Sunday, December 27, 2009

Learning to Laugh

The emcee came on stage hopping around. He did a small choreographed dance. I was impressed by his synchronized movement. He danced, and shirked his body about to an inner cacophony. After a few moments he took the mike and began to regale the audience with his humor, mainly making jokes about Manny Pacquaio, how filipinos work in airports, and filipino height. I kept an open mouth grin marked on my face as his words flowed out.

I'd come down with two friends to see the filipino King's of Comedy at the Improv in San Jose. Having never been to a comedy club before I joined my filipino friends in the night out. The club demanded a minimum of two items from the menu (the water was almost as much as the beer; 5.75) and the ticket price was twenty dollars for the slightly over 2 hour event.

The first two comedians were the best of the five. The later funny men were stoned which may have impacted their ability to entertain the crowd. The first comedian of the night was a flamboyant gay filipino. He talked about his shoes for a while, getting ice cream eaten out of his ass, and an awkward ending. The second comedian did a dancing bit and some funny stuff on the microphone. One of the later comedians was pulled off the stage because he wasn't that funny. He was also wearing a shirt that said "Neenja Turtles." Perhaps a correlation?

I've had limited experience with stand up comedy. I don't watch much of it on television and have never gone out to a club to see it, sans saturday. I have had a brief acquaintance with it when my identical twin brother took a stand up comedy class at his liberal lefty shit college, as if the cost of his tuition wasn't enough of a laugh. For three weeks he called me up and told me jokes he'd found on the internet. Most of the jokes revolved around rednecks and tic tacs in his butt. I found myself embarrassed to look like him, specifically when he went to the corner pharmacy and asked for mint flavored suppositories.

The repeated punch lines I think went to my head, demanding pugilism.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I enjoy going to the movies. Perhaps it was a product of my time working in movie theatres that has made me crave going to see the latest piece of crap put on screen, or perhaps I just like watching pretty things move about. Either way today I saw Avatar, the new James Cameron flick. The movie, of course, was visually very interesting, particularly because I saw it in an imax theatre. I've never seen a movie in one of these rooms, essentially you wear 3-d glasses and stare at a screen that is as big as a fucking football field. While the movie progressed I looked behind me and saw rows of glasses staring at a screen, it was like the cover of society of the spectacle (the black and red edition). The movie itself was okay. The plot was long and drawn out and little more than an updated version of "Dances with Wolves." I recently read an article that attempted to make the movie an allegory for US involvement in the middle east. I thought it was more "Fern Gully" meets "Last of the Mohicians." Spectacle, spectacle, what pretty pictures you parade.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


When we were told that we had to evacuate because of the quarantine, I was terrified. I didn't think for one moment that I could leave my place. I'd worked so hard for it. The apartment, with its art minimalism, its baroque touches that she loved so. I just couldn't stand the idea of leaving a place that had been so... so... ours.

They knocked on our door in bio hazard suits. The contagion hadn't spread this far but they were taking precautions. They were emptying all the buildings, all the elevators, all the staircases, all the nooks and cranes, and putting everyone in separate areas that were deemed safe. It all seemed like one giant child's game. A game of kick the can. When found you were brought to a prison, but this prison was anti-septic, it was hygienic, it was pure, clean, it was everything that the disease was not.

I followed the biohazard suits out. They were color coded. The white for me, the orange for her. She followed them. We looked back at each other over our shoulders for one last glimpse. Could this disease really pull us apart, I thought as I took faltering steps forward.

"Move along," a white plastic box said to me. "We have to get you sprayed down, and then counted. You can communicated with your... loved ones later, via the several communication companies that are installed in the housing units." The suited figured sighed then continued. "Quarrycommuny has a particularly affordable package that allows regular correspondence in real time!" The suited figure looked up for a moment then began another rapid fire sequence. "Quarrycommuny allows excellent transmission no matter how much interference, whether technical or worse yet disease, there is. If you sign up now you will get a low cost but high quality dispatch virtually immediately." The suited figured let out an audible groan followed by a shudder. The figure pushed me along, nudging me with a stick that I knew could easily turn into an electric prod.

We got to the processing center and I was told to remove all my clothes. I stood in my nakedness along with a herd of others from my apartment building. Some of my neighbors attempted to make small talk. I couldn't get over the fact that I was seeing their genitalia. Something I never thought, nor wanted to see.

"Oh this will all be over soon enough," 1b said.
"My coworker actually went through this recently," 2b replied. "I can't remember if she's out or not, the workplace is so very big. It really is easy to lose track of people."
"I almost lose myself in my workplace, its so big, especially when I'm plugged into the interface. The computer just drowns out the rest of the world." 1b began to giggle.
"I know what you mean, I get lost in all the little games we can play. I just hope my boss never finds out how I'm spending company time," 2b replied.
"Time thief," 1b said playfully, slapping 2b on the arm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interview with James Cook

I just had an interview with professional muay thai fighter James Cook posted up on You can check it out here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

the enrage

Yesterday I left my house around 12:30 and biked up to the UC Berkeley campus. The previous evening wheeler hall had been occupied (an open occupation in which people, including cops, were allowed to come and go) during the night/early morning, the hall was raided and approximately 65 people were arrested. The prisoners were taken to Santa Rita, up north by Santa Rosa.

I saw a group of people with signs; "Support laid off workers," "Sociologists for Education," and other banalities and rode by them. I then circled back and figured, yes sadly, this was the follow up march/action to the previous evenings arrests. A group of about 50 liberals very in age, gender, and ethnicity (but bound together in their ability to withstand boredom) stood in front of an executive from UC Berkeley. The representative, who had some sort of public affairs position, fielded questions from the liberals. Most of the questions went along the lines of "The students have finals, they can't be in jail," or "I used to be faculty here and what should I tell my three year old kid about how my employer imprisons people for studying." The representative replied vaguely; "This is an unfortunate incident, but actions have consequences. We need to work together to find a solution." The protesters wanted to know the whereabouts of their comrades, and how to get them out of jail. They were given more ambiguous answers.

After fifteen minutes I grew bored of the encounter. The problem with talking to officials is that they will negotiate you to death. Dealing with bureaucratic processes isn't supposed to yield results it just sucks you dry. Its a method of stalling people to their demise.

The UC campuses have been having occupations pretty regularly, with Santa Cruz leading the way. Part of the reason for Santa Cruz's radical stance is that there is a small contingent of anarchists there who refuse to allow themselves to be stuck in meetings, in democratic procedures, and demand action after action. Additionally what I think Santa Cruz and some other places are doing that is actually really smart is turning the protests into dance parties. Add some alcohol and a confrontation with the police (or small scale rioting) and your normal party goer enters a state of anomie, of social deindividuation. They become politicized. Almost everyone hates the police, and a little alcohol and others acting in concert and everyone gets involved.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A week passes

And I totally haven't written anything. Here's a fucking youtube clip though. Suckers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


"You think I should put the gratuity on," Antonio asked as Alexis and I stood by the terminal. It was a slow day, but a good day to sharpen our wits.
"They are sorority girls," I replied.
"But what does that mean,"" Alexis replied. The sorority girls chatted while downing their beers with ease.
"Maybe you'll get over the 18% if you put on your best winning smile."
"Yeah, practice," Alexis said.
"Okay like this," Antonio said. He put his hands together praying to the restaurant gods and widened his mouth.
"No, you gotta show some teeth," Alexis said.
Antonio broadened his smile and displayed his teeth slightly.
"That's what I'm talking about," I said.
"I have fucked up teeth though," Antonio said with dismay.
"Don't worry about it," Alexis said.
"Go, do it," I said.
Antonio walked over to the table and set down the checkbook. He opened his hands and smiled widely showing teeth. Alexis and I laughed and then walked away. Ten minutes later we reconvened at the terminal.
"So how much did you get," I asked.
"It was $12.00. I think that's like 17%," Antonio said as he punched in the numbers into the terminal closing out the sorority girls check.
"Those fuckers," I said. "You got a dollar ripped out of your pocket!"
"You definitely should have grated them," Alexis said.
"I think it was my teeth."

