Friday, April 29, 2005

Brush yourself off

The first time I applied to the journalism school they didn't let me in. Seriously. Those mothercukers couldn't handle my shit. Here at this university of tens of thousands these J-skool jerks think they can pick and choose the kids with the brightest futures as reporters and advertisers and PR bitches by looking at their GPA's and their high-school transcripts and their work in some intro level course and some essay they make us write write about a good news column and why we want to be a journalist. You will never get a straight answer out of someone if you ask the why they want to be something. Ever. The thing is, the best reporters aren't the kids with the high GPA because they're out there on the street getting their hands dirty.

I had a good GPA. I'm a bad reporter. But the reason they didn't let me in had to do with my essay. It was concise, well written, lacking in even a single grammatical error and brilliant. But the hoighty-toighteys on the review board got all hot and bothered when I tried to break out of the "so and so is my favorite writer and I want to be a journalist because I want to make a difference yadayadayadashootmenow" bullshit.

So I wrote about some really old columns by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. I told them how they were smart and funny and passively viscous and how more recently I don't know if her writing strikes the same kind of chords in me but I'll still read them anyway. I told them how cool it was to have a running dialogue with the people of the US. It's like a cozy corner of the newspaper where, no matter what crazy shit went on the day before, you can always find a comfy cozy voice. And I told them that because everyone gets their news on demand from the internet and cable news that in the future, smart newspapers will be filled with more columns with more opinions because people will only read the newspaper if it can offer them more than just the who, what, when, where and how. They want it to make them feel comfy. (Of course this was all before I even dreampt of a blog)

They loved all that. They ate it up. But even though it's the journalist's job to paint a colorful picture with the facts, they just could take a dose of some cold,hard reality. You see, I wanted to give them a quirkier glimpse into my life and my sarcasm and my ridiculous. So I did what a journalist should do and told the whole story. Sure I read Maureen Dowd's column. Sure I enjoyed it. So I read it on the toilet. Doesn't telling them that add to the color of the character?

I sure thought so. They didn't. When the letter came I wasn't angry. It just made me want to get in even more to prove them wrong. It also gave me an excuse to take the next year off and join the pro sports tour. That was another adventure people wanted to deny me. I remember the first morning I walked downstairs in my pajamas and annouced to my mom that I was going to be a professional.... She smiled her condecending smile. She smiled when I called up the only team I knew of and told them I wanted to join. She smiled at my first competition and eventually somewhere in there that smile turned into one of pure disbelief and admiration. Now I can't count the number of Olympian's phone numbers in my phone on one hand. That year was hands down the most amazing year of my life. I am stronger, iwser, more sure of myself and happier than I ever was before.

And when I came back I applied again (minus the toilet joke). Since then I've had a crazy good run, I've got straight A's in every reporting class, and I even managed to work some serious bathroom humor into one of the articles that my professor held up to class for breaking the conventions of the conventional journalism that is keeping us down. And now I'm 95% sure I'll be in LA rocking out at probably the coolest internship any of these kids is going to get this summer.

So last weekend at the scholarship banquet when they awarded one of the largest sums of money to me I would have loved to write "bite me" on my ass and show the whole room, but instead I just stood there grinning, knowing that all they players just got played.

And the point is Tony, that when you want it bad, no one can keep you from getting it. What's one more year to change your life when you're already 111?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Lead up to some standard summer fare

When I grin, people around me smile. I know that my smile's infectious. It's big and a little goofy and a little intriguing and people just can't help but join in. Yesterday you probably wouldn't have expected to see me grinning too much. But there I was, standing next to the busted up front end of my car outside my house after getting off the phone with the insurance company and I couldn't help but smile.

A car accident? You can't phase me. Wasn't even my fault.

G2K calls to tell me about her trip with her ex-boyfriend? Pass the sugar please.

Rain? Splashing in puddles makes the grin even bigger.

