Archive for January, 2006

Pick up the receiver, I’ll make you a believer

Posted in Blog on January 30, 2006 by trevorgregg

In the absence of inspiration, scotch works well enough.

Let’s begin our discussion with Matrimony.

I flew to Orange County recently, for Mr. Couevas’s wedding. Several things occurred to me: The only difference between a wedding and a funeral is cake.

Others, also. We’ll get to them later.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s smoking a cigar, drinking Negra Modelo, leaning against the transformer behind a hotel in LA overlooking a freeway, a SuperCuts, and a Michael’s. The significance of this moment varies, depending on the man. You watch the distance, the crawling insectoid headlights on the freeway. You sip the Mexican beer somebody’s uncle paid for, and wonder about true love, and tomorrow’s wedding.

Every time I’m in LA, I can’t figure how I got there.

————-

We spent the first night in the hotel, despite the proximity of Hot Sauce’s house. The room was already paid for, and completely destroyed by Couevas cousins, so fuck it. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve woken up in a hotel room full of broken glass, smoldering ashes, and bloodied sheets. The previous night was a bit hazy. Driving 130 MPH down toll roads through the desert, looking for gyros at 3:30. Watching the entire Couevas tribe punch each others’ balls and complain about the Browns mistreatment at the hands of conspiratorial left-wing NFL referees, enjoying the Steven Seagal movie on TBS, and preparing myself spiritually for the nuptial ceremony to come, I came to the brutal realization that I am woefully unprepared for life in general.

Not in any kind of practical sense. I can jiggle the handle and work an ATM and earn a paycheck as well as the next American.

It’s a much more grandiose, antiquated flaw I recognized that night, staring into the smoggy sprawl.

It’s more of a people thing.

I doubt I will ever be ready to marry. I doubt my spirit and self-respect will ever reach the absolute rock bottom suicidal levels necessary to dedicate my life to someone else. I doubt I will ever clean the gutters, or smile sheepishly at whatever dumbass condescending thing my wife says to her friends about me while I’m in earshot.

Oh you’re right honey, it sure was silly of me to forget to pick up that dry cleaning after you’d asked me to.

Go fuck yourself.

————

We woke up the next morning at 9:56. The continental breakfast ended at 10, so Pete had set his alarm to give us plenty of time to stumble into the stairwell and careen, bleeding and agonized and smelling like a South American Prison, down into the hotel lobby for our complimentary Froot Loops and bacon. A dismal, stomach-turning LA storm had set in, and it was raining without intensity or conviction. Just enough to ruin your day.

After breakfast, the Wheeze and I changed and immediately hit the pool and jacuzzi, despite the weather. Wearing dark sunglasses and borrowed trunks, we lounged in the overheated spa for nearly an hour, shouting at any passerby to bring us strawberry daiquiris. The sporadic rain fell pathetically, the grey murk loomed, and we were wholly non-plussed. Check out time came and went with nary a fret, the latest in a thousand missed deadlines.

“You know, Peter.” I said, waving ineffectively at a maid I saw digging in a storage container which I hoped held Strawberry Daiquiris, “Couevas is getting married today.”

“Hard to believe.”

“Seriously.”

We pondered the world, life, love, and their variegated intricacies for many moments.

I broke the silence.

“Why won’t that fucking maid bring us some daiquiris? What kind of fucking hotel is this, anyway? Look, that brat won’t even look me in the eyes now. GUADALUPE! HEY GUADALUPE, COME HERE. DAIQUIRIS, MI AMOR, YO NECESSITO MAS DAQUIRIS.”

“They don’t have room service here. This isn’t that kind of hotel.” Peter said.

“What the christ? We’re 15 miles east of the burial site of the American Dream. Everything out here is toll roads and faux Mestizo architecture and shopping centers, and you’re telling me I can’t get a god damn daiquiri at the pool of our hotel?”

“Nope.”

“OC really is hell.”

Peter convinced one of the younger, more impressionable cousins to bring the remaining half-box of Dos Equis to the spa, which held us for a while longer.

