Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Daily Update #25: "We came to see the mobscene"

[This entry was written amidst a sub-Third Reich display of Neanderthalic fandom for the New York Giants outside my office on Broadway that gave off increasingly bad vibes.]

Eighty minutes until this goddamned parade starts and they're already stirring up a chorus of shouts, boos, whoops, hollers, and a few female screams that, given the recent spate of sexual crimes in the city, are certainly jarring. All this in honor of a group of guys they've never met, will probably never meet, and all they did was move a ball from point A to point B better than the other guys.

I watched the game, and it was compelling. Everyone likes the sort of white-knuckled competition. I didn't even go into it rooting for a team, but I still found it fascinating.

I'm not anti-sports at all...but I'm definitely anti-sports fans. If Morrissey really wants to denounce a group of people as a "sub-species," rather than turn to the Chinese, how about he takes a look at our football/soccer hooligans? Continued chants, warbled like the masses in Triumph of the Will, jump right up to us on the third floor.

"Let's go Giants!" *Clap-clap, clap-clap-clap* (8x)

"Hey Jets! YOU SUCK!" (4x)

In a perfect world, the Lord above would hear my prayers that the Occupiers would come and crash the parade, armed only with gigantic mirrors to hold up to the crowds, literally giving them the chance to reflect upon who and what they really are. It could single-handedly usher in a cultural renaissance where we become a nation that actually practices self-awareness and accountability.

Then again, they'd probably get torn to shreds, like a flock of gazelles wearing steaks on their backs trotting into a lion's den. At least they'd have the mirrors to break into shards as a means of self-defense. Not that it would help them too much, since a lot of them are strictly nonviolent.

But in reality, one placard-waving hipster shows up and they'll get maced, tased, and booed back to their trust-funded apartment in the 'Burg.

It's only gotten louder. One hour to go and I'm taking aspirin with my morning coffee. They'll be coming up Broadway from Bowling Green, and upon arriving at City Hall will receive the key to the city from His Dishonor, who will give a verbally rousing but visually austere speech about how these athletes represent everything that is good about our city, all while the City University of New York faces crippling tuition hikes, gentrification continues to displace and disenchant all but the wealthiest and whitest, and the derelicts that usually populate this segment of lower Manhattan are conspicuously absent.

No matter. To this army of identical revelers - overweight chumps with immaculately trimmed chinstrap beards, diamond-stud earrings, and aviators, paired with a barrage of blonde bimbos with orange skin, unnaturally white teeth, and eating disorders - the athletes really do represent some warped rendition of the American Dream™, a world of opulent living as a reward for little more than a specialized skill.

I suppose it's unavoidable. We think of the negative side of sports and we have images of NASCAR, beer guts, wives serving up nachos for her husband and "the guys," and the parochialism that these championships inspire. At least the chance of a truly violent riot is remote compared to the soccer crowd in South America or Europe.

But still, I'd have a great view.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daily Update #24: Journey To The Center Of The Mind

Rereading everything from the late spring and early summer of 2010, I have to say I really was a bit of a mess. It's funny now to look back and see how all that rambling about Sikhism and trying to find "the answer" rapidly devolved into me staving off loneliness with my daily updates. Those really were some weird dreams that young man was having during that period...poor fella.

It's interesting to note that as soon as he/I found some solace in a steady girlfriend, he/I fell off the map. Don't feel bad, readers (all zilch of you - and for the first time I'm not saying that as a joke, I'm convinced that literally no one is reading this), I didn't just abandon you. I abandoned a lot of places and people, for better.

No "for worse." It was all for the better. Even with the blog - spend too much time in a venue like this and you'll find yourself way too far in your own head...which is fine every now and again as a way of confronting oneself with some difficult, introspective, and even existential questions. But do it daily and you'll become a monk - and I'm too much of a fan of the world and its inhabitants to endorse asceticism. Deep thinkers, whether religious or otherwise, belong among the people.

