Sunday, May 30, 2010


I wanted to tell you, I plugged in some old external hard-drives today and looked through the pictures. Man, you were beautiful then in my life and kept me in orbit. But we started drifting soon after those were taken, so I don’t like them too much. I do like how you looked at me through the camera lens though. There was love in those looks. And my aperture was just right.

I think that was the best beginning to a love story I have really ever known. It was sweet and true and we delighted in future possibilities and were always passionate. I smile when I remember how much you wanted me to be posted to Okinawa or Kagoshima so that it was tropical and a good place to have some kids. You really wanted me to teach them to surf.
But it broke, well, I broke it; I broke it officially by stepping out of what had become poison and awful. And I was never posted to Okinawa or Kagoshima.

I know you are still beautiful and you live with your new man in a house around 124th St. or so. I’ve even passed you two when I was taking a break from sledge-hammering a walkway at my father’s house, or when I went to the store for cigarettes. I know you saw me then. I sure saw you two.

That’s how it goes, though, isn’t it? You observe the time while remaining aware that it is mere observation, just as I am observing this now. But as sad as that story is, I am happy that it ended. I mean, with you. You see, I love love and love stories, but it’s a real trick to get them right. Maybe you’ve found a way. I have not.

Here in Vancouver, I am adrift and have been for two years. I just don’t feel like letting the roots touch the soil for too long. I have too much momentum behind me, perhaps. Maybe. What do I know of me. Really.

Well, I do know that it is all in here. In me. I know that all of these questions and answers and fears and cures and love and hurt and terrible dreams of success and failure, of you, they all exist in here and in here only. Memories, too. I observe them, running loops, overlapping.

It feels like there is a bug in there, in my brain, always scurrying and digging and fucking around.

I’m going to Tofino, I want to be a surfer.

"This was the unbounded power of eloquence -of words- of burning noble words."

I've turned over a new leaf.
I am going up the river.

I am still young enough
to be terrified.
And old enough
to be terrified.

Up river, into it.
And I won't pull out
until we meet
me and I.

But I have turned over a new leaf,
didn't I tell you?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I want to be a HEAVY METAL songwriter!

"I think that everything is going to be alright
tonight is out.

I think that everything is going to be safe;
but I sure fell in love with you quickly; dangerous.

I think that everything is going to be sunshine and oranges.
I think everything will be fucking great.

I think I can pay the rent, this time.
I think that everything is going to be golden.

You know that I'm yours, this time.
You know that I'm yours, beholden.

You're golden golden x 2

If you could understand what makes me be a man,
well, I can't help you at all!

You're golden x 2"

...that's all I have, now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

This was sent from Japan.


From: Jody Cloutier
To: Everyone

I had the saddest morning.
I was in my car, parked on a country road, enjoying a 7-11 can of
coffee; a usual morning.

Suddenly this van came speeding by me, and this cat I had been
watching playing in the sun-drenched field ran out into the road.
The van hit it and it flew out into the middle of the road. The van
kept going so I jumped out of the car and ran over to the cat.
I picked her up and slowly walked, with her in my arms, over to the
side of the road. The cat was warm and soft and still breathing,
I sat down in the grass and placed the cat on my lap. I pet it and
whispered sweet words to it.
At that moment in time, this morning, I
have never loved anything more than that cat.
She looked at me a bit, eyes wide, and I think she understood me.
Then, as we sat there, together, her eyes slowly fixed on a point I
couldn't see, a place happier than the one she had been; a lighter,
brighter place. Her breathing stopped and she died on my lap, in the
sun, at the side of the road in the country.
I was happy that the last thing to touch her were the hands of a man
who was filled with intense love and compassion for her, and not the
cold steel of a machine, uncaring.

I cried all the way to work.

I have been thinking about that cat all day. I miss it and I never
even knew it.

It made me think of my connections with those in my life; connections
made in a split second of compassion or over years of steady love. It
made me think of you, my friends and family. I am so lucky. Please
forgive me, my lack of communication. I am so sorry to have taken it
for granted. Please write to me, I miss you all so much. I love you,

Jody Cloutier

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I am going to sneak into your heart like Dave Brubeck's "Take Five".

