Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It Was Hard To Enjoy Today

I’m going to go ahead and state that today was a death day. Lots and lots and lots of death happening. Seemingly all around me. From presidents to funk masters to people I’ve actually met and hung out with. It’s making the rounds. Sorry to sound so blasé, but a spade’s a spade. This particular spade is especially spade-y. It’s the final comeuppance, after all.

Final, final, final… I realize that this is an eventuality. Death is the lingering cymbal crash of a brutal symphony. It’s the deflating airbag of an explosive single-car accident. The finishing touch of icing on a horribly burnt cake.

Wait, no. Make that a BEAUTIFULLY burnt cake.

Regardless, it’s inevitable. Simultaneously catastrophic and wondrous beyond my comprehension, yet so easily grasped in its totality. And what’s funny is that everyone has already been there, we simply don’t remember.

Let me explain that last part, since it sounds hella-Haley’s Comet Clique and shit.

Wherever it is that we’re headed, if anywhere, is likely wherever the hell we were when we poofed-up in our mommas’ wombs. That was some variety of ether-spillage, and the return is logically some version of ether-return. Well, not logically. But potentially.

My point being: it is highly likely that we know exactly where we’re going when we die. We know, because in some sense, we’ve already been there. We’re subconsciously aware of exactly what’s in store for us. And like a vomit-nervous cat on its way to the vet, maybe, just maybe, it’s that deep-seated awareness which makes everyone so goddamn scared to go.

That, or you believe in hell.

Friday, December 08, 2006

That Girl Sucks, And I Just Don't Care How That Makes Her Feel.

You know what’s funny? People’s feelings. They’re hilarious. Especially the delicate ones. Such as, when you tell someone that they’re being hypocritical or just plain left-fieldy.

And I’m not saying that because I have none of my own snowflakeishly-thin feelings, and I just revel in the smacking-down of others. Oh no. Not by a long shot.

I, myself, am quite the delicate peacock feather. I require constant care and petting. Never a nasty word can be directed toward me, lest I break down into a wave of inconsolable tears and face slaps. I can take criticism, sure. As long as its criticism directed at someone else. I especially hate being critiqued when I’m actually wrong.

That’s the WORST.

There is nothing more heart-wrenching and equally vile as someone explaining to me why I’m wrong when I’m actually wrong. Don’t people KNOW how devastating that kind of honesty can be? That the truth will not set me free? That it will actually become the shackles, cement boots, and shark-filled waters that will END ME? Does anyone out there have any idea how crippling it can be to learn that you’re a complete nimrod of a twatrocket? Anyone?

I didn’t think so. I’m the only one to have withstood undue torture-by-truth. You are all goody-do-nothings.

I mean, let’s say I was driving my car while trying to download some totally sweet ringtones for my brand new Razr Tronphone. And I’m not talking about some super gay Pac Man sounds. I’m talking Nickelback, off the NEW Nickelback album (totally new sound). So I’m driving and downloading some grand-tastic totally sweet NB soundbites to attach to my parole officer’s number. Multi-tasking because I’m trying to be efficient with my time. You know, conserving nature through efficient time-use and whatnot.

To help stop Al Gore’s global warming.

And I accidentally bump into some asshole on a bike who is riding near the CAR LANE. HELLO, it’s for CARS! All the signs are WRITTEN IN CAR, you shit.

And then he ends up seriously hurt or something stupid. I’m still not getting it, really. I mean, how far is a bike from the ground? So, how far could he have fallen anyway? Two feet? I told the cops that he should stop being such a little bitch and come out of his coma already. He’s seriously threatening to ruin my weekend plans with all this “intensive care” bullshit. Shouldn’t his wife and children be responsible for this? Or the orphans he cares for? Where were THEY when he got on a bike instead of a bullet-proof Hummer to get home from work, huh? Am I the only one who cares now?


Anyhow, so the judge is up there in his tent robe, telling me what a bad driver I am! OMG, WHAT AN ASSHOLE! I mean, I know I should have put the car in cruise control and steered properly with my knees instead of just “letting the wheel go” like that, but it’s so mean to say I’m a bad driver in front of other people! Especially in front of strangers. I mean, that judge is seriously endangering my future by ruining my reputation by saying things like that.

What if one of those people in the crowd is the manager for JC Penny and I don’t get that summer job! OMG! I’ll miss out on the Cancun trip!

I should sue him for “honesty of character”. What a dick.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hello Garbage Truck Man

Ever heard of some old dude get soaked in gasoline whilst trying to carjack an old lady at some backwoods Texas gas station? Like dude just said “fuck it, I’m taking this old bitch’s Tahoe back to my mobile home so the dogs can have something fancy to live under”?

Well now you have. (if that crazy link bothers to work) What a piece of work. Nobel winner, that guy.

My truck, quite fortunately, is not likely to ever be a target of such wanton thievery. No Denali trim package over here. Oh hell no. I just got my rear view mirror glued back on, and that’s got me pretty excited! Now I can see the urgent gestures of the people I accidentally cut off on the freeway because my steering is so damned loose! Alright! If only the windshield wipers, CD player, and differential would magically fix themselves, it’d be perfect *!

Red rocket, red rocket.

It entertains me to learn how people are judged by their car. If you drive a late model Lexus, you’re a posh asshole. If you drive an Eclipse convertible you’re a titty dancer. And if you drive an older, beat-up pickup truck with four cracks across the windshield, you’re a garbage man.


I gather this from the fact that every day there is new garbage that has been deposited in the bed of my truck. It just appears there, like magic! Trash sorcery! Beer cans, cigarette packs/butts, fast food packaging, dead birds, whole branches, and other unnamed, general detritus refuse. Stankin’ up the joint.

This is done because I obviously enjoy throwing other people’s trash away. I really do. I especially like throwing away food related items, like half-eaten hamburgers and apple cores. That’s awesome. Makes me delirious just thinking about it. In fact, I like dealing with other people’s shit so much, it might be comparable to how much Canada must loving dealing with ours.

Because I KNOW we toss shit in the back of their pickup bed like it was an abandoned apartment dumpster. Like, fuck it.

So, keep that in mind kids: anyone driving a pickup truck is a garbage man. Whether they like it or not. Feel free to drop trou’ right in there to help with the compost!


*Safe and drivable.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Standards Are Awesome.

Hey! Guess what’s really NOT important?! Readability Level Statistics!

It’s called the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Level, and it’s so awesome I want to commit violence on myself! You see, F—K system does this voo-doo on paragraphs of words and then applies a statistically wow-erific model to fit that set of words neatly into a categorization which (big shocker) correlates to grade school reading aptitude! As in: a score of 5 = 5th grade reading level. 4 = 4th, 3 = 3rd, and 12th = you get the picture.

Unless you, yourself, are a 1. In which case, you’re totally confused by now and wish that your mother/brother wasn’t your sister/grandmother. Or you’re just drooling and searching for horse pr0n.

Back to the F—K method.

Apparently, in the same voice, and while speaking ostensibly on the same level (I only have one level of intelligence, presumably), I can write at a 6th grade level AND an 11.5th grade level! Simultaneously! That makes ALL the sense in the world! I checked it myself using Microsoft Word! It’s so easy to judge nowadays!

I’m sooooo glad we have these rating systems in place to tell me that in order to bring a paragraph from a 6th grade level to a 12th grade level, all I need to do is add run-on sentences and long, multi-syllabic words! Even if I fuck the grammar all up, jumble all the paragraphs into one long-winded douche-wheez, and use big, fake words in all sorts of impracticalishnistical ways! Smartness!

Flesch-Kincaid grade level 1.6 (so, you don’t even need to know English really):

The dog ran very fast. But not fast for dad. I like it when the dog gets beat. My dad beats dogs with his hook hand. His hook is made of metal and rubber. Like my mom’s left leg.

They were in a combine fire together. Mom says they were making me. Two bums came by and found them on top of the other. The bums did their thing. Then burned the combine. Mom’s leg got ate by coyotes after she passed out from the pain.

I don’t like it when dad opens my coke with his hook. It sounds so bad. It makes me cry. Like he just used that hook to open my brain instead.

Shut up stupid dog or I will hit you. With my third leg.

Flesch-Kincaid grade level 7.4 (what almost SIX more years of education can guarantee! Apparently!)

The dog ran very fast, but not fast; for dad. Precociousness. I like it when the dog gets beat because my dad beats dogs with his hooktasticalfullness hand. His hook is made of posthumously metal and rubberfishnets, just like my mom’s left; leggoristicality-o. They were in a combine fire together where mom says they were making me; fistedpainfully when two bums came by and found them on fiddlesticks top of the other. The bums did their thingsteriousnicity; then burned the combine forcedinstitutionalization. Mom’s leg got aten by coyote politicians after she passed out from the painstaticness. I don’t like it when dad opens my coke embroidering with his hook because it sounds so bad that it makes me cry; like he just used that hook to open my brain instead. Shut up stupid dogmaticalstatistician or I will hit you with my third leg bombastic.

Standards are awesome. We need more.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I Came So Close To Respect. But No. Not Today.

He tried to make sense. He really did.

You know, I just can’t get behind all this religious posturing. It ruins a potentially decent message. It’s utter shit to me, but a message as simple as “killing doesn’t seem to be solving any problems” just gets all kinds of RUINED when it’s mummified in the used toilet-paper of religion.

Ahmadinejad’s open letter to Americans is a fine, fine example of what’s wrong with allowing religious rhetoric to lay waste to sound concepts. Here’s a guy, who, best of intentions, simply wants the American people to know that he and his country are not just some gaggle of miscreant sand-dwellers, shooting dogs for sport and spending their every waking hour plotting to destroy the next Freedom Tower. I guess there are idiots, probably in my own neighborhood, who still labor under the delusion that the entire middle east operates that way. But they probably also think Destro and Cobra Commander are real too, as active but silent members of the Al Qaida network. So it's likely that his intended audience isn't into "reading long stuff that sounds all complicated". Like fire extinguisher instructions.

