Dealing with Humans: The Aggressive Police Officer

I wonder how much of going into a situation thinking one person is right over another can cause more friction. Maybe, the proper viewpoint would be to go into a scenario completely open. Then if a person is being difficult, or if a solution needs to be recommended, an individual who is open to all possibilities can offer their wisdom. 

Let me give you an example. Recently, I was trying to go through the Midtown Tunnel in Manhattan. It was raining very heavily, and I couldn't see exactly where I was going. What I could make out was that I needed to cross over to the cash lane to pay the toll. As I switched over lanes, I was stopped by an aggressive officer. He immediately asked me for my license and registration. 

"Whose car is this?" he asked. 

"It's a rental," I said. 

"Give me the rental agreement," he said. 

I handed the officer the rental agreement. Then he did the most unusual thing. He asked me to back up. 

"Back up!" he shouted. "Back up! Back up! More!! Back up!!!"

I backed up 15 feet back to the merging lane for the tunnel. Then the officer leaned into the window and told me I had to go back into the merging lane and merge past the orange cones that were laid out.

"I'll let you go this time with a warning," he said. "Pay attention to the cones next time!"

"Okay," I said. 

It would have been at this point in my younger days that I may have gotten a bit angry at this officer. If I were younger, I would have told him how inappropriate it was to treat me like a five year old. I didn't though. I had places to be. I could see the situation going smoothly without an incident or creating more friction. I opted for a situation without friction. I simply followed orders to achieve the path of least resistance. 

Was there another path of least resistance I could have taken? Is there a moment where we need to acknowledge how someone has crossed a boundary with us, or is it more important to zoom out and see the bigger picture before we react with anger or harsh words? What do you think?  

Doing the Work

It amazes me how easily those in power positions are quick to identify their roles and act upon that function. This is probably most apparent in parenting. A child may have the desire to explore a certain avenue, but be prevented to do so because a parent identifies with their roles. Suddenly, providing becomes a case of spoiling; and prevention due to fear becomes a facet of overprotection.

In my first marriage, I can see how much of my relationship's interactions were based on the roles we were living. My ex was a teacher and wife. I was a writer and husband. These roles dominated the way we lived with one another, and prevented an openness that would have come with being aware of the roles we were playing.

These days I see the roles between my parents and myself altered by time and security. There are still times when my parents may identify with their egos and want to protect or assuage my wounds, but, for the most part, these instances have diminished greatly with my own capacity to handle difficulties that they themselves may not have been able to surmount. Thus, allowing the relationship to move outside its original boundaries.

Still, this does not mean that my parents' overprotective moments are long forgotten. If an examination was made presently, it would most likely prove that the same fears were still prevalent, but that maybe it simply went unspoken or unacknowledged because I am past the normal age when it is mentioned. 

As I get prepared to be married once again, I am aware how easily my role as husband or father could be miscontrued by my ego and result in overprotective coddling. I will meditate to be in touch with my inner truth. Maybe, this will help me put down the conceptual roles and constructs that surround me.

Sideways State of Consciousness

I have been trying to move past my ego. I would like to be able to see the world through my body rather than my thoughts. I don't know why this is. I guess I am tired of thinking. It really has served me no purpose. 

I have a lot of work to get past my ego. Today, I listened to Eckhart Tolle talk about how you can feel your body as alive, and how that'll stop the ego-mind from chattering. "Feel the energy in your hands," Eckhart's audio voice said. "You may even feel a slight tingle. That is you feeling the aliveness of your body."

I know it sounds crazy from society's make money, war, and kill people stance; and believe me, there is nothing I like better than watching agony and suffering on the news, and then going to the local supermarket to scowl at people buying regular milk when they should be buying fat free soy - but I simply don't think I can stomach my thoughts on any side other than the "no sides" of what everything is when there is no making and only being.

I really don't know how to cultivate this perspective other than to continue checking in with my body and meditating. I suppose I will exercise discipline in other facets of my life - writing, tennis, running, loving - so that it will be more of a 100% attitude.

Some of you may be scratching your heads at my mention of love as a discipline. "Why would it be so sterile or robotic?" you might ask. 

Well, I am glad you did, because I am also a bit perplexed as to why I would consider love a discipline. It has taken me a moment to realize that when I say "discipline", I am simply acknowledging how anything I do can be seen from a perspective of the "body feeling" rather than the mind thinking. If I am capable of approaching love with my body, than I may just actually experience it in a - and I am resisting the word "better", because I know if I say it, then I am simply creating a sense of identity in reference to this new ideology - different way. 

