Sunday, June 26, 2011

For a Fistful of Sweat

A week that flew by leads me to a Sunday morning eating waffles (homemade from a waffle iron) and watching For A Fistful of Dollars on AMC. Sometimes I dig certain movies because I want their imagery to infuse itself in my dreams. Monday I spent time with some good college friends, one of whom has been in Africa for the past several years, having been in the Peace Corps in Zambia, and having created a life for herself in South Africa post corps. Very proud of her for her worldliness. I wish plane tickets to that part of the world weren't so pricey, as I'd love to see the world she has spoken of in stories. Waterfalls, lions, oh my. Wednesday we kicked off our latest Wood Sugars show M.I.L.F (Mothers Incredible Local Funnies) now going on Wednesdays at The Original Mothers bar in Chicago, by Rush and Division. It was a swell turn out, and many laughs were induced. Last minute I had to jump on light/sound board for one of the other sketch groups, and not having operated any such board since probably 1999 I was a little nervous. But the nerves kept my timing alert enough to not fuck it up. Had some late nights this week with the show, another Wood Sugars recording session, and some late night work revising my latest novel manuscript. By Friday night I was ready to chill, convincing my girlfriend to make chicken and waffles for dinner, and I later made popcorn. I crashed at 10pm hoping to grab, I was hoping, a 12 hour sleep, yet I awoke at 2:30am with massive heartburn. It was like a middle eastern riot in my belly. That easily stole 2 hrs from my slumber, and I was out of Wal-zan 150, and tums. All I had was old pepto-bismol tablets in the medicine drawer that had expired in 2008. I took them anyway because I was desperate. So this and my energy levels got me to thinking about getting some real exercise to help reduce stress, make my sleep more productive, speed the ol' metabolism, and in general give me a little more cardio vascular stamina. So I went for a run on Saturday afternoon and broke a very good sweat, ran for 2 miles! Which is nothing but considering it has been over a year since I went running that was not just a short print to catch the bus, I feel good about it and am going to try to keep it up a few times a week.

I also completed draft 2.1 of my latest novel on Saturday and am happy with it to a point of comfort in bouncing it around for some reader perspective before my next round of revisions that I want to finalize in September. If anyone is interested in giving the manuscript a read, I'd be more than happy for some outside perspective and critiques.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Power of Thinking Things are Shitty (while hanging out with money)

I’ve been thinking a touch on the economy. How dismal it is still projected to be, the slim job market, low stock dividends, profits slipping, slipping. And it’s interesting, especially when you try to digest it from a scientific, physical, chemical perspective. One of the laws of energy is that it can neither be created nor destroyed. In the public eye there is the bombardment of the image that wealth is vanishing. But no, it’s still there, it’s just held on to, stockpiled. Which leads me to think; that this financial crisis is not of a physical nature. The physical money has not disappeared, the dent in finance is of a mental origin. The cries and moans of Wall Street on the mess they created for themselves created shockwaves of perceived panic and loss which cause so very many to cringe and freeze their wallets and accounts. Businesses announced their wage freezing, budgets had to be cut all around because shards of trepidation were pumped into everyone’s mind, that of shortage, so everyone acted accordingly. Well, the mind shapes its environment…maybe not directly, but it influences the comings and goings just enough to make wishes, gleeful or dour, come true. Even money. Greenbacks, copper, and nickel do not like to hang around the nervous energy of panic, they’ve made that much clear. Perhaps the various currencies should douse themselves in chamomile and valerian root powder and tickle us to relax us enough into loving them again. For then, and only then, will money wear out its welcome. Again.

Sunken Valley & Journey to the Stall

A couple of weekends ago, a good childhood friend and girl friend were in town to visit. We took a walk downtown after dinner to kill time before an after party for the Chicago Underground Film Festival (his experimental sitcom Dare Double was playing at CUFF). They wanted to see the lake. So we started walking eastbound from Wabash. My original thinking was to make our way through Millennium Park, but I got intrigued by the set up of tents and booths and a blocked off little side street stretching east from Michigan Ave. It the was set up for the art fair. But we kept walking through towards the lake. This took us through a strange little township it seemed of its own origin. We took some stairs down to what seemed like a sunken downtown valley, a park nestled, hidden between a surrounding mountain ridge of condominium towers and luxury hotels. A lush park trickled with fountains and throbbed the color green. I've lived in Chicago for 9 years and had no visual awareness that this little park area existed, as it is tucked away from one's sight-line from other major areas of downtown where you have business to romp around in. It had it's own little cafe and bank branch for the service of these secret like "townsfolk."