Regardless, dude’s letter is well intended. And for the record, I wanted to hate what he had to say. I intended to be fully biased, and have all my pre-notions of how small-minded a man had to be in order for his eyes to be so small and close together. Like two ear studs inserted a centimeter apart on a full-sized potato.

But for the most part, his sentiment is decent and appears to be an honest appeal to the good nature of the average tax-paying American Joe. But then he had to go fuck it all up with a slew of god talk. Man, what a shame.

My issues, with this specific letter of text, in the order in which they grated on my goddamn nerves:

1. Continually claiming that one’s audience should be “God-fearing, truth loving, and justice seeking” is blatantly disingenuous. Either one IS, or they ARE NOT “God-fearing”. Placing repeated reminders in the letter is little more than obnoxious prodding. He might as well have said “remember kids, God will fucking lightening your ass if you don’t side with me, a fellow God-fearer!” He was only talking to others of religious motivation. Not science. Not logic. Not fact-based reasoning. According to Ahmadinejad, only those of faith are capable of solving/not-starting issues such as modern day imperialism and wanton murder.

Ehhhh... What? That's some double-fucking-speak if I've ever encountered it.

It’s quite possibly the stupidest stretch of vacant common sense I’ve ever had to endure, but, okay then, I’ll pretend it makes sense for the sake of making fun of it. You know, since he went to the effort of writing it all down or whatever.

So… what about those of us who don’t “fear” whatever “God” is being tossed around so irreverently? Are we the problem? The non-fearers? Are we what’s wrong here? Are we the reason why everything is (pretty much always) all fucked up? Well, last time I checked, the only “Godless” leaders of ANY known nation, or any other set of murderous humans, incorporated or otherwise, for that matter, were Communists. The EXTREMELY RATIONAL reasoning behind removing religion from that socio-political structure, while wholly impractical and extremely oppressive, was to ensure that there would be no MURDER along religious lines (which is a guarantee as long as religions are allowed to practice competitively). But, as is human nature, if any communist did indeed shed their religion, then they simply picked up bureaucracy instead. But for the most part, they were all religious as hell anyway. Secretly. They simply played the part of non-theologians to keep from having their heads lopped-off by competing closet-theologians.

Now that the Soviet Union is gone, everyone is super-religious again. Shocker. And the Chinese are split between a return to their respective Eastern Philosophic routes and the coastal worship of an exploding Market Economy. And of course, violence along lines of delineation is beginning.

N. Korea is black hole of who-knows, so I'm not sticking anything in it here.

I don’t think it unfair, or a stretch to state that the injection of religion into a political text of any kind will be IMMEDIATELY POLARIZING. Until every living human being honestly and truly believes the exact same thing about everything (perhaps as programmed robots, made by programmed robots, which could only have come from some imagined universe somewhere far beyond current human comprehension?) any disputing of this polarization FACT, ironically, simply proves that it’s true.

Let’s face it, if a Muslim even says the word “Jew”, people get upset, regardless of the context. Like “don’t talk about my people! You aren’t allowed!” or “dude, I don’t think it’s appropriate that you be mentioning them. Ever.” It doesn't matter what they said about "the other" group. Just mentioning names ruffles feathers.

And don’t get me started on how atheists feel when they’re even MENTIONED by ANY other religious group. If the pope were to say “there’s nothing wrong with being an atheist,” which he would never say, but if he did, there’d be a large coalition of atheists who would react with “DON’T PATRONIZE ME YOU OPPRESSOR OF THE MIND AND FREE THOUGHT. I WILL PAY NO TITHE TO THE SPAGHETTI MONSTER! Ever.”

Fools get upset over beliefs. Even without provocation or reason. Maybe it’s the caffeine. I don’t really know. Regardless, the polarization occurs.

2. I’m tired of the over-misuse of the term “immoral” between cultures. Any staunch follower of Islam stating that a non-follower of Islam was acting “immorally” is ridiculous. They’re “immoral” because their “morals” are different than yours. Stop acting like morals are finite and carved in stone. They aren’t. They’re liquid, and can be VASTLY different from one population, group, gang, prison block to another.

You might as well be trying to tell a sea otter that it’s activities are “immoral”. It's ridiculous.

This will always bother me. The semantic arguments that surround morality. It’s the newest lazy-man’s approach to making any random-ass point into a touchstone argument. Telling someone who is far outside your culture that they should believe something because it is “moral” is just as ridiculous as someone from Mozambique telling Alaskans that drinking tap water in Anchorage will definitely result in African dysentery.

Morality is contextual. Locally and culturally so. There’s no definitive.

You realize that in some cultures, what we deam as "innappropriate" homosexuality between boys and older, married men is PART OF THEIR MORAL CODE? As fucked up as that sounds to me, they honestly believe knowledge surrounding what it means to “be a man” can only be passed on this way. So they have these rituals surrounding it. To an outsider, it’s all kinds of crazy pedophile-sounding. But to them, they’re like “whatever man. This is how we roll.” They might consider our preference to just let boys figure shit out on their own as “immoral” and “irresponsible” in terms of youth education. And based on their moral code, hey, guess what? They’d be right.

To be clear, I AM NOT ADVOCATING THIS. I’m just sayin’ it exists, and according to their own compasses, passes for “moral”.

So, Ahmadinejad’s tossing around of any “morality” related words is meaningless in the given context. Probability says that he’s not talking about the same “morals” as those held by his audience (but by pure coincidence, he could be, one never knows! Aha. Ha.).

Again, with religious folk, who are likely under the erroneous impression that only one set of morals exists, all one has to say is “doing ______ is immoral. Do you do ______?” and motherfuckers will be falling all over themselves to say “oh good lord no! NEVER! I’m a god-fearing moral person, I am!”

Touchstone arguments. Lazy shit.

3. Then, of course, there’s the ever-popular “justice and truth” claims. Wow. I figured by now, no politician, regardless of their revolutionary roots, would be so asinine as to claim this as an aim. Governments cannot guarantee this. You know why? Because statistically speaking, it would likely involve the removal of that same government which is supposed to be providing the guarantee. A government hand over authority/power? Oh, right. And understandably, that has never happened. Nor will it. How would a self-serving government honestly know when it was stepping beyond the bounds of "justice and truth"? I don’t think it’s a stretch to state that all governments, over their entire course of existence end up making sacrifices and compromises which amount to injustice and manipulation of SOMEONE/thing. It might be a stated “goal” in the bylaws, constitution, or whatever. But it’s the first lofty pipe-dream to get shelved as soon as real governing starts happening.

I won’t delve further into that one. It’s just so stupid it makes me want to cry.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some sort of book or whatever

No No No. I haven’t mentioned anything about my book on here yet. Why? Because I’m not trying to pimp it wide-scale. It needs to marinate for a minute. Incubate. Crouch before the pounce. Something else clichéd and milquetoast. I’m doing a reading-type thing at a bar, and then I’m going back home for Thanksgiving. I don’t want to be stressing this shit whilst vacationing in beautiful Houston, TX.

Man, what a shiiiiiiiithole.

Can’t WAIT.

So, until then, I’ll leave a link up here to the site that’s publishing it “on demand” which translates to “fucking expensive as hell per copy”. But, them’s the breaks when a writer doesn’t go to a large-scale publisher from the start.

That will have to come after some traction, by my own definition, is found.

Word and all that goodness. Happy Turkey Day to any/every.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pants In The Mist.

I used to be a HUGE fan of clothes shopping. Long ago. Back when I thought I could change the world simply by employing the perfect pair of corduroys. But times have changed. Drastically.

Now I almost LOATHE shopping. The racks full of chemical-scented brand-splayed single-stitched trashwear that must be thumbed through. The lines that must be stood in. The changing rooms with the pin-riddled floors. And then, of course, there’s the loads of cash required to fancify oneself, cash which could easily be poured into a glass and drank instead. Drank and drank and drank.

Until there is but change with which to exchange for whatever falls from the frothy tipped taps…

But today, I’m actually considering a clothing run. In my haste to be less late than I normally am, I neglected to note that the current pair of pantaloons on my person have a rather conspicuous hole in the crotch. And not at the seam, where it may only be seen when I’ve got my legs splayed-out like a Thai hooker about to blow out some birthday candles with cooch air. Oh no. This hole, about the size of a cigarette burn (uh heh-heh, heh) is more frontal. To the right. And pretty much visible when I’m standing straight up.

I know this because when I entered the parking garage elevator and looked in the mirror on the wall (I’m guessing the elevator has a mirrored wall to give the riders a sense that there is more space, magically, beyond the walls of the box they’re in) to see part of my boxers showing through.


Awesome, and rather professional.

So I’ve been gallivanting around the office, taking note of how many people stare at said hole. I’ve counted three so far. Two couldn’t take their eyes off it. The other simply grimaced after a brief glance, but she’d probably grimace at me even if I were wearing a three-piece with top hat. She’s just cup-half-empty like that.

We get along fantastic.

Based on the rather pathetic condition of said pants, I’ve decided that they must go the way of the free-ranging buffalo. That is to say: from the comfort of a railway car I will shoot them with a ridiculously large gun and then skin them for their valuable fur and horns. The local Comanche tribe will write me a nasty letter within a week of this event.

My reasoning for this is pretty much the same as that of the new Alpha Male Lion who has conquered a new den of Lion Bitches, and feels the need to kill off all the previous Alpha’s cubs. Sure, it’s messy business, but how else are the ladies going to get all hot and bothered for new relations if they’re still futzing with their previous babies’ daddy’s babies?

So I’m ousting these pants, assuming that their vacancy in my weekly pant-rotation will force my shopping hand. I’ll be self-pressured into getting back out there and finding another perfect pair of leg sleeves.

I’m just not so sure how I feel about those matchstick-legged Euro-jeans that are out now. How do they fit their feet through the leg holes on those things? Shit’s crazy in a Parachute Pants kind of way. Ooooooh... Parachute Pants...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Like the Corners of My Mind

I just remembered a long-passed moment, this morning, as I was showering. As I’ve mentioned before, I get CRAZY flash backs of obnoxiously random shit whenever I allow the hot water to blast the back of my neck whilst getting my morning scrub on.

