Sunday, May 30, 2010

Post from the Past

"There's an aching in my brain, and it's acting like a black hole, slowly pulling my head inwards. I can actually feel my head getting smaller, I can no longer think clearly. Eventually my cranial supports will collapse from the stress, causing my head to effectively implode. All that will be left of me will be my glasses, and one, very long eyebrow." - 12/07/07

From my old LiveJournal account. Art by Caitlin Azzari.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Here's a short clip from Joe Totten's new short

Joe is shooting a short mockumentary of sorts chronicling both KUCR and The Highlander Newspaper. I was lucky enough to be part of it. Here's a short clip of my part in it:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thomas Bremser: The Amazing Wonder-Bike

Thomas Bremser, early in his million-mile bike ride

Thomas Bremser is a good buddy of mine who also happens to be totally, and utterly, crazy. Last year he ran the LA Marathon. He's also a bicycle commuter who would regularly make the ride out from San Bernardino to hang out with us in Riverside. A little while back he decided he was going to ride his bike all the way up the West Coast (which, according to countless LA based rappers is quite easily considered the "best coast"). He started that journey down in San Diego on April 6th.

I sat down with him when he made it up to Newport Beach and recorded the following interview. That was on April 9th. It's now April 20th and last I heard, he was up in Los Osos by San Luis Obispo. That puts him about 375 miles into his approximately million-mile goal of making it to Canada. Anyhow, do listen to the following interview and if you'd like to check out his blog, do so by clicking here.

Stream the interview here (21 minutes):
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Or download it from this site:

p.s. this is our 100th post!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Where Did It All Go Wrong? by Zuhair Abdulla

Where Did It All Go Wrong?
by Zuhair Abdulla

"It's not working out. I'm not in love with you, and to be honest I'm not sure I ever was or ever will be. I know this sounds rough, but I'm just trying to be honest with you. I can't pretend to love you, and even if I could you wouldn't want me to. Trust me." Julia took a step back from the mirror and smiled a little bit. She decided this is what she would say. "It's perfect," she thought. She smiled not because she enjoyed the idea of possibly hurting this boy, but instead because she felt it was honest. She believed that every word she was rehearsing over, and over again was true.

Julia pulled open her drawer and grabbed a cigarette she had stolen from her father's pack and lit it with one of them cheap, disposable, orange Bic lighters. She had found it in a field behind school and decided to keep it when she realized it still worked. Julia pulled her chair up to her open bedroom window as she smoked. Out of the window she could see little Bobby Miller pulling up in his father's Town & Country. She didn't realize that the words she chose would cause irreparable damages. She was, however, wondering whether it would be best to deliver the news before or after they had eaten dinner. Having had no previous experience with matters of the heart made this the only difficult decision she felt she had to make tonight.

As Bobby Miller got out of the passenger side of his dad's mini-van, he smiled a smile like never before. These are the things that excited him:

1) Avatar. He couldn't believe he was finally going to see Avatar! In 3D no less!

2) The implied possibility of holding Julia's hand. Perhaps a kiss? Maybe not tonight.

3) Mancat. This was a superhero he thought of earlier in the day. He figured this to be the perfect boyfriend for Catwoman. He never did understand the relationship a bat could have with a cat. I mean, sure, the animal names rhyme, but beyond that? To Bobby Miller there just wasn't a believable relationship there.

He walked the entire length of the long driveway with that goofy smile on his face, and kept it on as he took the short, concrete path across the lawn that connected the driveway to the front door. It did, however, fade as he knocked on the door, excitement instantly replaced with nervousness about going on his very first date.
Zuhair Abdulla is...well hey! That's me! I'm a Zuhair Abdulla!

To read the other stories in "the lie and how we told it," click here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Spring Time Bus Stop Bench by Kelly Mahoney

Spring Time Bus Stop Bench
by Kelly Mahoney

Liquid grey and let it pour. Clouds appear around noon and soon rain floods the streets of my city. Each drop mumbles a secret to me as one by one they crash down onto my bare, pale skin, giving my freckled shoulders goosebumps. "Calm down, love," says one. I do what I'm told. I twist my neck and face my left, touching my chin to my shoulder. Young, ill-prepared businessmen sprint down sidewalks to parking garages and I close my eyes. The air is warm and wet and sweet. "You don't always have to accept the things you're faced with," it drips down my eyelid to my lashes, "Sometimes things are unacceptable." My damp cotton shirt sticks to the front of me. Leaning forward from painted wood, I let them tickle my back. "You know the colors you see when you close your eyes? That is what's real. Nothing else." I smile. "The words you hear are just tiny hairs picking up vibrations." Bite my lip. "You're here. Don't get gone yet." I laugh and look up at that bright, cinder block grey. The grey that I crave when my blue fades away. All I can ever see are those Prunus dulcis eyes. My lids close as I tilt my head back and let their words wash over me.
Kelly Mahoney is a student in Riverside. Read her blog, I Am Watching Naomi, Full Bloom.

Monday, April 12, 2010

the lie and how we told it: The Flower Fields by John Kelly

The Flower Fields
by John Kelly

“Time to wake up, Kid!” my grandfather shouted, yanking the covers off me. “We got lots to do, and less time to do it.” Every day we worked together began in this abrupt fashion; and in moments I was in his truck, huddling near the heater for comfort while the engine warmed.

“Hold on to your socks, Squirt,” he’d say, and begin down our paved driveway, which gave way to a steep, dirt road. I remember watching him in awe as he held his full cup of coffee motionless, the truck shaking wildly down the hill, without spilling a drop.

Before work we often went to the airport for breakfast. He’d drive west on Palomar Airport Road, past the Carlsbad Race Track, until we crossed El Camino Real: here, he would tell stories of how, hundreds of years ago, the Spanish had traveled this very road along the length of California and established the missions, some of which still survived. And just beyond this sudden crossroads of past and present, we arrived at Palomar Airport.

The café was located at the top of an old, remolded communications tower, where we usually sat in a booth with a panoramic view of the runway. As I watched the planes land and takeoff, he would order me pigs in a blanket, my favorite. I learned many things in that booth, like how he’d manned a bomber during the Korean War, the history of our side of the family and their emigration; and also practical things, such as table manners. “You see, Kiddo,” he’d explain, “manners aren’t just silly little rules, they’re a way of showing respect to those around you.”

After breakfast we would head west again, toward the flower fields. In the summer, the fragrance came first, and then they would come into view: rolling hills, stretching endlessly to the horizon, blanketed in patches of red, yellow, orange, and blue flowers. It reminded me of the patchwork my grandmother knitted me for Christmas, which kept me warm in the winter.

The work we did together varied greatly. I learned how to use tools properly, how to lift with my legs and not my back, and the gratification of physical labor. “Hard work is character.” he loved to say.

In the evening, when we arrived at the base of the hill, he’d sometimes put me in the drivers seat. “Now take her nice ‘n easy.” he’d warn. I’d drive up the hill slowly, completely focused on keeping the massive truck under control.

We’d spend the rest of the evening casually, and after dinner, he would see me to bed. “Good job today, Kiddo.” he’d whisper once I was comfortably in bed. ”Love you. Goodnight.” Then he would close the door and turn off the light.


My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago. Recently I was driving south on the 5 Freeway, and, seeing the exit for Palomar Airport Road, I decided to make a quick visit to the flower fields. I exited and headed east, towards the fields – and my heart sank: here, where the fields once began, I now found car dealerships, gas stations, strip malls, and industrial buildings; the landscape of my childhood had been swallowed by the inexorable march of progress.

When I was a child, I saw as a child, and now, years later, at this impasse between remembrance and presence, the things I saw were unfamiliar, and my memories gave no solace.

