Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Meet Debbie Springe-Kilroy

READ: "Meet Debbie Springe-Kilroy" (a BLENDS interview with my mother about beating breast cancer)

Last year could've gone much differently than it did, and it's very peculiar to dwell on a time when my mom was at her weakest, since it never really felt like that (though she certainly looked the part). The good lady was bald and too tired to do anything, which is all very strange for a woman who usually gets up at, like, 4 a.m. to get things done, enjoy the sunrise over coffee, and then tackle projects throughout the day, ultimately rewarding herself with pints and a burger at Haven come Saturday afternoon (and forever testing my father's observation skills whenever she's added so much as a single streak of color to her hair).

So, anyway, Mama Bear got a write-up for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (courtesy of BLENDS, by way of the grandiose spark that is Jenn Romero). Debbie's been cancer-free for a good score now, but only recently wrapped things up in celebration. It's a wild spell for her to throw down as such, and the interview works as a exceptional eulogy for a bum year that could've gone devastating. My mother does a grand job summarizing her attitude, but, really, her jivey spirit, even in the weirdest, darkest moments, was fucking unreal. It was like witnessing someone on an emotional marathon, just calmly and casually with a shrug, "Well, I'm obviously not turning back or standing still. What sense does that make?" She even turned her year of cancer into a gigantic art project (including legitimately taking a portrait picture of herself every single day, because where in the hell would the world be without scrapbooks?).

As a whole, the article can be summarized by her closing remark: "I went on an amazing journey, and the people in our lives were right there with us. I thank all of you for being there for me during my journey. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions with multiple side effects, some of which I have already forgotten, thank goodness. I was absolutely overwhelmed and blown away by the love, support and extreme generous acts of kindness from those around me. I believe all the thoughts and prayers, along with a good attitude, helped me fight. I love you all for being there for me."

Thumbs up.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"the time in between"

"the time in between"
a poem from a boat and a good place by jake kilroy.

i was a wrecking ball once,
every man says,
when he finally sleeps
without women
beside him
or in his head -
a loft of a brain,
stylish and overdecorated;
what good life becomes
once former flames die out,
this time with no phoenix
napping beneath the ash.
what mud courses through you,
natural and slow, like molasses,
without the sweet taste of nostalgia.
you've given up blood.
you've given up poems about blood.
you've given up biting in kisses,
for the most part.
you see the world for what it is:
and you wonder why you always
barreled through it like you didn't have time,
now, here, resting easy in the quiet of a night
when the moon hangs, and your neck rolls,
and you're down to water over wine,
for the most part,
and you ready yourself to be wilder than ever.

Friday, June 26, 2015

When Love is Finally on the Table for All

When you're young, love is this overly abundant resource that can be mined, harvested, and absorbed from every possible space. You pluck it out of the air, you drink it in gulps, you practically breathe in the sensation of adoring the world at a constant. You "love" your parents, your friends, your dog, recess, cake, balloons, summer, toys, that park down the street—everything. Then you meet your first crush that stirs up the pretty butterflies with prettier chainsaws and suddenly "love," in all its new variations with all its new complexities, is the craziest, most absurd thing to ever befall Earth.

Love is still pure then. It's basically like your heart is always spinning in a meadow. It hasn't been chastised, corrupted, or completely undone. It's just more in your sinuses, your gut, and your dreams now than it is in the world around you.

Then you get a bit older and you realize the good love is the hard love. It's the kind that demands your attention, that asks questions of your inner-workings that you never even wondered, and the poundings in your heart begin to battle the throbbing in your head. You can't explain shit and you're already recognizing the strange habit people have of barging their way into your love. People want you to know what you're doing wrong, how it can be helped, and why there's another way. Even people who don't know you now have opinions. Everyone wants to tell everyone else what love "is" or "should be." But to you, it's still philosophy, not mathematics.

And then you get older still, and you get your love picked apart, reassembled, and gorged upon by government and religion. Even as a concept, they want to run it through machines. They want to evaluate and discuss it like you're not there, perpetuating the idea that, sometimes, a beating heart ain't worth as much as the next one. You get weirded out by it. You get sickened by strong opinions of bodies, no longer just people.

