Archive for June, 2008

Faith Up.

June 28, 2008

On my last day of work I walked up to the elevator bank in the building and waited an eternity as always for the bell signaling the arrival of an upgoing elevator. Next to me stood a Puerto Rican man in his 40’s, dressed in khaki slacks, a braided black belt, and a button down floral silk shirt. His hair was black, slicked back with a sheen, and styled into the shape a perfectly crested wave that overhung his forehead. He looked at me and smiled as he  whistled in perfect harmony, the song “Patience” from Guns and Roses.

…little patience, mm yeah, ooh yeah,
Need a little patience, yeah
Just a little patience, yeah
Some more pati… (ence, yeah)
I’ve been walking these streets at night
Just trying to get it right (Need some patience, yeah)
It’s hard to see with so many around
You know I don’t like being stuck in a crowd (Could use some patience, yeah)
And the streets don’t change but maybe the name
I ain’t got time for the game
‘Cause I need you (Patience, yeah)
Yeah, yeah well I need you
Oh, I need you (Take some patience)
Whoa, I need you (Just a little patience is all we need)
Ooh, this ti- me….

As we boarded the elevator he continued, not skipping a beat and just as we reached the 7th floor, the doors opened and he finished the song. I smiled, and said, “Have a nice day.” He smiled back and said, with the conviction of a pope, “Have a nice life.”

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Swedenborgianism. Jaaa.

June 24, 2008

Today we received a package in the mail from a beautiful chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes. It’s a chapel that sits on a hillside overlooking the ocean and it’s walls are made of glass. So if you get bored during church you can just stare at the ocean. Or if church makes you want to jump off a cliff, you can do that too.

We’ve been thinking of places to get married and this seemed like a nice option. Upon reading more about the chapel, we discovered that its everyday congregation belongs to the religion of Swedenborgianism. I had never heard of it either but I Wiki’d it and found out more. Here’s the link, or if you like, a brief summary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedenborgianism

Swedenborgianism was started by a Swedish inventor (Emanuel Swedenborg) who experienced dreams in which he spoke with God and gained a higher level of spirituality. He believed/was told that there is only one God, and that where you end up when you dies simply lies on what kind of a person you were when you were alive. He also believed it valid to question the bullshit of all other religions. He wrote it all down and told some friends. Then he died. He didn’t wave around snakes, go around “saving” people with his hands, he didn’t dig up some golden books and read them from his hat. He just had some dreams in which God said, “Be a good dude, and when you die, everything will be ok.” Oh and, “Feel free to poke holes in all that other bullshit that everyone knows is not true.” 

I can buy that. So, today, Brenda and I have converted to Swedenborgianism.

We are in good company.

Jhonny Appleseed

Steven King

William Blake

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Robert Frost

Carl Jung

Walt Whitman

They were all Swedenborgianists, and they all had/have brains. Hmmm, something to think about here people….

Plus I’m now in the company of some great writers. Hells yeah.

 

WWYD

June 22, 2008

Today was Brenda’s 24th birthday. After a morning kiss and a “happy birthday” we decided that it was a perfect day to go to the beach. Dave called and said that he was going to Manhattan beach, but because my truck was parked in Venice (after some drinks yesterday evening we left it there and took a cab home) and we could ride our beach cruisers down to the truck we decided that Venice beach was the best option. We were about to leave the house but decided that Anna our dog needed a walk and that the sun was a bit too hot at the time, so we waited until about 2pm to leave. Before we left I took a few minutes to pump up the beach cruisers and pack beach bags. We had lunch at Chipotle and and then rode down through Marina Del Rey towads Venice, ending up near the Venice pier. After deciding to ride down the bike path north, we found a nice place on the sand next to three young girls and two cheesy guys who were doing everything they could to pick them up. Pretty par for the course. 

The waves were thick, heavy and huge, around 8 foot, and there were a ton of people in the shallows enjoying huge surges of water that followed each wave. Surfers farther out were catching the big tubes, while a few boogie boarders with flppers did the same. It looked fun so I decided to go in the water to see if I could body surf the giant peaks. As I reached the break, a mass of water crashed leaving a wake of white water that threw my body around like a rag doll. After two sets of this treatment I grew tired and decided to go in. The current was very strong and I used the white water wash from each large wave to push me in gradually. There was no fighting the ocean, I was it’s bitch. 