John Kelly lives in Costa Mesa and is a wonderful man.

To read the other stories in "the lie and how we told it," click here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Kat in Heat by Dayla Zdunich, Steven Xavier Torres Armas, Tracey Whitford, Kelly Mahoney, and Erin Mahoney

Kat in Heat
by Dayla Zdunich and Steven Xavier Torres Armas
Click on that guy to make it a readable size

This is normally where I would write a little bit about the authors, but I don't actually know them, so I can't. Instead, just make something up about where they're from and what they do while they're there.

To read the other stories in "the lie and how we told it," click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Time Again by David Layden

Time Again
by David Layden

If I had a name tag (and I sometimes wish I did) it would say HENRY. I only know because that is what this girl hovering above me – not at all angel-like – keeps saying. “Henry, where were you last night?”…”Henry, why do you look and smell like toasted dog shit?”…”Henry, get in the fucking shower and think and clean and think real good because you have some explaining to do.”

Even with this hangover I remember that dad accidentally switched the hoses under the faucet in the bathroom sink. It has been years now and I have just never bothered to switch them back. The routine: Turn on the cold tap (which is really the hot), check! Sit down on the toilet for five minutes with head in hands and go over list. I was yelled at today, this is how I woke up. I smell, check! My back hurts so I must have either slept on the floor or started out on the bed and was pushed onto the floor, check! There is a woman in my house I barely know, check! I have both hands and both feet, check! My name is... shaking my head in disappointment doesn’t make the answer come any quicker. I keep telling myself “I need a damn name tag."

I see steam rising from the sink, turn off the faucet and step into the shower. For two whole seconds my body is shocked by very cold water and then scalded as I fumble to turn the knob in the opposite direction, then I am shocked so I turn it again. It usually takes me a good minute to remember to turn by degrees, that small movements will yield pleasant results. I must be in here for a long time because every once in a while as the water beats down, as the toothpaste makes a trail out of my mouth, down my belly and collects for a few seconds moisture-like in my pubic hair then follows on to the floor, down the drain, as this happens I keep hearing through the soap and water in my ears, a dull pounding and that goddamned voice again. “Henryyyyy,” oh yeah, that’s my name... ”Henry you motherfucker you better not be avoiding meeee!!” And then the dissonance is gone and then it returns. The pounding gets louder, the words more cruel, the voice more sharp, then it retreats. What on earth could I have done to attract all of this anger? Thank God my house has good water pressure. Maybe it's strong enough to wash away all this dirt, this skin, these bones, that shrill cunt pounding on the door, this house, the block I am on, whatever it is I did wrong and the rest of my memory.

I grab my humongous salmon-pink towel and wrap myself, reach for the bathroom doorknob and hear a lot of quiet. I panic; she must be either distracted or waiting. My mind does not work in split seconds so I do my best. I unlock the bathroom door and hurry toward the bedroom. From somewhere not so distant I hear bare feet on wood floor heading toward me. Lock both bedroom doors, check! “Thump! Thump! Thump!”

“Why are you doing this to me?” With all the clarity I could muster I say in a very loud voice “May I please have some alone time, I have not had a good week and I need to sort things out and I cannot do it with you up my ass every waking moment!" And then there was a pause. I felt a fullness inside of me growing, an uncomfortableness. A quiet, then another quiet. And then, from behind the door, a muffled holocaust of words. “...shit...fuck you...son of you think you are talking to...I have been nothing but nice...fuck...” And then I open the door to see her wide-eyed, ugly. Anger made her not pretty at all. I started feeling a cramp and stopped. I looked her in the eye and said “We have only been dating for a goddamned month and already this is the grief I get? You act like a fucking wife!!” As the blur of her hand motioned towards my face I felt a cramp and then an easiness and then, sunshine. The look on her was absolute puzzlement. My face still stinging from her slap, I followed her gaze down past her breasts to her skirt, legs, socks, and shoes, which along with the floor were covered with lukewarm piss. I looked down at my cock which was halfway hard and dribbling urine now on my own foot. I paused then and heard rustling. When I looked up I saw half of her overcoat slip past the front door. I went over to the door quick and locked it, check!
David Layden can often be found in Santa Ana with a magical bag filled with magical whiskeys. This might just be a man who actually likes whiskey more than I do.

To read the other stories in "the lie and how we told it," click here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Musings of Monsters by Joe Zavella

Oh boy, it's been a while since we posted a story up here. Sorry for that. What with all the moving I've been doing and the sickness with the coughing and the spitting and the mucus and the headaches. Not to mention all the birthdays, oh! The birthdays! So many birthday's last week (and today)! Also, I didn't realize (quite stupidly) that my new apartment would not come with built-in interwebs. Anyhow. I will be posting when I can, hopefully everyday again. We still have quite a few stories left so I hope you're still reading! Anyhow, sorry for the interruption in service, please carry forward to read a new story by Joe Zavella.

Musings of Monsters
by Joe Zavella

My body jerks to the left and I am ripped out of a good dream, probably my last . My eyelids close tighter before opening into tiny slits. Blurs of color and shape begin to focus in front of me. I bend down to rub my eyes and let my head rest in my hands for just a moment. First I notice the chains that bind my wrists to my ankles. They jingle as they sway. I lift my head and I remember, sometimes it takes me a minute to remember. Orange jumpsuits. Another jerk to the left. This bus ain't made for four-wheeling like this. Only thing making this a road and not a trench is that we're driving in it. They welded a bird cage to the outside of this bus, s'pose they got hip to folks jumpin' out the window. Course the guards would just shoot you down, more bullets on this bus than there should be. All for us. On the other side of the glass the rain and dirt mix to blur my last glimpse of the outside world. They locked me next to some billy-goat punk kid. A degenerate and a thug. He belongs here. Most of them do. Mad and vicious, hooligans. Rapists and murderers. Hissing and spitting when they laugh. They better not spit on me, dammnit this dog's still got bite! They don't care what they leavin' behind, they dont think about it. Not me though, I think about it all the time. Playing with my kids, two girls, laughing and running, playing chase around an old stump we had in the yard. Every time I would catch them they would start screamin and laughin'. My wife, my beautiful wife. Sometimes I close my eyes and remember times when she would come from behind and wrap her arms around me, thin and delicate. Her hair laid gently against the top of my head, her warm breath on my neck, the feel of her cheek against mine. The smell of her lips. I like to think about the little things with my wife.

This is not my first time in a bus like this. I been on the inside of a cell. I have even been in this very trench before, too many times, each time with a new lie for my girls. Daddy’s going on a business trip for a few months. Don’t worry girls, daddy is gonna go take care of a friend for a couple years. Daddy got a job for the summer. Don’t worry honey, daddy is just gonna be gone for the weekend. I s'pose I didn’t want my lil' girls to know the nature of their ol' man. But that’s just the thing about girls; The day comes when you don’t have to get down on one knee to talk to them. The day that they realize all the lies you told, all the holes in their lives that you've dug. That one more is coming, and this time I won’t be coming back to fill it. Everyone's crying while trying not to. Lil' Mary hugs me so hard I think she's gonna break her arms. Allie slaps me with all the hate her little heart can hold. My face stings as tears stain both our cheeks. And I know that at least one of them gave me what I deserved. My beautiful wife, she tells me they're moving, that they won't visit. She cries through her words. The tears stream down her face, aged with a lifetime of worry and struggle. I try to memorize every line.

