The School of Distaste

Dent Butt coughed maple syrup through his esophagus and out his nose. It dripped in large globs down his chin and over the neat stack of pancakes on his plate. Every once in a while, he shook his head every so slightly, so that he would make a horrible mess in his lap and onto the hardwood floors. He knew the gooey mess would make his parents proud. They were firm believers in making as much of a mess as possible throughout the house. A fact that made Dent very unhappy, since he was more prone to doing nice things, like learning the ballet or the two step.

"Oh what I wouldn't give to make heart-shaped pony cookies," he sometimes thought to himself. "Life just isn't fair."

"No one said it was," Dent said back to himself, as he looked in the mirror on the pantry. He often had heart-to-heart's with himself like this. He just couldn't risk making friends with anyone who believed in the good of humanity, or wanted to be a beacon of hope. His parents would disown him faster than they could take a dump on the living room sofa, or shove the mailman's head in mulch and tell him to eat shit and die. And no matter how Dent tried, he couldn't say such things to Mark, the mailman. He had a nice mustache, and never complained when Dent punched him in the ribs, and told him it was for a school project. He seemed to understand, and aside from Dent's heart-to-heart's with the mirror above the pantry, these moments of acceptance were the happiest moments in Dent's life.

"I hate your guts and I'm going to rip your head off and piss on it!" Dent shrieks at Mark in a flashback of the event put on an old screen in a warehouse on the Bowery. Several people refuse to enter back into the text of the story, and envision other moments of brutality upon Mark, as a montage of several bloody beatings from the Dent family transpire. Those that are looking carefully, notice that Dent is not participating in these events, but slowly creeping backwards against the azalea bushes. Something which triggers several of the readers to form a match cut in their minds, as the azalea bushes blur, and are replaced by the phrases from Dent's Expletives textbook that are listed below:





Like all children who are starved for their parent's approval, Dent spent every afternoon trying to build his vocabulary to get a good grade in his Expletives course at The School of Distaste. He had proceeded through the basic, and was now forming complex improvisational put down's that would give any student in the third form a modest amount of difficulty.

Tao's Remix Project

Tao has a nice idea to offer his stories to be edited and submitted to magazines in the hopes of reducing abstractions like 'success', 'power', and 'good'.

Responding to his offer, there have been several writers who have also volunteered their stories to be edited and submitted to magazines. Some are teaming together, and others, such as Chris Killen and Brandon Scott Gorrell, have offered links to their stories on their personal sites.

I see this venture as a positive and encouraging experiment. Like Tao, I am interested in seeing how different gestures can effect change within the world. I am curious to see how this event will take shape, and I am more than happy to offer any of my stories for the "remix".

One of my stories is listed below for those interested in doing a rewrite and placing it for publication.

For those of you interested in learning more about how to get involved, or to offer your own stories or tag team offerings, please visit Reader of Depressing Books for the latest update.

"My Worst Day"

“Hey you,” the voice said, “with the can.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Can you dance?”

I picked up my foot. It came down with a crash. I could see the water move. It was in a puddle. It was next to my foot. I liked the way water moved. I wished I could move like water. I couldn’t though. Believe me. I tried. The other day I lied down on the grass. I pretended like I was the ocean. I moved my stomach up and down. It felt good. I couldn’t move everything at the same time though. It just looked like I was breathing.

“What are you doing?” Lisa asked.

I told her I was the ocean.

She lied down next to me. She held my hand. We were best friends. It felt good to be there with her. She made my chest feel real big. It felt like the ocean. I told her we didn’t need to move anything. We were doing pretty good just lying there.

“Yeah,” she said.

Then she said it.

“I’m moving.”

“Where?” I asked.

“Far away,” she said.

I was pretty sad. I thought we were going to be together forever.

“No,” she told me. “I’m moving.”

We lied there on the grass. We were oceans. We were 12 years in the making. We were stars. Now we were sad. I looked up at the sidewalk. I could see some ants through the blades of grass. I reached up and touched one. So did Lisa. She was just like me. She was my best friend. I was going to miss her real bad.

“Yeah,” she said. “Me too.”

I walked her home. Then I went home. I thought about dancing. I didn’t know if I could move like an ocean. It was hard. Oceans are pretty big. They are a lot like space. I couldn’t even imagine being space. That was a lot bigger. I wondered how space moved. I lied down on the picnic table. I pretended I was space. I didn’t move at all. I just felt everything moving inside me. I could feel my heart. It was loud in my ear. I could feel my stomach. Then I felt something fly through me. I think it was a comet. Maybe, it was a star. I imagined I could feel the Earth. I could feel Lisa. She felt like the ocean. I stayed like that for a while. I didn’t even hear myself crying. I was space. I just lied there. I didn’t move at all.


Today was a nice day. I spoke to my parents on the phone. That is always nice. They nagged each other about nagging me, and then gave me advice on what to do with my stomach.

"Perl-o-sic," my father enunciated. "Take one and you will be fine."

"Just one?"

