Archive for March, 2006

If I say to you tomorrow, oh what fun it all would be

Posted in Blog on March 20, 2006 by trevorgregg

Long nights and windy days, friends. Long nights and windy days.

Friday night was a blur. St. Patrick’s Day, along with Cinco de Mayo, the Superbowl, and Thursday, has as of late been moving up the ranks within the hierarchy of holidays.

Ireland is a place rich with vibrant culture and fascinating history, a place of wonder and of beauty. The young people of today do not party on Saint Patrick’s Day simply because it’s an excuse to drink. Far from it. It is out of a deep and heartfelt respect for Ireland’s people and rituals that we raise our glasses so very many times. With every sip, we remember that on this day, March 17th, in 1974 Saint Patrick of Nottingham defeated the Spanish Armada and ended the Hundred Years War. It is out of a deep respect for This Man and his Great Deeds that we wear green clothes and get faded. Viva the revolucion, St. Patrick. Viva the revolucion.

Enough on that.

Wait one more thing:

I don’t know how environmentally sound this form of celebration is, but the death of a few million perch, bass, and pelicans is a minuscule price to pay for how totally awesome that looks.

Besides, I’m sure a lot worse shit than 6000 gallons of Yellow Dye #56 have been dumped in the Chicago River. Probably that day.

Regardless; Well played, Chicago. Well played.

North Beach was a mob scene. Every young white person from Santa Rosa to Redwood City showed up, all decked out in tattered green UC Davis sweatshirts, puma jackets, and John Deere hats. They should just call it Hey Whitey Pretend You Have A Heritage Day, because let’s be honest, about one in a hundred of the honkeys puking in the street Friday night had even a half pint of Irish blood in their veins. I think several of my ancestors may have seen Ireland, or perhaps known its location on a map, but that didn’t stop me from downing ten Harp lagers and stumbling down Stockton with a Jameson beanie on my head. Things were really out of hand. I don’t think there have been that many white people on the streets of San Francisco since the Gold Rush.

I almost neglected to mention the only other universal tradition for this holiest of days, which is the Ask Other White People ‘What They Are’ Game. Every single other white person you meet on St. Patrick’s Day is required to ask you about your quote ethnicity unquote. Walking through a crowd you hear a hundred different versions of the same conversation.
“I’m 1/12th Polish on my mother’s side, but….”
“I think my great grandfather was Scottish, but he might have been Ukrainian…”
“My step sister is 1/24th Basque…”
“My half-cousin raped his own great aunt who was 1/53 French and 2/34 Gypsy, so I think I’m actually half German…”

This is what’s known as Cultural Identification.

This is how we pale-skins keep in touch with our roots.

This ritual completed, the speakers can then move on to more important things.

“Hey dude did you go to UCLA?”
“Yeah dude.”
“No way! Me too!”
“Sweet.”

When prompted for my own genealogical executive summary, I said I was East Bay on my Dad’s side and Idaho on my Mom’s, or simply ‘A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.’

I shouldn’t be so negative. Everybody was having a good time. It’s always good to see the kids out celebrating their little culture or whatever and being amicable in the streets. Jolene and I both admitted in hushed, slurred, and guilty tones what a good time we were having. There was much poor dancing and long lines at the Port-a-Potties, and beers cost something like nineteen dollars an ounce, but between you and me, it was a hoot.

It’s like when you hear that awful Laffy Taffy song on KMEL, and you shake your head and roll your eyes making a great show of your distaste, but you’re secretly boogeying on the inside.

Saturday was spent at Pt. Reyes in the company of the always praiseworthy Ms. Grodin and Ms….whatever…Ellie’s last name is… yeah. I awoke ragged and cottonmouthed Saturday morning to a barrage of phonecalls from the aforementioned ladies. Apparently in my altered state I had promised to drive them up to Point Reyes at some obscene hour of the morning. This may or may not have been true, but they made a good show of being convincing and knowing me, which I do, it’s the kind of thing I would agree to under the influence. I may have promised them a ride to Kansas City in the fuckin Goodyear Blimp, too; I don’t rightly recall. Regardless, it was a blast despite 450 mile an hour winds. The sun outdid the horrible shrieking gale, and I was excited the girls had strong-armed me into the venture while I was in such a sorry state.

