Friday, March 31, 2006

dopefest '06: come one come all

You'll have to forgive me my ignorance on the topic of Reality Television as I just don't have time to keep up on the fad that never seems to stop sweeping the nation, gluing eager Americans to their couches, bombarding them with Febreeze commercials and throw away drama. Last night, though, while changing after a five mile run, I was able to catch a glance of the once great Survivor. I say once great literally, as I enjoyed it the first time around, in '00 when the formulaic methodology was in its stage of incubation. Will America dig this concept and make Jeff Probst & Mark Burnett rich enough to have sex with models on piles and piles of cash? Damn right they will. And while wondering why it is that people haven't grown tired of the same shit different season, I was reminded of the beauty of reality television; unscripted shows edited correctly can create fantastical majestic moments that don't require the hard labor of Hollywood's creative engines (the writers of course). In the clip, Terry Dietz, 46, a former St. John Vianney High School varsity football player with 11 varsity letters (great stat to have on your bio by the way Terry), approached Cirie Fields in an attempt to create an alliance. Cirie, a 35 year old registered nurse, listened to Terry's proposal, mockingly nodding her head, stringing him along, yet relishing in the knowledge that she had the upper hand, the two weeks amnesty he was offering was already hers. The camera cut to a clip of Cirie in front of a palm tree where she enlightened the American public with this gem.


"Terry is asking me to form an alliance like he even has a chance, I mean we (her tribe) don't need no alliance. It's like he's a dictionary salesman and he's trying to sell me a dictionary. But I've already bought a set of encyclopedias, what do I need a dictionary for?"

I stood in complete awe at what had just been broadcast on Thursday night Primetime programming as another guy in the locker room commented, "that might be the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

This morning while trying to research this quote I came up with nothing. Not one survivor fever blog or forum or recap site mentioned the quote. Not one person in cyberspace found this shit as funny as I did. But then I stumbled upon CBS' blog where contestants that had been kicked off posted their comments on the episode.

Brian Corridan, a valedictorian and vice president of his high school class as well as a recent graduate of the prestigious Columbia University, had this to say about the incident:
"Cirie is possibly my favorite Survivor ever. Her dictionary salesman analogy? Classic. I loved how she completely called Terry out on his "offer." Ha! She's awesome."

Brian, you are a dope and that's why you were voted off long before the million dollars! Long live reality television: proof that appealing to the lowest common denominator is the best way to become rich and have sex with models on piles of cash.

(time to get back to work, the boss is pissed..Coldplay 2nite peeps!)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

le pense du jour

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.
John F. Kennedy

Monday, March 27, 2006

an excerpt from: Whoisjobe?: (draft 2)

A pungent gust of exhaust filled his lungs as the bus drove off around the Embarcadero and out of sight. He was home, alone, two miles from his apartment, ten thousand miles from his former self. Or maybe he never understood his former self well enough to have measured the distance between then and now. Labor Day was coming to a close as the sun began its decent towards the other side of the world, casting long shadows off the myriad skyscrapers whose spires reached for the heavens. He lingered in the cold blanket of these shadows for forty five heartbreaking minutes. The bus had departed, leaving in its place the certainty that his own two feet had to carry him forward, towards home, into the warmth of a late afternoon's light. The very thought of moving frightened him, froze him in his tracks, suitcase in one hand, red track suit jacket in the other, and two tears forming at the corners of his hazel eyes. His dirty dish water blond hair grew progressively disheveled as the wind blowing in from the bay tossed it into a spiky mess. The smell of salt water and fish began to nauseate a stomach long devoid of nourishment. Sailboats littered the horizon and in the distance a Japanese freighter, stacked four stories tall with freight, coasted under the Bay Bridge and out to sea.

