Friday, November 30, 2001

Let's play a game in honor of my dear friend, Teri Lund. Her favorite word is "lascivious." The way the game works is as follows:

We writing a poem. (See the comments section of this post.)
You get one word.
It starts with "lascivious"

Have fun.
Dear MS. CC Girl, is this true?:

"i know exactly who you're talking about at citrus club. but she is untouchable. she only dates asian men that her parents have approved. sorry..." (from story comments).

Damn. I had her pegged as a social liberal that appreciates a good effort. But rules are rules. I'm out. I guess I'll settle for a rebellious Marina girl that only dates white guys her parents can't stand. Never mind valor and romanticism, what we need is rules based on race and what our parents say. Taken is one thing, but hey...rules are rules.

I really should just delete this, but whatever. If someone wants to speak for her, then I will give him or her their very own post. After all, experts deserve attention.

A year after record-breaker, Buffalo has first ever snow-free November

This is downright amazing. I remember when it was 20 below in Pittsburgh, we would say "Hell. At least it's not Buffalo. They get 24 inches in two hours there."

And can you believe it's freezing in SF. Why does the weather follow me? Why? I hate the cold!!! Sure, I moved here having never seen the place, and thinking of beaches, implants, surfing, and condos. That was stupid of me. But freezing? In California?

To make matters worse, my new apartment in on the 3rd floor, and my closet has a vent that is open to the roof. I still look at my window and say, "It's closed...why is it so cold. Oh yeah, the vent..." I wear socks on my hands at night just so I can write. I sleep with huge blankets, a wool hat, and sweaters on. I refuse to pay for heat in Cali. It's a psychological block I have. As the say in Ezraville, the stubborn freeze. Brrr....

Google Search: lauren tewes fan page

I love that Heather's site is #1 on Google for "Lauren Tewes Fan Page," and she has never written about Lauren Tewes. That's funny.

My favorite search query that sends people to my page "Bra Strap Fan Club."
Baltimore's City Paper has the best entrance of any alt site out there. Check it out.

I watched a Fugazi Video last night (can't remember the name but it was cool), and they had a license plate on some car that said "RU THURS-T" Perfect for the Minister of Brewed Beverages, eh? I tried to find a template online so I could post it, but I guess vanity plates are really a big item for ecommerce. Sigh.

What a dizzy whirlwind of commotion today is. God! It's cold outside, I have to plan a party, plan my trip to LA on Tuesday (G N R girls, here I come!), and get through this busy day at work. Grr...

I will band out some writing tonight, so hang tight.

PS. Thanks for all the comments! I am very pleased that my posts elicit so many responses. Thanks. Ezra (name defined)

Alas, I will not being having Iron City Beer at my party this weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

I sent a letter to President Bush, but I changed one thing. At the end, I added "And please do not bail out ENRON." Ha!

Harper convinced me to sign up for Working Assets for long distance service. She is undoubtedly their number one fan. Thanks, Harper. I like politics and telcos in a mixed drink.

"Was that so bad?" (from criagslist/missedconnections)

Kind of a lame post, and quite typical of the do nothings on Missed Connections, but can you believe this line?

"When I walk down Sansome St. I feel like a failure because I walk slower than everyone else and on the wrong side of the street. I only wanted to ride the fast elevators. Was that so bad?"

Yes, it's frickin' bad. I already told you, get out of my way!
I take issue with people that can’t walk in a straight line. Why do people decide to randomly wander back and forth across the sidewalk? I saw this “Leave it to Beaver” episode once where Beaver claimed he could walk twenty miles and then proceeded to zig zag the whole way home until his little meter said “20.” I find it hard to believe that people in the Financial District are trying to relive Beaver episodes. So what the hell are they doing? Get out of my way!

If the wanders really need assistance, they should look at the damn lines in between the sidewalk squares. They line up. Get it together and follow the line. Do the wanders get DUIs when they are sober? Should we overhaul the tests applied to allegedly drunken motorists to accommodate inept walkers? That would end up being just another corporate hand out to some Texas security firm.

SF is not Middletown. I have to get places, and these folks hold me up. Plus, I feel like a freak when I am close to passing someone and they just jet right in front of me. I feel like a criminal when I get that close to strangers.I sometimes get really pissed and say “walk in a straight line.” I know it’s obnoxious, and they have a right to walk as they wish, but can we have a little acknowledgement of community here? Not everyone wants to wander. I just need to get to work, or get to lunch, or find a bar, or whatever. I suspect that the wanders are the same idiots that try to push me out of the way so they can rip the doors off the MUNI buses when the door stays closed at a stop. No patience, and no idea how to function in a crowded space. Social graces and the realization of space have gone the way of hula-hoops.

I first noticed the walking problem when I lived in London. As you know, it rains constantly in England. People always have umbrellas out, and they don’t hesitate to poke you with them. I would walk down the street, in a straight line, of course only to see some jackass wander towards me and poke me. No apologies, and no acknowledgement of the problem. Just pure la-di-da then a poke to my head.

It also happened in the stores in London. I would be reaching over to look at a record, in a 15-foot wide aisle mind you, and some punk would find a way to run right into me. It made me so furious. How on earth did these people get out of the womb? Oh yeah, someone pulled them out. I forgot that you get help with that.

I have contemplated how to solve the problem. Yesterday, I considered suggesting that we install little moving tracks that you have to put your feet in unless you have a walking license. The license test would be just like a DUI test. Pass it sober, get a license. Fail the test, and you have to stay in the little ankle booty track thingies. Or drive everywhere. Or get pushed in a cart by one of the walkers with a license.

The problem with this plan involves kids. Kids don’t know how to walk straight, even if they are coordinated at birth. So, we would have to make an exception for the parents’ of the kids, because you can’t leave them all alone…right? The liberals would kill us with this kid clause. Imagine: A bunch of people on tracks moving at the same speed in single file. Then, a side track with professional straight walkers busting ass, and parents hunched over (in the way, of course), telling their kids to walk straight or they’ll end up like the lower caste, ankle booty crowd. Pathetic, but something must be done. It just doesn’t seem right to berate people on the street for their walking failures, but I am ready and willing. Now get out of my way!

Kool Bobby's Korner has it going on. That's why he's the Minister's homie.
One thing I really miss about living back in Pittsburgh is the pizza. I went to this pizza shop called Aiello’s nearly everyday as a kid. They sold 55-cent slices for years, but raised the price to 75 cents when I was in college, because Joe Aiello’s nephew went to Catholic School and he had to cut the checks. Speaking of “cut”, that’s what we called slices. No one understands that term in San Francisco.

Aiello’s makes pizza a little differently than most places. It’s the cheese. They use ½ cheddar, and ½ mozzarella. You still get the big, bubbly crust that makes a good pizza good, but the taste is pretty unique. Also, experienced eaters knew not to ask for hot slices. You ate them “off the top,” which mean luke warm slices stashed on top of the oven so the cheese could congeal.

The pizza shop is located about four blocks from the public high school I attended my freshman and sophomore years. It is also about that far from the house I lived in from 12 to 18. My buddies and I cut school a lot, and often hung out at Aiello’s because they didn’t care about school attendance, as long as you ate the pie. Good deal.

The workers were tough, overweight Italians with an attitude. They were the neighborhood pot slingers, street fighters, and landscapers. Being a local meant that they might nod at you when you came in. If you weren’t a local, then you had to speak up or leave. What do you want for .55 cents, right?

I have a few vivid memories about eating at Aiello’s. My friend Jesse had a way of getting in “taken” girl’s pants. One time, he picked the wrong girl and had his face smashed in by neighbor Mike over a girl. It was a punch that he didn’t see coming. Pittsburgh is like that. Watch your back, or a car will roll up when you least expect it. He had a dozen or so stitches above his eyebrow the next day. Still has the scar.

Every once in a while, some guy would walk buy that one of the shop’s employees had a beef with. Right in the middle of taking an order, the worker would jump over the counter, through the door, and pound the guy right on the street. Rags flew, boxes, toppled, customers watched, but no one left the shop. The pizza was that good. And he probably had it coming. Besides, Pittsburgh is the kind of place where you better be ready to roll up your sleeves and fight if there is a score to settle.

When I left Pittsburgh, my buddy Patrick gave me an Aiello’s T-shirt. It is one of the best gifts I have ever received. When he gave it to me, he said, “Now that you are leaving town, you can wear this. It’s just not cool to wear local T-shirts when you live in the town.” Very true indeed. There is no way I would ever wear an Aiello’s T-shirt in Pittsburgh. That would be like wearing a frat shirt for a frat you didn't belong to. Or, wearing a letterman jacket when you are on the chess club. But I wear it now, even if it’s just to clean the house. It’s kind of big and ugly, yet it feeds my need for nostalgia.

I miss that pizza. Escape from NY just doesn’t cut it at $2.50 a slice. Sure, it’s better than 99% of the SF pizza shops, but damn…it’s not that good. And, it sure isn’t Aiello’s. Nobody fights at EFNY, they just beg for change and smokes in the good old Haight Ashbury district. Tame and lame.
San Francisco finds 240 ballots not counted in November election; supervisors demand answers

Like I said when they announced the result, there is no way PG&E won the election. No way. Everyone hates PG&E, and if you walk around and talk to one voted for PG&E to saty as our power provider. No one. If anyone can truthfully say that they voted against public power, email me and I will put you on display for safekeeping. Right next to Einstein's brains, and Madonna's pap smear.
Shane Wilkie wrote a cool story on Mavericks, called "A Closer Look..." Also, here are some more photos to enjoy. Plus, the SF Examiner story about the idiot WaveRunner riders that had to be rescued form 100 foot waves.