It’s like there’s a hot-water-activated random memory generator button on the back of my neck. Perhaps I’m some sort of mutant?

That’d be pretty nice, actually. I believe that knowing I was a mutant would make other life experiences that much more refreshing and new. But I’d need to know what I was a mutant FROM. From a duck? From a bowl of porridge? A bad racist joke?

So the hot water was beating the shit out of my neck when this vibrant scene blasted across my internal etch-a-sketch:

I was running from someone, although I can’t remember exactly who, and I broke into the street. Just as my feet hit the hot, evening pavement of my old Alief street, I was almost hit by some brown Japanese model car. A poorly-bleached blond yelled out her car window, something along the lines of “hey you stupid little boy, stay out the fuckin’ street! I don’t want to hit any damn kids!”

I kept running. My shoes were pretty new, so I felt like I could run fast. Dusk was coming. It was near Halloween, just like it is now, when kids get all excited about the coming of “the seasons”, where all the cool projects involving hand turkeys, baked Christmas ornaments, and costumes arrive in quick succession. Plus, even though the Houston heat was still stifling, there was a scent in the air that always preempted cooler weather and extended stays away from school.

I was happy, laughing even, when I almost got hit. I did a sort-of-hop over the front driver’s side quarter panel of the woman’s auto, and kept on truckin’. My pursuer stopped. The woman cursed and drove away.

I have no idea was happening that lead up to that event, or what followed it. Hopefully the hot water will remind me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shared Consciousness Sucks

I’ve never been much for reading up on the exploits of others. Or the philosophical rantings of whoever. Most of the time, I feel like writers get all tangled up in their own pretexts that it just takes too damn long for them to make a point.

I realize how hypocritical this is, but it doesn’t change how I feel about the lot of it.

I remember in college, there were two instances where I felt almost robbed of my own intellectual radar strength. The first time was when a dear friend INSISTED that I read Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It’s a pretty thick piece of politifiction, and I had never been interested in either politics nor fiction, so I shrugged Shrugged. But he continued to insist. At times, it felt like pestering. He felt very strongly about me reading that goddamn book. He kept claiming that I’d “really enjoy the concepts she expresses” about the form and operation of modern industrial civilization. The political ramifications of money votes. The “doers” versus the “critics”. All that anti-socialism jargon and whatnot.

So I cliff-noted that motherfucker. Just breezed through the little pamphlet in some bookstore I happened to be wasting time in.

Bitch took a huge sampling of my own observations, and had already molded them into a fiction template. Senseless entitlement. Relativism. The fair rule of the moneyed class. It was all there, amongst a trippy 1984ish plot. She stole my life philosophies right out from under me. Long before I was even born.

I never read her entire work. I was afraid to learn of what else I hadn’t actually thought up on my own.

I preferred to continue living under the delusion that I was capable of truly original conceptual constructs. Delusions are fantastic.

A couple of years down the line, and I had grown tired of my own conservatively righteous views concerning the purpose and meaning of civil society. After busting my ass for a couple of years, working for The Man while trying to play His Game with the whole College Thing, I started to turn proletariat. Never a Red Star, “kill the scientists!” variety of labor defender, but definitely more “progressive” in my thinking.

Coming from Alief in Houston, where there were very few, if any racial or socio-economic divides between peoples, I was not fully aware of how prevalent such divisions are in the rest of the US, and the world. In Austin, these divides were more apparent, and as I moved along through my little life, they made me increasingly upset.

Then I took an Econ course that revolved around Marxist theory. Motherfucker had already come to all the conclusions I was building in my head at that time, and synthesized those theories into several brick-like volumes: Das Kapital, over a hundred years before I was born, round about the time that slaves were being freed here in America.

And I was JUST finding my own way around to his theories. His 100 yr-old + theories, which were based on even OLDER theories that I hadn’t even come close to self-discovering yet.

As much as I enjoyed melding Marxist theory with modern-day capitalism, and all the philosophic snafus that pepper that process, I was highly miffed at the feeling that once again, I had been robbed of my own purely original experience.

The cogs in my head were simply churning out a reasonable facsimile of what someone else had already tired to produce, long before I became a genetic experiment. I was re-treading someone else’s tires. Following pre-marked trails. Inadvertently re-tracing the lines on someone else’s masterpiece.

It bothered me to the point where I stopped reading philosophy altogether (except for a handful of works on the theories of consciousness and dreams, because that shit’s badass) for fear that it would cause me to stop bothering with my own philosophizing. After all, what’s the point in trying to figure things out on your own if there’s a host of popular theorists who’ve already done it for you? Just read their ramblings and act like you thought that shit up all by your lonesome. Like every other book-smarty Psycholar out there.

But I couldn’t do that. Not to myself. Plus, I’m too lazy to read all that shit and again, it takes too goddamn long for any of them to break through their pretext fortresses to make a fucking point.

[again, hypocrisy observed]

I decided that it was the process that I was more interested in. The process of forming opinions is actually more interesting and important to me than the resulting opinion/theory. So I stopped reading other peoples’ opinions and theories and just set out to form my own. In its most vibrant mode: by way of life experience and reality warping.

And up until 15 hours ago, I was pretty pleased with my results thus far.

Last night, I watched the Bukowski documentary: Born Into This…



Motherfucker. Now I KNOW I don’t have an original bone in my goddamn body. But I’ve decided that I don’t care. I guess I can go ahead and read Johnny Cash’s autobiography now too. Fuck it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

2 For 10

From my second writing project. Day 8.


Noon. Time had come to leave Vegas, and all of its spicy vices. We packed up our things, and made our way out to the Mirage garage where The Beast had been hibernating.

She started right up. No fuss, no trickery, no threats. The sun was out, and the breeze was cool, so we wanted the top to be down as we rolled out of town. But no. No such luck. Somehow, somewhere between the strip and the gas station where we chose to gas up while on our way out of town, the convertible assembly shut down completely. Actuator failure, or something equally technical and unfixable with the tools we had on board.

So no more convertible top. No more hair blowing in the breeze. No more of the suave coolness that is exuded by a ’65 Lincoln convertible as it pimps its way along the highways and byways of America. On a lighter note, no more of my crap would be blowing out the back, and the trunk was then fully available for our luggage. No more compromises in the name of being badass.

The Beast had the deciding vote on our coolness, and we had been vetoed with a heavy fist.

I was far from worried about the lack of rag-top functionality, but it did manage to force me into cataloging the ongoing issues we seemed to be having with The Beast.

“So, let me get this straight. The top doesn’t work.”

Vance, with mild resignation, “yep.”

Me, with a brief gust of enthusiasm, counting on my fingers, “the dash lights, the fuel gauge, the speedometer, the drive indicator…” there were probably more issues than that, but those were the ones I could gather together and tally off on my digits.

Vance interjected, obviously hoping to curtail the list of his dream car’s failed components. “Right. None of them are functional.”

“Fucked. All of them, yes?”

“Yes. But the kicker is the top. As long as we don’t get pulled over for anything stupid, we should be fine without all that stuff. It’s such a beautiful day though. Too beautiful to have the top stuck up.”

It was a beautiful day. The sun was beaming down on us, only too happy to accompany us as we headed east to Arizona.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The longest most boringest post ever

HOLY SHIT. I’m gonna rant about some BORING ASS SHIT. This is more for my own mental well-being than it is for you to bother reading. McSweeney’s is probably hilarious today. Go check that out instead.

Here in good ol’ Tejas, we don’t have state income tax. Most people cheer this, claiming that income tax is a socialist demon that needn’t exist in a state as independently great as ours. But really, we all hate the idea of income tax because if you added that to the exorbitant property tax and insurance rates here, we would magically OWE money for every day we slaved our lives away.

In that context: If you ever buy a home in Texas, there is something you will need to understand about that ownership:


“Oh really?” You may be asking yourself. “Why bother with the headache of line items all over the place? I just Turbo-Tax that motherfucker and BAM! Done and DONE!”

Well, I’ll tell you why. Quite simple really: if you own property and you take the “standard deduction”, you are a sucker, a mark, an idiot, and there is a thick-as-thieves line forming at your doorstep to prove it.


It’s the ONLY way you’ll ever recoup all the fees, taxes and service charges associated with home ownership. The ONLY way. Because there are actual economic calculations involving the average amount of money that will be drained from an owner over the course of owning property in Texas. State/city/county/school taxes, Home Owners Insurance, utilities access (different from regular taxes), PMI, loan interest, various closing costs, appraisal fees, improvement application fees, re-construction application fees, and basic construction or recurring maintenance costs. The results of these calculations are extremely important to government and business alike (home sales and NEW home sales are two of the most watched measures of the domestic economy, and many believe they’ve been propping up our limping dollar for the past five years).

Not to impede anyone else’s campaign to purchase property, but there is a substantial vampire element that exists around every single inch of land ownership. The base assumption is that if you own land, you a) are responsible for all civic needs in all strata of civic need-dom wherever your property exists (theoretically, this responsibility translates to taxes based on your portion of “value owned” within whatever civic area). So, if the civic area decides that it needs some big-ass expensive shit that you don’t want, you’re pitching in regardless, for the greater good, whether you can actually afford to or not (roots of gentrification). And b) you are a willing teat for the throngs of little baby businesses that require your cash-laden milk. Just like death, it's coming. And you'll pay up goddamnit. One way, or another.

If you rented an apartment next door instead of owning your home, you would not be paying any of this directly, but your rent would probably go up proportionately to the owner’s increase in cost burden. So, in effect, whoever has the money to begin with, pays it in the end.

My current vampire element is PMI insurance. This is an obnoxious little fee which is borderline impossible to get around. The idea is this: if someone gets a loan to buy a domicile (not necessarily a house on land, could be a condo in space), the bank making the loan wants some reassurance that the buyer is serious about the purchase, and is responsible enough to take care of both the land and the loan payments. If the buyer can produce 20% of the cost of purchase (NOT 20% OF THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY, because the bank will assume purchase price to be the “real value”, even if the price is WAY under market), then it will make the bank comfortable with the partnership, and it won’t require some loan service insurance, which is what PMI is. If you skip payments because you’re irresponsible or you keep losing jobs or develop a crack habit or whatever, the PMI bearer jumps in and covers the loan payment for you. Technically.

