Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20th, 2009

Two of my all-time favorite authors were awarded at the National Book Awards last night. Dave Eggers won the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. And Gore Vidal won the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. It makes my day that good writing isn't completely overshadowed by warmed-over crap. That is all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11th, 2009

Once again Philip Roth doesn't win the Nobel. I'm just saying...

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20th, 2009 (R.I.P. Frankie McCourt)

Here I am, just bumming at work like always. Anyway. Same old same as far as work goes, save for a fifty cent raise and an application in for a job that I'll never get on account of the lack of the skills. But, there it is...

The band's been playing a decent amount of shows lately. I'm pretty psyched about that. We have three coming up in the next nine days, so here's hoping for a decent turnout and a lot of fun.

I wasn't going to write anything at all today, but I wanted to mention the death of Frank McCourt. I was quite the fan of his. So, mainly I just wanted to say thank you for all the laughs and the perspective. I'll never forget them. So, my heart goes out to those who miss him as I do.

That is all. Take care.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23rd, 2009

Over this past week some friends and I went in to record some music together. We prepared on Tuesday and got started the following afternoon. When we arrived, Steve was already manning the chair, in which he makes magic happen. The room was at a pleasant 62 degrees, which we enjoyed on account of our knowledge that it would soon be pushing 100. Fordham got right to setting up his drums, and soon thereafter, we got to recording. Drum tracks took around four hours. The guitars, about six. Bass was kicked out in just over three. Then we started the most grueling part, vocals. Vocals took the better part of a day and a half. We got three of us around the mic and did a few group parts together to back up the lead melody. Then Mark sang lead for the first time on a song of his own. It was a lot of fun to work with him.

We go into the studio to finish mixing and to receive the final product tomorrow afternoon. I'm fairly happy with the way everything is sounding. I hope those who choose to give any of the songs a listen enjoy them as well.

I'd like to be able to say that I did things besides this, but I really didn't. I just hung out and bummed around. So, until next time...

Take care.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17th, 2009

I've realized that it takes too much time to think of a title to each one of these things, so starting today I plan to write nothing other than the date, save for big news, of which my life has very little. I just thought that I'd let you know every Saturday what happened over the previous week.

I started an exercise routine; most likely soon to be abolished, but I will keep it up for as long as I can. I've already been playing a good five hours of basketball a week on the court behind my apartment, but I'm going to do my best to add other things to the mix. I started running, mainly taking advantage of my parents being out of town to commandeer their treadmill. I did 7 miles yesterday and three today. I also plan to hike as much as possible until the heat becomes intolerable.

The band is recording this week, and I'm pretty stoked about that. We go in on Wednesday to begin drum tracks on three songs, to be finished by the weekend. We also have two shows tentatively (as all shows seem to be) scheduled for June 10th and June 17th. I'm for sure looking forward to those.

Take care.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Graveyard Shift

As I often tend to do, I stopped blogging for an extended period of time on account of my thinking that I had nothing of importance to say. After a little considering, I realized that I'm the only person who reads my blog--normally as one would reread journal entries, just a quick nostalgic glimpse into a small time ago--so who is to lash out against the boring and banal diatribes that I'm normally inclined to produce? So my rants or observations may be arrogant, self-centered, petty, ill-informed--a whole slew of adjectives held in negative regard--and it doesn't even matter. This is my blog. Such a thing is supposed to be all of the aforementioned things. That's its fundamental purpose. So, from here on out, I figure whatever is to be found here will be even worse, still more boring and narrow minded than it had been before.

So what have I been up to? If you know anything about me, you know that such a question will elicit nothing from me but a laugh and a self-deprecating comment or two, for I never do much of anything. But...for the sake of humoring myself on this nocturnal endeavor, I will try my best to recall all those things that I did manage, whether or not they are, in actuality, worth remembering.

