Monthly Archives: July 2010

I’m currently sitting at the entrance to an enormous furniture warehouse filled with stuff I couldn’t even begin to afford. At the far end, Ben is taking stills of Monique Alexander on a $4,600 sofa, which she’s going to get fucked on for Naughty America. Everyone is taking a beating in this economy, and the owners of this high-dollar store are happy to get a few extra hundred for giving us the location.

I was going to post an in-depth review of Inception, which is, without doubt, one of the most spectacular and original movies I’ve seen in my lifetime. I would fuck that movie if I could. But I’m far too distracted by the knot in my gut.

Instead, I’m writing as therapy, trying to relieve the mounting stress of an increasingly ridiculous life. As I take on more and more work, consistently making less for doing more, watching the bills pile up as the income dwindles, I wonder when I will finally crack. I’m not being melodramatic. This isn’t a growing panic but rather an idle concern, like guilt over not going to the dentist.

I’m trying to pay attention to the band playing Nearer My God to Thee as I rearrange the deck chairs.

Last week I worked four of the hardest days I can remember for Burning Angel, shooting and gaffing Joanna’s Angels 3 for Joanna and James Deen. 2 16-hour days, an 18-hour day and a 20-hour day, and practically every minute of it, I was on my feet and running around. I didn’t just feel old when we wrapped, I felt ancient.

To make matters worse, I’ve agreed to edit the movie. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that I haven’t finished cutting Kiss of the Strangler, which is turning out great, but taking far too long. Hot Video have been very understanding about it, but for how long? JA3 has a rigid due date in a little over 2 weeks, so it’s going to demand every moment I can devote to it.

Except that I’m going to Florida for four days to shoot Tristan Taormino’s documentary right in the middle of that 2 weeks.

Oh, and I still have to work my NA job, just to keep body and soul together.

Okay, instead of relieving my stress, putting this in black-and-white has sharpened it to a keen edge. Bad idea.

I’m fucked.

Well, as the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough go fishing, so I’m having a last gasp attempt at recreation this weekend. Tomorrow, Mischief & I are going up the coast to see a band she loves in Santa Barbara, staying overnight, and then banging around the coast until Sunday evening. We planned this over a month ago. If I had any sense I would have canceled. As it is, I’ll be curious to see if I can even pretend to relax.

Afterwards, I’m essentially going to have to tell her – and everyone else in my life – to forget that I exist for a few weeks and try to dig myself out of the hole I’m in.

Either that, or pull it in after me.

Obviously, things have not been sparkly of late. Friday just put a fine point on the feelings of utter defeat and despair I’ve been struggling with since the spring. Or perhaps I should say an even finer point. Every single man who is at or near my age will understand when I say there is a strong desire in me to sell everything I own (and perhaps a pile of stuff I don’t own), and vanish into the Great Unknown, never to be heard from again by a single human I currently know.

Of course, this is a purely romantic notion. Right? I still have five little furry monsters I have to feed. Six, if you count Mischief.

On the topic of the Goth Biscuit, last weekend, she fell while attending Anime Expo and jacked up her right arm pretty successfully. Emergency room and doctor visits ensued, and we’ve discovered it isn’t broken. Just a major contusion and probably some muscle and tendon damage.

Kids.

She’s been fairly gimpy as a result, and I’ve learned to do things I never imagined, like how to properly brush and wash hair. For the first half of the week, she was pretty dependent, and I felt like a responsible adult. It was creepy. But it did net a great doctor’s office story.

However, since I enjoy telling stories backwards, let me drop a few details about this most recent weekend first. Having spent most of Friday crying my eyes out and trying to function, I was looking forward to being über-geek on Saturday night, playing Magic (I know, I know) with my friends Jim, John and Brusta, decompressing, distracted.

I hadn’t seen Allison for a few days, so I was thrilled when she arrived at my loft on Saturday night, looking great and equally happy to see me. I was even happier when she proudly slid my hand down her ass to find the butt plug she’d been wearing for the last several hours. She takes her homework very seriously, this girl.

You can infer the rest from there. I mean, I have an issue with being completely rude, so I excused myself from the game for a few rounds to indulge in an office & closet quickie. In my world, you just don’t waste a soaking-wet 26-year-old with a butt plug in her ass. But, eventually, I did return to my “guests.”

On Sunday, we slept in, completely failed to get out of bed about three times by my count, and then finally hauled our asses up to start the day. Mischief made herself extremely cute, and I did my best with jeans that no longer fit (I’ve lost a lot of weight this year) and a shirt I know she likes.

We made our way down to Venice beach to wander and people-watch. Personally, unless I’m in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic or somewhere equally resort-ish, I’m not a really “beachy” guy. As an abstract concept I love the beach, but in L.A., the beaches are cold, dirty, bum-infested and crowded. As a result, I haven’t been to Venice in, oh, five years?

We had a great time. We looked at clothes, books, art both good and bad. I copy-edited shop signs (including the hand-carved wooden sign which advertises clothing imported from “Katmandu,” wherever that is). We ate, snarked each other and argued about precisely how crazy Allison is (I’m gonna vote for somewhere between “Special Olympics” and “Batshit Crazy,” but well shy of “Nurse Ratched Will See You Now.”)

We stood for a long while at the drum circle, both trying to “get it,” but failing on some mutual lack of chemical alteration and/or spiritual depth. We watched a rumored former Solid Gold dancer do some amazing moves on roller skates, which only made me more disdainful of the small flotilla of self-important punks on skateboards whom Mischief was quite enamored with.

Ah, youth. Sadly, none of them seriously injured himself while we watched. (Hey you kids! Off of my lawn! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!)

