Toying with perfection

Pop quiz: What's wrong with this picture?
Jake Gyllenhaal gets the pixel treatmentAt first glance, nothing, right? How could there be? It's Jake, after all.

Ah! But to pureblood, hardcore, rubber-room Gyllenhaalics like me, something is a little...off. Zoom it to full size, and you might see what I mean. These photos have been retouched, and it's obvious if you look at Jake's forehead. Where's his little round scar?

When I first glimpsed the photos from this shoot, the combination of the intensity and surreal clarity nearly knocked me out of my chair. After a few seconds spent regaining my composure, however, I realized that it wasn't just the sharpness of the images that made them surreal. They're the most egregious case I've seen so far of digital manipulation.

Despite all the modern backlash against unrealistic physical ideals, photographers and magazines are still perpetuating this social prejudice, to the point that they feel it necessary to airbrush images of the most beautiful man person creature thing in existence. Really, if Jake isn't perfect enough for them, there is no hope for satisfaction. They may as well hang themselves now.

Super-sexy Jake in all his unedited gloryMy favorite pictures of Jake are the ones in which I can make out all the little details, like this one. I love the fine hairs on his arm and cheek, the freckles, the tiny zit. Seeing a red spot or a scar or some other blemish reminds me that he is flesh and blood, a real human being like me and not just something pretty.
Jake's been pluckedThere's another form of Jake-tweaking that kinda drives me nuts, and that's this. Those are not Jake's natural eyebrows. The makeup artist or director or whoever decided that Jake's manly brows were too much for their film, and reduced him to this. It's been done before, I've noticed. Come on, people. I know those with weak hearts might not be able to handle the sight of untamed!Jake, but to try to give him girly-brows goes beyond grooming. It's arrogant and foolish.
Stop messing with Jake. You cannot improve upon perfection.

All photos: IHJ.

I'd do it for free

Rendition-haired Jake from February 2007
This vision, so graphic
growing more vivid with each visitation
until I am there, in her place
smelling your skin
tasting your breath
feeling the heat of your hands on my body
Dangerous, my reverie
threatens to supplant reality
but I

(Inspiration: this comment, which I think we've all heard about by now.)

Photo: IHJ.



I spent approximately five hours today tweaking a MySpace page that I don't really use, just to make it look reasonably less than vile. I frequently take on obsessive tasks like this, with questionable payoff and at the expense of other, more responsible activities (like filing, cleaning, and human contact). This is because I am compulsive, obsessive, and a perfectionist. I am also a lazy slob. These things in combination do not make for a simple, happy life.

Jake hasn't quite taught Atticus to ignore the paparazziAnyway, I have been known to describe myself as obsessed with Jake Gyllenhaal. It is both extreme hyperbole and tragically apt. While there are countless more immediate and valuable things in my life, it is true that I think about Jake for some part of every waking hour of my day. However, I have no delusions. The gulf of reality between us is very tangible to me, especially when I'm doing a distasteful chore like cleaning cat puke off of my carpet, as I did this afternoon. Naturally, one of the thoughts flowing through my mind as I wiped, dabbed, and cursed, was I'll bet Jake never has to clean up dog barf. He's got someone that does it for him. Granted, I have no proof that Atticus has a personal hygiene attendant, but come on. If I had Jake's money and resources, I wouldn't be doing this shit myself.

Then I have to stop and remember: just because I would do something does not mean I know what Jake would do. Maybe Jake looks forward to cleaning up dog vomit. Maybe he lives for the moment when Atticus makes a mess so that he can revel in that custodial role. Or maybe he just really likes to clean.
Atticus Finch Gyllenhaal is one lucky dog
My point is, yes, I think about Jake a lot. But I've got it in perspective. I'm sure he has habits that, were we friends, would irritate all hell out of me. That's part of the beauty of his being a stranger, in fact. I get to imagine that all those good things I hear about him are the whole picture, and that he'd find me just as endearing as I him. What a deal!