The town of Point Reyes Station itself is pretty damn nice. Although its population (according to the sign) is a meager 350, every sunny weekend it’s descended upon by upwards of 45,000 cyclists from San Francisco, Berkeley, and the wealthier parts of the Peninsula. Donning their hokey spandex outfits and stopping by Traitor Joe’s to buy crates of Cranmango Wheatgerm Power Bars on the way up, these people truck around clogging up the roads and talking about work and being healthy with their cyclist buddies, stopping at the various quaint markets littering the back country. As they were all easily-offended members of the Bay Area’s Liberal Ruling Class (the Birkenstockracy if you will) they pumped their neon-gloved fists at me in anger as my rattling and battered Tacoma flew past them, kicking up dust and driving them panicked onto the shoulder. Steph and Ellie refused to help me shriek “Share The Road” at the vermin as I careened by, but I believe this was because they felt the screaming was unbecoming, not because they disagreed with my treatment of the bastards.

They also seemed a bit surprised to learn that I was doing my part for local politics by putting together petitions for a “Cyclist Hunting Season” from May until late August. Cyclists, just like deer, have a tendency to stop at grossly inappropriate times in the middle of the damn road, causing accidents, vulgarity, and much bad energy. As punishment for this behavior, we are allowed to hunt deer during certain parts of the year. I believe the same rule should apply to cyclists. Also, a deer hide sells for only thirty dollars on Ebay, while a nice helmet, bike, and pair of wraparound Oakleys can fetch more than a thousand dollars in the right circles. I expect my proposition to pass with an overwhelming majority.

Where was I.

My mind, it drifts. With so much on it, one would think it anchored, and subject to the laws of inertia. Apparently not.

———–

Reviews next, I suppose:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show at the Fillmore: Second opening band Elephant was fuckin horrible. Opening band before them, we didn’t see, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they were horrible. BRMC: About fifty fifty.

There is a certain mystique, a nameless quantity, that makes good rock and roll. I would say one in six BRMC songs has that quality. Out of the band members, only the one with the slick-backed James Hetfield haircut could conjure that awesome rock energy with any regularity. His voice, though very similar in tone and structure to that of the other, crappier singer, had whatever dark ingredient is necessary to make Good Rock. They opened strong, very strong, with a couple of acoustic songs where slick-back haired James Hetfield looking guy (We’ll call him Singer #1) played guitar and harmonica. They then played 45 minutes of forgettable crap with much distortion and little creativity. Then they played a couple more good ones, some more bad, and finally finished right where they had started, with a fuckin righteous rendition of The Devil ‘s Waiting by Singer #1. He should go solo.

Hamlet, at La Val’s:

I realize I already wrote about this, but I was not myself at the time. Patrick does a fine job as Hamlet, which is a tough and Jesus Particular Christ long ass part. The evil Uncle/King also does a damn good job, despite looking hauntingly like Eric Lilley. It was eerie. Such fine entertainment at such a low price. I can’t wait for the next show.

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat: The other Patrick sent me this album the other day. I hate this kind of music. I have no interest in it and find it drab and boring, like Wings reruns. No idea why I like this one particular album. Not just tolerate, like. Makes no sense. Could be an aberration, or possibly a symptom of something deeper and more serious. Only time will tell.

Capote: Good.
The New World: Sucked.
Oreo Klondike Bars: Good.
Covad’s Technical Support Hotline: Sucks.
Cold weather: Sucks.

Behold my judgments; they are fair and true and will not lead you astray.

————-

Let’s dial back on the gaiety for a minute here.

I joshed you not when I said there was much on my mind. You’ll see I said that earlier, in a previous paragraph. You can check if you like.

That’s called foreshadowing.

One must be eternally cautious with anything remotely resembling autobiography. Changing names and places is never enough. Write something hard, or dangerous, and those who know the players in real life will know instantly. And then the jig is up. Then your idle thoughts are gospel, and many bulls enter many china shops.

So on specifics, even inferences, we shall have to remain quiet.

Sssshhhhh.

More later. In my younger days I could hack it later and more often.

In my younger days.

-T.

Both of us victims of the same twentieth-century plague. Not the Black Death, this time; the Gray Life. – Aldous Huxley, Island

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Purple words on a grey background

Posted in Blog on March 18, 2006 by trevorgregg

It’s one of those nights where you’re like…

Thank god I made it home.

Through some knotted, divine, protective management, you arrived successfully from whatever horrid debauchery you were at across the City earlier.

Another bullet dodged.

It almost surprises me how slowly I have to type, due to my level of inebriation. Back in the day, I drank alot more. And wrote alot more. Now, things are tamer. Calmer. Safer. And thus, I type slower, less accustomed to my current state.

Thank you Ms. Stephanie and Lovely Roommate Ellie, for your accompaniment this evening. Also thank you to the random, weird dudes that live at that one house near Stockton and Green that all went to Cal Poly and gave me several free beers because of our common roots.

Go Mustangs.

I had a long list of things to write about before I sat down.

