Sunday, February 29, 2004

Aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggggg!

Friday, February 27, 2004

What is Chicago Anyway?

EVENT


I have some friends who are moving to Chicago this summer, and after several unsatisfying attempts at describing the city to them, I decided to call upon an unnused resource: my friends who've already lived in Chicago.



I've collected their "testimonials," into a website, and threw in some pictures and quotes.

You can find it here: http://urbantasm.topcities.com/chicago.html.

~ Connor

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Tales of the Weekend Past

DIARY

Again at work...

Last weekend was interesting and eventful, so I should write about it while I'm thinking about it.

On Friday, when I took the bus to the Snail on 55th to meet some of my fellow scav hunt judges to have a scav hunt meeting, I didn't get much to eat because I'd flet nausious all day, having the prior night contemplated the possibility of dying due to food poisoning. That, and I'd forgotten that the hunt would cover the bill.

Those last two sentences were composed to leave you dazzled and confused.

You should eat at the Snail and enjoy it.
When I first arrived, I saw Kimmy, with whom I went to New York City, and stayed in Queens Village by day, while by night I wandered across Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan (I never made it to Staten Island... *sigh*). He bought me Beef Tripe in Chinatown. We exchanged pleasantries. Later, the other judges and I were concerned that we might be overheard in the public setting. This is what we talked about.

From there I walked with Christian to the U of C's Mardi Gras party. We bitched about the University’s policy of holding their big Mardi Gras party on a day that is often neither Fat nor Tuesday, specifically the first Friday of Lent. That is, the angst and disaffection that results from wandering past huge steaming trays of chicken gumbo in celebration of a specifically Catholic holiday on a day when Catholics are not allowed to eat things like delicious chicken gumbo. It’s maddening! This year, however, the MGP fell on the Friday prior to Lent, so all was well. I somehow stumbled onto a student wristband, which enabled me to get free beer, (don’t worry, I paid for it to the tune of $120,000 something… along with my parents, the government, and the Bank of America). I met Jessica, and we had our Tarot cards read. Her reading was unequivocally joyful. Mine was supernaturally inaccurate, but the fortuneteller was writing an autobiography about her experiences during the 60s, and she was very friendly, and we talked for minutes about that. Afterwards, I caved, and got some chicken and chitlins. And pop. We returned to the Tarot readers, and talked in the line with Laura and Meridith and Emily and Matt. Then we left.

Soon after, all the power blew.

That was Friday.

I woke up at around noon, or one, and longed around for too long.
Then Jess and watched Wayne’s World with Evan and Sarah. Then we went for egg-lemon soup at the Salonica with Laura. At seven, Jess and I walked to the Reynold’s Club to see Eric Bogosian’s Suburbia, directed by my friend Caitlin, and featuring my friend Sarah as the part-owner of a 7-11. It was okay. The good moments were funny and aggravating and sparkling. The bad moments were… throughout. I think I has some basic problems with the honesty of the production, which seemed to permeate casting, script, direction and interpretation. And audience. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so much white, middle-class guilt in one room. Passive-aggressive WMCG. Or maybe I’m just PMSing. Whatever. Caitlin did a fine job directing. All of the actors demonstrated talent and skill. All seemed to enjoy themselves onstage. They were invested. And Sarah was, I’m happy to say, a high point.

After that, I met in the coffee shop with my friend Colin (see his picture at the top of my blog this month), and we talked about Scavhunt and the Nocturnal. And I left, then, and went to a party at my old apartment, honoring Occidental Steve, a fellow judge. He’s turned 22. I drank a lot of good liquor, including a Polish apple-spice martini. Not a martini at all, actually, but very Polish and very good. And rapped with Ben, another judge, very poorly, I suppose. I got home at 1:30, and Jess followed an hour later.

That was Saturday.

I woke up at around ten, and left to do some reading before church. I was going to read at the Medici Bakery over coffee, but I met Tom, my godfather, and he invited me to read at the peace and quiet of his own place. He asked my plans. I told him I’d be going to Montclare to do research for my other novel, Euphemism. He asked if we could go explore a neighborhood together the next week. I accepted his offer, and this Saturday, we’re researching in Hermona and Kelvyn Park. Followed by church. Followed by a seat-of-my-pants tour of Montclare (I had four-and-a-half hours, over three of which was spent on public transit, getting to and from the place). And then four hours of roleplaying, in which we battled one large scorpion and two praying-manti.

That was Sunday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Tuesday Entry No. 3: The White House is happy this week!

EVENT

Ralph Nader is running for president again.

I'm just sayin', is all...

Tuesday Entry No. 2: The Accident

DIARY

Sometimes, working in downtown Chicago with over a million other people, all of us tight like sardines in a couple square miles, I get to see some drama.

Yesterday, as I walked to the L from work, I saw no less than three helicopters hovering above the buildings over the Magnificient Mile. As I crossed the Michigan Avenue bridge, I saw a cluster of three fire trucks and an ambulance tight at the corner of Michigan and Wacker Drive. I wasn't in a hurry, so I stopped to look out of morbid curiousity. A crowd of twenty or thirty onlookers watched as literally a dozen firefighters pushed a car from its side back onto its wheels. By "on its side" I mean that the car was perfectly balanced upon the driver side doors upon the raised median.

