of how I imagine a Russian propaganda film for children would look. The project is very much in its infancy, so I don't want to get into any of its details. But, like I said, so far the time I have spent on the project has given me a considerable amount of joy. If you've noticed a decline in posts recently, it is surely this script's fault.

*with Sean Naman.

The Star Spangled Banner

I babysat a French baby yesterday morning, and she and I had the best time. Her mom, Ludmilla, left us at around ten in the morning, set to return at one. We wasted no time to start partying. The baby, a curly-haired, three-year-old girl, and I went straight away into an intense game of cow and dog where she played a cow and I played a dog (or, "un petit chien," as she'd say it). She and I chased each other around her bedroom on all fours; she "moo'd," and I "woof'd." This went on just the two of us for about fifteen minutes before we invited her stuffed animals to join in. Eventually my knees began to give, and I had to quickly think of a new game to play. Unfortunately for the baby, the game was called "combing the hair." It's a perfectly straightforward game, consisting mostly of me combing the baby's hair while she screamed at me and pretended to cry. Her mother had, incidentally, warned me this would undoubtedly happen, but that it was a daily necessity for the child to avoid developing something akin to dreadlocks.

(A quick note: The baby doesn't speak English in the same way I don't speak French.)

After testing the limits of our friendship with the hair combing, I thought the atmosphere needed to be lightened, so I put on the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I helped the re-engergized baby put on some socks, some pants, a nice sweater, a hair scrunchy, and a coat, and by the time "She's Leaving Home" came on, we were closing the shutters to the windows, about to head outside. We smiled greatly.

The sky was a pale blue wonder, and the baby sat high atop my shoulders as we strolled through the streets of Saint-Mande. She asked me to sing a song. I did my best to think of all the songs I knew all the way through, but the only one I could think of was Francis Scott Key's famed hit "The Star Spangled Banner," popularized in 1916 upon becoming the United States of America's national anthem. I had a baby on my shoulders, what else could I do but go for it? So, I did. Upon reaching the song's end, the small voice above my head cried, "Encore!" And I, of course, could not disappoint her. The passer-bys looked on with delightful mixed reactions of total befuddlement and striking curiosity, but always with a look that read, what a pair!

By the time we got the park we had a new game. This game probably would have to be called Bonjour, objet. Still on my shoulders, she and I walked around the park's lake spotting everything we could see, only to say, "Bonjour," to it.

Bonjour, banc.
Bonjour, abre.
Bonjour, canard.
Bonjour, pain.
Bonjour, cigarette.

And the game lasted all the way until we got home.

Bonjour, maison de moi.

At home we rounded out our morning together with a lunch of noodles and apple slices. I drank a glass of rosé, while she on the other hand did not. Like old friends we sat in silence, only broken when she offered me bites of her apple, and when I would occasionally prove to her I could count to ten.

Unrelated entirely, I took this picture out of my apartment's window the other night:

Paris, France nigh the dusking hour.

09 March, 2009

oh, no!

I've been posting a lot of these comics I've been making during the past little while, and it's created a bit of a departure from how things had been developing here at runjustforfun. Is that fine? Should I start a new blog specifically for my comics?

At any rate, I'm especially fond of this new one. It came to me while watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos last night during an explanation of the fourth dimension. As Mr. Sagan was illuminating the fourth dimension, it dawned on me how bizarre and out of my comprehension the Universe actually is. Then I started thinking about fractals.

It's easy to understand the infinity of a fractal when it's presented in just two dimensions, as its a simplified version of space: length and width, and if you dive in, it doesn't quit. The fractal becomes a bit more dubious in three dimensions. Though we can see them in our own world (crystal formations, snowflakes, etc), since we cannot modify the timescale of a crystal like we could a two-dimensional computer representation, the infinite seems to be much more finite, less abstract where we live. Yet the concept is still clear: Given an infinite time scale, staying with the crystal trope, the formation will continue moving in its geometric pattern indefinitely.

But the fourth dimension is another bag of potatoes all together. What would a fractal in this dimension look like? How does it move? How does it utilize length, width, and height? Does infinity look different in a fourth-dimension fractal? In which dimension does imagination live? Do ideas bend to gravity? Do dreams have atomic structure? Could I simply construct a dream?

03 March, 2009

captain ahab is still MIA at this point

I'm listening to Melville's Moby Dick right now. Whoever's doing the reading is overacting in the weirdest way, as if he were performing some sort of fancy soliloquy in a play written by Jane Austen, had she written a play. Only the trick to it is the soliloquy is actually an entire novel that the character would be reading verbatim in the play. It's just the weirdest experience to have whaling sound so effeminate and dainty.