Brenda and I layed on our beach towels, listened to the Ipods and read magazines. I went to the store up the block and grabbed a six pack of Corona, a lime and a cheap chinese pocket knife to cut it with.

We drank a couple of the beers, smoked some medicinal marijuana and took some time to enjoy the sun and chat about Brenda’s birthday and ideas for a wedding in the future. We stared at the ocean while a lifeguard boat zipped around, frantically picking up swimmers who’d ended up near the break point of the large waves. There seemed to be a lot of people getting stuck in situations they couldn’t exactly figure out how to get out of. They were sun seekers who probably came from non beach towns and who weren’t that experienced in the water and in how to deal with currents. It was a real life Bay Watch. Red swimsuits running with red life preservers. Guards peered from their towers with binoculars while others raced down the beach in yellow trucks with sirens and lights. It was all very heroic. And real. I commented to Brenda on how the power of the ocean shows how tiny and helpless we are as human beings. “Most of these people are just like ants in a flood.”

Brenda and I went back into the water to cool off, and after a few minutes she decided to go back to the towels, and I decided to go for another body surfing session. I hesitated because of a bit of clouds, but then the sun broke through again. As I dove off in the direction of the waves, Brenda said, “Don’t die out there.” and I said “No problem.” I was a lifeguard for four years and a swimming instructor for two so I’m pretty confident and aware in the water. Simple things I knew were to not fight a current, to swim parallel in a rip, knowing not to panic against the ocean but to ride the ebb and flow of it. I made it out past the swimmers to the place where the giant waves were cresting and breaking. The waves were heavy, carrying a ton of water with each pounding. The surge was huge and as I went up into the air with the crest of each wave, it lifted my stomach like a roller coaster.  It was exhillarating, the power of the ocean made me feel aware of my humility.

I decided to swim about 100 yards to my right in order to give the surfers plenty of room, and to give myself a front row seat. About 50 yards further to the right was a boogie boarder who seemed to be enjoying the same feelings. A new set of waves came in and I dove under each wave just as it crested and crashed. After diving through the 8 foot wall of the set’s third wave, I emerged from the water with a smile, and to my left about 15 yards away I saw a seven year old boy, drowning. 

Now, I have no idea how he got there, where the fuck his parents were, why there wasn’t a lifeguard already on the way, or what the fuck I was going to do, but in three seconds I saw the boy go from screaming for his father to going completely underwater like a flapping armed dead kid that you see in movies or an “anti marijuana/pay attention commercial.” (Did I mention I was stoned) It was undoubtedly the scariest thing I have ever witnessed in my life. This boy was in serious trouble, he was going to die, within five seconds. I looked around and began waving my arms but I was too far out for anyone to notice, so I began screaming at the top of my lungs, “HELP” “HELP”, just as I did this the boy came up for one last breath and disappared below the water again. He’d gone into complete panic mode and was flailing around, choking on his words, it was the last beath of his seven year old life.

I swam in a fury towards him and grabbed his slumping body from below the water. I struggled to keep him afloat. My lifeguard training was kicking into gear but we were so far out that it was going to be a struggle to get him in. The current was sucking the both of us in and out in a white water washing machine. His head came to and he began coughing and choking. I looked to my left to see the only person within 50 yards (the boogie boarder) swimming towards us. “I’ve got fins on!” “I can make it in!” I held the boy above water and myself slightly under, and in a few seconds the boogie boarder reached us. I handed the boy over to him and onto the boogie board. “We’ve got to go with the waves.” he told the boy. “Hold onto the board, we’ll let the waves bring us in.” I swam towards them completely out of breath. Several minutes later we reached the boy’s father (in the shallows) who was unaware of the entire incident, the boy’s twin sister sitting on his shoulders. 

I think back on today and wonder what fate means. If I had done a single thing differently this entire day that boy would have been a headline and a statistic. If I’d given a bike tire one more pump, if I’d not hesitated at the beer store, if I woken up five second later, if I’d decided to eat one more bite of my lunch, if a traffic light had turned red just a second sooner; there would have been a wake, a funeral, a tombstone and a family’s life changed forever. I feel like if there is a God, he willed everything that happened today. If there’s not, then I was just in the right place at the exact right moment in the history of time. Either way, it makes me think that I was meant on this day, to be alive for a reason.