I was very curious as to how it could have gotten into that ridiculous position without having been lowered there by a crane, so I started asking around. An eyewitness finally confirmed that the driver had attempted to pass another car on the left, hadn't seen the median, and struck it at such an angle that his car had literally slid up and on to its side before the friction of two doors and a side-view mirror (that no longer existed) against the concrete stopped the vehicle. He added that the car might have been going a bit fast. Since the vehicle evidenly flipped on its side by striking an eight-inch raised median, this seemed likely to me.

In the last twist, the driver was fine. He crawled out without a scratch, and was trying to fetch his briefcase from the back seat when the fire department arrived on the scene.

Tuesday Entry No. 1: Another Dream

DIARY

So last night I decided to sleep with all the windows open and pretend I was camping.

It was great, but of course, I had a very cold nose (despite hiding under the sheets, three blankets, and a sleeping bag), slept somewhat restlessly, and had a weird dream that I remember in great detail, but which still doesn't take long to explain.

In the dream, I found out (today) that I had failed 6th and 7th grade, and that all of the following transcripts, high school diploma, and my BA were null and void until I had spent two years in remedial ed. It wasn't adult ed, though; I was sitting at too-small desks with a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds taking quizzes on the multiplication tables and the order of presidents. Mrs. McLeod was delighted to see me again. The only strange thing was that the class was held on the 20th floor of the Galter Pavilion, the hospital where I currently work.

On another note, I've noticed that my most recent entries (and especially the immediately preceeding) have a bunch of typos. I'll get on fixing that.

~ Connor

Sunday, February 22, 2004

So. I robbed a bank.

DIARY

Not really.

However.

I just had the most hard-core dream, probably of my life, in which I robbed a bank.

I want to write as much as I can right now, before I forget anything. A lot of the cause-and-effect, which was relly intricate, is already lost.

I remeber we were in the second-to-largest city in Wyoming (whatever that is)... somewhere in the western part of the state, near where my friend Hallie lives. Somehow we were supposed to do whatever we were going to do wit hour friend (and castmate) Maggy, but for whatever reason, she wasn't there. She had to bail at the last minute. By 'we' I mean me and Colin McFaul.

Moreover, our intention wasn't to rob the bank at all. I mean this. I believe our goal was to talk one of Colin's friends from FIST (a scav hunt team) out of robbing the bank, or if necessary simply aid his mistake. Actually, wait, this detail I think is coming back. It wasn't someone from FIST. It was Evan, who is a fellow judge. Evan wanted to rob a bank to cover his student loans. He had drive out to Wyoming because, he figured, the further from home and civilization, the better. Colin and Maggy and I had followed, under the pretext of delivering the backpack with his written threat, etc., and for holding the money, but we really wanted to talk him out of it.

It is important to note that this was so unplanned, from my perspective, that I didn't even have an alibi. I wasn't supposed to be attending a 'street reunion' at the Tesler's, in Flint, at which my absence would have been conspicuous, since I had helped orchestrate the whole thing.

Colin and I tried to meet Evan at his motel, but he wasn't there. We figured he had already gone to the bank, so we'd have to intercept him there. Maggy got too nervous and decided to hang out at a restaurant while Colin and I went on to stop Evan.

I remember vividly, hiding on an expressway overpass. The towns was next to the mountains, and it was autumn, overcast, threatening rain, with a cool breeze and a slight mist. I was suprised at the size of the town, and the number red and blue flatbed pickups rolling into town, and along the exit marked "DOWNTOWN."

The When we got to the bank, Evan wasn't there... he had gotten nervous and backed out. Colin and I were in this considerable-sized bank, with the security guards looking at us suspiciously, and Colin wearing Evan's backpack that included a bunch of ink proof plastic bags and a note that read "I have a bomb." One of the guards began walking in our direction.

Colin made a split-second decision to go through with the robbery himself. He walked briskly up to the nearest teller, unzipped the backpack, and slapped down the note.
I made a split-second decision to support him, and turned on the guards, telling them I had the bomb strapped to me, and another in the backpack, or some such BS. We traded off, Colin and I, between watching everyone else at the bank and grabbing the money from the tellers. I don't think it is very realistic from here-on-out, because we managed to keep everyone in line, even though we didn't have any real weapon, plus we felt awful threatening these people, and were probably pretty unconvincing. Somehow we weren't caught on camera. Somehow we kept our fingerprints off everything. Somehow police hadn't been summoned when we left the parking lot (without anyone able to get our license plate no.) five or seven minutes later.

