Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Day 3

I ran into this guy on my way to work this morning. He was all: “Hey mon, lemme be playin’ you a Rastafarian lullabye.” Then he said “irie” a bunch of times and tried to hit me in the head with his saxophone. Luckily, I had drunked about 15 cups of coffee earlier and was thus able to kick him in the head with my magnum-thrust spin kick. It was awesome. Then we had lunch together. Somebody. Anybody. Get me a beer.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

My weird week continues. But at least there’s something to look forward to.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Snot Wars
This is going to be one of those special weeks that leaves me wishing I had a serious drinking problem. And it comes on the heels of a crappy weekend, which saw me desparately trying to nurse my beloved back to health while she wallowed under the wrath of sundry sinus ailments. Springtime in Dallas is the season of allergens of all shapes and sizes. Wind-bourne scourges that wreak havoc on our airways. The kinds of vicious plant particles that, when magnified, look like evil brown pufferfish and stealth bombers. Aside from a cavalcade of over-the-counter drugs, mucus is our only defense. Miya apparently has very weak mucus, because most of our conversations this weekend went like this (what follows is an accurate and factual transcript of a conversation we may or may not have had):

Me: What should we do for dinner?
Miya: Whaaaaaaaah-shooooooo!
Me: I’m thinking I could go for some Italian.
Miya: Huuuuuu-Whuuuuuuu-Splooooeeeyy!
Me: Yeah, I guess Mexican would be OK. I could really go for one of those fancy beers with the lime in it. Those are great.
Miya: Snuuuuuuuurk!

In addition to the strange utterances that emanated from my otherwise eloquent darling, there were several trips to local merchants for allergy-fighting supplies. Between the Kleenex, paper towels, Claritin, Sudafed, honey, toilet paper, orange juice, vodka and sensual body paint, I think we did our part to keep the Dallas economy in stellar shape.

But yeah, so I’d better get back to work. It’s going to be a strange week.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Iambic Pentameter ... Whameter
These past few days, I’ve been having a helluva time trying to figure out what to write about. I’ve also had trouble figuring out how to make a ton of money illegally without arousing suspicion. So I figure the best thing I can possibly do at a time like this — when life’s question’s leave me at a los’s for answer’s — is to carefully dissect a sociological study which I have not conducted but whose results are easy to fake ... without arousing suspicion.

This all hearkens back to an old college assignment. In every psychology class ever taught in the history of college, students have been told by their professors to perform guerrilla experiments and to report their findings in essay form. These guerrilla experiments are not to be confused with gorilla experiments, which usually take place in the biology department and require the filling out of official forms and peer review and data collection and frequent hand washing. No, guerrilla is Spanish for “little war,” according to my limited knowledge of this rare and exotic foreign language. Guerrilla experimentation involves going into the field (world) and studying people’s (humans’) reactions to stimuli (subtle harassment).

For example, the most common guerrilla experiment appears on syllabi as follows:
Examine people's responses when you invade their personal space. Pick a building on campus and stand within a foot of another passenger in an otherwise empty elevator. Jot down your observations. Papers will be due in the first Friday of October.

The greatest thing about these assigments was the fact that a reasonable person already knew what kinds of reactions people would have. Therefore, only idiots and brown-nosers would actually walk into elevators and conduct the experiments and write down data and make utter fools of themselves. The rest of us had serious drinking to do. So we faked the results. We made up a few case studies in the morning (or afternoon) before class and tried to make them as plausible as possible ... without arousing suspicion.

It’s all about misdirection. Draw people’s attention away from what you are talking about while you are actually talking about it. For example, in the process of describing this college phenomena (fenominah), I have completely tried to steer you away from my failure to deliver what I promised in Paragraph 1. This is because I have nothing to write about. But I don’t want all the people (person) who read my page to know that I’ve slacked off majorly this week and that even today, as I sit here trying my damndest to think of something to write about, I still have nothing to write about. I apologize to those who saw right through my crafty scheme.

It’s beautiful outside. Let’s get naked.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Imagine having a country all your own. Well, a couple purchased “property” in the middle of the sea back in the late 1960s and they now enjoy national sovereignty. Visit Sealand’s website. And be sure to check out the photo gallery, which includes a majestic overhead shot of the sprawling metropolis (pop. 2).