With my mind shut off, I may be able to experience a different love. I don't really know what this is. I could even be on a wild goose chase once again - God knows I've taken enough routes to try and see the world from different perspectives (cue montage of P. doing Bikram yoga, drumming at a sweat lodge, sitting Zen meditation in a Korean Temple, running down a windy road in Elkton Maryland, and finally, a younger shot of the author building an igloo out of embanked snow circling an entire neighborhood cul-de-sac). Who knows where this will lead? I am excited about the prospects though. I stare at the trees above me on the tennis court. I feel my body. I turn into an avocado. I disappear into my thoughts mean my thoughts mean my thoughts mean. I reappear like Milton. I flag down a nudist. I climb aboard. I sail to the Galapagos Islands. I pet a lizard. I pull out my lizard. I perform a vasectomy. I eat a snail. I become Franch. "This is the past tense of French," I explain to a friend beside me. The friend understands. We make love. I look at the trees. I make nothing.  

Seoul: Jet Lag Makes a Doll of a Housewife

I am back in South Korea. The tennis courts are nice. I've been having fun practicing my serve. Aside from that, So Gee says she likes me. We went to Costco. That's where she told me. 

"I like you," she said. 

I picked up my bulgogi bake - a Korean version of a calzone. The guy had wrapped it in aluminum foil. He put it in my hands. Then So Gee whispered it to me. I looked at the guy while she whispered. I pretended like she was telling me something naughty and sexual. The vendor - paying slight attention because I had one eyebrow raised - inched a bit closer to the pizzas that lined the counter in front of him. I watched his apron to see if it would touch the food. I wanted to point at him and say the food was contaminated. I didn't though. I just smiled at So Gee. It was nice to be told I was liked. It made me forget about being important. I also liked her voice. It was soft and cute and not purposely so. I dislike people who are intentionally cute. The other day I saw this girl at a bus stop with the perfect body shape and outfit: slender, tall, lips pouted, pink pumps; nice A-line skirt (also pink), chartreuse blouse; heaps of make-up; and laser-rectified eyes. I leaned out the window. "Look," I said. "It's a doll!" She couldn't understand me. So Gee did. She laughed and then got solemn. "That wasn't a nice thing to say," she said. "You're right," I said.  "I did it though. What can I do now? I observe my idiocy and grow comfortable with it." 

It's 5:16 a.m.. Now I am going to make an omelet. If I could see into the future, I would see myself hand So Gee a "cooked" omelet. She would squint her eyes as she looked at a plate with blue vines drawn on its edges. She would trace the vine around the plate like a hallucination coming into clarity. The omelet would be the last thing she notices. She would see it as a dart might hit a bull's eye. Then it would come out in a rush of words slurred and barely audible: "You are the best housewife." I would consider this with a slight hurt to my masculinity. Then I would smile because I know that this is not true. I am not as good as a housewife. I am a doll. I am made of plastic. If you lie me down, I will close my eyes.  

Sunset Junction Street Fair

Last night I went to the Sunset Junction Street Fair in Silver Lake. It was a very cool way to say goodbye to Los Angeles. My brothers were there. JP was there! Jesse was there!!  We had fun eating hamburgers, watching the Cold War Kids, and riding the Gravitron. What more could I ask for?

JP is ready to kick it. 

Jesse's jacket is really pretty. I forgot to complement her. Paiman has "johnson pants". ; )

Before the Gravitron. 

Bonds at their best. 


Ambercrombie model says: "I am a little famous."

Panauh wins chipmunk with dart mastery. There is talk of a reality series. Panauh offers wikipedia entires and life as high-low-roller in Vegas. 

"Dude, you're a hipster," he tells me. 

"What's a hipster?" I ask. 

"Old people trying to act young like us."

Panauh's response to seeing the Cold War Kids: "It was more fun to kick plastic cups in the street."

The reality series is now in the works. 

Los Angeles: Lunch with Aram

Yesterday, I got together with Aram in Los Angeles. At first, we were going to hit some Parisian place on Franklin, but it was way too hot. We decided to rock the 101 Diner instead. It was really nice to talk about our common friends from Bolinas, life as artists, and our favorite films and books. 

I will be having a few more dinner dates in L.A. before heading to South Korea on Sunday. I am excited to get back to So Gee, but I am also more excited to bring her here permanently in March of next year.  

You Will Get Better or Die!

I got a chance to meditate with friends yesterday. That was nice. I haven't meditated since I got sick with this stomach issue last year. It was good to get back to it. I think I will meditate regularly once I get back to Korea. There is a discipline of doing it that reminds me of dealing with writing. I would like to cultivate that.

Besides meditating, I went out to eat with all my Buddhist friends. They were all quick to make fun of my condition.

"So what can you eat?" one friend asked.

"Uh," I paused. "Not much."

"Can you do Indian?"

"Well," I paused again. "Maybe, some things."

"Saag paneer is not spicy," another friend remarked.

"Here, have some chocolate," another offered.

"I can't have chocolate," I said. 

"No chocolate?"

"No, I can't have anything with caffeine."

"No coffee?" 

