notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

NFTM GOP Endorsement

Recently, with great acumen and resourcefulness, long time Notes From the Muck political correspondent and Omar Little aficionado, Matthew, dutifully posted the Muck's official endorsement of Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

In the interest of fairness, I hereby offer my undying support for a candidate from the other side of the aisle - the Grand Old Party's respected politico, Mitt Romney.

I came to this conclusion this morning, as I watched a repeat of last night's Republican debate over a bowl of Kellogg's Raisin Bran.

The decisive moment? No, it wasn't when he and McCain bickered like little bitches for seven hours about the meaning of the word "timetable," but rather when Mr. Romney invoked the spirit of everyone's favorite president of all time, George W. Bush, by stammering over the word "unequivocally" before finally spitting it out in a confident, almost stentorian tone as "UN-E-QUI-VIC-A-BUL-Y."

If our man Obama doesn't end up in the White House screening room catching up on The Wire's final season, which he's currently missing while on the campaign trial, I do hope we at least get another dumbass white boy we can make fun of for four years or more. Why stop now, right?

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

16 Days

Will, you can keep your damn money.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Viral Campaign?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

There Will Be Caesar Dressing

There Will Be Caesar Dressing: A Lone Man's Furious Battle With the Powerful Forces of Cynicism

Today I woke up with an overwhelming urge to draw a picture of Michael Stipe. I think he has an interesting head. Maybe I'll share some day.

Meanwhile, here are some other portraits I've attempted:

My friend Paul -

Leonard Cohen -

Alfred Hitchcock -

The funny looking guy with the tiny ear is Jay-Z. The guy with the cigarette is my friend Stephen. The old dude peeking over the fence is Norman Mailer. I don't know who those other people are -

After drawing Michael Stipe this morning, everything went downhill. I made valiant efforts to stay positive. It proved to be a difficult task.

A friend of mine uses the word "Sunday" as an adjective. Growing up in the south meant that one could not purchase alcohol on Sundays. It's also the day when people go to church and a lot of businesses close early. For these reasons, and because it's the last day of the weekend, Sunday, as an adjective, means "excessively lame." Today was Sunday.

I put my spicy black bean burger in the microwave for what I thought was one minute thirty seconds.

It occurred to me to put some dressing on my burger. In the fridge I found my roommate's Caesar dressing. I have no idea how old it is, so I opened the cap to give it a smell check. Then I dropped the bottle. Caesar dressing went all over the floor. It went all over the refrigerator, all over the cabinets, and all over my pants and sweater.

There are no paper towels in the house, because I forgot to buy some when I went the the store and bought my spicy black bean burgers. I cursed a lot, then ran to the closet to fetch a washrag.

It was difficult to clean up using that rag. Afterwards, my sweater smelled like Caesar dressing, so I had to take it off and put on a different sweater. I'm sure my pants smell like Caesar dressing, too, but it mostly got on my pant leg near my shoe, so it doesn't really bother me. I decided not to change my pants.

Then I realized something. The microwave was still on. Apparently I had set it for TEN minutes and thirty seconds.

My spicy black bean burger was the size of a pog, and resembled an iron cast mushroom. I picked it up and dropped it on my plate. It made a noise that sounded like do-not-eat-this, so I threw it away. The kitchen smelled like spicy black beans for hours.

Perhaps due to my recent vow, I have not been sleeping well. These sorts of mishaps really stress me out.

Then I tried to make a peanut butter sandwich, but the damn natural peanut butter, whose jar tells you to keep it refrigerated, was way too hard to spread. So as I waited, I wolfed down a medley of foods that no sensible person would mix together. After eating the sandwich I developed a stomach cramp. It was a miserable lunch, but I was willing to write it off.

I picked up the cat, Fuzzy, and tried to be her friend. She bit me very hard, so I dropped her from a great height. We are not speaking anymore.

Then I went to the movies. I was excited about seeing There Will Be Blood and figured nearly three hours in the movie theater would do my nerves some good.