So, since February, huh? Well, in March I went into Summit Studios in Midvale to record a five song EP with a few of my friends. It was my first opportunity to solely do vocals on a record, save for a small guitar part on a single song. The songs turned out decently, considering that we'd been a band for less than a month and a half when we went in to lay everything down. Since then, we've played two shows, one at Kilby and the other at Bert's, both being a good time. I didn't realize exactly how much I missed performing until I did it. I thought I'd be nervous because of the long lull in between these and the times prior, but I felt very comfortable on stage. It's a lot different to only be holding a microphone when you are so used to hiding behind a guitar. I couldn't figure out what I should do. So I just danced around a bit and made a fool of myself. Twice. But I'd do it again. In fact, we have two more gigs scheduled for June, which I'm looking forward to. Another recording session is hopefully in the works, too, because I'm quite the fan.

I went to Oregon for a week in March as well. Sam and I drove West to the coast, spending the first night in Frisco, and working our way up the coast from there. It's a long drive, for sure, but an enjoyable one, and we were in no hurry. In Newport, we were fairly idle, not venturing outside as much as we had planned on account of hostile weather. It rained all but a single day. That aside, a few storms were tolerably warm and made a stroll almost more enjoyable. We made sure to visit the beach several times, where we could view the horizon unblemished. If I had to pick my ten favorite things about this planet, physical and otherwise, the ocean would sit amongst the top contenders, as I'm sure it would on many such lists. When we were inside, we mainly just bummed around. It was nice to just have some time to relax, to read, to sleep in. And to watch Monk, of course.

Another happening that took place in March was my acquiring another job. I didn't need a second job. I didn't want a second job. But considering how vehemently I despise my primary source of income, I gladly accepted it when it happened to come along. It takes up over half of my weekend, but it makes it possible to avoid serving the Man for the bulk of the week, and for that, I am thankful. While I work, I am expected to do very little. I make sure everything is on the up and up, and if that is the case, I am expected merely to refrain from falling asleep, which I manage with minimal effort. It gives me ample time to read, practice guitar or catch up on this garbage that I'm spewing out at the moment. I'm not certain as to how long I'm going to be at such a venture, but I expect for at least the rest of the year. I see no imminent reason to think otherwise.

Lastly, I decided not long ago that if I reached a certain weight, I would do whatever I could to eliminate whatever put me over 160. That weight is 170. I weighed myself the other day and the scale had an ominous 169.9 across its display. It's obvious that soon, I can be negligent no more. I have gained 14 pounds over the last nine years, an amount most would find tolerable, but I'm definitely not a fan. I knew it would happen some day. My diet is atrocious. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. And I'm always hungry. Most days, I fall asleep within minutes of eating, and likely it's a dessert of some kind. Also, my father suddenly decided that he would go out and buy five hundred dollars of spices, a mortar, and a pestle, and do whatever he could to prepare a new meal every day. I frequently get invites to said endeavors. He has an obsession with his red pepper tree. He refuses to make a meal that won't put fire in your bowels a few hours hence. Regardless, most are delicious and worth the agony.

Anyway. I guess that about does it for a while. Hopefully I'll keep up on this a lot better now that I've got the time and a convenient means. Ciao.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A literary Generation Coming To An End

For some reason or another, over the past few years, I inadvertently became attached to a particular group of authors that happen to have one important thing in common. Without knowing anything about the writers aside from their works, I found it to be a strange phenomenon as they started slipping underground one by one. I soon realized that, unfortunately, I had decided that it would be a good idea to take a liking to the stylings of a handful of people that are all at least in their sixties; many of them, older still. I, by no conscious decision, naturally tend not to be interested in authors of generations closer to my own. I'm not certain if it's simply the style of prose, the characters, the settings or the subject matter, but something in my elders just seems more intriguing to me, I guess. Perhaps because they are more reliable portholes into the past.

Here are a few that I have lost within the past three and a half years:

Saul Bellow, April 5, 2005, 89 years old. I have a strange attraction to Jewish literature. I just absolutely love the feel of it; the humor, the honesty.

Kurt Vonnegut, April 11, 2007, 84. I own and have read over a dozen of Kurt's novels. I like his social awareness and his sense of irony.

Robert Jordan, September 16, 2007, 58. Robert is here on account of his place in fantasy just as Crichton has his in science fiction.

