Archive for September, 2005

Decorate it like a grave

Posted in Blog on September 28, 2005 by trevorgregg

Too tired to sleep.

How is it that exhaustion and insomnia walk hand in hand?

The later it gets, the more I am convinced of foul play. Whispering demons and dark spirits conspire to keep me awake, filling my head with meaningless rhymes and creeping guilts. The fuckers stonewall me at every turn. On the rare occasion I can tear myself from the half-hour Arathi Basin queues, I’m immediately ensnared by some other diversion. Or worse, by boredom. The bastards went as far as to play The Godfather on channel 45 tonight to force me to remain conscious. Good God, that movie. I can’t get anywhere near it without becoming completely entranced, unable to blink or breathe deeply, let alone channel surf or turn the filthy box off. I’m rendered completely catatonic with fascination, like Paris Hilton in a sequin factory.

But Trevor, you say, you’re a creepy night person. Isn’t staying up late what this whole neurotic writer… thing… is all about? Isn’t that, like, your deal?

Inspiration is a fickle mistress. Her shorter, sluttier friend Eloquence is just as unpredictable. You can’t just sit down and start hammering away, hoping the sheer joy of hearing your keys click is gonna Make It Happen. I’d be willing to bet that, somewhere in the annals of literary history, some self-righteous toolbox had the “genius” to compare a type-writer to a piano. I’d also be willing to bet he’s a god damn idiot, because that’s about the worst writing metaphor I can conjure up.

This is the way it really works. Despite the zero-visibility fog that’s settled on your brain, you plop down and wait for the brilliance to flow. If it were a movie, passionate and uplifting music would play and a 30 second poignant writing montage would ensue, and poof, the masterpiece appears.

Sure, goose.

So you crank out a thousand word, five sentence monstrosity; a quasi-scientific analytical quest to discern just what species of animal Pikachu is. You write and you write and you write and in the end, you’re no closer to figuring out what kind of fucked up electric bumble-bee otter hybrid freak that little yellow bastard is. You look back and see you’ve strung the first 350 words together with four semicolons, that every word in the third paragraph starts with F, and that you spelled “ridonkulous” wrong (there’s only one K), despite your college education. And you’re three hours closer to death, and three hours further from sanity.

I tried to enter this writing contest thing, about why our generation was so fucked up. Is. I got wind of it about a month and a half ago, and the deadline was Monday. So of course I started Sunday night. Hey, it’s me.

Some clueless corporate hack UC Irvine Class of 78 grad working for Vanity Fair no doubt thought the whole thing up, but I’m not proud. I’ll write anything for money. Send me five bucks and a box of red wine and I’ll write you a god damn book of sonnets about David Duchovny, or figs. You can ride that high horse right back into your parent’s garage, you ivory tower grad student scum, cuz I’m all about gettin paid.

I digress.

So this contest, it’s got a black and white picture of unwashed hippies waving signs of protest next to a picture of some hot SD State’er taking a beer bong on a beach in Daytona. For those aspiring writers too subtle to catch the snowshovel-to-the-face pictoral implication, they wrote out a somewhat accusatory prompt asking me (well, not me specifically but you feel me) to explain to the judges why my generation is the way it is. The way we are. Yeah ok I can write that. Prize money > no money.

So I whipped out my first attempt, and it sucked. I was serious and dry and modern, very Saul Bellow with just a dash of Connie Chung. Yeah fuck that. *Draaaaaaaaaaaag [Recycle Bin] CLICK*

I tried again, and it turned into this unending rant (imagine that) about how ridiculous the Greying Masses were to look down on my generation for not dealing with their mess. It had some big allegory about me walking into a rest home, dropping trow and taking a dump in front of some wheelchair-bound old woman, and demanding to know why her generation didn’t have the gumption to clean it up. It talked about how pissed I was for being accused of apathy, all this Sins of the Fathers crap and how much I hate watching the News and how much I hate the government and how my parents generation has no right to lift themselves above us cuz look what a fuck lot of good your “revolution” did us and how driving a Subaru and shopping at Traitor Joe’s doesn’t mean you’re a good person and how much I hate Christians and ended with me yelling about fat kids.

You laugh, but seriously that’s how it ended. I’m extremely susceptible to external literary influence, and I had just read some article about how The Governator and the rest of his band of merry robots were spending eighty seven badrillion dollars and passing anti-soda laws to combat childhood obesity.

Listen here, LISTEN FUCKS LISTEN NOW.

NOW.

(now the brilliance starts to flow)

THIS IS WHY I HATE YOU ALL.

THIS IS IT, IN ONE GOD DAMN SENTENCE.

Our freely elected (and admittedly foreign) governor is spending millions of tax payer dolalrs to pass bans on soda and initiate health programs to combat childhood obesity.

READ THAT OUT LOUD.

READ IT.

KNOW MY HATE.

You want me to care? You want me to give a cloned rat’s ass about the state of my world, my nation, my city, my street, when you driveling twats vote in a dude whose moral crusade is curbing CHILDHOOD OBESITY?

Rome is burning. Don’t stand there and stare at me with a bucket in your hand and your remote control in the other, judging your children; hand me my fucking violin and let’s party. Cuz it’s your fault, assmonkey. You slaughtered the buffalo, you pissed in the well, you voted for the oil tycoon, you shop at Walmart, you live in Marin, and you and your friends fucked it ALL UP. YOUR FAULT. You wasted all the non-renewable resources, like gas and trees and horror movie plots. You protested and you organized and you reveled in your unwashed junkie moral orgy and now our country is a theocracy run by villains and fucktards. Way to stick it to the man, you tool.

