Thursday, August 14, 2008

8-14-08 For those still paying attention

I found a penny on the subway today, and tried to pick it up while the train was coming to a stop in the station, which may have been a bad idea. Imagine, if you will: me, bent over with my natural-born ass sticking way up in the air, knees bent while I try to maintain some balance, teetering on the verge of total disaster. It must have been quite a sight, and I laughed out loud at myself to preempt any criticisms my fellow passengers might have been thinking as they observed my antics.

Also, never pick up a fortune-cookie fortune that you find just lying on the ground, because you never know what kind of day you might end up having if you take somebody's discarded fortune.

Friday, July 18, 2008

7-18-08 I Went On Vacation...

...and now I'm back, so all of you clamoring for me to get back on the blogging, here is your vindication!

(sound of crickets chirping)

In South Carolina, I saw: alligators (lying like sullen logs on the shore of the lagoon in the backyard of the house we were in, and floating in said lagoon with an air of slightly disgruntled menace), herons (walking through murky water with delicate, mincing steps like fussy accountants who've stepped in something unpleasant), spanish moss (bearding every Live Oak Tree), egrets (orange and black beaked, staring with furious attention at nothing), raccoons (several, baby, all in a row tumbling across the bike path like retarded furry hunchback bandits), very very small crabs, very small clams (burrowing into the sand as the tide went out), dolphins (frolicking in the wake of a boat), pelicans (sailing in lock-formation a foot above the waves and maybe two feet from my head as I floated in the surf), and exactly no sharks.

I come back renewed and revived and feeling much less ill-disposed toward my new adopted boro, so here's hoping that lasts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6-25-08 I happen to prefer pop.

A thick, short black guy in a white t-shirt and a black do-rag bops along the tunnel between the shuttle and the 4/5 train, headphones buried deep in his ears. He raps along with parts of the music playing in his head: “motherfucker! Shit… and I… cut ‘em out…. Ready ta….”

This is us. We bop along locked off in our own little world, regurgitating the tapes we’ve chosen as they play over and over in our heads, barely recognizing each other, barely even aware we’re repeating the words we heard, feeling safe, thinking we’re free.

6-24-08 ack-cent-ewe-ate the positive

A man who works in payroll at my day job, Santiago, has one arm, and he brings me cheese from a relative of his who apparently is involved with the manufacture of cheese, and who has extra. All of these seemingly unrelated facts are true.

He saw me making a cheese sandwich from cheese and bread I had brought to work and he asked me, "you like cheese? I'll bring you cheese," and that was that.

When I explained this situation to Katie she said, "One-armed Santiago who works in payroll brings you blocks of cheese? That's awesome."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

6-23-08 Central Park, hot as balls

A hot day, and Central Park has a green, growing smell that takes me back ten years to the first month I was in New York. Having spent most of my life in the desert, I was amazed at this smell, the moisture in the air, the different quality of life, everything.

Right now, I'm wandering through the park, looking for the area where I'll be rehearsing a Shakespeare Play I'm writing the music for, sweating balls and carrying my guitar around. I finally get tired of looking and sit down on a rock, reading the novel I'm also carrying around like a brick in my back pack, while the mosquitoes feast on my flesh.

Monday, June 23, 2008

6-22-08 Seriously, is it just me?

I'm walking out of the bodega with my laundry over my shoulder as someone is trying to come in. I don't want to accidentally bump into him, and so I say, preemptively, "Pardon me."

Dude turns around and follows me out the store and a few feet down the street before stopping and watching me walk away. I make it about half-way down the block before turning around, and he is on the phone, occasionally looking my way as I continue to my apartment building.

6-21-08 That's Mer-MAN!

Went to the mermaid day parade - my first ever, and maybe the last ever, too. Watched the cars and various freaks walking by in their self-involved finery, until about three-quarters of the way through, we got bored and decided to go on rides.

The Cyclone Rollercoaster is (still) a rattling, rust-bucket death-trap, but the Wonder Wheel may be one of my favorite rides ever. The height, the perspective, the swinging cars that give small, occasional thrills instead of the overstimulation of the Neck-Breaker or whatever the hell that ride was I went on that almost made me throw up (it was the Breakdancer).

6-20-08 Up on the Roof

Katie and I go to a couple of roof-top bars, just to do it, see what they're like. We go on top of the Library Hotel - they organize their rooms by the Dewey Decimal System (this is true) - and it's crowded but nice, expensive drinks, douchey tourists from France, and us.

Then we go to a place on the top of the Roosevelt Hotel (phone number 888-TEDDY-22, which for some reason made me smile) and I recognize the bartender from a bar where my friend Eliel DJ'ed a few months back. She recognizes me, too, and we smile, and Katie comments, "You always want Easter European girls as your bartenders, because they're pretty, and they have a work ethic. They will muddle some mint!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6-17-08 The Party Boat

The company I work for rents a boat to take the employees out for a night. The food is decent, the company pleasant, the drinks free, and the music a (very small) step above a wedding DJ.

A full moon rises above the city, one of the greatest cities in the world. We pass beneath Brooklyn Bridge and I stand on the top deck, watching it all pass by, the city and the bridge and all of it glittering in the sunset while a huge orange moon slowly lifts into the sky, and I think, "I am so lucky to live here, so lucky to see this all right here and now."

6-16-08 echoes

Still furious and raging over last night's mugging. I tell the story a few more times to family members and whatnot, keeping the embellishments to a minimum.

The cat refuses to take to her new litter, and has taken to peeing under the coffee table. We argue about it, but she's so old I hardly have the heart to be too stern with her.

6-15-08 Well, thank god I got THAT over with

I could see them coming over a block away - three guys, one crosses the street, the other two come on. "Here we go," I think to myself.

Hoods up, they're within striking distance, I try to go around, the one blocks my way, the other saying, "Gimmie your money."

They leave with 20 bucks and a couple of bruises, while I leave exhilerated and furious, but otherwise unharmed (details will be found here when I get around to writing, but suffice to say, I'm fine, and feel that I acquitted myself rather well).

6-14-08 Cyberdyne and Swedish Decor

Katie and I ride our bikes out to Red Hook, looking for a farmer's market we've read about. After a brief incident with another popped tire, we find the farm, but no market.

Across the street from the farm (Red Hook seems like the edge of the world, no tall buildings, just waterfront, then water, and then what feels like next stop Europe) is the new Ikea, its hulking and monstrous bulk disguised in primary blue and yellow paint in much the same way that one would attempt to disguise a rhino by dressing it in a party hat.

Katie stares up at its sprawl and vast, lunatic cheerfulness for a few seconds before saying, in a terrified voice, "on August 4, it becomes self-aware!"

6-13-08 Strangers

Go to see the movie the Strangers and spend most of the film with my hands over my eyes. The ending actually was easier to watch as it just devolved into simple slasher fare.

Back at Katie's house I wander through the rooms with the lights off, daring myself to feel afraid. We play Lego Indiana Jones and let the angst of the film dissolve in cute, square-ish looking pixels.

Friday, June 13, 2008

6-12-08 Why Do You Think I'm Living Here?

Mary greets me as I arrive home with her usual peculiar mix of friendliness and class hostility. "Exterminator ain't come yet. I thought you was powerful, get them to take care of it, but you just like me!"

"Yeah," I say, "don't let this pretty face fool you, they don't listen to me," all the while thinking, "Listen, just 'cause I'm white don't mean shit; I'm still poor!"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

6-11-08 It couldn't be more perfect

Riding my bicycle to see Katie, it feels like a burden I've been carrying is lifting from my shoulders. The air is cool, the sun setting as the sky fades to pink, it's my favorite time of day, and riding is one of my favorite things to do - I'm completely happy in an uncomplicated way.

Suddenly there's a sound like a snake has climbed onto my bike, and the front tire goes rapidly flat. A shard of glass, almost 3/8's of an inch long has punctured my front tire in a way that I couldn't have planned if I'd wanted it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6-10-08 Nature says fuck you, too!

We sweat and strut and suffer on the un-air-conditioned stage through the hottest night so far this year, and in the middle of the show, a storm roars up outside, and the wind is so high it sounds like someone is dumping buckets of shot on the roof of the theater.

Walking the long walk after the show down Classon from the G train (a straight shot down through the brownstones of Ft. Greene to my home, about 12 minutes), the storm seems spent, but suddenly I see that my way ahead is blocked. A tree has split in half, crushing a Volvo beneath it, and the branches and leaves of the severed half completely block the sidewalk, up almost two stories high.

I sidle around tree and flattened Volvo into the street, flirting with death beneath the wheels of the oncoming cars, the drivers of which seem too busy gawking at the (admittedly amazing) sight of a squashed car to notice me, and as I come around the corner, immediately to my left is another, equally ginormous tree, equally split in half, and beneath the top half is another car, equally squashed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6-9-08 Kill, Chat, Kill

After work, while I'm playing video games, Stephanie stops by to drop off some power tools I let her and the Nosedive boys borrow. She hasn't seen the place since she helped me move in, and she is appropriately impressed with the work I've put in to make it livable.

The cat seems to remember her, and in contrast to the caterwauling that Her Furry-ness has been subjecting me (and the entire apartment building) to this week, she settles down and purrs at us while we sit and chat about our mutual friends.

Eventually she heads out, and I go back to playing Jedi Academy, wasting time killing artificial enemies.