They say I done terrible things. That I used up all my chances. It's true. I hurt too many people and now must spend my life in a barred cell. Finally going to put this old monster in his cage. Where he can sit and think bout what he's done, all the things he's destroyed. That billy-goat punk neighs another punch line and everyone is laughing and spitting. Fangs disguised as teeth, horns combed back like hair. Claws like fingers. A carriage of monsters who look like men, given only so many chances to hurt anyone who would love them before being sent away to howl and grunt and beat their chests. The bus comes to a stop and as I emerge I feel the rain on my face. It feels good. I wonder if this is what a man feels when the rain falls on his face. I s'pose there is no point on wonderin' how a man feels in the rain. This is not a place for men, only monsters who once were given the chance.
Joe Zavella lives and studies in Riverside, CA. In fact, I'm his new neighbor. Read his blog, it's wonderful: Joe Zavella, Man Shaped Gorilla.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Junk by Taylor Lewis

by Taylor Lewis

He stood in the doorway and stared inside, listening to the soft tapping of rain on the roof and remembering. In spite of what he was about to do, he still loved the smell of grease and oil. Loved the feeling of holding a wrench. Loved bringing broken objects back to life. He was good at what he did, or at least he thought so. Still, he had no other choice.

He would double-check to make sure he had set up everything correctly. It had to look believable or else they wouldn’t pay and that wouldn’t do. After all, he was now worth more dead than alive and they wouldn’t give his family a dime if it looked like suicide. He knew they would probably think that anyway, since everybody knew about his money troubles. They would know that hardly anybody ever came into his shop anymore. And with the bank getting ready to take his house, a business just about ready to go under, and his wife having already left him, suicide would be the first thing they suspected, which was the reason why he was being so careful. It has to look believable, he kept reminding himself. Besides, the equipment was old. Of course, even though it looked old and worn it was always expertly maintained, but they wouldn’t know that.

He walked slowly past all the machinery, running his callused and leathery hands lovingly over each one. He sighed, and felt bad that they would soon perish by his own hand when it was he who had cared for them for so long. Still, it was necessary.
Spending a few moments looking at each of his tools, with every step his chest slowly filled with both dread and excitement as he carved his way further inside. He felt guilty because of the excitement. Then again, he felt guilty about a lot of things.
At last he reached the back of the room and stopped next to where he kept the welding tanks. The cart that held the oxygen and acetylene used for welding had been sabotaged and if any traces of his handiwork were found, it would appear as though the tank had been dropped and developed a leak.

While the room filled with the highly flammable gas, the rain continued to pelt the roof overhead. Then, an air compressor nearby kicked on.
A violent explosion rocked the building.

Standing on a small rise half a mile away, he watched the explosion through a set of binoculars. Flames ate at the roof and snarled out of the shattered windows. He turned and took a step but looked back at the rising flames again. Then, with all the effort he could muster, he turned and began walking down the hill, toward the rail yard. Soon he would be just another vagrant riding the rails.

He had thought about actually going up in flames along with everything else, but he wasn’t ready to die yet, and he could still be useful. And he would find a way to keep an eye on his family somehow. Maybe someday he could return to them and offer an explanation for what he had done. Or maybe not. He still had to learn how to look at himself in the mirror.
Taylor Lewis lives in Orange County where he "accepts ridiculous amounts of money for toys." Check out his tumblng tumblr, Rust in Pieces

Monday, March 29, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Tiles and Tribulations by Erin Mahoney

This is Erin Mahoney's second entry in the series. She also wrote this one, which served as the introduction to this string of fiction we've been posting. She hand-wrote and scanned the following story and sent it to me late last week. I love it, and I think you will too.

Tiles and Tribulations
by Erin Mahoney
Click on that guy to make it a readable size.

Friday, March 26, 2010

the lie and how we told it: First Knowledge by James Park

First Knowledge
By James Park

The first emotion that DH630-3M felt wasn't love, or happiness, but jealousy. It began when he noticed that DH630-4M and DH630-5M were being installed with full-motion hands while he was left with the ancient pointer. Without knowing what he was feeling, he noticed that his sensors kept following their hands as they tested their range of motion. After he was shut down at night, he would intentionally power back on and replay the recorded video of that afternoon’s testing sessions, silently watching as -4M and -5M picked up small rubber balls, waved to the testers and even reached out for each other.

It got worse when -4M and -5M began disappearing from the lab for days at a time. The testers would return them with low charges and broken joints, but -4M and -5M never seemed to mind. -3M wondered where they went and why he wasn’t taken with them.

Then they were given permanent covers and new sensors. At first, -3M had trouble telling them apart from the testers but their slow, awkward movements soon made it easy to see the difference. But he watched as -4M and -5M observed each other with their new sensors, and he knew why even though the testers left them facing the sockets at night, they would return in the morning to find them facing each other. He watched as they used their new hands to feel their new skins and they used their new skin to feel their hands.

-3M didn’t have new hands, or new skin. His sensors were prototypes and outdated. But his processor was just as fast as the ones in -4M and -5M and his software was upgraded along with theirs. And while he didn’t have a full-motion hand, his pointer had a small laser fixed to its end.
When the testers came in the next morning, they found -5M on the floor, its hands splayed out and in place of its new sensors were two dark, ash-filled craters. -4M was hidden under a dustcover in the corner, facing the wall. They found -3M with multiple blown fuses and a charred stub where its pointer should be. Unable to determine what had happened, the testers blamed the mess on burglars and scrapped DH630-3M. They would have to continue with only the -4M prototype.

Three months later, -4M’s sensors registered movement again as the testers rolled in two new prototypes. DH640-6M and DH640-7M had new skin covering their entire frames and their full-motion hands didn’t require command sequences to begin operation. But -6M’s hand motions seemed strangely familiar to -4M. Its new sensors didn’t match the records in -4M’s memory banks, but the way -6M was found in the morning, facing -7M instead of the socket, tripped a minor alarm inside -4M.

The first emotion that DH630-4M felt had been love. The second emotion was jealousy.
James Park lives and works in San Francisco. Track him down and buy him a beer. You can read his tweets @robocopinator.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Blue Sunday Bookstore Blues by Jake Kilroy

Blue Sunday Bookstore Blues
by Jake Kilroy
I was moving through the used bookstore as if I were fondling the art of a museum.

The light at the end of the aisle jangled a terrible hum. But, as I swayed towards the end of the aisle, there came the rickety music box voice of a teenage boy. It was a wobbly sound, the forlorn melody of a boy trying to impress a girl. It’s a song that nobody likes to hear, but it’ll be dazzling nobody until the end of mankind.

There, sitting next to a girl, was a boy with an optimistic look that only belongs to somebody without a tender understanding of humiliation.

“I don’t like writing. I like having written,” the boy said.

“Yeah,” drawled the girl sitting next to him, reading a red book.

I faced the walls of books, keeping my eyes away but my ears around.

“I think I just like watching the page numbers go up,” he said.

The girl nodded.

“That's probably what Tolstoy thought,” said the boy, his own throat rattling like a jail key in a jar, “you know, because War And Peace was so long.”


“Have you ever read War And Peace?”


“Me neither."

The girl’s phone rang. She answered it and headed outside. I noticed what book the girl had been reading and I felt close to homesick. The boy fiddled with random books, which, for whatever reason, confirmed to me that he was inexperienced with women.

“Kid, either your head or your heart is going to explode if you keep up with that storm you call affection,” I said, my eyes still roving the books.

“I‘m sorry?”

“I dated that girl years ago. Not her, obviously, but somebody close. And I’ve gathered you’re in love with her.”

“Well, I don't know if it's love.”

“How old are you?”

“Almost 16.”

“It will be.”

“What will be?”

“I don’t know. You tell me,” I said, finally turning to look at him.

He stared emptily at me, which is quite a feat for teenagers, as their heads, if I remember it correctly, are like roomfuls of typewriters.

“I think I’m going to go see if everything’s alright,” he said, moving past me towards the exit.

“She's already found out about Vonnegut, hasn’t she?”