Colin and I immediately drove into town, both exhilerated but understandably scared-as-shit. He mentioned that Maggy would've been floored that "we actually went through with it." I was completely preoccupied with how horrified my family would be, and whether or not I'd be able to work on my novel, which sometimes requires a calculator to go through some pretty intricate mathematical equations, from prison. But somehow, we made it to the local Meijers/Walmart knock-off, and went in to buy some French breat. At some point, Colin leaned over and muttered to me that he wondered why we hadn't been caught. I told him I didn't know. He asked where I was going to spend all of my newfound money. I said "Nowhere. We aren't going to mention this to anybody. ANYBODY. We're going to put all of that money in a bag, and hide it under the floorboards of some old house, wait a decade, and then slowly deposit it in our 401(k)s over the course of another decade." I don't remember how much we grabbed. $400-500,000.

I think the first part of the dream was somewhat realistic, however, I have a friend who robbed a number of banks, and thinking of his stories, his successes and failures, I can't imagine that Colin and I would've gotten as far as we did. I am also a little suspicious of the pretext that put us in the situaiton of "having" to rob a bank. The nature of the situation kept us from having to worry about being "decent people." At least in all the major ways.

I should note that the comments do work, apparently, but they flash an "error" sign at you after you enter them, and sometimes won't appear for a day or two. Sorry...

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Comments, et al.

DIARY

So the weekend is here at last.
Thank god.
I got almost everything on my list done so far this week.
In a few minutes, I am going to go watch Waynes World with Jessica.
Otherwise, not a whole lot of excitement to report this time.
I finished with chapter 130 of Urbantasm which I've been working on since last September. I saved it in about four or five different places.
I also got food poisoning on Thursday night, and called Jessica and my parents (separately, of course) and woke them up, because I am a hypochondrian, and in the middle of the night sometimes you think you are going to die.

Other than that, little of excitement. But I said that before.

Several people have emailed me and told me that the 'comments' are not working. I checked my code and it's definitely correct. Unfortunately, the problem seems to be with enetation.com, becuase the comments were working fine before. So I'll keep testing for now, and give a note when they're up and running. If anyone (computer literate) has suggestions, I'm ready to try.

~ Connor

Friday, February 20, 2004

Good News from Flint?

ISSUE

We're at the forefront of genuine socialist reform again, possibly in the most significant way since 1937...

...maybe...

Don't hold your breath on this one, but it's real enough to be worth listening. Don Williamson, Flint's controversial mayor, who I outright despised for a long, long time, and whom I am now regarding with a sort of guarded curiosity is evidently funding a nonprofit organization to make truck accessories, the proceeds of which will go to Flint. It will be a unionized organization through the UAW, will be located within Flint city limits, and will presumably draw its workforce from the city as well.

I think there are a lot of hurdles to this going through, and it may very likely fizzle up and die. However, I don't think I need to elaborate much on the significance of a municipal government owning a manufacturing company for the purpose of competing with for-profit ventures. It is, at least, an improvement from the grisly crimes and depressing school closings I'm usually writing people about.

Read the whole story here:
http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/base/news-19/107729443188830.xml

~ Connor

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'VE BEEN LOW - PART 4: I'VE BEEN HIGH

DIARY

And since then I've been walking on clouds.
I feel as wonderful as I felt miserable before.
In fact, I haven't felt this wonderful since I met my current girlfriend,
Jessica, almost four years ago now. Every fourth year is special, it seems.
Always the year before major things are meant to happen, it seems. I
guess things are becoming derailed.

Six of the seven I've written have already responded, in only five days. Four
of us will work in Chicago this summer. I might even not hate the old city as
much for once.

I've left a lot out: the Irish lessons, the stomach aches, the insomnia, the
dirty laundry, and so on and so forth. But one thing has led to another. I
know that this will pass; that I will not feel this wonderful forever; that,
actually, the feeling of joy and contentment I feel right now may disappear in
a week, or even less. I am still grateful to have had it. The Occlusion Group
will happen! And the Nocturnal will still have its play: two actors have
decided to remain involved, and with them, we will choose a new play, one
suitable for our current resources.

Anyway, yes. I miss Flint. i miss it desperately; walking along Grand Taverse
north from McKinley Middle School in the summer sun, the sound of the same old
Eminem song thudding out of the flatbed pickup in my neighbor's driveway, and
the stars emerging as the sun goes down. I miss it.

But right now there is sustenance in the moments around me. I know that in the
futue, I will say:

"Anyway, yes. I miss Chicago. I miss McKinley Park. I miss stalking in a
sweat through my cluttered apartment with Jane Says, or Scarlet, or Where I End
and You Begin thumping forth from my boom box, the taste of cheap coffee at
eight in the morning as I wait for the computer to boot up in the filing
corner, and Emily tells me about her evening, and the lyrics of all these old
songs, which I've neglected for too long.

"I'm in here,
please take me home.
Starla dear,
I'm all alone.
When you can't decide what's on your mind it's clear.
I'm here..."

Good night,

Connor (who will be sleeping with the window open, and the wind coming in, as
the buses go by, tonight)


I'VE BEEN LOW - PART 3

DIARY

Every year I have a ritual of going out at the end of January or beginning of
February and buying the music I've neglected to buy during the rest of the year.
I went overboard this year, and it was wonderful.
I bought the first two singles released by the band Lush, Radiohead's Hail to
the Thief, Peruvian folk music, Taraf de Haidouks, Snivilisation by Oribtal,
Everything is Wrong by Moby, Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction, Paul's
Boutique by the Beastie Boys, the first EP of Jurassic 5, Spice by the Spice
Girls, Steal This Album by the Coup, and too many Techno compilations to
count. Don't ask me how much I spent. It was decadent; absolutely decadent.

