Friday, October 29, 2004

Halloween Excitement

Say what you will about America being overconsumptive and materials-obsessed...but American Halloween kicks ass.

Here's the exciting events in DC and VA this weekend.

Tonight is Zombie Prom, a house party that has a cool idea, cool flyer if nothing else. Scroll down a bit to see the flyer. I think it is actually at this bloggers' house. Show up and tell 'em I sent you.

The Cremaster Cycle is making a rare appearance in Richmond this weekend. My friend Alison and I will be leaving DC at 6 am on Saturday, driving to Richmond, watching the series, coming back, partying at tnight, then heading BACK to Richmond for the rest on Sunday. Any of you wanna join us, buy tickets here.

Sunday night, there's trick-or-treating on Embassy Row. I hear the Russian Embassy gives out vodka shots and Belgium hands out some slamming chocolate. For real.

Anything else cool happening this weekend, let it be known.

I Do It For The Fans

Ever since I started tracking the hits on this blog, things have gotten a little nuts. Now that I can actually see who's checking in every day, I'm obsessed with creating new and interesting content on a daily basis. I can't write without an audience, and now that I've got one, I'm hungry for more. I am officially losing my shit.

By night, I'm trying to create some sort of interesting emotional backdrop to my Australian adventures. I've gotten a few requests from readers, and I really want to honor them.

By day, I'm trying to generate audience attention by promoting local events (only good ones), blogging about being frustrated at work and weird shit that happens in the men's room. Also I have a full-time job as a banking researcher.

To reiterate, I fell in love online with an Australian woman, sold everything to get there, then it freaking worked out so I stayed with her for nine months and lived in Western Australia as an illegal alien. I worked as a furniture mover, stonemason, kangaroo shooter, dishwasher and freelance writer. Now I'm home working a fulltime job as a researcher in Washington, D.C. There's a globetrotting, gore-soaked romantic coming of age story for your mind in there somewhere.

In order to honor those requests, I am trying to fictionalize an already incredible story for those who have no time for navel-gazing. I'm trying to extract bits of my own life for the world to read and it's actually fairly difficult and terrifying. Not that you would know, because most of it is parked on my hard drive to be edited and re-edited until it's probably just a haiku about universal yearning.

Adventure is extreme discomfort, experienced vicariously. Readers have to connect emotionally with the characters in a story (which is in this case, me, my girlfriend and my actual life) without feeling like they are just reading someone's diary. You people also need to stay just distant enough to be able to have big laugh at my expense.

More to the point, I feel like this blog is a fictionalized version of a life in progress. It's told in a staggering blur of flashbacks and realtime, so that if it were a movie, you really would crave the comparatively mainstream narrative utilized in Memento.

I'm fictionalizing everything in here in order to make it a) funny b) attractive to those who make magazine, book, or movie deals, and c) hurt less when I get rejected and criticized. If you're feeling a), or have the power to do b), let me know by either leaving a comment or emailing me directly at If c) is more your thing, I can't really stop you, can I?

This is serious business. It's cutting into my workplace productivity and my sleep. But I feel like this is my shot at my real creative life. Working as a banking researcher is a thrill-a-minute and all, but I ultimately want something else.

Long story short, I'm so grateful to have people read this thing. I can see every hit that I get, and it's like a tiny valentine every time. It validates my existence every time I hear that someone actually forwarded someone I don't even know something that I wrote. So when I go a couple days without posting, it's pretty serious. Please, just stay patient, keep checking in, and toss the insecure dragon that is my ego as many feedback tips as you can.


The Latest Bum Superstar

My friend Mitch Dilswhistle (not his real name) lives in Boston. Mitch is a shy man who draws no attention to himself at all apart from having flaming red hair.But for some reason he attracts gregarious urban histrionics like free wine draws art students.

This makes the experience of being his roommate truly spectacular...I don't think we ever had an entire meal on our front porch uninterrupted by some sort of ghetto hijinks.We don't live together anymore, but I got this letter from him the other day:

Why do drunken homeless people and other miscreants think that I want to party with them? I was waiting for the train yesterday and saw a man in a black and red flannel jacket lurching around way down at the other end of the platform. The train didn't come. I started reading the newspaper. A few minutes later guess who was sitting next to me, shamelessly reading over my shoulder.

This dude took special interest in Ashlee Simpson' s Saturday Night Live performance and reenacted the event for everyone who had not seen it. He played the role of the band, Simpson, and himself while watching it.

An ice cold bottle of vodka played the role of the microphone, his dick, and itself. As the train rattled into the station, he closed the show by gargling the word "pan-to-mime."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Trapper Keeper & Panty Raid Steal Wack DJ Drawers Tonight At Club Red

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
After pissing and moaning about earth's overabundance of wack DJs, I'm thrilled to report the resurgence of the filters to filter the filters--DJ Trapper Keeper and DJ Panty Raid.

Panty Raid steals wack DJ drawers 'til the break of dawn, ruining the crotches of faux-vintage jeans forever while said wack ones dream of twisted-up keyboards and rock-solid beats. Trapper Keeper locks those stolen drawers up tight for future reference in a three-ring binder complete with retro turquoise grid pattern to lock away the stolen undies tainted by the tainted t'aints of weak platter rattlers.