I have never surfed, and don't really like watching the tricks and runs. However, I really like to look at the water. It's crazy that people try to ride these waves. It's the equivalent of trying to ski on an avalanche.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

More Batts

(I feel like a Lousiville Slugger Salesman...)
Carlos Batts -- With The Lights On.

He's the king of fashion photography.
Ok, I need to pause for a quick moment...

This is still a blog, but my recent efforts have drawn a lot of attention. Hits galore. I love attention like this, as I am just like any other artist trying to get my work out to the masses. I am really really grateful for the compliments from friends and strangers alike. However, It has become really difficult to produce short stories and confessionals from my desk at work (which I really should not do anyway). I still have time to hit “Blog This!” on good articles and pictures, but the task or opening up is quiet daunting. My boss is on my ass to get us some appointments in LA (I work in a recording studio for advertising), so he keeps coming to my desk every five minutes to smack me around and hound me with inconsequential crap. Still, I collect a check here…so I have to bust my ass and bring in business.

As for writing, I am 100% committed to quality now. It’s not just my steam of consciousness anymore. Now I must find the right topic, the right words, the right angle, the right tense, and still stay employed (hint to publishers: please get me out of the freaking pit of 9-to-5). Every night, I wrack my brain for a new topic. I start at least three or four stories, and then have insomnia over which one to tackle in the morning. It is a pain in the ass, but I love writing. It is good for me, and Blogger makes it easy to write every day. After all, If you write one page a day, you will have a good sized book in a year. That’s my plan.

I want to write things that mean something to people. I want my charms to win the heart the heart of the right woman. I want her to feel like the queen of the land, like Marilyn when she was with Arthur Miller. This is a daunting task. Should I slow down, and only publish every few days? Should I set up frames on my blog so a stream of links can go up on the right side of my site, and my stories can grace the left? I don’t know, but I am giving my best. It is a fine line I walk with revealing my private struggles on this site, as my friends and family read it as truth.

On top of all of this, I don’t really understand HTML. I manage the, which has quite a few writers. I avoided learning technical stuff when I was at Carnegie Melon. Avoided it! Do you know how stupid I feel for not knowing HTML after attending one of the top computer science schools in the world? Yeah, stupid. That’s why I studied Social History.

On top of that, I have to go out and get experiences to write about. This involves making an ass of myself, throwing back beers and meeting people, asking strangers out, hyping up my crushes, travelling, etc. All cool, but man those hangovers kick my ass.

So forgive me today. Writer’s block, my boss, the weather, my party, etc are bogging me down. This isn't a pity party, but I need to get it off my chest. I do promise to deliver and if you just keep coming by, checking out the other writers on, and have some faith…you will be entertained. Here comes the boss again…
I reworked Heather's website called "The Lauren Tewes Fan Page!" Much better. Now if I could just figure out permalinks, we'd rule the world. Z
So busy today. Please stop back later, as I promise to write something good for y'all then. Z

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Like the Prettiest Girl…Ever

I turned around last night, and you were standing right next to me. Imagine my surprise, as I had just finished telling my friends that I wanted to get a beer at the restaurant where you work. It’s a busy place, and the air is oily from the cooking. It’s a bit like a sauna without heat. Or sitting in a car on a rainy day, breath fogging the windows. But it had nothing to do with food, nor atmosphere. I wanted a beer so I could see you. I was ready to tell you.

It’s been a 6-month struggle for me. See, you’re not my type. I wouldn’t look twice at you on the street, or on the train. But repetition is in your favor, and I come at least once a week now. At first, it was a simple acknowledgement of your beauty. I noticed your impish smile, and the way you bite your lip while smiling. Then I started to appreciate your hair, a disorderly thatch of deviant black strands. Your hair has a mind of its own, sometimes tickling the contours of your ear, other times falling forward in an act of defiance to block my view of your eyes. And it is your glance that makes me sit up straight and take notice of my posture and my hopelessly inadequate tattered sneakers.

Every day, I walk past your restaurant on my way home. I am addicted to the rise I feel inside when I see you working, and the disappointment I feel when you are not scheduled. My friends have a song about my foolish habit of crossing the street to see if you are working. I usually tell them to quit it, as I need the moment to myself. But it must be done, as there a few things that brighten my day like the thrill of seeing you through a steamed up window as you swing your hips, navigating the obstacles of a crowded dinner rush. You are at your best with your voice elevated above the crowd, supplying direction to the squirming dinner folk with a flick of a finger.

If you were my type, I would have something to say. But in your presence, I am just another customer spitting out my unoriginal requests for tap beer and noodle specials. There is no way to express myself when ordering. One time, I wrote “thanks!” on my credit card receipt, thinking that you might notice the small act as an attempt to separate myself from the horde. I saw you read the receipt, but then you removed money from the register and I knew that you were extracting the tip from my payment. I left.

I started coming in by myself to get take out. I always have a beer while I wait for the food. Do you remember me now? I am the one that sits at the first stool near the waitresses’ station, drinking quickly so that I am not left sitting with a plastic bag of food that your are tired of touching. It is a small effort on the surface, but if you saw me anywhere else, you would know that I am not usually tongue-tied and pale. I get panicky and disoriented the severity of my condition worsening as you approach. Remember me?

The months rolled by and my agony swelled. I considered bringing poems to the restaurant and tacking them to the door in anticipation of your arrival. But this secret admirer is not a stalker, and I would hate for another to take the credit. I was never comfortable with the idea of telling you this while you are working. That isn’t fair, a captive of me in the prison of your work. So I withheld, and hoped to see you for a moment at a party, or on the street. I contemplated a thousand approaches, knowing that my one chance would be a determinant of your impressions. And so it went, with my heart racing for a few sacred moments, my nights spent thinking of what to say and how to inspire reciprocity, and my hopes dwindling as the days became months and I washed the hairs of insufficient substitutes from my sheets.

You must now know why I was surprised to see you standing less than five feet away from me at the bar last night. As the music stirred conversations into a background hum, eventually melting the lyrics and instruments into a cacophonous gurgle, I watched as you removed your coat. You certainly have style! I could tell from they way you carry yourself that grace is your ally, but I had never seen you decorated, wielding fashion as a charm.

My friends noticed the changes in my skin tone, and my sudden disinterest in my game of pool. Sneaking hidden whispers of explanation, I revealed your identity as I begged them not to look. I felt a fever, a weakness of will, and a heightened sense of self, focused on enunciation, alignment, and my place in the room. I watched you from the corner of my eye, trying to make eye contact in an effort to display a smile before your eyes. It did not happen, and you turned your attention to your friends who were busy inserting quarters into the video games of our childhood.

Your two friends looked nice, but were they your lovers? If so, I am clearly more handsome and capable. I appreciate your oversized squishy shoes and the tiny bruise that marks the intersection of your kneecap and calf on your left leg. Do they notice such things? I see your floppy hair and your black lace stockings that have rips at the thigh, visible only when you are seated. I noticed your fingers as they gripped the steering wheel of the driving game you played. They are thin and fit perfectly together to form tiny masses, like knots. I thought of the boy you maybe punched in stomach in fourth grade. If I were he, I would still relish the moment of abuse, grateful for the attention. It is more than you gave me.

Your friends left you sitting alone for a moment, and I swallowed before approaching. As I touched you on the shoulder, you turned. Your proximity caught me by surprise, and I was struck by the difference our closeness could make on my impression. It is the difference between seeing a poster of a painting and inspecting the brush strokes in person. Or wanting a piece of jewelry compared to seeing it on your finger beneath a magnifying glass. Stunned by the moment, I swallowed again before proceeding:

“Don’t you work at the CC Restaurant?”
“What’s your name…”
“My name’s Ezra”
“I’ve seen you working there before, but didn’t want to bug you. I just wanted to say that you are… like the… prettiest girl…ever.”
“…Thank you”

As I walked away, I felt immense release. The clamor of the music became familiar again, and the conversations surrounding me sprang from the pause of our moment. And in the end, I am right back where I started. The burn only grows…
Incredibly Strange Databases / Unusual information collections reveal our digital subconscious

There are lots of good links in this article. Hours of fun...

Monday, November 26, 2001

The Deputy Minister of Wordiness, leader of The Beverage Party of America ("Drinks for All, Thrist for None"), has a new rant up. Check it out.
So many people commented on my little love poem a few posts ago that I decided to link several of them on the left column of my page. See "Fellow Bloggers" and pay them all a visit. They are kind people.

Stop Hugging Me…

I was in AA at age fourteen, suffering though meetings with people fifty years older than me. There were, however, a few young people that had been snatched up by their parents and shipped to the rehab factory, compliments of Nancy Reagan and the drug propaganda machine. If you don’t know the teenage rehab scam, it goes like this: You get high once. Your parents catch you. They take you to a counselor, who is in on the whole scheme with the bio-industrial profiteers seeking to get rich from the mistakes of youth. The counselor recommends that you be sent to rehab, and either labels you an “alcoholic/druggie,” or “clinically depressed.” He picks your diagnosis based on his best estimation of your parent’s fears.

