Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fuck, I'm employed now.

The honeymoon of finally having a full-time job is over. Every morning for the past two weeks, I’ve driven to work half an hour early, so I can sit at Starbucks, ogle beautiful women, and drip anguished tears into The Once and Future King. It’s not that I don’t want to work...well, no, I don’t want to work, but since I have to, I’d rather do something that exploits my good looks, charm, and/or writing skills. Ideas? My morals aren’t so unreachable they can’t be pulled down to pornography or fluid donation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I didn't want your stupid wine anyway!

Text Message:

Michael- “Maynard James Keenan is going to be at Whole Foods tomorrow.”

Carlos- “Details.”

Michael- “He’s doing a signing for his new wine label from 4:30 to 7:30.”

Carlos- “Thank you, sir.”

Michael- “No problem.”

Immediate Fantasy:

Carlos- “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Keenan. I was a huge Tool fan in high school.”

Maynard- “Please, call me Maynard.”

Carlos- “Thanks, Maynard. Want to hang out?”

Maynard- “Yes.”

Next Day:

Carlos- “Where’s Maynard?”

Whole Foods Clerk- “You need to get a ticket and stand in line, but unless you picked one up earlier today, you probably won’t get in.”

Second Clerk (walks up)- “All the tickets are gone.”

Original Clerk- “All the tickets are gone. You can still see him in Houston, though.”

Carlos- “But if I look out this window I can see him, right?”

Original Clerk- “No, he’s in a whole closed-off section. It’s kinda the way he rolls.”

Carlos’ Soul- “Bitch.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fuck it, I'm employed now.

I’d like to make a quick apology for my last post which suggested Jesus and Allah blow each other. First of all, Jesus and Mohammed is absolutely more appropriate. I’m embarrassed to have made such an obvious faux pas. Secondly, is there really a scenario where Jesus and Mohammed would brush mustaches over their respective uglies? I think not. Everyone knows Jesus would have made Mohammed feel guilty over his womanizing, excessive masturbation and steak dinner Fridays, and Mohammed in turn would have strapped some ball-bearing, kitchen cocktail to his stomach and blown up Jesus’ favorite Jerusalem coffee shop. I don’t think sexuality would’ve come into play at all.

I know what you’re thinking. Jesus lived in like the year 0 and Mohammed 500 years after, but again, had pleasures of the flesh been an issue, all Christians know that Jesus had a massive hog that would have spanned the length of time it took to reach Mohammed’s century. He’s the son of God for Christ’s sake.

Anyway, all that’s hypothetical ‘cause Jesus was only into black chicks.

So again, I apologize.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bail me out, jerks

Sometimes I wish the government would step in and plug my anal expulsive behavior with the 100 dollar bills they’re corking into AIG’s ass. I’ve been an idiot with money a lot longer than these financial corporations, but I’ve never been commended with even a blue ribbon. Praise Allah* I’m working 60 hours a week now and can afford to pay the taxes necessary to preserve capitalism and to keep rich people rich.

*An idiot I work with informed me that if I put a turban on my head I’d look like a terrorist. Since I knew he was making a sweeping Muslim statement, I told him that if he did nothing, he’d look like an asshole (the generalization irritated me not the religious association. Jesus and Allah can go blow each other).

Friday, March 20, 2009

No Means No

Despite my protests, I gave Gilda some kind of Lupus injection the other night and almost had a nervous breakdown in the process. Apparently, poking someone else with a needle is just as emotionally taxing for me as receiving one is. Junkies have earned my respect over the whole ordeal, though. Not only are they putting themselves at risk for intravenous disease, but they’re dulling the syringe with each use, and eventually, there’s going to be some push-back from their skin. They still force it in I'll bet. Their smack's too delicious. Gilda’s needle cut through skin like a hot knife through butta, and while I carefully watched my thumb depress the little plunger, I skill-lessly jackhammered the invasive needle into her arm, presumably tearing a new internal path with each downward motion. Poor Gilda hissed and squinted in the 30 seconds it took to traumatize me and leave a purple bruise on her, and after verifying that I was to remove the needle quickly, I yanked upward, put down the syringe, and threw my exhausted body dramatically on my bed.
We’re both ok now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gumby Face