They'll be doin' it for real at Spilt Milk, tonight at Club Red on Connecticut and Jefferson Avenue, below Fuddruckers. It's free as you want it to be from 10pm to 2am, the dynamic ambiguously hetero duo thumping out old-school electro primitivo, doo-doo funk and all types of sideways jams that you never heard that sound so familiar.

So Long And Thanks For All The Music

Legendary radio DJ John Peel has died following a heart attack while on holiday in Peru. Here's the story.

He May Be Redefining All That Sucks.

Here's a letter from Clarence, in response to my question, "How exactly does one sneak stuff into prison?"

Couple o' ways to get shit in. Arrange something with the guards in advance. But you pretty much have to be one of the top 2 coolest people in the joint to pull that off, because these guys take no shit. Professionally.

Apperently the way to go about it is to get clearance for some stuff, preferably related to what you want to bring in. Such as, get clearance to bring in some PBS documentaries. VHS only, cause you know those lil bastards will steal a dvd, break it into several knives, and then send some fools to the infirmary. Once you have the clearance you get yourself a cart (which also needs clearance) that can carry a whole buncha shit, and then wheel the whole jank in when you find a lazy guard. This absolutely incredible English teacher has smuggled in over 2,000 books that way.

We had a speaker today. Remember the Dylan song, and Denzel movie, Hurricane? Well the other dude that was with Hurricane Carter that night gave his rap today. Got the same charge, triple homicide, as the Hurricane, only nobody knows about him cause nobody wrote a song about him. Good stuff.

And here's where I met the first chump. After the speech I turned to another teacher and let him know it was good stuff. He then told me the speech was "horseshit," and that "he was blaming the white man for all his problems." Well, if there ever was a guy who can blame his problems on the white man, its this dude, because after being convicted solely on race, he served 28 fucking years for a crime he didn't commit. Mind you, the dude who said this was a white guy surrounded by dozens of violent black guys and their equally violent "protectors" with sticks. Unfuckingbelievable. In our curt conversation after that he then brought up how the Patriot Act needs to be strengthened and how abortion is morally wrong cause "it doesn't work out for anybody."

I need to keep tabs on this motherfucker, cause I think he may be redefining all that sucks.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Meredith Bragg at DC9, The Kennedy Center

Meredith Bragg opened for my band, the Stop-Motion Skeletons in Richmond, VA 2-ish years ago. His sounds are gentle and tender, belying the heart of a nice, happily married guy who nevertheless sings songs that will break your freaking heart.

Meredith Bragg and The Terminals are performing at DC9 tonight with Carol Bui and The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers. DC9 is located at 1940 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC--show starts at 9, costs $6.

If you miss this one, you can catch 'em at the freaking Kennedy Center on Monday, November 22nd. They'll be on the Millenium Stage, 2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC. Show starts at 6PM, costs free dollars and free cents.

Everybody Wants To Be A DJ

My Cousin's Roommate Is Spinning Right Now
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
At least twice a week I get an email that says "come out to XXX cafe on Friday night, my friend XXX is spinning, he's really great!" Then I get there, and there's usually like 20 people there, talking, drinking and just sitting around. The reason there's only twenty people there is because everyone else's friend is a DJ too. While the tunes are invariably better than Clear Channel Radio, it's usually not worth biking in the rain to hear your friend's friend DJ. Having just moved to DC and not being much of a dancer, I'm just now learning this the hard way. My new personal policy is never to see a DJ that can't get a bigger audience than a public school gym teacher.

Maybe DJ culture is a byproduct of chaos theory as applied to popular music: as time progresses, entropy exponentially accelerates the proliferation of bands, songs, and singles. It's all so overwhelming that we need someone to be a responsible musical filter for us so we can get up from the stereo and just have a good time. But the entropy applies to DJs too. Now that the laws of chaos have accelerated wack DJ reproduction, I need a filter to filter the filters.

Please don't get me wrong, I like a good DJ as much as the next guy. Good DJs and good bands are precious and rare and they're equally valid forms of expression. But I think that DJs are hitting the critical mass stage that bands hit in the late 90s. By 2001, you just couldn't be bothered to go see your roommate's band,and I think it's coming around again.

Being a good DJ means having the right taste for the room and having the perfect combination of records on hand to move the crowd, make 'em laugh and occasionally ache with nostalgia. The records one owns are crucial to DJ success. So many that "spin" now rocked to Fugazi's "Merchandise"in the 90s...we've come a long way from singing along to "you are not what you own."

While taste and record collections matter now, DJs of the future will eschew turntables altogether. They'll just have 2 AM/FM receivers, headphones and a mixing deck. All night long, they'll scan the bands to boom out the perfect clips from broadcast radio, with no interruptions and no commercials. Maybe the songs will get cut a bit short when BTO is playing on one radio and the DJ finds a new Missy Elliott track on the top 40 station, but it'll be more thinking on the feet, more immediate judgment calls. Innovators can scratch with static and emergency broadcast practice tones.