Went 60 minutes over on the cell bill? Pay for it with the new summer job>

It was right then, mid-smile, the afternoon before I had two exams and a research paper due, that the girl from the scholarship banquet called. Miss Three Amigos herself. Since the banquet she has become my new AIM buddy, keeping me giggling and distracted with lines like, "if I am reincarnated as any animal I will probably come back as krill. I'm already deathly afraid of whales." Her big lips curled into a awkwardly cute smile under her freshly cut blonde hair and I wanted to kiss her right there. The first ugly drop of rain slowed abruptly as it changed quickly to a snowflake and fell on her freckled nose. It balanced there a second before it relented and returned to liquid again. She crossed her eyes to look at it.

"Lunch?" Sure. I'll pick you up. The hood is bent up enough to obstruct part of my vision But trust me, I'm seeing everything crystal clear.

And just as I'm laying the foundations for a summer in this town that I wouldn't ever forget the Bat Phone rings. Time to suit up.

what is it Comish?

It's LA. They need you. They're over their head out there at the xbi. But we've arranged a perfect cover for you. A journalist. No one would ever suspect that a superhero would pose as a journalist. Especially not one doing this kind of reporting.

And it didn't matter how many bullets they shot at me on those mean, snowy, streets that night, nothing could wipe this dopey, crooked smile off my face.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Sometimes the stories are just so good I couldn't even make them up. Two things came to me this weekend.
1. If you don't get out you won't find anything more than what you've got
2. I've got luck. Not good luck. Not bad luck. Just luck. There's a higher percentage chance that unusual and uncommon things are going to happen to me. Good or bad. They just happen.

It's Passover and though most Jews have abandoned most archaic rules they've decided that it's important not to eat bread for a week out of respect for our ancestors journey out of Egypt. Passover dinner would have been plain. It was plain. Until I caught onto an unusual odor emerging from a 50+ year-old family friend sitting next to me. The man, who had come with his two kids and wife, reeked of weed. I wondered if I was the only one who noticed. His usual boisterous nature was unusually subdued. And I realized someone had started the celebration early.

Food Food Food.

I work in a sorority house. Last night was their formal. They were all coming down to the swanky hotel via bus, but because of Passover I had to arrive by car. I promised another girl in the JC (Jew Crew) that I would swing by and save her from Passover to hit the formal with me. I arrived just before 10 and she was getting dressed. Her mom let me into the living room where I sat with her and her two sisters. No prob. I work in a house with 80 girls all week long. 3 women can't faze me. It was like prom all over. The mom wanted pictures. I was wondering if my eyelids were hanging low from smoking with the family friend in the garage between the main course and dessert.

The hotel garage was dark but not so dark that we couldn't see the glass bottle of Bacardi we were pulling from. Pulling is a nice way of saying gulping. The dance floor is any man's heaven and when every girl knows your name and screams it drunkenly across the room you feel like a serious pimp. I made secret deal with the date that I wouldn't tell anyone about the family picture incident if she told everyone that I was an amazing dancer. Rumor spread quickly. Thing is, I can't dance. One particularly hot girl tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to dance. I swallowed the pride and out to the center of the floor we went.

Things were going smashingly when suddenlyI felt someone bump into my shoulder hard. I Turned around just in time to see the liquored up, 6-foot-tall Hawaiian Girl, carve a slow but entrancing arc from vertical to horizontal, pulling her dwarfed 5'8" date with her. As she lay there trying to gather her wits about her, I did what any classy ex would do, I pulled out my Elph and snapped a picture, turned around and kept dancing.

The night wound down, the busses were leaving and my date needed to get her purse so we walked back upstairs to the dancefloor. The room was empty save the DJ. I looked at him, he looked at me and we both knew we had a silver screen moment.

"One more?" he called to me before I could ask.

All I did was nod.

"what do you want to hear?"

I trust you.

So there I was, with my date, dancing alone in the ballroom to Counting Crows from Live Across the Wire. And I couldn't not kiss her, even if I wasn't really that into her. I just had to do it to cuz the moment was right.

And when we got back to my house, she told me that she had a copy of Kill Bill in her bag. So the hours of 2 to 4 a.m. were filled with separated limbs and spurting blood. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Today I got presented with the full-tuition scholarship for next year. And they sat me next to a pretty blonde from my class. In the moments between when the kids on the podium assured the uptight faculty in the room how much they want to work for National Geographic and The New York Times, she told me that she agreed with me, Three Amigos might be the best film ever made. It's all a wave and right now I'm at the top.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The pink blossoms outside the window began to glow around 7 p.m. as the sun's last rays danced off their petals. I pretended to read until I just couldn't. Stared at the white ceiling. and I wanted Amos Lee's black river to take my cares away. I stared until all the light faded out.