"Yeah, no coffee, soda, nicotine, chocolate, tomatoes, onions, fatty foods, or spice."

"Wow," my friend Darreck smiled. "You might as well join the monastery."

"Yeah," I said. 

Once we got to the Indian restaurant, everyone was curious how the condition came about. I explained how it was difficult to take in the spicy food in Korea, and how stress, late night eating habits, and working way too much, may have also been a winning combination. 

"It is a serious condition," someone said gravely.

"I am feeling better now though," I smiled. 

"Yes," Darreck agreed. "You will get better or you will die. That's the way it is."

"Yes," I agreed. 

Then, without pause Darrick, decided on a dish I could eat without spiciness. "You can get lamb biryani," he said proudly. "We will ask for it not spicy."

"Okay," I said. 

We spent the rest of dinner telling stories of drunken stupor or adolescent angst. I told a few eye openers. They were a bit crude. I was unsure about telling some because there was a minor present, but that didn't seem to matter among these Buddhists. They were the real deal. Completely open and real. It was good to be with them. 

"I will see you soon," I said to Darreck when he dropped me off later that night. 

"Take care of yourself in Korea," Darreck smiled.  

Moksha, the friend who I have been staying with the past couple days, walked me upstairs to his apartment. "You had us all in stitches," he said, and patted my back. "Everyone had a good time. "

"Really?" I asked. 

"Oh, yeah," he smiled. "You've been in Korea so long you've forgotten how funny you are."

"I guess so."

Moksha and I stood on the patio for a while. Night was coming. The rain kept touching everything so it seemed like we were in a memory of the present moment. I held up my camera against the wind. I figured I'd capture Seattle's skyline so I could forget.     

Lost Painting Found: The Jesse Owens Story

I remember Seattle being less rainy. I must have come during breaks in her schizophrenic barometer. As of now, it has rained off and on the past coupled days. It's not horrible, but it definitely gives me second thoughts about ever living here in the future. I just couldn't take that over an extended time. That's probably why So Gee and I will be in a place like Los Angeles or Hawaii for the long haul. Hawaii sounds great. I'll have to visit there this year too. 

In between Seattle's intermittent showers, I was able to attend an excavation of sorts. One of my friends dragged me to their living room, where, lo and behold, he revealed a painting I did in 1998 (see above). The inscription says "Man vs. Horse" - a direct reference to Jesse Owens racing horses for a living after winning four Olympic medals with Adolf Hitler watching in 1936. I thought it was such irony that the United States used Jesse Owens as a face against Hitler, but didn't have the decency to offer him a job because of racial inequality once he returned home. Can you imagine racing horses for a living after being an Olympic champion? I don't think Michael Phelps will be doing that anytime soon.  

I am now off to a massage. Four cities within a week has made all the muscles in my body want to be stretched and folded several times over. 

Seattle Bound!

I leave for Seattle tomorrow. I am very excited. I haven't been there in three years. At the same time, it is bitter sweet to leave my parents. I had a good time hanging with them this past month. Now it's almost time to go back to work though. Just a week in Seattle and Los Angeles before Korea comes a calling. 

The Embryo Stage of a Film Production

I had a nice time visiting Noah in Youngstown, Ohio. We talked about relationships, gastritis, and making a movie. The latter was the main reason for our get together. As of today, it looks like we will be shooting a film of Noah's novel, The Human War, in early 2009. I am hoping to do pre-production and the entire film in five weeks. We'll see if that's possible. In the meantime, I am working on the script, getting a team together, and checking out locations.

Noah took me to Youngstown's local Denny's, a strip club, and in and around the downtown area. I got a solid taste for what made this such a unique backdrop for Noah's fiction. My ideas for what I would shoot also started forming. I could see the protagonist's room, the way characters would walk and where, and how certain storefronts and city streets could serve as a backdrop for a particular scene. There was definitely a feeling of hope and camaraderie between Noah, Youngstown, and myself. I even managed to take a few pics of this unique city, and take them off to the second leg of my journey - Manhattan!

I had to go right from Noah's to my friends' places in Brooklyn. They were the ones who were going to help make this film. Thankfully, Mark and Thomas are both interested in seeing this project come together. Mark was willing to help as a producer and casting director, and Thomas wants to co-direct the picture with me. I think both things are great.

At first, I thought that maybe one director would be better. I even considered my friend, Marlowe, as being the better choice, and to just have me as an executive producer in the wings, but after thinking about it, I think this works well. Thomas is a great producer and director, and I do want to bring my special flavor to the picture. I need to remember: If I sit too high on my perch, I may not ever see an egg.