I’m sure the homeless guy dying quietly under a bench of TB in San Francisco, and the Iraqi orphan bleeding in the dust outside his Baghdad home next to his father’s body, and the illiterate heroine addict shivering in a basement in New Jersey, and God Hisself are thrilled by all your efforts to curb lil’ Timmy McGirth’s fifty dollar a day Eskimo Pie habit. Our descendants will sing your praises for generations, you worthless scum.

HATE.

—————————————–

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Ok.

Deep breath.

Of course, I’ve been asked why I didn’t submit that second one.

Well it was fun, but it didn’t really answer the question. At least not in the qualified and direct manner the greedy sheisters hording the prize money would have liked. And, although this may surprise you, I am my biggest critic, excepting my mother and any woman I’ve ever dated.

So it’s not submitted and I’m still broke. Besides, what would I do with a bunch of glorious green musty luscious prize money heaped in a big mountain at my doorstep anyway. Probly just blow it all on buying 600 Nerf guns, three hundred red shirts, and three hundred blue shirts, and arming two teams of Junior High kids to battle
for supremacy of Southland Mall on a crowded Saturday. God that would rock.

——————————————–

Now, a story.

It’s not a happy story, no far from it.

It’s a story of deceit and treachery and utter disregard for the sacred traditions of Kickball.

*I am being assaulted by IM’s, forgive the interruption.*

One, maybe two, maybe three weekends ago, the first annual meeting of the Outer Sunset Sunday Kickball League And Drinking Club occurred. It was one of those days when you know everything is gonna go right, because it wasn’t foggy. Finding a day with no fog in the Sunset is like finding 10 oz. pristine emerald in a box of crackerjacks. It just doesn’t happen.

We got there and started setting up the field. We brought a ball, and three coolers of beer, but little else.

“What can we use for bases?” Someone asked.

“Take these.” I said, tipping over the KEEP OFF THE FIELD signs the parks and rec dept had kindly left for us, and dragging them to their appropriate positions.

“They’re too big.” Somebody bitched. I went and found rocks, and a log.

Teams were picked. Team Candace, of which I was a proud third basemen, started as defense.

Team Alcorn, or as we came to know them, “Those Cheating Assholes”, was up to bat.

A note about the teams, to begin. Team Candace featured both the participating girls. I’m not using this as an excuse, far from it. The ladies were a valuable asset to our ball club. I wasn’t surprised, either. Somehow, the ladies always find their way on to my team. We also had some Best Buy Manager-looking white dude with a debilitating migraine and our ringer, Mahesh The Unstoppable Indian Fury. Team Alcorn was made up of Alcorn, Eric “The Freeloader” Lily, and some other people. I can’t remember, it was kind of a while ago.

We began to play, and almost immediately the bad sportsmanship began to fly. My words of friendly encouragement were immediately misinterpreted by our opponents. “Why are you getting so defensive?” I asked.

“You just told me I kick like a pussy and drink like a 70 year old diabetic grandmother.”
“I’m just trying to get you fired up. Besides, it’s not my fault you kick like a pussy. God, you’re awful.”

The Second Base Drinking Pileup began to grow. You can’t leave 2nd until you pound a beer, and a long inning can cripple even a seasoned veteran. By the third inning, we were losing by three after a couple of very debatable defensive plays by Team Alcorn. Munting was prolific, and I saw many spilled beers and misjudged foul balls.

That was just the beginning.

By the bottom of the fourth, desperate to stall our inevitable comeback and victory, Team Whiny Bitch began making a series of blatantly illegal batting order changes. Serious delays on the mound ensued as well, as the pitched gave the crippled team the time they needed to sober up enough to run the bases.

“KICK THE BALL. NOW. JESUS CHRIST ON A TRICYCLE.” I offered.
“Why? You’re just gonna say it’s foul and storm the dugout anyway.” Somebody bitched.
At this, I left third base and kicked much dust at the offender.

Later that inning, guarding my base.

“Hey Eric.”
“Yeah man, what’s up.”
“I didn’t wanna say this in front of the rest of your team.”
“What’s that?”
“You’re seriously the worst kickball player I’ve ever seen.”
“Trevor you asshole.”
“No man, I mean it. You’re awful. I heard them talking, Alcorn and them, and they’re firing you after this season. Maybe after this inning. They’ve seen how slow you drink at 2nd, how your right foot leads too much and you shank the ball foul every time you’re up.”
“Blah blah blah who’s winning? Huh?!”
“Only because we’re letting you cheaters win. Mostly cuz I feel sorry for you. I mean my god, it’s like the special olympics. How can you be this bad at kickball?”
Mahesh The Furious caught the next ball out, and Eric sulked his way into the outfield, stranded on third by his whorebag teammates.

Two runs down, and I slide safely into first, the ball hitting me CLEARLY after I had already reached the base.
“You’re out.”
“WHAT!”
Much dust kicking and debate ensued. They eventually saw things my way, and play continued. I immediately stole second, sliding safely into the cooler.

“First of all, you can’t steal a base in kickball, second, stop sliding into every base, Trevor.”
“WHAT!”
Dust was kicked, debate continued. I shotgunned the beer, and made it home on Candace’s flawless line drive, cartwheeling and cussing.

Seventh inning beer break. I found myself on top of the nearby construction shed, eating Teddy Grahams and debating the Second Base Pileup rule with a member of the opposing team. Something behind me caught my eye. I leapt, well, fell down off the shed and ran into the outfield. The blonde reading with her headphones on in the outer edge of the park looked primed for some kickball action. My shirt had come off at some point during the 2nd or 3rd inning, and I was likely covered with dust from frequent slides into various bases. It’s hard to recall. I spent a lot of time at the 2nd base cooler, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, the blonde.