Where was I going with this? Oh, right. It takes me five hours to futz about with a stupid web page that I don't care about, but I'll do it anyway just so I can feel like I've made the effort. Conversely, someone who has the responsibility of an official website for a celebrity and should be concerned with the image presented by that site, for his own professional and personal reputation if not concern for the subject, can be so completely negligent that I refuse to post a link to it here, just to keep anyone new from being exposed to its suckitude. I'm speaking of one Harrison Cheung, the fellow who is responsible (and I use the term loosely) for Jake's "official" site. After much discussion on the Jake Watch forums I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Cheung just doesn't care, and never will. He's too busy with other problems (thanks, Ged) to address the state of decay that site is in. JW's mistresses have been trying for a while now to get something done about it, but it's not looking good.

Jake Gyllenhaal holds his BAFTA for the cameraHarrison (if I may call you Harrison), I realize there is a very good chance that no one is paying you a dime to update Jake's site. I don't work for free, either. There are some people that have chosen to take on enormous enterprises (in terms relative to their lives) out of a personal passion, and who have remained responsible to the many grateful users of their project despite the fact that time marches on, and no celebrity crush lasts forever, because they have integrity. My advice to you is, if you don't care enough to make Jake's site one that is worthy of this Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-winning, new-movie-coming-out-in-October, terrific human being, then do yourself, Jake, and his millions of fans a favor and either give it up to someone who does, or take it offline.

All photos: IHJ.


Want vs. get

For anyone who's curious, I opened my Zodiac DVD last night and discovered that they really weren't kidding about it being bare-bones. There's nothing in here but a disc and an anti-theft sticker. No insert, not even one of those stupid coupons for some other movie. Nothing. Fortunately, all I wanted from this release was the original film as it appeared in the theater, and that, I believe, is what I got. With a criminally bad cover design. I haven't had time to watch it yet, but I'm not looking forward to sitting through the blurb for the "Director's Cut." There won't be anyone from Paramount around for me to glare at.

However, at least I know that those great extras, including Jake's commentary, are comingJake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist on the bridge eventually. The same can not be said about Brokeback Mountain. I was reminded of the relative disappointment of that release when I went in search of the highest-possible quality version of the trailer so that I could bring you this shot. Don't bother clicking it. It doesn't get any bigger. If it did, Jack would be a pixelated, amorphous smudge anyway. But I wouldn't have had to go digging on the internet for a copy of the trailer if they'd included it on the "2-Disc Collector's Edition" DVD. While it did have some wonderful extras, it lacked the things I believe we all wanted most: deleted scenes and commentary, at least from Ang Lee if not cast members. I want to know why Jack was standing alone on the bridge. I want to see Ennis and Jack rescue the hippies. There is always the possibility that an anniversary edition somewhere down the line will be released and include all the precious bits that we've been missing.

Here's the reason I was looking for that all-too-brief glimpse of shirtless Jack in the first place. This was the first of the two BBM fanfic-ish stories I wrote. It just sort of came into my head one morning, and it wouldn't leave me. Some people have said they liked it; I'm glad, but the most important thing is what it meant to me, and that's Jack's capacity for love and sacrifice. Go ahead and comment, please. Let me know how daffy you think it is. Or if it's the best thing you've read since Annie Proulx's original short story, by all means, don't tell me--tell some publisher so I can get out of my crappy government job and get a writing deal. Yeah. Want...versus get.


Impenetrable mysteries of the Gyllenverse, part II

This past weekend, my dear mother and her sewing machine rescued me from an ongoing nightmare that, while trivial, drove me to the edge of sanity. As in most cases when I'm riled about something, I wrote about it. Observe:


How do you do it?

I speak not of your universally acknowledged acting talent, nor your apparently limitless athletic prowess, nor even your well-documented yet mysterious culinary achievements.Jake Gyllenhaal's backside, with boxers today

I'm talking about your pants.

You know, the article of clothing that most men wear on their hips, just below the waist? Not you. Yours are somewhere between just off the hip and hanging on to ass for dear life. How can you stand it?

I ask this because for the past few weeks, I've been experiencing this unorthodox manner of attire against my will.

This was not an attempt to live as you do and somehow gain a deeper understanding of your motives and passions. I just can't afford to buy new clothes, and my pants are all getting rather large for me. Yesterday, though--that was the worst. Every time I stood up, my crotch was halfway to my knees.

What? You didn't realize this was about Jake? You'll soon learn: everything with me is eventually about Jake. I prefer it that way.

