Dear Mr. Klosterman
I am reading your novel Dowtown Owl and I am not quite sure why you need to put the characters name in parenthesis before each chapter. Granted I am only on Chapter 5 and it may play some interesting part later in the piece - but I am smart enough to figure who is the central character based on your narrative. So, by putting (Mitch) or (Julia) or (Horrace) before the chapter doesn't really do anything for me, except make me say "Duh".


[EDIT: Parenthetical names directly preceding each chapter was a complete waste of ink. Your novel wa just okay. I've read better fiction in my undergrad creative writing class.]

(500) days of Summer
Because I can't seem to do only one thing at a time, I am going to take notes while watching (500) days of Summer on my laptop (all of this in an effort to procrastinate from my annoyingly boring job).

-Zooey Deschanel is pretty cute. My type, for sure (big blue eyes, brunette, kinda hip, perfect freakin' teeth, perfect freakin' skin) but lo, it can never be, because she is an actress and I have vowed to never date an actress (and I am married, which has been a huge obstacle in my dating life).

-This movie's soundtrack could possibly turn out to be more interesting than the movie itself (Smiths, Black Lips, Bell et Sebastian, The Pixies, "She's Like the Wind")...

-The cliché of boy meets girl is just that -- but this movie promised me that it wasn't that at all. [EDIT: but it was just like that -- just the girl he thought he loved didn't love him back, but of course it's Hollywood, so he met his soulmate in the last scene. . .SWELL MUSIC aaaaaaannnndd roll CREDITS]

-One of the actors, Geoffry Arend (spelling) happened to nab Christina Hendricks (of Mad Men fame) and I have no CLUE how that happens in our handsome people hook up with handsome people society. If you think about it, adult life follows much of the same hierarchy as high school. The famous actors are pretty much like the popular kids, the professional athletes are like the jocks, etc.

-I don’t buy Zooey’s (is she named after the Salinger character Franny and Zooey?) character being named Summer (maybe Spring, Autumn, Winter).

-The couple is so cute how they’re doing all sorts of quirky weird things because that’s what cool, hip couples do. My wife and me just go to Target and walk together in silence while we silently pray about all the things we could buy that we probably shouldn’t .

-I like Joshua Gordon Levitt. It’s difficult for child actors (though was he really a child on 3rd Rock?) to overcome the roles they played on the boob tube, but he’s got some talent and is giving a really honest performance in this movie.

-Using Daryl Hall & John Oats song in place of the sex scene was an interestingly funny choice. Love the spontaneous dance number. Wish more movies would go down this path – I’m thinking about you Die Hard 3. . .

-Once again, how did Geoffry Arend land Christina Hendricks?

-I once dated someone I thought was a real groovy girl and we had the quirky relationship. When I look back, I have a hard time remembering our fights and arguments. Except I can’t forget the fact she cheated on me with my friend.

-how do these characters always get these uber cool apartments and seem to never work. I'm talking awesome leather sofas, designer artwork, impeccable design tastes -- though you wouldn't think they would solely based on their characters. And it always seems prevalent in the romatic-ish comedies. (He's Just Not that Into You, What Happens in Vegas). Most of them time they live in New York City and do not have jobs that would afford the kind of apartment (y decor) that they usually have. Trust fund babies?

OK, I’m bored with this movie. [EDIT: I took a three hour break and finished watching it. Pretty interesting story telling, visually interesting, acting was decent. I give this movie a B-]

some notes after reading Orwell's 1984
Finished reading the Orwell negative utopian 1984 last night for the second time. What a relevant piece of fiction today. Many of the ideas and fears Orwell illustrated in the world of Big Brother can be easily seen in today's society.

-America has waged a perpetual war on "terror" that parallels the Eastasia/Eurasia/Oceania conflict in the novel. The war against terror is a war that can never be won, much like the wars waged in 1984 - but so long as these wars are ongoing and America profits from them, they will continue.

-Our politicians engage in "newspeak" where they create buzzwords and media jargon to refer to complex concepts as to neuter the true meaning and argument. Words like "

-The telescreens that monitor the outer party's every move (referred to as Big Brother) in 1984 are reminiscent of the wire tapping and loss of liberties that many people have experienced since 9/11 <---- NEWSPEAK.

