This One Makes It a Month’s Worth of Daily Posting

Well, so today marks the last post in completion of a full month’s worth of daily posting, thus meeting the requirement for  fulfillment of a National Blog Posting Month! I had tried last month but was unable to complete it. I came pretty close to not posting some days this month, but with the pestering and encouragement of my girlfriend, I was able to punch through it. I think it was a useful exercise to get me to free up my fingers and mind a little bit and just put something out there, whether I thought it was worthwhile or not. But I admit that I am glad to be done with it. Here’s to a healthy dose of silence ‘tween well-formulated bouts of speech.

Thoughts on Communication Tools

It’s kind of weird, don’t you think, that blogging, texting, Facebooking, Twittering, etc, have become so blasé that no one thinks to even comment on these technological everyday manifestations of our interconnectivity anymore? I mean, these are things that didn’t really exist a mere 10 years ago, at least not in the form of critical mass that makes them truly meaningful in a social context. Now we take it for granted that we can constantly communicate with each other in what is tantamount to another dimension. We can convey ourselves immediately through the written word in a way never before possible, not to mention the addition of video, sound, and photos. It’s all so mundane now, but once upon a time getting onto your modem and then onto a bulletin board to share your hobby or chat with someone about something was a strange new world. Now it seems like there’s a blog for every locale, activity, and interest. And I think that’s a good thing, of course. I’m just amazed at how swiftly and easily we have taken it in stride.

What this portends, I believe, is that–contrary to the fear of a sci-fi future of disconnected blobs hiding behind self-stimulating machines–technology is evolving to enable us to connect with each other more effectively. In every type of way, both deep and shallow, both in sex and in spirit. You’ve got the guy using craigslist to find a prostitute on one hand and the mother sharing photos of her newborn baby on the other. And while there is truth to the statement that internet is the new TV–and I am guilty of wasting away far too much time doing nothing productive–the fact is that what you get out of technology is pretty much what you want to get out of it. The tools that we have at our fingertips are impressive. We can go to zoom in on a city street and find out exactly what the building looks like where we are meeting someone and what side of the street it’s on. We can look up the quote that has been bothering us and not only find out who said it, but furthermore what line on what page it was written in.

A lot of our use of this new power is purely narcissistic or for entertainment or voyeuristic, but then again, that’s what humanity is all about, aren’t we? You take a look at all the wide range of blogs out there, I mean, my god, you could write an anthropology paper on it. And yes, half the time Facebook is just people taking personality quizzes or posting status updates about how drunk they are, but it also gives you a glimpse into the lives of people who you may never have gotten to know otherwise. You may not want to talk to many people on the phone and keep up with them, but there are people that you grew up with or have met that you remember sometimes and get curious about. And it’s nice to be able to see their new baby, or to know that they moved to another city. In other words, a lot of stuff is a waste of time, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about how much you invest in it and how much you expect from it. It can be completely shallow, or it can be a tool to communicate things about yourself that you may not be able to otherwise.

Not everyone is effective at socializing in traditional contexts, like at a bar or even just in any face-to-face conversation. Some people just don’t understand body language, or come off as incredibly conceited, or don’t have much to say immediately. But new forms of communication allow such people to interact without confusing signals or ambient noise. Which can create some other forms of confusion, such as misunderstandings over sarcasm (hence the use of emoticons), but overall, there is the opportunity to convey many things that could not be conveyed in a traditional context.

So I’m a big fan of these developments. I feel like all these new tools are an opportunity to explore myself and others more deeply. My fiancee reads my blog and I read hers. We learn things about each other that we would never have said directly in a conversation. We announced our engagement on Facebook. So much more effective and easy than calling a bunch of people, which I never would have done anyway. And I remember farther back, when we were “going steady” or whatever the hell you call it now when you are not just hooking up with someone, how big of a step it was to change our relationship statuses on MySpace. Now look, I maligned MySpace and cellphones and every other social technological development just as much as anyone when they burst forth onto the scene. I resisted having a cellphone for years before I finally gave in. But now I obviously accept social tools for what they are, and I don’t feel weird about “advertising” my life anymore on the web. I think it’s great, that we can share so much about ourselves with each other. Is 85% of it TMI? Most definitely. But in the eyes of a god, it’s all food and fodder for understanding.