I’ve never known anyone who actually got to use this service because as soon as you cease making payments, your shit goes under lien, and is eventually repossessed, whether you have PMI or not. So it’s not an actual insurance.

It’s a fucking “you don’t gots enough cash up front for this shit” fee.

Now it used to be that once your principal payments (itty bitty portion of your initial interest-weighted mortgage payments) knocked that loan-to-purchase-price ratio to less than 80/20, the PMI would cease. Well, that 80/20 can move around based on all kinds of black-box factors, never in favor of the owner, to prolong the “necessity” of the fee. But IF you magically get the ratio in your favor, and IF you’ve owned your property for more than a year BUT NO MORE than five (five? How the fuck is someone going to pay 20% down on the principal of a mortgage when 90% of their mortgage payment goes to interest? Eh? Good scam), and you’ve had NO late payments in the last two years (basically: EVER), then you qualify to have a REAPPRAISAL (the fee doesn’t just “disappear”). And this reappraisal can ONLY be done through the bank’s “preferred” reappraisal service. “Preferred” makes it sound like there are options, with some being more “preferred” than others, but this is not the case. Here, “preferred” translates to “only”.

Lucky for you, according to the material sent to you by the bank, that reappraisal only costs $300 for an average single family home on an average size/shaped plot of land in an average area of town. If your property falls out of any of the those “averages” (80% of all properties in existence fall out of such averages) then it will likely cost more. But since they don’t specify what any of that means, you won’t know how much your reappraisal will cost until you request it, and then some dude comes out to wander around with a clipboard.

Oh, and you have to request it. Otherwise, it is likely that they will just continue charging the PMI fee forever, and you’ll never meet “Chuck” from Waco and his nifty, yet sometimes broken tape measurer (the only tool apparently necessary for granular property appraisal).

After the request, the bank sends you a fee notification which states that it will cost $350, not $300. You’ll likely ignore this, thinking “inflation’s a bitch!” but this dismissal is the start of your downfall. Forms accompany the fee notification. So you fill out the long forms with lots of information about you and your property, and then fax (fax? Seriously? Is this 1987 or what?) over payment information. BEFORE any reappraisal process begins.

They call a day later to set up a physical appraisal.

Then the dude shows up at your crib on the appointed date, and pokes around for a whopping five minutes. Scribbles shit on Xeroxed forms and doodles some floor plans. He’ll probably use your bathroom. Then he leaves.

A week later, you’ll get another letter telling you that it’s $500 instead of $350 because your property is outside one of many “averages”. Big surprise.

Defeated and deflated, because in the midst of the time that has already passed during this process, the cost for reappraisal has jumped 66%, AND you’ve paid yet another PMI. Awesome.

You go ahead with the hike in reappraisal fees because hey, they’ve probably already finished the damned thing and were just waiting to juice you for even MORE cash. Painfully evident.

Once you fax (again with the goddamn faxing) your agreement to the higher cost, you call the bank to get an e.t.a. on when the reappraisal will be done. They tell you 10 to 14 business days (two to three weeks) before they receive the report from their “preferred” appraiser. Then they’ll “process” that report between 7 and 10 business days (two more weeks) and get back to you. IF the reappraised amount puts you ABOVE the necessary value ratio, they will begin the process for the removal of PMI. If not, they’ll simply collect the $500 and tell you to go hate-fuck yourself. Sucker.

You won’t even ask how long the “process for the removal” might take, because you already know it’ll be “x to 10 business days”, pushing into at least two more PMI payments in the interim, and you just don’t give a shit anymore. But you do ask whether or not they would refund any PMI payments made between the actual DAY of the reappraisal (a good month or two before they decide on the fate of your PMI payment plan), which is the real day at which the new value was calculated, and the day they notify you that there is no longer a need for this fee.

They will tell you no. You will ask why not. They will tell you “because we already collected those payments before the decision was made.” To which you’ll respond “well then I don’t see your company’s motivation to expedite this process.” And they’ll reply, rather cheerily that “we don’t want you to be paying PMI any longer than you need to, so we would get rid of the payment as soon as possible.” Fried, and amazed at the ridiculousness of such a dumbass statement, you’ll retort “well, that doesn’t make any sense considering YOU decide when YOU get to stop collecting this fee from me, and you won’t be returning any you collect in the interim of this process.” Noting your sliding interest in the whole thing, they’ll craftily say “sir, we don’t want you to be paying anything you don’t have to, so we’ll stop collecting the fee as soon as we know that.”

With your mind wandering off to lunch land, tired of trying to figure out why it is that you must endure this bullshit graft, you decline further discussion of the matter.

And go take a long poop to cleanse your soul, realizing that you WILL pay up, one way or goddamn other. But you’ll keep trying. And collecting all those receipts and tax write-off notations for this year’s dance with the tax man.

Some people believe that getting what is called a 80/20 loan* will get you out of paying PMI. And it will. But it will replace that PMI fee with higher interest loan fee, which will be either equal or more than the PMI fee in the long run. And it will be paid to the same bank and its “preferred” coalition of fee collectors. Best case scenario for you, the budding real estate impresario: a wash. Worst case: you’ll pay MORE in the net, but think you’re so smart that your bigger brain got you around those pesky tricksters! But no. Not even close. Awesome.

*this is a two-part home purchase loan scheme where you put NO money down on a purchase, put 80% of the thing into a long-term regular mortgage loan, and then borrow the other 20% at a higher rate (because it’s technically a signature loan) to fill in for the 20% necessary to avoid paying PMI. Theoretically this might work, but it never actually does.

Monday, September 11, 2006

As I Do Every Year.


That’s what the Big Apple has become.

I am writing this email to let those who I have yet to verbally contact. I am alive, and well (other than a slight cough). As for the others in my midst:

Those who are definitely safe:
Carolyne and John

Those that I'm not yet sure of:
**If anyone has heard from these two, please let me know.

My cellular phone was barely of use before the one decent cell tower toppled to the Manhattan street-top (it sat upon the World Trade Center Tower 1, the first to be hit, second to fall), now it has become a paperweight. So, many of you have yet to speak with me. I'm writing an email instead.

I was nowhere near the towers as they were attacked. I just finished up my packing, preparing to catch my noon flight out of La Guardia Airport. I was making myself a nice, health-free egg, cheese, and raspberry jam sandwich as the news was announced.

For those of you unfamiliar with where I've been staying: Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Northern Brooklyn). Greenpoint is too far from the Financial District of Manhattan for me to hear any of the explosions. I watched the live film of the first hit: Tower 1 was on fire, when another plane appeared out of the corner of the screen. The newscasters became hysteric, and I had the misfortune of viewing the second hit on live TV. "Surreal" is a useless word to describe how it felt to watch that. Confused, shocked, confused, distressed, confused, angry, confused, doubting, confused as hell. While "WHAT THE FUCK??!!!" is not a proper, or acceptable way to describe a feeling, it fits best.

From there I ran outside to the Pulaski Bridge (a bridge between Northern Brooklyn and Queens, just across the east river from midtown Manhattan) to see if this was really happening.

The view was fabulous. What I was viewing was not.

The smoke from the fires stretched for miles. The bridge was packed with honking cars, and cursing or crying people. Strangers were hugging and praying, if they weren't too busy listening to radios.

After a few minutes, the mood of the crowd seemed to be turning a bit nasty. The traffic was thick, cellular phones weren't working, news was coming in that other strategic locations were under siege... it was an emotional pressure cooker. On top of all that, there were very few police on the bridge. It felt like the beginning of Bedlam. I left out of discomfort.
As soon as I returned to the house, reports came in that a third plane was in route for another Manhattan landing. I ran like hell back to the bridge to see if this was true. I don't know if another plane was indeed on its way, but upon reaching my viewing spot, there was a muffled BOOM and Tower 2 crumbled to the ground like a kicked sand castle. People began crying, praying, screaming, grabbing the chain-link fence that lined the bridge, and running around like lunatics. Cars were flying down the only open lane on the three-lane bridge, honking and careening as if suicidal. The sound of sirens, in every direction.

About 15 minutes after that, Tower 1 dropped in much the same manner as its "twin". Most of us just sat there, staring at rising clouds of dust which ruthlessly pushed north from ground zero. The insanity ended. Everyone tried to comprehend that the World Trade Center had instantly become nothing but a memory, right in front of our eyes. The only noise was the continued sound of sirens. Everyone slowly dispersed. I walked home, looking only at the ground. I didn't want to cry. I didn't want to see anyone else cry.

We don't have cable, so we only watch the local CBS station. They constantly talk about how well the city is pulling together to get through this. They aren't kidding. Based on my previous experiences here, that bridge should have erupted in raw violence. Instead, everyone prayed for each other's loved ones, asked where they could go to donate blood, and discussed the ramifications this event will have on US relations, worldwide. For once, I was impressed with the intellectual side, and capacity for compassion shown by New Yorkers.

The Polish inhabitants of my neighborhood are in "WAR MODE". The neighborhood is pitch-black. Not a single light was on after 9:30pm. Quiet... Our neighborhood is playing night-time hide-and-go-seek with terrorists, holding our breath and remaining perfectly still, so as to not give away our position. I suppose they are worried about another air attack. I don't blame them. But I'm more worried about the potential for certain elements in this city to take advantage of the fact that most authorities have their attentions on Manhattan, leaving the outer boroughs vulnerable. This city was built, maintained, and will proceed through the acts of opportunists.

If Brooklyn survives itself the next two nights, along with the possibility of subsequent attacks, I'll be thoroughly impressed by the strength of those living in New York on September 11, 2001.

The only memories of this that I would like to purge are those of the desperate souls who found it more fitting to plummet 100 stories to the pavement rather than succumb to the inferno. It was reported that some were jumping in pairs, man and woman, holding hands, all the way down. I hope CNN chose to leave that footage out of their reports. It will visit me in my dreams, to be sure. I'll be back in Austin, soon. I'm just glad I booked a flight for noon out of La Guardia today, instead of earlier out of Newark.