The theater was packed. I was shocked. This is a slow paced epic about an oilman.

After fifteen minutes of previews for some of the stupidest movies I've never even heard of, I got out of my seat to make sure I was in the right theater. At least it's doing well, I thought.

That was before I discovered that I had chosen the seat in front of the loudest, fattest, oldest, most talkative elderly couple in the world. They were the type to provide a running commentary on the action ("He already told you his name, dummy."), and make predictions the the rest of us had decided to keep to ourselves ("He screwed up. Now they're going to beat the shit out of him, you just watch."). I turned around and stared at them many times, but to no avail. A stronger person would have said something, but I was not in the frame of mind for conflict.

After the movie, I checked my bank account and confirmed that, yes, I am flat broke.

I did upload some pictures to Flickr, and even got a couple of comments.

I was going to write a murder scene for my screenplay, but I have chosen instead to write this bunk ass blog. What's clear to me, having done so, is that I really have nothing at all to complain about. Life is good. Isolation and unemployment, on the other hand, have their draw backs...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Meu Deus!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


It's difficult to be anything but suprised and saddened by the death of Heath Ledger. Like our sister site, I was suprised at just how shocked and sad I was to hear the news. Seems like we were not alone.


Sunday, January 20, 2008


I'm on my way out the door to see Juno for the second time, then to dinner at an Indian restaurant. The best kind of Sunday, no?

If you haven't seen Juno, I recommend it. Recently, I decided to start an online arts and culture magazine/blog about Wilmington, so I wrote a movie review of Juno to get things started. The review isn't very well written, but that's OK because it's the first time I've attempted something like this, and ideally I won't be writing everything for the site anyway (speaking of which, if anyone can help me quickly design a proper website, please let me know, and I'd love to have some help with a few reviews of recent films, too).

Also, I finally got around to watching The Host. I loved the movie, but it was somewhat of an emotional experience hearing that musical score again, because I heard it so bloody much running the trailer in the early days of my time at Cine. In fact, The Host trailer was the first piece of film I ever saw projected at the theater, in the days when Paul and I would step out to smoke and converse optimistically about the opening while James Bond tinkered with God (and maybe Paul) knows what up in the booth. So very, very long ago...


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Free Backpacks!

So a school is receiving critiscm for its "aversive therapy" method. It is a special educaion school for pupils exhibiting the most challenging behaviour across the United States. Hear one parent defend aversive therapy:

“I understand people who don’t know about it think it is cruel,” said Susan
Handon of Jamaica, Queens, whose 20-year-old daughter, Crystal, has been at
Rotenberg for four years. “But she is not permanently scarred and she has really
learned that certain behaviors, like running up and hitting people in the face,
are not acceptable.

Yes, that kind of thing generally is kind of frowned upon. What on earth could this "cruel" therapy be???

While at Rotenberg, students must wear backpacks containing a device that
allows a staff member to deliver a moderate shock to electrodes attached to
the limbs, or in some cases palms, feet or torso, when the students engage in a
prohibited behavior. Both the children’s parents and a court must
consent to the shocks.

Ah, yes. THAT kind of thing is pretty controversial. Especially if you believe the egg head Washington and Lee Prof who believes the lowest shock delivered by the school is twice what pain researchers have said is tolerable for human beings. Or the teacher who testified to witnessing pupils scream and writhe on the floor after being shocked. If we're being picky, we could also point out that it's open to abuse, I mean, no-ones saying that some ex pupils could call the school posing as school officials and demand a pupil be shocked, and that pupil be shocked 77 times in 3 hours as a result, but, you know, someone could take advantage right?

Oh. How could such a good idea turn out so bad?


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Monday, January 14, 2008


Notes From the Muck has deliberately remained above the political fray and declined to make any endorsements in the Democratic Primary (obviously, we all agree that Republicans are, as a rule, douchebags). However, today comes news that makes us abandon our neutrality and endorse Barack Obama once and for all:
Michael Kostroff, an actor who was in town to volunteer for Obama and had a chance to meet him, told the Sun that Obama’s favorite TV show is his own: HBO’s “The Wire,” which chronicles Baltimore’s violent drug culture and the police who quixotically try to stop it.

