MAS Story Writers Blog

Don’t start a club, do fight a little though.

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on November 18, 2009

I remember the first time I saw Fight Club. I was deeply disappointed, and I was thirteen. Now, I’m wise and old and I know that Fight Club had a higher purpose than a muscle-bound Brad Pitt. I love the take against capitalism. I love the anti-commercialism. I love Marla Singer. Fight Club is all about soap made from rotund gold diggers, waiters pissing in soup and stuff that ends up owning you. The unnamed narrator (Edward Norton), works as an accident investigator for a car company. He fights insomnia, men and himself. He goes to support groups for men with testicular cancer to feel pitied. He creates the man he always wanted to be, Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden (Dave: that’s a good name), makes soap, he organizes underground fighting clubs and he fucks like a god. Everything that the narrator isn’t.

To be honest, I don’t really feel worthy writing about a movie this good. The discussion about stuff, that we’re all crap-collectors in an IKEA-world, is spectacularly accurate. The stuff we own do end up owning us. After Edward Norton’s apartment has been set on fire (by his alter ego), he feels empty. He goes on about his perfect apartment, his coffee table, the coffee table books, the BILLY bookshelf. To me it’s weird that things we buy actually can make you feel complete. Last week I found another beautiful watch at an obscure japanese website that I just had to have. I tell myself that “this is probably the last watch I’ve ever need”. That I will feel complete when I have that watch on my wrist. But I won’t. I’m such a hypocrite.

And of course, Tyler Durden wraps it up elegantly with “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”. “Fuck off with your sofa units and green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.” That’s really what this is all about. It can be applied to pretty much every aspect of life. We do everything we can for just a little bit of self-achievement in our lives. I mean, my iPhone has more control over my life than I will ever have over my own. It’s dangerous, I trust my phone more than I trust a guy I meet at a bar. That’s not a healthy relationship. Just because I own a cool gadget, follow a pretentious French tweeting genius or that I early reject instead of early adopt doesn’t mean I’m special. “You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” We take ourselves too serious, and we value the crap we own too high. This is an impeccably good movie nailing what escapism is all about, but of course Chuck Palahniuk’s book is better. Now, go out and lose a fight, because remember: “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”



Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on November 14, 2009

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall,  i have selected the following films.  Watch them.


1984, East Germany.  A Stasi (secret police) officer conducts surveillance on an artist and his lover, finding himself drawn into their lives.  I love the central scene (and inspiration for this film) that pits a man sent to crush subversive elements to the State, finding himself being subverted.  Here, the director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, explains where that scene came from and the inspiration for his film:

“… the idea for the movie came to him when he was trying to come
up with a movie scenario for a film class. As he listened to a piece
of music, he recalled Maxim Gorky’s anecdote about Lenin listening to
Beethoven’s Appassionata.  Gorky wrote:

‘I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen
to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes
me proud, perhaps naively so, to think that people can work such
miracles!” Wrinkling up his eyes, Lenin smiled rather sadly, adding:
“But I can’t listen to music very often. It affects my nerves. I want
to say sweet, silly things and pat the heads of people who, living in
a filthy hell, can create such beauty. One can’t pat anyone on the
head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. They ought to be beaten
on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing
any violence to people. Hm — what a hellishly difficult job!’

Donnersmarck told a New York Times reporter: ‘I suddenly had this
image in my mind of a person sitting in a depressing room with
earphones on his head and listening in to what he supposes is the
enemy of the state and the enemy of his ideas, and what he is really
hearing is beautiful music that touches him. I sat down and in a
couple of hours had written the treatment.'”

THEME: Beauty tames/transforms the Beast, Art stronger than Ideology, Redemption


This movie was filmed before the fall of the wall.  A snapshot of Berlin seen through the eyes of immortals.  The story revolves around one angel who falls in love with one of the angels who falls in love with a mortal and wants to experience what it is to be human.  Yes, this movie was remade as City of Angels, starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan (pre-botox).  That movie has nothing to do with this film, other than the premise.  I warn you: do not see that movie.  See this one.

The script and cinematography are poetry.  And Peter Falk stars as himself.

THEME: Celebration of Life/Human Experience


Great idea for a story.  1989.  A employee who has given her life for the State, sees her son protesting against the regime and has a heart attack, slipping into a coma.  When she awakes in 1990, the GDR has fallen.  The doctors say that she needs to avoid any excitement or she may suffer further with her health so her son tries to recreate East Germany in her flat.

THEME: Nostalgia, Family, Letting go, Lying to protect the ones we love.


Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on November 14, 2009

He set his book bag on the counter and poured himself some juice.  He suddenly felt a disquieting silence and realized he was the only one home.  He called up the stairs, “Hello?  Mom?  Dad?  Jenny?”  No response.  He went outside.  Both cars were parked in the driveway.  Chris began to panic.  Where was everyone?  He thought about Sunday School.  He thought about all of the bad things he had done.  They’d been raptured.  He’d been left behind.

He did his best to remain calm.  He knew he had to get to the mountains.  He didn’t remember why.  He just knew there would be bloodshed and he needed to get somewhere safe.  There would be others like him.  There had to be.  He could wait this out and maybe see his family.  He wouldn’t take the Mark of the Beast – that was certain.  Maybe he’d get his head chopped off, but he had to remember it would only hurt for a second and then he could see them all again.  And Jesus.  He could tell Jesus how sorry he was.  Weird, though.  He never heard trumpets.  He thought for sure that he would hear trumpets.

He went into the ktichen and pulled the bologna and squeeze butter out of the fridge.  He made sandwiches out of the entire loaf of bread that was next to the toaster, on the kitchen counter.  He put the sandwiches back into the bread bag and tied it with the twisty.  He put some apples in a cooler, along with some capri-sun juice pouches, the rest of the fruit roll-ups and the sandwiches.  He got his fishing pole out of the basement and went got his baseball cards from his room.  These would definitely be worth something.  Perhaps he could trade the cards for some guns or something if he needed to.  He grabbed a flashlight and his Pacman sleeping bag.  He put some clothes in a bag and his Bible – to figure out what as gonna happen next.

