Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Meme Shmeme

OK, so Carol The Ordinary Goddess asked me to do this quiz, and I am powerless before a Goddess because I've already tempted fate way too many times and been bitten in the ass for it. Literally. Hard. So here goes...

Three Names You Go By
1) Bri
2) X
3) Oh Mighty Thrusting One

Three Screennames You've Had
1) brioSphere
2) xwhys
3) rtystyk

Three Things about Yourself
1) I don't use deodorant. My sweat doesn't stink. Really. Chicks dig it. Don't believe me? Come smell me and see.
2) I used to be a Born-Again Christian. Then I decided to be aborted.
3) When I was a kid, I used to steal stamps and coins from a stamp and coin shop, and then I'd come back during a different shift and sell them back to them. And do it again a day or two later. While I was a Born-Again Christian. Bad dog; no biscuit.

Three Things You Don't Like About Yourself
1) I have no tolerance for stupidity. It's like an allergy. And since I'm constantly surrounded by it, I'm constantly irritated.
2) Rejection terrifies me. Why? I mean, it's not as bad as a punch in the face, and I don't walk around scared of THAT.
3) I've let way too many good women slip through my fingers while my head was apparently up my ass.

Three Parts of Your Heritage
1) Russian (So first we invade)
2) French (Then we surrender)
3) Danish (Then we have breakfast)

Three Things That Scare You
1) Fascists
2) People who vote for them
3) Attractive Women

Three Parts of Your Everyday Essentials
1) Sleeping late
2) Working my ass off until the wee small hours
3) Having sex with SOMEBODY, even if it's just myself, like usual

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now
1) An imaginary hair shirt
2) Socks that need to be thrown away
(My feet are colder with them on)
3) My neckchain made from a Scrabble tile with the letter X on it

Three Favorite Musical Artists
1) Van Morrison
2) Maria McKee
3) The Beatles

Three Favorite Songs
1) 'Breathe' by Maria McKee
2) "Without You" by Harry Nilsson
3) "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison

Three Things to try in the Next 12 Months
1) Leaving my apartment/computer for more than an hour
(I work at home)
2) Learning to play a musical instrument
3) Finding a woman who laughs at my jokes and cries at my poetry

Three Things You Want in a Relationship
1) Mutual adoration
2) Mutual respect
3) A mind-blowing spiritual connection that makes sex absolutely insane

Two Truths and a Lie
1) I love women, even the ones who have ripped my guts out and eaten them (you know who you are)
2) I will kick your ass at Scrabble, whomever you are, unless you're my friend Jeff
3) I want to have a threesome with George and Laura Bush

Three Things about the Opposite Sex that Appeal to You
1) Beautiful, soulful eyes
2) Delicate, feminine features
3) A brain that makes my medulla oblongata erect

Three Things You Just Can't Do
1) Buy the bullshit
2) Give blood (I've tried, but the needle thing just freaks me out)
3) Shoot heroin (Same reason, and then there's that annoying addiction thing)

Three Favorite Hobbies
1) Improvisational theater & music
2) Writing
3) Seeing films

Three Things You Want to Do Really Badly Right Now
1) Quit earning a living and just travel the world
2) Go to an all-you-can-eat lobster feed
3) Call Jennifer Connelly and have her say "you need to come over right now"

Three Careers You're Considering
1) Rock Star
2) Ambassador to Uranus
3) Benevolent Terrorist
(No killing, just dosing all the world leaders with MDMA)
(And if you work for the CIA, FBI, DEA, etc, I'm just kidding, asshole)

Three Places You Want to Go on Vacation
1) Amsterdam
2) India
3) Budapest (Those of you who know me will know why)

Three Kid Names
1) Hey Kid
2) Fucko
3) Imprudence

Three Things You Want to Do before You Die
1) Get real sleepy and sorta numb, then float toward the pretty light
2) Find inner peace
3) Find a nice girl, and get in her piece

Three Ways I'm Stereotypically a Boy
1) I'm always thinking about girls
2) I like gadgets
3) I drive like 700 miles per hour. Around corners.

Three Ways I'm Stereotypically a Girl
1) I trim all my body hair, and have way too much style to be so fucking straight
2) Sad movies make me cry like a wet baby
3) I make a mean lobster risotto with truffle oil & roasted garlic

Three Celeb Crushes
1) Jennifer Connelly
2) Jennifer Jason-Leigh
3) Emily Watson

OK, there ya go. Happy, Carol? ;)

* * *

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Little-known fact

97% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Bus Stories

Last night I went and saw "Prozac Nation" at a local art film house. It was pretty good. Christina Ricci is terrific. I've always had a crush on her anyway. Yeah, I know she's pretty much just a kid. So shoot me. Actually it was a little too close to home, because Ricci plays this unstable girl with serious father/abandonment issues who is unable to maintain a healthy relationship, and gawd knows I've had my share of screwed-up relationships. Maybe it was them; maybe it was me. Probably both. I hope I've learned something from them. I'll let you know, as soon as I find one I can hold onto myself...

But I digress.

Came home on the bus, the way I usually do -- I have a car, but here in San Francisco it really doesn't make much sense to drive anywhere. Parking is abysmal, and you can spend quite a bit of time driving around looking for somewhere to leave your vehicle. And then when you get back home, you have to do the same thing before you can crash out for the night. Consequently, like in NYC, most of us take public transportation or taxis everywhere. When I have a hot date or just get annoyed waiting forever for a bus, I'll jump in a cab -- but that add$ up pretty quickly, so mostly it's the bus for me.

So I was waiting for the bus, freezing to death in an icy, windy downpour, and some grizzled old homeless guy who looked remarkably like Chuck Berry asked me for money. I said "Hey if I had any money, do you think I'd be standing here in the rain waiting for a bus?" He said "I get ya" and turned to walk away. Then he stopped, looked back at me and said "Do you know you look like Jerry Seinfeld?" which puzzled me, because I don't think I look at ALL like Jerry Seinfeld. So I said "Do you know you look like Little Richard?" To which he replied, "No, Chuck Berry. Everybody says Chuck Berry." And I said, "Yeah, HIM. Man, you GOTTA be Chuck Berry!" But did I stop there? Nope. I added "Chuck, my man -- you're my idol. Whenever I'm bangin' some girl, to this day, right as I hit that point of no return, I scream out 'Good Golly Miss Molly!' But I never seem to get a second date though. What is UP with that?" He just shook his head and walked away, laughing and waving his arm at me like I was the best entertainment he'd had all night. Then I noticed he didn't have a jacket, and here I was, freezing my ass off in my black cashmere trench coat -- the kind of coat you'd see Seinfeld wearing while waiting for a cab. And suddenly it all made sense, and I felt sorta absurd and serious, happy and sad at the same time. Ya know?

