Thursday, May 31, 2007

I AM THE STUPIDEST MAN ALIVE

Greetings folks... I'll save the verbose preliminary crap and get right to the reason why I am the stupidest man alive...

I just called up my brother Steve to find out what time I should be at his house tomorrow so we could travel to the airport together for our incredibly early flight to Spokane. His answer was something like this...

"That's not until next week, stupid."

Now I don't remember his exact words and I am pretty sure he didn't call me stupid... but he should have. I was off by a whole freakin' week! So here I am waking up at 5 AM this morning and busting my ass to finish a deadline for Vertigo Comics, only to find out... well... you know. And now so do I. Boy do I feel like a dumbass. Normally I tend to be pretty reliable when it comes to remembering dates and phone numbers and that sort of stuff, but I guess when I mistep I REALLY mistep.

I'm not going to defend my mistake (much), BUT it seemed like this weekend would be the appropriate time to go and have a family service for my grandfather. I mean... he passed away over a week ago, so I just assumed it would be this weekend. Steve got the tickets online and sent me the itinerary, but I didn't bother to look at the dates. Shame on me.

On the bright side, I wasn't feeling all that enthusiastic about traveling this weekend (as evidenced by the fact that I hadn't packed yet). Its not that I don't want to spend some QT with my mom and her side of the family, I just feel like I have too many things to do it this week. Now at least I can get my work in order before Friday, June 8th... which is actually NOT this week, but next week.

Yeah, next week will work out better.

Much better.

:)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CHAPTER 6

Hi all...

I'm still trying to wrap up a couple deadlines before I head out to Spokane on Friday. So I figured I might as well throw down with the next chapter of SEX OFFENDERS. Now on this chapter I need to offer the disclaimer that this is my LEAST FAVORITE chapter to date. If I had the time I would rewrite the crap out of it because for some reason it made me cringe to read it. Cringing and being mildy embarassed by the assy-ness of my old writing is a pretty familiar feeling, but this one is on another level of cringetivity. Suffice to say I am not a huge fan of this piece of wordsmithing.

I guess I shouldn't color everyone's opinion before they have a chance to judge for themselves. I'm probably too late at this point. Oh well. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

:)
b

Chapter 6

After a short ride that is mostly quiet, but still comfortable for both parties, they arrive at the sports bar. Hardballs is a collection of wall mounted LCD televisions, pool tables and bar stools surrounding a rectangular bar in the center. The d├ęcor is modern sports memorabilia chic, with assorted signed game balls, jerseys and other professional sports related paraphernalia encased in Plexiglas along the walls. The staff consists of mostly attractive women sporting skimpy outfits that should have “Hooters” emblazoned on their tight white t-shirts instead of Hardballs. In fact, if one were sufficiently hammered, they could mistake the orange Hardballs logo for that of Hooters.

Although Edwin left the office much earlier, somehow Danny and Mae manage to be the first to arrive. Their get to know you chit-chat really begins in earnest at the main bar. Mae orders a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but changes her order to a coke, after Danny orders a Cherry Coke.

“You don't have to get a coke on my account.” Danny says.

“I know. But it's no fun drinking alone.”

“Sorry. I don't really drink, much.”

“No?” Mae says. “Why not?”

“No big reason. I'm not recovering or a religious fanatic or anything like that. It's just not really my thing.”

“I respect that. I don't drink much either. Just socially.”

“That's a relief.” Danny feels comfortable enough to set up his first witty remark.

“Why?” Mae takes the bait.

“Nothing. I was just beginning to believe all of those rumors about you being an agoraphobic alcoholic. That's all.”

The too-clever-for-its-own-good remark elicits a small obligatory chuckle from Mae, which doesn't go unnoticed by Danny. Embarrassment begins to swell behind his cheeks, turning his face a nice shade of red. Mae, sensing his discomfort, does her best to let him off the hook and keep the conversation flowing.

“I'm not agoraphobic.” She says in her best dumb blonde voice. “I think those fuzzy sweaters are just darlin'.” Her silly quip is enough to make Danny laugh at its own stupidity and give himself a reprieve from embarrassment.

“Me too. I have several myself.” Danny redeems himself a bit. This time Mae's chuckles are authentic.

“You do? I bet you look absolutely fabulous in them.” Mae counters, placing her hand momentarily on his.

“Oh, I do. I just love wearing them... and nothing else.”

Mae’s subsequent ensuing laughter is so infectious that Danny can't help but respond in kind. This laughter takes on the added importance of being their first real intimate moment together, a fact not lost on either of them. To Danny, it is the beginning of something forbidden, which excites and frightens him at the same time. Mae, on the other hand, accepts it as a finite moment in time that cannot lead to anything. So she will file this away in her memory catalog, to inevitably be called upon as a future means of escape. Although their reasons differ, they both resign themselves to a fate that is untrue to their hearts.

