Archive for July, 2008

Going back out for the rain starts a fallin’

Posted in Blog with tags , , , on July 15, 2008 by trevorgregg

Music – Sublime – Waiting for my Ruca

Amos and I were walking through the Mission yesterday, after capoeira class.  It was a pleasant San Francisco July evening; the window was blowing about fifty miles an hour and it was cloudy and witch-tits cold.  We were having an important discussion when we were approached by two good looking foreign girls.

“…on VHS. There’s just something about the tape, as a medium, that makes Weekend at Bernie’s 2 more enjoyable, like listening to Who’s Next on vinyl instead of CD.”

“You’ve got to be shitting me.  It’s not worth keeping a VCR around just so you can see the squiggly lines and the fucked up tracking on Weekend at Bernie’s that you taped off USA when you were seventeen… oh… hello… girls…”

“Allo!” They said, in unison.

They hugged us and grinned like fools.  We stood still, amazed.

“Appy Bastille Day!”

Amos and I looked at each other for a minute.

“YEAH HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!” We shouted.  The girls laughed and ran off into the night.

“The fuck is Bastille Day?”

“No idea.”

I started reading the Wikipedia entry but it was kind of long… Turns out it’s the French Cinco de Mayo. Or something.

Who knew?

HAPPY BASTILLE DAY.

——-

After two years of consistent patronage, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that the San Francisco Main Library exists solely so that the homeless have a place to charge their cellphones.

Fuck that place.

——-

Our search for a roommate draws to a close.  We received upwards of three hundred responses from our week long Craigslist ad, which we cut down to about a hundred after eliminating the obvious scum, like Academy of Art students, and vegans.

Sorting through the remaining hundred was an intense and horrible process.

“JESUS CHRIST HOW MANY MORE DO WE HAVE?”

“That was only our fourth one, Trevor. We’ve only been here ten minutes.”

“FAAAAAAAAAACK.  If my life were a movie, they’d just insert a montage here, where we’d be, like, shuffling through lots of pieces of paper, and looking over our glasses with our brows furrowed, and talking excitedly, waving our hands and shit, and the clock would spin around all fast to show the passage of time…”

I stood up and waved my hands excitedly, humming a little montage background tune I came up with on the spot.  It was pretty good.

“SIT DOWN. We still have ninety-two to go.”

I sighed.

“BOOOOOOOOOOORING.”

—–

We sorted and sorted, judging and discussing and shuffling pieces of paper around.  We weighed the pros and cons of each applicant, doing our best to be Fair and Balanced.  It’s hard to get a comprehensive, clear picture of a person based on just one brief email, but I had a mental list of key criteria and standards which I stuck to rigidly.

“How about this one? He’s got a good job.”
“No. He has a stupid email address.”
“What?”
“You really wanna live with FreshDawg6995@hotmail.com? Hell no. NEXT.”

“How about this girl? She’s a teacher.”
“No. Bad speller.  E comes before I in ‘receive’. Also, there’s an apostrophe in Craig’s List. NEXT.”

“How about…”
“No. I hate people named Shane. NEXT.”

“How about…
“No. He sounds like an asshole. NEXT.”

“How about…”
“No. She went to Irvine.”
“So?”
“That’s barely a UC. Might as well be community college, or Sally Struther’s by-mail trade school. NEXT.”

“How about…”
“No.”
“Why?”
“Her last name’s McGavin.”
“So?”
“So she’s Irish.  Irish people are dirty.”

Ellie shook her head in disgust and frustration.

“You’re terrible at this Trevor.”

I shrugged. “How about this guy?” I offered.

“A 38 year old male named Butch? Works as a prison guard at San Quentin?  Wants to know if it’s ok to host AA meetings at our place every other week? Christ’s sake Trevor, his email is in all caps!”

“So?”

“SO HE SAYS ‘YOU BEST RIGHT MY ASS BACK QUIK!1!!’ as his fucking subject line!”

“Don’t be so critical, Ellie, sheesh.  You need to learn to give people a chance.  It says here he’s got a 48 inch HDTV…”

Needless to say, it was a long night.

——

After culling the douchebags and felons and southern californians from our list, we were left with about twenty. We made appointments for them to come and interview.

Aside from one creepy sociopath who looked like a young Doctor Drew (from LoveLine) and one geeky ass motherfucker who wouldn’t stop talking about how much he loved Battlestar Galactica, the interviews were pretty run of the mill.

One guy who was working at Whole Foods and getting his teaching credential seemed alright, but then he told me he rode a fixie and I asked him to please fuck off and get out of my house immediately.

The time has come to make our decision, however.

“We have to give it to the murderer psychopath, Ellie.”

“Are you kidding?”

“IF WE TELL HIM NO HE’LL COME HERE AND KILL US. WITH MACHETES. He knows where we live!”

“No.”

“When I end up chopped up in some freezer, it’s going to be your fault.”

“Fine. I still want one of the three girls.”