“Hey honey, why don’t you come down and play kickball with us? We need another person.”

I sipped my beer and looked cool.

She gave in.

“Ok! I’ll come right down!”

I headed back in.

“Alcorn, she’s on your team.”
“Why?”
“Well, turns out she’s pretty old and kind of beat. Looks like she grew up in a meth lab, and she scares the hell out of me. Besides, I got stuck with the other two chicks.”
A shower of empty beercans and peanuts struck me, no doubt thrown by the always unerringly attentive female members of my team. I hid.

So the Meth Queen showed up, and ran across the street to find some regular shoes to play in. We drank, and our headache ridden middle management dude had to leave. No doubt his body was manifesting cranial pain in protest to the abject disregard for the rules of the game by Team Alcorn. There are some crimes too unthinkable to be tolerated, and the body simply begins to shutdown in the face of such bullshit.

What had appeared to me, from my hazy infield view, as a thin and youthful blond powerwalked her way back onto the field. She had that twitchy crank shuffle, that hurried but desperate to not appear hurried hobble that only the burned out have. She was yammering about being a court reporter, and trying desperately to memorize everyone’s names. I believe I told her to shut up. Or called her a junkie husk of a human. Or something. She ignored me, which I found pretty classy.

By the eighth inning I was pinch drinking for Alex Wong, who I believe wanted to stay sober and fresh for his gynaecologist appointment or baby shower or shop-till-you-drop Nordstrom’s marathon or whatever other sissy shit he had to do as an excuse for not drinking. I didn’t mind it, especially, except that Alcorn and the rest of his dishonorable little band continued to cheat their way into the lead. The specific infractions escape me, but I can certainly recall many instances in which members of my team were completely safe, or the ball sailed blatantly fair, and our dubious opponents disagreed.

Needless to say, we lost. Evil won the day, and the despicable cheating cheater bastards gloated like they’d just been nominated for the Nobel Kickball Prize.

Tools.

I’ll see you fucks next year. On the field.

—————————————————–

Now I’m seriously, seriously exhausted. I’ve gotta be up in not that many hours, doing the work thing.

Another night of wasted time…

Do you guys understand me, about the whole piano-metaphor thing? I feel like I haven’t stressed it enough, that my position was not explained to its fullest.

Whatever.

————————————————–

Today, I am a hub of international communication. A post card from Q-Unit out of Nippon, talking to my old lab partner in Africa, emails from Brazil and Samoa… My influence extends farther than a decent person might hope.

Too tired for to proofread,

-T.

Baby, I’m gonna leave you in the summer time

Posted in Blog on September 25, 2005 by trevorgregg

12 glasses deep and in peak form.

My best man duties have been fulfilled. I may now cast off my rented tux, break free of my lavender tie, and return to a normal state.

Love, they say.

Love is everything.

Love is the force that binds.

Love is the grace that blesses.

Love makes a life worth living.

I raise my glass, and look away.

God help me, god help me if they’re right.

—————————————————————-

I stood at the front, back rigid and concentrating on the small weight in my pocket. Not that the ring could have gone anywhere, could have magically disappeared since I placed it there. Still.

The lady, the priestess or whatever, the presider or whatever her denominationless title was, spoke loudly over the wind and the fountain. She asked them to repeat things, to declare their intentions and their feelings. The groom was nervous. The bride was emotional. It was all very wedding like.

I held stock still, smiled for the photos. The bridesmaids twittered.

Standing up straight tires me, but I make it through the ceremony.

————————————————————————

A chef’s wedding is a caterer’s nightmare. The waiters and waitresses, criticized to the point of mental collapse, handed out glasses of the wine with the look of whipped slaves. The wedding court, those of us at the front table… all but myself glowered. What do I care, soup is soup. But then again I’m not a culinary professional.

———————————————————————

Big props to my date. She was the life of the party, and certainly more than a lowly boozehound writer like myself could ask for. My rental jacket for your company? I certainly got the better end of that deal. Graceful and beautiful as always… I shook everyone’s hand who mistook her for my girlfriend. The looks the ladies wore… I know those looks. The ‘why is she with him looks’… That’s right. Envy, you scum. Envy.

A hint, gentlemen.

Women are like ducks.

Bring a decoy.

Few of you are blessed with the caliber of female friends I associate with, but the principle still applies. Hey, if it works for me, it works for anybody.

Oh Moira from Fresno, you lovely groomsman’s sister you, our love could never be. You live so far, and you teach Sunday school, you smile like the dawn. I’m a heartless hard drinkin IT consultant, a Best Man only in title. We danced, we flirted, the tuxedo worked its magic… but you had to leave early.

You’ll head back south, marry some balding accountant named Phil, you’ll go to church and you’ll send Christmas cards and you’ll drive an MPV and you’ll smile at the PTA meetings and bake things and cry at Meg Ryan movies. You’ll stay pretty, and wait for pedestrians at crosswalks. You’ll retire, and buy an RV, and drive to the grand canyon with Phil.

I’ll be best man at a hundred more weddings, give a hundred more speeches, and stumble home on a hundred more September nights. I’ll listen to Zeppelin’s ‘I’m Gonna Leave You, Baby’ a hundred more times at a hundred more 1 Am’s. I’ll spill a Heineken a hundred different parents paid for on my suit, and I’ll love my friends and be happy for them and their spouses (spice?) a hundred more times. And I’ll go home, and read or whatever.

