Monthly Archives: April 2003

I’m 28 Today.

I downloaded my first movie and watched it – totally subverting the Hollywood machine. I
logged on to Kazaa and was shocked to find a copy of Phone Booth ready for download
in MPEG format, split into two parts. The picture quality was alright
and the image was pretty small – the audio was nothing stellar –
definitely not quality for a movie that depends on lush sound
engineering. But it was a good movie – I really just liked the whole
concept behind the movie – I love time/space limits in dramatic works –
like Rope, Lifeboat and my current obsession, 24.

There have been a few
B- episodes this season but for the most part the writers and producers
have kept Ron and I in a tight bind. We get so worked up during the show
that the commercials are a welcome break from the constant tension. When
Michelle Forbes fell down the stairs last night and then is being
dragged out on a gurney by the medics and she’s sobbing in a neck brace,
unable to speak – only able to point an accusing finger at the
President’s right-hand man (who is plotting with the vice prez to
overthrow President Palmer). She slowly lifts her arm up and points the
finger at Mike – totally reminding me of the dinner scene in Macbeth.
Mike clutches her hand in mock comfort and off they wheel her. Then the
previews always leave me giddy with delight as Kiefer screams into a
cellphone at his daughter: ‘KIM, SHOOT HIM NOW,’ and you see his
daughter blowing somebody away with a gun. The daughter’s plotting this
season has been for shit – it doesn’t seem to intersect at all with the
main plot – though I’m hoping hoping hoping the writers were just
creating a lot of backstory to throw us into the final five
episodes.

I also downloaded Veruca Salt’s ‘Leave Me Lying Here.’ For some
reason I totally love that song – I think it’s the banshee singing at
the beginning. I also downloaded Tracy Bonham’s ‘Mother, Mother’. That
song, along with Oasis’s ‘Champagne Supernova’ album take me back to my
fateful summer in a summer stock crackhouse in Shithole, Indiana. My
stoner roommate who would smoke weed and stare at me while I slept, just
knowing knowing that I was his perfect love. ‘Adam, I’m not gay – go
back to sleep.’ I’d torture him by sleeping in my underwear. (this was
the summer I had the huge crush on the set designer Beth but was bound
by duty to Amy – who was cheating on me with her rock star ex-boyfriend
– alright, rock musician – alright, rock ‘musician’. Sidebar: that
reminds me of Brian’s hysterical habit of adding bylines to people’s
names – especially if he doesn’t think they are legitimate artists. It’d
be Mark Smith, Actor for somebody he likes and then Debbie Gray, Student
of Acting. Totally funny)

I think I’ve written before about my habit of driving a song into the
ground – I’m sure it drives my neighbors crazy. I’ll listen to the same
song 12 times in a row – I think it’s my puzzle solving self that wants
to dissect why I like the song so much – the dynamics, key changes and
et cetera, the build, release and bridge.

Ron and I had a big asian adventure yesterday. We walked up to Howard
Brown Health Center and then up to the mini-Vietnam town north of where
I used to live. There’s about six square blocks of dense asian shopping
and dining. Ron was hell bent on finding these little lychee pudding
treats (I kept thinking he was saying ‘light cheese’). We ended up at
huge asian supermarket and I got these little sesame treat candy
crackers. We immediately ate the whole package and it was only 40 cents.
We went to another store and bought more of them to eat on the bus home.
I think next Christmas I want to go to asian supermarkets to buy candies
and treats for Christmas baskets – the packaging is so colorful and
cartoony.

We went down Argyle and almost went into one restaurant but we
weren’t sure where to go once we got inside. ‘You should know – you’re
the asian,’ I demanded of Ron – we exeunted and ended up at a nice place
called Thai Binh – surprisingly not a Thai restaurant – Vietnamese. We
were the only customers and a little girl named Linda seated us. The dad
took our order and cooked up some burning hot and sour soup that left me
coughing. A woman came in – evidently a tenant of the family’s building
or something and this mid-20s woman is arguing with a six grader about
money and a work crew that presumably only new Spanish (and Linda’s
dad presumably only new Vietnamese). Totally cracked us up.

We finished or meal and Linda asked us if we were good at math. She
had geometry homework and would we help her – of course we would (after
all Ron was salutatorian and I was a National Merit Finalist). We helped
her with 1-20 of polygons. Funny thing is – she knew all the answers
already. On the way home we were giggling because Linda really just
wanted to make sure she was absolutely correct before she wrote the
answers down (in pencil). And when she sketched a rhombus is wasn’t just
drawing four lines, but actually sketching it perfectly. That and I
think she was glad to have somebody she talk to. She delighted in Ron’s
flight attendant stories and then told us how her mom was visiting in
Vietnam and figuring out how to get back to the States with out going
through Hong Kong because of the SARS. How many sixth graders know about
SARS? How many sixth graders talk to adults – hell, talk like an adult?
We finally asked for our check and then came home.

My birthday is today. I’m 28. I got up early to workout. Not doing
much tonight – the big dinner is on Saturday and then we’re going to go
see Company with Charlie and Matt in it. I saw it last Saturday and had
a panic attack for the entire first song – I know it’s a good show when
I have a panic attack (I once flop-sweated through an entire production
of West Side Story at the Stratford Festival in Canada – by the end I
was sobbing and sweating. I was human salt lick by the curtain
call). I saw Charlie play this role nearly 10 years ago in college and
now he’s actually the right age for the part.

