Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I Just Saw This Traffic Cop Get Her Foot Run Over

I was biking into work this morning, and I saw this traffic cop stop and tell a car to turn around, go the other way, do anything BUT turn the way he was turning. For emphasis she put her body in front of the offending car. Then some little fat dude ran out of the crowd, got right behind the cop and motioned for the car to turn anyway.

I don't know if it was out of rage or what, but the car turned and bumped the lady cop, who erupted with a fountain of cusswords right in front of hundreds of commuters pouring out of the Metro. The little fat dude snuck away, and the cop hollered "you're parked on my fucking foot!" She kept punching the windshield hard, and I could see it flexing. She was going to go right through that thing.

Then the car sped off, and I am not lying.

In other news, Merry Christmas, draft 1:

Merry Christmas, draft 2:


Monday, December 20, 2004

Like Two Frozen 50's Comedians

Tash and I were walking through the cold home from her work the other night when this guy walked past, then stopped and called out:

"Hey! Excuse me, ma'am, sir!?!"

This usually comes right before
"can I get a nickel at least,"
so we were wary.
"Y'all look so nice together. Y'all look like a nice couple, for real."

We blushed and thanked the man, bracing for the request.
"You know who y'all look like, right, is y'all look just like Ricky and Lucy. Have a good night..."
and then just turned and walked away.

Sunshine Club

Here's a holiday update from Clarence, history teacher in Richmond VA's juvenile prison system.

School is currently on the verge of destruction. Some bureaucrat downtown ordered the immediate removal of all tvs and music from the building because it interferes with schoolwork. This is total bullshit because such AV equipment actually causes school work, if you can believe that.

Check it out: People with 4th grade educations and 50 year sentences just don't give a shit about learning Algebra. They just don't. That same person though is often willing to give it a shot for 30 minutes if that means he can listen to 50 Cent at the end of class. The natives are clearly restless about this change and everyone speaks openly about the coming insurrection.

To deflect criticism away from myself, I drew an explanatory flowchart on the blackboard. At the top is a small man with a little dick taking a little, miniature poo. This shitball then rolls from the downtown office building and through various organizational boxes until finally it finally reaches the one labeled "our classroom." At this end of the chart, however, the shitball is now a massive crap-boulder crushing our classroom. A picture is worth a thousand words after all.

Fortunately my turn for a state mandated month of police training required of all correctional employees begins Jan. 3, so hopefully I'll miss most of the impending excitement.

Also, I've joined the Sunshine Club at the school, which consists of all the black secretaries in the school and now me. We're a real positive bunch!

The Sunshine Club is this organization at school staffed by all of the black female secretaries and me, the trailblazing blonde honkey. Our duties involve extracting $20 from every last body even remotely employed in the building. That money is then used to buy birthday cards for employees (hence the sunshine), though everybody knows the ladies in the office use the loot to get retarded at Subway every Thursday. I naturally approved of both those goals and offered my services.

We also hosted a slamming Thanksgiving potluck lunch that made Lee's chicken and Hank's BBQ look like an Argentinian soup kitchen. I was in charge of serving the ham, though clearly the best job belonged to Ms. Woodson who took the time to publicly call attention to just how much food the fat people at work were putting on their plate.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Best Thing About Being Moody Is That The TINIEST Thing Puts You On Top Of The World

This morning when I went to leave for work (late), I could not find my gloves. More tantalizingly, I could only find ONE glove. That's even more infuriating than no gloves at all because that one glove just lies there on the floor, teasing you.

So I put a pair of clean white gym socks on my hands for the ride to work. It was so cold on my hairless head and face that I could not help but make faces and go "ooOooo YOOW, AAaagh, that is the SHIT right there," as I sped downhill, making the rest of square square DC turn away from me in case I asked them "could I get a dollar to ride the metro," even though I clearly have a bike.

At work, I discovered that the smoothie I made exploded in my bag during the ride, soaking two checkbooks, the works of Hunter S. Thompson and Flannery O'Connor and my gym pants in an artificially flavored easily digestible high-protein goo. I've just spent a half an hour in the work kitchen methodically hand-washing my gym pants and messenger bag, growling at anyone who even steps close to a sponge.

But you know whose artwork totally turned my frown upside down? That's right, you guessed it...this guy's:


Brandon Bird does incredible, mythic paintings featuring pop cultural icons. And not just your run-of-the-mill icons either. Faded icons whose days are done, the sort of 80's heroes you see on old reruns when you're sick and think "man, I hope they invested wisely." Bird wrings every last bit of maudlin emotion out of his subjects, like a frustrated grade-school drama teacher whose real dream was to direct operas. It works perfectly...

