Wednesday, August 29, 2007

battle wounds

my brother got another tattoo. its his second. he got his first a few months ago. a Celtic symbol on his calf. he said it was just because he felt the time was right but i know its because he felt betrayed by a girl and wanted to have a scar he could see as well as feel. he wanted to remember how he had been changed by her. it is less a piece of art than a wound, a sore, a symbol of anger and hatred for a girl he would never have. looks pretty cool too.

the one he recently got is more elaborate, signaling an even more traumatic break up. it covers his whole shoulder, crawling down his tricep just long enough to peek out from a short sleeve shirt. it was supposed to be an angel, St. Michael, i believe, the one that slays your demons. but the tattoo artist refused to do a strict copy of the sketch and decided to take some liberties with it. so instead of a warm, protective face, it is a skull in a hood. the wings spread out wide and menacing, the sword he holds is dripping in blood. right now its just the outline, and hasnt been filled in yet, but when all is said and done, my brother will have the angel of death on his shoulders.

damn, that girl must have looked good.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

island gossip

We have another houseguest. She is a friend of L-tootbuckles and she is going through a break-up. shes going to be staying with us for a week or so. it sounds like the last stages of a fake divorce. Once you move out, its hard to move back. i've hung out with her and her (ex)boyfriend a few times, and they seem to be pretty nice people, but I wouldn’t say we were close. We are definitely just acquaintances. I don’t even have their number in my phone. Him I only know through her, and her I only know through L-boomshucka, so really, we hardly know each other at all.

Her and the L-train though, they go way back. They grew up in Hawaii together. They have a sort of kindred connection. They are all get your flip flops and a brewski woo hoo were going to the beach and cursing at the ocean it s time to party island style type gals. Last night they were up until four talking gossip about people they went to high school with. Someone had an aboortion because some one else, who is a total alcoholic, got her pregnant. She would have had the baby but he dealt coke and she's dumb but not that dumb. Also, some fool got married and some other fool got divorced.

Tonight she came home and had a splash of my wine and sat on my desk while smoking a cigarette and told me she was glad he was gone and she was finally going to see a fun side of new york city. L-temperpedic was asleep and it was just her and i.

I nodded my head. I rolled another smoke for myself. If I just drink my wine and watch tv, I thought, maybe she’ll just go to bed.

And she did, but not before looking at me ashamed and embarrassed and making me slump my shoulders and say it was ok, no worries, she could hand out for as long as she wants, then clinking wine glasses with her and smiling weakly.

She slowly made her way to the other end of the apartment, where her room is. She stopped and talked with L-yawnshun on the way and I felt sad for being cold to her but I only have a few hours of peace a night and I really need them or I turn into the hulk. You wouldn’t like me when I'm green (its not my color).

I secretly hoped things turned out ok for her and asked her to shut the door to her room when she left so that we could trap the in the cool air from the a/c.

we don’t live in a barn.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bootleg Cinema

it is well known that new york city is one of the leading metropolis's of all things bootleg. from knockoff jeans to unreleased dvd's to bad pulp literature, you can get a "copy" of whatever you want on the streets of the city and at just a fraction of the price and the cost of varying quality. on my way through the cities dense downtown streets, a pass booths dealing all manner of illegal items. a dark, island woman drags her fingers across an array of designer sunglasses, herself donning a pair of large Dolce & Gabbana aviators. an asian man with what looks like a total of 3 teeth stands in front of a blanket, a large selection of leather Prada hand bags to choose from layed about, a myriad of colors striking up from the sidewalk. a young black kid sits in front of a makeshift bookshelf, the top two displaying recent best sellers wrapped in plastic, some fiction some non, some counter culture and some beach reading, the bottom shelves are filled with what a sign above them claim are authentic African movies translated into english. i was unaware of the demand for that.

in any event, surrendering to the machine that is new york, i have begun buying bootleg movies to watch when im bored. i know, it is not nice to buy bootleg stuff, i should be painfully aware of this since it is my business to be wary of any sort of piracy, being a victim of the record industry. but these arent movies that i would pay to see in the theater, so its not as if im taking money from the studio. how could i be taking money that would have never been in the first place? and if i truly like it, i'll most likely buy the real dvd when it comes out for the special features [and better quality] anyway. not that i have to make any excuses to you.

with that being said, i want to post the very first bootleg dvd review on this site. i will be reviewing the movies as well as the overall quality of the dvd. welcome to the bootleg cinema.

