Gas Powered Cement Saw: WINNER!

I’m a big fan of horror flicks. I’m not a gore-porn-aficionado, no sir. Frankly I don’t need the blood, guts, squirts, and pulsing organs to be afraid. One would think that given my very real problem of having a brain that constantly conjures the worst case scenarios possible for any situation, that I’d steer clear of anything that puts new ideas into my head. Quite the contrary friends. In my mind, feeding my brain with as many of the demented possibilities dreamed up by others is a methodology of preparedness that moves me up the Darwinian chain. I’m pretty confident that my exposure to the likes of American Psycho, Se7en, Hostel, Motel Hell, and the what-must-be thousands of others of films I’ve allowed these peepers to ‘enjoy’ have kept me alive from time to time. Very possibly they have kept me from doing things I might have loved to do too, like long solo backpacking adventures in third world countries, or following some hot-mess home for the night back in my bachelor daze–thanks a bunch Fatal Attraction.

There is a film, not seen by many, that was titled High Tension here in the states. It was a French horror flick that until the end had seemed like a total rip-off of the story Dean Koontz presented in his book Intensity. I’ll spare you most of the details, but let’s just say the twist that the writers, producers, and directors attempted to pull-off wasn’t disimilar from the character Donald’s film, The 3, in the Nicholas Cage picture, Adaptation. In High Tension there is a grandiose climax featuring a gas powered cement saw, and until I’d viewed the film, I’d not once given thought to what a device like that might be capable of in the wrong hands. It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

This morning, not unlike many times since my return from the jungles of Costa Rica, I found myself walking down a street only to be confronted with construction workers performing miracles on the streets of Manhattan with their mechanical wizardry. The buzz made by a saw hell-bent on carving up the manmade ground beneath cars and feet here makes a wickedly sick and recognizable scream. Crossing the street is always an option, but who is to say the guys wielding those mini-monsters aren’t quite a bit faster than me and on the backend of a bender that’s left them disoriented, angry and confused? So, like each time before it, this morning I reversed direction, marched back up the street I’d just come down, to shift my path one block over where at least I might stand a chance of making it to work without missing appendages. A minor inconvenience to be sure, but I couldn’t help thinking that in the game of Rosch vs. Gas Powered Cement Saw, the match tally is currently 0-7, possibly more–I don’t keep count of my crazy, I just live with it.

Colin Hay Wants to Know

Above this text you will see a quick screen shot of some of the most recent searches that have led fine folks like yourself to my blog. I don’t pay much attention to this little blurb, and when I do, most days I find phrases along the lines of, “new fiction, paranoid thoughts, sober this or that” and the occasional long string of words that clearly indicates someone has Level 9 Paranoia way worse than this guy. Yesterday though, I was initially amused to see, “peter rosch dui.” I’m an open book, and while I sincerely regret having ever put myself in the position to get a DUI, I have no issues with people knowing about it–in fact, I should probably regale everyone with the fine tale of my night’s stay in a Bronx jail cell at some point. That was a real treat, let me tell you. After a quick trip down my own memory lane though, I started to wonder, “Who could it be digitally knocking at my door?” Why would anyone be on the hunt for that information? Who is trying to dig up dirt on this lowly private citizen, and what exactly do they intend on doing with that information when they find it? The little sliver of my brain that produces happy thoughts suggested, “Hey, maybe someone is doing an article/review on My Dead Friend Sarah.” Of course, this was a short lived notion, and it wasn’t even seconds before my brain started to fabricate as many other possible scenarios in which someone out there was doing a slow and methodical hunt for dirt on yours truly. It was a situation that I carried with me quietly, and shared with some friends, throughout the day. In retelling the story to my family last night–and only then–did I remember to myself, “Douchebag. You are not the only Peter Rosch on the planet. There are in fact a couple more famous than you, not to mention the man who co-created you, you egotistical sack of baloney.”

So, Dad, is there something I should know?