I got a letter in the mail from perfectly adorable Megan Bedard this morning. In it was a photo she had taken in Los Angeles of a love seat and a couch, writing to me I was the long skinny couch, and she was the miniature one.

Everyone deserves such a winning friend as Megan. She's just great. Anyway, I painted this tonight because I liked her picture so much.

haiku pour la femme de Bibliothèque nationale de France

puffy wrinkled cheeks
aroma: puke, chocolate
make up in fiction

01 March, 2009

Nature is Creeping In

Glamour puss Jessica Tracey told me her New Years resolution was to make a new resolution at the beginning of each month, so she'd have a whole years worth of progress and development. I'm quite taken by this idea of taking the year as a series of bridges to cross as you find them. Now that it's March, my resolution is to schedule my days as aggressively as possible, from when I wake up, to when I fall asleep. The idea being the more strict my schedule, the more productive I'll be, and the more products I'll have to show for myself. Today I've put my plan into action, and so far it's been smooth operating. I'm currently taking a breather from working on the adaptation of Doug Sacrison's one act play RED MOON.

Lately I've been keeping my windows open in the afternoon because the air is finally warming up, becoming agreeable. Moments ago during my breather, I was having a cigarette at my open window overlooking the courtyard and saw ivy creeping up the wall.

No sooner did I see this nature overtaking architecture than did, truly, Vivaldi's Concerto no. 1 in E Major "Spring" rise into the air from my iTunes. Spring has been creeping in all around me, and everything about it seems nice. Yesterday I sat on a hill made of magic with Ben and Ciara in just a t-shirt and sunglasses, taking in the sun and shooting the breeze; a lake, a mountain, and Paris-like-an-ocean strewn before us. The last day of February was the first day of how I remember spring feeling. At dinner I could feel my skin tingling from outside's crispness and I thought, "This is exciting."

Thanks, spring. I like that you creep in; I like that you're a waltz.

16 February, 2009

Don't Worry

I do my best to not let the gray-drear and down-cast gloom of February wear me out. Last year's was dismal. I spent the month with my nose rubbing up against text books, being cooped up indoors beneath shitty overhead lighting, not having enough time to watch movies, and not even having enough time to eat healthy, let alone exercise. Everything was rotten, made all the worse as my disciplined routine of creating, which I had been developing throughout the previous fall, slowly spoiled off. (Remember when I used to make things like The Bellinghome Funshine Hour just for fun?)

This February, in thanks to a considerable decrease in commitments and the resulting huge surplus of free time, I've committed myself to art projects to off-set the month's bleakness. I've been spending a great deal of time and effort on a my new screenplay Cleo in the Universe. If I had to pitch the movie right now to a big-shot film executive, I'd pitch it as "2001 meets Sesame Street."

I've also been trying to paint with water colors. For me, water coloring, with the mixing of paint, adding of water, is a lot like solving the answer to a riddle I'm writing simultaneously. To sit down with an empty piece of paper, several brushes, and an armory of paints, is a fantastic way to spend time. I can't help but feel light and nice about things in this setting.

Anyway, today I combined the two to make a poster for my apartment. The paper is from a metro advertisement I tore away on a walk to or from some train. The way it tore reminded me of a run-down flier I'd see stapled to a telephone pole on Capital Hill in Seattle. I tried to make it look as much like a weathered poster for a movie that had either stopped screening a month or so ago, or had just been found in some Grandpa's dusty old trunk from way back before the war.

11 February, 2009

Ghost Home

"Ghost Home"

I realized just now as I'm posting this that the color palette is very Goodnight, Moon.

10 February, 2009

Going Great!

Today I was walking along the Seine as the sun was falling behind the big dark storm clouds which had just passed through Paris, when I was approached by an adorable, young, Japanese-tourist girl. With her camera out, she asked me in pitter-pattering, broken English if I'd be okay taking a photograph. My assumption was she wanted to have a picture of her taken in front of the river with the glowing Louvre in the background; but, no. Instead, she wanted her picture taken with plain-Jane, ol' me. I was surprised, but happy to oblige. So we clambered together in front of the digital camera, she threw two fingers into the air, and I showed my teeth as the camera clicked and the moment was captured. She graciously thanked me and walked away, just like that. And I walked away too, just like that, as if people stopped me on the streets of Paris for photographs all the time. Part of my routine, even.