At different points each one of us had to go to the bathroom, number 2. My friend's girlfriend went into what we thought was a hotel. She asked "where's the bar?" to the front desk attendant. He responded "there is no bar."
"I thought this was a hotel."
"No, this is a condo."
"Oh, well I need to use the bathroom."

They were nice and accommodated her, taking her and my friend down a spiral stairs while I waited outside for what seemed like a very long time. I wondered about what I would do if they never emerged. They did emerge, having pooped in the employee bathroom at the far of a strange, expansive grocery store in the basement.

As we changed our direction to head back into the city, I had to go number 2. I went inside a hopping luxurious hotel, like I meant business and made my way straight into the bathroom. The floor in front of the check in desk glowed. The bathroom was one of those which had set up each stall like its own little closet room. Leaving the hotel we passed by a homeless man asking for money. His approach was "I got crabs and need to buy some cream." I enjoyed his tactic. If I had change/cash I probably would have lent.

Anyway, my friend suggested I started a blog about places to poop in the city. I thought it was a funny notion and I have plenty of such stories to tell, so I may or may not incorporate such into this Igloo Oven blog here. I did a door to door sales job awhile back for a month and it required you to be strategic about gaining entry into bathrooms. One of my territories was on the edge of Hyde Park. There was medical building which was pretty much vacant except one MD office on the first floor. I walked in like I owned the place and went into the elevator up to six. I explored the creepy, vacant hallway with abandoned boxes of paper work and dust. I thought I heard ghostly noises. I pooped as quickly as I could and went back out into the world.

Micro-fiction 6/16/11

Micro-fiction exercise for 6/16/11

The rudder rush was like a quivering spasm of an ADD kid. The boat crashed right into the Bangkok style house of 51st Street and Wagner Blvd, up on the hill that still saw the ravages of the flood. The televangelist lived in that home, and still hung out nearby for he yelled up a verbal storm at the yellow slickered bad navigator who banged his little Boston Wailer right up against his well concealed aluminum siding. Slam wobble crank creak is what gave its material away. The televangelist was up, huddled in his sons old tree fort, feeding turkey jerky to his 3 cats, all wet and hissy. The boater apologized and the televangelist cussed him out as being one of the damned. The boater traveled onwards, away from the partially engulfed hump to find people to save.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Micro-fiction 6/15/11

Micro-fiction exercise for 6/15/11

Freckles were abandoned in the creation of this child when God received a strange phone call. It was prayer, a rather selfish. “God, please please please let me get this job!” But little did the Praying Man stop to consider that God actually preferred his competition to get the job, as his family situation was a bit more dire; having been unemployed for 11 months and a child on the way. Urgency spelled its way to this gentleman more so than the recent college grad. So God abandoned his freckle making in the DNA canvas to push more of his weight into making sure the unemployed man got the job. And he did! God’s will, will hath its way on Earth! But the Praying man, the recent college grad, was bummed to the nth degree and got hammered on O bombs at the corner bar and decided to drive to the suburbs to see his girl friend. And in its own twisted, unplanned revenge on God’s will, the praying man hit a woman biker, sideswiped her as she crossed the intersection. She certainly had the green light. Right of way. The paramedics arrived quickly and rushed her off to the hospital but not in time. She died from massive blood loss and hemrhaging. It turns out she had a bun in the oven. With child, two lives were crossed off the roster of the living. It was the fetus in which God had forgotten to spackle with freckles.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tube Image

Sometimes I'm a sucker for those self help deep relaxation tapes. Cheesy as it may be, I have a tape that really does the trick for me after long day, and especially if my mind is still active when I crawl into bed. So I was listening to it last night and it got me to a good point where I was slightly hallucinating behind my eye lids, which I enjoy, and a good relaxation listen will do this for me. I started to see myself from a third person omniscient, cartoon-like! I was wearing some colourful, frilly, Beatles-esque band uniform. My hair was parted a bit like the flat top character from Dick Tracy. So the cartoon me jumped into a big tube from a platform high in the sky. The tube networked with other tubes, and down I slid like a wacky water park rider. Yet I got deep into this network and the tube took me not to an opening at the end where I'd slide back out to fresh air, but to a dead end where my feet stopped me with a thud.

A tingle of claustrophobia. To shimmy back up the long, long, long tube was to be my escape.

I said to "hell with that." I took a deep breath, and exhaled away the cartoon imagery, and rolled over to welcome restful slumber.