Go Beyond

Gotta escape that zone of sameness and bland expectation, where your complacent everyday self knows exactly what it will do (nothing) and who it will see (noone). Break the cycle of doldrum limbo stagnancy and force yourself into a situation wherein you know you will be uncomfortable and scared to go, cuz in that place of strange alien modish pressure you will be taken beyond what you can control, and you will be forced to be exactly what you are in that exact moment of place-time circumstance. In all of your imperfect, half-formed glory. Go, no matter your status, your age, your defined self in-context: go to places that you have never seen, go to people you have never met, stick yourself into sketchiness, fear, gray dim areas of uncertainty, where you don’t speak the language, and you have to gesture to make yourself understood, and people are tattoed and pierced and confused and full of life. Do this, and you will never despair. Do this, and your fear will lessen. So that you are not scared to live. So that you are not scared to die. Because the two are one and the same. So go go go go go. The tether that holds you to yourself cannot be broken by anyone except yourself.  Be yourself and go to places where you do not belong.

Territory (NYC style)

Eventually, it’s time to put down your roots in each step of your foot, to deny the possibility of stepping aside for anyone, to declare, firmly, that you belong here, that you have a purpose and a direction that cannot be ceded. You have a right to exist and to move unimpeded towards your destination. Others may move aside. You will only stop, patiently, until they acknowledge that they must move around you.

That you will bow to no one.

There is only one power to submit to, and it exists beyond the superficial territoriality of the street.

(Contrast this with another Territory post from LA long ago)

Poor Claudia

Vincent and Claudia

Vincent and Claudia

I’m a little stressed out right now. I was just sitting down to write my daily (nightly) post and I had put the birds to bed, when I heard my parakeet, Claudia, fluttering frantically about in her cage. This isn’t too unusual for her, as she is a very spastic kind of bird and will frequently fall from her perch randomly and flap around. When I pulled up the cover to check on her, though, I saw that she seemed to be caught on a new toy we had just put into her cage. She had got caught like a fish on a hook somehow on the attachment, and it looked like she had her beak caught. So I had to grab her and then pull her off. The poor thing had got the underside of her beak caught, and I really hope that the damage isn’t serious. She’s bleeding, but she seems to be otherwise OK. All I can do right now is put her back to bed and hope that she can recover while resting and that the wound will heal. I’m canceling a Zipcar outing up the Hudson Valley tomorrow so that I can be around. Which maybe sounds weird considering that she’s a tiny little bird, but in the absence of children, she’s one of my babies. Poor Claudia! She’s a sweet, very active and vocal little bird. When she is out of the cage with Vincent, my Amazon parrot, she grooms him and they feed each other. She also likes to groom me and peck at my lips. When she is in her cage, she jumps around playing with all of her toys, especially the one with the little mirror with the bell on it. She sings practically all day long and mimics sounds very well–much better, ironically, than my parrot.

In other less maudlin news, I’ve been interviewing like crazy all this week, so I should find out soon where I’ll end up teaching. Which is good, considering the school year starts in another week. Today after an interview I went over to a music store and jammed on a hand carved djembe with one of the employees on drum kit and made a friend. It made me excited to start playing again. As he was reminding me, this city is full of people playing hand drums, so I really don’t have any excuse for not getting my chops back up. Time to start looking around for people to jam with. Time to start looking around for people, period. I’ve been in New York over a year now and have barely gone out. But then again, once the school year starts, I’ll be swamped anyway. Here’s to keeping busy. And to getting a paycheck.

And give a prayer for little Claudia, I just checked on her and  she’s not looking so hot.

Chronicles of Crispin 06

As our intrepid hero followed this strange group of misfits down the misted squares of midnight cobblestone streets, he bethought himself of where it was he was venturing to, and whom therewith. He knew, thus far, that he was going to see a boat. But a mysterious boat, apparently, because there was much ado about it over the multiple Mordant Thieves they had consumed at Club Zephyr. Some kind of special boat in which was performed missions. What kind of missions, unknown.

Once taken out of the sexually amplified, intellectually dimmed environment of the club, Crispin found his companions surreal, even slightly demonic in manifestation. They walked together silently, almost grimly, purposely striding towards their mysterious destination in a formation of four, with Crispin straggling behind like a small child. They all seemed locked into their individual worlds of thought. As the silence weighed down upon him, Crispin felt the need to say something, anything. But right as he was about to break the hold of that witching hour before dawn, Taft suddenly stopped and spewed chunks that were backlit by a florescent hair salon sign. He leaned over the curb, heaving and spluttering. The group stopped and waited impatiently.

“Goddamit, Taft” Looger muttered ominously, shuffling awkwardly on his feet.