"So the other night I was at the party," Chris began as I stood by the wait terminal. I sipped on some water as Chris slowly put away some glasses on to the shelf. "There was this ugly girl that I slept with. It was really awkward, although every time I went into a room she disappeared into another."
"Why was it so awkward," I said.
"Well it was a mistake to sleep with her. I talked to a friend earlier in the evening and she did the same thing to him."
"What was that?"
"She learned me into the room saying 'I have some whiskey,' I was drunk and said okay. Then she shut the door and got naked."
"Sounds pretty devious," I said.
"Yeah what a mistake."
"The good thing about not drinking as much is that I don't make those mistakes anymore. The bad thing is that I never get laid."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Soon to be Picturesque Ruins

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – For years, Dubai seemed unstoppable, an oasis of excess boasting indoor ski slopes and manmade islands, the world's tallest tower and dreams that reached even higher.

Now the bills are coming due, and the emirate's debt problems are tarnishing a place built on borrowed time and money — and threatening to spill into other Gulf Arab nations.

State-owned conglomerate Dubai World's call for a delay in repaying some of the $60 billion it owes creditors will likely make international investors view even more fiscally conservative countries through a lens of uncertainty, analysts say.

The announcement is "impacting everybody in the region — the good and the bad," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group.

"Right now we're still seeing the impact of this, and the impact will be that everybody is being negatively perceived," Sfakianakis said.

In Dubai and in other Gulf nations, rulers keep tight control over information on their fiscal standing and dealmaking even as they draw in hundreds of billions of investment dollars.

For example, in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's largest economy, few were aware of the $22 billion debt crunch confronting two of the kingdom's largest privately held conglomerates earlier this year. The news filtered out as the companies fought each other in court, with one accusing the other of fraud.

While international investors were once willing to gamble on Gulf countries, largely because of their oil wealth, the global financial meltdown made them less willing to take risks. The Dubai crisis will only heighten those concerns, analysts say.

"Foreign investors will sharply divide the way they recognize investment opportunities in the Gulf based on which countries have oil and which don't," said Simon Henderson, a Gulf energy specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar or even Dubai's neighboring emirate, Abu Dhabi, Dubai lacks oil wealth. The government-backed entities known as Dubai Inc. tapped credit markets to engineer the city-state's spectacular growth.

Over the past decade, the tiny emirate, one of seven that make up the United Arab Emirates, transformed itself into a regional financial hub, a magnet for tourists and foreign workers.

It constructed high-rises with stellar Persian Gulf views and an indoor ski slope, and offered a freewheeling lifestyle frowned upon elsewhere in the UAE, as well as the region. A manmade island shaped like a palm frond beckoned. Dubai boldly built the world's tallest skyscraper, Burj Dubai, set to open in January.

The global credit crisis derailed the dream. Property prices have plunged by 50 percent since last year. Projects were canceled, and expatriate workers left en masse. Today, buildings sit unfinished, apartments unsold or empty.

Dubai World's announcement that it was seeking at least a six-month delay in paying back its debt sent shock waves around the world Friday. Oil prices dived to near $74 per barrel, and Asian markets tumbled for the second consecutive day. In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrials lost more than 150 points.

Dubai's overall debt load is seen as at least $80 billion, underscoring how grave Dubai World's announcement was for the emirate's financial health.

Later comments by one of the emirate's top financial officials that the call for a delay was a "sensible business decision" and "carefully planned" did little to mitigate the damage.

Henderson said it was "an extraordinarily arrogant decision," made public on the eve of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and just before a three-day Islamic feast.

"It's impossible they don't realize this will be taken as a personal insult by the world's financial community," Henderson said, adding that it would not be surprising if creditors were unsympathetic.

Fears about the debt problems were compounded by lack of detail provided by Dubai authorities. The announcement also raised worries that reassurances provided by Dubai over the past few months were just an attempt to hide the magnitude of the problem.

"When people don't know what the extent of the problem is, their concerns deepen," said Jane Kinninmont, a London-based specialist on Gulf economies at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Kinninmont said that there is a "real shortage" of economic data to assess the recession's impact on Dubai.

Two Abu Dhabi majority-owned banks had already bought up $15 billion in Dubai bonds as part of a $20 billion program earlier this year. Analysts are concerned that Abu Dhabi may not back all of Dubai's assets, and that international lenders will take a second look at investing there and in other Gulf countries with a history of a lack of transparency.

Already, the effects have begun to surface. Standard & Poor's downgraded its ratings of several Dubai government-related entities, linking its decision to the Dubai World announcement.

"In our view, such a restructuring may be considered a default under our default criteria, and represents the failure of the Dubai government to provide timely financial support to a core government-related entity," said S&P analysts.

Elsewhere in the region, Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank said it was delaying a sale of $4 billion in five-year bonds that had already garnered 60 orders, pinning its decision on Dubai and the "best interest of investors participating in the deal."

The latest news is at the very least a wake-up call to investors, analysts say.

"Dubai's current problems are a long overdue consequence of the bursting of the global property bubble rather than the start of a new financial crisis," analysts at Capital Economics concluded in a research note Friday.

Analysts said they were troubled by Dubai's apparent determination to downplay its financial predicament.

Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, had continually dismissed concerns over the city-state's liquidity and denied for months that the economic downturn even touched the glitzy city-state. Two months ago, he told Dubai's critics to "shut up."


AP Business Writer Tarek El-Tablawy contributed to this report from Cairo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Its a heartbreak beat

I just recently watched this video. Man are psychedelic furs douchebags! That said I love their music. Tonight at karaoke I sang "Love my way." It garnered four dancers on the floor. All four people knew me, but not the song. Shame! I hope to rope, slash guilt, more people into attending next time, that way I gain a larger crowd and win the coveted $50 prize for most dancers during song. Anyways here's a bitchin' embed. If you don't watch consider yourself a loser. Dress like them and consider yourself a loser as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Bling Ring

Nicholas Frank Prugo

Nicholas Frank Prugo is suspected of burglarizing the homes of Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge, as well as other young Hollywood celebrities. (L.A. County Sheriff's Department

Authorities arrested suspects accused of burglarizing the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and other young celebrities after a member of the alleged "bling ring" confessed, according a search warrant affidavit obtained by The Times.

The search warrant said the crew would surf the Internet to find where the celebrities lived, then watched the locations and worked out ways to break into the homes.

In many of the cases, the doors were simply left open. In the case of Hilton and actress Rachel Bilson, the crew broke in numerous times, according to the search warrant affidavit filed at a Las Vegas court.

The ring of predominantly young women who once attended an Agoura Hills high school netted more than $3 million in merchandise.

An unidentified person initially tipped Los Angeles Police Department detectives that Nicholas Frank Prugo and Rachel Lee were responsible for a burglary at Lohan's Hollywood Hills home early this year, the search warrant states.

Prugo was arrested in connection with burglaries at the homes of Lohan and Audrina Patridge. At first, he did not cooperate with authorities, the warrant states. But on Oct. 6, Prugo, along with his attorney, Sean Erenstoft, met with LAPD detectives to "return some stolen items and report information."

Prugo provided a full confession and implicated Lee and several other suspects: Jonathan Ajar, Courtney Ames, Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo and a man he knows only as Roy, according to the affidavit by Det. Craig Dunn of the Las Vegas Police Department.

Las Vegas police were involved because its officers helped the LAPD with two searches in Las Vegas.

Roy Lopez and those named were subsequently arrested and charged in connection with at least one of the 10 burglaries, which occurred from December to September.

Prugo has been charged in eight of the burglaries, prosecutors said. Lee has been arrested, but not charged.

"Prugo admitted to committing all the burglaries and that Rachel Lee was with him during the residential burglaries of Audrina Patridge, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and the Hilton family," the affidavit states.

Prugo told detectives that they gained entry into the homes through unlocked doors, with the exception of the Lohan and Hilton residences.

Prugo told detectives that the group used such websites as and to learn the location of stars' homes and figure out their travel itinerary, according to the affidavit. boasts that users "will be able to see behind the tall hedges, big gates and security systems" and "get unprecedented access to the sort of lifestyle your favorite celebrity can afford."

Once a target was chosen, the group then visited the location and searched for a mode of entry, Prugo told detectives, according to the search warrant. Prugo stated that they entered the Hilton home approximately three times before the December burglary.