His flight from O’Hare had arrived to San Francisco two hours prior. During the four hour journey his mind was locked in a turbulent state of confusion and distraction. A copy of the Fountainhead lay upon his lap, half read, rising and falling at the speed of a restless leg. He could hardly stomach the Salisbury steak and mashed potato meal, pushing it aside after two bites and opting instead for a second Diet Coke. The in-flight movie was yet another lame attempt at capturing the magic of a close group of friend's senior year in high school, all trying to score on prom night, breaking their virgin bonds to adolescence. Both the book and the movie were merely distractions from the inevitable truth that the plane would land in a city he longed to escape. Escape was always his answer, the instant solution to any problem, any misstep, or anxious disposition; run or push everyone and everything away, out of sight out of mind. He spoke to no one during the journey, gaining no insight into the life of the aspiring twenty something entrepreneur sitting adjacent to him, or the woman in the aisle seat, a writer whose self help book sold modestly in the late 1970's around the time of his birth. The other people didn't exist, they weren't real, or at least they weren't as real as the anxiety that drove him to worry incessantly every waking hour of every day for eight arduous weeks. When he rose to use the washroom, it was not with the intention to relieve his bladder; he needed a mirror to peer into, a reflection to prove that the test he was enduring was truly happening.

The aisle was crammed with people socializing, stretching their limbs, laughing and joking about the long awaited day off of work. Two people were ahead of him in line for a single lavatory as the other’s toilet was malfunctioning, “a calming thought to think when 30,000 feet in the air,” he wondered to himself. “If they can’t fix the damn toilet, whose to say the flaps won’t fail upon landing, causing the plane to overrun the tarmac and end up on CNN’s breaking coverage as the Labor Day disaster of ’02.” Ten minutes passed and he was finally next in line, eaves dropping on the stewardesses small talk of People magazine headlines, lipstick and that asshole in 24A who kept calling her up to flirt with him. A click and a snap and the door swung open. He let the elderly woman pass, stepped into the stainless steel confines, and slammed the door shut. He had found his sanctuary, a place to be alone to suffer and to escape the garrulous passengers. As a youth he’d always enjoyed plane flights for they signified an adventure into the unknown, the uncertain future which awaited him in another part of the country amongst strangers and new terrain. Travel was once his passion, as was reading and learning and meeting fascinating people with creative visions of shaping the world. He felt ill thinking such thoughts of what once was: ill and pissed and confused as he finally built up the courage to view his own reflection. Staring with contempt into his own cold, empty eyes he pulled his hair as hard he could and pinched his arm, the pain of which proved he was in fact alive and enduring, not lost in a nightmare from which he could awake. A knock on the lavatory door woke him from himself long enough to nod and apologize to an obviously irritated passenger. "Jesus Christ kid, what the hell were you doing in there," the thirty something business man exclaimed loud enough to alert nearby passengers. "Fuck off, prick" he thought to himself as he headed back to the confines of a cramped seat to fidget and worry and fear his very own fragmented, delusional thoughts.

The bus ride from the airport to the Embarcadero terminal was unpleasant not because of the smell or the discomfort of the tattered pleather seats, but because he was fighting a losing battle in the "What If" game, cycling and recycling myriad scenarios in which he wouldn't have come undone. There was little linearity to the process. He'd place himself back in time eight weeks and imagine what might have happened if he hadn't followed his co-worker T.J. back his condo after work that Friday evening. Or supposing he had followed T.J. back but stopped at 7-11 for gas or slurpees, anything to have prevented meeting T.J's new neighbors at a condo complex he resented forever finding himself in on the weekends. Three minutes later he contemplated what might have happened if he hadn't followed through on an ill planned voyage to Berkeley, or why, in a drunken haze he revealed his summer destination to T.J.'s girlfriend in a bar that stank of pretension and stale beer. As disparate as his imagined reinterpretations were, they were centered on a path to nowhere, an attempt to reverse time, to revise his story to have headed South or East instead of West. And to most of the fellow passengers who paid him no mind, he was just another kid on his way somewhere in the Bay area. The divorced woman sitting two seats back was prevented by her own nerves from approaching him, despite her newly found thirst for afternoon carnal delights with virile young men. An old man in the adjacent row saw the young man and was reminded of the days when he was twenty three and stationed in a foreign base, an MP during the day and a connoisseur of Guinness and prostitutes at night. Just behind him sat a mother and her seven year old son who boldly stated that he wanted his hair spiky and messy like the young man's. Thirty stories were playing out in the confines of that bus, twenty nine of which he was completely oblivious to.