The light-hearted conversation flows smoothly, and their comfort level rises accordingly. Danny and Mae volley witty banter back and forth, speaking only in broad generalizations and steering clear of anything related to love, sex or their personal lives. For Mae it is a subconscious choice done to divorce the present from her past, while at the same time not allow any consideration of the future. She wishes only to live in the moment she shares with Danny, because that is all she can grant herself. It is Danny's ever-present failsafe, however, that motivates him to steer clear of those subjects which may risk further intimacy. Yet, he feels the overwhelming need to at least express his gratitude for their time spent together. He feels indebted to her for allowing him a temporary reprieve from loneliness.

“Glad you came. It will make this whole thing a lot less painful." He says. I'm not used to the bar thing. Not really my element.”

“Same here. I used to go out a lot. When I was younger and stupider. But I can't really stand it anymore.”

“It’s all pretty lame.”

“Yeah. And getting propositioned all the time is so annoying.”

“Too many drunken dopes, huh?”

“But what should I expect. A girl can't even go to Trader Joe's without being hit on. And why do guys always act like they're not trying to get in your pants? As if they are really interested in my totally awesome wizard figurine collection. God, I hate it when people do that.”

“You have a wizard figurine collection?”

“Seventy-seven of them. Why? Do you like wizards, too?”

“No, I but if I act like I’m interested will you invite me over to check out your figure… I mean figurines?” Danny can't help but cross his own line, even if it is in jest. Mae is not sure how to take it at first. She laughs it off anyway, in hopes that he will do the same. He breaks into a crooked grin that is genuine but goofy looking.

“Did I sound convincing?”

“Almost. For a second I thought we shared something special. I was gonna jump into your lap and fuck the shit out of you right here.”

Her last eight words are incredibly shocking and unexpected. They enter through Danny's ears, but instead of going up to register in his brain, they travel south, landing in his penis and causing it to stir. But, before he can even consider the words lodged in his member, Edwin and his posse of Totally Toys people, arrive.

Edwin is the first through the double doors leading into the bar, laughing and carrying on with the others. Like a heat seeking missile, he immediately hones in on and finds Mae, and to his chagrin, Danny. He leads his congregation to them.

“You made it!” says Edwin.

And just like that, the intimacy shared by Mae, Danny, and Danny's penis is destroyed. What follows is an Edwin led group conversation that is impersonal, uninteresting to them, and deprives them of the opportunity to make liars out of themselves.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'M REALLLLLLLY BUSY...

but I feel the need to recommend the best show on television...

HBO'S THE WIRE

There, I said it. I just finished rewatching season 4 (which isn't out yet on DVD) and felt compelled to go public with my pronouncement that, not only is The Wire the best show on televison... but season 4 is the greatest single season of filmed television in history!!!

I know that's a pretty bold statement, but I believe its the truth. As much as I love The Shield and Sopranos I must concede that The Wire is better.

I am however willing to admit that season 2 of The Wire falls way short of the other seasons. But then again the Sopranos has some less than stellar seasons (take your pick between 4,5,6). The Shield? They've never had a bad season. All of their seasons are really good, but none reach the greatness of season 4 of the Wire.

Of course this is just one man's opinon. But if you don't agree with me... i hate you.

b

Oh... and one other thing... I'm very saddened by the cancellation of Veronica Mars. She rocked hard and I hope that Kristen Bell gets another show. She's smart, sassy and easy on the eyes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

IT'S MEMORIAL DAY!

...and I'm working. What else is new. But to be honest, since when did Memorial cease to be about remembering those who have died serving our country and become the three day weekend that ushers in the Summer Party season? I'm not sure what drunken beach parties and barbecues have to do with honoring dead soldiers. Also, don't you think that there is a better way to honor our fallen military than by making it okay to start wearing white?!

Oh and here's some trivia for you... Memorial Day used top be called Decoration Day, and it began as a holiday to commemorate Civil War Union soldiers. I bet you didn't know that... I know I didn't until I looked it up on wikipedia. Just another reason that the internet is the greatest thing since the last thing that was really great.

Anyways, those are just a couple random thoughts in honor of the holiday.

On a completely different note, one of my scripts (called Lowlifes) that I entered into a Screenwriting Competition just passed the first stage... having made the almost impressive quarterfinals. If I make it to the next stage (the semifinals) then I will feel like I have accomplished something. Check out the link if you wanna make sure I'm not lying.

http://writerstorm.com/site/?p=home

That's it for now... BACK TO WORK!
b

Saturday, May 26, 2007

MORE TRAVEL PLANS

In what is starting to seem like a trend, my brother and I are off on another family bereavment trip... only this time my mom will be sitting between us on the plane.

We leave on Friday to the great city of Spokane, Washington, and return on Monday morning. This trip will be a little different because I know my mother's side of the family a lot better. So we are talking familiar faces that it will be really nice to see (if not for the circumstances). But to keep a little of the uncomfortable element, there will be one and possibly two cousins going that I don't know. Oh, and I think one of them doesn't speak English... at least he didn't when I met him in Puerto Rico 8-10 years ago. I'll be sure to blog about the trip and all of the festivities that ensue. Wait, I'm not sure its proper decorum to call them festivities. You can fill in a more appropriate word, I'm moving on...