P.S. New, substantial update coming tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Hot for Teacher
I was thinking last night about the teachers I've had. Going through the years, grade by grade, I realized these characters should be populating a novel somewhere. I wrote about a bunch of them. Here are a select few:

3rd Grade - Mrs. Byrne
Science teacher extraordinaire. Raging love of animals and nature manifested itself in a tendency to spontaneously bark at students. Rumored to have been spotted in a school utility closet gently petting a head of cauliflower and whispering “I’ll never let them eat you.” Showed up in class one Monday sporting huge sunglasses. Told us she’d been kicked in the face by a horse over the weekend. I always suspected the horse was acting in self-defense.

4th Grade - Mrs. Metropolis
Great name.

6th Grade - Mr. Harris
Coolest. Teacher. Ever. Used to let students sign his desk. I remember kids he had taught 10 years earlier coming back to visit and sit and watch him teach. It was amazing. It was 1987. I remember him giving us daily updates early in the school year on the progress of the Cubs’ newly acquired right fielder Andre Dawson (who hit 49 home runs that year). Called him “Awesome Dawson,” and somehow made it rhyme. Used to take us outside to play softball once a month. Our class was the envy of Lincoln Elementary.

8th Grade - Mr. Gilliam
“Don’t you piss in my face and tell me it’s raining.” These days, that would get teachers in most school districts fired.

9th Grade - Mr. Demos
Ted Demos wore a double-breasted suit and Cartier watch every day, wrote with a Monte Blanc pen (yes, this was a public high school) and referred to everyone by their patronymic. “Mr. Innocenzi, you are a strange little man,” he would say, in a voice that hovered somewhere between lispy and nasally. Told us stories about his first and last brush with romance: A trip through the Tunnel of Love with one Sandy Masterson. The experience left him jaded and confused, and he had since directed most of his romantic ambition at his two cats, Blanche and Jane. Strange, indeed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Ben and I pressed out of the cab and walked up the block toward Leg Room. The line was out the door and I had a furious need to pee. Chicago has alleys. Lots of them. So while Ben saved us a place in line I ducked around the corner to get relief. The alley was dark as they come, flanked on both sides by tall buildings, only a faint shaft of moonlight could squeeze its way down. The ground was a patchwork of desperate blacktop which opened in spots to reveal a ravaged brick underbelly. In most alleys the gutter runs down the center so as to siphon waste away from the kitchen doors of restaurants and the ground-level windows of basement apartments. This one was like that. And a gleaming river of water collected in the middle and reflected the moonlight, blazing a white, rippled trail down the length of the alley. A solitary bum stalked the place, so I picked a spot behind a dumpster on the opposite side and began to do my business.

The guy peered at me over the top of the dumpster and we exchanged pleasantries — I was slightly lit at the time. By the time I zipped up, he’d made his way over to me. A haggard old black man with kinky hair sprouting from the bottom of his wool cap. A face outlined with a coarse beard and mustache. Clothes clearly promoted from his environment. He told me his name was Mike. This was his alley. “Everyone knows me here.”

My name is Mike. So we had a short conversation. I must have recognized the immense coincidence of meeting someone who shared my first name. He must have felt the same connection. He produced a thin, tightly wrapped joint from his shirt pocket and asked me if I’d like to help him smoke it. I have been known to smoke the stuff in quantity. Word, it seems, had spread. We ducked into an alley doorway and lit the thing. Passed it from his hand to mine to his and back again until it was barely a nubbin. The roach went back into his shirt pocket and we talked some more. I can’t remember. But after a few dizzy moments another bum, younger and cleaner, face harder, came out of the shadows. Mike had asked me for money but I had none. I was sorry. I would come back. But no this other bum, he was more insistent. He wanted me to empty my pockets.

Show me no money, he said. I know you have some money, he said. So I reached into my pockets and one by one revealed the lint and the lighter and cigarettes and $60. Damn. I had forgotten about that. “I can’t give you a $20. This is the only money I’ve got. Seriously.”

Not the answer he wanted to hear. He walked into my personal space and backed me into a corner. The street was 30 yards away and a cacophony of human traffic. I was going to hit the guy and yell anyway because who knew what kinds of rusty tools he had in his coat.