A flock of seagulls circled overhead, swooping down to the Embarcadero station in search of anything edible, scattering to nearby light-poles as the bus rumbled closer. Forty five minutes later he awoke form his catatonic state as the winds of fate or mere dumb luck cast a steaming brown and white turd into his hair. "God fucking dammit," he shouted to the firmament, "is there anything else you'd like to do to me you fucking bastard." Unsure of his religious beliefs yet convinced in a higher power he found the incident ironic, proof of the thought that God was in fact taking a shit on his life and had been for the past three years. But the very same incident to which he reacted in an explosion of bottled up emotional turmoil, was the catalyst that awoke him from a self indulgent state of mentally repeating, " I'm never going to get through this, I can't, I can't do it, I can't live through this," and the coup de grace, "if I don't move, time won't pass."

Overwhelmed by the truth that he was once again alone to face himself in a city 1500 miles from home, he fell to the cold cement and began to shaking his head in defiance of the present situation. In a barely audible whisper he repeated, "this can't be happening, this can't be happening." His throat began to constrict and dry up as the moisture was redirected to tired tear ducts. He pulled his hair and banged his fists on the ground, as if such an act would solve or change anything. Acknowledging an undeniably overwhelming state of confusion and despair, a deluge or tears cascaded to the pavement. Blood rushed to his face, casting a crimson glow of embarrassment for having indulged his own grief. As he turned his head to wipe away the snot and tears from his face, he saw another bus approaching. Out of fear that strangers might see him in such a state and either pity, offer help, or ignore him, he gathered his belongings and stood. With bloodshot eyes and remnants of seagull shit still in his hair, he took his first step forward, out of the shadow of the bus terminal and into a late afternoon Labor Day's fading light.

Sunday, March 26, 2006



let me see....I could put half naked pictures of me flexing, letting all those sexy minxes out there know that I'm a virile young mang that, more often than not, takes care of my body... or I could talk about the fact that I'm well read, an amateur "freelance" writer, an observer of life and a survivor of strife. an engineer. a daydreamer. a helpless romantic. a part time DJ of P.D.B.'s (subtle sexy soulful grooves that make ya wanna shake ya ass) a funny a$$ kid always on for a microbrewed beer, a live acoustic song shared amongst friends, campfire, and the pacific ocean, a 25 year old man. a little buff. a little tan. well traveled and perpetually dazzled by people in the know, girls that glow with a love for life artists, musicians, revolutionaries, thinkers, people who understand the value of charity and the nobility of sacrifice.......

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I did not write this, but hopefully you might be inspired by it.

I've become a bit of an NPR junkie as of late, late being the past two years. I'm not sure if this signifies that I'm becoming boring for having zero to little interest in the distractions enjoyed by my peers: the jovial antics of Eric & Kathy, the repetetive crude shockuality of Stern, or the bloviating pompous ass Mancow Muller and his army of ignorant, brainwashed ninjas. I do know that I've learned much about the state of the world and its relation to the bubble of security to which I awake every morning: 2000 sf loft overlooking the skyline, well paying engineering job, drinking on the weekends and fairly expensive yoga classes. I've heard of love and genocide, of accomplished cellists and radical preachers, Nigerian rappers and China's burgeoning economy, all while fighting the daily bottleneck along Eisenhower's "expressway."

This I believe is one of the many segments I look forward to every week. In the matter of a few minutes, politicians and magicians, average joes, doctors, and corporate CEO's, expound upon the rocks upon which they've built their foundation. And I'm always inspired by their wise words which have guided them through the mucky bog of the human condition. This is one of those segments, aired a few months ago on a frigid morning here in the windiest of cities. Hopefully it speaks to you as it spoke to me.