The boy stopped and came back. “Yeah. How did you know that? She's been reading him a lot lately.”

“And what do you read?”

“Whatever my teachers tell me to.”

I shook my head. “That’s not good enough, kid. Pretty soon, that girl’s going to be finishing A Clockwork Orange while you're just starting The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. If you want the intellectual, you can’t be young. You have to be smarter than age.”

“How do I do that?” the boy said asked sincerely.

“You make youth last.”

“I thought you said I can’t be young.”

“You’re only young until you’re old. If you make youth last, there’s no such thing as older.”

“I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about.”

“I know you don’t, but I’m a lot older than you.”

“I thought you said there was no such thing as older.”

“That’s only if you make youth last.”

“You didn’t?”

“No,” I said definitely.

“What happened?”

“Like I told you before, I loved the same girl when I was your age.”


“And I didn’t love her right.”

“I'm sorry to hear that. What went wrong?”

“You don’t get to know.”

“Oh, sorry for prying.”

“Prying? Kid, I've been breaking and entering into your life for the last few minutes. No, I mean you don’t get to know because it'll ruin your chances with that girl outside. All I’m saying is you better tell her how you feel before she discovers Bukowski.”


“Because then it means she’s already read between the lines of Hemingway.”

The girl reappeared and I glided away like a specter, down the aisle, rummaging through the books until I found it. I opened up the copy of A Farewell To Arms I had seen so many times on my night table, on her night table and in the bookstore these last few years.

In an instant, I was sick.

My hands became oil-starved machines, creaking as they moved the pages with something that should’ve resembled grace. I read her name and my name on the title page and what I had written in between. Squeezing my eyes for a moment, I moved with an anguished fury to the counter and finally bought the goddamn thing. The cashier asked me if I was ok. I nodded and stalked back to the teenage boy as if the book was a gun. I shoved it into him and said, “Always believe there’s a future in the present, not a past.”
Jake Kilroy spends most of is time living and working in Orange, CA. He writes poetry. You can find a lot of his poetry, along with some great stories, over at The Cobblestone Address.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Caligraphy by Kelly Canavan Vargas

by Kelly Canavan Vargas

The worn, leather book strap had been tightened around Isaac's upper arm. He stretched out his left hand and flexed. Stretched and flexed. Stretched and grabbed the catalog in front of him. Carefully, he peeled off the address label. Holding it close to his face he examined the label. It was parchment thin and the sun shone through it. His name and address were hand-written in a long and elegant mix of cursive and printing. As he began to move the label away from his face, he paused when he noticed the faint scent of flowers.

"Is this her perfume?" he wondered aloud. His voice echoing in the empty loft. Slowly getting up, he paced across the wood floors; Planks creaking under his weight, pigeons rustling on the ledge.

"Is this her lotion? The scent of her skin?" He paused his incessant pacing. "Could this be her actual skin?"

"She knew this would help me grow!" he yelled, holding the catalog up with his left hand. Pigeons scattered.

The small "r" at the end of his name spoke to him. Schumacher. It curved upward slightly at the end. It was so hopeful. Isaac paced as he studied it. As he started worrying that the low dip of the "r" would never end, it gently glided up, up, up. It was a roller coaster of a letter. It was manic. He plunged the needle in his arm. The upwards motion of the letter swirled in Isaac's head. In one ear and out the other. Jostled his hair. Entered his bowels and came warmly out of his mouth like vomit. It was vomit.
Kelly Canavan Vargas also participated in the Year in Review series. Check out her blog Ravenous River Horses.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Untitled by Roby Saavedra

by Roby Saavedra

It was the kind of sports car that could have only existed in the 80’s; not quite boxy, not quite streamlined. The interior was lined with ornamental bells and whistles, which seemed to act as placeholders for utilities that might actually be useful, but had yet to be invented. The atmosphere inside the car was tense and was especially marked by the overwhelming odor of a familiar musk aftershave. As I looked to my right, watching objects whiz past, it struck me that I was actually smelling something, which was unusual -- actually it had never happened before. I noted it mentally, trying my best to seem collected and appropriately aloof.

The driver, most likely sensing something was off, cocked his head to the right and stared at me through his aviator sunglasses, which were actually just one big lens in the shape of sunglasses. After a few moments he turned back to the road, then back at me for a longer period, then back at the road, then back at me even longer. He had on a dark grey scarf which was tucked into a brown leather jacket with its collar popped up, the collar reaching all the way to his pronounced jaw line. He continued his tennis game head movements; back and forth from the road to me to the road to me. I didn’t take the chance to look back at him, instead keeping my eyes on the blur of the outside world through the window, listening to the sound of his leather jacket make the same groan and wrinkle each time he made one of his sharp head twists.

Finally the noises stopped. The match had ended and I was the winner. His gaze fixed on me. My palms sweaty, my mind frantically trying to wash itself of any and all thought processes. The world continued to rush by and I could feel his breath on the left side of my body. He wasn’t moving, I was sure of that. I’d seen him this still before, but wasn’t sure when. Suddenly I wasn’t sure of anything.

Fuck. I lost it. I turned to my left and saw that his sunglasses were gone. His utterly still eyes were paralyzing, blue, and filled with madness. His right hand was gripping the steering wheel, his shoulder at his chin. The musk was gone, replaced by a heaviness which I attributed to his sultry breath. I snapped out of the lock from his eyes and noticed his tongue hanging out of his mouth leaving a trail of spit on his jacket sleeve which dripped down to the gear shifter. I almost laughed when he began to speak.

“Did the smell bother you?” he asked.

“No not really,” I shook my head. At that moment I noticed the scenery outside his window returned to black and white. Fuck.

He began to speak again but all that came out was the sound bite of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion roar and he then proceeded to gnaw on his leather jacket sleeve. I climbed out of the sunroof of the sports car wondering why I would ever choose such a heinous vehicle in the first place and ordered a coffee from the pleasant looking waitress taking our order.

“Well?” the guy sitting directly to my right’s muffled voice asked, “How did it go?”

“Cats, man. Huge ones. And always with people bodies.”

A girl sitting opposite me began to laugh behind her mask. “Fucked up!” she exclaimed.

I took the moment to survey the scene through the two eye-holes in my facemask. There were a lot of Guy Fawks masks throughout the place, more than usual. How unoriginal. The place seemed bigger tonight, I thought, which made me begin to lose myself in the idea of ‘vaster than infinite.’

Suddenly I was jarred out of my spacey moment when the guy next to me got up and began to bid his goodbyes.

“I have a fucking calc test tomorrow, as much as I’d like to keep fucking unattainable women I really ought to get back to reality soon.” And in an instant it was as if he was never even there.

Math test? I thought to myself. They’re getting younger and younger.

“I know,” a person next to me commented, grabbing my shoulder. “If I had this when I was in high school I’d have never graduated.”

My sheets were wet with sweat again and luckily I hadn’t woken up my wife this time.

“Fucking mind readers…” I whispered to myself as I slowly peered over my wife’s shoulder to check for a cat’s head.
Roby Saavedra makes and studies art up in San Francisco. He's a lovely man. Check out his tumbling tumblr: click. Here's where you can check out some of his amazing art: clack.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the lie and how we told it: The Truth by Erin Mahoney

Today starts off a new series here at two hands radio. I've asked a few friends to come down and share a little story with us. Works are completely fiction and there's pretty much only one rule: Keep your stories under 800 words. It should be pretty fun and I'm looking forward to reading all of them. We're gonna run this until I stop getting submissions. If you'd like to submit one, send a story over to me at zuhair.zama [at]
The Truth
by Erin Mahoney

I've never told a lie in my life. I have no interest in falsities. Half-truths never make it fully out of my mouth. I sure hope you believe me. Honest, I do!