The Bourne Ultimatum
i was pretty excited to see this movie. the review quotes they use in the trailers are pretty lofty. calling it "the best action movie in years," and saying it will, "change the face of cinema," or some such. im not the biggest action movie fan [im more into sci-fi romantic dramadies], but i do have a weakness for seeing shit get blowed up. anyway, i cant comment on how good the actual movie was because the picture quality was so dark and grainy i couldnt tell what the fuck was going on. i thought it was camera tricks for the opening scene, with a barely recognizable matt damon running around in the dark while being followed by a jerky handheld camera, zoomed in so close that, were the picture quality even remotely good, i could have counted the nose hair hanging from his flaring nostrils. frustrated after 15 minutes, when i realized the whole movie would be in such squalid presentation, i turned it off.
Movie - ???
Bootleg quality - 4
Overall - crap

Spiderman 3
this was the first of the summer blockbusters i missed this season. the first 2 were pretty good and this is supposedly the final instalment of a trilogy. the expectations were high before it got released, but when it hit theaters the reviews were middling. perfect bootleg material. a flick i anticipated but didnt really seem worth the time or money to see in a movie house. well, the movie itself was deserving of the middling reviews. the first fight scene between spidey and a young goblin was pretty awesome. and the sandman character, especially when he comes alive in a pile of sand, was pretty sweet. but the topher grace thing bored me and the third act just got downright absurd. what was with that dance scene? i thought i was watching a dream sequence. the picture quality was pretty decent but it was wide screen and for some reason, wouldnt format to my television, so about an inch of either side was cut off. not that it totally made a difference, its not as if a wider screen would have made kirsten dunst and tobey macguire grow any lips. whats with that? if they ever went to prison, they could use their strangely thin lips as weapons. kiss of death indeed.
Movie - 5
Bootleg quality - 7
Overall - it was ok

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
i didnt even want to see this movie when it came out in theaters. the first one wasnt offensively bad, but it wasnt very good, and the acting sometimes made me cringe. this only thing that interested me about this movie was the silver surfer. i dont even know what he is but he looked pretty cool in the trailers. well, the movie itself was again, not offensively bad but not very good. the silver surfer was indeed pretty cool as promised, and there were some epic shots of some giant smoke monster about to eat the earth or some shit. but in the end i was just bored. the dvd quality was the same as spiderman 3, but the wide screen problem was barely noticeable. still, i kind of wish i had my 90 minutes back.
Movie - 4
Bootleg quality - 8
Overall - meh [shrugs shoulders]

oh man, this was going to the money shot. im pretty pissed i missed this in the theaters [ok, so sometimes i DO see bootlegs i would have spent money on in the theaters. suck it weinstein brothers!], so was really excited to have it at home. and man i jumped through hoops for this one. the dvd player on my PS2 has been acting funny, so me and L-tootbuckle hopped on her vespa, IN THE RAIN, and headed to down target where we copped a new player for only $50. i got home and set the whole thing up [well, a friend did, im not much of a "man" in that sense], hooked into the stereo for that ghetto home theater effect and all. we put in the movie and i sat back to enjoy the fruits of all my labor [which isnt much when you think that the fruits of all my labor is a $50 dvd player and a bootleg movie, but i digress...]. well it started out pretty good, they have these fake trailers that are pretty funny, and the picture quality is supposed to be bad so, in effect, it looked pretty good. but then i saw something in the corner of the screen.

it looked like a bushel of hair.