For the remainder of the city block, all the people walking in my oposite direction looked at me intrigued, clearly wondering what it was about me that merited perfect strangers stopping me for photographs.

My New Years Resolution to be more mysterious is progressing to a T.

I spent yesterday locked up in my kitchen painting watercolors listening to The Great Gatsby on audiobook. I don't have the best paper for it, so the pigment doesn't absorb like it should, but I made two all the same. One's the blog's new header, and the other is just below. The big dipper, the second painting's subject matter, was the first constellation I could ever find. I still always look for it first. I imagine if I ever travel to the southern hemisphere, I'd feel faraway from home at nighttime.

"The Big Dipper"

08 February, 2009

chambre d'amour

I have a new routine of waking up in the middle of the night and not knowing where I am. It's unsettling and kind of fun asking my half-awake, half-dozing self, "Where am I?" and having to wait a few moments before it comes to me. Intrigued by this, I consulted the calendar from December 15th until a few days ago to count up the total beds I have slept in, with the amount of friends I slept with, and also the number of times I slept by myself.

In the past 51 days I've slept with friends 27 times, and by myself 21 times. When I was with friends, I slept in 14 different beds, and when I was by myself, I laid my head down in 6 different beds. A bed, incidentally, is anything from a real bed to a couple of blankets strewn across the floor, and by sleeping with a friend, I'm modestly suggesting we slept in close proximity with one another. It should also be noted that "sleeping with a friend" could be plural, as I was a participant at more than one multi-friend slumber party during the duration of the past 50-some days. It's strange when sleeping by myself has become the irregularity. To cope during the lonesome nights (I'm hypothesizing because it seems likely), my dreams have become more flamboyant and starry than usual. A week ago while sleeping by myself I had a dream where I was in a dance club/bunk cabin with a big gang of elementary school friends, and was blowing everyone away with my latest dance moves. One of my cool moves was to act like I was falling over, then just an inch or so from the ground, pop back up as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Their jaws were all agape, impressed with how remarkable of an adult I had developed into. We should have let him into talent pool, they were thinking.

I've been back in Paris now for just over a week, and I've found a new apartment to live and sleep in. It's in the 7th arrondissement, just near where Boulevards Saint Germain and Raspail meet. This marks my second go at living on my own, and I feel optimistic about it all. I've my own kitchen equipped with hot plates and a shower; a bed that turns into a couch and back again; a toilet I get to share with people; and so on. Ben and Ciara helped me break the place in the other evening with a dinner of steak frites, dessert, wines, and an inspired viewing of Wet Hot American Summer (maximum yuks). Let me share some photographs with you:

Kitchen/water closet

Living quarter/Ciara

chambre d'amour

Come visit. Hurry!

25 January, 2009

America = Friendship City?

When I got back to America I had two things on my mind: The first was how smug I probably looked walking through JFK with a carton of duty-free Marlboros in tow, tucked beneath my arm; listen, America, my demeanor said, I'm not sweating it even a little bit. The second thing on my mind was how happy I felt to be in the same country as my friends again. I had anticipated this, in fact, and had readied my American SIM card into my phone all the way back in London so I could call these wonderful people as soon as possible. Once I was through customs and was in baggage claim, I plopped down on an out-of-use carousel and dialed for Bellingham, WA. To my joy, my homeboys and homegirls, who had been stretched across countries and time zones this past fall, were all hanging out together at the old hang zone, the Vanilla Dome.

Throughout the fall I had talked with basically everyone present in some fashion or another, but to be on the same continent, and moreover hear all their voices at once, was like someone had dipped my ears in magic. Karl captured the charm and delight of the moment deftly:

speaker phone in the middle.

This moment supplied me with an amazing lightness I can still feel.

A bit over a week ago I was eating dinner with my aunt and uncle and a close friend of theirs in Bellingham, WA. I was explaining to them how hard it has been for me saying goodbye to so many friends just every few months, and I was offered a piece of advice that eased a lot of my anxieties. They told me it's not going to get easier, but that it gets better. The friends I've developed intimate relationships with will never be easy to say goodbye to, but through time the friendships will only become more fulfilling and rich. I was struck by that, because even in my limited experience as an adult I could see this already operating. Despite the four month gap of time shared between my friends and me, the excitement of being around each other again, of sharing jokes and insights, was tremendous. My anxieties turned to optimism. These old people are pretty cool, I thought.

Later that night, Karl took this picture of Sean, Nick, and me.

Of SEAWIND fame.

Friendship, I've noticed, is the best.