Agents of Sloth

My paranoia never leaves me completely, but it’s seemed relatively quiet upstairs the last few days–if I didn’t know better I’d say the curse had been lifted. I hadn’t give much thought to my current state of bliss, at least what bliss is for this guy, until I started formulating ideas for this very post. It wasn’t the first time my mind put wondering against the notion that some day I’d not be able to write for this blog anymore, and that perhaps I’d have to change the title to Level 9 Happy Goodness Times. In and of itself, that thought proves things are still cranking up there. The battle between my brain and me rages on, but at times it plays a quieter game–moves to destroy my sanity with the more subtle themes of self-doubt and dread. I think my psyche knows that if it positioned every evil twist, potential fate, and the doings of others as over-the-top Hollywood blockbusters, that in time those fabrications wouldn’t impact me with the same ferocity. And so, this past weekend, it decided to play me a quieter head-film, in the vein of an Indie feature that dwells in subject matter one might describe as more probable in the real world, and only seemingly less heinous due to the lack of guts, blood, and booming soundtrack.

I spent a great deal of time working on my next novel on both Saturday and Sunday. It was equal parts rewarding and frustrating, not too disimilar from the efforts I put against My Dead Friend Sarah, but perhaps with the additional creative-crushing notion kicking around that the table of my life has now been set with some lovely place settings, at least according to some, and this second book will serve as the metaphorical meal for those waiting patiently at this table to consume it. Yeah, there might be a little more pressure this time around–no one even knew I was writing the last time, and even I had no expectations going in to that one, other than to complete a rough draft of a full story in a timely fashion, rather than give up just twenty-two or thirty pages in, like had been the case in previous attempts made by a younger, and often pig-stink drunk or hungover from having been pig-stink drunk, version of myself.

If you care to know, I can tell you that in spite of the laundry list of thoughts that worked feverishly to prevent me from putting pen to paper on the next book, I was still able to get quite a bit done by committing to the doing of it as though the results of my labor meant nothing to me or anyone else–even though they eventually will. Only by committing to writing was I able to ignore the following gems of delusion that seek to keep me lethargic and in a permanent state of sloth: This story had been told before, You can’t write in 3rd Person, People were just being nice about the first one, Did you read what you wrote in the last chapter–laughable Rosch, The title is taken, The title is taken because someone is writing the exact same plot as you at this very minute and will publish their story long before you are finished, You are missing out on a great day out there that could be your last, You aren’t getting paid squat to write this book–mind telling me what the point is friend, Wouldn’t our time be better spent coming up with a gadget people really need, Being a writer isn’t a real job Peter, stop wasting time on this and let’s butter-up that resume with actual accomplishments.

It’s going to be a long, slightly different journey than the last. Here’s to hoping the part of my brain that likes me continues to do just enough to beat back the parts that most definitely don’t.

dRead All About It!

I’ve got plenty to go on when I make my own morning summations of what the world has in store for me day to day. Most of my worst fears are based on the evil that bakes quietly inside of humankind. It is rare that I give much thought to the micro-critters that would have us serve as their vehicles of choice. And yes, I’ve seen all the very best and worst contagion films. But I am reading The Thin White Line right now, and I have to say–my ability to process the very real implications of something invisible but far more probable than a cracked-out junkie looking to swipe my iShuffle on my way to living an extraordinary existence isn’t very honed. I’ll be working on that to my own detriment and your personal enjoyment, as it pertains to humoring the masses with my anecdotes.

The Scent of Evil

If memory serves, and previous stories might suggest it doesn’t always, I haven’t worn cologne since I was a wee adult–let’s say seventeen or eighteen roughly. Back then a little Drakkar Noir was all the rage. I can’t say it did much for me. I don’t recall having washboard abs, an attractive woman on my arm at all times, and anything better than a twelve dollar haircut. I could tell you that I simply haven’t needed it as an adult, but am open to the idea that someone out there might vehemently disagree with that assessment. And, to be sure, I’ve dabbled in power scrubs, shower gels, and for a short period of time wasn’t a stranger to taking toothpaste and using it as soap on my hands in an effort to remove the sweet stank of cigarette smoke.