Finally, after everything, years of watching "love" go from dreamscape to science experiment—in exaggerated theory, of course, since love in its purest form is the indefinite mainstay of decent folk everywhere—all you ever want to fucking hear is some powerful group that has some leverage in this slip-n-slide of a society say, "All love is on the table for whoever wants it," and you wonder how in the world anyone ever doubted their initial gut reaction in the first place. Damn.

Glad to see some kid hearts in the Supreme Court these days. Good work.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jon Stewart's Speech about Charleston

When the same piece of content shows up in a social feed, it's very easy to get sick of it and react to abundance rather than content. And it's very easy to be the person who smugly LOVES typing "slacktivist," when sharing an opinion piece online is very clearly not the same thing as participating in a live protest. The point is, this is a 5-minute speech that articulately observes the total sadness of what may be an endless, worsening cycle. Liberal, conservative, whatever—it would be nice to stop hearing about Americans killing Americans in great numbers. Hell, it'd be nice to stop learning that Americans are killing Americans in small numbers. Even more so, it'd superb to hear about people killing people beyond borders, but that's why world peace makes the most timeless toast, because evil will always exist. There will always be horrifyingly violent lunatics. But if there's a chance to at least converge and discuss what is an institutionalized problem of racism, there is potential action. Stopping global terrorism may be a fight without end, but domestic terrorism offers steps, even if it's as simple as changing street names and flag policies.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner
an essay/rant after taking in a week of social media
by Jake Kilroy

I absolutely wasn't going to comment on Caitlyn Jenner, but, goddamnit, after taking in social media this week, I feel like I gotta.

You see, there's been a problematic attitude of "that isn't bravery, but this is." The trouble here is that it's limiting. In my opinion, there are many, many, many types of heroes. I don't believe we should see bravery or heroes as exact. It's an essay, not an equation.

Take that whole meme that Snoop Dogg posted where he hyped Akon for bringing electricity to 600 million Africans. That is a HUGE deal. But the cheap shot at Caitlyn Jenner was unnecessary at best. If you're upset about media coverage, take a shot at the media. Both are heroes for two entirely different reasons in two entirely different causes. It's not a scale. Akon isn't going to lose funding because Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn. Media coverage is totally a scale, however. But Caitlyn Jenner didn't run the meetings on this week's broadcast programming or newspaper layouts. Take it up with the media, ya big jerk. Plus, you kind of smear Akon's damn respectable efforts with a mean-spirited meme.

Heroes work toward the greater good of the world or a community. My father is a hero to me and my family because the dude works six days a week without slacking, so he can do right by us. Bravery comes down to courage and/or noble qualities. My mother's in the brave category, to my family, for the way she barreled into cancer treatments with an attitude I couldn't muster on a good night. The lady was fearless.

Caitlyn Jenner is a hero because she showed people who feel a whole lot differently than you and me that it's acceptable to consider those dark feelings and move toward joy. And she did so without any idea how things might go when she did. She's an inspiration because, hey, that's not the standard magazine cover. Hell, it'll be the first time ever someone like me is pleased to see anyone associated with the Kardashians on the cover of a periodical while I stand in line at the grocery store.

Ellen DeGeneres caught backlash for coming out as a lesbian in 1997. That was less than 20 years ago and Ellen's obviously one of the most charming people to ever exist. Again, that's just my opinion. But while we've watched gay rights evolve significantly (Matthew Shepard was as recent as 1998), this country only crossed the 50% approval line for same-sex marriage in 2013. It took us a while to get there (a subjective term, really), and it will likely take us a while to get there with transgenderism acceptance. Jenner knew that when she agreed to the Vanity Fair cover. That's why it was brave. That's why she's a hero.

But it doesn't lessen the bravery of other heroes. There was coverage this week about people downplaying Jenner in trade for soldiers on Facebook. I get it, but I think the comparison is unfair to both. They're not close to similar and shouldn't be evaluated on the same terms. They take two supremely different spirits and resolves. It's more understandable to make points about one instance requiring more of a person, but I still find it to be a strange attitude. One doesn't negate the other. They're two wildly, vividly different worlds.