15 January, 2009

Two Parter: Shoes and Pizza

Today Nick and I were strolling about town, getting coffee, window shopping, when we passed by the world famous Left, Right, Left shoe boutique. I said to myself, you know, maybe it's time I get some shoes. Mr. Nick and I stepped inside the warm world of shoe smells and friendly young women and began browsing. To describe myself as anything other than a finicky shopper would be a bald-faced lie, but today God had different plans for me. He all but literally split the Red Sea in two, just for me, as I was divinely guided to a pair of shoes that I saw and said, "Wow. Those look like shoes an astronaut would wear." And you wouldn't believe it, but not only did Left, Right, Left have them in my size, but the nice girl working pointed out to me that the shoes were 20% off. I walked out of the store with my old shoes in the box, and my new shoes on my feet. Boom.

"Shoes an astronaut would wear."

In the wonky Spring of 2007, I invented the greatest comic series in the world. The premise was simple: There was a widower who had also lost a son. The man ended up remarrying, and his new bride turned out a to be a witch of some kind. Turning lemons into lemon aide, the man proposed he and his wife perform a seance so he could catch up on what his dead son had been up to all these years. Well, it's tough to say what went wrong exactly, but the witch must have been a bit too enthusiastic when beckoning the dead son's soul, because it shot into the room at an enormous speed, ricocheted off a chandelier, and landed in a near-by pizza box. The next thing they know, the pizza box is the the widower's son reincarnate. The comic series is called Pizza is For the Children, and it chronicles the more tender moments of raising a son who also happens to be a pizza box. After a two year hiatus from the series, I made a triumphant return last evening. This drawing, which I've titled "Bed Time Story," is a real testament to my personal development and creative processes over the past two years. I'm very pleased, and very excited to share this with my readership. It's been a long time coming.

14 January, 2009

Talkies -- A Year in Review

Each year I go through three to four little notebooks, and in each book I keep two pages dedicated to logging every movie I see so I can keep track of them all. About this time of year, I usually compile the lists from all my notebooks into one list, giving myself the opportunity to stroll down memory lane and relive some nice moments. For the past two years I've written them into larger notebooks, but these notebooks typically get lost in the shuffle at some point, and then they're lost. So, this year I'm using Runjustforfun as my batch capture device.

Here we go, from first to last:

Lust, Caution -- Ang Lee
I'm Not There -- Todd Haynes

Bernard and the Genie -- Paul Welland I borrowed this VHS tape from Kyle Roe, and it supplied me with one of the laughiest-nights in all of 2008. It's a Brittish comedy from either the late 80s or early 90s, and it's essentially dedicated to "fish-out-of-water" humor; the genie adjusting to modern life, Bernard not fully understanding what possessing a genie means, etc. To be honest, my roommates and I had gotten pretty silly before watching this, and it enhanced the experience times a million.

Loves of a Blonde -- Milos Forman This story is about a young woman in love with a touring pianist. The simplicity of Forman's craft is prodigious, and should be admired by anyone aspiring to create film. Very little happens in the movie's story, but Forman utilizes his surroundings (post-war Czechoslovakia) to evoke an unstable enviroment for his tale of innocence and romance.

Being There -- Hal Ashby
Margot at the Wedding -- Noah Baumbach
Muppets Take Manhatten -- Frank Oz
The Great Muppet Caper -- Jim Henson

Spirit of the Beehive -- Victor Erice This is probably my favorite movie of the year. It's so wonderful and innocent, yet mysterious and cunning. Set in the Spanish countryside during the Franco years, this is the quientessential film on childhood. It made me wish I had a younger sister and a big pasture to look at.

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown -- Almodovar
Zoo -- Robinson Devor
M -- Fritz Lang
Ten -- David Wain
The Dark Crystal -- Frank Oz and Jim Henson
The Eternal Jew -- Fritz Hippler
Red Squirrel -- Julio Medem
The Savages -- Tamarah Perkins
The Double Life of Veronique -- Kiezlowski
Chain Reaction -- Andrew Davies
Belly of an Architect -- Peter Greenaway
Sullivan's Travels -- Preston Sturges
Flower of My Secret -- Almodovar
MASH -- Robert Altman

Beach Blanket Bingo - Willam Asher This was my first Frankie and Annette movie, and let me just say -- loved it! It wasn't a musical musical, but it was in the same sense the TV show California Dreams is; everyone was just in a band, and it was cool. Plus the bad guys were in a gang called The Rats, and they had fantastic leather jackets with a white outline of a rat on the back.