I’ve got friends that wear various scents–male friends I mean. And I suppose since I think I know them pretty well, I don’t tend to lump them in with the remaining male population that walks amongst us. Most of the time when I catch a whiff of an approaching male, the very first thought I have is, “What is this guy trying to hide?” You might think I am referring to simple body odor, but you’d be wrong. Logically, I can make all sorts of rationale as to why that is the most legitimate reason for bathing in the stuff–but, for some reason lately–and maybe it’s because quite a few of the most recent interactions I’ve had with these walking roses have also included awkwardly friendly salutations–I find myself surmising that the wearer has something far more sinister about him, something that he is trying to camouflage with microscopic atoms of smell-goodness.

In my book, some far more likely reasons for seemingly having drenched oneself in artificial flavorings are the following: The guy is most definitely an alcoholic, and without more than a little splash of Polo, he’d be caught vodka-tongued at his day job. (My own solution to this type of pollution had been AXE Snake Peel Scrub. That and a sick-sized wad of breath mints.) Or, maybe he wears it all the time so that should he cheat on his spouse or girlfriend, pick up a bit of a prostitute’s scent in the process, he can then douse himself in his brand to cover up any trace evidence his lovely back home might be able to detect with her sniffer. Finally, I could be mistaken, but I do seem to recall from some readings on serial killers and the disposal of bodies that many of the chemical substances used to breakdown human remains–bones, skin, organs, etc.–can leave a fella quite pungent with the stink of crimes most foul. If I was chopping and dicing bodies in my bathtub, I think I’d give some serious consideration to a quick spritz of CK One before leaving the house in search of my next victim. At least that’s how I’d go about it.

Thusly, if you are a gentleman, and you smell real, real good–don’t be surprised if you overhear my inner thoughts say, “I’m on to you buddy. You smell just a little too good.” And if you are hearing my inner dialog about you, then I probably have much bigger problems to resolve–but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, as I’m told the various spawns of hell, the real flesh and blood demons that walk amongst us, smell absolutely grotesque.

One Man’s Lullaby

Why am I the way I am? No one thing could be to blame, but it is worth mentioning that my mother and/or aunt used to sing this song to me as a wee little lad. Found myself humming it this afternoon on an otherwise nice walk with the Mrs. Thanks ladies. xo

Gator Rosch

There are days that my life as a drunk can seem like another lifetime entirely. Days where the disease works hard to position that huge swath of so-called living-it-up as possibly a former life–the kind you pay a penny arcade prophet to tell you about on a sullen day in Coney Island. The more time I earn in recovery, the easier it is to forget that very real version of myself that was tearing through days and nights as he pleased. The world, and her mysterious ways, lend a hand from time to time with the remembering of things. And depending on what that forced recollection conjures, this can either be a real treat or a brutal slap to my non-bendering rosy cheeks.

Yesterday morning, on the Lower East Side, while I stood lost in my own thoughts of all the amazing things I’d been able to accomplish so far this year, and all the things I like to let myself speculate are forthcoming, a young woman ripped me from the safe confines of my own pro-Peter party with this seemingly misplaced question: “Is your name Gator?”

My name, as you may know, is not. And so it won’t surprise you to learn that I responded with a confused shrug and a grunt that sounded something like, “Huh?” This was followed by mutual shrugs and maybe even an apology delivered by her to my backside as I spun around to get back to the business of celebrating myself on the remainder of my walk to work. Iced-Coffee, check. Smokes, check. Half an hour or more to kill before the feeling of obligation compelled me to sit still at my desk, check. Just another lovely, somewhat silent by New York standards, morning gifted to me by sober living.

A couple of blocks removed from the incident, that aforementioned previous life–at least one of the many special nights from it–spilled from some dark corner in my skull into the forefront of my conscious. As it reconstructed the narrative, I was relieved to remember that the story wasn’t one of the more spectacularly disturbing happenings from those soggy salad days.