Monday, June 9, 2008

6-8-08 Some days, it's just easy

I'm writing songs for an upcoming show, lyrics by a certain Mr. William Shakespeare, and the music flows easily from me today. Nothing is forced or difficult. My hands end up pleasantly sore, my fingertips aching from pressing the guitar strings. I finish one song, and pleased and delighted with the feeling, walk around the house, laughing to myself and shaking my head.

6-7-08 Playing the Ponies

After a day of drunken equine-centered revelry, Belmont Racetrack stadium looks like what I imagine the Superdome looked like after hurricane Katrina - disastrous, wrecked, filthy with trash and bottles and drunken, pink, sunburned bodies in various stages of undress, only the folks here did it to themselves. The concrete is wet and slick with some unknown substance, and drunken fools slip and fall, their bodies hitting the pavement with an alarming thud, only to stand up again, oblivious to their own pain: "I'm OK!"

The tickets from misplaced bets on Big Brown begin to thicken in the muck into a slurry of paper mush. Meanwhile, the horses run by on the track, swift and magnificent, clean and glorious in their speed, uncaring of the hopes pinned on them, the only truly happy beings in the stadium.

Friday, June 6, 2008

6-6-08 (supplemental)

You know, you can do this too, without all the pesky interweb folks looking in and watching what you do. This lady had some ideas about it, and she says it makes you happier. I'm all for making folks happier, especially myself. And, really, if you're happier, then I'm happier.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

6-5-08 Not Today

The deli where I occasionally buy my morning sandwich (two eggs, cheese, salt and pepper and tabasco on a toasted everything bagel, thanks) is typical for the area: big, tiled, non-descript, an enormous salad bar filled with a variety of foods in quantities that would make a starving third-world-country resident weep.

A medium-height, heavy-set asian woman with a lip ring and a short, spiky haircut occasionally flirts with me from behind the register when I come up to pay. I like the attention and am entirely unattracted to her, so I when I saw her behind the counter, I looked forward to the free ego strokes. Whether she was not paying attention, in a mood, busy with work, or whether I was simply not looking as handsome as I may have in the past, regardless, she didn't even make eye contact as I handed her my card, signed the receipt, grabbed my food and went back upstairs to my cube.

"Well, that was disappointing," I thought as I walked back into my building.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

6-4-08 Shaving

I am surprised each morning to find the wide-eyed, slightly moon-y looking fellow in the mirror with the shadow of beard on his face, and he, in his turn, seems perplexed at me finding him here. His questioning eyes watch me warily while I spread white, foamy lather across my chin, until he relaxes into the ritual, and together, we scrape yesterday's growth of hair off my face.

I cannot remember standing beside my father, as the Norman Rockwell-style image might suggest (adorable scamp in wife-beater t-shirt, face covered in shaving cream, peeks from the corner of his eye to see how father, similarly attired, shaves, so passing down the ritual from father to son, ever-thus), while he taught me how to shave. I cannot remember ever doing this, and yet I must have, for here I stand, towel around my waist, stroking my newly shorn chin, thinking of my father, thinking about how we learn to live.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

6-3-08 "Antland, Antland Over All"

Walking up the stairs from the train, the woman in front of me walks deliberately, almost gently, as if she's afraid that she might break her legs if she put down her feet too sternly.

Down in the tunnel a tall, thin, brown-skinned man playing violin watches the crowd hurry past, all of them heads bowed, scurrying through the fluorescent lit, white tiled catacombs. As I pass him, he begins playing "The Ants Go Marching Two-by-Two" and I laugh, looking around to see if anyone else notices. No even looks up, and I lope down the stairs to my transfer, giggling to myself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

6-2-08 Fathers and Sons

On the subway, the father stands, the son sits. Father says something quietly to the son, and son looks at father from under his bangs with that easy contempt that comes with adolescence, shakes his head as if he is sorry that his father, who helped bring him into the world, is such an unbelievable idiot.

Son opens his sausage bagel sandwich (no egg, no cheese, I can see the ordering process – Father: “You just want sausage? No egg? No cheese?” Son: “Daa-hd! Yes! God!”) and proceeds to deliberately separate the halves that are almost, but not quite completely, cut. His hands are small and delicate, and his father quietly watches, visibly restraining himself from reaching down and doing it for him as his son fumbles, drops half, picks it up, begins again.

6-1-08 There, but for the grace of God...

Walking home from the subway after my show opened, a long walk straight down Classon Street from the G Train through Fort Greene, and it’s mostly a pretty nice neighborhood, but I have trouble letting go of my fear (is this group of people walking toward me going to hurt me? will that guy try to mug me? will I have to fight? will I have to run?). A beautiful tortoise-shell cat with a white face and green eyes walks around a tree in my path, and I make my usual “tsk-tsk-tsk” noise to get its attention, expecting it to run off, as strays usually do.

Instead it begins following me, meowing, almost running to keep up, plaintively looking up into my face to beg (something, what?) of me, and I begin to be a little worried about this very friendly cat – I mean, I can’t take it home with me because of my cat, what do I do? – until it stops in front of a door on the street and begins rubbing on the wall beside it, obviously comfortable and at home.

My heart breaks for a little cat that doesn’t know how to open a door when it wants to go inside, but I see the homeless guy on the street and I think, “ah, he probably did something to fuck up his life,” and there’s not really a difference – both are confused, lacking certain skills to be able to help themselves, maybe made a bad decision, went outside once too often and forgot how to get back in.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

5-31-08 Camels of the Heights of Guam

Katie and I stopped by a historic site in Park Slope called the Old Stone House. The informational placard on the outside relates that the house was built in the 1600's on the hills of what is now Park Slope which at the time was called "The Heights of Guam" back when Brooklyn was run by the Dutch and spelled Breuklen.

The humid day wrapped around us with slightly cold clammy hands, and we walked around Park Slope saying "Breuklen" over and over, in faux-Dutch accents.

Katie then stopped into a store a bought a shirt with camels on it, and by the time we got out, a breeze had blown the humidity away.

5-30-08 Jesus Loves Me (but you may still be crazy)

As I'm walking to work through my neighborhood, a black man on a bike with a leopard print cane stops me. "'Scuse me, but why would you want to live here?" He asks.

We talk about some things, my money situation, my girlfriend, where I used to live, and he offers me advice on not getting mugged ("Don't let anybody take advantage of you," he says, and it takes me a minute to recognize what he's talking about), before telling me about how he and his wife go around talking to people about God.

Just then, a white woman with sad, pious, watery eyes rides up on another bike, and she proceeds to rattle off a string of almost unintelligible blessings: "Maythelordorallcreationbleesyouandwatchoveryouandgrantyouallspiritualandmaterialblessingsandmayyoubewashedinthebloodofthelamb. Do you love Jesus?"

"Of course!" I say, and shake both their hands before walking away into a sunny morning full of light.

Friday, May 30, 2008

5-29-08 Wherein I ask the eternal question, "Bitch, where's my money?"

Where does the money go?

Where does it go?

I put money into the bank and find out it's already spent, and I don't have anything to show for it.

What did the bank do with my money?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

5-28-08 And they Struck the Motherlode

Rehearsed at a loft in Williamsburg, and it was full of funky, interesting people doing their various artistic things. Knick-knacks and bricolage art all over the walls, multi-colored paintings of bulls and people, black and white photographs of cats and slightly out-of-focus women looking longingly into the distance, a chess set with shot glasses for pieces, crates and crates and crates full of old records, men and women walking the corridors in various states of dishevelment, old, enormous rusted tools laid out attractively on ramshackle wooden shelves, unmatched but beautiful old furniture placed all over: all indicators of the certain type of young, artistic, person who would naturally gravitate to Williamsburg in the early years of the 21st century.

We were given the tour of the (surprisingly large) space that had been subdivided into individual rooms, and came upon the (again, surprisingly large) kitchen area, the cavernous nature and wooden floors of which caused one of our number to remark, "It reminds me of a mining colony."

"Yeah," I replied, "a colony where they mine for cool."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

5-27-08 Storm's coming

The sky glowers with heavy dark gray clouds, thick with rain and bruised-looking. The wind sifts through the leaves and bends the trees with heavy, fat fingers, and pushes bags full of garbage rolling along the street. I lean into the wind as I walk home from the subway, all thoughts of crime and the depression of my neighborhood blown away in the weather, happy with the feeling of being very small on a very big planet. Big weather reminds me that everything placed here by human hands, all this city and industry that we are so proud of, can be shaken off and reduced to rubble by the earth so much as twitching it's skin.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


This entire weekend, I've ridden my bicycle to rehearsal in Williamsburg. It's a fun little trip, almost 4 miles each way, mostly bike paths on the way, but requiring a little more skill and alertness on the way back, since the roads are all one way, and narrower on the way from Williamsburg to Crown Heights.

Today, I didn't take my bike, but instead rode the subway, since I knew I'd be coming home late, and was worried about the lateness of the hour, and the condition of the drivers on the road, this being Memorial Day and all.

Walking home from the subway, the parties spilled out onto the sidewalks and into the streets, and I wished I taken my bike instead; at least that way I could have ridden down the center of the road and avoided all the drunk people on the way home.

Monday, May 26, 2008

5-25-08 Your Guide to Firefighting

Walking home from dinner (where we ate all breakfast foods) in Park Slope, Katie and I watch a firetruck roll up to a building. A handful of firemen, all suited up with the tanks on their backs and the jackets and the helmets and everything, jump off the truck and begin to make their way over to the door in a desultory fashion, looking up at the building as they go, as if looking for something.