I, for one, cannot even fathom the terrifying depths of war. Not even a little. The fact that I can hold normal conversations with someone who has endured one of the most unimaginable things in existence will never cease to floor me. There are men and women who are willing to throw everything on the line to protect this country's citizens and way of life. It's absolutely commendable. It's total bravery. Soldiers whole-heartedly risk body and mind at a constant for months or years at a time. How in the holy hell could I even do that for a day?

However, social heroes exist as well. I don't see heroism as a selection of either/or and I don't see why it has to be.

And then there's this whole shit about "God made him a man" and "God doesn't make mistakes." You're seriously telling me you believe in a supernatural entity that has the power to create EVERYTHING, but you find it impossible to even consider the notion that the same being gave this man the idea and capability to become a woman? Heaven and Hell are more possible than this individual's thought process and identity crisis? Also, if you want to make the case that God is infallible, there are centuries of world history that can be thrown at the immediate mouthing off of "God always has a plan." And that's just assuming His/Her plan didn't include total free will for all humanity anyway. We're talking about an impossibly gigantic spirit you've never so much as even met and you're speaking for the lord like a coked-up PR agent with such impulse, fury, and arrogance, all because one person you don't know took the steps to be happy and comfortable with who they are.

What pissed you off, that Jenner landed a magazine cover? That insane family's built a media empire out of being bozos, airheads, and losers. This is the first thing I've found interesting about the lot of them and you're suddenly leaping off your high horse with a megaphone.

Also, the media was pretty good about this one, but they can be cruel. They can be senseless. They can be ruthless. They can be feverishly starved for conflict. Jenner went into the photoshoot unsure what the other side would look like. Yes, there's been some real hateful shit dropped, but what I've seen between social and media has seemed close to 50/50, maybe beyond that in favor of positive. That could've turned out totally different. That's what made it brave, the fact that maybe this country as a collective whole was going to shame the shit out of her, viciously, publicly, and without remorse.

So, again, I don't think it at all takes away from the many other, very different kinds of bravery. Soldiers, parents, activists, any variety of hero - bravery is a widespread and noble feat, regardless of where it takes place. It's a concept, not an exact portrait. It always takes a lot, whether physical, emotional, or both.

We don't need people that say, "This and only this is bravery." That will cost this impressive nation a lot of progress.

Personally, I have a real hard time being me sometimes. Everyone does. And that's without the wild, heavy weight of gender dysphoria. I can't imagine what it must be like to feel a million miles away from my own body or assigned to skin that ain't mine. Laura Jane Grace summed it up with this: "The cliché is that you're a woman trapped in a man's body, but it's not that simple. It's a feeling of detachment from your body and from yourself. And it's shitty, man. It's really fucking shitty."

I don't know how I'd keep things in order with that and neither do you. Just let Caitlyn Jenner be or contribute something meaningful to the dialogue. You're obviously welcome to say whatever you want or feel, but my final thought is this: Don't boil a complicated issue down to some cocky sneer of a poorly worded negative status update. It almost never helps. It's usually just you being shitty.

And finally, if you're hyping the first amendment to stand by those bogusly misspelled opinions on social media, just read the fucking first amendment already. It only prevents the government from passing censorship laws. It doesn't in any way, shape or form stop your peers from slamming you for your bullshit. It's so, so crazy that you don't know this by now.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

100 Good Memories

I turned 30 today.

And while I treat all my birthdays as days of great, serious reflection, this one especially has sent my mind spinning. So I decided to actually put down what I've done in my 30 years on this planet with this life.

Now, I've had A LOT of good moments in my life with A LOT of good people. This list was just the first 100 that came to mind and I left out any time that wasn't specific enough.

I mean, I've been blessed with recurring episodes of wild laughter at truly terrific hangout venues (Shirley's house, Julia's house, Wall's house, the Mira Mesa house, Chris's apartment, et cetera), and they all sort of blur together as several fantastic parties.