Sopping and shivering in the drizzling gray, we came inside to find our card-key disabled and our belongings tossed carelessly into a bin in the hallway. We passed a woman shrieking at the desk manager, crying almost desperately about the poor night’s sleep she and her husband had got because of “those mentals next door.” You can rest assured that “those mentals next door” were Couevas relatives, or close family friends like ourselves. A lot of the evening is hazy, but I do seem to remember several multi-generational wrestling matches and someone calling security on their own father… I hesitate to even imagine what the sound of 15 Couevas males sounds like through the paper-thin walls of a cheap Orange County hotel. Rather like drunken gibbons, or a prison riot, I would expect.

Certainly the kind of sound some frail housewife from Oxnard is wholly unprepared for at four in the morning.

—————–

Suddenly, several hours later, I’m in a suit and tie, watching Chris walk to the altar.

Peter and Paul, slumped shoulder to shoulder, are bawling like whipped infants.

“What the hell is with you two? I haven’t seen you get this emotional since we netflixed Ghost.”

*sniffle, sniffle*

The rest of the parties arranged themselves, and finally the bride emerged. As she walked the aisle, their sobs became moans. They cried with the kind of shrieking shameless abandon one typically only sees in veiled wives whose husbands have just been blown up by a mortar in some Middle Eastern hot spot.

“Did you assholes get maced? Why are you crying so hard? Cut that shit out. You’re embarrassing me.”

My mandate had little to no effect.

The priest talked, talked about God and Jesus and love and then some more about God. By this point I had climbed up onto a rafter in a vain attempt to see over the sea of large-domed uncles and cousins between me and the action. I can’t remember exactly what the speeches were, but I think I can at least paraphrase:

Priest: “Jesus jesus jesus love partnership jesus jesus good times bad times jesus jesus jesus jesus. Yes or no?”

As an aside, if on some dark and woeful day I set aside all that I am and all that I stand for and actually get married, I can guarantee you Jesus is not invited to the wedding. He and the rest of the deities can stay home and craft new agonies for my posthumous eternal torment or something, because they certainly ain’t coming to my party.

Then the moment came. The vows. A hush settled over the pre-existing hush, creating an even more hushed hush. They both said I do, and in the distance a sound rang out.

It came from all directions; a wet, crunching sound that echoed mournfully in the night. As if somewhere across the lake someone had blown up a head of lettuce with an M-80.

It was the sound of a million hearts breaking at once, a million hearts belonging to a million plain, desperate and somewhat overweight women in a million different dive bars who knew, somehow, that Chris belonged to them no more. Couevas was, is, officially a one woman man.

I toasted the happy couple, and poured a little out for all the beat women going home alone tonight. Sorry ladies.

We clapped and drank more.

“Well gentlemen, now we are three.” I said. Mopping their blotchy, tear-soaked faces, Peter and Paul nodded in concurrence.

—————————-

We weaseled our way into the buffet before everyone else, and loaded up on taquitos, tamales, and powerful salty margaritas. Then, the whole Poly crew crowded around one table.

*RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRING*
“I got five bucks that says Pete’s the next to go.”
“No way. Paul’s next. His mom’s gonna buy him a wife from Estonia for his 25th birthday.”
“Think she’ll drop the extra money for luxury options? Like teeth?”
*RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRING*
“These enchiladas are pretty good.”
“Seriously Meghan, the plural of fish is fosh. Honey I’m an English minor, I know this stuff. Trust me.”
“Here take a picture of us. Jesus Mike did you get any of that in your mouth? Or did you just smear your tie on your plate for five minutes? Stand behind me at least. Jesus.”
*RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRING.
“OK WHICH OF YOU RETARDS GAVE BRIAN A BELL? CAN YOU TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM PLEASE?”
*RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRING*

Ah, weddings.

————————-

All in all it was a quaint and tasteful affair. The reception was completely devoid of girls, which is odd for a wedding. Such a public display of emotional commitment usually brings them in droves, like chumming the waters behind a shark boat. Instead, we strapping lads had to withstand much oggling and eye-rape at the hands of the cadres of aging, catty aunts.

Such are the burdens of youth.

