Sunday, March 12, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #259: THE SWAMPS OF BOLINGBROOK AND DARIEN

To be read to this song.


I don't go out to drink much anymore. It's just cheaper to drink at home or at a friend's home. Tonight I had plans to go out to my stomping grounds in Bolingbrook, to Tailgaters. But in going out there it brought back a lot of memories. A lot of memories I'm not quite comfortable with talking about here. Not yet, at least.


I loved a woman who lived down there. I would drive out there on a regular basis. She and I would go next door to a hole in the wall where they made White Russians with whipped cream. Sometimes we went to Tailgaters, but it was closer to go to the hole in the wall. I don't want to think about it too much.


I was early in getting to the bar tonight, so I stopped by her old place, just to relive some memories. It was difficult because everything looked different. Some buildings were gone. A lot of trees were gone. The apartments all had balconies now. The only thing that looked the same was the creek that ran through the area.


I saw the place where so much love and lunacy happened, but it looked nothing like it should have. I drove away having relived nothing. To top it all off the hole in the wall was gone. I think there's a salon there now. It was too dark to tell.


So I went out. I got drunk with my friends. I saw a great band knock out some great covers. I got plastered. It was fun, but as I got ready to hit the road I realized that it just wasn't the same. I think I might have outgrown the whole thing. I'm not sure.


I drove back through the swamps of Bolingbrook and Darien, the air chilly and the soft glow of alien lights drifting and fading throughout the empty space. The rotten husks of forgotten homes. The vast spaces where nature still reigned.


I thought about everything I went through with my friend and her daughter. Everything looked so different that I was certain that our ghosts no long roamed there, coloring the space we used to exist. Instead there is nothing. Nothing to remember us. No one will ever know about what happened within those walls except those who remember. And when we're gone, then we're nothing.


Youth fades and is gone.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #258: WOLVERINE

It all started when I was in my junior year of high school. I was hanging out on the roof of an apartment complex with Rob Tannahill, who went on to become my partner on The Cocaine! Bros. He said that I should grow sideburns. That would make me look cool. I was doubtful, but I listened to him. Sure enough, he was right. I'm a plain lookin' guy, and the sideburns made me a bit more appealing to look at.


But it slowly grew out of control. It got to the point that when my senior year pictures for the yearbook were taken, I looked like Wolverine. Yeah, this is a shitty photo, but it's fucking old, so yeah. Here we go:





Yeah.


I'm probably going to see LOGAN tomorrow. He was not an inspiration for my looks back in high school, no matter how contrary that might seem. Rob was the guy who did it, not Logan. But I really like the way Wolverine is portrayed by Hugh Jackman. I understand why comics fans hate it, but I don't care. I don't like X-Men comics. The movies are the way to go.


PS: My nickname was Elvis. I can see that, but in my opinion, I needed a little less conversation, a little more action, so . . .

Thursday, March 2, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #257: THE REASON WHY

This is the 257th installment of GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS. What have I been doing with this? Sometimes I wonder, myself. How did it keep going so long? What is the purpose? How did this become a pattern in my life?


Well, it hasn't been much of a pattern lately. I'm fucking depressed as all hell. My square job is slowly killing me. I like the people I work with. I love the way we interact. The job is OK, too, with the exception of Wednesday night. The commute, though, is destroying my will to live. When I first got the job I found myself making a choice when I got home: write or work out? Can't have both. I chose write for a long time, but I haven't been getting good stuff lately. It's gotten to the point where I choose neither. The only writing I'm getting done these days is my work on the Zimventures, and that's a fucking joke. Besides, they are already written. I'm just changing them. Improving (I hope) them. I get home from work. I shower the day away. And I lose myself in fast food, booze and TV shows. And then I go to bed. And I go to bed so late that it's not worth writing a GF post because no one will read it.


This started when I was inspired by Warren Ellis and Brian Keene. They wrote something the very instant they got out of bed and posted it for the world to see. I love that writing exercise, except I am a very cranky son of a bitch when I wake up. I am not suitable for words when I'm fresh from slumber. My solution: GF is going to be the very last thing I do before I go to bed every night (hence the title). I think it has worked out pretty well. For the most part.


As I get older I think more about GF and its purpose. Now I consider it more of a diary than anything else. But . . . I've been thinking about my own mortality recently. I don't think I'm long for this world. It's not just my bad habits. Maybe it's paranoid, but I feel like I'm being hunted very slowly. Not by anything physical, of course. Just hunted by my own impending death. Maybe it has to do with the fact that next year I'm going to be 40. I thought I'd already had my midlife crisis back in my twenties. I don't know.


But I think the purpose of GF is more than just a diary. I think it's an accounting of my memories. An accounting of who I am for any archaeologist who gives a shit. I'm reading T.C. Boyle's The Inner Circle. I've always been fascinated by Alfred Kinsey. I would have loved to give up my sexual history to him personally. To have been a "friend of the research."


Instead I'm going to give up my history to you all, for whatever it might be worth.


Here's a memory for you. I have been writing every since I was a child. When I was in seventh grade my English teacher--who I had an enormous crush on--had a project for the class. She said that we were going to all write a book together, and it was to be the life story of a human being. Each of us would write a chapter.