“A waste of quality drink, that is,” Kruger opined, leaning up against a post and twiddling his fingers.

“So . . .spphrt! . . sorry, folks . . . spppt . . .hhheeww . . . just a minor malfunction of equilibrioception due to the shortness of my legs in relation to . . . .spsptth! . . . the over acuity of my vestibular system,” Taft explained as he cleared his esophagus.

“Or something,” Lydia said, her arms crossed, though not unkindly.

As they waited for Taft to recollect himself and finish blowing his nose, Crispin felt an increasing sense of unease. He was totally out of his element, and all he wanted to do was go back to the club and take body shots off Melana. As he was envisioning that pleasant scenario, a gun shot rang out and suddenly everything changed.

Gaining the Loss

The rule of the cosmos: you can’t ask for anything. You’ve got to just take what you need and give what you have. Seems to be the way things work, more or less. Like, if I get a little bit too screechy, needy, desperate for love and attention, then all I can hear is the veritable waves on the shore in the shell held up to the ear. So I have to regroup, sit down in the empty night space and meditate on my nothingness. How I have nothing, I am nothing, I will gain nothing. I’ve got to keep it all in perspective, somehow. Clam up, button the hole, and just observe, just watch the way the world works. The way that light seems to be generated not by light but by some other order of power. How all of the good things in life are really just a residue of extreme evisceration. The trickling out of beauty from the suffering awareness of despair.

So how to live life in this full declaration of madness? The masses recline before the injection of beauty. So dawn it upon them in full, without shame or fear or denial. There is nothing to lose. There is nothing to gain. There is just what you allow yourself to be, here, in this place of moment.

In Passing

If I could just stop

everything

to put you in a frame,

to capture the light around you,

to glorify and rhapsodize you

in exactly the way that you were meant to be seen,

apart from the grime and glitter of the washed up

everyday surface,

then I would get down on bended knee

right here in the middle of the street

to take the picture.

But who will believe in it?

Am I the only witness?

I will simply watch

without taking

a thing.

Time Tells The Best Stories

I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago that has made me think a bit as time goes on. I was out drinking at a bar in SF and it was reaching the end of the night after a festive occasion. I wasn’t overly drunk, but I had consumed a fair amount of wine over the length of the evening, so I was not perhaps in the best of conversational and intellectually reflective form. The person I was speaking to was kind of grilling me as to why it is that I am a capable writer, but I do not seem to have any ambition to do anything with it. I blathered on a bit about my blog and about how I’d made a choice long ago to simply write for the love and heck of it, not for profit, and furthermore that I have little attention span nor dedication to writing cohesive pieces, etc, but I have to admit that I do not feel like my answers really addressed what she was attempting to get to the heart of.

Now look, I was flattered, first and foremost, that anyone would even give two shits about whether I can write or not. And I was flattered that someone would have the empathy and zeal to even bother to press me on the issue. But I was also somewhat taken aback, as I am not accustomed to having to defend myself on the choices that I make that determine my life’s path. But before I could talk my way any further into any insight on the matter, the bar was closing and it was time to go.

I think I realized, as the conversation ended, that I wished that it could continue and that I could really explain my thought process and life decisions in a way that would convince ME. But I also realized that the reality is that truly having that level of conversation, reflecting about oneself and one’s passions and life decisions, is just a bit too narcissistic to really occur anywhere other than in a therapist’s office. Or, well, on a blog.  Oh yes, my friends, self-therapy is unfortunately sometimes and all too often the name of the game here on Manderson’s Bubble.

I mean, I don’t have any illusions of grandeur. I generally get around 100 recorded hits a day, with the majority of those hits consisting of people doing searches for guns and ending up on my post about my grandfather’s gun collection.  Which is definitely not the post that I would care to be remembered by, though it’s nice to know that it might be interesting to people doing research like I was doing.

But I do know that I can be a competent writer, when I apply myself to it. I’ve helped people to edit professional writings and academic essays, and I’ve been penning my bullshit onto this blog for some time now, of course. But what of it? Lots of people are competent writers, and they are out there making a living out of it.

I made a declaration long ago that I didn’t want to write to be published. And the more I tried to defend that long ago decision in that somewhat drunken conversation, the more I realized just how much of that decision could be attributed to the low self-esteem and angry alienation that I was going through at that time in my life. I’ve never really questioned that choice I made, but I have always wanted to write in some capacity, and so the only way I’ve found that I could keep positive and excited about writing was to share it with my friends. So in college, I started an e-mail list, and I would write almost daily prose/poetry pieces that I would then e-mail to people (some of which you can view under the category Pre-Blog Missives). And then later, I started a blog, because it seemed to make better sense to give people a choice as to whether they wanted to bother reading my shit or not, instead of stuffing it into their inboxes. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Just writing to share with friends.

