Thursday, June 17, 2010

You're afraid of what you need... If you weren't...Then I don't know what we'd talk about


‘Mr. Coyle? This is Lafayette Hill Eye Care and we just wanted to inform you that you can’t order contact lenses until you get another eye exam. It’s been over a year since we last checked your eyes. You’re going to have to make an appointment.’

This is my first issue. I can still see fine with my current prescription. I’m not bumping into walls or mistaking rodents for house pets. Do I really need to come into the office again? It’s not like this year has been filled with ocular madness.

I have to wait over a month for an appointment, and I finally arrive on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The waiting room holds an old style Pac-Man arcade game, which has to be bad for your eyes. I’ve always wanted to step up and play, but why would I strain my peepers staring at a chomping Yellow circle evading ghosts minutes before sitting in that dreaded chair? So about 35 minutes later they call my name and I’m lead to a sterile room filled with ugly illustrated posters of eye infections.

A young woman comes in the room wearing scrubs and starts asking me the usual questions. Are you allergic? Do you have any diseases? Your thoughts on metaphysics? She then instructs me to hold a black plastic spoon looking thing over my left eye and hands me a card filled with random sentences. The card has fonts ranging from monster to mini. This card has been handed to me every fucking time I get my eyes checked. I practically know the last sentence. It’s about popcorn kernels containing a certain amount of water, which leads to them popping when heated. WHY? Because the water inside the kernel turns to steam, this causes the kernel to pop.

I start reading and she immediately tells me the card is too close to my face. I then place it on my lap, and she tells me it’s too far. She then decides to hold to card up for me. I have bad eyes, not bad hands. So I read the sentence about popcorn kernels and she looks at me and says, ‘You know…those are all true facts on that card.”


Then the lights go down, no candle is light, but she holds a pen light in her hand. She gets so close to my face that our noses are about to touch and starts shining the light in my eyes. Then it hit me.

Her breath was fucking awful.

I make it a point to have gum or a mint in my mouth whenever I go there. I know they are going to be close, so I prepare. I’m just an ornery patient, but this is her job, her breath should smell amazing. It should remind me of the beach and the fresh air in the mountains. All it did was compliment the massive pictures of oozing sties hanging from the walls.

When that torture is over the Ophthalmologist comes in the room for the ever-so popular ‘Read that line of letters’ test. The eye chart appears on the wall via some archaic projection system and I’m asked to read the bottom line with my right eye covered.


Every time I get it right she responds like I’m a child who just learned to go potty. ‘WOW…THAT’S GREAT. YOU’RE DOING AMAZING!’

Then I am asked to cover my left eye and read some more letters.


It wasn’t hard because I said the same thing two seconds before. I could have covered both eyes and passed with flying colors. Why don’t they switch the charts when you switch eyes? Nobody wants to get it wrong, so even if they are struggling they’re still going to repeat the letters. How hasn’t this issue been raised yet? And has it led to people having wonky eyes?

Then my face is placed in some contraption that looks like something Egon wore in ‘Ghostbusters’ and once again the doctor nears my face. I try not the breath out my nose, but I can’t hold it anymore and get a whiff. She should have a never ending supply of Altoids in her lab coat. She’s the top dog in the office and has worse breath that the last woman.

She then puts drops in my eyes that burn like the sun and does some more tests. My prescription hasn’t changed (no shit) and I’m ready to step out into the world with some fresh lenses. However she forgot to tell me that the drops would make my eyes sensitive to light. As soon as I start driving, I start screaming. I can’t see the road, start swerving like a drunk idiot in the middle of the day and almost kill myself and other drivers. It took about ten minutes of writhing around car before I could see properly again.

So I was teased by a video game, forced to sit in an uncomfortable chair, showered with halitosis, and almost died in a car accident just to learn my prescription hadn’t changed in over a year. Amazing.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'm Happy...Hope You're Happy Too


We stumbled into the gray dorm with the coordination of a baby fawn. The soda machines glowed bright next to the community bathrooms. I am sure we stopped along the way, avoiding a public urination fine from the campus police clad in bike helmets and heavy-duty fanny packs. The bathroom was surprisingly clean for a Saturday night and we held ourselves up before the urinals by leaning on the speckled dividers. I leaned too hard, belly full of beer and cafeteria food, and heard the sound of plastic cracking. Ryan looked over and chuckled before leaning into another divider.

We both hit the floor chuckling next to shattered urinal dividers. Out of breath and wheezing with laughter Ryan stepped in front of the mirror. He lifted his right arm, pointing at the line of blood creping down his arm. His wide grin lingered in front of the mirror as I picked up the broken divider and fired it up into the fluorescent lights above. A cloud of white dust and glass showered the top of my head. It was my time before the mirror.

