Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Russian Super Punch-out!!

I have talked a lot of trash about the Russian Super who maintains the building that has contained the Fortress of Solitude 2.0 the past slew of years.

In case I didn't document it here, the Russian Super is an amateur photographer who placed two enlarged prints of his up on the walls of the building earlier in the year. One day, when he was fixing my toilet, I complimented him on his photography... and I think that got through to him.

As much as I've tried to avoid dealing with him, when my kitchen sink overflowed last night he came up and fixed it even though it was past midnight. Not only that, he called me by name.

"Okay, I see you later, Malice."

That's a first. I always imagined he just saw me as "the guy in 3B".

Also, my place looks like an episode of HOARDERS right now because there are boxes all over and I'm in the midst of packing -- but he didn't make any mention of any of it.

It figures that right at the end is when I start to get to a good place with the Super.

Maybe it's best to quit while I'm ahead.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flooded Life

As long-term lurkers will know, I've tried my best to avoid dealing with my Russian Super as much as possible since I've been at the Fortress of Solitude 2.0. He's insane, he's got a martyr complex, his English is dreadful—and all of this is your fault.

And now as I'm about to leave this place—because the Universe enjoys sticking it to me as righteously as possible—I'm faced with these issues where I need to deal with him.

First there was the incident where I lost my keys as few weeks back...

Now, the kitchen sink has spontaneously started to overflow. It's gross and I don't even want to think about it except that I have to deal with it because it's fucking overflowing! Don't even know where the fucking water's coming from...

Left a message with the Russian past 11pm on Monday. He ended up tapping on my door around midnight. After some of our standard translation difficulties...

"You have LEAK?"

"No, it's overflowing..."


"No, the water came up from the drain..."

"It go UP...?"

"Yes... it go up."

... he looked baffled and muttered something about coming back tomorrow.

5 minutes later, he was tapping on my door again. This time, with tools in hand.

"I too busy tomorrow... I fix now."

I've got a conference call at 1pm on Tuesday. I really hope he's able to fix it tonight.

This place is really fucking falling apart. Pain as it is to move, maybe it's a good thing I'm getting out of here. (Just hope I'm not jumping out of the frying pan, into the fire...)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oz Everyone

I don't know if this will come through.

NetFlix has this funny web app that lets you superimpose a face onto the Scarecrow in OZ.

I tried it with a picture of Axl Rose and a picture of the Scarecrow from BATMAN BEGINS. I'm not sure which one this is:

Either way, creepy as hell.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Selves Between Us

When I came back to the apartment, the first thing I saw was her empty closet. It had been filled with her pretty clothes for two years. That empty closet was like a grave. A death. An end. I started crying bad. I took one look at it and ran to the bed and cried facedown in the pillow. I'm halfway through life and have no idea how to live.

There's this scene in Richard Yate's book Revolutionary Road which is the most painful thing I've ever read. This neglectful husband has lost his wife to suicide. He goes into her closet and smells her clothes and for a moment he has her back, he can smell her, she's there, not dead, and he feels all the love he had for her, the love which had been lost, and then this horrible intrusive neighbor is banging on the door, and the husband hides in the closet until the neighbor leaves, but the spell has been broken, he can't get his wife back, he tries, but he can't reconjure her and he's lost her for good now, and this second death is worse than the first.

So when I got off the bed, done crying, I waved my hand in that empty closet to see if it was real. To see if I had really lost something so precious, and my hand sliced through the air and I knew I had lost her and I went back to the bed and cried some more. Just recently I put some of my raggedy clothes in there and they look ugly. They look like me.
Jonathan Ames

I really liked the pilot episode of HBO's "Bored to Death".

I reluctantly watched the season premiere of "HEROES", like a battered wife giving the abusive relationship one more chance... and I kinda liked (elements of) it. Which kills me.

Is it possible that I've never been so lost in my life?

September 25th. This is what it's come to...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Down & Out in New York City

Clock counts down to November when it looks like I'll have to move out of the Fortress of Solitude 2.0.

To add insult to injury, the spacious Wholefoods Store that opened a few weeks ago -- just two blocks from here -- is a thing of beauty and is the perfect setting to sit for hours with a laptop.

This location as been so ideal for me in so many ways... and now it's all over.

There is so much unsettled. So much to do over the next couple of weeks. While mourning my imminent breakup with the Upper West Side.

Everyone's gotta take a beating once in a while. If I gotta take more than my share, I just hope the pay-off's gonna be worth all the bruises...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heartbreaking Glee of the Professionally Neutered

CHICAGO—Local resident Stephen Durkee's job at D&L Media Solutions has become utterly dehumanizing in such small increments that he almost didn't even notice, the 32-year-old office manager told reporters Monday...