I wanted to mention the part about all this grandparental death that is most unsettling. My mother said that people don't really learn about mortality and death until a parent dies, and I am inclined to agree. That is not to downplay the importance of other loved ones and family members passing away, but I think when your parents die it really hits home. WHY? I think its because while your parents are alive it feels like you are safe. Parents are supposed to go first, right? So if they are still around chances are you're still gonna be around. Now its the same thing with grandparents... if they are still alive then your parents are safe. And now that all four of my grandparents have passed on... that means that my mom and dad are not longer safe. They are the now senior members of the family, which puts them on the front lines.

And you know what? I don't like it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ANOTHER PASSING...

I was all set to write about something meaningless and follow it up with chapter six of Sex Offenders, but then I got a call from my mother that her father passed away from complications stemming from pnuemonia. Grandpa Paul was 94 years old.

So that's two grandparents in two weeks, crazy huh? I guess the only positive (and it's barely that) is that I don't have any more living grandparents to keep the streak going. I was closer to Paul than my dad's mother, but that isn't saying a whole lot. I'd see him at least once a year for pretty much my whole life... usually when he was visiting my mom. And unlike my grandmother, he did get to meet Paris and I think he even secretly had a crush on Xochil. He was an energetic, talkative Puerto Rican who stood barely 62 inches tall.

Rest in peace Grandpa.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TV CLASS AND THE ART OF BLOGGING

Yo yo yo...

I haven't really decided on what I want to write about for today's blog, so I am just going to type some stream of consciousness random type crap and see where that take me. Hopefully it won't bore the bejeezus out of those courageous enough to actually read it.


Okay, so here goes...

I went to my TV SPEC WRITING class last night and as a group we discussed one of my 7 Grey's Anatomy storylines. I was surpised by the nature of some of the questions and criticisms, but overall the event was constructive. I could probably include a more venomous account of what transpired, but being that this is the world wide web, I figure it might not be advisable to rant and rave about people that I am going to have to see for the next few Tuesdays. Better safe than sorry, right? I will say that I got a few REALLLLLLY GOOOOOOOD suggestions about the story and I am thankful for that. You just have to wade through some of the ridiculousness inherent in having 20 people with differing opinions judge your shit simultaneously. Yeah there was some contradiction and misunderstanding, but I also got rightly raked over the coals for not really paying much attention to the medicine side of my story. Honestly in Grey's the medicine is secondary to the emotional story so I've pretty much just been winging it. Of course they are right and I do need to work out the logistics of the medicine eventually. Basically it was a productive experience and will make my story better.

Okay, now that's got me thinking about the nature of blogging and specifically the concept of revealing intimate thoughts in a forum that is accessible WORLD WIDE. Clearly people blog because they want other people to read it... otherwise what's the point of blogging, right? You might as well open a word file on you desktop and write in there, then save and close it so no one ever sees it.

So my question is this... why would you ever blog about something that you don't want anyone to find out about?

I know this seems like an stupid question with an obvious answer, but I know for a fact that people have been burned by blogging about things they shouldn't. People also get in trouble for talking shit about others in their blog. So why do it?! Is blogging merely a passive aggresive forum to talk shit about people in the hopes that it gets back to them? Just a thought to ponder...

Personally I am thankful that I am old enough and wise enough to know better. But I can't say honestly that I would have used good judgment if blogging was around when i was 18-23. I probably would have written LOTS OF stupid shit and felt like a complete ass when i was called on it. I also would have chronicled the very intimate (though not interesting) thoughts and feelings of my non-existant love life. I probably would have posted poetry and would have written countless volumes about what I thought my ideal woman would be-- as though putting it out in the universe could possibly make it happen. Maybe I watched WEIRD SCIENCE too many times as a teen. Yeah, I'm glad there was no blogging back then, because I'm not sure if by 2007 I would have lived down all of the embarassment I would have created for myself.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on blogging. Discuss.

Back to work!
b

Monday, May 21, 2007

QUIET WEEKEND

Another weekend in the books and nothing interesting to report...

But since when does that stop me from reporting! So, let's get the show on the road...

I worked A LOT on Saturday and took Paris to see my mother on Sunday. The two of them watched Spiderman 3 while I did homework at Starbucks. How's that for uninteresting?!

Oh, and on Friday Paris had a school function with a silent auction. I bid on and won all 4 James Bond Ultimate box sets for 110 bucks. Not bad considering that each set has five Bond movies. So now I have all 20... including all of the lousier ones like The Living Daylights, Octopussy and A View To A Kill. But FOX knew that no one would buy a box set with Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore's later crap, so they mixed all the movies up. So if you want the sweet Connery shit you have to buy it with the crappy Bond stuff. It makes total sense from a financial standpoint, but its annoying as hell if you wanna watch the movies in order. I also won a Paul Frank black rain jacket for Xochil and a 13 movie Woody Allen Box set for my mom. She was happy to get it.