OK, fast-forward like twenty minutes. I was sitting there on the bus, and some guy went to jump out the door at his stop, dropping something at my feet in the process. I looked down, and it was a syringe. So...what does one do when a guy drops a syringe? Do you say, "excuse me, sir, but I believe you have misplaced your drug paraphernalia?" I mean, I was sure he'd be grateful, but it just felt kinda surreal. So I said "hey man, you dropped something," and he reached down and picked it up with a sheepish grin on his face. Then he disappeared into the night. I wondered if I'd helped him, or if I'd somehow ruined his one chance to change his life for the better. Then again, who am I to judge? I've done my share of substances -- though I've never gone the way of The Needle. Besides, he was probably a diabetic. I probably saved his life. Yeah, that's it.

* * *

One time I was riding on a half-empty bus with a typical, fairly mixed crowd in this diverse city -- a few other whites, a few asians, etc. The back of the bus was filled with a bunch of youngish black kids jostling and laughing, and the front/handicap seats were taken up by a very large black woman and, facing her, a very old, maybe seventy-five or eighty, white woman with a cane and those wraparound cataract-sunglasses that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger's ski goggles. I mention everybody's race because it's a big part of the story, as you will see.

The bus soon came to a stop and the driver, a black man in his forties, announced to the old white woman that this was her stop. Apparently, she'd requested that he tell her when to get off the bus, or else he knew her as a regular rider. I guess she didn't hear him; perhaps in addition to being almost blind, she was almost deaf. She was pretty old -- but she appeared to be just a kindly old woman who needed some assistance.

Anyway, after telling her twice, the man reached around and tapped her gently on her shrivelled hand as it rested on the top of her cane, repeating that this was her stop. Or at least he TRIED to repeat it. He got about halfway through with his sentence when this frail, up until now silent old white woman yelled, in a loud voice with a distinctly Alabama accent, "YOU GET YOUR BLACK HANDS OFFA ME, NIGGER!"

Now, I was born and raised on the West Coast, mostly the suburbs up until a decade or so ago when I decided to become a city-dweller. My family was pretty fucked-up in a lot of ways, but overt racism was never something I was exposed to, at least not in such a direct and hateful way. It bothers me to even TYPE that word, and here was this crazy old woman SCREAMING it on a bus where she and I were clearly a racial minority. The driver seemed stunned, like it had come completely out of the blue. The woman across from her had her enormous jaw pretty much on the floor, and the entire bus was completely silent, as if waiting for the riot to start. You could hear the proverbial pin drop as the old lady struggled to her feet, and nobody seemed quite sure what was going to happen next. San Francisco is certainly not a perfect town, and there are racial issues here like anywhere else. But this was a whole other thing; this was like 1950s Birmingham all of a sudden. If it were a guy like me who'd said the dreaded N-word, all hell would have broken loose. But this was a hundred-year-old crone who could barely walk, and so nobody knew how to react.

So the driver started laughing. I guess that was pretty much all he could think of to do.

You would think that the crazy old hag would simply hobble her racist ass off the bus without further comment at that point, right? Wrong answer. While we all sat there stunned, the bus frozen in some space-and-time-warped candid camera study in Jim Crow insanity, the old woman launched into a tirade. Yes, a tirade. Sounded like some meandering apocalyptic bible-thumping Klan speech, about how all "you people" were soon gonna be forced "back where you belong," wherever THAT might be.

At some point I decided I'd had enough, and I was a little worried that my much younger but still lily-white ass was gonna get lumped in with the crazy woman's, and subsequently stomped by the formerly harmless but now probably angry black teenage gangsta-wannabes in the back. I thought of just getting off the bus, but instead I opted, in the moment, to make a bold move.

I stood up and said, "hey grandma, we've all heard enough of your shit."

She turned to me with her ghostly twig-like finger pointed as if to say "race traitah" or "nigga-lovah" or one of those other weird-ass sayings you supposedly hear way down in The Bayou, but I didn't give her enough time. I picked up her purse and her small bag of dog-biscuits or whatever it was, and threw them out the door of the bus. Then I looked into that brown-tinted UV-coated Terminator windshield on her face and said, "now get the hell off this bus before I throw you out and snap every bone in that mummified hateful body of yours."

She seemed shocked that a white boy would talk to her like this, and, mumbling god-knows-what under her breath, she picked up the pace and shuffled down the stairs and out the door. I turned around, looked around the bus at the still-silent crowd, and suddenly everybody started laughing, whistling and clapping. I smiled and sat back down, feeling just a tiny bit like a hero, both disgusted and amused at the strange absurdity of it all.

* * *

Nothing compares, however, to the time when, on yet another miserably rainy day, I got onto a crowded bus near Chinatown, and as the double-doors slammed shut behind me, I was accosted by a smell so putrid it nearly made me gag. The bus was as filled with the smell as it was with people, but it didn't seem like anyone else noticed. My eyes were watering and my stomach was beginning to gurgle uncomfortably; the bus lurched back and forth in traffic and I pushed and shoved my way through the crowd toward the exit door, determined to get off at the next stop and get on a better-smelling bus. Or walk home in the rain; surely that would be better than this.

It was then that I saw it.

As I squirmed through the crowd of riders, I found a pocket of standing room. And right there, on the seat in front of me, was the source of the foul stench. It was, I kid you not, a pile of fresh human feces, exactly in the middle of the only unoccupied seat on the bus. I looked around me, and nobody seemed to think anything of it, other than having created a small bubble of space around it, in which I was now standing. There was an elderly asian woman on the seat next to it, casually reading what appeared to be a Chinese newspaper. Next to a pile of shit.

