Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Teenage Kicks

On my way out of Las Vegas my friend and I held a slum party. The underattended party was one of the best shindigs I'd ever been to. We overtook my cockroach infested apartment and invested in a keg of pbr. Along with the booze we handed out markers, spray paint, and other implements to detourn the apartment. Prior to the party getting off Darquea and I did some initial work. I made a small dance floor in my old room with the phrase "Get Teenage Kicks" embossed with spray paint on the rug. It took me quite a while to find that song again, and here it is by the Undertones, not the buzzcocks whom I initially thought it was by.

Don't bother looking for other Undertones songs, they suck balls.

Here's a buzzcocks video, their songs don't suck. They're looking young and sassy with their terrible bowl haircuts.

Give it up for early Pop Punk Bitches!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This was the first Chromeo song that I heard. The two band members have reputedly been best friends since they were children. I really enjoyed this number as well as their ode to oedipus "Momma's boy." The chorus of "Needy Girl" is incredibly catchy and clever while the lyrics of "Momma's boy" are pure genius. Enjoy your youtube inspired dance party!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Doing it Greek

For right now I'll just dump this brief article on the blog, later I'll write up something more comprehensive.

From SF Gate - By Elizabeth Fernandez

A band of demonstrators, many wearing black masks, stormed a bustling San Francisco mall Saturday evening, upending garbage cans and foliage and damaging crystal merchandise at one kiosk.

An estimated 50 to 75 people were involved in the disruption at Westfield San Francisco Centre, police said.

"It felt like random, vague anarchy," said Sam Cantrell, who sells sunglasses at a kiosk near the escalators on the street level where the protesters gathered.

"Everyone's yelling," he said. "Some people started running up the escalator the wrong way. People were grabbing their babies and running away in fear."

The disruption began around 6:30 p.m. as holiday shoppers crowded the mall on the last Saturday before Christmas.

Some protesters threw food, police said. Others tried to toss a large planter onto the food court below.

According to mall management, the protesters were part of a "Solidarity with Greek Uprising" demonstration, which began in the Mission District earlier in the afternoon. An international day of action was called on Saturday to protest the death of a young man in Greece in early December.

"Although people have the right to their opinions, disruptive and destructive behavior on our property is not tolerated," said mall management in a statement.

By 7:45 p.m., the area was cleaned up.

"They made a mess," said Monica Yuen, owner of San Francisco Glass Works, a kiosk selling delicate imported crystal earrings, bracelets and other jewelry. She was trying to assess the damage to her wares.

"I had a lot of jewelry on the top shelves that got smashed," she said. "They threw a big sign at it. I think some of it was stolen. I was crying and shaking."

A police source said five or six protesters were arrested for misdemeanor vandalism.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Party

The holiday party was held at Albatross, an average sized bar two blocks north of university on San Pablo avenue in Berkeley. I arrived shortly after the party had started at 9pm. A few people had already started drinking and were casually chatted. After an hour the bracelets were given out enabling the wearers to chalking up their booze to the company tab. At midnight I stood on a chair and gave this speech which myself and my friend Monica wrote. The crowd responded very positively cheering at moments and engaging at others. A loud ruckus was caused at the end. Good times.

My fellow proletarians long and toilsome have been the days preceding this joyous jubilant occasion. Our hours have been occupied by the demands of the inane, otherwise known as customers. Their tiresome requests for paltry items such as water, silverware, napkins, ranch dressing, espresso drinks, refills... is there ever an end to their triteness? More menus waiter. Another beer bartender! Clean this table you in the black shirt. Their tedious requests fill our days like salt in a gashing wound.

Why do we go forth with this masochism? Is it for the management, those boobs in their business causal attire? Their pleated pants and facial farces. Their never say die attitude that ennobles our lowly spirits? Is that what brings us to our place of employment on the daily? I say nay!

Do we return for the wages that we've already spent? As the tender tips slide ever so slowly and stiffly from the customers' wallets to our own the money seems to float away into a nebulous cloud of drugs, alcohol, and hookers. Surely if we were concerned with the capital in our lives, we would not be in the enterprise of service. I won't sully your thoughts recounting the hourly wages of the management, the cooks, the dishwashers, and hosts.

The question still plagues upon our mind. Why we return to our laborious occupations? Is it for the the free gruel that fills our stomachs like a beggar's porridge? Surely the pizzas, salads, lamb kebobs, and meaty skewers, once provided a delightful dance on our palates but with the passing days what was once a ballet on the tip of the tongue has turned into a death march down our esophagus's. It is no fault of the cooks that the food has turned so bland. We all know of their endeavors to spice our foods with their bodily excrement.

So what then do we return for???????