When I said that the Nocturnal was the one thing that kept me going, I lied.
There was one other thing, and deeper, even, possibly. No, definitely. My
novel, Urbàntasm, which I have been working on for eight years now. It's slow
going. A long, hard slog. But the longer it takes, the more passionate I feel
that it must, must, must be completed, with or without its consent.

The night that I bought the music, I went home and went to sleep.
The night after that, I came home, and listened to a Lush song, Etheriel, as I
tried and tried and tried to bang out the end of a chapter that has preoccupied
me for six months now. At the end of the night, I had only written a
paragraph. Eight or nine lines for eight or nine hours. I went to bed with my
heart sinking through the mattress and into the floor.
The next morning I put on the song "Jane Says," by Jane's Addiction. Mistake.
The words are slightly sad. Jane says Have you seen my wig around? I feel
naked without it. The tune is slightly happy and hopeful. Beyond that, I
don't know how to describe it. I mean, it's got a guitar and steel drums.
What more?
I had to stop and sit on the radiator and cry for about ten minutes. It just
broke. (By the way, I don't really keep many secrets anymore. I don't know if
anyone's reading this blog, with its sentiment and too-long entries, and if
not, then it's certainly a moot point anyway. If you are, I don't care, I am
proud of the person I've become, and I don't have to keep any secrets, like,
say, crying while I sat on the radiator.) And of course, as the sound wound
down, I looked crappy, so I had to put on my shades, which are violent, and
make everything appear much sunnier and alive than they are, and that was a
jolt as well. I took the train to work. I went through the day in a haze.
And that night, when I was staying with friends in Hyde Park (the South Side by
the Lake), I wrote an appeal to seven friends and colleagues urging them to
form a new group with me, the Occlusion Group, not a theater group, a group
that would just be, a group that would just be together and enjoy being
together, and drive itself to be happy in the world, and most of all, heard.

This is the new new group I have started, and we are going to come together
this summer.

I'VE BEEN LOW - PART 2

DIARY

Part of the recent discouragement is based on things I shouldn't talk about,
given the number of people with access to this.

However, I can be candid about one major factor, and that is the failure of my
theater group, the Nocturnal.

Perhaps failure is too strong a work. I've started three theater groups in the
last decade, and they all ended up being "pet projects." I always wanted to
expand them, to hand off control, to have to deal with the problem of choices
being made without my consent, and against my inclination. I wanted
these problems. The irony was that nobody else really cared.

I'm not ungrateful for the people involved... some of them were wonderful, and
some continue to help. But, in the end, what I got were college kids
interested in doing a play. Not someone interested in saving the world through
art, or more importantly, helping to maintain a grassroots theater group. A
few people did at least take that final step, but it was too little, from too
far, too late.

We began our most recent project, Chicago Project No. 2: The Cenci, at an
immediate disadvantage. Several actors who expressed an interest in getting
involved all chose not to. Several actors who did agree to get involved
withdrew. Finally, three weeks ago, on the heels of our first major retreat,
one actor dropped, and two announced their commitment must be scaled back. The
show could not go on. The choice was between cancelling the show and scaling
back the project. I chose the latter, but people were still disappointed.

I think the last time I had felt so depressed for so long was when my first
real girlfriend broke up with me in 11th grade. I have an apartment, have a
job, have supportive friends and family. But still! Everything had run off
track. The one thing that had maintained my faith that my dreams and
aspirations held, this theater group, the Nocturnal, was foundering already,
when it should be growing and filled with energy. I don't know how to approach
this without sounding clichè... one the one hand, I felt physically sick, and
on the other, I didn't even want to wake up in the morning. The weather seemed
like shit no matter how gorgeous it was, songs that had always moved me seemed
dull and dim, and for the first time since my conversion I had no interest in
attending church. The honeymoon was over. I was miserable.

I'VE BEEN LOW - PART 1

DIARY

I am writing this in my room (my apartment, which is a room) beginning at 11:09
on a night when I hope to get a great deal of sleep so that I might need none
tomorrow, and can stay up all night, working on my novel, which I love and hate
and need to finish.
I have the window open because it's uncharacteristically warm tonight for a
Chicago February, but I'm sitting at my computer at the floor with a
Presbyterian and the song "Where I End and You begin," which is dreary and
inspiriting. Outside it's hazy and wet.

I never know where to begin this sort of thing. I want to plunge right in and
talk about what I'm doing right now. But so much of what I experience, so many
of my actions, are all connected and bound up in prior experiences that I feel
I'm omitting something useful unless I begin, "I was born on blah blah blah."

Which of course leads to obscenely long entries which are nevertheless
incomplete.

So I'll give a mediocre compromise.