And there's also been A LOT of repeat goodness: barreling through the Sarvas Christmas party, playing "Cliche Guevara" in the garage, cruising in Jeff's old Bel-Air, setting the Christmas tree on fire in Mexico, goofing off atop the parking garage with the Rasta crew, watching Keith turn his order at Jalapeno's into a game show, derber-daying it up with croquet in the Romelle backyard, living through what seemed like every single night at The Madison—the list goes on forever.

This compilation was an attempt to pinpoint certain moments in my life that I look back on and think, "Not many people get the chance to live this good of a life."

So below is 100 good memories.

Also, I've left out all the very good memories of romance, lust, and illegal activities, just so it's not strange for anyone to read. There are a lot of those moments that count for a great deal of space in my head and my heart, but putting it down here in the public lineup seemed too oddball.

I loved doing this and will likely attempt "Another 100 Good Memories." 

Anyway...here's my existence!

100 Good Memories
a 30-year project
by Jake Kilroy

1. Coming up for summer night air in Eileen's pool in Arizona during a lightning storm that wouldn't quit with the southwest downpour, only 20 minutes after Rex and I arrived, just shy of midnight.

2. Starting the dance party to "Party in the U.S.A." at the Shattuck House's Halloween party, all of us dressed as the Village People.

3. Watching Paris light up from our boat on the Seine River. The sky was a dying bright orange, and I was with friends and barely 18. The world seemed gigantic and gorgeous.

4. Taking a long bubble bath in a fancy Sydney hotel room upon arrival with the skyline out in the window frame, realizing I had finally made it to Australia. One of the surrealist moments I've had.

5. Giving my speech at graduation. I had spoken in public many times before then, but that was a lot of people listening to what I had to say about the world and I did my best to deliver.

6. Watching my mom sleep on the family room floor with our new tiny pup Charlie on her chest because he wouldn't stop howling otherwise.

7. Leading a parade of excited drunks in Vancouver when our hostel's bar closed down and we needed to find a new bar that would have us.

8. Spending an afternoon lawn bowling at an exclusive social club in Vancouver because an old lady found me, Chase, Jeff, and Ryan so charming and sweet.

9. Dancing in full rave gear to LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" with the Seattle crew at the Anderson family vacation home on the lonely coast of Oregon.

10. Strutting around the World War II karaoke club in Northampton with Ryan, as we barged fake Boston accents without ever letting up.

11. Finding the ancestral home in Ireland with the family after a rainy day of scouring the countryside with only two clues: "it's at the end of a road" and "it overlooks the lake."

12. Playing Grand Theft Auto III for the first time at Shirley's house, and it was like nothing I had ever seen.

13. Winning a game of foosball because my teammate Rex couldn't stop yelling a girl's name and I had never seen him more awe-inspiringly powerful.

14. Sitting around the Romelle living room one birthday with a huge gang of goofs singing Name Taken while Blake played guitar.

15. Jumping off river cliffs with Uncle Fred somewhere in the middle of California.

16. Getting the news that I won the book-writing contest in second grade when I called the school from a hotel room in San Francisco, there for Erik and Stacey's wedding.

17. Losing an entire day because of World Cup 2010 with Chase, Dave, Ventura Grant, and Grant's friend Randy. We started drinking at 8 a.m., were tanked by 11, and blacked out by 1. Became such good friends with the bartender in that time that she drove us to her twin sister's bar when her shift ended. The Jen picked me up close to midnight and by then, I'm sure I looked like the destroyed puzzle of a person.

18. Sitting on an empty beach in Big Sur around midnight with Greg and Scott, sharing a bottle of whiskey, trying to figure out if we could make fire.

19. Sitting on a beach on Vancouver Island with Jeff, Chase, and Ryan. They played Radiohead, and it looked like we were at the edge of the world.

20. Tagging Jay's driveway in chalk with the Rasta crew and then cruising through when the cops showed.

21. Giving Mandy Moore a Del Taco gift card during a school assembly in my communist shirt.

22. Marrying Blake and Adriana.

23. Speeding around the Handy Park parking lot one night in the Deathmobile with Duran riding shotgun, as we faux demolition derby'd the other cars of Nicky and Dennis in one of the great pirate vs. ninja night battles.