Once or twice, you’ll think about that strange boy you met at Matt’s wedding. You’ll wonder what he’s up to, if he was really the austere pagan he made himself out to be. You’ll think he was cute, gentlemanly in a… a strange way. You’ll consider all that might have been.

But only once or twice.

At least, darling Moira, we’ll always have Hayward.

——————————————————————

I drank a lot, but somehow I’m still cold.

————————————————————–

Maybe that’s the problem. My girl(space)friends have raised my standards to such unattainable, pillared levels that my girl(no space)friends don’t have a prayer of making the grade. Maybe those shoes (METAPHORICALLY, ladies) are just too big to fill.

———————————————————–

I gave a speech, per tradition. It wasn’t a good speech, but it wasn’t too shameful either. I didn’t embarrass myself. I didn’t impress anyone. Bah, don’t let it get to you Trevor. You’re an engineer, it happens. No fistfights, no vomiting, no police… the reception was a success.

———————————————————-

What is it with white people and dancing at weddings?

Honkeys, you crack me up.

———————————————————–

Love, they say.

Love is everything.

What, then, is left for the rest of us?

-T.

There’s distant lights, but here they’re far and few

Posted in Blog on September 21, 2005 by trevorgregg

Another haunted night on the rainy streets of the east bay.

It’s been an elusive couple of weeks, here. Dramatic and bland, exciting and unsatisfactory. It’s hard to pin down, most times of transition are.

Have you ever found yourself at Club Mallard in Albany, at five thirty on a Monday in September?

I have.

The September sun shines in through the inadequately covered windows like warm yellow shame. You drink your beer and you stare at the other patrons. Painters and junkies and the generally dispossessed; somehow they aren’t as aware of your presence as you are of theirs. An old man and woman play pool and take turns standing in the doorway, their lit cigarettes perched on the 2×4 railing. The indoor smoking law has reared its ugly head, and the chainsmoking elderly grumble as they keep one foot out back on the patio, like a kid touching base in tag. The dude across from you is complaining about his first steady job at 25, valet parking for the Blackhawk wealthy and their trashy mistresses at a resort hotel in Walnut Creek from 11pm to 6 am. It’s lonely and boring, he says. “I would just sell weed, but I never really liked math.” I ask him if it’s a segregated establishment. I don’t think he understands the implication. He doesn’t respond.

His aspirations to day labor are discussed; the benefits of under-the-table payment and little to no personal responsibility are admired at length, over MGD. No PBR tonight, friends, tonight is a special occasion.

The Giants and the Saints fumble and intercept each other senseless someplace rainy on TV. The sound is off.

I keep drinking, because it’s too bright in here not to.

“They’ll open the upstairs at six. It’s nicer up there, always a good crowd. We should come back on Thursday night some time, when we can all get the night off. Thursdays are a good crowd.”

A lot of the people in our party work nights.

Club Mallard, aesthetically, is as self-sure as an overweight teenage girl. The duck motif prevails inside, with paintings of ducks, and scattered duck symbology. Out back is a sort of tropical tiki-torch patio, probably because bamboo was the cheapest material to cover up the concrete walls of the next building over, excluding spray paint.

We head upstairs, the first customers up there when it opens at 6:30. Drink fast, celebrate. A lot of us have to work. The overly young and pretty Filipino bartender passes us more beer. She hasn’t worked here long, she still smiles and stands up straight. She can’t be more than 19.

“Well man, are you excited about getting married?” I ask.

The day laborer and a quiet, unfriendly dude named Shane from San Lorenzo play pool. The party organizer shuffles through the jukebox, but nothing of consequence plays.

“Yeah, yeah I am I guess haha.”

“You’re not nervous?” I ask.

“Nah not really, I got a lot to do haha but it’s gonna be cool. Saturday will be cool.”

“Yeah, yeah it will. I’m nervous enough for both of us anyway.”

I watch the cars on Solano. A man sits on the hood of a gunmetal gray Grand Prix next to a payphone, talking to the gas station attendant. I wonder what they’re talking about.

————————-

Mark and I play pool, talk about work. He talks about his baby daughter a little; she’s a lot of work, responsibility. I haven’t seen him since high school. He seems much older now. He’s in the wedding also, and complains when I brag about how hot the girl who sized me up for my tux was. Apparently it’s all dudes at the Palo Alto branch.

I want to say something witty about how strange it is that the two groomsmen are a white guy who listens to hip hop and a black guy who listens to punk, but I don’t know him well enough.

I buy the groom another beer, and make jokes about the other customer who just showed up, pool cue case in hand.

“You know you’re hot shit when you come to Club Mallard on a Monday flyin solo to practice your pool game.”
He laughs.
“I’m not kidding, he just works that feeb look to trick fools. That’s some White Men Can’t Jump shit right there. Why else would he wear a faux-silk shirt with dogs playing pool on it to come play pool by himself in fucking Albany?”
More laughter.
“Can’t fool me. I seen your ass on ESPN2 at three AM. Fuckin shark.” I stage whisper.

The sun still hasn’t set.

————————–

I find myself a back yard in Berkeley two blocks from the freeway, sitting on a pile of lumber next to the barbecue, by myself. The lawn is small like all Berkeley lawns are small.

It’s dark, but no stars. I listen to the tidal hiss of the traffic beyond the soundwall.

