Monday, June 30, 2003

I got off work at 5 p.m. and my ecosystem was struggling in the wake of Thursday night’s discovery. I will refer to this discovery as “Dollar Well Drinks Night” at Ozona on Greenville. My favorite spot for a weekday sock hop. The wait staff sends me Christmas cards. So yeah, Dollar Well Drinks Night (DWDN, pronounced “doodin”). And we’re not talking about some cheap-plastic-cup well drinks stuffed between a pile of ice cubes. We’re talking pint glasses and generous mix-to-spirit ratios. I hit the gin & tonics and the world smiled. All night long. And but so Friday I awoke at 4 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. No sweat. I suffered through a long, uneventful day at the office and, by the time I got home, I was ready to crash-nap big time. And I did.

Two hours later I was refreshed and rejuvinated. I ate an entire pizza all by myself. Alberto rang and invited me to a barbecue down near Deep Ellum. I spent roughly three hours ironing a shirt and then I headed out the door. I learned a valuable lesson that evening: The sweet smell of barbecue loses its luster after you have eaten an entire pizza. Thankfully beer doesn’t. I had a few drinks with Alberto, Heather, and then headed to Cosmo’s to meet up with The Copyediting Crew. One drink. Two drinks. Three drinks. Four. The conversation was stellar. And I found out that there are, indeed, people under the age of 50 who enjoy a good cross-stitch. Uncanny. We closed the bar, etc.

I am a champion. After getting home at 3 a.m., I somehow mustered the strength to get out of bed at 10 a.m. and head south to help Alberto move out of his old digs. After brunch at All Good Café, the effort began in earnest. One trip. Two trips. Three trips. Four. We packed large furniture with skill and savvy. Then we each ate an entire pizza.

Tony & Nicole of The Flying Buraglios (pronounced “doodin”) came down to the pool for sunshine and drinks. After a few hours of basking and such, we headed indoors and watched a movie and drank some more and each ate an entire pizza.

I shit you not.

Point Me At The Sky
I will be Chicago-bound Friday morning. Of course, this means that the torrential rains of the Midwest will be charging through the city at about the same time and lingering for the duration of my visit. Upon my exit, the clouds will dissipate and the City By The Lake will return to business as usual. But that’s cool. I enjoy Chicago rain because it makes everything sparkle. And it smells really good. Chicago rain strikes quickly, leaving shimmering streets in its wake. It's like all artistic and shit.

Southern rain is an entirely different animal. Here in Dallas, it smells like a HazMat team has sprinkled the sky with sun-ripened pork guts and exotic cheeses. Dallas rain makes things dirtier. And I'm quickly losing interest in this tired line of vitriol.

What sucks more than anything is that I am still updating from home. This is a major pain in the ass. I guess I'll have to write up my big weekend update and post it tonight when I get off work. So be patient with me, gentle reader. My heart is in the right place. In my chest. Somewhere. I hope.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Meet The New Boss
So the brain trust has revamped our Blogger interface, sending me hurling into the electronic netherworld for the last 24 hours. Tearing me, kicking and screaming, from the arms of my public. But I must say, I dig the new features. I especially like the new feature that made my archives completely disappear. Completely. And the new interface is not yet compatible with Mac's Internet Explorer, so I now have to update from home like some kind of one-legged orphan. On my lunch break I’m going to run out onto Central Expressway screaming for tech support. Trust me. Because that thing about liking the disappearing archives was sarcasm.

Yesterday I told Jamie, a die-hard Kansas University fan, that if the Bulls selected KU’s Nick Collison, I would jump off a highway overpass. So last night the Chicago Bulls drafted a young KU guard named Kurt Hinrich. That’s what we in the business refer to as a close call. Whatever business it is that I am in. Needless to say, I'm relieved I won't be having to jump off any bridges today. Because I would have done it. I am a man of my word.

This test may very well be the most useless thing ever. (I won't harp on the fact that the writer misused i.e. when he meant e.g., as tempting as that may be.) I don’t know why I always fall for Netscape quizzes. I really don’t. But I almost always check them out because I am a raging idiot. So the question this week is “What does your car say about you?” Of course, I’d love to know what my car says about me. And I figured this quiz would help me reach an accurate, scientific conclusion about my pathology, based simply on a few questions about me and my car.