Anyway, the proximity of Jake's waistband to his hips is a favorite subject of mine. He's been showing us his boxers and briefs for years, in photo shoots and on the street. On any other man, I would find this irritating, but on Jake, it's somehow oddly charming. Of course I have developed my own theories about it. I don't believe it's a fashion thing.Jake and Atticus and Jake's butt crack These pants are not low enough to qualify for hip-hop hideous. Well, except maybe here. Besides, hasn't that lunacy more or less run its course?

My suspicion, based on personal experience, is that there's a design/fit issue involved. In my case, it's the fact that clothing manufacturers appear to be unaware that some women have an ass as well as a waist. Every pair of pants I try on that fits my hips and thighs invariably bags away from my waist by at least 3 inches, sometimes much more. Yes, I know my ass is huge. But why must that also mean that I have no waist? Idiots.

So, if women's pants can be so drastically out of sync with common female proportions, what's to say men don't suffer the same fate? Look, if you will (such a chore!), at Jake's thighs.

Jake in spandex. Need I say more?These are not skinny, spindly stick-legs. They're not even average, not-too-thin-but-hardly-big thighs. These are impressive, well-muscled powerhouses, built and maintained by constant athleticism. Not body-builder huge, but big. Now, look at his hips and ass. Go on, it's okay, I'll wait.

Jake's perfect backside, post surfing, in MalibuSlim hips. Don't make me describe the rest or I'll completely lose my focus; let's just say it's about as close to perfect as any ever was.

Tell me, men--do you find that the thighs of most jeans and slacks are narrowly cut? Because if that's the case, what's a man like Jake to do? Buy bigger pants, of course. Especially if he wants a bit of, well, dangle room.

All photos: IHJ.


Thank you, kind sir

Jake Gyllenhaal as Harold Dobbs in Proof
I have written so many things over a relatively brief period (less than one year) about Jake that I have a considerable catalog of discarded thoughts and phrases I could dust off and offer up on any given day. A moment ago I reviewed a piece I wrote when my obsession began, and I honestly was surprised by the pain expressed therein. While I am still alone and full of free time to spend thinking about famous strangers, I have to argue that my outlook has really improved beyond measure.

Yes, sometimes when the knowledge that Jake will never be mine pops back up like a smirking weed in the unkempt sideyard of my mind, I ache. Let's face it, based on the available information, he couldn't be more perfect for me. But that's not actually him, and I know this. Intellectually, I know it. Emotionally, I sometimes forget, and my heart, well, my heart, as hearts do, takes no advice and makes its own choices.

Some folks scoff, and find such intense focus on a celebrity to be wasteful. Go do something with yourself, instead of pining away for some actor. Go be somebody, and you won't have time to think about the daily activities of people whose lives and yours will never intersect. To them, I offer only this: the concept of inspiration.

Inspiration to write, which I had not been doing for several years, and rarely in such quantity and, if I do say so myself, quality.

Inspiration to lose weight, because I am tired of hiding inside a body that acts as a shield between my inexperience and fear and the world at large.

Inspiration to move on, to plan and execute my departure from the family home at a much-delayed age, because it's way past time to go.

Because these things will make Jake notice me, like me, want to be with me?


Because enjoying everything I get from Jake makes me feel so alive that I finally, truly want to go out and live.

Jake Gyllenhaal, having a laugh during a sexy photo shootThat, and really great fantasy material.

Photos: IHJ.



Simply breathtaking: Jake Gyllenhaal in a white t-shirt
Casually devastating
Hair tousled, no effort expended
Bringing me to my knees
With a posture that says,
Yeah, so?
while that piercing sapphire gaze
commands, Want me. Love me.
And, oh, I do.


Impenetrable mysteries of the Gyllenverse, part I

Jake Gyllenhaal looks gorgeous while bikingA few days ago, some new-but-old photos of Jake out biking were posted by the diligent and invaluable Stephanie at IHJ. As usual, the man looks outrageously attractive while exercising. There should be a law against this. Where's the sweat, Gyllenhaal? Anyway, these pics reminded me of something I've noticed before.