>> Craig

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tribute to the [Original] Jack Black

This time the lights will shine on to him like the gods themselves aimed wildernessed lanterns to catch him, the snipe. The drifter from days of rail riding, scripts, and bonfires fueled by gallons of confusing gin. In and out of the houses, property under arm, talking of clouds and the wherewithal to transcend those filthy walls, built around himself with more robusted gusto than the prison cells he has squared off against on so many occasions.

The constructed confines of the confused mind.

Six bucks and a pocket watch need to be stowed for future times where hunger will be his most common bedfellow. The broad expanses that exist between track lines are the gaps where his life takes its cues. These are the places where the beggar becomes king. These are the places where property is but a concept used only to describe their means to their ends. Other people’s property. Other people’s available property. The trade for the means, the gin, the opiates, the soup, and the rope. That’s what the concept boils down to out there. And those are the only measures which require thought. Those are the points he works to make. At least until yesterday.

This morning is different, and he knows it. There has never been a real sense that the beginnings of his days have ever been the beginning of anything really significant. Just another short-lived opportunity to build a short-term opportunity.

Or to shoot it into his veins.

But today has its very own feel. Something different. Something about the lights, those lights that will find him and show him for what he knows he really is. The ‘him’ he’s been running from for so long. The ‘him’ that will not be understood when they come calling with their incessant “who”s and “how”s and “why”s. He knows he will be lost in their attack. Their push for answers to questions he has never bothered to ask himself. How can a man answer questions they’ve never posed to themselves? How can this be done? How did it come to this?

Worse than that, they’ll ask about the stains on his hands. And he’ll have to ask himself about those stains on those hands. The hammed hands of a man who has spanned his time with no damned plans.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Now They Done Fucked With My Freedoms

GODDAMNIT. Fucking terrorists have seriously ruined life for the rest of us this time. When they were just bombing buildings and randomly murdering whoever they felt would forward their shitheadedly self-absorbed “Me-me-me! Look at me! I’m being repressed!” cause, I honestly felt comfortable ignoring them. Sure, my card could get drawn at any old time, and I could be killed by some chick whose family needed the cash, or she was developmentally disabled and easily convinced, or perhaps she even met me one time at a Burger King back in 1995 and didn’t like the cut of my jib.


I was cool knowing that there are (still) random assholes out there who have nothing better to do than complain about their plight with explosives as their voice. Humans are really, really stupid that way. Plus, we’re extremely self-destructive, even without the whole “martyr”, “I’M THE VICTIM HERE”, “by any means necessary”, “jihad, bitches!”, or “Operation ____-ing _____” as a catch phrase.

But this whole no-carry-on-luggage thing is total bullshit. Total. Bullshit.

The “terrorists” have crossed the line now. Shit’s gotten personal. Mad-personal, yo. [That’s ghetto-speak, only used when one is “fittin’ to RAISE UP!”.] Do these terroristas have any idea how often the jackass companies, who own the planes their trying to destroy, LOSE my goddamn luggage? Once is too often. But anyone who has traveled would be ecstatic if they had only ONCE experienced the maddening dealings with douche-balloon airline carrier agents over how exactly one’s luggage could manage to end up in a more interesting destination than the owner did.

Having had some important shit get re-routed on a couple of occasions, I started carrying anything of actual value (if you actually GET your luggage back, and find it has been pillaged, you’re pretty much shit out of luck unless you complain for fifteen years and the value of your crap is below their pain threshold: the approximate value of a used Timex Ironman watch) in a carry-on so as to avoid getting stuck in a foreign country with NOTHING but my dick in my hand.

This is solely because airlines LOSE luggage. It’s somewhere in their Corporate By-Laws. Their charter with Federal Aviation. It probably has a well-known and well-worn term in their industry: “Baggage Attrition”, "Cyclical Mishandling", "Fuck It Man, Reading Isn't Fundamental" or some such nonsense.

Shit. And now the foreign “terrorists” are in cahoots with the domestic "air carriers", combining forces like the Wonder Twins of Fucktard Evolutionomics in a concerted effort to send my shit to Trinidad every time I fly to Chicago. And I can't even bring a fifth of bourbon onto the flight anymore? Have you ever tried to drink enough of those $5 thimble-sized bottles to ENJOY a shit-stank flight on Northwest Airlines? Have you? That's easily four million dollars in cash you'll need to be carrying with you, and you can no longer carry it in a goddamn bag.

Thank your Allah, Baby Jesus, Fred Flinstone or whoever you cry to every night, for me.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I Don't Know. I Just Ran With It.

The following is a story I wrote for a contest. A McSweeney's contest. The point was to utilize a writing prompt to build a little short story. There were 13 prompts from which to choose, and I have no idea how many winners will be involved. I assume 1 from each prompt will be chosen as a finalist, and then the best of those 13 will get all the beans.

Actually, I have no idea what their plan is. I just liked the idea of the prompts. So I ran with it.

Here was my chosen writing prompt:

Write a story that begins with a man throwing handfuls of $100 bills from a speeding car, and ends with a young girl urinating into a tin bucket.

Here is the story that won for that prompt:

A Day in the Life of R. Kelly.
By Jenny R. Thomas
- - - -

"See, girl? Those bills ain't nothin' to me, plenty more where that came from— No, no, not in the bucket; I got people to dry-clean the upholstery! Shit."

My WORD. Honestly, I REALLY like it. It's one of those stories that you read and you're like "it says so much with so little, or the other way around or whatever. Damn, I wish I wrote that."

Here is what I wrote (I was a tad more wordy, and far less witty. And that's awesome.) Ignore the formatting, as it is for a much more narrow column layout.


Puffs of greened paper shot out of the passenger
window of Shelly’s ’82 Le Sabre. Understandably, she
was extremely upset at the loss. “Damnit, Charles!”
She only called him ‘Charles’ when she wanted to fry
his scrotum. In calmer moments she referred to him as
‘Upchuck’. But not this day.

“You’re just on a bad trip, thas’ all! NOW ROLL THE

No response from Upchuck, who continued his mission to
evacuate the cash.

Shelly fell to her most common state of being:
resignation, ingrained from her playground days of
defending her questionably retarded sibling. Watching
with continued resignation as the money went out the
window, “you got to be fuckin’ kiddin’ me here.”

But this time he seemed far worse than normal.

Shelly was never the sharpest of shed tools, but
certainly more capable than those with Upchuck’s list
of afflictions. Her hair was post-wrestling-match
ratty. Skin marbled like strawberry ice cream. A
wardrobe that consisted chiefly of beer
advertisements. Her twenty-six years on earth took
double that from her body. But she was a survivor,
and whatever she was: she meant it.

Upchuck, two years her minor, was little better. He
too suffered from lack of proper pruning and the mats
in his curly dark hair were sure signs that he had
never worried about floss or voting. Whatever limited
possibilities were once in his grasp had been swept
away by a healthy diet of corner store liquor.

The car swerved its way along a rural highway to the
house of a cagey chemist of particularly ruthless repute,
Thomas Landry. His confidants and associates referred
to him as ‘Paul’. No one knew why, and no one seemed
to care about the incongruity.

People owed Paul money for various reasons. Shelly
and Upchuck were two of those people. The money, and
the reasons.

“Snakes! The snakes! SNAYYYYYKES!” Chuck repeated
as he feverishly shoveled the currency from the
floorboard to the passing outdoors. Pointlessly
scattering the small fortune into nearby stalks of
poorly tended wheat. An empty bottle of Mad Dog 20/20
slid in and amongst the dwindling pile of cash by his
feet, periodically getting caught up in Upchuck’s
handfuls, but always finding its way back to the

The money would soon be lost to the wheat.

An hour prior, things were looking much better for the
pair. Decidedly better.

They were near the end of a broad-daylight robbery of
the peeling-paint, dirt-lot, outskirts-of-town
laundromat where Shelly usually earned minimum wage
night-managing illegal immigrant labor. She figured
it to be the easiest target in town. That, and she
knew the hotel accounts paid their monthly bills in
cash earlier that morning.

Ignacio, the day manager who accomplished little more
in his life than time for pedophilia in neighboring
states, was on duty. His small gut hung over the line
of separation between a pair of brown pleat-less
corduroy slacks and a tan Western short sleeve shirt.
A brushed cowboy hat topped his head, its brim
mirroring the lines of his mustache. He always talked
about getting spurs for his boots, though he’d never
ridden a horse.

Even though Shelly had no real weapon for the holdup,
she did have her wildly unpredictable brother in tow.
To their desired end, Upchuck was wielding an ancient
stapler like a hand grenade in his left hand, and with
his right he was swinging a clutch of detached metal
coat hangers with furious menace.

While fairly unimpressed with their efforts, Ignacio
was doing his best to comply with the demands. “Are
you sure you want to do this Shelly? I mean, your job
is gone now.”

Shelly, somewhat shocked at the stupidity of his
statement, “well, yeah Ignacio. I kinda figured
that’d be the case.”

Upchuck suddenly ceased his curious offensive, and
without a single effort at a smooth transition of
mood, began to whine pathetically. “Hey, Shell, I got
uh awful headache an’ I need some Bayer or somethin’.”

“Damnit Charles. You get drunk and you get hung over.
No surprise, so shut up.”

Quietly, “but my face hurts, Shell.”

“Christ. Ignacio, you got any Tylenol or whatever in
yer desk?”

“Uh, no.”

The three of them, swimming in their own frustrations,
stared at each other for a few muted seconds. Then
Upchuck started threatening to cry. Shelly and
Ignacio shared a brief exchange of agreed annoyance,
until Upchuck dropped the stapler and put his hand to
his face. The right hand, still armed with a dozen
strips of cheap wire, began swinging wildly, knocking
items off of the counter near the already opened

Ignacio, more out of frustration than a desire to
help, cut in. “But I hear coffee helps with those
hang-over tremors.”

Before Shelly had a chance to respond, Upchuck broke
in with authority, “well then go make me some of that,

Ignacio turned to Shelly, “can I?”