Like I said, I am a raging idiot.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Once More Into the Breach
Well I can say without a doubt that last night’s foray into the wonderful and glamorous world of Team Trivia at the Tipperary was the best of times. The teammates came out in droves: Tony B, Nicole, Dave G, the Brothers Mead and Jamie, formerly of the West Wing. Jamie, whose enthusiasm is infectious and whose stories deserve their own zip code. Jeff, whose prodigious thicket of hair is steadily spiralling out of control. Tony, who always manages to pull some brilliant answer out of his ass while the rest of us scratch our drunken domes in disbelief. Nicole, whose mysterious ability to say “thank you” in eight foreign languages kept us in the game. Dave, who was holding out for a string of questions about computer programming that never came. And Dave II, who is always able to put life’s great questions into perspective simply by saying “Oh, fuck it.” Me, I’m just a young soul brother with a heart that pumps for disco. So yeah, we drank like we meant it and somehow managed to stay in the running until a disastrous stretch run dropped us out of the money. No bother. Pass the pitcher and continue across the street to Lakewood Landing, where we kicked back and drank up with relish until the wee hours beckoned us home. I would like to hereby congratulate all participants on a night well-spent. Good show. We must do this again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Not what I want to hear.

It always seems to work out this way. I’ve known Ben for years. He’s my best friend of life, but the guy has serious issues with planning and executing. You see, Ben is the product of a mysterious plane of space-time that no human will ever comprehend. If you are meeting him for drinks at 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday, you may want to show up at 3 a.m. Wednesday. Or sometime the following week. Or maybe never. And if you call him, be prepared to hear “I’ll be there in 20,” which means anything but he will be there in 20. I assure you, he will not be anywhere in 20. Ever. Especially if he says he will be. So the plan is for me to arrive in Chicago sometime this Thursday. This means, of course, that we wait until today to make travel plans. After all, getting the most expensive ticket possible is an important aspect of the vacation experience. Especially when we’re on the cusp of a big travel holiday.

So in the midst of writing this entry, plans have changed. I am shocked beyond belief. Ben is currently on the phone with me while booking the flight on Travelocity. The new flight. For the revised vacation, which will begin not this Thursday, but next Friday. I love the idea of flying into O’Hare on July 4th. And Ben is currently having much fun at my expense. Since he’s fronting for the ticket, he’s taken the liberty of booking me for Muslim meal service and a wheelchair request. I fear airline personnel will not see the humor. I can fake a limp like gangbusters, but there’s no way I can grow a beard and get my name changed. Not in a week, anyway.

This flight flummery is reminiscent of my last trip to Chi-Town. September 2002. I was going in to town for the OPRF class of 1992 reunion. During our descent into Midway Airport, the plane was bucking around like a mustang. I was drunk and petrified. As we came in for the final swoop, the back left tire slammed into the runway as a wind gust pushed us off course. People screamed. Somewhere, a little girl started crying. I was that little girl. The jets roared and the plane began an awkward ascent. It was a touch and go. I looked out the window and saw fire engines and ambulances lining runways all over the airport. I shit you not. I was sure we were gonna’ be snuffed. And when the pilot announced we were going to give it another shot, everyone went quiet and you could almost hear the mental energy of 200 humans synergizing into an ethereal voice, gently humming “Is this guy fucking nuts?”

But we made it safely on the second try. Everyone began clapping and cheering. It was one of the strangest, most elating feelings I’ve ever experienced. We all got off the plane and walked through the terminal in a luminous daze, exchanging smiles and nods of recognition. I almost didn’t want to get in the cab and leave the airport. I felt like we should all gather around and hold hands or some shit. To recognize. But we all went our separate ways, dissolving into other passengers, crowds, cars and shooting off in all directions to all destinations.

Yeah, that was my last flight to Chicago.