Then, you spend a week in “evaluation.” At the end of the week, a big group consisting of your parent’s and other kids parents gathers in a room for a fish bowl style intervention. They ask you to tell your story, and accuse you of lying at every turn. You might say, “The first time I drank alcohol, I drank 18 shots of Smirnoff.” The group says, “That’s enough to kill a grown man. You are an alcoholic.” Then you say things like, “But I didn’t know how much to drink. I have never had vodka before. I just tried it once and got sick.” And they say, “You are in denial. You must stay for rehab and get better. Denial is a sign of alcoholism.” The price: 40 grand. Success rate: 3%. What a deal.

You cry, maybe shriek a few times. I had this type of intervention on my 14th birthday. Prior to the meeting, I had hopes of going home to watch a movie and eat ice cream for my birthday. The meeting was at 8pm, and I thought I would be home by 9:30 since I was definitely not an alcoholic/druggie. But your will and the retention of your youth is not part of the plan, so game over.

The counselors take you back to the ward and the next 28 days are an exercise in breaking your will. They ask you about your stomping grounds, and when you say “The Jewish Community Center,” some jack ass 28 year old counselor says, “You are an acid head. I hung out there and that’s where all the kids buy acid.” A freaking community center, for Christ sakes! You are now an acidhead, despite thinking of battery acid when it is discussed.

28 days later, you depart and are sentenced to 90 straight days of AA meetings with a bunch of old criminals that ride Harleys and have tattoos of 6 ex wives on their arms. How fun! Yet, there are a few young people and since your parents have taken all your posters, T-shirts, music, books, and friends, these few souls become your only buddies. How fun! What a great way to make new friends…

Anyway, there was this girl named Jocelyn who drove a VW Cabriolet. She had all the right tennis girl attire. She wore little gold dangly bracelets, short white summer skirts, and long blond hair that looked like she combed it against her neck for hours. I also remember her dainty little white tennis shoes and pom pom socks. She was 16, and I was an awkward 14 year old with no sense of grace and an alleged drinking problem. She was in the same boat, so we hung out. We didn’t hang out because she liked me or anything like that. We hung out because she liked my friend Bruce, a rugged and preppy guy that he drove me to the meetings since I didn’t have a license yet.

A huge part of AA is hugging. Everyone hugs, I guess because so many of the boozers have pissed on their families and they only came to AA after realizing that no one gave a crap about them anymore. I was under constant pressure to admit that I had a problem, and after I realized that the AA meetings were a life sentence I began to say the right stuff. “Hi. My name is Ezra and I am and Alcoholic.” This was always followed by a chant of, “Hi Ezra,” that tailed off in a poor representation of unison. I was beginning to fit in. Just tell a good drinking story and you can get into the club.

At fourteen, I had already lost my virginity, but after my trip to rehab, I had very few women to try for since most of the other fourteen year old girls were not drinkers. Jocelyn seemed like a nice girl to try for, and she was the only person I looked forward to hugging at the meetings.

The hugs were great. I was vaguely aware of trying to hug her too much, but I just kept doing it thinking that she liked the affection. I certainly enjoyed it. I was a really unfashionable kid, with mousse in my hair and purple turtlenecks. I wore Chuck Taylors, and parachute pants. It was quite horrific, actually. But I headed to the meetings with all the confidence in the world after spending an hour in the mirror. I had the classic problem of all teenagers. The mirror lied to me by telling me that my zits weren’t that noticeable, that my clothes made me look cool, and that my skinny body was showing signs of muscular development. What a lie!

I really never had a shot a Jocelyn. She was a daddy’s girl, and all she wanted was an older boyfriend that drove, smoked, had money, and was preppy. I had none of these attributes, but I still got hugs, so my hopes were high.

One day, it all came crashing down on me. The miserable moment of mortification had arrived. I approached Jocelyn before a meeting as she stood with a group of the older kids at the meeting. I was the only one under 16. I walked up and reached for my daily dose of her. As I went to hug her, she said, “We need to talk.” Right in front of everyone, she announced that the hugging thing needed to stop. She said every once in a while was ok, but that I needed to cut it back a bit. As if some is better than none when everyone knows it’s charity. I turned white, and saw the grins of my peers. She reached for Bruce’s arm and pulled him to her. I barely managed to eke out a “no problem,” before backing away. It was horrible and they laughed. And I backed away, and the whispers followed. I could hear my ears ringing, the white noise of embarrassment and cruelty sinking in.

All of a sudden, my hair felt crusty. I hated the moose. My pants were too puffy, my shirt too tight. I was too small, and hated the mole on my upper lip. Madonna was a sex symbol for her mole. I was a loser. I was destroyed, and there was no way to escape the daily pain of seeing Jocelyn at the meetings. The counselors, my school, and my mother insisted. The meetings were good for me. They would help me. And my self-esteem was shining through, said the adults for their leather chairs and meeting rooms. But alone at night, in front of the mirror, I wanted to cut my mole off and be someone else.

Saturday, November 24, 2001

FYI, John Fante is the best damn writer I have ever read. I am going to try to write a novel. I have a good idea for it, but it seems like it might be better suited for a movie. I would write a real post tonight, but a couple of thing are bogging me down. I need clarity. My stepmother's cheap wine has me in the weeds. Typing is a chore...sorry. (for every letter I type, I have to correct it two times). Woozy.
Big ups to Sara Kate for linking me, and to HeyJo for reposting one of my pieces. You are too kind. Thanks, folks! Loving it...Z

(more new stuff coming later tonight after I get out of the bowling alley with my teenage brothers)

Hey! I made some cyber friends! This blog even republished my last post. Woo hoo! Thanks....z

Friday, November 23, 2001

The problem is that love makes it all so damn difficult

You were the first one to teach me about ripening fruit by putting it in a paper bag. And you said you liked my hat when I wouldn’t wear it because I thought it was a fashion fraud. I wore it. One time I was so amazed by your presence in my life that I drove my lawn mower in circles out of glee. When the storms came, you suggested that we sit on the porch in rocking chairs to enjoy the humidity.

I admit that I lied about washing your flannel shirt because I liked it with your smell on it. Maybe you knew and didn’t say anything. You understand the things that I do.

You are warm to me. You make coming home worth while. And getting up, for that matter. I like you most in the morning, when your tangled hair floats in the breeze of our window fan before settling on my arm again. I like it when we stay in bed late and you wear your sleepy smile, nestling back into the craters you created in the bed. I don’t have a time that I like you least. Even when you are drunk, I am enamored.

When you get excited, your eyes light up like the little sister I never had discovering a miniature pony in our yard on Christmas morning. You don’t eat candy, but I do because it reminds me of your taste. And you have that habit slowly blowing smoke out in a perfect “v” that turns me on so much. I could watch you do that for hours, but I might explode first.

I learned to like Van Halen because you do. I eat with chopsticks, fumbling through my slowly diminishing hunger because you like a long dinner. I know all the right wineglasses now that you started bringing wine home everyday, and I love when we get drunk and laugh for hours. I drive slowly so I don’t crash and miss a night with you.

Your probably don’t see me, but I feign sleep and peek from beneath the covers as you sit Indian style in front of your mirror, putting on makeup and moving to the rhythm of routine. When we are in bed, I sometimes endure the aggravation of itches so as not to wake you. I open the door slowly on my to work in the afternoon, wincing at every creak so you will not feel alone as you nap.

Anytime I want to, I can recall the feeling of you on my lap and the warmth left by the backside of your legs. I get your newspaper for you so you do not have to have cold feet. I worry because your apartment building has a foyer with no lock that leads to your door. I kiss your tattoos as if I might never see them again.

You don’t see me cry for you, but I do. Maybe you hear the cracks in my voice and the fade of my sentences, but I won’t let you see the tears because nothing is wrong. It is joy, and I can’t even begin to explain it, even if you asked me to. I don’t have any words for those moments, but when I hug you longer than usual, you know why.

I pick what you like, because making you happy makes me happy. I see your beauty in the sway of the willows, and in the rolling breaks of the ocean that span past the reach of sight. You give me comfort like summer cottages with rickety hinges from my childhood vacations, toasty slippers by the bedside that a loved one quietly placed during my nap, and fresh soda bread that only my Aunt Alice can make.

Dose it out slowly, and go easy on me. I am a foolish man, and my dreams run me into walls.

I really like books, but the whole problem with them is that I know when a good story will end by the appearance of a partial page at the very end. Can someone fix that problem? Thanks in advance…
I have been trying to get Heather Moylan'ws site to the top of Google's results for "Heather Moylan" searches. It is not going well. The site I built for her was beaten by one of her college drawings from 1995. It first appeared in Colby's feminist rag, New Moon Rising. Sorry, Heather...I could not resist linking it. Z
Ok, I really hate the names I used in my story. Blech!

Thursday, November 22, 2001

This is effort two on the short story front. Comments? Suggestions? Believeable?

Northwood Drive
A story by Ezra Fowler

I had these two buddies in high school named Billy and Noah. They were brothers and lived around the corner from me on Northwood Drive. They became brothers through a marriage when they were in their early teens, but everyone thought that they were tied by blood. I liked them both, but hung out with Billy more because he was my age. Still, Noah and I were tight. The three of us hung out nearly everyday until I went to college and we all got busy.

Years later, when I was a sophomore in college, Billy showed up at my apartment. He was pale and unnerved by something. I let him in. My roommate James was home, and we all sat down. Billy said that Noah was missing, and that we had to go look for him. I was stunned.

Billy told us about the last time he and his family had seen Noah. Noah and his buddy Kent had been at a party, and were pulled over by a cop on their way home. The cop said they fit the description of two people the police were looking for. Two white kids stole a car just like Noah’s, but they weren’t the guys he was looking for. However, they had an open beer in the car and were taken in since Noah’s dad owned the car and they didn’t have the registration.