According to the court document, the crew removed cash, narcotics and thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

At Bloom's home, they allegedly stole several expensive watches and artwork, the records state. Prugo later told investigators that a piece of Bloom's artwork was hanging in the bathroom of one of his alleged co-conspirators.

Authorities said the "bling ring" also allegedly broke into Bilson's home three times and, on one occasion, took a television, the search warrant states. Prugo told investigators that he removed as much as $300,000 worth of Chanel clothing from Bilson's residence.

During the search of the Las Vegas home where Lee lived with her father, detectives turned up items from Hilton, Lohan and Patridge, including three personal photos of Hilton, two pairs of jeans and a white hat, according to another search warrant.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Much more about getting hurt

This weekend had one of the world's greatest boxer's ever, Manny Pacquiao against a decent opponent, Miguel Cotto. I was able to enjoy the bout at a friend's house along with a few other people from the gym. The host and my boxing trainer got into a lively debate about celebrated pugilists, arguing back and forth who was the best, which fight was the best, which era etc. The lively conversation had me lost in the woods.
One of the bouts they mentioned was the bout between Gerald Mccellan and Nigel Benn. Mccellan knocked Benn out of the ring in the first round, and the floored boxer was pushed back into the pit by ringside officials, and newspaper reporters. Benn went onto win the fight punishing Mccellan with sharp hard hands. Those blows would send Mccellan into a coma for two weeks and the boxer would end up with severe brain damage.

This short interview with him is worth watching. Unlike most sports boxing has always had the threat of death looming over it. It is the only sport where inflicting pain is the goal. While giving is a huge part, the inevitable fact is that the sport is far more about receiving blows than it is about giving them. That said I don't think the sweet science is something that should be avoided, even with its drawbacks, its damages, and its risk, the game invokes people to rise above themselves, an otherwise mundane person can become a hero in the ring for a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A "Bad Nigger"

I've been collecting and reading boxing literature for a couple years. There is quite a bit for an enthusiast to devour; short stories by Hemingway, Jack London, FX Toole, full length novels by WC Heinz, Leonard Gardner, and finally there is a plethora of books that compile articles on boxing. The infamous "Sweet Science," by the regular New Yorker writer AJ Liebling is considered a sports classic and perfectly represents boxing literature. The series of articles is both recounts of fights, and depictions of the life surrounding fighters.

Over the last two years I've picked up a handful of books and most recently I picked up "The Art and Aesthetics of Boxing" and "Boxer: An Anthology of Writings on Boxing and Visual Culture." While I haven't gotten to the former I have read most of the latter. "Boxer..." is a beautiful coffee table book with great pictures, and interesting yet short essays. Included, of course, is Joyce Carol Oates famous essay "On Boxing," which is part of virtually every compilation of boxing writing post '95.

The compilation also includes an essay by Keith Piper, entitled "Four Corners, a contest of Opposites." The essay briefly hits on the careers and lives of four african american fighters; Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Mike Tyson, and Muhammed Ali. Specifically the writer highlights the struggles with racism each fighter as had during his career. It should be noted as well that all four were heavyweights, heavyweights have typically had a larger political burden placed upon their careers as their size is a mitigating factor. Smaller fighters "'... do not sybolise the nation or their race since the biggest fighting men have always had that burden.'"

Piper points out the complexities of being a black fighter succinctly; "The black fighter is forced to negotiate a precarious line between, on the one hand, the prescriptions of the white staus quo, the boxing promotions industry, the press and to an extent, apologist portions of the black middle class; on the other hand, the aspirations of black audiences yearning for an empowering antidote to their powerlessness."

Keith argues that Jack Johnson and Ali contested a symbolic war against the racial status quo while Tyson and Joe Louis conformed to and reinforced the dominant messages about the nature of black masculinity. Tyson's compliance with the spectacle of black masculinity is "expressed in the uniquely late twentieth century terms of individual redemption and condemnation. It attempts to convince us of the possibility of meteoric rise, which it portrays as the All American Way." Of course the subsequent fall of Tyson's career is put on his shoulders as an individual. Yet there are other readings of Tyson's story that go unsaid. "The ones which suggest that Cus D'Amato's only interest in Tyson was as a fighting machine, as product. The teenager's evident sexual aggression was allowed to devolp unchecked as long as he kept knocking other boys over in the ring. ...At the same time Tyson's intellect was deliberately left underdeveloped in order to hone his persona into that of an American pit-bull terrier."

The truth of the situation is probably lost in the dizzy oscillation between individual autonomy and the power of social constructs. It is in this space that we all live.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Sweet Science

My feet are tight in my black and white shoes. The shoestrings are woven through the holes of my high top shoes, the sensation in my toes is gone. The only feeling there is, is one of anticipation, of anxiety, of calm excitement. Soon the staccato of my bag work will turn into a tattoo into someone's head. I take a deep breath and walk into the ring...

I've been focusing on boxing lately. Partially due to the infrequency of muay thai fights, partially due to my hands being my weakness. Good fighters, good strategists, focus on their weaknesses as much if not more so than their strengths.

I like Mike Tyson. He is a man and yet he is spectacle, he encompasses both. I suppose that is what part of being the spectacle is, that contradiction. One is a star, and yet human. Living above and beyond the normal human life (reputedly) and yet being all too human. For me Tyson is real because of his errors, his blatantly tragic life. I think what is poignant about him is that he showed the monstrosity of what being human is. He lived a life of obvious error, obvious because he was on stage, constantly viewed by the panoptican of the ever filming spectacle (a certain nod to "reality tv" should be made here). I actually don't think that he has done worse or better than any of us out here in "tv land" but because he is on tv, his position is different. His being a star makes his errors more acute. Sadly Tyson is not the only man to do to violence against his lovers, loved ones, and or playmates, he is just the one who has been caught on camera.

On a completely unrelated note I hope to be writing regularly again here. Once a week being my goal. More comments from readers is always an encouragement to write on the regular.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The principles of Nietzsche

I haven't been writing, well not on the blog. I've continued my writing elsewhere, letters, short stories, an article for mymuaythai. I've also been busy with training again. On Saturday I'll be fighting my first amateur boxing fight. I look forward to the bout. It will be good experience and I feel I'll perform well. Afterwards I plan on taking a short break from the world of pugilism and muay thai, perhaps a week. I hope to finish up some of my writing projects, and maybe start something up on here. In the mean time here is a link to my write up about my latest fight (along with a video).

And for your enjoyment I've posted a good Gossip video. Perhaps my favorite part of this song is the reference to my favorite author. I was recently told by a friend (this is something that I've heard countless times) that Nietzsche is a favored philosopher amongst prisoners. Why is that?

Heavy Cross

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Training Journal 3- I run so far away

I run a lot. Nearly every day. A slow week will have me go out onto the pavement 4 times. Most weeks I'm passing by the landscape wearing my jogging shoes at least 6 times. My runs are usually between 3 to 5 miles. It takes me about 40 minutes. I never really ran before I started to do muay thai. Never really thought about it that much. Now though, I like it. I like the steady tap, tap of my shoes on the pavement. The rhythmic beat of my heart, and the slow breathes I take in. I count my breaths to maintain my breathing. In for one second and out for two. I like the feeling of solitude and the day dreaming.

When I run I think about my fight. I try to imagine it in as much detail as possible. I picture the way my opponent acts and my reactions. I envision the crowd, the sound of Mike and or Coke's voice, telling me what to do. I see myself getting hit, and in turn hitting. The imagery helps move me along even when I'm tired.

I don't spend my entire time thinking about the fight. I spend a fair amount of time organizing my thoughts and my goals. I think about how long I have to accomplish something and what little step I will make that day to make progress towards my goal.

I think about girls, I think about stories, I think about the landscape, and I don't think of anything at all.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Training Journal 2 "Foxy Boxing"

I arrived at the gym at 7pm. Coke was running on the treadmill and the boxing class was underway. I warmed up with the jump rope. I threw it side to side, taking a hop in between, I twirled the jump rope in one rand then crossed my body. I bounced back and forth, and then lifted my knees up high. Skipping rope can be a bit dull and by "playing with the rope" as Robert says I not only become a little more interested in what I'm doing but improve my work out. Most boxing drills, skipping rope, the double end bag, and the speed ball, to name a few, are all about timing. What good is a great punch if it won't land where and more importantly when it should?