You can order posters and t-shirts directly from his website, or from a store at CafePress...christ, this is great stuff.

Now I'm grooving to Stereolab, smiling like I don't even care. In about 20 minutes I think I'll hit some pedestrians up for some change.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

This Is The Soundtrack To Hanging Out In That Dude's Van in 1990

Remember when the most interesting people were the ones that hated their parents? Whether it was a simmering subsurface rage at divorced, wealthy and emotionally distant ones, or just naked aggression at a loving family, these kids were the most fascinating ones in high school. They knew about the best bands, the best shows, and never had to worry about someone's loving concern for them getting in the way of their good time.

For about two years all I wanted to do was sit around some dude's room that got rearranged every week and plastered with Cure posters, smoking cheap weed and listening to the Misfits. We used to "spend the night" at this one guys' place every weekend, which really meant wandering around the streets of Norfolk drinking Cisco, smashing the bottles and crunching the glass under our all-too-new Doc Martens. Sometimes somebody got a home-made tattoo and we always ended up trying to score drugs from the drag queens at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. One time my face melted into my hand and a stone wall absorbed my ass.

This is an online mix tape that perfectly captures the ambient sounds from late ninth-early eleventh grade. It's vintage Berkeley-area punk rock, passionately played and shittily recorded. It's making me nostalgic for a time when angst was cool and you could tell the good guys from the bad guys by their t-shirts...yeah, those days were the best.

Exactly How It Went Down, For Real

The CVS in DC's Chinatown is open 24 hours, which means it's never time to clean up before closing. There are little bits of trash on the floor, random things sort of dangle from the ceiling, and somehow even the flourescent light bulbs look half-assed.

The staff were all over the place tonight, shouting to each other, laughing. The place was utter chaos...you couldn't tell the difference between the line and the people working--the place could have gotten robbed and nobody would have noticed.

I stepped forward to a gum-cracking teenager behind the cash register and slapped my purchase down, ready for some attitude.

"Good evening and welcome to CVS sir, would you like to see my picture this evening," said the clerk in her best canned/bored customer service voice.

"Huh? Uh, I certainly would..." I replied, all confused.

"A-ight then, here it go," she said gleefully, handing me the photo upside down.

I flipped it over. Although slightly overexposed, it clearly revealed an image of a giant orange tabby cat, absolutely eviscerating a dead rat in a driveway. The photographer managed to capture the cat ripping a long strip of brown hair-covered flesh, oozing with blood from a largish rat corpse. Its eyes bulged, glazerd with shocked horror from beyond the grave.

"That picture made my day," the clerk informed me. "I was just having the worst fuckin' day, my head was all hurtin' and shit, then I clocked in and saw somebody brought that photo in to be developed, and it just made my whole day."

I have been known to exaggerate for comic effect, but the above is exactly how it went down, and I am not lying, for real.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Click 'em all

Stick it to the man...

An Open Letter About Sports Bars


I have to tell you something...

It's my company's annual holiday party this afternoon. It's a at a bar
in the neighborhood and we're being given free food, free drinks, and
tokens to this massive video arcade in the basement.

The catch: it's at ESPN SportsZone. I plan to go. But I felt like I
had to tell you. I know that I am entitled to an abdominal pummelling,
and my bands of steel stand ready for your iron fists.

Here's the thing, though: I ain't getting soft. When we made that
pact, we were mere boys, insecure in our identities and trembling at
the autumn of our adolescence. Now we are men. Men that get excited
about free video games and Spiderman 2 on DVD, but men nonetheless.
And I feel like we know who we are now, and the presence or absence of
any number of meatheads is not going to change that. You're happily
married and have a career, and nothing short of terrorism is going to
change that.

While meatheads suck, they are hardly terrorists. They are who the
terrorists hate.

So if you must worry about my character, worry that I will be attacked
by a bunch of terrorists or my neon-green Sauconys will be stained
with cheap beer...my indie-snob/hipster soul will stay intact.

Although, some of that has fallen by the wayside as well, and it's
kind of a relief.

Love always,


I got this in response:

Fret not: free food, drink, and video games, at least for 1 or 2 days
a year, trump Harbor Park pacts. Enjoy the party, without the nagging
worry that you might be sucker punched by your be-dreadlocked homeboy...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bland Redhead loses to the Carlsonics

Have you ever thought you were supposed to like a band so much that you actually did, for a while? I did it in high school with Avail, in college with more band than I can count, including Hoover and Drive Like Jehu. And I did it this weekend at Blonde Redhead’s performance at the 9:30 club.