Twenty years from now my kids will get emails delivered directly into their spinal fluid that say "come out to club XXX, my friend XXX is supposed to be there. He programmed the jukebox at So-and-So last year, and he's got the best taste in music. Tonight he'll tell you what to like if you buy him drinks."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Van Heusen Sounds Like This Picture Looks

Van Heusen Sounds Like This Picture Looks
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
It's Friday, post-lunch, and you're all antsy to do something besides work. I am in a burrito-induced coma, having inhaled the whole thing at my desk so I could get a post up in time for the "traffic jam" And I Am Not Lying, For Real experiences daily between 2 and 4 pm.

Here's a bit of DC news, first of all:

The tremendous and hilarious Van Heusen will be channeling danceable metal thunder at the 9:30 Club Saturday, October 30th, opening for Super Diamond. They take you back to a magical time when hair had meaning and I was in grade school...the last time I saw them play, Dave Pollock/David Lee Roth (link goes to his site, incredible artwork) was wearing the nastiest skintight pair of white pants in the world. The waistband and the base of Dave's cock met at the same sweat-soaked place on his body...he seriously kept pausing between songs to fix his wig and shift his package around. That in and of itself was hilarious, but with Caselli's flawless renderings of Eruption in the background I nearly lost my mind. Jawdropping. Be there.

This phone call totally evokes the spirit of ancient Van Halen, Napoleon Dynamite, and this post--pure hilarious fuckwittery. I nearly shot black beans through my nose.

And really, what's happening here?I found the page on my way through David Rees' website. Rees does Get Your War on, a comic strip so amazing and influential on me personally that I have already linked to it like 800 times on this blog. Look at this, and just keep reading the advertisements. It's the most hilarious, fucked up advertising I have ever seen, and I can't even tell if it's for real or not.

I gotta go. I gotta go to the bathroom. I want to read something, but I can't be seen taking reading material into the bathroom. Some brave souls do, but they leave it right on the floor. It does look weird, carrying reading material out of the bathroom at work. You may as well just stand on a nearby chair and announce that you just dropped one off.

If I could have taken these into the bathroom, I would have:
1)Hunter S. Thompson's take on this year's election.
2) This story about a guy who actually deposited and cleared a bogus junk-mail check.

Sometimes people leave articles about sports printed off the web on the men's room floor. Sneaky sneaky, because they totally look like real important documents on the way in. One time I found the Express (free Washington Post digest) on the floor. Score!!! Another time, someone had jammed a copy of the Economist into the top of the paper towel bin. I stood there looking at it forever, trying to decide if pulling it out of a pile of mostly dry-ish paper towels and reading it on the can was nasty or not. Then someone walked in and I had to just leave or else be that weird dude in the bathroom.

Okay, I gotta go and I am not lying.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I Met A Bona Fide Murderer Today

As you may have noticed, I am a bit tardy with the Australian saga update. That's because I decided to actually do the job I am paid to do at work. As I mentioned before, the contest is over, but it's real hard to stop playing.

Most newspaper columnists turn out more or less 1,000 words a week...I gotta pace myself or fry. It's coming, though.

Here's an update from my man Clarence, trainee history teacher in Richmond's juvenile prison.

Shit got real in the big house this week. Had a straight up riot on Tuesday. I couldn't see most of it, but it sounded bad ass, believe you me. Here's a nice perk of prison teaching though: riots mean a lock down, which means we teachers just chill. All the teachers have a bunch of movies for these sorta days, so we just watched Jurassic Park and Shawshank Redemption (I know) until it was cool to go.

Here's another tip I learned. Can't afford a tattoo? No problem. Simply get a paperclip, and then work it with some sandpaper until you have a proper jailhouse needle. Use some antibacterial Dial soap to sterilize. Then steal an ink cartridge from a printer and just poke the shit out yourself until you get the tattoo you always wanted.

Also, I met a bona fide murderer today. I know there's a bunch in there, but this is the first guy I know for sure. He's got 20 years and then 50 suspended after that if he fucks up again. I suspect it may be difficult to motivate this gentleman to compare and contrast the Federalist System with Jeffersonian Republicanism.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hollywood Hasn't Made This Movie Yet--But It Will

If you’re reading this right now, there’s a pretty good chance you’re in an office. And if you’re like most people in offices, you want out. But like all people in offices, something’s keeping you in that chair. Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown, a bovine sense of complacency, or good old-fashioned adult responsibility. Clothing your kids, paying off your student loans, eating food that you have not stolen or killed personally...there’s plenty of really good reasons to strap yourself into that little box and pretend to be boring.

But you wouldn’t be reading And I Am Not Lying For Real if you believed those reasons with the nucleus of your soul. I know people who sit in front of computers all day and are totally fulfilled by their work. These are the people who can ask with a straight face what “blogs” are even though they use the Internet every day.

You’re here because your job is not your life. But instead of getting up out of that chair, walking through the stink of burnt microwave popcorn and leaving that office for real, you leave it online every chance you get. You spend every second you can in a silent contest with yourself to see how little you can do and still get paid while endlessly trawling the web. Like a satellite scanning the cosmos for alien radio, you’re looking for an email from a friend or a lover, a jpeg pop culture mutation, a description of an inflammatory sexual practice or offensive political opinion. You want something to come off of that screen and give your life real meaning.