After watching them mill about listlessly for a few minutes, I say, "Your guide to fire fighting, number 1: when you arrive at the site of the fire, check and see if there are flames coming out of the building anywhere, say, through the windows and doors."

Katie chimes in, "Number two: double-check the address, just to make sure you're at the right place."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

5-24-08 Saturday Morning Brooklyn

Nothing says peaceful like a wealthy Orthodox Jewish neighborhood on a Saturday morning. I ride my bike past thoughtful looking, bearded men in furry hats that sit on top of their heads like enormous UFO's, their prayer shawls thrown over their shoulders, and I wonder at their lives.

No cars on the roads, the stoplights signalling the comings and goings of non-existent traffic, but I'm there, and I barely pay attention to the stoplights when there's a reason to, when I'm surrounded by vehicles whose only seeming wish (never mind the desires of their drivers) is to splatter me across the highway.

But at one stoplight, I pause, dismount, resting my feet on the pavement, thinking that if God and all the Jews in Williamsburg can stop for a whole day, I can do the same for thirty seconds.

Friday, May 23, 2008

5-23-08 Non-non-violence

As I walk through the long tunnel in the subway station this morning, a man wearing a blue hoodie and dark sunglasses walks against the stream of commuters walking towards Fifth Avenue.

As he passes by a man walking just in front of me, he throws his elbow out and knocks the guy sideways, and then just keeps walking, narrowly missing me, as well. The man he hit, an asian guy in a t-shirt, looks back, bewildered, before continuing on his way, and I feel sorry for him, and enraged at the asshole who hit him, to the point where I almost follow the son-of-a-bitch and knock him down, just to teach him a lesson.

Jack Kornfield, in his book A Path With Heart, suggests that many challenges in the personality will arise as one tries to calm the mind and ego, and selfishness and lust would have been my first guess for me, but the rage I've been dealing with lately has been a bit unexpected.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

5-22-08 What's Really the Matter

I've been distracted and a little depressed for the past few days.

I wake up most mornings recently at my place with a new, red, angry looking bug-bite on some part of my body, and sometimes many on many different parts of my body, which naturally led me to the hypothosis that I might have bed-bugs.

I washed all of my clothes and sheets and my futon cover in super-hot water, and then dried everything, and in the process I found one little fucking bed-bug (but we know that there's more than just one, right?), which I stabbed to death with a scissors before washing it down the bathroom sink.

He was dark brown and flat and roundish-shaped, with squirmy little legs, and even though I try to feel compassion for living things, bugs just tap right into that animal part of my brain that wants to kill, and I feel depressed because I know the kind of hassles that are going to go into fixing this, and the bites itch, which just bums me out even more

5-21-08 Picky, picky

Mary sits in front of our building in her usual spot, green jacket and brown hat. She greets me warmly as I come home from work.

"They finally kicked those nasty people out of the building," she says, "so if they rent them out on the second floor," (she means the apartments that have been newly vacated), "and fix this place up, it might get nicer, here."

When I begin to list some thoughts I have on things that might need fixing (a front door that locks, for example), she laughs and says, "oh, I don't think I want to be seen talking to you, you troublemaker, cuz they might evict me next!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

5-20-08 Super-size enthusiasm

The entire corner by my subway stop is cordoned off with "CAUTION" tape, and a hardhatted man with a jackhammer and a look of concentration on his face methodically tears up the sidewalk.

A girl and her little brother walk down the stairs to the subway, she in a plaid skirt and white shirt, typical school uniform, he in a blazer over white shirt and skewed tie, and he says, "They tore that building down."

"Yeah," she replies, "they tore McDonald's down."

He thinks about this as they walk through the underpass to the subway station before yelling, "I love McDonald's!"

5-19-08 Social Skills

I walk down to the G train at the Metropolitan Street station, through a long, wide hall above the platforms. A tall, lanky, bearded, vaguely homeless (shabby, but not so shabby that he might not just be an impoverished man and poor dresser with bad grooming habits) man walks down to the platform going out to Queens, and as he's about to go down the stairs, he belches.

This belch, it's a world-beater, a monster, a basso-profundo masterpiece of gastro-intestinal fortitude, literally echoing off the stone walls of the subway station. Humbled at this display, I walk downstairs to the Brooklyn side of the platform and see him across the tracks, and without breaking his stride or preparing, he lets loose another belch that resounds like the crack of doom, after which he smiles, almost proudly, and keeps walking to the end of the platform.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

5-18-08 It's Not OK

The cat complains as I come through the door. She stands in my path on the tile floor, all twelve inches of her, stares me dead in the eye, and states, in her clearest, loudest voice, precisely why she is upset with me.

Her eyes are green and slitted, and she does not hiss, because she is not angry. She is upset, because I have been gone two days, and she would like to tell me why it's not OK.

5-17-08 "Awesome!"

Riding bikes in the park on a gorgeous, blue-sky Saturday, we rest for a minute beside a sun-dappled lake speckled with swans and ducks.

"Sometimes, on days like this," I say, watching a rust and white colored dog named Rufus splash around scaring the ducks, "I love everybody so much I can't stand it."

"Well, on a day like this," Katie replies, "everyone has good intentions. Even the guy buying coke thinks to himself, 'Hey, it's a beautiful day, I'm gonna see my friend Dave and buy some coke. Awesome!'"

5-16-08 Mutt and Jeff

Rainy night, but Katie's friends from her last tour are in town, and we agree it's a good idea to see people, even if it is gross out. We end up at a bar near Union Square, where it is dark, small, and crowded with loud college kids drinking and wearing wigs(!). Eventually, folks show up, including six foot five inch John, and his five foot nothing girlfriend. I lean over to Katie, saying, "Holy shit, is that how we look?"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

5-15-08 Paranoia, Still

The guy who works behind the counter at the corner deli near my building stands outside, bluetooth headset in his ear, and sees me as I wait at the stoplight on my bike. He's a big dude, heavy, medium-height, middle-eastern, hair cropped close to his skull. "Hey, man, can I come along?" he jokes, straightfaced, pointing to my bike, and I joke back that he might not fit, but maybe I could carry him on my back, and we decide that him riding the crossbar would work best.

As I ride away, I feel vaugely uncomfortable without being exactly sure why, except knowing that, for whatever reason, I don't entirely trust him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

5-14-08 Actually, That Was Me

I help one of my upstairs neighbors carry her (insane amount of) groceries upstairs, and as I'm about to go back into my apartment, I introduce myself. "I'm Reba," she says as we shake hands, "you live there all by yourself?"

Reba is short, dark skinned, heavy-set, with tidy, medium length dreads. I explain that my roommate and I keep opposite hours, since he's in a band, and she nods knowingly, saying, "I knew I heard somebody singing in there."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5-13-08 100th post!

We here at Four Every Day Enterprises, LLC pride ourselves on bringing you, the discriminating blog-ee, the finest in everyday experiences, tinged with just slightest soupcon of mysticism, with a delicate eye toward the transcendent brilliance that lies just beneath the surface of minutiae.

Having said that, we also realize that there may be a marked tendency to fall into the maudlin territory of Family Circus and Letters from Lake Woebegone if we aren't careful, just because the mundane whatnot of everyday life can be a little... well, mundane.

With that in mind, we bring you: Thoughts on the Toilet.

I'm pretty sure that, like most adults, I spend at least a few minutes every single day taking a crap, and yet for the life of me, I cannot really remember taking a crap even once in college, even though I'm sure I did, because I'd be dead right now if I hadn't.

Monday, May 12, 2008

5-11-08 BIKES!

Katie now has a bike. She calls him (of course it's a him) Gizmo. After she got off work today we rode through Prospect Park in the gathering dusk and ignored traffic lights all over Brooklyn until it was time to stop and get dinner. As we rolled through the park, she said, "this is the time of day when you were playing ball where, even though you could sort of see your opponents, if they threw the ball to you, it would hit you in the face."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

5-10-08 Dumbo is as Dumbo does

Katie and I wandered around Dumbo all day, following a sort of walking tour that we eventually abandoned to follow our whims and explore interesting looking streets. The park underneath Manhattan Bridge was full of people, since the sun was shining and the breeze blowing off the water was cool. A small girl, four or five years at the oldest, watched over by her daddy, was crawling on the rocks down by the waterside, and I was amazed, not at her bravery, but at his. She snaked across the rocks on all fours, occasionally standing up on very unsteady footing in her pink little shoes, wobbling there while she planned out her next move, and he calmly stood by and watched, just out of reach, letting her risk, and struggle, and almost fall, while still being close at hand, in case anything really dangerous went down.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

5-9-08 Small Victories

I leave work and head down into the bowels of Grand Central. The platform of the train I usually take is completely full, from side to side, with folks standing, waiting, all of them wearing that bored, exasperated, desperately hopeful look so characteristic of the commuting New Yorker.

I don't even bother to go down the stairs, instead grabbing a train over to Times Square and then an express down into Brooklyn. Sure enough, as soon as I get to a stop in Brooklyn, I hear that the train I would normally have taken is stalled somewhere in Manhattan, and across the platform, water pours down onto the track from the streets above.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

5-8-08 Man's Best Friend

The beggar sitting in front of Key Foods lifts up his white Chinese take-out container over his head as the two dogs wander by, tails wagging, noses aflare at the wonderful smells this morning's rain has liberated. The wealthy looking (but slumming it: nice sweats, silver hair in a fashionable short, spikey cut) woman walking the dogs laughs at the man's discomfort, thinking he's in on the joke (oh, those wacky dogs, what're you gonna do?). As soon as she is away, his face, obsequious before, contorts as he mocks her clueless laughter. Yeah, it's just two dogs endearingly fucking around to her, but to him, that might be the only food he gets today, man.