Their album, Misery is a Butterfly, is my favorite record to come out this year…it’s lush, sad, romantic, like a spy movie soundtrack except not corny. All I want to do when the record end is hit “repeat.” The live show…not so much. I shelled out over 50 buck to see that show—two tickets, an exorbitant service charge, cab fare both ways…I reckon I got about ten bucks worth of fun out of it.

Te band relies heavily on prerecorded instrumentation to pull off the lush instrumentation that works so well on the album. The problem is, when you hear prerecorded harpsichord, strings, and vocals, it really makes you wonder what isn’t recorded. At one point the singer stood up from the keyboard to dance and do some singing…she had the mike an arms’ length from her face, eyes and mouth shut while her voice cam clearly through the PA. After Milli Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson’s masks dropped, I’m really not ready to see a band I like fall victim to the same thing…if they had made all their loops onstage live, or stripped down the record to something a three-piece could conceivably pull off, I’d love it. Just rocking the record sorta sucks.

The band experimented with some jams a few times, to varying degrees of success…one really rocked. But seeing them do that so well, and knowing they’re capable of it, just made the rest of the performance kind of a letdown.

The Carlsonics’ performance at some couples’ holiday party on Saturday…that was the real rock stuff, right there. We got the call kinda late—apparently this couple wanted the Carlsonics for their holiday bash, and all the bands’ friends were invited. So me and Tash and Deirdre and like eleven other people all crammed into this tiny Toyota and zoomed over. It felt like high school all over again, except we were all more confident and had cooler outfits. We busted into the joint, and it was sweaters galore and sequined tops, a massive buffet table groaning under the weight of cookies and three kinds of fresh meat, and all these people looking at us like “who let the stoners in?”

Really, the whole thing was so PG-rated “Dazed and Confused.” The band had just finished their first set and we had some catching up to do at the liquor table…which we sure did.

Turns out the host and hostess were our age but from the success planet, where salaries are quadruple and all travel is for business purposes. These were nice people who seemed like they played the DC game they were supposed to and missed out on a bit of rock and roll fun…which the band and crew were more than happy to provide.

My god, the second set was unreal—it was just the Carlsonics, some red light bulbs, ten people max in the crowd and a smoke machine. The whole place was wall-to wall fake smoke and blistering rock…it was so _real_ and so great! When was the last time you saw a band that you could walk right up and hug mid-song, and they were good, too?

While the crew knocked out this jaw-dropping cover of “Shakin’ All Over” with a real interstellar overdrive of a jam in the middle, I looked over and saw this eight-year old African girl in a funky traditional top who had snuck away from her mom and was having what could only be a rock’-n-roll transformation. She was bobbing away right next to the hostess who had fucked off from her own party and came down to rock out…the hostess was so cool and hilarious. I think she only talked to her invited guests for sheer social obligation. There’s nothing like crashing a party and having the host and hostess love it.

Just awesome, the whole thing. After the final set we all trooped up and laid waste to the buffet…I have never before and will never again chase that much bourbon with pork dipped in ranch sauce even if it is free.

You know you’ve had a great night when you stumble home with your ears ringing, drumming along to the band in your head on your girlfriends’ back and stop to puke in the road. Man, I love that band…

Friday, December 03, 2004

More Fear, More Abuse By the Powerful

I son't know about you, but I catch myself angry all the time. On my way home from work, this list of real or imagined injustices against me, my family, my loved ones just reels through my head like a bad movie. I catch myself wishing someone would spit on me on my bike, bump me with a cab, something. I haven't been in a fight since high school, and I can't even handle myself in the aerobic boxing class I take at the gym...but this discontent, this untargeted rage just bubbles in me sometimes.

What is that? Do you get that, too? Are you mad at the President, jaywalkers, people in cars, the way that pigeons swirl in the sky? I can feel this tension in the air as a whole, it's like a tight wire someone plucks. We are all connected, and this tightness is something to worry about...

It's like Paddy Chayefsky's Network--I just want to shout out the window "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Then I read something like this and I think--this anger, it's got a place, and it's got a target.