Now, I've been around the block a bit. I'm an urban guy. I've seen some crazy things, and some ugly things, and some downright hysterical things. But now I knew I had reached what would be the pinnacle of my urban experience. Because at some point, quite recently, in the middle of a crowded bus, someone had simply dropped trou and taken a crap right there on the seat. And all the riders were pretending not to notice it. In fact, many of them had surely seen the previous owner of this horrid little sculpture as s/he created it. Perhaps the creature responsible was now standing nearby, or perhaps it was the woman with the newspaper. Most likely, the fecal performance artist was the only one with the good sense to have actually exited the bus in a hurry already.

All that I knew for sure was that I had to get off that bus, or I'd be adding the regurgitated contents of my own entrails right there next to it, and likely splattered on some of the seemingly oblivious patrons of this vehicle. For a brief moment, I wondered what would happen then. Would they keep standing there while I threw up all over the place, simply ignoring the horrible spectacle? After all, none of them seemed to mind sharing their daily commute with Mister Hanky.

After what seemed like interminable hours, the bus reached another stop, and I pushed my way out the back door, swallowing huge lungfuls of comparatively fresh city air as I scrambled down the steps and watched the bus continue on its journey, crammed with people whose personal levels of sociological tolerance I would hopefully never understand.

* * *

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pissing In The Wind

So it has been brought to my attention that I've been slacking on my postings. Hell, I knew that -- I just wasn't sure if anyone cared. I was testing y'all. So apparently, people DO read this thing. One or two of them, anyway. I was hoping to hear from Dubya himself; I was hoping he read this thing Religiously (grin) and was disappointed that I hadn't written anything nasty about him in days. Actually, I haven't written anything TRULY nasty about him at ALL yet; I've been afraid of disappearing without a trace like they used to do in El Salvador back when Dub's dad (and his wacky cohorts) were running things. Back in the Good Old Days, something I never thought I'd call that now-halcyon era before that rape of the Constitution known as The Patriot Act reared its ugly opportunistic paranoid head.

So obviously, I'm not a Conservative. Or a 'Neo-Con' -- what does that mean, anyway? I mean, I know what 'Ex-Con' means, as well as 'Con-Artist' and 'Con-Job'. But to me, a 'Neo-Con' looks pretty much just like the rest of the Cons out there. In fact, it seems like an oxymoron to me -- how can people who basically want to return to the Stone Age describe themselves as 'Neo' anything? Huh? Answer me THAT?

OK, maybe Neo-lithic. Or Neo-Anderthal. But Neo-Conservative? Nah, you're the same old conservatives as far as I can tell. The people who supposedly want less governmental interference in their lives, so they make everything illegal. Duh.

Sorry, boneheads, but do you think any of the shit you take for granted as part of your so-called 'freedom' wasn't fought against tooth-and-nail by 'conservatives' throughout the ages? Do you think it was 'conservatives' who brought us child labor laws or food safety laws or women's suffrage (that's the right to vote, not wife-beating, for all you memory-challenged NeoCon geniuses out there)? Nope. According to 'conservatives', every major step forward our culture has made was going to bring about The End Of The World. Ending slavery was going to destroy the economy. 'Letting' homosexuals get married is going to bring the Wrath Of God upon us or whatever. It's always the same shit: I mean, look up 'conservative' in the dictionary. It means, essentially, RESISTANT TO CHANGE. And since history shows us that change is inevitable, that sorta means you're all pissing in the wind, doesn't it?

I DO have to give Modern Konservative Korporate Amerika props (as the kids say these days) for inventing two things the world has NEVER seen before:

1) Fat poor people
Yes, thanks to the fast-so-called-food industry, we have people who weigh 280 pounds and yet are dying of malnutrition. All throughout the entire history of the planet, a sure sign of poverty was somebody whose skeleton you could actually see through their skin. Nowadays, at least in THIS country, that's only the rich models we're supposed to aspire to look like. The people who are truly dirt-poor tend to be big fat pigs, living on piles of 59-cent mad-cow-burgers. What a brave new world, indeed.

2) The most unlikely coalition ever assembled -- that's right, the surreal teaming-up of the fat-cat corporate carpetbaggers and the blue-collar peasantry they exploit. Yep, traditionally there has been enmity between those groups, with the former laughing at the latter all the way to the bank. But now the hayseed-chewing undereducated (yet still underpaid) millworker is in bed with the guy who owns the guy who owns the guy who owns the tax shelter that owns the mill. And the guy who owns the guy is laughing even louder and harder than ever, and all the workers are apparently too busy chewing on their burgers to hear the laughter. Or, worse yet, they're laughing right along with them, too stupid to know what's so damn funny.

And by the way, Bush Junior seems adamantly against (and obsessed with) gay marriage for some unknown but suspicious reason, yet he has no problem giving it to all of us up the ass on a daily basis -- so apparently he has NO problem with gay sex itself. Just not in the context of marriage. Of course, this conflicts with his absurd and anachronistic position on teaching abstinence (which, if it were effective, would have undoubtedly shown some sort of scientific success after all the centuries it has been imposed by The Church -- but people used to fuck each other like crazy when the penalty was a fiery death, so what makes Bi-Curious George think it's gonna work now?) Anyway, I digress. My point is this: if two guys (or grrls) want to get married, that's apparently bad. On the other hand, sex itself is bad -- gay or straight -- unless you're married. And then only for procreation, because we all know that increasing the world's dwindling population is a Biblical imperative. And gays can't technically procreate, so what's the point? So we should stop them at all costs. Why? Because, um, well, God says so. But if we all bend over for Dubya, to whom none of us except LauraBot is married, that's apparently good. That's in the Bible too, I guess. OK, so I guess what The Shrub is trying to say is, "Your ass is mine, and nobody else's. But if you have a vagina, you should share it with your husband once in awhile, but only for the glory of Jesus. Amen."

But um, anyway. Bueller?

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Cold Sweat.

So I had a horrible dream last night.

I dreamt I was in my car -- or at least I THOUGHT it was my car -- it was very small, which my car is, but it had a backseat, which my car doesn't. Dreams are like that. Anyway, I was trapped in my car, but I didn't have my keys, so I couldn't start it. and I was panicked. Why TRAPPED, you ask? Why PANICKED? Well, because there was a swarm of dogs -- yes, a swarm is the only way I can describe it -- trying to get in. Very small dogs, but a LOT of them. They all had the bodies of Jack Russell terriers, but their heads all looked like George Bush, Dick Cheney and Carl Rove.

I'm not making this up.