With a rush and a hurry hurry, so, for some reason all through growing up and
high school and college I just assumed that if I did the obvious thing in front
of me, I would achieve my goals, that is, becoming a famous writer/artist,
reshaping the world on messianic proporitions, and transcending mundane tedium
into a state of spiritual ecstasy.

I've been out of college three years, and this hasn't happened. >:(

There've been high points: I have an amazing, wonderful, girlfriend. I've made
some incredible friends. I've grown closer to my family, even from a greater
distance. I've changed religions. I went to California. I discovered Harry
Potter. You know: that sort of thing. The way isn't obvious anymore, and I'm
still temping at that damn hospital in downtown Chicago, a great city, but one
I feel is increasingly worn thin around me.

Anyway.

I took a week off work for Christmas. The week before and after I was almost
alone in Chicago; most of my friends are students at the U of C, and so I did
things like go and see Return of the King alone in the theater on opening
night, or watch Romeo and Juliet in my apartment four consecutive times while
having an unreasonable amount to drink, or simply seeing how many times I could
beat Super Castlevania IV in a single evening.

You might thing these things were fun, but made depressing memories, but
actually it turned out being the other way around.

My week off of work, on the other hand, was spectacular. I rode the train from
Chicago to Kalamazoo, where my mom picked me up and we gabbed all the way back
to Flint. I got back to a beehive of activity, as we immediately jumped into
two cars and flew to Pontiac to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Christmas
was warm. I had Swedish Meatballs... a lot. I saw my friend Sam almost every
night, and we continued our tradition of driving around the city late at
night. And when I went back to Chicago, I was depressed immediately.

I don't feel that way very often. I'm generally a little over-sensitive, but
optimistic. I felt dead being back here, though. Life in Chicago, life
temping, working downtown, filing papers, most of which are useless and
unneeded at a job where I get paid ten dollars to the seven my coordinator is
paid on my behalf for my work across the street. I know I am lucky. I don't
take-for-granted what I have. I am not unaware of what I lack: a bank account,
medical coverage, savings, any kind of insurance at all. I know that cavities
are probably multiplying in my mouth as I type. But this isn't what I am
worried about.

A sense of direction and focus propelled me through the first twenty-two years
of my life, and for the last three, I feel like I've been improvising a
schedule that is both arbitrary and, worse, illusory.

Survey #2 (Quirky Survey)

Answer all of these questions with a lyric from a song.

1.) Are you male or female?:

- "You can call me a man."
- "I've given all a boy can give."
- "I used to be a little boy."

2.) Describe your neighborhood:
- "Well 'ol south side of Chicago is the baddest part of town "
- "I love to hear the rhythm of a clickety-clack."
- "One is the loneliest number that you ever knew."

3.) How do you look?:
"When I was a young skinny boy"
"I'm made of clay."
"Me and everything around me, is unstable like Chernobyl"

4.) If you could say something to the person you like, what would it be?:
"Beautiful, you're beautiful, as beautiful as the sky."
"I've missed you spinning around my head."
"If I'm your oyster, where's the war?"

5.) Where do you wish you were right now?:
"Let's gooo hooome to Angelo's"
"While I think of the days I spent In Aran's lonely home"
"Underneath Ziaristi's nose"

Your:
your favorite obsession:

Flint, Michigan.

your favorite drug:
Caffeine.

your favorite drink:
Coffee.

your favorite place:
The Atlas.

your favorite regret:
Not at least asking if I could've commuted to attend Flint Central with all my friends.

your favorite thing to hate:
Soulless corporate demons.

your favorite insecurity:
That I am decent.

your new favorite movie:
Tie between Lost in Translation and Return of the King.


I see:
A white computer before a white wall.

I need:
Air.

I find:
Missing medical records.

I want:
The Forgotton Realms Campaign Setting to be real and her right now!

I have:
A olive green shirt on.

I wish:
I got paid by the hour to write my novel.

I love:
Planetaria.

I hate:
Soulless Corporate Demons.

I miss:
Showbiz Pizza Place.

I fear:
Getting hit by a bus, approximately patched up, and in debt for the rest of eternity.

I feel:
Not bad, I suppose. I feel fine, actually! A touch of heartburn.

I hear:
The PSR's talking.

I smell:
Stale pizza.

I crave:
Deep dish Chicago style pizza.

I search:
My brain for where I might be able to procure, cheaply, some of the above. I am out of luck.

I wonder:
How the Kyrgyz maintain their census, given heavy migration.

I regret:
All of the money I have spent on food that has gone to waste.
Not learning Spanish when I lived in Humboldt Park.
And not following baseball better all those years.


When was the last time you...

Smiled?:

Just now.

Laughed?:
Earlier today, in a discussion of Billy Corgan.

But REALLY LAUGHED:
Yotam said something funny at out last gaming session, and I think I wound up on the floor.

Cried?:
See next entry.

Bought something?:
Last night I went shopping.

Danced?:
Last night, in my apartment.

Were sarcastic?:
Oh, please.

Talked to an ex?:
Ummm... Depends how you define "ex," but at least a year-and-a-half, I think.

Watched your favorite movie?:
This summer?

