(*Originally a journal entry from 1/20)

Time to blog out. I’ve been busy with many different things… Maybe putting my hands in too many jars at once – trying my hand at all forms of media, big and small. There is so much in this life that I want to try. Being that I don’t necessarily believe in a second life after here, at least containing the same amazingly powerful adversity that breeds such creativity, and being that having false idols and looking up to others for their achievements so much that you spend less time on your own stuff is counterproductive, I employ the philosophy that if it looks like fun on the outskirts, it’s even better to be there and living it. Life is a sandbox, man. I’ve figured out that a little talent goes a long way, and that half the battle seems to be in showing up. Not to sound pretentious, but the only times I have truly failed at something is when I have not put effort into it. If you don’t do anything, nothing happens. If you enjoy “expecting the unexpected” than don’t hesitate. I am auditioning for radio, TV, print, films, and I want to do some spoken word shows in the future. Why not? Within my fragile inner sanctum, does that scared little boy think he is worthy of all this stuff and going to get picked first for the team? No. But being that I expect the unexpected, if I don’t audition I won’t get the part. By not trying, all I can expect is what I already know to be true – that zero will change. No gears will turn without the gamble, and the hustle and scramble that comes with working up the nerve to give it a go. I expect the unexpected – therefore, by association I expect to get the job. I fully expect to blow myself away before anyone else. Instead of sticking to the sidelines and not making an attempt, I now give myself the chance to fail, and thus succeed. Despite being tired and weathered, I am awake. Still, I am no cartoonish shining example. I spend long periods laying around. I go full speed ahead, ten straight rounds, then pass out like a champion, in my mind. This happens too often, yet still, I refuse to compromise overall. I refuse to kneel, because the next step is keeling over. I still try. I raise my fist. I’m no revolutionary… It just bugs me that we’d choose to pass the time rather than create and generate… Go some place that resonates beyond average.

What am I talking about? What exactly am I doing? I think internally and externally I’m rebelling against the complacency I see in folks my age, at least around my town, keeping in motion in any small way I can. Does it bother anyone else that our youth uprising consists of drinking and throwing up? In between that, we’re toking up and getting down – that is if we’re not busy just standing around, waiting for the ways and means to get to going out and giving in. If we’re not giving up, we’re surely giving in… To a fear, a tear, or a beer. Our heads are exploding from the pressure of peers. “Peer pressure” is this blanket phrase they throw around that essentially denotes that, you, as a young person, are a lemming, a vessel, with no independent thought, and strictly because you’re friends are hurting themselves, you go and do the same. Having not yet developed a strong enough backbone individually, people build a structure together. Such a system it is, creepily organized… Because “What can we do?” and “There’s nothing to do,” so you follow, such a unique creature you are. Such a rebel. And there will be people who read this, commenting or not, who’ll say “Mike, you don’t know how to have fun.” ‘Lest anyone think I’m some stick in the mud, man, I dig me some fun. I’m vaudeville. I love doing crazy stuff, being funny. I’m all about the party, man. If what I’m talking about was really fun, I would say so. This ain’t fun, and you know it. After the dust settles and you go home – never mind how I think cats don’t appreciate all the stuff laid out for em, such as “home” (that is, if you’re lucky enough to have one.) – after the lights hit you in the face, you feel the emptiness. I’ve been there, and it sucks with a capital “S.” Let’s change this, please. Why not push the limits the right way? Without following tradition, the tail ends of our modern mythology, and ingesting poisonous persuasion and chemical poison. And by the way, in the way of drinking and smoking, you may have heard someone anti- call them “poisons.” Well, let me drop some science on you; that is not just them “overreacting” or using hyperbole. They are, chemically, poison, in small doses. We’re not just intent on killing potential, but our bodies as well. As far as picking apart “poisonous” rhetoric, that’s a something for another blog entry.

This is not an anti-drug rant, though. It’s about “Hey let’s do something meaningful with our time, because it ticks and tocks away each day,” instead of following old order that has made us complacent and apathetic. Anyway, drinking, drugging, smoking and fucking is not rebelling from your parents, kids. Your parents did the exact same thing to rebel from your grandparents. There’s always going to be somebody better, but you have to be the best individual you can, bringing the pain while you go against life’s grain. So with that in mind, I’ve been trying to do some cool shit, in between laying in bed for long periods. And in my taking on different projects, in fits and starts, where are all those kids I used to hang with? Some are doing their own cool shit, which I applaud and admire. Others are in the same spots, modeling for the next bunch of kids, who hang outside the video store, where I go to rent flicks. They notice me but they don’t. Maybe they know me, or of me, but I don’t remember, or maybe it’s vice versa. Before I can think to utter in a mocking Bruce Willis-esque tone of cool “You boys gettin’ hiiiigh?” I figure it’s not worth it… Or maybe it is. To get a laugh out of them would bring on some organic pleasure and a rad memory, and interrupt their fleeting search for meaning, in the midst of their “Who hooked up with who” gossip chatter fest. I don’t care that much though… The cold keep my lips pursed together. I didn’t come to do comedy and single handily end the unspoken bitterness of high school “We don’t know him and he looks different than me” clique nonsense. What like they’re a gang or something? Ha! They opt out of saying “Hi” and I’m too into my own to care. I came to run errands, man. As I walk along the streets, chicks gawk at me, and I’m hollered at from passing by SUVs, filled with inebriated white kids, blasting rap tracks. Or at least I think I am.