The great thing about getting sick is waking up one morning and not feeling sick anymore. This is that morning. I feel like I could run a marathon. Or maybe walk a marathon. And not an official marathon. I just mean that in all likelihood, over the course of the rest of my life, I will transport myself on foot at least another 26.2 miles, cumulatively. And this turn for the better could not have come at a better time, as The Two Yutes will make their triumphant return to Team Trivia at the Tipperary this evening. So lucidity is paramount. Tantamount to timely intellectual competence. And luck, which, I confess, The Two Yutes have not been blessed with. We have made our name making a mockery of the game. But tonight will mark our triumphant return nonetheless. More or less. So to speak. I swear, none of the rhymes are intentional.

Boddingtons. Drink the Stink.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Ecosystem Update
OK, it's official. I'm sick. Cash donations accepted.

At some point last Friday, I had an inkling that something wicked was creeping around in me gulliver. I chalked it up to allergies, since it seemed mostly to be assailing my lungs. I was coughing and feeling a little bit out of it. I spent Friday night indoors recuperating for Saturday’s Main Event. So the next morning I struggled like a champ, dragging myself to the Big Crawfish Boil and somehow managing to drink with the best of them until late. I was prepared to pay the price Sunday, but I woke up at about 9 and felt good enough to chill out on the couch and watch the Cubs beat the White Sox, 2-1. So my point being that I’ve been kind of hovering over this ocean of sickness, but I haven’t yet taken the plunge (Item #201: never again use the phrase “take the plunge”). I don’t feel really sick, but I’ve been coughing a lot. I said that already. So yeah, this is all very interesting. Happy Monday.

Crawfish Boil photos to come.

Friday, June 20, 2003

This Seems Like It Would Be Really Funny When I Think About It, But Who Knows? It Might Not Be.
Man, the thing about bloggers is that we’re all egotistical enough to think that people outside of our immediate spheres of influence will benefit from reading what we write. And here in Dallas there’s this blogging consortium (DFW Blogs) that gets together every month to drink and, well, I’ve never actually gone to one of these gatherings but I assume there’s a lot of fraternal back slapping and mutual admiration and what not. And I’ve always found this funny because I imagine everyone getting together and ignoring this ego factor — the reason behind the reason that everyone is there in the first place. But anyway, so I’ve been seriously thinking about going to one of these blog parties. And but I see myself walking in and issuing the following proclamation, just to, you know, break the ice and make everyone acknowledge this unspoken bond before we commence with the drinking:

“We must all think we’re pretty fucking clever, huh?”

Yeah. I think that would be cool. Some day, at least.

I realized at 1:30 a.m. that I was pretty much drunk beyond repair. I wasn’t drunk, really. It was more of a cumulative-effect stemming from the fact that Alberto and I hit the Barleyhouse around 6:30 to begin with. And Nikki, the bartendress, is a skilled mixer of drinks. And so yeah, my gin and tonics turned into some pretty mean spirits. And there was a phone call from Ben telling me we have really good tickets to the Cubs-Sox game at Comisky next Friday. And then Nikki, again, with the alcoholic insanity. Ask for a shot and I get a bottomless vat of SoCo. And then something raspberry when Dave G showed up. And we all drank without asking questions and shot pool and occupied the back room of the Barleyhouse until 9ish, when we got our shit together and headed down to Expo. Alberto neglected to mention — and I should have remembered — that is was karaoke night. And while it was fun to watch and some people got chops and drinks kept showing up like magic, I couldn’t shake the unsettling feeling that by some cruel twist of fate, I was going to end up front-and-center singing some Tom Jones joint and trying my damndest to annunciate. Annunciate. Annunciate. Because drinks had been set up and knocked down since like 6:30 and it was closing in on midnight and then, of all things, Heather shows up. Heather, who I didn’t know but who seemed like a trustworthy kind of gal. And she and Alberto conspire to convince me to get down with the karaoke action. And I was ready to go along. And but then I kind of realized my impending folly and stalled by grabbing the song list and perusing it until roughly 1:30 a.m., at which point I was able to sneak out while the conspirators were unawares. And went home. And slept. And now I’m at work.

Good morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Rollin' Wit Da Homies
It was the Summer of Love, as far as the two of us were concerned. The two of us being, of course, me and Ben, who had been commissioned that summer to paint Ben’s parent’s house: a gargantuan, three-story Victorian behemoth located in the heart of Oak Park, Ill. A Big Fucking Job for two guys whose attention spans were suspect in matters involving physical labor.

