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29

September 29, 2011

Thanks to those who made this day special. I remember when someone (and I remember who) told me that when you turn the same number your birthday is, it’s special. I thought that was bullshit– though it was charming when she turned her “birthday age.” But, with all the other occurrences of 29 in my life– from 29 Palms, I was 009 (get it?) in high school– I can’t help but smile. I’m listening to Ryan Adam’s 29 (so?) and actually wondering what this last year of my twenties will be like. Cheers to the Nintendo 64 and Erika Eleniak.

(Thanks to Barry Cutler, my dear friend, for the best birthday greeting I’ve ever received. I mean, look at it.)

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New poem: “Prizefight”

September 26, 2011
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I will post new work as an actual post, leave it up for a week or so for interpretation/workshop/criticism, then give it its own page [see above]. First up, a poem I wrote this morning. Please feel free to read and give feedback.

Found: short story “Dr. Beauchef, Penguin Dentist”

September 25, 2011

Digging in the my folders for poems and plays to write and rework, I found a story I wrote for creative writing class, the one short story class I took before I changed my focus to poetry. It’s rather silly. It actually stemmed from a conversation I had with my brother, Kelly, about jazz song titles and how they don’t have to really mean anything. (Oh, and Kelly has asked me recently to name tunes on a CD he’s supposed to be working on. I’m excited.)

Dr. Beauchef, Penguin Dentist

by Sean R. Corbin

Based on the Kneebody song, “Dr. Beauchef, Penguin Dentist”

Dr. Beauchef took off his right mitt and reached into his pocket. He pulled from it a tube of procaine and inspected it as a stranger. The Ross Sea wind chilled his hand and he returned the tube and quickly redressed his hand. He was lanky, although one could not tell because of his parka. His hair was fashionably short, but his dress had changed drastically for the rough Antarctic weather he prepared for.

            On the rusty deck of The Bowman, headed for Antarctica, Dr. Beauchef, for the first time since he had begun this venture four years before, questioned whether he was doing a smart thing. He thought of the millions of other people’s teeth he could clean and correct; the various love affairs with dental students that, until the week before his departure, he had sworn off; he thought of the tube of procaine in his pocket, the same he used to aid mothers in the street with teething children. But he remembered the three penguins he had met at the zoo, and thought of the others – the other penguins – who could use his help. He remembered also that, despite the gruff that now battled with his usually waxed moustache, he was still very young. He felt, as he had joked with those back home in Newark, that maybe he could still return home – to the humans and their teeth.

            His mitt off again, Dr. Beauchef reached for the tube of procaine. Laughing, he rubbed the numbing grease on his gums.

◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦

Dr. Beauchef had established himself as a successful and even charismatic dentist, opening an office within a year of receiving his Doctorate of Dental Surgery, and retaining most of his savings for his retirement.

            After his visit to a zoo in New York City, Dr. Beauchef approached John D. Rockefeller, who immediately put up the remainder of the expedition’s cost; without the help, he could have only made it to Brazil, about half the way. There was paperwork, something the dentist rarely had the chance to enjoy and he completed it with a sort of nostalgic liking. And, for “insurance purposes,” he was required to list the possessions he would be taking with him: his dentistry equipment, of course (all of which was itemized individually on an attached form); a weeks change of clothes; an extra week each of long johns, briefs and pairs of socks; toiletries; charcoal and six writing tablatures. All other items – provisions, the shelter, etc. – would not be listed.

◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦

The Bowman landed on the shore of Edward VII Land, near the Ross Ice Shelf. As she left for the dark horizon of the sea, Dr. Beauchef was sure he heard the same laughter that had mocked his adventure from its inception.

            Once on the shelf, Dr. Beauchef realized just how alone he was: no one was there. A chill set in and, now more determined to find his true patients, he established camp and bedded early in hopes of finding the penguins the next day.

◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦

The first day was his most successful.

            He awoke early and ate what breakfast he could (cold oatmeal and ham). He strapped his equipment to his back and started for the hill that was farther south. The crisp line of the hill was broken by a mass of black as a small group of penguins approached. His first thought was they had been excited, perhaps because of his camp commotion, maybe even just his arrival. He then reasoned with himself a bit more and knew they were simply coming for their first appointments.

            He approached them, crouched down and slowly, and spoke in a tender voice.

◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦                       ◦

Three months passed and his body was found on a small snow bank less than two hundred yards from camp. Most of his food was discovered to be uneaten and a journal entry revealed how disappointed he was to find that penguins, as he had been told, actually have no teeth.