By February of 2003 I was a slave to that contest, web surfing on the clock so much that sometimes I thought it was actually my job. My real job was a dead-end affair, paying nine dollars an hour (no benefits) digging digital ditches in the cramped and ominously flood-stained basement of a multimedia startup. The only access to that basement was down a long, narrow wooden staircase, so the clumping of an approaching boss gave us ample heads-up time to look busy. Once the head salesman quit out of sheer frustration, all of us in the art department took to napping on the clock. Between the sleeping and the surfing, we had a pretty good game going. We started pirating movies, swapping mp3s, anything just to not work while we were working…then Steph and I started looking at, making fun of people and clicking the days away. That’s when my life pretty much changed forever.

I fell in love with an Australian woman I met on that site. By “Australian,” I mean, “actually living in Australia, on the opposite side of the planet from my home in Richmond, Virginia, USA.” And by “fell in love,” I mean “wrote letters, messaged, and made progressively longer, more expensive and gently pining painful phone calls where we laughed, cried, and wanted each other more than the first man to ever eat a crab wanted dinner.”

By the summer of 2003, I had bought a ticket to Sydney to satisfy what can only be described as the most intense curiosity man has ever felt. I sold my van, my record collection (impressive even by Richmond hipster standards) and finally convinced that I was not kidding and there was no point in stopping me. I clicked and surfed my way out of a dead-end job digging digital ditches and into the greatest coming-of age adventure never filmed by Hollywood.

This story’s got all the elements, too: loneliness, hard labor, sex, passion, drugs, rock ‘n roll, roadkill, junkies, nudism, outdoor adventure, heartache, sharks, crushing loneliness, cursing, booze, the gory slaughter of over a thousand kangaroos and true love.

It’s my story, but keep dreaming and surfing and you’ll have one just like it soon enough. Keep coming back to And I Am Not Lying For Real and I’ll tell you more as often as I can. I work in an office now, and I do surf the web, but the contest is definitely over.

Get Your War On, Washington DC

Just a heads-up to those of you in DC that read this thing:

David Rees, author/artist behind the insanely hilarious and profane comic strip Get Your War On will be reading, talking and signing books at Politics and Prose this Thursday evening. The store is located at 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, and the reading starts at 7 PM.

I was incredibly stoked to see these movie listings in the post's Sunday Source as well:

EVIL DEAD 2 -- Friday and Saturday at midnight. E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. $6.50. 202-452-7672.

THE EXORCIST -- Friday and Saturday at midnight. Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda. $6.50. 301-652-7273.

I'll be at all three events...

Monday, October 18, 2004

"So far, I Haven't Met Any Chumps, Knock On Wood."

I’m organizing an account of my adventures in Australia in response to all your requests. It’s taking some time. And it’s gonna happen. Stick with me here.

But in the interests of providing hilarious and fascinating content on a semi-daily basis, I’m starting a semi-regular series from my friend Clarence. Clarence is beginning his career as a history teacher in a juvenile correctional facility here in Virginia. Just like me, he is not lying…for real.

Started this week, and it is absolutely insane. Insane. I'm just
training right now, which is cool cause they're paying me to do it,
which makes it boring and lucrative. But all this self defense shit
is worthless, cause if I see some kid all heated and ready to explode,
I'm leaving the room. Last thing I'm gonna do is tangle with a
convict, fuck that. I've sat in on a couple of classes and it is
nuts. The kids speak only in profanity. You gotta hear it to believe
it, but they only express themselves by the different inflections of
basic swearing. I mean like somebody will say something like
"Bullshit, motherfucker. Fucking fuck that asshole. Cocksucking
bitch ass cunt." See, that's a 10 word sentence, and 9 of the words
are obscene. It's remarkable, really.

But it looks like it might be a lotta fun because of that. The staff
seems really cool, which in my experience in education has been an
impossibility among a group of teachers. But so far I haven't met any
chumps, knock on wood. The hours are great: 7:45-4:15, with an hour
and a half lunch every day. Wednesdays are half days, done at 12. I
say that's great because in the public schools you gotta do all this
bullshit before and after class, and then take all that crap home and
grade it on your own time. None of that here.

Oh, and then there's this money making scam some of the guards do.
They sneak a carton of smokes in on the night shift, which they then
sell to a gang (gangs are a for real problem in the joint) leader for
$5 a cigarette. That's $1,000 a carton. The gang then splits the
smokes in half and rerolls them to make 2 cigs out of one, and resells
those for $5 each. Which would explain why some guards making 21K a year are driving Escalades.

More to come as I get into the classroom.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Dear Mister Fantasy

This story was originally published in the now-defunct and much missed Punchline, a free newsweekly in Richmond, Virginia. Almost none of you read it at the time, and I think it's worth republishing.