I’ll go back inside, watch the last 25 minutes of Van Wilder on the big screen, sitting on a weight machine next to a fish tank with two snakes in it. Van will win over Tara Reid in all her bulimic android glory, listen to the emotional speech by the silly foreign boy, and graduate. I’ve seen it before. The rest of the party will smoke. They won’t be surprised when I shake my head no. We both know the offer is a ritual formality; to accept would cross borders that were negotiated and finalized at a much younger age. We’re all old enough to know who stands where, here. The groom laughs, nervously, at commercials. So do the others. I make them self conscious, I think.

A scabby tall guy in a black zip up sweatshirt will appear, skateboard in hand, in time for the next round of smoke.

He’ll look at me a little too long, but when I go to leave a few minutes later he’ll figure it out.

“Your name’s Trevor?”
“Yeah.”
“What’s your last name?”
“Gregg.”
“I knew it, man. You remember me?”

We went to junior high together, he reminds me. He’s a year older, an 8th grader when I was a 7th.

We will talk about people we still know, about the miraculous and inescapable 510 Connect. I’ll tell him I still hang out with Jolene, with Candace. That Casey Meirovitz got married.

He’ll tell me Beth Voral got married and lives in Hawaii.

We’ll shake hands, and shake our heads at the amazingly small size of the world.

I’ll tell him it was nice to see him, and say goodnight. He’ll say the same.

We were never really friends.

————————————-

I drive home, wondering what I’m gonna say in my toast as best man.

————————————-

-T.

I fear no angel nor devil
for I am a man.

The messiah is my sister

Posted in Blog on September 16, 2005 by trevorgregg

Back here, one mo ‘gain, y’all. Too weird to love, too mean to die.

Just stepped in the door from a top quality production called Nicky Goes Goth, starring your friend and mine Mr. Patrick Alparone. It’s playing in the basement of this pizza place in Berkeley, and all you uncultivated provincial swine need to put down your Cheetohs and your Tivo remote and go see it. Not because it’s your civic duty to support the arts, or because I know a dude in it, but because it’s damn good. Underground theatre is cool, and it don’t get any more underground than this, kids. Unless the basement has a basement. Go out there, buy a Red Tail and a slice of pepperoni and sausage and watch the god damn play.

Let me tell you kids something, something that may amaze you:

I’m a poor liar.

‘But Tadow’, you say, ‘you’re full of shit and lie to people all the time. You’re remorseless and untrustworthy, and you make fun of the elderly.’ Certainly, my deceptive ineptitude is not for lack of trying. Some of my lies are accepted universally, if only because, by sheer volume, some are statistically guaranteed to slip through the cracks. However, by and large I am forced to be honest simply because I am too inept to disguise the truth. This is not an endearing quality. This is not a lovable quirk. It’s a prison, a torment, a burden, and a barrier. Good liars are generally very well liked, the central reason being that very few people give a shit about the truth. Your grandmother doesn’t want to hear that the sweater she made you is tacky as hell and makes cringe with shame whenever you’re near a mirror. Your girlfriend doesn’t want to hear she’s a shitty cook. Ellen Degeneres doesn’t wanna hear she’s not funny. At all. Behind all this deception lies that big ugly monolith of truth that makes 99% of the human race desperately avert its gaze: Most humans are mediocre and stupid and unattractive.

This is a truth that never completely leaves my consciousness, and it shows. I can’t assuage someone’s fears that they fall in to this category if, in fact, they do. They see through me like a ziploc bag, and balk that within lies that dark and crushing judgment, eternal and inescapable. Add to this the fact that I perpetually ooze an aura of insincerity, for some unknown reason, and you’ll know why most people hate me like chubby kids hate stairs.

All this being said, it’s a damn good thing Patrick can act well. It’s good not because he can entertain and involve and enlighten, but because I can tell him with a straight and honest face that I enjoyed his show. If he sucked, he’d probably tell everyone I was a dick, because he’d see through my false compliments right quick.

I don’t know all that many talented people, but he’s one of them.

Go see the fucking show.

———————————————————

The house hunt continues. I need a fucking apartment in San Francisco. It must be two or more bedrooms. It must not be expensive. FIND ME ONE.

Think of it this way: Better place = better life = better stories = better posts = more fun for you to read when you’re wasting your time.

It’s all for you, kids. Go on, spoil yourself, you deserve it. Find me that apartment. Bring a little literary light into your life. You know you want to.

——————————————————–

I work in a church.

Those of you who know me understand why this is funny.

———————————————————

There is much to be done, and the days grow short. Already the cold seeps in a little earlier, winter scratches at the window, begging entrance.

That nightly promise, like a guilty prayer, is on my lips again. I’ll start tomorrow, I say.

Yeah.

-T.

You think that you can front when revelation comes?

Posted in Blog on September 12, 2005 by trevorgregg

Now I ain’t sayin’ shes a gold digger…

Good evening, kids.

Another weekend adventure draws to a close, and as another Sunday falls away it takes me just that much longer to recover. I don’t have the constitution for the life I lead, but lo, I lead it anyway.

First of all, a declaration: Hip hop can save the world. Friday, various friend-entities and I went to see the fabulous Psychokinetics in the City, and they were top notch as expected. A talented couple of kids, who rep Alameda with a shameless wholeheartedness that I can deeply sympathize with. Get down with your bad selves, fellas.