CB4 -- Tamra Davis
Ghostbusters -- Ivan Reitman
La Pointe Court -- Agnes Varda
George Washington -- David Gordon Green
Passion -- Jean-Luc Godard
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly -- Julian Schnabel
The Orphanage -- Juan Antonio Bayona
Cafe Lumiere -- Hsino-hsien Hou
La Bonhuer -- Agnes Varda
Be Kind, Rewind -- Michel Gondry
La Vie en Rose -- Olivier Dahan

2010: The Year We Make Contact -- Peter Hyans Better.On.Paper.

Man Bites Dog -- Remy Belvaux, Andre Benzel, Benoit Poelvoorde If there were ever a movie that nails the meta-film, this is it. The film presents itself as a documentary about a serial killer (a la a Maysles doc), and slowly the film crew becomes part of the movie's plot. Most amazing scene: During a shoot out the boom-mic operator is seen hiding for his life in the background. The audio remains faithful to his location, placing the film's observer into two locations at once, highlighting cinema as both a visual, as well as an audio, apparatus.

Stripes -- Ivan Reitman
Interkosmos -- Jeff Finn
The Joke -- Jaromil Jires
Flowers of Saint Francis -- Roberto Rossellini
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days -- Cristian Mungiu
Rome, Open City -- Roberto Rossellini

Duck Soup -- Marx Brothers Funny!

Vidas Secas -- Nelson Periera des Santos

For all Mankind -- Al Reinert The shots from the lunar rover on the moon are probably the greatest tracking shots in the history of cinema. Absolutely. No doubt in my mind.

National Treasure -- John Turtletomb A professor of mine described this film by saying it was like watching a machine destroy itself. He was right.

Vagabond -- Agnes Varda
Battle of Algiers -- Gillo Pontecorvo
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou -- Wes Anderson
Xala -- Ousame Sembene
Live Flesh -- Almodovar
National Treasure II -- John Turteltomb
Salesman -- Maysles
The 400 Blows -- Francois Truffaut
Point Break -- Kathryn Bigelow
Confederate Park -- Bill Brown
Rosemary's Baby -- Roman Polanski

Oratorio for Prague -- Jan Nemec This film was shot during the days of the USSR invasion of Prague, and is the only footage that made it out of the city untouched by the Soviets. The filmmakers were originally creating a film about the emerging youth culture in the city, when the tanks started rolling in. I don't know if it's on DVD, but Film is Truth had it on VHS.

What Time is it There -- Tsai Ming-Liang
Trekkies -- Roger Nygard
Field of Dreams -- Phil Alden Robinson
Superbad -- Greg Motolla
Southland Tales -- Richard Kelly
Manufactured Landscapes -- Jennifer Baichwell
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul -- Fassbinder
Branded to Kill -- Suzuki
Uncle Buck -- John Hughes
Man of the House -- James Orr
Grey Gardens -- Maysles
All About My Mother -- Almodovar
Young Frankenstein -- Mel Brooks
Wayne's World II -- Stephen Surjik
Airplane! -- Jim Abrahams, Dave Zucker, Jerry Zucker
On a Wing and a Prayer -- Max Kaiser
Blackboards -- Samira Makhmalbaf
The Celebration -- Thomas Vinterberg
Gates of Heaven -- Earl Morris
Blow Out -- Brian de Palma
Bottle Rocket -- Wes Anderson
2 Days in Paris -- Julie Delpy
Dans Paris -- Chrstophe Hanore

Robinson Crusoe on Mars -- Byron Haskin If this is what the 1950s were all about, then I'm all of a sudden way more sympathetic toward the Neo-Con movement.

Antonio Gaudi -- Hiroshi Teshigahara
Russian Arc -- Aleksandr Sokurov
Wall-E -- Andrew Stanton
I Heart Huckabees -- David O'Russell
The Dark Night -- Christopher Nolan
The Fall -- Tarsem Singh
Mr. Freedom -- William Klein
Funny Games -- Michael Haneke
Lola -- Jacques Demy
Encounters at the End of the World -- Werner Herzog
Talk with Her -- Almodovar
Zero de Conduit -- Jean Vigo
Be Kind, Rewind -- Michel Gondry
Forbidden Planet -- Fred M. Wilcox
Tropic Thunder -- Ben Stiller
Wild at Heart -- David Lynch
Darjeeling Limited -- Wes Anderson
La Bonheur -- Agnes Varda
A Woman is a Woman -- Jean-Luc Godard
Jules and Jim -- Francois Truffaut
Vicky Christina Barcelona -- Woody Allen
You Don't Mess with the Zohan -- Dennis Dugan
Written on the Wind -- Douglas Sirk
Bodon Saved from Drowning -- Jean Renoir
Summer of Sam -- Spike Lee
Lucian lacombe -- Louis Malle
The Siren of Mississippi -- Francois Truffaut
The Passanger -- Michelangelo Antonioni
Zero de Conduit -- Jean Vigo
Do the Right Thing -- Spike Lee

Entres les murs -- Laurent Cantet This won Cannes? Snooooooooozer.