5-7-08 Nodding Off

On the train, I set the countdown timer on my phone to go off in 15 minutes. I know that I probably won't reach my stop by that time, and I need to catch some shut-eye. Two nights of restless sleep and my stamina is shot. I woke up every hour, on the hour, for an entire night.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

5-6-08 (supplemental)

A black man on the subway dressed in sweats and straight brimmed baseball cap wears a chain around his neck. On the chain are two real twenty dollar bills folded and knotted, each end of the bill waving like a wing, and seemingly daring anyone with the guts to try and take them. It's ballsy, and I can't help but stare a little.

Also, as much as people may hate the French, you gotta love how, when they're pissed about something, they fuckin' well do something.

5-6-08 Why I haven't Posted in a While

Well, I was going to make some kind of excuse, like maybe how the controversy over the place of blogging in journalism was causing me to question my motives for writing this, or how I was in the midst of some kind of crisis, or project, but really, who are we kidding?

The truth is, I have difficulty sustaining effort on long term projects and I am occasionally very lazy. To my loyal readers (all eight of you!) I am sincerely sorry, and promise I'll try to do better.

Seriously, though, it's not like those video-games are going to play themselves.

Friday, April 25, 2008

4-25-08 In which I find out that, in fact, it is not as dire as it seemed

Darnell, who calls himself the "assistant-super", is a skinny, older black man who lives across the hall from me. He wears glasses, a baseball cap, and most of his teeth are kind of a mess, but he's always ready with a smile and some sort of vaugely comprehensible greeting.

When I got home last night, I decided to ask him what went down yesterday morning, and he told me that the couple down on the second floor who always seem to be screaming at each other about something or other decided to really go at it, and the woman apparently went upside her man's head, and somebody went to jail, and somebody went to a shelter.

"It's just disrispecful," said Darnell, indignantly, "'cus they don' havta clean up the blood, I do!"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

4-24-08 I May Be One of Those People

As I may have mentioned on these pages, I used to live in Queens, a few blocks from the spot where Kitty Genovese was killed, and I've long been fascinated by the story of thirty-eight people who sat in their apartments and did nothing while a young woman was stabbed to death.

This morning, I awoke to the usual pounding on doors and yelling in my apartment building, followed by running up and down stairs and more voices raised in anger. Annoyed, I turned up the radio until I couldn't hear the yelling anymore.

When I left my apartment building at about 7:45, there were drops of fresh blood in a trail down the stairs, leading to a puddle of blood about a foot wide in the entryway of the building.

Monday, April 21, 2008

4-21-08 Sinus redux

Ever since 9/11 my sinuses have been a total mess - I mean, admittedly, they've sort of been not great for a while, but after "the unpleasantness downtown" spewed a toxic chemical stew into the air above New York, I started getting sick every 3 months or so. For a while I thought I was better, but it came back with a vengence this past year (probably a function of stress and not taking care of myself).

Work becomes a blur, and it's all that I can do just to do the barest minimum. I fret myself into disease and only when I'm truly good and sick do I realize, "Oh! that's why I've been such a jerk lately: I'm getting sick!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

4-18-09 - Making "friends"

Coming home last night from the laundromat, pushing my clothes in one of those metal fold-out carts, I arrive at my front door, and sitting in a chair to the left of the door is this heavy, round-faced woman who lives in my building. I've seen her before, sitting in this chair, smoking and laughing raspily with the thin, older man who sometimes sweeps up in my building, and she's seen me, and, feeling friendly, I greet her. She promptly asks me for change.

After explaining that I don't, in fact, have any change ("How about a dollar?" she then asks) she finally relents by saying, "Well, I'll look out for you anyway."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4-17-08 Yeah, me too, kid.

Listening on my iPod to Alan Watts talking about Zen on the way home from the grocery store after work, walking through the glorious spring day, trees budding, flowers blooming, blue sky above, moon rising straight down St. Marks, and all's right with the world. He says, "...and so the present moment suddenly expands, and it contains the whole time, all past, all present, all time. You never have to hold on to it."

I walk by the row of houses, and a little boy stands behind a steel gate, solemnly blowing bubbles between the bars and watching them sail out into the sunshine, sparkling, iridescent and lovely, until they dissolve into nothing in the air.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

4-16-08 Couches and Comics

Today I bought a couch, and the gradual transformation of my apartment from bear den to habitable abode proceeds apace. It was a little too awkward for Katie to carry as we shoved it up to the third floor, so mostly I ended up flipping it end-over-end up the stairs all the way to my apartment, where it now sits, comfortable and a little cramped until I get all the other crap put away and/or tossed out.

Also, as a side note, and probably totally unrelated, I just bought a ticket to go to the New York Comic Con on Saturday. I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to maybe even say hi to Grant Morrison, which would be awesome, since he's kinda one of my heroes (the other one, in comics, is of course Alan Moore), and since I've got an artist who's doing a couple of pages of the comic script I wrote back in 2006, I really would like to just get in the game, as it were.

Monday, April 14, 2008

4-14-08 Seriously? Fuck Darth Maul. And Muggers.

I dreamed about fighting with Darth Maul all night. Every time I would wound him or cut off a limb with my light saber he would heal or regenerate a new limb, until finally I grew so annoyed with the whole thing that I cut him up and liquefied him in a blender, and even then, as I awoke, the mush formerly known as Darth Maul was beginning to clump together in preparation to recombine and continue fighting.

My horoscope said that I might be confronting issues of "assertion and aggression" today, and everyone who looked at me on the subway for more than a second seemed like a potential enemy, until my adrenaline levels got so jacked up I was practically shaking as I got off at my stop. Someone was mugged there a little over a week ago in the early evening, and the thought of it makes me so angry I wish sometimes someone would mess with me so I could stick a knife in them, but I'm glad they don't because then I'd have to deal with the karma and the guilt.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

4-13-08 Duly Noted

I'm walking home from Katie's house after dark, two gentlemen are standing on the corner, one of them talking to an older lady. I walk between the two men, and one makes eye contact with me as I pass. "What's up?" he says, as I continue down the street, and I'm at least smart enough not to turn around. Continuing, I hear, "Yo, I thought that nigger was gonna step to me," and I try to impress on my memory the fact that not everyone has the same personal space, especially after dark in my neighborhood.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

4-12-08 One block this morning in Crown Heights

An older, glasses-wearing black man in a natty tan suit stands holding a bible next to a woman in a similarly colored dress on the corner, the man in a heated conversation with a thin man in a yellow, black and green dread tam. The dread says to the bible-holder, in a thick accent, "You can't tell me nothin', because whom God blesses, none can curse, and you don't know me from Adam!"

A fat, balding white man lies on the ground in front of an apartment building, passed out, his pate covered in sores, still breathing, so I observe him for a moment and move on. Not ten yards away, the well-dressed folks in their Eddie Bauer sweats line up in front of the newest hip restaurant in the neighborhood, waiting to get in for brunch.

Friday, April 11, 2008

4-11-08 Probably Ought to Get Those Taxes Done...

Laying on the floor last night, going through the computerized tax thing, inputting all my W-2's and 1099's, marvelling at how little money I made last year. The carpet was rough, sturdy, and familiar, grey and black, and used to sit in my living room in Queens.

I was terrified almost all the time, toward the end of my tenure in Queens, there. There was no way to make money, no way to pay bills, a constant stream of adreneline and bile in response to the decisions I'd made, but now, I've paid some of the Karma off, and the final few repayments are coming due - nothing I can't handle, but a reminder of what I went through, like a scar that aches a little on the anniversary of its creation.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

4-10-08 Hanging Bike

I screwed a hook into my ceiling, and from said hook I hang my bike. My apartment now looks like a "...real New York apartment", says Katie, "like, 'yeah, my bike's hanging over my guitars and the vacuum cleaner next to the fridge, so what?'"

Last night, late, riding my bike home down Dean Street (where sketchy lives and the factories just don't stop!) was like riding through a cloud that lost its ambition and ended up wetly moping along the ground. The bike and I were covered in a fine mist that, when I hung my bike up, left wet, streaky black marks on the wall and ceiling.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

4-9-08 Shoes

Spring's here, and you can tell because girls are starting to wear their cute shoes again. Red and pink painted toes peek out from open-toed heels like tulip buds pushing out of the ground, flats and ballet style shoes in metallics flash across sidewalks and up stairs; thick, clunky boots retreat to the back of the closet and the sandals begin their warm-up stretches after the long winter.

Speaking of shoes, I tend to be pretty hard on mine, and, after only a month or so of wear, the shoelaces on my new work shoes needed replacing. Nothing makes me feel so much like an adult and a little kid at the same time as buying new shoelaces: the tidy loops tightly wound in their paper wrapping, threading the new shoelace (never exactly the same color black as the previous shoelace) through the eyes on the blind, gaping shoe, tying the shoe extra tight again without fear of breaking the old, worn shoelace.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

4-7-08 Flowing with the Tide

Between Sixth Avenue, where the B train arrives on 42nd Street, and Fifth Avenue, a tunnel stretches to funnel commuters beneath the street. For some reason, today all of the trains in both directions arrived at the station at once, and the tunnel was full of people, hundreds of people bobbing along in the stream of bodies, all flowing down the conduit.