We made charts and discussed and pondered endlessly until about three AM.  There were three equally awesome girls.  Deciding between them seemed impossible.

Molly.  Marisa.  Mary.  Shit, this is hard.

Finally we said fuck it, and threw ourselves on the mercy of the gods.

Three cards.  I shuffled them for five minutes.

“Do I really need to have this blindfold on?” Ellie asked.

“Yes.  And turn your back. Hold on, I need to turn off the lights.”

“Trevor…”

“QUIET! If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right!  We have to do this with the appropriate respect and ceremony and thoroughness, or Fate will think us unworthy and fuck us with a crappy roommate.  Now cover your ears so you can’t hear me shuffle…”

At times, us lowly mortals cannot be trusted to see the Right Path.  When all other avenues of judgment are exhausted, when there is nothing left to debate or discuss, when your girlfriend says ‘no, we can’t just have them come over and fight to the death with samurai swords’, then there is nought to do but give the decision over to pure chance.

I placed the cards in Ellie’s hands.  It was pitch dark, silent, our living room as still as a temple.  The perfect conditions for communing with The Beyond.

Fate reached down, guiding Ellie’s hands, and she chose a card.

I held my breath.

“Jack of Spades.”

I gasped.

“I can’t believe it.  It’s done.  The choice is made.  It’s out of our hands now. Thank you, oh benevolent gods of chance, for your guidance.”

We sat for a moment in silence, exhausted and shaken by our brush with Fate.

Ellie looked at me.

“Which one was the Jack of Spades again?  Molly, Marisa, or Mary?”

“It’s… oh fuck I don’t remember. We should have written it down…”

“God dammit Trevor!”

“Shit! Ok ok put the blindfold back on, we have to do it again…”

-T.

Rally ’round the family

Posted in Blog with tags , , , , on July 13, 2008 by trevorgregg

Music – Toots and the Maytals – 54-46 Was My Number

A hellish week for the patriots and optimists.  The decline of our nation continues, helped eagerly along by the fools and thieves and petty tyrants we’ve chosen to rule us.

The FISA bill passed.  Easily.  Obama voted for it.  The raving, outraged few shrieked themselves hoarse, teary-eyed and desperate.  Their anguished premonitions of America’s future went unheeded.  The masses went about their days, eating and scratching and farting along their ignorant and merry way.

Perhaps there was a brief, twenty second spot on the six o’clock news about the bill’s success.  An obligatory mention, without feeling or comprehension or depth.  A footnote, or an obituary.  And then the issue was put to bed in time for sports highlights, and the weather.

Like many such sickening, foul days in our history, Wednesday went by largely unnoticed.

The goblins and bottom-feeders of the United States Senate pounded another bent, rusty nail in to our collective coffin.

Their hammers fell, over and over, driving the iron deeper, deeper into the virgin wood. Clang, clang, clang.

I heard it, in the distance.

Did you?

———

I’ve been asked by some why I make such a big deal out of this FISA business.  It’s such a boring, intangible thing to care about.  Surely I must know greater evils exist.  What about all the off-shore drilling plans?  The reintroduction of Intelligent Design into Louisiana schools? What about The War?  Illegal domestic spying is small potatoes compared to some of the other atrocities and depravities America’s involved in.

It’s true.  Telecom Immunity is far from the vilest thing that happened to us lately.  It’s hard to get up in arms about privacy rights and defense of the Constitution while rivers of blood flow through the deserts of Iraq, and GWB makes lighthearted jokes about us being the world’s worst polluter.  And yet the passing of the FISA bill, and Obama’s support of it, may prove to be one of the most pivotal political moments in the last twenty years.

Set aside what you think of him as a man or a politician, and try instead to consider what Obama represents to the average young American.  To them, he’s hope.  He’s a possibility, a promise of a brighter future.  He’s the first candidate in many of their lifetimes who is not merely the lesser of several evils, but someone moral and driven and audacious enough to truly Make a Difference.  Not just some talking head they can tolerate, someone they genuinely respect as a leader.

That’s unheard of.  The power that this image gives him, the potential to wield a generation’s excitement and energy, is something no candidate since JFK has been blessed with.  A boon beyond compare.

When you have that kind of whole-hearted support from the young, educated, and wealthy, you can do what no other candidate dares to do: the Right Thing.

And the FISA bill is the simplest of litmus tests for Obama and his new-found strength.  The most cut-and-dry issue seen on the Senate floor in a decade.

The War, the Environment, the Economy, these are topics so chaotic and muddled and dangerous that even a man with Obama’s level of popularity has to handle them with kit gloves.  Whatever you do about the War, people on both sides will hate you.  There is no action that will not cost you at least some Conservative or Liberal votes.

But the FISA bill… it’s almost like something out of a movie.  Good versus Evil.  Right versus Wrong.  It’s an entire moral and political ideology distilled and rarefied down into one, simple choice.  Without room for interpretation, or perspective, or distortion.