I am going to sneak into your heart like some damn wet animal on a thundering night.
I am going to sneak into your heart like a child on mother's day.
I am going to sneak, into your heart, like the sun always sneaks into your dreams and pulls you out again, lashes flashing and lips sticking.

I am going to sneak into your heart with winds.
I am going to sneak into your heart with brass.
I am going to sneak into your heart hard and mean every fucking second of that sneak.
Like a hard thing loves a soft thing because these things are the same, isolated by definition.

I am going to waltz into your life and give you the best kiss you have ever had and even, I bet, fuck you better and truer and deeper than you have ever been fucked before.
I am going to saunter into your life and provide rest for the ones who could never keep up with a beating-heart angel like you.
I am going to stroll the hell on into your life and be the man you always wanted me to want to be.

I am going to listen to Dave Brubeck, take five.


I think that the worst thing I have ever done was to break someone's heart. Once, twice or a fucking thousand times. It was always the worst thing.
But I always got over it and moved, on.

Spring, though, always breaks me.
Thaws me and rids me of trapped leaves and twigs and shit caught in my ice.
Persephone, eat not the pomegranate seeds.

It will be so cold without you.

Until next time.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Alan Wake: Don't let Ebert see it

Five-odd years in the making, psycho-supernatural-action-adventure-mystery-thriller Alan Wake wants, more than anything, to be taken seriously. With every word, frame and pixel it wants you to know what a deep, heavy, meaningful work of cinematic suspense-gaming it is. But there's a terrible secret at the heart of Alan Wake. If this were a mystery story rather than a game review I'd let the reader discover that secret on their own, but what mystery writers call "creating suspense" newspaper editors call "burying the lede", so here it is: Alan Wake is silly. 

Now that's said, let's call it foreshadowing and start at the beginning. As a game -- when it 
is a game -- Alan Wake isn't too bad. As the eponymous hero, a writer's-blocked bestselling mystery author who's retreated with his wife to a tiny mountain town, makes his way through the woods of the Pacific Northwest, he gets to engage in some typical but well-exectuted third-person gunplay against hordes of zombie-type enemies. The twist here is the flashlight action; this standard tool of survival-horror has been elevated into an integral part of the action armory, serving as both targeting sight and main weapon. 

The possessed hillbillies are invulnerable until they have their protective cloak of shadowy evil burned away by light, and this illuminate-first-shoot-questions-later mechanic gives combat an interesting rhythm that does a lot to up the terror factor, at least through the first couple of chapters. After the first few showdowns against the same handful of enemy types, though, the novelty wears off and Alan Wake's action sequences show themselves for what they are, what action sequences so often are in games with cinematic ambition: tedious hoops that must be jumped through in order to advance the movie the game wishes it was.

Thing is, that movie's pretty dreadful; were it shown in a cinema, even the most dedicated so-bad-it's-good craphound would groan it off the screen. The mopey protag, whose only real character trait is a five-o'clock shadow (videogame shorthand for Aunguished Soul; see Heavy Rain et al.), fights to save a wife he didn't even seem to like very much before the spoooooky stuff went down. What we read of this supposedly mega-bestselling author's writing is so dire it could sweep the Bulwer-Lytton awards. The sub-Twilight Zone supernatural twist gives itself away early and often. Facepalm-inducing dialogue is delivered in affectless table-reading tones by indifferent voice actors and projected through dead-eyed, flappy-mouthed digital mannequins. Constant "references" and "homages" (read: "cribs" and "ripoffs") of other, better, games, movies and TV shows make the whole thing feel like a desperate collage. 

All this could be forgiven or at least ameliorated -- Lord knows, I've given better games a pass on worse sins -- if Alan Wake didn't take itself so damned seriously. But there's no knowing wink, no sly elbow; the game/movie is totally, humorlessly committed to its unearned pretension to gravitas, and the undeflated tension between what it wants to be taken as and what it actually is leaves Alan Wake ridiculous. 

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Good Book

Another driving-composed song

It'll all be all right
It'll all be all right
I learned that in reading the Good Book at night

God must've been bored with just water around
so he split day and night and brought forth the dry ground
made fishes and birds and all things that creep
fashioned Man from the dust, woke him up from his sleep

Gave him a garden where the sweet waters flow
gave him dominion over all things that grow
but he left behind something Man might want to obtain
when sinful Man took it, God cursed him with pain

It'll all be all right...