When he picked them up at the station, Noah’s dad gave him a tongue lashing about his partying while using the family car. On the way home, the fight got so bad that Noah jumped out of the car and ran into a park. The park was the same park he grew up next to, but he ran in on the far side of it from his house. Seconds later, his buddy Kent jumped out of the car and chased after him. It was really late and he was unable to find Noah, so they left and figured that he would show up since he knew the park well and it was less than a mile to his house.

He didn’t show up the next day. Or the next. That’s when Billy showed up at my house.

I said that he might have gone to California, since he liked to talk about moving there. Billy said maybe. It seemed strange that he would just leave, and we started talking about the last time each of us had seen him. The air was heavy in the room, and there was no music on. We smoked lots of cigarettes, and my old fan buzzed in the corner.

After a few hours, we all agreed that his disappearance was not like him. We started calling around, but had no one we knew had talked to Noah. Finally, we decide to go out and look for him. We drove to all his regular spots, but couldn’t find him. By then, Billy was really starting to flip out and so were his parents. Me too.

As the second day of his disappearance came to a close, the story had reached most of our friends. Almost everyone that knew him was in on the search. The police started to help after the 48-hour window passed, which was how long they typically waited before getting involved in missing person cases. This girl Kelly that Noah liked a lot also came in from the suburbs to help us. I liked Kelly, but I knew that Noah was into her and that she wasn’t really interested in dating him. Still, they were friends and I was glad she was around. She was very kind and pretty. A petite Asian girl with a soft voice.

As our search continued and the third day passed, people began to drop out of the search. We all figured he had run away from his life for a bit, and that if anyone could find him it would be his family. The whole situation was eerie. It was a hot and dull summer, and his disappearance was all that anyone could talk about. So we drank beers, speculated, and joked about how he was probably on a beach with some chick in California smoking a blunt or something. We were happy for him in those moments.

Finally, the search ended. His stepfather found him in a ditch near the entrance to the park. There was a telephone pole marking a fork in the path, and he had missed a turn and tripped over the pole. The police said he died instantly when he hit his head on a boulder during the fall. Noah knew the woods better than anyone, but he didn’t know about the pole. Maybe he forgot because he was drunk and angry. Either that or the pole was a new part of the woods.

Noah was dead.

The funeral was really depressing. We all wept and hugged. Many people saw each other for the first time since our graduation two years before. There were pictures of Noah everywhere. I met his extended family, which added to the sadness. He was loved, and reality began to set in. No more Noah…ever. And we wept even more.

Noah loved everyone as much as they loved him. He was a funny guy. He had this collection of $300 VW Bugs that sat on cinder blocks in his parent’s driveway. They usually ran for a week or two before he put out new blocks and stashed them in the driveway. He was worked a lot to save money for these cars, but didn’t know how to repair them. That’s why he used his parent’s car. He was a great musician, and played in a jazz-rock band that I went to see pretty regularly. We often talked about his ex-girlfriend, Alice. She called him on a daily basis, threatening to kill herself if he wouldn’t get back together with her. I was the one that told him that she would be fine, and to not get back together with her. That’s when he met Kelly and started trying to court her. Right before he died, he seemed to be closer to getting together with her.

After his death, his courtship of Kelly came up among friends every once in a while. I thought about it a lot. He deserved a nice girl, and she was a good fit for him. I had wanted them to be together, as had most of our friends. It added to the sadness when she started hanging out with us more often. She seemed to miss him immensely, possibly regretting her evasiveness in the face of loss. I kind of resented her for not being with him when she was alive, but my feelings served no purpose and I was kind to her.

A week or so after Noah’s death, my friend Jesse told me a really horrifying story about Kelly. Apparently, she slept in his bed the night of the funeral. But that wasn’t the strange part, as we all had our ways of mourning and Noah’s parents let her hang around because they knew that they were close. What disturbed me was that his brother Billy hooked up with her the night of the funeral. In his bed.

My close circle of friends that knew about their affair and we began to distance our selves from Billy. It seemed so strange, the idea of his brother and the object of his desire sharing fluids in the very same room Noah had been in just days ago. His music still equipment rested against the walls. His posters still hung above his bed. His striped athletic socks still poked out from the tops of his half closed dresser drawers. His dirty clothes remained in his hamper.

I began to resent Billy and hate his face. I struggled with being his friend and supporting him while he mourned. It wasn’t easy resenting someone that had just lost a brother. I felt petty and uneasy, but my anger grew. He still hung out at my place a lot, and I really did try to pretend that the affair had never happened. But it wouldn’t go away.

Weeks went by, and my anger eased into a general dislike and distrust. My girlfriend, Anna, left her college and enrolled at my school for a semester. She lived in my room, and hung out with my friends. We all partied at my house since we had a big place and it was an easy location for everyone to get to. One night, we were all partying and Anna went to bed early. She was drunk and passed out in my bed. I was in the middle of a long talk with James when I noticed that Billy had been out of the room for 20 minutes or so. I went to check on him, thinking he might be sick in my bathroom. When he wasn’t in there, I went to check my room. Billy was on my bed, and jumped when I opened the door.

I asked him what he was doing, and he stuttered a lot before saying that he was checking on Anna. I told him that I would take care of it, and he left. Anna was only half awake, so I kissed her on the forehead and decided to wait until the morning to ask her about it. When I returned to the living room, Billy was on his way out. He said that he had to go to work early, and would talk to me later. I gave him a long stare and said goodnight.

The next day, Anna told me that he had tried to kiss her and touch her. I was livid. I totally flipped out. She said not to worry and that it was no big deal, but I was pissed. James told me that I should be pissed. My anger over the affair with Kelly swelled again. I decided to call a close friend that shared an apartment with Billy. I told him that I was going to kick Billy’s ass for the whole thing, and he said that he would let me into the apartment to do it. I went right over.

When I got to Billy’s place, my friend let me in. Billy was in the kitchen. I stormed in and immediately tackled him, knocking him to the kitchen floor. I put him in a headlock and dragged him to the bedroom, screaming about how big of an asshole he was. He kept yelling at me to get off him. I yelled much louder, and smacked him in the face a few times. I was unstoppable.

I ran out of the apartment and saw his car parked in front. I jumped on the hood, denting it pretty badly. As I jumped, Billy yelled about suing me from his second story window. I yelled even louder, telling him to fuck off. I jumped a few more times, mangling the car until it looked like someone had dropped a boulder on it. I help up my middle finger for him as I jumped. Then I left.

I got in my car and light a smoke. I started my car and turned the music up. My cigarette tasted better than ever. I put the car in gear and drive home, carving out perfect turns for fun while singing at the top of my lungs.

We never spoke again.
Ok. I am really, really pissed off this Thanksgiving. My stepmother, a woman that I have had my problems with over the years, has a huge heart. She is a somewhat pig headed lady and can be a pain, but she means well. She worked really hard to make a nice dinner for us to eat at 2pm today. My step cousins were and hour and a half late, but it was because their father is an asshole alcoholic and they got in a fight before coming over. It’s the same old shit, and they are only in their early twenties so we can forgive them. It’s not their fault. However, my brother Charlie is the real bummer asshole today. He got up at 9am, went to play football, and said he would be back at 11am. AT 2:30, he hadn’t arrived, and dinner was on the table.

My parents were concerned that he had been hurt, or was on a call with the fire department. So, they sent John (my youngest brother) and I to look for him up in town. We drove around and couldn’t find him. Then, my stepmother called to say that he came home drunk, and left John’s car somewhere in the next town. I was totally pissed off, and we came home.

We came home, and Charlie was in bed already. I went and knocked on his door, and he said come in. It was locked. I kept banging for ten minutes until he opened the door. He staggered and swerved before falling back into bed. I told him it was 3:15pm, and that mom had dinner on the table. He said to tell her he would eat at three. I said it was already three. He said fine, four then. I said you have a nice family, they love you. Please come to dinner. I reiterated that Thanksgiving is a sacred holiday, and that he should respect his loving family and sit at the table if he could keep from puking. No dice. He didn’t even listen.

I came downstairs, and informed my family that he was not coming to dinner. My dad was pissed in his usual way. He was quiet and long faced, too irritated to speak. My stepmother insisted that he was fine and it would be ok. I understand her reaction. Who wants to sit there on this nice holiday and admit that their own son is a freaking asshole, drunk on Thanksgiving? It totally sucked.

I brought Charlie some water, a trashcan for puking, and bread, but his door was locked. John picked the lock so I could bring him the food and beverages. He didn’t want any. Asshole. I left and told him to get it together. He slept.

We ate a surprisingly pleasant dinner as 4/5th’s of a family. My cousins were at our house by then, so they joined us to eat. It was nice. My stepmother tries so hard. Holidays are huge for her. Every Christmas, she puts out these enormous rows of gifts that stretch out twenty feet from the tree. Everyone has a row. It’s cool, despite being outrageously extravagant. I like her much more now. She is tough, has a heart, and forgives. Way cool for the shit she has to deal with here.

It’s really sad to see alcohol destroy a family dinner. How hard is it for a nineteen year-old kid to sit his ass down at the table and show some gratitude and respect for his mother and father, It’s totally fucked up. I know he was mugged at gunpoint a few weeks ago, but goddamn. Show the fuck up to dinner, sit down, hug your parents, eat and then get drunk later if you must. That is not that hard. In all my years of excessive intake (LSD, pot, pills, booze, etc) I never missed a holiday meal with my parents. I mean, Christ, they put me here and gave me a reason to live. Charlie has me freaking livid right now. I am depressed.