I box sparred 1o rounds tonight and stayed in the ring for a continuous 14. That's a lot for those of you who don't box. Granted the rounds were only two minutes but by round number 5 my body was becoming fatigued. I saw things coming but moved with the slow motion button on. It was as if a fuzzy fog settled on my body's reactions. Fighting through fatigue is important for the fight though.

Not only was the fatigue difficult but the training. Constantly being corrected can be difficult on the self esteem. Training not only builds your body but also your self confidence, your sense of who you are. If you give up and quit during training, well you might as well throw the towel in for the fight. Understanding your tribulations and overcoming them is what makes you strong. "A lesson from life's military school - whatever doesn't kill you make's you stronger," said the fighter's philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

I box sparred mainly with a young, slightly heavier mexican man named Juan. Juan has fought a few amateur boxing bouts and has sharp hands. He got a bit tired in the third round, but was able to recover later (he got breaks, I didn't). Box sparring with him helped me to learn to use my footwork better, and to move my head. I dislike getting brained... after all I do love my intellect.

Tomorrow more training. My new girlfriend's name is Muay Thai. She's from thailand. Isn't that exotic?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Training Journal

I've decided to keep a public training journal, not because I'm not writing about my training in my personal journal (I am) but as another writing exercise. This blog is mainly about me engaging in different writing exercises, sometimes I get feedback, most of the time I don't.

My fight against John Kusaba will be on October 10th in Santa Clara. I've actually trained to fight against him before earlier in the year. Unfortunately I had a sparring accident that split open my nose thus disabling me from the fight. I did, however, get to see Kusaba recently fight against Team USA's Kevin Arcero at the Fight Night at the Fox. Arcero with his diversity of weapons beat out the aggressive Kusaba.

So one of the changes I've been starting to make is in my diet. Mike, my head trainer, wants me to become stronger thus more protein in my diet. In addition he wants me to cut out white bread, white rice, and to eat 6 small meals a day. Eating smaller amounts boosts your metabolism. I'm on my third day of the new diet and I'm always, always hungry.

Along with the diet I'm going to start to do some weight training. On Thursday morning I did a strength and conditioning class. We warmed up then did fifteen dumb bell snatches (I used 30 lbs) with both arms then ran a quarter of a mile. We did five sets. I then did the boxing class.

Every day I'm doing pull ups to increase my upper body strength and additional push ups. In Thailand I don't think I did one pull up, nor that many push ups. I loathe pull ups and push ups but if you want to win you've gotta do the shit you hate.

Today my training consisted of fifteen minutes of jump rope. One of the side benefits of working on my boxing has been improved skipping skills which breaks up the monotony of jumping rope. I can now cross the rope, double under, and do a variety of footwork drills. I then shadow boxed. After shadow boxing I did some light padless sparring with Andrew. Padless sparring is good for timing and placement although one has to be careful not to bang up one's shins and or arms.

Coke held pads for me for 4 rounds. He told me to take my time within the clinch and to be more relaxed with my kicks. He got especially pissed at me when I accidentally kneed him in the balls. "Matt! I tell you to take your time," he screamed at me his voice high and cracking.

After the padwork I did five rounds on the bag and then kneed the bag. I finished with calisthenics.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


My Heart is on Fire

The hand hovered over the candle. The flame warmed my hand. I could see the wax slowly melt. I wondered if my fingers could get any closer to the flame. I touched the flame with my forefinger. It didn't burn... at first. When it finally started to hurt, the heat really setting in, I pulled back on my seduction. My finger felt warm.

The Confusion

"Who are you, I mean really, who the fuck are you," she said.

"What are you talking about, we've been together forever, how do you not know who I am," he replied. He attempted to keep his tone even but there was a strain.

"How could you forget, today was important," she replied. Her voice dipped and soared with emotion.

"I didn't forget, didn't you get my present," he said.

"Present, what present. As if things could make up for your lack of presence."

The Wharf

The seals slid on the floating rafts. They barked. They slipped off. Their bodies were wet with the water. The drops of water rolled off their oil skinny. The rafts tilted as the seals moved around.

The Song

Her voice hit a high note. It was the same octave as her conversational voice. When she sang her voice was richer, as if she was drawing on a hidden well of treasure. She looked into the crowd, searching for eye contact. The song went on. She moved about the small stage the center of my attention.

The Warm Breeze

His skin tingled. He could feel the blood slowly trickle out. It ran a stream down on to his hands. He moved his fingers, slowly, the only way he could. He looked up. The sky was dark purple, the sun was setting, or was it rising. The orange rays of the sun shot through the sky.

Don't walk away

The street was empty. A small soda can rolled down the edge of the sidewalk pushed by its own momentum, seemingly autonomous. It got caught on a gutter drain. It stuck between the drain and the sidewalk. It was only after months of rain that the first sign of rust showed on its aluminum.

The Face in the Glass

He'd always wondered what it would feel like to murder. The desire struck him at odd times, on the toilet, during coitus, riding the subway, on his commute. Never at a specific individual but always the desire to kill, to render obsolete. He stared at the man across from him and reached out for his neck.

Age of Consent

I hated it when I couldn't get the car to start. I always worried that it wouldn't start after I had brought my date somewhere. I spent so much time worry about being inconvenient to my date that I never got around to asking that many girls out. I should have though. I should have brought the damn car to a mechanic, or fucking learned some mechanical skills myself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The reporter

I wanted to drink myself to death. I wanted to let my liver fail while in an alcoholic stupor. I wanted my kidneys to fail while processing the shit beer, bourbon, and wine coolers I abused them with. The latter I was not only flagellating my liver with but my sense of self. I was after all a man's man, an ex athlete and a sportswriter for a major magazine.

Of course the magazine had been going down like the titanic for some time. Who reads these days? No one. Luckily my writing was quippy enough to garnish a point and click spot on the home page, usually under the swimsuit model's groin. A lucky spot all the other hacks at the rag would say.

I'd relocated to Vegas. The city of sin. Now the city of economic recession. The city that was every other city but more. The lights still burned on the strip but powered by what? The staff of all the hotels, casinos, and resorts were all being chopped up like garlic at Gilroy's annual festival. Somehow though the show still went on. The spectacle still turned itself over and over even if its structure was more fragile, and more masqueraded.

I'd been moved out to Vegas to cover all the major shows. The magazine didn't want to have to fly to pay better writers to Vegas. They settled on me because I was; single, willing to relocate, and a mediocre writer able to churn out the dribel they wanted. If there's anything I'm good at its dribbling. So much so that when I sleep I sometimes drool. Mainly when I sleep on my left side and am under the influence of the drink.

I got a small apartment for five hundred dollars on the north side of the strip. Far enough away from the strip proper to be slummy, south enough of old Vegas to be well, slummy. The good thing was that it wasn't far from the bus stop where I could take an air conditioned bus to whatever air conditioned house of cards I wanted. The air conditioning was important as my, well lets face it slummy apartment, wasn't air conditioned. The blazing desert heat parched my tongue forcing me to drink more, and drinking more made me even more dehydrated, the poor, poor, plight of the alcoholic. I'm sure you've heard it before. Who hasn't read that repetitive fuck Bukowski, the boring Miller, the overstated Hemingway?

My first assignment was at the Palms. It was a new casino off the strip, a late bloomer. It vibed sexy, young, modern, and ridiculously stupid. I did a piece on an MMA show there. Young cornfed fucktards fought each other for thousands of dollars as orange skinned retards from southern california cheered on. It was an exercise in not asking for the wrath of God.

After the show I went upstairs. Having a media pass does have its advantages, mainly in the access to the clubs, thus to the plastic tits in the background of these shows. I'd been looking for some silicone when I saw her standing on the balcony. She dressed really classy. Pearl beads strung around her swan like with matching earrings. She looked like Jackie O but who the fuck looks like that these days. Who the fuck remembers who Jackie O was!? I stood by the railing and said a few things, I can't really remember what. If I could remember those sort of things, you know the first things you say when you meet someone maybe I'd be a better writer but I can't. Fuck it.

Later I would find out her name, Holly, Ms. Golightly.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ms. Golightly

The club was packed. The punters bodies moving both to the musical beat and to the flow of the bodies around them. The latest Black Eye Peas song "You gotta get that boom boom pow" blared in the club.