“Well, shit. But don’t think about callin’ anyone or
nothin’ because we ain’t leaving without the money.
Got it, you per-vert?”

Ignacio lazily walked back to the rear office,
curiously without chaperone. On his way, he picked up
a box of individual rat bait packets. When he opened
the door to a dreary, un-air-conditioned room that
contained a desk, small bookcase, and dented filing
cabinet, Andrea was sitting shyly at his desk.

Barely twelve with a makeup job befitting a circus
entertainer, light acne, and retro-80s garb, Andrea
wore more the mood of a captive than a welcomed
visitor. She was obviously uncomfortable with his
entrance, and though rather timid, she spoke almost

“Your myspace page said you were eighteen. But you’re
not. You’re old.”

With hand-waving dismissal, Ignacio grabbed a small
can of Maxwell House off the bookshelf next to his
coffee maker, and poured the packet of rat poison in.
He shook the can with calm vigor, opened it, and
handed it to Andrea.

“Yeah, eighteen. Whatever. And you’re not sixteen.
Now piss in this.”

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Enough with the quiting already.

I’m not saying that I want to “quit”. That’s far too final. Claiming to “quit” something when deep in your colon of colons you KNOW that isn’t the honest case, is akin to steeling. Steeling nerve, if nothing else.

So I’m stopping for a bit. For a spell. Some time.

I haven’t had a smoke since June 20th. Maybe the 21st. I forget.

Damn, that totally takes the steam out of it, doesn’t it? Like a wedding anniversary where they’re both like “well, let’s just go to The Radisson for a weekend the first week of November, because I remember it was sort-of cold when we got married, brisk and breezy, but the leaves were still pretty much on the trees. Pretty much.”

Almost, or exactly a month to the day.

It happened rather easily, to be quite honest. I simply didn’t want a smoke for two whole days, and on the third day I HAD TO HAVE ONE. A rather violent desire to stick a burning fag of dried tobacky into my maw. It was beyond compulsive. It was obligatory and I honestly didn’t feel like I would enjoy the smoke as much as I NEEDED it.

And that’s where the desire to smoke is now lost on me. Now that I realize the form of my addiction, which is more humorous than anything else, it pisses me off. Irony lives there somewhere, but I don’t care to dig for it.

It pisses me off because not but a month and a week ago, I smoked for the pure pleasure of it. I FELT like those magazine ads for Newports LOOK. Alive with goddamn pleasure. I smoked because it tasted good, and that flavor happily complimented the sweet tints of my coffee, beer, or absinthe. Because I felt it benefited my soul to partake. Just like one might periodically enjoy a truffle, hang gliding, or rough ass-play. I considered myself a dabbler, rather than a mechanical addict to the thing.

And for that, dear lungs, I apologize.

However, I would like to make it clear that I am not QUITING. Far from it. My intentions are to wait it out. I will hold off on smoking until such time as I feel I will be capable of having a smoke without NEEDING another. Because I want to ENJOY smoking again. I want it to compliment my morning coffee. My evening nightcap. My long-distance car ride.

It might be years before I have that confidence though. Maybe decades. In fact, I may never, ever-ever-ever feel that I can honestly handle a cig without desperately demanding another. And if that’s the case, then I’ll wait all the way to my grave. So be it.

I’m no prisoner, except to myself. I willingly jump for no entity outside of my own whim (many times at my own folly). And I just can’t stomach the idea of some inanimate object bullying me around like that. Not when we used to be so affectionately intimate.

Tobacco and I have been through much together. Many hard times. Good times. And hopefully we’ll meet again someday under better circumstances. Until then, well, fuck it.

[Emotional mania has been the raving flagship of my life-fleet for the past month. And that’s awesome.]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

And Then I Toast You Out.

Between our times and the most recent chimes-
Such a bevy of levity marches and declines-
To a beat I grew to live by,
to breathe, sack-buy,
grown gun-shy,
ever cheek-dry.

Now I’m dressed of the less blessed and I’m manning my stool.
Head caressed by my messed skin cap and I’m lapping my cesspool.

The tones hum, then break, when I shift, they’ll start to shout…

And then, AND THEN:

And then I toast you out.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Blackout Shmackout: The Big "Calm Down"

Man-o-man. This “blackout” post got some interesting personal responses. None of them really made their way into the comments section, and that’s okay. It’s strange, but I’m not quite sure where to draw the line on it. Wide spread on the variety of reaction. Some people are honest with themselves, some people have exceptional reading comprehension skills, and some people are both honest and perceptive. Some are neither, and that scares me more than any blackout I may have experienced.

But, I won’t dedicate any more type space to that discussion, as the only real interesting result was my own mother calling me after reading and before even saying “hello”, she immediately butted in with “are you DRUNK right now?”

And then she waited for a sincere answer. It was around 4pm on a Saturday. I was writing at the time.

Am I drunk? Shit, I wish. Are you fucking KIDDING me over here?

She gets this idea from four areas:

1. Whenever I visit my hometown, Houston, for holidays and whatnot, I always catch up with my friends who live there. These are people who are still very much involved in the social scenes, which are heavily doused in booze. I always get home long after last call, and I am usually stinking drunk because that’s how revelers get when they only see each other three or four times a year (if that). So whenever I visit home for a weekend, I am absolutely uselessly hung over for at least one of the days there.

2. Whenever I tell stories, and I enjoy telling stories, there is almost always an element of alcohol involved. This is because the probability of something noteworthy occurring increases significantly with the addition of alcohol. It’s fucking science for christ’s sake. It’s not ridiculous to understand that if I love to tell stories where I end up looking like an idiot, that those stories will involve consumption. It is also necessary to point out that I tell the same four goddamn stories over, and over, and over again. It’s not like I have a new one every three drunken days.

3. On my last, and hopefully final family vacation, taken last March, I got absolutely shit-housed in Brussels. Long story short, I got lost in the streets of Brussels after 5am, stumbling drunk and making friends with everyone I came in contact with (except for a really creepy car that followed me for a ways, but I lost it by ducking through creepy-ass dark alleys, which kinda sucked). My brother was with me for the first half of the night, but decided to retire when he deemed himself too drunk to enjoy himself. I was not that drunk yet, so I kept on it, along with another fellow whom we met at a bar, who also happened to be from Austin. Strange coincidence indeed. Short story long, I got home smelling of various bar trays and talking nonsense, totally out of sorts. Everyone but my brother and I went on a goddamn 7am morning tour of some Belgian something-or-other, because neither of us were fit to tour. My mother repeatedly referred to her disappointment for the remainder of the trip, every goddamn time I threatened to order a delicious Belgian beer, as if a single drop of the stuff would send me on an immediate werewolf-like train of destruction and drunken mayhem. I got to hear “you aren’t going to go out and do THAT again, are you?” A-lot. Far more often than any rational person deserves.

4. She reads my writing out here on the interweb. For this, I take full responsibility. I’m not yet good at portraying myself in an even light. I don’t talk about my investment strategies, much of my efforts at health improvement, charity donation schedules, or my moves to obtain higher degrees of education. I consider these things to be important to me, and of no benefit to anyone else. I discuss what a douche (typically under the influence, sure) I can be for the sake of a) anyone reading who unwittingly feels the same and needs some reassurance that there is nothing wrong with them, and b) everyone else out there who is so self-righteous as to believe that they AREN’T a douche, when they so obviously ARE. I know, it isn’t the most efficient means of helping to explain to the population that we’re all hopelessly flawed but infinitely fascinating characters who shouldn’t be so goddamned paranoid about what the other douches think of our douchey selves. But, it’s all I got right now. And until I get my own weekly talk show with international distribution, I’m rolling with this right here. For better or worse.

So, well, I don’t really know where this leaves me. I mean, I honestly don’t know if I’m a drunk or not. No one can know that. Just like no one can know if they’ve got AIDS, cancer, or type II diabetes until symptoms lead to tests, and tests lead to absolute results. All you can do is consider the empirical evidence and work with the results. And me drinking WHILE ON VACATION (Houston, Brussels, NYC, wherever) hardly supports alcoholism. Neither do the distantly linked collection of drink stories I have otherwise.

All I’ve learned is that I am not safe from the stabbing and obnoxious rulings from highly biased sources of judgmental vitriol. Which sucks dick because it’s my own family.

My word, I have dedicated FAR too much effort to this discussion. It’s like a real blog entry or some shit. You know, the ones where the writer just babbles on and on about some really personal shit that no one else probably cares about.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Out of Bounds

“NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!!”

He just kept repeating this alarm in my face, swinging his arms around as if he was trying to ward off a bear in the wild. It was working, I could tell, because I was frazzled and backing up. I backed all the way to half court, and crossed the half-hash, soliciting a whistle and eventual turnover call from the referee. After I crossed the line three times.

“NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!!”

I could smell his sweaty breath as the waves of his mouth-heat violated my face. He had freckles, which was relatively rare for a black man in our neighborhood, and one extra-yellow front tooth. Not gold, mind you. Just yellow. Like butter. I assumed it was a replacement of some sort. Possibly carved from driveway stones.

“NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!!”

Coach was less than impressed with my complete absence of skill under pressure. After all, my opponent was merely barking at me. He wasn’t making much of an effort to actually TAKE the ball. I was simply being yelled off the court. A weakness of character which would eventually have to be ferreted out and killed, if I were to ever be able to accomplish even the slightest of goals, later in life. A life which ever since, has been full of bellowing, unskilled side-liners who just want to see someone else run away. To ALSO run away.

They wanted me to score points. That’s where the whole “point guard” name came from. I was to bring the bouncing orange ball from one end of the court, to the opposing end, with the intent of a) setting up plays, and b) helping to avoid making everyone else look hopelessly pathetic and incapable of playing organized basketball by single-handedly scoring a shitload of points. Pretty straight-forward job description.

But I was a seventh grader of questionable mental capacity. Plus, I was harboring a previously unknown but crippling fear of public competition.

