Thoughts · unedited

Worst Feeling

You know what the worst feeling in the world is?


There are some pretty bad ones out there. Like someone you trusted betraying you, loss of someone figuratively or literally, stepping on tiny rocks or legos in the dead of night are all terrible experiences in their own right. But this feeling is more common than any of those. It happens to hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people everyday.


I’m talking about having perfect hindsight and being able to spot all of your spelling errors or what have you the moment you submit something. God it’s hideous. You’re transplanted to the front of a classroom of laughing children. They can see right through you. Point out all of your mistakes. Who are these kids. You don’t even recognize them. Are they just B roll footage your brain drags up from the cellars of your memories. Oh god now they’re laughing at your thinning hair. What is going on here?  God you’re such an idiot. Maybe you shouldn’t make so many typo’s. Ahem– thank’s self-conscious stream of consciousness.


It’s kind of crazy how sharp one’s eyes become the second that you look at something you submit something. No matter how many times you read it over, forward, backward, out loud to yourself– you almost always find something new. You think it has something to do with high stakes game of perfection that one’s brain plays? When the stakes are high and your cursor is flashing above the submit button, there are just some things you absolutely won’t catch some mistakes or missing words. Hitting that button flips a switch– and suddenly you’re a goddamn managing editor.


I don’t want to reread this so I’ll post it immediately and then find my errors.


EDIT: Don’t worry folks. I totally found a bunch. But for posterity’s sake, they’re staying up.


Clark · Short · Thoughts · unedited

Moving Sucks.

“Hey has anyone see my towel in the last two days?”


Moving is a pain in the ass, no matter the distance. Obviously, different challenges arise when you uproot yourself a mile versus a thousand to be sure.


Each begin with what’s called the gradual stage. It starts a month out. Non-essentials are slowly, and meticulously packed up piece by piece until they are neatly stacked in the back of the spare room. If you’re really on top of your shit, every box will be labeled.


Then about a week out, comes the serious phase. Everything but the day-to-day necessities get boxed, tubbed, or toted up. You’ll probably run out of boxes in this phase. It’s a real pain. Luckily you know someone who works in retail and can score you some okay-sized cardboard boxes. Some may smell like old produce– that just comes with the territory. Some assembly may be required too, so you’ll need to get packing tape too. BEWARE THE DUST in the serious phase. It’s a sinus killer. You lose sleep because of things that ought not to have been fucked with will be. It’s like the scene in The Mummy when they open the sarcophagus. Malicious Arnold Vosloo whirlwinds will attack your house and choke you.  


The days tick by, and the serious phase bleeds into the frantic phase. Everything else in your room, the fridge, the bathroom, the living room, under the couches, on the porch, on the landing, in the cabinet under the sink, in your dresser, and the medicine cabinet must get rounded up. At this point, stress mounts and festers, and generally becomes a pesky cloud of thoughts and priorities that buzz around your face like nats on a muggy evening. How did you run out of boxes again? Shit. Okay, bags it is then. You need more city trash bags because, unbeknownst to everyone, your house is chock full of garbage.  


In the next few days, you’ll have some questions due to the frantic phase. Like, why were your socks packed with your dry goods? Where did this lava lamp come from? And, how did the tape come off the gold bond powder bottle and dust all of your sneakers?  


Slowly but surely you’ll settle in into the new digs. Maybe alone. Maybe with friends– depending on where your are in life. You can rebury the horror and stress that packing induced for another year or two or five, while you struggle to make ends meet. Such is the way.  

Rant · Thoughts · unedited

Hey hey, Mother’s Day

Mom. A real bat that one is. Not like the creature with leathery wings, but a bat as in a loon. But not like the bird, but like a nut. Shit. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my mother is crazy.


But whose isn’t crazy, right? I mean mom’s have to raise human beings, and mine did it by herself. Imagine that, taking care of a completely ignorant tiny human so that they live long enough to become a (relatively) competent larger human– absurd. I don’t think I have the balls to pull that off, even if another person was helping me. So today, on this most special of days, I tip my hat to you Mom for taking on the insane undertaking of raising yours truly.


Honestly, I don’t know how you did it. And that goes for all you single mothers out there. From the mom’s living paycheck to paycheck to the mom’s in comfortable digs who’ve set up college funds for their kids. Bravo. You’re not only surviving for yourself, your surviving for two, or three, sometimes four and more– and that in a word is amazing.


(And shout out to all single dad’s out there. You’re being both parents day in and day out. Mother’s day belongs to you too.)


I can’t speak for anyone else, but I remember growing up so bitter with my mom’s decisions. There was never any justice, or so that’s how I perceived things. If I was thrown into her situation, escaping an abusive relationship, moving across the country with a baby, and making sure that there was always food on the table, I don’t know if I could do it. But she did. And, looking back I’m so proud of her and I understand the why she did the things she did– including depriving me of my justice. Life just hurls shit at you and doesn’t care how you handle it, you just have to and that means making hard decisions sometimes.