Read that link above. It happened right here in D.C. Email it to EVERYONE. Get the word out. Don't put up with this fear, this intimidation--ladies, if this happens to you, forget the flight and just make some serious noise.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Like An Ambassador From The Angel Planet

It was drizzling when I left the house on my bike yesterday, intensifying into a downpour just as I was far enough from my house to make a trip back for a raincoat totally counter-productive. You've got to achieve this balance when you're biking in the rain without the proper gear, going fast enough to minimize time outside, but slow enough to stop a track of brown sludge from flying up onto the work clothes, slung from the back tire.

The rain and the sky merged D.C. into this massive wash of grayness, the grey rain washing out the grey buildings, blurring in all the grey residents of northwest purposefully bapp-bapp-bapping their way into grey government jobs. I was barreling down the one-way part of 18th street against traffic through the rain, cussing precipitation, cars, and their asshole human drivers, even though I was the guy clearly in the wrong...that's how you feel when you're on a bike. You're a superior sort of petroleum-free being, and you can do any old fucked up thing you want becasue everyone else is such a lowly driver.

Then I saw him at a stoplight--

This albino man dressed all in black stood at the corner, waiting on the light. His skin was pinkish-white like the first peach of the season, his hair fishing line matted together into a gleaming white mass or cropped polar bear hair. He stood there with perfect posture, patiently waiting, skin and hair glowing like he was an ambassador from the angel planet.

He looked fantastic, and I am not lying, for real. I felt something small and important change inside me, and it was almost lunchtime before that tiny glimpse of accidental beauty wore away.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

How Can The Truly Bad Differentiate Themselves In A Facility Stuffed With Miscreants?

Here’s a holiday update from Clarence, history teacher in Richmond, Virginia’s juvenile correctional facility.

Recently I had a discussion with two female friends about the difference between "boy bad" and "girl bad." They believed that girls could be every bit as bad as boys, and pointed out stories about smoking and drinking before a school dance at a very young age, which is indeed very bad. Boy bad, however, has the peculiar trait of ruining it for everybody. I pointed out that in the aforementioned act of naughtiness, the "boy bad” would be to do the same smoking and drinking for sure, but then to drive a car into the school gym and in doing so ruin the much anticipated dance for everybody.

Which brings me to the prison, and the nagging question of how can the truly bad differentiate themselves in a facility stuffed with miscreants already banished from society. And more importantly, how can you possibly ruin it for everybody in a place where everything is already institutionally ruined because it is a fucking prison?

Enter the cellblock of Delta 400. D-4, as it is known for short, is the home to a truly lively bunch. It is the notorious location of the sour milk shower (milk cartons stolen from the dining hall, aged to achieved impeccable putridity and then launched on an enemy), and the innovative address of the piss bomb (condoms filled with pee launched seemingly indiscriminately). Both of these projectiles are perfect ways to ruin it for one person, and I do mean absolutely ruin it, but they really can't make everyone suffer. In fact, the dude who throws it gets noticeably happier.

Well the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the fellas in D-4 did the math and correctly realized there were 25 of them and only 2 guards. So they quickly asserted their independence and started running shit their way. A small riot if you will. First on the list was the administration of a few beat downs that had apparently been overlookedtoo long. That accomplished, D-4 remarkably started about the everyday business of living in prison. The garbage was emptied and laundry begun. But before it could play itself out in true "Lord of the Flies" fashion however, somebody spied the rest of the guards assembling the riot gear, and discipline broke in the ranks. And by the time the Correctional Officers reentered the building, many of the prisoners had politely returned to their cells wishing fruitlessly to avoid the necessary confrontation.

I'm not sure what happened next, but it led to a long lockdown. The kind of lockdown where nobody leaves for anything, not even showers. This lasted the rest of Wednesday, and all of Thursday and Friday. For everybody in every cellblock.

Then, feeling magnanimous, the powers that be decided that D-4 could use a little time out doors (it was Thanksgiving weekend after all), and let them out for recreation for one hour on Saturday.

As soon as the doors were opened, five dudes bolted and ran as fast as they could towards the school building. There they quickly smashed a window and entered the building. Keep in mind everybody saw this happen, no attempts at discretion or secrecy were made by these convicts turned fugitives again. Within five minutes they were apprehended in the faculty lounge, where they had destroyed the snack machine, and devoured as many Fritos and Ho-Hos as one can eat in 300 glorious seconds.

Now that is a very special kind of bad. That is also how you ruin it for everybody, by forcing the entire prison into a five day lockdown over Thanksgiving. And I do mean ruining it for everybody: We teachers no longer have a snack machine as the maintenance company refused to service it because this type of shit keeps happening.