Being involved in any competitive stage, no matter how peripheral the part, is horrifying in and of itself. Because you aren’t dealing with the standard Man v. Man trial that everyone assumes it to be. Oh no. If that were the case, everyone would be involved. Everyone would compete. Because there would be no mystery to competition beyond the combination of practice and inborn skill. The only thing that might preclude one from participating in EVERY available competition (under these idealized conditions) would have to be overlapping schedules. Otherwise, all games would include everyone. It would be math. It would be robotic. It would be predictable.

But most importantly: it would be a theatre of the bored.

In reality, everyone on a competitive stage, whether alone (platform diver) or on a team (gang-bang porn-off), must do battle with themselves as well. Multi-tasking. It’s about confidence, courage, perseverance, “heart”, and all those other obnoxious words that headline shitty inspirational posters. In order to beat any other person, one must be able to beat themselves. We all have to find some way to overcome our overwhelming sense of incapability. No matter how trivial the contest.

And in seventh grade, there is nothing trivial about a basketball game. Watch Teen Wolf. Again. The final sequence of that movie sums up quite nicely, just how much pressure can be brought down on little dudes who have probably named all eight of their newfound ball hairs.

To make matters worse, I grew up in a relatively ghetto-ass part of Houston where my Middle School basketball team contained guys who could dunk, dudes who would later go on to college football as lineman, and really ambitious fellas who sold crack during class. Imagine being thirteen and playing Our competition was similar in form to my teammates.

I, on the other hand, had the look and build of your average toe-headed teen who still played with Hotwheels and probably continued to clutch the erroneous belief that his dad was a real goddamn superhero. To say I was physically overpowered by my (sort of) contemporaries would be a gross understatement. I wasn't in some of their age, let alone size bracket(s).

I just wanted to survive the end of the game. The humiliation. The dropping of the balls.

Fourth quarter, and my third-string, bench-warming ass was called in to finish off the game. We were down by several hundred thousand points, which was really the only time I ever got to play, but I was somehow “needed” in order to multiply our bigboard standing.

“NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!! NAR!!—NAR!!”

Surprise, surprise. I went out of bounds instead.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

As Usual, No Cups.

My guess is that he was actually brought in for this exact purpose by the investors. They knew this time would come. And they knew they wouldn’t be interested in first-handing such things. They would need a vehicle. A vessel. A wretched harbinger of truth: that no man is above any known reckoning. They needed him to utilize his methods. His “cures”. To find a way to usher us into oblivion. We needed to be out of their way.

In his most previous life, they called him “The Hatchet Man” due to his disturbingly amoral ability to dissolve entities into sellable splinters with deft and swift swings of hardened greed. The fucker was good at it. He liked it. It made him feel useful and important. Fed his rampant vanity like nothing else. Such the vulture.

Some enjoy soaking their hands in pools of warm blood like that.

So there we were, the three of us, sitting in the open-air atrium of the Renaissance Hotel in the Arboretum. A dozen or so floors of vacuous space above our heads. At a predetermined, toy-ish and absolutely empty café table. Public place. Folded arms. Negotiating our way out of each other’s lives.

It was two against one, and he was visibly drunk from the nearby happy hour that I was unwittingly footing the $1,000+ bill for. It was also, not so coincidentally, a premature celebration of our ousting. The others, drinking themselves silly but blocks away, were wholly unaware of our collective decrepit state of composure. Oblivious to the face-punching reality that we were no longer the combined force that they had been soothed into taking checks from. That we were all, in fact, getting a big-ass divorce from each other. That in all honesty, we were never really a cohesive group to begin with. The deathbed-truth of it was that none of us really liked each other much to begin with.

Knifing each other over the imaginary deck chairs of a ship that we supposedly manned, but only existed in the minds of those who simply wished it to exist in the minds of everyone else, except bigger and more valuable.

So he was drunk. His hair gave it all away. Shocks of separated bang-chunks falling down to sharply-yet-lightly touch his grainy-orange forehead like spider legs cradling the hollowed remains of a bronzed fly. His eyes wouldn’t stay trained. They wandered when he spoke. And he kept readjusting himself in his little tube-steel bistro chair as he threw out ultimatum after ultimatum, trying to cross his legs in different respect-demanding patterns, but never quite able to get comfortable. Never a full threat, but always the promise of producing one if pushed. A solid summary of our entire relationship, this interaction.

We two, his paying-problem/reason-to-be, had no idea what to expect from this man. Nothing beyond his typical inebriation. We also knew that he was quite the clever negotiator, even when hunched-swearing drunk. He often played the part just to seem vulnerable. Begging the unwary to assume him in Achilles position, taunting them to try and make a move on him. Quick stricken. The wounded rarely figured out how stuck they were until far too late. Until they were incapable of escape.

The slow bleed seemed to please him.

Lots of cash talk. Who would owe who and under what circumstances it would be most advantageous for all involved. Scenarios on top of scenarios. As if he were but a mere mediator in a process which was beyond his control, yet left to his discretion. “The wheels are already in motion. I’m just trying to help you help yourselves off the ride before you’re thrown off. I’m not your enemy here, this is just how things are. If I were you, I’d cut a deal and avoid any nasty business.”

Bag-man tactics, with the cookie-tossing of every first round. Motherfucker.

We weren’t prepared to play this kind of ball and he knew it. No cups. He’d had us sized-up the first day we’d met, over a year prior. He had been testing us for the entire period between, knowing that this moment was inevitable. He didn’t even need to be sober for it. To him, this was like spreading warm butter over a toasted muffin. A mindless tableside activity which he was capable of executing without the aide of a clear mind or legal support. Try as we might, he had our balls firmly gripped in his wine-stained palm.

And as usual, we had no cups.

Monday, April 24, 2006

1000 Robots Totally Kicks Your Ass

I got a book in the mail earlier this week from Brother Nick. It is BAD ASS. It’s called 1,000 Robots, and it’s a book that catalogues tin toys from the WWII era-forward. I’m into mostly the 50s – 70s stuff myself, and Ava loves all things Robot.


The thing about these toys is that the recently produced ones are designed to evoke some sense of nostalgia. Oddly enough, I feel that nostalgia for them even though I never had any when growing up. Odd that I would link myself, my childhood, and my free-wheeling dipstick days to variety of toy which came and went several years before my life was sparked.

Is this marketing at its best? Or is it that some crap (like, say, some really simple and not-very-fun-to-play-with painted-tin toys) actually taps into some shared-consciousness that transcends generations? Shared memory? Collective nostalgia for a “simpler time” which never, never-ever existed in the first place?

If so, it would help to explain why these things are both "collectible" and really only of interest to grown folk. Beyond the pretty colors and possible antiquated wind-up "movement" any these tin-cans might have, children seem pretty unaffected. Good thing, too. 'Cause even the replicas aren't cheap, and I don't know if you're aware, but kids BREAK shit. Constantly. Especially if its not theirs.

We kids are cool like that.

Regardless, the toys are mad-cool, and this book is mad-cooler.

Milk shakes make me poop nowadays. And that’s splendid.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Phone Doody

I used to work for this non-profit profiteering company when I was in college. They had this truly dreadful “mission statement” that read something along the lines of

Our mission [brilliant opener] is to deliver the best-of-breed services to our clients and their families in order to maximize their efficiency as productive members of society, and to fight for their rights to establish themselves as such.

Or some shit like that.

The main problem with this organization, as good-intentioned as it might have been, lay squarely in the management of the “mission”. To begin, it was a weak concept, full of emotional potholes, pointless vagaries, wispy platitudes, and hair-trigger issues. And the controllers of the inflows/outflows of resources weren’t down with the cause. They weren’t terribly interested in actually making good on any promises, because those shifty promises were not only fraught with plan-less loftiness, but executing on them would surely spell out the outright financial demise of the organization itself.

Non-profits are nothing if they aren’t self-perpetuating.

So the books went into full-on profit-hording mode. Fuck the “clients”, as they were pretty much screwed no matter how you viewed it. Might as well shelve as much cash as possible and treat the non-profit like a real business: invest long-term, buy property, start other satellite for-profit businesses, and keep up a good face for the donating public.

Actually DOING any good is just too fucking hard, apparently.

I knew all this because I worked in the accounting department. I saw all the money movement. Sure, it was all fair and legal, but none of it matched the true spirit of the organization, or the intent of its “mission”. Out of the thirty or so employees, I would estimate that only three, maybe four were actually dedicated to resolving anything remotely related to the stated purpose of the organization. The rest of us were there to either bring in revenue, or count it as it came in. Our contact with the “clients” was limited, if not non-existent.

Except when you worked the phones at the front desk. And man, how I fucking hated doing that.

Customer service has never been an interest of mine. “Sales” and the “customer service” that go along with it directly equate to “bullshitting” and “defending the bullshitting” in my mind. For some reason, answering phones in any scenario, whether it be in a call center, midnight message service, or acting as a receptionist, is all “customer service” to me.

Man, fuck that noise.

Answering people’s rambling-ass questions about whatever-it-is-that-they’re-senselessly-confused-about is not my deal. I don’t have the patience for that nonsense. Oh, but I’m highly hypocritical about it. I have no qualms about being on the OTHER end of that phone, calling up my cellular provider to ask shit like “so, my plan says I get 100 text messages free, which is fine. But I’d like 1,000 text messages free, for free. Is there like, a button you can just push to do that? ‘Cause like Easter candy, I’m both cheap and stupid.”

While I was counting beans in that job, as a lowly bookkeeper, I would get assigned this “rolling” receptionist duty. The full time receptionist, bless her heart, would want to eat lunch at some point during the day, which inevitably left the front desk, along with the phone lines, abandoned. So three or four of us lowly workers would have to take turns covering phones over that period.

Understandably, none of us had any interest in the activity. First of all, we would have to have our lunches extra-early or extra-late on those days to accommodate. Second, it fucking sucks to sit retard-prone by a crappy fax machine and sketchy-internet-connection computer terminal for an hour, praying some half-wit from bum-fucking West Texas doesn’t call in to make you miserable with wandering questions about shit you aren’t equipped to answer questions on. Third, and most important, to sub for the receptionist is to pretty much admit that your position is actually LESS important than theirs (your job can wait, you need to go do some truly important work like answer phones or paint your nails).