He would have to drive.  It was too far to walk.  He found a pair of keys in one of the kitchen drawer.  He had had this recurring nightmare for as long as he could remember.  His family would be together in his front yard when he realized they were gonna let him drive the car all by himself.  Excited, He’d get behind the wheel, put the key in the ignition, and drive away.  He turned around and could see his family and friends waving through the back window.  Then a sinking feeling took over.  He suddenly realized that he no longer had control over the car.  He tried to stop it, but it kept on.  He was bound, with the distance ever-widening between him and the people he loved.  It was terrifying.  He realized, in his dream, that he would never see his family again.  At that point he would wake up.

He walked out to the garage, determined to be brave.  There would be others.  We would help each other.  He opened the trunk and put the cooler, fishing pole, sleeping bag, baseball cards, flashlight and spare clothing next to the spare tire and jumper cables.  he opened the front car door, sat behind the steering wheel and started to cry.  The crying turned to sobbing.  The sobbing turned to despair.  If only he had spent more time with his church friends instead of his school friends.  His school friends were cooler, but his church friends were now in heaven.  And they each had their own mansion.  Probably with swimming pools.  Maybe he could help some of his school friends if they made it into the mountains.

That’s when he heard voices.  Familiar voices.  They were getting nearer.  He jumped out of the car and walked defiantly out of the garage.  It was his mother and his sister.

“WHERE WERE YOU?”  He yelled.

“We decided to walk today,” explained his mother, with a lilt.

“YOU NEVER WALK!” He screamed and shook with tears.

In that moment, Chris became all the things he was sorry for a few moments ago, but he was glad for it.

He still had time.

The Man From Kentucky

Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on November 14, 2009

He brought kentucky grass in a ziplock bag, moonshine in a mason jar, and a washtub bass.

He serenaded the weary travelers with a song, Honky-Tonk Hermaphrodite.

Speaking real thick and slow,

“2am?  I should probably go – gotta work at seven.”

“Where do you work?”

“Correctional facility.  I’m a guard.”


Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on November 13, 2009

A  while back I read this book by Russell Banks called, The Sweet Hereafter.  It’s a first-person narrative told from the perspective of multiple characters.  In a small town, a school bus is involved in an accident where it ends up on a frozen lake, falls in and numerous children are killed or severely injured.  A lawyer comes to town to help (or so he thinks he is) but ends up pitting the town against one another.  The lawyer, who’s daughter is a junkie, is fighting the feeling of losing a child as well but never really shares that with anyone other than the reader.  I suppose the theme of this story is that money cannot fix your problems, and the pursuit of it through dishonest means will leave you very lonely.

Next, something most of you have probably read is, The Things The Carried, by Tim O’brien.  This collection of fictional short stories about Vietnam carry numerous themes but I think the actual theme of the whole collection is a theme of being a good writer.  About using what O’brien calls, “story truth,” and then distinguishing that from, “happening truth.”  It’s supposedly a fiction but O’brien continually blurs the line of what really happened with what didn’t really happen.  Or, it is about how war is hell, take your pick.

Finally, the theme of Anchorman is acceptance.  In a cruel world, we all just want to be accepted for who we are and for what we like.

Comedic Themes

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on November 13, 2009

I would first like to tail off of Michael’s last post by saying yes, Happy Gilmore is a funny movie.  And actually having a chance to read the theme of the movie from his post made me laugh because it sounds ridiculous, but what the hell, it’s slap stick comedy.  I appreciate a lot of different brands of humor.  Slap stick, gross out, dry, etc.

In terms of theme, I would have to say that I really enjoy Wes Anderson and the themes he thinks up for movies.  I think that he is great at exploring settings of both “normal” people and “privileged” people and showing that everyone has problems and everyone can find joy even in tough times.  You look at a movie like “Bottle Rocket”, the movie is about 3 friends/ wannabe thieves who clearly are not cut out for a life of crime.  Their first robbery was of one of their own family’s home for christ sake.  It sets the tone for the movie, in which they go on the lamb after robbing a bookstore, and plan to meet up with a one of their former bosses.  He is supposed to be their introduction in to a life of crime and money, when in fact he just ends up robbing them when they inevitably fail.  But when Dignon ends up going to jail, you realize that even though he wasn’t successful at his life of crime, going to jail made him feel like he was.  Indirectly he realized his dream.

And then he can make a movie like The Life Aquatic.  It follows Steve Zissou, who is a washed up Jacques Cousteau type figure.  Who even knew that explorer/documentary filmmakers could become washed up.  He decides to set off on another voyage to kill the Jaguar Shark, a so-called mythical creature that ate his best friend and colleague Esteban.  With his marriage falling apart and the realization that he has a son he didn’t know about, Zissou and his crew go to track down this shark that may not even exist.  Zissou is an arrogant ass most of the time, but shows bravery in the way that he explores.  Through openly robbing his opponents of their equipment to enduring pirate attacks, Zissou’s a-hole of a character eventually looks endearing by the end of the movie.  And yes, there is a jaguar shark.

I appreciate the way his themes gain you a new respect for his characters by the end of the movie.  You see that with all the things that the characters endure or have endured in their past (with flashbacks to attest), you see another side of almost all of his characters.  Quirky humor at it’s best.

Themes and things that have them

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on November 12, 2009

There’s nothing more exciting than reading a book all the way through. For me, it’s an accomplishment and I just want to tell everyone about it. Aaaaand now I will.

Recently (like, summer, before I came here and had no time to read), I read a novel called “A Fraction of the Whole” by an Aussie named Steve Toltz (that is not a mangled Arrested Development reference, that is his name). Novel’s about this guy and his crazy-ass dad, who pulled him out of school to live in a hand-made labyrinth in the brush, tried to give every Australian a million dollars through some harebrained public scheme, and generally had warped views about government and life that he passed on to his son. Basically the son has to find a way out of his dad’s shadow, and figure out if he can be his own man. That’s the theme right there – individuality, self-actualization – but the novel kind of double-backs on its own theme because it becomes readily apparent that the son, who is the narrator, is becoming just like his father despite his best efforts. So, I guess fate would be another theme. Also this book is quite funny despite what I have described.