Interview with Chris Killen: February 20th - August 4th, 2008

Chris Killen is an author from Machester, England. His award winning blog and upcoming novel with Canongate have catapulted him into the heart of the current literary scene in England and America. Over the past several months, we were able to talk about his band, The Miniature Swans, life as a possible filmmaker, and his upcoming release, The Bird Room

Pirooz Kalayeh: Alice has a past and freckles. Darren is a jock who smells like aftershave. They have thoughts that operate like text messages. In fact, you employ narrative transitions with Internet language quite frequently. There are the double clicks to delete people's faces, and the protagonist's internal dialogue mapped by Alice's freckles as lines made into trapezoids crisscross on the page like the naked back you help us see. It is quite refreshing. The jumps match my Internet mind's way of maneuvering through the world. It also echoes Richard Brautigan's use of metaphor, when the preposterous suddenly becomes unified with reality. In a sense, I can see how both your styles operate as simulacrums, where a reader can enter at will, and, like the Internet, from any direction.

How much was the Internet a factor in your choice of transitions and the non-linear path of The Bird Room? Were you hoping to reflect an experience similar to surfing, or were your choices simply a product of how love operates in leaps and illogical bounds?

Chris Killen: I like that you used the word 'illogical'. I'm interested in illogical and irrational acts and decisions. This novel went through a number of drafts. At first it was completely achronological – a series of disconnected 'scenes' which I expected the reader to try and piece together afterwards. It was supposed to be like thoughts – how thoughts and memories aren't chronological. But I didn't really think about whether it would be fun to read something like that, and when I showed early bits of the draft to people, most of them just felt confused. 

So I decided, by the second draft, that it was more important for the novel to be fun to read than it was to be 'clever', so I put the scenes in sort of chronological chunks; although the whole thing still isn't completely in order. But hopefully it at least makes some sense now.

You're right, there's a lot of internet stuff in there, and yes, I think that has been an influence on some of the language I've used, but as for the structuring, no, I think it would still be structured this way even if I didn't spend so much time online, or if there was no internet. The language might be different, but the structure would probably be the same.

PK: That's interesting that you proceeded in a very disparate fashion. Rikki Ducornet once advised me to follow the same route with my own work. From her perspective, the unmapped could lead to even more suspense for an audience, because an author proceeding in such a fashion would also be in a state of quandary as to what would happen next; thereby, allowing this truth to operate as a function of integrity as well. I would say this rings doubly true in your case, since you are interested in both your novel evolving from an unstructured perspective, as well as how the illogical and irrational acts of your characters will take shape. Would you say your interest in the irrational is for a hope to unveil how doubt itself is ever present in relationships and the human condition, or are you interested in revealing other truths in its exploration?

Chris Killen: The main thing I'm interested in – or at least the thing I was most interested in when I was writing The Bird Room – was the urge towards self-destruction. If I look at the novel now, and think about it for a while, that seems to be the element that stands out most: self-destruction, sometimes on a sub-conscious or unconscious level. 'Self-destruction' sounds kind of serious and over-the-top, though. I will try and explain a bit more … It's like the feeling of standing next to a river, and thinking 'I could just throw myself in,' or of having an important business meeting or something and thinking to yourself, 'I could just say something completely inappropriate here,' or, 'I could pick my glass of wine up and throw it in this person's face.' I think things like that a lot in my life. I think most people do. I don't act on them, but in my novel, the narrator at times acts on these urges. 

Also, I think people are sometimes motivated unconsciously towards things that will 'harm' them or 'worsen' their situations. Like a person being attracted to a 'bad' character type; they know they should be in a relationship with a 'nice' person, someone who treats them right, and they go out with a string of 'bad' people, who are cruel to them and mess them around. Why? I have no idea. Maybe they like the drama. Maybe they seek some kind of punishment. I don't want to ever completely answer these things, flat-out. To me, that would be too simplistic psychologically, and also kind of preachy and putting myself 'above' the characters. I think that people are often motivated by about five or six conflicting feelings and urges at the same time.

I like Knut Hamsun's early novels a lot. In HungerMysteries, and Pan especially, the characters do things that don't always make sense. They follow urges and often – for no obvious reason – make their situations worse. When I first read Hamsun (I'm thinking, for example, of the scene in Pan where Lieutenant Glahn takes the shoe off Edvarda's foot and throws it in the lake) I felt very excited. I really felt like I understood the characters; they felt more 'psychologically complex' to me than other fictional characters I'd read previously. I hope I'm not just copying Knut Hamsun. I feel it's more like he proposed a new way of doing things, and people read him and went, 'Yes, that's true, that is how people are,' and then they went back to writing simplistically motivated characters and forgot about him. I would like to read more Hamsun-like characters in novels.

PK: You mention Hamsun's characters' break in logic as something that you would hope to see in the fiction you read. It is only natural then that you write according to those interests. In today's world of consumerism and demographics, this is a refreshing and brave venture. Have you always written for what you hope to read?