As it happened, Ben and I shared a mutual admiration for Alicia Silverstone. We were especially fond of her brilliant work in the clever teen comedy “Clueless.” And so we eagerly anticipated the movie’s impending video release, but were required, as aspiring men, to suppress our collective urge to hop around waving our arms in the air when finally the day came. Instead we drew upon the services of Alison, Ben’s maudlin sister, who could be best described as Daria before there was a Daria, and upon whom I had a tremendous crush.

But that’s another story.

By some cosmic stroke of dumb luck, we convinced Ally that purchasing “Clueless” was the best possible thing she could do. And she did. And the Summer of Love was officially underway. Ben and I would sneak indoors during our lunch break (or coffee break, or smoke break, or break break) and watch the last 20 minutes of the campy flick, beginning with the scene in which Cher walks next to a fountain and makes this stunning realization: “Ohmigod! I love Josh!” and ending with the awkwardly romantic kiss on the stairs.

It was sweet.

I think that on some level we both began to believe that if we could just get an internship working under a high-powered corporate attorney, we could parlay our charm into a tryst with a hot rich blonde chick. The movie symbolized hope to the legions of socially gangrenous post-teens who made it the unlikely blockbuster it was. While Ben and I were by no means socially gangrenous, we weren’t quite as successful in our romantic endeavors as we wanted to be. And so every time we heard “Clueless” dialogue echoing through the Reb family’s cavernous stead, we would craftily find a way to get in on the viewing. To reinforce our belief that somewhere out there was a gorgeous broad waiting to be kissed on the stairs of her parent’s house.

The following exchange was not uncommon:

Ben: Hey Ally, what are you watching? Clueless?
Ally: Aren’t you guys supposed to be painting the house?
Ben: Eh, it’s too hot outside.
Mike: Yeah. Hm, Clueless. We might as well watch it with you.
Ben: I’ll go make some sandwiches.

Ah yes. The Summer of Love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Rural Redux
My distaste for Central Illinois squares off with my love for Chicago in this review I wrote a couple years back. And yes, there was a woman involved.

Static Cling
Short fiction excerpt. In honor of our friend Amy, whose feet sunk into the Central Illinois mire not so long ago. Here’s to hoping you make it out alive.

And anyone who's done time in Central Illinois will tell you that fortunes wax and wane (well, they wane) with a vengeance that makes one wonder about bizarre magnetic fields and shit. Bloomington-Normal. The Twin Cities. Home of Illinois State University and the semi-prestigious Illinois Wesleyan University. The Twin Cities — from whose bourne few travelers return. Every college graduate who made it out alive has stories of those classmates left behind. Toiling at the State Farm corporate headquarters or Avanti's Italian Restaurant. Working at some press in rural Toluca or detassling corn in BFE. There are jobs here that no one on the outside knows actually exist and they are plied by people who have no business not working in a high-tech chem lab or a corner office on the 51st floor of a Chi-Town skyscraper. Central Illinois, suburban parents tell their children at night, will sap you of both ambition and opportunity. The ignorant find themselves hawking their BAs at libraries or strip malls to make ends meet in a town where rent in the most affluent areas seldom exceeds $650/mo. We hear constantly of promising people who, sadly, Spent The Rest of Their Fucking Lives Here. To those of us who made it out with our sanity intact, these stories are incredibly ordinary.

When I’m bored and missing home, I often do a GIS for Chicago photos and bounce around looking for cool shots of the The Chi. But I’d never come across this site before. It’s one of the best.

I swear if I read the word rant one more time I’m gonna flip my lid. If I stumble upon one more random thought, journal, dream, note, wish, confession, reverie or observation. I swear. Big time. I will drop the hammer. Just be forewarned.

On the other end of the spectrum, here’s my favorite blog name of the day: Clowns in My Coffee. (Be warned: CIMC illustrates one of a multitude of instances wherein the blog name is more interesting than the blog itself.) I don’t know if this is a famous mondegreen (i.e. misheard lyric), but it made me smile like a lunatic and spill beer on my breakfast. Oh, and it’s from Carly Simon, if you don’t recognize the reference.