But what is this impulse to share my writing with you really about? Isn’t it at heart a desire to be recognized? Why shouldn’t this desire be translated into a project, into a book, into a career?

These are the questions that were raised in my mind. I want to take a moment to stress that I am not expressing regret for any of my life decisions in terms of career, academics,  or otherwise. I am happy to have taken the path that I have chosen, and I am extremely excited, currently, to become a teacher. But neither does my current trajectory negate any future potential for taking my writing to another level. And perhaps at the bottom of it all, no matter how I may declaim about how I like my writing to be imperfect and mundane and blah blah blah, perhaps I really do want to take my writing to another level, and I’ve just been too scared or too lazy to really take it there.

Deep thoughts, folks, that I will end this post upon. Whatever the case, thank you for stopping by occasionally and enduring such indulgent and amateurish writing. Will I ever attempt to write something more cohesive and profound? Time will only tell.

¡Help Me Publish Something!

Help me weed out the fluff and get a solid collection of my writings together so that I can publish them. I’ve got 18 pieces thus far in it, and I’d like to get them down to at least 10 – 13 pieces, if not less. I want them to the be the ones that work together the most cohesively and are the best.

To help me, scan through the pieces by following this link over to Google docs, where you can view or download the PDF file.

Then, vote on the poll below on the pieces that you feel should be included. Vote on only one, or select all 18, it’s up to you. If enough people give me their feedback, this can help me to better consider which ones to eliminate. I’m having trouble whittling it down because I’m finding it hard to edit my own work.

Also, if you happen to feel strongly about any pieces that should be included that are not currently in the collection, then you can write in your own response at the bottom.

Methods of Saving Moolah

There’s always these articles in Yahoo! and other such trite sources of information that advise us on ways to save our money. Such as utilizing coupons, driving less aggressively, paying off credit cards with the highest interest first, and other such trivial methods of scraping some extra cash back into the coffers–or, at the very least, simply stemming the flow of money out just that much less.

While those methods, and others, are all important ways to save, I would like to forward some of my own methods of saving cash which I think are more effective. Excelsior!

1) Stop using Mach 3s and dropping $20 every month on razors. Transition into wetshaving (just one upfront initial investment) and you’ll save a lot of cash over the long term. Razors for safety or straight razors are significantly cheaper, and it’s furthermore a more fulfilling shaving experience.

2) Shave your own head. I used to go to SuperCuts or whatever cheap haircut store was around. I kind of liked how sometimes it was a pretty young lass that was cutting my hair. But I also noted that all they ever did was ask me what length of guard they should use on the clippers (as if I was supposed to know). So I realized, eventually, that I could just do it myself. That’s at least $20 in savings every two to four weeks, depending how often you cut your hair. And a pair of clippers is cheap, and they will last you for years. That’s a lot of money saved over the long term.

3) Forgo the gym and go hiking/running/walking. All you need is a pair of shoes. Or invest in a bike.

4) Brew your own damn coffee. I’ve bought a lot of Dunkin’ in my day, and I can attest that it really adds up over the course of a year. It’s the little steady, daily transactions that drain your income. It tastes better at home anyway. And all you need to make your own coffee is coffee and a French press. Forget drip brew; why pay for filters?

5) Hang out at home. You’ve heard of “staycations.” Well, how about “stay ins”? Instead of going out, you stay in. Invite your buddies over. Hang out at the local park. We all need to get out sometimes. But if you make it into only an occasional expenditure, then you will save big time. It’s quite easy to drop $60 in one outing on a few drinks. Drop that $60 on a fine whiskey instead and you could sip at it slowly over the course of a month.

6) Get over yourself and drink tap water.

7) Use the library. Libraries are fucking awesome. You can get nearly any book you want if you are willing to wait for it.

8) Don’t be an organic freak. Buy organic local produce or join a CSA. It’s important to support organic, local, and sustainable use of land. But forget the damn organic cookies and organic cereal. I mean, really. Just let it go.

9) Recognize the difference between luxury and necessity, and make your choices between the two consciously. A car? Sometimes its a luxury or a necessity, depending on where you live. In NYC, it’s a luxury, and an expensive one at that. Movies at the movie theater? Do you really need to see the movie right when it comes out? Is it really better in a movie theater? I find it obnoxiously loud, with way too many trailers and advertisements. In fact, I would rather just read a book. A lot cheaper, and more fulfilling. Sorry movies.