As far as films, let’s talk about one of my all-time favorites and a cinematic classic – Happy Gilmore. For those who haven’t seen it, in short: a terrible hockey player discovers that his terrible hockey form actually works great in golf, so he plays even though he hates it (sorta like Andre Agassi) so he can make money to save his grandmother’s house. He gets the girl too. The themes at play here are the strong bond of family and the roundabout ways we sometimes discover our greatest talents, then how we use them. Also this movie is quite funny despite what I have described.


Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on November 6, 2009

Abby eyes slowly open as she is quietly greeted by her favorite nurse on the morning shift. She immediately smiles as the nurse gives her a a fluffy yellow stuffed teddy bear. The nurse brings Abby a new stuffed animal from the toy room every morning.
As the nurse inserts medication into Abby’s I.V, she tells her that her breakfast will be coming up soon and that she made sure that they sprinkled little bits of sunshine on it to help make her feel a little bit better today. Abby’s charts indicate that all her vitals are up so she will have a minimal amount of difficulty making it through the day.

Abby sits up and piers out of the window that is partially covered with get well cards and drawings that Abby has made during her time in the hospital. The nurse turns the television on for Abby and places the remote within her reach.
The nurse tells Abby that she will come back after breakfast and help her get ready for the day. She leaves out the room overwhelmed with sadness, for today is another day that Abby’s parents won’t come to visit her. They can’t deal with the reality that their daughter is terminally ill. All the nurses at Santa Clara Kaiser Permanente Medical Center go above and beyond to create a pleasant atmosphere for Abby so that she never feels scared or alone.

Santa Clara Kaiser Permanente Medical Center

Posted in Uncategorized by joshchua on November 6, 2009

I just want to go home. I hate working the graveyard shift. Every time I do I tell myself never again, but here I am again, Jeremy with a J (as if there’s any other way to spell Jeremy), making my rounds here at Santa Clara’s finest medical center at 12 midnight. Let’s just get it over with–children’s ICU, ER, cafeteria, morgue, then the nursery. These nightly rounds might be a routine, but they’re never predictable. Tonight won’t disappoint.

I just want to go back to school and see my friends Jessica and Lindsey. We’ve been best friends since the second grade but I haven’t seen them in soooo long. I used to bug Mommy every day if I could go back to Mrs. Towle’s class yet, but she stopped saying “soon” so I stopped asking when. Now she just hugs me really, really tight when I talk about going back to school. I’m not sure why but I like Mommy’s hugs so I don’t ask. I can’t sleep because I miss my friends from school, but I have friends here too. My favorite is Jeremy because he gives me candy from the vending machine downstairs whenever he walks by my room at night and Mommy’s asleep. I wish he could stay just once so we could play with my dolls. I like brushing their long hair and braiding it, just like what Mommy does to my wig.

I just want everyone to leave me alone. This is the third time I’ve ended up in this stupid ER over stupid shit. Just because I hurt myself doesn’t mean I want to kill myself. I can’t sleep when there’s people watching over me. It’s cold as hell in this place and all I want is to be left alone. I wish everyone would just understand that. Great. Now they called that dumb security guy to watch over me. I hate him. They all think I wanna kill myself, but they’ve got it all wrong. I wish they were all dead.

I just want a real meal with people to talk to. When you’re a 53-year old woman who never married and never had kids, home-cooked meals and dinner parties aren’t your forte. I’m a nurse. My job is to look after people’s health and well-being yet my nightly dinner that I eat by myself comes out of a vending machine. Oh, there’s that night watchman again, also eating alone near the soda machine. I wonder what his name is. There’s something about being at work at 4:00AM that makes people reserved and unsociable. Working the graveyard shift is depressing enough already, can’t we all at least have a meal together? Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and my patients. I just hate my coworkers.

I just want justice for my death. Look at my once-beautiful face, now a bloody mess. At least I’m covered up in that body bag. Being dead means you can’t feel the temperature, but I wonder if it’s cold in the morgue. The coroner looks way too comfortable. I wonder what he’s talking to the security guy about. Yep, that’s my name on the tag on my toe–Christina Lloyd. “Cause of death: blunt-force trauma to the head.” I never did get a good look at the guy who left me for dead out two miles in a field off Highway 101, but thank God that someone found my body. I hope they find the fucker that did this to me. My family deserves to know.

I just want to be a great dad. They always say men never know what it’s like to be a dad until they actually see their kid, and now I know exactly why they say that. I’m so excited I just hugged the roaming security guard who probably thought I was insane for running and jumping down the halls at 6:30 in the morning. I don’t care. I must be the luckiest guy in the world to have such a beautiful wife, and now, a perfectly healthy boy. He’s my son and I’m going to be the best dad ever. Welcome to the world, Jeremy.

Billy Ray’s Carwash

Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on November 6, 2009

Billy Ray’s Carwash in El Paso, TX

Billy Ray’s Carwash slogan is: We all about cleaning cars in the Dirty South. The owner, Billy Ray is a white man who rocks cowboy hats and Ben Davis slacks. He’s a funny guy but when it comes to his money, he’s dead serious.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Billy Ray takes pride in the dry city where the locals gossip about who is fucking who. He understands that El Paso is only known for picante sauce so he wanted to start a business that would get recognition. He accomplished just that with his carwash spot. Even Kid Rock would come by once every three months to get his car waxed by some of Billy Ray’s bikini girls.

The bikini girls all wore skimpy hot pink two pieces and enjoyed teasing the customers with the Billy Ray rollup move. The specialized move consists of the girls using their booties to wipe the suds of the cars. Of course, that was going to cost extra for the boys in El Paso.