So right now I'm working and watching Dr. No... and damn if Sean Connery still isn't the smoothest mofo in celluloid history. he my friends is a prime example of "To Cool For School." Most people THINK they are too cool for school, but Connery was!

What else... I also managed to finish the first draft of my Grey's Anatomy outline. It still needs some work, but I think its a darn good first pass. I got some helpful notes from my teacher, and some annoyingly way off base notes from a student who shall remain nameless. Sadly, it is not the first batch of "destined to be ignored" suggestions I have recieved from said student. And something tells me it won't be the last. Unless of course this student just happens to be one of the 2 or 3 people who actually read this blog...

Speaking of which... should I be saddened by the fact that I hardly get any hits on this blog even though I haven't really pimped it and... let's face it I don't exactly have friends falling out of my a$$hole. I guess it doesn't matter much since at the end of the day I am writing this for me. Why? Because I love the sound of my fingers typing at not quite blazing speed. I also love the sound of me rapidly tapping on the DELETE key as I am forced to correct the numerous type-Os because I try to type faster than I probably should. Shame on me!

Okay... this is even too much babble for me... and I love my own babble.

See ya later!
b

Friday, May 18, 2007

CHAPTER 5.5

Howdy, howdy,

I'm off to another busy day of coloring, which means now is a good time for the next installment of Sex Offenders. But before that, I wanted to follow up on my review of Todd Field's LITTLE CHILDREN. It was interesting and pretty good over all. I was surprised by the relatively small amount of pedophelia and perversion until I found out it was based on a book. Don't get me wrong, there was still some of that stuff, but not a lot by Todd Fieldsian standards. It's about relationships, infidelity, and ultimately states the case that no matter how bad we fuck up, we can always make ammends. Basically the theme seemed to me to be "Its never to late to repair your life (instead of running from or destroying it)". Good acting, some funny/bizarre little moments... and Kate Winslet's bare ass. What more can you ask for?

Oh, and I want to officially pat myself on the back for figuring out where the actor who played the pervert RONNIE came from. Without any prompting or internet research I figured out that he was Kelly from the original Bad News Bears! Not bad considering that he is like 30 years older now. You may not be impressed, but I was.

Enjoy the next installment!

b

CHAPTER 5.5

Edwin Rolle's spends his day obsessed with Mae's breasts. Even while he is out on the road visiting vendors, he obsesses about them. He speculates about their size and shape, and their taste and texture. He builds a 3-D model of them in his head, using educated guesses to fill the large gaps in raw data, due to the fact that he has never actually seen them. He more than gives her the benefit of the doubt, constructing a pair of breasts that are the Socratic definition of perfect-the standard by which all other breasts are measured.

While chewing the fat with the district manager of the Cantell Toy company, Edwin's overwhelming desire to gossip gets the best of him. He gives a mostly fictional account of the morning's conversation, bragging about how both Joan and Mae made sexual overtures towards him. When the District manager takes the bait and asks for more juicy details, he embellishes further with the a series of flat out lies, the most offensive being his claim that Mae gesticulated her intentions of giving him oral satisfaction, while the others had their heads turned. He and the manager share a male bonding moment, that culminates with the unanimous agreement that Edwin is the greatest thing since sliced bread. This meeting elevates Edwin's confidence to an all time high that lasts past quitting time and well into his gathering at Hardball's.

Mae spends the rest of the day in a foul mood. Not only is she overwhelmed playing catch-up with all the work she was unable to do the past two days, but something sticks in her craw. She doesn't even realize what it is until later in the afternoon, and by that time her day is already shot. While on break with the smoking regulars, she overhears Joan mention Danny to one of the other girls. They whisper quietly for a moment, then start giggling like school girls. At that moment, that thing sticking in her craw becomes obvious. Mae is annoyed by Joan's speculation about Danny's sexual endowment. Then, the dormant negative feelings about her friend return for an encore, and this time they aren't so fleeting. They persist in a annoyingly prickly fashion that is never excruitating, but ever present.

Mae avoids talking to Joan for the last few hours, although Joan, caught up in her own web of self absorption, fails to notice. On several occasions Joan attempts to converse with Mae, but is rebuked each time with work-related justifications. There are no hard feelings from Joan because is not in her nature to think that a friend would avoid her for any reason. Her second greatest shortcoming, besides a hindsight bordering on legally blind, is her inability to see the world outside of her perceptions of it. She can't divorce her personal feelings from the world long enough to have even the suggestion of objectivity. Because of that she is woefully inept at determining how others see her. There are times that she believes she is being objective, but even then she is only taking a slightly broader viewpoint in her subjectivity. She is a loyal person who never tires of her friendships, so she assumes the rest of the world feels like she does. It is the sort of shortcoming that enables her to travel unhindered down the self destructive path that others try to warn her of.