I think that last bullet point is actually the most important one. If you are making your choices consciously, then you are choosing to invest more in certain activities or things because you find them more fulfilling. And thus, it is worth it to you. But there are many things that we throw our money at that are not more fulfilling, and that even degrade our quality of life.

The moral of the story? Spend your money wisely.

Chronicles of Crispin 05

Looger leaned forward. “We know that in the 3rd – 4th grades, you frequented the nurses’ office due to complaints of headaches. We know that an MRI scan performed on you at the age of 6 revealed a slightly unusual development in the R-complex area of your brain. Which subsequent research did nothing to elucidate.”

Crispin started. He’d almost forgotten about those episodes in his childhood. Nothing of substance had come of them, and his headaches had subsided, and as far as he knew, he was a normal, average human being. He took a large couple of swallows from his beverage.

“We know that you are capable of more. That you could be something much greater, in service to powers much more sweeping than Phineus & Mortcum Waste Management Co.”

“And what powers would those be?” Crispin inquired shrewdly.

“Ahha! Jumps right to the point, doesn’t he?” The merry band of misfits chuckled. “Suffice to say that these are powers that are responsible for the events that determine the course of human history, insofar as it can be guided.”

“But wait a sec. I’m not exactly a very capable worker. I’ve never excelled in anything except track, lacrosse, and drinking.”

“And dancing, neh?” Lydia winked, her thigh seeming to massage his, the parting of her upper and lower femoris displayed succulently with the crossing of her legs.

“Er, I guess,” Crispin said, trying to keep the blood from rushing to currently non-essential parts of his body. “Nothing useful, basically. And what is this R-complex thing you mentioned?”

Looger, obviously accustomed to pontification, sat back and gestured with his hairy hands over his paunch as he spoke, “The brain stem and cerebellum are the R-complex, the reptilian brain. This is the evolutionary basis from which our brains have evolved. You with me? It controls subconscious aspects of your body, like your breath and body temperature. There are certain people, generally of a mystical persuasion, who believe that we can consciously learn to regulate and manipulate this most basic aspect of our brain in order to increase longevity, physical health, and strength. Through meditation and other such disciplines.”

Crispin wasn’t quite sure that he understood how any of this related to him. Or mattered. He concentrated on Lydia’s presence next to his and sipped his drink. Sensing that he was losing his attention, Kruger spoke:

“I have a brain development similar to yours, Crispin. Which is not to say that the capabilities I have gained are comparable necessarily to those that you will develop,” Crispin duly noted the use of the future tense, “But essentially, I have been able to hone the physical structure of my body and increase my strength, endurance, and agility. This makes me a highly useful instrument in my work to those powers that be.”

Lydia suddenly stood up and stretched like a cat, her nose ring flashing in the iridescent strobe lighting, breaking the spell that Crispin had been under. He looked about him wildly, drunk.

“But enough talk,” she said, placing her hands on her hips. “Come on, and we’ll show you our boat.”

Chronicles of Crispin 04

Crispin shifted uncomfortably upon his haunches. This was a strange group, for sure. He glanced back over at his work comrades, noting that they were quickly proceeding into that stage of drunkenness wherein the stuff of legend occurs. Marissa was trying to obtain a shot from out of Thomas’ buttocks, her hands hooked around his thighs and her nose buried deep. Jesse was dry humping Lauren in the corner like a dog in heat, while Mike and Cain, water cooler buddies, looked on approvingly as they removed their shirts. Ah well, he was enjoying his strange cocktail, and he had to admit, there was something compelling about these outcasts who welcomed him so readily into their entourage.

They sat together in collective silence for a moment, sipping their drinks and soaking in the hedonistic ambiance of Club Zephyr. Crispin was, by this point, a bit tipsy, so he may perhaps be forgiven for failing to notice when Lydia slipped her hand into his pocket and withdrew his wallet. She handed it off to Kruger, who summarily withdrew the driver’s license and handed it back to her. Lydia pressed herself against Crispin a little harder, giving him some boob this time, and simultaneously slipped his wallet back into his pocket.The only thing that Crispin was aware of was thigh and boob. Kruger excused himself and tipped his hat to Crispin, who nodded back.

Looger leaned forward, his eyes a-gleam, his breath scented with shellfish. “Tell me, m’boy. Where did you learn them moves on the dance floor?”