Tuesday, June 17, 2003

War of the Worlds
So I’m almost finished with BUtterfield 8 by John O’Hara. And it’s got me thinking, as things have a tendency to do. The book is a fictionalized account of an actual woman who was murdered in New York in 1931. O’Hara has taken the case and created the woman. A woman who, we know as we read, will meet a tragic end. The prose is kind of a mix between Theodore Dreiser and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's less constrained. More conversational. And at the heart of the book is class warfare — a passive-aggressive battle between the Haves and the Have Nots. So anyway: Whatever happened to the literature of Class Warfare? I’m doing a lot of thinking on this subject, and the extent of my research into this question will depend, in the end, on how important I think it is. Right now it’s a curiosity. But it’s lingering.

• The story is presented largely without direct authorial commentary.
• The writer skillfully illustrates how his theme (in most cases, a tragedy) is the result of class warfare (though not necessarily in an explicit sense).
• The work is relatively successful and well-received by critics, and is readily available to a mass audience.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I am Mike Innocenzi: Amateur Storm Chaser. And this is my question.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Holy catfish! Back in Illinois, when I had a brief career as a court reporter, I plied my trade in this building, where I covered the McLean County circuit court beat. Now it done got blowed up. Partially.

I tell you, every once in a while, a brush with death can provide perspective on your life and accomplishments. Near-death experiences force us to rethink our careers, our relationships, our lifestyles. And they give us a renewed incentive to recapture our youthful ambition to pursue our dreams no matter what the cost.

I could have been in that building.

Sitting in a courtroom with my recorder and notepad. Daydreaming. I could have suffered from seriously minor smoke inhalation and been subjected to the stress of general panic and confusion. I could have been trampled in a stairway. I could have gotten all kinds of splinters or twisted my ankle jumping over a prostrate old woman. I could have been hopelessly tangled in a revolving door. Any of a number of things could have gone wrong.

It makes you think.

Celebrity Burn
What better way to commemorate the artists and actors who shape our world than by auditing their oeuvres in an effort to pinpoint their worst moments?

If you know a male dog that can talk, ask him what it’s like to be neutered. Go ahead. Ask him. He’ll likely reply “My friend, it’s not unlike dating a high-maintenance woman.”

Subject: in the poker game of life, women are the rake


Sorry to hear about the female situation. Wow, I thought that was gonna lead to marriage. My situation may face a similar end. Not because the framework of the relationship isn't sound. It's that we may not want to live in the same country. That poses a big problem. I'm good with living in Sweden for part of the year but not on a full-time basis. However, Maria isn't sure she wants to be in the states at all. Well, I'm finna' find out later this summer. Who knows, by August I could be a single man. In that case, I may come out to Texas and crash w/you for a bit. With my deep pockets, I could fund some pretty ridiculous pimp-daddy bacchanalian shenanigans. Maybe Reb will give in, lose the girlfriend, and join us. Ya, I'm gonna be 30 in a year and I pretty much want to lou sub 20 year old females hard. If I become single, I would seriously consider opening up a strip club and hire directly from the local university and community college. Yes, the rabbit hole is deep and I'm ready to dig deeper.


I am Mike Innocenzi: Amateur Storm Chaser. And these are my friends.

Sign my guestbook. Exclamation point.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

I just spent close to $700 getting my clutch fixed. It was awesome.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Labor, Meet Fruits
And for all my bravery and skill, for all my suffering and humiliation, this photo was the best of the bunch. Lightning can be so uncooperative. It's nature's mercurial diva. Although I suppose the same can be said of mercury. Fuck lightning and the horse it rode in on.

Mike Innocenzi: Profile of a Storm Chaser
Here in Dallas, these past couple days have provided an awe-inspiring display of the power and majesty of Mother Nature and her Seven Dwarfs. High winds, electric light orchestras and heavy rainfall have conspired to give us 48 hours of what meteorologists refer to as “stormaliciousness.” Now, what many of my friends and family don’t know about me is that I am a bit of an amateur storm chaser. An unlikely hobby, I know, when you consider my irrational fear of being struck by lightning and living the rest of my life in an ashtray. But the fact is, there’s nothing I love as much as cheating death, drinking beer and eating new and interesting cheeseburgers. In that order. So last night, as the heavenly pyrotechnics began to ripple across the sky, I grabbed my digital camera and ventured out onto my patio to document the storm. For science.