24. Playing a drinking game in a cupcake tin at Wall's house as everything around the dining room table spiraled into total madness with people running around half or full naked.

25. Seeing The Replacements live.

26. Seeing Against Me! at Chain Reaction in March 2004. Big crew went and the whole place threw arms around each other and knew every word. The band was shirtless and sweaty by the end and the stage was crowded with fans. It felt like a basement show of a friend's band. Still the best show I've ever been to.

27. The friendly fight tournament at the Mira Mesa House that saw Hendrickson put Chase into a wall, Rex kick a guy's earring out of his head, and Chris repeat yell, "Fight that dog!"

28. Drinking a beer at Cafe Tutu Tango after the first New Kissing Techniques show. All our friends came to see Chris, Bret, and me perform, and they went crazy, even though it was only a two-song set at a restaurant, which I agree doesn't make sense. It was very good of them.

29. Seeing the Seattle skyline come up like a beautiful beast in the road after driving up the coast with Chris.

30. Swimming with a beer in hand, wearing my life vest like a chair, and dodging swaying boats on my first day of Seafair. The whole day was perfect.

31. Playing dice game with Tony and Rex while wearing Christmas sweaters and listening to Christmas music one rainy afternoon in October.

32. Playing Super Nintendo for the first time with my dad in lawn chairs in the family room.

33. Watching Uncle Tim nearly blow off his fingers when he lit up fireworks in our backyard. There was a whole presentation and show with the family sitting around in chairs cackling.

34. Sitting at the bottom of the under-construction pool at Orange High one Fourth of July with John (A), eating chips and queso while drinking root beer and listening to the world wail.

35. Sitting at Spoon's writing the script for Sass with John (G) and laughing so hard I'm sure it looked like we were being tickled.

36. Sitting on the dock at Liz and Colby's wedding reception, watching the moon hang wild over the lake.

37. Seeing fireflies for the first time while putting up a tent with Grant in Missouri, before leaving to buy Boones Farm at a gas station for dinner.

38. Cheering as pizza arrived to the Column Five Christmas party with all of us drunk as hell, cozied up in blankets on three-story rooftop, with the twinkling lights of Newport in every direction.

39. Going on a late-night bike ride with Grant, Matthew, and Devon, exploring the long mysterious path by the Romelle house.

40. Copyrighting the pilot for Gents with Scott. I've written many things in my life, but I never had the motivation to put a copyright on anything.

41. Showing up to what we believed was a huge party at the Mira Mesa house with Rex, only to discover that was 100% not true. Entered the house to a very surprised Brian and Brad, both drinking cough syrup, the former because he was sick and the latter because he was bored. Spent the night in the garage playing music and drinking jugs of wine and whiskey.

42. Playing beer bong in Cameron's backyard with nearly everyone from the college paper. Andrew and Jason were kind enough to drive me home in what turned out to be one of the absolute slurriest attempts at directions.

43. Playing basketball with my dad and uncles in my grandparents' backyard because I was finally old enough.

44. Inventing and playing the game William Tell Frisbee at Swaylocks.

45. Attending a house party in San Francisco with Nevada, who I'd only known a few weeks, and ultimately co-hosting the whole thing in the craziest way before sprinting desperately across town so we could make it back to Isabella's apartment before she locked up.

46. Sitting on James's patio in the early morning with San Francisco in the distance, laughing hysterically and drinking separate bottles of Jameson like forties.

47. Waiting in line for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight with what seemed like half the city of Orange. You could roam other lines and just keep finding friends. It was like a huge outdoor party.

48. Coming home to the Madison, seeing the cars of many friends, only to wander a dead-quiet household, finding my friends all spread out in the interior and backyard reading the seventh Harry Potter book.

49. Arriving with Sam at the Madison, completely done up as a fake restaurant with friends all working it in full character: Chris as waiter, John as host, Greg as owner, Randy as busboy, Rich as cook, and Rex as the live entertainment playing our song.

50. Performing "Build Me Up Buttercup" as a slam poem with Lawrence before launching into one of the most obnoxious renditions of that song ever for our high school talent show, ultimately winning us the comedy award.

