Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oh Really

I was telling this young woman a story about a conversation I once had.

Me: So, the woman looked me dead in the eyes and said, "That's right. God is a man! And he's white!" Can you believe that shit?

Her: She's right.

Me: What?

Her: He's a man, and he is white. His name is Gil. He can be a bit shy.

And there you have it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rolling Thunder

I was just driving home from brunch, and 395 North (into Washington) was a parking lot. Why? Rolling Thunder. Tens of thousands of bikers, mostly Vietnam Vets and their ladies, descend on D.C. like a swarm of locusts. Locusts with bad facial hair, riding Harleys. I wish they would just get the fuck out of here. Couldn't they just move the Vietnam memorial to Peoria or something?

They are really everywhere. I went to a nearby drug store (I live just outside the city) yesterday, and the parking lot was filled with maybe three hundred bikers. I circled the beer-swilling, profane throng looking for a parking spot. Finally, I found one, but there was the meaty biker chick puffing on what appeared to be a Virginia Slim standing in the middle of the spot. She was wearing a leather jacket which said "Nam Nights Ladies."

"Pardon me, could I just squeeze in there?" I asked.

"What the fuck is your problem, man?" this guy she was talking to said. I am not sure, but it might have been Skunk Baxter.

"I am just trying to get in there." You probably should have some context. There is this guy wearing a baseball cap, a Fat Albert tee shirt and cargo shorts (me) trying to park his late model European car in a throng of Harley Davidsons. And bikers who were various degrees of fucked up from a pointless war.

"This space is full, dude. Try somewhere else." I could push the issue some more. But, there is a good chance that I would go into the store, and come back to just my steering wheel and a twisted exhaust pipe. Nothing else. And then, I would die in some embarrasing way that involved a steering wheel and a twisted exhaust pipe.

So, I took Skunk's advice and went somewhere else. Somewhere five miles away.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

American Idle

I admit that I watch American Idol from time to time. And, I am not going to get into some sort of rant about who should have won what and why. All the contestants are a bunch of souless ciphers. I got especially pissed off when that old dude started calling his fans the "Soul Patrol." Everyone who is in the know, knows that there was only one Soul Patrol. And they didn't butcher Stevie Wonder songs. Instead, it was the nickname for the Oakland Raiders secondary in the mid-70s and featured tough cats like Jack Tatum clotheslining Steeler wide receivers in 70s playoff games.

Instead, I want to applaud the show for its proud employment of a retarded person. Randy Jackson truly is a special person. He likes sound and reacts to it as best he can, even with his limited vocabulary. He makes, "Yo, yo, look, man. You did your thing, dog," mean something to him, and frankly the rest of us. I bet you he takes the bus by himself too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Can Belly Flashing Be A Tic?

Ok, a question for the female readers of this blog from an admittedly clueless guy: Are you aware of what your body is doing all the time? Or can you present your body in a certain way inadvertently? I ask, because I am not quite sure how to interpret certain office phenomena. Are certain actions conscious or unconscious? A couple of scenarios have popped up in recent months.

1. I have this female colleague I work with. She has this tendency to lean forward and kind of squeeze her shoulders together when we are sitting across from each other talking about work stuff. Sometimes, she is wearing a lowish top. The effect is a large amount of breast shown and accentuated. My neck usually hurts after these experiences? Why? Because I am trying to be polite, so I spend my time staring at the ceiling (while stroking my chin contemplatively and saying "interesting" a lot). Is this an unconscious habit? Or is she aware of what she is, uh, presenting?

2. Then, there is the belly flasher. There is one woman who comes by my office to talk about work or life (strange because I am not exactly what you'd call the chatty type). I guess there is some sort of magnetic field in my office that causes her to tighten up. Because she is always stretching. And she wears shirts that are short enough that she ends up flashing belly when she does that. Is that conscious? Or is it some kind of nervous tick?

Common denominator: both are married.

These are kind of subtle moves that, to me, could be interpreted multiple ways -- not necessarily as flirtation. Is it possible that they are just clueless about the potential impact of these actions? I mean, sometimes I'll be sitting down and suddenly realize I am putting on an inadvertent display based on the way I am sitting and what I am wearing. Maybe it is just a comfort level; they see me as a brother (whom they show their breasts and belly too?) or friend and just stop paying attention to those things.