Obama told the Sun his favorite character is Omar, a stick-up artist who steals from drug dealers and then gives the loot to poor people in the neighborhood.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Master of My Domain

Six months. Six. Months. Kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? The words possess an airy, impeccable quality - a perfect denotation of time. What's six months in the course of a lifetime? And yet, a lot can happen. Or, in my case, not happen.

For reasons I don't yet fully understand, I am hereby taking a public vow of celibacy. For six months. Six. Months. All of a sudden it sounds a little weightier.

In recent times, my libido has cost me some dear friends, and this crazy project is primarily an effort to prove that I can control my appetite. But once I started thinking about it, celibacy lines up perfectly with my goals for 2008.

I've not read much about this, but from what I understand, Freud said that sexual energy is the most creative energy, and that surplus desires are subconsciously channeled into other endeavors. He says that all of human development, in fact, results from a group's collective sublimation of erotic energy into creating laws and building societies and stuff. On a personal level, I'm looking to be more productive than ever before, and more creative. So instead of spending time with the ladies, I will make sweet sweet love to my sketchpads and writing journals.

Uncomfortable yet? My apologies if this is too much information for you, but I'm not the first to undertake such a ridiculous challenge.

Here's a brief list of some famous celibates (celibrities, if you will):

Alfred Hitchcock
Rivers Cuomo
Jessica Simpson

Damn fine company.

So six months, no sexual relations.

This will be tough enough, but I'm taking it a step further. I am ruling out myself as a sexual partner as well. I had a friend who went five months as Master of his Domain, and since I've got a competitive streak I'm not about to let him keep the title.

January. February. March. April. May. June. July. Half a year of sublimating the shit out of my erotic energy. If I fail, I also vow to post it here for all to see, because I know you are all thinking you could stand to know even more about my sex life.

Anyone want to start a pool?

"I think that one of the qualifications of artists should be a vow of celibacy. They should be confined to ruining only their own lives." -Roger Lewis

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm Lame

Last night I'm hanging out with my roommate and her friend. Friend says to roommate, "You should come by tomorrow. I'm having a candle party."

So I say, "Ssssmokin'!"

They stare at me blankly.

I, of course, was referencing the once-popular catch phrase from the 1994 Jim Carrey vehicle, The Mask. And, you know, it was a candle party. And candles smoke.

"What are you talking about? Are you talking about pot? I like pot."

This was the response I got. I turned red and struggled over whether to let them think that I was making a lame and ill-timed marijuana joke, or tell them the truth, which was that I was making a lame and ill-timed Mask joke. Realizing that I was bordering on David Brent territory with the early nineties catch phrase, I decided just to let them think I was a stoner.

I wonder, What Would Jesus Do?

Crap. That's gone out of fashion too, hasn't it? I really am old.

But at least I'm not throwing candle parties.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happiest Day of Your Life

You meet. You talk. You laugh. They laugh. You have things in common. You smile. They smile. You talk more. Wow, you have the same birthday. You laugh nervously. They laugh in the same way. You know they are the one. You marry.


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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Still Not Cool

About a month ago, I signed up for a Second Life account after seeing it mocked on The Office. I was instantly bored and creeped out, so I deleted it after a couple of attempts at exploring.

Today I read about a similar offering called the "vles," or the virtual lower east side. This site, a product of MTV's world domination plan, has yet to take off. Thinking it was be cool to "visit" my old stomping ground, I whipped up a Jeff look-a-like avatar and started waling around Rivington Street.

There was no one there. After maybe ten minutes I came across what appeared to be a virtual bum sleeping on the corner. At least the thing's accurate.