Dear Campbell,

So, you're pregnant, not fat. Well you're
getting fat, but it's only because you're pregnant. I can accept the doughy squish of a woman full of grace. I do have a new problem with your mouth, though. Some people have expressive eyes. Others have expressive hands. Your expression is in your cavernous face hole. I don't like that. Your lips remind me of painted tubes of Playdough that children roll like prayers in their hands to make Gumby mouths. When you're attentively listening to a guest on No Bias, No Bull, your upper lip frowns down and meets the straight line of your bottom as though awaiting information to stir them back into globby conversation. The problem I have with your voluptuous mouth his that I can imagine you eating with it and it being equally expressive during said nourishment. I'm seriously grossed out when I picture you holding a spoonful of steaming goo before your face, the subsequent "O"-ing of your mouth, the full envelopment of your lips over the spoon, and the purse-lipped mechanical digestion of whatever you fancied for lunch. Gag!

To be fair, I didn't feel this was a problem until you became a hippopotamus with child, but now I'm transfixed and hypnotized by its upper and lower undulations. I don't want to be transfixed anymore, Campbell. I don't wanna.

Avertedly,

C

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jules Verne can take his ass to the center of the earth and stay there.

I recently finished re-reading H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and folks, there’s a reason why this book has remained relevant 113 years after first publication. It was one of the first books I ever read that wasn’t complete commercial fiction (think Stephen King/Anne Rice/shit), and it forever changed my view of literature.

Wells was an advocate of socialism and his science fiction, a genre he is responsible for creating, is often times powerful propaganda toward that goal. What made him such a successful writer was his imaginative look into the condition of humanity and his easy articulation of our shortcomings. He also wrote The Invisible Man (not Ellison’s Invisible Man), The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The War of the Worlds to name a few. I had never seen any of The Time Machine’s film adaptations, and I didn’t know anything about the book when I purchased it at a garage sale (10 cents) almost a decade ago. So, I won’t tell you about it. Just know that the movies are awful, and the book is only about 120 pages, an easy read that I’ve made many times. If you understand capitalism versus socialism, you’ll love it. If you don’t, you’ll love it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Octahedral Strong

I got a new job, people. Jesus Herbert Walker Christ, finally! I won’t say where because I’ve learned from one in my congregational flock, Chris (I’m a legal minister, also due to Chris), that blogging can have you potentially choking on both your feet. I’ll be doing a lot of sitting, though, and I can only wear jeans on “Casual Friday,” a day in which I’m loosely interpreting as “Western Friday” and will be arriving to work dressed as William Holden in The Wild Bunch.

It’s been a long, dark tunnel, folks, and in such darkness, I’ve felt for walls that weren’t there and called out but never heard even my own voice echoing back. For too long, I’ve awoken in the night and stayed awake after remembering one of my many monetary defaults. For too long, I’ve avoided strange phone numbers on my cell phone, and for too long, I’ve feared the orange glow of the “check engine,” “ABS,” and gas icon of my car’s dashboard. Money, what a terrible concept. It’s my only excessive deficiency, the only persistent difficulty in my life. But in spite of the ages of continuous apprehension, I’ve not gone gray and there’re no new wrinkles on my face. “My head is bloody, but unbowed” as perfectly captured in “Invictus,” and when the sum of all my parts are bonded together and held to the sun, I prism my reality as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet and one may see that I am unbreakable and truly a happy person.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Target Practice