Holly was stuck between a large white man in a shirt almost as pale as skin and a short squat man whose over sized shirt was smaller than his portly belly. She squealed aloud as she was smooshed between the two bodies. Her shoulders caved in and she wondered for the millionth time why exactly she was out at the club. She shoved the short fat man out of her way and attempted to b-line it to the bar. She waited for a half an hour to get a watered down drink all the while cursing the masculine sex for not doing their duty of procuring her a drink free of charge.

She sipped her watered down rum and coke while the bodies on the dance floor continued to flow with the top 40 hits.

"What are you drinking," a young man asked. He leaned into her, his breath smelled like alcohol.

Holly leaned away from his liquor induced halitosis. "Rum and coke," she replied with a roll of her eyes. The young man rubbed his hands together and then smoothed them down his shirt.

"Want to go out on the dance floor... baby," the last word he uttered slowly and quietly. His eyes rolled over her paving onto her an image that was not her.

"My boyfriend is right over there," Holly pointed with her index figure to a broad shouldered man not far away. Holly's "boyfriend" had her back turned away from the two of them.

"Well don't worry about it I won't tell him," the young man slurred.

"I said no."

"Bitch," the young man said. He walked away. Holly sighed with relief as he made more distance between them. She downed the rest of her drink and ordered another. Ten minutes later she was again sipping on rum and coke but she had moved to a nearby window. The club was at the top floor of a casino, whose name she forgot, in las vegas. From the window she could see the entire strip laid out before her. The landscape glowed with neon light. Las Vegas had become even more glamorous since the recession, the more depressed the economy had become the louder the lights of Las Vegas had seemed.

"Quite a majestic view, its too bad that it will soon be picturesque ruins," a voice next to her said.

"All things fade, sans diamonds and pearls," she replied to the voice. She continued to look forward. Her strapless dress was thin, the club warm, but the view had chilled her. Goose bumps covered her skin.

"So you imagine yourself some a lady of class," the voice said with a wry tone.

"I am a woman of the modern age," Holly replied indignantly. Holly had achieved the American dream and had pulled herself up by the boot straps, or to be more accurate by the high heels. Her feminine charm had led her to a comfortable but boring existence. Her days were routine in that they were always subject to her whims. Her passions had seem to played themselves out though and her whims were less free and more repetitive.

"This modern age where everything that was once lived has now moved away into representation, now what does that mean for a woman such as yourself," the voice replied coyly. The response angered Holly and she turned to address the man's voice, but there was no one there. She shuddered and looked back at the city and its glowing lights.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

500 days of Summer

Joseph Gordon Levitt is my age. A young man of the modern world. I saw him growing up on "Third Rock from the Sun," a mediocre television comedy series and would see him from time to time on the screen; "The Angel," and "Ten Things I hate about You."

In the last few years I really gained an appreciation for him and the roles he's been in. Specifically in the modern noir "The Brick." Levitt plays a stoic teenager at an unnamed high school. A young love of his dies and he takes it upon himself with help from dialogue inspired by Dashiell Hammett to solve the murder. The film is shot in black and white and is beautiful to look at.

Levitt also got my attention for his role in "Mysterious Skin," in which he plays a young male gay and prostitute. The film by one of my favorite directors Gregg Arakai of "Doom Generation," and the "Living End" fame helps guide us through a story of two young men dealing with sexual abuse.

I'd been reading reviews of (500) days of Summer and they looked decent. Being bored I took it upon myself to go out to the movies. I enjoy going to the cinema. Ever since I worked at the Delmar and then later at the movie theatre in Las Vegas I've become a regular spectator of Hollywood's creations. I realize that most of the movies will lead to disappointment, we get up from our seats to realize that we no longer have a home to go to, that the film provides a temporary escape. Nevertheless there can be nuggets of what it means to be human even in the most awful of spectacles.

I went to the ten thirty show of 500 days. The film is non linear, which is to its credit. It is a simple story. Young man meets young girl. Young man is smitten, young girl is ambivalent. They break up. Young man tries to reconcile the relationship to no avail. The story is immensely aided by Levitt's acting, he plays the male lead along with a sound track full of post-punk glories such as The Smiths. Perhaps one of my favorite scenes was when Levitt initially meets the girl in an elevator while listening to the Smiths. He also wears the same Joy Division shirt that I have which made me identify with him even more... I am prone to fickleness. Along with the soundtrack and acting is that the film is spliced up, here we see day 456, Levitt is depressed, the relationship wracked by the rocky shores of life, then we jump to the day 31 in which they have their first date. The film was also helped by the cinematography which was done well.

I think if I was to view this movie again I would probably see it with some girl that I was dating, after the movie I would shag her.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day Bar

The bar at which I work has four stools. The 30 odd taps mainly are for the diners sake. A few people come to sit on the stools and eat, or drink some brews, but during the day it is very few. There are the regulars who show up like clock work; Dana, a computer programmer that very recently was laid off from his job at CAL, Bruce, a local accountant who is an avid cyclist competing in centenarians, Decibal Dave, a loud mouth know it all who works up at the Greek etc.

Not only are there the daily regulars but there's also the people who come in once in a while. Today there were two. For the most part I leave people alone when they come to sit at the bar. If they wanted company they would have come to a more crowded bar I think to myself. Besides the fellows that come in all the time are just dull. Today a bearded man who was about thirty came in. I served him his beer and in two seconds it was gone.

"You finished that fast," I said. "You want another one."

"I'm alright, actually," he replied. "Thank you."

"Do you always drink that fast," I asked. I leaned against the bar cabinets struck by the ennui of work. Perhaps he would relieve me of the burden of boredom.

"I do. I actually like to freak out new bartenders doing it," he said chuckling. "I'll drink four in a row and see if they get surprised. The good bartenders won't bat an eye and will just ask if I want another while the bad ones will wonder if they even served me a drink."

I nodded, feigning interest and he continued talking about his ability to chug beers.

"What do you do for a living," I asked.

"I'm a school teacher," he replied.

"Do your students know about your drinking abilities," I asked.

"No, nor do they know about my eating abilities. I can eat a lot. I sat down at Blake's a hamburger place and ate 30 hamburgers in one sitting. The recent world championship for eating just occurred. The winner ate over 74 hot dogs, with buns in 9 minutes. It took me a little over three hours to eat 54. There is a Japanese guy that's usually been winning. Every time he goes out to eat the cooks make him this huge meal that he has to eat otherwise he offends the cook and loses face."

I laughed a loud. He ordered one more beer and slugged it down. He waited a few minutes and went out the door, no doubt to buy a new pair of stretch pants that would help with his bloating caused by excessive eating and drinking.

The fast drinking school teacher was replaced a half hour later by a quieter man who ordered a salad, some soup, and a beer.

"How was your day," I asked him after I'd served him his beer.

"Good, I just got back from the gym," he replied.

"You go to the YMCA," I asked pointing across the street to the public gym's nearby location.

"Yeah. I haven't been in there for almost a year," he replied.

"Why is that," I asked.

"Well I had to take two months off because I donated my kidney to my friend. Then the rest of the year was a bit busy," he replied.

"You donated your kidney," I asked. "What was that like?"

"It wasn't that big of a deal, although it took a while to recover. My kidney actually got bigger after I donated mine to him. They put me under and then I woke up pretty sore. The kidney was gone but the nerves were still there firing away, they didn't realize that the kidney was gone so it hurt."

"Wow, how did your friend do?"

"He did alright. They had to put him on dialysis for seven months. He actually almost died before they found out his kidneys were bad. He was rushed to the hospital, his eyes had turned black and his skin calico. His kidneys had just shut down and he was filled with toxins. His brain was all mushed up and it took 3 days of initial dialysis for him to even be coherent."

"Really," I said. "So was he on dialysis for a while?"

"For like 7 months, until I gave him one of my kidneys. A normal wait for a kidney is 7 years, if you're real lucky 5. That's for people who are on a list, just waiting for a cadaver's kidney to show up. Then you gotta be at the hospital within 5 hours to do the transplant. While you're on the list you go do dialysis three times a week. They take all your blood out and filter it through a machine then pump it back in. It takes a lot out of you."

"Wow," I said.