But Mike pushed his old hand into the guy’s chest and said “Leave the boy alone.” His eyes were cannons. He was using force. The younger stepped back. Stepped back again. And he walked away without my money. Humanity had won in some strange, decisive underground battle. And I’d witnessed the thing as an arrogant white suburban boy. My eyes were opened.

After the bar, I went back outside to find Mike. Give him the change I’d promised. Thank him again. But he wasn’t there. I was drunk. Asking the folks at the gyro shop down the block if they knew Mike. Nobody gave me any kind of answer. I stumbled away.

But I remember that. I remember it anyway.

If you see him, let him know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Sneaky MoFo
I found free image hosting thanks to Tony B, the newest designer of the Neiman-Marcus catalogue (or, if you prefer, catalog). And props to Dave G for helping an idiot in matters of code jockeying. So, first things first: Miya took this shot from the passenger seat as we drove down Harry Hines on our way to Cosmic Cafe for lunch Saturday. I like how you can see the guy scowling at the middle-aged bikers who were riding beside us (see Plexiglass reflection):

Windshield Viper
A classic case study in mass hysteria.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Itchin’ for a Scratch
The 10 songs that will get me through my week:

“Village Green Preservation Society” — The Kinks
“Mondo 77” — Looper
“The Boss” — James Brown
“California Uber Alles” — The Dead Kennedys
“BBQ” — Cibo Matto
“Speeding Motorcycle” — Yo La Tengo
“I’m Glad” — J-Lo
“Alternative Ulster” — Stiff Little Fingers
“Jam On It” — Neucleus
“Alone Again Or” — Love

I hope to make this a weekly feature.

Friday, April 11, 2003

The Vapors
OK. That’s it. I can’t stand it anymore. If I read or hear one more media outlet crying about the “deadly SARS virus,” I’m seriously gonna’ lose it. I think like 5% of the people infected have actually died. And that doesn’t take into account the countless people who have been infected and never sought medical care. It’s panic-mongering at its worst. What’s next? I’ll tell you what’s next:

Deadly driving epidemic claims two

Pedestrian killed by deadly car
(subhed: Commission to explore safety of crossing streets)

Deadly murderer murders some guy

Deadly television falls on child
(subhed: Mother claims she ‘never knew’ perils of TV ownership)

Deadly sharks maul friendly humans
(er, wait, that was two summers ago)

Maniac shot, killed by deadly police officers

Where will it end?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Fuck You. Pay Me.
Freelance writers air their grievances with deadbeat companies. Entertaining stuff.

Paragraph President
OK, I’m not going to post the entire text of that story I was writing a couple years back. But I went through it and grabbed a few choice paragraphs. I know this is a cheap way to update, but I have to give these words a chance. They’ve never had a chance, really. Here goes:

The room’s fluorescent light casing reminded him of the ones in his high school classrooms: holding two long tubes of light and having the pebbly plasticine texture of a holiday punch bowl. One of the lights flickered between unlit and half-lit while in the other bulb light rippled and staggered eerily up and down the length of the tube like a concentrated aurora borealis. Eric watched the light play on the back of his hand.


Hokkani Boro, the gypsy girl, had achieved some measure of infamy as the 9-year-old girl who’d spiked several of her classmates’ lunch milk with blotter acid. Spiked her own milk as well. Sent 15 young girls to the hospital, including herself, with symptoms ranging from high-powered stomach aches to delusions of cyborg incest and impregnation. That was almost 20 years ago. And what had happened to her? What, she wondered. Because to her it seemed something important had gone down that day. Or she wanted to believe it. That she’d been fucked over on a molecular level and that her judgement had been like permanently impaired. That every bad decision was colored by that day, or precipitated by it. Something. Something had to have gone terribly wrong. And shit if only she could remember. As if that would somehow make everything better. Make any difference at all. And what of the possibility that nothing had happened? that she’d have to take responsibility for everything? that whatever cult of victimhood she’d claimed membership in by virtue of a prepubescent acid trip represented nothing more than an excuse to make all of the bad decisions she ever wanted to make? Because after all, that membership entitled her to a warm comfortable feeling with the mess she was in. Because it wasn’t her fault, by gosh. It wasn’t. Couldn’t be. Not with what she’d been through. No. Sure, no, she’d been issued a lifetime license to fuck up.