After a couple hours of sleep, I headed off for The Delta, everyone’s favorite cesspit. Westopher Fielding Gonzalez Lazara the Third, or as they call him at the Player’s Club, ‘Big Dub’, invited me out for a day of wakeboarding. Despite moderately frigid temperatures, the day was certainly a success. I do some of my best work on the wake when I’m sleep deprived and somewhat malnourished, so I decided to give the old wakeskate a try. Now there’s a tricky little fuckin piece of equipment. No bindings = no mercy, as I soon found out. Shivering and anxious, I flailed along behind the boat for several 50 yard stretches before the squirrelly bastard shot out from under me like a watermelon seed. Still, trying new things is what life is all about, or so the hookers tell me. On the bright side, my first-run ineptitude made the jabbering little Australian who joined us on the boat look even better when he got out on it and showed me up. I’m sure the saggy, leather-skinned hags watching from the decks of their husbands’ cigarette boats were duly impressed, as were their screeching, damaged children.

At one point before his first run, Wes was putting on his wet suit and began seizing violently, slapping the sun deck with the suit. I feared the worst, and convinced he had been overcome by some fucked up Delta The Shining-style madness, I grabbed the bullhorn and blasted him with the siren in an attempt to spook and disorient him long enough for the Australian and I to escape to shore. “HOLY SHIT!” He screamed, slapping himself and smacking the wetsuit against the side of the boat. “He’s fucking lost it,” I told the Australian, “I’m gonna blast him with this bullhorn in an attempt to spook and disorient him long enough for us to escape to shore.”

“You’re bloody right. He’ll kill us all.” Said the Australian.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT

Startled by the deafening woop, Wes seemingly regained control, and tried to explain himself over the brutal aural assault.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAesus Christ god damn you see that monster? Jesus god!” He said, pointing into the gravy-colored Delta murk.

“You’ve lost it, man! You better start making some sense or me and this foreigner are gonna drown your crazy ass!” I screamed, edging towards panic.

“Seriously! Look riBWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN FUCKING STOP with that! Look in the water, you fool!” Wes yelled.

Sure enough, floating a few yards away was a black widow the size of a tennis ball, a black widow which had apparently taken up residence in Wes’s wetsuit, without permission.

“Look at the size of that thing! A widow that big could kill a mastodon. Good lord!” I said, relieved that Wes’s madness was justified. I wouldn’t want to have to kill another friend just because they were screaming about how they were covered with bugs, especially one as big as Wes. It’d take more than one hit to the dome with the fire extinguisher to put him down. What a relief to see that he actually had been covered with bugs. I set the fire extinguisher down, and peered off into the filthy “water” with the rest of the crew.

“That’s not a spider, that’s the god damn queen Alien. It’s arms are longer than mine.”
“You could ride that thing, if you could teach it not to kill you or live in your wetsuits.”
“I can’t even imagine what this radioactive Delta soup is doing to that beast. What if the fucker mutates? What if it gets even bigger, and follows us home and kills us so it can wear our skin and masquerade as a human? That thing is just the kind of god damn freaky bloodthirsty animal that makes me hate nature. Fuck, I hate nature.”

Sensing, no, understanding that we were talking about her, the spider began swimming back towards the boat.

“Holy christ it’s coming back! Turn the boat around!”

Wes scrambled for the wheel. The Australian, overcome by the sight of the black and red monster swimming towards the ship, climbed screeching and bawling into the engine compartment and slammed the hatch shut from inside.

“Coward!” I said, reaching for the wake skate. “Come on you vicious bastard! I’m ready for you!”

The beast clambered up onto the sun deck, hissing and chittering.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT “Take that you fucker!” I yelled, slamming the dazed bug square in the face with the wake skate. Stunned, the widow splashed back into the water.

“Get us out of here!”

Wes ripped the boat around, and we took off towards the north bridge. At a hundred yards, with the hammer down, he cranked the boat around and headed straight back for the widow, which was by this time swimming for shore.

“We can’t let that thing get away. Who knows what kind of havoc it would wreak in a populated area.”

We hit the bastard at 35 miles an hour, and with a sickening thud the fiberglass hull crushed the beast’s thick exoskeleton, popping it like a zit. Humanity was safe once again. Thanks to us.

I calmed the Australian down enough to coax him out of the engine compartment, and we spent the rest of the day in relative peace.

You seriously wouldn’t believe how huge that bug was. My god. Watching Wes rip that suit off was like watching Rosie O’Donnell take the wrapper off a cupcake, the speed and the fury of the thing are almost inhuman. I hate bugs.

————————————–

After a few more hours of arachnid-free water sporting, we headed back for the dock. Someone suggested ice cream, which meant interacting with the dreaded locals. Still, softserve swirl did seem like the perfect thing after ingesting two gallons of toxic Delta filth at twenty miles an hour. For those of you not in the know, the Delta and its surrounding suburbs are home to probably the trashiest humans on earth. Delta folk make those toothless Appalachian hicks from back east seem like Oxford-educated British gentlemen. You’re almost guaranteed that whatever tattooed beer-gutted wife-beating savage you see stumble out of his diesel F350 is either a registered sex offender or a cop. Sometimes both. Trouble awaited us at the dock; a typical Delta “family”.

We tied in, and began getting gas. The locals leered. Their child squawked.

“Quite a nice day today.” said the Aussie.

I was aghast.

What are you doing, you fool! Don’t talk to them!

“YES INDEED.” The freak/father answered. “We’re a bit LOST. But it’s all fun, it’s all fun. It’s all fun.”

See what you did, you damn fool? Now he wants to talk, or get help, or murder us.

The Australian and the father continued their seemingly harmless banter, and the child approached the boat.

“What’s your name, sweetie?” One of the crew asked.
“Unplanned Pregnancy. Her friends just call her ‘Whoops!'” I offered. Not under my breath.
“My name is Jessica.” She said. “This is my second time on a boat.”
“Are you having fun?” Someone asked.

for god’s sake stop chatting the child up. you have no concept of what the chemicals and poisons and fuel additives in this dirty ass water can do to a developing mind and body. she’s probably a werewolf or something.
“Oh yes I something something blah blah” I have trouble listening to people, when they talk. Children are even harder. I don’t remember what she said after that.