I shook my head sending glass fragments onto the tiled floor. I didn’t have any blood to show, but my grin was just as strong.

I then assumed a three-point stance and sent myself into the side of one of the stalls. Bolts snapped and skipped across the floor. I was left laying belly down on a cold light-brown piece of hollow metal. I didn’t feel a thing and rolled onto the floor laughing maniacally.

Ryan and I are high school friends who went to different colleges in the same city. His school was filled with stone buildings that held the reverence of castles. It was a school that held soon –to-be presidents and cancer curers. A school that would have scoffed at my SAT’s.

My school was a far ride down the Metro amongst once gorgeous dilapidated homes and corner bars. Everyone looked the same and drank beer together on the weekends at the same place. Wearing sweatpants everywhere was the norm.

Ryan assumed the same three-point stance and leapt before crashing through the hollow metal of the second stall. He growled like a cat in heat, wind knocked right out of his gut. I fell to the ground laughing, leering at the third stall, imagining its fate.

The destruction of the third stall left my sweater ripped from shoulder to hip. Ryan noticed first. His blood stained arm aimed at the casualty of war.

With his last bit of gusto Ryan destroyed the fourth stall with ease. He stood over the rubble, gnarled hands above his head, violently catching his breath.

The bathroom was left with at least hundreds of dollars in damage and an awful mess for an unsuspecting janitor. We were first semester freshmen and this was one of the most exciting nights we had all year. Getting into a bar with a good fake ID, and heading back to the dorms with drunk anger and aggression blowing out of our ears. This is all we knew and what we lived for.

Ten years later and I look back upon that night with guilt and wonderment. Why would I run through a bathroom like a wild hungry beast smashing through everything before me?

As college moved along I stopped visiting this school filled with castles. Ryan was there, but I didn’t belong there. I leaned against the bars alone wondering if people were whispering about me. My future was bleaker than theirs. My sweater had a big rip in it.

That cannon ball of a night was inferiority firing out of my pores. I knew early on that my school was a long way down the Metro. Sometimes I wonder if Ryan was feeling the same way. Did he want to smash that whole place with an axe? Part of me thinks he did, but then again…I started it.

'Max knew his animal kingdom, but he had no names for these beasts.' - Eggers

Monday, December 21, 2009

Put Your Hands On The Wheel...Let The Golden Age Begin

Ohh 2009….you gave us so much!

Susan Boyle’s warbling, Rhianna’s bruises, generic “R.I.P. Michael Jackson” t-shirts, Jon and Kate’s despicable hairplugs and mom cut and Tiger Tiger Woods Y’all. Twitter got wittier and jaded folks now express their longings through Facebook posts. People worried about getting some popular flu as we awaited a long winded, but eventually stunted Health Care plan. It’s the end of a simply fucked up decade.

A decade that makes the 90’s look like R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People was played on repeat to the dot com boom and Bill Clinton’s transgressions. We will now forever be: Post 9/11 America. A nation supported on shrugging shoulders as we wake up to the 2010’s, sleeping with one eye open. We formerly woke up to nightmares of metropolitan rubble and bloated bodies floating past looters of underwater cities. But these nightmares must soon turn to stories we share or keep close to our chests watching the next decade rise or fall like a fiery sun.

Look past the Obama backlash (it’s arrived and going to get worse). Look past ‘sexting’ and social networking. Look past recession small talk and people becoming famous for wanting to be famous. Look past your Blackberry and iPhone. Look past celebrity infidelity. Look past the past.

So here is my list of the best of 2009! (I am possibly going to compile a best of the decade list…possibly)



Bat For Lashes, Daniel

She is trying to reinvent the music video era for the Youtube generation, which is amazing and needed, but I am still going to watch the Jersey Shore…MTV is good for at least SOMETHING these days. Beautiful lyrics about an obsessed women over dreary synth beats. You wish a significant other longed after you like this.

Kid Cudi, Remix of Pokerface by Lady Gaga

I know…the misogyny in this song is borderline threatening, but man if it doesn’t make me try to dance well. Cudi burst onto the scene with a personal album about a lonely stoner bent on revenge, but will it last? It all depends on when people start hating hipster-hop and whether or not he wants to continue to sing about gold chains.

Animal Collective, In the Flowers

These guys struck a cultural nerve this year by releasing an album that didn’t make people think about taking mushrooms and regretting it. The jump this song makes at 2:31 makes me want to drive my bike into a snow bank while maniacally laughing.