Job Became Completely Humiliating So Gradually Area Man Barely Noticed

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Come to Daddy


Monday, September 21, 2009

Beyond the Solitude

By the rules laid out by this blog, I should not enjoy weddings... but I must admit that my friend Christopha's wedding on Sunday was delightful. Perhaps enough time has passed that I can actually enjoy a wedding again. I had a really good time and it reminded me how much I do need human connection.

Chris's mom smiled at me and said, "You're next!! You want to be bachelor for the rest of your life?"


Thankfully, I think he's my last long-term friend to go through this rite of passage.

We're all done now, yeh?

I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow, alas. But I think that I shall treat myself to a decent breakfast over which I will begin the tedious process...

For now, sleep... perchance to dream of better things...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Life is Crap

A message brought to you from your friends at GaffneyCorp Ltd.

I watched the final episode of Guiding Light on Friday. I've never watched more than 2 seconds of a daytime soap opera in my life but I wanted to see what the finale for a 72-year-old series would look like. I'm a writer, I understand the mechanics of drama; I might not know the characters but surely I'd be able to appreciate the form on *some* level...

Over the course of ONE fast-forwarded commercial break, the episode skipped forward A YEAR. Women who had just gotten pregnant suddenly had babies in their arms. Nearly the entire episode looked like it was shot in some park. People up there spend their entire lives in the park. Going on walking dates, accidentally bumping into people they know. I guess it's cheaper and faster than lighting interiors.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gollum Homicide

"According to reports in Panama, the teenagers spotted the creature crawling out of a cave while playing in the town of Cerro Azul north of Panama City. Fearing for the safety as it moved towards them, the youths claim they attacked the beast with sticks before throwing its lifeless body into a pool of water."

What the devil was this abomination?

Did BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA have the worst ending in the history of science fiction? [SPOILERS ABOUND]

Molly Ringwald eulogizes John Hughes.

And those are a few random links I've been meaning to share, in no particular order.

Oh, one more...

Bob Guccione Sr. and the Upper East Side mansion held onto long after all of yesterday's parties died away.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goodbye Stranger

Henry Gibson has a posse.

(Does he count?)

Spoke with my landlord Wednesday afternoon, about my precarious situation ("transitional phase in my career") and my need to move. He offered to negotiate the rent if it would help me. I'd already made up my mind that I had to move but he said I should think about it.

I already started purging things here, taken a few trips to the Salvation Army to donate clothes and books. Even if I were to stay, that wouldn't necessarily be a big deal. Clearing out the cobwebs feels better in general.

At the same time, I can't believe I'm actually entertaining the idea of trying to stay after all.

If I could just see into the future and know what's going to happen for me in the next three-to-six months, it would really help...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Avec Malice

Whatever happened to me? I used to be such a fun guy. I genuinely miss that guy.

I could get a call tomorrow or next week that could completely change my entire game. It's almost obscene that THIS IDEA is what I'm hanging onto. A cautionary tale for all you kiddies planning on pursuing your dreams. (HINT: Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to....)

Inexpressible thanks to everyone who's gotten me leads on jobs, regardless of the outcome. You're all real mensches. Despite the Vegas odds, I will not always be the deadbeat douche-o-matic that you see unraveling before you. Like Flo Rida, my ship will eventually come and take the pain away. (New shoes, new clothes, new whip, new chain, new wrist, knew that, knew this...) Till then, you'll have to make do with good karma...

[... after shit blows up, though... my way, your way, anything goes...]

For serious, though. Thanks to everyone trying to help in any way. You know who you fucking are. And for those who haven't tried to help, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WAITING FOR—MY BLOOD?!???

I kid, I kid. Like Kanye, I kid. (Misunderstood monsters we are... poor little Taylor Swift... beautiful young women have it SOOO hard in this society!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

People Who Died

Patrick Swayze has a posse. Monday.

Jim Carroll has a posse. A few days earlier.

Um... where does "People Who Died" get played in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial?! Pretty punk song for a movie that's synonymous with treacle, wouldn't you say? (I remember it from the "Dawn of the Dead" remake but not E.T.)

[UPDATE: "People Who Died" can be heard briefly/faintly playing on the radio during the opening scene where all the boys are playing D&D. Easy to miss.]

[BTW: Later in the movie, there's a scene where the older brother has just come home and he's looking through the fridge singing snippets of a song that's actually Elvis Costello's "Accidents Will Happen".]

I'm a broken record here but my world is insane right now.

This is one of those times that I will look back upon and laugh. A weary sort of laugh, marveling at the resilience of the human spirit.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


My days and nights get ever more twisted. You could rifle through the archives here and bring up evidence of worse times in my life, but this is certainly one of the darkest. And it's so strange to think it all hinges on money, this time.

Series of dreams last night. Some really curious ones. But the one image I can recall, hours after the rest of the loose narrative threads have drifted away:

I was holding an egg. I don't remember what I was going to do with it. Cook it, maybe. But not immediately. I seem to recall it being a regular chicken's egg but then again it seemed a bit larger. Maybe the size of an ostrich.