"My friend didn't have any family out here, and everyone that could do it was really old so I did it. He's been my friend since '81 or something. The doctors were afraid of him rejecting my kidney so they did a dialysis where they stripped all of his blood of anti-bodies then inserted my kidney, then put in the anti-bodies. They were afraid his anti-bodies would attack my kidney. He takes about 30 pills a day."

"That's a lot of fucking pills," I said. "How is he doing now?"

"Great, he looks like he's 24 and is 48."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fight Night at the Fox

I have a new post up at mymuaythai. You can check it out here.

I've mainly been working on writing that doesn't involve the blogsphere, sadly. I do hope to get to more writing exercises soon for my large fan base.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What does it mean to be...

"Well when you get married," she said to me.

"I probably won't get married. Its bad enough that other anarchists are doing it. If I did it it'd be like another angel had lost its wings," I replied.

"Even if you love her a lot," she said.

"Well, I don't totally discount it but its just one of those principle things, its like vegans don't eat meat. If you eat meat once well you're not REALLY vegan are you (if you do it on purpose)? Even if you never eat meat again. You had that lapse, a lapse of choice. Its the same with marriage and anarchists. It doesn't really matter that you're getting married in terms of the tradition but that state recognition and the culture of anarchism goes against your "anarchist identity," I replied.

"How do you consider yourself an anarchist now," she said pointedly.

"Well, I'm a lifestyle anarchist." I chuckled lightly with my reply.

"Don't use Murray Bookchin as your defense! How does slash is your life anarchist... I'm asking this because I'm curious about my own life and how it is and isn't anarchist," she said, the latter half with fifty percent of her heart.

"Well I think I'm being exploratory. I think one of the defining characteristics of anarchists, at least the ones I respect, is their desire to explore. They read, they travel, they delve, they question, its their endless search. That process is something I feel I'm engaged in. Yeah my current strain of activity isn't normally deemed as "anarchist" but I think its a strain worth looking into and its something I find personally rewarding."

"How is it rewarding?"

"Well I'm engaged with others in a way that builds my confidence, and not in an easy manner. In order to create a stronger self in this world that I'm living now you have to work hard. I appreciate that.

I've commonly found that inhabiting solely anarchist spaces that I just get judged for my "extracurricular" activity. If I'm not publishing, writing articles for some near defunct magazine, or attending x group or y activity I'm not an 'anarchist, ' or worse not 'anarchist' enough."

"How is what you're suggesting any different from people like Jack Kerouac, or De Sade? Being libertine? Living without constraints," she said. She gazed at me while I figured my reply.

"I can't say that is that much different. Utimately I believe that people who develop themselves will realize that to develop themselves more requires the destruction of state and capital thus anarchy. Alienation, a fundamental part of capital isn't about loss, its about not being able to develop oneself to one's full potential. Its not that I am unhappy with my life now, but I do think that if I was unfettered by work and the obligations of the state I would be able to create a better me, thus I would see my self now as being sad, and fucked."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still Waiting

Justin Long who has been a part of great hits like "Alvin and the Chipmunks," "Herbie; Full loaded" and "Zack and Miri make a porno" has described himself as being embarassed to be a part of the recent "Still Waiting," a straight to dvd feature. "Still Waiting," is a sequel to the popular "Waiting" a movie that follows a day in a chain restaraunt. The sequel is much like the first but its plot meanders, which is difficult as there is hardly a part to begin with. Something about a hooters type place competing with a nearby restaurant and a pathetic manager.

There aren't many working movies anymore. There are no more 9-5 movies nor any other movies that I can think of that depict the working life. Working life has eroded not only from film but from literature.

I was going to write more about this movie, both the sequel and this one but decided it was too depressing.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Affairs of states

The days slide by and I haven't been posting. Part of that is a lack of discipline. I'll go to the gym everyday but I won't write everyday. How will I ever make any progress with the literary craft if I don't jot down a few things? Although in my defense I have been working on short stories that I haven't been posting. I'm pretty excited about them. I am rather unexcited about the recent string of blog posts I've been doing about the hipster kids in SF. I've found that hipsters are boring. Hipsters are young people who emulate the people that are actually doing things, the people making music, art, writing etc.

I have been reading a fair amount which is always nice. I recently went through a horde of China Mieville's work. Mieville writes dark fantasy, weird sci fi or some other genre. His work is a mix of fantasy and sci fi. His latest novel is hands down his best. I don't really like Mieville's writing style. It is belligerent and slow to come to meaning, but what he lacks in technical ability he makes up in imagination. The City and the City is his latest. Its about two cities that inhabit the same geographic location but are considered two separate locations. Residents of one city teach themselves not to see the residents, streets, and vehicles of the other city. They do this by recognizing only their own cultural signs and ignoring the other city's. A murder happens and a detective has to cross the border. Its a really great idea. The plot is so so, but the idea really carries it. Along with The City and the City I read a series of his short stories which were good. The collection is called "Looking for Jake." The novella called "The tain," is excellent along with a story called Varmint way. I think its called varmint way at least. The latter story is about disappearing streets. A street will come into existence for a little while and then vanish. The story is told well, using a series of letters that accidentally were delivered to Mieville.

While I've been reading a lot I've also caught most of the summers blockbusters, "The Hangover," "Transformers," "Drag me to Hell," and "Terminator: Salvation." The two best were "The Hangover," and "Drag me to Hell." The former was great with this bearded dude who does awkward humor. Awkward style humor is becoming quite popular. People like watching other people feel uncomfortable and they like watching people cross cultural boundaries. One of the opening scenes in "The Hangover," has the bearded dude wearing a jock strap and hugging his soon to be brother in law. Laughter from the crowd emitted as the odd incest, homosexual, and undergarment taboos were slightly breached. The latter movie, "Drag me to Hell," was one of the scariest.... no scratch that frightening movies I've seen in quite some time. The movie surprised me continually, but didn't necessarily scare me. The film weds in a good sense of kitschy-humor into its macabre moments. There is a great scene involving a stapler and a car fight along with some great gross out moments.

In other news I've added a new link to my blogroll. I was checking it out last night and its called bldgblog. Its about architecture, space and that sort of shit. Looks good. I look forward to following it. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The golem steps forward

William wandered the stacks of books. He'd come into the library to do research for his golem story. He'd taken out a copy of the Old Testament, a copy of the Kabbalah, and several books on Jewish Mythology. As he walked through the rows of histories he let his fingers brush along the spines of the books. When he lifted his finger from the leather backs he noticed dust. "No one reads anymore," I said quietly aloud. "What's the point?"

His interest in Golems had started when he found out that they'd been models for the first science fiction stories. The first automaton was considered to be a golem. He felt that people were golems, albeit ones with slightly advanced instructions... "Eat, shit, fuck, prattle on and on," were the instructions given to modern people.

He got a book on Judah Loew ben Bezalel a rabbi who had his own golem. The rabbi had created his golem to protect Prague from anti-Semitic attacks. As the golem grew it became increasingly violent, killing gentiles and spreading fear. The emperor promised to stop the persecution of the Jews if the rabbi stopped by the onslaught of the golem. The golem was placed in an attack to arise again when the Jews were threatened once more by the outside world.