I was worried that, if I surrendered to the flow, relaxed and let the tide carry me, that I would lose my individuality, but I realized that if I relaxed my body, flowed with the mass, while keeping my eyes open and paying attention, that I actually was freed to be even more myself. I didn't have to push or impose my will, skirting between slower walkers and constantly searching for an opening - I could be both myself and a part of the crowd, anonymous, unremarked, necessary.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

4-5-08 The Class War Continues

Walking last night home from a thing, recounting a conversation from the evening before to Katie.

"...and I told her that the reason I hadn't been mugged was because I look kinda mean when I'm just walking around, and she told me to show me my mean look. She looks at me and she says, 'You don't look that mean.'"

Katie says, "Honey, you don't look mean, you look poor!"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

4-3-08 Knight of Pentacles

The workload has been very light for the past few days, and though normally I'd be pleased with this, the boredom of it is actually starting to wear on me. I stare at a computer screen for hour upon hour and feel my eyeballs begin to crystallize and turn opaque under the constant bombardment of needles of gamma wave radiation from the monitors.

I meditate in the mornings, chanting my mantra, doing push ups, watching my body change, waiting for some kind of overwhelming epiphany to break upon me like lightning, but fairly sure that what I'm really looking for is coming gradually. Maybe I'm looking for an enlightenment more subtle - less like flipping a switch than watching the sun come inexorably up after a long, long night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

4-2-08 Gross Out Post Warning - Sinuses

After enduring an inexplicable stuffed up nose for the past 2 weeks, today during breakfast, for some equally inexplicable reason, my entire sinus cavity abruptly liquified and drained. I imagine the flooding of the Nile River Valley might have felt like this, if the Nile River Valley were a nose that suddenly began to gush a thick, clear mucus over its morning eggs and toast.

The upshot of this rather disturbing event was my sudden increased capacity to smell the newly arriving spring. The heady, floral perfume of the woman walking by on the subway, the acrid smog from the bus idling in the intersection, the loitering smoke of the cigarettes burning in the vestibules of the buildings I pass, that man's coffee he frantically sips as he hurries along to work, everything opened up and my world went from black and white to technicolor, 360-degree, smell-o-vision.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

4-1-08 Not an April Fool's Joke

Across the street from my work, clearly visible from a window in the board room, is a tree, just beginning to bloom. The delicate green buds, glowing in the grey of a cloudy day, must have been growing for the past week, and yet, all of a sudden, there they are, just like magic. It's supposed to be 65 degrees or something ridiculous today, and there is no stopping the world from turning.

Spring comes, winter ends, and darkness, without our really noticing, as busy as we are, suddenly gives way to light, and everything changes.

Monday, March 31, 2008

3-31-08 And Then Comes Starbucks

Across the street from my apartment building, in what used to be a vacant lot, a backhoe performs it's balletic, spinning dance, bowing it's long, yellow neck, burying it's head in the surprisingly dark soil, lifting up its load and depositing it in a pile several yards away.

A man and his son watch the process with fascination, and the father turns to me and says, "Another condo going in."

I agree that, yes it looks like another is going in, like the many up and down this block, and he continues, "It's 'cause of the stadium going in, people are buying up all the lots, man."

"It used to be," he says, "that after ten PM, you stayed inside, but now," he shakes his head, amazed, "now, you go out and you see people, you know, walking the streets, unafraid."

Sunday, March 30, 2008

3-30-08 Detoxing the Jedi Way

As an experiment (and sort of a goof) a friend of mine purchased a set of "Kinoki" pads after seeing the commercial on TV. They are these pads that one wears on one's feet while sleeping that are supposedly able to draw toxins out and "detoxify" a person, and after he wore them last night, they indeed were filthy black and smelled vaguely (strongly) of barbecue sauce.

We joked that he might be gaining Jedi powers as a result of his dalliance with detoxification, to the point where he might be able to lift an x-wing out of a swamp, to which he replied, "Man, I'm gonna be so powerful, I'll be able to lift the swamp out of the x-wing."

"In fact," he continued, "George Lucas was gonna name the character Obi Wan Kinoki, but he didn't want to give away the Jedi secret."

Friday, March 28, 2008

3-28-08 The Invisibles Contact Me (At Last)

He stands on the corner wearing a brown, army-style jacket with a knitted dread-cap of yellow, red, and green, and he begins speaking to me while I am still in the crosswalk walking toward him, smiling at me all the while like a physics professor attempting to explain a particularly complicated point of string-theory to a promising but slightly obtuse student.

"Four majesties came down on the sun's rays," he says, underlining the names of various deities (Yaweh, Allah, Jehovah, Amen-Ra) with his thick, curved fingernail on a crumpled, photocopied page where texts full of sacred names and alternate histories criss-cross like a dadaist manifesto, "and they created the universe and built the pyramids."

"But the weren't black men," he continues, still smiling gently with yellowed, crooked, but strong teeth, his soft caribbean accent lilting over the traffic hum, "they were aliens and there were four of them, so how could one god create the world?"

I look at his kind face a moment and say, truthfully, "I don't know."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

3-27-08 His and Hers

Many of the buildings along the tree-lined walk to my subway stop have fallen into a slightly shabby gentility, stone facades and carved faces worn away, paint cracking here and there, front yards a little disheveled from the winter and neglect. Above the doors of many of these old-timers the lintels proudly display names: The Park Court, the Woodrow Wilson, reminders of an earlier century and more prosperous times.

Above one particular building, however (flanked with two fussy, pillared entrances of grey stone, like a matron drawing her skirts back in dignified offense from the dreadfully vulgar brays of traffic) there are only two words: over one entrance is the name "Lillianette", and the other, "Paul."

I imagine them, an unhappily married upper-class couple, building their mansion with separate entrances so that they never had to see each other, divided servants forming up alliances, intrigues, plots; or conversely, the lone romantic architect, building a tribute to his beloved, sundered in life, but together forever above the discrete doorways to the same building, and their great love - unknown, unremarked, forgotten.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

3-26-08 Why I have trouble decorating.

My least favorite room when I was growing up was my own, my bedroom. It had blue and white tile floors that were always cold, a single, thin blue rug in the center of the floor beside the bed which was also blue, a pale, rickety wooden desk along one wall and a set of industrial-style metal shelves laden with various toys and games along another. The lights were fluorescent and flickered when they came on, illuminating the white and blue with a pale greenish-yellow light. The walls that were not sheet rock were bricks (painted white, natch), while the only window in the room had bars on the outside and curtains inside with cowboys on them that I hated with a sort of unconscious, lethargic fury until I moved out to go to college at the age of 18.

Monday, March 17, 2008

3-17-08 differently abled

"Actors are flakes," announces Katie as we leave her apartment into the gray Brooklyn morning to fetch some brunch.

We walk down the street as I consider this, past the flea market as the vendors set up their tables. "Well," I say, "actors are flakes, and musicians are emotionally retarded, and writers are neurotic."

Without missing a beat, she replies, "I'm surprised you don't need your own parking place."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3-12-08 fragments

I receive an email from Katie today and it says, "The Wiener Mobile parks backwards in Times Square." As cryptic as that sounds, it turns out that every word of that sentence is true.

Played saxophone for the first time in ages tonight. Doesn't take much to remember that a) I always feel good after I play and b) I kinda like playing when I'm playing, but don't when I'm not, which is probably a function (as are most things that I'm a bit neurotic about) of the fact that my parents always made me practice, even when I didn't want to.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

3-9-08 Liminal

The day was spent walking the blocks around my new place. I now live right on the border between Prospect Heights (beginning to gentrify, but still affordable to certain people who want to live near the park but are priced out of Park Slope) and Crown Heights (decidedly not gentrifying in the least, entrenched poverty, hardcore gang tags and run down buildings everywhere), and as with all borders, war is the order of the day.

Each street shows the scars of battles, in graffiti and garbage and half completed condos. Outposts of money (a Pilates studio, a cute bar, a coffee shop with indirect lighting and a selection of international brews) jostle up against poverty (the apartment building with garbage in the yard, the empty lot full of discarded auto parts lorded over by a single baleful-eyed rottweiler) and the old-guard of the neighborhood (a Jamaican bakery, a hair salon, an auto-parts store), all uneasy, suspicious each of the other, wondering who will take each contested block.

Friday, March 7, 2008

3-7-08 Settling In

Katie gave me a wonderful gift last night: sandalwood shaving cream. Some people don't care for it, but I find the act of shaving to be wonderfully meditative, and requiring a certain level of skill, which allows me to step outside my usual chattering thoughts in the morning and just DO something for a change. I recently began shaving with my grandfather's old double-edged safety razor, and though it requires a little more concentration, it gives me a much closer shave than I've ever gotten with a cartridge razor.

Even though I've heard that "wet shaving" (i.e. shaving with a double-edge or straight razor, brushes and cups, and using wet cream rather than the stuff out of the can, etc.) is a new trend or something, I don't mind being part of a trend (even though I normally find it abhorrent), and am looking forward to the time when people are brushing their teeth using silver-handled, boars-hair toothbrushes and debating online the merits of various forms of high-grade, high-end toothpastes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

3-6-08 Where My Demon's At?