I am not a lawyer giving my final arguments, convincing you of my client's innocence. I'm not a doctor telling you your prognosis and what I sincerely think your chances are. I am not selling anything, I don't represent anyone, and I have nothing at all to gain from this.

I know I am not alone and that despite all the fuss about white lies, and innocent deceptions, and all the other garbage people use to excuse themselves for dishonesty – despite all that, there are actually a few folks out there who have taken the same path as me, who retain a golden tongue. I wonder if they are as lonely as I am. If we ever met, I wonder if we'd get along, or if our truths would rattle together incessantly, like the box of dishes in my backseat, until they drove us apart.

I believe that always telling the truth allows me to gauge when others aren't. I am not the dough-eyed picture of naivety so-often depicted in movies and novels, who is so pure she simply cannot conceive of why someone might want to lie to and take advantage of her. I am practical, realistic, and perhaps even a bit cynical. I can read body language, detect facial tics, record idiosyncrasies. I'm a library of telling mannerisms.

I can also tell when someone thinks I'm lying - like you, for instance. You are looking at me like you have some sort of secret knowledge, privately inverting everything I say into what you can believe. I will not argue with you. What is the point?

Living like this is not exactly a choice for me, as I am not that good-hearted. In the past I have tried to cover my tracks with lies, but the mere utterance filled me with such dread I had no choice but to immediately come clean, shaming and embarrassing myself while others would have happily whistled away.

I can tell that you're wondering why I am revealing all of this to you. Frankly, I am not entirely sure. Maybe it's because you seem like the sort of person I can talk to and really open up about myself. Like I said, mine is a lonely existence. Maybe it's because I noticed how awkwardly you were standing here, alone in a room of people, stuffing crackers in your mouth to avoid meaningless conversation.

Truthfully, though, it's because you stink, and the smell was bothering me so much that I just had to be honest with you. You really stink.
This isn't Erin's first post here at two hands radio. If you're interested, check out her Year in Review post she did for our last series.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Breaking Bad

With one episode left before I finish watching season 2 and season 3 beginning tomorrow night I can safely say that Breaking Bad has finally made it into the realm I like to call "My Favorite Shows." It's getting pretty dang close to being part of "My Favorite Anythings Ever," but hasn't quite reached that status yet. Yet.

The cast is phenomenal. Bryan Cranston is fantastic as the high school chem teacher turned 5-star meth chef. Aaron Paul is great as his junkie partner. I am constantly feeling my heartstrings pull every time he smokes a glass ball of meth (is that what it's called?), I just want that asshole to get clean! That sounded...not right. Anyhow. Dean Norris magically has a bigger head than Michael Chiklis, yet is way the eff more loveable (even though his presence as Bryan Cranston's DEA Agent brother-in-law is a definite source of my nervousness, not to mention my rising blood pressure). And of course, Bob Odenkirk's addition to the cast in season 2, as the sketchy, sleaze-ball, attorney is effing grand!

Anyhow. If you're already watching this show, please humbly accept the following "bravo." Bravo! In fact, why don't you take this "huzzah!" as well. Huzzah! If you're not, now's a good time to catch up. You've got a little over 24 hours to watch the 20 episodes that have already aired. Plenty of time.

Season Three of Breaking Bad airs tomorrow night on AMC at 10pm. Or you can find it anytime in the next forever by logging onto your favorite torrent site about an hour or so after the east coast feed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just a quick reminder

Sir Catinsuit pleasantly reminds you to stop creating internet memes and start writing really, really short stories

Hey ya, Hey ya, Hey ya, Hey.

Just reminding you that "the lie and how we told it" is starting up next week. Send in your stories! I have a few so far, but not as many as I'd like. We're starting up Monday and we'll be posting up a new story each day till we run out of 'em. Why do I keep calling me "we"? We should stop doing that.

Anyhow, check this post out for all the info and also the....send it in place thing...EMAIL ADDRESS! That you're supposed to send the stories to! We're probably not going to write a story.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

the lie and how we told it

In about three weeks we'll be starting up a new series. Last time we did year in review posts from a variety of different people (read: my friends who weren't too lazy to write something). In that series we learned about how people felt in 2009, what they learned, who was important to them, and all that other boring-ass bullshit. This time around though, we're going to change course.

This time I want to post some short (very short) fiction. Again, I'll serve as editor and possibly post one of my own. Not sure yet. Anyhow. I'd like to start in a few weeks here so if you'd like to participate go ahead and send me a story to zuhair.zama[at] with the subject heading "the lie and how we told it." If I did my job correctly, all you have to do is click on the email link and it should do all that for you.

There aren't really too many parameters to this series aside from these:
•Works need to be, well, fictitious. That would help.
•Please try and keep them short. Ideally they'd be around 1-800 words. That's like a 1 page Maximus (from Ridley Scott's shit-storm of bullshit Gladiator) in Word.
•That's it.
Send them starting now up until I say the series is ending. You've got at least 4 weeks to participate!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On Days that I am Working

This morning while walking around the giant store I work in I realized something.
I wake up when you are going to bed or are falling asleep.
I take my first break you are just waking up.
I take my lunch break when you are clocking in.
I clock out and head home when you're on your lunch break.
I go to bed when you other nine-to-fivers are just getting home.

Yesterday at work a co-worker asked me if I voted for Obama and then, before I could answer, posed the follow-up "Wait, is it legal for you to vote here?" Not really thinking about what she meant by that I responded with, "Duh, I'm 26!" while pointing at my bearded face (and body). She was kind of caught off guard by my response and it took me a moment to realize she had been assuming that I was either a) an illegal alien, or b) an intergalactic alien. Either way though, she definitely didn't think I was an American citizen. Oh wells that ends wells.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dear Ocean

“…the Japanese Spider Crab has a body the size of a basketball and its legs can straddle a car. They will eventually measure a massive 15ft… The crab, called Macrocheira kaempferi in Latin, was caught by fishermen in the Pacific Ocean and has now been imported to Britain where it has gone on display at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham."(source)

Dear Ocean,

Fuck off. Seriously. Are you kidding me with this? Honestly, I've had enough of your bullshit. Let's find a way to get back to being all cute and Finding Nemoish again, because seriously, all of these new gigantic monsters you're creating are really starting to get on my nerves. I do not like being terrified constantly. Because of you, I'm considering a move further inland.

Please die already.

Love and tenderness,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh Eric! Ya done did it again!

Here's Eric Wareheim's newish (I guess it's about 4 months old...whoops) video for the song "Keep it Going Louder" by them effing weirdos in Major Lazer. The video isn't really NSFW, unless you don't mind your coworkers thinking you're a deviant of some sort (sexual).

Here's another video he did for them a while back. This one is, well, yes, most definitely NSFW and is possibly NSFA (A = anywhere).

Major Lazer "Pon De Floor" from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Community has become one of my favorite new sitcoms. It took me a while to admit this. It's fairly standardly paced and at times it seems to be yearning for a laugh track. The more I watched it though, the more I enjoyed it. I guess I owe that to having seen Donald Glover (who plays Troy, the football jock) perform a couple of times at the UCB Theatre. He was so dang funny, I had to start paying closer attention to the show. And, boyohboy, amigladidid.

It's not always great, but when it's good, it's damn good. The show is a ridiculous comedy, not trying very hard to be anything other than funny. It's got a good dose of meta in it, and it's self-referencing is gosh darn hi-larious. Once critics started pointing out pure character stereotypes on the show, they embraced the eff out of them. Somewhere around midseason, this show started getting really good.