"Yes," he said. "Take one in the morning with your cereal. Then eat grilled chicken."

"Grilled chicken?"

"Yes, grill chicken! Just grilled chicken!"

"Just grilled chicken?"

"Or salmon. Get salmon."

"Okay. I got it. Grilled chicken and salmon."

"For one week."


I kept my father's advice in mind as I headed to Itaehwon later in the day to meet So Gee. We got salmon, lima beans, yogurt, and an avocado. Then we went to a Persian restaurant, where I had - you guessed it - salmon kabob!

"You speak Farsi?" the owner asked me in Farsi.

"A bit," I said back in Farsi.

"Where are you from?"


Are you from Iran?"

"I was born in Tehran."

"Oh, that's nice. What can I get you?"

"She'll have the chicken kabob. I'll try the salmon."

"Do you want some salad and yogurt to go with it?"

"That sounds nice."

The waiter walked away. So Gee looked at me expectingly.

"What?" I asked.

"So? What'd he say?"

"He said he likes the way you look. He thinks you would be good to eat."

"I knew it," So Gee laughed.

"Well," I smiled, "It's written all over you."

I felt a lot better getting out of the house, and being with her. She made me feel happier, and I started to get the thought that maybe I could beat this illness with the right mindset, that maybe I could just think of myself as healthy, and it would be so.

"Korea isn't that bad," I told her. "It's not like great, but it's okay."

"I understand," she nodded. "When I came back from the states to here, I went through a major depression. I just felt so free when I was there. I was happy. Here, there is a different energy."

"Yeah," I agreed. "It's like everybody is out to make money fast, fast, fast."

"Yes, it's all about results."

We were in a cab now. I looked out the window. There were dozens of neon lights, jutting out from the storefronts that lined the street down Itaehwon. I recognized it as Korea. I nodded almost half asleep. The salesmanship. The simplicity. The cabbie in front of us, slamming his brakes.

"I don't like him," So Gee said, with her eyes slightly averted from the front seat.


"He just grabbed our bags and threw them in the front seat."

"Well," I laughed. "You better get used to that. That's going to happen no matter where you are."

"That's true."

"You know I don't know what will happen for the two of us. I don't know if you'll like me enough to come to the states with me when I go, or even if you'll like me a couple months from now. I have no idea. But we probably need to look at what needs to be done if you decide to come with me."

"Are you proposing to me?"


"Are you going to propose to me in this cab?"

" I mean-"

"Don't do it here. It has to be special."

"What? That's not what I'm saying. I just said to look into what it would take to get you to the states."

"Do it when you're ready." So Gee said very matter of factly, and laid down on my lap.

I put my hand on her forehead. I told her she was my Chinese girl. She said she was Filipino. I asked her if she would like living in America. She said that wasn't even a question. I told her about my parents. She started belly dancing. I imagined an igloo. It was in my hand. We walked inside and lived a life. I caught fish. She started fires. There were children. The children made more igloos. They rose in semi-circles on my finger tips. The neon from the street cascaded down upon them, giving them hues of orange and magenta. Then I let the igloos melt into her hair, as I held the back of her neck to keep her from sliding off my lap.

My Painting Keeps Growing

I woke up at 4 a.m. today. I had to work on the painting again. I didn't really know what I was doing. I kept using more and more paint. I abandoned brushes. Now it is getting thicker and thicker. It isn't quite where I want it to be, but I am getting happier with it now. I just have to find more risks, more danger.

Aside from that, I spoke with my brother. It seems that the strike in Hollywood is still hot and heavy. He thought me coming home would be better in summer, as most everyone in the industry is out of work at the moment. That was a bit discouraging to hear. I am ready to go home now. Korea has been an interesting experience, but I miss the comforts of home. I miss talking to people.

Earlier tonight I went to the Outback with a few ex-pats. It was nice to sit there and watch the Australian Open. It soothed me. I also got a chance to hang out with Mina. That was nice to be with her. She has a wonderful spirit and energy. It is definitely uplifting.

Aside from that, my stomach is acting up again. I am not sure what's going on. I am going to have to make a list of what I can eat, and hope I can last here until summer. I will try it for the next week. Hopefully, things will improve. If not, I can only assume that a trip home would be inevitable at that point. The only question is where to land. Do I go back to Hollywood? Pick another city?

I have no idea. I will keep an open mind. Hopefully, I will feel better by the end of this week. Then it will give me some time to mull it over with a healthy mind and body.

Slim Food Choices in Korea

The food choices in Korea are pretty slim in the area that I am living. Since my bout with gastritis, it has gotten even slimmer. I am now down to vanilla and strawberry yogurt, bananas, oranges, eggs, milk, and almond flakes. Most nights I will go to the Outback Steak House or the two other semi-American restaurants, and try and get a grilled chicken salad or a sandwich of some sort. This can be rather expensive, but my hectic schedule, lack of enthusiasm to cook on a hot plate, and limitations of such a device, place me at serious odds with pleasing my very picky tastes. Throw in my current sensitivity and inability to handle spicy foods, and that pretty much eliminates any Korean fare.