It got bad for a while there...casual hookups, drinking and smoking a little too much and a little too often...I'd seen people with real problems and I always knew that I had some control over myself.

And that's what they all say.

After a casual hookup on a Saturday afternoon that turned into a sleepover (my guest missed her ride home for the evening), I drank and smoked...let's just say a lot...that Sunday evening. Long story short, I'm convinced the Reaper himself tapped me on the shoulder, panting, to say, "Hey, man, you gotta slow down." I fainted.

At the top of a flight of stairs.

Lucky for me, I fell backwards instead of forwards. All I can remember before it happened is that I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. During what I simply perceived as a prolonged blink, I remember opening my eyes and everything being a shade of yellow. I saw Shelley. She said something to me, but I can't remember it.

Then I opened my eyes for real. I had a throbbing pain in the back of my head and neck, realizing I'd fallen backwards, hit my head on the brick wall, and had been lying on my back. I slowly sat up, shaky and sweaty and probably concussed. Clinging to the bannister like my life depended on it - and it probably did - I made my way down the stairs to the bathroom, where I puked until only water was coming up.

I told no one.

A friend gave me a ride home, and still slightly high I decided to watch The Magic Christian. I got about 35 minutes into it before I finally went to sleep.

Not to propose a true delusion of grandeur, but my fall reminded me of Bob Dylan's motorcycle accident - details vary as to how badly he was hurt, but he clearly used it as a way to escape the public eye for the better part of 18 months. It was a wake-up call of sorts for him, to lay off the speed and settle down.

It's not the same at all, but evocative enough that I felt it bore mentioning. For me, cracking my head (and still getting chills when I think of what if I had fallen forward) was my wake-up call. This all happened between Daily Update #14 (6/9) and #15 (6/15).

Just a couple of days after that, I got a message on OkCupid from a girl who used the handle "filmstress" that started "Valley girl, she's a valley girl...I grew up loving that song!"

That was Chelsea. She's the girl I was glowing about those last couple times we spoke - an "unknown unknown." I can't believe I even tried to be so strategic about finding a steady girlfriend. She came out of nowhere, and the more we got to know each other, the better it got. Like many young men in love, I let this preoccupy my world while I continued working for the Census Bureau throughout June and July.

I promised myself I would do things differently, and at that point in my life I felt that included putting an end to maintaining this blog along with the one with album reviews on it.

For another cliffhanger, I did gain an outlet for my writing...more on that later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Daily Update #497: Another Day Of Living

Hello, how are you?

Here it comes, the standard "it's been too long!" intro before I wax poetic on how groovy life has been these past 16 months, like a prolonged conversation I'd have with a former high school classmate, the one you never expected to bump into, but there you are, making a run to Wal-Mart to get some small grocery item for your mom and then you make that inevitable crossing of paths.

"So, how are you?"

I'm good, man. I'm good.
<Nervously swills beer, takes last gulp>

Aaaaaaaaaaand scene!

Too much has happened between that July afternoon and today for me to get you caught up to speed. Not just in my world, either, but in the world as a whole.

Today, a pizza magnate is going on a book tour masqueraded as a run for the White House, Wall Street has had protestors camping out on it for two months, and this spate of revolutions in the Arab world is fulfilling Guru Townshend's prophesy of "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," with the Egyptian military still firmly in control, the flag of Al Qaeda fluttering in Libya, and the highly probable invoking of Sharia law in these newly "liberated" countries.

Oh, and Osama is dead.

And me? Oh, you know...this and that. I work in Tribeca at the main office of a company that offers music lessons four days a week and one day a week I'm an adjunct professor at St. John's University up in Queens. Chelsea and I also cover the arts and entertainment beat for a women's website called Woman Around Town. We've done a lot of restaurant reviews, but the past couple weeks we've been branching out and doing press junkets. This usually means free entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, and drinks in exchange for some forced (but generally smooth) conversation. It's an even sweeter gig than it sounds.

How did this all happen? I don't know...right place at the right time?