My brother is leaving U of Tampa in ten days. He is supposed to come home and enroll in community college. He wants to get an apartment and live in town. Fine, but why should my parents help? Can you believe this shit? I can’t. It’s fucking unbelievable to me.

I told my dad to take Charlie’s car, and cut the money flow. He says that my brother can’t get around in NJ without a car and that he is planning to drive 3 kids home when he leaves Florida. I said, fuck him. Take it anyway. Tell him to work, buy a car, and learn some goddamn respect. There are plenty of kids that have made something of themselves without parental money, and they learned how to deal. If he is going to drink, show no respect, and expect support… forget it. My dad’s response was that if he hung out in the house with my brother, he would punch him out. Oh well.

We are talking about how to have an intervention. I don’t know how I feel about it. I went through that shit: AA, counselors, rehab, family police, etc, and just took more acid to justify the whole affair. However, Charlie won’t talk to anyone. We have a family friend that helped raise my brother’s friends when their dad died. The guy’s name is Father Mike, the local pastor. The kids’ mom moved him into their house so he had a place to stay and could help. He is a really nice man, and could certainly talk to Charlie. However, Charlie won’t talk to my parents, father Mike, his friends, nor me. So, I am starting to get that tough love feeling Who the fuck knows what to do? I want to kick his ass. I went through a similar phase in life, and thought that I could maybe help. I still have hope that he may talk to me, but I am not optimistic.

I guess my dad may have to cut him off so he can learn on his own. That sucks, and my dad doesn’t want to do it. John and I told him to do it. It’s all so sad. I love my brother. He’s a good kid, and has a bright future. But booze is a devil’s tool, and he is stuck in hell right now. Soft love gets you nothing. Fuck!

On top of it all, my stepmother’s father has 65 types of cancer, falls over, and is in the hospital every damn week for something new. He weighs 85 pounds, or thereabouts and is barely alive. My stepmother is flying to see him in Florida for a few weeks, basically in case he dies. So sad, and my brother has no concept of support for her. FUCKED UP!!!!

My parents are distraught in the way that parents get on the holidays when family gatherings fall apart. They wear a smile and whisper a lot. It’s all so sad.

I miss Jennifer, Jeffe, Matthew, the Honans, my roommates, my bio mother, Adrienne, and especially my brother. He used to know his head from his ass.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

I typically refrain from linking deeply personal weblogs written by people I don't know, but this one is freaking amazing. Blogger featured it anyway, so no biggie I guess. This person has really inspired me to dig deeper into my life, family, and self. Please PLEASE stop over and visit the site. It's a very honest site, I was touched by how personal it is. Happy Thanksgiving! Z
Big Ups to Jersey Girls

I went to the infamous “Cue Time” pool hall in Ledgewood, NJ tonight. My brother John was overjoyed to take 3 out of 7 games, and claimed that it was the first time he had ever taken a game from me. I told him to chill out because it wasn’t like he put a flag on the moon, but kid brothers see the battle and not the war when claiming victory. His girlfriend Jaime laughed and gave me props for not pointing out my ultimate best-of-seven victory. Points to the girl. Points to the brother for his taste in women.

The really cool thing about Cue Time is that it is a true slice of NJ life. The girls are super hot in their own way. Think Jamaican style hair wraps, except with bleach blond hair, bandanas, and tied crimps instead of dreads. I kid you not. Cue Time is a crimp museum. I actually found myself a little turned on. It got really overwhelming when I noticed that several of the girls had 80’s style Jordache jeans on. They wear the jeans so tight that my view was disrupted by the reflection of the TV set on their ass. One girl had a pair of jeans on that reminded me of the acid wash era when jeans were cut so that the seams were virtually invisible. I kept looking at her, only half worried that her white hat college boyfriend might beat me up. I guess no one told these people that wearing a jean cut like that was part of the acid wash problem. Someone must have pre-empted the MTV House of Style fashion update to bring live footage of Bill Clinton playing the sax for votes. Then again, acid wash goes way back, so maybe it was the “World Premiere” video of Bush Sr.’s new rap single, “No New Taxes.”

When I am in NJ, I feel way cooler than everyone else. It could be that I live in the fabulously hip city of San Francisco. Maybe it’s my style that screams, “I am not from, here…ok?” Or, maybe it’s the fact that I play in two of 2001’s hottest rock bands, HAMoTAM and Assassinate Bill. Doubtful. Everyone here calls SF “Gay Town,” and makes jokes about how I live in the right place for such a pansy. As far as style, my GAPless wardrobe punctuated with dirty sneakers and un-matching layers pretty much eliminates me from contention with the bling bling strip mall girls. As for knowing cool bands here, it is safe to assume that recognition for my efforts is going to reach a peak when they throw the HAMoTAM business cards in the trash at the end of the night Yes, I left business cards at the pool hall. Maybe one day they will all regret THROWING A CARD AWAY that I TOUCHED. Until then…

My attraction to the “pool hall/strip mall/Contempo Casual/Billy Joel/Villanova is the best school ever!” girls is rooted in my early departure from NJ at the age of twelve. Sure, my dad has lived here all of my life, and I still have some friends around (sometimes), but I was totally robbed of the Jersey girl experience. I really do regret that. Pittsburgh girls were fun in their own way, but they never had the national reputation of NJ girls. Since it’s all about my rep after all, my regrets run deep. I wish that just once a Jersey girl would walk up and say “Hey Cali Boy…wanna go for a ride?” Then we would cruise in her daddy’s pickup to some loser ass SHOPRITE parking lot, shag, and roll on to a cheap late night diner for a bad egg sandwich. That would be heaven for this boy: acid wash jeans that take 45 minutes to peel off, a squeaking Ford F-150 suspension, and a sick feeling in my stomach from eating late night egg beater sandwich. The perfect date. I might even buy her a new hair band ffrom the jelly bracelet store in the morning...
UPDATE: I decided to read Bukowski's "PULP." The first page says," dedicated to bad writing." I can dig it. Like all cheap american pop culture whores, I am a sucker for cover art and liner notes, Forget content, give me eye candy, sex, and new york times book reviews. SOLD!

One other thing that rocks about NJ: Jerry Izenberg's sports column for the NJ Star Ledger. He is damn good, but I must read his column online since my parent's don't get the paper anymore, and I don't want to drive a mile just to pick up a crappy paper with one good writer. It's not the same online as in print.

“You can’t get BET in Chester, NJ,” says my brother John as we cruise up to Barnes and Noble. My brother is right, and I am damn glad he has a Redman CD to listen to instead of the new Britney Spears. Chester is white as a mashed potato…before butter. It a town of bad brew pubs, dentist offices, and 55 stores that sell custom candles (an exaggeration, but who the hell counts that stuff anyway?). The cops keep a list of “trouble” children here, as my other brother, Charlie, can attest to (he was #2 in high school). That said, it’s a pretty place. Despite being a laboratory for soccer mom breeding, Chester does have wonders like the Lucent Telephone Pole Farm (where they “grow” telephone poles to test their longevity), and Larison’s Turkey Farm. My friend Tony told me not to eat there anymore, because he knew some kid that worked there and they recycle the half eaten mashed potatoes….ewww!

The thing that stands out the most about coming home to NJ is the landscape. I am amazed at the houses here, as they are a way different than SF homes. Wood dominates the older architecture, and people paint their houses in pinks, mint greens, and sky blues. There are also many new developments mixed into the landscape, which I try to ignore despite the fact that my parents live in a new development. The new developments are composed of homes made of brick and beige siding, which I deplore. I like Pittsburgh brick, with the soot stains and sand blast lines from various cleanings over the years. I don’t like suburban NJ brick. Anyway, in between the older wooden homes, and the new developments there is basically nothing. All homes here are on land carved out from the woods, leaving vast expanses of brown and tan woods and brush to fill in the landscape. It is like someone gave the city planner a box of crayons that only contained brown, light brown, dark brown, burnt sienna, tan, and one green to work with.

All shopping is done on the highway. You have to go to strip malls, and to towns with 25mph speed limits imposed to make you slow and shop. Need a rare record? Good luck. Need a little indie rock? Huh? It’s that type of scene. My favorite places to go in NJ are Bernie’s Hillside Lounge for the dive atmosphere and the pool, and another pool place on Rte. 10 that has an all night candy counter for munchies. There really isn’t much else to do, so my brothers and I make up reasons to get out of the house like needing smokes, renting a movie, or getting gas so we don’t have to do it later. It gets even weirder when we go to the Chester Hills Diner in town to check out all the kids from their high school as they spend 65 cents on coffee and stay for three hours, or until they smoke a pack of cigs. I actually like going to the diner. I was once a kid that left 14 cent tips too, so it’s reassuring to know that bored punk suburban kids might grow up to be as cool as me.

My brother, Charlie is having a tough time with the fact that he was mugged in Tampa. Since he’s off seeing Grateful Dead cover bands in Dover, NJ, I haven’t had much of a chance to get his thoughts on things. I guess he’s ok, but my Dad tells me that he wants to come home, get an apartment, and go to Morris Community College for a semester. I feel terrible about this. I don’t question his ambition, as he is an EMT and Fireman, but I feel like he is leaving Tampa and a good education because he was mugged. I hope everything works out for him, because it would be horrible if he had some bad luck back in NJ and ended up pissed off at some mugger for robbing him of an opportunity. He’s a sharp kid, and I am sure he will be ok. I do worry though. We will see each other tomorrow, and I hope he will talk to me about it. He hasn’t said much to anyone since he was robbed.