-The "Party" aims to keep the proles (lower class) in check by keeping them in an ongoing fervor over common enemies (today's terrorist) and making sure they can never succeed or hope to move from lower to the middle class (current economy, housing bust, recession).

The next step is for the dual party system to go away (I already think they are very similar today despite some ideological differences) and the single party to desire raw power for power sake. We have our share of megalomaniacs in DC -- enough to assume power and realize the only true way to control the people is to destroy the past (or better yet, rewrite it). Once this happens, the ideas of "thoughtcrime" will come to fruition.

Quotes of interest from the novel:

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power."

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

An interesting take on 1984's relevance can be found here:


No Country for Old Women
Grandma tells me that it looks like I’ve been working out so I punch her in the face as hard as I can. She falls backwards and looks up at me both dizzy and confused. I ask her if it feels like I’ve been working out. Granny tries to say something but blood is funneling down her chin, dripping onto the tile floor. My grandpa walks in chewing on some grass that he found in the yard and he asks me why I punched grandma in the face. I shake my fist and say to him, “Look here, old man.”

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The Invention of Refried Beans
Rosa: Hey Maria. I don't think these beans are done.

Maria: Did you fry them?

Rosa: Yes.

Maria. Well. . .then, fry them again.

i don't feel so hot
Someone the other day says to me, you look like death and I says back to him, o really? and he says back to me, yeah you look like warmed over death on a tostada. I asks him what in the hell a tostada is and he says it's a potato type chip made from corn. O, I says, like a corn chip? and he says, yeah, like a freakin' corn chip and I says to him, so you're saying I look like death that's been microwaved and placed on a corn chip? He says, yeah, you look really shitty. and I says to him, eat me.

An Excerpt from "My Dead Purple Dad"
It’s a Sunday in Harlem around three o’clock in the afternoon and Edward Dever is just stirring. He pokes his crusty eyed head out from underneath his down comforter and sees the hazy sun hanging triumphantly in the sky outside his window. He knows he has an audition in less than an hour, but for some reason he feels no immediate desire to stir from his bed. Instead he buries his skull deep in the pillow and resumes the dream he was having – a recurring dream where Edward fights flying clown heads – ones that hover above his bed every night telling deadpan jokes and nibbling at his ears. His usual instrument used to deflect these annoying creatures is a short broom, one usually used to sweep piles of rubbish into a dust catcher. The clown heads are wiley though, and Edward often goes through a week of dreams without whacking a single one. This usually leaves him in an awkward mood for the remainder of the waking day where he sulks and pouts about the house, canceling important meetings and calling his disabled sister’s voicemail and ranting and raving about trivial matters. He might yell about how his favorite team lost the football game last weekend by failing to execute on the offensive side of the ball or how the cable company can’t seem to break down his bill properly despite multiple phone calls to multiple personnel within the cable conglomerate.

On the flip side, when Edward does manage to whack a clown from it’s wobbly flight around his head – the next day (or that same day if he was napping) he’s in the highest spirits, saying hello the strangers on the street and giving the homeless subway dwellers dollar bills instead of coins. Of course, it would be to simple to say that Edward’s demeanor could be solely predicted by the of his clown head hitting percentage. No, Ed Dever is a complex man, having existed on the earth’s surface for nearly thirty three years (same as Jesus Christ), having traveled the world freely. He traversed the country many times as part of an acting ensemble. The definition of a Renaissance man, Edward is well versed in many topics of conversation and charismatic enough to make even the dullest conversation somewhat engaging. Perhaps it's the sparkle in his crystal blue eyes, or the bashful way he glances at the ground when he smiles.

Another device our humble protagonist employs to disarm those he meets was to speak with an English accent. He was around the age of twenty-two when he began speaking in proper English and immediately saw the benefits of taking on such a dialect. People were intrigued by him, where he was from, and seemed to care more about what he had to say, no matter the subject matter. He noticed an air of sophistication that came with the soft affectation of his speech. Edward felt more confident when speaking this way and soon it became part and parcel of who he was – what he could do and more importantly, who he could be. Most of his family and friends found his instant accent to be quite odd – that a boy born in Texas, raised in America all his life, would suddenly inherit such a completely different way of speaking. Those closest to him (and there are not many) chalked it up to his career as an actor. And they would be somewhat right, as Edward noticed immediate success when auditioning with an English accent, or better than that – presenting himself as a Brit who had one hell of an American accent.