51. Spending the afternoon of my birthday in La Recoleta Cemetery with Ryan, totally and absolutely enthralled by the Buenos Aires city of the dead.

52. Winning our only game in junior varsity basketball. We went 1-21 and only beat a Catholic school. I can tell you this with total confidence though: If whoever had the most fun actually won, we would've gone undefeated and probably have taken state.

53. Reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with my butt on the dock and my feet in the river, breathing in the Indian summer of Austin.

54. Reading Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves by the Romelle fire alone one winter night when no one was home but Benson the dog.

55. Discovering jazz when I checked out a Chet Baker CD from the local library.

56. Hitting a game-winning double in little league.

57. Seeing the rereleased Star Wars on the big screen with my family.

58. Seeing Gone With The Wind on the big screen with Lindsay. Only movie I've ever been to that had an actual intermission.

59. Playing the first game of croquet in the Romelle backyard for the first time, with all of us realizing we had a new beloved hobby.

60. Seeing Green Day for the first time in Santa Barbara with Jeff.

61. Organizing and rallying the local crowd for an eating contest at our club rush booth for Scrabble Society, a club I co-founded with David and John A.

62. Catching my only wave in Mexico one summer after Brook had the patience to teach me.

63. Getting drunk on Nyquil with Scott while watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit and playing ping-pong on our dining room table.

64. Hiking the Narrows in Zion.

65. Floating down the Merced River in Yosemite with my family. I wrapped my toes in the raft's rope and I just let it drag me in a life vest. On one side was forest and the other side was a waterfall blasting out of the mountain.

66. Learning to drive with my dad in empty business parking lots in Irvine.

67. Finding old cassette recordings of my great-grandmother telling old stories from Ireland as a kid. I sat there in front of our family stereo and listened in intrigued silence.

68. Performing "Illkast Endyear" as The Bloodlit Stars at Greg's New Year's party. Jeff took the time to learn it, and it was the only live performance of that fake band to ever happen.

69. Smoking a cigarette on Kristen's fire escape when I made it to New York City for the first time. I watched and listened to the city in close detail. It was like a dream. I had always seen myself doing that my whole life, and I didn't want to forget a thing.

70. Laying beneath the gigantic blue whale in the American Museum of Natural History with James, chatting life and philosophy.

71. Sprinting from the jacuzzi to the house in Big Bear after we got kicked out. Coldest I've ever been.

72. Recording Jenelle's manic birthday music with Jeff in Farrell's garage.

73. Taking a break during band practice and lounging about the lawn with Jeff, Chase, and Rex when my mom bought us ice cream.

74. Listening to Nick get pulverized by fruit at Justin's birthday party in 7th grade. The backstory here is that Justin lived next to a fruit grove and we had split up into teams. The game's objective was simple: peg the other team with fruit. If you were hit, you were out and had to hop the fence back to Justin's backyard. My whole team was out except for Nick. You could hear him get cornered by the other team's remaining three. All of us in the backyard hear Nick drop his fruit and repeat that he's obviously out, so the game's done. But then Justin said something and the firing squad let loose. Periodic sounds from Nick lingered. I'll never forget that sound as long as I live. It was hilarious and terrifying.

75. Playing neighborhood-wide laser tag at the Madison. All the lights in the house off, all of us running around in laser tag gear. It was dark and the entire cul-de-sac was game.

76. Running through an entire street of heavy-duty illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July at the Romelle. It was like that scene in The Sandlot, just no Ray Charles.

77. Attending a 4/20 party of high schoolers on accident as fully grown adults who just wanted to sit in a damn jacuzzi.

78. Sitting on Sam's patio in Austin in my underwear, watching the craziest late-summer monsoon come and go.

79. Looking up at the night sky out in the woods with my arm around my grandmother, out along the Great Ocean Road in Australia, seeing more stars in the sky than I ever had before or have since. It was like a diamond quarry above us.

80. Writing the first page of my novel sitting on a cliff in Mexico while my friends all rock-climbed behind me, except for Greg, who I think was reading a Carl Sagan book beside me.