Life is precious. Enjoy it.

6 months.

June 19, 2008

For the past 6 months I’ve been working on NYNY Hotel and Casino’s new advertising campaign, without them buying a god damn thing. And we’re the only team on it. That’s over twelve hundred hours worth of mind bending, hell grinding work. Now just think about that for a second. Twelve hundred hours is equal to over 400 major league baseball games. It’s over a hundred plane rides to Europe and two hundred plane rides to Asia. Twelve hundred hours is longer than the time it took to figure out and implement a succsessful plan for getting the astronauts on Apollo 13 back from the dark side of the moon. It’s twelve hundred fucking hours. So, two things happened today. The first, after twelve hundred hours, the client finally bought a fucking ad.

The second. I quit.

Insanity by definition is: Something that is extremely foolish.

Spending twelve hundred hours writing a single fucking piece of advertising seemed to qualify as foolish in my book. It’s good to have my mental health back. I sure did miss it.

Sign me up.

June 17, 2008

I’d give the guy the benefit of the doubt too. I’m sure he rode dinosaurs. Probably flew around on them too. We’re talking about a guy who could turn water in to wine. Water into wine. Cabernet, Pino Noir, maybe even an oaky Bethlehem Chardonnay. That’s fucking awesome.

As far as colors go…. Flesh of Christ? Really?

 

Coco De Mer

June 16, 2008

The day I posted the spanking image, I had 100 hits. In the hope of 200, Adam and I created these posters for Coco De Mer’s upcoming spanking seminars. You can buy a paddle, you can buy a whip, you can buy a damn good spanking.

coco_posters

6th and Market

June 9, 2008

If you’re ever in San Francisco I highly recommend dining at the Vietnamese restaurant named Tu Lan. I also highly recommend bringing a gun with you when you go.

Tu Lan sits at the corner of 6th and Market just up the street from city hall. It’s a Vietnamese joint that you will love as long as you keep your eyes on the food and not on the patrons, the floor, the people screaming obceneties inside and outside, the crack rocks that are being exchanged, and the guy sleeping in the back. But if you’re into Vietnamese food, or crack, it’s really awesome. So why the hell would you ever risk life or limb to eat at a restaurant? Well, Julia Child risked her life on several occasions to do so. It was one of her favorite restaurants in San Francisco, and she knew a good eat. After trying the Imperial Rolls you’ll be going out to get a conceled weapons license, so that you can come back for more. Shit, rob the place if you want. No one’s gonna pay much attention.

Outside you’ll find some really nice graffiti. This was one of my favorite pieces.

If you’re feeling really brave, I suggest getting your food to go and having a stroll down 6th street. One cheery evening I picked up two orders of Imperial rolls and some delicious mint and basil spring rolls and headed down 6th street towards a buddies apartment where I was house sitting. 

Everything seemed normal for 6th street. Drugs being exchanged, a hooker trying to turn a trick, a drunk passed out in the alley. I paused at a red light and waited for the signal to change allowing me to cross. Catty corner from me was The Henry Hotel. A modern day flop house. I wondered, “What’s in there? Who’s in there?.” Just then a man exited the front door of the “hotel” and began traversing the street, disrupting traffic. I thought nothing of it. Just then another man came out of the front door of the hotel carrying a mountain bike. Suddenly the man launched the mountain bike in the air, attempting to hit the first man. The bike landed with a crash in the middle of the intersection and the first guy turned, walking back to pick up what I assume was his bike. Just as he reacheed the bike, the second man re-emerged from the Henry Hotel. This time he was carrying a two by four. He ran towards the man and the bike and swung the heavy peice of lumber, smashing the guys face wide open. The man fell to the ground on his back and a serious beating ensued. The sort of beating that you know is meant to end in death.

At this point I’m thinking this is a very bad situation. I’ve got to help this human being, crackhead or not, I’m not about to witness a murder that I could have stopped. I looked to my side where to my amazement was a normal looking guy who was also seeing this whole thing go down. He was wearing gym clothes and looked to be pretty buff and able to kick some ass. I looked at him, he looked at me. He ran towards the men in the street. Here it was, we were going to save the day. I followed suit, running a few steps behind him. Just as this guy in gym clothes reaches the two men, he picks up the mountain bike, jumps on it, and rides away.