I guess it would be more helpful if I gave context (any other flirtation, vibes, whether any woman in their right mind would be attracted to Joseph K, etc.). But, I just want to get reactions to this behavior in the abstract. Can these moves be anything but calculated?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Vacation Stories, Part 3

Of crocodiles and rum. I have held a crocodile once before. In Mexico, about eight years ago. Not a big one, mind you. Maybe two years old or so. It was definitely not very cute. Nor much of a threat. I had its mouth firmly held shut in my right hand. Crocs have incredible strength biting down on things, but surprisingly weak muscles to open their mouths.

The island had a fairly sizeable number of crocs. We caught a glimpse of several of them on a boat tour we did midway through the trip. I asked this one (whom I named Chauncey) to smile for my camera. And he obliged.

After hanging with Chauncey and his friends, we headed off for a fully functioning rum factory. When we got there, we were each given a cup of what might possibly have been the best rum punch I have ever drank. The bartender was serving them in 8 ounce plastic cups, but a ten dollar tip had us guzzling the next round in 20 ounce plastic cups.

Buzzed, we bumbled our way around the factory grounds, ignoring our tour guide. I was looking behind a large cast iron pot when I suddenly saw this. I think he was horny.

He's really not my type.

At the end of the tour, we were given free access to all the rums made by this factory. Sample whatever we want and however much we wanted. There were 30 different types of rum and rum-related products. Of course, my friends and me hit the expensive shit first.

My friend grabbed a bottle of the reserve rum (drinks like fine whiskey) and was pouring everyone shots of the stuff. Friends, random people walking by, he was just hooking them up. This angry British guy started to complain.

"You're hogging it all, give me some," he bellowed. He was accompanied by a son who was covered in acne (seriously, I think his body was mostly composed of pus). And a disabled wife, who was struggling earlier to make her way through the tour on specialized crutches. His life seemed to suck. He probably needed the free rum more than any of us.

"Chill out, hey you want some. You over there. What you can't have a taste when you are working?"

"Come on, you have to share," unhappy British guy whined.

I wanted to say," Ooooh. Someone needs their nappies changed." Instead, I said the far less witty, "Don't be a jerk, dude."

Eventually we moved on down the table, onto other rums and onto moderate intoxication.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Vacation Stories, Part 2

The best way to see a rain forest? Traversing. We spent last Friday whipping across a rain forest on an island, treetop-to-treetop on zip lines. To do so, you need the right equipment, as was shown here by our model:

The ziplines cut across a wide swath of forest, sometimes across the forest floor. Sometimes 150-200 feet above rivers. Sometimes through trees, as shown below.

It was a blast. Here, our guide is helping one of us onto a platform after one of the medium length traverses. Unlike the waterfall climbing fiasco, I managed not to hurt myself as I hurtled through the forest, sometimes crossing a thousand feet traverse at speeds of up to 35 mph.

On an aside, tequilita was speculating what I might look like the other day. I realize I known what most of you all look like, but no one has any clue what I look like. Kind of unfair. As this picture shows, I loves me some sugar cane.

P.S. Our equipment model has some disproportionately thin legs, doesn't he?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Vacation Stories, Part 1

Yesterday. How the fuck did I end up here? Here is about six feet up a rock face, climbing a waterfall. The waterfall was supposed to be climbable. And it was for the most part. Because of the hard-rushing water, there was no moss. So, if you have a decent pair of rubber-soled shoes, you were golden.

And I was. I was zipping up the rockfaces, hopping from rock to shallow pools to rocks. Then, I hit...them.

Most people are understandably freaked out by the notion of climbing a waterfall. And, to allay those fears, there were guides that would take these long human chains up the water fall. I was supposed to go with one, but blew it off and set off on my own. Climbed it in 20 minutes.

I was on climb number two, when I managed to catch up with the group again. And, they were slowly making their way up the easy ascent, on the left side of the waterfall. I thought about just waiting them out.

Then, one of the guides waved me to the steep, right-side ascent. Fuck it.

So, I hop into a chest deep pool and wade over to the rockface. Couldn't find a foothold at first to pull myself up. Finally, there was this crevice-like gap between two rocks. And, I was on my way.

I knew almost instantly that cowboying the right-side ascent was a bad idea. The water was coming down hard and fast down the eight foot or so rockface. I slowly worked my way up the foothold when trouble struck. There was moss on every conceivable foothold. Nothing to grab onto either.

I tried to scurry up the moss foothold on my right. I spun around somehow as I fell and slipped down about four feet. I also had landed on my right hand and bent the thumb awkwardly. Not broken but sore. I turned around and set to trying the left foothold before rationality set in. Slipped again, spun the other way and landed on my left hand. My slide down the rockface was stopped by my knee hitting a rock.