CK: Yes, I think I've always written the kind of thing I would like to read. I really didn't think I had much of a chance at getting The Bird Room published anywhere big when I was writing it. I thought maybe a really small press, if I was lucky. That a big independent publisher has taken a chance on it, I find really strange and good. I feel very lucky, and a bit precarious, and really have no idea how it will do. Personally, I don't think it's going to sell very many copies, but I like the idea of someone who is writing something that isn't a big 'blockbuster' novel maybe seeing my novel in a bookshop next year and thinking, 'Oh, okay. Maybe I do have a chance, after all.'

I don't think I could write any other kind of fiction, and it seems that the fiction I like to read (and write) is never the 'popular' or 'mainstream' kind. I would write a terrible thriller or traditional 'family saga' or something, I think.

I like to think of fiction writing and reading as a conversation. I will read something I really like, and then parts of that writer's style, small elements of it, might go into my stuff in the future. It's not even a conscious decision, usually. I will just notice things, afterwards. I feel like I'm always learning new things about writing by reading other people. But I don't think I have ever read anything that has all the things I like in other writers' stuff, all in one place – so I guess that is what I try and do when I write something. I sort of try to amuse myself, and also to write something that has all the things I like in it. Those things keep changing. I have made myself sound like a bit of a rip-off merchant, maybe, but I think it's just a different way of saying, 'I am influenced by _____ and _____.'

PK: Does your process ever pull you into other art forms for? Do you ever listen to a piece of music or check out a movie and think how the elements could be translated into writing? Anything recently?

CK: I think maybe a few films have influenced me a bit, but not as much as other people's writing. I did go through a 'Godard phase' around the same time I was thinking of writing The Bird Room as achronological and a 'punishing experience' for the reader. Then I got over myself.

Films I like are usually quite 'novelistic', or at least there's a strong feeling that one person is in charge. I like writer/directors a lot. Same with music; I usually seem to gravitate towards bands where one person is writing the songs and singing them.

I like Woody Allen and Hal Hartley films. I have been going through (another) David Lynch phase at the moment. I just watched Inland Empire again, and I feel really excited about it. I admire David Lynch's bravery a lot. But I don't know if anything from it will 'translate' into my writing or anything.

PK: That's a diverse array of auteurs. I figure if none of them had an influence on your writing, then they probably didn't have a lot to do with the flash shorts you've been making on Day of Mustaches. Are you fiddling with Flash in hopes of making quick shorts, or is there something longer in the works? 

CK: I'm still learning Flash. I got a 'dodgy' copy and taught myself how to use it by following some youtube tutorials. It's just something to mess around with, when I don't feel like writing. I have no big plans. Just more silly stuff, I think. I'm making a music video on it for the Bruce Springsteen song 'Badlands' at the moment. I guess, with the flash stuff, I was a bit inspired by David Shrigley. I also really like the episodes of Dumbland by David Lynch that I've managed to find on the internet.

I want to try and make 'proper' short films too, eventually. And one day I would like to make a 'feature'. At the moment I keep having the unreasonable daydream of writing a screenplay of my novel and then being given some money to direct it. I honestly think I could do a good job with 'financial backing'. I don't know.

PK: I think a script of your novel would be a great project, especially if you directed it. You seem to have an eye for the visual, and I would love to see what coalesces. That brings up an interesting side-note. We have spoken previously about our common interest in the works of Richard Brautigan. Up to this point, no films have been made about the author or his works; even though Brautigan, himself, was interested in making films at the end of his career. Have you ever thought about writing a screenplay of one of his novels? If so, which would you choose?

CK: Wow. I don't know. I've always thought In Watermelon Sugar would make a good cartoon, but I wouldn't want to write it. My two favourite Brautigans are Sombrero Fallout and An Unfortunate Woman. I am going to say Sombrero Fallout. I think it would be funny: half of it very small, low budget, indie -- just an 'American humorist' walking around his flat crying -- and the other half really over the top and big-budget. Like Die Hard or something. Guns. Old women. Massacre. Norman Mailer. Isn't there an air disaster in it, too? I can't remember. I think that would be fun to write and make.

How about you?


(Click here if you are interested in hearing the musical version of this interview.)


Yes, I am even more serious about writing and making The Bird Room than I was when I answered your last question. I'm going to have a go. I downloaded a dodgy copy of Final Draft the other day, and so far I've written about 10mins. My 'pitch' to prospective financiers would be something like "Lars Von Trier meets Peep Show". Have you seen Peep Show? It's a very good British comedy. Brandon Scott Gorrell sort of mentions it but not really in 'Night Owl'. 

PK: I haven't ever seen Peep Show. I will try and see it when I get back to the states in July.

I think Sombrero Fallout would be a fun Brautigan novel to adapt. Personally, I like the story from Revenge of the Lawn - I think it's from there - about a couple poor kids making Kool Aid in their backyard. That seems like my kind of story. It's realistic and it's got kids. For some reason, a movie with kids just coming of age seems like something I'd have the patience to make - you don't really know if the kids will be able to pull it off, and you still got the adventure of going through the story and making it long enough for a feature. I like projects with risks.