At precisely 5:30, Mae bolts out the door so that she won't have to deal with Joan's begging and pleading to join her at Hardballs. She walks briskly to the elevator, in hopes of beating the evening rush. She does catch the elevator, just as the doors are about shut. The door opens and she squeezes herself in-between the same group of women lamenting the dearth of quality footwear. The doors close and she spots Danny standing off in the corner. He sees her and they exchange smiles once more, only this time the secret desires behind the upside down frowns are less secretive.

“Have a good night.” says Mae.

“You too,” replies Danny.

The elevator doors open and everyone files out. Danny and Mae instinctively converge, walking in tandem out of the lobby. Mae thanks him for holding the door for her, and resumes her smile. Each sustain their smiles in a sort of endurance test that lasts the entire walk through the parking lot, and substitutes for conversation.

Like a sign from the heavens, Mae and Danny find their cars parked beside one another. Each of them briefly entertains the notion that the cars juxtaposition is part of some grand design. But doubt sets in just as both cars are unlocked and opened. Before getting into his piece of shit Toyota Corolla, Danny looks back at Mae, desperately looking for an excuse to not get in.
Mae becomes a statue too, smiling all the while.

“Well, have a good one.” Danny manages.

“Thanks. You too.” Mae doesn't budge. A minute that seems like sixty goes by before the first move is made.

“Are you going to Hardballs?” Danny asks.

“Are you?”

“Yes, maybe for a little bit.” Danny improvises.

“Me too.” Mae invoked the woman's prerogative privilege. Just for one drink.”

“Would you like ride with me? Seems silly to waste all that gas. Don't you think?” Danny grins, childishly is proud of his quick thinking.

“Sounds good.”

“Hop in.”

Danny hurries around to the passenger side and opens the door for her. This simple act of chivalry earns him his very first points in Mae's book.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

MY NOVELA...

Hey,

Just thought I would put up the links for the novela chapters that I have already posted before I continue on with the next chapter. For those needing to get caught up to speed, I'm talking about a novela I wrote 130 pages of in 2001-2002, but never finished. Its called SEX OFFENDERS and my hope is that if I can actually get to the point where I have posted everything I already wrote, then I will be forced to finish it for the blog. Far fetched? Yeah I know, but what the hell, its worth a go.

So here are the links...

CHAPTER 1
http://brianbuccellato.blogspot.com/2007/04/and-so-it-begins.html

CHAPTER 2
http://brianbuccellato.blogspot.com/2007/04/chapter-2.html

CHAPTER 3
http://brianbuccellato.blogspot.com/2007/04/chapter-3.html

CHAPTER 4
http://brianbuccellato.blogspot.com/2007/04/chapter-45.html

CHAPTER 4.5
http://brianbuccellato.blogspot.com/2007/04/chapter-45_23.html

CHAPTER 5
http://brianbuccellato.blogspot.com/2007/04/chapter-5.html

BACK TO THE GRIND

I came home and found that all of the work that I left was still there waiting for me. For some strange reason my books didn't color themselves while I was gone. Lazy friggin' pages! So I jumped right in to the coloring mix and am now eyebrows deep in yet another coloring marathon. Aint that exciting, folks?!!!

Let's see, besides work I took Paris' corn snake to school so that he could show it for show and tell. He really got a kick out of showing off his little albino slithery creature.

Not much else is going on... just another boring work filled day. I did manage to finish a movie I was watching on the plane. It was called SAVE THE TIGER starring Jack Lemmon. Steve netflixed it and lent it to me so I could finish watching it. I liked it a lot, especially the ending which didn't have any real climax-- using today's standard for what third act climaxes are supposed to be. The ending was understated pretty much like the whole movie was. I recommend checking it out if you want to see Jack Lemmon act his ass off in an Oscar winning performance. I totally want to write my own version of this film because the theme of disillusionment is still omnipresent in today's world. BTW... is "omnipresent" even a word? F@ck if I know. I'll leave it and let someone correct me and call me stupid.

Anyway, that's pretty much it for now. I'm caught up with Lost, Grey's Anatomy, and The Shield... so while I'm working tonight I'll be watching LITTLE CHILDREN by the whacky, sexual deviance and pedophilia obsessed Todd Field.

I'll be sure to give my 2 cent review in the next blog...

b

Monday, May 14, 2007

THE WEEK THAT WAS...

I'm back...

...to blogging that is. I actually am in New Jersey right now, getting ready to head back to Los Angeles after attending my grandmother's funeral this weekend. It's been a busy week for me, one in which I returned from NY to LA so that I could do some major coloring. Then on Saturday morning I flew BACK to NYC with my brother Steve, to be with our father during this funeral services. So how did it go?