I remember when we moved before I started second grade. At the time I was pissed because that meant I had to start over again, making friends is your whole world when you’re seven. She just wanted me to be in one of the best school districts in the state though. We stayed in an alright apartment for years and she made it a home, even though, as mom put it: the landlord was a bitch. On top of that she put up with the stress of two, sometimes three jobs just so that I could have nice things and she could could save up for a place of our own. She wanted her own home and not answer to a landlord.


After four years of grinding she saved enough money to move us into a single floor, one bathroom, two bedroom house– and she was thrilled. I, on the other hand, was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. The only thing I wanted was a dog.  Looking back, just as like our odyssey to Vermont, getting that house was damn impressive.
So again: Happy Mother’s Day to you Connie and to all mom’s out there. You’re doing the impossible, and one day, and it may seem far off now, but your kids will appreciate the hell out of you and all you’ve accomplished (even if when it’s all said and done you’re crazy as hell.)

Opinions · Thoughts · unedited

Quite possibly the best song for any and every occasion.

Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” is the best song for literally any occasion. Through various semi-scientific techniques, I’ve discovered that listening to Blondie while doing anything increases productivity 15%, makes you 50% more fabulous while doing it.


I cooked up this theory yesterday while in the shower, where most of my daily deep thinking is done. About two songs into my old school punk playlist, “Heart of Glass” came on. Mental images of me doing a host of productive things like cleaning my apartment, doing the dishes, and getting a new job in an 80’s style montage exploded into my mind’s eye. It was incredible. I felt better about my day, without actually doing anything. A few songs later, when I left the shower, I did those things (less getting the job– Although I did make moves)


And I did it all, to “Heart of Glass” on repeat. Dancing may or may not have occurred.


But, as any good (social) scientist knows: one test does not necessarily prove a hypothesis. So I tried again and again. Walking to work, making muffins, showering (again). Each time I listened to “Heart of Glass,” and whatever I was doing, I did with more pizazz. It was like musical rose-tinted glasses.


That being said, I want to take this experiment even further. Blondie should be played on repeat in DMV’s around the country. Only then can we test the hypothesis on a large scale. And what better place than one of the most demoralizing places ever. If Debbie Harry can put a smile on the face of career DMV workers and put springs in their step– then we should consider deploying “Heart of Glass” into more delicate situations like family monopoly night or Israeli- Palestinian talks.


Picture credit: Skinned Minx via Flickr

Rant · Thoughts · unedited

Soup’s Ugly AF.

Soup isn’t an attractive food.


There, I’ve said it. Someone had to. In fact, soup may be the least attractive food there is– right next to the McRib in terms of ugliness. It’s just stuff, vegetables, meat, or rice in broth; just sitting there looking sad and wet. It’s reminiscent of a whirlpool jacuzzi full of sagging old men.


Spooning soup up isn’t great either.Sometimes you miss your mouth and get it all over yourself. Better hope that it wasn’t a red base– that’s never coming out of that light shirt.


And the sound most people make eating the damn stuff. Some of us put the spoon in our mouth and gulp down like human fucking beings. The rest, the uncultured beasts of society, sound like they’re using a shop vac on a pile of liquidity puke in the bathroom at a AA baseball game. Why get so specific? Why not? Why is he being elitist about eating soup? Yes to all of those questions.


And yet, there’s a certain beauty to soup; it’s an everyman food.  


All you need is a pot, heat, some water, food to boil, and preferably some salt. You can add or subtract as many ingredients as you want. The only limit is your imagination and sometimes your budget. I’ve had amazing bowls of chicken broth with rice and then I’ve had some damn delicious bowls of Pho. However, the magic of a good bowl lies in the execution: soupsmanship as it were.


My own creations are like snowflakes. No two pots are ever identical. It lends itself to the artistry. Realize that the pot isn’t endless and appreciate it while you can. (We’re not talking about that Campbells canned nonsense. Unless it’s tomato. I fucks with canned tomato soup.)


I’ve made some quite terrible soups and I’ve made some masterpieces. One of the best I’ve ever made was a pot of spicy chicken and rice. I boiled upon it in the midst of fall as a complete accident. My steel-toe boots had bits of wet brown and orange leaves caked on the sides and the air outside had started to grow teeth. I had originally intended to make a classic chicken and rice pot. Evidently I channeled my inner Emril and liberally fucked the pot with spices galore. Red pepper. Bam. Basil. Bam. Garlic. Bam. Black pepper. Bam. Bam. Bam. Swallowing set a fire in your chest and cleared out the sinuses in a snap. I might’ve sucked down three bowls before calling it quits.


Although, as you stumble upon masterpieces. One is bound to trip and bust their ass over failures. Too much rice in the pot, too salty, too watery. Don’t get me wrong, soup in this household never goes to waste– every bowl, no matter how god awful, becomes a humbling experience.  
I guess the point of this rant is that I love soup. I see past the aesthetic shortcomings for what’s inside. It’s not just a bunch of ingredients that decided to have a sloppy pool party; soup is a symphony of flavor and ingredients– building off of each other, mingling and matching melodies to move you to “mmmm.” Thanks for existing, soup (you gross looking shit.)