I must have been a saint in my last life. I must have done some really amazing things. I must have changed so many people's lives for the better. Because there's no reason I deserve all the good luck that comes my way. In the next life I'm going to be a gnat or a flea or an ant and I'm going to spend a hundred years just buzzing around your ears and they're going to think they're punishing me but really they're setting me free. When you're a gnat there's no decisions to make. Everyday you wake with the sun, you buzz in people's faces and you fall asleep when it gets cold. A life without choices. I'm awful at making choices. If they really wanted to punish me they would make me fly on an airplane everyday in my next life and each morning they asked "window or aisle? What would you like to drink? Chicken or turkey wrap? Would you like to buy headphones for $5? Stow your bag overhead or below the seat in front of you?" Heavier Things should be stowed under the seat in front of you. That's where the emotional baggage should go.

That Ashley Girl
came back for a cameo the other day but didn't really write anything new.
Yes DB, bloggers are self-centered bastards who think the worlds sucks but there's power in that. We are finally finding eachother. We'll unite.

Simpleton is blogging the way we all should.

Something is stirring in my stomach. It's a little bit of hungry. It's a little bit of thirsty. It's a smattering of horny. All in one.

If I go to hell at least Tony will keep me company. Speaking of which, my dream of working at a prestigious magazine in NYC has turned into a jaded hope to slave it out in LA for a celebrity-peddling disaster this summer. It goes around. It comes around. The black river takes my cares away. They drift out to the ocean where they clouds suck them up. Then they blow back in and rain down on me again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


The thing is, when a bullet is coming for you, the bang isn't the only thing you hear. At least not when it misses. The motherfucker buzzes. It whizzes. All the CO2 molecules bunch up in front of it and then it pushes them aside like the red felt curtain at the movie theater. I don't care how bad you think you are, the first time you hear the bullet buzzing past you you're scared as hell. If it doesn't buzz... well... lets just hope it's buzzing.

Once. I've heard it once. About 8 years ago. I even have a reminder. a small racing-stripe scar on the outside of my right elbow. I don't want to hear that again. Most of me doesn't at least. But a little tiny voice whispers, maybe someday. There is something at least a little bit thrilling about the whole ordeal. It's really easy to forget how damn fragile and inconsiquential every single one of us is when we spend our days staring at screens that lead to us to worlds which can't hurt us. Worlds that can't even touch us. I wonder if the old classic writers would love blogs or spit on them. If Hemmingway knew I was young and I spent so many days sitting here staring at a screen he would probably laugh at me. He'd probably think back to the time he spent slipping through enemy fire. The time he spent saving lives and the time he spent recovering in a hospital staring at the plain white cieling.

And he'd see me sitting here with this smirk on my face and 5 browser windows open and some sucky music streaming off the internet. I'll bet he would sit down, cross his legs, tug at that grey beard and all the while be stewing inside over how much he wants to sock me a good one to the left temple. Cuz some little shit like me can sit here and be so invincible to a world that's gone crazy.

I'll get up. I'll get out. I know what the bullet sounds like. I know the world isn't all Oakleys and ipods and google searches. It's not all pretty girls and V-6s and starched collars. And I hear the bang without the buzz. that's OK. I'll take it. I know what I'm getting myself into.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Writing down the logic of my solitude

I wonder what you would think if you came into my room. I don't have a single picture of anyone in it. No pictures of my parents or my grandparents, no smiling siblings or timeless high-school buddies. No ex-girlfriends or goofy college roommates with their arms hanging loosely around my neck. You might think I'm lonely. The thing is, I'm not lonely at all. And I could bullshit you about how the Brian Andreas picture over my desk is from the G2K and the watercolor over the dresser is from my grandfather's house and the Miles Davis poster came from an old roommate. But the thing is, I just kinda like being alone in my room. In fact, I just kinda like being alone.