For Obama and the rest of the Senate, the opportunity to act and to vote righteously is not all that rare.  Idealistic bills, after all, are not completely unknown in the legislature.  But to be able to cast a vote in defense of the right and not risk a single supporter’s vote is unheard of.

On Wednesday, there were two types of Americans when it came to the issue of Telecom Immunity:  Those who were vehemently opposed to it, and those who didn’t understand it.

This was no hotbed of controversy.  Informed citizens, conservative and liberal alike, despised the entire idea.  Multi-national corporations getting away with spying illegally on innocent Americans is totally reprehensible, regardless of party affiliation.

I mean honestly, who doesn’t hate the fucking phone company?

Thus did Wednesday offer a rare, almost unprecedented, moment of truth, for Obama and for Congress as a whole.

A vote against was a condemnation of the Administration’s years of deceit and corruption.  A vote against said that our leaders and their minions should be held accountable when they violate our laws.  A vote against said that our rights can not and should not be violated on a whim by corporate monopolies and demagogues.

A vote for it was surrender, and betrayal of our nation’s core ideals.

A vote for it was an admission of complete fucking moral bankruptcy.

And so Wednesday rolled around, quietly, and America was suddenly afforded the opportunity to see which side of the line our leaders and our Presidential Hopeful stood on.

Those of us who bothered to look saw the results clearly, and despaired.

——–

Why did he do it?

I can’t say.  Not for votes, certainly.  He’s cost himself thousands by proving he’s just as spineless and power-hungry as McCain, and gained none.

My guess is money, but I have no real idea.  As far removed as I am from the foul, shit-spattered warrens and back alleys of our nation’s capital, it’s impossible to guess what prize the fiends offered Obama in exchange for his betrayal.  To get this bill to pass, who knows what dark deeds and unspeakable perversions were perpetrated by the packs of lobbyists and good old boys that run rampant through the Washington nights. I hope whatever the Administration and the corporate elite tempted or blackmailed Obama with, it was something significant.

I’d hate to think he sold us out for some free air time on ClearChannel radio, or a paltry campaign contribution.

Hell, even Hillary had the integrity to vote against FISA.  You’ve got to be deep in some shit when Hillary “The Hosebeast” Clinton can furrow her brow and look down her crooked witch nose at you for selling out your constituency.

——-

Where do we go from here? Who knows.  The honeymoon is certainly over, at least for the small percentage of us who bother to read the news.  If there’s any justice in the world, Obama will lose the election.  But if your only option for justice is four years of warmongering and earthraping under Zombie in Chief John McCain, perhaps it’s not worth it.

I can’t say I was entirely taken by surprise.  Friends of mine, loyal Obama supporters, called me Wednesday shrieking and outraged.  Jaded, black-hearted pessimist that I am, I told them I had suspected his true nature all along.  I knew he’d sell us out, I told them.  He can’t have gotten so far in politics so quickly without being thoroughly evil.

They took comfort in my knowing cynicism.  I let them curse and lament, and I made agreeing noises at the appropriate times.  Yes, I’d say.  He’s certainly revealed himself to be as despicable as the rest.

But when the phone stopped ringing around two AM, I was surprised to find how angry I really was.  Furious.  Enraged.  How the fuck could he do this to us?  How could he pick this bill to support, a choice which made his betrayal so brazen and complete?

I lay awake till dawn, too full of venom and angst to sleep.  I don’t know why.  I must have been more optimistic about Our Man than I realized, or was willing to admit.

Why does our current completely fucked up political system ignite such a white-hot fury in me…

I don’t want to know.  Someday I will learn to embrace the apathy my generation is so famous for, and the hate and rage I feel so strongly may cool.  Someday I’ll resign myself to our collective horrible fate.

I hope.

Maybe I’ll learn to fiddle, so I’ll have something to do while Rome burns.

——-

I have a recurring nightmare, as of late.

I stand at the base of some gigantic edifice, or monument.  It’s black and terrible, and so large I can only see a small part of it at a time no matter how I crane my neck.  It’s covered with cryptic symbols and hieroglyphics, and if I study a particular, narrow section for a time, I can begin to understand it, to comprehend it.

I know if I could study the thing thoroughly, if I could define it and at least comprehend its dimensions, I could do something about it.  I could set right its many evils.  But the thing is so huge, no matter where I stand I can’t get a proper perspective.  It stretches away in all directions without end.

I run along the base for hours and still can find no edge.  I run away from it and look back over my shoulder, and still I can’t see the top.  And so the monstrosity may as well go on forever, so I slump against its base, tracing its symbols with my hands, and am defeated.

-T.

He was a master of karate, and friendship

Posted in Blog with tags , , , on July 9, 2008 by trevorgregg

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/washington/10fisa.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Fuck you Obama, you gutless piece of filth. You fucking disgrace. You’ve proven yourself to be a gooey, steaming pile of worthless greedy burning shit and I fucking despise you.

I’m voting for Nader.