Crispin flushed a bit. “Aw, you know. Just feel it in the hips. I used to dance to Michael Jackson in my underwear when I was a boy.” He wasn’t quite sure why he volunteered this information. But Looger nodded, seeming to approve of the dancing to Michael Jackson in skivvies as a perfectly viable method of learning.

“You’ve got the moves of a rattlesnake. You’ve got POTENTIAL, lad.” Kruger returned and handed a print-out to Looger, who consulted it, squinting, in the limited club lighting. Crispin took another couple of pulls from his Mordant Thief and drained the glass, giddy with Lydia’s silent and subtle attentions and Looger’s flattery. Crispin turned to Taft, who was happily drumming the beat of the music on his knees and watching the debauchery on the dance floor with interest, and offered to buy the next round. With a horse whistle, Taft called over the pony tailed waitress in black Converse and ordered them a new tray.

Looger examined Crispin piercingly over his glasses, his beard bedraggled in a somewhat majestic manner, now that Crispin looked more closely. “Don’t you think your talents are being wasted sitting behind a front desk all day?”

“Well, it’s a job,” Crispin began earnestly, “And the people I work with are fun. I mean, do I wish I was doing something more fulfilling? Of course I do. But isn’t that just the way adult life is?” Crispin looked around at the group, all of whom were gazing back at him intently.

“Wait a second. How did you know. . .?” By way of answer, Kruger flipped Crispin’s driver’s license onto the table like a card. As Crispin processed these events, the waitress distributed the drinks about the table and turned her sweet headlights on him. He automatically went for his wallet, then more urgently, realizing that his card may have gone wherever the ID had. But it was there, as was his cash, which he handed off to the waitress, who looked around at the table quizzically as she left.

“Sorry bub, just a routine background check. In this industry we’ve got to watch our backs,” Kruger said.

Lydia purred into his ear, “We just wanted to make sure that we could trust you. We LIKE you. If we are going to continue in this relationship, then we need to learn more about each other.”

Crispin’s head was spinning. He took a few pulls of his freshly delivered drink to ground himself. He took his ID and put it back into his wallet. He looked around at the group, all of whom were watching him. He smiled and raised his glass. “To new friends and new adventures!”

“Bravo, kid! Bravo!” Taft bubbled. Lydia squeezed his knee. Looger nodded approvingly. Kruger tipped his hat. They all raised their cups and drank.

“So what else do you know about me, then?” Crispin inquired.

Stay tuned, don’t touch that dial, folks. Crispin will return tomorrow!

Chronicles of Crispin 03

“Yes, men of the sea we are! And one woman! But before we get into the specifics of our enterprise, I would be happy to forward you a beverage in an attempt to account for the tragically spilt beer (though the fault was all Lydia’s), which did, at the very least, have the unforeseen but perhaps divinely intended outcome of introducing you to us!” Taft enumerated cheerily, his round face uplifted to shout over the techno music.

“I’m not quite sure what you said,” Crispin shouted back honestly, “But I sense your good intent, and I’ll drink whatever’s handed to me. And I will forgive whomever was responsible forthwith.”

With this objective determined, a round of drinks were arranged by Taft through a comely waitress in black Converse and black socks. As they awaited their libations, Crispin was invited to join the odd group  in being seated. He spotted Menala back at the bar, his pink boa draped winningly across her back, but he then noted that she was engaged in exchanging body shots with Morrison. Morrison was driving his oblong face in between Menala’s substantial breasts in the effort to obtain a buried shot. So as Lydia patted the seat next to her invitingly, he plopped himself down. The waitress appeared with a tray of ruddy, strangely aromatic cocktails that made Crispin envision the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

“To your health, Sir Crispin!” Looger called, and they drank.

“What in God’s name is this unholy yet strangely compelling concoction?” spluttered Crispin.

“It is known,” volunteered Kruger, “as the Mordant Thief. It consists of tequila, dry port, and a dash of olive juice brine. I was lucky enough to discover it one hot, humid, and airless night in a nameless hotel off the Gulf of Mexico. I had been attempting to drown my sorrows in drink after a particularly demanding mission that took the life of my favorite Mexican mistress and a substantial amount of money. Not to mention unsettling the nation almost to the point of civil war. ” Heads were shaken all around in quiet remembrance by the group.

“Ay, THAT was a fuckin’ mission, alright,” Looger stated.

By way of attempting to include Crispin, Lydia explained, “Not all of our missions end successfully. We have had some close calls.” She leaned over slightly so that her ample thigh lay against his. Crispin nodded thoughtfully and took another pull of his Mordant Thief.