DOOM, Gazillion Ear

The best rapper alive releases an amazing new album that I wrote about earlier in the year.


Sunset Rubdown, Drangonslayer

If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with this band. This is by far their poppiest and most accessible work to date, but they remain the same. Why? Because Spencer Krug’s lyrics will trump whatever direction they take without overtaking georgeous musicianship.

Lyrics from You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II):

And if there are two eyes in my head,
there are four seasons in a year,
and reflections on the water of a burning yellow sphere.

‘nuff said…

(Video above is Sunset Rubdown playing at the office)

Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca

Where the fuck did this come from? This album rattled my bones with borderline absurd tempo changes and R&B sensibilities. The 3 female vocalists make beat boxing and DJ equipment sound obsolete. I can’t stop listening.

DOOM, Born Like This

DOOM dropped the MF and started quoting Bukowski. I think that is all I need to say.

Swan Lake, Enemy Mine

Three beasts get together, write songs about dead friends, lost love and growing old. I am still deciphering the lyrics, but I am not even sure if I really want to. Previous blog mentions.


This is the year that I actually started watching TV shows regularly, and I picked a great season.

In 5 words of less:

Community on NBC: 2nd best ensemble cast EVER. (Arrested Development is number 1 kids)

Parks and Recreation on NBC: Aziz Ansiri and Aubrey Plaza

Modern Family on ABC: Hilarious and not self aware

Intervention on A&E: Prepare to cry alot

Jersey Shore on MTV: The Situation and Pauly D


Stark Trek

Sizzled from the pulsating opening sequence and didn’t lose an ounce of steam. J.J. Abrams found the perfect way to explain a franchise reboot without ruining the franchise: TIME TRAVEL! Why didn’t someone think about his before?

Where The Wild Things Are

The confusion of childhood has never been realized like this. Spike Jonze continues to make films with an ethereal quality, while being grounded in humanism. James Gandolfini’s performance as Carol is just as good as anything he did on the Soprano’s.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Stop motion animation, Wes Anderson, Roald Dahl and George Clooney. How could this not be good? Anderson’s trademark touch is evident without being overbearing.

Other exciting ‘09 things:

The MUPPETS ARE BACK! They have a Youtube Channel. In this world of CGI ‘puppetry’ the Muppets still manage to have more soul than an Avatar.

This amazing picture of Al Gore:

She must not believe in global warming...poor lil girl

Have a wonderful holiday, thanks for reading, and lets move forward.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I believe in growing old with grace

I was recently asked to compile my best blogs for a family member. Being selfish I considered them all the best and held off for a couple days. How could I pick the best since 2004? My incessant rambling was sometimes done when I was working a 4 a.m. shift at a radio station. The city slept and I crawled in the office pumped with coffee, eyes bloody from never sleeping, but I wanted to log on. I work a lot of holidays and noticed I wrote one almost every Christmas Eve. I wrote them when nobody was around.

Did you all think I was too self-serving? Was my current mental state glowing behind the digital format? Did my lack of writing skills and grammar make you click the ‘X’ after reading the first few lines? I hoped not. I hoped.

As this summer sizzles along and Philadelphia turns into a tropical state, I haven’t written. The computer has spent many nights staring back at me, blank faced, winning the contest.

A friend of mine, whose thirst for life and adventure I greatly admire, told me never to stop. We were enjoying a cigarette outside a local bar on a drunken Wednesday when he did nothing short of grabbing me by the shoulders and shake my ogre-like frame.

“I’m serious. I was going to sit you done before I left, but you can never stop. You need to keep it up.”

I shook my head and stared at my sneakers.

This year has been filled with wild changes for everyone around me. People continue to get married and have children. People have lost jobs and worked from the ground up to make it happen again. People have lost love, and lost themselves in the process. I have cheesily labeled 2009 as ‘The Year Of Change.’

I moved out of the top floor of tree house I was living in for 3 years. On my last day at the place my car caught on fire as I was driving outside my house. A small trail of fire was left behind my ’92 Camry like a failed time travel experiment. I was left alone with my hands stuck to my skull as the fire department doused my engine. The smoke traveled high and my stomach dropped amidst the chaos. Was it symbolic? Or just awful timing?

I thought soon after that it would be the perfect short story for my blog. I had so much to talk about. So many visuals, but this happened two months ago and my computer grew even dustier. I figured people were sick of hearing me tell the story in person anyway.

So I sit here and read the things I have written to you all before and I wanted to smash my computer with an axe. I want to smash the words and send them scattering across my desk. Black glowing letters would skip across the carpet, be stepped on and eventually thrown away. Microsoft Word would disappear from my desktop and I would just watch YouTube forever.