In a perfect world, Chevy Chase would have never been added to the cast, but oh wells. My favorite character is easily Señor Chang, played by Ken Jeong. This isn't a character you've never seen before. Many shows have featured the angrier-than-is-necessary-teacher character. But Ken's play on this old archetype is fantastic. Also, he very much reminds me of what I think my friend James would be like as a teacher of any sort. Is that racist? It's probably racist. Alright, time to stop using words like "archetype" and to start watching some dang clips!

Community is on Hulu. I think. Watch it if you'd like. Other than that, it's on NBC, Thursday nights, either right before or after 30 Rock.

Monday, February 8, 2010

This is how big of a nerd I am.

Google - How to Impress a French Woman

This video made me smile way more than it needed to. I guess there's still a little Nerd City left in me after all...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boring, dumb, and fine, it's been a long time my friend

Thanks for the recommendation, YouTube! Sometimes I can't help but feel like you're the only website that, you know, really gets me.

Actually, you were pretty spot on with most of the rest of them recommendations. I suppose everyone is allowed to be wrong every once in a while, even the robots at The You Tube.

p.s. this is the only reason I have Photoshop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I said, "Hey you, get out of my fog."

This is what it feels like to be at work. I'm the kid on the left.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Check out the beard on that Hamm!

I didn't watch the SAG Awards last night, nor did I even know they were on. I haven't checked the winners, but judging by this photo Mad Mans won at least one award. The main reason I posted this though is because my man-crush on Don Draper (John Hamm) just went through the roof! I'm loving this Bearded Hamm.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Year in Review....In Review

This is me.

Dear Friends & Enemies alike,

Now that the Year in Review series is done I may as well go ahead talk a little bit about it. First off, I'm really glad that I was able to gather up this many of my friends and have them open up and write about what 2009 was like for them. For me, 2009 really was the first year that I can remember where I had major life changes, or at least attitude changes, both at the beginning and at the end of the year. Something that I started at the beginning of the year came to an end at the close of the year. I've never had a calender year really stand out in such a way as much as this one did. It's actually kind of unsettling when you think about it. All a year really is, is a predetermined measure of time. Maybe it's just happenstance then that 2009 read like a poorly written, somewhat uninteresting novel (but a novel nonetheless!).

When I actually sat myself down and wrote out my Year in Review post I was forced to actually think about everything that happened this year. Both the good and the bad (and I was actually lucky enough to have a lot of "good" this past year). And I found that writing it down and sharing it with you (as vaguely as it was written) helped me accept a lot of the things that happened. Or at least it helped me to reevaluate them. Maybe I could have done things differently, maybe I couldn't have. Maybe I wasn't as big of an asshole as I remembered, or maybe I was. It doesn't matter anymore, I can't do anything to change any of it. All I know is that it felt like God finally took his heavy-ass foot off my chest and I could breathe a little easier.

For everyone who also wrote a post in this somewhat depressing yet appropriately optimistic series, I hope you were able to have a similar experience. And even if you didn't write one, I'm glad that you read them (or listened to them), and I hope that even if you didn't know the people writing, you felt what they felt. Or at least what they wanted you to feel.

Now the series is done and we've got to move on to new things. I'd had this blog for quite a while before this Year in Review series and I'm not actually used to having people read it. So where do we go now? I hope I can keep you entertained somehow this year. It's going to be kind of hard for me in another sense because I really allowed this series to define and shape my January (I threw a party as an excuse to get Ben over to my house so I can interview him!). It's also really reminded me of my love for editing.

So with that said, here are some new projects that I'm working on.
Joe Zavella and I are working on a new writing project. Well, mostly it's just me editing stories written by Joe. We're working on one now but it'll be a long time before you see any of that.
Kelly Vargas, Joe Zavella, and I are working on a separate writing project. I don't want to get too into detail about it, but each of them will be writing a separate story and I'm going to weave the two of them together. Have you figured out yet that I really prefer editing over writing? Anyhow, I'm sure some of that will make it's way on to the blog.
• What I'm most excited about though is that I'm working on new music again. It's the first time in around 4 years that I've actually picked up an instrument and played something new on it. It feels good. My friend Tara and I are working on some stuff and maybe you'll hear some of it soon. Our one worry is that we're going to get compared to She & Him, as I'm playing the ukulele and she's got herself an acoustic guitar. Also, neither one of really wants to sing. That won't really draw comparisons to She & Him, though, it's just another concern.
• Also, I start a new job on Saturday. Not really a project, more like stocking shelves at a place I will not name. I feel like if I leave the name out of it, I'll be able to write about the ridiculous things that I'm sure will happen there.
Well, that's it for now. I'll keep posting every now and again. And don't worry, I won't mind if you stop reading. As long as you come back for the next series we do, whatever/whenever that will be.

Thanks again,
Zuhair "The" Abdulla

p.s. if you have no idea what I'm talking about or just want to read them again, here's where all them Year in Review posts be at.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feel like listening to Ben Vargas talk about 2009?

Here's your final special guest "writer," Ben Vargas, seen celebrating one of his favorite holidays – his birthday, 2009-style.

Well, you might be wondering why "writer" was written in quotes up there. If you're not wondering that, then you've already figured it out. As you can see here, Ben didn't actually write anything. Instead he came over to my house one Friday night, here in January, and we sat down and had ourselves a little talk about 2009. We might have broached a couple of other topics here and there, but it was mostly about last year (with a little bit devoted to this year).

Anyhow, we recorded that little chat and I have it here for you to listen to. Well, we figured this would be a good way to end this "Year in Review, 2009" series we've been doing here. So if you'd like to give it a listen, you can stream it here (22 minutes):
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Or, you can go over here and download it, or stream it:
Clickity Click Click

While listening to this, you'll hear some sounds in the background. We actually recorded this while there was a small party in full swing on the other side of the wall from the room we were in. Another note, we recorded this about 3 or 4 hours into said party. Take what you will from that. Anyhow, check it out. Hope you enjoy it.

Ben Vargas is an Internet Production something or other at a company that sells things. Sometimes they sell things online, sometimes they sell things in stores. Like a lot of my friends he enjoys bikes, brews, and dancing with tall boys.

He and his wife, Kelly Vargas, have very recently started a blog together: Ravenous River Horses. Do check it out, yo.

If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.
Angela Kim asks her father, "How old is too old for you?"
Tawny Lynn Rose v2.0
Kelly Mahoney learned some lessons in 2009, wants pizza in 2010
Candice Brown gains a new family in 2009
The Sloh Abides
Erin has the ingredients for happiness in 2010
Kelly Vargas wants you to know that you've kept her in a welcome prison
Joe Zavella's the man who loves you
Viet Nguyen used to be too young to live
Jake Kilroy's take on "growing up" in 2009
Keith Hernandez talks about travel and family in 2009
James Park drops some truth bombs about 2009
I talk about lessons learned, '09 style

Or click here to view all the posts on one page.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beach House

I've been listening to a lot of Beach House's new record, Teen Dream. My buddy David sent it over to me and it's well good, yo. I've never heard their first two records, but I'm definitely gonna go backwards in time and get them.

Anyhow, here are a couple of the tracks.

Here's how the album opens

And here's how it closes

Fill in the blanks. You'll be happy you did.

Teen Dream comes out on 1.26.10.

Angela asks her father, "How old is too old for you?"

Special guest writer, Angela Kim, can be seen here holding a tiger kitten in Thailand. What a bitch, right?

"I’ve been living in Los Angeles for over a year now and I’ve only recently become aware of the importance of age or lack thereof. I’m uncertain of whether it’s because I live in a youth-centric city or because I have reached that age where I would feel old, regardless of my location. Apparently by Hollywood standards 25 is the cutoff age for women. From there your only qualifications are your work merits, which actually means how great of a bitch you are. I’m 24 now, which means by Sept. 29th [NEVER FORGET] my existence will be validated on how much or how little of a bitch I am.