In any case, I was holding onto it and it spontaneously began to hatch. Shell cracking outward, pieces falling off, the shadow of movement glimpsed through the darkened interior of the vessel.

I was surprised because I didn't realize it was a live egg. It lay on the floor and I waited for it to break out fully, but it didn't quite. It was a bird and it was alive and it had partially cracked through its shell, but it didn't quite emerge.

Quick GOOGLE "dream symbols" search later...

Hatching egg = Delayed success

That's pretty obvious, I think.

(I just hope my success doesn't arrive posthumously.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Will Always Forget

Did something awful happen today? Can't shake the feeling that I'm forgetting about something...

Outta Get Me

You know shit's getting heavy when I can't even manage to update this silly fucking WEB LOG on a regular basis!!!

On Thursday afternoon, after putting it off for too many years, I officially submitted my application for a new passport. I'd been using my long-expired adolescent passport for a while now, as proof of citizenship for tax forms at new jobs.

Of course, I lost my black TUMI backpack last week, which had that expired adolescent passport in it. (No thanks to the craigslist community, btw.)

Part of the application for a new passport was reporting my lost passport, which was another reason I went through the process. (Which, admittedly, was not quite as cumbersome as I imagined it would be.)

Still... 4-6 business weeks to wait for it since I didn't want to shell out the extra cash for expediting. Since I didn't have an original copy of my birth certificate (do people have original copies of their birth certificates??), I had to use a childhood passport (that my mom gave me last weekend) to prove my citizenship. I should get both the returned childhood passport and the renewed passport in the mail in 4-6 weeks.

I don't know if I can afford to live in my apartment for another 4-6 weeks!

In the meantime... I can't prove my citizenship? While I'm trying to find work?

The past few days, I've been trying to get rid of unnecessary things. Preemptively grabbing cardboard boxes when I can. Working on a freelance job writing copy and designing art for a Nigerian housing project. Working on more movie treatments.

My life's felt pretty crazy before but I don't think it's ever been this schizophrenic.

This weekend... working on a Powerpoint portfolio for an ad agency interview I've got on Monday...

Hello, Powerpoint, my old friend... I've come to talk with you again...

(There's something about today that I'm forgetting about...)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

09 09 09

Depressed people often have trouble performing everyday activities, they can’t concentrate on their work, they tend to socially isolate themselves, they are lethargic, and they often lose the ability to take pleasure from such activities such as eating and sex. Some can plunge into severe, lengthy, and even life-threatening bouts of depression.

So what could be so useful about depression? Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time...
Depression's Evolutionary Roots

The juggling of *problems* is the hardest thing right now.

Trying to get jobs, creative and not so creative.

Circling a strategy for a move. Reconciling the idea of having roommates again.

The pending money pit of the next few months.

Other social engagements that are hard to think about right now.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Intensive

I know this blog has gone off the rails lately as my life has gone off the rails.

I'd normally cut this into two entries because

1) people glaze over the long entries
2) saves me the trouble of blogging for an extra day, like preparing meals in advance

But I just want to get this out of my system in one go. You can treat it like two entries in one. This first is a tale of terror I'll call...

Saturday, my mom came to visit me. It was not one of those frivolous "haven't seen you in a while" visits. It was a "Malice is in a crisis" visit. Usually, those involve me suffering through some bad breakup with a girl. This time, it was because I've been perilously unemployed and needed to ask my mom for some financial assistance. Strangely, suffering a bad breakup and worrying over not being able to make ends meet... kinda feel similar...

"Humiliation" comes close to covering what I was feeling, needing to do this. "Deeply ashamed" is another good description. My mom doesn't have a lot of money. The only way I could live with asking her for this was knowing that I will eventually start making some real money, at which point I'll make sure she's well compensated for all she's given me throughout my life.

It was a painful visit. Telling her about the hard times I've been having. The coup de grâce being me losing my backpack last week (with my ipod and keys and other things). It's painful to lose things when you know you can't afford to replace them.

My mom was really sensitive to everything. Wished she could do more for me. She bought me lunch. Took me to buy a replacement backpack. (Not the same model as the one I lost, but a good bag.) Got some groceries for me at the new UWS Whole Foods and took me to get a long overdue haircut that I'd been putting off because of the expense...

It was a small barbershop in the W. 70s I'd gone to before. A few minutes after my haircut started, Tony Danza walks in and starts getting his haircut right next to me. He seemed to have an old rapport with his barber and was updating him on everything happening in his life: updates on his family, his new tv show.

And I'm sitting in the chair next to Tony Danza, getting a haircut that my mom is paying for.

If a picture had been taken, the caption would read:

"Which one of these men is a complete loser?"