Aggravating Factors:
• Normally, my patio is used as an open-air smoking lounge, a fact evidenced by a large, black ashtray that sits right outside the patio door. Through a convergence of circumstances I will not here discuss, this ashtray has never been emptied, and therefore is quite brimming with cigarette butts. Since the torrential rains of early-to-mid June have finally made their way to the area, the brimming bowl of cigarette remains has transformed into sort of a nicotein gumbo.
• At the time of my storm-chasing foray, I was wearing sandals and had my jeans cuffed at the bottom to prevent them from dragging on the damp concrete.
• Whilst I snapped my shots, I was squatting on my hams. I did this because I have a vague recollection of hearing somewhere that being in a crouched position is optimal if one plans to be struck by lightning. Something about the path of the electricity missing the heart or some such.

So there I was: camera pointed skyward, sandaled feet, jeans cuffed, ashtray piled high with a pungent stew of butts and standing water.

The Convergence of the Twain:
As the lightning became increasingly intense, I could not help but flinch. But this flinching of mine was particularly problematic because of my awkward posture. Not to mention the fact that I was looking up and holding a camera in front of me. So it was just a matter of time before a minor disaster ensued. Finally, the main ingedient introduced itself to the equation: a solid white bolt of lightning touched down about a block away and the sonic thunder blast followed a split second later. The degree of my flinch — this one being Level Orange — sent me tumbling backward, right into the ashtray. Catching my heel on the lip of the beast, I tipped the whole cup sideways so that it could deposit its fragrant payload into the cuff of my favorite jeans and all over my exposed foot. Immediately realizing my folly, I lifted my foot, only to realize this reaction further compromised my balance and sent me reeling backward into the patio door. So there I lay: camera held aloft in my right hand, left leg in the air, head and shoulders pressed against the glass of the patio door.

And then the rain began in earnest, as Mother Nature’s tears of laughter fell.

I am Mike Innocenzi: Amateur Storm Chaser. And these are my stories.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Reading this over again, I think I need to delete some likes. Hokkani is a manic little bitch, but let's be serious. Nobody says like that much. Dude.

The Gypsy Girl
Here’s another excerpt from an old fiction of mine. Act 1, Scene III. Hokkani explains her mental collapse to Laura and, in her typical fashion, proceeds to minimize her own ordeal. Hokkani is oblivious to the wreckage of her life. She wants to care, but she doesn’t. I tried to capture that in this passage:

“And Eric came home right then. And I heard the front door sounding so very far away but finally I was like ‘Shit, finally something sounds real.’ And so I kind of grabbed on to that sound of the door and sort of like pulled myself back into, I dunno, like realness. But shit man Laura, lately I’ve come close to like losing it for real. Like psychogenic fugue shit, you know? where you start to think, like, in the middle of this brain fuck you start to think the worst possible thoughts and begin to speculate on like permanent brain fuckage and the consequences. Like asylums and shit. Like oatmeal breakfasts for the next ten years and walks on the hospital grounds and group therapy and like you remember Sean’s brother right? He got fuckin’ yellow fever and ended up there. He thought Sean was a walking head of cabbage or some shit. The disease like brain damaged him and they had to re-teach him how to like even clear his bowels at appropriate times instead of shitting on himself in the rec room.

“And I think about that and how bad that was cuz like even though I never saw him after he left and came back from Africa or whatever, I still had to listen to these fucked up stories Sean had of like visiting him up at Clairmont and having to like wear a pinwheel hat before his brother would let him in the room. Just random, like totally random shit. And I think of that and I get like this little tiny voice in my head that's pleading with me to fuckin’ do something before your brain gets stuck this way.

“And but the funny thing is is that like now, when I feel fine like fuckin’ everyday me. Like Hokkani. Like I’m in the right skin and everything and everything is moving along at just the right non-psychotic spatial stride. Then like now I don’t even feel like worrying about what if it happens again. I feel like maybe I should feel like this is something to worry about. That maybe I should see a doctor or a shrink or something. I mean, that’s what the logical side of me says at times like right now. But my gut, my like instincts seem to be happy as clams man. I don’t feel anxious or panicky or anything like that. A bit hungry, sure. But shit not like in the least bit concerned about this ephemeral fuckin’ like condition of mine. Of my brain having like these episodes . . .”