“That was a different girl. That was my sister. Some guy had tried to kill himself in my sister’s apartment. Slit his wrist in the kitchen and she came home and made him clean up the mess. It was one of those cry for help things but,” Eric smiled, “man, my sister, you don’t know. She’s not with that shit, you know? It just pissed her off. Long story. The poor kid was in love with her and she’s like, she’s like she just wanted someone to pay attention to her and take her out. So I smacked him around a little while she held the phone cuz he kept trying to pick it up and call his mom. While I’m working him over. Sorry little bastard. But I have this picture in my mind of her holding the phone in her lap while I beat the guy’s ass. She tells her friends that story all the time, how her big brother kicked her boyfriend’s ass. See? Even you’re laughin’. And it’s funny like one second he’s got a death wish and he’s spilling pints of blood on my sister’s kitchen floor and but what happens? He gets his ass kicked and runs to the police. What kind of shit is that? So yeah, but that was my sister. Man, nobody fucks with my sister.”


And in minutes out front while the courthouse with its trunk-like stone columns closed in around him a beat-up Vega sputtered to a stop on the opposite side of the street. Eric sucked the last out of a Merit Light, flicked the butt to the four winds and shimmied through traffic, arriving just as Kristen got the window rolled down to greet him. Slid into the passenger seat, shifting ass against scattered cassette tapes, empty bottles, cigarette boxes. Pushing a crumpled newspaper into the floorboard with his feet mumbling “ to clean this fuckin’ car...” as he grabbed some red steering wheel lock and tossed it into the back seat where it came to rest on a sack of laundry which burped a thin sheet of dust.


At night, southbound traffic on LSD creeps toward downtown like a lightning bug caravan. Distant horns shout explitives in the night. Cabbies search bar districts for fares, circling the block, these urban vultures, preying on the drunk and immobile. The sky there doesn’t change much all winter: Gray and hard. Foreboding. Not to be fucked with, as fast-moving clouds racing up, over and into downtown can attest. And the angry heavens churn, punishing this city for its sins.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Today marks our 10-month anniversary, Miya and I. The night we met, Lennox Lewis pounded Mike Tyson to a bloody pulp and I knew there was something great happening. Since then, I’ve come to know the coolest chick on the map. And not just coolest in any ordinary way. In addition to the usual stock of adjectives (which, granted, are tough enough to live up to), Miya has exceptional sorts of qualities. The kind that can’t be broken down by just saying the obvious: beautiful, intelligent, funny, classy. ... Those are all there, but there’s more to it than that.

So I’m sitting here kind of at a loss for words, trying to think of an adequate way to describe how important something is when it has the intangible characteristics of soul and magic. Trying to give myself time to think. And I realize it’s hard to break down this kind of thing. It can’t be measured or quantified. But it’s there. I feel it.

And I just want everyone to know.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

High Anxiety
Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is one of my favorite movies of all time, so naturally I found this to be extremely cool. But as I perused the site, I realized you don’t need to be a movie fan to dig this project. It’s pretty cool on its own.

I started writing this story about two years ago. Gave up on it after about six months. Read some of it yesterday.

I can't believe I wrote this. I don't know if I'm proud or embarrassed. But I feel compelled to post it because I hate to see it just thrown to the boneyard. Here's the first part:

At parties in Sean’s Cornelia Ave. apartment she’d been courted mercilessly and in earnest by two of the three swarthy young Barrett triplets. Descendants of the legendary Barrett bloodline. They of the collective contract with Ford Modeling Agency, who represented, respectively, each of the personae most valued in males by females: humble intellectual, free-spirit extreme athlete and poet/individualist. Not at all like the typical turtleneck-and-sportcoat crowd that perpetually abutted the fireplace mantle with merlot and horn-rimmed glasses and an uncanny (and OK, unsettling) cognition of free-form interpretive dance and surrealist opera. Nor did they resemble the couch-bound Corps (i.e. corporates) with the Rolexes they disengenuously attempted to cover up in humbleness as they pontificated on the efficacy of a non-Scottish single-malt or some shit, seeming to care about such trivialities while really only reprising a polished game that interested not the women, as they assumed, but themselves (this approach was ultimately mistaken as successful, by the way, if the deal was closed later that evening, the subject actually being captivated more by the authentic mohair sweater and the spoils said sweater adumbrated than by the conversation). But so she parried each Barrett jab with the subtle dubiousness of a seasoned beat reporter who knew all the angles and her deftness was such that the Barretts (the two of them, anyway) left each gathering under the distinct impression that they'd made progress and were maybe one encounter away from closing the deal, bending her over the proverbial bathroom sink and entering from behind. And indeed at their Lincoln Park loft later that evening they would argue who’d come closest and in turn dismissively assure their kin that no, she told me you were this or that and definitely not interested in your bobsledding trip to Tibet and the February fashion spread in Whatever Monthly.