I decided to put the axe back in the garage with the rest of the tools.

It’s for my friend who went to Cairo because he needed a ‘Jump in some cold water.’ It’s for my family and their massive hearts. It’s for my friends who are happily married and living in beautiful homes. It’s for my friends who are engaged, living life by the seat of their pants and loving every second of it. It’s for my friends who sit at bars and talk to women with confidence. It’s for the music and movies that move me, and my hope that they will move you too. It’s for my car that blew up and my new form of transportation: a red Mongoose bike. It’s for wanting to find love and hoping it never goes away. It’s for sweating inside your apartment without central air, hoping that someday you will reach a point when this is never a problem. It’s for living paycheck to paycheck. It’s for growing old. It’s for remembering what its like to be 12 again.

It’s for all of you.

I write when nobody is around to remember you all. So I would just like to say, thank you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

But like all fireworks and all sunsets,we all burn in different ways

Is Summer officially here? It’s hard to tell amidst the random balls of weekday lighting and unbearably hot weekends. It’s all a bit confusing, but so is walking down the street for some people. If the change of a season can bring anything…its enlightenment!

So I am going to selfishly share with you some things that have occurred to me as we dust off the t-shirts and become self conscious about pale skin and body types.

NAT GEO Channel

Great channel, perfect couch potato television because you can convince yourself you are actually ‘learning something’ while doing nothing. There are programs on NAT GEO that remind us how beautiful the world can be, but they are now grossly outnumbered by shows about the end of the world. Not only are they filled with impending doom, but they are littered with crappy CGI to illustrate their morbid sensibilities. Is a gamma ray really going to start shooting out of the Milky Way, vaporizing the East Coast? According to NAT GEO it is, so hold onto your fucking hats!

Just look at this list of uplifting titles:

The Whale That Exploded (I wish I made this one up)
How to Kill a Planet
Exploding Las Vegas
Dino Death Trap
Seconds from Disaster: Crash of the Comet
Osmosis Jones
Who Really Killed Jesus?
Hitler and the Occult
Deadliest Planets

I am not going to stop watching, but could we up the happy a bit? I need more shows about the importance of prehensile thumbs or a 9-foot-tall Lithuanian who prefers to shun the spotlight of the circus. NAT GEO, I love you, please stop talking about the end of days. We know the world is crumbling around us, just find a way to make it more exciting.

Suggestions for new NAT GEO shows:

How to Avoid Hipsters: The Definition of a Meaningless Subculture
The Plus Side of Pirates and Pirating
Monkeys, Dinosaurs, Meerkats and other Totally Awesome Things
Pandas: Falling and Staying In Love
Search for The Elusive Narwhal
Chimps Who Don't Attack Humans

More Enlightenment:


I don’t have any fancy movie channels at my tree house, but I do have about 17 Encore channels. There is such a wide range of films from all genres. I am so hooked I have just about abandoned my DVD collection. Here are some films I have discovered while enjoying the ENCORE catalogue:

Ladyhawke (1985):

Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer are medieval lovers who have been cursed by an evil priest. Rutger turns into a Wolf at night and Michelle turns into a Hawk by day. This curse must be lifted so they call on a petty thief, Matthew Broderick, who goes by the name: Mouse.
The score is amazing as well as some beautiful scenery. The only problem is the ridiculous amount of crying Broderick does throughout the movie. It’s simply odd and distracting.

Little Murders (1971):

A girl brings home her latest boyfriend, Elliot Gould, to meet her parents. This is done against the background of random shootings that had just begun in NYC.
Elliot Gould plays a pretentious artist so full of himself and oblivious to others that you have to imagine his character birthed Eli Cash of The Royal Tennenbaums. It was also directed by the amazing, Alan Arkin.

Rumble Fish (1983):
Wow…this movie is absolutely stunning. It can be watched without sound it looks so gorgeous. I don’t know how this was received by critics when released, but I am guessing they considered it an ‘experimental’ film by Coppola. Matt Dillon does lonliness so well, but Mickey Rourke crushes it from the moment he rolls up on his motorcycle. PLEASE check this one out.

Don't go see Christian Bale scream and yell at Terminators all summer long...just watch ENCORE.

Rourke In Rumble Fish

Gould in Little Murders

Rutger In Ladyhawke

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I am the bow, and I am the arrow

Remember those toys from above? They are the gnarliest, noisiest, stinkiest punk rock party favor for any male under the age of 13. They reportedly forced a Florida couple to throw their child through a bay window. They brought nothing to the table but flinching grandmothers and disapproving adults, but they sucked you in. They sparked a bit and smelled like fireworks, which made them even cooler, because we know that fireworks lead to nothing but glass eyes.