“Let’s go get some ice cream and get the hell out of here. This water turned my nipples green, and I need a beer and a shower.” I headed off.

Inside the store, the parolee behind the counter watched us warily as we came through the door. Four or five barflies, presumably having been kicked out of all the local bars, were saddled up to the store counter drinking cheap wine and eating tropical Skittles. I avoided eye contact, and ordered my ice cream.

The parolee cleared her throat.
oh god, don’t talk to me. just give me my god damn soft serve and let things be.

“Good day on the water today?”
“It was fine. A little windy. We also had to fight a mutant spider.”
She gave me a weird look.

The escaped serial rapist next to me paid his bill, and walked out, shouting something in Spanish at the trophy wife driving a passing H2.

“Well isn’t that just great. Here’s your cone.”

Fucking Delta weirdos.

————————————————–

Then, another night in the city.

Desperate to kill off the myriad bacteria I’d ingested in a day’s worth of wakeboarding, I drank heavily as soon as we reached the bars. And continued to do so. After 11:30 or so, it’s pretty much all a blur. I’m sure there are exciting and eloquent stories to be told about last night. Hopefully I’ll hear them someday.

Thanks to whoever brought me home.

I woke up at 3PM with my hand in a tub full of yack, and have been brutally, remorselessly hungover since.

————————————————

How did it get to be 5 am already. The nights, they fly by. I should sleep.

There are a couple of things I didn’t get to this time around, remind me for our next visit:

1) Nintendo stuff
2) Why I hate tax forms
3) Kanye West kicks ass

That should be plenty for next time.

————————————————-

I am destined for great things, in life.
Great things.

This is a heavy burden to bear, at times.

A man asked me once why I write petty stuff.

“Because the desolate poetry of my soul, were I to reveal it to you, would destroy you completely. It would dry up your eyeballs and collapse your aorta, it would shatter your mind and rot your morals. So be thankful.” I told him.

Not sure what just made me think of that.

-T.

They hung him on a cross for me

Posted in Blog on September 7, 2005 by trevorgregg

So many things to write about, it’s always simply a question of where to start.

The fun shit, or the rest?

Organization has never been one of my strong suits.

San Jose is a soulless pit. Let’s start there. This weekend we ventured forth into the seedy underbelly of the Bay Area, led by… who knows. Someone other than me, obviously. San Jose is home to some of the most worthless and despicable humans in the West, a greasy and crowded sty like LA without any of the money or class. It’s not simply ghetto, there’s a subtle and important distinction between San Jose and ghetto. I can handle ghetto. In fact I thrive in ghetto. Gold teef and gas station dancing, Buicks with rims and XXXXL polo shirts, that’s all acceptable. The whistle goes woo. That’s more than acceptable, that’s home. San Jose has just a smidgen of faux ghetto, and that’s the nicest thing I can say about it. SJ is simply trash. Scummy fat people of all races and creeds seem to congregate there, slaving away at their meaningless lives and depressing the fuck out of me with little or no effort. The peninsula is bad enough, and all the shit that can’t hack it in Burlingame and Millbrae just runs downhill into Santa Clara county.

The club lets out, and the trash cops are already lined up out front to regulate on the trash people tossed on to the sidewalk by the trash bouncers. Two vicious, screaming Mexican chicks explode into a fight three feet from me, and are immediately wrestled apart by the trashy po. One slaps a cop, and it’s all down hill from there. The crowd, no not crowd, the mob screeches and howls as she’s slammed across the hood of a patrol car by two trash pigs while a third confronts the bystanders, clicking his tazer, threatening. A mid-thirties black guy, yelling at the cops and cheering on the cat fights, carries a suspiciously young looking and wasted Filipino girl towards his lowered purple Rav 4, undoubtedly taking her and her fake ID home for the night. A pack of gap-sporting Chico State white boys laughs much too loud as the cops accost the snarling Mexibitch, but get suddenly quiet and demure as the SJ state basketball starters exit the club into their midst, terrifying the honkeys with their height and ethnicity. Aging, drunken secretaries break their Ross Dress4Less heels in the light rail tracks as the short, hateful cops shove them into the street. A little asian dude barfs 30 bucks worth of tequila sunrise into an ashtray. And then there’s me, in the middle of it all.

Fuck the south bay.

I just returned from a night in The City with a bunch of people I met about a year ago, through the infamous Mizz Cheng. I haven’t seen any of them since the now-legendary Occidental Party, but it appears very little has changed. Good kids, the lot of them. Definitely living the life out there, all fancy restaurants and hip-hop shows and Pac Heights apartments. Not necessarily my crowd, but definitely a scene I can appreciate, if only from afar. My complete inability to meet new people or make small-talk was in full effect, despite several drinks, and so the night went by slowly. I’m not an unreasonable person; I’ve even been known to be likable on occasion, but rarely on the first encounter. These kids are sweethearts, but I still spent most of the night looming quietly.

Deprived of context, I’m just a weird mean bastard.

Barted home alone, watching the East Bay night roll by with my head tipped against the window.

————————————————————–

The downward spiral continues.

Life alone continues to take its toll. I haunt the streets of east Hayward each night, wasting time and avoiding life. I draw the curtains and climb into a book. I stay up late. Every morning I wake up a little paler and a little meaner. Who knows how deep this hole goes.