I was speechless. here I am in in the middle of 6th street holding a bag of Veitnamese egg rolls, witnessing a beating, and a theft. Luckily between my screaming and a few other souls who had jumped out of their cars we managed to scare the guy back into the hotel. After that I just ran. I figured someone else could sort this whole thing out and I didn’t want to see what the guy was going come back out with the third time. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t going to be an apology.

When I finally got back to my buddy Philippe’s house I found a distraught and confused girlfriend. While I was out, some crackhead had busted out the window to my truck and stolen Brenda’s bag that contained a single pair of five dollar flip flops. He left the stereo, and a bag containing a bottle of vodka and three bottles of wine. I guess when you’re addicted to crack, nothing else compares to a good pair of women’s flip flops.

Tu Lan. Vietnamese that’s to die for.

New Haircut/Rough Trip

June 9, 2008

I got a haircut today, and when the stylist handed me the mirror to look at the back of my head I was reminded of this scar.

Since I don’t spend much time looking at the back of my head I often forget it’s there, but when I see it, I can’t forget how it got there.

It all went down in Juarez, Mexico, 1,159 kilometers due south of Denver. Ten and a half hours by car.

In 1997 I was attending college at the University of Denver. One morning myself and a group of friends decided to take an impromptu road trip. Juarez was the closest town we could find that was outside of the US, and it seemed like a great place to enjoy a little rest and relaxation from the “stresses” of white-collar college life. At the least we thought it would be a great town to find cheap beers and some easy prescription drugs. You know, those pills aren’t getting any cheaper, and we didn’t think taking a bus to Canada with a bunch of snow birds was going to be an awesome time.

We had a good crew. My roommate Fletch, my other roommate Ben, a cowgirl from Montana named Gia, Andrew from Tennessee, Boarts from Manhattan Beach, a girl who’d met Boarts at a party the night before (can’t remember her name), and Keith and his two buddies Ron and Mike who I didn’t know all that well. We packed up two cars and drove south with a map, some money and a bunch of weed that Ben had grown in our basement.  

After ten hours on the unremarkable I-25 we reached the border town of El Paso. El Paso smells like shit, literally. I think it’s because of the amount of cattle that’s transported through the town, and the amount of shit that cattle shit. It’s a town filled with truckers and truck stops and dirty bathrooms and a lot of dirt and crap. And shit. But we had booked the nicest hotel in the town. The Camino Real. Marble tables, jacuzzi tubs, a view of Juarez that was to die for, and air conditioning that seemed to filter out the cow smell. From our suite window we enjoyed a panoramic view of a million shanties strewn along a dirt hillside; as well the electrified barbed wire fence that seperated those shanties from our united states. When the sun went down, the thousands of twinkling light bulbs strewn from a single wire were reminiscent of a giant outdoor summer fistival. It was strangely alluring.

We walked across the border just after sundown. The border crossing was uneventful but as we entered the town of Juarez I felt a distinct sense of unease. A bunch of rich white kids walking into the one of the poorest, most murder-ridden, rape-infested towns in Mexico (remember to do good research before traveling). The locals looked at me with the eyes of townsfolk who were expecting wild bandits to ride into town at any moment. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We were all there.

Eventually we discovered a quaint town square with a bevy of innocuous white tables complimented with a pharmacy that was just around the corner. Easy drugs. Bottles of 100 count valium for $20, sheets of Rohipinal for $15.

Any place where you can buy enough date rape drugs for a year probably should tip you off to what’s about to happen. And I think that includes guys raping guys.

The night began with a traditional Mexican dinner and a table that grew increasingly crowded with Corona bottles that looked as if they’d been reused a thousand times. The Valiums we’d bought were also consumed at what Dr. Drew would consider an alarming pace. We thought it was pretty much par for the course. We were numb and content.  Juarez looked beautiful. As dinner was wrapping up, Fletch Mike and Ron, at the table next to us decided to split up a bottle of 100 Valium. Just as they were scooping up their shares two Federales took notice and came over. An argument began. None of us spoke very good Spanish and within seconds, the Federales were carting Fletcher, Ron and Mike off and threatening to do the same with the rest of us if we didn’t back off. So we did. I watched Fletch, Mike, and Ron walk away handcuffed, into the Mexican night.

From what we’ve gathered, this is what happened next.