You could smash them together for about 15 minutes before the blast ended. They would eventually turn chalky and stop working.
On March 24th two albums were released into the world like Blast Balls, but they will blast forever. No dusty leftovers.
DOOM (he dropped the MF) and Swan Lake released albums on this Tuesday from heaven and both crash through like hail storms just before the spring.

The albums are two wildly different genres. DOOM samples Charles Bukowski and spits about the possibility of Batman and Robin being gay while poking fun at flashy shirtless rappers. Swan Lake is comprised of three wailing beasts, which stand apart but still seem to be in awe of one another. They may dissimilar musically, but both show their strengths through wily lyrics.

DOOM’s lyrics come across like the answers to the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle. His raps are images in a Viewmaster, somewhat disconnected, but they all shine in their own right. He has caught some flack for using older beats and releasing songs that have been traveling the web for over a year, but it never feels stale. DOOM smashes every song, well two don’t even feature the masked man rapping, leaving you laughing and wondering why more artists don’t have minds like his.

Swan Lake also travels between your eyes with imagery so vast and haunting that it will sit with you long after the songs stop playing. Swan Lake is considered an ‘indie supergroup’, but lets just consider them super. All three songwriters bring loaded guns in their respective songs amongst masterfully arranged background noise. Never has the tragedy of getting old sounded so beautiful without feeling sorry.

So I would like to thank Music and the start of spring for bringing ‘blast balls’ onto my Ipod and making the change of the seasons feel like actual change.

Thanks for Ben Bowens for the Photoshop work.

I mentioned Viewmaster above and I am SHOCKED that I haven't seen a v-necked hipster toting one around. These pieces of plastic gold are perfect for hipsters. They are retro and cheapy looking, perfect for a dissaffected culture that stands for nothing. Kids with $50 American Apparrel Hoddies should have these things hanging from thier necks with pictures from the Sword and the Stone for all their friends to see.

"Hey check this out! Too bad I can't fit the 'picture discs' inside my jeans, but this is sooooo transgressive. Pass me a shitty beer that I am not drinking for the taste!."

-Hipster with Viewmaster

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You Are A Waterfall Waiting Inside A Well

Some believe we put too much stake in films.

Hollywood endings are Hollywood because they are far removed from reality. We rarely find true love in the end. Longing lovers rarely stop each other before boarding a plane to embrace before the credits of life roll. One man won't save the universe, and animals will never talk like us. Life is longer than two hours and isn't considered a form of escapism.

Fuck that.

Movies should move you like music or any other medium. Yes, life rarely imitates film, but isn't that our fault? Do we expect to much out of people? Are we always setting ourselves up for dissapointment? aren't a fool if you think your life will play out like a teen comedy as a high school senior. You aren't a madman if you think you will save everyone from a burning bus. Maybe these moments in film are future blueprints stored away in our brains for later use. False hopes may be realized through film and real dreams can be seen even after the screen goes black.

Put stake into everything...

Here are some some great movie moments for all the haters:


"You are what you love, not what loves you." If that doesn't ring through your head, you might need to get dumped. Just ask someone to kick you in the midsection if this makes no sense to you. It's one of the coldest lines EVER. (Cold meaning cool)

Stand By Me

River Phoenix crushes this scene. Do we ever stop to think about how those 'bad kids' feel when they are the first ones questioned? Sometimes we take for granted how deep the minds of children are. We all weren't that jaded then were we?


First off the score of this scene gives me the chills everytime I hear it. I wish it started playing as soon as I get in my car everyday for work.

This is Shymalan's best film and it was WAY ahead of it's time regarding the post 9/11 superhero genre of today.

"I should have known way back know why David? BECAUSE OF THE KIDS! They called me Mr. Glass."


You knew I was going to give Rushmore a shout...come's a modern American Classic. Murray doesn't even need to speak at the pool scence, his Budweiser swimming trunks say it all. Who doesn't like to see relationships rise, fall and put back together anyway. Life does work that way sometimes...

"You're the king of the dumbest fucking kingom!" The Foot Fist Way is already a cult classic. It's one of the darkest comedies/character you will ever see, and will require multiple viewings. Danny McBride is also gearing up to rule the movie world at the moment too. I wish him the best of luck.

American Beauty

There are alot of pricks out there who call this movie shit now. In this internet age of fickledom, we grow tired quickly. People might call this ending contrived, unrealistic, or hopeless. Don't you want to relive great moments before the credits on your life roll? And if these things don't happen, at least you saw it happen to someone else.