A tattered bright green flyer taped to a lamp post in my new neighborhood advertises a (long past) night of "Spiritual Hip-Hop", and I remember Christian Rockers I used to listen to and the guy on TV who scared the living crap outtta me, telling me that Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, and Black Oak Arkansas were Satanic (I didn't listen to Zepplin until I was almost out of college - that's how much I bought the "Rock Music=Satan" thing).

So the question I have is - where are the goth-satanic-hip-hop artists? Where's the bizzare, almost winking, elaborate stage sets and cartoon-y, Halloween horror-show lyrics. I'd love to see the hip-hop equivalent of Danzig, the Misfits, or even Sabbath, but maybe it's a cultural thing, and the same things that scared and titilated me in rock music would fall flat in hip-hop.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Starting Again and Saying Goodbye

I walked through the Kew (Kew Gardens) for the last time tonight. It has been my experience that when a particular time or place is "done" with you, or you, it, there are very clear signs, coincidences, portents.

I walked down the back road by the railroad track in the late afternoon sun (thank God the days are getting longer again, winter gradually loosening its grip), saying good-bye to my favorite trees, to the place where the cat always sat, to the place where I had to kill that squirrel, and suddenly there was my old neighborhood friend Supreet, who greeted me with amazement. We shared affectionate farewells and he only allowed me to leave after extracting a promise that I would write.

Friday, February 22, 2008

2-22-08 Wii Would Like to Play (with your balls)

Sighing with envy at work over the trailer for the newest video game/time waster, I turn to my fellow cube-dweller, Jonathan.

"I really want a Wii, but I know I wouldn't get anything done if I had one," I say.

"I had to start leaving my NintendoDS at home, 'cause it was worse than porn," he says. "At least with porn, you know when you're done."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2-21-08 This Old, Cold World

The bus lumbers up to the frozen morning busstop, packed to the windows with commuters on their way to work, bodies and jackets and blank, bored, sad faces. In spite of this, more people do their eager best to get on, earning looks of disgust and exasperation from their fellow passengers. I have decided that I am not an animal, and so I let this bus go. There will be another bus, and besides, I don't really want to go to work that badly anyway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2-19-08 What's Going On Here?

I've missed several days. I turned off the internet at my house in anticipation of the move and now the people I was leeching wi-fi off of have gotten wise and I am bereft, able only to post between assignments at work. Ah, well.

I'm trying to get rid of as many of my books as possible, and currently they're sprawled across the living room floor like confetti, waiting for someone to pick them up and give them good homes, so I decided to take them to the library (like the Humane Society for books) and give them away there.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2-17-08 A Disturbing New Trend in Women's Shoes

Shopping for shoes for work with Katie today, we end up at the Brooklyn Mall on Atlantic Ave. Several of the women's shoes have a distinct profile I've never seen before. I've seen the usual slightly up-pointing tips of shoes that have been in fashion, but on these new shoes, the curve is so extreme as to point the toe toward the shin of the wearer, in an arc that the human foot was never meant to make.

Looking at the shoe I hold it up to Katie, saying "So, um, how long have you been participating in the Ren Faire?"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2-16-08b The Mouse has left the House

While I was writing the previous post, Katie came up and said "Could you help me get the mouse out of the trap?" It was one of those enclosed traps, so the mouse was discreetly splayed out with his little back broken. As I dumped him into the trash, I said a few words: "Thanks for being a good mouse and teaching us to keep the kitchen a little cleaner, and while you were a good mouse, you came where you shouldn't have and now you're dead."

I had Katie read the previous post to make sure that she didn't mind having people know about her, shall we say, off-beat sense of humor, and she said, "Well, as long as you don't say, 'When Katie is about to orgasm, she likes to scream the names of major-league baseball players.'"

2-16-08 A Cry for Attention

Yesterday, I met Katie near Penn Station to shop for new shoes, as my old shoes which I had bought last year while in Cortland, NY doing summer stock theatre had finally given up the ghost. In a store window, they were changing the display, and a dozen naked, skinny mannequins stood with their backs to the street.

"It's like the Holocaust, they're lining them up for the gas chambers," said Katie, a little too loud. I must have cringed a little, as she then explained, "I'm really just trying to get on 'Overheard in New York.'"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2-14-08 There is Nowhere That Does Not See You

A jostling tribe of Asian teenagers commandeer the 6-train car I'm riding, laughing and flirting and politely teasing each other. One of the lower-in-the-pecking-order girls (slightly less fashionably dressed, slightly less pretty) has a digital camera, and poses are posed all over the car: the shot of all their shoes, pointing together in a star, a couple of wide-eyed, goofy poses, two girls kissing the air, the ubiquitous "rock and roll" devil-horns hand-sign. As they took their dozens of pictures (always showing the subject their photo right away, eliciting either a laugh or a wince of pain, do I really look like that?), I wondered if anyone would ever look at them - so many pictures, how could they?

It suddenly came to me that the point wasn't the pictures themselves, but the act of taking them and the showing right after, a supreme self-conciousness and a constant sense of self-as-object - "This is what you look like when I see you, and aren't we having fun?"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

2-13-08 February in a Nutshell

Last night/this morning's downpour disintegrated the meager snow we got yesterday, leaving the gutters and sidewalks grey and filthy and moist. I came into work late in an effort to somewhat allieviate the diesel engine I seem to be carrying around in my chest, and so managed to miss most of the slush. Unfamiliar sounds and burblings rise within me, and my inner workings seem noisy and strange. The world outside is wet and dirty, and my insides are wet and dirty, and I find myself thinking constantly of spring.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2-12-08 My Lungs are a Swamp

Woke up in the early hours unable to breathe through my nose, with a wheezing rattle chuckling down deep in my chest. I felt as if I were trying to breathe through cotton.

I was afraid the way that I've seen small animals like my cat be afraid - I was aware I was in what felt like a dangerous situation, yet I was calm and alert, knowing that something had to be done. I went into the bathroom, shut the door, turned on all the hot water, and sat while the steam loosened up the noisome crap, and I was able to breathe more easily.

Monday, February 11, 2008

2-11-08 Never Complain, Never Explain

On Saturday, we went down to Chinatown on a whim, not thinking of the thousands who might be joining us, what with it being Chinese New Year and all.

It wasn't nearly as crowded as you might expect, and we got to see the shortest celebratory puppet dragon ever (two guys beneath the puppet, followed by two more rather older-looking gentlemen, one playing a drum, the other clapping cymbals together in a relatively stirring fashion as they wound their way over the crowded sidewalks), as well as a man at a market serving a durian fruit. He sliced open the thick, thorny rind and scooped out the vaugely fetal looking sections of pulp while we stood around and gaped like the psuedo-tourists we were.

Then we went to a Malaysian restaurant where I could eat exactly 2 things on the menu (the rest of the menu was populated with oddities like duck's web, squid ink, frogs, jelly fish, and the like), and so I ordered the vegetable curry, the leftovers which I ate today for lunch, sweetened with a little coconut milk to alleviate the killing heat that brutalized me on Saturday.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

2-07-08 Of Course

For the past two months, I have taken the same route from my home to work, a route I have gradually perfected: which train car to get on, which staircase to take, the beeline route I weave through the multitudinous crossing paths of my fellow commuters.

Today, I took a totally different route: different stairs, different cars - and I found my entire outlook shifted. I have always looked for the way forward through life, hoping I won't dislike it too much, waiting to put my foot down until the path appeared, never expecting to choose the way but instead waiting for what's available and choosing then.

Suddenly it came to me that I might actually be able to choose, if I wanted, to create one of the paths that came up - maybe not wholesale, but with a little bit of effort make another path, listening, head half cocked, for the voice that everyone seemed to have but me, that told them, "I want this", and which, of course, everyone has always told me to listen for, but which I never knew I had.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2-6-08 a dream of divine love

Traveling all over the city in a car, the landscape constantly changing (as it does in dreams), I am searching for something that was lost, or someone has something to give me. Perhaps I misplaced it, and only now am I ready to receive it back again. It is a sunny day, in a city that looks like San Francisco, with its irrational hills and its certainty of its own style, like a woman whose very extreme features would be ugly on anyone with less panache.

We arrive at the destination, and it turns out the thing lost was a song, a message, and the person driving (who? their face obscure, a memory of a gentle, slightly mocking, but not unkind, smile turning away to look out the windshield) turns on the radio to play the song "My Eyes Adored You" as sung by Steve Perry, and the universe explodes with light.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2-4-08 Eli Manning is pretty cool, yeah

As ashamed as I probably should be to admit it (do they revoke emo credentials? Is there an agency somewhere keeping tabs, making charts and graphs and annual reports? Will they come for my hair styling products?), I really enjoyed the Super Bowl. I love rooting for the underdog, and, as the girl whose house we were hanging out in clutched her bible to her chest, weeping while Captain Handsome and the Patriots struggled in vain to recover in the final seconds, I felt a real, albeit vicarious thrill.

Katie said, "pick a side, it'll be more fun." I walked into the night, roman candles bursting in the air over the brooklyn skyline, happier than I'd been in weeks, and thinking how wonderful it was to struggle, even if you think you're beat, and how fun it is to win, when everyone (maybe even, in your secret heart-of-hearts, you) thinks you're gonna lose.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

2-3-08 Accordian sweetness

He sits at the end of the bench on the platform in the Atlantic-Pacific station in Brooklyn, playing accordian. He sees us listening and he smiles, asking, "You like Irish music?" in a thick Italian accent.