Every Saturday, the carwash hosted a party inviting all low-rider clubs to show off their vehicles. There would be food provided by local taco stands and beer brought by the Mayor of El Paso himself. A different mix of people would visit Billy Ray’s Carwash.

The wall of spinners was a spectacle of the town. 100 tire spinners lined up and moving simultaneously together made the barrio gangsters cry. Billy Ray’s had the effect on people. Billy Ray’s is the best carwash in El Paso.

Emerald Haze

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on November 6, 2009

A normal day in May.  The morning Kindergarten session was coming to a conclusion.  About 15 minutes away from a glorious day of playing Nintendo with the occasional stop outside to assess any opportunities to enjoy sunny weather with friends.  That day had been extremely ordinary.  Pledge of Allegiance would start off everybody.  After that, we would get to sit on the puke patterned carpets that furnished the room.  Sitting and learning either math or spelling.  Really nothing else during that time.  I mean think about it, what do you really learn in Kindergarten?  Sharing and caring, and I think that may be about it.

The end of my day carried a hint of disappointment when I noticed storm clouds rolling in, almost like a thin blanket over a lamp.  Again the day was ending with the hokey piano playing of Ms. Bird.  This is the one redeeming quality that Ms. Bird had.  Her one ray of sunshine that she could provide her students.  She was, of course, finishing her set list this day with an old staple, the Green Bay Packers Fight Song.  As the group of children that had convened to the carpet for music time started to disperse to their personal areas that were storage for coats, lunch boxes, and art smocks, the school secretary entered the room.

The frantic look on the secretary’s face was good enough indication that something was going on, but what?  Being that young, I can remember their faces.  Both looking at each other with that same “now what do we do” look.  I can’t blame them for their concerns, I would have no idea what to say to entire Kindergarten class if a tornado was near the school.  Kids of the youngest ages are aware of the powerful force of tornados.

We were quickly instructed to “calmly” put our belongings back in our personal area and to form a line in near the door of the classroom.  In a trembling voice, Ms. Hinsa asked “Kids, please follow me out in to the hallway.  I will need you to sit on the floor with your back against the wall.  Bad weather has been reported and we need to be prepared.”  We did as we were told.

All that could be seen from the outside of the building was a large window that was at the very end of the hallway.  The frightening anticipation was evident.  Sitting on that could tile floor, we listened.  We heard the wind and rustling of objects smacking against the building.  The usually dark hallway now saw a light slowly starting to overtake the far end of the hallway.  It was an emerald haze that had formed outside the window like an intruder.  Teachers did their best to calm students, but their efforts did little as the intense sound of the wind and objects grew.  The dull emerald was now a bright green glow.  The glass smashed and the intruder was now here.  The lights exploded.  The hallway went dark.

Just Another Day

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on November 6, 2009

Darkness.  Nothing but darkness.  That is until the blast of Miguel’s alarm clock erupted at 7am.  He slammed his hand on the snooze button.  The weight of his arm collapsing on top of the clock with disregard for its shoddy construction.  He doesn’t want to get up.  And why would he?  Miguel is trapped.  Trapped in El Paso, Texas.  For years he had plans to get out town.  He wasn’t from the good part of town, but at least he was from the part of town with a Target.  He grew up here and had loved it.  He loved the inspiring feeling that El Paso was going to be a mecca.  He loved the idea of hope.  But El Paso had failed him.  The rest of Texas even forgets that the city isn’t in New Mexico.

After numerous slams on the snooze button Miguel finally rises from his bed.  He decided to skip his shower since water in El Paso is as scarce as a legally purchased Jeep on a scenic tour, and head to work.  He walked out his front door to a sweltering wave of heat.  It poured over his body as a plane flew just hundreds of feet over his house.

He climbed into the remnants of a 1990 Ford Escort, suffered what might be 2nd degree burns from the sun baking the fake leather seating, and headed to the only place in El Paso with air condition.  Quiznos.

Since Miguel was the only one working that day he had to open, set up, serve, clean up and close.  Just another day of losts tourists and drunken locals.  The locals, which some say are a friendly people, can evoke the wrong sort of response from visitors.  With their grimacing faces being squished together from always being subjected to the baking sun their outward appearance can sometimes make tourists think they are a people of dejected soullessness.

Miguel waited all day and had no customers.  That is, until three young guys in their early twenties walked through the door.  He took their orders and listened to how lost they were.  That they had seen a Target, saw a police chase, couldn’t find anything because all of the buildings looked the same with their Adobe qualities.  And they went on and on about a Chipotle being closed.

Miguel smiled, and enjoyed their company from a distance.  Never mentioning that Chipotle had moved to a new location, just around the corner.

Brian Rzentkowski

Fight the Power

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on November 5, 2009

Hip-hop historians will point to DJ Kool Herc who with two turntables rehabilitated 70’s Bronx gangbangers or Afrika Bambaataa who with cultural awareness and hypnotic break-beating of his Zulu Nation united the urban youth of NYC to strive for political meaning. Or Kurtis Blow or Spoonie G who lived in Harlem projects and ignited a non-violent revolution through rhyme and dance, inspired by African roots and the love of family. Stories abound from the Five Boroughs in the late 1970s – of battles, sticky summer evenings on front staircases and a time when hip-hop was defining itself and growing its roots.

New York was an epicenter for music and culture because New York was an epicenter of everything. Historians and journalists focused so much energy on the East Coast that they missed what was going on at the Western shores of Lake Erie, where hip-hop was being pushed to new, unfathomable boundaries by a cultural invasion of the most unlikely source. Ask a journalist about Fridays at Ray’s Car Wash and they’ll look at you puzzled and mumble something about proper citing of sources. But ask lifelong Detroiters from the vibrant neighborhoods on East 7 Mile Road about Fridays at Ray’s and you better find a comfortable place to sit down.