Oh no I di'nt
I think every blogger's (livejournaler's, wordpresser's, stone tableter's etc.) dream is to have a wildly successful blog that someone pays you to later turn into a book. Of course, my blog has little substance, no characters, nothing of interest, and a lot of non capitalized words, so I think mine is ripe for the picking. I plan to throw in a little sex, maybe use some fucking profanity, and cha-ching.

It's our third date -- by that I mean my third entry into this journal. Of course, all three dates have happened directly one after the other (just like in real life), but I feel this connection. Like we know each other. To be completely honest (which I rarely am) I want to jump your bones. Instead, I will exercise a slight modicum of decency and simply tell you a little about me. A get to know me session, so that you, the casual web reader can decide if the jarble (I'll trademark that soon) I write is worth any more of your time.

Of course, like many of my dates in the past, I will only reveal the items that will present me, the author, in a positive light. I won't immediately tell you that I stole some girl's CD player my first year of college when I stayed in the dorms at SMU. I won't tell you that I have a borderline (haha) drinking problem and that I have no clue when to say when (and when I get drunk I am intolerably cruel to those people I love).

I probably will also exaggerate the truth to the point that when I read the things I’ve written, I will start to believe my own exaggerated version of events which, in turn, creates a much inflated sense of self-worth.

I spent many years as a professional actor. Which means that for a period of time (let’s say ‘95-’00) I made my living (however meager) on acting and acting alone. I toured nationally and worked as a resident actor of a children’s theatre. People that I worked with seemed impressed with my ability to pretend like I am not pretending to be someone else. If someone did not think that I was all that (and the proverbial bag of chips), they are omitted from this recounting of the past.

I have published some of my writing in a literary journal. The story was a Bukowski-ish recounting of a man who gets a hooker in Amsterdam to have a threesome with his wife. It is based on real life events.

I like to start many of my paragraphs and sentences with the word “I”.

The chances of me not posting again in this journal is around 83.8%.

Last year I made over two hundred thousand dollars and I still don’t really like my job (even though I probably only worked a few days each week and didn’t really try). Even though I see myself as very creative, I have been able to apply some of my critical thinking and intelligence to the business world which is run, for the most part, by uncreative sub-intelligent people. It’s amazing how many issues in my industry (healthcare) could be solved with simple common sense and intelligent, thoughtful leadership. People who take management roles will quickly forget the plight of the front-line worker. The more they move up the chain, the more disconnected they become.

Texas is where I stay at. I have a crib (house) there that I purchased but did not put down 20% -- only 10%. From 2004-2008 I lived in New York City (in Harlem).

On the next episode of teh_orwellian:

-free pretzels;
-I rail against the establishment while being firmly rooted in it;
-more naked pictures of me in compromising situations and locales;
-and unnecessary semi-colons!

stockholm syndrome, DDS
I even began to trust her, the dental hygienist.

I was looking up at her big blue eyes and found myself oddly attracted her. My head was pressed against her breast. Her hand deep inside my mouth while the dental instruments whirred and hissed. buzz then suction, more scraping.

I admitted all of my fears to this women, totally emasculated myself with the fluorescent light averting my gaze to my own reflection in her trendy glasses. She should be wearing goggles, I thought to myself, so that the foodstuffs and plaque and diseased shards of tooth don't get into her eyes.

I admitted to her that I had a nightmare the night before where small dental instruments had snuck into my bed and were poking and prodding my body. I couldn't sleep one bit, I told her. I woke up from the nightmare and was certain these tools were lurking around the house. I even got a knife and stalked around the hallways looking for the metal pick, the suction tube, the mirror. 

She promises me that she's almost finished and I realize that my mouth is numb and that I am not talking to her at all. Instead, I scream at the top of my lungs without making a sound and she can see the white of my knuckles but ignores it. We're almost done. She gives me more topical anesthetic and i want her to rub it all over my face and make me totally numb to the point I can't even open my eyes. 

And now I love her. She made me bleed and then shoved her hands deep inside my throat and touched my beating heart. 


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