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hello?

Does this thing still work? I hope so.

Anyway, I’ve got some insider information for you. But don’t worry. You can share it with anyone you want. This isn’t the SEC and I won’t Martha Stewart you.

I’ve got a new blog. If you’re bored, curious, click-happy or suffer from any other feeling that makes you want to see it, it’s at ajerseykid.com.

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Hi, kids.

How’ve you been?

Good.

And your cousin?  The one with the thing?

Good good.  Glad that healed up for her.

It’s been a bit; 13 days, actually, since I packed my bags and set off to see the Wizard.

Guess what: I’m still in the waiting room at the Wizard’s office.  Apparently, there are a lot of people in front of me with questions of their own.  It’s like being in line at the counter at Whole Foods having picked number 123590foreverfromnow44.

You probably wouldn’t believe some of the people I’ve seen here waiting on their own answers.  I’d tell you who, but just because I’m talking about where I am with this thing-called-life doesn’t mean everyone else wants their coordinates revealed.

While waiting, I’ve been doing some self-diagnosis because I imagine the Wizard, unlike doctors, likes when we come into its office with ideas of our own.

My idea?  I’ve outgrown this space.

My first blog was like a disaster onesie.  My second was like one of those brightly-colored (probably horizontal-striped) matching short sets from Kmart for boys aged 3-6.  This blog is like a bunched-elastic cuffed, tapered-leg pair of stonewashed Bugle Boy jeans: once awesome but now ill-fitting.

I’m just not Franco Beans anymore.  Pretending that I am stifles me.  I have an actual name certified since birth and real goals that this façade doesn’t serve.  I had always wanted to use this space to change directions, but I’ve been realizing lately that it has been enabling my immobility.  It has been my escape from stationary rather than its solution; my “but at least I have an outlet” excuse when I look around and wonder what I’ve actually changed in these last several months.

I need to continue pushing towards promises I made to myself not much more than a year ago.  That means new.  Among the new: new approach; new URL; new blog.  Either I’ve solved the puzzle already here or the pieces don’t fit anymore.  Whichever it is, it’s time for some new.

I know how incredibly self-consumed this post is and I’m sorry about that.  And even though I call you “kids,” I want you to know that my separation from this blog is not your fault.  It’s not.  This blogationship is ending but you won’t have to decide whether you love the blog or me more or worry about whether we’re going to fight over custody of you.  We can still be one big happy family.

Oh!  That reminds me.  The blogroll starring you and featuring your friends has moved from the front page to the Worlds of Pure Imagination tab up at the top.  Go ahead.  Look.  I’ll wait here.

Are you on there?  I hope so.  If not, I apologize on behalf of my witless brain and ask that you please humiliate me openly for missing you.

Other than that, I guess this post is good to go.  I’ll be around a few more times before what I hope is a brand new start at the top of 2010.  And my Twitter account and I are back on good terms.  So in the meantime, I’ll definitely be less incognegro than I have been.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the line in front of me is moving again.  It seems Tiger Woods is getting an expedited chance to learn why he can’t bring himself to just tell us why his car was wrapped around a tree outside his house at 2:45 a few mornings ago.

off to see the Wizard

The figments of my imagination have been withering, lately.

Maybe it’s that I haven’t been watering them enough. That definitely seems better than the alternatives — that there’s been some major climatic change I’ve ignored or that their soil (played in this analogy by My Right Brain) has become infertile and harsh. Or maybe I’m getting in their way, blocking sunlight.

I don’t know. And since I don’t see any Miracle-Gro nearby — no quick-fix to get me from these scattered seeds to something I can be proud of — I’m going to take a little time to figure it out the hard way.

Just a little. I have no intentions of making this a long-time thing. I just have every intention of getting it right.

And so I’m off to see the Wizard, because I’ve forgotten how this garden grows and I’m hoping s/he can give me some pruning lessons.

l’eggo my Eggo!

Sorry to issue the high alert. Please rest assured that my Eggo is safe. The danger is only figurative.

For now.

But we still have to talk about some things.

First the Fat Boys break up; now every day I wake up, somebody takes something away. My childhood memories are under attack. Maybe yours, too.

There were the new Looney Toons a few years ago that WB called the “Loonatics.”

(Scare the hope and dreams out of children much? They made toys of those; in prisons, probably, considering how much they look like the original models were just sharpened into shivs.)

There was that Alvin and the Chipmunks with Jason Lee.1

(By the way, what are those? And is the new Theodore wearing ski goggles? Apparently he’s gearing up for the Giant Slalom life becomes after childhood.2)

Then they started committing to making movies out of some of my favorite games; out of some of my favorite memories.

Battleship?

Movie.

Risk?

Movie.

Monopoly?!

Movie.3

But why?! Why are they doing this to me? Leave. my memories. alone. I expected to die with them intact, absent whatever frequent nights of drinking and tangentially related repression have cost me. I expected that when I was 80 or so, I could tell kids about Risk, a game of world domination, and that they’d assume I was just talking the crazy, not that they’d know it as the feature film starring Will Smith as Barack Obama.

I just want things to be the way they used to be. I want my baby back, baby back, baby back. And I don’t mean Chili’s baby back ribs;4 I mean the light in my eyes that is starting to dim.

I also want an explanation. Does no one have any ideas for movies? Because if paying people to sit in a room and decide things like “how to make Battleship a movie” is what Hollywood is doing these days, I, too, often have less developed ideas than chimps do and I can be out to L.A. by the end of the day.

__________

1Why, Jason? Why?

2This ski reference was one big excuse to remember Picabo Street. Yep: just because.

3Neveryoumind that this whole Monopoly City Streets project between Hasbro and Google sounds awesome. Let’s assume that doesn’t shred my point to pieces.