Victor Hanson, a community member wrote the following essay for this series:

"I believe that all of us need some grounding in our modern world of constant moving, buying, selling, meeting and leaving. Some find constancy in religion. Others lean on friends or community for permanence. But we need some daily signposts that we are not novel, not better, not worse from those who came before us. For me, this house, this farm, these ancient vines are those roots. Although I came into this world alone and will leave alone, I am not alone. There are ghosts of dozens of conversations in the hallways, stories I remember about buying new plows that now rust in the barnyard and ruined crops from the same vines that we are now harvesting. I believe all of us are natural links in a long chain of being, and that I need to know what time of day it is, what season is coming, whether the wind is blowing north or from the east, and if the moon is still full tomorrow night, just as the farmers who came before me did. The physical world around us constantly changes, but human nature does not. We must struggle in our brief existence to find some transcendent meaning during reoccurring heartbreak and disappointment and so find solace in the knowledge that our ancestors have all gone through this before. You may find all that all too intrusive, living with the past as present. I find it exhilarating. I believe there is an old answer for every new problem, that wise whispers of the past are with us to assure us that if we just listen and remember, we are not alone; we have been here before."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

I finished watching "No Direction Home", Martin Scorcese's Bio-Pic of the great Bob Dylan, the other night. The cats and I were immersed in a time and place not so distant from that in which my brethren find themselves today, although today our collective voice is either non-existent or in the hands of Cindy Sheehan. I'd read Chronicles, Bob's autobiography, but being a young man whose mind lacks visual creative prowess, I needed the archive film to truly put those years into perspective. All week long the film's soundtrack has been jamming over and over on my speakers: old time folk songs such as This Land is My Land, A Hard Rain, songs that stoke the creative fires, stir the soul, bring consciousness to poetry I never thought lay within me. And I imagine to other fans across the sands of time, Dylan has been an inspiration, a member of a small group of lyrical poets unlike any singers since the minstrels of the middle ages: a man and a guitar with something to say, stories to tell, melodies of maladies and good times. He was a rebel, a creative genius, a moody bastard, and ultimately a human being. Reporters grilled him time and time again as to why it was he grew so popular so quickly, why the youth connected with his messages, where the inspirations for his topical poetry came from, whether or not he believed in that which he was saying, and other asinine trite questions. Watching, I could only sit back and laugh, giddy as a kid who caught his first fish, having the slightest understanding of what might have been going on in his head. "Piss off, I write what comes to mind because it sounds right, because I feel like it, because it's how I see what I see." They wouldn't understand, they couldn't understand. Dylan threw it out there for people to take it or leave, to enjoy or pay it no mind. It was either his way or Highway 61.

Dissidents of the sixties needed a leader, a prophet to light the way through the dark times of Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. The times may have been a changing, but they were still men and women, people who believed in spirits and truth and triumph, who enjoyed dancing and singing under a diamond sky. And along came a singer; a man not unlike many who'd come before him, who sang and who wrote and was influenced by the movements and ghosts of humanities past. They tried to cast a net and tangle him up as the voice of their cause, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He was an artist, not a leader. He was a wanderer, not a rock upon which they could build their church. And he went electric and they called him Judas, they booed and heckled and denied him their ears. In an instant they turned on him and closed their minds as humanity tends to do when faced with change, when their traditions have to be integrated and evolve, the divides crossed and ideas exchanged across races and generations. As Dylan said, though, it wasn't the music they were booing. Perhaps it was their own ignorance, or perhaps they were unhappy with themselves. They wanted someone to lead them through the changing times but grew afraid when the mirror reflected perverted electric visions of Maggie's sacred farm. Time progressed, Dylan's art evolved, and the controversy has long passed under the bridge, revealing itself as petty and selfish and hardly in the name of the revolution they were trying to lead. And generations to come were left with gems to jam late at night on stereos and IPODS, while holed up in their cubicles, alone, amongst friends; all eager to depart the here and now through the musical magic of a lyrical legend.