So there was this cacophony of barking and howling outside, and all these little politico-headed canines were jumping frantically, Jack Russell-style, all over my car, their claws scratching and tapping crazily on the glass and steel, and their tiny, disgusting little dog-genitals smearing on my windows as they humped away like dogs do. And then I realized, as I listened, that they weren't really 'barking' at all. They were all saying one thing, over and over. It was: "Who's your Daddy?" Just like that. There were so many of them, it was hard to make it out at first, but that's what they were saying. "Who's your Daddy?" "Who's your Daddy?" Yeah, sure, it sounds funny now -- but in my dream, I was scared outta my mind. I didn't know what to do -- if I opened the door to run for it, surely I'd be overcome by the spastic horde of little dog-fascists, and then god knows what sort of hideous things would happen. I've seen Jack Russell terriers -- and the Bush doctrine -- in action. But I couldn't start the damn car, and it was only a matter of time before I'd begin to starve, or perhaps just go insane.

I looked in the glovebox where I used to keep my stun gun, but it wasn't there anymore, and anyway there were too many of them for it to be all that effective. But as I reached over, leaning my body ever so slightly to the right, I got a whiff of -- was that urine? And I thought I heard -- was that panting? -- in the backseat...

I shuddered, not wanting to look back there, and then I heard the voice, distinctly feminine but in a post-op transsexual, contrived sort of way. My shoulders slumped forward, and as my trembling fingers reached to adjust the rearview mirror, it filled with a pair of eyes so hauntingly familiar -- eyes I remember seeing from old drawings of African slavers, tribesmen that sold their own people into the clutches of the white traders.

"Condoleezza?" I said aloud.
"They hate our freedom," she replied, smiling, showing dog-teeth right before she leapt over the seat.

And then I woke up -- in, as James Brown so eloquently put it, a Cold Sweat.

* * *

Now, I'm no dream interpreter, but it doesn't take a UN Weapons Inspector to figure this one out. And I think the car -- my tiny, easily parkable-in-the-city car -- represents San Francisco. I can't really afford to keep living here forever, and I don't know that it's going to matter when the proverbial shit REALLY hits the proverbial fan. But I think I'm stuck here for awhile, because I don't think there's anywhere else to go.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Email Relationship

OK, so I wrote this awhile ago, but I thought I'd share it. Why? Because I can.

* * *

Meetings. One after the other. Keeping him away from the screen that was his only link to her. Last thing he'd typed was BRB. Now he was a liar, on top of being a workaholic. She didn't live here; her mortgage payment would scarcely rent a studio apartment in this burg. She wouldn't understand his crazy schedule.

Would work never end? They kept dragging him back from the elevator door like vacuum cleaner salesmen with a sure kill. What would he say to her? His brain swelled like a blowfish. She would expect something profound after letting him try her patience so. A thousand trite email jokes fought for supremacy in his frontal lobes. A million unfinished tasks browbeat him. Loose ends and excess baggage poked tiny fingers in his eyes and laughed louder than the pig-squeal of ancient air brakes on what they call public transportation in this town.

A final porcine death cry and the bus coughed a spasm of greasy air at the bottom of the hill it had no intention of climbing. He jumped out like a piece of gristle resurrected by the Heimlich maneuver, and began his daily impersonation of Sir Edmund Hillary...

"Got any change?" Said the scratchy voice from the doorway of the closed gay bookstore. The man looked like Stevie Wonder. He really liked Stevie Wonder. He tossed the guy a quarter.

Okay, so maybe a quarter isn't all that much. But if the guy were really Stevie, he wouldn't need it. Besides, he could swear those shades were the same ones he used to keep in his car, before some crackhead slashed the convertible top...

He arrived late, like usual, stumbling up the hill to the steps to the door to the staircase to the tiny apartment. Intentionally minimalist. Such a walking cliché. Hills and minimalism in San Francisco. And stairs. Miles of stairs. Even the sidewalks are stairs. Coming home every night was like visiting Machu Picchu.

The house was a Victorian, one more cliché, but he liked it because, like himself, it was a survivor. Built before the quake. The Big One, before television news cameras made every quake into The Big One, and every mugging into a crime wave. Before MTV made every kid into a gangsta. Before they stopped using the letter "r."

The house looked embarrassed. Sometime in the 1920s, a dozen or so self-motivated hacks had tried to "modernize" the old houses around here. Not all of them; in fact just a few here and there. Which makes it worse, of course. Surrounded by quaint gingerbread-encrusted dollhouses restored lovingly by people fortunate enough to have bought them before the eighties made everything in the world cost a million dollars. This particular house, all hint of decorative trim cruelly stripped long ago, stuccoed over and painted Warren Harding beige, stands as a monument to a movement that would culminate years later in such innovations as aluminum siding and simulated woodgrain. Better living through sophistry.

Across town some of the most beautiful untouched Victorians stand rotting behind wrought iron cages, their still-salvageable planks covered with what the aforementioned MTV-inspired thug-wannabes consider "art."

All of this he pondered, gazing at the lights of the city from his pseudo-modernist beige front porch. Perhaps if he stayed out here a little longer, it would be daylight and he'd have yet another worthy excuse for not writing. Another alibi.

No such luck, he thought to himself. Surely she would not be fooled. She saw right through him; he was translucent like one of those delicate tropical fish he used to see in the pet section of Thrifty's back in The Day. He pictured himself swimming around in there, the green curry chicken he had for dinner sitting in his clear stomach for all to see, like leftovers in Saran wrap. He turned the key in the two-dollar lock and entered his apartment.

No one quite understood his relationship with the little furry creature that always greeted him at the door; to most people a cat was just a pet, or, at the opposite end of the continuum, a surrogate child. But this cat was different; a familiar, like a reincarnated close friend. They'd been through a lot together -- well, that is to say, he had been through a lot of shit, and the cat had somehow been there to console him. He loved the cat. He believed it was mutual. At the very least, it was a seriously codependent interspecies thing that very few of his human friends could relate to. But then, neither he nor the cat was concerned with their approval. Ngowrr.

One A.M. Still no inspiration. Sitting bewildered and not a little panicked in front of a glowing gray box, the cat purring contentedly on his lap, he played Tetris until the telltale signs of carpal tunnel crept in. Incapacitation. Disability. The perfect excuse. But he knew better. No, that wouldn't work either. She was far too bright for that.