It was sad and strange and surreal. The wake was open casket, which I found to be very unsettling. My grandmother looked a lot better than the last time I saw her in the hospital. But the improvements/restoration came with an odd down side -- she looked like a wax musuem figure. I didn't really care for that, and would have prefered a closed casket. Yet for those of us who saw her in her final moments, the wax like image was a better last image than what we saw at the hospital. She had many visitors and family members there to pay their final respects. Its just a shame this family renunion didnt take place with her alive to enjoy it. I'm pretty sure I was the only grandson who hadn't visited her in the last fifteen years. And for that I feel like the worst sort of heel. So I apologized to her for that and said my goodbyes.

On a slightly more positive note... It wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be, seeing 40+ family members who last saw me over 20 years ago. Everyone was nice and at least remembered me on some level, which is more than I can say for them. But believe me, I'm not bragging about that. I think its pretty sad that there are all of these people with the same last name and DNA as me, who are basically complete strangers. But at least my brother Jack remembered them well enough to share some memories of their antics as children. Jack was a lot closer in age to them, so he had actual memories of hanging out with and getting into trouble with some of the cousins.

Here are a few things I learned this weekend...

-I have a couple cousins who were born in the late 50's
-I have a cousin born in 1987
-I have 2 cousins who look more like Jack than I do
-One of my cousins has a 23 year old daughter in law school
-My Uncle Ronnie bears a resemblance to Joe Dimaggio
-My Uncle Gene looks like a younger, cleaner living version of my dad
-My Aunt Cathy reminds me a lot of my mother-- not physically, but in the thoughtful and kind way she talks.
-When my Grandma was angry she would take old photos and scratch off her OWN face in the pictures. No one seems to know why it was her face she scratched off instead of other people's.
-In Castel Del Mare, Italy (where my family is from), there is a museum dedicated to the Buccellatos.

During the Catholic funeral service on Monday I couldn't stop thinking about my father. I pretty much watched him the entire time and thought about how he must feel even at the age of 74, not to have his mother around. Not to be able to speak to her or listen to her, even though she was practically deaf and liked to repeat herself. He won't ever go back to the little one bedroom apartment in Islip that she lived in for the last 9 years of her life. He will never have any new memories of her. Watching my dad in the church made me think about him and my own mother and how completely unprepared I am to lose them. Dad handled things quietly and kept his composure throughout, something I'm not sure I will be able to do. Then again, all of the Buccellato men seemed to handle things in the same stoic manner. Only my aunts and female cousins cried openly.

Anyway, I'm done for the night... so I will just end it right here with the lasting image of the weekend. When Dad dropped Steve and I off at the LIRR train station, we said our goodbyes. Me, I didn't really know what to say to him the entire weekend so I didn't say much. I just patted him on the back a lot and tried to stay in close proximity to him. As Steve hugged Dad, he told him "I'm sorry you lost your mom." Now, it may not sound like much to anyone else, but to me it was the best thing anyone could have said. It's something I didn't say. It's something I wish I said. It summed up the entire weekend.

I can only remember ever saying "I'm sorry." But now I wish like hell I would have said what he did.

Monday, May 07, 2007

So I am back on the train to Penn Station and much has happened since last I blogged. I saw my grandmother and my father, as well as a few aunts, uncles and cousins. I was a little surprised that things felt as familiar as they did. Seeing my grandmother was not easy. I expected that she would not be cognizant on any level, but I was disturbed to see how emaciated and withered she looked. Her breathing was very labored and it seemed like each breath would be her final gasp of air. Yet in spite of how she looked, I still saw my Grandma in there. And I didn’t feel like quite the stranger I thought I was going feel like.

We spent a few hours in the hospital, then we went back to my Uncle’s house for a little while. I broached the subject of “what next” and tried to figure out my plans for the next week. Should I just stay or go? Unfortunately with the situation being what it wa, there were not answers to be had. So I decided to go back to Jersey and get my things, while still considering my options. So my Aunt and my dad dropped me off at the train station so I could head back to the city and meet Shaun—who was waiting patiently in the city

But… as soon as the train started moving, I got a call from my dad. Grandma had passed away.

So I am going back to L.A. today to get my work done. Then I will return to NY for the funeral services.

Rest easy, Grandma. I’m so sorry I hardly knew ya.

b

DAY 4

Today I slept in a little later than normal because I’m woefully behind in my sleep. I’ve averaged 3.5 hours a night since I’ve been here, which is not a lot even for me. So the first thing I did is call up my dad who is in Long Island to see his mother who has reached her finally moments.