My brother John has a six month relationship on his hands. He seems to like the girl, Jamie, so that’s good. I can’t imagine being in a serious relationship my senior year of HS (I totally forget what it’s like), but he appears to be handling it well. She’s a cool girl that keeps her chin up and looks my parents in the eye, so at least she is straight up. John is a very chill kid. He’s level headed, reads a lot, plays guitar and sports, and has nice friends. He should be ok no matter what.

My family still doesn’t understand the weblog thing, much less and HAMoTAM. That’s fine, especially since I want to be free to write what I want on my site. If they don’t read it, then I don’t have to defend it. Still, they are my family and a little involvement would be cool. I asked them to write a journal entry for me a while back, but they said no way. I guess I am on my own here. At least my West Coast family participates.

Back to NJ. I bought some books today at Barnes and Nobles:

Charles Bukowski’s “Pulp”
Nelson Algren’s “The Man with the Golden Arm”
John Fante’s “The Big Hunger: Stories 1932-1959”
Richard Ford’s “Independence Day.”

Has anyone read these books? Comments? Suggestions on which to read first? Thanks.

Mat Honan bought me a journal before my flight. I wrote in it for the first time at SFO, and felt like everyone was looking at me. In fact, I decided that I was going to call myself a “homeland war correspondent,” ala Tom Ridge if anyone asked me what I was doing. No one did, so I just pretended instead. My first entry was about how we blame Bin Laden, and the Taliban, for the attacks on NYC and DC instead of the suicide pilots. My dad said, “That’s because the people to blame are dead.” I think it’s an acceptable view to blame Bin Laden and the Taliban, but it got me thinking. Why do we not blame the media for violent acts (video games, TV, etc.)? The simple answer is: the killers are alive to blame. But what happens when someone re-enacts a movie scene, killing people and then himself? Why don’t we blame the media then, or his parents under the current standard? It’s strange how contradictory our legal system is when you try to remove content and set it up as a logic puzzle. It seems like a stupid thought, but our legal system is really confusing when you try to look at it logically.

One last thing: My dad said something interesting (he’s a freaking smart dude, by the way) on the car ride home from Newark last night. He said that our system of “innocent until proven guilty” is under fire. How can we operate under this MO, when we would have to wait for terrorist attacks to happen before we did anything? It’s a real quandary, and I fear that we must surrender the idea of innocent until proven guilty if we are to feel safe. I don’t like it one bit, but my dad may be right about this one. What is worse: terrorist attacks, or the sacrifice of some civil rights? Hard to decide. At least I made another trip without being blown to smithereens. Amen to that.

Ramble on, and have a happy holiday. I think that Americans will really appreciate this Thanksgiving, and that’s a good thing. Remember to thank all the Native Americans that died to give us their land. Oh, and don't forget to watch John Madden make an ass of himself when he gives away his turkey legs during the NFL games tomorrow (why in the hell do we always have to watch the Cowgirls and the Lions?). Z

PS> Mile High Club Count: Still FUKIN "0" grr...

and, can you believe that I sat in a row with two other people and we drank bloody, gin, bloody respectively? weird, huh? what happened to coffee and water? 9/11?

ok. lay me off now. i have yoga lessons to pay for and can't afford them if you fire me or i quit.

Monday, November 19, 2001

Have a great week people. I am headed to NJ for the holidays, and will write to y'all daily from there. Hopefully, when I get back I will have done some spiffy work on the site. Until then, have a safe holiday. Z
Here is an interview with Dj Shadow and Cut Chemist about their "Product Placement" tour. This is undoubtedly the hottest show of 2001. Do not miss it if they come your way. I saw the original BrainFreeze tour/sessions at 550 Barneveld. I recently saw "Product Placement with Z-Trip at the Fillmore. Do this, people. Do this.
All Music, All the Time

I had a great weekend. Last week was rather tiring, and I was totally spent on Friday night. Matthew and I decided to hang out in the hood and make music, despite our fatigue. I hooked up my MPC2000xl and he set up his Korg Electribe . As we walked from his house in Cole Valley to my Page Street slums, I thought of DJ Shadow vs. Cut Chemist in “Brain Freeze.”

We set the machines to work at the same Beats per minute (BPM) and time signature. This enabled us to start a beat, and write hooks over it on the fly. It was way fun, and we made 5 45-minute tapes. About ½ of it is ready to go as soon as I mix it down. We are trying to get an electronica demo together to play parties hosted by some folks we met a Jeben’s art show last week. I will put the Mp3’s up for your listening pleasure next week.

Saturday, Jeff and I dug our roommate James’ drum kit out of the back closet. It was like playing mousetrap when I tried to get it out. The closet has about 6 years worth of stuff piled up. A pillow on top of a ski boot, on top of a bad of potting soil, on top of a computer box, on top of a shovel, etc… I got stuck in the closet, and Jeff had to pull me out…with a Bass drum in tow. Once we got it set up, we had a good jam with Cheryl (roommate #4), Tara, Michelle, Jim, and Matthew. We also watched about 5 or 6 surf and skate video, which is always a good brain dead activity. (I just ordered a VHS of Mavericks: A documentary, by the way)

Drums are so fun! I like how my body gets segmented into four individual parts. It is meditative to isolate my body in this fashion, though I need about 100 hours practice before I can claim any skills on the skins.

My music fun continued on Sunday after a short trip to visit Harper and Mat. Harper and Mat have a really cozy/homey apartment that relaxes me. They are so kind and friendly. I feel at peace every time I visit them. Tim (of the Tim Show), and his buddy Aaron were there as well. Mat tried to help me with my site organization, but the host being down foiled us. Grr. Anyway, I came home to play music with bill after my Honan experience. Bill and I were both brain dead from the weekend, so it was only mildly productive. However, it is always more fun to play music than watch TV or whatever, so I had fun.

I also put an ad on Craigslist Friday seeking a drummer and bass player for Bill, Matthew, and I to work with. We are close to being ready to perform, so we need to get our act together. The responses were very good. The people that responded are all pretty experienced, so I am optimistic about it working out. Why can’t I just play music all the time? Work is a drag…

Friday, November 16, 2001


Tim Steffan has a new column on called "The Tim Show...Starring Tim!"

Please give it a look and stop back later once he has a few things up. Like all of the site on my network, please bookmark it and email the writers with props and suggestions. Thanks a million to all the readers. We appreciate you readership and hope that we can continue to entertain you as this expands. Next up: Bumper Stickers. (If you feel like sticking bumper stickers on public transit systems and mail boxes, let me know. I will email you a vandal contract)

Topping my list of shows that I would rather die than see: DJs Sasha And Digweed. I like the Pole Position soundtrack better than this cukka.
Bill and I put up a page of music to recruit a drummer and bass player. They aren't finished songs, but what the hell? Enjoy and comment. Oh yeah, if you know any good musicians for a side project... let me know.

Big Coke sign at Heinz Field ruled illegal; Rooney irked

Hey, at least there is a bit of good news today.

If you have never seen Mavericks, this is a good place to start: Surfing Mavericks - The Darkroom. More photos here: - Photo Index

Mavericks is just off the coast of Half Moon Bay, and if you ever get a chance, see the movie. It's simply called "Mavericks."
Midwest Conservative Journal

If you have nothing to do, stop on over to this site and get your blood boiling. It's better than coffee.

The Scene:

Grandma's at 20th and Taraval last night. I was there for Michelle's final game of the season as a member of Murio's pool team (Grandma's kicked their arse). Matthew gave the gift of 12 jukebox credits to Moylan and I. The jukebox was pretty stylie, with a mix including Leann Rimes, INXS, and a double CD of Elvis' 50 greatest love songs.

Heather Moylan and were flipping through the tracks when I came across a "Special Occassion Songs" cd. The bar was as quiet as a law school library, largely due to the size of the bar and the intensity of the pool tournament. I think we were the only non-players in the room. I thought that my fellow bar attendees would appreciate a good special occassion song. It was a close contest, with the finalists including :"Take this job and shove it," "Happy Birthday," and "Wedding march." The job song seemed good, but it would have elicited too many cheers for my tastes. Birthday might be mis-interpreted as a song for a specific person. The Wedding song won the contest. I just liked the idea of a really happy song blasting in a bar, especially when absolutely no one wanted to hear it. Wedding songs are funny like that...very specific. Unfortunately, I was outside smoking when it came on so I missed the crowd reaction. I am still upset that I missed my chance to take all the credit. Boo hoo.

Heather, god bless her, was dressed in what she termed "1980's Asian Maternity Gear." I think she looked kind of sexy (you're welcome, Heather). I had a really big plan for our last two credits on the jukebox. I wanted to blast (and keep in mind it was dead silent) a Britney Spears song, followed by...guess what...another Britney Spears song! My idea for the second song was "oops ..I did it again." While this idea made Heather laugh, she had the good sense to stop me.

I am still dissappointed in my lack of effort today. Sometimes Heather distracts me so much with her humor and silly antics that I forget to do what I need to do. This is why I love her, but cannot funtion properly if we see each other more than once a week. Maybe it's because she is "Sub-Hip" as Matthew put it to her last night, or maybe it's because she is too funny and my weak organs can't support the endless stream of guffaws.