The annual holiday party, I say! Where finally the libations run as free and easy as the breeze through our undergarments, or lack therof. The alcohol brightens our souls from the gray of our working class existence. The rambunctious cheer and rosy cheeks of our intoxicated coworkers reminds us that we are humans, living, breathing, beings. Yes this! Right here! Right now! This is why we go through our perpetual plight. Cheers to free booze may its effects deliver us from employment on the morrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A view of the horizon

Its been a while since I've done any writing. Part of it is a writing block, or lack of desire to write. Especially the short story that has become longer than most of my others. Its a bit of a poor excuse. If you want to write, you have to write and just keep humping at it.

Of course I've also been preoccupied with training for my latest bout which was held yesterday in south San Francisco. The card was held in a high school gym with the ring in the center of the basketball court. The bleachers were pulled out and full of spectators. The fighters prepared themselves in the small two room wrestling room adjoined to the gymnasium.

My stable mate Joe Lacap was the first bout and I watched him from the doors of the dressing room. Joe's opponent was from Cung Le's gym and like Joe was a small Filipino. Their bout started off slow with both of them wary about engaging. Joe spent a fair amount of the fight being pensive and not engaging. When he did engage his strikes were clean, especially his punches. His clinch work was okay. Most fighters in the states have pretty atrocious clinch skills so I was happy that Joe got a good knee or two in. I thought that Joe lost the first round, gained the second, then scraped by with the third. The judges gave Joe a split decision win, deservedly. If he had pressed more in on his opponent I think Joe could have gained a majority win.

My bout was the third bout of the evening and my opponent was Jose Perez a latino from Cung Le's gym. We weighed in on Friday at 146 lbs each. I cut about 7 pounds for my fight. Thursday evening I spent some time in a sauna and on friday I jogged with a sauna suit. I avoided eating until the evening as well which made me slightly irritable in the evening as we waited endlessly for the scales to come out. The day of the fight I'd gained back my weight through rehydration and a good deal of eating. Yesterday morning I began by eating some oatmeal, then a peanut butter and plum jelly sandwich. Later I had a tempeh and mixed green sandwich while snacking on mixed nuts and figs. My final ingestion of food was a delightful shake composed of banana, blueberries, almonds and some soy milk. My stomach felt slightly upset I think due to the tempeh. I haven't been able to digest soy as well as I did five years ago. Prior to my fight I was hungry. I wanted to fight on a slightly empty stomach because I didn't want to feel weighed down.

Coke led the way out of the dressing room and to the ring. I looked out at the crowd and recognized familiar faces sometimes making eye contact with my adoring supporters. I tried to stay focused and calm taking deep breaths in from my stomach. My breath fell out of me as the time passed and Perez came into the ring. The referee brought us together and the bout began. We touched gloves and I went to push kick him. He came directly forward with looping punches. My nervousness shot up as I've had trouble in the past with aggressive brawling punchers. To offset his forward antics I clinched up with him and began to knee him in the stomach. My mind was focused not on having great locks but on delivering clean knees into his midsection. Every time I kneed I looked down and tried to step out. Coke had been screaming at me for a month or so to make everything clean. The first round was spent primarily in the clinch along with the second, and third. Other than the brief opening onslaught Perez wasn't that active, unless you can call standing and getting kneed active. He threw one combination that ended with a leg kick that still has my leg slightly smarting and a single clean knee while we were clinched. One of Perez's concerns was getting kneed in the nuts. In the first round I delivered a sharp knee to his pelvis which grazed the top of his cup. The referee declared the blast clean but gave Perez some time. While we were in the clinch Perez would drop one arm to cover his nuts. Unfortunately that meant instead of landing shots into his stomach I landed them on his arm. In the third round I had Perez backed in his corner. I threw a shot that landed on his cup. Immediately recognizing that I had hit him I backed away while the referee gave him time to recuperate. Other memorable moments in my kneeing him included a period of time in which I switched from left knee to right. I was at a slight angle to him and so my right knee came over his leg. My right knee crashed into his kidneys. After the blow to the kidneys I came up with a left knee into the soft padding of his stomach. I switched back and forth between right and left for a good five seconds. At one point Perez was doubled over and I was driving my knees straight up into his bent over body. He was collapsing on the ropes and I was behind him so I kneed him in the ass. I thought of the sciatic nerve which runs in the buttocks when I pummeled his butt with my platela.

In between rounds my corner gave me sage advice, which sadly I didn't follow. Coke told me to make more space with the knees, to thrust more with my hips, while Mike advised me to use more footwork, and to kick him in the body. Additionally Mike told me to drop my elbows down. Perez was bear hugging me a lot when we came close as he didn't really have a good idea of how to deal with my knees. I landed about three kicks on Perez the entire fight and barely used the boxing which I've been practicing so much.