Am I such a big mouthed enigma that old friends can now only bare to call me when passing by in their (parents’) soon-to-hit-a-tree vehicle? I don’t know if it’s me or them, or a collective. Some of them are now kind of aloof themselves. I’ve got a whole can of worms to clean up it seems, although I never bagged out or backed out on anyone – folks just kind of shuffle off into the shadows, after laughing at my jokes and pining over my appearance (haha). The legit folks are still here and there. I’m kind of done glamorizing friendships… I mean history does playa part, but the bottom line is if a friend is not there for you, or is a dodge, or makes false promises, then they’re not worth the effort. I’m insecure to a degree, which fuels me with a few quirks, but I do have self-confidence, brimming over with each goal not merely set, but willed into completion, and my ego assures me that if, after I’ve tried to reach out for them, and am so readily available, they still stagnate, than they are probably not worth my time. I’m a caring person though. I’m there for you and want to be. Odds are I’ve tried to contact you already. True friends and fans will be there. Purely on a “respect” level I’d think people would kind of enjoy hearing an explanation if someone just disappears out of their life. We’re not too young for courtesy. Maybe in the middle of a mess like this, you went stupid and wrote some bad poetry… And if you were really dumb, you put it up for the world to read.

The scars were never romantic
and now far removed
I’ve got a smile on my face
now that we’re done.
Still got the fangs, but found my place in the sun
The bang from the gun
like the sound of me
waiting for my rocket to come.

The wrongs are now just
So let’s jump, ‘lest we fall for the fall
and get stuck in the slump
with the rest we once called best.
Now chumps filling an empty weathered nest
time-teathered and untested,
these beer-educated are near dedicated to death.
Making up for lost time, I dig into the next breath.
I found my place in the sun, and the “farewell tour” is far from done.
In this century, I do ask that you remember me, as friend, lover or
more
than an ordinary other.
No doubt you’ll know those close enough to see them breath,
yet so joined, you can’t tell which one is separate; unique.

Sprawled out on the sidewalk,
you’re taller and eye cocked.
You could faultier and die, shocked.
So soak it up and come clean
Honesty will thank you and so will your spleen.
I came with a nightmare and left with a dream
cloths running ragged, now hemmed to the seam.

Rhyme time to get me through missing all of you.
I don’t know what I did or can do
to bring it back to that idealized time
where we could just chill and spill
with no in-the-round reveals.
Maybe I’m mistaken,
but it feels like I have to earn back relationships taken.
Overnight, bells stopped ringing
angels quit singing.
I kept dreaming
and now beaming, doing all the things I said I’d do.
But dead in my tracks, know that, no matter the acts, it isn’t the same without a friend, gone to something new.
Find something reliable and true, if that’s what you’re up to.

I’ll still be ’round, jumping, though never far from the ground
for what it’s worth
still down-to-earth and down for mirth
down to flirt with breaking monotony’s curse.
Up for a rebirth.

Under-the-radar, and maybe stuck in a slum.
Don’t know where my friends have gone,
but I know when to stop wishing and be done.
Found my place in the sun
On my own
going to get what I want to come.

Time is ticking. In October of 2007 I did my first movie gig, in MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL, with Dane Cook and Kate Hudson. In December I froze my ass off, but got to hang by Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H. Macy on THE LONELY MAIDEN. In less than two weeks, this weird chapter of my life comes full circle, as I head to Pittsburgh, PA to be somewhere in ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, the eighth film of KEVIN SMITH!
…Something about “dreams do come true.” Told ya we’d meet again, on a bigger stage.

With all my love to those who care(ed), I wish you were here.
-Mike Phelan O’Toole.
http://www.MikePhelanOToole.com
http://www.MikeOCast.blogspot.com for audio updates.
http://www.myspace.com/MikeOToole for… Space.
And http://www.youtube.com/captureman ’cause I dig it so.