My Grandmother is 94 and is in the hospital. She is ready to move on, after having outlived her husband and her 15 siblings (all of which ere younger than she). I have only seen her maybe three times in the last 15-20 years and feel like I barely know her, which makes me feel strange and a little sad. I never really made an effort to see her, and now that I am on the Long Island Railroad writing this in route to West Islip, I can’t help but feel a little saddened beyond the whole family member relative passing on part of it. I think of my mother and Paris, and it would bother me if Paris was in my situation and really didn’t have incredibly strong feelings about her passing away. And by that I mean that I am sad for my father and the pain he must be going through, but as for me… I just don’t really feel like it is affecting me like it should. It’s a shame, its horrible, and I’m not proud of it, but it is the truth. Perhaps its a function of the fact that when my parents split (when I was 6) we stopped visiting my dad’s side of the family. I mean I saw them a few times after that, but then when my dad moved to Texas in 1978, that was it for me. I can remember going to my grandfather’s funeral when I was 11 and that’s where the memories stop for me and the Buccellato side of the family. So I have like 25+ cousins I don’t know AT ALL. They are pretty much all older than my brothers and I, and I don’t even know their names. I could meet any one of them on the street and I’d never know we were related.

I know this is the most downerish of all my blogs, so sorry for that. But life isn’t all peaches and cream cheese, right? So here I am on the train to see my grandmother for the last time wondering if I even have a right to be there. Pretty sad, huh?

Wish me luck… I’ll tell you how it went later.

b

Sunday, May 06, 2007

DAY 3

The highlight of day three was going to Yankee stadium and watching Chien Ming Wang throw a perfect game into the 8th inning. He ended up giving up a homer to some scrub on the Mariners, which spoiled the no-hitter and the shut out. But at least the Yanks won. We sat in the Right field bleachers which has the rowdiest fans in the stadium. They’re called the bleacher creatures and the do a lot of chanting and calling out. It was pretty cool to see such passionate fans. In the first inning they chanted the names of every Yankee player in the field, chanting until each of the Yankees turned and waved. I thought that was pretty cool. I don’t know how long they’ve been doing this, but it seemed like a nice little first inning tradition. They also chanted things like “Box Seats Suck”, and chanted “A$$hole to a rowdy Red Sox fan who was in the bleachers being a loudmouth. I’m not sure what he was doing at a Yankees-Mariners game, but I am sure he showed up pretty friggin drunk. They don’t sell booze in the bleachers, so my guess is that all the season ticket holders get lit up at the taverns across the street before and after the games.

Between the top and the bottom of the 6th inning, they played YMCA, which the bleacher creatures made into their own song called “Why Are You Gay?”. Basically they sang their version while THE ENTIRE right field stands pointed at some guy in a Mariners cap. In the 7th inning there was a near fight in the stands as some angry season ticket holder threatened to beat the crap out of another guy AND his three buddies.

After the no-hitter was broken up and the game ended, we went into Manhattan and I did a little shopping for Paris at 34th Street. I had totally forgotten what it was like being on the busy streets of NY during the weekend. With all sorts of people selling bootlegs stuff on the street, the crusty bums begging, the Asian Tourists, and the take no shit locals generally being loud and to the point about whatever was important to them.

After shopping, we went BACK to the Bronx and watched the De La Hoya- Mayweather fight. It was a decent fight, but nothing to write home about.

Will dropped Shaun and I back off at Penn Station at 1:30AM, and after saying our goodbyes, we went to the NJ Transit track to catch the last train out to Jersey. Unfortunately we were LITERALLY 30 seconds too late. The train was there, but the doors were closed and the conductor refused to reopen them. So basically, being polite and saying goodbye to Will and Stef, cost us the last train. So let that be a lesson to you. Politeness does not pay.

Faced with no other choice, Shaun and I took the PATH to Journal Square (which coincidentally the stop we lived off of when he and I were room mates in Jersey City. There we were approached by an eager cabbie with a middle eastern accent. He offered to take us back to Plainfield for 65 bucks. So we accepted and took the taxi ride back to Shaun’s house. Unfortunately for THE ENTIRE RIDE the cabbie complained about how far away it was and how little we were paying. Personally I had NO SYMPATHY for him. He solicited us an gave us the price… not to mention that he is a friggin cabbie. So I’m not sure he has much cause to complain about how far he is driving. Because driving is pretty much the chief requirement in being a taxi driver. That’s why thy are called taxi DRIVERS.

We got home safely and that as pretty much the end of day three.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

DAY 2

Okay, so it is now 5:28 AM (Eastern time) and we just got back from Atlantic CIty. And no, I did not win. In fact I lost enough money to be angry with myself and want to punch my own self in the groin. Actually it is mostly the way I lost it. My friends Stefan, Shaun and Will like to play roullette, so we each threw in a hundred bucks and chose a number. Then one person played 5 bucks a spin on each of the numbers. On the very first spin Shaun hit his number 15 and made $175. Now if you do your math that leaves 19 more spins for each of us. By spin 7 Will hit his number 18 (which hurt more cause he only played 40 bucks). By spin 15 Stefan hit his #32. My number 12? Nope. So not only am I the only shmo that didnt make a profit the first time out, but the number 2 came out FIVE times out of twenty spins. Why is that relevant? Because I was born on the 2nd and when it first hit we started talking about how I should have played my birthday instead of Paris'. But the theory was to stick to one number instead of chasing numbers.