Britney, I was overwhelmed by Ms. heather and I let you down. I will never let this happen again. I promise. Z

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Here is the full transcript of the Patriot Act, AKA the Uniting and Strengthening America Act (H.R. 3162)

Last night, Murios’ was rocking with the usual combination of old punk music (which makes Jeff quite happy), obnoxious regulars, and a tasteless group of non-regulars that seemed intent on turning the bar into a FiDi happy hour joint loaded with pissed off hippies (don’t ask…it confused me as well).

Anyway, my friend Lauren started up a chat with some random woman about the woman’s “cool” jacket. They bantered back and forth, trying on each other’s coats for fun. Then I was introduced. The woman seemed nice, and somehow her employment came up. Turns out she worked for some Save the Tree (or Gap=bad, or Save the Black Widow Spider) foundation, and her job entailed educating the public.

I am never one to back down from strangers, and I rarely spare them from my views. The way I see it, I can get rid of a lot of people I won’t get along with anyway by putting my opinions on the table right from the get go. This has its benefits, and usually works, except when drunks are involved.

So, the woman and I start talking and I just keep telling her that she should embrace republicans and tree killers because if everyone agreed with her, she’d be out of a job. Quite a simple concept in my mind, but she wasn’t having it. I tried to explain that the concept wasn’t specific to trees and green issues, and that it was a generic idea that applied to anything. I think it is quite obvious that you need juxtaposition to appreciate just about anything. How can you have good day without a bad day, etc? However, she couldn’t get past my comments about how the people she is working to stop effectively pay her rent by being so “evil.”

She got real REALLY pissed off. I mean, freaking PISSED. She pulled Lauren aside and started making her case about how awful I was and stupid and blah blah. She then turned to me and told me that was an idiot and did not understand anything. She even said, “Go Back to School!” I interrupted her to laugh (alcohol does that to me). I told her that she did not understand and that the realities of conflict had more to do with opposition than trees. She stormed off, pissed and drunk. I laughed. And laughed and laughed. Why? Because in the end, the save the tree folks need the republicans to pay their rent, and vice versa. That’s the beauty of it all. MLB - Caminiti released from jail after arrest on drug charges

Shit, I might be inclined to do some crack too if I played for the Braves. (Ha Ha! For Jeff)

From the Baltimore City Paper: Help Yourself, Man. (November 7 - November 13, 2001)

(AKA blog style angst that someone gets paid for).

Travel rules tighter? Ask the guy in handcuffs

I don't think we have this air travel thing figured out yet.

Ahhh...a fabulous Bon Jovi movie (via Hafeez)

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Heather is quite busy taking us all down a scary trip to her past. She is putting pictures up of 1980's heart throbs. Do not miss this. Extremely scary....

PS> I am thinking of doing a week long piece in which I mock the other writers on the site. You know, write in their style and cover their subjects. That seems like some innocent, time killing, fun for fun's sake kind of fun, no?
A new edition of "Pierogie Art" is up. Excuse the HUGE jpeg, but it really wasn't worth my time to edit it down. You will see why. Z

The madness continues

1.My friend Jennifer was laid off today. She is way too talented for this BS.
2. My brother is ok after his mugging, but still…what’s up with that? Talk about 19 being a rough age.
3. Curt Schilling did not win the CY Young. As he said himself, he was the most consistent pitcher in MLB this year. Give him his props, you lousy lot of partial sportswriters.
4. Bush re-instates trials in military for the first time since WWII.
5. The Warriors are 5-3, proving that marijuana IS performance enhancing.
6. I saw that pool girl last night…with the guy that impersonated her and intercepted my emails to her several months back (yeah, I’m over it).
7. Michelle shaved her head!
8. The mess in my room mysteriously clones itself while I am at work. Really.
9. People are actually searching for Lauren Tewes’ feet on the Internet.
10. Sara Jane Olsen, of SLA/Patti Hearst fame, withdraws her guilty plea.
Well, Jeben certainly has a few things to say today! In his latest issue of "...potentially..." he expounds on another one of his invented words, "loblolly."

Oh my! Leading the pack for top keywords leading to my site is "Lauren Tewes Feet." Who is the hell is looking for Lauren Tewes Feet? Fetishists unite!

As a side note to this amazing stat, I find that bringing Heather Moylan on to write for me is one of the best moves I have ever made. I mean, who else would build her writing around Lauren Tewes. Plus, she knows all the cool fetish people on the web! Wow!
My co-worker Jay and his friend just released a new website for their band called: Blood Will Tell. Please check it our and support you local artists. Thanks, Z

The San Francisco Cacophony Society

These cats are like the infamous Beverage Party! A quote from their "about" section:

"The Cacophony Society has no leaders, no organization and no rules.

You may already be a member!"

Hey, that's a Beverage Party motto!!!

AIDS at 20 (via the NY Times).

The First Time I Was Ever Really Conscious About Liking a Girl Was In Third Grade:

The first time I was ever really conscious about liking a girl was in third grade. Her name was Stephanie. She had these dark eye sockets, deep and shaded, and long, thick, brown hair that was well combed, forming humps around her ears. Her smile was pretty, and I spent every day for months trying to ease my pounding chest in class.

I wasn’t a cool kid, and I often felt left out among the third graders that were deemed worthy of being the center of attention. I think my looks fouled me up at a young age, and I know that my insecurity created this awkward feeling that made me wiry and clumsy. I had glasses at a very early age, hair parted slightly off center, and the mole above my upper lip to distinguish me. Winning the egg drop contest turned out not to matter much after all.

I was never an exceptional athlete, but I was skinny and pretty quick. I was only picked last for certain events, and occasionally even got to be a captain (peer elect, mind you). My school encouraged competition and I was somewhere in the middle. Except for wrestling.

I was good at wrestling. Most of the kids either weren’t aggressive enough, big enough, or interested enough to beat me. Not to say that I won every match, but I was frequently able to pin the kids that kicked me around in other sports.

The one guy that gave me trouble in wrestling was my friend Will. He was definitely the cool guy of school, able to score the big goals in OT. Girls kissed his picture in the yearbook for their first sexual experience at a sleep over. He had tennis courts at his house, a pool, and a big screen. I’ll let you guess who had all the co-ed pool parties with laid back parental supervision.

My school had a yearly wrestling tournament involving only my classmates. It was single elimination, and took place at center court in our gymnasium. By the time came to have the tournament, I felt that I had a decent shot at beating Will. He was the only guy in my grade I hadn’t beaten, but I had come close. Plus, it would be huge to beat him in the tournament. I just wanted to be better than every one at one sport. Any sport.

I left the locker room and took my seat on the bench. I waited for my turn, looking at the huge banners lined with names of winners stitched in felt next to class years. I watched as Will won his first match in 18 seconds. When my turn came, I wrestled this kid Dan and won in the second period. I pinned him in a cradle, but he acted like he didn’t care. I didn’t either. I just wanted to beat Will.

There weren’t as many matches as I expected, and I won my second match easily to advance to the finals. My parents came to watch, and I knew Stephanie was in the crowd. It was a big moment for me. Now Will just had to best Brian to advance and face me in the finals. It took 8 seconds into the second period for Will to pin him. After the match, they met at center mat to shake. Brian, disheveled and red faced, offered a reluctant limp arm as the crowd cheered for their boy Will.

The let us rest for a several minutes before the finals. Panting, I drank water and scanned the crowd. I could hear my parents cheering for me. I could see my classmates talking between their giggles and cheers. Stephanie was talking to Dana, and appeared at one point to look at me. My heart leaped, but then sank as I realized that she was probably looking at Will while whispering her desire for him to win.

The referee looked at us and summoned us to the center of the mat. We said hi, smiled, and shook hands. Positioned in our starting stance, I looked down at Will’s ankles and heard the crowd’s cheers fade in anticipation. When we broke, I lunged for his feet, but missed. He landed on top of me and tried to roll me over. I could hear one or two “Go Ezra” cheers, and ten or so “Go Will” cheers. I was hot and frustrated as I rotated, trying to dig my heels in to the mat so I could stand up.

I slipped away, and backed off in preparation for the next grapple with nine seconds left in the period. We circled once before Will lunged towards me. He grabbed my shoulders and slammed my shoulder blades to the mat as our classmates roared. Through the clamor, I could her Stephanie’s cheers for Will. I lay there, dazed as the gym lights flickered high above. My ears rang, and my shoelaces felt too tight. I listened to the referee’s hand bang the mat to the tempo of his count.

As the loss set in, the individual cheers became discernable in the roar. Stephanie and Dana cackled and alternated screams of elation. And as she cheered, I wanted Stephanie more than ever. I slipped into defeat, immobile, agonized, embarrassed, and too young to know that some girls just aren’t worth it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

From my Aunt Alice:

Good Morning Everyone,


The National Poetry Contest had come down to two finalists, a Yale graduate and a Newfoundlander. They were given a single word, then allowed two minutes to come up with a poem that contained the word. The word they were given was Timbuktu.

First to recite his poem was the Yale graduate. He stepped up to the microphone and said,

"Slowly across the desert sand
Trekked a lonely caravan.
Men on camels two by two
Destination - Timbuktu."

The crowd went crazy! No way could the Newfie top that, they thought.

The Newfie calmly made his way to the microphone and recited:

"Me and Tim went a-huntin went,
Met three whores in a pop-up-tent.
They was three and we was two,
So I bucked one, and Timbuktu."