81. Crashing a wedding in Mexico with nearly 20 of us because the bartender invited us.

82. Opening my restaurant eEvita's in first grade. See, I had wanted to turn our home into a drive-thru restaurant, and my parents helped me get the closest I could. They invited my grandparents, aunts, and uncles for a one-night opening and closing. I drew up menus for the customers and recipes for the cooks. My brother and sister were host and hostess, and the relatives paid me actual money. I was the owner and only waiter. My parents made all the food. We all dressed fancy as a staff. I took it very seriously.

83. Outsmarting crafty Uncle Jim once in a high-low game of poker as a kid. My grandparents, aunts, and uncles went nuts.

84. Playing the game of Shark while night-swimming at my grandparents' pool while all of the Ohio family in town.

85. Dancing ballroom in a pool with The Jen as a wildcard teenager.

86. Kissing a girl for the first time (Sara) when walking her home as a kid on a bike.

87. Drinking and dancing until 6 a.m. with women we'd met in Vegas one mad night for Louis's bachelor party.

88. Playing Starcraft with in the Dufaults' garage with Nick, Greg, Rex, Dave, and Grant while an actual cool party happened inside the house.

89. Smoking a cigarette for the first time with Jeff in front of the pizza place Ray worked at. Julia's older neighbor lit my cigarette for me and I reacted like a nerd in the movie's, coughing like an idiot.

90. Falling out of Julia's treehouse as a kid because I was trying to impress Mallory.

91. Playing Jurassic Park at the Browns with Doug and Jeff.

92. Singing "My Girl" at winter formal with all the Rasta dudes.

93. Receiving a bicycle for Christmas as a kid. It was blue and had a banana seat, and I lost my mind.

94. Playing a wild game of truth or dare in the jacuzzi at Amber's house.

95. Running around the pit at a Tijuana Panthers show with Jeff and Chase, when we felt like the oldest guys at the show who could still run wild.

96. Getting lost on our way to the Transplants show at the Glass House with Jeff and Chase and parking in the dark to figure out where we were. A train whistle sounded and we freaked out. It turns out we parked next to the tracks, not on them. But, man, that was a scary second.

97. Eating Cassano's pizza with Rex, Brian, and Dave and sitting on the hill overlooking the San Clemente Beach one Labor Day. Watched a middle-aged couple somewhat discreetly pleasure each other. It was a fascinating experience for all of us.

98. Giving up meat at the tender age of 10.

99.  Typing the last line of my novel at my desk while the smell of charcoal came through the window along with the summer light.

100. Evaluating my life and realizing it wasn't that hard to come up with 100 good memories.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quick Thoughts on New York City

When I first went to New York City, I had one hell of a time. But I didn't quite get it. I was there for the party, and I didn't understand how people lived there, because it was like trying to read a book or take a nap in the middle of said party. This time, with less lofty touristy aims, it clicked. The town is still a monstrous beast, for sure, but it's so beautiful and wild, and it makes itself stunningly available to you. You sort of create your own New York within the city.

Anyway, an exceptional amount of gratitude goes to Chris, who put me up for the week and more or less played the role of indefinite tour guide and drinking buddy (dude also slayed his play both nights). Thank you to Chris's friends for treating me like immediate local. Thank you to the whole C5NY crew for welcoming me into their trivia night inner circle. Thank you to Nicole, Wyatt, and Danika for staying out late on a school night. Thank you to Diana for planning a radical night out. Thank you to Kristen for offering up a lazy afternoon of pints. Thank you to Emily, Greg, and Isabella for doing up a dinner of old school catching up. Thank you to Greg and Karissa for letting me crash their lunch spot. Thank you to Kenzie, Castle, and Ashlee for trusting me not to be insane. And my most sincerest apologies for everyone I missed out there in the east.

If I were to create my own New York, it'd be the High Line, Little Branch, and pizza all the time. Thank you for having me, big city. It was a lovely time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day (Sort Of)!