————————-

Another Sunday draws to a close. My body shudders and shakes with exhaustion and hurt. No doubt work will come early tomorrow morning, long before the wounds of the weekend have healed.

Packing flavor like lifesavers,

-T.

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This is Jezebel in hell

Posted in Blog on January 29, 2006 by trevorgregg

Some nights, I thank god I can’t set people on fire with my mind.

-T.

M.O.D. are you out there? I can’t see your face…

Posted in Blog on January 20, 2006 by trevorgregg

All manner of foul and unseemly parasites breed in stagnant waters.

So it is with men.

Already, the fears and passions that dominated my existence seem to dim. They seem relics, tarnished bronze antiquities from another age. And yet it was not so long ago. Not so long ago at all.

Suffering is the greatest of all motivators. Nothing drives a human to seek food like hunger. Nothing drives a human to seek love like loneliness. Nothing drives a human to excel like failure.

Thus I fear… not contentment. Contentment connotes bliss. Idleness perhaps? Whatever the disease, Atrophy and Weakness are its symptoms.

I don’t know.

In the absence of meaningful experience, man affords great meaning to trivialities. Suddenly, Novelty becomes a high virtue. Inconsequential and fleeting events are hailed as great adventures. The slightest kindness makes one a saint; the slightest vice makes one a devil.

Drifting along the surface of that pristine, smooth river, we shake like brittle fallen leaves at the slightest breeze or current.

Walk into any office in the world, and know I speak truth.

A man sits down to a flavorless chicken dinner his plump wife has prepared, as she does every Thursday. She tells her husband of her minor mishaps at the grocery store. She exclaims at the price of bananas.

He tells her animatedly of his mistreatment at the hands of the new marketing director. He shakes his head in disgust at the gall of this latest corporate villain. He complains.

They eat the rest of their dinner in silence. And watch TV. And go to bed.

Behold, the American splendor.

I feel it creep into my bones while I ride the shuddering bus. I feel it peel at my skin while I pay my bills. I smell it. I hate.

Strange days, friends, strange days indeed.

—————

My nights have been consumed lately. I’ve burned through an unbelievable amount of comic books this last week, a dark and dirty pleasure I haven’t known in far too long. I don’t know that I’d really read a comic since I hit double digits in age. Every last book of The Invisibles, every issue of Y The Last Man I could get my hands on, Moore and Lloyd’s V for Vendetta… all these things my more astute nerd friends have been nagging me to read for eons.

I listen to the Kruder and Dorfmeister station on pandora.com (thx ataque).

I think of large and complex things. I ponder why older generations are so unable to identify with my era’s music. I consider writing a treatise on the subject. It would be called Despair and Angst and the Musical Generation Gap, or, Why Mom Hates Pearl Jam.

I make a list of all the people I should write to.

I don’t write to them.

I work. I work out.

I cook and clean. I read the news, and hate the government.

I abide.

—————

Something’s not right.

I’ll come back later.

-T.

Who needs actions when you got words

Posted in Blog on January 13, 2006 by trevorgregg

Things are hectic, as of late.

Disorganization and disarray are rampant. There is little discipline, and much carousing and untoward behavior.

I work well running at full tilt. Thankfully. It’s just a wonder I never seem to have time to square up and get my bearings. Too busy dodging bullets to make a head-on charge at things, you know…

At times I pine for the carefree days of my youth, when I could play Morrowind for 14 hours at a stretch, my fiendish timewasting stopped not by responsibility but by ocular bleeding and sheer exhaustion.

Alas, freedom wanes.

———————

Life in the City is… interesting. Visiting the thing, in all its grey and dirty glory, gives one an entirely different impression than actually living there. Waking up there every day, walking the same streets and avoiding the same lowlifes, riding the same shuddering bus on very similar frigid mornings… I hesitate to say it tarnishes the San Francisco mystique, but it certainly doesn’t enhance it.

SF is a city very much concerned with itself. It’s denizens consist chiefly of two types of people:

1) SF Elitists: White or somewhat off-white people with stylishly unkempt hair, who are very much concerned with City Life and write about it melodramatically on their websites using their Mac laptops. They are fiercely territorial about their District of Choice, and are oftentimes amateur singer/songwriters who subsist entirely on coffee.