The Newfie won hands down.
Mat and Harper reminded me of this story last night. I left the ending out when I told it to them last night because I wanted to save it for today. I had horrible writer’s block last night, and they really bailed me out by jogging my memory a bit with stories. So…

From the Cat Files:

In high school, my mother traveled a lot for her job. She left me at home to take care of myself pretty often, which was fine with me. I could bring girls over, party, and stay up all night with no harassment (sorry Mom!). Anyway, my only real responsibility besides getting to school was taking care of my pets.

We had a dog named Lucy, and three cats named Fluffy, Rupert, and Justin. Rupert and Justin were born in the same litter and were ½ Siamese. Rupert looked Siamese with tan and black fur. Justin was all black. I liked them all, but Fluffy was definitely my cat, and Rupert and Justin were loyal to my mom.

One time when I was sixteen, my mom went on a trip and Rupert got very sick. He was kind of old, maybe mid teens, and he spent a lot of time sleeping. My buddy, Patrick, and I were busy with our usual all night video game tournaments and did not pay much attention to the cats. However, Rupert started to moan and squirm a lot so we knew we had to do something. We built a little box bed with towels for the cat to sleep on hoping that comfort would ease his pain.

We put Rupert in the box, but it did not help. The cat kept moaning and added an occasional twitch to make us even more nervous. Rupert had this half-dead look in his eyes, and just kept moaning, squirming, and shaking. The next day, I bought all kinds of cat toys, catnip, and foods to try to help the cat. Nothing worked, and his condition deteriorated.

Then the cat began to have these fits reminiscent of an epilepsy attack. His body shook violently, and he spat and growled from the pain. After the second night of this, Pat and I decided to put him in a little carrying crate so he wouldn’t hurt himself.

The next morning, I took the cat to the vet. They told me he would have to be put to sleep, which was the last thing I wanted to hear while my mom was away. The vet said that Rupert was already half dead, as the body was cold but he was still breathing and his eyes were still open. I was terrified, and they wanted to put him to sleep immediately.

I called my mother on her trip to ask what I should do. My mother is a caretaker and a saint. She has housed multiple animals for most of her life, taken in people in need of a place to stay, and given large chunks of her paychecks to charity. She knew what I was going through, but told me to go ahead and put Rupert to sleep because of the pain that he was clearing experiencing. I also had to ask her to make a choice between a $1,600 cat grave, and a mass grave. This decision was the hardest, because I imagined a huge pile of cats on top of Rupert. An individual grave seemed so much better, especially since my mother did not get a chance to say goodbye. However, we chose the mass grave in the end.

I stood in the vet’s office while the cat flopped and moaned on the table. Rupert’s squirms came across as subtle twitches, as his glazed eyes stared into space. The vet looked at me, presented a needle and put the cat to sleep with me holding him. Sad. Horrible. I felt like a murderer, as I stood there imagining a dump truck dropping piles of cats into some sludge pit in the suburbs.

A few weeks later, I was in my room with the lights out ready to sleep. I was till 99% awake and had just begun to relax when I felt strange movements in my bed. It felt like a cat walking. When cats get on beds, they knead the covers with their paws to make a good nest to sleep in. They walk all over the bed, and when they get next to you, you can feel the sheets move slightly next to your body. It is a light pressing, but noticeable nonetheless.

I sat up to see what was making the movements. I thought I was crazy because there was nothing there. I turned on the lights and searched my room for one of my other cats. There were no cats in the room. I let my sweat dry and turned the light off again to try and sleep. The pressing and kneading continued. This time, I peeked from beneath my covers and saw nothing. I could still feel it though. I didn’t sleep much at all that night, but luckily the cat movements on my bed eventually ceased.

It happened a few other times over the next six months or so. Always the same deal. I would feel the movements, get up, turn on the light, search the room and find nothing. When I got back in bed, it would start again. It was completely freaky, and as time went on I began saying little apologetic prayers to Rupert hoping he would forgive me.

The cat visits finally stopped. To this day, I think they stopped because Rupert finally passed the time when he would have died had I not put him too sleep. It seems ridiculous, but the movements were so real. This is my only ghost experience, and I don’t discredit people’s ghost stories as craziness anymore. It was too real, and to this day I believe that my cat haunted me from the mass grave that I dumped him in.

Bad news…

My brother Charlie was mugged at gunpoint in Tampa last week. He is a freshman at the University of Tampa, and my father was down at school visiting him. My dad decided to nap and take it easy for a spell, so my brother went out with some friends. His buddies picked up some girls, so my brother walked home alone. He usually takes a cab, but I guess he decided to walk since he was alone.

Anyway, he was robbed at gunpoint. The robber put him on the ground with gun to his head, and cocked it. Some of his fraternity brothers found him in hiding after the event. He was quite shaken up and unnerved. I feel for him. It is not at all what you expect as a carefree college student out on the town. I don’t even expect this type of stuff in a big city. Not even in rough neighborhoods.

My brother is ok per my parents (he doesn’t want to talk yet), but his like of school has been completely reversed. I want him to stay at school because if he leaves, the robber will have stolen more than his money. He deserves to feel safe and sound at school.

Apparently, the school hasn’t issued a warning to the student body yet. Like all schools, their primary concern is enrollment and tuition payments. My stepmother is pretty pissed about this. It reminds me of when I was a freshman at Colby College, and my girlfriend defeated a football player in an election for dorm president. She is Jewish, and the day after she won, we woke up to Swastikas spray painted on her dorm door and in her hallway.

The school tried to keep it quiet. They acted like nothing happened. The deans got really upset when we discussed the event with the local papers. Only after it became a news item did the school decide to call the FBI. Of course, no one was arrested. Go figure.
This is cool: Bill Graham Presents Posters 1986-2000 (BGP Posters). I liked this one because the combo of artists is so strange.
Can someone email me some cool links for hip hop and skate fashion? I am looking for sweatshirts with logos. Think Red ARmy and stuff like that. Thanks, Z

Monday, November 12, 2001

The Naomi Watts Page

Dear Particia Arquette,

You have been bumped for the top spot on my "Actresses I Am In Love With List" by Ms. Niomi Watts. Sorry. Now move along...bye bye. z
The City of Absurdity: David Lynch Interviews

A nice collection of Lynch interviews.
My Weekend in Review


I decided to wait until the last minute to get Stereo Total tickets for Bottom of the Hill. Guess what? It sold out. Maciej was supposed to meet me at the club, so he went to his friend’s house near by. Luckily, he c1zlled me after failing to get in. We had just set off for the club in Jeff’s car.

The plans changed. We went to the Hush Hush on 14th/Guerrero. I like the Hush Hush. It’s small, cozy, stylish, and they make strong drinks. The bartenders look like Lenny Kravitz’s band in his videos. Not his actual band, mind you, but the video models. You know the type: dreads, tattoos, too tight clothes, hipper than thou until it comes time to tip.

They had video on the screens. It was 1970’s soft core, disco era, show you chest and float in space stuff. Lots of rare footage, with the occasional Ohio beauty school ad thrown in for variety. I liked it quite a bit.

The music was cool as well. It was instrumental lounge music derived from old tracks by the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Booker T, Al Green, and other with little atmospheric electronic sounds mixed in (depth charges, blips, swishes, etc).

I got totally hammered. My blood sugar was low, and I smoked way too much. Luckily, our crew was pretty big so I had lots of people to chat up. Cars full of just crossed the drinking age line boys kept pulling up to see if it was bumpin’ or not. It was, so soon the ratio of guys and gals got out of whack. It became the cooler than you club, despite us all being in the same club. I just kept pushing back when people bumped into me. I despise being bumped in a bar, especially when I was there early and had my seat all set and my crew on the spot.

I knew the DJ, Claire, from and old friend that she works for. Claire’s tracks were pretty good…I hadn’t heard any of them before, and they were right up my alley. We smoked a twister while she spun and joked in a small talk way. This town gets smaller every day.


Ouch! My head. Like I said, my blood sugar was low the night before so my hangover was double strong. I bummed around all morning after getting a bagel. My roommate James made me some crazy tea that had dates and other weird stuff in it. It helped once I got it down (the taste was acceptable at best now that I think about it). James is a martial arts black belt and teaches it as well. He is studying acupuncture and herbal medicine, so I tend to trust his concoctions. Why not, right?

I went with Adrienne to see Mulholland Falls, David Lynch’s new film. What a weird director he is! I just try to suspend my disbelief and enjoy. His plots are so bizarre and loopy that it is a waste of time to get upset when the flick ends and you have no idea what the hell just happened. I like his audio work. He’s cooler than shit. I am glad to see such a weird guy blow up and get major billing like he does. Thanks god for David Lynch. He gives me hope.

On Saturday Night, I went to see and art show at the Creamery Gallery in Oakland. Jeben had an art show with approximately 20 other artists, and his stuff was the best. He also showed a new painting, which is for me once the show ends. It was impressed. Blown away. Stupefied. Very cool stuff. I will jpeg it once it arrives so y’all can see it.

I was also psyched to see my old buddy, Jenny Herbinson. She is funny as hell and a total doll. I almost never see her, but when I do…it’s just like old times: fun.

The rest of the night, I drank brews with Matthew at Finnegans and went to bed. I got really tweaked out when I got home and listened to music before passing out fully dressed.


I went to the hardware store, redid home page, and bummed around the house with Jeff. I managed to get some much-needed sleep as well. Football was boring as shit and unwatchable. We played some music with Matthew and took it easy. Sunday’s are meant for hardware, cleaning, ten cups of coffee, newspapers, and football. They are not meant for getting up early, helping people move, and doing laundry.