And then, in an epiphany, like an aspiring tax lawyer finding a new loophole, he was struck with a brilliance so staggering that it seemed unlikely he would be able to be its conduit. His fingers began to rhythmically stroke the grungy keyboard like a vacuum-formed Ouija board; his hands trembling with an energy that scared the cat. The words poured onto the screen; postmodern heiroglyphics flashed ones and zeroes in an insane ritual dance of long-repressed microprocessors finally spilling their angst-ridden bodily fluids in an orgiastic panoply of joyful abandon.

And, sated...weary...he clicked Send.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

First kiss

I was fourteen years old, and I had never kissed a girl, but I was always infatuated with one or another, as I had been since I was about five. I was a little Casanova down deep inside, but I was painfully shy, so usually the objects of my affection never knew I existed...

I was completely head over heels in "love," in that insanely intense way that only young teenagers can be, with a girl at my church -- we'll call her 'J'. She was a worldly-wise, street-smart, sassy little blonde a year older than me. I was a clueless little boy with zero experience of the world, afraid of my own shadow. I saw her twice a week, at sunday school and at wednesday night youth group, and occasionally at other church functions at people's homes, etc.

As previously mentioned in my 'Dogma' post, on wednesday nights we were supposed to be out on the street (Van Nuys Blvd -- I grew up in that place sarcastic people refer to affectionately as the 'City of Angels'), talking to people about Christianity. But J had other ideas -- myself and 2 other clueless little boys hung out with her, and we all followed her around while she tried to score pot. I pretended I was a veteran pot smoker, but in reality I tried it for the first time with her, and coughed my lungs out while she laughed her ass off. Same with the other two guys. We all adored her. She was our Goddess. I rarely said a word to her -- I couldn't. She left me breathless; she probably thought I was mute. But I was always staring at her and she knew it.

Anyway, a couple of months before, J's mother had given a church potluck at her house. I had gone into her mom's room and stolen a small picture of J off her dresser, and I kept it in my wallet.

We used to hang out at McDonald's, where we would eat those soft-serve sundaes that they had just started serving, while we waited for somebody to come in and give her the signal that they had the weed. One night I was paying for my sundae, when suddenly J grabbed my wallet out of my hand and glared at the picture of her in it -- and at me. "WHERE DID YOU GET THIS?" she yelled, while the other boys laughed. "ARE YOU TELLING PEOPLE I'M YOUR GIRLFRIEND OR SOMETHING?"

I had never stammered out more than two words in a row to this girl that I adoringly followed around everywhere like she was The Messiah, but I just suddenly blurted out, inexplicably, "NO, BUT I WISH YOU WERE, BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!"

She stared at me for a second, and then she grabbed my arm. "Come here," she said. and she looked back at the other two boys and said "STAY." They stayed.

She quickly pulled me out the door and around to the back of the McDonald's, without saying a word. I was trembling. We stood there by the dumpster, and she kissed me. Hard. With her tongue and everything. The works. It seemed to last about 2 hours. Then she pulled away. I was dazed.

"Look," she said, "I only date older guys. I have a boyfriend, and he's seventeen, and he has a car. but I like you, so I still want to be friends, OK?"

I nodded, slowly. I was still dazed. I couldn't speak.

She put her arm around me and walked me back to the front of the McDonald's, where the other two stood with their mouths wide open. We all went back to wandering down the street, pretending to talk to people about the Lord.

Since then, I have had my heart broken many times, but never, ever, as gently or with as much class as that fifteen-year-old semi-juvenile-delinquent girl from church.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Holy War

OK, so it gets interesting when you give people a way to contact you. I see how this works. You get to set yourself up as the next victim of some demented Religious Serial Killer. Hmmm...there's a screenplay in here somewhere.

I mean, Jesus! You simply mention religion and people get all Irritable Bowel Syndrome on ya. Didn't even have the courage to post it as a comment, inviting open discourse. Nope. I got like maybe 2 readers at this point, and one of them turns out to be Max freekin' Cady. Am I being judgmental? Hell, being judgmental is what separates us from the animals, isn't it? Or maybe the concept is an oxymoron and a red herring and a white elephant. It's a straw man, a shell game, an artful dodge. It's an enigmatic paradoxical ambiguity. You get my drift. Hey you, get offa my cloud.

Anyway, I'm not gonna antagonize the freakazoid further by posting his words here, even anonymously -- 'cuz it makes me uncomfy that he might live across the street or something. I think it was Horace Smith who defined courage as the 'fear of being thought a coward.' I always loved the brilliance of that statement. It scares me though.

But the guy seemed to have a fixation on calling me the C-word (no, not Christian -- the OTHER C-word), which seems strange. I watch a lot of movies, and it seems to be only in the UK that guys actually call other guys "cunts" -- but this guy seemed pretty damn homegrown otherwise -- in the way only certain American Goobers can be. Maybe he's a misogynist who's run out of women to abuse, so he's trying to include me in his little fantasy browbeating. Too bad his spell-check seems to be broken; I couldn't understand half of what he was saying, but I detect a definite bias toward a certain snake-handling mentality. Ever guess how many teeth someone has simply by reading their notes?

So anyway, do you know what I told him? I deliberately avoided the topic of religion, because that would be giving him too much credit. I said:

"Well, sir, that was quite the catharsis for you, wasn't it? Allow me to pause while you look up that word. No, not in the Bible. In the dictionary, my Huckleberry friend. D-i-c-t-- oh, never mind. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for referring to me as a "cunt". Since that IS one of my many favorite parts of the female anatomy, a word which in Shakespearean times was not even profane, I will consider it a high compliment. After all, that is where life itself begins, and where I've spent some of my most memorable moments. In fact, one could call it my temple. And therefore I will consider it high praise! But get up off the floor; you're wrinkling that pretty hair shirt I bought you. I seek not another boring supplicant; I seek a pedantic equal to lord over the universe with. A pithy observation is only fun if it can be shared. I want someone to hold my hand and tell me not to be so dramatic right before I die. Unfortunately for you, that someone will be female -- I'm straight. But thanks for your offer of analingus. I'm flattered."

I haven't heard back from him. I wonder if I will?

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

My dogma ate my homework.