So that is how the fuck I got there, with bloody knees and two jammed thumbs. I turned around and scurried back up to the "moss point". I looked left. The chain was lumbering along like some super-lethargic caterpillar. I didn't have the patience. So, I took a deep breath and leapt off the one foothold that had grip. I started to slip and the water started to push me back, but I grabbed out with my left hand and grapped the edge of the ledge just over the rock face. I pulled myself up.

The rest of the second ascent was uneventful. The thumbs are getting better. I had a tough time holding onto my beers last night, which could have been truly tragic.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Literally. I am off to an island for a week, where I'll spend at least two full days deep sea fishing. Hope to better the 26 pound black fin tuna I caught last time deep sea fishing in warm water. God has blessed me with an incredible resistance to motion sickness, one of my two super powers (the other being able to memorize a phone number after only having seen it once). I'll be putting it to good use.

Hopefully the other fishies won't take it too personally. I'll be communing with the otherwise (the snorkeling gear was the first thing in the bag. And when not terrorizing or befriending fish, it'll be rum, rum, rum. (if the right cutie comes along, then maybe I'll put me second super power to use).

Back next week.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Quotes From Laurence Tureaud

Today, I found myself using one of his terms. "Jibber-jabber." Someone was talking nonsense. More of Mr. Turead, aka "Mr. T," and his philosophical stylings:

1. "As a kid, I got three meals a day. Oatmeal, miss-a-meal and no meal. "

2. " I believe in the Golden Rule - The Man with the Gold... Rules."

3. "When I was growing up, my family was so poor we couldn't afford to pay attention. "

4. "I remember one time I tried to pity this fool. He told me his name was Jeff. He was married. He pulled out his wallet and showed me three pictures of his kids; Kelly, Robert, Brittany. Real cute kids. Don't get too close man. It's hard to pity a fool if you get too close." Word.

5. "I think about my father being called 'boy,' my uncle being called 'boy,' my brother, coming back from Vietnam and being called 'boy.' So I questioned myself: 'What does a black man have to do before he's given the respect as a man?' So when I was 18 years old, when I was old enough to fight and die for my country, old enough to drink, old enough to vote, I said I was old enough to be called a man. I self-ordained myself Mr. T so the first word out of everybody's mouth is 'Mr.' That's a sign of respect that my father didn't get, that my brother didn't get, that my mother didn't get. " My mom has never been called "Mr." either and I don't know why.

My favorite exploration of jibber-jabber came during a Daily Show interview with Mr. T. He was on complaining about a bunch of Best Buy ads that he felt demeaned him. He said the explanation he got from the company was "jibber-jabber."

The interviewer (Colbert?) asked him, "Was it more jibber or more jabber?"

"Definitely more jibber. But there was some jabber too."

More quotes from him here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mary, Go Ahead And Lay That Trip On Me

Sunday, I purchased the best CD I've ever bought. The artist: Fugi. The album: "Mary, Don't Lay That Bad Trip On Me." First album I ever bought where I dug every track from beginning. Starts off with the ethereal "Revelations." The next track is the title track, which starts off with this clumsy, sliding bass solo and then descends into the surreal (lyrics like "someone mailed me a golden envelope, and told me I had a right to kill y'all/ But, the truth is, Mary, I can't afford to pay my bills"). He actually wrote it for the Temptations, but they were doing the feel good doo-wop shit still, and passed. Funky nonsense wasn't their thing. The best song is "I'd Rather Be A Blind Man," which is this psychedelic blues number.

Kind of a cool story about Fugi. He got into the music business because he was able to befriend Etta James' man during a brief stint in Fulsom prison. He wrote "I'd Rather Be A Blind Man" in jail, and Etta James dug it and decided to do a feminized version of it. Producers took note of his songwriting ability. Fugi only put out the one album in 1969. Right after completing the sessions, he tumbled into a 35 year heroin addiction.

In his brief period on the Detroit music scene, he befriended a lot of people. Including Stevie Wonder. He claimed Stevie was a mean practical joker. Apparently, Stevie Wonder had this preternatural ability to sense when someone was coming by and trip them. Fugi said that Stevie once tripped him when he was walking through a club. "So, a couple of days later, he asked me whether Chuck was. I said right in the office to his left. He turned to his left and walked smack into a wall. Yeah, I got him back good."