i eyed it curiously, wondering what it was, when suddenly it turned to the side in what looked like a motion to speak to some other, unseen bushel of hair to the right of it. uh oh, i thought. but again, the whole movie is sort of camp in that way, so maybe it was supposed to look like you were watching it in a theater. then it happened, from the far right of the screen, a person, their full torso blocking the projector, walked across the movie. fucking hell, i said to myself. then from the far left, another person walked across the screen, this time stopping a few times to say excuse me to a row of unseen bushels of hair. then i groaned, ahh christ, i done been bootlegt [real word, look it up]. this is the risk you take when getting bootleg dvd's. there is that one chance that it will be too bootleg, and make you feel dirty just watching it. i have a friend that got a bootleg a few years ago, the guy that recorded it had forgotten to take off the lens cap. the whole movie was blackness and the sound of popcorn being munched. i couldnt take it, i took the movie out. i never even made it to the first frame.
Movie - fuck if i know
Bootleg quality - 4
Overall - boooo hisssss

and there you have it. the first instalment of the bootleg cinema review house. upcoming we have Die Hard 4: Live free or Die hard, Transformers, the Simpsons, Sicko and possibly Knocked Up. stay tuned, and remember, dont illegally download music!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

gold nuts

ive got a knife in my hand and i am looking over the edge, down seventeen floors into oncoming traffic. then i look up and see the Hudson River and there is a boat leaving the island headed towards Jersey and it disappears behind a high rise five stories higher than the one im on. i check out the deck to the penthouse and frown. damn, its a little bit classier than mine.

well, its not mine, per se, so much as it is the one i am standing on. behind a bar cutting limes just so thick but not too thin. wearing a black t-shirt that i bought on the way to the subway station and the black slacks i got for my grandfathers funeral. i have my juices all set up and my martini mix prepared. my hair is freshly cut. my teeth are brushed (but still, my breath's not so hot). im waiting for people to start arriving and im staring at the top of the city, where it scrapes at the sky, from the roof deck of a penthouse in the upper west side.

well, at least i was on saturday.

i was working a private event for a friend of a friend. bartending for a caterer for an extra few hundred in my wallet. i needed the scratch. im sure you know the feeling. anyway, this was on saturday and the weather was mild and the sky clear. the party was at dusk. someones engagement. im not sure who. there were only a handful of people there, some old and some young. the young girls in gowns straight off the racks of 5th ave, the old broads in flowing pants and sashes that looked like they were hand knit by an old lady with no teeth and no legs in a small hut in a village where there is always war.

they were nice though. all of them. and big drinkers and hearty laughers and so curious about what one another were doing. i got along famously with a majority of them. my chemicals balanced well with the altitude, the sunset, the slight chill and the view. my blood flowed easy and my charm was on thick.

they'd lived in the -i dont know what you call a penthouse. an apartment? a house?- building- for fifteen years. i dont know what she did (though she seemed the type to take care of her weight) but his gig was about as impressive as could be. he wrote all of Ken Burns documentaries. i poured him a ginger martini, smiling loosely, and quietly gushed about the Jazz series to him. he laughed a little and thanked me, sounding genuinely humble. he told me it was his favorite of all the pieces he had worked on and then asked if i was cold and i looked out over the skyline and tried not to shiver. he told me he would grab me a long sleeve jacket if i wanted. i said sure thanks.

the next morning i forget. and that evening was brutal.

then monday arrived. the weather was miserable but im a man on the go. first, i hopped on the yellow line going to the city and got off downtown in the financial district. i saw a couple of tourist taking a picture while standing next to the balls of the Wall Street Bull. i couldnt tell if they meant it as a joke, or if they were just too lazy to wait in line for a photo in the more iconic front of the bull. like normal, non-animal molesting tourist do. my schools campus is in front of the sculpture, so i just dismissed it. im sure ill be seeing a lot of perverted german bull testicle worship for the next few months, and i didnt have the time to explore it any further at that moment.

im busy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

hard hours

A pile of cash sitting on the desk. A few hundred dollars. not enough to pay the rent but enough for some beer and a bag of tobacco and, if I were to lose my mind, a hotel room near the airport, a bag of mid grade cocaine, and a cheap hooker, thick in the tail with a belly to boot.

But I gotta keep it level. Cant go losing it now. I just got offered another job at a record label, it’s the third time they’ve approached me about a gig. This one is part time and the pay isn’t great but I get health insurance. And I need health insurance. Desperately.

My warranties are up. I'm falling apart. I've already had to replace part of my spine, and that just weakened my foundation. Next is my teeth. Then my feet. I’ll be in a wheelchair by March. Unless, of course, I get health insurance.