Overall I felt like I fought okay. There's such a gap between training and fighting. Its always surprising that there is so much space between the two. After the bout I waited with some anxiety. My amateur record hasn't been that great. I've lost the judge's decision on bouts that were close and when the announcer said that there was a winner by unanimous decision I swore to myself saying "Fuck not again." I won the decision which made me happy. I did a slight wiggle in the ring but felt that I might embarrass my opponent with my jubilee.

Its funny having won. I don't feel elated, I don't feel depressed. I feel like I got another fight done. I think I've fought better before, but that I did a few things better in this fight. Its another step, another marker in a long road race.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Consumer Rampage!

In a sign of consumer desperation amid a bleak economy, the annual rite of retailing known as Black Friday turned chaotic and deadly, as shoppers scrambled for holiday bargains.

A Wal-Mart worker on Long Island, N.Y., died after being trampled by customers who broke through the doors early Friday, and other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man. At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals.

Fights and injuries occurred elsewhere at other stores operated by Wal-Mart, the nation's leading discount chain, which is one of the few retailers thriving in the current economy.

Meanwhile, two men at a crowded Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, Calif., pulled guns and shot each other to death after women with them brawled, witnesses said. The company released a statement late Friday saying the deaths were related to a personal dispute and not Black Friday shopping.

Many other retailers appeared to have fewer customers than usual the day after Thanksgiving, typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Merchants call it Black Friday because in the past, it was when many retailers went into the black, or turned profitable, for the year.

It was mainly only discount chains that were bustling long before sunrise. People showed up for a small number of limited-time "door-buster" deals, such as 32-inch flat-screen televisions for $388 and Intel laptops for $499. In many cases, after an initial onslaught, crowds dwindled after the few sought-after items had sold out.

While tussles and even broken bones are common when the doors open on Black Friday, this is apparently the first time someone was killed in the stampede. For some consumer psychologists, the mad scramble was a sign of the times.

"I think it ties into a sort of fear and panic of not having enough," said Joe Priester, a professor at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and a former president of the Society for Consumer Psychology. A herd mentality, he said, can lead individuals to feel anonymous, so much so that they are capable of trampling someone. "Fear combined with the group mentality?" he said. "It doesn't surprise me at all."

Actions "irrational"

Walter Loeb, president of Loeb Associates, a retail consultancy, said there was shopping mania at Wal-Mart every year. But this year, he said, it seems "people are becoming irrational in their actions."

That seemed the case early Friday at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, on Long Island, where the Nassau County police had to be called in for crowd control about 3 a.m., and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order.

Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault.

Witnesses and the police said the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Queens, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him.

Some workers fought their way through the surge to get to Damour, but he had been fatally injured, police said. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau County police, called the scene "utter chaos" and said the "crowd was out of control." As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. "I've heard other people call this an accident, but it is not," he said. "Certainly it was a foreseeable act."

But even with videos from the store's surveillance cameras and the accounts of witnesses, Fleming and other officials acknowledged that it would be difficult to identify those responsible, let alone to prove culpability.

Some shoppers who had seen the stampede said they were shocked. One, Kimberly Cribbs of Queens, said the crowd had acted like "savages." Shoppers' behavior was bad even as the store was being cleared, she recalled.

"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,' " Cribbs said. "They kept shopping."

Outbreaks weren't restricted to New York. At a Wal-Mart in Columbus, Ohio, Nikki Nicely, 19, jumped onto a man's back and pounded his shoulders when he tried to take a 40-inch Samsung flat-screen TV to which she had laid claim. "That's my TV!" Nicely, 19, shouted. "That's my TV!"

Other outbreaks

A police officer and security guard intervened, but not before Nicely took an elbow in the face. In the end, she was the one with the $798 television, marked down from $1,000. "That's right," she cried as her adversary walked away. "This here is my TV!"

Charisma Booker, also on the hunt for a TV, said she had been shopping at Wal-Mart every Black Friday for nearly a decade. "There are fewer people here this year, but they're more aggressive," she said. "I've never seen anybody fight like this. This is crazy."

At a Wal-Mart in Niles, Ill., a mother fought back tears when she discovered someone had taken her cart filled with toys.

Many retailers opened earlier this year and offered the biggest discounts in their history.

Certainly Wal-Mart was not the only retailer with aggressive Black Friday shoppers. But before Best Buy opened at 5 a.m., shoppers lined up to receive tickets for merchandise they intended to buy, reducing the need to elbow one another to pick up electronic devices.

Chuck O'Donnell, district-services manager for Best Buy stores in New Jersey, said the lines "went all the way around the building, just like in years past."

Critics of Wal-Mart said the retailer had been negligent about security.

"They have problems with crowds every year, and inevitability, people get hurt," said David Nassar of Wal-Mart Watch, a union-financed group. "They should expect to plan properly for this kind of a problem and have adequate security in place, and they don't."

Wal-Mart officials said the safety of customers and workers was their "top priority" and the company's "thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.