Saturday, January 31, 2004

Where Have You Gone, Joe Trippi?

If anyone is on the Howard DEAN mailing list, be sure to read the latest message from new campaign manager Roy Neel. It outlines the DEAN plan for February 3rd and beyond, which seems to include not winning any of the states holding primaries this Tuesday. They then plan on ignoring the subsequent attempts of John Kerry and the media to declare Kerry the winner until after big states like California, New York, and Ohio (!) have held their primaries.

I was honestly still feeling a little hopeful until I got this email. But when they're sending out press releases that basically say, "look, we're not going to win any states on Tuesday. In fact, we're shooting for third place in same of them" . . . well, it doesn't inspire much confidence. This suddenly feels an awful lot like the Al Gore campaign all over again. I think DEAN would do a lot of good things in the White House, but he's screwed himself over in trying too hard to get there.


(In slightly more uplifting news. the UCB season one box set is really, really good.)

Friday, January 30, 2004

My First Shave

I think it was Mindy. We were in band, but we weren't playing that day. I was sitting with Mindy (french horn, junior), Carol (french horn, junior), and Levi (trombone, senior), which, in case you were wondering, made the baddest ass freshman who ever LIVED. Mindy was trying to be nice and she told me that if I wanted my moustache to be darker, I should shave it off and let it grow back in.

My what? The who?

I was horrified. I was liquified. I died inside. I had the world's largest crush on Mindy, who was short, and red haired, and wore unusual stockings. And she talked to me, her and her friend Carol, and sometimes they flirted with me. And it wasn't serious to them, not at all, but myohmy I was infatuated. With them BOTH. And Levi, he was just rad. He was a senior, remember? And he drove a pick-up truck and he had hit Preston with that truck in 8th grade and broken Preston's legs, which was quite the scandal in my last year of junior high. And now here was the kid responsible, and this kid was my FRIEND.

And then Mindy gave me shaving advice? Good lord, I felt small. I don't remember what was said next, probably something from Carol or Levi to soothe the blubbering embarrassment that came out of my mouth, but that night I shaved for the very first time. I hadn't even realized I had a moustache in the first place.

I had no idea where to begin. It had never been mentioned before. My brother was away on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and my dad and I weren't talking much at the time I believe, partly because he was on a new work schedule that involved him going to bed around 7 in the evening; partly because I was 14 and that's how those things go sometimes. We haven't spoken much since then either, I suppose, but I tend to remember it when we do. And sometimes when we're not talking we're sitting in the room together, and that's at least something. We had never shared the same interests, not a single one, ever since I could remember, so just watching the Two Towers together this past Xmas is a pretty big achievement in my mind.

I remember being a kid, I mean a young kid, and taking a bath. Part of my bath time ritual was to play in the bath for a bit before the actual bathing happened. The tub would be filled with water, a minimal amount of bubbles were involved, and I had bath toys. Boats, ducks, monsters, all that. Once Dad was in the bathroom while I was playing, and he was shaving. It was at night. He took a blob of shaving cream and plopped it into the water. He was playing around with me, and like I said that didn't happen too often, but I freaked out. I was a bit of a tender young lad, the one who didn't want to get dirty, or who was scared to get hurt. My dad had liked playing sports, liked knocking people around, and I wasn't like that at all. I don't know how it turned out that way, and sometimes I wonder what he thought about having two sons like that. I was moreso that way than my brother, so I imagine I was secretly held as One More Chance when I was born 10 years after Dave. But then, there I was, yelling for help from Mom because a blob of shaving cream was in the bathtub with me, and I wasn't sure what would happen if I touched it. Imagine Dad's pride!

So, 14, and standing in front of a mirror. Dad had a razor with disposal blades, but I didn't want to snag one of his. Mom had a bag of disposal razors, and I knew they were for ladies and all, but I couldn't imagine there being much difference. I chose one of them and let my hand hover over the canister of shaving cream. Maybe it was some latent fear of Things What Are Gross, but I just didn't know where to begin with it. So, locked in the bathroom, I used one of my mom's disposal razors on my dry face to give myself my first shave.

It didn't hurt the first time, but when I did it again (possibly the next day, though there was no need) it felt like burning. I decided I should experiment with the shaving cream after all, and no one was hurt. My sister-in-law, who was living with us with the two kids she had with Dave, noticed it and laughed, I think. My mom didn't say anything, and my dad wasn't around when it was spotted. I hadn't realized the dark streak over my top lip had been that noticeable, but apparently it was. Now that it was gone, at least.

The next day at school Mindy thought I looked different, but she couldn't place why. I shrugged my shoulders as if I wouldn't know, either. Mindy asked Carol what was different about me, and I think Carol guessed right off. She didn't say anything and Mindy figured it out on her own. She laughed again, and tried to tell me she wasn't trying to be mean when she pointed it out. She followed this up by saying I looked really good without it.

Without the moustache, I mean.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


"'BRING IT ON' really means 'BRING ON RIM JOBS.'"
-Meredith Smith, law student and ass-kicker.

Dear god, is this the best we have? Come on, Howard. Smash some things.