I just finished A Movable Feast, and thus the topics of Discipline and Writing are much on my mind.

I’m easily influenced by my current readings, as you may have noticed.

I hate writing about my current level of intoxication, because is sounds so juvenile. People assume I’m some kind of drunkard, some alchie, just because I happened to scribble some random crap out onto the internet. The truth isn’t that I drink too much when I write, it’s that I write too much when I drink.

Christ.

Everyone go see Patrick Alparone’s remix of Hamlet, at La Val’s in Berkeley. I went to see said Hamlet because Patrick was in it. I enjoyed it because it was a solid fuckin play. It always surprises me when people I know are talented.

Sorry friends.

It makes it so much easier on me to praise those close to me when they actually possess the qualities and abilities I applaud.

Regardless, whiskey or no, I highly recommend La Val’s Hamlet, not because Moreau’s Finest is in it, but because Moreaus’s Finest is good in it.

Watching Hamlet, one really remembers what a serious impact The Bard had on our beloved language. Let’s face it, Shakespeare was the OG. Expressions like ‘Wild Goose Chase’ or ‘To Be or Not To Be’ or ‘Hyphy’ all trace directly back to big Billsauce. To see his genius reanimated in modern style is a treat indeed.

Next: BRMC

We also went to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club last Wednesday.

Aren’t we the cultured motherfuckers.

Elephant, the band that came on before them, was entirely shitty.

Don’t even bother.

BRMC, however, played a Fine Set. Especially homeboy with the slick back hair.

Two guitarists, one of which whom played the Bass most of the time…

Anyway, the first one, he came out and he sang two powerful and dramatic solo guitar tunes. Standing in the pale and dreadful spotlight, he silenced a crowd full of hopefuls with twisting and tragic songs.

He even shut me up, if you can believe that.

It was downhill from there, but for someone who hasn’t liked a new band since 1994, that’s certainly a fuckin step in the right direction.

Strong, piercing lyrics, 1/2 Johnny Cash and 1/2 Dispatch, I mean… That first tiny set was the Good Shit. The rest of the band is pretty good, but that first guy, the one who sings Devil’s Waiting, he a talented and rising fuckin star. /
Well played, dude. Well played indeed. Your guitar and vocal abilities balance out the garbage the rest of your band shovels out.

Next Topic:

I feel like a Lot of People don’t realize this, but I make lists of topics before I write. Something strikes my fancy, my interest, my hatred… it gets a two word slot in the Shit to Write About column.

If it works hard enough, and prays, and

My head is spinning, I need to stop. I’ll be back again soon.

Remember, F. Scott Fitzgerald was an alcoholic, and married to a schizophrenic.

So stop hounding me.

Viva San Patricko,
Vivia Ireland,

BBS,
-T.

I’d rather be lonely, I’d rather be free

Posted in Blog on March 9, 2006 by trevorgregg

What began as scattered rumblings, isolated disquiets, has become a din. The mob is at the gates, bristling with torches and pitchforks.

The insatiable masses, they cry out with one voice. Pleading. Demanding. Threatening.

Post, they say. Post!

And so we shall post.

Much has transpired since we last spoke. The world turns, heedless of us all.

I am twenty four now. It hurts to say it. I feel every second of my near-quarter-century.

I own an electric guitar now, courtesy of my friends. Undoubtedly the coolest, most thoughtful, most heart-rendingly beautiful gift I’ve ever received. Give a man an AC/DC album, and he will rock for a day. Give him a Fender, and he will rock for a lifetime.

Give me a moment to dry my eyes and compose myself.

There.

What else, what else… Oh, South Dakota banned abortion today. Well done. That shit shouldn’t be illegal in South Dakota, it should be mandatory.

Is South Dakota even a state? Isn’t it still a territory, or a protectorate or something? I mean honestly. Idiots. They think they’re being good Christians or some shit, but banning abortion is not what Jesus wants. With abortion you can terminate babies who might be homosexuals, or of mixed race. Did you ever think of that, you savages? Everybody knows Jesus hates the gays way more than he loves babies. You may as well partake of those horrible sins you’ve denied yourselves for so long, like premarital sex or voting Green Party, cuz there’s no way in hell anyone in South Dakota is getting into heaven after this fiasco. You guys are fucked.

When I’m in power, representation in the House will be determined not by population census but by how many professional sports teams your state has. Too bad the Pierre Fightin’ Marmots aren’t good enough for the NBA, right?

Tards. Well I guess it’s not all bad. With the Midwest’s incredibly high degree of teen pregnancy and terminal stupidity, in 18-22 years there will be plenty of strongbacked Dakotan yokels without the skills or frontal lobes to do anything other than join the Army, which should help with our current recruitment deficits in Iraq. Which will still be occupied, of course.