2) The poor.

So much of the City’s image is just that: image. Now, keep in mind that I like living in the City when I say this, but Herb Caen was a pretentious assbite.

In the interest of Truth, I’d like to take the next paragraph or two to dispell a few myths about SF that some of you non-residents may be tangled up in.

Myth: San Francisco is always foggy.

Not true. San Francisco isn’t really all that foggy. At least not San Francisco proper. I believe this, like most myths, is simply a distortion or distillation of an original fact. The underlying truth of this particular misconception being this: San Francisco is always freezing ass cold. This is true.

Myth: San Francisco is an artistic and enlightened city.

Not true. San Francisco is an artsy and smarmy city, the perfect place to talk endlessly to artistic and enlightened people about how artistic and enlightened you are, especially in comparison to people from other Districts.

Myth: People that ride bikes in SF are environmentally conscious, healthy, and generally agreeable folk.

Not true. People that ride bikes in SF are vermin. They have no regard for public safety or polite society. The only people that hate them more than me are the muni drivers. They, and I, pray for their gruesome and painful deaths. Corollary: Muni drivers are almost universally awesome, and not just because we both despise bikers. Bus drivers know what is up. Fool.

Myth: Trevor will not call the cops on you to have you towed if you park in his driveway and he can’t get in his garage and has to drive around for an hour looking for street parking.

Not true, bitch don’t park in my spot.

The subtleties of City Life are many and varied. Perhaps I will go into them more at a later time. For now, I wouldn’t want to give the sycophantic hipsters I call my neighbors the pleasure.

—————–

With much difficulty and copious amounts of flaking, we managed to hold a small but entertaining Mission game in Golden Gate Park earlier this week. For those not in the know, Mission is a game of stealth, speed, and almost universal poor sportsmanship. A beautiful if somewhat dangerous cross between Hide and Go Seek and Baseball, Mission is a game best played at night in wooded areas with between 8 and 16 people. We scouted out a section of the park which seemed to have a high ratio of suitable playing field to vagrants and discarded syringes, dressed up in camouflage, black, and warpaint, and headed out.

I was nervous at first. Teaching such a vicious game to a new crowd can be very nerve-wracking. Depending on the players, Mission can get exceedingly violent and reckless. Broken arms, twisted ankles, and other traumas are not uncommon, in addition to all the wounds inflicted by hand to hand combat. We made sure to play in an area with plenty of thorns, nearly invisible trenches, low hanging branches, and poison oak so as to make the experience that much more rigorous.

My anxiety was heightened by several nights of terrible premonitions and strange dreams.

The night before we played, I had a horrible vision. I had finally gotten my tattoo, but the artist had made a mistake and written MARINE in sloppy blue block letters under my desired symbol. As if this horrendous fuckup wasn’t enough, he had also made the R and the N overlap somehow, and added in a G somewhere in MARINE, blatantly misspelling it.

Frantic and distraught, I ran to the Lovely Neighbors house to show them my new predicament and seek advice.

No one was home, except Hillary. She answered the door dressed in black and grey fatigues, with nightvision goggles draped around her neck and her face and arms adorned with cryptic pagan ideograms. She also held the gnarliest compound hunting bow I’d ever seen, and had a quiver of black arrows draped over her shoulder.

Seeing Hillary, polite, sensible, whole-grain no partying on the weeknights please and thank you Iowan Hillary dressed in such a getup gave me a terrible shock. Then things got worse.

“Hillary. Look at my tattoo. They fucked it up! What am I going to do?”

“I can’t talk now, Trevor, I’m late.”

“Where are you going? It’s Tuesday night? And why the hell do you have that vicious ass bow and arrow?”

“I’m going to hunt homeless people in the park. Have a good night!”

Jesus God what’s going on. Hillary bowhunting junkies and lunatics in Golden Gate Park dressed like a Navy Seal was too much for me, and I flailed myself awake, screaming at the ceiling.

