journal page 5

they formed a club so you couldn't join.
october 19, 1999
way past your bedtime
i saw that scary woman at jack in the box again tonight and i started to realize that maybe i shouldn't eat at jack in the box so much. so some of you have already heard this next story before, but you are spoiled and fat with german hot cream and you just will have to hear this story again because i can't think of anything else to write.

i was rewriting a 114 page script in my computer saturday night and as i was saving the final file to a floppy, the computer makes a sudden series of horrifying choking noises. i exclaim, "no, do not do that" as the screen starts freezing up and the drive is making sounds like this: gah? raaaaahhh! raaaaaahh!! and errors and confusing lights and big confusing numbers that confuse me pop up everywhere. don panics and is unable to yell any words that contain consonants. he makes a loud noise not unlike, "oooeeee" and beats at the monitor with a little stick. the entire system shuts down. the computer has crashed many times before, but not taking down 114 pages of unsaved revisions with it. don spends several minutes staring at the blank monitor not really wondering anything. he considers writing about himself in the third person. don reboots the computer, dreading what he already knows. the script is gone. he checks the floppy disc. and it's somehow there! this makes him happy. he bounds around and consumes salted foods. he finds them salty and crunchy. so don recopies the file from the disk and keeps rewriting. it's getting later and he's tired and dizzy. the ground starts moving. at first he's not aware of it because he assumes he is hallucinating. he hears rumbling noises... "wow this is either an earthquake or i'm about to pass out." and an earthquake it was! he realizes that all he has just re-written has again not been saved and a power outage is likely. for the love of god and all that is holy. pumped with panic and adrenaline and a fight-or-flight metallic response forming in his mouth, don fumbles to hit the magical ctrl-s save button combination, but his panicking hand only manages to form a thumping claw as he types, sawqssadda!! the power goes out and the computer goes black. darkness. the earthquake continues, rumbles through the neighborhood, the very plates of the planet mocking him. he retires to bed, deciding that god doesn't want him writing anymore tonight.

have any of you been to the amusement park but they turn it all into a big bunch of ghost house mazes with fog pumped through the whole place for halloween? i think i'm going to one this week. but i guess they have these people in makeup running around the park popping out of shadows and chasing you and i hear that they even come up and grab you and stuff. like sometimes in the bathing suit area

i live in a giant bucket.
fully functional sideburns
october 14, 1999
you'd think that after months of all-night animating being finished for the time being, i'd take a much-needed break from this work schedule, but clawing around the apartment in a flopping mania of bored nothing-to-do, i just inexplicably wrote a feature screenplay. i somehow pounded out 100 pages in four days. i'm still trying to figure this one out myself, it sort of poured out of me unstopably. is unstopably even a word? that looks like a little town in southern england. i think maybe it's 'unstoppably'? anyway, it's some sort of science fiction sort of thing. i haven't read back any of it yet so it could all be garbage but it sounded sort of interesting. i think i need a vacation.

i recently got a hair cut because it was coming out of my head all long and people were pointing and things going, "your hair is coming out of your head all long" and i'd say, "indeeeed" and sort of look off into empty space but now i'm like a freshly shorn little lamb out scampering in the sunlight. so there is less hair hanging off of my head but it is still growing like nobody's business. i guess you may have well just skipped this paragraph.

there's a homeless old woman who is constantly pacing outside of the jack in the box every time i go there. she is practically blocking the door sometimes and is sort of just wandering around the entire perimeter smoking a cigarette. she's always moving her mouth around as if talking to herself, but no sounds ever come out. and when she gets wet she is angry. but she is almost always right next to the doorway, looking into the windows. i bet that jack in the box is wondering why 90% of their customers are drive-through. and that's funny. not because homeless people are funny but because jack in the box is probably really bad for you.