I still have a copy of this book. It's really about twenty pages of photocopied text with an occasional picture. Maybe I have the only extant copy. Who knows? But it's in the pile of stuff with POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS and that issue of SHROUD I was in, etc.


Luck of the draw: I got the final chapter. My teacher was very aware of my personal trauma, and she said that if I wanted another chapter, she could reassign it. No, I told her. I really wanted the final chapter. Why?


I helped create the guy. His career. His loves and his hates. I even gave him his first name: Montgomery. Even back then I was a huge Star Trek guy, and I named him after Scotty. I knew all about him before the other students even had a chance to delve into his character.


Why did I want the last chapter? I've never told this to anyone before. I don't know why. I don't see anything wrong with it. It just reaffirms how I've always felt about beloved characters. But here it is. Confession time.


I wanted the last chapter because I wanted the honor of killing him.


To those of you who read my fiction, this will probably make a ton of sense.


This is me. This is who I've always been. If you want my history, it is here in all the GFs I've ever written. If you wanted to piece together who I am, this is what you need to read.


Of course, I'm assuming anyone gives a shit. But maybe, just maybe, some archaeologist will discover the internet long after we've all perished. Maybe that scientist will try to piece together who we were. Maybe they can even turn the internet back on and find my mad ramblings here.


This is all data, no matter how silly or stupid it might be. And I hope I can contribute to the charts of whoever comes next.


Goodnight, fuckers.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #256: MAD'S MAKE YOUR OWN WALKING DEAD EPISODE

For those of you who missed MAD MAGAZINE #542, one of the features was MAD'S MAKE YOUR OWN WALKING DEAD EPISODE. I love shit like this. Jonathan Bresman is the genius behind this one. I thought I'd post how my episode would go based on his wonderful chart. Ready? Here we go!


Our story begins . . .


Daryl uses advice picked up from SHARK TANK to fight the man-child charm of Aziz Ansari. Chaos erupts until everyone recognizes that they completely forgot to DVR the TV Land Icon awards. Meanwhile, Negan hatches a plan to change the way America cleans its gutters while at the same time stocking up on Glade plug-in refills just as tragedy bears down in the guise of an F. Murray  Abraham sexting scandal.


The end.


Thank you, everyone, for indulging my idiocy. If you have the chart (posting it here would probably be a copyright infringement), please feel free to post your own version in the comments below.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #255: MY THOUGHTS ON SPLIT

I've got to be honest with you. My respect for M. Night Shyamalan has faded over the years. I loved THE SIXTH SENSE, but it's only good for two viewings. UNBREAKABLE was the best movie he ever did. I thought SIGNS was all right at first as a story about one man's faith, but all the other stuff weighed me down after that. THE VILLAGE was 100% predictable, and that's not good for a movie that requires a twist to be good. LADY IN THE WATER was self-serving garbage. I gave up with THE HAPPENING. It was so ridiculously bad that I just couldn't take it anymore. I'll give a creator many chances, but I'd met my limit with Shyamalan on that one.


Then I saw him with Matt Dillon at C2E2 showing off the pilot episode of his new show, WAYWARD PINES. I fucking loved it. I wanted to ask questions of them, mainly about FACTOTUM for Matt Dillon, but I was very interested in a sequel to UNBREAKABLE. There were too many people. I didn't get the chance.


But WAYWARD PINES is based on a series of books. Books NOT written by Shyamalan. So . . .


I really wasn't going to see SPLIT. It looked good mostly because James McAvoy was doing a super awesome job in the coming attractions. I hung out with a friend today, and he suggested seeing SPLIT. Fuck it. Why not?


Holy shit. I'm so glad he made this suggestion. This film reminded me of Shyamalan's strengths that I'd forgotten about because of his powerful weaknesses. His attention to detail is meticulous. He knows the importance of quiet, especially when it comes to a score. He can keep his camera still, which is a lost art.


But there's more. I envy McAvoy. This is a role that most serious actors dream about. He got to portray many different characters in one go. It's a QUANTUM LEAP kind of role. It tests an actor's abilities, and McAvoy did it so fucking good. I loved him in FILTH. I'm so glad to see him knock it out of the park on this one.


This is such a wonderfully woven tale. I knew exactly what was going to happen, but that's because I'm a writer. I can't speak for other viewers. I can't help but respect how this story was told. It's wonderful. Everything that happens makes utter sense, especially if you can think ahead. Yeah, it's predictable, but Shyamalan is doing something different than his THE VILLAGE days. He's not depending on a twist. He's building a story, and it's a great story and I love how he did it.


But here's the part I really wanted to talk about. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT. I'll give you time to back out if you haven't seen it yet. I'm going to hit Enter a few times, and then I'll resume. Follow me if you know where I'm going.













































































There is a scene near the end of the movie when Kevin-Dennis-Patricia-The Beast or whatever you want to call him is giving a monologue to himself and his other characters into a mirror. It is such a supervillain thing to say that I immediately thought, "Holy shit. I desperately hope that McAvoy is going to be the bad guy in an UNBREAKABLE sequel. I want nothing more in the world than that."