So its in my best interest to take this job. And that means a third of my week committed. 24 waking hours gone.

Then I have this company –somehow easy to forget since it has fully immersed itself into my life. The company is a natural extension of me. I live and breath it, I move in it and it in me. it is behind my eyes and at my fingertips and digesting my food and pulling at my anxiety, keeping me on my toes. Simply put, I am the company. The same goes for my two partners.

We work every day, every hour, every minutes, on the company. Preoccupied with its movements, worried and afraid and excited about where its going. So there really is no set amount of hours dedicated to the company, they ALL are, in a way.

But lest I forget, there is also the bar. the other, OTHER side of me. the side that dictates my sleeping habits, my diet, my rent. That was 36 hours of the week, but I recently cut that down to 26, dropping my movie Monday night (my favorite of the shifts because not only was it my Friday, but it was always mellow, we got to play a movie and get drunk, and I made decent money). Small sacrifice though, I had to start school.

Oh yeah, school. That fucking shit. That’s 8 hours a week in class and at least 20 hours a week homework. 28 motherfuckin hours. Learning just gets more bitter as the years carry on.

That’s 78 hours. Too many for this poor bag of bones.

So I drop another day at the bar. cutting those hours to 18. Now I'm working with 70 hard hours. And I'm feeling exhausted already. prepared to collapse. bracing myself for impact. Looking at a pile of cash. Wanting to just lose my mind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


i get afraid to post. i get afraid that i wont be able to describe how i feel. or that when i do, it will be mundane and meaningless. so i wait. i wait until i cant wait any longer. i wait until im about to burst. then i spill. i spill it all out. well, most of it at least. i keep some for myself. for later. when im alone.*

but im spilling now.

im bursting.

i gotta change my template just like i gotta change many things. my diet. my sleeping pattern. my outlook on life. but i gotta get around to my template sooner than later. i dont like the way my words look anymore. they just sit there. perched in blackness. like pigeons on the wire of a powerline in the middle of nowhere. or dim lights in a void, ones you would dismiss as hallucination, imaginary spots in a darkness. they almost mock me with their bordome. asking- no, daring- me not to lose interest.

but thats neither here nor there.

im listening to the best techno i've heard in a lifetime. its a track by cobblestone jazz and its called "india in me," and it hurts.

* with lubricant.

Monday, August 13, 2007

root down

at one point last thursday i was standing in an audience and Mike D was on the stage and he put the mic to his mouth and he screamed with joy and fury and Mix Master Mike dropped the beat to a hip hop classic and every single hand raised up in the air and we all stretched our vocal chords and said


and the lights burned directly onto the crowd and i could smell sweat and beer marijuana smoke. i looked around and there were hands, every hand, all 3 thousand of them, reaching up and out towards the damp evening sky. the bass rumbled the concrete and i felt a drop of rain. overwhelming waves of enthusiasm rushed through me, coming from every kid, old and young, and i thought to myself, "i am somewhere special."

im still bummed i missed Daft Punk though.

thanks brooklynvegan for the pic.


i watched a movie on saturday. It was called Downfall and its about the final 10 days of Hitlers life. a miserable, paranoid existence inside a doomed bunker in berlin. i did not have a problem with the filmmaker giving hitler 3 dimensions. he was not sympathetic, he did not try to humanize him. from what ive read it is a very accurate account, which makes it sort of educational as well as entertaining. Its drawn from the diaries of hitlers secretary and some other biography works that have been deemed historically accurate. i thought it was a phenomenal film, very well made. highly recommended (by me, which isnt saying much).

speaking of movies, im pissing my pants excited to see Superbad. i cant remember the last time i laughed at a trailer. im gonna bring extra underwear to the theater with me when i see it, just in case...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

beer in a can

while i was at my mothers house there was plenty of time for sitting in fold out chairs and smoking a cigarette and staring through the leaves out into the sky. it was always blue, the sky, and i dont always like it like that, sometimes i like the heavens to be filled with gloom and fright and about to burst all over you, but while i was at my mothers i appreciated every cloudless moment.