Norman Mailer, November 10, 2007, 84.
Once we discount the fact that Mailer is completely insane, his stuff has the potential to be mind-blowing in it's historical relevance and it's absurdity.

Michael Crichton, November 4, 2008, 66. I'm not so much a fan of Crichton's work, as just an admirer of what he was: a huge inspiration in the field and art of science fiction.

David Foster Wallace, September 12, 2008, 46. I admit that--considering his age and the circumstances regarding his death--David doesn't belong here. However, I thought very highly of his work and couldn't bring myself to just leave him out.

John Updike, January 27, 2009, 76. I have little doubt that most people--just as they would in regards to Philip Roth--would write most of John's stuff off as despondent near-smut, but I believe that he has written some of the best works pertaining to the trappings that come along with advanced age.

With how quickly the days begin and end, it seems to me that these friends of mine--these minds that I have spent so many riveted hours in the company of--are dropping like flies. And I've recently been wondering who will be the next to go. Many of my other favorites are definitely about to start pushing the limits of mortality. It's a sad thing, indeed, for an avid reader such as myself. Here's a few, by age:

Stephen King, 61; Kent Haruf, 65; Garrison Keillor, 66; John Darnton, 67; Joyce Carol Oates, 70; Thomas Pychon, 71; Don Delillo, 72; Annie Proulx, 73; Cormac McCarthy, 75; Philip Roth, 75; Toni Morrison, 77; Frank McCourt, 78; Elie Wiesel, 80; Noam Chompsky (stretch to label him an author, I know), 80; Gore Vidal, 83; Ray Bradbury, 88.

Soon, I will have no other living authors to look up to. It's a pretty sad thing for me to think about.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Few Things I Love

My good friend, A Paperback Writer, has been so kind as to offer me a small gesture of appreciation. As I understand it, with this token comes great responsibility: the obligation to divulge some information about what you are partial to and why you have said sentiments, which I will happily do. I have almost no attachment to actual tangible items, so I may be overstepping the rules a bit here and traveling instead into memory, but I ask you to forgive my presumptuousness, for I am a nostalgic soul. The thing that means the most to me is time being spent as it should be, and remembering it as just that. So here are a few things about me that are of no real consequence:

1. I love playing music. I've been in a handful of bands over the last eight years--none of which has ever had much of a following--and I will say there's nothing quite like it. I've strummed some guitar, plucked some bass, and screeched vocally over any number of chords and have recorded a good twenty-five or so songs in various studios. I've played for crowds as small as a few dozen people to a venue that couldn't fit another soul--a small venue, mind you. And the bond that is built between friends that create any type of art together is a strange but enviable one, incomparable to those erected on other foundations. And so, I love the songs that we have written together, and I love all of those friends that have sat down with me and done so.

You know, as I'm sitting here trying to think of what to write about, I'm realizing how much a child of the 21st century I am. I couldn't care less if some crazed person for some unthinkable reason made off with my television, my car, my bed and so many other things--it would be considered reparable damage. The only real things I'd be upset over are things like: my computer, my mp3 player and my phone. As I said, I am a creature of nostalgia, and this being the year that it is, the bulk of all things written to me that I am fond of or the hordes of pictures of my friends or of places that I loved and that I love still are all stored in these electronic devices. They really are--I can say without a second of hesitation--essentially the only things I'd miss, save for their analog counterparts in the middle drawer in my room. Perhaps I should take measures to back up some of such things. I'd also be a little put out if someone stole my bookcase, I guess. But, besides that, pilfer away.

So I'm just going to waste some time speaking well of a memory or of a phenomenon or two that I particularly enjoy(ed).

2. Differing temperatures. This will probably make absolutely no real sense to most of you, but it is something that I consider a treat. I am specifically referring to this: having a blanket that is warm--perhaps having just come out of the dryer--and a pillow that is freezing. I don't know why, but ever since I was a child, I spend most nights flipping pillows over again and again to find a cold spot, and in failing to do this, reaching then for another pillow altogether. The blanket is entirely the opposite. I have no problem scrunching down chrysalis-like into a sleeping bag--can't sleep without at least something covering me, in fact--but the pillow always has to be cold. I love it. Don't know why, don't care.