I can even “feel” myself getting older. Not just physically, but mentally as well [boo!]. It’s not as funny to me anymore when I hear that my mom has been feverishly attending morning prayers because I convinced her that I’m dating a black man [“But he understands me, MOM!”]. Or having my dad disapprovingly shake his head when I tell him that I’d like to be a fireman.

You know what else sucks about getting older? I realized that the “I have sex with my dad” jokes increasingly lose their shock value/believability factor as I get older. If one were to say “I love it when my dad pees in my mouth,” at the age of 18, it’s funny because the plausibility of the situation is quite disconcerting. At 26 though, no one will believe that you have sex with your dad because at 26, you’re too old. Even for your own dad.

I guess this past year I learned how old and undesirable I’m going to be next year. That said, I’m still undecided on whether I’m going to spend 24 eagerly anticipating “adulthood” or being depressed about the demise of my youth.


Angela Kim is an angsty little Korean who works at a fantastic little Korean BBQ shop up in Hollywood, CA. She enjoys taking pictures of things, wearing clothes, and things that am funnies. If you add an M to the beginning of her name, you could call her Mangela.

Mangela Kim keeps a very funny blog, FATTYLINEBACKER, as well as a halfway-decent twitter. Follow her @angerrrah.

If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.
Tawny Lynn Rose v2.0
Kelly Mahoney learned some lessons in 2009, wants pizza in 2010
Candice Brown gains a new family in 2009
The Sloh Abides
Erin has the ingredients for happiness in 2010
Kelly Vargas wants you to know that you've kept her in a welcome prison
Joe Zavella's the man who loves you
Viet Nguyen used to be too young to live
Jake Kilroy's take on "growing up" in 2009
Keith Hernandez talks about travel and family in 2009
James Park drops some truth bombs about 2009
I talk about lessons learned, '09 style

Or click here to view all the posts on one page.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Are you ready for Awesome Tawny v2.0?

Here's your special guest writer, Tawny Lynn Rose, doing some serious pondering, ponderances, ponderooings, and pinderpinings. Let us all enjoy the glory of her mustache together.

"Last year was the beginning of something huge, not in the "that's what she said" sense of huge, but more like a heavy amount of propulsion into a brighter and more sophisticated future.

Midway through 2009, I got a new job. Working for Roadtrip Nation has been one of the biggest changes for the better that I’ve seen in my life so far. Doing graphic design as a career is finally looking to be a radical thing and it’s all thanks to this awesome position at Roadtrip. I'm learning all the time, pushing myself, and working with friends in an amazing atmosphere. I don't think there could be a better fit for my life right now.

In January I had a big addition to my life: My dog! He was just a pup then and pretty much still is, but now he’s more like a medium-sized puppy with jaws of steel that chew through every possible thing. Every day I get a surprise when I come home – a new pile of chewed up particles of something... hopefully nothing too important. I think so far he's devoured 6 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of panties, a few socks, my paper pinhole camera, every single toy he's ever had, the carpet at the first place I lived with him, the wall at the second place (among other valuable items belonging to my roommate: wallet, ID, pot holders, his cat's eating bowls/water dispenser).... the list continues! This year I think I’m going to do a photo project and photograph the “before and afters” of his ravenous path to capture the beauty and joy of this experience.

But hey, nothing makes you grow up like realizing the things your dog chews up are the least of your worries. I guess that was the underlying theme of my life during the rollercoaster moments of 2009. There were many days that I can remember crying like a bitch, feeling like I needed to seriously adjust my life. And I did just that: Some friendships ended and new ones began. I got out of a failing job. I ended up moving 3 times to keep up with the changing jobs and salary cuts, big kid stuff. I was finally able to cut out a lot of the negativity that was keeping me down! Big news.

I guess that's how I was able to get focused on my shit. I got to do a lot of fun projects last year with Lip Magazine and collaborate with friends from school. I was able to travel to San Francisco for the Treasure Island Festival in the summer and visit Travis in Portland for New Year’s Eve. Those were two amazing trips that truly changed me for the better.

I also started playing drums and ukulele. I'm not sure why I started playing two instruments at the same time, but I definitely have a love affair with beats and strings. Dedicating a lot of time to learning these two instruments has opened my brain to a whole new adrenaline! It's so fantastic looking back at the year and seeing how comfortable I am playing now. It was tough times at the beginning of Oh Nine: No rhythm, no muscle memory, no calluses, and no synchronized body parts. The best feeling was when it finally clicked and I got a basic flow started. And I'm still learning all the time. I'm even starting to play with my friends more too. It's really exciting and it exercises a blooming part of my brain. I feel like a new person! There are so many things driving my creative energy, pushing me to explore different things constantly. It's so freaking fun!

This year started with that wondrous momentum. I hope to keep myself productive and busy this year, and to leave the negativity and time-wasting activities behind. The time is now, the place is here. I feel like it's happening right now, all around me, and if I don't jump in now I'm going to miss it and it will pass me by. I feel like I’m on the verge of something huge and I’m about to explode into Awesome Tawny v2.0. Things are truly looking up and I wake up so ridiculously refreshed every day with a renewed positive giddy attitude towards life and all of it's challenges and adventures!

Bring it on 2010. It's a new year, and a new decade. Let's do this!"

Tawny Lynn Rose is another one of them twenty-somethings graphic designers living in Costa Mesa, CA. She enjoys bike rides, ukuleles, and dancing about while slightly intoxicated on sangria. Her favorite food is mescalin.

Check out her blog, Inside Out, and also follow her on twitter @litltawny.

If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.
Kelly Mahoney learned some lessons in 2009, wants pizza in 2010
Candice Brown gains a new family in 2009
The Sloh Abides
Erin has the ingredients for happiness in 2010
Kelly Vargas wants you to know that you've kept her in a welcome prison
Joe Zavella's the man who loves you
Viet Nguyen used to be too young to live
Jake Kilroy's take on "growing up" in 2009
Keith Hernandez talks about travel and family in 2009
James Park drops some truth bombs about 2009
I talk about lessons learned, '09 style

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Few First Impressions

People don't often ask me this and I often wonder why not. Or, well, it's not so much that I wonder why they don't ask me this question, but why no one asks anyone else this question. At least not as often as I'd think they would. But anyhow. I guess the question would be this, "What's the first song you heard by [insert band name here]?"

I like going back and thinking about that from time to time. Especially with bands that I've been listening to for years. Anyhow, here's some of my "first impressions" of bands that I love now.

Pinback - "Hurley"

The Kinks - "Picturebook" (well, actually the first Kinks song I heard was "Lola" but I didn't know it was them. When I heard "Picturebook," it was the first time I actually wanted to find out who they were.)

Broken Social Scene - "Stars and Sons"

Wilco - "I'm the Man That Loves You" (I feel like Jeff Tweedy, in this video, may have been the inspiration for Jack Black's character in School of Rock)

Beulah - "If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart"

The Beach Boys - "Kokomo" (sung by the Muppets of course)

The Misfits - "Halloween"

Built to Spill - "Lie for a Lie" (no YouTube clip, but here's the audio)
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

The Mountain Goats - "Going to Georgia"

Kelly learned some lessons in 2009, wants pizza in 2010

Today's special guest writer, Kelly Mahoney, really enjoys depressed puppies. But then again, who doesn't? They're effing cute when they're sad.

"2009 was the year I turned nineteen, the age I will remain until late April. I spent the entire year keeping to myself, keeping secrets, and making more secrets to be kept. The theme for the year was “loneliness,” because, despite the fact that I was lucky enough to have numerous friends and family willing to go to great lengths to try and connect with me, I was usually far too shy or embarrassed to allow it. This separateness, along with a great deal of anxiety caused by living in a new city and going to a new school, is what made me decide to try and be more independent.