The past few morning as I’ve smoothed out my pantyhose for work, I’ve made a real effort to watch the local news. Originally, I was only interested in staying abreast of Texas politics as well as all the stabbings and such in my neighborhood, but I’ve found a special diamond in the rough, shaped as meteorologist Zach Shields. Mr. Shields or “Lightning Zach” as I will now refer to him has done nothing to receive my abrasive attention other than being the man that he is, but since I am bitter and envious over the success of people who think only on a cosmetic level of awareness, I’ll gently scratch at him. Lightning Zach is a regular fellow, a man of East Texas, judging by his regional drawl, and he’s a self-proclaimed Aggie as the “About Me” section of his fascinating Fox 7 profile admits. Mentioning his proud Aggie-ness may seem insignificant to a person outside the borders of this glorious state of Texas, but to natives, the word is synonymous with incestuous redneck. I don’t mean graduates of A&M, of course. I mean Aggies*. Despite his presumably degenerate lineage, he seems like an okay guy. I can’t vouch for his weatherman abilities, though, because what keeps me attentive during his report is the wonderful child exploitation the news network has obviously pushed upon him. Every morning, some poor 7-year-old bastard gets to read the high and low temperatures of the Austin area under Lighting Zach’s guidance. The unintended jewels of this family-capturing gimmick (called Zach's Kidcasters) is that Lightning Zach has absolutely no idea how to interact with a child, and every morning, I see a new kid sitting rigid and fidgety in Lightning Zach’s oversized office chair. Zach sits beside the kid and asks the little animal patronizing questions meant to reach it at a common level and establish a short but comfortable TV relationship. The result is a painful awkwardness from both people that effectively halts my morning routine and demands my undivided attention. So, I guess Fox has achieved its marketing goal, albeit through a Bizarro parallel, because Lightning Zach and his adolescent accomplices have become the source of meteorological entertainment.

*I would also like to add that Lighting Zach has qualified his Aggie heritage by recognizing its implications and marrying a Longhorn in an attempt to produce a weather-predicting Minotaur.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What I Learned in College

I read an article in The New York Times called “In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth,” and I thought, “What’s new?” I’ve always felt the need to justify the relevance of my English degree, especially in the face of math and science or the real money-rakers like engineering and medicine. The article defended my education best by describing the humanities as an attempt to understand “what it means to be a human being.” I’m happy to report that in my characteristically long route, I’ve independently come to that exact conclusion, and I no longer stammer in defense when people like my late grandfather say, “I have no use for fiction.” I have use for fiction, Grandpa, and your non-fiction is my bedside sleep aid.

Allow me to offer an explaination of my use now; reading historical facts about the Civil Rights Movement is wonderful for understanding how point A got us to point B and so on. I can see where and how racial discrimination began, and I can see where it appears to have ended: on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks wouldn’t get out of her seat for a white passenger. Over a few decades, cultures equalized enough to elect an African-American president. Rosa Parks was the biggest “spark” that got him there, and history sees and points to her as so. “Thank you, Sister Rosa! You are the spark, that started off freedom’s movement. Thank you Sister Rosa Parks!” so we sang in elementary school. But what was going on in that tiny woman’s head to do something as audacious as saying “No!” to a group of angry whites? There wasn’t a mob of blacks standing behind her. Her actions weren’t sanctioned by the NAACP. She had no army of lawyers advising her resistance. She was alone and not even fed up. She was defeated, and it’s taken the minds of people like Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and even the comedian Richard Pryor to actually transport their thoughts directly into my mine as empathetic experience and explain why. Ellison showed me how a studious black teen with the highest of intellectual potential is transformed by the obstacles of not only white society but by the blacks who had settled into a glad-handed niche and fought viciously against each other so that they would not lose their place. By the end (and I’m not spoiling the story), he is hateful and nasty and dangerous, and he silently carries those qualities beneath his skin the way his forefathers have. Morrison showed me the impossible standard of beauty that African Americans strived to meet in The Bluest Eye. There, little black girls pulled their noses, so they’d develop with a more European appearance. A black man is humiliated enough times to become the dangerous protagonists both Wright (Native Son) and Ellison (Invisible Man) evolve in their novels.