i hate to regress back into the past, especially a past so recent, instead of writing about what is happening right now right here right at this very second, but there isnt much going on this side of the screen, and just earlier i was filled with a sensation that was old and gone but the memory of where it came from still fresh and ripe inside my mind.

what it was, the sensation, was a warm relief. a stress free instant, and those are very rare.

i was sitting with my mother in her driveway. we were both smoking a cigarette and i had a can of beer and she had a glass of wine. the sun was on a decline, but it still lit up the sky with a searing enthusiasm. it wasnt going down without a fight. the breeze was slow and balmy and touched our skin without bother. my brother and her husband were in the house watching television, a nascar race or a crime drama or a cooking show where the chef travels around the world tasting exotic cuisines. everything seemed silent, even nature. the trees didnt rustle, the birds didnt chirp, the dogs werent even barking, and usually we cant shut those beast up.

my mother swept her hand over the property and sighed. -we are so lucky. she said.

i looked around, breathing it all in. -yup.

She went on, -i never thought- not for a minute- that i would ever own anything so beautiful. after all those years of working so hard, just trying to make ends meet. just barely paying the bills and keeping you kids fed and clothed and every second being gone before i knew it... she trailed off, lost in her long history, the years behind her and the years ahead. i took another sip of my beer, listening to her. she sighed again and smiled.

-you see all these trees? [her husband] knows every one of them. every single leaf and limb. he knows them intimately. he spends most of his free time trimming and clipping and piling what hes cut. every tree here, he loves. he makes them beautiful, he makes this whole place beautiful, but he pays special attention to the trees. he gets up there with his clippers and his saw. and hes so delicate, so careful. it's spiritual for him. it truly is.

she paused and laughed silently, sharing something personal and intimate with herself. i didnt want to interrupt her, i just drank my budweiser and lit another smoke and watched purple strands of night tickle the horizon. the timer flicked the driveway lights on and their dull, yellow glow spread along the edges of the concrete curves. i put my cigarette out then, letting the last puffs of smoke curl up then whiff away.

i knew what she meant, about it being spiritual for him. i understood it immediately and felt a gentle envy inside me. it was friendly, not malicious, and proud for him and her. it was the house, the land, that we all wished we'd grown up in. the quiet security of comfort filled every room, every corner, every foot of dirt and every blade of grass. she understood how fortunate we were to be able to sit there, slow and drunken, and with no hurry. no reason to leave. and she was glad i was there, she was glad she could share it with us, her children, her husband. she was glad she had found a place where peace could come so easy.

she grabbed the edges of her chair and lifted herself up, groaning and grunting, making it an exaggerated affair. i rolled my eyes, -that was a little much dont you think? you're not that old. then we both laughed.

-i'm going inside to make dinner, she said, -you want another beer?

and it was this sensation, of having everything in the world right there in the calm of your creature, that i was filled with this morning, as the thunderstorms from the morning dried up in the gutters and the sun filled the sky with bright promise.

Monday, August 06, 2007

clouds and light and thats about it

im working on setting up releases that come out in october, and preparing reps and labels for releases that drop in september, and im worrying about school at the end of august and bracing myself for my day off tomorrow. ive been checking up on albums that came out in july and confirming plans for the concert on thursday. stressing over deadlines that have passed and deadlines coming up. trying to avoid that black hole in the calender because i cant afford to lose a day.

but outside the people of park slope have a slow stroll. meandering down the street with no sense of urgency. mobbing without hurry. a group of friends saunter towards 7th avenue laughing at some joke i didnt hear. a woman stops and leans against a tree and smiles into her cell phone. two men talk in front of a stoop that isnt theirs, their hands moving wildly, an animated discussion. two mothers, one with a baby in a stroller, the other with a tyke circling her knees, pause while walking and one points up to the sky and they stare for a minute, shielding their eyes from the sun, then continue on, a look of slight confusion worn on their faces, but otherwise unmoved. what was it they saw? i guess i hardly care. its like they have all the time in the world.

i dont know how they do it.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

such a pretty garden

we are at the writing portion of the day. i am smoking a hand rolled cigarette and drinking warm water, sitting in my office staring out the open window. it is hot outside but not unbearably hot, i see some legs are covered in denim. i think i noticed a light long sleeve earlier. a palpable calm shadows every pedestrian. there is quiet relief lost in the passing traffic. everyones relaxed. it is saturday afternoon.