Had a nightmare?:
About a month ago. It was the one involving the muppets, the dwarves, and the peanut-butter.


A Last time for everything ...

Last book you read:

My prayer book.

Last movie you saw:
In part, a weird, B kung-fu flick.
In entirery, "The Hunt."
The former involved a woman using a secret martial-art technique of beating a man up with one's breasts.

Last song you heard:
"Into the Blue," by Moby.

Last thing you had to drink:
Coffee. Cheap. Black.

Last time you showered:
Last night.

Last thing you ate:
Pizza.


Do You ...

Smoke?:
No.

Do drugs?:
Caffeine.

Sleep with stuffed animals?:
Only on occasion.

Live in the moment?:
I try to, with limited success.

Have a dream that keeps coming back?:
See above.

Play an instrument?:
I "play" Clarinet and ""play"" guitar.

Believe there is life on other planets?:
I do, but doubt it's had much to do with us as yet.

Remember your first love?:
Each and every one.

Read the newspaper?:
Yes. Flint Journal and New York Times, at least.

Have any gay or lesbian friends?:
Plenty.

Believe in miracles?:
Yes, but it's not what you think.

Believe it's possible to remain faithful forever?:
In theory, in a Euclidean universe, no.
In practice, well, death makes some things possible, including immortal love.

Consider yourself tolerant of others?:
I consider myself to make efforts to be tolerant.

Consider love a mistake?:
No.

Like the taste of alcohol?:
Yes.

Have a favorite candy?:
These days, I like cotton candy and peanut M&Ms.

Believe in astrology?:
No.

Believe in magic?:
Yes, but it's not what most people think.

Believe in God?:
Yes, but again, not as most people think.

Pray?:
Yes.

Go to church?:
Yes.

Have any secrets?:
Yes.

Have any pets:
A cat, Eponine.

Do well in school?:
Not bad. Done with that.

Go to or plan to go to college?:
College was nice.

Have a major?:
I did. It was General Studies in the Humanities.

Talk to strangers who instant message you?:
If I did IM, I probably would.

Wear hats?:
Dude, I should so wear hats.

Hate yourself?:
Nope. Untrendy me.

Have an obsession?:
Plenty, healthy and otherwise.

Collect anything?:
Music, books, sunglasses, odds and ends.

Have a best friend?:
I am blessed to have several.

Wish on stars?:
I used to, always. Stars are a rare sight in Chicago, given the clouds and light.

Like your handwriting?:
My handwriting is fucking awesome!

Have any bad habits?:
Too many to number, but procrastination is high on the list.

Care about looks?:
Less than most people, but yes.

Boy/girlfriend's looks?:
And less that most people, but yes.

Friends and other people?:
But not very much.

Believe in witches?:
I guess that depends on your definition of "witch," but probably not. People who let a door slam in your face when you're carrying something heavy are all too real.

Believe in Satan?:
Yes, but not what you think.

Believe in ghosts?:
Yes, but not what you think.

What name would you rather be named rather than the one you have?
A generic answer: I think my name fits me perfectly.


FAVORITE ART MOVEMENT OR PERIOD?
Romanticism, closely followed by Art-Deco.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ARRESTED FOR LEWD CONDUCT?
No.

WHAT ANIMAL ARE YOU MOST LIKE?
A monkey.

DO YOU CHECK YOURSELF OUT WHILE PASSING MIRRORS? FOR HOW LONG?
Yes. Longer than you do.

FAMILY FEUD OR WHEEL OF FORTUNE?
Wheel of Fortune.

FAVORITE/LEAST FAVORITE WORD?
Fave: Occlusion.
Least Fave.: Reify.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE LOCH NESS MONSTER?
No.

NAME 5 ASPECTS THAT MAKE UP YOUR DREAM BOY/GIRL?:
Sweet. Faithful. Sincere. Serious. Curious.

CLOSEST MAJOR CITY?
Chicago.

OCCUPATION?
Writer.

NUMBER OF BLANKETS ON BED (INC. SHEETS)?
Right now... 5.

PIECE OF FURNITURE YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT?
A chair and a wall to lean it against.

DO YOU SHOWER AT NIGHT OR IN THE MORNING?
It varies, but more often at night.

ORIGINALLY, WHAT COLOR WERE THE WALLS OF YOUR BEDROOM?
I'm guessing white.

WHAT COLOR ARE THEY NOW?
White.

DO YOU PREFER TO HANG OR FOLD YOUR CLOTHES?
Fold.

VACUUMS: PAIN IN THE ASS OR HELPFUL TOOL?
Very helpful.

HAVE YOU EATEN FRIES WITH MAYONNAISE?
Yes. Yum.

DO YOU KNOW HOW TO USE CHOPSTICKS?
Yes.

DESIRED MODE OF TRANSPORTATION?
Car. Followed by train.

FINISH THIS SENTENCE: "CELL PHONES MUST...":
be used with more discretion.

WORST MOVIE?
O.

DAVID ARQUETTE OR PAULY SHORE?
I don't know either.

BEST EIGHTIES FEEL-GOOD FILM?
Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Maybe not, feel good, but definitely the best. Along with Goonies.