I didn't know I would take such an aversion to Korean food. Initially, I took in the spicy galbi, tak galbi, and the rest, but my aching, weak stomach simply won't have anything to do with anything remotely caliente. That is why I have considered returning to the states even more so of late. My health is important to me, and unless my next move doesn't provide a wider array of food choices, I may have to do just that.

Although this may not be the smartest of choices, considering I have a sweet girlfriend, a nice, new job, and for all intense purposes, a rather happy existence - I am not sure that I will have the choice to remain if my health continues to deteriorate.

As of this moment, I have ceased all tobacco products of any kind. I am hoping this will make an improvement. The only other thing I can do is continue to eat the fruit, vegetables, and cereal that I have available.

[imaginary glass is lifted]

Here is to hoping I see a turnaround.

Looking into Animation

Lately, I have been looking at the possibility of entering UCLA's Animation Program. I am not sure about the expensive tuition involved to enter, but I am excited at the opportunity to master the process, and see where it leads me as an artist.

Many friends have suggested that such an avenue would be way off the beaten path for me. Those who support my writing, say I need to continue to produce novels. Others who see me in the academic field or producing television vie in those avenues. I am not sure that any of these things are mutually exclusive though. I have always wanted to create a movie, and my fascination with animation, drawing, and music are all in unison with one another. Who knows? I could do any and all these things.

Recently, I sat with my friend, Darek, at a Starbucks in South Korea. He commented at how one's avenues become limited as time accrues. "The choices become more limited," he said. "In your 20's, it seems limitless. But, as you get older, that window closes in on you."

I wonder if that's true. It could be. I can understand if I had a wife and children how that would be a bit more difficult. At the same time, I doubt that I would ever be a traditional husband or father, or that I would enter into a relationship with someone who would want that type of life. Given these tendencies, and my own interest in following my interests and passions, I don't see an Animation program as being too far off the beaten path for me.

"You don't seem to be the type of person who would be interested in that type of detailed work," Yakity told me.

That is certainly true at times. I don't like to follow directions if I am building something. I like to just go and see where it takes me. Of course, I can be extremely detail-oriented if I am passionate about a project - especially if it involves a creative end-product. I love making things.

This doesn't mean I see myself working as a grunt animator in the future, but I could imagine building or designing a program, or even a virtual novel that could be traversed via the web. I don't know. The more I am involved with technology, the more I enjoy seeing if I can take a creative concept and present it within a digital format. Animation is a nice bridge between theses worlds, and as I dive a bit deeper in the coming weeks - I have some animation textbooks arriving in Korea - I will be able to let the world know the direction I am traveling.

Yes, that's right - a roller coaster.


Has anyone ever heard of Animation Mentor?

"...The first school of its kind, Animation Mentor is a cross between YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK and ART SCHOOL, (think TOY STORY U). It uses real-time, interactive classes; streaming rich media; personal weekly, online critiques; social networking; Internet drawing tools; and more to teach animation to students living in 56 countries. All the instructors are working pros at Pixar, ILM, PDI/DreamWorks and other top studios..." (Jones, Angie, "Thinking Animation Blog")

Transistor Radio on Sale Now!

Limited editions of Transistor Radio are now on sale at CD Baby. If you buy more than one copy, you will receive 50% off the cover price. For those of you who are not interested in the collector cards or limited edition physical copies, iTunes will house digital MP3's later this month.

Human Tetris: Double Feature

Two different looks at the game of Tetris. I don't know which I like better. Both are equally great concepts.

Winter Blues

I'm feeling pretty depressed. I'm not sure if it's my stomach still feeling like crap, or the fact that it is winter out here and I'm not used to it. Either way, I am seriously considering going back to the states. I could go right back to producing, or just find a nice little town, like Portland, to hang out in for a while. I'm just not sure. The new job here might be interesting, and it's not like I have a lot of money to just make a move back to L. A., and hope to rock it on charm alone. I know I can have a devastating smile, but I do need a nice little chunk of change to buy a car, apartment, and cell phone, etc. Right now I got a couple thousand saved up. I figure I'm going to have to suffer another year here to live somewhere else comfortably, or end up getting a scholarship or something to some PhD gig. Of course, I don't really know what the cards hold. This new job may be the shits, and I'll want to get home as soon as the year is up, or it just might be bearable. Who knows? I'm not really looking forward to it. If I felt healthier, I might feel differently. I don't know though. There is something about being sick here, and not having the comforts of home, or a familiar face. It's pretty lonely.

The Procession

cheese in a basket
herbs lined beneath
a pattern is drawn
the finger
a stethoscope to the sand
dawn to dusk to dust again
as if the dome sphere
blew a mustache and apple
beneath each straw hat
bore to Mashhad

Simultaneous Play

These videos need to be played simultaneously. The first at quarter volume, and the second at full.

The Only Thing

The only thing that makes my stomach stop hurting. Dear God, why did you invent gastritis, and when can I eat solid food again?