The music is sweet and sad, everyone seems to love him, and I'm pleased to see him make a huge chunk of change in thirty seconds - it seems well deserved. A decent man making money by making people happy.

Friday, February 1, 2008

1-31-08 Wealth. I don't has it.

The outer doors to Cipriani, a high-end restaurant across from Grand Central Terminal, are black, opaque glass, two stories high. Behind them are revolving doors, like at a bank, leading into an enormous hall with ceilings fifty feet high and a dining space as large as half a football field. I walk past on my way to work and look in, staring deep into the warmly lit opulence of table after white-linen-covered table, while small people, working industriously setting up for some event or other, place gleaming silver and starched napkins down on tables beneath warm gold and wood accents on the walls.

A little ache starts up in my chest, and I remember what it was like to (pretend to) have enough money to eat someplace like that.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

1-30-08 "It just keeps getting worse!"

The panic rises higher and higher as the phone calls from numbers I know I don't want to talk to increases. The actions I take seem to make the problems more profound, and more intractable. I talk to Katie and know that I am dreadfully, horribly boring in my anxiety, and feel ashamed of how ineffectual I am being, and yet seem completely unable to stop it.

I once lived in utter squalor, in a run-down, disgusting apartment off-campus, doing drugs and getting poorer and poorer, and even though I'm clean, all I can think right now is, "it's coming for me again, and this time I won't escape."

1-29-08 Trying too Hard

I go to see another, different place in Brooklyn, all part of the campaign to move out of the place I've lived in for almost 10 years and to cut down on my commute, both to Manhattan and to Katie's place. I see a nice place, two bedrooms, uneven floors, typical New York apartment that would cost you 700-800 dollars anywhere else, but here runs you twice that. The pleasant, smiling man who shows me the apartment answers all my questions, rushes off to another appointment, and, after some consideration, I decide to take the place. As soon as I've called him and agreed to meet to put down money the first thought that runs through my mind is "Oh my God, what have I done."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

1-28-08 Scotty in Furs (or Pleather)

The bondage gear given me to wear in the staged reading looks much better than I expected, but it's still not something I'll be wearing to my next business meeting. People remark on how comfortable I seem to be in basically no clothes at all.

"Well, I used to be a swimmer, so I spent a lot of time walking around in a Speedo. Pretty much makes this stuff look tame in comparison."

Monday, January 28, 2008

1-27-08 Unresolved

After seeing my roommate Rick's band I came back and went to bed. All night I dreamed of getting ready for a fight with a guy that humiliated me constantly in grade school. The fact that he probably wouldn't remember doing anything to me, or indeed even recognize me, made no difference. The only problem was that, in my dream, every time I was about to fight him, there was always one more thing I had to do first before confronting him face to face, and even though I felt less and less prepared as time passed, I still had yet to face him by the time the alarm went off and I woke up exhausted to get ready for work.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

1-26-08 Old Testament R & B

I am in a train with a hobo, and he's singing "Lean On Me". A beggar has just come through the train and sung the same song not moments before, but this guy, the one singing now, is the real deal. He's got a hoarse shout deep in his throat, what I've heard the Irish call the "rarrgh" (or something like that), and when he sings, an Old Testament prophet speaks. He stomps, claps and shouts, says it's the "coming of the holy word," and finally ends his testimony with the phrase, "they say justice is blind, but justice ain't blind, it just takes its time."

Friday, January 25, 2008

1-25-08 Gloves

A single glove perched atop what used to be a pay phone kiosk. Another stuffed into a cyclone fence along 41st Street. My ex-wife always used to lose her gloves (sometimes one, often both), and I would dutifully buy another pair whenever she did, but we would always mourn the single glove. I would imagine it wandering the world, and inexplicable pity would well in my breast.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1-24-08 Yesterday, the Day Job

The office manager of the company I currently temp at came by my desk yesterday and asked me to follow him into an empty meeting room. To his credit, he looked vaugely ashamed of himself as he sheepishly asked me to please avoid using the executive toilet in my area, and instead walk to the receptionist in front and ask her for the key to use the regular washroom on the other side of the building. As no one had mentioned to me that there was an issue with me using it before, I did my best to bite back my defensiveness.

I couldn't hide the slight edge to my voice, though, when he apologized again and I replied, "Yeah, well I'm sure it's kind of tough for you to have to tell somebody where they can and can't go to the bathroom."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1-23-08 L'esprit de l'escalier and the power of music

A woman on the bus looks askance at me after I accidentally brush her with my backpack to make room in the crowded aisle. I apologize, but I should have said, "Why don't you just go to work and beat up a co-worker for fun like you usually do instead of giving me attitude for trying to be courteous in a crowded city, ya bitch!"

The music on the Weather Channel today was the guitar solo from "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", which not only sorta made my day for some reason, but totally gave the lie to yesterdays post. I listened to my beloved iPod on random, and the good Lord saw fit to give me a slew of awesome tunes all in a row, including the Dambuilders, Mountain Goats, Wu Tang, Brad Paisley (feat. George Jones), Prince, and a bunch of others that also made me ridiculously happy, and helped to (hopefully) put the last nail in the coffin of this mood I've been carrying around like a sack of shit for the past three days or so.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1-22-08 Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again

A brief gale of depression and ennui derailed me from my goal, but I return, humbled, and requesting your indulgence.

I turn on the Weather Channel in the morning as I eat breakfast, and the music they play over the highs and lows for cities across the U.S. is soothing and innocuous, like elevator music. It is practically void of emotional or intellectual content, like a government report or the whirring of a ceiling fan.

A fight seems to break out on the platform as I ride the train to work, a scuffling of feet and angry voices, but as the train pulls away, the two men are walking along, smiling, shoulder to shoulder as they walk, talking like New Yorkers often talk, i.e. loudly and aggressively.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

1-19-08 The sweetest bitters

Katie's roommate made a very special liqueur today that tasted like apple cider, without the apples. The recipie was very hush-hush, but after she finished making it, she invited us all into the kitchen for a taste. Did I mention the primary ingredient in the mix was Everclear?

It was smooth going down, but, as one of Katie's roommate's friends said, "I think I know how dragons feel when they're about to burn down a village."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

1-18-08 that which does not kill me or my city

After seeing Cloverfield, we walk through Manhattan, trying to clear our eyes of the visions of terrifying monsters rampaging up and down our city streets, and Katie asks me where we'll meet in case of monster attack. I make a few suggestions, but the upshot is that she eventually wants to live in Manhattan.

I understand, but it seems foolish to me. Where can you go when the strange, hateful monsters of our world finally go mad and send their wrath embodied through the streets, wreaking havoc on our innocent buildings and trees, all of them merely paying for what we started, so long ago?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

1-17-08 Who's laughing now?

I walked from the subway to work today, feeling foolish because of the umbrella I was carrying since I watch The Weather Channel every morning while I eat breakfast, and it told me there would be snow today. The flashes of blue sky between the light scrim of clouds mocked me with every click of the tip of the bumbershoot on the pavement.

This evening it snowed, huge wet flakes that splattered into watery nothingness as they dive bombed the pavement like kamikaze-rebel-angel-snowmen. My umbrella, half-crippled by an errant wind several weeks ago, hung down on one side as I walked through the brief storm, and I was terribly proud of myself for having such foresight.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1-16-08 No Rest for the Wicked?

The air in my bedroom is cold, for a change, even after I've finally retired the in-window air-conditioning unit to a space on the floor in the unused room in my apartment. I wake up, shivering, in the early hours before the alarm on my phone shrieks its obvious electronic censure of my dreams, and I pull the comforter up to my shoulders from where I kicked it in the night.

The cat, hearing me wake, mutters a half-yawned meow from the other side of the room. The darkness is grainy from the street light outside, and I am warm and safe in my bed, drifting back to sleep.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

1-15-08 The Sutra of Lowered Expectations

Whenever I find something that I enjoy just for itself, like, say, writing in this blog, I have this pernicious tendency to fuck it all up with my ridiculous sense of self-importance and ambition. Well not this time, buckos. I found myself checking my blog traffic way too much and I've decided I've had enough of my shit. So I may be doing some rather self-sabotaging things in the next couple of weeks, just to pull the rug out from under my monkey-mind, cause he wants everything, and he doesn't care who he has to put in traction to get it, the little bastard.

Monday, January 14, 2008

1-14-08 Tunnel Vision, and, I got an award

Walking the tunnel under 42nd street this morning with the swarming tumult of commuters, I hear a man playing an asian bamboo flute. He is invisible beyond the press of thousands of bodies, each of us bustling along in the hive on the way to our cells. The music is plaintive, longing, begging our souls to awaken, and I pass him, seeing his face, eyes closed and rapturous, until the music stops and starts again, fading into distance.


Mrs. X over at The Young and the Infertile has been kind enough to nominate me for a Thinking Blogger award, and for this I am grateful to her.

1-13-08 Flea Market

In Katie's neighborhood on the weekends, the local elementary school playground is taken over by various vendors selling their wares: minerals and jewelry, old soviet memorabilia, vintage clothes, records, old books (comic and non), the odd fedora. We walk beneath a strangely slate sky in the early afternoon (having slept in half the day from a party the night before that went well into the morning hours), say hello to the puppies we meet, and wander through the market.

I'm standing examining a sliding door armoire that I have no intention of buying, but that smells deliciously of good, aged wood, and the vendor rushes up, asking us if we think the price is too high. I explain that it isn't a price problem, but just that I didn't come to buy, and he retreats, crestfallen, while we walk away, feeling slightly guilty on what must for some reason be a "slow day".