3. Watching someone, anyone, doing something that they love. Sorry if I'm coming off as forcibly poetic or overly maudlin, I'm just trying to be honest. There's something about the look on someone's face, or just the energy you can feel bursting out of them--and sometimes into you--when they are extremely happy or in a perfect moment. Watching someone who loves nothing more than to dance doing just that, flowing or jolting about on a stage, is not something to be missed. On the other hand, witnessing someone do something they do well but have no passion for couldn't be any more boring.

Well, then. I would more than likely keep smothering you with this sentimental garbage that I feel so strongly about if I didn't have to run. Thinking fruitlessly about what to write has exhausted my allotted time. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Two Cents

Hello friends,

I'm taking this time to repeat what has already been said by millions, be it the media, activists, or just friends of yours or mine. In watching the inaugural happenings of the past few days, I have been moved--genuinely. Call it cliche, call it predictable or what you will, but, nevertheless, it is how I feel. So bear with me.

I feel as if a weight has been lifted, as if a filter of grey has been removed from my vision. I found myself wanting to hug every person I laid eyes on, everyone. I wanted to sing and dance and to laugh and cry. And I did many of those things. And I sincerely hope you did as well. God, it felt good.

I, myself, decided to support Barack Obama just over three months before the Iowa caucases, and, although at times I became irritated--or just exhausted on account of all of the crap that must be waded through ad nauseum--I never regretted my decision. I did very little on his behalf. I told not a single person to support him. I asked not a single person to, either. All I did was answer questions that were put to me. I told of why he had my support. I told of my trust in him, a trust that just so happens to be a rarity amongst my conventionally cynical way of carrying myself. And I put his name--like so many others--across the back of my car. And, even this small token of support, I admit, I did reluctantly. I live in Utah, not a fan of his types in usual circumstances, and I kept seeing a rock going through my windshield. Luckily, I don't care much for my car, and so I didn't hesitate for too long. I proudly cast my vote for him when the opportunity was afforded. And on Tuesday, I believe I received some semblance of affirmation that I did the right thing. The man, Obama, my friend, has my blessing, my support, and my good will.

I find myself wanting to volunteer to help those that have trouble or simply cannot help themselves. I want to tell everyone not to worry, that the worst is over now. I want to tell all of my friends I love them. I am elated. Stoked. Simply. I understand that many will say I am young. Or Naive. But, once again, of this I am not at all concerned, for if maturing or gaining some esotericism that is bestowed only on the aged is received alongside anything that will nullify or overshadow the emotion, the fervent presence that I feel now--that's how I feel, that I am finally present wherever this place is in which we find ourselves--I can only pray that I never reach such a milestone.

I am also very aware of what lies ahead, that he now has to prove himself. I have no delusions of grandeur. He is, after all, a mere mortal. He can work no miracles. But, he is doing something that I feel has been absent for some time, for far too long, anyway. If he can only harness the emotion, the energy that he has stirred up within so many individuals and in the collective. And I believe he can. I know he can. But he needs all of you out there who are willing to do your part. You don't have to support him, for there is never a need for lackeys. What we need are those who are unwilling to throw themselves in front of the wheels that are now rolling. Let them be. For those of you who fear what America could potentially become at the hand of this man, I ask you: give him his due, give him his chance. Don't stop him before he has the opportunity to take his first steps, and, eventually, to carry us on his shoulders. At the very least, give him the benefit of the doubt--I implore you. For, you cannot deny that something is happening. And I believe it to be a beautiful thing indeed.

As he himself has said so many times, the world in which we find ourselves has seen better days. Of this, we are all aware. And let us do something about it. If not working to render it in the best shape it has ever witnessed, then at least to reinstate it to some of the days it saw when it was just a bit younger. The environment is in a bad place right now. As is the economy. But our humanity is the most pliable of these things, and we find it in a very volatile situation. As much as it's being debated what all needs to be done to stimulate the economy--what tax cuts, what spending--I believe that our humanity was in just as dire straits. And whereas the aforementioned are possible solutions to the economic crisis, Obama, the man, himself, is the stimulus for our spirits. Take the boost. Jump a little higher. Don't quit or justify idleness just because it seems that there is difficulty or discomfort ahead. Just go.