GoGoGo, SignSignSign

Save the Hubble

As much as I want to see a person on Mars, I think it's a big mistake to let the Hubble project disintegrate even a day before its scheduled retirement in 2010 (which, as Roy Scheider knows, is the Year We Make Contact).

I thank you, and Roy's unbuttoned shirt thanks you.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Hobart (up), IN (ya)

The Organic Groove Continuum was out for dinner at the "Steppin' Stone," the kind of restaurant that serves Lots of Meat and has fake wood panelling on the walls. The kind of place with sawdust on the floor, a claw machine that hasn't worked since 1991, and country-fried everything. The Steppin' Stone!

The OGC has a problem. Half of them lives and works in Hobart (pronounced HO-bert, like "beau") and subsequently they find themselves being stared down in mall parking lots, their own driveways, and places like the Steppin' Stone by the locals. Not that everyone in Hobart is a redneck (or "yuks" as we like to call them), but basically, um, everyone in Hobart is a redneck. Yeah.

Anyway, the Steppin' Stone. The OGC are there enjoying a meal of meat and meat when they notice they're being stared down by someone familiar to them. It's not that they actually know this person, but rather that they seem to be an amalgamation of several people from the OGC's past. The face is like Cory Haim's:

But the hair is Newtonsville Hard like Corey Haggard's:

He is therefore dubbed "Cory Hate." He stares down the musically-oriented pair as they eat their vittles, daring them with his eyes to explain why they've entered his territory.

"Whatchew tryin' to do comin' up in my Steppin' Stone? I'll step yer stone, motherfucker, cuz you ARE a motherfucker, bitch."

You ARE a motherfucker, bitch.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Guess What Happened Last Night

I was working *with* the kids from BN, but we were all working in a grocery store together. Like one of those big ones that sells buckets of sand and thing too. Warren Ellis posted on his site that he was now a single man again, having been kicked out of the house the previous day at 1.13pm, and he was now posting from the pub across the street. Amanda Gilley, Nick Gilkison's crush from 2nd Grade, was in a van my family was using to drive to Illinois and back, and she wanted to take an extra pair of shoes. But there wasn't room for her extra pair of shoes, because my dad was bringing an extra pair of shoes. I was riding back with the Fam, but I was a little nervous because I was holding onto the side of the van and surfing along outside for most of the trip back. What made me nervous was that I was surfing along on logs in the swamp, only one of the logs was an alligator, and I couldn't tell which one. My mom liked the record by the Shins and she was asking if anyone else did, and yes Mom, I like it very much, but she couldn't hear me. The rest of the family heard me, as they kept looking-without-looking at me as I said it over and over again, but Mom never acknowledged it.

Friday, January 23, 2004

That's Good Advice, Cat

Your pride is hurting and that’s gonna take some time to heal, is all. Just send me some photos of you in pajamas and stuff and let me make it all right again. Pour yourself some wine before you take the photos. You deserve it, baby. Show me stuff you don’t show other men. Show me all that stuff. Show me some of that stuff. I don't care what it looks like, I just want to see it.

Ray tells it like it is.

Laser-beam Eyes!

Now if only I could find a picture of Dean in cowboy hat. Does Texas have a primary that matters?


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

"I Write Internet Quizzes for a Living."

Check out my Morality! 81% liberal, 19% conservative

Found via Kelly Sue.


Oh shit. Ohshitohshitohshitohshit. Ohnononononono.

Is that her? That can't be her. I looked at her for a really long time, but I didn't think she saw. I mean, she did see, because she looked at me too, but is she SAW (if she recognized), she's either waiting for me to be surprised and fake-happy first, or she's going to pretend she didn't see me at all.

She looks . . . I dunno. Like an alternate-future version of herself. Things are exaggerated. Her hair is so blonde it's white and it's ultra-spikey in the places it's not fashionably matted down, like there in the front where it sweeps across her forehead and deftly clears her eyes. She's wearing a long tannish coat that looks familiar, but surely if this is her, and if this is alternate-future her, she would have bought a new coat since last winter. But then maybe she dug it out of the closet specifically for this evening, in this part of town I would not expect to see her in (but then, why not? It's expensive, it's trendy), but wouldn't be all that surprised to find her in either. The coat, the tannish one, it matches her pants. Her pants! They are tan and bell-bottomed, not something I've seen her in, not even close, but all the same they are a logical progression of her fashion wants as they evolved while we knew each other.

The earrings are the kicker, maybe moreso than her hair. They're big and gold (fake gold) and they're hoopy. Those earrings, yes, I have them before.

She passes me and I do not look. If I look and I'm right, if I look and it's her, there has to be a RE-UN-ION. What're you doing, what're you up to, how've you been? I'm sexy, I'm happy, I'm going to dinner!

I do not look. If she does, and if it's her after all, I will never, ever know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Working Man Blues


I watched Bob sell memberships tonight. He's really good at it, but I can't tell if it's his commitment to The Cause, or if it's just the sort of thing that people like him do well. He told me about what things to say and how to word them, not based on how true they were but on how the people on the other side of the door would react to them. It's a good cause in theory--peace, no new nukes, all that--but when you start telling an old woman in a nightgown in Logan Square who doesn't speak that English that we're basically like the Church, I have to question the ethics behind this thing. And yeah, that really happened.