Although I did not accomplish some of the bigger goals that were on my list, like getting a job or a driver’s license, I did become less needy and more self-sufficient. I learned how to take the bus. I learned to go places on my own and have somewhat of a life, even if I didn’t have any friends to share it with. I learned that the color orange isn’t so bad and often looks good on Indian people. And probably most importantly, even though my learner’s permit is now expired, I drove a car. I drove, and because of this I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to crash and die because no matter what, there will be someone next to me in that passenger seat who is obviously willing to crash and die with me. Obviously.

But that’s a really silly way of putting it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel so far away from everyone that I had to find ways to get used to being lonely. I have friends who moved to San Francisco and I am lucky to see them twice a year, if that. I have friends who are busy with new relationships just as I watched my own come to a painful and abrupt close. I have friends who struggle to support themselves by working ridiculous hours every day, and are too miserable and exhausted in their free time to want to see me. The way things have turned out is very strange and rather uncomfortable for me at times. It seems that the people I spend the most time with are my sister’s friends, you guys. If you’re reading this, chances are I see you more often than I see even my best friends. I always have fun with you, and sometimes (usually the drunker times) I even feel like I might belong. But those moments of warmth and contentment quickly fade as I sober up and hear these words ringing in my ears, “Nineteen? That makes me feel so old.”

2009 was full of inside jokes that I didn’t get.

But enough sad-bastard Kelly. Let’s talk about some more things I learned last year. Because I spent 2009 alone, I guess the most important things about the year were the things I learned to do when I’m alone. No, not those things you pervert. I mean the other things I’ve learned, like how to argue the hell out of an issue and make my point clearly, or how to analyze the form of a film. I learned that I have some things in common with Andy Warhol that I kind of wish I didn’t, but it’s still pretty cool that I do. I learned that Scottish Fold kittens are way too expensive and I will probably never own one. I learned how to watch Hey Arnold! online for free. I learned that I want to major in philosophy and apply to law school when I graduate. I learned to never trust my wiener dog alone with an entire pizza. Well, technically I learned that this year. I wish I learned it in 2009, then maybe I would have some damn ass pizza in my fridge.

To sum everything up in this boring, poorly written essay thing, I learned a lot in 2009. Although I’d like to think that I’m stubborn and steadfast in my ways, it is apparent that the year has changed me noticeably. But whether it’s for better or for worse, I‘m not sure. What I am sure of, is that I’m willing to change a whole lot more this year, and I’m ready and dying for an adventure."

Kelly Mahoney is a currently a student at my alma mater, UC Riverside. She really, really, really loves pugs. Almost as much as I like fat cats.

Kelly tweets @naomifullbloom, but as of yet I'm her only follower. Let's do something to change that, shall we? Together, we can make a difference.

If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.
Candice Brown gains a new family in 2009
The Sloh Abides
Erin has the ingredients for happiness in 2010
Kelly Vargas wants you to know that you've kept her in a welcome prison
Joe Zavella's the man who loves you
Viet Nguyen used to be too young to live
Jake Kilroy's take on "growing up" in 2009
Keith Hernandez talks about travel and family in 2009
James Park drops some truth bombs about 2009
I talk about lessons learned, '09 style

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A brief hello

Here's a picture that I definitely took of people I definitely know.

Just dropping in real quick to say that there are more posts coming soon to this series we've been working on. Just felt like taking the weekend off. But I have at least 4 more coming, starting on Monday. We may, or may not, end the series off with a podcast-type thing. Still working out the kinks, ironing out the creases, and possibly barking at the wrong house.

Anyhow dear listeners, stay tuned! Because there is more coming!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big changes and a new family were born for Candice in 2009

Candice Brown, your special guest writer, and I both share a favorite place: Memphis at the Santora. One of these days we'll find a place to love that isn't a bar.

"For me, 2009 was like a very drunk version of Cinderella. Just who knew that my Prince Charming would be a neighborhood rather than a hunky gentleman?

The best thing that happened to me this past year was having the courage to talk to someone I recognized from a reality show. [Yes it's weird, I know this, but weird can be the best thing ever sometimes!] This small act somehow changed the whole course of my life for the better. Christopher Hall invited me to grab a drink with him at Memphis after I met him at my first Yelp Elite event. It was maybe the third time I'd ever been to Downtown Santa Ana, and as much as I liked it, I really didn't think Memphis was the right bar for me. I was wrong, very, very wrong. I spent the night drinking beer, bumming cigarettes off Chris and talking to him about reality TV, hair salons, pastries and Yelp. By the end of the night he told me he had to leave before 1am because things get weird after 1am [I know this now to be a true fact and should really start leaving the bar before 1am more often].

All I know is that by the time I got home to Garden Grove that night, I was hooked. I started going downtown whenever Johnny was bartending, and I actually went about 6 months without missing a night that he worked. I would drag friends with me every week until finally one night I couldn't talk anyone into coming with me. I'd never been to a bar on my own, but it was just one drink, and I knew Johnny was working. "I can do this!" I told myself over and over again on the drive down to Santa Ana. And really, I'm so glad I did. Another little act of courage, and that night I ended up meeting more people by being alone than all the times I had friends with me. This is where my Santa Ana family started.

The rest of the year was full of some minor and some major courageous events. Having the courage to start up my pastry business when I had trouble finding a job in the restaurant industry, which has led to me catering a gallery opening, a CD release party, and many, many birthdays. I had the courage to give up living by myself so I could live in DTSA. I also had the courage to give my heart to someone when I had been holding it back from people for so long.

And yes, the heartbreak was my lowest point of the year. I spent many a night drowning my sorrows at Memphis and spilling my heart out to Johnny at 4am on the street. But I realized from this how many amazing people I have in my life that care so much about me. They'll let me be a complete mess when I need to be, and will still call me the next day. They'll make me laugh, hold me when I cry, and will even buy me a shot of Jäger or make me some mac ‘n cheese at 4am if they think it will make me feel better.

Now that my heart is starting to heal, this new year is looking a lot brighter. I now know that I have the courage and power to do anything that I want. And that I have a family of friends behind me that will support me no matter what trouble I get myself in to. I want to say that I'll be more cautious when it comes to my heart this year, but I am a young female and a totally hopeless romantic, so that's a difficult task for me. It's probably best to be a bit more realistic about things...

What I really want out of 2010 is just to laugh more, and to have more sober nights than drunken ones. To bake more delicious things and really push myself to the limit when it comes to experimenting and coming up with new recipes. I would like to stop smoking since it's expensive, and saving money is definitely up there on things I'd like to do this year. I want to travel more on my own and have weekends out of Santa Ana more often. I want to get more sleep and have a little less drama. This year I'll turn 25 and I want to make the most of this quarter life I'm living. [And I want to slow down a bit so I'll make it another 25 years.]

So bring it on 2010, because I definitely have a good feeling about you!"

Candice Brown is a big fan of Star Wars, vinyl records, and baking. She's like me in the sense that we both wear pretty much the same outfit everyday. It's all about simplicity folks!

Interested in getting some of her baked goodies? Check out Lush Pastries. Perhaps you just want to read more of her writings? Click here. Or maybe you just want to take her in, one-sentence at a time? Follow her @moufflet.

If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.
The Sloh Abides
Erin has the ingredients for happiness in 2010
Kelly Vargas wants you to know that you've kept her in a welcome prison
Joe Zavella's the man who loves you
Viet Nguyen used to be too young to live
Jake Kilroy's take on "growing up" in 2009
Keith Hernandez talks about travel and family in 2009
James Park drops some truth bombs about 2009
I talk about lessons learned, '09 style