Saturday, August 30, 2008

while you wait

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

no cure for the fever

the olympics have been on television non-stop. always on in the background, sometimes muted but mostly not. i cant tell if im sick of them or not. its like they are suffocating me. smothering me. i cant get anything done. i need my space but i cant escape. they are everywhere. competition on every screen on every television in every house and bar. i want to wish it away but the truth is i cant. i have to watch.

i tell myself: it only comes around 4 years. you wont have to watch after this week. i promise. only sport on will be just once a week after that, and it will be american football so you'll know the rules and not have to pay as much attention.

today while i was sitting at my desk and trying to think of which task to complete first, i turned to the tv to see just which sport was taking place. usually i dont have the tv on during the day but for this occasion, which comes every olympiad, as decreed by some unwritten law we all must adhere to, my tv is on twenty four hours a day.

but the olympics werent on it.

it was a cooking show hosted by Martha Stewart. they were baking cupcakes and Martha was smiling and there was a soft light behind her, revealing loose strands of her thin hair. first i puked a bit in my mouth, then i panicked. where were the olympics?

i scrambled for the remote and began frantically scrolling through the guide channel. where were they? what was i missing? what obscure sport was i not ignoring? hammer throw? equestrian riding? trampoline? please god dont let it be trampoline!

i got higher in the channels. higher than i'd ever been before. what are on these channels? who watches them? i was above HBO and the pay per view channels, higher than the weird educational channels and into the all infomercial channels that only old people go to. i got into the barren wasteland of wrestling package channels and eastern european news channels. still no olympics. where was it? i was freaking out!

then i saw it, on some strange extension of a news network i rarely watched. the XXX Olympics. i selected it and sat back.


it was table tennis. USA vs. Hungary. USA was in the lead but i didnt even care who won. i was just happy i was there to see it.


on a completely unrelated note. if you own the prince album, Sign o' the Times, play the song forever in my life. hypnotic drums and him singing a ballad over it. its my new anthem. enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

like a complete unknown

i went to a bob dylan concert last night.

well, i sat on a grassy hill listening to a bob dylan concert that was in my general vicinity last night.

i didnt get in.

i was part of a crowd, but i wasnt part of THE crowd. the in crowd. the i was there crowd. the standing in their seats and waving their hands in the air crowd. i wasnt part of that crowd. there were no seats. no waving hands.

there was me and the lil lady and some friends of ours. a blanket in the grass. a bottle of rum. i sat and smoked my hand rolled cigarettes and listened to the music, waiting to hear something familiar. come on bob, play It Aint Me Babe. i want to hear Like a Rolling Stone. i dont know of any of this honky tonk blues stuff youre playing. do knocking on heavens door. come on bob, before i finish my last beer.

he finally did do Like a Rolling Stone and i got up and did an awkward dance and when it got to the part where he says, "How does it feel?" i would scream along as if i'd been singing the whole time.

when the show was over we all herded onto the street and made our ways home. it was a warm night and everyone wore tank tops or t-shirts. an ice cream truck sat at the entrance to the park intercepting concert goers before they got on the road. cops directed traffic along prospect park west. i felt a little itchy and thought maybe i'd been bit by something.

i dont know dylans music that well, and cant say im really fond of most of it, but he is a legend and all. i was sort of giddy about being there. its stupid, i know. but its the same thing with tom cruise. i dont really like the guys work, though hes been in a few movies i can dig. to be honest, he sort of creeps me out. but if i saw him on the street i would be all "oooh! tom cruise!" and giggling and shit.

dylan, of course, is no tom cruise. he's super important and had an immesurable impact on popular music. still, i cant say he has made any of my favorite albums or even albums i listen to often. tom cruise, on the other hand, was in Magnolia, Minority report, and that one movie where he ran a lot. just saying.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


ive been trying to download this new jay-z song for like, the last half hour, but the stupid fucking link wont work. i keep hearing that the song sucks but i want to download it anyway. they might be wrong. ive been wrong before. and who are "they" anyway?