BEST ADVICE EVER GIVEN TO YOU?:
Said various ways, "relax."

WHAT DO YOU DO ON WEEKENDS?
Read, write, party, go to movies and plays... you know.

DO YOU ENJOY ALONE TIME?
As long as it is balanced out by With time.

IF YOU WERE STRANDED AT HOME FOR A WEEKEND WITHOUT A COMPUTER AND A TV WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ENTERTAIN YOURSELF?
See above.
I don't watch much TV.
I can manage without a computer.

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO LEARN?
Car maintenance/repair.

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY GOOD AT (WRITING, ART, MUSIC ETC.)?
Writing.

IF THERE WAS A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED?
Probably, a Biography of Connor Coyne.

WHAT WORD DESCRIBES YOUR SENSE OF STYLE?
Occlusive.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING?
The sock.

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL OUTFIT YOU'D WEAR FOR SCHOOL:
I'm not in school.
I wear slacks and a button down shirt to work.
*Sighs*.

WHAT SEASON ARE YOU?
Spring.

WHAT'S A GOOD BRAND OF MAKE-UP?
The Balm of Blibdjoolboolp.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Survey #1 (Generic Survey)

This survey courtesy of Mistress Aria.

Name?

Connor Coyne, or Connor Ryan Brendan Rush Coyne

"Connor" is a Celtic name meaning "lover of hounds."
"Coyne" is also Celtic, according to Paddy Coyne is a anglicised form of the gaelic O Cadhain, meaning "descendant of Cadhan"; the name Cadhan itself comes from the Irish meaning "wild goose."

"Ryan" is my middle name, and is (surprise!) Celtic, meaning "little ruler."
"Brendan" is my saint name, and he is the patron saint of mariners. He supposedly discovered the New World in the 6th c. AD, but then, he couldn't tell an island from a whale.
"Rush" is my Nocturnal name, and possibly the greatest band of all time.

Age?

25 years, 6 months, 1 week, 6 days, seventeen hours, and about eighteen minutes.

Gender?

Male.

Where were you born?

Lansing, Michigan, actually...

Where do you live now?

McKinley Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

What's your religion?

I recently converted to Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism.
I considered conversion to Christian Orthodoxy.
I was raised Unitarian Universalist and, perhaps because of that fact, have a broad respect for all faiths.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE...

Color?


CMB violet, though closely followed by a rich mildew teal. I also like blue.

Car?

1959 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Baby-Blue.

Non-Alcoholic Drink?

Coffee.
Coke.

Alcoholic Drink?

Rye, straight up.
Bourbon, Guinness.
Mickeys.

Food?

It varies.
Right now, my mom's Swedish meatballs.
I like almost anything, actually, including fries (all kinds), coney islands and Coney Island (diner) fare, pasties, catfish and steak, salmon, sausage and sauercraut, potatoes, potatoes, potatoes and corn, Romanian and Middle Eastern and Indian and Vietnamiese food, stews of all kinds, and the bland, Irish stuff, cookies, and yes, yes, McDonalds.

Sport?

Baseball.
Artistic Gymnastics.

Movie?

It varies.
Right now, Lost In Translation.
Of all time probably Man on the Moon and Romeo and Juliet and Casablanca.
Honorable mentions are the Shawshank Redemption, Eve's Bayou, Cast Away, Bowling for Columbine, Nosferatu, Young Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Secret Garden, the first and third installments of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (the second was crap), Magnolia, Back to the Future, and Pleasantville.

Song?

It varies.
Right now, Jane Says.
The other all time faves are, in order, approximately, Man on the Moon, by R.E.M., Hunter, by Björk, Here's to the Atom Bomb, by the Smashing Pumpkins, Sweetness Follows, by R.E.M., and Set the Ray to Jerry, by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Music?

It varies.
The pre-college canon (the Big Three, if you will) includes The Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., and Tori Amos.
Up for serious consideration are Björk, Lush, Outkast, Parliament, Radiohead, and Eminem.
I should note that no group has received "status" since 1997, and so the veritable "threshold presence" of these upstarts is nothing short of revolutionary.
I take my musical taste very seriously... (it should also be noted that I do not, however, take myself very seriously).
Other music that belongs on this list (that is by no means complete) includes, chronologically, approximately, old Celtic, Andean, Romanian, and Roma folk music, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Porgy and Bess, Basie and Ellington and Miller. West Side Story, the Temptations, the Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Suzanne Vega, Liz Phair, U2, the Cranberries, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, The Digital Underground, the Dayton Family, the Black Eyed Peas, Esham, Drugstore, Gerry Mulligan, and many, many, many others...

Book?