4Barbecue sauce.

our promise to you

You,

I bet it doesn’t make you feel good.  I bet you don’t even care enough to notice.  I bet you’ve simply become accustomed to the comfort of cruelty.

It’s easy, right?  It’s just a dog.  It’s just a dog.  Plus, you don’t have to go out of your way.  All you have to do is forget to feed it, to forget to ever bring it inside and forget to schedule that vet appointment.  Easy.

We’ve noticed, though.  We’ve noticed that, everyday we walk home, we walk past your door and your dog is always there; outside.  We’ve noticed that this is always true regardless of weather conditions.  We’ve noticed the neglected appearance — the complete lack of energy, the mangy coat, the weak frame and the sunken, red eyes.  We’ve noticed.

And so we’re going to tell on you.

We’re going to tell on you because you’ve apparently forgotten — or have never known — what it’s like to be defenseless and so you need to be reminded, even if all we can really do is get someone to come to your house and force your unwilling hand.  We’re telling on you because your dog can’t.  We’re telling on you because I know what it’s like to have to put a dog to sleep because we’d exhausted all other options and I can’t imagine why you’d simply let yours fade away for no reason.  We’re telling on you because as I’m writing this, there’s a dog resting against my leg that I’d fight for.  And we’re telling on you because apparently none of your neighbors care either.

No, this is not just some PETA-inspired, lefty rant.  And no, we’re not going to get busy with work and forget.  We are going to discreetly and legally attempt to take pictures from the sidewalk of your dog outside your home.  We’re going to do our legally-trained best to document what we’ve seen.  And we’re going to contact each relevant local entity that will listen.

Sincerely,

Frankly, much better people than you.

My Halloween costume was apparently a premonition; of sorts.  We’ll get to that, but first things first.

On Saturday night, a few of us abandoned the district for the greener sprawls of Kensington, MD.  It was the last night of a stage production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Patrick was both stage manager and videographer.

rocky horror

We almost didn’t make it.  We were all 300% sure that we were going to a) die or b) live the actual movie as we stumbled across a creepy castle in the wilderness.  With Google Maps on a Blackberry and two iPhones, we found ourselves looking for a street that didn’t exist, in a dark parking lot, trapped on a no-outlet street and followed by a minivan.

Verdict?  Google: you know nothing about Kensington, MD.

Once we actually got there, though, it was good — seamless video integration and full commitment by the actors.  We proudly sauntered in with a respectable collective load of RHPS experience.  None of us were show-virgins, which was sweet because some productions will mark a Rocky Horror virgin for easy cast access during the performance and then our fate could’ve been in the hands of alien transvestites.

When the show was over, I couldn’t help but think a few things:

1. I would like some Firefly vodka — the beverage of champions.
2. We should buy all 22 chapters of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet.
3. Haven’t seen that much simulated sex since the mansion-cult-orgy scenes in Eyes Wide Shut.
4. I wish I hadn’t watched all that sex while sitting near 8 year-old children.

Let’s talk about those last two, shall we?  Cool.

It was a lot of humping.  Everybody got humped.  Everybody humped somebody.  It was also a lot of groping.  Everybody got groped.  Everybody groped somebody.  I realized I would never be an actor.  To not “show and tell” what it feels like when your parts and accessories are being worked over like a project on a tool bench is a talent with which some people are, clearly, just born.

Given all of that, it was weird that we were sitting in the crowd with at least 4 children.  Children.  Not kids; I call peers “kids.”  I mean children; as in people who had very recently spent time in a womb.

Remember how Dave Chappelle would scream, “Better not bring your kids?”  Yeah.  Saturday night was like that.  Great entertainment, we laughed a lot, but you weren’t supposed to bring your children.

They were there, seated two rows in front of us, for all of the cursing, dry-banging, face-sitting and crotch exploration.  The only scene they missed was the beginning of the second act.  Apparently, their guardian knew what was coming and decided that the tossing of used condoms was the line he couldn’t cross while holding the hands of 8 year-olds.

And we’re four, liberally-minded kids.  But seeing them see all of that?  Made us feel like the FCC did when Janet Jackson’s breast appeared at the Super Bowl.  It made me feel like a natural Mormon, not just someone who played one on Halloween night.  Somebody guessed that maybe they weren’t kids but four Benjamin Buttons, because the idea of us sitting in the midst of not one but four reverse-livers was less creepy.

Miss Bianca joked that it should make for an awesome show and tell at school this week.  There will be seven levels of awkward when ‘lil Bobby comes in with the ball gag he found in his dad’s sock drawer and Susie uses arts and crafts time to make three clay figurines that are definitely not playing leapfrog.

only the sweet remains

Gimme an F: “F!”
That’s right an R and then two E’s.
I need a Verse: “Verse!”
Just soul clap and sing with me:
“We want it Fri, day! ‘Cuz Friday the Verse is Free!”
Welcome back, ya’ll, to the Change I Wish to See.

_____________________

Today’s FVF is short and sweet.  It’s about, uh…  Actually, I hope it just makes sense and doesn’t need an explanation.  That’s the whole point of this writing thing, right?  If I need 300 words to explain 27 words, I’m writing the kind of words I always hated to read/hear.

So with that:

promised you’d forget me.
didn’t say it
but i knew.
it was in the way
you hugged me freely
when i was still so tied
to you.

And, uh, that’s that.

But I’m really excited about the music feature I’ve got for you today.

The Sweet Remains.  Go to the site.  Do it.  There are a handful of tracks there for your streaming pleasure.  The audio will auto-load, but forgive it.  It means well.

If they don’t get your weekend off on the right foot, it might be hopeless.

See you on the other side.