i woke up feeling fat and lazy. i let my hand slide across my sweating belly and groaned. I felt the sickness from last night shudder in my stomach and bowels. i gotta stop eating so late. i thought about getting dressed and getting some coffee. then i thought about smoking a joint and playing a video game. then i wondered if we had any beer. then i remembered i had to pay rent.

i grabbed some cash and hopped on my bike, headed for the bank to make a deposit. i took it for granted then, but now that i think of it, now that ive put it into words, that particular trip, to the bank to deposit money, is the purpose of our lives. people die to make that trip. wars are started, alliances are formed, drinks are served, lives are shattered, all so that we can deposit money in the bank. hey, at least im part of something, some of us dont get to make that trip at all.

when i got back i heard the lawn mower in the yard behind the house. the land lady was down there, trimming the grass. she was in a yellow bikini bathing suit top and small red shorts. i eyed her for a minute, thinking dirty thoughts. she is my land lady and she is fifty years old, but damn if she didnt give me a rise. i caught where my mind was and laughed into the empty apartment. im such a perv. sometimes i even surprise myself. she didnt see me and i didnt stand there long. that would have been sort of awkward had she looked up and discovered me lurking in the window, staring down at her. plus you know, she is my land lady and she is fifty years old.

later today ill meet a friend at a soccer field where they have booths set up selling authentic south american foods. then ill go to a birthday celebration or to "some wild party" in the lower east side. right now im alone and im feeling ok with everything.

that is all for now.

Friday, August 03, 2007

weekend warrioring

things i plan on doing this saturday:

  • riding my bike.
  • reading a book.
  • staring at the sky.
  • seeing a movie.
  • eating bacon.
  • avoiding calls.
  • being indifferent.
  • waiting for something clever to come to me.

ive got a busy day ahead.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

back to school

i signed up for classes this coming semester. (yes, i am still in school. and yes, i am three hundred and forty seven years old.) two of them. i am bracing myself for an all consuming 15 weeks.

i took two classes. a seminar in autobiography, and a recent U.S. history course.

the seminar in autobiography is the one class that galvanized my decision to switch to this school, a small liberal arts extension of new york's city university. it counts as "life experience", meaning you can get up to 28 credits by the end of the course, which is one year long or two semesters. the regular classes offers only 4 credits. but still, thats not the reason i took it. i took it because before i can write about life, i have to write about MY life. i have to explore every facet of my history. i have to accept the finality of who i am. what makes my creature. all the stories and secrets that create me. i have to commit to them. embrace them. and move forward.

to get into the class i had to jump through hoops. sending the professor a personal request, attaching samples of my writing, creative and academic. explaining to her why i should be allowed into the class. providing teacher references, proving i had a high grade point average, offering authentication that certified my intelligence in the form of test scores and charm. eventually she sent a letter of acceptance. and that was the easy part.

the hard part was picking a second class, which i needed in order to be a part time student and thus, eligible for student loan. i chose recent U.S. history because i am american and america fascinates me. its large and complex and drunk on its own youthful ego. it is flawed and ultimately honest. and deep down it is an insecure, almost modest country, inspired by its own intelligence, ashamed of its upbringing, dumb and proud at times, with relatively good intentions. ive been trying to find my place in america, and i think this class will help me do that, while complementing the telling of my story. i am an american child. this much i know. what this means i have yet to figure out.

im afraid that if i am completely honest in my autobiography, there will be hellish consequences. i fear my girlfriend will leave me. im pretty sure of that. i fear my professor will shrink away when i hand in my later chapters, cringing at the prospect of coming in contact with such a foul, perverted, weak willed student. one with unhealthy addictions, cravings beyond moral reason. a man that is fueled by cowardice, loneliness, and fetish. im frightened she will see me and be scared, with all my insecurities exposed, translated into a stilted prose on her desk. but i can not enter this with abandon. i have to carry on, so i can move forward.


ive been thinking about about turning my comments off. but i wont. im afraid. it would be so lonely. how lame am i?
Creative Commons License
:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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