See, the car wash is a front at Ray’s. You have to at least define your building as some sort of business otherwise it’s just a house, and it’s rude to spend all night beatboxing under the stars at someone’s house every night. They came from as far as Flint down to Ray’s on Friday nights, Michigan’s best prepped to battle for the honor of not only their state but their country. Dice games were the order of business on Friday afternoons, the players calming their nerves until the familiar tan and green Impala with Ontario plates bounced its way into Ray’s gravel lot. Teenagers, engrossed in games of four square, stopped to gawk and let their rubber ball roll across the street. Ray’s finest collection of lyricists took one last look at their sheet of rhymes and tried to look nonchalant as they leaned, legs crossed, on the air hose machines.

The Impala was always immaculate, a sharp contrast to the rusted wheels in the lot and an insult of sorts to the car wash. The man who emerged was also a contrast – dressed in a slimming light brown suit with darker brown elbow pads and skin a shade of white so severe that the folks at Ray’s had to squint. He was MC Neato Pete, a self-made legend on the kind streets of Windsor, Ontario, a ferry ride across Lake Erie. When he rapped, he sounded like when he talked. He didn’t need to put on a front – this was a time before toughness was respected and required in the hip hop community. He connected with the people at Ray’s because he riffed on everyday topics, the common bonds shared by Americans and Canadians and the characters in the neighborhoods that brought them together. Windsor was in many respects a long way from Ray’s, and a longer way still from NYC, but Neato Pete earned his respect the way Detroiters appreciate it – by working harder than anyone.

He never lost at Ray’s, and though this disappointed the locals they felt no ill will towards the plucky Canadian. He never lost anywhere, really, but then again he never went anywhere else. Like others at Ray’s, he was happy to stay where he was, among family, not stretching his means, not flaunting his skills. This was the 70’s at Ray’s – just don’t ask a historian about it.

Lonely planet

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on November 4, 2009

Some day in life we will all open up the door to boredom. The door has probably been slightly open for a while and you’ve just kept ignoring it. This could happen to anyone, even in the scenic city of El Paso. A vacation is what you need. Tired of all the epic quarter-of-an-hour football games at the Sun Bowl? Already been to the mall twice this morning? Or are you just blasé about sleeping with your sister? Whatever the mind-boggling reason would be, maybe you just feel that El Paso isn’t blooming as it did in the days (when you were a fetus). If so, take your pickup and come to Socorro, where the brass is green and the girls are shitty. Located just 20 miles southeast of El Paso the jagged contours of Socorro take shape. This is the perfect place for you to come and thrive, stop by the DMV or chill out at the IRS. The activities are somewhat limited, but will guarantee you a sucky time.

Feel a bit peckish? If you have time, you never know in this black hole of ugliness, be sure to stop by the Great American Land & Cattle Co. This establishment will provide you a small American sampler of cattle: cow butt, pig butt and death. If you’re still hungry, check out the classifieds and grab a big dry bite of the angst sandwich. Here’s an excerpt: “2009-11-03, 9:22PM MST. On holloween [sic] night i was a victim of burglary. Someone of unknown origins invaded my personal space and stole a pumpkin that i carved , it was a beautiful portrait of Lionel Richie.” Who knows what more craziness occur at night? That’s a rhetorical question.

So, what if you want to kill yourself? That’s not going to be a problem. Make sure you succeed though, as suicidal attempts are punished by death, you can’t leave the city for the rest of your life. Also, be certain that no one is around to witness this tragic everyday event in Socorro. Go to the mall for instance, where you’ll have absolute privacy. Before you do that however, you want to make sure you get the perfect spot at the graveyard. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of every point of the compass. The tombstones vary somewhat in size, but they all share the same proud and desperate typeface.

A day in Socorro can be quite rural, so a well-deserved siesta in the city is probably what you need. Now, get back to your urban haven and sanctuary 20 miles up north, charming El Paso.


Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 30, 2009

Matthew didn’t know why he stalked her. Maybe because her name was Sarah. Or the fact, she was beautiful, intelligent and witty. Whatever the reason, Matthew was obsessed. He decided to stop this crazy infatuation. No more taking pictures, blogging about her and using the alias, “Matthew.” Love you Sarah!


Germie B. Lazo Jr.


Lunch Conversation

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 30, 2009

“I think she’s awesome.  Very nice.”

“That was nice of you to say.  You’re really changing for the better.”

“What do you mean?”

“Saying nice things about people.”

“What, I didn’t say nice things before?”

“Well, not really.”

“So I’m not a nice person?”

“Well, you’re starting to be now.”

P.S. I miss you

Posted in Uncategorized by maria on October 30, 2009

You had and will always have a certain way of speaking to me that I will always hear. I have to admit I’m feeling a little lost, not really sure what to do with my life or which direction to take. I guess I feel suspended. I hate that feeling. I’m cold and grumpy and hangover. If you were in bed, I would definitely go back to it.

ps. I miss you

The ultimate blame

Posted in Uncategorized by maria on October 30, 2009

It’s not that he was busy or that you had little in common. Nor is it the fact that you are leaving soon. It’s all just a question of timing. It has to happen to you in the same time it happens to them. But first, you must admit the other person exists.


Posted in Uncategorized by maria on October 30, 2009

There’s something so sad about an empty picture frame. It just stands there, testimony to the fact that you don’t have a life or any worth memories. I was wondering if Memories come in pre-specified fomats just like empty pictureframes do?

It takes one to know one.

Posted in Uncategorized by maria on October 30, 2009

I’m waiting for Camy. She’s a very good friend of mine that I know almost nothing about. We met thanks to our commonly shared indignation with the idea of standing in line to get into Cowboy Slim’s. We started talking as we were post lacing the short walk from Slim’s to Stella’s with the above mentioned indignation at each step. I guess it takes one to know one.


Posted in Uncategorized by maria on October 30, 2009

” Captain and Coke is what I usually drink”. That’s what he told me after he hasn’t seen me in six months. Ben is by far my favourite bartender. He’s seen me at my best and he’s seen me at my worst. Ironically, both occasions involved an affair with the Captain. ” Steel trap” he said. Not that I don’t have full confidence the  steel, but I hope my worst escapes it.