It was a familiar opening–me, friends, a bar, too much to drink, and a spontaneous introduction to some female inebriated souls. On more than one occasion, my father has told me that at times when I speak, it sounds like I have a mouth full of marbles. Drinking never made that delightful little defect any better, and when one of the young women asked me what my name was, even though my response had been Peter, she heard Gator. She repeated it to me and my cronies. “Gator?” She Said.

Our sauced minds met collectively without a word spoken and before she could ask a second time, a decision had been made by me and the group to roll with that moniker for the rest of the evening. And so I replied, “Yep. Gator.” What stories might have accompanied the origin of that name–stories I’m sure I told her in my failed attempts to parlay such a ridiculous name into an overnight visit–I can not recall. But, I do remember that all of my friends went well out of their way to use the name for a significant portion of that evening.

“Wanna another one, Gator?”

“Gator, it’s your rack.”

“Gator, we going down south again this year?”

I suspect, my dear reader, that you’d love to see this tale turn into something that it was not. A yarn about how Gator and that gal crawled from one bar to another, deep into the night, ending up in Vegas perhaps–awakening the following morning after an orgy that appeared to my crusty half-swollen afternoon-morning eyes to have included midgets, bearded women, and an attractive mute from some distant cobra-charming country in the East. I’ll regale you with such a tale some other time. But sadly, like so many others, this night ended when Gator went home, alone, and probably carrying enough alcohol in his system to nurse a brood of some fictional baby animals whose lives depend on booze from a stranger’s teet.

So, turns out–or, it is at least conceivable–that the young lady from yesterday morning had every reason to ask me such a seemingly ridiculous question. And, at least for the time being, I can have a good long laugh about a night that didn’t turn most foul, but still served as a charming reminder of the scofflaw that I used to allow out to play back in the day. I miss that dude, sometimes.

I can only hope, that the next time a stranger drags him out of my subconscious, that it is for as seemingly benign reasons as referring to oneself as Gator. After all, what possible harm could I have caused–and I’m privy to The Butterfly Effect–by simply leading someone to believe I had a ridiculous name? If you’ve been paying attention, you know damn well I’ve already mentally outlined a dozen that can be filed somewhere between, “I’ve a baby boy named Gator” and “A party tale gone awry in which a young woman recounts her having met a fellow named Gator, which reminds one of her newly minted acquaintances of how her own son had been torn in half by an actual gator, who becomes so distraught over the incident that she pulls out a bag of pills she keeps handy from her purse, and then chases it with a tumbler of vodka before retiring to the coat closet to see her way off this earth.”

End scene.

Coffee Shop Shakedown

This past Sunday morning, before the onset of a painful, no doubt secret lab accidental release style 48 hour virus that left me somewhat zombified most of Monday and yesterday, I was having an amazing morning. That morning included one of my favorite things of late: meeting my good friend, whose name I won’t use since I’ve no idea what level of paranoia he is rocking these days, for a cup of coffee and a nice chat.

My mood was so spectacular that I wasn’t even bothered by the fact that a stranger sitting across from us had skillfully injected himself into our preliminary conversations about the weather, recent films seen, and other surface level conversation had before getting down to the real nitty and gritty. As the dialog moved along, predominantly led by my friend and me, the three of us had somehow landed on what is and isn’t tax deductible in our various trades.

I took a moment to reflect on how we’d arrived there with this stranger, and came to realize he had used a piece of my own tale concerning an ancient and foolish charge I’d made for my tattoo that reads, “Question Everything. Trust No One.” The irony that this all stems from that is only evident to me as I write this.

Before my friend could say another word to the balding sly-fox seated across from us, I posited, “Wouldn’t it be something if you were actually some dude from the IRS who hit up coffee shops, to start up chats, move them towards tax returns, deductions, and the like–so that you could then flag folks for audits down the road?”