We all saw Jake's naked head in Jarhead. His skull is perfectly shaped, if somewhat large. Why is it, then, that every time we see him in a bike helmet, the thing is tilted ever so slightly to his right (our left)?

Jake's helmet, tilting slightly to his rightIt's not so much the fact that it's not straight that niggles at me; that seems reasonable enough. But it's always to his right side. Think I'm exaggerating? Take a look at some evidence. I am so not kidding here. Since I have nothing better to do, I've developed a few theories to explain this consistency.

  1. It's intentional. Jake likes to be a little goofy.
  2. He put it on that way because he really can't tell where the top of his head is without looking in a mirror.
  3. He makes a lot of steep right turns every time he rides, and centrifugal force pulls the helmet off-kilter.

I may never know the truth behind this phenomenon, but the important thing is that I recognize it exists and appreciate it as a part of the endless quirkiness that makes me a Gyllenhaalic. Jake: the man, the enigma, the goofball.

All photos: IHJ.



Those who know me from here know that I have certain conflicted feelings about the literary meta-genre known commonly as fanfic. I am not a stranger to its disquieting allure; I've participated in a few fandoms where I wrote the stuff myself.

But the phenomenon of Brokeback Mountain fan fiction and slash is particularly unsettling to me. I won't read it.

In part, it's because I love the story and characters of Ang Lee's film so purely, and don't like the idea of anyone else pulling their puppet-strings. There's also the trivialization aspect: while there are bound to be exceptions, in general the goal appears to be titillation. Ennis and Jack deserve more respect than that.

I also have my own reservations regarding the writing of fanfic. Because I have such difficulty creating a fictional universe and populating it with original characters, for me the concept of borrowing an already-proven world seems an easy out, a cheat. I'm not saying that's how it is for others who write it; just me.

So when I found myself returning again and again to an idea about a BBM character, I refused to give it life on the grounds above. That is, until one afternoon as I was driving home from work. I'd been playing Live's Throwing Copper in the car for a week or so, but for some reason, that afternoon, I heard "Pillar of Davidson" as if for the first time. While there are some generally agreed upon interpretations of these lyrics, something tells me that Ed Kowalczyk never dreamed he would inspire a reluctant fan fiction story about BBM.

All of this is by way of confessing to having written a piece called Shepherd. Previously, I allowed an online friend to post it anonymously for me at BrokebackSlash several weeks ago. I'm posting a link rather than the text in case there are any visitors who, like me, do not wish to read fanfic. Am I the queen of irony or what?


Why? An introduction

No, I am not especially convinced that the internet needs yet another blog related to Jake Gyllenhaal. However, recent events have led me to believe that my experience is not represented by any of those already in existence, and since I enjoy few things more than writing, talking, and thinking about Jake, I'm here to represent myself.

Zen means meditation. Zen Buddhism is an ancient Eastern philosophy which teaches that peace and ultimately an enlightened state called Nirvana can be reached only by letting go of intense personal attachments and emotions, by means of meditation. A path of eight steps is defined, through which Enlightenment is achieved.

This blog isn't about Zen Buddhism. Don't ask me about Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist. My total knowlege of Buddhism stems from a 3-credit-hour World Religion class at community college 14 years ago, plus whatever apocryphal nonsense I have absorbed via pop culture references. If you want to learn more about it, I recommend you start here, or here, or even here.

My concept of Zen Gyllenhaalism is as simple or as complex as the follower desires it to be.

Basic: Meditate upon Jake. Experience happiness.

Slightly deeper: The act of focusing upon Jake requires one to block out negativity and thoughts of the day's trials; it also brings a natural euphoria through sheer sensory pleasure and imaginative contemplation.

You can't be serious?: Attachment leads to suffering. That includes attachment to our desires and fantasies. Become conscious of the truth that the Jake you adore is not the man you see in movies and photos; he is a construct in your head, built of anecdotes about a celebrity, enhanced by every additional input (interviews, film performances, randomly recorded behaviors) to become ever more detailed and lifelike, but having no actual connection to the individual bearing that name and likeness. Appreciate the pleasurable qualities exhibited by Jake for their own sake, and allow this knowledge to inspire you in art or in action.

If any of that sounds good to you, or if you just think I'm crazy enough to be entertaining for a while, stick around.