Walking Soundtrack

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 30, 2009

Have you ever noticed that you feel so much cooler when you have a good song to walk to?  You’re listening to your iPod and Ini Kamoze with “Here Comes The Hotstepper” comes on.  Damn straight you’re going to give everyone the finger gun point on the way to work.

Next bus in 11 minutes

Posted in Uncategorized by joshchua on October 30, 2009

We have ten minutes. Eight now, because you had to put on your shoes.

Argh, every single goddamn time. I hate running uphill. San Francisco, I love you, but your hills are brutal.

Here we are again, running through the ghetto to catch the N-Owl back home at 1:37 in the morning.


Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 30, 2009

He doesn’t understand why his heart is frozen. He understands that she has done everything to please him. He acknowledges this but his heart is selfish. He makes the decision to tell her that it’s over. She responds by telling him it’s fine . Then, he suddenly cries wanting her back.




Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 30, 2009

Pride of our country is in his hands. When he hits, we scream. When they fall, we stand tall. Going toe to toe is our mantra. The poor boy who couldn’t afford boxing gloves is now a champion who cannot afford to lose. He is Manny Pacquaio, the filipino icon.


Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 30, 2009

He and his three friends were prisoners of war. They loved each other and kept in touch for nearly 50 years. Time went by and he suffered a minor stroke. His friends were there to comfort him but only in his dreams. He knew he had to survive this one alone.


Germie B. Lazo Jr.



Run, Sophie, Run

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 29, 2009

TJ told us, “My dog Sophie got hit by a car today and died.”  Two days passed and we all met again.  Megan told us, “Oh my God my dog is so fast!”  “My dog Sophie was so unbelievably fast,” TJ replied.  Matt then said, “Well, obviously not fast enough.”

Brian Rzentkowski

Sore neck.

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 29, 2009

She told me to meet her at the cafe.  I ordered a small coffee.  Walked over to the counter where the cream and sugars are neatly placed out.  I added some half and half to my coffee and  grabbed a seat for us.  I kept looking over my shoulder for her, she never came.

Brian Rzentkowski

In-Cabin Entertainment on the F Train

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 29, 2009

In the past two verses he has tried to rhyme “ghetto” with “retro” and riffed on Chester A. Arthur’s mutton chops. His eleven year old panhandling assistant has been intimidating us with his charm. We have counted our quarters and decided that his flow is too sick to not reward.

Is There Anything Worse…

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 29, 2009

Wet socks.  There isn’t anything worse.  Literally, this simple misstep could be the lynch pin of a day going horribly wrong.  The chill of water seeping in to your sock is the equivalent of finding an explosive within a mine field.  Without a fresh pair available, the soggy reminder will taunt you for hours.

Life is like a box of chits

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 29, 2009

“Did you find the fiddler on the roof?”

“I’ve been looking everywhere. He’s like a needle in a haystack. ”

“I know, it’s like going to the dentist if you got cavities.”

“No, it’s not. Everyone does that.”

“But, no man is an island.”

“What? Whatever man, see you around.”

“Yeah. When in Rome.”

sleep aid

Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 28, 2009

If sleep is the cousin of death, then lack of sleep must be the awkward, over affectionate  uncle of insanity. Sleep is underrated. Our culture should be embracing sleep, not avoiding it with highly caffeinated beverages and anti- sleep aids. I think everyone should have designated nap times each day.

smile and nod

Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 28, 2009

just smile and nod. you don’t have to pay attention to what she’s actually saying, just pay attention to the pauses in between, that way you won’t look like you want to off yourself as she continues to rambles on about how different her hair is since she switched shampoos.


Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 28, 2009

Dead silence plagues the tension filled room.  She sits slightly slumped over in a hard chair made of unforgiving plastic. She frantically shakes her left leg as she bites the remainder off her finger nails clean off. She becomes increasing nervous as she realizes how inevitable her fate has become.


Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 28, 2009

There is no such thing as a convenience fee. This concept is almost as worse as waiting to make a payment, whether it is in a physical line or on hold on the phone, I should never have to wait to do something that I already don’t want to do.

You’ll Get Yours

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 28, 2009

Oh, Jesse.  You have no idea what I’m capable of.  I may be small for my age, but I’m smart.  This will be the last time to beat me up on the way home.  I know you’re tougher then me, but I protected myself today.  You can beat a hammer, Jesse.

Game 1 Scouting Report

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 28, 2009

Cliff Lee: Devastating breaking ball. Shows extreme poise on the mound. Nothing fazes him, which is good because after games he has a night job handing out towels in a Trenton night club bathroom.

CC Sabathia: Earned his contract with a huge year for the Yankees. Eats pillows for sustenance.


Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 28, 2009

Hand griped to the pan as the simmering grease splatters on his hands.  He reaches over with a crooked fork and stabs the slabs.  Like a thousand needles jumping over the edge it stings as he cooks.  He never flinches, never  waivers.  But why would he?  Everything is better with bacon.  Even burnt hands.


Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 28, 2009

Light entered the room like a arm reaching through a door way.  Dust settled in the air.  With her legs crossed while sitting at the kitchen table she holds a cup of coffee with both hands.  She sighs a bit and wonders about life.  As though she regrets it.

Can’t Stop Eating.

Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on October 28, 2009

There once was a king who had everything and still he wanted more.  When his hands grew tired, he borrowed his neighbors’.  When their hands grew tired, they borrowed his neck.  When his neck grew tired, he gave up the ghost and the dark wealth he drew from the sand.


Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 28, 2009

Hey blog! So I’ve been thinking a lot. And after I thought for a while, I got this great idea *smiling*. I’m gonna give you pics. I got this new thing going where I’ll post the clothes I’m wearing for the day. I’m gonna call it outfit of/for the day.

Novel Chapters 33-41

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 28, 2009

The rising action I’m thinking is there’s gonna be Anderson and his sherpa and they’re avoiding crevasses and avalanches and the oxygen level is plummeting as they approach the summit and whatnot. I don’t have a climax figured out yet but the ending is Anderson makes some duck friends. Help?