This past year has been alright – lots of false starts. Building
projects out and things and having them met with indifference and non-
participation. I’m not a patient person. I’ve grown a little distance
from my usual crew. Ron’s employment difficulties have been draining on
him and on me some as well. Dad’s father (and step-mother) passed away.
Andy S’s mother passed away. I finally got out of my corporate job. I
tried to leave in the fall but ended up going part-time and then finally
got out this year. I got a stress fracture in my ankle that still hurts
– gotta check back on the health insurance search. I moved to a new
apartment – closer to all the fun.

The fish death rate seems to have leveled off – have figured out that
they’re shy so they always fly to the bottom of the tank when I come
overhead. I got six more goldfish so now there’s more movement than
before. The bubbling water sound keeps my bladder awake, too.

The beard is going well – Marco at the gym said I look like a G. I. Joe character. That’s the best thing since this other guy thought I was Cuban.

Roe Roe Roe Your Boat

And of course there’s the age old debate of is the death of a pregnant woman double-homicide? This is such a perfectly emotionally charged issue for both sides of the abortion debate – if Laci Peterson’s murder was a double homicide then what separates the killing of her unborn child from abortion (note that intent doesn’t enter the discussion at all)? Americans are so hung up on the abortion debate – it’s like a fetish. I always think people miss the whole point of Roe v Wade – namely that it is about privacy. I guess my position has always been I always hope a expectant mother will do the right thing for herself – regardless of what that is – but more importantly, I don’t trust a legislative body to make valid and sincere decisions on reproductive rights. It just seems that there are much more pressing things to argue about right now than what a woman with her body. It’s like the conservative religious people are using abortion to shoehorn control – and polarize all dissent. Americans sure do love polarities. We are not a country of subtleties.

When I was a kid I remember pronouncing subtle as ‘sub-tull’ instead of ‘suttle’. I mean where the hell else is there a silent b in this language?

Notice how the ‘sanctity of life’ screamers are the first ones to line up to encourage we bomb the fuck out of another group of brown infidels? No child left behind? They’re aren’t any left to leave behind.

Honorable Discharge

The sign at Manhole for this week is ‘Make sure your discharge is honorable.’ I love the slogans they have each week (they’re motto is: ‘Women and children last.’). My favorite still remains: ‘Tomorrow’s forecast: 9 inches’. Ron is in San Francisco visiting Gilbert so I went out by myself. I get so much more attention when I’m out alone… the Hole was packed by the time I left at 3 to have an omelette at Nookies where a skinny guy named Mah Harajah (yeah right – that’s really your name) walked over and sat at my table (obviously a dare from his friends over in the smoking section). They told me I had nice jeans and they’d look really good on their floor. Riiiiight. Came home. The fish tank is cloudy. One fish died this morning. I ran all the water tests and the pH is nearly to 7 along with the nitrites, nitrates, metals and ammonia.

Shelf Life

Been awhile since I wrote – I’m writing this at the coffeeshop. Just met a guy who is an opera tenor – I was surpised to see him reading an opera score – he looks like Carl Lewis, tall built black guy – I figure he was a dancer or something because of his poise. Makes sense.

Ron’s been at home in Wisconsin for a while to visit with his mom. I miss him, but I do think it’s good for us to have interruptions in our proximity. He’s officially unemployed now and seems to still be in the denial phase that he’ll have to get a job or do something. I am trying to let go of the need to be right and tell him what to do but I just keep thinking – what if we were sharing a house or had kids? What would be doing then?

I am officially out of corporate America on Thursday. I’m actually getting a going away lunch – I was surpised. When I left finance a few years ago I learned on maxim: Never be the last to leave. Everyone else got lavish going away lunches and such and by the time I left there was no one to throw me a party. I’m not too ate up about starving yet. They do want to bring me on as a contractor but I told them at least not for the first month. And the rate they quoted me for contract work was half of what I was expecting. It’s hard for me to digest that knowing what they pay other consultants. I just sometimes feel like I’m still viewed as ‘the kid’ and that that keeps me cheaper in their eyes. I figure I could always do a bidding war. I should probably do some market research to have some evidence of stuff to tell them.

I finally got my shelves up. Actually shelf. I just had one and when I loaded it with books it tore the brackets out of the wall and came tumbling down. Dad sent me some mollies and I installed them. It was great because I got to buy a power drill. Set contruction with our high school plays was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me to make me have some kind of carpentry skills. I’ll probably get at least one more shelf. Went to Ikea and did recon looking for a computer desk. I’ve been using a makeshift bookcase where the screen is too low and I sit hunched over the computer in a substandard chair. Need to get a nice computer chair as well – especially if I ‘m going to be doing all of this computer work. I was coaching this week on creating a supportive home environment and I think I might get some goldfish – something living in the apartment. The ideal for me would be to have a wireless keyboard and a projector for my computer screen. I love the idea of a room as spare as a zen rock garden – where all hardware just disappears. There’s a building on State and Grand that the entire first floor and lobby is all glass an concrete. And it’s empty. I love that sense of space.

I haven’t been to any more war protests – the recent one in Chicago where 700 people go arrested just got a huge expose in the Reader about how the police arrested all of these people for no good reason – and scooping up tourists and shoppers and restaurant customers at the same time. Whether or not you agree with the war or not, no one can deny that this is a disaster in every possible sense for everybody involved.