I played another hundred with the same system and 12 didn't come out. Shaun hit one more time and Stef hit two more times. The worst part about it is that I don't even play Roullette. My game is Texas Hold Em, which is the only casino game that you don't have a disadvantage in. In poker you are not playing against house odds or against the casino bank. You're putting your money against a bunch of other players. Yet there I was blowing money on roullette and having a brief bout with stupidity called Caribean Stud Poker (which is played against the house). All that losing occured in the first three hours. The next three hours was spent with me breaking even at a No Limit 1-2 Hold Em table. I should never ever ever ever ever ever play anything but Hold Em. So if anyone ever sees me in a casino, please remind me to stay away from all those other games. PLEASE.

So that was the latter part of my day 2. The first part was spent trying to recover from sleeping 5 hours in 2 days. Then in the afternoon I experienced something for the very first time in my life... I fired a gun at a gun range. Shaun has a GLOCH .40 handgun (he's a police officer) and so he introduced me to shooting. I was incredibly apprehensive and nervous because of my complete unfamiliarity with guns. I've pretty much spent my whole life avoiding guns because, honestly, I don't like the idea of a handheld piece of machinery that can end someone's life with a finger squeeze. I've never liked the thought of holding someone's life in my hand in that way, so I stayed away from guns. Now after firing 60 rounds, I don't feel nervous about guns, but I am still apprehensive toward being around them.

So how did I do? I shot 60 or so rounds at these body shaped targets with the letter Q in the center mass at 21 feet away (which is the closet of the three settings). Of the 60 rounds, I'd say 6-8 were off the page completely, and only 5-6 were within 3 inches of the Q. I can totally see now how its possible for people to miss each other completely, even when at close range. Its actually more difficult than it looks. I kept shooting 6-12 inches too low, so I adjusted by aiming at the head, so the shots would hit the center part of the target. When I get back to LA, I'm gonna post a jpeg the last target I shot. There was a definite improvement over the course of the session, so at least I didn't feel like a complete worthless jackass.

And shooting a gun FOR REAL made me really think about how movies skewed my perception of shooting. People shoot with such ease and accuracy in Hollywood. They shoot with one hand... they shoot on the run... they shoot whil falling out wndows The fact that Little kids, Grandmas and kittens shoot head shots with relative easy is a bunch of malarkey.

Anyway, all in all it was a very interesting experience. I don't know if I enjoyed it, but I am glad I did it.

Okay, now I'm pretty effin' tired. Goodnight (or good morning)... see you later!

b

Friday, May 04, 2007

NYC DAY 1

DAY 1

Well, I meant to get some blogging in before embarking upon my trip to the city of my birth, but a bunch of menial stuff got in the way-- not that there was much going on that was blogworthy, I just thought I needed to give myself a send off.

So here I am one hour into my one and a half hour late American Airlines intercontinental flight…. Wait, is it intercontinental or transcontinental? Or is it both? No… the more I think of it, the more I think it should be INTRA-continental. Whatever, the point is that the flight is late.

I wanted to sleep away the hours, but haven’t been able to find a comfortable position within the confines of my narrow-ass, no leg-room having coach seat. But hey, at least its an aisle seat and I don’t have to ride bitch between a pair of chubby bookends—don’t laugh, its happened. Below are a couple highlights of my trip so far…

1. Turned down the opportunity to pay 2 dollars for a headset so I could watch some incredibly lame looking movie starring Hugh Grant and The World’s Most Beautiful Person (according to People—not me) Drew Barrymore. I think its called Music and Lyrics or some such crap.
2. Was forced to endure the smell of hard boiled eggs for a half hour as this lady sitting one row up from me devoured SIX hard-boiled eggs that she had stashed in her purse. Watching (and smelling) this woman peel and eat six eggs made me wonder if she ate all of her eggs, or if this strange lady with the bleached out Debbie Harry hair had a bag full of eggs. Like maybe all she had in her purse was boiled eggs… dozens of boiled eggs. Sadly I will never know for sure. The other thing about the egg incident is that I wondered for some time whether anyone sitting near me thought I was the source of the egg smell. I mean when I first smelled it (before locating the egg lady) I considered the possibility that it was me. You might think that makes me paranoid, but I think it’s a testament to the strength and fortitude of the smell..
4. I spent five dollars on the most generic looking and tasting bagel/turkey/cheese sandwich EVER. It actually looked like the toy food that comes in little kid’s play kitchens… and it tasted only slightly better.
5. FYI, the egg lady just got up to go to the bathroom. I’m gonna time her and see how long she is OCCUPIED.
6.I got my SODOKU on for a little while, compliments of the inflight magazine. Now I’m not one of those Sodoku freaks or anything, but I figure it’s as good a way as any to eat up some of this flight time.
7. I got a face full of unattractive flight attendant ass thanks to some turbulence.

Anyway, those are pretty much the highlights so far. More later…

Oh, and the egg lady only spent ten minutes in the bathroom. I don’t know about you, but I’m strangely disappointed….

b