OK, let's see. I should probably get in the habit of posting to this thing every day, regardless of whether anybody's reading it or not. Tree falling in the woods and all that. Maybe I'll get better at it with practice. But what to write? Normally I have a lot to say, especially if somebody gives me an espresso or a couple lines of Columbian Baby Powder. But I find myself at a loss this morning. Hmmm...OK, I'll talk about religion. I can talk for hours about that wacky subject. Especially if you're a qualified therapist...

You see, I was born to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. Neither were devout, and both came from broken homes -- my mom from your basic middle class secular New York Jewish dysfunctional roots, and my dad from a lower-middle-class French/Canadian/New England crucifix-over-the-hot-plate-in-the-double-wide bunch. So technically I'm Jewish enough (but not suicidal enough) to get Israeli citizenship, but I was raised weekend Catholic. That is, until...

When I was around nine or so, my parents found Jesus(TM). That is to say, we ALL found Him, because as the Good Book says, the sins of the father will be dogmatically beaten out of the son[s]. My parents are probably the two most unlikely people ever to successfully breed together -- the equivalent of getting a cat and a dog to have a baby -- and they fought CONSTANTLY during my entire childhood. They were always on the verge of divorce, but they finally collided with destiny when they decided to go ahead and split up. The whole thing was basically in progress when The Son Of God intervened and they became -- you guessed it -- Born-Again Christians(TM). Which meant that we -- my brother, sister and I -- became ReBorn as well. It was, as they say, A Brand New Day.

So I spent the latter half of my childhood being force-fed a worldview that seemed to perpetually contradict actual experience, but empirical evidence was never very important to the One True Church, as I discovered when I, a relatively bright lad, began to question things in my adolescent years. By the way, have you noticed how exquisitely skilled I am at the endless run-on sentence? Perhaps we are due for a short break.

• • • • • • • • • • I N T E R M I S S I O N • • • • • • • • • •

OK, I'm back. Did ya miss me? Where was I? Oh yes...
So I blindly bought the propaganda and merrily went to sunday school and memorized the entire Word Of God (or at least the random scriptures the Church of the Early Middle Ages had decided were worthy of inclusion) and attended youth groups and talked to people on the street in The San Fernando Valley about how they were going to burn in Hell for all eternity without the precious unconditional love of the Baby Jesus that God in His Mercy had provided for them absolutely free by allowing His Only Son to be brutally murdered for the vile unworthy sinful acts they would inevitably commit if they hadn't already.

There we were, little miniature Grand Inquisitors proselytizing on the boulevard of broken noses, risking our dogmatically deranged but youthfully enthusiastic lives annoying people and making Jesus proud.

But then, sometime in my mid-teens, while feeling the constant stirrings of lust and covetousness for every neighbor's daughter that would surely doom my twisted and evil little soul to the inferno, I began to question the validity of statements like "Satan put the fossil record there to deceive us." Oh me of little faith.

The point at which I lost my religion is hazy to me now; there was a moment when I decided that any god who ruled through fear and guilt wasn't a god at all, but a pedantic and whiny little monster akin to the Wizard behind the curtain. But I don't remember the exact moment. I didn't become an atheist; that would have been a reaction as overly simplistic as the infantile orthodoxy I was escaping. No, my attitude was that their probably WAS some sort of Higher Power, but that 'it' certainly would not be comprehensible to mere humans, or reducible to human behaviors and concepts.

At some early point since then, I formed a basic philosophy that 'god' is just another word for 'universe' -- that the universe is made of energy and so are we, that consciousness and energy are one. That, yes, the universe is wondrous and magnificent, which in our limited understanding always implies a creator. But what if IT -- WE are the creator? All of us and everything represents evolutionary levels of development of consciousness OF the Cosmos? We 'modern' humans like to think of life and matter -- or flesh and spirit -- as separate, but that is only due to our limited perceptive ability. If our eyes COULDN'T process color (like a dog's eyes), would that mean color didn't exist?

This all seemed, and continues to seem, like basic common sense to me. And nothing revolutionary; sages in cultures not burdened by Judeo-Christian history have been saying things akin to this for millennia. Of course, throughout much of OUR history, I'd have been burnt at the stake for saying it -- a practice that I hear rumors our esteemed Prez is trying to bring back into vogue. It'll probably be tacked on in fine print in the middle of some 'tax relief' bill somewhere, and we'll each get a check for $82 in exchange for our right to due process...

Anyway, I digress. We'll talk politics another time, after I see what sort of response I get to this little quasi-polemic.
My home address isn't on here, right? Whew!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Male Sexuality Explained

Hmmm...still getting used to this posting thing, and too busy today to write anything original, at least nothing that would be interesting. So I decided to re-post something I put up on a local community site awhile back, because I got a lot of good feedback on it and hardly any flames, so it will be interesting to see what THIS community thinks of it.

I had done my share of online dating, and I noticed a lot of women posting complaints about men "using" them, seemingly not at all understanding what was happening when it all seemed so obvious to me and probably every other male on the planet. So I decided to potentially bring the wrath of The Playahs on my head for revealing what should be taught to every girl in junior high school. This stuff WILL be common sense to most male and SOME female readers, but y'all would be amazed at how many women have thanked me profusely for giving out this info. So this posting mostly goes out to all the females in the audience (assuming anybody is reading my little dealio here yet; I'm new, after all)...


OK, so you're a woman, you've just had sex with a guy and you think it's the beginning of something, while for him it's the END of something. Why is this? What sort of foul creatures are these men, eh? Why would they sleep with you, giving you the impression that they think you're special, and then suddenly lose interest?

It's actually really simple.

We men have this chemical called testosterone, in large quantities, flowing through our veins and influencing us in ways that you cannot begin to imagine. It makes us absolutely crazy. Of course women have some too, which is what gives them a sex drive at all. But they just don't have anywhere near the same amount -- not even the really horny ones.

We men are of course human beings. We were once little babies, crying out for affection. Just like you women, we want love. Just like you, we want companionship. Just like you, we need nurturing and caring. BUT unlike you, we don't need any of those things in order to want to fuck you, because we have bulk-rate testosterone telling us to fuck anything that moves.


If you're lucky (and if we are as well), we are sleeping with you as part of an expression of our love and devotion to you. BUT more often than not, that ain't it. Just because we want to fuck you doesn't mean we love you. We might not even like you. We might not even be attracted to you at all.