 

Great films (that I have no desire to watch ever again)

September 18, 2011
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Old Yeller (1957)

I remember checking the VHS out from the library when I was a kid, either to skip ahead in the book or cos it had a doggie on it. I watched it alone and I remember calling mom into the room as the ending was building up – in denial, probably sitting there smiling like, “Hehe, hi ma, just watch this with me? MY GOD A GUN WHY DOES SHE HAVE A GUN DO YOU OWN A GUN MA?? [spoiler alert] WTF MA??” I haven’t watched it since. I don’t even know if it’s that great but it makes the list since it started it all.

 

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

I finally watched this a couple months ago. Burton and Taylor (and George Segal and Sandy Dennis) are excellent (hell, even the two employees in the scene above are amazing), and I really hope I do watch it again if only to take notes. The uncomfortable moments – and every character has one or more with every other character, it’s insane – make the film, and made it one of the hardest for me to finish.

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

A friend of mine did a stage production of this a year or two ago and said that it was hard for him, that developing the character and taking him home every night was depressing. Luckily he wasn’t McMurphy. The film draws you in by showing you a side of the human experience not usually seen and certainly not usually viewed with such sarcasm (i.e. via McMurphy). Is he insane or is he an asshole? (Not me- McMurphy.)

 

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

The bleakest film I’ve seen – you know, “You can’t always get what you want, and what you need is really, really, really going to suck, man.” But it’s not just the subject matter that bothered me – it was how it was showed: the choppy editing throughout, and especially as the movie crescendos, is just a damn assault. It has more than 2,000 cuts (about four times as many in a typical film), and anyone who has seen it has the scars to prove.

 

Road to Perdition (2002)

This one is hard to put on here, but the truth is I need to put this on here cos I need to stop watching it. I cry every time. I cry over small shit in this film – like when they leave the old couple something for their trouble. Road to Perdition is one of Sam Mendes’ best moments, capturing the hardships of the Depression, showing why people stick together and how loyalty is not a question of morality.

 

Painted Veil (2006)

I’m not sure I can talk about why I won’t watch Painted Veil again without spoiling such a damn good film… so I’ll make something up: Trapped in a loveless marriage, Kitty Fane (Naomi Watts) is forced by her husband – the calculating and seemingly spineless Walter Fane (Edward Norton) – to join him in cholera-stricken China. When that doesn’t work, Walter starts ripping heads off kittens (cholera-stricken as well) – one every day until Kitty (Watts, with me?) will sleep with him. This takes years.

 

Up (2009)

Up is Pixar’s bravest moment and one of their most touching films.(TWENTY MINUTES IN?? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME – TWENTY MINUTES IN??)

 

Blue Valentine (2010)

Did I buy this to facilitate getting over someone? Yes. Did it work? Not fucking immediately. Both performances are superb – with defining characteristics in two different time periods (beginning and end), characteristics that stand out even as the film splices the two time periods together. It has it all: infatuation, love, “What are you doing with your life?,” yelling – all which we had. It’s not all we had, but we certainly couldn’t get through it. And that’s okay. Shit, am I talking about the movie anymore? Yes and no – I remember the good times and bad and I saw them play out in Blue Valentine. Would I (we?) have seen it the same way had we watched it together? (Did we need to watch it at all?)

 

The Devil’s Schedule

September 9, 2011

I hit Borders with mom yesterday. If you’re worried about people spending money on things they don’t need (and just things they want) then don’t go to Borders in their last three days – cos you’ll see people spending money on things they don’t need or even want. Trust me – I bought an Eels CD cos I figured “What the hell.” But! I did want (need?) this book mom found: The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation.

With the new semester starting last week, I’m back at the COD library – just a few hours but great pay. Starting the week of the 19th I’ll be back tutoring as well, giving me a total of 60 hours a week, no days off. I’m used to working seven days a week so it’s okay. And there’s a lot of down time tutoring so I’ll spend this next week preparing what-to-read, what-to-write lists.

I'm including a capture of my schedule in case anyone wants to bring me free food. That and my schedule looks RAD.

This is the only reason why I didn’t go out for the Fall show at COD (or at least, the only reason I won’t catch shit for). I have these two mentalities – art vs. money. I’ll either focus on going to school/doing productions or focusing on working as many as hours as possible. I once declined a stage manager “job”* at the La Quinta Playhouse because, at that time, I was about making money. Although they went defunct shortly after that, there are days that I wish I had taken it (for the experience, networking, etc.). The difference now is I am actually saving the money rather than just talking about it. (And I’ll be doing a third commercial with Adam Duplay next week, this time for LG’s Steakhouse. I really enjoy working with him and his crew (Go Steve!) regardless of being an extra or the pay… though a free steak would be savvy.)