She was Laura. German-born. Hamburgian. Whose family had moved stateside so her father could take a position at the University of Chicago lecturing on early-Aristotelian ethics (a zealously guarded UC staple that was seemingly in place to anger dissident philosophy students out of the philosophy department — see Pirsig); whose interests, ambitions and general ethical standards were frustratingly difficult to pinpoint (the Barretts observed); whose temperament betrayed a touch of self-consciousness and insecurity; whose stubbornness did not allow her to compensate for physical shortcomings with make-up of any kind; whose natural beauty had matriculated somewhere in her early-20s and whose sense of fashion was rooted in an ambivalence toward fashion; whose German accent had diminished to the point of non-existence by the time she attended high school and would not return now no matter how hard she tried to replicate it.

Standing by a bookcase next to rows of fake book spines and half-listening to Austin Barrett tell her about himself and his interests and ambitions and how (and her lips almost mimicked his as he said it) he never really wanted to be a model. My brothers made me do it, or some such. Austin being the poet/individualist of the multi-hued Barrett cloth. Laura listened, or affected the mannerisms of a listener: Nodding, sipping her bourbon concoction at strategic intervals while maintaining eye contact and interpolating brief hyperboles of her own. The effort wasn't taxing. She didn't dislike the Barretts, after all. Especially Austin, who made his overtures fairly drip with sincerity and who to anyone else would seem to be that exceptional sort of rich chap who, they would say, has a good head on his shoulders. A stunningly gorgeous head, Laura would concede. And admittedly the thought of taking fists of his shaggy curly brown hair in her hands during some sort of illicit encounter had crossed her mind. Several times even. Now even. But she a stubborn mule and the Barretts' intentions lacking a gentlemanly discretion (for suits of their tweed), Laura took their handouts, put them in her pocket and suspended judgement on whether to save them for later or toss them out. The decision as yet unmade. But again she was stubborn and would take her time and do things in her time and not feel obligated to live up to the socially accepted flirting-response time allotment. And furthermore the thought of being with Austin engendered the same exquisite guilt, Laura imagined, as stealing from a museum. And furthermore the name Austin being the type of name reserved for folks whose parents were sickeningly rich (which the Barretts were; their parents, father specifically, having made the type of money that was best measured in tonnage). Like names like Stratford and Baxter and Court and Blake and Taylor and Carlton. Young men who were accustomed to getting what they wanted. Wanting things simply to get them. Getting them and taking them for granted. Or worse, doubting they ever wanted them in the first place. And these thoughts being the thread by which she hung on Friday nights. By which she hung over a deep and beautiful blue-green ocean of two-headed masculinity into which she desperately wanted to plummet, but which she feared because the ocean big and nebulous and dangerous and shark-infested and bitterly cold. And she hung on and was confident of her grip.

“...the shoot in Cabo. And you get up so early it's still cold and the sun has some pure light or something the photographers love down there. And we’d be finished by like eleven and I'd go over to this bar, La Strada, and sit on the sidewalk drinking something cold and orangish and watching the sun until it reached its apex and never hardly ever blinking. And the palm trees were like cool underneath and unnaturally cool for just plain old shade.”

“Yeah.” Nodding. Sipping. Eye-contacting. Laura had this uncanny ability to make cigarettes materialize in her off hand. Most people didn't notice, but those who did thought this particularly uncanny and kind of weird-neat. They didn't really just appear, the cigarettes, but Laura was liquid in her motion, and keeping up was like trying to track a ripple in water from afar. Her most inauspicious mannerisms elegant and kind of shady and like maybe a ghost would move. Or like one imagines a ghost would move.

“You should check it out...”

“Yeah. Sounds cool.”