You ever feel like that? 

CKI know I wanted to say something about 'controlled risks'. I think I like the idea of a project where there are restrictions, or where there is a 'framework' or something, but then within that you can take more risks because they are related to the original framework. Like you set yourself rules in order to break them. And that could be a film or a novel or whatever. I'm not sure if that makes sense. I'm not sure if i can make it make sense. Sorry.

I don't think I would like to work with children. Maybe CGI ones. I don't know.

Please make a full length Brautigan movie. I want to see one. I don't care which one.

I don't think Peep Show is on in America. It's British. You might be able to order it in though, or something.

PK: Recently, you've been recording songs under the moniker, The Miniature Swans. What were the controlled risks involved in this project? 

CK: Yes. The Miniature Swans. This was an attempt to do 'actual' songs, with the idea of eventually getting some other people in to help me play them and, you know, change them round and write new ones. I'm still in the process of recruiting some more swans, though. I want two or three other swans.

As far as controlled risks go, I think the 'framework' was: sing in a kind of monotone so you don't embarrass yourself too much, write words or phrases that are not normally sung in songs, try and write songs that will make two or three specific people you know smile a bit when they hear them but maybe also think, 'okay, these aren't just silly, they're actually alright as songs too.' I don't know how well I've succeeded so far. I don't know how many risks I've taken, either. It feels a bit tame still. When there are more swans involved, I like the idea of it sounding like a band falling apart, but just about hanging together. Like if people saw us, half the spectacle would be a kind of secret worry from the audience that we don't know what the fuck we're doing, and each time we get to the end of a song, there's a collective mild feeling of relief and euphoria that we didn't stop halfway through or completely mess up or fall over or something.

PK: That sounds like a fun project. Will The Miniature Swans be performing at your reading series in Manchester, No Point in Not Being Friends?

CKYes, I hope so. I would like the Miniature Swans to implode in front of a room full of people at one of the No Point in Not Being Friends nights, and make everyone feel embarrassed and uncomfortable for a bit. That would be fun. We'll see. Things with the band are going very slowly, though. At the moment it's just talk, and some keyboards I bought off eBay.

Chris Killen was born in 1981, and is currently living in Manchester, England. His first novel, The Bird Room, is to be published by Canongate Books, January 2009. He was also recently appointed a writing fellow at the University of Manchester. He has published a lot of short things online, which are linked to on his blog:

The Power Serve: Stage 3

I finished stage 3 of my power serve today. I was surprised at how quickly my muscle memory adapted. My tennis instructor must have felt the same way. 

"There you go! That's it!! That's an ace every time. I don't care who you are. You get that angle. You pop it in there. Boom! That's it! Okay! Let's hit a few more."

I hit a few more. My left leg was sliding through the court slightly. The pro stopped me, put two balls next to my anchoring foot, and then told me to step over them. Unbelievably, I automatically went right over the balls into the court. It was a great feeling. I knew then that I had mastered the serve. The rest would just be practicing this simple action. 

I think the pro noticed this too. We spent the rest of the practice chatting about how he could post training videos on youtube. My body seemed to want to offer him more to make the exchange equal; of course, I can't give that advice here, since it would be offering something he earned. 

Now I have to pack for my whirlwind tour of the United States. Tomorrow I will be in Ohio with Noah. On Friday, I will be in New York City visiting Thomas, Mark, and whoever else is there. On Monday, I will then be flying to Seattle to hang out with Darick and Moksha. And after a few days there, I will be visiting Aram in Los Angeles. What a crazy trip! 

These days my only worry is the money I have spent to make it possible. I have tried to stop thinking about that though. I could be dead tomorrow. I also figure I am investing into something. I just don't know what it is yet. Who knows? It could be a mutual fund in the future. It could even be everything I've ever wanted. Who knows what even means either? I am a complete mystery even to myself. The only thing that offers my mind a bit of resolution is my free association to Nirvana's Nevermind. I will talk more about that tomorrow.

Can People Fall in Love in Three Weeks?

Today I was surprised by the banter on one of Rochester's many radio broadcasts. Apparently, the common consensus is that a man cannot hear "I love you" within three weeks of a relationship. 

"You scared him away," the broadcaster said to the woman who phoned in her issue. 

"Yes, definitely," the sidekick agreed. "He is long gone."

"You just don't say things like that. One time I was in the middle of -- you know -- with a chick --and she says "I love you" and I was just --"

"What did you do?"

"I think I coughed or something."

"You coughed?"

"I breathed really hard. Like aaaahh, yeah, uh, yeah! Because what are you going to say in the middle of that? I'm sorry. That's too fast for me. Maybe, I'll get there in a bit?"