Even though I've never seen an episode of ER, and only one of his movies (From Dusk 'til Dawn at that -- crappy, but fun), I was stunned when a mutual friend introduced me to George Clooney at a potluck. He was shorter than I thought, but his eyes were brown coals sparking a dying fire trapped in amber. Later, he dropped his hands on my shoulders in a massage-y way, but I let it slide. Maybe that's how they do it in Hollywood.

I bumped into him a couple times after that, here and there at the record store and once at the Shoney's breakfast bar. Who would have thought that Mr. Showbiz was into French toast sticks and Watergate salad?

The real surprise came a week or two after George and I playfully clashed ladles over the cheese sauce at the breakfast bar. I was picking up the phone to take the temp agency up on a "great new opportunity" one sunny Wednesday afternoon when I noticed there was no dial tone. A tentative "Hello?" came through the receiver.

"George? Is that you?"

"Yeah. Yes, I mean. It's me. George.George Clooney...huh-how's it going?"

"Okay...what's up?"

"Listen, I was...I was just wondering if you wanted to get together for, uh, dinner or a drink or something sometime. I mean, I've really enjoyed talking to you the past couple times I've seen you out, and I'm a huge fan of your writing, and I just think you'd be a really cool guy to get to know..."

I froze. Workmen two blocks away were hammered a roof in syncopation with the blood thrumming in my ears. Suddenly my toenails were too long and I really needed to vacuum. Somebody left a cereal bowl on the record player again, and a takeout menu poked through the mail slot.

"Look. It's cool, man...I'm sorry if I put you on the spot or made you uncomfortable or something. I just, I don't know, I just thought that while I was here working on this movie we could hang out or something. I mean, I don't know this town too well, and it's really hard for me to go out, and...whatever. I'm blabbering here. I just think you're so cool and we could have a good time together, that's all-but if you're not into that sort of thing, don't worry about it, I understand."


"Well, I 'm gonna get going. I've gotta...I need to...I hafta go do some movie stuff. Thanks though."



"It's okay. I've just never been asked out by a man before. Or gone out with a man before. But ...yeah.

After college, guys still need male friends as much as ever. For the most part, we have to sneak into a male-to male friendship. It's weird enough calling up women that I'm interested in, but guys I want to be friends with: forget it. It's not that I have insecurities about my sexuality, I just don't want to misrepresent myself. Which is why it threw me for such a loop when George called. It seems rude, asking right away what somebody's intentions are, but it's the first thing you wonder when somebody new calls you up to hang out. But on the other hand, I didn't want to be presumptuous. Movie stars need friends too, and it has to be hard to meet people that are just regular folks when you're the focus of as much media attention as George is. I imagine movie stars get tired of hanging out with movie stars, too. George saw the reality and grounding in me that Hollywood thrives on denying, I decided.

Once we made it to the restaurant, we were old pals. The shroud of nervous apprehension and unshaped expectations melted easily from the evening, and we entered a comfortable, intimate place together. It was a scene from film shot through a honey-yellow lens to convey the feeling of buttery conversational warmth. The vibrations of his voice, combined with an openness in those smoldering eyes put me so at ease. We spent the whole night catching up. He was gracious enough to answer questions about his line of work, but it wasn't the focus of conversation. We just talked about pranks, college buddies, traded a couple good drunk stories, and talked about driving cross-country.

All the movies about dating show that moment of truth where the two say goodnight. In the film of my life, I would include our first goodnight just to show what a non-event it was. He just gave me a solid handshake, one where his other hand clasped itself gently over mine, and said goodnight.

After just a week, we had a routine. I neglected to make plans on Thursday and Sunday nights, and if my mom called when I was expecting George, I was brusque. What made our times together so special was that we never did anything special. We'd make dinner or order something in (going to restaurants with George is a bitch), rent a movie or two, and slip easily into a rich and spacious conversation, well-lit with flame fueled by brilliant listening.

We shared a few fantastic bottles of wine on one of our Thursdays, and I didn't feel comfortable letting George drive home. We collapsed on the mattress that serves as my couch, and at four in the morning I woke up, covered him with a sleeping bag and went up to bed.

I crept quietly downstairs the next morning, gently stepping over the down-clad chrysalis containing my new favorite Batman on the floor to make coffee.

Something about sharing the fade of daytime, the intimacy that night brings, and then greeting the dawn over coffee and newspaper with George nourished a part of me that I thought starved away in the year following college. On my Ferris Wheel of time, I found someone who could ride with me around the great cycle from dusk, through night and into dawn without barfing or making me drop my cotton candy.

On Saturday, we did our thing again. He called Friday night to plan ahead for Saturday evening, which was out of the ordinary for him, but not unusual for humans in general. There was less talking that night, and much more movie-watching. I rented Wild at Heart and Microcosmos on Wednesday, but hadn't returned them yet. With George's friendship came mounting late fees, but it was okay for now.

The night was chilly, and George nonchalantly helped himself to a piece of my blanket. There was enough to go around, but just the week before, he made a point of telling me about all the muscle his personal trainer packed on him. Apparently, he didn't get as cold anymore because it kept his metabolism higher or something. I noticed that he kept glancing at me, mostly during the funny parts in Wild at Heart, reassuring himself that we found the same things to have the same effect on us. His laughter was a little forced, and his disgust more pronounced.