"By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse
In what is bound to become a much debated and highly controversial experiment, a team of US scientists have wired a computer to a cat's brain and created videos of what the animal was seeing. According to a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience ...[scientists from] the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, have been able to "reconstruct natural scenes with recognizable moving objects." The researchers attached electrodes to 177 cells in the so-called thalamus region of the cat's brain and monitored their activity. The thalamus is connected directly to the cat's eyes via the optic nerve. Each of its cells is programmed to respond to certain features in the cat's field of view. Some cells "fire" when they record an edge in the cat's vision, others when they see lines at certain angles, etc. This way the cat's brain acquires the information it needs to reconstruct an image. The scientists recorded the patterns of firing from the cells in a computer. They then used a technique they describe as a "linear decoding technique" to reconstruct an image. "To their amazement they say they saw natural scenes with recognisable objects such as people's faces. They had literally seen the world through cat's eyes. Other scientists have hailed this as an important step in our understanding of how signals are represented and processed in the brain. It is research that has enormous implications..."

i will let you discuss the ancient conflict between the objective world and subjective perception on your own. but i wonder how long before we can wire up the subconscious regions of the brain and record dreams as imagery. you just know some grad student is out there right now cooking that up. we can trade each other's dreams on video tape on the black market. that poor cat. i am eating chocolate.

i just did another phone interview which are always awful because you never really know how these articles turn out, especially because i not talk well as good as me of write. i did this one interview several months ago with this woman and i ended up giving her 2 whole hours on the phone, talking about movies and animation and aesthetic theories and this and that and she's like, "uh huh. uh huh. oooooh. mmmm. uh huh" and you can hear her clickity clack on her typewriter on the other end so you know something must be getting through, and after the two hours i hang up thinking, well hmm that's probably going to be a really interesting article i bet because i am just so very clever, ha ha, and a couple weeks later the magazine or whatever it was comes out and somebody sends me a clipping. and the whole thing is just a single paragraph summary of the film festival, a very brief synopsis of "lily and jim", followed by this single quote:

...and according to director Don Hertzfeldt, "I think it funny."
wait, that can't be all? is there... maybe there's another page with... no... no, that's it. two hours of conversation for the one quote. and for the one quote she used, she couldn't even QUOTE ME CORRECTLY. "i think it funny." i didn't even remember saying, "i think it's funny" much less "i think it funny." and according to mongo the disabled half-ape director of "lily and jim": "i think it funny." mongo make funny pictures move with hammer and bucket. they funny, you see. to sum up, mongo think funny stick people funny, funny.

october 6, 1999

so preliminary animation is finally finished for "rejected", and shooting will start up soon enough. there are still a couple of odds and ends to draw and clean up, but the bulk of it is done. restless. have been clawing at the walls and staring at the door. it is going to take some time to get my sleep schedule back to waking up in the mornings and not the late afternoon. my nocturnal eyes have grown all large and blinky.

ok here i talk about death again for a second. one of the few things i ever watch on tv is hbo's documentary show which usually features autopsies and dead people. or naked people doing odd things. or dead naked people. or people riding in taxis talking about dead people. so anyway they just premiered that new one about life after death theories or whatnot and i missed the first 5 minutes but anyway i was thoroughly disappointed in it because it allotted the psychologists and doctors who actually had interesting things to say very little time to talk and mostly featured these psychics/idiot con men who capitalize off vulnerable mourning old people by pretending to be in contact with their dead relatives. so they'd start off, "yessss, i see a strong... is it a male figure? yes it is a male figure... possibly your husband, brother, cousin, father, or nephew...? is it your nephew? yes it is your husband." and this poor woman is tearful and blubbery because she wants to believe very badly, "did he have a special tattoo? no? did he like to play in the sand? i'm getting a strong sand reading... ahh he liked going to the beach? were his feet attached to his legs?"

it's called cold reading and is the oldest trick in the book. he follows her leads, inevitably hits upon something by chance, and she gives him her money. people only pay attention to the hits and not all of the misses. so he says, "yes your husband is coming forward now. he is full of liquids." and she goes, "yes!! that's him! he was leaking internally before he died!" and he says, "ah hah..! and hmmm, he is not saying anything to me at the moment." and she's weeping again and says, "of course, he had a tracheotomy" and everybody applauds and i'm thinking so this poor bastard is a dead ghost who's still wandering around full of liquids with a tracheotomy pipe hanging out of his neck? the afterlife sounds horrible.