In fact, we might hate your guts, but still you have a nice body and so we are wired to want to penetrate it. I know this sounds bad, but if a 'hot' woman is a complete bitch from hell, we will want to fuck her just on principle alone -- because then she's a just notch in our belt, and we have taken the one thing we wanted from her. Now she's just a bitch, instead of a bitch with a nice ass, and so now we can ignore the shape of her ass and get on with our work. She now has nothing left that we want, and no power over us whatsoever. Get it?

As we get older and wiser, and if we got enough casual sex to scratch that itch a fair bit and the testosterone starts to dwindle to manageable levels, our nurturing side is able to express itself more clearly, and we long for a loving relationship.

But even then, if given the choice between casual, loveless sex and no sex at all, we will STILL take the former in a heartbeat. Sure, after sowing some oats, proving our "manhood" and attractiveness to women in our youth, at a certain point we will much prefer sex with someone we love. Note I said "prefer". To ANY healthy man of any age (and I challenge any man to honestly dispute this), ANY sex is better than NO sex, which of course makes us very different from women. To YOU (women), a penis is generally all about the guy attached to it. If the guy's uninteresting to you, you probably don't wanna see his dick. To us MEN, a vagina is always beautiful, no matter who it's attached to. See? You COULD take this as a compliment, in a twisted sort of way. Sorta.

The problem for women, of course, is that you don't know if a guy wants sex with you because he LIKES you, or simply because you have a vagina, and he is wired to want IT. Well, I can promise you this: if a guy hasn't known you long enough to really know who you are and really like you, and he tries to get you into bed, he JUST WANTS TO FUCK YOU. Period. You're dreaming if you think it's more than that. Sure, sometimes more comes of it later, but only sometimes -- and usually because the guy's got regular access to sex now, and for a lot of guys that's hard to come by. Until somebody cuter or smarter or just plain new comes along. Sex without substance gets old, even for us.

For men, the sex drive is like hunger. When you're hungry enough, even a crappy fast-food joint will do, and you pull into the drive-thru. You know it's a bad idea, but you do it anyway. But afterwards the stomach ache always makes you say "shit, why the hell did I do that?" Simple. You were hungry, and it was there. So we meet some girl who isn't our type, but she's not hideous; she's acceptable. Maybe she's a little too chubby, or has bad skin, or isn't very interesting or bright. But we're HUNGRY and she's THERE. She probably thinks she's just met her new boyfriend, but we walk away afterwards with a stomach ache, and she realizes she's been used AGAIN. Nobody's really happy, and if he's a decent guy he feels bad about it -- but the hunger's gone for awhile. The end.

If a young guy really, really likes you, he'll still want your body, but he'll likely be willing to wait for you to be ready, if you're firm about it. It won't be easy for him, but he'll stick around even if you don't 'put out' -- as long as he knows you're sincere and not just playing games with him, like some women do. You know, for free dinners and stuff. Yeah, it happens a lot. But I digress; my intent here is to HELP women, not point the finger at them.

If an older, presumably wiser and more mature guy really likes you, not only will he be willing to wait, but he will likely SUGGEST that you wait, because he knows that sex is MUCH better if you truly know and love someone, and, just like you, he'll want it to be special. Of course, if you push the issue, he will likely give in easily and fuck you anyway, because he's a man. We are all slaves to our chemicals.

So the bottom-line is this:
It's an age-old concept that your grandma probably told you, and it's just plain true. If you want casual sex, then go ahead and have it, but don't expect the guy to be after anything more than a fuck. If you truly want LOVE and a relationship, you have to wait until you are sure he really cares about you before you let him go there. You just do.

OK, so why is it YOUR responsibility to say no, rather than his? Simple. TESTOSTERONE. A guy might have the best of intentions; he might know in his heart that he should wait, that it will be better. But the chemicals, especially in a young guy, are going to be too strong for him to resist. I have personally ruined many potential relationships by giving in to my desire to sleep with some girl early on, and then I lost interest in her because there was nothing there but lust in the first place. If we'd waited, maybe nothing would have happened at all, or maybe we would have developed something great, based on mutual interests and such -- at the very least, she wouldn't have had her heart broken by mistaking sex for love. But she let me, and so I did. And so I basically ate dessert first, and got too full for dinner. Sometimes I even knew she was barking up the wrong tree, but I did it anyway. Sometimes, when I was young, I told her exactly what she wanted to hear, and I got what I wanted. Sometimes I even felt bad about it. But I did it anyway. That's testosterone (and immature selfishness, surely) in action.

Yes, SHE has to be the one to say no, because men, when it comes to sex, are just plain weak. The strongest man, one who might rescue a baby from a burning building or wrestle a bank robber to the ground, is still pretty much helpless in the face of his own sex drive. It's just a fact.

As for me, I'm a 40ish guy, who has learned all this the hard way. Pun intended. And it's all very, very true.

So, my female friends, go ahead and sleep around; I make no judgments (double-standards are just stupid) and I don't believe in the word "slut" -- I think women should be able to have as much casual sex as they want, as long as they REALIZE it's casual sex. But if you want real love, LISTEN TO YOUR MAMA, and do NOT sleep with the guy until you have a connection with him that you both feel, however long that takes. And if he won't wait, then, just like your mama probably told you, then he wasn't what you thought you wanted anyway.

Sounds old-fashioned, even to ME -- because I was born in the Free Love '60s. But it's just the way we're wired, and while our uptight puritannical forebears were fucked-up about a lot of things, there's one inescapable fact of biology they pretty much had figured out. Surely they should have given women the equality, respect and intellectual credit they deserved. BUT they DID understand the male sex drive and what havoc it can wreak on an unsuspecting, romance-seeking female.

(Note: I am not excusing men for their/our behavior; just explaining it for those who don't get it. Anyone, male or female, who wants to comment is free to write me, but please be intelligent enough to get what the heck I'm trying to say, and don't just send me mindless angry flames because you hate men or live in denial.)

And I didn't create this situation, so please don't get mad at me. I'm just the messenger.

Thanks for listening. If just one woman has a lightbulb go on over her head after reading this, it will help make up for all the hearts my dick has broken over the years -- including, eventually, my own.

Music. Movies. Books. Yada yada.