Thoughts · unedited

Complete Shit

You ever read your own writing and think: well this is complete shit. No two ways about it– this is pure, unadulterated hot garbage that I wrote and I’ll be damned if anybody but me ever reads it. How often does this happen? And alternatively, how often do you read something of yours and think: Damn, this is too good.


My guess is the the former outpaces the latter. I know, anecdotally, that that’s the case with my own writing. I’ll read something that’s been published, y’know something written by an actual author and then I’ll start in on something that I wrote yesterday and they just don’t compare. It’s almost as if they’re writing in a different language. The difference is apples and oranges– and I fucking hate oranges.


Is there ever a moment when it all clicks?


Who the hell knows.


Fiction · flash fiction · Thoughts · unedited

Earth Day.

A loud ding sounded from the PA system overhead. The automated tour guide was nothing if not punctual. “Next stop: Earth–Sol system. The cradle of humanity.”


The cradle of humanity?


Jamiro shifted in their seat. Not their humanity they thought. Jamiro knew where they were born; In a sterile white room in the birthing ward of outpost 8 in the Draco system. Nowhere near Earth.


Jamiro’s disheveled uncle, Crampas, leaned over and nudged them gently with an elbow. He smelled like stale beer. That’s just how he smells even now that he’s stopped, Jamiro’s father had said when they protested going on this so-called ‘perspective journey.’


“We’re nearly there kiddo. Are you ready to see where it all started?” Crampas whispered. He looked as if he was ready to jump out of his skin.


“Yeah.” Jamiro replied. He had been staring at nothing but black void punctuated by the occasional streaking light of a nearby star for thirteen hours. Their patience was spent.


“We should be there soon” Crampas said, “twenty minutes tops.”


Jamiro didn’t respond. Instead they made sure to make a show out of yawning. They smacked their lips a few times, looked around the cabin, and rolled their head slowly back to look at Crampas, who hadn’t seemed to notice. He was too busy glancing at his watch and looking out the window.


“It’s an odyssey Jamiro,” Crampas said breaking the silence.


“What is?” Jamiro said, cracking a smile, contemplating whether to add ‘you?’ to the end of the question.


“Out of all other star systems, Sol was the only to produce beings that went offworld…” Crampas was gesticulating and cut himself off when he noticed. “Just wait Jam, I can’t describe it. I couldn’t do it justice. But when we get there, you’ll feel it.”  


Jamiro’s uncle had been waxing about his first ‘birthright’ for weeks before the trip. It was, frankly, annoying. Every day he would tell the same few stories about the smell– it smelled earthy, and about his sense of belonging, dropping words like “humbling,” and “life-changing.”


The loud ding sounded again. “Final approach: Earth.”


The class C cruiser slowed from interstellar speed and emerged near a field of asteroids. The pilots pulled up, gracefully avoiding a few slow tumblers and sailed over the icey pole of a blood-red planet.


“That it?” Jamiro asked, turning from the in-flight observation screen.


Crampas looked stood up and paced around. “Nope. No. No. No. That right there is just Mars– a dead planet. Though it wasn’t always dead Jam. Some…”

Jamiro cut him off, “How about that?” He asked as the cruiser passed into the shadow of a rather large asteroid.


“The moon,” Crampas said, his voice jumping an octave as he turned again to the window.


Jamiro knew this game. Get uncle talking and eventually it ceases to be a conversation. He’ll just talk at you. “What’s it’s designation?” Jamiro said.


“It doesn’t have one.”


Jamiro’s interest perked up. “Wait, really?”  


“Nope,” Crampas said, smiling.


“Not even a non-form name?” Jamiro questioned.


“Ha! Nope. It’s just the moon.” Crampas said, laughing. “It was the first one. Before humans could see into the sky, they just had the one.” His eyes widened. “Y’know, some people even worshipped it.”


Jamiro snickered. What idiots, he thought. “They really worshipped a damn rock?”


His uncle dropped his smile. They sat for a moment and watched the ship circle around the the colorless moon. It was evident this space-rock god had violent beginnings. Each crater had a story. And somewhere down there, Crampas knew, were ancient footsteps and bleached-white flags.  As the ship veered left out of the moon’s orbit, it’s breaking procedure complete, a pale blue light filled the cabin.


“There she is,” Crampas moving closer to the window and cupping his hands around his eyes as makeshift blinders.


“She?” Jamiro said. “Uncle, it’s just a planet. A rock in space with some water molecules and carbon-based life.”


Crampas motioned for his nibling to stand and join him at the glass. Jamiro sighed as he stood and joined his uncle.
“Listen Jam, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. It’s just a planet and the moon is just a rock, but realize that this is special to me, and whether you know it or not, to you too. That,” he said pointing at the approaching earth, “might just be a rock spiraling through the empty void of space around an aging star, but, it’s alive.” Crampas saw that his words weren’t landing with his nibling. “Just, try and have an open mind about this.”