Enough of this. Talking about current events is so 2005. All the fashionable people know that the only two topics of discussion acceptable this season are A) How much you hate Bode Miller and B) Project Runway.
I feel obligated to explain my long absence.

Once, once in a great while, a man in struck with an inspiration so profound it can only be called divine. The idea takes hold of the man the way that crazy ass demon took hold of Linda Blair, consuming the person until the divisions between Art and Artist are fuzzy at best. A man becomes less and more than a man simultaneously. He becomes a conduit. He becomes a superconductor for the Idea. For Greatness. For Beauty.

I am that man.

For the last 27 days and 5 1/2 hours, I’ve been working on what I can only describe as My Masterpiece. Late one night, somewhat disoriented and in strange circumstances, I had an epiphany. One does not have an epiphany the way one has a drink, lightly and with class. One has an epiphany the way one has a baby, with much shrieking and sweating and clenching of unfamiliar muscles. I left whatever horrid bar I was at at the time (the name of the place escapes me) and ran to the nearest Office Max where I purchased a 30 pack of ballpoint pens and five reams of green graph paper. I stopped at 7-11 for Doritos, and some Sparks. I knew, somehow, that this was going to be intense work. Locking my door and wedging a chair beneath the handle, I sat down to write the first true Epic of our time. The New New Testament, as it were. I sat down to write (and please, this is still a working title):

The Stars Over Mars, subtitled Total Recall – The Musical.

I worked on it for eleven days straight without sleep or nutrients, peeing into my little waste bin and resting my eyes only briefly, slumped over my desk. I cranked out all the dialogue, most of the set design, and about half of the major musical numbers in this explosion of hard work before slipping into a coma. I awoke three days later, on Valentine’s Day, to find my room in a state of inhuman filth, my body severely weakened. I had also been fired, and contracted scurvy. And ringworm.

The petty concerns of Society and Propriety were completely behind me, expunged by my inspiration as it were. Rent, hygiene, my outrageously overdue rental of Hustle and Flow from Blockbuster, these trivialities meant nothing to me. I ate a PB&J simply to survive, racked with guilt for each moment I spent away from My Work.

Adapting Total Recall to the stage, adding heartwarming music and inspired monologues, somehow even these monumental tasks didn’t seem enough. I wanted to add my own flair, my own spin on the timeless story…

As those who know me best can attest to, I’ve always been fascinated by Victorian England. The society, the poofy clothing, the pasty women…

Some might say (some without creative vision or any sense of art, beauty, majesty, or grandeur) that changing the time period in which Our Story is set is a bad idea. They complain, as naysayers always do, about stupid details. Fine. If we’re going to split hairs, yes, there was no colony on Mars during the Victorian era, and so from the exceedingly narrow-minded perspective of “chronological accuracy” it does not make sense to portray Mars as being filled with buggies and hoop skirts and frilly collars. HOWEVER.

In my defense, or rather in The Work’s defense, I say this:
Shut up.

Enough. I have revealed overmuch about my grand design already. There is still much dancing alien choreography to be mapped out, and several of the more romantic numbers need reworking. I shall say no more.

————————

Destiny is a horrible thing.

The idea that success, or happiness, or achievement is a sort of unavoidable eventuality…

No one is destined for greatness. No one is destined for anything. The gap between eventualities and possibilities is a much bigger one than many realize.

———————–

Also: Fuck the DMV.

———————

I am beset on all sides by ease and simplicity. Lord, protect me from my own weakness. Atrophy is despicable.

——————–

Also: I’ve taken up smoking for Lent. Seeing as how I already lie, cheat, steal, gamble, covet, swear, drink, download illegal MP3’s and movies, dance, blaspheme, and tear the tags off of mattresses, smoking was really the only on-again/off-again vice I could think of to take on for these forty days. Now I can say I’m doing my part to balance out archaic Christian rituals in the scheme of things.

——————–

[HotSauce]: I was talking to this hot girl today
[Me]: Did you meet her or did you find her profile on MySpace
[HotSauce]: I met her
[Me]: Are you lying?
[HotSauce]: Yes.
[Me]: Of course. Did you send her a message?
[HotSauce]: Yes.
[Me]: Was it “DO YOO WANNA SEE MY VAN!? UR HAWT”
[HotSauce]: No.
[Me]: Are you lying again?
[HotSauce]: …… Yes.
[Me]: You need help
[HotSauce]: I hate you

——————

I have much to attend to. I’ll check back in later.

-T.