You should follow me around for a week and just watch me snub people. Girls in my classes want to talk to me. Kids at parties tell me I'm chill. And I work in a sorority house. We don't need to talk about that part. But somehow in my head I justify how much I like being alone. There's just endless possibilities. Anyone can potentially fill those holes in my life. Like, maybe if I leave them open long enough the perfect people will come along and fit into them just right and this whole jigsaw puzzle will work itself out. It will, won't it?

Cuz I'm not going to be alone at 35 or 45 or 60, will I? Cuz the more I try the less I care about it. You can float. You can. I've watched people do it. You can just float on the top all the way through life. Just lying on your back staring up at the clear blue sky. But when you finally look up, you're gonna realize there's no land in sight.

I'm giving up my conscience for another.
I didn't sleep at all last night.
Don't ask me things you already know the answer to.
I can't believe they're giving me a full scholarship.
My friend was so close to dead he was on a respirator but now he is laughing.
I love the chase but I also love to catch you.
I'm definitely going to hell.
If I have sex this week I want to do it to Phoenix's Album Alphabetical.
Write me a gmail. I will write you back.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's review day. I'll give you a two for one.

A few weeks ago I finageled my way into a free pass for a pre-screening of Sin City. The movie is cinematically intriguing. Thinking back now my brain isn't sure whether I saw a live action movie or a cartoon. But from the opening scene where Josh Hartnet offers a stunning blonde a cigarette, shoots her, and then disappears until the last 30 seconds of the movie, I knew there was something amiss. The same problem I had in the very first scene of the movie never went away. The problem was, I didn't care. I didn't care when Bruce Willis took bullets in the shoulder and was framed by his partner, I didn't care when a muscled and made-up Mickey Rourke tried to revenge a murdered girlfriend I didn't care when Clive Owen drove across town talking to a dead Benicio Del Torro.

Sin City is true to the comic books because it's devoid of any real emotion. The characters talk to you about what they're feeling but they don't really feel it. And you can't feel it. That's the reason you can watch as appendages get removed liked they're superfluous and blood flows without so much as an audience flinch.

I go to the movies because I want to connect to people. Usually that's hte minumun requirement. That's also why I watch TV. It's why if I had Tivo I would record Ed every weekday. It's why I spent my Saturday night watching back-to-back episodes of Grey's Anatomy. There are enough hospi-dramas that you probably feel like you've done your own residency. But Grey's Anatomy sits so comfortably between the intensity of ER and the laughs of Scrubs that it really makes you care. It's the first time I've watched an ABC show for as long as I can remember. The drama revolves around Dr. Grey. The show's alright. If you're a girl, you'll probably like it a lot more because the main character is a strong, caring and brilliant woman. It's predictable and it's familiar and it tries to be intense and flirty and inspiring but the thing is, it makes you care. It does what I want to do: I want it to make me feel. I want it to make mecare. That's all I want from life. Well, that and I want to ride a motorcycle really really fast.

Friday, April 08, 2005

She stirred suddenly and moved towards me. I was awake. Just a moment ago the first light of day slid through the tiny cracks between the beedroom window's blinds and lit up the inside of my eyelids. I thought she was moving her head to slip it into that comfy little spot between my shoulder and my neck but instead she raised her lips up to my ear, kissed it gently and whispered, "I'm leaving."

Really? Let me get up, I'll take you home.

"No," she said so matter-of-factly, "In a few weeks, when I leave, I'm not coming back."

My brain still wasn't working.

"I'm sorry I just disaapered for a while, but I didn't want to hurt you. I've done this before and I know how mad people can get when they find you're leaving."

Baby, I'm a big boy, you don't have to worry about hurting me. I've had plenty of people dance into my life and right back out again.

"Ya but I.."

Just be honest who you don't want to hurt.

She frowned and I smiled and got self-conscious that my teeth are a tiny bit crooked so I stopped smiling. And the sun just kept shining making lines across our faces. Like it was trying to reveal our true colors.