I'm not sure what part of me thought I would be okay doing this sort of thing. I'm cold the way I was when I worked in the freezer at Meijer, only now there's no break from it. I'm begging people, scamming people, and begging people again for money, and meeting quotas like I did when I sold Preferred Reader cards at Waldenbooks (I was one of Those Manager Types by the time we sold the same things at BN), and I was very, very relieved when I didn't have to worry about any of those things anymore. Only now I have to worry about all of those things at once, and they're magnified.

And I wonder about how much it does, as a cause. We're raising money for lobbyists in Washington, but part of what we're raising (and it's a pretty hefty part) goes to paying us to be out there raising the money. So I wonder if I'm really doing anything worth while by working for these folks, or if I'm just inserting myself into the money game that is American politics. Plus, they're a bunch of hippies who actually think Kucinich would make a good President. I mean, I mostly like Kucinich. I'm really glad he's a Congressman, and I'm really glad he's running for President and sticking with it. But, um, the dude would not be a very good President. And he's kind of crazy, too. The Grandfather Time business? Yeah.

Anyway. Let's wrap this up, right? Maybe I'm just too quesy, maybe I'm too naive, but I really don't like asking people for money. Especially when I honestly don't think they can spare it, in spite of the fact that I think it's a good cause, but oh-wait-a-minute, maybe not, because I'm not sure if it makes a difference anyway.


The Meredith and Matt Show


Sunday, January 11, 2004

Always good to know.

Which Genocidal Maniac Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

Back from Zanzibar. Much to Share.

The winds were mighty and the women mightier . . . some of my friends and associates from the States might be scared off by a little leg hair, but not your fearless narrator, my friends! Not I!

My apologies to any who have been anxiously awaiting an update, but I fear I must report that pirate ships are more often than not unequipped with the latest in wireless internet technology. I know, I was surprised as well. Though not as surprised as when I was plucked from the galley and asked to join the crew--though I certainly felt in my mind that my own bulging muscles were more impressive than some of my captors', I was surprised and pleased to find that the captain of the ship, Long John Seymour, had noticed as well. Sure, it was a little awkward sharing a bunk at first--but we're men of the sea, by Christ! We managed to overcome our initial discomfort and we soon got down to the business of robbing and plundering innocent merchant vessels.

Long John Seymour (LJS) is the best! He has an eyepatch that he even lets some of the other lads wear at night after the work is done and we're unwinding over mugs of applesauce. And when you're drinking applesauce, just forget about using a straw, folks--it doesn't work that well in the first place, and the other pirates will totally make fun of you. FYI.

And remember the hairy-legged girls I mentioned? Well boy-oh-boy, is there a story there! But I'll have to get back to you on that in a bit--LJS is coming this way and he's looking for someone to dig up some treasure. Gotta run!

Matt the Terrible

Saturday, January 03, 2004

You know what I like about January? All over the place, people are planning on being more organized. That lasts until a little later in January. But seeing that we are in the midst of the very first weekend of 2004, I will engage in a time-honored tradition of procrastinators everywhere: mainly, making a list of things to do in order to convince myself that I'm doing something, when in fact I'm putting off doing anything. To the point:

My Stack Of Things Yet To Be Read

Or: My Stack Of Things Started But Not Yet Finished)

1. The Autograph Man, by Zadie Smith. Just received it today, thought it would be a hardcover American copy, turns out it's a trade paperback British copy. I think I like this one better.

2. Kitchen Sink #5. A magazine for people who think too much, published out of Oakland, CA. Past contributors have been Warren Ellis, Laurenn McCubbin, and KellySue. Check it at [URL=][/URL]

3. Red Ant Stories, by Ann Cummins. Got it for x-mas. The title story appeared in McSweeney's a while back and it features a girl named Bean.

4. KASPAR by Peter Handke. A play about language. It's awesome folks, just awesome.

5. Collected Stories, by Isaac Babel. He wrote 80 years in Russia, and even the translations kick my ass.

6. Frank Dell's the Temptation of St. Anthony, by the Wooster Group. Flaubert, Lenny Bruce, and Willem Dafoe!

7. Breaking the Rules: The Wooster Group, by David Savran. The pictures alone are worth it.

8. Nine Stories, by JD Salinger. Specifically, "Just Before the War with Eskimos."

9. Two issues of One Story. Check out [URL=][/URL] and receive a new short story in your mailbox every few weeks.

10. The Best American Non-required Reading 2003, ed. by Dave Eggers. The intro by Zadie is what hooked me. "Tales of the Tyrant" made me want to move in.

11. The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, by F. Scott himself. Poor Zelda.

12. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway. JD and F and Ernie!

13. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Piggy!

14. AutobioGraphix, ed. by Diana Schutz. There's an Eddie Campbell story in there, and one of my new favorite comics artists, Paul Hornschemeier.

15. Giant-Size THB 1.v.2, by Paul Pope. If you don't know Paul Pope, walk away and find out.