Oh, and I am no longer on probation at work. It took over a year, but I did it. I did it. But thanks for the wake up calls those first few months.

*quotation marks necessary: they weren’t sure if they were going to pay me

The Sex Excuse Shirt

August 23, 2011

I had a really great childhood. Really great: Loving parents, a brother to look up to, and growing up around (or behind) radio stations (more Van Halen for me!).

I’m not sure how to explain that when I was sick – so sick I actually remember it – my parents dressed me in a “SEX EXCUSE SHIRT.” Or maybe that’s what it means to be the son of a disc jockey.

 

 

“Later.” (C’mon…)

“There’s cookie crumbs in bed.” (grammatically incorrect but personal)

“I didn’t take a shower.” (NOTE: Not “I need to take a shower.”)

and “I hate [something].” That one’s too blurry/inexplicable

Save me, Snoopy.

Life in the Suburbs

August 22, 2011


 

 

While searching for a digital booklet for Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (sick of my current desktop image), I came across this ridiculous claim (that’s still awesome, and shaming me for not writing it first – there, I said it.)

 

 

 

When The Suburbs came out a year ago, I went on my lunch break, copped it in excitement… but wasn’t ready for it. That’s the best explanation I have for not… well, liking it when I first heard it, to feeling that it wasn’t written for me – for this time I’m in, for the changes I was going through, and for who I just might become.

It’s been on most of my office charts (someone do the math); when I lost my car it was the one CD I copied to tape for my walkman; I’ve teared up in both awe and relevance; I’ve had friends remind me that there are other albums by Arcade Fire; there was a point when a good friend of mine said “Is there one day when I don’t have to listen to the goddamn Suburbs??” (Okay, I’m good friends with Alan Arkin.)

A week ago, when things ended with the person I had hoped and tried and wanted to make a life with, I took a break – The Suburbs is too much of a reminder. (Hip hop, comics, Peep Show – these are the things we need in our life when it gets a little tough.) But what about the Deluxe Edition? I figured I’d buy it, shelve it, and hopefully listen to it in a few months, and call it a benchmark.

It was unwrapped before I got home. I listened to the remix and demo – just dancing around the idea of actually listening to it. I watched Scenes from the Suburbs. When I finally started the Deluxe Edition (opening with the two bonus tracks) I did something so distracting: dishes.

It dawned on me that regardless of how much I think or thought or just wanted this album to be about my relationship, at this point it wasn’t. At this point it was about this past year. Since it first came out:
•     I worked to get my girlfriend back, worked hard to be a better partner, and lost again (“Took a drive into the sprawl to find the house where we used to stay. We couldn’t read the number in the dark. You said, ‘Let’s save it for another day.’”)
•     Work (“…just punch the clock.”)
•     I moved from Indio back to Palm Desert (“I feel like I’ve been living in a city with no children in it.”)
•     I didn’t take care of and lost my car, becoming car-less for the first time since 16 (“…as we listened to the sound of the engine failing.”)
•     I acted in two plays with wildly different experiences – both reminding me that it’s time to move on, that I do not need to act at a school I no longer attend (“…it’s the first time I’ve felt like something is mine, like I have something to give.”)
•     I met a lot of good people – and hurt and confused a lot of good people (“Wanna wash away my sins in the presence of my friends.”)
•     I lost good friends (“Your part of town against mine.”) and realized that as dependent as I have been on others, I need to be more self-reliant (“In my dream I was almost there then they pulled me aside and said ‘You’re going nowhere.’”)
•     Above all, and seemingly in spite of all this, I’m learning that I need to stop living in the past (“You said the past won’t rest until we jump the fence and leave it behind.”)

 

Now. Now’s a good time to let go. Now’s a good time to stop waiting for something to happen. Now’s a good time to just trust myself, to be responsible for what I am rather than worrying anymore about what I’ve been or what I thought I could have been. Now’s a good time to no longer worry about what people may or may not think about me or what I’m doing. Now’s a good time to stop worrying. And maybe now’s a good time to shelve The Suburbs – take it down in a couple years when I want to remember what it was like to be young. Or when I want to remember what it was like to be here, in this town, working everyday to bring something beautiful to this life.

(“Now I’m ready to start.”)