"Yeah! And who falls in love in three weeks?"

"I don't fall in love in three weeks."

"I disagree," a female broadcaster says, "it's possible to fall in love in a very short time. You just know."

"If a girl falls in love with me that fast, I usually figure something's not right upstairs."

"Are you serious?"

"Oh, yeah," the other broadcaster agrees. "If a girl falls in love that fast, there is something wrong with her."

"I can't believe you're saying that!"

I thought about calling into the radio station. I didn't know the number though. Then I thought about how I probably had both opinions in the past, and that you don't really know unless you go through something, so what's the point in fighting an opinion? I could just listen. I was still upset though. I hate it when people give bad advice, especially about love, and push people away from something as if they know what's best for someone else. People really need to stop dishing personal advice about love as if they know an absolute answer. Shit. If I knew an absolute on anything, I would not even be writing this post. 

Men's 100 Meter Swimming Relay: Most Exciting Sports Event Ever

I am watching Nadal play tennis live on my computer now. He looks like he's going to be beat. What do I know though? I watched the 100M 4x4 Relay, and I was sure the United States were going to lose to France. My dad and I were up on our feet screaming. My mom, patiently sitting on the couch, looked at both of us when the yelling died down and said: "So much yelling." Then she went back to taking the stems off some green beans. 

That swimming relay was the most excited I've been about a sporting event since I saw Andre Agassi win Wimbledon in 1992.

On the Horizon

I find it very unusual why someone would try and discredit Tao. It seems a bit unusual and scary, especially when the person/persons are leaving comments as a faux "Tao Lin". It looks like the only way to solve that problem is to remove blogger's ability to post anonymous comments. 

I will be heading to Ohio and New York City this week. The first leg of my trip will be to visit Noah, and get a feel for his town for a possible filming of his novel. I'll have to look around and see what the area is like. It could be possible to simply shoot B-footage in Ohio and then the rest in Los Angeles, but I have no idea. I am a long way from making definite decisions now. 

My trip to the NYC will be short and sweet. I simply plan on seeing one of my old friends play a show with Fat Daddy Hasbeen at The Bowery Poetry Club on August 16th. I hope there'll be others who can come out of the woodworks to hang out. I'll probably stay in Brooklyn. I'm not sure if I'll stay overnight. I haven't made up my mind yet.

So Gee and I are not worrying about the trip to Los Angeles in February anymore. It looks like things have resolved themselves. It may have also helped that I took a survey/quiz that So Gee found via Oprah/CNN to create some awareness of how I thought about a possible marriage. I liked answering the questions. Here is one example:

Question: What is our ultimate financial goal regarding annual income, and when do we anticipate achieving it? By what means and through what efforts? 

I think that realistically we could expect up to 4-5,000 dollars a month from me within two years. I assume that in two years you would be able to start your business. Realistically, I would say it would be fantastic if you could make $1,000 a month from that. In five years, it would be wonderful if you earned at least $3,000 a month. Who knows if that's possible or what will happen? I love you though and will support you no matter what. 

I thought it would be painful to go through these questions at first, but now I can see they are valuable and helpful to a partner. It puts things on the same page. I like that. It would suck to be at the end of something, when your partner is still in the middle. 

I am off to eat something. 


It's true. I love Moo. I will dedicate my life to pleasing, Moo. If there was a way to live without Moo, I wouldn't do it. That is how dedicated I am to Moo. If Moo were a leave-in conditioner, I would leave it in everyday. That is how dedicated I am to Moo. If planes landed on Osama Bin Ladin's head, and he cried out "Moo!" I would take the word from his mouth and marry it. If there was such a thing as Moo pancakes, I would grill them in the morning and then eat them without syrup because I am watching my weight. So much Moo! Muchas Moo!! If Moo were a religion that Jim Morrison abstained from like a person in Congress might do courteously, then I would disagree with the gentleman from Delaware and make wild love to Moo. I would do it with Moo in the bathroom. I would tell Moo that I scratched my balls and sniffed them. I would paint Moo's toenails. I would milk myself for Moo. That is how much I moo, Moo. If I were Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarintino told me how to spell his name correctly, I would tell him to shut the fuck up because I am trying to listen to Moo. I would be like, "Shut up, please! Moo is fucking speaking!!" These days when Moo isn't in my life I feel like cleaning dishes or sobbing. When Moo turns on the lights in my house when it is dark, it is like she breeds radiant fixtures. I would like everyone to know Moo. I will send you a postcard of me and Moo. It will be a picture of us in a field. We will be knee-high in grass. You will say, "What were you doing with, Moo?" And I will say, "I was making love to Moo. She is my everything. I would die for her. Don't you understand? Get out of my fucking face, you Moo-poseur! Out!!" Now that Moo has come into my life I think I will finally settle down and die. That is how much I drink the testicle strength of Moo. I fall down fellatio-flat for Moo. My life is for Moo. Moo me. Seriously. I am Moo. 