It varies.
Right now, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
Of all time, probably Les Misèrables, by Victor Hugo, in spite of its (considerable) flaws.
More than half of recreational reading is fantasy, for which I whetted my appetite as a child with first Tolkein, then Lewis, and on to those (mostly terrible) TSR series: Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Ravenloft. The Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends series, the Realms' Avatar Trilogy, and the Ravenloft novels "Vampire of the Mists," and especially "Dance of the Dead," represent the best TSR ever achieved. More recently it's been Harry Potter, thought I'm rereadings some old ones.
More than half of the reading that is left is historical reading, or reading unintended for "fun." I especially like Eastern European history, Michigan history, Physics and Astronomy, Social Science and Demography. I spend a sickening amount of time studying map and population statistics. I also love a specific few art critics, particularly in theater, namely Antonin Artaud and Peter Brook.
The remainer is split pretty evenly between "pulp" and "literature," which are often equivalent and undestinguishable in my eyes. I've surprised myself by going in for the old adventures, like Robinson Crusoe and Heart of Darkness, and the Secret Sharer. I have a soft sport for Jane Austin.

Holiday?

Easter.

RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOU

Any pets?

One cat. Eponine.

Where would you like to live in the future?

It varies.
Eventually Flint.
In the meantime, I wouldn't mind Ireland, Romania, Kyrgystan, Vietnam, Bangladesh... Karachi, Alexandria, Cairo, Cuzco, Tahiti, New Orleans, New York City,
Seattle, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Denver, Detroit, and Omaha. Actually, I'm not that incredibly excited about Omaha.
At the end of the day, I'll head home to Flint.

Any children? Their names?

None.
Yet.
As far as I know. ;)
That was a joke: don't freak out.

Name three people you're close to.

No. Naming three would dishonor too many.

If you could get away with murdering one person, who would it be and why?

Oh, now give me a break!

What do you want on your tombstone?

Ouch! Stop stepping on me!

What's your motto?

Want more. Try harder. Stop and smell the roses.

Shoe size?

8, 8 1/2.

Hair color?

Brown.

Eye color?

Hazel. (Inner ring green, outer ring brown)

Height? Weight?

5'9", 120 lbs.

HAVE YOU EVER...

Been drunk?


Yes.

Been in love?

Da.

Gotten a tattoo?

Non.

Gotten pierced?

Nìl sè.

Dyed your hair?

Sì.

Shaved where people of your gender don't normally shave?

?!

Gone a week without bathing?

I'm sure it's happened at some point.

AND FINALLY...

Give us some words of wisdom.


If all else fails, talk about the weather.

Monday, February 16, 2004

blueskiesfalling FAQ

Who are you?

My name is Connor Coyne.

When were you born?

August 3rd, 1978.

What was your mother's maiden name?

Ayam-Gulubull.

Where are you from?

Flint, Michigan.
I have lived in Chicago at least eight months out of the year for the last seven years.
I've also traveled to Canada, Ireland, Romania, and much of the US.

What do you do?

I am an artist.
More specifically, I am a writer, poet, playwright, director, actor, and performance artist.
I received my Bachelors of Arts from the University of Chicago in "General Studies in the Humanities," with a focus in science and performance theory. This means I have worked in mixed-media; specifically, combining the areas outlined above with a mind towards the application of theoretical and empirical scientific work.

For more on art, work, and career information, please see my resume, and event headings under each entry.


Why create a blog?

To simultaneously keep an account of daily activities, and promote my career.

For 2 years, I maintained a Diary, "Mr. Violet Shades," at opendiary.com. They recently archived this according to their policy, and all of the work has been lost.

How can I contact you?

Email me at connor@afterdusk.org.

What does the name, 'blue skies falling' mean?

"Blue skies" are simple, clear, and beautiful.
"The sky is falling" is, to my way of thinking, the most evocative and universal apocalyptic statment. Whether you're talking about solar radiation, nuclear winter, or even the spread of an epidemic, "the sky is falling" applies, somehow.
"blue skies falling" then, is a simple evocation of all that is beautiful and wrong in the world in one simple statement, and conveys the urgency and passion with which I hope to imbue my work and life.

What is the picture at the bottom?

It's from the Flint Journal, and for the record, I haven't officially secured permission for its use, though I've contacted them.

The IMA (Industrial Mutual Associateion) Auditorium was for almost 70 years one of Flint's most beautiful and important structures, seating over 6,000 people. In the mid-80s, the Auditorium was converted for use as part of Flint's unsuccessful AutoWorld complex, and was demolished in the late 90s.

I'm mainly interested in quirky and useless information about you and your work. Where should I go?

Try survey #1 and survey #2, the two posts immediately following this FAQ.

Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my Blog!

For those of you interested in my art and other projects, read the events headings under each post.

Friends and family who would like to follow the general developments in my life, read the diary headings.

For any and all, check out the links in the sidebar to the right of the posts. They're all interesting people and fascinating places.

Finally, should you wish to contact me, I can be reached at connor@afterdusk.org.

~ Connor

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Well, I just got my blog up and running.

It's technically been "up-and-running" since the 1st, but if you would've observed its ghetto tendencies during that time, you would have not been impressed. Sometime (later tonight???) I will go public with it and greet the cheering throngs in the street!

Monday, February 09, 2004

I am blue.

As blue as the background of this blog.

As blue as this Cal-Arts production.

As blue as the sky.

As blue as azurite and malachite.



Sigh.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Here I am. Today.