And so Hawaiian girl goes on her way.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The sweet never comes without the sour. If I cared about you at all I would probably spend more time on bloggy things. I'd probably use blogrolling. I'd probably change my subtitle. I'd probably fill up my sidebar with useless colorful things for you to look at. I'd probably learn at least enough html code so that when you click a link it would open up in a new window. I'd probably comment on all of the blogs I read everyday. I'd probably comment extra on the hot girls whose blogs I read everyday.

People want to know things and they send me gmails. Not many. But the gmails trickle in. So I guess I should answer a few questions:
-More of it is true than I wanted it to be.
-About the distance between the tip of my index finger and the tip of my thumb. (and I can palm a basketball)
-If you think it's curling than read the subtitle
-There are a lot of them but right now probably Paige

On a sidenote, I will not have to pay a single cent more for my undergraduate degree. Also, life is fragile. Hospitals are strange places and though the ER is an unsettling place to be, I have a morbid curiosity that makes me want to peek into every room to see what's going on. I'm afraid I will be putting in more time at the hospital than I would like this week. People get hurt. I'll be there to help them get better. Isn't that what I'm doing here?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My body hates me. My back seized up. My legs seized up. There a cut on the back of my nearly-immobile neck. But I can't get this damn smile off of my face.

It's hard to spend time being something bigger and greater than you're used to and then walk away one day without looking back. It's even harder to come back for a few days and taste it again. I got out of town and rejoined my old teammates and competitors because I knew it could easily mean big scholarship money. It didn't matter how poorly I did. But then the unthinkable happened. I was doing well. Real well. Almost too well. I started kicking some ass and surprising a lot more people than myself. And it just kept happening. I got caught up in the moment, my brain turned off and pure primeval instinct took over. My body didn't act, it just reacted.

It's a strange feeling when little kids look up to you. You can feel their gaze when you walk by. They stare transfixed but a bit awestruck to speak. They see a dream in their heads of what they could be. It's even stranger when it's grown men. Only they aren't terrified to talk to you. They want to shake your hand, pat you on the back, ask you a million questions. These men don't have the same dream. They want some of whatever you've got that makes you so special. They want to be around it and touch it and understand it and realizes that really, I'm not any different than the rest of them.

Athletes are self-centered bastards. Most of them have to be. That's the way they tend to survive and succeed. You have to treat your body like it's your best asset. And you need the cockiness to have the confidence to succeed. But something strange happens when you get to a certain level. I've seen it happen to plenty. One minute it's all about yourself. But when your name gets out there it becomes bigger than one person. Suddenly that one athlete represents all his family and his friends and his doctors and his neighborhood. Anyone who he has ever shaken hands with. He becomes a source of hope and light. He'll get better. The whole city will him and root for him and cheer for him.

Maybe one day his entire Nation will wave their flags, cheer his name and photographers will line up to take his picture at a victory parade. It hasn't happened to me but I've seen it. I've watched the most self-centered bastards become the beacon of hope for millions. And I laugh at what a crazy fucked up world we've built for ourselves.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I don't think it would be completely unreasonable to ask every girls a simple question before we have sex: Rough or gentle?

Because not only do I want to know what I'm in for but I also don't want them to be disappointed. Sometimes a girl wants to feel special and loved and treated like a lady. And sometimes she just wants a fuck. I can pull off both of them pretty well but not if I don't know what I'm supposed to be shooting for. Maybe I need to hand out a little pre-sex questionnaire. I don't' want to kiss you all sweetly when you want to be bitten.

Just like everything else girls in my life rise up and down liek the waves. Right now the biters and the kissers are all coming for me. They're calling on the phone and they're texting and they're showing up at my door and worst of all they're all doing it at the exact same time. And then they want to know why I'm not paying attention to them. It's cuz I've got a cold and I'm in bed and I'm getting ready to come out of sports retirement for 2 days just to claim my $1000 scholarship before I slip back into anonymity.

The sorority girls have designs to throw all us guys a surprise party next week. I don't think they realize there are 6 of us and 80 of them. Add booze and don't tell us in advance then we aren't going to get many other guys over there. And there are going to be a bunch of sorority girls stumbling over this fantasy guy I've created. Every girl loves a fantasy. Even the one with the working boy with a devilish smile and a little bit of an attitude. I think the point here is, I may need to bring more than one of my pre-sex questionnaires.