Our new friend was a little startled by the insinuation–and after a raucous bout of nervous giggles said, “Oh right, like I’m some sort of James Bond of the IRS? And this is what I do, go around and chat up people in posh neighborhoods to find out what they’ve been up to with their taxes.” This was followed by more nervous quips made in rapid succession that moved us quickly into another subject matter entirely.

Had we blown his cover? Maybe. Is Williamsburg really a ‘posh’ neighborhood? Maybe. Did I leave fearing that figurative ‘knock’ on the door we all dread might be coming despite our best efforts to play by the rules? Not really. You don’t live with Level 9 Paranoia, and get all willy nilly on the kind of stuff you know for certain Big Brother is keeping tabs on. I’d say I was most taken aback by his suggestion that he might be the James Bond of the IRS. Maybe the Roger Moore Bond. And that’s a big maybe.

The Worst That Can’t Happen

When presented with opportunities, I’m prone to mentally constructing the worst case possibilites of my involvement with something first, and I do so feverishly. You might regard this as a pessimistic attitude, and a regretfully sorrowful way of living. You’d be wrong. The key word back there, or phrase I guess, was ‘prone to mentally constructing.’ I do not believe in those scenarios. I do not prepare for the worst. In all actuality, I think everything that I am a part of is going to turn out amazing. I go into every project believing that it is a chance to do something great. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t spend a wasteful amount of time dwelling on the outcomes one might deem far far from less than favorable–in the bad direction of less than favorable if you catch my drift. Death is tops on the list, always–but, how that death might occur is different from one project to the next. I’ve probably bored you to tears with other stories about potential near-misses, crazy trains of logic that outline how I might go if such and such happens–at times keeping a blog about one’s inner most sickness can be daunting. So, I’ll hope that you’ll grant me an apology for any overlapping themes. It’s Sunday, so I’m going to get to a point quicker than normal here–ask me to do anything, and I’ll believe (if not full-on know) that there’s a chance it is going to turn out incredible–but, and it’s a big but, don’t think for a minute that I haven’t given consideration to the litany of scenarios my participation in your event my bring down upon me.

When I was asked to participate in The 48 Hour Film Project a month or so ago, after a little bit of buttering up by my good friend Jordan, I enthusiastically agreed to join the crew, as the director no less. I had no doubt we could make something great–it didn’t even matter that I’d not worked with a single soul who would be joining me on that journey. I was confident whatever we did would turn out grand. And, as hopefully the link below shows, I believe it did. But, you can be sure that in the weeks prior to the event itself, I had managed to craft dozens of scenarios that were anything but successful completing a short film with over twenty friends and strangers, having it screened at NYC film center, and watching it enjoy a nice smattering of applause immediately after its unveiling. I believed this could happen, but I also gave quite a bit of thought to some of the following, and a hell of a lot worse:

I’ll be outed as a faker, a man who said he could direct, but actually has no business storytelling whatsoever. (This one is as obvious to a creative as any.)

The police will no doubt take notice of the spectacle we are creating with that little magic video capturing device, and stop us. This will lead to a citation at best, and at worst, would remind them upon running my name that I was due to report to prison for having not completed a DUI course correctly some years ago. Given the location, I’d most likely end up in The Tombs downtown this time–for no other reason than I hear that name mentioned far too frequently on Law & Order SVU.

We’d not have a crew to lock-down sets, and this would of course lead to an acute inability to control the crazies who come out when young people are making a mockery of their miserable lives by enjoying themselves with fancy clothes and cigarettes on their desserted alley streets. (Yes, I am referring to myself as a young person. Deal.) And armed with whatever the city version of a pitchfork might be, would proceed in beating us down for having the gall to do something for the sake of passion.

Getting zapped by electricity due to not really understanding the hows, whys, and whats of modern day grippery. (My word, created by using the word Grip. If you are in the business you know what those surly bastards are up to.)