its been Olympic fever around here, i was just telling a friend earlier how i'd been getting excited over sports i've never even scene before. cursing at the screen during badminton, throwing up my hands in frustration over fencing calls, flipping the fuck out watching an archer hit the bullseye. its been crazy.

there are a few sports i find positively boring (i'm looking at you, weightlifting) and some i dont understand (what is going on during team handball? it confuses me. change is scary) and others that are sort of exciting, but for reasons unbeknownst to me (canoeing is hypnotic and i dont trust it. there, i said it).

i've realized im a big fan of the grace in synchronized diving. and that water polo must be the most exhausting of all sports.

ive learned i'd never be a good judge in gymnastics, or diving, or any sport for that matter. i always think someones routine was "great," and "perfect," and "should get nothing less than 9.5's all around." but i am always - well, mostly - wrong.

also, its come to my attention that the united states mens gymnastic team are, while good, sort of a bunch of douchebags. i kept wincing everytime they would say something like, "USA! YEAH! THATS HOW WE ROLL!" into the camera. i dont know why. maybe its just my dislike of frat boy behavior. or it could be nationalism makes me uncomfortable. either way, those dudes bugged me.

still, GO USA! YEAH! [punches keyboard and screams]


so my friend is getting back with his wife. the one that left him for another guy after he told her he didnt want to have kids. its a longer story, of course, but that's a reasonable summation.

i guess they were miserable without each other. or so it seems. or so we hope is the case. now she has to leave this other guy and come back to him. how shes going to get out of that mess none of us want to know. but she is moving all of her crap back to the beach to be with him again. this for sure, he tells me, its solid.

so i guess they'll have babies and live happily ever after?


Thursday, August 07, 2008


-in any case, I’ve been thinking lately Fremont lately. About the time I spent there. It was the only suburb I ever lived in, and I only lived there for two years. This was between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, I was just about to turn seventeen when I moved there and I had just turned nineteen when I left. But I feel I got the complete experience. Or at least the meat of it.

I felt all the boredom and the restless angst. I buried myself in distractions and tried to figure out who I was. I discovered the role I would feel most comfortable defining me. I experimented. I made mistakes. I recognized how open the future was and I took for granted my youth. I rebelled. I got humiliated. I made friends and met those friends family. Their family met mine. We all wondered how each others Christmas went.

Of course the role I chose was that of One on the Edge. if not because I was already, then because I wanted to be. I did every drug I could get my hands on. starting with weed and not ending until I had done them all. this was my senior year in high school (have I already mentioned that? I’ve decided I’m too lazy to edit now, anyway) and by the end of it I was nursing a pretty healthy habit to a pretty low grade meth amphetamine called Crank.

ugh. just typing the name of it makes me gag.

it wasn’t a big deal to me at the time. but Will took it too far, as he was want to do, and turned that healthy habit into a nasty addiction. being the opportunist he is, he came up with the brilliant idea of selling it in order to support his own usage, hoping to make some money on the side. this didn’t work. he ended up not only deep into his habit, but deep into debt with a guy that had a lot of tattoos and some guns. long story short one day I woke up and I walked out of my room and my new mother was fussing over her purse and when I saw him he was crying and he said, "I’m going to rehab. I told mom everything. I flushed all the dope."

and well, that was that with crank while I was in Fremont.

I had just started writing then. every day, after school, after getting stoned on the bleachers near the football field. I would go to the writing lab and write nonsense into the computer. sometimes stories and sometimes actual journal entries, but mostly just gibberish about being high on weed. I did well in my classes, even being asked to go into honors programs, but mostly declined, afraid I would have to do more work or worse, be separated from my friends.

there was a guy named Nando that was good looking and smart and popular and dated one of the hottest girls in the school. one of the few people I’ve ever met that intimidated me with just their charisma. we did acid a few times together and had a good trip. but one time he dropped and didn’t come back. it was strange. Sudden. One day he got that unhinged look in his eye and it just never went away.

he would ask us if we saw the energy fields that surrounded him. his eyebrows were always raised, curious. he would wonder aloud if we really understood what was happening to us, if we were taking note of the consequences. And we would ask him the consequences of what.

he would just say back, "Is that even the right question to ask?"

because he had always been so smart and so popular and had dated one of the hottest girls in the school, we didn’t ask any more questions when he would go on these tangents, but all of us wondered. and I, at least, knew. he was gone. he had lost it. his sanity had been compromised. I had seen it before. it was all too familiar. it made me so uncomfortable I stopped hanging around with him. it was just too creepy. he reminded me of my mother.