(I love my mom.)

The next entry in this recession era value pack is something I'll call...

I wasn't going to go away for the Labor Day weekend. When you're so broke you're afraid to swipe your MetroCard unless you REALLY can't take the time to walk the distance, it's hard to justify going away and navigating all the incidental expenses that go along with hanging out with people.

But the invitation was there. To hang out at a friend's family's house in South Jersey. I was wringing my hands over this all week. The idea of getting out of the troubled city and just chilling out with fun people for a few days was really appealing to me.

I was just afraid of the cost. Even though my friend said he could spot me for the shared expenses.

A few minutes after my mom left on Saturday, I was in my apartment and I just knew that if I didn't go out I'd probably just stay cooped up in my Fortress of Solitude all weekend, stewing in my worries.

Half an hour later, I was at Penn Station boarding a NJ Transit train.

I ended up having an incredible time. There were a lot more people crashing at the house than I expected and everyone was uniquely fun to be with. We played a shitload of drinking games. (I played beer pong for the first time.) Had one of those deep, up-till-dawn conversations with this one guy: the kind of soulful talk that you can only seem to have when you've both had way too much to drink.

Sunday night, we went to Atlantic City. It's so surreal how those casinos are designed like massive theme parks for adults.

I didn't gamble though came close to trying one of the slot machines that had a Wizard of Oz theme; I stared at the blinking jackpot amount and marveled at how many problems it would solve. I briefly imagined what many desperate people must imagine in a setting like this: what if FATE has put me in front of this machine at the exact right time ...?

Maybe I should've played it anyway, but I resisted.

We ended up at a boardwalk dance club that was bizarre in its own special way. But I was having such a great time with everyone, it didn't really matter where we were. We made the scene better.

I honestly had the best time I've had in AGES...

... until I woke up Monday and two days of relentless drinking finally caught up with me.

Not immediately. I was feeling a little spare when I woke up but nothing unusual. I cooked an entire package of turkey bacon for the house and something about the methodical process of cooking it all felt comforting; in addition, I felt a peculiar sense of satisfaction in watching it all disappear as the house began waking up and people got to feeding.

I played a few rounds of a game called "Catchphrase" with a bunch of the people. The kind of game where you have to try to get people to guess a specific word or phrase. For one of her hints, my friend's wife said, "(Malice Highload) is an..."

There are a lot of snarky ways that statement could end, but the word she was going for was "ARTIST". And I was strangely moved that she saw me as an artist. Even if it was just for a boardgame.

But the end of good cheer was nigh...

I proceeded to have a beast of a delayed-response hangover that killed me for that final stretch of the weekend. Not a headache but a much more profound sense of illness that I could not shake. Compounded by a general lack of sleep and renewed worries over everything I had to do in the next few days. I kept trying to nap but I couldn't fall into a deep enough sleep to get any sort of relief. The feeling of being simultaneously exhausted and sleepless is awful.

Those last few hours, I turned into a totally antisocial douchebag. I didn't even say goodbye to everyone adequately. I was just feeling rotten on every conceivable level.

Now I'm back to the post-apocalyptic wasteland of my life. A lingering sensation of sourness internally but I think a proper night of sleep will help.

Despite the botched ending, I really did have an amazing time. Times like that are so rare for me these days. I'm so glad that I went.

Dreaming of better days.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Toys in the Attic

Hello, True Believers.

Your old friend Malice here, at the end of one of his worst weeks ever.

I'll spare you the weeping details. These problems must seem so trivial. These problems will seem even more trivial down the line. Suffice it to say, I look forward to looking back and laughing my fool head clear off about this period in my life, knowing how well it all turns out with me and Padma...

This weekend, I'm focusing on "The Reach", "Sorrow" and "Psych Experiment Project".

I wish I were going away or doing something festive for the holiday weekend, but such are the sacrifices one makes for the bohemian life.

(Life sucks.)

I can't imagine how insane I must seem to some of you lurkers.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Visual Cat Metaphor for Perseverance

My manager told me that he let go of some writer clients this year so that he could focus on a smaller pool of writer clients that he really believes can get to "the next level".

I share this not to brag, but... okay, this is probably what counts as "bragging" at my darkest hours...

It may be a small wonder that both my agents and managers have kept me on through this decidedly lean period.

Tuesday, visited the brand new WHOLE FOODS store on the UWS for the first time. Pardon my french but it was fucking remarkable. And it only pains me further that I may have to leave the UWS in the very near future...

There was a distinct chill in the air on September 1st. What an abrupt preview of the autumn.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Surviving September

I've got an interview at a temp agency down on Wall Street in the mourning. A conference call about a film project in the evening.

My manager sent me a pep-talk email on Monday. Helped with the spirits but doesn't help with the bills.

This blog can become a downer so abruptly, can't it?

This is the way the world ends.