Started on this year's Antarctic medical tests. On Tuesday the dentist told me my stress level is so high, I've ground the teeth on my right side to the point they have no more enamel. Going for the first crown on Monday. Great.

In a couple weeks I go see my GP and my cardiologist to get the tale of the rest of the damage. Oh boy. I can't wait to see what they have to say. They'll sign me up for stress tests. Echocardiograms. I will become the human pincushion again. Everyone will want to cover their asses as I have moved myself from where the needle is green to the yellow. I may not croak, but nobody wants to be the one that didn't warn me.

I feel particularly crummy today. Here are my reviews.

I have three daughters and they have reached the age where they're introducing me to parts of modern pop culture I could not experience on my own as a grown person.

One of the things I have noticed about the 19 and 20-year olds who hang out at my house is they are prone to sprawl out around my living room and watch the same DVD movie a couple hundred times over the course of a month or so. Usually, the soundtrack of these films is enough to assure I will repair to my lair, which is probably their intent. But one movie's audio track interested me because they used a lot of songs from the early and late 80's, and I was amazed kids of this generation could withstand the onslaught of such blather.

Finally, last night, I asked my 19-year old daughter who is now home from college for the summer, if I might borrow the DVD she and her friends have watched on my TV about 300 times.

Oddly enough, she not only said, "yes," but she went to a friend's house to retrieve the "Directors Cut" so I could have the full impact, and then sat and watched it with me which for her was probably the three hundred twenty third time.

This movie is called "Donnie Darko". I watched it with my kid.

"It's not real. I made it all up."
Richard Kelly
Director, Donnie Darko

Here's what I will say about Donnie Darko and I advise you to forget I said it if you care to see the movie yourself. There are no spoilers. By the way, I think it would be humanly impossible to provide any.

Donnie Darko is a non-interactive video game. It's an RPG that you elaborate through your brain, and only with your brain. The beauty of the script is that it is riddled with clues and hooks, and it is all perfectly well connected. There are links buried within links, and there is much more happening than what you can first perceive superficially. You will find yourself, some time into the script, remembering, subconsciously, various situations and points of dialog that are later referenced and amplified upon.

In a sense, this is a maze. It's a puzzle. The solution may be simply the realization that the puzzle exists, or that it's an interlocking structure.

In any case, the story is of a high-school senior who suddenly finds himself tasked with saving the world from a fourth-dimensional universal reality implosion that will end existence as we know it in 28 days and change.

If this sort of twisted logic entertains you, you'll probably find a way to like this movie. The stuff that one might find off-putting to adults or distracting to the plot revolves around the primary characters being high-school kids. So the outer layers center on adolescent relationships, language, and comedy. Lots of adolescents saying, "fuck," for effect. My kids find plenty to laugh at in the movie, though upon some minor interrogation, I've found the laughing made them miss some key plot points. For instance, Donnie is spiritually shepherded by a "Harvey"-like six-foot tall supernatural rabbit. The analogies to "Harvey" and later the direct references to Watership Down, and the hideously subtle references to the inability of non-humans to speculate on existence or comprehend God -- and how that relates to what happens to the rabbit are missed by my younger folks, who either find the big bunny scary or funny.

I'm completely amazed by the skill of the author/director to have one character moving backward in time while the rest of the cast follows the forward time arrow.You may find yourself becoming confused -- not because something strange has gone unanswered -- but rather, because everything is being answered continuously, and things that did not seem to be riddles, turned out to be.

When the movie was over, I didn't know if I liked it or not, which usually means for me that I will grow to like it over time. A second viewing would absolutely be required to resolve more of the encoded plot, and I don't think I could bear doing that. In any case, this is an intelligent concoction wrapped in superficial teen-angst fluff.

On the other hand, Katherine Ross is still about as disturbingly attractive as a human female can be, and she gets a lot of screen time. My kids, of course, have no idea who they're seeing. But I know she's Elaine who's worth wrecking your entire future for.

Donnie Darko probably the best thing I've seen in a couple months, after Code 46.

I have one more review. Audioslave, Out of Exile.

This is a Soundgarden album, despite the band change and the fact Chris Cornell doesn't play guitar. And I find that all excellent. When they invented Rock and Roll 60 years ago, they meant for it to eventually sound like this. Chris Cornell can sing the paint off a brick building (or the pants off a nun). Add to that a guitarist who must be channeling Jimi Hendirx, and you have nirvana, pun intended. If you like that sort of early 90's Seattle grunge thing, you'll find this slightly more highly evolved. It's about 10 years more mature, but then, so are you, right?

It was meant to be played louder than your children find comfortable.

...but I held my friend of thirteen years in my arms today, and watched her die. I can't help but feel like an asshole for "killing" my cat, but life has a way of inviting you in (quite seductively) for a hot, steamy bowl of cream-of-go-fuck-yourself-soup just when you least expect it.

So forgive me if I say things a little crazy... It's only because I didn't know what else to say... And something is better than nothing... right?