First they were broght to a Mexican jail for interrogation. After this interrogation they were transferred to Juarez’s Cesaro “pound you in the ass” Prison where they were beaten, their clothing robbed, and I’m assuming made someone’s bitch. This all transpired in the first night. Three college kids who had everything, now had nothing. Not even the clothes on their back. In one year, eighteen inmates had been murdered in this hellhole. A prison built for 300 that now housed over 1,200 of the nastiest rapists, murderers, drug dealers and filth on earth. Fletch, Ron and Mike spent the next three months trying to stay alive.

Later that night I stumbled back towards the border in shock of what had just happened. Everything was cloudy. I stopped for a drink with Dycus at a bar called The Submarine. From there I somehow made it across the border and into our hotel room. Just as I walked though the door to our suite, I passed out and slammed my head on the corner of one of the marble coffee tables. The Valium helped shield the pain but when when Gia’s hand touched to the back of my head she felt a running river of blood.

 “Oh my God, you’ve gotta go to the hospital.”

We arrived at the hospital in a cab (the driver stole Gia’s wallet) and the doctors were not happy to see me. They took one look at the back of my head and decided that 6 huge cattle staples would be the right remedy for my night of stupidity. The staples were so thick that upon my return to Denver they had to be ripped out and replaced with stiches. I’m sure that’s why the scar is still there today. Just as the doctors were stapling my head shut, Ben walked into the room with a his hand wrapped in a towel, blood dripping from it.

Evidently, after I had left The Submarine, some marines from the El Paso US army base had decided to pick a fight with Ben in the bathroom. A bad choice. Ben is like a pitt bull. He looks like a pit bull. 6’2″, 230 pounds, with a nose that’s slightly upturned and a chin that looks like a concrete street curb. He’d taken the three highly testosteroned army newbies and used their heads to remodel the entire bathroom. Toilets smashed to rubble. Ben hid is bloodied paws in his coat pockets as he crossed back into El Paso and had ended up on a stretcher next to me.

The drive back was a mix between the joy of survival and the sadness of a loss of friends. I never saw Fletch, Mike or Ron again. My roommate and my two other friends had become a statistic that mothers fear most. After three months in Cesero prision the guys were brought to trial for distribution of narcotics. In Mexico they had two choices. 1. They could serve the time sentenced for the crime. In their case 3 years. Or 2. They could pay the equivalent of said sentence. In their case $150,000 a piece. Each of the boy’s parents took their college fund. The money that grandparents, parents and other loved ones had saved up to provide an education to get them out of Mexico and used it to grant their freedom. They never came back to the University of Denver. Their families couldn’t afford it. The money for education used on one lesson that will last me and those guys a lifetime.

Brenda says this story makes us seem like assholes. We were assholes. We were young and stupid and doing all the things that make me look back on this and think, “What the fuck were we thinking.”

We weren’t.

If I can pass on any good advice from this experiece it would be this.

1. Don’t vacation in Juarez.

2. Carry plenty of cash to pay off the Federales.

4. Canada is nice this time of year.

Treats

June 9, 2008

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I’m just sayin…

 

If anyone would like to purchase any of the original art work seen on my blog please let me know. I’d be willing to part with this original for a nice bottle of the blood of christ. Preferably in the Cabernet flavor.

 

 

A comment!

June 4, 2008

At 10:16 this morning, my Iphone signaled that I had a new email. That email alerted me to a comment someone had made about my recent Romania post. My first real comment from a stranger. Who was it? What did they want to say? Are people out there really reading this stuff I write? Evidently. So here it is, my first real comment!

(click to enlarge)

Evidently from a Communist Romanian IT worker (at Sogotech) who’s trying to quit smoking and doesn’t care for pizza, but loves to turn a trick. And maybe really enjoys potatoes. Who would have thought? I’ve crossed the globe here people. First, 100 views in a day, now I’m blowing up in Romanian blog circles. I’m gonna be famous bitches.

The only thing that I think could have been misconstrued from my writing was the “200 year” reference being close to the word Communism. Romania was under Communist rule from 1917 until 1989 when my buddy Hasselhoff sang his hit song “Looking for Freedom” atop the Berlin wall wearing his pulsing LED pleather jacket. That’s only 42 years of potatoes. Not 200. Sorry.

But since that post generated a comment, I’m going to stick with Laura’s advice and continue with my usual gay shit. Seems to work for her.