people obssessed with worrying about tomorrow so much they forget about today. speaking of which, why are you even sitting in front of your computer on such a pretty day? close that "asian slut moose" website for a moment and go run around. because eventually you will be all cold and gray and a lot less interesting than you are now. and then nobody will play with you because your bits will be falling off your pieces and you will just lie there with a dumb look on your face. and i just wrote about death for like the millionth time already in this thing and i swear i'm gonna stop that. OH WOE BE THAT DEATHING DEATH OF WHICH ALL YE MORTALS FACE UPON THEIR DEATHLY SHROUDS OF BLACK DEA.. sorry

september 28,1999
oh so very late
saddest sound in the world
spent last 10 days drawing until 5:30 and 6 in the morning. things are getting really fuzzy around here, but it looks like i'm in the home stretch of animating. been spending my "days" wandering around for bare necessities like an eternally jet-laggedry zombie with a gray cloud in my forehead and burning eyes. i just made up the word, "jet-laggedry." it's very odd going to bed when you hear people running their morning showers in the other apartments or falling asleep as they start their cars to go to work. and it seems my short term memory has been totally shot - forgot to put the food away, forgot to pick up the laundry from the drier, forgetting to call people back, etc... and sometimes i even forget what i write. and sometimes i even forget what i write. and sometimes i even forget what i write. so very sleepy.

i read yesterday that when you're dying you lose your vision and movement first, while your hearing is the last thing to go. therefore i guess a lot of people like to listen to their favorite song as they prepare to die which seems like a nice idea, but i'm not sure. i get kind of annoyed if i listen to a song in the morning but don't get to hear the end of it. sometimes you don't even want to get out of the car before the song on the radio ends. so what happens if you're dead before your favorite song finishes? how irritating is that. so you'd have to time it just right on your death bed and hit play right when you think you're gonna die, timed to the end of the song. but if you hit play too early, you might be waiting around for a good minute or so in awkward silence after the song ends, thinking "dang i guess i should have pressed play a bit later," or worse, the next song on the album comes on, one you don't like at all, and you end up dying to the first thirty seconds of that one instead, all irritated, or spend your final earthly moments fumbling around to press stop. i mean, what are the odds that the instant you die is going to be synched just right with the ending of a song? i bet 99% of the time the dead person is severely annoyed.

before i forget, to the person(s) who mailed me the country music cd without a note, i am intrigued. yet i ask, "why?"

i have been having more awful dreams. first i dreamt there was this big auto accident at night and there was a dead body hanging from a tree. i don't remember anything else. so i half-woke up and thought, "wha?" and when i slept again i dreamt i was living in this really messy apartment. just papers and junk and trash cluttered everywhere. and i had a pet parrot and a little kitten. but the place was such a mess that i rarely saw them and i could never find them in all of the junk to feed them. and then half the time i'd forget i even had them. but they would pop up every now and then all ratty and more and more deformed with hunger, and scamper around gnawing on things, and i'd think oh yeah! i have pets! oh no! but i could never catch them or find them again to feed them. after a longer time i began to wonder if they were dead yet and i just couldn't find their little bodies under all the clutter, but sure enough they would momentarily show up again all starved and half-crazed.

i remember hearing all sorts of stories from a friend who i don't remember who it was right now and my god this sentence structure sucks but anyway she told me about these aquatic pets she used to have, one of which i think was an eel in a big tank. the happy eel lived in the tank and they fed it. one morning they found the big tank empty. which is quite unusual to say the least. they checked all inside the tank for the eel as well as the surrounding area around the tank but found no sign of him. it wasn't until almost a month later that they discovered eel, who was behind the family room couch three rooms away, dried up and dead. somehow eel managed to hop out of his tank in the night and wriggle all the way down the hallway and through three rooms to die. it was a really haunting story, mostly because it certainly seems like the eel had some sort of determined intention for performing such a strange feat. there is also something unsettling about dead things under your bed or your sofa or places you frequent your time, without knowing it. or does that go without saying.
i had a goldfish in a bowl when i was little and for a week he started acting sort of weird and half dead, like swimming sideways and blubbering around the surface of the water like he was maybe having a stroke or something. finally i found him floating lifelessly on top, so i scooped him out, put him in a napkin and prepared to bury him the yard. so i go through the house to the garage, find a little shovel, go around the house to the backyard and when i get all the way back there, the fish starts throttling around in my hand gasping, suddenly alive again! i jump half out of my skin, scramble back around the house, through the garage and back into my room and dump him back in the water and he swims around just like nothing happened, all half brain damaged again. the fish astronaut had made a good 5-7 minute trek into the netherworlds on a floating napkin and returned safely home.

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