————————————————————-

Despite touring San Francisco several times at three bucks a gallon, the househunt continues. One distinct possibility has arisen, and with a little luck and a forged credit report or two, J-sauce and I will soon have a place to call our own. The old Japanese landlord assumed we were husband and wife, strangely. If believing that makes him give us the place, then we’re the god damn pinnacle of marital bliss. Sure I’ll take out the trash, honey. Let’s go to Home Depot tomorrow. King of Queens is such a funny show, the Mrs. and I watch it every night.

Outer Sunset isn’t a bad area, and I could see myself building a reasonable life there. The search will continue, however, just in case the spot doesn’t come through. I read Craigslist like religiously, waiting, hoping. Anything, to get the hell out of here.

Day in and day out, HST and Spider Jerusalem stare back at me from my monitors, asking me when I’m gonna do something with myself. Judgmental motherfuckers.

You ever have one of those days, when you get home from a barbecue in Los Altos with a headache like the wrath of god and pass out on the couch? You wake up at three AM, halfway through the Shawshank Redemption on TBS, better known as the All-Shawshank-Redemption-Channel, disoriented and stiff? You’re surrounded by empty Pepsi Twist cans and Tecate bottles, and you can still taste the four Excedrin PMs gelcaps you chewed up at sunset? You wonder where your youth and your talent went, how you missed your glory days without actually noticing them?

Yeah, me too.

————————————————————-

My “wife” wins quote of the night contest with this little gem.

“All these people are really beautiful, for the Bay Area…”

haha.

————————————————————–

Women continue to make no sense.

Surprise.

Explain this to me, and when I say ‘explain this to me’ I don’t mean that rhetorically, I mean seriously justify this shit to me, because I’m at a loss.

When a man looks at a woman, he sees things, judges things. He sees hips and eyes and grace. He sees kindness and intelligence and confidence.

When a woman looks at a man, she sees a job and a wardrobe, the color of their future childrens’ eyes, the drapes she’ll buy for their house with his paycheck.

Understand first that I speak not out of bitterness, but out of confusion. Every day more of my friends confess their engagement to me, admitting that they’re ready to take that first step towards death and a meaningless life. Somewhere along the line my tolerance for this stuff burned out 100%, and although the ferocity has wained, the confusion has not. I’m certainly not here to defend the male race, for my crimes are few and I’m not willing to stand trial for the sins of every shallow idiot fratboy that’s ever lived.

Nevertheless, I am completely mystified that a woman selects a man not based on his character or attributes, but on his appeal as an accessory package. Who he knows and what he drives and where he works and how he dresses.

What?

I’ve been fed several lines of bullshit about a woman’s biological imperative blah blah hunter/gatherer societal instinct blah blah whatever, but the ridiculousness of it all still stands, and I have yet to hear a reasonable justification for the phenomenon.

This comes to light not because I was unaware of this malady before, but because it wasn’t until recently that I realized how completely pervasive it is. I hope I’ve articulated my lack of understanding without sounding too much like an asshole. At least not any more than normal.

—————————————————–

All the rest of the shit banging around in my head lately, besides the normal assortment of unmentionable psychoses and rap lyrics, is ethereal. Theoretical. Existential. Nameless bitterness, desperate plots and petty vengeance. There’s always a certain amount of truth amidst all these lies, which is what spooks me I think.

Maybe it’s all true.

That I hurt more than I help.
That I destroy more than I create.
That I hate more than I love.
That I always will.

I certainly wouldn’t put it past an old villain like me. Stranger things have happened.

Desperate times breed desperate thoughts, though. The best we can hope for is that this is just a passing discomfort, like when you swim through a warm spot at The Plunge.

This is what staying home, listening to Core at full blast and reading Tom Wolfe for weeks on end will do to you. Or at least to me.

Now it’s time for you all to leave.

Good night,
you scum.

-T.

Just don’t seem to have as much to lose

Posted in Blog on September 3, 2005 by trevorgregg

I wonder how many nights, in all, have ended just like this.

Driving home along 13, or 580, or across the bridge, looking out at the sea of little orange Bay Area lights. I dunno.

Being completely nocturnal has shaped me in to a very different sort of creature, I think. Paranoid Android blaring, speeding along all the familiar freeways under the purple sky, it’s rhythmic. Common. Nostalgic, but for what?

Scientists define the speed of light as its velocity in a vacuum. Drifting along the quiet freeway, three AM and nowhere to go and no one to go there with. That’s when things are the way they really are. The rest, the day light and the phone bills and the winning smiles and the awkward silences, that’s all just the medium. The truth of the thing doesn’t come out until you’re speeding alone through the empty dark. Everything else is just tricks and nonsense. Absence is purity.

Nights like tonight might be common, but that doesn’t make them any more comprehensible. It’s all too abstract, too opaque to make any sense, or at least to make any sense in a communicable way. When the love is long gone and the hate, the hate just runs out, what are you left with. Whatever it is, it’s doing 80 through the Piedmont woods in the dead of the night. It’s true, kids. Some nights even I am too tired to hate.

So I cruise along, looking out over my city. Passing the three gaudy crosses which loom over the 238 interchange, beige tombstones, towering and hideous. Skirting around the speeding, thrashed buicks which flail their way onto the early morning highway out of West Oakland, headed for parts unknown. Creeping along Maud, remembering a way things never were. Fuck.

Tomorrow it’ll be sunny. Tomorrow will be all radio commercials and dirty dishes and voicemails, and tonight will just be another weird dark gap in a mind full of weird dark gaps.

I’m fairly certain none of this makes any sense to any of you.

I’m learning to live with that.

-T.