William wasn't Jewish, he wasn't religious at all and it was only in moments of extreme desperation that he turned to a higher power at all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"Can I get a pitcher of PBR," Warren asked the bartender. The dive bar off the mission was packed with warm bodies. Their heart beating corpses heated with blood, cigarettes, and fueled with alcohol.
"Do you have a pitcher," the bartender asked while pouring a liquor drink.
Warren threw up his hands then asked for two sierra nevadas. He handed the money over to the bar tender with slight irritation. The pitchers of pbr were especially cheap tonight. He brought the beers over to where Lee and Sarah were sitting in the corner. He sat down and handed a beer to Sarah.
"Thanks Warren," Sarah said. "Oh I love this song," she exclaimed. She began to sing to the mid 90s alt rock. Every third tuesday of the month was "Flannel Fun" at the bar. The DJ spun mid 90s alt rock and most of the twenty something kids that showed up to the bar wore long flannel shirts that they had procured at thift stores. While most of the attendees were too young to be active in the alt rock scene in the 90s they still enjoyed the flashback to their preteen years.
"You know what's better than Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy,'" Lee said. "Nothing!" Lee laughed hysterically. Her blonde hair fell behind her. At only 20 she was ecstatic to be out on the town. She'd recently procured a fake id from a friend and so was able to go out to bars.
"Don't you have to work really early in the morning," Warren asked.
"Yeah at like 5 am, I'm thinking of just not sleeping," Lee replied.
"Oh man Mac keeps saying 'Hello please,' you know? And I thought it was really creative especially with his new york accent. Every time someone gets in his way or something he's all like 'hello please.' At first I thought he was saying 'Hella please' trying to be all oakland. Yesterday I realized that he wasn't that creative though. I watched a Southpark episode and they kept saying that. This entire time, for a month, I thought he was a fucking genius though," Warren said.
The girls listened with half an ear to his short monologue while scanning the crowd. Lee got up to go talk to some boy while Sarah fiddled with her drink. She was slightly drunk and annoyed. She'd called Mac up but he hadn't replied to her call nor to her text.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bernard Sumner from Dolores Park

Julie danced to the song, her hands flowed in the air. The fan near her blew an electric wind into her hair. It made the strands float, and create their movement to the song. She looked up at the stage to see the singer croon out the cover.

"In my next life, I totally want to be a gay man," she said to Sarah. Sarah stood next to her with her arms folded across her chest as if the same breeze that blew on Julie's hair chilled her heart.
"Its cold in here."
"No its not, its so hot."
"There's only old people here."
"Thiry is hardly old, Sarah."
"Its old."
"You'll be old in like 5 years, its not old. You're harshing."
"Whatever," Sarah said with disdain.
"I thought you liked these bands," Julie said. She had stopped dancing and was facing her friend. In the background the second band played their third song. The band, Monaco's birth, played New Order covers. They were finishing Blue Monday as the friends argued.
"I do, I just don't like this place."
"You've come here before, we've been here a million times."
"Its just not the same," Sarah said. Her eyes drifted into the crowd. She searched the small groups for familiar faces. She recognized one guy that she went to college with in Santa Cruz. She hoped that he didn't spot her and come over to talk to her.
"I don't get waht the fuck your problem is. I'm having a good time. Do you want a drink?"
"Yeah, I'll go get us some beers."

Sarah walked over to the bar. The band started to play "Regret." It brought back memories of lying in bed with Andy. Most of their relationship consisted of moments in between blankets. They'd gotten together during a drunken hour at a house party in the mission. Their short relationship continued to be trysts of libations. At the height of it, their three month affair, Andy had told her that he wanted to bathe her in alcohol and then get drunk off her skin. She thought it was awfully romantic at the time.

She ordered two beers from the bartender. He was snaggle toothed and had long hair. He wore an ugly white shirt. He grinned at her when she tipped him. She sighed.

I would like a place I could call my own
Have a conversation on the telephone
Wake up every day that would be a start
I would not complain of my wounded heart

I was a short fuse
Burning all the time
You were a complete stranger
Now you are mine

The singer was a small dirty blonde haired man with a slight effeminate air to him. He didn't sing as strongly as Bernard Sumner, the lead for New Order. She got annoyed with the band. They're only halfway good because they're covering New Order, she thought.

She'd met Julie outside of the SOMA venue as the Joy Division band was halfway through their set. They were good, she had told Julie. She was happy upon arrival at the bar. After the ode of Ian Curtis, Monaco's Birth came on stage.

The club was large. It had a large horse shoe bar that wrapped around the edge of the building. To the north was the stage. It was raised about 4 feet from the wooden floor. The crowd was composed of people several years her senior. They huddled in groups, happy for a night out and a break from their (presumed by Sarah) boring day jobs. When Bernard Sumner's songs came out of the band on stage she became depressed. It wasn't the music that depressed her. She couldn't put her finger on it. The band ended to a small amount of fan fare.

"Here's your beer," She said to Julie. She gave Julie her glass of Hefeweizen. Julie took a drink and then set it down on the large box that the electric fan sat on. She looked at Sarah for a moment but avoided eye contact.

"How are you feeling," Julie asked.
"I'm better, I'm just in a mood, like a pair of pants that just don't seem to fit right. They're too tight in the crouch, or they shrunk in the wash, or they're too loose so they don't make your ass look good."
"Yeah, I know what you mean."
"This next band should be good."
"Hopefully they'll play a lot of Morrissey."
"Yeah, I love Morrissey's solo stuff," Sarah finished. She looked back into the crowd. She wanted to recognize more people amongst the small groups. She didn't see anyone else she knew.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Conversation in a bar

Dante began to experiment with instructions for the Golem. After the initial output of motion the Golem didn't respond to the simple instructions that he wrote out for him. Dante was stumped. He kicked the Golem. He hurt his foot on the Golem. How would he ever become anything if he wasn't able to make the Golem come to life again. He sighed and went to bed.

His dreams were haunted by the Golem. The Golem stood over him as he was chained to a wooden platform. It opened its mouth and roared. The inside of its mouth was hollow and black, a deep dark void. Dante felt himself being ripped apart. His body held down by the iron chains yet being slowly excruciatingly drawn into the orifice that led into oblivion. Dante screamed but was unable to hear the sound of his own voice, it was swallowed by the Golem.

Dante woke up in a sweat.

William read his short passage again. He wondered where he should go with the story. Did he really even care about this story? So many of his stories ended abruptly. He flipped the page to where he'd written out, from memory his conversation, with Andy.

"What are you doing over here Andy," I asked him.

"I work over here now. I got a job in a restaurant. Its alright. I work the day shift waiting tables."

"What happened to the bike shop?"

"I got laid off a while ago. I didn't really like it there anyways. Everyone always asked me to fix their fucking bikes too. I didn't really mind for a while but then it got tiresome. What's the point? The kids would buy me a beer or something but..." Andy trailed off. He looked distant, and a little inebriated. I shifted my beer around. I felt awkward.

"Where are you working now?"

"I got a job at a library actually. It was a temp position that turned full time."

"Aren't libraries getting their funding cut now?"

"Yeah, as part of the cut backs they laid off people and then filled me in for two people's positions. I guess the previous two people had been there for a long time so were getting paid pretty well."

"Oh, so you're sort of a scab."

I sat there in silence for a minute. Then Andy laughed aloud and slapped me on the back.

"Hey we all gotta work for our money right? Everyone is a cultural prostitute. Demands of the market and all right?" He looked at me. His eyes looked amphibious, glazed over with a watery substance.

"What happened with that girl," he asked.

"We broke up."

"Oh, why? She not put out enough," he said with a faux ironic tone. He snickered as a I responded slowly and carefully.

"I, I went for a drive one day. I realized that I wanted to keep driving. I didn't know where I wanted to drive to. I didn't know how long I wanted to drive for. I just drove. I ended up driving to Half moon bay. There's a surfer's beach down there. I got out of my car and saw all these surfers. The next day I broke up with her."

He looked at me quizzically. "So you had some sort of revelation?"

"No. I didn't feel any differently when I went home. I didn't even plan on breaking up with her but the next day the words just started coming forth from my mouth. 'I don't want to be with you anymore.'"

"Huh, you're an odd duck McCrack."


"Ah, never mind. How'd she take it?"

"She was pretty upset. We'd been together for a few years."

"Did you regret it at all? Are you seeing someone else now?"

"Nah, I just, I don't know. I can't explain it."

"Oh," he said. He drank the last bit of his beer and ordered two more.

"I don't want another beer."

"That's okay then. I'll drink it," he said. He drank his full pint of beer in two gulps and then took the beer the bartender had set in front of me. "Did you know that alcohol when consumed in sufficient qualities produces all the effects of drunkenness?"

"Yeah, looks like it."

"I have a portrait of myself in my attic at my parent's house. The only reason I go to my family's abode is to gaze on the painting. I wish that it would age but it looks the same every time I go there. My image in the mirror always looks older though. A fucking, fucking, fucking, shame."


We sat in silence for a few minutes then I finished the last bit of my beer. "Thanks for the beer Andy. I think I'm going to get something to eat."

"Alright buddy, a fucking pleasure meeting up with you. A rousing success on a multitude of plateaus. We absolutely must convene again."

"Okay bye."