These mindsets are developed and perpetuated from parent to child, parent to child, and they can’t be expressed as facts in a textbook because they are the subjective experiences of men and women who lived their entire lives under the pressure of being black. Through these works, I’ve learned about my mind and the thoughts of my Hispanic father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather, and I’m one step closer to what I can only describe as compassionate enlightenment because with this understanding comes peace and a sense of placement. I recognize the social hemispheres I straddle, and I recognize the internal struggle I feel over identifying with either place. The nameless protagonist of Invisible Man has become an awful creature of circumstance, but he understands his invisibility and is happy with the illumination he’s found there. This is what the humanities has done for me, and I bask in my tiny halo of discovering what it means to be a human being.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

Native Son, Richard Wright

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

“That Nigger’s Crazy,” Richard Pryor

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Excuse me, did you just tweet?

I haven’t figured out how exactly I’m going to use Twitter for the betterment of my soul, but it already has promising entertainment value. I’m obsessed with reading and responding to Senator John McCain’s “tweets,” and I realize an ironic sense of disappointment every time I log on and find that he has not updated his home page. If only we, John and I, had been twittering during the Presidential campaign, I would have had an inspiring window at which to sit and peer into his daily routine, a trove of personal information I could’ve used as creative projectiles to lob at Sarah Palin (even though she was a pretty wide target). Either way, it’s quite obvious that Obama wouldn’t have won without my satire, so I’m happy to have done my part with or without McCain’s aides texting his one-liners for him.

So, look to your left and you’ll see my Twitter feed. Where there’s an @ symbol, I’m responding to something that person twat about (there’s really no clean way of making “tweet” past tense).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tough Love

I’m writing this for the sole purpose of making Roger feel as though life is passing him by. Saturday was a good time. I got to Chris and Jen’s Texas Independence Day party around 2pm and quickly became not sober. I didn’t mean to because I had to go to Craig’s surprise birthday “Kissing” Party later that night and there’s a line of insolence I cross once cheap beer is being pumped through my veins. Either way, by the time I got there, everyone else was sauced too, so it all worked out. At Chris’, I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long while, and I could probably count out about 8-10 of them who irritatingly asked, “Where’s Roger?” as though we usually walk arm and arm into social settings together. One of his friends’ (Jeannie’s) face actually fell when I said I hadn’t seen him. She then scowled and cursed him, which I think was a defense mechanism to the worry and distress I saw in her eyes. I told everyone that I didn’t know where he was, and I didn’t, but I had a pretty good guess. He was sitting in his dark furnitureless apartment, taking sips from a bottle of Turkey 101 in one hand and a 20oz bottle of Coke in the other, spilling both liquids as well as ash and food on himself and the carpet between his feet. He’d be watching the commentary of a DVD or TV series that he’d seen so many times before that they didn’t even make him laugh anymore. Occasionally, he’d flip open his phone to read the party commentary I was texting him. He would feel momentary resentment for me because he knew that I knew what he was doing, and he also knew that I was only texting him to describe all the fun he was missing. He’d then experience an implosive moment of self-loathing, shame, and regret for how out of control his life has become and in his desperate need to understand why he can’t stop drinking on his own, his senses would overload, and he would sob into his hands.

I left Chris and Jen’s around 9pm after waxing books and strumming a couple of Chris’ fancy guitars (he was very patient with my elementary knowledge), and I headed to Craig’s party. A few hours before, I’d received a mass text from said birthday boy that reads as follows: “For kissing party participants: feel free to bring masks, props, musical instruments, semaphore flags and the likes. We’re going to break some hearts and some faces. Hearts mostly.” I saw a nun and a wolfman there. Roger was invited to that as well, but fortunately for me, he knew less people there, and only one person asked about him. That person was Eric. He didn’t know anyone at the party but me and Craig, so he invited a Sixth Street rat of a girlfriend of his over. She came when the bars closed and looked frightened by all the Austin hipsters. I only mention Eric because Roger knows him and knows that even Eric, a man whom I had to continuously remind that there were several gay people at the party and to stop saying “fag,” showed and had fun. I left around 4:30am, two hours after the presumptive time that Roger was dry heaving over his toilet.

I can’t help but feel a sense of helpless responsibility for watching a good friend slowly commit suicide. And while some of you may regard this posting as written in bad taste, perhaps that’s why people we care about are allowed to secretly waste away while the rest of us aren’t talking about it.

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