The Dreamers -- Bernardo Bertolucci
Forbidden Games -- Rene Clement
Crimes and Misdemeanors -- Woody Allen
Hannah and her Sisters -- Woody Allen

La monde du silence -- Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Louis Malle

Cut -- ??
A Woman is a Woman -- Jean-Luc Godard
Trainspotting -- Danny Boyle
Lady From Shanghai -- Orson Welles
Basquiat -- Julian Schnabel
My Night at Maud's -- Eric Rohmer
Affects of Gamm Rays on Man-on-the-Moon Marigolds -- Paul Newman
Love and Death -- Woody Allen
La Jetee -- Chris Marker
Who the Fuck is Jackson Pollock -- Harry Moses
Swimming Pool -- Francois Ozon
Muppet Christmas Carol -- Brian Henson
It's a Wonderful Life -- Frank Capra
2001: A Space Odyssey -- Stanley Kubrick
Forrest Gump -- Robert Zemeckes

Wendy and Lucy -- Kelly Reichardt This film is unfortunately getting over-looked this award season, but it shouldn't. It's the best piece of American cinema I've seen this year. It doesn't try to make a big statement, and it doesn't reach for any brass rings. I'm very excited about what Kelly Reichardt is going to do next. Her voice is entirely fresh,well-informed, and timely.

Frost/Nixon -- Ron Howard
Cosmic Collisions -- Carter Emmart
Aladdin -- Ron Clements and John Musker
So I Married and Axe Murderer -- Tom Schlamme
The Spirit -- Frank Miller
Afraid to Merge -- Caleb and Joshua Young
Mall Robbers -- Anthony Watkins

What a year. I traveled around the world and through time. Special thanks to Woody Allen and Pedro Almodovar for being my most frequently visited directors in 2008. You both make enjoyable movies; I like them.

If you watched any of these movies with me and would like to share with everyone a brief anecdote, please direct yourself to the comment section.

11 January, 2009

Everything Gets Better: 2009 Means Progress; Resolutions

Learn how to Dance: Now just hold on a moment, you should be thinking, why would Jimmy need to learn how to dance in 2009? After all, he's already the best at it, says your concluding thought on the idea. Here's the truth, while I greatly appreciate your confidence in my movement abilities, in reality I've had you fooled this entire time: I don't know how to dance. On the other hand, I do know how to drink, as do most of my friends, providing a sufficient illusion to make it appear like my flailings are coherent and rhythmically timed; but, no. For the moments in 2009 when there is no booze, or it's too expensive to buy, I'm going to need a solid plan B. Now that I'm an adult, house dance parties are becoming more and more a thing of the past, while dancing in clubs around strangers is apparently the future. This is the grounds for my dancing resolution: While my friends know I'm nice, it's these strangers I've got to impress (they have no idea!). Everyone knows that there's nothing more charming than a boy who can dance, making this resolution a natural in with anyone (whether they be dancing strangers, bank tellers, police officers, or whoever -- they'll all start giving me the benefit of the doubt when they see my great moves).

Start Hustlin': From here on out my projects are going to be more ambitious, requiring larger budgets, and someone's going to have to finance that bill. There's a lot of money in this world, and I'm going to have to start convincing people it's a good idea to give me some.

Be More Mysterious

Stop Using the Word "Really": But only as an adjective. I'm still fine using the word to confirm something. But done are my days of saying something was really good. If something's good, then it's good. If it's something's really good, then it's great, and so on. I'm going to stop using it as an adverb, too. If I love something, that's good enough for me. I shouldn't really love it. I guess this resolution could alternately be called something like, "Letting definitions do their jobs."

Learn how to Spell "Reastoraunt": Incidentally, it's spelled restaurant.

Draw and Post More Comics: Like my current header, or this one:

A comic series I started in 2007 where a Dad winds up possessing a Pizza with his son's soul during a botched seance. Subdued zaniness ensues.