Out there creeping through the bushes in the park, I kept expecting to see Jolene or Jess flop down dead next to me, one of those brutal black shafts sticking out of their lifeless ribcage. Night vision goggles or no, it’s probably damn hard to tell someone’s tax bracket from two hundred yards in a pitch dark forest. Any one of us could have been mistaken for a hobo, and slain out of hand by Brunette Ninja Deathsquad Hillary.

Somehow, we survived pretty much intact, and will likely venture out again in greater numbers sometime next week. Prepare yourselves.

———–

The Bon Jovi Technique, or, The Easiest Eight Bucks I Ever Won

A cohort and I went out to the Marina the other night.

We found a bar with an acceptable ratio. It wasn’t what one would describe as a target rich environment. But it certainly could have been worse.

I was offered eight dollars to get digits using nothing but Bon Jovi lyrics.

I accepted. There was much arguing about trivialities for the next few minutes, i.e. whether I could use any Bon Jovi lyric, or just lines from a predetermined song, or could my lyrics span an entire album, do duets count, or covers, etc. He said I could only use lyrics from a specific song, and he got to choose the song, and I had to use the lyrics in the order they came in. I replied that he was a fuck, and that I should be allowed to use any Bon Jovi lyric regardless of order or album or song. I also contended that he was a sissy ass bitch. He felt, contrary to my belief, that in fact I was the sissy ass bitch. After a few more moments of discussion and debate as to who was actually the sissy ass bitch, we settled on these rules:

I could use lyrics from any ONE (1) Bon Jovi song of my own choosing, regardless of order. I could NOT use individual words out of context, or rearrange letters. I could also not choose a duet, or Livin’ On A Prayer.

I chose a girl, and I chose Wanted: Dead or Alive.

……..

I make a few long and meaningful glances her way.

She glances back.

I buy two Vodka Tonics, looking her right in the eyes from across the room. I bring her one.

“Hey there.” She says.

I shoulda ordered milk, cuz this is gonna be cake.

I nod, meaningfully.

“Thanks for the drink. You come here often?” She asks.

“It’s all the same.” I say.

“What do you mean?”

“I been everywhere.”

“So you don’t come here often? Are you from around here? The Marina, I mean?”

“Another place… I drive all night just to get back home.”

“Oh, you’re from the East Bay or something?”

I nod, meaningfully.

“I’m Julie. What’s your name?”

I sip my drink, looking at her. Meaningfully.

“Oh so you’re not gonna tell me?” She laughs.

I sip again, meaningfully.

“Well what do you do then?”

“I’m a cowboy.”

“A what?”

“Cowboy.”

“Like you… ride horses and rope things? And all that?”

I move my head noncommittally, and give her a deep look full of meaning.

“Well Mr. Nameless Cowboy, where do you go if you don’t come here that often?”

“I been everywhere.” I say, meaningfully.

“Where did you go to school? Do cowboys go to school?”

“It’s all the same.” I give her a questioning, but meaningful look.

“Oh me? I went to Cal State Long Beach! You ever been there? It’s really a something blah blah blah” whatever.

She talked for a bit. All I heard was that Charlie Brown Adult noise, and nodded meaningfully on occasion, at appropriate punctuated points in the conversation.

“You don’t talk much do you?” She asks, after yapping for pretty much an eternity.

“I’m a cowboy.”

“Oh that’s right. A cowboy. Why won’t you tell me your name, Mr. Cowboy?”

“I’m wanted.”

“Wanted?”

“Dead or alive.”

“Shut up, you’re just being silly.”

I give her a smile, with many layers of meaning.
I buy a couple more drinks.

“Wanted?”

“Wanted.”

“No way.”

“Dead or alive.”

“Being out there on the range all the time must have scrambled your brain. Do you ever get lonely out there?”

I shrug.

I buy a couple more drinks.

“Sometimes when you’re alone, all you do is think.” I say, looking meaningfully into the distance.

She puts her hand on my arm.

Working like a charm. Eight bucks here I come.

“What do you do out there? When you’re not riding your horse or whatever?”