What made it even worse was that we didn’t have a full five low-lifers to simply pick up a day of the week for phone duty. At most there were four of us. So we had a goddamn schedule… it was like scheduling lemon-juice enemas. The weeks where you KNEW you’d be working the phones on Monday AND Friday were destroyed well before they actually arrived. You knew those weeks would suck something awful. They were scheduled that way.

After a few weeks of suffering through the same five douche-balloons calling in with questions about services we had promised to deliver, but (surprise!) hadn’t gotten around to, I was seriously contemplating cutting my hands off to avoid further phone duty. The experience, for me, was excruciating. No one else there liked doing it, but I don’t believe they loathed it like I did. I would have preferred to throw myself down a flight of cement stairs, repeatedly, over that very same hour, rather than answer those blinking, crying, chat-chat-chattering phones. Man, FUCK those phones.

So I set myself to finding ways out of doing the work. In life, it’s important to figure out what you like, what you don’t like, what your fetishes are, and how to avoid doing any sort of god-awful bullshit that you hate more than the poetry of lame teens.

Lucky for me, I was in the accounting department, where the money got counted and organized. And like I explained a bit earlier, we weren’t an organization that focused much energy on shit like “justice”, “fair work environment”, or “equality”. In the accounting department specifically, under the direction of our most-frightening CFO, such quaint phrases or concepts were more of a hindrance in our march to amassing the wealth of the free world in a “building fund”. And since I was counting the beans that would eventually add up to the girth of that stalk, I received some special treatment.

Short story long: by explaining to the CFO that working the receptionist desk over lunch was impairing my bean-counting abilities, I not only got out of slaving away in that wretched desk, I also got more smoke breaks.

This, understandably, made me a target for many complaints from my fellow low-lifers, as it was obvious what had gone down. But I like to think that in reality, they were just hating on my self-made fortune because I no longer had to smell the stankin’ ass mouthpiece of that phone while desperately trying to explain to some Prime-Number-Of-Chromosomes from Tyler that “even if we did receive your request for reimbursement of expenses for the last Director’s Retreat, it wouldn’t matter because you aren’t a Director, and you weren’t supposed to be there, so we won’t be sending you or your four cousins a check. So fuck off.”

And I will read this post as a reminder to myself of what has passed, so that I may again respect what I have at present…

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Alright. So my blog was dead for a week.

It happens. Sometimes, the blog gods look down and say: “man, fuck you and your bullshit navel-gazing. We’re letting this crappy online word-vomit get caught up in your work’s firewall, so that someone in upper management can spend an hour cruising through your stories of covering yourself in various human humors and materials. And they’ll read about how you almost seem proud of it, you idiot.”

And then the gods will add, quite obnoxiously, “Ha. Plus you’re a dick.”

And if you happen to be on your way out of town as you receive notice that your place of paycheck has banned your blog site, specifically, by the admin’s own hand-coding into the firewall/gateway software… well, you might go ahead and cloak your ramblings for a minute or two as well.

Now, well, I just don’t see how it matters.

I just got back from Guanajuato today, and went straight into work, wondering whether or not some sort of shit was going to end up hitting some other sort of fan. Instead, I got hit with a rather tremendous project, which my direct boss, quite understandably, is not interested in tackling alone.

Keep in mind that in my job, rarely am I given truly interesting problems to solve. This problem, however, is fascinating. So it appears that me and my little online graffiti board here, are in no danger of being asked to put together a box. Not anytime soon, anyhow.

Honestly, I try very hard to avoid being fired for anything I do outside of work. My place of business is rather conservative, as it should be, so I do my best to keep the brightest and most blinding (read: obnoxious and offensive) parts of my personality in check.

But I don’t check them here. So, as long as they read this with a sense of humor, then I’m cucumber. Otherwise, I’ll be dialing Houston and shit.

Lot’s of insider commentary there. Like Navajo code. But not even close.

Travel journal to come in the next few days. Lots to ramble about. Word be bond.

Monday, March 20, 2006

SxSW 2006: Day Two and The Book

Whoa, snap. I’ve been mad-behind on my updates, but that’s because my internal organs were crying foul, and there are portions of my brain which may be permanently deceased as a result of all that went down this past week.

My word, what a mess. Always.

Tuesday night marked the second day of my SxSW 2006 bender (man, there must be a better way to entertain myself, right?). But in reality, the prior Friday was the first day (where I attended a somewhat lame-ish poetry reading at Deville, where I spiraled into a drunken, confused oblivion by the time the third rhyme-mangler took the stage). Saturday was a clutch of events and parties, which caused me additional drunkitude. I never really got a break between the weekend and the week of SxSW. Sunday night was rather tame, but the dealings of Friday and Saturday were strong enough to keep me soused well through.

Tuesday hit with a relative calm. Still holding down the day jobby-job. So I had the great fortune of being allowed to plod through my absolutely crippling hang over from the night before whilst staring at endlessly linked spreadsheets, pained in a shitty swivel chair, under the humming lights of a fluorescent hell… wondering whether or not my misty perspiration was booze-scented. One never knows how long it takes to stop sweating out the prior night. Could take weeks.

After work, I actually went for a jog. To aid in getting the toxins out of my system. I believe it worked rather well, since I felt like a thrice-used prison condom before the jog, and about a five dollar bill after.

That makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever. Suffice to say, I felt much better after my jog.

After the jog, it was over to Allen Chen’s crib to bag shwag for the Austinist parties. Magazines, stickers, pins, hand-written notes of random sexual description, and other unnecessary budget-sucking marketing garbage which will necessitate the hiring of hundreds more street sweepers to clean off the cobbled tops of our downtown streets.

The notes were written, but only in my mind. And they were REALLY random. Like, bat-on-stryrofoam-duck-decoy sex. Screwdriver-in-light-socket-bucket-of-water type shit. Goat asphyxiation. And I don’t even know what that last one means.

Never got penned though, and that’s assured to be best for the population. Specifically for the individual shwag-grabber, if not the general population as a whole. Plus, there’s the whole Austinist rep to consider. I doubt Allen would appreciate the bat-on-decoy humor if some successful, unfortunately religious label exec were to have been the one to nab and read it along with the newest copy of Urbland Taist magawhatever. Might have been a tragedy.

Allen treated those of us there to stuff bags, by stuffing us with a couple of cocktails.

That sounds like some sort of sexual double-entendre, and if I meant it that way, it would be hilarious. But a blog is no place for inside jokery. It’s a place of mild embarrassment and platitude-laden navel gazing. So there’s no way I’d be talking about him here.

Back to me.

Few drinks into the evening, and I breezed out to meet up with Ceeplus (Eric) over at The Peacock for his pre-SxSW party. When I got in, Richard Henry was spinning.

Richard’s good people. He’s worked with Ceeplus before, and I definitely see him around town. We have a host of friends in common. That, and he’s a founding Feedback partner. Interesting to hear/see him on the decks. I knew he was known for spinning around town here and there, but I’d never run across it.

Starsign (Dave) got up on the tables after Richard, and dutifully did his thing. People weren’t drunk enough to really get down yet, so he was holding it all up on musical merit alone. There are songs that people WANT to dance to, there are songs that people WILL dance to (if: drunk, at a country wedding, or violently coerced), and there are songs people ONLY listen to (usually because they don’t dance at all, or they really, really, really love the song and prefer to kick back and dissolve whilst listening). It’s hard to nail that third variety without blowing straight past it into muzak/background music territory. Takes a delicate touch, and a mastery of music purpose. I could never manage to pull that off, but Dave’s pretty capable. I know he prefers to maneuver crowds that are up and moving, but admittedly, it’s much-much-much easier to keep an already-excited crowd than it is to build one. Them’s just facts.

Cee did his thing, and then Klassen showed up to finish off [my] night. I had to leave in the midst of Klassen’s set because I had reached a level of buzzed where I will talk almost incessantly about a single thing, and what I say about that singularity





At some point in a night of hard drinking, I’d say hour 2, I usually make some unconscious and almost arbitrary decision concerning what pointless topic I will be beating the living shit out of for the remainder of the night. And on that Tuesday, it was my book. The book that I finished weeks ago, but have yet to do anything with.

And that’s what makes it so obnoxious. If the topic I had chosen had been something like “how brittle and useless those fucking apple crates from Fiesta are,” then I’d be alright with bothering strangers about it. But you can’t go around blabbing like a goddamn string-pull doll about shit you’ve either never done, are in all probability aren’t going to do. That’s just insincere bullshit. Unless you’re talking about being a ninja, becoming a wombat wrestler, or how you’d totally take a bulldozer through the drive-through at Popeye’s Chicken if you had a pink one, and that’s perfectly acceptable bullshit. Or, as in this case, if YOU’D NEVER WRITTEN A BOOK BEFORE.

If you’ve never written a book, well, then you’re just lying. And drunk people lie all the time. Comes with the territory. That’s why it’s best to only hang around other drunkards, because they won’t remember what ridiculous lies you slobbered out the night before. That, or they’ll confuse their lies with yours and just chalk it all up to hang over delirium, which is equally safe.

But I was actually chatting with people who actually READ what I write every now and again. They didn’t know it was me, necessarily, because it was out on the anonyrnets, but they had read my shit somewhere online. Then, I go and ramble on about how I’d finished a project which is still, clearly in the infant stages of development.

So now there’s added pressure and shit. Not much extra, but still. I mean, who needs extra pressure for purely creative endeavors, eh?

Goddamn alcohol. You’re supposed to hold me down and help me scuttle my potential, not whip me forward and force me to produce.

Not cool.

Tomorrow is the official beginning of the SxSW reporting thing. It may be here, it may be up on the Austinist site. Depends on my mood, and that of the editorial staff. They may pull what I write. Plus, the material’ll be a week old by tomorrow.


Yeah, I’m late, but so fucking what? I haven’t taken a shit in two days. Being blackout drunk for a good three out of seven nights of binge drinking coupled with fevered bouts of half-sleep really, really fucks with the standard operation of even a healthy man’s colon. Whatchu got on that? Huh?

Nothing. You’ve got NOTHING.

My butt hurts.