Maybe I'm just used to it, but I didn't think the dung beetle scene in Microcosmos was that nasty. He did, though, and in crying out, managed to pull more than his fair share of blanket over. I scooted to compensate, wanting to keep warm without getting into a blanket fight during my favorite film. That was when that smooth operator kissed me.

It was gentle, rough in a scratchy, oversized way, not brutal and relentless. I was stunned, but gave in to the moment, savoring its novelty. His lips were somehow muscular, his face a harvest moon, familiar but bigger than I'd ever noticed. I saw an endless loop of a diver swimming up to a basking blue whale, carefully stroking its fins as its eyes casually rolled up to settle on a smaller, frightened and awestruck mammal completely out of its element.

I broke first and flopped backward, reeling. His hunger was polite and understanding, but way, way more than I could handle.

"George...I think you've got the wrong idea here. I can't do this. I don't want this...element in our friendship. I can't like you that way-I don't."

"But I thought..."

"I know. I'm sorry if I led you on…we should have talked about this but it always seemed so presumptuous. I just need a good friend right now, and you fit the bill so perfectly. But if this is where you want things to go, I can't do it."

His face crumpled, the brown heat in his eyes cooling to gray ash. He claimed to understand. He apologized, claiming that he just wanted a friend too, but it ached too badly to keep his attraction for me a secret. He needed to put a lot of space between us, he said, so he could come to see things a little more clearly. I understood, gave him a last hug goodbye, and walked him to his car. I couldn't tell if the streetlights were reflecting from his window or a stream of silent tears on his face.

I was sitting in a left-turn lane the other day, watching all the turn signals in front of me communicating the same desire, clicking completely out of sync. Gradually, they converged into one synchronized blink, each crying a red left at the same instant, saying the same thing at the same time and finishing each other's sentence in a mute understanding. Then, as quietly and gradually as they came together, the lights returned to the chaos they converged from.

It's been a year since I broke George Clooney's heart while snails mated on television. I haven't heard from him yet, although Russell says he's doing very well.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

This Debate Report Could Get Me Punched In The Stomach

In 1994 me and Phil pledged to stay in touch forever, but even at 18 we knew we were grasping at straws. It’s a universal truth than when people leave high school and start college they grow apart as fast as they can. Me and Phil were too stoic to admit it, but we were afraid we’d change right out of each others’ lives. I know I couldn’t handle seeing a familiar-looking chump wearing Phil’s skin at Christmastime. Rather than hug and weep at the uncertain future of our friendship, we made a solemn pact:

If I heard tell of Phil ever wearing a pair of denim shorts or a set of Greek letters, I got to nail him one in the guts real hard. And if he ever caught wind of me going into a sports bar for anything other than dire emergency, the same punishment applied. The pact stands today.

I went to the Hawk and Dove on Capitol Hill last night to watch the final presidential debates, risking a suckerpunch in the guts from one of my best high school buddies. And it wasn’t even worth it...most of the debate was "more of the same."

In my defense, all I can say is that I thought the place was a normal DC bar until I had a look at the menu 30 minutes into the thing and saw the tagline “Washington’s oldest sports bar.”

I don’t even have much in the way of post-debate analysis…as John Kerry likes to repeat, it’s more of the same. But here’s a few thoughts:
The audio from the debates screening in the back room came through like 1/4 of a second before the audio in the front room, giving the whole bar this really ominous psychedelic delay. For about half an hour it sounded like the candidates were debating in the biggest swing territory of all: Mount Olympus.
Bush got asked why exactly it is that America doesn’t have enough flu vaccines this year. He responded that we contracted to buy the vaccines from another country (the reverb was too heavy for me to catch which one) and half of them were tainted and unusable. He then called on healthy young Americans not to get flu shots this year, saving them for children and the elderly who really need them.

So, long story short: the Bush administration outsourced a vital part of our health care, fucked it up, and we all pay the price. Republicans love to say that Democrats are cynical. And we are…but we wouldn’t be if their number-one guy didn’t pull shit like this every chance he gets.
Kerry just smiles and laughs to himself whenever Bush tries to attack him. He writes little notes to himself, and you just know he’s figuring out a way to use that turn that attack into a counter-smackdown in like, five minutes. That’s so cool.

I do like Bush’s proposal of a temporary-worker card for immigrants. For you foreign readers, the upshot is that migrant workers will be protected from shady employers, have rights as workers, and the ability to go home, visit and come back to their jobs in the US. If someone wants to come here and work hard and pay taxes, let ‘em.

My friend Alison says this will create a system of second-class citizens in America, and she’s right. But it beats being a fifth-class citizen that gets way less than the minimum wage to swab toilets. As I may have mentioned in previous posts, I was an illegal immigrant in Australia for nine months. I would’ve loved having a card that gave me the right to a decent job and the chance to visit my family in the meantime.
Whenever George Bush wants to break bad on Kerry, he calls him a “Massachusetts liberal” or “outside the mainstream.” Since when have either of those been bad? It’s like getting all mad and calling me a “guy who has glasses.”