Sometimes you regret
that you explained the downvoting of a particular writeup, like in the cumbersome case below. First, here's the writeup in question:


hayride (thing)

A recreational ride a group of people take in a wagon piled with hay. These usually occur as part of a church event or social gathering, mainly in the south. I have been on a total of three hayrides in my life, and all of them were rather dull and irritating to my allergies.


    montecarlo says re hayride: Why it got my downvote? Well, because this is a mere banality -- no real information, no literature, no wit. E2 wants more. Hm, I seem to have pressed the wrong button! Well ...

    AuthorOfHayride says re hayride: Er right hi, look I've gotten another message complaining about my definition of a hayride and its lack of wit , so Im assuming Im missing something. Hayrides are pretty banal themselves; what should I do? Tell a joke with a hayride involved in the punchline and then remind everyone to tip their waitstaff?


Letter to AuthorOfHayride

Dear AuthorOfHayride:

OK, let's see what can be done about hayride, without exposing you to too many downvotes (no guarantees given, though).

  1. Research the phenomenon of hayrides. Are they sometimes performed as rituals, and in that case, for what purpose(s)? Do different countries/cultures have different customs regarding hayrides? Where are hayrides most frequent, and why? What is the history of hayrides in various cultures?
  2. Write an enjoyable story about a memorable hayride –- a story that may be adventurous, humorous, erotic, scifi, agricultural, criminal, whatever.
  3. Write a poem about a hayride, describing your impressions, emotions, reactions, associations, etc., prompted by the mental image of the hayride concept.
  4. Dump hayride altogether. Choose another topic that may possess the power to inspire you.

During the circumstances, I’d certainly take advice #4, if I were you.

Your’s Truly,


Do I regret downvoting hayride? No. Furthermore, as you may remember, I mistakenly checked the (+) button. But I sure regret the explaining, particularly because -- as it happened -- I didn't really downvote.

Could this be lucky thirteen? I’m kind of doubting it, as the day is two hours past half done now.

I took the morning off from work. I knew I was gonna do it last night, but it confirmed my decision when Heather told me she basically didn’t sleep at all. I know my turn at sleep deprivation is coming soon (though not soon enough it seems) and so I truly feel for her. Of all the challenges of early parenthood, that was always the toughest: that gritty hazy desperation, wondering if you’ll ever feel truly rested or awake again.

So having this blissfully free morning, I took my six-years bride to breakfast at a new restaurant in Ballard called the Hi-Life, owned and operated by the same team that’s given Seattle the 5 Spot and the Coastal Kitchen, both long time favorites of mine, especially for breakfast and brunch. The new place, while offering no new thrills, didn’t disappoint.

After breakfast we went for a walk around Green Lake: three miles at very casual pace. It was luxurious to be able to spend so much time alone with Heather.

I gotta tell ya: I’m getting kinda of sick of this. Not just the waiting for my baby to come out, but writing these daylogs, day in and day out. Today at least it seems like little more than an exercise in stubbornness.

Yes, it’s true that sticking to my stupid word has forced me to write about things I ordinarily wouldn’t, but it’s also distracted me from actually doing what I like to do most, and what I flatter myself to think I’m best at: wrighting plays.

Had an over-beers meeting with my producing partner to talk about efforts to produce Slotin here in Seattle, as well as a series of original short horror plays by different local playwrights. The meeting was necessary, and ultimately productive, but we were both at the end of wearying days, and grumpy, and had a hard time seeing each other’s point of views on things. These quasi-artistic/administrative relationships are like celibate romances: hard to maintain the passion over the long haul. We need to garner some actual success out there in theatre world to finally consummate things and cement the liaison.

Impatience is a bad luck force-multiplier. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my near twenty years as a playwright, it’s this. You get impatient: you get dull, reckless, sloppy. You start striking matches just to see things burn, when it’s light you want not fire and smoke. Then you find yourself walking through the smoking charred ruins of a great idea, thinking: “Why didn’t I just wait till the dawn?”

Waiting for a baby is like that . . . and isn’t: since there’s nothing you can do to force it . . . until there is.

It would be great if the baby could come this weekend. Heather’s mom could come over from Spokane and watch Declan, thus taking the child care worries out of the equation, at least for the short term. But babies have nothing to do with convenience. Babies shatter convenience like so much collected antique glass.

And so we wait . . .

Nine years ago today was my first birthday in Cincinnati. In my role I was typically at client sites, but on that day I went into the office. I was alone, and feeling sorry for myself.

I made up some excuse to call my dad at his office, a thousand miles away. We talked, and hung up. I had hoped for a "happy birthday," but he forgot. A little while later he called back and gave birthday wishes and apologized.

So, every year, because of this and his tendencies to be an early riser, he was always one of the first people to call me on my birthday.

He passed away last week.

This morning I come into my cube, and put my gear down. My phone rings, and I pick it up. It is not until the party on the other end greets me that I realize that part of my brain was expecting it to be Dad. The caller talks for a bit while I start to cry.

I tell him that I just walked in the door, and I need a few minutes to get organized. Would he mind if I called him back in a bit?

A while later, in a closed office, I regain my composure, and face the day.

Sorry--sharing this make me feel a bit better.

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