“Sometimes I sleep. Sometimes it’s not for days.”

“Do you have other cowboys that go with you? Like, friend cowboys?”

“The people I meet always go their separate ways.”

“Oh.”

I look at her, meaningfully, then look away, even more meaningfully.

I look at my watch, and straighten, heading for the door.

“Wait! Aren’t you gonna ask for my number?”

EIGHT DOLLARS WHAT!

I flip my phone open meaningfully, and she rattles off some digits.

“Call me sometime.”

I make a gesture as though reaching up to tip my hat, which is of course not there. She loves it.

“I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.”

“What?”

I head off, in search of my eight bucks.

Fuck yeah, Bon Jovi. Fuck yeah.

———————-

So my girl friend (girl space friend) has been hanging out with this old dude. A doctor.

He’s a tool.

But he’s old, and he’s a doctor.

Far be it from me to comment on another’s dating choices. Still, at times I get defensive.

She walks away from the table, while we’re at the club. I put my hand on Doctor Tool’s shoulder.

“Hey man, so you’re a doctor?”

“Yes, I’m a surgical resident.” He says in his smarmy tool voice.

“That’s cool.” He nods, shrugging. Well of course it’s cool, shmea shmea, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it shmea.

“It’s alright.”

Tool.

I see my friend headed back to the table. The doctor, recognizing my position on the Friend Hierarchy has already tried desperately to befriend me. He seems to be catching on to my disdain, however. No doubt this is a cruel blow to someone so much older and more highly paid than I am, to be stonewalled by your prospective girl’s asshole 23 year old friend. Such an indignity!

Let’s make it worse.

“Hey doc, you know I’ve done a little first aid myself. Even a little surgery.”

“I thought you were an engineer?”

I shrug.

“Well regardless, you should know that should the slightest need or provocation arise, I’m fully certified to perform a quadruple whoopyourmonkeyassectomy. Be nice to my girl here.” I say, slapping him on the shoulder and giving him a soulless grin.

“Hey boys, how’s it going?” She asks.

“Great!” I wink at the now extremely uncomfortable Older Man. “Just great.”

————-

Tomorrow I fly to Orange County.

Disaster and chaos and tumult await me in the foul South. Once more into the breach, dear friends.

God I hate LA.

-T.

Lavish.

Posted in Blog on January 2, 2006 by trevorgregg

We went for Ethiopian food tonight.

Contrary to my expectations, they did not bring out a crate full of rice with U.N. stamped on the side.

I expressed my astonishment, and received a vicious kick under the table for my cultural insensitivity.

Such is the way of things.

-T.

Chinese velvet

Posted in Blog on January 2, 2006 by trevorgregg

Another year passes, as years do. This first night is much like all those before. Winter reigns and the rain falls, hissing in the wind. Gutters clog with trash and leaves and waste. People wander the cold streets, clinging to their umbrellas and cringing behind their upturned collars. The pigeons huddle in the trees. Widows spin their ghastly webs. Idiots honk at each other angrily. Things never change.

Denied Oregon, I spent New Years across the street with our Lovely Neighbors. Their festive little soirée exceeded my expectations at every turn, and was, in fact, a blast. It was all tinfoil stars and cheap wine; drunken people from San Mateo jabbering and laughing. The Neighbors were gracious hostesses, as always. Jolene and I got a little out of hand, but then again, we do that. Besides, every New Years party needs a fistfight to spice things up.

2006.

The usual resolutions still apply.

Write. Write more, and better, specifically. Work out. Achieve physical, spiritual, and artistic invincibility. Conduct my affairs with flawless Ice Coldness. Flawless. Rule my subjects with iron benevolence. Keep it real.

You know, the usual.

Muahaha.

———–

A true story.

At the party, I am approached. Inebriated and honest, a girl confesses her feelings for me. She drapes her arm around me, and looks deep into my eyes. “Trevor, I had a serious crush on you, till I heard you use the F word four times in one sentence.”

I look at her, gauging her honesty.

“Well, fuck.” I say.

Indeed.

————-

My stack of books beckons. There is much to be done.

Happy New Year, readers.

-T.