Sorry to recycle old shit on a brotha’, but keeping my shit together is a full-time job this week. You’ll know when the inspiration resurfaces.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Mea Culpa
I promised substance. And here I sit with nothin’. I’ll make it up to you. I promise. Substance.

It’s been a busy morning. I’m trying to get a bunch of things in order all at once both here at work and in other arenas. I am highly caffeinated. Focused. And looking forward. So look forward to a more substantive post directly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Notorious R.E.B.
Speaking of Ben, I saw that his profile page from the WB’s High School Reunion is still active. And people have been commenting on the page as late as May 29. Pretty amusing stuff, looking back. It's nice to know his moment of infamy will live on in semi-perpetuity.

Plug In
If you haven’t heard the scuttlebutt around the precinct, Lorie has updated the look of her website yet again. Check it out. The girl’s got mad verbal skillz. And she’s a fellow lover of the Chi.

And But Then
I came in to work this morning and Ben had sent me an e-mail that made me feel the best I’ve felt in days. With friends like this, how can I despair?

I say this in all genuine sincerity. You are my best friend. It’s been that way since I scalped that Mark McGwire off you in 8th grade and when you let my fat 8th grade ass take you to the hole in hoops. Miya was a special girl to you as I'm well aware ... you put the Chicago dream on the back burner to "find out about a girl.” I hold that decision in high esteem as you have your priorities in the right place. I'll forgo throwing all the old phrases at you that say everything but mean nothing. Truth of the matter is that regardless of how many times you hear that there are other fish in the sea, that you deserve better, that she doesn't know what she's given up (which all, incidentally, are true) it hardly dulls the pain because you can’t deny the emotions that go hand in hand with doubt and loss. But, take solice in the fact that you aren't alone in this. I know what it feels like to lose a girl that you are in love with. I know the hopeless feeling that accompanies it. I know the emptyness, the self imposed thought that she is and will remain the only girl who can fullfill you. Time is the only thing that puts these thoughts into perspective. You'll find the way, because you've still yet to find the right person to spend your life with. There are so many woman that you could love because of who you are that you could spend several thousand lifetimes in year-long relationships. Each one would profoundly affect you. But, I'm confident that you will find the girl who puts this all in perspective and everything will fall into place. You are a great person who is selfless with regard to your romantic feelings, this distinguishes you from all these other chumps. You'll find the way. When it hurts the most just have faith that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a great life waiting for you after all this.

Man, c’mon. Are you serious? People don’t write e-mails that awesome.

Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment
Yesterday was the toughest day. Came home from work at 5:30 and laid on the couch wondering where the four winds would ferry me next. Relaxed my nugget and promoted some good thoughts. Dave G called on his way home and said he was going to Borders and did I want to come. Since my last couple trips to Half Price Books were fruitless, I figured I’d check out the new-book scene. Everyone’s been talking about it.

I walked out of that place with three books and a better attitude.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
People keep telling me that if you love David Foster Wallace, you’ll love Nabakov. The sad thing about that statement is that no one has ever actually said it to me. I gleaned it from reviews of DFW’s books. I’ve read some of Nabakov’s shorter stuff before. He’s a fucking virtuoso. That is, according to his bio , which reads: "He's a fucking virtuoso."

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I bought this book because I haven’t read it since high school and I remember it put me in a great mood. I’m not a big fan of Hemingway. This is a difficult admission because he grew up in my hometown and attended my high school (which is quite fantastic, considering I was not born yet). Anyway, he is still an Oak Park institution, for obvious reasons. I like his stuff, but I don’t love it.

BUtterfield 8 by John O’Hara
As I turned the corner after picking up TSAR, I looked up and saw “BUtterfield 8” and immediately thought of one of my favorite bands, Butter 08. So I took the book down and above the title is written: “A man who knows exactly what he is writing about and has written it marvelously well.” — Ernest Hemingway. Chance? Coincidence? Or Lightning? You decide. I have since discovered that the book was made into a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, who was, at one time, incredibly hot. I made it 50 pages in last night and it’s pretty damn good.