I finally met some dude who seemed as lost as I was, two strangers meeting in an urban wasteland. He was a DJ from Brooklyn and we chatted for a second before his real life friend joined us in her virtual form. Once she showed up I was excluded from the conversation, and I couldn't help but sense that a small clique had formed in this hipster matrix. They started dancing and laughing, so I joined in. They stopped immediately,of course, but I couldn't figure out how to make my avatar stop doing the Z-step. I was a dancing fool while the cool kids swapped esoteric jokes and asides.

Feeling unhip in real life is one thing, but to be a wallflower online, that mecca for social misfits everywhere, is quite another.

They left me to go exploring, so I wandered into a club that I knew from the real world and took a seat at the bar. I did manage to make a virtual friend, but when they had to go back to work I was left sitting there, all alone at the bar, eating imaginary peanuts.

I need a job asap.

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Wilmington Police Blotter

Two men bump, one is stabbed.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Winner Will

So Will won the licence plate competition that Matthew ran a little while back. He fought off some real tough competition but I think everyone can come together and agree that in5ide u was the most offensive plate, in a pre "2 girls, 1 cup"* world anywho. As promised, here's a commemorative post for Will; congratulations, and thanks for creeping us out.

Once upon a time there lived a man and a woman who were very much in love with each other. Many people thought that the love was not real as the man was 90 years old and as frail as a baby while the woman was 25 with a beauty that would make the Gods weep. They knew they loved each other from the day they met, they made each other laugh, they made each other think, and they held each other and cried when they thought there was nothing in the universe that understood them. Together they lived a wonderful life, each of them showing the other another way of looking at world, of fulfilling their potential to be better human beings, and when they came home to each other at the end of the day they felt like they'd the biggest lottery of all, that of love.

There was just one blip in their love. The woman was unable to climax during love making.

They tried everything. Creams, potions, diets, stretches, primal scream sessions, satin sheets, meditation, mediation, sunsets, ice baths, strawberries, love letters under pillows, pillows under knees, you name it, they tried it.

At the end of another unfruitful bout of getting it on, the old man wept. His lover embraced him and told him not to worry, that their life was perfect in every other way, but she coulnd't deny the hole that existed in her soul. As they lay there, the doorbell went, and they heard the sound of a car driving away. They ran downstairs. There on the welcome mat lay a business card.

"The Final Piece" Give her what she gives you. 100% success rate.

There was a number. They rang it. The conversation was swift and to the point. They were asked if they truly loved each other. They answered yes. They were asked if they had tried everything else. They answered yes. They were told that the next day a beautiful young man would come to their home. He would arrive with a blue towel. The couple would make love while the man waved the towel over them, climax would then ensue.

The morning arrived with the ringing of the door bell. The couple looked outside. In their drive way stood a luxurious sports car which was so phallic it should have been pixalated out. The licence plate read in5ide u. The woman shivvered and felt her knees buckle a little. The old man felt himself tense in anticpation. The doorbell rang again, and they answered. There at the door stood not just a good looking man, not just a beautiful man, but a divine man. His features seemed to have been conceived and crafted in heaven, tempered and finished in hell. He oozed sexuality, every part of his body seemed designed to the end of pleasuring human beings.

The couple were immediately transfixed by his beauty and fell into each other's arms. Soon they were going at it, the young man stepped over the writhing couple and shut the front door to protect their modesty. He produced the blue towel, and waved it passionately over the lovers.

An hour later the pair collapsed into each other's arms. The woman had not climaxed.

The old man had to be held up, the strain of strenuous bonking and of the subsequent let down of failure had turned him to jelly. "You promised us" he wheezed, "you promised us". "So I did", said the man, "this has only happened on one occasion, but I was able to fix that, it is a tricky situation however". He stooped and whispered something to the old man. At first it seemed as if he had dropped poison into his ear. The old man recoiled and his face skewed. He then sagged and wept again. "If it is is the only way, then I leave it up to my beloved to choose". He leant down to his love, cupped her face in his hand and spoke to her;

"My love, I have never been able to give you the satisfaction you deserve. Our friend here informs me that there is one possible solution left which, though it pains me to the core to think of, I am willing to consider if it means you are happy. He will make love to you while I wave the towel. You will forever associate me with the pleasure he will give you, and we will be complete. If you want this, that is ok with me".