Funny or Die: Paris Video and BJ Olympics

A couple videos that were sent to me. I laughed at the BJ thing - only at the end though. The Paris thing was stupid, but I liked her outfit.

Dear So Gee

I went to the mall today. I got Panauh a pair of shoes. There was a girl with a mohawk and different color hair who helped us. I think she wanted to taste my kelbasa. Panauh said, "You like that hair?" I said, "Yeah, it's cool." Then we went to the Apple Store. I bought my dad a pair of headphones, where the iShuffle gets inserted inside. "Do you think he'll use it?" Panauh asked. "I don't know," I said. I really wanted a cigarette. I wasn't feeling well. Panauh wanted to go out to eat. He said he would buy me lunch because I bought him shoes. "With those shoes you look like you could kill someone," I said. "What?" he said. "You are so gangster," I said. He laughed. He took me to this restaurant called Champps. I ordered fish and chips. I ate one of the two pieces of fish. Panauh ate the other. Then we were about to leave the mall when I saw a Godiva chocolate store. "Wait!" I said. I went into the store. "Do you have chocolate covered pretzels?" I asked. "Yes," a girl said, "look on the second shelf." I looked. There was dark and milk chocolate. "She probably likes milk chocolate," Panauh said. "But the can for dark chocolate looks prettier," I said. "Okay, man," Panauh said. "I am going to get the dark chocolate," I said. Then I bought it and we left the mall.

When I got home, I saw that your flowers for my dad arrived. I picked them up and put them on the kitchen table. Then I went downstairs. I wanted a cigarette. That's why I started playing a tennis video game. Panauh came after I played for about a half hour. He wanted to play me. He started beating me very badly. I didn't feel like playing anymore. I went upstairs. My stomach was hurting. "I'm gaining weight," I thought. "My stomach won't get better if I gain weight." I could feel my stomach burning. "I can't eat out," I thought. I laid down on my bed. I turned onto my left side. I fell asleep. When I woke up, my dad was home. I went downstairs. I wrote this. Then you called me on iChat. "You want some?" you asked, and showed me a half of your uneaten chestnut.

Tennis Lesson and Music Classification

I went to another tennis lesson today. Usually, I hit my backhand with the left foot forward, but today I was told to keep an open stance (feet square to the baseline), and simply pull through the ball by torquing through it with my core. That was a difficult shot to accomplish. I hit most of my attempts into the bottom of the net. I suppose my core is just weak. I only managed to get a few over by the end of practice. 

           -   -    -   -

Above are the different points that I want my ball to cross the net on serves. The left serving box markers are for a ball to go up the middle on the ad court. The right serving box is to hook a slice into the corner or create a body shot. I was very successful in translating these amendments into my game. 

Before the lesson was over, I was able to ask the professional about teaching beginners to play tennis. 

"How would you do it?" I asked. 

"I would just work on footwork. Do about two months of footwork. Then show grips and have them shadow me. After that, you can start hitting the ball, and go right into the serve - having them do the first stage of just hitting the ball and kicking the leg up; second stage of walking through the ball; and third stage of creating the bend in the knees."

"So it's all about the footwork?"

"A lot of time people think there's something wrong with their swing when they miss a shot, but that is minimal. You can simply adjust up and down. The big issue is getting to the ball, and doing it in the correct way. Footwork is what it's all about."

"Good to know."

After tennis, my brother, Panauh, told me that all my songs are weird and experimental. I told him I was rock/pop/electronica. 

"No," he said. "Your shit is experimental."


"What do you think it is?"

"Rock/Pop mostly."

"Where's your drums?"

"There are drums."

"I mean, live drums."

"I can't play the drums."

"I don't know, dude." 

"It sounds pretty poppy to me."

"You don't know, Pirooz."

For some reason, I am consistently touted as an idiot by my brothers. The youngest, who is involved with music, listens to all the music I do with a scowl on his face. And the other brother dismisses all my film ideas as provincial and not worth making for their low-revenue-been-there-done-that perspective. Thank God I have the common sense to leave their stories on the unwelcome mat outside my heart, because if I ever took their critiques as legitimate, I might not be able to walk the next morning - I swear it's as close to being critically raped as any old-fogie-Muppet could accomplish. 

Anyway, Panauh did just work on the RZA album, and he has agreed to help me mix a song I am doing with Chris Killen, so I forgive him his trespasses. Who knows? Maybe, I can call up the next famous musician he produces, and ask him or her to classify my record. Hopefully, they'd say "electronica". If not, and they said "experimental". Then I'd have to face the fact that no matter what I do it will most likely be on the fringes. I guess it's where I gravitate. I swear though. I thought my songs on the last Swingers record were pretty pop. 
I am off to play a video game.