I wish I could identify the Dylan of my generation, but sadly I can't. There are plenty of great singer songwriters out there, but big business has such control over artistic expression's voice that anyone who tried would end up being sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger, releasing their own cologne, and whoring out to MTV cribs. Or maybe they wouldn't. Maybe the movement is out there. Maybe a Greenwich Village is in the midst of spawning somewhere as a group of artists speaks their collective voice loud and proud in the spirit of the times and turmoil in which our generation finds themselves. Hopefully through the trash heap of corporatemegamedia's distractions will rise one of my brethren whose voice will breathe new life and hope into our culture, filling it with knowledge and stories of future's past. Mr. Tambourine Man will play a song and we'll drink and laugh and dance the night away under a diamond sky with one hand waving free.

Bob Dylan..........
Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind,Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves,The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to.Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

corporate sponsorship of "the Arts".

Amplified might be a good word to describe my mental state at this moment: synapses firing on all eight cylinders as turbo kicks in. Too bad my job confines me to a seat, a computer and 100's of acres to design and develop, a job fit not necessarily for a monkey, moreso a recluse who thrives off of the rote yet meticulous tasks required day in and day out. I'm focused and yet paradoxically driven to distraction as little white and yellow pills battle it out across the battle front of my mind, causing oscillating states of contentment and excessive frustration. He told me this cocktail would be the solution to myriad mental malfunctions, addressing anxiety and focus, sex drive and motivation. Too bad these couldn't have been bestowed naturally. Luckily, some degree of mental uncertainty, flat feet, and occasional bouts with acne are my only major malfunctions. I'd rather struggle with my own emotional shortcomings than be faced with a spine snapped in just the right place to immobilize the feet and arms I, and many of my brethren, take for granted. I'd rather take fifteen minutes outta my morning for corporate sponsorship of the arts than have a bullet come whizzing past my ear in a far off land amongst radical jihadists hell bent on exterminating Americans and their supporters in the name of God (what a fucking joke that is).

I know it's not necessarily one or the other: this career of climbing ladders and taking corporate cocks in the name of making a living, or strapping a gun to my chest and kissing a gold cross before throwing my life to the winds of fate and the mercy of delusional terrorist freaks. Of course America's Armed Forces are comprised of volunteers, young and old alike who "understood" the consequences of signing their asses over to Uncle Sam in the name of an education or a paycheck or good old fashioned patriotism. Of course there are other avenues to pursue in life, all I have to do is turn on the television and see for myself, right? Life can be like Entourage or Friends, American Idol, or even, God forbid, According to Jim. Riches beyond our wildest dreams, sexy acquaintances perpetually finding themselves in quirky, comedic dispositions, fame in the blink of an eye, an impossibly sexy woman attracted to an overweight yet loveable guy, all these and many more possibilities exist out there. Out there cameras are following people around, scoping their every move, finding the interesting and the dramatic in otherwise repetitively satisfying lives. Or at least I subconsciously ponder such a thought while searching for Crest toothpaste and Miller Beer down fluorescent aisles of the local mega-mecca for human sustenance; driven by jingles and fancy advertisements to consume, to support the economy, to state my independence loud and proud with the swipe of a Master Card.

And here, in the land of cubicles filled with drones who drive Nissan Altimas, who have children with mouths to feed, ostentatious over priced diamond rocks and rings for fiancs to buy , futures to think of and pasts to forget, I sit, amplified to a false degree of happy, focused consciousness, nonsensically expounding upon the wizard's illusions. Twenty minutes have passed and neighbors have been eager and nervous in anticipation of the internet's return. Sadly our internet has been down since 10 AM and the worker bees are lost, unsure of what to do. Yahoo accounts can't be checked, ebay purchases can't be monitored, gossip can't be ingested at the speed of now, sports illustrated swimsuit pictures can't be perused; the collective distracted consciousness has been redirected to retention ponds and sanitary sewers and they're growing nervous. How long until they can taste the sweet nectar of reality, the world out there, their secret addiction, that small sliver of time we all savor like pavlov's dogs after that long awaited lunch. The tension is riding my fellow robots, and I'm smiling all the while, lost in my own head: amplified, focused, content.