I fell in love for the first time in Fremont. with a girl with an ex boyfriend that was known for wanting to murder his ex girlfriends new boyfriends. it didn’t help that she appreciated the drama. she loved anything that made our relationship operatic. once, she suggested that we go on one of the talk shoes that were all the rage at the time. Ricky Lake or Jenny Jones or Montel or Sally Jesse. She said she would fake like she was an angry girlfriend and that I should fake like I had cheated on her. I asked her why I’d ever want to do a thing like that and she said, "you know, for fun." she liked the confrontation. it got her off. I stayed with her for a year longer than I should have only because she was brilliant in the bedroom and gave blowjobs that could cure the misery in a man. but I knew it was never going to last, and it didn’t.

Ahh, Fremont.

there were the endless days of summer when none of us would be working and nobody had money and there was nothing to do in all of America. it was just us and the car and the suburban maze that has no exit. we would scream from our windows into the starless night, tossing empty bottles at the street lamps as we ran red lights. there were those special moments in strip mall parking lots where one of us would find romance and the other would have to wait it out. there were the awkward house parties when the parents weren’t home and the story the next morning about who did what. there was television and Mtv and songs that spoke to us.

Fremont is in me.

I’ve been thinking about Fremont lately. I’ve been thinking about my youth.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

blow out

i went to a Yankee game recently.

its the last year at Yankee stadium before they tear it down and even though i don't follow baseball real closely and don't feel a genuine allegiance towards any team (aside from purely geographical ties. go giants!) i respect and appreciate the lore that shadows the House that Babe Built. serious American history is in that stadium. the things that this country is made of. i couldn't pass up the opportunity for a free ticket.

the subway ride from Brooklyn to the Bronx was long and grumbling and i read a book the whole way and missed my stop and had to cross over the platform and take a train back before i got to the actual stadium. Charles was waiting for me at billy's, a bar directly across the street from the ball field. it is open faced like bars are in New Orleans. from down the street you could hear the DJ inside blasting horrible European dance remixes to already bad American pop songs. guys with their hats were turned backward wore baseball jerseys and were high fiving each other. the bartenders looked as if they were plucked straight from the most treasured pornographic images in my memory bank. i spent thirty dollars on two beers and a Jameson and threw up the white flag (of financial destitution) and we got our tickets out and headed to our seats.

whenever we go to games, we never sit in the assigned seats we've paid for. we always just mosey down to the lower decks and snag a seat that's unsold or abandon. the ushers know it and don't care. its all good. we always do it. but this game was sold out. we couldn't find any safe seats on the lower deck, and had to settle for pedestrian accommodations in the second tier. a row of seats obviously owned by a company where the employees either didn't know, or didn't care that they were owned. we had a pretty sweet view down the first base line, looking directly at home plate.

it was a drubbing. by the fourth inning it was 6-0, the Baltimore Orioles giving the yanks a serious pounding. we bought a couple bud lights from a beer guy walking the aisles and clicked their plastic necks and knocked back the first swig long and hard. Charles yelled at the pitcher to fucking suck it up and start throwing like a man. i burped and felt nervous and looked around for security. in the bottom of the seventh inning the orioles hit a grand slam, making it 11-0.

there was a mass exodus towards the exits. the bombers had blew it. throw in the towel and grab a slice before you go back to your life, because baseball didn't save it tonight, folks. we squeezed onto a packed 4 train and headed back to Brooklyn, grinning, despite the scoreboard.

i guess even though it might be the last Yankee game i see at the original Yankee stadium,* at least i got to see a grand slam home run in it. unfortunate though, it couldn't have been one by the Yankees.

guess i have to see another game.

*(the new stadium is directly across the street from the old one. people were taking cell phone pictures of it before they went through the gates to the game. it looks exactly like the old stadium, only shinier)
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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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