Monday, June 09, 2003

One year ago, Lennox Lewis beat the crap out of Mike Tyson.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Clutch Player
Went out to my car this morning and discovered to my dismay that my clutch was out. I could not put my little buggy in gear. I was crestfallen. So I pushed the car back into a parking spot and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to spend ridiculous amounts of money getting my clutch repaired or replaced. I called a tow truck and then got online to see if I could determine the problem. Sure enough, it turned out I was getting too much freeplay in my clutch. I got down and dirty, stuck my head under the dash and adjusted the clutch play. It was fucking sexual. Sweet. And it worked. You are now reading the ravings of a man who just repaired his own clutch and, in the process, saved himself countless dollars of pain and suffering. I feel like I could climb a mountain. A mountain of cigarettes. Being able to repair your own car is a great feeling. A shout of thanks goes out to Alberto VO5, who talked me through the whole endeavor.

Clutch. Bitch.

Friday, June 06, 2003

If your name is Jeff, please refrain from spelling it G-E-O-F-F. That's so fucking annoying.

Bust the Lock Off the Front Door
Speaking of high school, I spoke to Notorious R.E.B. last night for the first time in about a month. Homie’s been interstate lately (in an effort, he said, to avoid another chilly Chicago spring), hob-nobbing across the southwest and bringing the Idiot Crew ideology to distant domestic shores. Anyway he’s back in the Windy City, and apparently this month’s festivities will culminate in a comprehensive gathering of former friends and associates unseen since the roaring '90s (honest). So I nabbed a round-tripper this morning and vowed to reinforce my struggling alcohol tolerance in the coming weeks. Summer in the Chi: Nothing compares. I don’t know if Dallasites appreciate the devine pleasures of bars and clubs that stay open till the crack of dawn. In-city, these spots wind down at 2 a.m. and if you get out after 10:30 you’re pretty much missing the money. But I digress, this is not another my-city-kicks-your-city’s-ass entry. Just what Cosmo Kramer might call unbridled enthusiasm. A young man caught up in the high-stakes game of international intrigue. Or some such. The point is, I’m going mobile.

...And now it's on

High Times
I can’t say I think about high school much. I don’t have any searing memories of humiliation or lingering crushes or anything like that. I never showed up at school naked. I never had my underwear run up the flag pole (honest). Some people probably thought I was weird because I wore three variations on the same outfit for four years straight. I set a trend. Everyone started doing it (honest).

The most that can be said of my high school years, looking back, is that I met my best friends of life back then. I guess that’s rare, but it happened to be the natural progression of my life: There’s an unwritten mutual-loyalty clause in my friendships. One that was shaped by those same friends. That dynamic was the most important thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m thankful that it continues to this day. This is a fucking Hallmark Card, I know. Cutting back to the chase ...

We didn’t party much. Didn’t get involved in the social politics of popularity. We were content to be who we were and our acceptance of each other was enough for us. We spent most of our time gambling in Kris Kiolbasa’s basement (and yes, his last name was really Kiolbasa), going to the arcade. Shit like that. Good times. Most of those friends graduated at the end of my junior year. Headed off to college while I toughed out senior year, fearing all the while that my identity was going to get mixed up or diluted with all the changes that were taking place. But I did fine. Made some more life-long friends. I even had a few moments in the sun.

I barely remember graduation. But I remember the summer before my freshman year at Illinois State University as one of the best of my young life.

My 10-year reunion now looms on the horizon. What of it? Fuck if I know. I promised essays and ruminations. I wrote this when I got to work this morning. Realized I didn't really have a lot to say. Not yet.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

"A woman drove me to drink and I never had the courtesy to thank her."

I need a Slapucinno like now. Essays and ruminations on my high school years to come shortly. As in tomorrow.

Thug Life

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Oh Crap


Waiting at a stoplight at the corner of Greenville and Yale.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Model Citizens
There will be a special encore presentation of America’s Next Top Model, Episode 2, tonight at 7 p.m. CMVST (Central Mountain Valley Standard Time) on UPN (UPN). It is a reality television masterpiece that will leave you both agog and nonplussed.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Thank Goodness
Someone had to do it.