Hokkani Boro, the gypsy girl, was reading Tarot cards for some Nameless (pl.) on an indigo-heavy Turkish carpet in the den in Sean’s apartment (known by frequent attendees as simply The A.S.). But so her openness about her ethnicity and the superstitions that characterized it made newcomers to Sean’s parties invariably levitate toward her. That magnetic eccentricity that foretold of some sort of artistic sensibility (misleading, in this case). And Hokkani wearing several too-large copper bracelets — some bead-encrusted, some not — on both wrists and waving those wrists to illustrate points of destiny: flailing in confusion and discord or spreading slowly from the center out in love, happiness and contentment. No one seemed ever to have told her that people prefer endearing, generous fortunes to allusions to disaster or major foot surgery, Hokkani more often plowing ahead, arms a whirling dervish as she foresaw, say, impending inner-ear infections or mongoloid offspring. And her hair a curio closet of tight, multi-colored wraps and plastic gemstones, even tiny inaudible bells, all woven into the production and the hair being incredibly good-smelling and deep black clean of east Asian women's hair despite Hokkani's reluctance to get it wet and possibly disband what one could only guess was stockpiled follicular mojo. To be sure, her boyfriend Eric took her washing her hair to indicate interest in other men and an attempt to woo (his word) other men. And this would lead, indeed, to incredibly bad and embarrassing mojo in front of several people. Which is why Eric is not welcome at the A.S. lately and why Hokkani has told several of her friends that she's taken to telling the male Nameless that her ear-kissing is a time-honored gypsy tradition and should in no way make the recipient feel apprehensive and maybe call me sometime this week but after eight, always after eight, she would say.

And now for the life of her Laura’d been distracted and couldn’t remember what Austin was talking about.

“...for the first time. And it was pretty scary, you know. But it’s cool too cuz like by the second time you’re like totally relaxed and it, it, it just like, man, you've got to like experience it to understand.” He stroked his chin. “But afterward I felt like peaceful. Like excited but peaceful at the same time.” He took a belt of brandy and nodded to himself. “Yeah ... I'm definitely doing it again.”

“Uh huh.”

Austin Barrett (the self-proclaimed poet/individualist Barrett — known for high cheekbones, broad shoulders and crisply sculpted, photogenic buttocks) spoke with a whispery, watery soft voice that maybe came out sounding stranger and more inhuman than it did to Austin in his head. And when Laura heard it — when he got drunk and really fell into it — it seemed to her a conscious attempt to replicate the mannerisms and timber of some poetic ideal. The long hair, fingernail-crescent eyes, stubble, rucksack, old, oily leather boots, second-hand this-and-that and the leaning the head back and looking as if something of great importance was on the ceiling, all that added up to little when he talked and it seemed like he ruined everything, senseless words in a manufactured voice carving out fatal ruts in the trunk of his appearance.

“I wrote about it when I got back. I hadn’t written that much in one day since shit I don't know when. And some of the best...”
It was no use. She hadn’t a clue what he'd been talking about and Austin, despite what Laura guessed was a decent amount of genuine intelligence, could not pull off talking about himself without somehow sounding like a teenager: sort of a well-measured reluctant self-absorption.

So she made a verbal exit while Austin was in mid-stutter — half-drunken eyes searching the ceiling for the word, fist and palm at the ready to make the point as soon as the confounding word revealed itself — and went to refresh her glass.

The A.S. was a narrow, high-ceilinged duplex with audacious archways and crown moldings and hand-scrubbed hardwood floors spotted with authentic expensive rugs that smelled of incense and dried leaves. The sofas and chairs and ottomans were pea-green organic hemp-cloth-looking and of womb-like comfort. The walls were covered in cream ribbed paper. Sean detested hanging art unless it was original and what few items broke the walls' blank plane looked like framed paintings by primates or young, uncoordinated relatives.

