Grandma called me Wednesday, around 11 am, as I was having lunch. I guess she and Grandpa are moving to Arkansas on Sunday. The big surprise here is not that they’re moving to Arkansas, but rather that they’re moving a month or two before I thought they would.

So, today I’m on my way to San Diego. I’ve heard there’s been some heavy rain lately in both LA and SD, but I should be used to it, after the three-day tantrum the weather decided to pull up here. It should be fun, though a bit emotionally draining. It’ll be the last time I see them until maybe two years from now.

Unfortunately, since I found out this news on Wednesday, I really haven’t seen my roommates much. I’ve been running around trying to finish my fourth Art project of the quarter as well as all the voice-over work for the film.

As for the film, I feel I’ve been quite the whiny, pathetic, annoying actor to my friends who are running it. More specifically to Ben Kantor, mainly because I once told him that by changing his script to how it currently is, it became “A piece of crap” and that “You’re destroying art, you know that?” Since then, my opinion of the work has changed, and even if the script could have used a bit more work, I really think the acting and the cinematography has been over the top. Besides, it was a hell of a lot of fun to shoot this film.

To Matt, in case I don’t see him before I leave: Sorry, but I’ll be leaving today for San Diego. I won’t be able to go to J-Turtle’s performance with you tonight, but we can try to make it to next week’s show at New Fronteirs.

I wonder: when did rain turn from the ultimate fun on a Wednesday afternoon, to some dreary inconvenience? I suppose it happened when we had to travel, to actually accomplish something with our days.

I love this rain. It’s hard, it’s brutal, it stings sometimes. But my God, it’s great.

Read Chapter One.

Chapter Two

The morning before, the sunlight glinted harshly off my four-alarm hangover. My head felt like the devil decided to sandpaper all the rough edges of my brain out. And the devil was obsessive-compulsive to boot. A knock on the door. Insistent. I knew if I stayed in bed it would never go away. Eternity passed as I moved to open the door.

“You look horrible, man.” Davey was a darker shade of blur in my wincing eyes. Without waiting for an invitation, he walked past me into my apartment. Just as well, I thought. The slug in my mouth that used to be my tongue didn’t feel like making coherent speech at all.

“Listen,” he said, “I gotta show you something different. No hooch, no dancing… just art. Pure art. Out of this world.”

And so, now as I opened the door, I was instantly assaulted by a hundred decibles of chaos. I saw Benny at the drums, cymbals clashing at a one-and-a-two, gunshot drumsticks falling on a snare with field-medic precision. Jason stood to the side, fingers snapping, a “that’s hot, that’s hot” dropping from his lips just before his sax raises to blow stars out of the air. Johnny bit his lip, eyes closed… I didn’t know if he held up his bass or if it held him up. They leaned into each other like two lovers dancing, and his thumbs played a scale on her spine.

I knew these people. They used to be regulars at the club I usually hop to, until a couple months ago… Like a fly being swept around to the other side of a tornado, I finally noticed all the other groups of people. Everyone was sitting in groups of three or four, instruments in hand, scribbling down musical notes on napkins. It was a modern renaissance, in blue and gray and orange.

Davey put his hand on my shoulder. “Ain’t it a kick in the pants?” he muttered with awe. All I could do was nod.

Blood dripped off the blade in my hand. Brad lay on the bed, clutching his chest, his blood oozing through his fingers. The soft hush of falling rain is all that’s heard in the background.

And that’s how I ended this weekend. The film is now completely shot. I still have to go into one of the computer labs on campus to record my voice overs for it, but other than that, the only thing between now and showing the completed film is a spring break and Benjamin Kantor editing the heck out of it. A final title wouldn’t hurt either.

My color theory class is actually becoming quite enjoyable, what with my midnight sojourns into the lab… quite zen. Really. I especially enjoy the fact that I have gotten perfect scores on my last two projects. Most people have had to change at least one of their swatches after grading, but nope. I think I’m learning quite a bit.

Today I found out about the final project (finally). It turns out it’ll actually be kind of creative. No more color swatches after this project, which is fine with me.

Colin’s brother will be playing some shows here in SLO this week. He’s formerly of Jason and Jane, the remarkable duo from my hometown San Diego, and he now goes under the name J-Turtle… Anyhow, here’s the info Colin e-mailed to me about the shows:

Wed. @600 PM 2/25
BACKSTAGE PIZZA

Thurs 2/26
FARMERS MARKET …hopefully it won’t rain

Friday @830 PM 2/27
LINNAEA’S CAFE

and WED @530 PM 3/3
NEW FRONTIERS

If you are interested in hearing what J-Turtle sounds like, try his site: JTurtleMusic.com. He’s very good. Addictive music.

Now back to watching the Dream Theater dvd that Anthony let me borrow. Devon would be proud.

A couple of years ago, I watched a man setting up an exhibit in an art gallery. This was no ordinary exhibit… it was a series of rocks piled impossibly upon each other, giant rocks balancing perfectly on mere pebbles and vice versa.

I asked him how he got the skill to set up all these rocks, with nothing but his bare hands.

He told me “Everything in this world follows Newton’s Laws. A moving object will continue to move unless acted upon by an outside force, and the same goes for a still object. I just wait for the rocks to be still.”

Tonight, I watched the shine of lightning on clouds to the northwest of town. I had been in the art lab from 10 pm to midnight… certainly earlier times than I usually keep in there, but it was good because I’m already halfway done with this project, which is due Monday. It might mean I actually have a weekend. At least it’ll mean enough time to shoot the film.

So, I continued to watch the sky, and even though I had to get a drink of water, I stayed outside, stilling everything around and in me just so I could experience the one thing that is constantly being acted upon during it’s short life: a lightning bolt.

May I find more moments of stillness. May I find faith in those moments.

Starlight
by Philip Levine

My father stands in the warm evening
on the porch of my first house.
I am four years old and growing tired.
I see his head among the stars,
the glow of his cigarette, redder
than the summer moon riding
low over the old neighborhood. We
are alone, and he asks me if I am happy.
“Are you happy?” I cannot answer
I do not really understand the word,
and the voice, my father’s voice, is not
his voice, but somehow thick and choked,
a voice I have not heard before, but
heard often since. He bends and passes
a thumb beneath each of my eyes.
The cigarette is gone, but I can smell
the tiredness that hangs on his breath.
He has found nothing, and he smiles
and holds my head with both his hands.
Then he lifts me to his shoulder,
and now I too am there among the stars,
as tall as he. Are you happy? I say.
He nods in answer, Yes! oh yes! oh yes!
And in that new voice he says nothing,
holding my head tight against his head,
his eyes closed up against the starlight,
as though those tiny blinking eyes
of light might find a tall, gaunt child
holding his child against the promises
of autumn, until the boy slept
never to waken in that world again.

Played “Kick the Can” with the kids at work this morning. I’d never played it before… and I guess I thought it was a much different game than it is. And so we stopped when Stephanie slid on the grass and scraped her knee. It freaked me out at first because the first thing she said was “I can’t move my leg!”

Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as serious as it looked. It was merely a scrape, and so I bandaged it, and all the kids walked her back to her house.

It’s funny how I feel like I had no weekend. It disappeared in a multicolored haze of painted swatches.

I think that after the 200th swatch, I’ve been getting the hang of it. But I now think I know what hell is.

Two days of rain and the world is a flood.

I tend to like spending my post-midnight hours in the art lab, thinking of how every hour I spend in there is one I have regained for my weekend. The Jem’Hadar said it best: “I am already dead. I go into battle to reclaim my life. Victory is life.”