While I understand that neither candidate could honestly answer whether or not homosexuality is a choice for political reasons, I thought both guys’ answers were particularly lame and noncomittal. This is what basically happened:

Bob Schieffer (moderator of the debate): Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

Kerry: I don’t know, but no homos are getting married on my watch. What about you, W?
Bush: Oh, hell no.
(They high-five)

Kerry: And can I say one more time that Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian.

We're at least four more years away from same-sex marriage, and it's a discredit to our nation. Shame neither of them could just come out and say it.
I risked a gut-punching for those tired little tidbits and a bunch of foofaraw that we’ve all heard a million times before. Phil… if you go through with it, we’re still friends, man.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
My friend Chris just emailed me a link (via scuffletown) to this picture, and it's the coolest thing I've seen all week.

I've just moved into a new apartment and I would love to have one of these as a decoration. If any of you know where/how I can buy one, let it be known.

This Is Really Important


I got this email from my good friend, the extremely concerned David Nesmith. Just do's not exciting or anything, but you can feel like you tried.
Sign in and help deliver a
petition tomorrow (Thursday, 10-14-04) asking Sinclair Broadcast Inc. not to air
an hour long anti-Kerry documentary 10 days before the election. If you
want to join the group who will take the petition to Sinclair's
headquarters here in Maryland (and just spitting distance from Baltimore) as well
as to affiliates across the country, contact

Why would anyone want to vote for a team that plays such dirty tricks? That's what I want to know. A lot of nice people are Republicans, but this is dirty pool.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Win The Peace

A bouncer had to turn late debate watchers away from Stetson’s on Friday night. I felt for the guy, particularly when four people tried to lie and say that they should be let in because they weren’t there to watch the debates at all, just to attend a birthday party. Like debate watchers would be able to violate the laws of physics and pass through birthday party people like dancing ghosts in a phantom ballroom.

We joined a crowd on the sidewalk, watching the debates through the opened windows of another bar. Everyone huddled tight, suspending the code of personal space among strangers.

A waiter from a Latin place down the street ushered us all inside, where the debate was playing on a bleary big-screen with the sound up, closed-captioning crawling across the bottom for maximum effect.

And in case you are so misguided as to use And I Am Not Lying For Real as a main source for news: Kerry whipped Bush’s ass. I was kind of looking forward to the debate’s end, to tell you the truth. It just got old.

It’s every American’s civic responsibility to pay close attention to the political process. This particular election is our one chance to arrest our country’s long slide into the toilet bowl and redeem ourselves in the eyes of the world.

On the other hand, all that health care talk gave me a crippling case of the yawns. Kerry is so much the lesser of two evils that he could campaign in nothing but an Avril Lavigne t-shirt and a pair of Manolo Blahniks, look straight into the camera and declare war on Narnia and he’d still have my vote.

Things perked right up when a drunken Republican tried to fight me.

He was drunkenly spouting right-wing invective at the top of his tiny lungs. The denim shirt tucked into jeans, topped with a boxy black blazer has been fashion shorthand for “dipshit” since sometime in the late 80’s, but apparently this guy felt the need to advertise his personality’s shortcomings verbally. Five foot nothing, waving a big cigar and heckling the screen with repartee that would embarrass Carrot Top, this little guy chapped the chops of everyone within earshot. After about an hour of this guy’s high-decibel balloon juice, a girl politely asked him to keep it down.

His response:
“There’s like, words on the screen. You can read them, that’s what they’re for…bitch.”

She blushed and stared while he returned to his braying commentary.

This behavior is perfect synecdoche for the current administration: A bunch of people are in a common situation, and one loudmouthed jerkoff is ruining it for everyone else. Someone asks him to tone himself down, and he mockingly refuses, then tells them to make use of alternate, shittier options.

I strolled straight over and asked the little clown to be quiet as well, and got the same line. I tried to explain that he couldn’t hear anyone else’s opinions, and we were all pretty tired of his, and then the whole thing just got stupid.

He jumped right off his stool and would have been all up in my grill if his grill were not positioned 14 inches below mine. Then he started giving me the shoulder-lean, a move popular amongst eight-graders that are spoiling for a fight, saying over and over, “You telling me to shut up, motherfucker, is that what you’re doin’, huh? Huh?”

I dropped a hand on his shoulder, saying “Look, man, there’s some kind of misunderstanding here. I’m not telling you to shut up. I’m just asking you politely to please shut your fucking mouth.”

Then I got scared. I haven’t been in a fight since high school, and I lost that one. When you’re bigger than most people, fights go one of two ways, neither of them good:

1) I lose, in which case a 6’2” 220 pound guy catches a public beatdown from a little dude. Nobody ever cheered for Goliath.

2) I win, and am therefore big bully that needs to pick on someone his own size.

My friend Deirdre grabbed the guy and cooled him out right quick, thank God. I kind of wanted to kick that guy’s ass, but had no plan to win the peace. The problem with being big and talking bigger is that eventually, someone’s going to call you on it, and everyone likes seeing an underdog win.

Friday, October 08, 2004


This takes you to a video clip of an English children's TV show called Rainbow from the 70s and 80s. This clip is so loaded with innuendo that it's barely appropriate for kids...makes PeeWee Herman look like a Mormon choirboy.