We ended the day with Allison buying us dinner at a terrific Lebanese place where only one of the women truly looked like Jamie Farr. Over dinner, we continued a discussion about my personal brand of applied psychology and social anthropology, and the way I “read” people from a distance. Mischief is fascinated by this, and we’d been discussing how she presents herself in different situations.

On Wednesday, with her right arm still more-or-less completely KIA, I picked Mischief up from work and took her to see her orthapædist. This doctor’s office is in a very conservative part of the very conservative Orange County.

Since I probably haven’t mentioned it, overt PDA is one of Mischief’s favorite pastimes. Inappropriate PDA, even moreso.

Sitting in the OC waiting room were a thin, young, gay Asian sales rep for a software firm, a 40-something blonde real estate agent trying too hard to hit that “vaguely sexy but completely bland” look right in the center of the bullseye, and a burly, red-faced mid-40s contractor waiting for his wife; a guy you just know was climbing into a white F-250 with a crew cab and a bedliner when they left.

The main receptionist was a surly, sour-faced, Christian, Republican, 43-year-old single mother of four who was every inch the female version of the contractor in the waiting room. She stood about 5’ 11’ and had to be three bills. If you picture the feminized John Lithgow in World According to Garp you’re right on target.

Just seeing a man her age (and aren’t all fucking men just the fucking same!) with a girl Mischief’s age turned her bitter blood to cold vitriol, and if looks were daggers I would have left in a basket. Naturally, Allison took this as the signal that she should climb all over me in the waiting room. At one point, she even decided to sit in my lap. If it wouldn’t have led to police involvement and defeating the purpose of the trip (by getting kicked out), I’m sure she would have tried to blow me.

The realtor was scandalized. The contractor tried not to be envious. The salesman was oblivious.

Ms. Lithgow seethed hatred from behind the counter.

In a quiet attempt to keep Allison from alienating her doctor (I was imaging some first-generation Indian immigrant who can’t look a white woman in a bikini in the eye), I stayed in the waiting room while she went inside. At one point I caught the realtor’s eye, and I realized she wasn’t seeing me; she was seeing her husband, who coaches the girls’ volleyball team, and her imagination was running rampant.

When Allison returned from the bowels of the building, I joined her at the counter for checkout. She spent a few moments harassing the desk flunkies about details, doctor’s notes and appointments, and then asked the nurse, standing next to Ms. Lithgow, to clarify what she could and couldn’t do.

“No typing, no writing, no repetitive arm movements.”

“Oh, good,” said Mischief. “So I can still use my mouth.”

They’ll be scrubbing Ms. Lithgow’s brains off that wall for a week.

Buster

The Scruffy Brothers

I lost one of my oldest friends today. Buster, my 20-year-old dog, died in his sleep last night. I went to wake him to go out to pee, and discovered he was gone.

This is truly the year that everything ends.

My family has always had an extremely close bond with our pets, frequently more so than to each other. Our animals are family, and my purest, most resonant emotional connections throughout my life have been with a variety of cats and dogs.

When he was a little more than two months old, my mother stole Buster away from his abusive owner, some punk kid renting an apartment in the complex my mother was managing. This was in 1990. He was given to my cousin Brandon, then about 6 years old. However, Buster was too scruffy and shaggy to really fit in with the image my cousin Kelly – Brandon’s mother – had for her upscale white-trash family, so he was never truly taken in.

My grandfather, Cecil, the man who raised me after my father took a powder when I was two, took Buster that Christmas. My grandfather was pretty scruffy and shaggy himself, so it was a terrific fit, and they were inseparable.

Buster was absolutely my grandfather’s best friend, and Buster had no doubt that Cecil was his father/pack leader. Wherever my grandfather went, Buster was in the car with him. They would frequently drive through McDonald’s or Taco Bell, primarily to get something for Buster as my grandfather could take or leave fast food.

My grandfather was generous, kind of heart, sarcastic and irascible. When he died in 2001, I took custody of Buster, and it was very much like having the old man with me as Buster had taken on all those same traits. I always regretted that certain people in my life never got to meet Cecil, but for those who spent time around Buster, I felt as if, in some small way, they had.

It took Buster a few weeks to decide that I was an acceptable substitute for the old man. I had stairs and cats and didn’t buy him Taco Bell nearly enough, but eventually he took custody of me as well. I have no doubt that damned dog thought he was my guardian, and that it was his job to keep an eye on me.

In the past nine years, Buster became a ubiquitous part of my life. He went to AVN with me every day, making a circuit of the building at lunch to scrounge food from the rubes. Shirley, the receptionist at the time, made bacon just for my dog. She didn’t give her family bacon; it was only for Buster.

If you watch the Behind the Scenes of nearly any movie I’ve directed over the past decade, Buster is there. In my lap. On the set. In the makeup room guarding the girls. When I shot Being Porn Again for Metro, the anonymous editor who cut the BTS in-house was so enamored of Buster in the raw footage s/he did an entire mini-feature about him.

My grandfather died peacefully in his bed, with Buster sleeping beside him. Buster has followed in the same manner, quietly, without even waking me. I’m grateful to him for saving me that tough decision.

I never knew what to do with my grandfather’s ashes until a few years ago. He made it plain when he was alive that he couldn’t care less what happened to them.

“Throw ‘em in the yard. Stick ‘em in a coffee can. I don’t care,” was a common refrain.

I’ve saved them for this day. When I get Buster’s ashes back, I’ll combine them in one urn and they will once again be inseparable. I think they would both approve.

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When you start to live outside yourself, it’s all dangerous. — Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden