I played disco at our housewarming party

Movies I saw in 2013, excluding Iron Man 3

The Gatekeepers – ☆☆ ½ Excellent historical document, docked half a star for the dumb CGI.

Stories We Tell – ☆½ Self-indulgent, occasionally touching. Didn’t like the non-biological dad.

Ordinary People – ☆☆ Should have been called Upper Middle Class People. Super American, I can see how it would have had a huge impact in its time.

Star Trek Into Darkness – ☆½ Fine, meaningless

Room 237 – ☆ Who cares about the infantile ranting of narcissistic morons?

Manborg – ☆ Kind of unwatchable, although I admire the effort and passion

Pacific Rim – ☆½ Good colors. Too old for this shit.

Pump Up The Volume (rewatch) – ☆☆ Rightfully beloved, incredibly badly edited – why is there no director’s cut??

Vampire’s Kiss – ☆☆☆½ Fucking tremendous. Suzie and I going as Nicholas Cage and Alva for Halloween this year.

This Is The End – ☆½ I laughed, meaningless

Spring Breakers – ☆☆☆ Benoit Debie drinks syrup

Oblivion – ½ couldn’t take more than 15 minutes, not Stephen Platt’s fault, you’re the best Stephen

Ai Weiwei – Never Sorry: ☆☆ Somewhat dull but a good biography of a major art world figure who isn’t in it for the money.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams – ☆☆☆ Wonderful, also deadly boring but worth it for the postscript

Skyfall – ☆☆ Stylish, dull, enjoyed the blue tux

Gwendoline – the height of orientalism, not for me

Killer Party – ½ basically unwatchable

Cutter’s Way – ☆☆ Kind of boring, decent performances, interesting to think of as a prequel to The Big Lebowski

Miami Connection – ☆☆ for enthusiasm, goofy as fuck and boring in the middle but joyful

Cash McCall – ☆☆ Many qualities lacking from modern film, interesting foreshadowing of the importance of M&A in American business life. Weiner sees it as an influence on Mad Men which is evident.

Stoker: ☆☆ Yay Chan-Woo Park and Mia, everything else eh. Plot somewhat predictable.

Sightseers – ☆ Good directing, believable acting, did nothing for me.

Argo – ☆½ Solid, no subtext at all, teaches nothing.

Skyfall – ☆ for great locations and solid direction, otherwise boring.

Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo – ☆☆ Presumably a bitter parody of fan desire before an astonishing conclusion

Only The Young – ☆ Attempts Mike Mills, isn’t. Cute kids.

Upstream Color ☆☆☆ Brave and completely American. SECOND APPRAISAL: ☆☆½ Probably low on meaning once you connect circles; still striking.

The Master – ☆☆½ – great staging, some genuine humanity between the leads but a flat ending.

Celeste and Jesse Forever – ☆ for Rashida Jones and an ending I liked

Silver Linings Playbook – ½ for Jennifer Lawrence, otherwise fucking false garbage

Beauty is Embarrassing – ☆½ for enthusiasm.

Killing Them Softly – ½ for slow motion car shooting and opening bit with junkies. Otherwise cynical, obvious, dull.

John Dies at the End – ☆ for funtimes, also liked the handling of the ending and credits

Sleepwalk With Me – ½ didn’t connect with me at all

Flight – ☆ for great plane crash sequence, turned it off after 1:20

End of Watch – ☆½ should have called it “when will Michael Peña die” but good performances

The Dark Knight Rises – ☆☆1/2 – great tech, good holding off of Batman until 3rd act

The Queen of Versailles ☆☆ – somewhat touching portrait of excess and attendant anxiety

Total Recall (2012) – ☆ for Obama money and cityscapes

Savages – ½ for one cool transition and Salma Hayek

Black Rain – ☆☆ Nutty! Like Rising Sun w/ the fear-based racism, has good qualities.



The Spectacular Now

Computer Chess

Gerhard Richter

Neighboring Sounds

Return From The Ashes

Mr. Freedom


Two Pitches for Dungeon Magazine, Andrew Evans


The prison was a hulking fortress, towering over the slums.  The warden had called on us two days earlier with an irresistible offer, backed in coin.  The lock-up was near empty, his men were bored, and he wanted us to test the prison’s vaunted defenses.  
The warden’s lieutenant was boastful, jocular.  We’d never best his guards, he crowed.  With his men gathered, he stripped off his armor, donned a prisoner’s rags, and, with a wink, told his guards to lock him up in solitary.  We sealed the deal with a handshake and a bet: the lieutenant’s fat platinum ring, tied around his neck — ours, if we got that far, he said.  
We’d go in with practice swords and blunted shafts: a night of bruises to be sure, but no bloodshed.
We surveyed the building for two days, and climbed the nearby tenements at nightfall.  An arrow through the night, a grappling hook, and we were on the ramparts.  The first guards were cocksure but slow.  They bent under our blows, grunted, and yielded.  
Our thief crept into the heart of the complex, then returned minutes later, tense and pale.  The guards below were dead, he said, gutted where they’d stood.  We swept into the fetid halls below, sprinting past a gauntlet of wild-eyed, hooting prisoners.  The commandant was in the basement cells, bloodied, in chains.  
The craven fool sobbed his story.  He’d made a deal with the devil — in the form of the city’s sinister mafioso: an escape for the prison’s most prized criminal.  Now we heard the distant clangor of gates shutting floors above and then, faintly at first, the guttural rumble of tunneling.
The game, it seemed, had just begun.
6,000 words, for player characters levels 4-7.

Blood Diamonds

Two weeks in the city resting and recuperating before we were met by messenger from the elven underground.  Tales had trickled in of an enormous diamond mine secreted hundreds of miles across the mountains, where overlords worked a host of enslaved elves and their captive prince.  Their proposal: we were to infiltrate the mine, fix its coordinates for an eventual assault, and rescue their prince.  
The mine was apparently awash in uncut gems but lean of supplies and hard currency.  The city’s criminal gangs contracted with the miners for the requisite shipments.  We tracked a resupply out of the city, and ambushed them at nightfall.  Their map led us through the tangled foothills for three days until, in the thinning air, the mine’s scouts sighted us.  They took us the remaining miles blindfolded.  
The mine was a wicked, accursed place.  The elves, pale and sickly, worked vast, open-air pits, torn away from the forests that sustained them.  The miners kept foul creatures chained up, harvested their acid excretions, and sluiced the mountain’s depths with those foul solutions.  
The head of the mine was a sadist and sybarite.  We flattered him, and promised more shipments.  The first night, our searches turned up nothing.  The complex held no secret passages, no hidden cells.  The second night we reached the elves in their vile cages.  As for the prince, he had been separated from them upon their capture.  They hadn’t seen him since and feared him dead.
The third day we heard a new re-supply was on its way.  Our time was running out.
8,000 words, for player characters levels 6-8.

Unedited Gchat with Mira Gonzalez

Mira Gonzalez is a powerful young poet whose book I will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together is important, and you should read it, immediately. Here is my favorite poem:

what I ate today: coffee, curry vegetable thing from whole foods, plum

I am most comfortable around people who criticize me
I feel like anyone who isn’t constantly criticizing me is lying
or expecting me to be something different
it feels insane that you need money to do things like
develop a drug addiction, or move across the country
I don’t identify as depressed even though I feel depressed
it seems unfair that I only get to feel a finite amount of things in my life lately I have been assuming that dried fruit has more calories than regular fruit
I feel like 400 dead jellyfish in the middle of a freeway


Geoffrey Litwack:

Hi Mira

(if you’re there)

Mira Gonzalez:


im here

Geoffrey Litwack:


I was nervous because you have the red away dot next to your profile

But no one I talk to ever marks themselves as available

Mira Gonzalez:

oh lol

yeah i never mark myself as available

too scary

Geoffrey Litwack:



I read your book, twice

Mira Gonzalez:

oh whoa

Geoffrey Litwack:

Well, it’s short

Mira Gonzalez:

thanks for taking time out of your life to do that lol

yeah not many pages

still thanks

Geoffrey Litwack:

I loved it

I felt a strong sense of identification even though we are years apart, etc

I wanted to ask you a few things about it, since I had two different impressions

One from each reading

Mira Gonzalez:

oh thats great to hear, glad you enjoyed it

ask away

Geoffrey Litwack:


After the first read I thought about David Berman’s poems

The Silver Jews guy

Because your poems tend to end strong, sometimes using almost a setup-punchline structure

Mira Gonzalez:

damn sweet

i dont think ive ever read david berman

Geoffrey Litwack:


I’m not sure if he’s widely read

But but

You said somewhere that you like Haruki Murakami?

Mira Gonzalez:

i do yes

a lot

Geoffrey Litwack:

Me too

So the second time I read the book, the poems almost felt like short stories

Linked stories

Mira Gonzalez:

oh thats interesting

Geoffrey Litwack:

I don’t really have a critical framework for evaluating poetry

I’m a bystander, basically

Mira Gonzalez:

that seems better to me lol

Geoffrey Litwack:


Mira Gonzalez:

i dont feel like i have a critical framework for evaluating poetry either

Geoffrey Litwack:


I was reading this Robert Bolano book the other day

and one of the characters is like “that stupid asshole didn’t even know what a rispetto is”

and I was like oh jesus, neither do I

That said

In this poem

when I die you can have my heart-shaped sunglasses

You write

“they told me that trust versus mistrust
is the primary psychological dilemma of early childhood”

That’s Erik Erikson, right?

Mira Gonzalez:

damn i dont think so

or actually

maybe it is

i was taking a child developmental psychology class at the time

we were learning about the psychological dilemmas of various age groups

i have since forgotten the name of every psychologist we learned about

but that very well could be erik erikson

youd probably know better than me

Geoffrey Litwack:

I had to google it

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah im googling it now

i think it was him

Geoffrey Litwack:

I was looking at those psychological dilemmas, though

And you’re 21, right?

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah i am

Geoffrey Litwack:

So theoretically you’d be in the “intimacy versus isolation” stage

Mira Gonzalez:

lol yes exactly

Geoffrey Litwack:


That kind of framed these poems for me

Mira Gonzalez:

interesting huh

yeah thats interesting you say that, feels really ‘nail on the head’

Geoffrey Litwack:

But I feel like almost everyone is in the intimacy versus isolation stage now, even much older people

Yeah I don’t want to put a hat on a hat

Mira Gonzalez:

lol yeah

seems like all people struggle with all stages for their entire life

some of them are just more in focus than others

Geoffrey Litwack:

I agree completely

I only bring this up because your poems seem pretty interested and engaged with philosophical ideas

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah i really like philosophy

i was reading a lot of philosophy stuff when i wrote most of those poems, i think

Geoffrey Litwack:

Thank christ

Mira Gonzalez:


Geoffrey Litwack:

I was a philosophy major, I was worried I might be projecting or something

Mira Gonzalez:

lol not at all

i like philosophy a lot

it was probably the subject i have been most consistently interested i n


Geoffrey Litwack:

It comes through

I think that’s part of why I felt so connected to the book

Another strong theme seems like the frustration with the limits of the human body and consciousness

I don’t want to say “you” meaning the voice in the poems


what should I say instead

Mira Gonzalez:

im not sure what you mean, i think

Geoffrey Litwack:

There’s a first-person narration in most of the poems

Mira Gonzalez:


all the poems are about things that happened to me, if thats what you men


jesus egregious spelling errors

Geoffrey Litwack:

Oh, okay

no no

Mira Gonzalez:


Geoffrey Litwack:

no worries

Okay, well, I’ll just say you to mean the person speaking in the poems


In the book you seem to want to merge and co-mingle with things and people

Maybe mix your consciousness, or even your atoms

But it seemed like I could feel a real frustration about the impossibility of that

Is that something that was on your mind?

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah i think so

or i guess, thats always a subject thats been on my mind, consistently

how were all sort of stuck in the confines of our own skull

and we can think that we feel close to someone, but in reality that is a huge leap of faith

to think that you know what someone else is feeling, or thinking

or to think you know how someone feels about you

were all just guessing and assuming, in the end

feels extremely frustrating to me

but also sort of comforting i guess

Geoffrey Litwack:


I was not going to ask about drugs

(or Black Flag)

But is this a reason you take drugs?

Mira Gonzalez:

you can ask about either/both of those things if you want, i dont care lol

yeah i guess

i never really thought about drugs in that context

drugs sometimes make me feel closer to people, but im still very aware of that divide

i think i just take drugs because they make me feel different and good

Geoffrey Litwack:

I guess the classic drug to take to feel emotionally closer to people is ecstasy

Mira Gonzalez:


i dont feel like i take drugs specifically to get closer to people thoug

if i do mdma its just because i want to feel good, i think

Geoffrey Litwack:

I think the drugs I’ve seen you write about either in the book or on twitter are Adderall, Xanax, cocaine…

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah i like those drugs

i like mdma too but i do that way less

mdma seems like a commitment

Geoffrey Litwack:

You have to buy special pants

It’s a whole thing

Mira Gonzalez:

lol what the hell

mdma pants

Geoffrey Litwack:

Rave pants

Oh god i feel so old right now

Mira Gonzalez:

lol holy shit rave pants

thats insane

i cant picture ‘rave pants’

Geoffrey Litwack:

Google image “JNCO”

Mira Gonzalez:

oh my god these are insane

the pockets are huge

Geoffrey Litwack:


Everyone who had or could get MDMA wore those pants

Mira Gonzalez:

fuck seriously

that would be so convenient i feel

like you could see someone walking around in those insane pants and know they had mdma

Geoffrey Litwack:


You don’t write about LSD, though

Mira Gonzalez:

no, i dont do LSD really

i did it once

if i did it now id probably freak out

(brb one sec you can keep typing)

Geoffrey Litwack:


I guess what I was getting at was that the desire to merge with someone or something, or to be at a different physical- or time-scale re: drugs is something I associate with LSD

But you don’t take it

So it’s just how your brain works

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah i dont think that has anything to do with LSD, for me

or any drug really

Geoffrey Litwack:

That’s good

I find that pleasing, for some reason

I think I like the theme so much that it would have been a little disappointing if it were chemically-generated

That’s a weird thing to say

Mira Gonzalez:

lol no i understand i think

i feel like no drug has changed the way i think that significantly

i like drugs because they are a fun thing to do but they dont change my world view

except in the context of seeking out drugs in more situations

or looking at various situations in the context of ‘what drugs can i do here’


Geoffrey Litwack:


There was one poem

I think you said was about taking Xanax and drinking and ending up with an old sound guy from The Smell?

Mira Gonzalez:

lol jesus how did you know it was the smell

thats funny

Geoffrey Litwack:

I think you said!

Mira Gonzalez:

did i?

Geoffrey Litwack:

I think

Mira Gonzalez:

that wasnt even in the book that was a story on thought catalog

i think i said a music venue in downtown

Geoffrey Litwack:

Oh, okay

Mira Gonzalez:

are you from LA or something

seems so funny

Geoffrey Litwack:

I’m from Philly but I’ve lived in LA for 12 years now

I’ve been to The Smell

Mira Gonzalez:

oh sweet

Geoffrey Litwack:

My friend’s band was playing

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah that makes sense that you knew it was the smell then

if you live in LA its pretty obvious

Geoffrey Litwack:

I never go out, so for all I know there could be a bunch of music venues downtown

Actually that’s a good segue

Mira Gonzalez:

lol there are

Geoffrey Litwack:


So you’re from Venice, basically?

Mira Gonzalez:


i was born in an apartment in mar vista

and then i moved to venice with my mom and stepdad when i was really young

like 3 or something

lived there my whole life until now

Geoffrey Litwack:

Were you a never-east-of-the-405 person, or not so much?

I live in the Valley, so our LAs could be totally different

Mira Gonzalez:

oh shit hold on, fire drill at work brb


Geoffrey Litwack:


I’ll be here

Mira Gonzalez:

hey sorry


Geoffrey Litwack:

No probelm

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah ive never lived in the valley

didnt traverse the 405 hell to go there very often

Geoffrey Litwack:

I like it

Did you go east much, though?

Or mainly stay down by the beach?

Mira Gonzalez:

i mostly stayed by the beach but i went east sometimes

mostly to see bands downtown and stuff

or like echo park

Geoffrey Litwack:

Is music a big influence on your work, or do you listen to music when you write? You mentioned Bright Eyes somewhere, but I’m not sure if that was a sarcastic reference or not

Mira Gonzalez:

i dont usually listen to music when i write

i like music a lot though

i like bright eyes lol

im not sure where i mentioned bright eyes but it proabably wasnt sarcastic

Geoffrey Litwack:

I like Bright Eyes too

Not all the time, but sometimes

What about writers?

It was Tao Lin who suggested I talk to you

His book, I think, will be the best of this year

As awarded by JD Power and Associates

Mira Gonzalez:


yeah i liked it a lot

Geoffrey Litwack:

Is proximity to other writers one of the reasons you moved to New York?

Mira Gonzalez:

for the most part yeah

there isnt much of a writing scene in LA

i had also just lived there for a long time and was starting to feel alienated

Geoffrey Litwack:

Alienated from the place, or?

Mira Gonzalez:

i guess from the people


i like a lot of people in LA

i think i was just getting tired of it maybe

Geoffrey Litwack:


It’s maybe my least favorite of the places I’ve lived

But now I’m trapped

Mira Gonzalez:


i mean i love LA

but yeah you do get in a trap

i was afraid to get into that trap

maybe thats why i left

Geoffrey Litwack:


Wise decision

I don’t like new york either, but I get it

The density of good things going on there is incredible

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah definitely

i think with writing stuff specifically its better for me to be here

LA is great but its so spread out and there arent many publishers or anything

Geoffrey Litwack:

Not really, no

I basically gave up writing so it’s irrelevant to me personally, but it’s sad from a cultural perspective

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah i mean

LA has other things going on

LA is great for music

Geoffrey Litwack:

That’s true

Film, etc.

But hey speaking of your move, and density

Is your next book going to be a novel?

Mira Gonzalez:


or, im trying to do that

dont hold your breath though its probably gonna be a while lol

Geoffrey Litwack:

Novels are hard!

Especially first novels, there can be a lot of pressure

And the anxiety of influence, if you let that get to you

Mira Gonzalez:

yes absolutely

novels are so intimidating

i definitely want to write one

i like writing poetry but a novel seems more satisfying right now

Geoffrey Litwack:

I want to read this novel

I will be your first Amazon preorder

Mira Gonzalez:

damn sweet thank you

thats like 10 cents in my bank account probably

fucking sweet


Geoffrey Litwack:

Depending on the publisher!

Actually, there was one thing I wanted to ask about publishers

I noticed that your book has a Creative Commons license

Was that something sorry house wanted, or something you wanted?

Mira Gonzalez:

i think that was sorry house

i was involved in every step of the book making process but the copyright page was mostly spencer and willis i think

im not entirely sure whats on there to be honest


Geoffrey Litwack:

I think it means people can email their friends a copy and not have the NSA break down their door, or something

Mira Gonzalez:


well thats good

i think i emailed you a copy so im glad the NSA wont break down my door

Geoffrey Litwack:


Is this a good place to stop? I’ve gone through what I had in my mira.txt document

Mira Gonzalez:

yeah that works for me

unless you have something else you wanna say

Geoffrey Litwack:

I was actually curious about one thing you said

That your biological dad was trying to kill you

I think you said that in your Vice interview

Mira Gonzalez:



Geoffrey Litwack:

I don’t mean to pry, but that jumped out at me

Mira Gonzalez:

my biological dad read that and said i should have said something funnier

Geoffrey Litwack:


Mira Gonzalez:

lol oh god

too much pressure


Geoffrey Litwack:

Just kidding

Mira Gonzalez:

it was mostly just poking fun at my dad i guess

Geoffrey Litwack:


I can cut that!

Mira Gonzalez:


no its fine you can leave it

i put it in the vice interview

Geoffrey Litwack:


I’ll put this whole thing up

It’s been a pleasure talking to you

Mira Gonzalez:

you too geoffrey

Zoey and the Rat

I’ve had Zoey, my dog, for eight months now. She lived on the street, was impregnated, probably fought, was in a shelter, is terrified of other dogs. Now, with time, she’s reinheriting herself.

She’s a mutt, pretty and small, with terrier DNA and Doberman markings. She has people eyes. Sometimes I ask her about her Prarabdha karma. I hold her little head in my hands and say “what did you do?”

Today she killed a rat. She was so happy and proud that she danced, jumping in tight circles like a circus dog. Terriers are bred to rat-catch, and in their jaws the prey is whipped back and forth until its neck breaks. Despite her tramp background Zoey has the soft mouth of an aristocrat, and the corpse was undamaged. I picked it up off the brick by the hedge at the back of the pool with an inside-out trash bag. Metallic green flies worried its eyes and mouth but there was no blood, only the feel of raw slumped meat. I wound the plastic over it and went through the side to throw it in the outside garbage.

Zoey came back to me, panting. I squatted down and she put her forelegs on my knee and I stroked and stroked her. She turned her head to the side, resting it on me, and took a deep breath in followed by a sharp exhale. A sigh of pleasure.