Then this from my boy Mike of the Carlsonics.

Here's his commentary:

So 2 years ago we played a prom party -- a "lock in" at a health club, so the kids wouldn't go out and drink. So, picture 200 bewildered 18 year olds....Very surreal.

Well, above is streaming audio of the concert. We cover "Louie Louie," "stepping stone" and "Baba O'Reilly." Aaron's between-song banter is amazing (for example, at minute 7:58)

At one point Aaron, the singer, tells a kid that his mom is hot.

Poster 2.0

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
This is just a revamped revised re-readable version of the earlier posted poster.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Carlsonics in NYC

Carlsonics in NYC
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
Made this last night--enjoy.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Who's Out There?

There's all this attention on blogging in the mainstream media right now, but really, any one blog is just a fleck of dust in the ever-expanding internet universe.

But I do wonder sometimes: who is reading this thing? I'm not sure how to put tracking tags in the code of this blog yet, so I havea small favor to ask.

If you read this post, can you please just leave something in the comments to give me snapshot of who my readers are this week/month? You don't have to say your name or email if you don't want to...

Thanks so much...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Last Debate Shot

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
We were standing around Stetson's, drinking and heckling and having such a big time, making jokes and shouting at the screen...

But making jokes about the president doesn't feel that good. For one thing, it's just too easy to make cheap shots. Everybody thinks they're a political analyst, but they're not. We all just want to do the right thing, every last one of us. I do, Kerry does, even Dick Cheney does, somewhere in his wrinkled defective heart.

We just disagree so much on what the right thing is. It's terrifying to think that some people who are not much smarter than I am have so much power that they can do pretty much whatever they want. They're up there at the plate, we all are, swinging at the same ball, but nobody know where the ball is going to go.

Democrats and Republicans are determined to disagree on everything, but the one thing we can all agree on is this: the fate of the entire world hangs on this election, and there's a really good chance the wrong guy is going to get into office.

All those laughs, all those drunken jokes and bullshit just illuminated to me in that moment captured in the photo that we're all just scared. It's important to vote, but you might as well buy a Powerball ticket on your way to the polls because the odds of hitting the jackpot and influencing the outcome are so small...

After watching the debates, I wove home, scribbling this note on the paper by my bed before passing out:

Kerry killed Bush tonight, and now there's only a fifty percent chance Bush will lose as opposed to the fifty-five percent chance yesterday.

I'm going to Stetson's for the VP debates tonight. I'll play Wonkette's drinking game and I'll laugh and take pictures, but it won't be funny.

A Bit Smeary

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
Me and this group of law students at Georgetown played this game where we had to take a drink every time Bush said "hard work," "weapons of mass destruction," hid behind September 11th or mispronounced "Saddam."

The bar started looking like this shortly thereafter.

Watching The Debate

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
I wish I could have seen the Dead at the Fillmore West or the Jordan-era Bulls in a bar in Chicago. Watching this year's presidential debates at a bar in DC is pretty close to the same vibe.

Chances are you already saw them yourselves or read the follow-up, so I won't bore you with a long recap a week later.

Suffice it to say that John Kerry whipped W's ass by simply showing up and being adequate. Bush sucked because, well, Bush sucks. He lost his game a third of the way through and just kept repeating himself in a performance that serves as a perfect analogy to his presidency.

What you're seeing here is a crowded bar called Stetson's. They take their politics seriously at Stetson's--the crowd was wall to wall white people in their twenties with loosened neckties double-fisting the Budweiser. The debates ran on all the bar tvs with closed captioning, and on the large projection screen in the background there.

The whole crowd got real quiet once the debate started, breaking only to heckle the president occasionally, like when he flubbed the word "vociferously."

This Is Really Weird

I just rolled into work, late.

I honestly think it seems acceptable here, as one of my co-workers rolls in 45-60 minutes late daily. But the thing is, there's nobody around me at all...all the cubes are empty, offices full of bosses: also empty. The girls' desk in front of me has a half-eaten bowl of oatmeal on it, a shawl draped over the back, and a pair of shoes right where the her feet would have been.

This can only mean one thing: all my coworkers were immediately teleported to a mothership high above the earth, where they are sitting around a big conference table and talking about me. They are all getting raises.

Seriously, though, this just can't be good.

Monday, October 04, 2004


Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
I saw the Carlsonics this Friday night, and it was a jam for real. I remember seeing most of them play as a band called "Mr. Holland's Anus" in somebody's living room at JMU, and it made my stomach turn inside out--turns out years worth of practice has paid off.

The band geared up to get down with some new, sorta indie sounding stuff but slowly built to this dirty, heavy and hilarious psychedelic jam session. Kinda like "Interstellar Overdrive" with a sense of humor. I told my man Mike after the show that even if I thought he was a total asshole, I'd have to grudgingly admit that his band rocked my house.

What really made it work is the fact that they are all obviously really good friends, and just LOVE playing together...just seeing their faces light up as they spit beer and played their guitars with one hand totally turned the show from something that just sounded cool into something special.

See the photos here.