Anyway, I'm coming back here because I've found myself oddly inspired. I write a lot about other people, other things, other places...but rarely about me. Over the past month and a half (give or take) we watched the entire series run of Six Feet Under, and to be frank it kind of changed my world. It gave me a new lease on love, friendship, family, life, and death - and not a minute too soon.

We'll go into details some other time. The pot of gold is that I've truly come to value my existence - "I just want to celebrate / Another day of living / I just want to celebrate / Another day of life."

How did I get to that conclusion? Well, let's just hope the suspense is enough for you to come back later.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daily Update #22: A Dream Come True

I have dreamed of this for years, but never quite thought it would be an actual scenario that would play out in real life. My girlfriend's dad is celebrating his birthday today.

What, pray tell, did I get him? I burned him a CD of Zappa. Not because I'm one of those lunatics who goes "YOU HAVEN'T HEARD FRANK ZAPPA WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU I WILL BURN YOU SIX CD'S OF HIS MOST ESSENTIAL SONGS NO WAIT MAYBE I'LL JUST BURN YOU SEVEN TO MAKE SURE I DON'T MISS ANYTHING!" - though I might have been at one point.

No, no, it's because he's a Zappa fan. Not a die-hard or anything, but he apparently has some records. So I made him a CD - just the one! - of my favorite Zappa tunes.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daily Update #21: "Another Girl"

Well...the first date I talked about in the last entry, an "unknown unknown" that just sort of popped up, is now officially my girlfriend. And I'm her boyfriend. (Got to reciprocate.)

She's very vivacious, constantly smiling, we make each other laugh...things are good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daily Update #20: "I've Just Seen A Face"

...but then I have a night like tonight, and suddenly everything just seems right with the world.

It was just a first date, but it was just what I needed. Someone with a big, contagious smile, laughs a lot, similar interests, and um...as interested in me as I am her.

This is nice.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Daily Update #19: "A Rock And A Hard Place"

You know what is both a blessing and a curse? Morally ambiguous situations. I'm glad things are never just black or white, but at the same time - at least for an indecisive boob like me - weighing one's options is torture.

Damn that free will, huh?


PS - Happy birthday Ray Davies!

Daily Update #18: "Old Man"

This song still haunts me - in a good way - no matter how many times I hear it.

I talked to Dad for over an hour tonight, wishing him a Happy Father's Day, updating on some things going on in my life before a really nice chat about religion. We don't believe in the exact same things, but we're on the same page.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daily Update #17: "C'mon And Take It Easy..."

...on the other hand, what's the rush?


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Daily Update #16: "Lollipop"

Enjoy the new color scheme.

Me, I'm waiting so patiently...to make a subtle Stones reference...hoping for a sign of where to go and what to do. Not that I'm afraid of taking risks, it's just I took a big one getting back with Shelley. Two and a half years later and we're on opposite sides of the country; save for maybe a polite visit because one or the other of us happens to be in the same town, we won't see much of one another ever again. I miss her as a friend and I miss the idea of her as a partner, if that makes sense. Sometimes I still think of where things went wrong, and even though (or maybe even because) we're better off now I occasionally wonder if it was even worth pursuing. The $849 hole in my pocket for that engagement ring, plus the meager $65 I got pawning it, seem to say no...while all the good times we did have seem to say yes and that I'm a damn fool for asking.

Okay, maybe I'm a little afraid of taking risks.

There is a safe option. A guaranteed winner, without much difficulty. But it's average. Decidedly average. The less certain option is a definite - now to cite Donald Rumsfeld - a "known unknown." But I like what I've seen. Easily more of a risk, maybe even a little dangerous. Then there's all the "unknown unknowns" out there, ones yet to be encountered. All I know is that each is enticing, but I really can't see myself pursuing the safe bet. Not to come across as haughty, but I feel like I need to hold out. See what lies ahead.

I wish I could just look five years into the future and ask myself what's going on, who I'm with (and if I'm married), and how I'm doing.

Sorry. This means nothing to you.