Happy St. Patrick's Day (Sort Of)!
by Jake Kilroy

When I was younger, I, like most Americans with Irish heritage, swore allegiance to the Emerald Isle without ever doing the research. Saint Patrick's Day has become a reminder that I still haven't. I've done the bare minimum of understanding a culture that more or less made me who I am. There's beautiful and glorious Italian, German, Polish, and Luthanian blood in me as well, but I tend to most often identify with the pale-as-a-ghost storytellers who consume grief and celebrate everything. I read Dubliners, but not How the Irish Saved Civilization. I read Angela's Ashes, but not Emigrants and Exiles.

The Irish, like any culture ever, are complex. But we do a weird thing with stereotypes in this country when we land on celebration terms, where we boil a heritage down to a few marketable items. It can't be avoided. In a time of dwindling attention spans (of which I take part and promote), there's no way in hell anyone can expect an in-depth discussion of the Easter Rising. At large, it's sort of screwball what comes to represent an entire people with eons of history. The Irish have a billion playwrights and artists, and they invented things like the boycott and the tattoo machine, but last night, Midnight had an Irish-themed hashtag, and half the jokes were about the Scottish.

I don't really have a takeaway with all this, and it's certainly not relegated to this particular culture or holiday. It just struck me funny today, as I saw online photo collections of blackout bros in green throwing down the shaka brah (bless their hearts) and heard radio ads that bordered on lazy with leprechaun impressions hyping a sale that would "make ol' Patty weep" or something even stranger. I just thought, once again, what the hell is today even supposed to be?

Anyway, I'll close on what remains my favorite joke about the Irish (from 30 Rock): "The Chinese built the railroads, the Irish built and then filled the jails." Happy Saint Patrick's Day, all!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hey, I made some poetry chapbooks!

Hey, hey! I put together three chapbooks of poetry! It’s 28 poems in total. You can have them if you want ‘em. They’re free. Give me your address, and I’ll mail you printed copies. Give me your email, and I’ll send digitals. Or just tell me to bring ya them next time we hang. You also don’t have to read these. I just have hundreds of poems sitting around, and I decided to finally do something with them. Woo!

Monday, February 23, 2015

"now tell it again"

"now tell it again"
written after another doubtful weekend by jake kilroy.

was this whole theater built with the planks we didn't walk?
it's likely, but we'll tell everyone a different story:
they're the hundred thousand crosses christ was nailed to
over the centuries by all who dared charge the mountain.
grief and pity is all anyone here remembers eating.
self-sacrifices slur out with whiplash tongues
at the dinner party too white for comfort.
brain-damaged on the dance floor,
we all cup the body parts
that shouldn't be in public
just to slander our spouses,
so we have something to talk about on the way home.

where do you hail from, all?
what basement lounges? what temple bars?
what cemeteries where you shot photos for school?
it feels like all we do is wake up.
i can't remember the last time i went to bed satisfied.
i can't remember the last time i drummed my knuckles
out of boredom instead of this brutal nervous tick
i scooped up from my grandparents,
once they saw the world for what it was:

come tomorrow, this will be the same conversation.
it's day in and day out of too many people repeating themselves.
yes, we know you've been trying to eat healthy.
yes, we know you're making time for yourself.
yes, we know that your marriage is working for the time being.
we've seen the pictures. we've heard the fights.
the only true thing we know is that we'll hear it again.

we're like lapdogs suddenly bursting into flames.
get the best painter you know so we can document in portraits
and nail real-world observations to this furiously drunk forum
before we lose our terrible awful nerves in the next round of fits.

god, there's a woman i miss too much on this earth,
and the best i can do is sell myself short on the weekends,
as i stomp around my neighborhood coming up with errands,
just to wait until i can dive head-first into any party
that will have me as good and true as she once did.

that ain't the half of it, and i don't know what is.
i'm barely able to figure out a budget, let alone solve poetic math.
i'm only a writer, i tell myself. we're supposed to be bad at life.
yet every man knows the tortured artist bit is good for teenagers,
but it's just a madhouse excuse that goes unchecked otherwise.

so pull it together, poets.
we've got truths to sell to the highest bidder.
hell, it's the only way we'll ever make a living,
by telling everyone what they already know
and don't want to hear again.