William reread the conversation. It didn't make any sense to him. Why had Andy invited him for a drink? Did he want something but didn't say? William closed his notebook and looked out the window of his bedroom. He wondered what he would do if he had his own Golem.

Monday, May 18, 2009

From the park to the bar

The golem rose and walked forward, trudging on its clay stubs to fulfill its mandate. The golem was composed of a soft gray mud mixed with clay. The muddy substance squished as the golem moved towards the wall. As the golem neared the brick barrier Dante drew a breath. What would happen to his creation, he thought. Would it break through the building or would it stop? When the golem reached the wall it tried to move forward, relentlessly trying to push itself forward. Its momentum was stopped by the wall and its movements only mashed its soft clay flesh. Dante squealed with glea smitten with the actions of the golem.

William put down his pen. His notebook was filled with sketches like these. The notebook served as part diary and part writer's sketchbook. He rarely finished stories to completion instead jotting out a brief picture. His lack of time never allowed him to flush out the stories was what he liked to say to himself. He looked up from his notebook.

The sun was bright and hot. It cast its rays down on his fair hair. His white skin was turning a bright red burnt by the afternoon light. He sat at a picnic table at the Middleshore Park near the bay. He stood up to stretch his hands and his legs. He'd been seated for an hour. His hand was cramped from writing both a journal account of the past few days and the brief bit about the golem. He walked to over the grassy portion of the park to where the dirty water of the bay met the small beach. The tide was out and so the beach was composed of a dark soft mud. The mud made him think of golems. He'd never had much of a fascination for the Jewish protectors but found himself musing about them as he stared into the mud. He picked up a piece of wood that lay on the beach and threw it into the mud. It made the thick brown surface splat. He laughed aloud.

On the horizon was the Golden Gate Bridge. It was expansive and picturesque. He took out his camera from his messenger bag and snapped a picture of the bridge. The bridge connected Marin, a bougerois town north of the city with San Francisco. William couldn't remember if he'd ever been on the bridge but admired its constructions from afar. His phone began to buzz in his pocket. He took it out of his jeans and looked, it was Andy.

"Hello," William answered.

"Hey, what are you up to," Andy asked. In the background William could hear the sound of traffic.

"I'm down at a park by the water. What are you doing?"

"Well I was looking for a job, and now I've found a job, but heavens knows I'm miserable now," Andy said laughing. "Want to get a drink somewhere?"

"Its 3 o'clock in the afternoon."

"Yeah, I have about 5 hours to kill. I don't want to bother going back to San Francisco, I'm attending an important reading group tonight."

"You're in a reading group," William said with mild surprise.

"Yeah, we're reading 'Society of the Spectacle' at this hipster girl's house. I want to fuck her so I show up at her reading group. She's a prude but whatever. I've got nothing to lose but my chains."

"What are you talking about?"

"You know, the chains," Andy said.

"What? Listen where are you now?"

"I'm up by Ashby Bart. My interview was up here in Berkeley. Want to meet up at Radio in Oakland?"

"Uh okay. It will take me a little while to get there."

"Yeah, that's fine. I'll wait for you there. Make sure you come this time," Andy stressed.

"Yeah, okay." William hung up the phone and looked at it for a few minutes. Andy rarely ever called him. William didn't understand why he was calling now. William hadn't bothered responding to his friend's messages and phone calls lately. He wrapped himself up in his work and spent his free time writing and reading. William gathered his stuff and got on his bike. He made his way east on seventh street towards downtown Oakland, wondering as he rode why Andy had asked to hang out. He'd never been close to Andy. They'd spent some time together at Dolores Park but the two of them never really talked. He'd seen Andy at shows and various events but they'd never delved beyond pleasantries.

The ride took about fifteen minutes. He locked his bike in front of Radio, a small red bar close to the downtown Oakland Bart. When he walked in Andy was already seated on a stool. He had two thirds of a pint of beer in front of him. He was tearing the coaster that the bartender had given him into tiny shreds. He looked up when William entered.

"Hey. You want a beer," Andy asked. He waved at the bartender who was idling at the end of the bar. The bartender came over and poured William a beer then looked at the torn up coasters in front of Andy with dismay.

"I hate when people do that shit," the bartender said. "Its fucking annoying to clean up."

Andy shrugged and turned to William. "So Billy, what have you been up to?"

"I don't think anyone has ever called me Billy."

"Not even your grandma?"

"I never knew her," William replied. He drank a sip of his beer and looked at it for several minutes. The two sat in silence.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another day at Dolores Park

The sun was setting at the park. It was getting chilly. Lee had a coat on her thin pale legs. Her arms were stuck under her armpits.

"Hey there's no line at the ice cream truck," Warren said. "Who wants ice cream?"

"I'll go," Lee said. "Its going to make me freezing though."

The two of them got off of the lawn. They were both clad in cut off jean shorts, t-shirts, and cheap flat shoes. Lee was 21 at the time going on 23. Warren was 25 going on 20. He drank all the time while Lee lamented his drinking all the time.

"Wait, wait for me," Sarah said. She got off the grass and swiped off of the blades from her ass. She jogged lightly after them. Her brown hair bounced in the sun. She lived with Lee. The two of them had met at college and decided to get a house together on Guerro. The three bedroom place was inhabited by the two young women and then a third guy who they found off of craigslist. They complained about his not buying toilet paper, or cleaning, but often their conclusion to their bouts of complaining ended with "at least he's not a pervert."

"Where'd everyone go," Sarah said when she returned. A chocolate ice cream sandwich was in her hands. The dairy desert made her hands messy and there was a slight smudge of cookie substance on the corner of her mouth.

"Oh, Matt left with David. I don't know where they went," Andy said. He finished his speech with a pull from a can of PBR. Andy worked at a local bike shop. Considered awkward by his socially awkward friends he was accepted by his peers for his ability to fix their bikes for free and his uncanny ability to always provide a free can of beer to a friend in need, a friend indeed.

Sarah shrugged and sat back down on the grass. "Today I woke up so early. This guy across the street started screaming. I don't even know what he was screaming about. I couldn't sleep anymore so I got up and showered. I washed my hair."

"Now you don't have an excuse for not going out with the boy that will inevitably call you tonight," Warren said with a sly smirk on his face.

"What do you mean," Sarah asked. "I can always wash my hair again. This morning I didn't use conditioner."

"I haven't showered in like three days," Lee said.

"You're really rejecting bourgeoisie standards aren't you," Andy mumbled. He had just been laid off at his job and had developed a slight drink problem. It added to an already surly personality.

"Where is William," Lee said. She pulled at the grass and threw it at her housemates shoes.

"I haven't talked to William in a minute," Warren said. "I was talking to him on facebook but now I never see him."

"Yeah he doesn't come to the park anymore," Lee said. She looked off into the distance. "Do you know why?"

"I think he broke up with his girlfriend, but I thought he was dating someone new already," Sarah said. "I never see him update his facebook account. I should text him right now." Sarah pulled out her cell phone and started to punch at the keys.

"What are you saying to him," Warren asked. "Tell him to come to the park, or maybe tell him about that house show tonight. Maximo Park is playing. He loves them. He'll definitely be there. Tell him to come for beers here beforehand."

"Its getting so cold," Lee said. Goosebumps started to cover her white flesh.

"Its been cold for years, I can't decide if its the personalities or the melting polar ice caps inducing chilly winds. Probably the two are connected," Andy said. He spoke without looking at anyone. Lee looked at him quizzically.

"Yeah, okay done," Sarah said. She put her phone away. "Oh man our housemate said the funniest thing the other day. He was all fucked up on ecstasy. He's been doing it a lot lately. At least he pays rent..."

"And he's not a pervert," Lee interjected.

"Yeah and there's that. Anyways he comes into the living room where I was watching a movie. He looks at me and says 'You should take a shit while on ecstasy. It feels soooo goood.' He walked back into his room after that.

"I think shitting feels good in general," Warren said. "You know its a release."

"Except when you have diarrhea," Andy said.

"You always have the most negative comments," Lee complained. "What's with you?"

"I didn't realize that this was a celebration, I thought it was a social critique," Andy said. He finished his beer and threw it across the lawn. A bum came up and took it. The bum walked down the hill with the empty beer can and put it into his cart of empty beer cans.

"Lighten up Andy," Sarah said. "We're young, this is fun."