Don't let the ball stop rolling. Follow it. Keep it going. Kick it if you have to. Just don't stand in its way.

Thanks for reading.

And also, I apologize. It is 3:00 am after all. In such circumstance, sometimes I cannot be held responsible for what I say or for how ridiculous I may sound.


Monday, January 12, 2009


Hey. It's Fivas. I know I haven't written in forever, so I decided to finally sit down and jot down a thing or two on account of the new year. First off, let's recap some of the high points of 2008 for me.

Writing: I finally finished the first draft of my first novel. I wrapped it up on the last day of November. I'm fairly stoked to get some query letters out soon, though I'm not certain about how many rejections I can stomach before my self esteem is bupkes. I know the idea of eventually getting published is a long shot, but I enjoy writing, so I'll continue to do it whether or not I am fortunate enough to have that happen some day. I'm in the process of revising with the full intention of ironing out the wrinkles as best I can. I haven't decided if I'm proud of the finished product yet, though I am proud of myself for finishing.

Travel: 2008 was a big year for travel. I have the ongoing resolution of leaving the country at least twice a year, and I'll keep it up for as long as I can manage. I pulled it off this time. The following is a list of all the places that I visited in 2008:

USA: Idaho, California, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virgina, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. I also visited Bryce Canyon, Goblin Valley, Arches (2) and Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon right here at home. I checked out the Grand Canyon, spent a few days in Vegas, went to Carlsbad Caverns and the Senora Caves, the Alamo, New Orleans, Mobile military base, Nasa, the Capital, checked out Niagara. I walked along South Beach (a fave location of mine) in February in bare feet and shorts while my friends back home were freezing. Good stuff.

Canada: Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Newfoundland is gorgeous; sparsely populated and not as yet marred by humans. Ice bergs were melting on the horizon and moose were everywhere. Also, I love the ocean and the place happens to be an island. So, hey.

Australia: New South Wales. Took some rides out in the ocean to check out whales and dolphins, Saw Four Seasons and Don Giovanni at the Sydney Opera house, went to Taronga Zoo (and two other wildlife centers including an aquarium), attended a celebration with fireworks and dancing for the Chinese New Year (half of Sydney's populous is Chinese), hiked through the Blue Mountains in the Katoomba Rain Forest. Just had a thoroughly good time.

That's 36 states, four Canadian provinces and one in Australia all in one year. Not bad. I spent over one-fifth of the year away from my bed.

Work: Same old crap. Worse job in the history of the complex organism. I'd rather do the job of a male penguin during the mating season; using my body to shield the icy wind of over negative 100 degrees from the others, all the while tending an egg. That sounds like a dream.

Besides that, I didn't do much beside just, you know, hanging out or reading. But I happen to be a fan of both.

As for 2009, here are some of the things that I'd like to see happen:

Send out at least twenty query letters for BOAOC;
Write at least three short stories and submit them to fiction magazines;
Be well into, if not finished with, a second novel;
Visit ten states;
Leave the country twice;
Improve the job situation;
Get a slot on Jeopardy;
Exercise (of course).

And here are some things that I'd really like to see happen:

BOAOC gets accepted by a decent publisher for a $40,000 advance, then the paperback rights go to Vintage for $80,000;
My second novel is already being bid on before it's finished;
One of my three stories wins the O. Henry Award and earns me a Guggenheim fellowship;
I circle the entire country doing book signings and readings;
I'm flown out to Sweden on account of a Nobel nomination, the first ever for a single debut novel;
I quit my job after learning of the royalty advance and the Guggenheim;
I'm invited on as a guest for Celebrity Jeopardy, an episode featuring men who changed the world;
I somehow get out of exercising.

Well, there you go. 2009 in a nutshell. Sorry for stealing that ten minutes of your life. Take care, friends.