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1-12-08 angels and douchebags

The Q train on the way to Katie's place has stopped in the tunnel just before Canal Street Station because of a sick passenger in the train in front of us, and Katie and I are having to amuse ourselves with the antics of our fellow passengers as they crack under pressure.

One guy in particular is leading the pack in the douchebag olympics, a dark-skinned man in a brown hoodie who berates anyone who will listen in a thick Carribean patois. His complaints become increasingly loud and obnoxious, until, when some of his fellow passengers suggest that no one cares what he thinks, and that perhaps he should keep his mouth shut ("shut up, shut up, shut up" one fellow takes to saying over and over), he begins threatening his fellow passengers with violence in words that are barely comprehensible.

When the train finally pulls a little ways into the station, and they allow people to walk through the cars to get off the train at the front, his demeanour completely changes, and he becomes polite, deferential, letting people off ahead of him, and just generally the total opposite of what he'd been for the proceeding hour and a half.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

1-11-08 A New York Moment

A man crossing the street in front of us is cut off in the crosswalk by a cab turning left. He says something to the cabbie (presumably about driving etiquette, though it may have been about his parentage, this being New York and all) and the cabbie begins to curse at him. So now the cab is blocking the whole crosswalk, and the cabbie is arguing with this pedestrian about how he's in the right.

"If you're in such a hurry, keep driving!" I shout, and the cabbie looks startled for a second, as if he's never thought of it, and then drives on.

Friday, January 11, 2008

1-10-08 starry dynamos under glass

Went to the Jack Kerouac On the Road exhibit at the New York Library, where they had the original scroll Jack wrote on (all 120 feet, though only the first 60 were laid out) unrolled down the middle of the exhibit room, like a yellowing center line on blacktop. Pictures and old letters lined the walls: Burroughs, Ginsburg, Corso, all old heroes of mine. I stared at one picture of Burroughs brandishing a knife until I thought he was going to come out of the picture and stab me in the heart.

Ginsburg seemed perfectly happy, pleased, even, under the scrutiny of the camera's gaze, Kerouac was resigned to the academic treatment, only Burroughs still seemed slightly feral, burning eyes and sallow skin radiating heat from 50 years past, saying, "Do your worst, you can't fuck me into submission."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

1-9-08 Lions and Common People

My boss forgot I was using her AMEX card to book some travel for her, and dashed off to a lunch without it, giving me the perfect opportunity to wander through the neighborhood during a (yet again) glorious afternoon to take it to her.

The lionesses in front of the Morgan Library are almost a perfect echo of their counterparts who flank the New York Public Library, but in a minor key. They look completely relaxed lying at the door of this strange buidling that seems more mausoleum than house of learning. Maybe they've already had their fill devouring poor people who've tried to get in and now they rest, tails frozen mid-flick, in the strangely warm January sun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

1-8-08 open heart surgery

I get out of work and head toward the subway to go home, but something inside, some ache, like a voice that wants to sing, says "Take a walk, man," and so I walk, without plan or direction.

The sun sets, and I reach a set of stairs that lead up to an overpass that looks out across the East River, where I stand watching the fireflies of the skyline of Queens and Brooklyn come to themselves after the long stupor of day. I see down to the cabs sweeping by on the streets below and my chest breaks open, and a burning hand reaches in and touches my heart, and I am suddenly blazing with love for everything I can see: the river, the sky, the cabs, the Chrysler Building shining like a hood ornament, the dirty sidewalks, my foolish hands on the railing, the bus gliding by on its way back to noplace in particular.

Other people can see it, too, I think, and more than one person locks eyes with me and smiles as I walk the busy streets around Grand Central Terminal at rush hour, beaming like a crazy person, glorying in how beautiful, beautiful, beautiful this city, this world, has suddenly become, for no good reason, no reason at all.

1-7-08 Meta-bragging

"I don't want to only talk about beating Halo as my four sentences tonight," I say while carrying old hard drives and computer equipment out to the garbage area behind my apartment building. I have Katie on the hands-free headset, and I'm in a t-shirt and jeans because it's been so warm today.

"Well, could you put it in as a P.S. or something, like, 'I beat Halo, to be continued'?"

"Well, that would have to be part of the four sentences, too," I say, dumping the last of the old software CD's into the garbage and walking back up the steps to go back inside.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

1-6-08 Destroy all Cockroaches

Though my roommates and I do our level best to keep the kitchen mostly clean, the silverware drawer has, despite our efforts, become infested with roaches, probably because we live in New York City, and, well, that's just what happens.

One of my former roommates, Dave, was a complete neat-freak, and insomniac to boot, so I have the sneaking suspicion that he was the one who kept us roach-free. As an example of his dedication to the eradication of vermin, one week he stayed up till dawn three nights in a row in order to catch (and later release out into its natural habitat - the garbage cans behind our building) a single mouse that had moved in with us.

I threw open the drawer, can of Raid in my hand, and sprayed down the skittering little critters with deadly nerve gas, all the while thinking to myself, "We'll retreat to the ship and nuke the site from orbit - it's the only way to be sure."

1-5-08 out and about

Hang out at the bar after the show and Katie, Pete and I get clocked by these two hipster douchebags (one wearing a fedora!) who apparently didn't approve of our Williamsburg credentials. Katie offers to beat the shit out of them, but Pete kindly declines her generous offer.

We leave the bar at 12:30 to catch a bus back to Queens (unfortunately, it take you back to Queens, but on the plus side, if you've gotta go to Queens, at least it's direct), and the 12:37 almost roars past the bus stop where we stand huddled in the cold and rain, stopping only when I step directly into the road waving my hands and holding up my metrocard in the universal sign for "stop the fucking bus, I have to go back to Queens."

"What, you think I need a seeing eye dog or something?" says the bus driver as we clamber on board, and I successfully restrain myself from replying "Yes, actually, I think you do."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

1-4-08 Asian Pub rules

Went out with some of Katie's new friends from her tour at a place near Cooper Union called Asian Pub, where the drinks and the food were ridiculously cheap, and the pop music cheesy. We talked about music and gossiped about people they knew that I didn't really know but felt like I knew since I'd heard so much about them over the last two months. As the night progressed and the drinks flowed more freely so did our words, and the conversation ranged over religion and politics to the time I used to be a muslim, and I wondered if these neat new people I met would remember in the morning how well we connected.

Katie and I roared back to Brooklyn on the Q, listening to the theme-song from "Snakes on a Plane" and amusing our fellow passengers with our interpretive dance moves and lip-syncing prowess.

Friday, January 4, 2008

1-3-08 Dream a little dream

A small, older Asian woman with a boyish haircut poking out from under her square hat sits on the the train while I stand, reading over her shoulder. She is very carefully examining a typewritten plot synopsis for a fantasy movie that (judging from the copyright at the bottom of the page) she or a friend of hers has written. The language is awkward and earnest, the punctuation excessive (with lots of extra exclamation points!!!), and there are pages and pages of it, each exhaustively recounting the tale of her heroine's struggle from obscurity to power and love in a land of sorcery, magical creatures, and swordplay.

A strange affection wells in me as I watch her, knowing exactly how she feels: the giddiness she feels as she reads and re-reads the pages she has worked so hard on, her certainty that this, this idea, this story, is important and worthy of attention, the way she lovingly replaces the first page on top and gently places it back into it's folder for the rest of the ride home.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

1-2-08 - On Why I Am Well Suited for an Artistic Life

I have been making my lunch to take to work for several months now, and as I am both lazy and poor, I have stuck with the old impoverished standby, rice and beans. I use Goya canned black beans, along with powdered garlic, bay leaf, basil, rosemary, oregano, balsamic vinegar, Angostura bitters, and a seasoning packet that you can buy from Goya that's kind of like Tony Chachere's spicy, salty seasoning (which I have yet to be able to find in my neighborhood), but not quite.

I make this meal at least once a week, either for dinner or for lunch, and I am sort of in love with it. The seasonings and substantial heartiness of it warm my heart, and every time I put it in the microwave to heat it up at work, I find myself singing a little song: "Rice and beans, rice and beans, rice and beeeaanns".

1-1-08 - A Tiger, A Jacket

An older woman gets on the Q train to Brooklyn. She's wearing red, thick framed glasses with purple tinted lenses, plaid pants, and a fake fur jacket that alternates gray and mustard yellow, like a day-glo tiger stripe. She is tall and self-possessed in that way that only older, outrageously dressed women have, in that she knows every one of us is watching her, and yet she pretends she is alone in the world.

I think of the tiger they just killed in San Francisco (Katrina? is that her name?) and wonder who will wear that tiger's coat.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

12-31-07 - So this is the new year...

Katie says she needs to eat meat, so we stop at a Mexican restaurant/bar in Astoria on the way home from a New Year's party at a friend's. After looking at the menu for a bit she decides on a chicken quesadilla, and we munch on chips and incredibly fresh, very hot salsa while we wait for the soft-spoken man behind the yellow-with-age counter to fill her order.

Towards the back of the bar, away from the street, short, dark men dressed in button down work shirts and jeans dance to accordion music in the red glow from a neon Budweiser sign with women in black skirts and high heels. A large black man by the door pats down every person who walks in (except us, the only white folks in the place), checking for weapons, and as we leave with our order, he gives a friendly "Happy New Year!", but he doesn't smile at all.