And Lone Stan Kirk was in the kitchen archway alone, as per his moniker, making no attempt to mask the fact he was looking at body parts of passing women that gentlemen simply don't make a show of looking at unless they're in an adult club of some kind. But no, Lone Stan, as the ladies passed, would look straight down at their bottoms as if he were at a bottom store pricing and comparing potential bottoms. Tilting his head slightly as he stared and almost looking as if he'd give the bottom a pinch to, you know, test it out and see if he wanted to buy. Never really talking to anyone unless provoked and always holding his tumbler of rum curiously close to his chin and occasionally making quick, animated facial expressions as if practicing for an upcoming conversation. And no one was really clear on how he came to be a regular at the A.S. to begin with but he being completely and almost laughably harmless thusfar his presence didn’t bother anyone and the Straw Girls (tall, rail-thin and traveling in packs) made a game of walking by, pausing to bend and pick up dimes covertly dropped before Lone Stan’s arrival and mentally tallying the results from across the room. And no one really clear either on whether he knew of this and, the results being to his liking, did not exhibit compunction about it out of fear they’d stop.

And Laura radiated beauty, yes. But not the kind of beauty that was complemented by a let’s say gymnastic posterior. So when she went to the kitchen knowing well what kind of bodily inventory was afoot she would always slide sideways past L.S. Kirk and make eye contact and say hey or whatever. And she’d go into the kitchen and always in the kitchen there would be Troy Barrett, the gregarious ex-bartender and April ‘99 coverboy of Men’s Health, mixing drinks and holding court to any of a number of female subjects. A skilled mixer of drinks, indeed, and the type of square-jawed chap who represented a beacon of public competence to legions of the socially gangrenous. Everyone’s friend like. Indiscriminate. Real class president material if he hadn’t been home-schooled.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Set ‘em up; Knock ‘em down
At a work meeting today someone said “Chanel is running full-page ads in Paper City, but they won’t advertise with us.” An ad staffer made this observation to justify us departing from our design ideology. An ideology that I happen to think is pretty damn good and that I've been defending for months. She was arguing that advertisers like Chanel aren’t on board because our publication isn’t “cutting edge.” My reply: “We can’t just slap on a slutty dress and hope Chanel asks us to prom.”

Sometimes meetings can be fun.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

From an impromptu writing workshop w/Alberto calling the shots as I nurse a solitary bottle of Shiner.

“Random fatigue. It’s always brought on by what I eat. Bad bacteria. Moodiness. And the other thing is that I had cold pizza in the morning. Fatigue. My eyes won’t stay open. I didn’t know why. Now I know: It was the bread. Now it’s leafy greens and rice,” he said. Leaned his head back. Forward. Sip of water. Curly hair settled.

Another dark, wood-floored bar in Dallas. Lights of varying shapes and colors but with the same theme, reeking of the Far East. Whatever puts asses in the seats.

“... white grapefruit juice. I’m gonna pay for that. It was heavily processed.”

Smoke swirled from an untended cigarette.

“I can’t smoke anymore. The candida.”

So the cigarette sits there, unclaimed. I’m in no mood to share lip flecks. Especially with some cat who’s got candida. Or thinks he does.

So I’m worried about this trip to Wichita because who knows what kinds of phantoms populate that joint. My knuckles are audible, voicing my worry as they crack like twisted bubble wrap. I grip the handrest. “Hello, My Name Is Joyce” the nametag proclaims. She asks me if I want a drink and I order a gin and tonic. She lays down a coaster, a mini bottle and a cup of fizz. I tip a dollar. Her face is a cockroach as she crumples the bill. She turns, puts the smile back on and shuffles, pushes the metal drink cabinet forward on squeeky wheels. I take a stiff belt of my drink and lime bits crowd my throat. I cough. Just like Dublin. Her cleavage a dense canyon of skin packed into black Lycra. Joyce stumbles out of her shoe, a red flat, and when she bends to recover I get a face full of ass.

“She eats like a pig, but works out daily,” the guy sitting next to me observes. “You can tell by the lines there.” And he points. I nod him away. Nod off in minutes. Sleep for the entire flight.

Back In The Saddle Again
New color scheme (a work in progress, so don’t go apeshit). Template fixed by Dave G: Code Jockey.

Subhead for the second episode of “The Bachelor”: Shedding the Token Minorities. This Firestone cat is about as charismatic as a ball of plastic wrap. As predictable as a romantic comedy. And he’s toothy. Like a cartoon, he smiles. His bicuspids look like two-by-fours.

New color scheme, indeed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

I'm not quite sure what's happened to my template, but it's freakin' me the fuck out. I'd like to say I'll figure this all out today, but I probably won't.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

King Soul
I am becoming a fan of Nat Hentoff.