In seconds the old man was standing over his true love in the arms of the beautiful man, dutifully waving the towel.

It did not take long for the woman to orgasm; it was subtle at first, like warm evervescent darts shooting across her body, but it didn't take long before pleasure took over and she lost control; it was like Victoria Falls was cascading over Niagra falls, over and over in the confines of an old elevator whose doors had just been opened. Time slowed, stood still, and melted like an oil painting.

She lay there, slowly looking at the world gain focus again, for all she knew she could have been being born again. No names, no sounds, nothing existed, except for the pleasure that had just consumed her. Then, there he was, the face of her love, her beloved, slowly coming into focus. Would he be empty after witnessing the intense bow chigga wow wow? Were those tears in his eyes? No, they were gleaming alright, but he was smiling, actually smiling. She reached out to kiss him but he seemed not to notice her. His attention was on the young man who was still lay on his wife. He lay a wizened and gnarled hand that still trembled on the young man's shoulder and whispered softly in his ear;

"And that, dear boy, THAT, is how you wave a towel".

There you go Will. Sorry.

* Which is bad by the way Jenny. Really bad. Just saying.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Ought Eight

I have resolved to be more creative and productive in 2008. This will likely lead to alienation from the civilized world, especially in a town where I know no one. Luckily, I have the Muck upon which to thrust the mediocre fruits of my labor.

Primarily, I've decided to write every single day, no matter what. I've been good so far. Sometimes, when you don't know what to write it helps to attempt an exercise. I wrote the following, for instance, based on an exercise in John Gardner's The Art of Fiction (a book I'd recommend to anyone interested in writing creatively):
He rang the doorbell again. It had been almost a decade since he'd seen her, a decade since the blizzard, and here he was on her front porch, standing in the rain like an asshole. He looked around as he waited. A faded Dora the Explorer tricycle inhabited one corner of the porch, parallel parked between a hibachi grill and a trashcan. In the other corner, to his right, sat a pair of muddy cowboy boots. Jerome gave up on the bell and knocked hard on the wooden door. As he did so, the wind picked up, bringing the rain with it onto the porch. He shivered and pulled the lapels of his jacket tighter to his chest. If Cassandra didn't answer soon he was going back. Girl never gave one shit about anyone but herself, and if she hadn't sounded so desperate on the phone, Jerome never would have come. He moved to the window, cupped his hands, looked inside. It was dark, except for a light bouncing off the wall from upstairs. He squinted and looked deeper, peering into the shadows of the kitchen at the back of the house. There was another door there that seemed to be hanging open an inch or two. Jerome stepped away from the window and turned to face the rain. He shook his head, pulled on his hood, and stepped off the porch towards the back of the house.

The task was to write the paragraph before the discovery of a body.

In addition to writing, I've been busy:

Cleaning house...

Drawing for the first time since 2004...

Taking arty photographs...


And going broke, which I seem to be better at than any of the above.

Hopefully, I'll do a little progress report like this every month or so just to keep myself on track. Of course, eventually I'll have a real job and might have to settle for simply making a living and boozing it up along Cape Fear...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Pickle is Pushed

I have nothing to say but I'm sick of looking at my music list from over a week ago.

The Wire has started again. There's no need to reiterate how great it is, but this article does a fine job of pointing out how unique it is as well. I guess that's the thing I keep getting so worked up about. I truly feel like we are all lucky to be alive at a time when a real masterpiece is being produced. Like, imagine being alive when Tolstoy was writing. That's how lucky we are. The Wire will be in the history books for sure. It is a major and significant leap forward for art, as it represents the shift from film to television as the new medium for meaningful expression.

Also, I'm moving to Wilmington tomorrow.