“So.” Crispin tried to think of a way to steer this conversation into his understanding. “Um. So you guys have a boat?”

The group of misfits looked at each other and smirked. “Yes, it is a BOAT, that’s for sure. A boat such as you have never seen!”

Train your web browser to this here blog tomorrow for a fresh episode in

The Chronicles of Crispin!

Chronicles of Crispin 02

Once out ‘pon yon dance floor, Crispin executed a few deft hip waggling maneuvers that combined salsa sensuality with hip-hop swagger. Or so he liked to think, in any case. Menala clapped her hands in delight and pressed her ass against him in approval. It would most likely take another 2-3 shots of tequila before tongues could get involved.

But right about then, a wrench got thrown thence into the proceedings. From somewhere just out of peripheral vision, a drink was heaved onto our aforementioned dancers. Beer, to be exact. Menala yelped, and Crispin exclaimed, “What-the-fuck!” He swiveled about to locate the source of untimely beer upheaval, his arm hair already getting sticky. Menala dashed off to the ladies’ room, her shapely calves flashing in the gyrating club lights.

A blonde girl with pink highlights came up to Crispin and gripped his wrist. “I am SO sorry! I just totally spilled my beer ALL over you! Oh shit!” Crispin eyed her petulantly, beer dripping down his ribs. The girl appraised him. “Wow! I dig your mascara! My name is Lydia. I’ll make it up to you, I promise,” she said mysteriously, still holding him by his wrist. “C’mon and meet my friends.” Though Crispin was quite certain that Lydia was not referring to sexual favors when she said that she would make it up to him, the primitive part of his brain allowed him to be led by the hand by this strange, short but shapely blonde. He could tell that she was completely obnoxious, and he was still pissed about the beer and the lost mating ritual time with Menala, but there was something just off enough about her to make him interested. Maybe it was the nose ring.

Lydia brought him up to a lounging group of misfits, all of them guys. They looked at him dispassionately as Lydia introduced them, shouting over the 4/4 beat of the music. “This is Looger,” Lydia said, waving at the first gentleman, who was sprawled out on a cushion like he was going to get a lap dance. Looger was a large man with a prominent belly and a disheveled beard, but despite these slovenly indications, dressed immaculately. He nodded amiably enough at Crispin. “He’s the brains of the operation,” Lydia shouted affectionately. “And this is Kruger,” referring to a tall thin man standing against the pillar with a rakishly tilted cap. “He’s the hands.” Kruger obligingly shook hands forthwith, demonstrating his long, bony, but strong fingers. “This next gent is the one mainly responsible for you being half-covered in beer, though I plead guilty, in part, as well,” she said, pointing out a small man who was bubbling over in excitement and was the only one who came up to Crispin. “So pleased to meet you, SIR! And so sorry about the spillage, absolutely unncessary, if only Lydia here had just allowed me to . . . ” Lydia stomped on his foot, stopping him short. “I’m not sure why we keep this guy around, to be honest,” she said playfully, “This is Taft.”

“I’m Crispin,” Crispin said to all, in his typically phlegmatic manner. He stood there awkwardly for a moment, uncertain whether he should still be angry about the beer or not. “Um, so, what do you guys DO, anyway?”

“We’re sailors!” Lydia enjoined. “Sailors of the high seas, if you please. We were just discussing our next route and mission, when Taft, as is his wont, got a tad carried away.”

Join us on the morrow for the further adventures of Crispin! . . .

Chronicles of Crispin 01

Crispin donned his feather boa, slid another silver ring on his finger, and appraised his mascara’d face from many different angles one more time before stepping out of his highrise apartment and into the elevator. He was destined this evening for a meetup at Jesse’s place and thence onward to Club Zephyr, which required a certain flamboyance in get-up just to get in. This was the first time he would be going out with some of the ladies from work, and he was eager to show them that he had a wild side that they would not have guessed from the unassuming, placid demeanor he maintained at the front desk. He knew that he had a winning smile, which was enough to pique the immediate interest of a stray lass, but he had always struggled in the conversation department. He required props and activities to cover this weakness when he went out. Thus, he was also a tad nervous, because meeting the girls over at Jesse’s first could be kind of weird, before the alcohol got into everyones system, sans deafening bass and beats. He was arriving at the tail end of fashionably late in an attempt to curtail that awkward face time.