Sometimes I get ideas or images in my head that I feel compelled to write down, and if for whatever reason I'm not able to write it down right away, and I wind up forgetting it, I get really frustrated and upset with myself. I had a realization late last night, a sort of zen to put myself at peace for the fizzling of a "gem" idea. I began to look at the formation of ideas not only from a materialistic, put em down onto paper approach...but the experience of the idea is just as important, and that if it doesn't stick as hoped, well, it was probably a little wave.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Woozy Debate

I was reading a short story in the most recent New Yorker on the way home today, about a baby girl who turns out has a brain tumor, and its subtle description of hemorrhaging and brain bleeding made me pretty woozy and I still feel a bit woozy even though that was about two hours ago. I guess I'm of the faint of heart. An aspect of my novel which I'm currently revising deals with some biologically vivid induced wooziness. A bit of panic disorder.

The New Hampshire Republican debate is on. I'm not a Republican but I like Ron Paul, not for a president, but I do like his rants I've seen before on conspiracy theories and I like that there is his voice somewhere there in Congress. Michelle Bachmann is annoying. Romney has a very politically fake smile on his face as he looks on while listening to the others speak. Rick Santorum in a "this or that" question to get to know their "personalities" said he would choose Leno over Conan. He just lost my "support." Not that I even pondered supporting him. I haven't seen Newt speak much so far.

I'm not a Republican, I'm not a Democrat. I very much feel that American politics needs to develop a strong third, fourth and fifth party even. I fear that no domestic or foreign policy will get solved through the endless two party stickling and butting of heads. It makes way for either big government or big business.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Eyes and Ears, Unlikable Ones

I read recently an article in The New Yorker about one Thomas Drake, now an "enemy of the state" because he shared information with the media about NSA inefficiency and un-lawful surveillance. The NSA had developed a computer program which tracks all electronic communications, phone calls, e-mails, facebook messages, etc. etc. But there was an encryption component so no individuals could be identified unless there were certain patterns which called for a warrant. But the NSA moved forward using the technology in secret without further finishing development of the encryption component. The whole scenario sounds very X-Files, which I have been watching a lot of recently. It reminds me of a time in 2004, when I was living in a basement apartment. My cell phone got shitty reception down in the unit so I had to step outside to make phone calls. Several times when calling my mom in Maine we would hear a clicking and it would disconnect. Usually I would make this phone calls in the evening, after work or a rehearsal, and it would be dark outside. One time I made a call during the daylight and my mom called out the clicking noise. And it disconnected. Then I noticed an unmarked car parked down the street, idling. This clicking/disconnection thing happened a few more times and I would notice the unmarked car parked down the street, idling. I finally gathered the courage to approach this car. Too many clicks. Too many disconnected calls. The car drove off as I got closer. My deduction for this circumstance was that the neighbors above me were selling drugs and were being tapped, dragging my phone calls under suspicion as well. Until I can get my hands on my FBI file...

I stand with Drake.

Gunned Down! Bang Dream!

Last night I dreamt that I was on my way from swimming at a strange overheated, overcrowded local pool house. A black SUV drove by a house and fired away! Just ahead of me. Some folks ducked for cover. A woman emerged from a garage bleeding from the head, a bullet nicked her temple. The SUV came around again for another round of shooting. I made the mistake of giving these punks the bird. They started firing away at me! I ran and ducked for cover underneath a pile of leaves in a backyard, but they drove around to the street on the other side which exposed me and they fired at me as I darted away again to hide in a trash can. I got some bullets to the back.

This morning as I was getting ready for the day, groggy as hell because the vivid dream, or nightmare, must have sapped a lot of adrenaline (I'm certain the brain still fires synapses to gear up the adrenal glands while in deep REM sleep), I thought a little bit about these jerks who gunned me down in my subconscious. I thought about if this were to happen in real life...if I was in a moment of "there's no way out of this" I'd be sure to get a good look at their faces. So I would know who to come back and haunt like crazy. Like throw plates at their head and pull their hair and push them while they're using the bathroom. Retribution can be a bitch. I'd be a petty ghost I think.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Another sample sketch. My hair is looking a little shaggy. Should I go here even though I'm a big kid now?

Oh yeah, and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, just search Wood Sugars.

Wav Form Dance to a Sketch of Ours

We're in the works to have some of our Wood Sugars Comedy podcast sketches animated, but in the meantime Wood Sugars Eliaz figured out how to create groovy wav forms.

Oh yeah, and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, just search Wood Sugars.