Fast forward a few minutes. It's the final scene in the movie. In a diner. As people find out what really happened to those poor girls from a TV news story. I wanted nothing more than to see Bruce Willis in that diner.


And I fucking got my wish. Holy shit. It was a direct reference to UNBREAKABLE, and there was Bruce Willis, confirming it all!  Oh my fucking God! This is happening! David Dunn is going against Kevin and Co.!


Welcome back, Mr. Shyamalan. We've missed you.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #254: HOW I KEEP SANE WHILE LOOKING FOR A PARKING SPACE

It's always a struggle to find a parking spot in the morning at the train station in Elmhurst. The parking garage I usually go to is packed. I used to go to work a lot earlier, and it was so easy to find a spot. Now I'm getting there at 9:45, and sometimes I luck out. Most times I'm stuck parking on the street. That sucks, because if it snows I have to brush my car off after work. Sometimes I might even have trouble starting it because it's so fucking cold.


But the worst is when my radio cuts out while entering the parking garage. So I switch over to my CD player. THE H8FUL EIGHT is in my player. I turn on the theme. It sounds really fucking weird, but somehow, while I'm driving circles through my parking garage, listening to this song helps me maintain some semblance of sanity.


Look. I love THE H8FUL EIGHT so much. Ennio Morricone is my favorite score composer. Your mileage may vary, but goddammit. This helps me a great deal. Give it a try.


Holy fuck. I just realized what I wrote. Forgive me. I'm drunk. But fucking fuck. Even when I'm hammered I'm happy to talk about the art I love. See the movie. Listen to the composer.


All right. Goodnight, fuckers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #253: A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE

Some of you are familiar with the saga of my shit tooth. Also known, thanks to filmmaker and author Mike Lombardo, as the cadaver tooth. It's too long to go into here, but suffice to say it is the story of me getting my second dental implant.


I went into the dentist's office yesterday to get the implant. (Which didn't happen. They took measurements and levels of bone density. I get it--probably--next month.) It's not my usual guy. It's the guy who pulled the tooth in the first place. I sat down, and he worked in my mouth for a bit and fiddled around on a computer for even longer. He's an attractive man in his late fifties with a full head of hair and a fabulous smile. He advised me to get another bone graft, this time in my sinuses. It's $2K extra. Otherwise we'll have to go with the shorter implant that might not succeed. Fuck. I'm already out of my price range as it is. I can't do it. I'm going to have to roll the dice on the smaller implant.


Here's the thing, though: they no longer use the molds. I'm okay with that. I've choked on each and every mold they've ever tried on me. The taste is too disgusting. My saliva has nowhere to go but dribbling out of my mouth . . . or down my throat, which is even worse. My gag reflex is bad enough as it is.


They have a new method: scanning your teeth into a computer. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much. Someone has to run a heated scanner (heated so it doesn't fog over) across all of your teeth in all directions several times. It's a longer process, but you don't have to taste the horrible goop from the mold.


It was truly a humbling experience. I had to keep reminding myself that I had to breathe through my nose, and forget about the saliva that kept building up. The assistant who did this was very courteous. She tried her best to be encouraging. To be reassuring. I might be reading my signals wrong, but I think she might have flirted with me a bit. I'm an idiot when it comes to that kind of thing. For years my friends have been telling me that women were flirting with me when I didn't even notice. So maybe I'm wrong.


She is a very attractive woman with a wonderful set of teeth, just like the dentist's.


My teeth suck. I've never been pleased with them. Even as a kid I would look into the mirror and curse that gap in the front ones. It's only gotten worse over the years. I went for more than a decade without dental insurance. When I don't use whitening toothpaste it looks like my teeth are made of cheese. I've had dental coverage for a while. I take very good care of my teeth. But it's not enough. Still, they look pretty good if you're not paying much attention. (And if I keep my lower teeth under my lip.)


I watched as the scanner replicated my teeth on the computer to my left side. I was horrified. It looked through the whitening shit and saw my teeth for what they really were. I saw brown spots. I saw dark spots. I saw black spots where I'm surprised my own mouth hasn't rejected these teeth yet. It was a very humbling experience because I could see it all in 3D. The assistant cut out the unnecessary gum parts with two swipes of the mouse. Even that horrified me.


It was a very realistic representation of my garbage mouth. It didn't look like a scan; it looked like a photograph. I could see all the horrible things in my mouth, and my instant impulse was to have all of my teeth pulled and replaced immediately. It was that bad.


I was reassured that other people have the same reaction. Still. It was an incredibly humbling experience. I expect the rest of my life to be spent dealing with dental problems. A friend of mine once advised me to just pull my lower teeth and get a plate. It works well for her, but I want to have actual teeth down there. I like how they feel, and I appreciate the way I don't have to worry about them staying in the right place. I have nothing against people who are OK with the plates, etc. For me, I would rather have something anchored in there.


When I was a kid, I predicted I would only live to 40. I'm turning 39 this year. I'm sure I was wrong about 40 (that's a story for a different day, as I'm sure I stated here before). But if I make it to 50? Shit, I'd better be making more money than I am right now if only for the dental problems I'm going to have.