He was pleased when he strutted into Jesse’s, his heart thumping and his wallet loop jangling, and everyone called out and whooped in delight at his appearance. It was simply because they were all bored and thirsty for spectacle, of course, but he thought that he also sensed some burgeoning sexuality in the flashing eyes and appreciative catcalls of a few of the girls. He high-fived Morrison and grabbed a beer nonchalantly from the fridge. All he had to do was sit back and wait for the encroaching darkness of the club, where the alcohol and jubilation of freedom from normalcy would kick in. He could tell that there would be some shots involved, some freaking, some sandwiching going on tonight.

After the beers were summarily polished off, it was time to head out. Marissa was already getting loud and stumbling a little on the 5 block walk. Crispin made sure to stay at the head of the group, knowing that his ass looked pretty good in his red jeans. He could sense a good vibe emanating from Menala, a quiet girl with funky earrings and great calves. So when they got in the club, he made sure to sidle up to her at the bar. But even with the coating of liquor on his tongue, Crispin found it difficult to establish anything substantive via verbal engagement. He needed to ply her with his body language. “C’mon, let’s dance,” he told her, wrapping the boa around her neck. She smiled reluctantly but followed him, her straightened hair tied back around her ears.

Stay tuned for the further adventures of Crispin on the morrow. . .

Vuelo back home

Sitting in the aeropuerto to vamoose back to The City. WTF happened to free wi-fi? Should be like water.

I had fun in the city, and must admit to feeling some pangs of regret that I don’t live in a place where I can walk down the street to a supermarket where they have absolutely everything you could ever hunger for, including 25 types of dark chocolate and the freshest bread basket produce ever. It’s been sunny as hell here, which I s’pose I cain’t really complain about, excepting that it has burnt my skin to a reddened crisp.

The nuptial ceremony was great fun, and I consumed so much red wine that I think I turned French overnight. The reading went well, although I got kind of nervous beforehand since the microphone didn’t work so I had to belt it out sans amplification.

I got to see and catch up with folks I hadn’t seen in years, which was nice. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. Thanks for the carpet and good times, Willie, thanks for the sweet breakfast and recording, Seth and Shelley, thanks for the conversation and conviviality, Anna, and sorry I didn’t have more time for nargilah, James and Jenny and Ashley. And congrats again to Matt and Sue!

So long for now, San Francisco.

Hallowed Lives

To possess something of depth, there must be a relevant soul-searching ream of pain, as what has built up and calcified is scooped out, cleared out, cut out. Leaving the space for the blueprint of something new. In the erection of new life structures, you think of the manner in which windows will capture light, the space needed to sustain love. Policies are put into place, expectations are clearly set. From out of the hollows of your aching heart are formed crystals, that when dug up form the diamond terrace of your realized dreams.

The people in our lives are designed to mold us into who we want to be. To support, construct, motivate. If we are not here to enact something better, than what would be the point? Together, pressing the clay of our vision into higher planes.

All that exists is a matter of process, timing, development. We must wait, patiently, for the universe to unfold into itself, riding the waves of our suffering as we hollow our lives in preparation for the future.

Journey

There are times when I need space to reflect, a mountain to climb. A venture into the wilderness, where I can become, momentarily, a lone animal following his instinct, reliant solely on his own wiles. Once I am there, at the peak of solitary vision, all I can think about is going home. And so when I return to my safe harbor from the world, it is new, it is warm, it is imbued with the light of re-discovered love.

In Area of Bay

It’s funny how different different cities can be. As soon as you walk off the plane, there is a new vibe in the air that is particular to that particular city. Shit, even before you get off of the plane; the inhabitants on their way home set an intangible, introductory tone. San Francisco, with its REI wear hipsters, its segregated sidestreets of the strung out, its hippie bums who sometimes look relatively content. If I were a bum, I would live in San Francisco.

People in general look healthier, more wholesome in some sun-kissed way. Clothing is varied and colorful. The streets are wide, people wait patiently at stop lights. It is simultaneously liberal and yuppie at the same time in a sometimes contradictory but sometimes harmonious way. People bike through the city with their baskets full of Trader Joe’s tote bags. In the un-yuppified neighborhoods, if you don’t belong there then you stick out like a sore thumb.

A down-and-out man followed me across the street at one intersection, then good naturedly told me that he knew that I was loco. I thought he was telling me that I was a local at first. But then I got that he was saying that I was loco. “The way you walkin’, the clothes you wearin’. I can tell.” I took this as a compliment. If I appear loco, then that means that I won’t be fucked with. And I’m alright with that.