And finally, at least for this list, the thought that, not unlike all my creations and co-creations, that some how putting something out there at all, with my name on it, will lead to the harshest form of criticism of praise: a good ol’ fashioned stalking, beating, abducting, torturing, and slow demise. (Oddly, this particular imagined outcome makes nearly every list of every single thing I do, because I clearly have an ego the size of an elephant that my poor self-esteem does a magnificent job of hiding.)

Without further ado, here’s the only real result of having participated in The 48 Hour Film Festival. And it’s called, Pickle.

Pickle

Mediocratrocities

Success. I could start out this blog with a Webster’s definition, but it’s somewhat irrelevant to me at the moment. I know what success looks like to me. I’m not talking about fancy cars, flashy clothes, and a house on the hills–I’m talking about achieving something of value, doing something well, and reaching an intended goal I suppose. Throughout the years, the incidents that suggest my own standard for deeming something successful might be unrealistic have been many. I’m open to the idea that I hold myself, and perhaps more importantly, the company I keep intentionally or by way of happenstance, to a nearly unachievable bar. I’m not only open to the idea, I’m sure of it. But as of late, I can’t help but wonder if there is something in the water. In fact, many people believe there is indeed something in the water intentionally put there to dumb us down, numb us down, keep us from revolting and in a perpetual state of accepting mediocre results, behaviors, and near misses. I spent years using booze for many reasons, but one of the biggest benefits was its ability to make me simply not care about all the things I thought were wrong about a day, the world, and humanity itself. I’m soap-boxing a bit in this post, and maybe I’ll turn off a few readers in doing so, but when did we decide that almost achieving, half-efforts, and just enough was the best way to live?

If I let my mind go with it–as if I had a choice–it puts me on a speculative path about the impetus behind the sturdy reinforcement of sloth, uninspired efforts, shit-eating grins, and the go-with-the-flow head nodding of many of my fellows. In the rooms, those of us in recovery spend a great deal of time deconstructing all the daily incidents that illustrate the public’s blind-eye to these themes of atrocious mediocrity–even as we, the former drunks, are out there contributing to that general malaise with our own insincere efforts. No one is perfect, no one should be perfect, it would be damn boring. But I do wonder from time to time, if the hero worship of doofuses, slackers, lag-a-bouts, hipsters, just-get-byers, and perpetual selfish has us all brainwashed into thinking that our own efforts are far superior to that of our neighbors. I know I’m guilty of massive amounts of judgmental condemnation on folks I’ve never met. I’m not proud of it, but I’m aware of it. I’d like to open my heart up to all strangers, and believe they are all pulling their weight, carrying their load, and doing it on the up-and-up. I certainly don’t subscribe to a win-at-all-costs mentality. It’s cheap, cheating, and doesn’t suit me. I know this, because I’ve tried it.

The question I guess, at least for me, is will I slowly come to understand that not everything has to be a home-run? For a couple of years, right after getting sober, I was operating well using a suggestion from the rooms that allowed me to let much of what bothered me about myself and others not get too deeply into my head. Was an easier then I think, as I wasn’t quite putting myself out into the world as much as I am now. And my immediate social circle was comprised of brains, both normies and recovering alcoholics, who were living up to a code similar to my own. Again, none of us are or were perfect, but all of my besties were probably living with their own deep resentments towards themselves for not being  able to achieve perfection each and every day just like me.

As you look out amongst the landscape you might find just as many people kicking ass as there are sucking ass, but as of late, and I’m not against the idea that it is some chemtrail induced fog thrust upon the citizens of Manhattan, my own experiences seems to suggest the tables are turning in favor or the latter group of which we can refer to as Mediocratrocites. And even as I recognize the benefit of having tons of lazy folks around–after all, it only makes my own efforts shine that much more brightly–I am concerned that this particular malady might just be a much less noticeable version of a flesh-eating virus dropped upon the public for testing. What better way to remain the nations super power then developing a weapon that turns the inhabitants of other nations into drooling dullards.

Is it just me? Most likely. And since I intend on doing just about squat today, who am I to even say?