After much gentle but firm prompting by my blogger friend Sir James, I decided to start posting here. but what to post? I have no idea. I can tell you this: these fuckers ask you to list your favorite shit in your profile, but then they limit it to 600 characters. What boring-ass dork over nine years old can fit all his or her fave shit in 600 characters? Maybe the President, but not me. So I'll start by doing here what they wouldn't let me do there. I mean, probably nobody cares, but then again, I'm probably just dreaming all this anyway. So here goes:

fave music:
the decemberists, modest mouse, the postal service, blonde redhead, death cab for cutie, kevin yost, oasis, the constantines, government mule, spacetime continuum, b tribe, sounds from the ground, stargarden, green day, basement jaxx, higher intelligence agency, baka beyond, baby mammoth, american analog set, tori amos, bola, the sea and cake, mica lee williams, cursive, built to spill, tom mcrae, ani difranco, maria mckee, janis joplin, hooverphonic, dzihan & kamien, low, alfie, titan, broken social scene, b ashra, paul van dyk, ian pooley, morcheeba, laika, momma gravy, delerium, beta band, frou frou, mark farina, mull historical society, bebel gilberto, sing-sing, portishead, alpha, john beltran, current, carbon based life forms, everything but the girl, massive attack, talking heads, lowgold, the wisdom of harry, taking back sunday, opus 3, paul simon, turin brakes, the beatles, soulstice, andy caldwell, beulah, king kooba, aphrodite, the delgados, hybrid, iggy pop, fila brazilia, madonna, galaxie 500, goldfrapp, john coltrane, elliott smith, carole king, garbage, funky porcini, chris isaak, peter gabriel, cat power, sigur ros, patsy cline, cocteau twins, yo la tengo, peggy lee, balligomingo, zero one, b-12, thievery corporation, tosca, kings of convenience, frank sinatra, miles davis, apples in stereo, howie day, david kitt, baxter dury, olivia tremor control, mountain goats, stereolab, gol, magic sound fabric, crustation, sebadoh, sleater-kinney, the yeah yeah yeahs, marvin gaye, giant sand, azure ray, entheogenic, the doors, lemonjelly, lemonheads, van morrison, amon tobin, royksopp, adham shaikh, richard ashcroft/the verve, bjork, adam ant, de la soul, white stripes, tanya donnelly, luna, alpha, the cult, sa fred, afro celt sound system, camera obscura, mazzy star, lamb, blue stingrays, blue states, banco de gaia, interpol, jets to brazil, boards of canada, arovane, a forest mighty black, ella fitzgerald, rilo kiley, louis armstrong, sandra collins, ferry corsten, edith frost, now it's overhead, the thrills, deb talan, jaywalkers, the hives, the sundays, i am kloot, the aqua velvets, arab strap, blue states, rickie lee jones, cibo matto, nightmares on wax, mandalay, floex, mark knopfler, tom waits, nirvana, the church, kraftwerk, the pretenders, pixies, billie holiday, velvet underground, brian eno, persephones bees, embrace, cousteau, dave brubeck, dee-lite, tangerine dream, xtc, the weakerthans, tricky, esthero, beck, sly stone, hels fornander, chet baker, johnny cash, st.germain, p.j.harvey, underworld, paul simon, gus gus, aretha franklin, paul oakenfold, john digweed, the cure, the zombies, the zephyrs, nick drake, wheat, richie havens, air, al green, esthero, rolling stones, radiohead, badly drawn boy, iron & wine, innocence mission, neutral milk hotel, wilco, red house painters, the starseeds...

fave movies:
the misfits, 21 grams, dancer in the dark, delicatessen, aguirre: the wrath of god, amelie, citizen kane, the third man, the princess bride, blood simple, brazil, gallipoli, down by law, stranger than paradise, children of heaven, the man who would be king, color of paradise, the doors, american beauty, irreversible, the piano, the ice storm, drugstore cowboy, baraka, xiu xiu the sent down girl, jean de florette, garden state, spun, swingers, cinema paradiso, el mariachi, sid & nancy, donnie darko, empire of the sun, exotica, the sweet hereafter, the princess and the warrior, the godfather series, the hudsucker proxy, jesus' son, la dolce vita, royal tenenbaums, born on the fourth of july, virgin suicides, the year of living dangerously, fear and loathing in las vegas, the meaning of life, apocalypse now, hearts of darkness, shadow of a doubt, videodrome, harold and maude, u turn, 12 angry men, spider, urbania, adam's rib, ace in the hole, the big lebowski, fargo, blue, white, chinatown, the bicycle thief, groundhog day, the pianist, raising arizona, au revoir les enfants, repo man, living in oblivion, oh brother where art thou?, welcome to the dollhouse, mr smith goes to washington, mister death, midnight cowboy, the best years of our lives, sling blade, 12 monkeys, raise the red lantern, life is beautiful, being john malkovich, one flew over the cuckoo's nest, bullets over broadway, 24 hour party people, purple rose of cairo, the last picture show, vertigo, north by northwest, rear window, the big red one, indochine, the deer hunter, the usual suspects, papillon, the manchurian candidate(the original), the man with the golden arm, gone with the wind, blade runner, city of lost children, on the waterfront, bad day at black rock, dreams, snow falling on cedars, casablanca, some like it hot, the lion in winter, the name of the rose, midnight clear, who framed roger rabbit, fearless, il postino, the man who wasn't there, blue velvet, the power of one, the caine mutiny, a very long engagement, breaker morant, motorcycle diaries, vera drake, almost famous...

fave books:
a brief history of everything by ken wilber, the turning point by fritjof capra, jitterbug perfume by tom robbins, a natural history of the senses by diane ackerman, catcher in the rye by jd salinger, the alchemist by paulo coelho, fear and loathing in las vegas by hunter thompson, snow crash by neal stephenson, the seat of the soul by gary zukov, guns germs & steel by jared diamond, tales of ordinary madness by charles bukowski, atonement by ian mcewan, voltaire's bastards by john ralston saul, why i am not a christian by bertrand russell, junky by william burroughs, another roadside attraction by tom robbins, river out of eden by richard dawkins, awakening the buddha within by lama surya das, still life with woodpecker by tom robbins, naked by david sedaris, running with scissors by augusten burroughs, you just don't understand by deborah tannen, the teachings of don juan by carlos castaneda, the soul of capitalism by william greider, the ghost in the machine by arthur koestler, the day the universe changed by james burke, the power of now by eckhart tolle, empire by gore vidal...

Well, that's a start, I guess. Now you can infer all sorts of things about me.