The Identity Crisis of John Juan DiFruzzco, part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 27, 2009

He’s felt the stares and that’s why he hardly goes out in public anymore. “A disgrace,” say the townsfolk. “A plebeian of the lowermost reaches. He swims among trash dumps and filth.” John Juan should be an evolutionary marvel, he of three histories, but in this place he is shunned.

There are 37

Posted in Uncategorized by joshchua on October 27, 2009

We sat in a library parking lot. Too stoned to drive, we counted how many Tic-Tacs were in a box.

Shit, I hope we aren’t being suspicious. Only drug dealers hang out at parking lots after hours.

“Dude, don’t pop that Tic-Tac! Now we’ll definitely look like drug dealers.”


Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on October 26, 2009

“Can I get a tip?”

“For what?”

“You took my picture.”

“You didn’t do anything.  You’re painted sliver.  You pointed at me.”

“I’m a mime.  I’m on a break.”

“I’m a photographer.  Can I get a tip?”

“I do this for a living.  See all this money?”

“Must be nice.”

Mask yourself

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 26, 2009

“Who are you gonna be for Halloween?”

“Your mom.”

“Oh yeah.. I’m gonna.. I’m gonna be your dad!”


“I mean, one of your dads, as you got two.”

“Right, because my parents are divorced.”

“No, I meant that you suck so much so you got two gay dads.”

“But, your dad is my dad.”

Modern times

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 23, 2009

He woke up. He turned his computer on, checked the mail on his phone and brought a towel along on his way into the kitchen. He put the kettle on the stove, took out the butter from the fridge and let the water start flowing in the bathroom. Everything was as synched as his iPhone and he got a boner from it.

Neil Diamond, you’ve gone too far…

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 23, 2009

Unbelievable concert to this point.  Now they waited for the first notes of “Sweet Caroline” to drop.  Indeed they dropped.  Mr. Diamond decided to end the show with the acoustic version.  This did not sit well with the crowd, who then burnt the arena to the ground.  Wrong move, Neil…

gratuity included.

Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on October 23, 2009

in the time that’s passed since we first asked for our check, our server has been:

(a) on the phone

(b) flirting with a customer

(c) disappearing into the kitchen for several minutes at a time

(d) sitting at table talking with a friend

(e) hanging out with the cashier

(f) watching someone’s dog on the sidewalk while they went inside.

(g) all of the above.


Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on October 23, 2009

A man’s been losing five minutes of time for every five that pass.  8:53-8:58… 9:03-9:08… 9:13-9:18.  There are no nosebleeds, headaches or warnings.  It’s just a glitch – like a skip on a compact disc.  Only an hour had passed before he first began to recognize the pattern.  That was three weeks ago.  Today, in his tired, nervous state, he’s feeling reckless.  He still can’t figure out if his consciousness is just shutting off or if his physical body is actually time-traveling.  He checks his watch, takes one long drag on a cigarette, throws it the ground and steps in front of an oncoming bus.

the watchers.

Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on October 23, 2009

the little boy watched the gorillas through the glass.  he had never been this close to such intimidating creatures in his life.  one slowly approached the boy and, for a brief moment, they locked eyes.  The darker primate betrayed its cruel indifference even as it seemed to understand.  the boy imagined the strength in those hands pinning his arms to his body and those sharp teeth sinking into his flesh.  it sent a shiver up his spine.  the gorilla turned its hulking body away and left, in search of food.  the boy went into the corner of his cage and cried himself to sleep.

Santa Cruz on an April Day

Posted in Uncategorized by joshchua on October 23, 2009

Everyone’s happily grinning (might have been the awesome weather).
Everything tastes great (could be I was just hungry).
Everybody’s eyes are a bloodshot red (allergies, probably).
Everyone’s laughing at nothing in particular (company of good friends?)
But what’s that smell? Why, it’s the unmistakable scent of springtime in the air!

Randy, Your Local Burn-out

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 23, 2009

Everyone has meant “Randy”.  He is the guy who is real popular in high school, but for know other reason but sports and being a dick.  In my experience, Randy doesn’t amount to much.  He gets through 1 semester of college, quits, and starts racing stock cars on a dirt track.

Oliver James

Posted in Uncategorized by jon reine on October 22, 2009

Oliver James was a loquacious little boy with big blue eyes and bleach-blonde hair that hung straight about his head like a curtain. Once, he built a lego spaceship for the pirates so that they could get to the moon, but a dinosaur attacked it mid-flight and bit off one of its wings.  Without warning, Oliver decided to take on the dinosaur himself, crushing its torso beneath his sneakered foot, though he soon lost interest in the spaceship to color a picture of a squirrel.

Trevor’s Big Night Out

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 22, 2009

Trevor went out to the bars with all of his friends.  When they returned home from a night of shots and beer he was seen throwing his underwear off of a balcony.

“What happened?” I hesitantly asked Trevor.

“Well, Roz, I kind of pooped my pants.”

All I could say to Trevor was, “Oh, wow.”

History Repeats

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 22, 2009

Jon always thought that his relationships moved fast than normal.  Or was it that life sped past him.  All he could remember were the main events.  Can I buy you a drink, sure, I like you, I love you, I’m pregnant, marry me, I’m seeing someone else, I want a divorce, I’m dying.

Brian Rzentkowski

Diving in

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 22, 2009

The equipment is clumsy, heavy.  Feels like the weight is going to throw you to the floor.  Hold everything to your chest and fall, fall into the abyss.  Falling slowly now the strange landscape unfolds.  Kick away and hold yourself six miles high.  You’re flying, just not in your world.

Brian Rzentkowski

The Station Agent

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 22, 2009

All around, an unimpeachable feeling of dread. All above, a low-hanging cloud of despair. All below, a field of disappointment, forty acres wide. All told, a nightmare. All day, all night. All aboard, passengers scuffling without direction to carriages and compartments. All better, at last a place to sit down.

Michael Ziman


Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 22, 2009

It was her big day. She was about to marry the man of her dreams. She looked at her reflection in the mirror, and realized that she came a long way. A year ago, she couldn’t love herself; Until he came along and made her feel beautiful. She can’t wait…

Germie B. Lazo Jr.

And on the seventh day they spooned

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 22, 2009

There was a damp and buttery smell of croissants in the room. There were crumbles in the bed, he put one on his tongue and it melted faster than he’d expected. His intentions was to pass the crumble along, as a token of appreciation for the night they just spent. So he kissed every freckle on her body.

/Jacob Sempler

9 to 5

Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 21, 2009

I’m awake when I’m asleep. My stress level makes me age at a rapid pace. I need caffeine in order to actively participate as a productive member of society. I depend on hard liquor and Ikea magazines in order to function through my work week. I have become by mother.


The Considerate Heartbreaker

Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 21, 2009

If he asks why I lied, I’ll tell him it wasn’t a lie because at the time I meant it. If he doesn’t ask, I’ll just to say something really vague that gives off the illusion that I give a fuck. I’ll break the rest of his heart another day.


Valentine’s Vengeance

Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 21, 2009

I wore all red today and now these little wannabe crips wanna take me outside. Their leader ask me, “What’s up with all the red?” I tell him it’s Valentine’s Day. He smirks and lets me go. I leave and head straight to his girl’s house for some love makin’.

Germie B. Lazo Jr.

It’s like the DMV…but with food…

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 20, 2009

Grocery stores are painful.  I went there tonight, and it was the same shit show that it always is.  For some reason people decide to move like snails and practically lay down in the aisles.  “Yes lady, I know it’s ten Chunky Soups for ten dollars, but move you ass!”


Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 20, 2009

It was the first day of school and Bill was just like any other teenager.  His nerves tickled his skin and kept his stomach tied in knots.  The lump rising through his throat suffocated his every breath.  How would this seemingly normal three legged kid ever fit in….to a normal pair of pants?

Brian Rzentkowski

My Most Recent Phone Call

Posted in Uncategorized by brianjrez on October 20, 2009

“Hello, Auto Zone.”

“Yes, hello, I’m wondering if you could find some parts for me”

“Make and model?”

“1985,  Deloreane”

“All right, what part were you looking for?”

“Flux Capaciter.”

“And what’s that for?”

“Time travel, dumbass.”

“That isn’t funny, you know this is my job.”

“What’s not funny?”


Brian Rzentkowski

Ben Affleck orders a 5 dollar footlong

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 20, 2009

Ben Affleck looked at the toppings available to him at Subway. “I’ve never seen such a spread!” said Ben Affleck. “Oh glory! To be here with you and these fresh vegetables is truly majestic!” Ben Affleck tried paying with a signed DVD of Pearl Harbor and was swiftly escorted from the premises.

Michael Ziman

The Fabricator

Posted in Uncategorized by elysesimpson on October 20, 2009

When does a string of uneventful dates become a relationship?  When BOTH parties make a mutual decision to become exclusive.  In your world, your sugar coated renditions of what you perceive as the truth make you the victim. Who is the real victim in this one sided semi fabricated relationship?

Elyse Simpson

Good Samaritans

Posted in Uncategorized by joshchua on October 20, 2009

“Should we help him?”
“Do you think he’s dead?”
“I hope not. Then we’d have to help.”
“He’s lying face down over a sewer grate on the street. He’s totally dead.”
The dead man rolled over, stood up, brushed himself off, took three steps to pick up his backpack, and moseyed off.


Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 20, 2009

Your life’s a time sharing apartment in del Boca Vista with dusty blinds. It’s not the wine cellar in Tuscany, but could be the two buck chuck with a plastic corkscrew. You’re not your Billy book shelf, but you’re certainly a crap collector. And in the end, it’s he who got the most books when we die who wins.

Jacob Sempler

The Board

Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 20, 2009

Grandma taught me the alphabet and how to count with an Ouija board. One day, I asked her about the symbols. She said the sun represents morning and the moon represents night. “Who’s the woman in the corners?” I questioned. She responded, “a witch that hunts kids who don’t study.”

Germie B. Lazo Jr.

The Man of the Hour

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 19, 2009

This story is about a man who beats up small pets, upends filled shopping carts, rips the stamps off envelopes, throws produce at streetlights, ruins the endings of new theatrical releases, touches sculptures in museums, loads up on carbs, outruns the cops, collects his money and cries himself to sleep.

Michael Ziman

Stories and Cigarettes

Posted in Uncategorized by dreidinger on October 19, 2009

This is her last drink, she swears.  The combination of eight Captain diets and three quarters of a pack of Marlboro Lights has made her strong again.  Stronger then this morning.  Stories from your Saturdays run into each other.  There’s little variation.  All the pain gets put off another week.

Windward Ho!

Posted in Uncategorized by joshchua on October 19, 2009

She refused to glance back at the island while lowering her dinghy’s sail. That sweet couple would be awake soon. Since the Flood, Scout had relied on the only two certainties left—darkness and wind. Now that she had both, she was going to get away with everything that sweet, naïve couple had.


Posted in Uncategorized by Germs on October 19, 2009

Father was a villain. When he would attack the kids, mother came to their aid. When the kids grew up, they revolted against father. Mother intervened and told the kids to respect him. They listened. Three years later, father died, leaving mother and the kids money. Mother always knows best.

Germie B. Lazo Jr.

First quarter(s)

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob Sempler on October 19, 2009

The bathrobe left red burls all over the apartment. I had to wash it. I went down to the liquor store to get change. I lied to the man. I said I needed change for the parking meter but I don’t even have a car. He told me that parking’s free on Saturdays. So I walked out without any quarters.

Storm Chaser

Posted in Uncategorized by MajerleKJ on October 18, 2009

Professor LaRue decided to park his research humvee on the edge of where the ominous cloud met the vibrant, blue afternoon sky. “At least it will be on my watch,” he said. As he read coordinates while puffing on his hand-rolled cigar he heard a low rumble to the east.

Michael Ziman