Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Everyone has a story, right?

We were standing at the front doors of what used to be the CBGB.

It had been shuttered nearly six months ago, but awning announcing the former rock venue still stood - only obscured by a large "For Lease" sign. The door and front walls were covered with gafatti and piss from drunken fools who needed to put their own mark on this prolific landmark.

The homeless man could have been completely looked over had he not started to stand in front of us from the pile of cans and trash sackes that had ammased around him.

"I saw the Ramones play here when I was a kid, fuck off."

We had not even said anything to him , but he decleration that he had seen the punk rock act at this venue seemed appropriate. He had been here when it was open and Im sure it was not the only show he had caught.

Maybe there was a family, and children. Maybe he was a rocker himself but his mind gave out under the preasure of staredom and booze. maybe I would see him one day - VH1 Real Life Story and this is the part where we hear the dramatic music and wonder if he will ever spring back.

New York was invigorating. There was something going on at all time all over the place. My tour guide and I were walking acorss a busy street avoding cabs and busses as they went screaming by. Shopers were still carrying their wares and moving from pubs and restaurants for a late night snack.

"This town is simply amazing, there is so much going on right now, it feels like it is early evening."

"You stop wondering what these people are doing 2 a.m."

I was far to boring for this town. How could I compare to the Greek Family that moved from their hometown to start the Star Duszt Diner and serve authentic Buffalow Burgers? Would my life even amuse the kid who had dated a guy that used to have bathrtub in his kitchen? At what point does my story become jsut another fuck around filling pages of paper as I try to write them out?

I was smacked with this reality as I tried to get co-workers to continue the party that had been lit in my stomch from the city that never sleeps. Only one of the five I call came out.

Only one out of five approved - its like im the anti-tooth brush commercial.

I can't say we were doing anyhting special, we wre getting drinks and playing into the night to talk and converse. But husbands and boyfriends and life weighted people down andk ept them in.

I have always been terrified of being hte boring one in a relationship - any relationship. Girlfriends, releatives, friends. If I was boring them, I was failing - I would usually tell myself.

But then again, I surrounded myself with some very interesting, intriguing people. Being boring was not an option for them or for us. Those people are gone now.

Maybe I have set the bar to high. But if i lowered it, would that mean settling? Is the middle really a place I want to strive for? Do I want to date a boring woman and have boring kids that will go to boring schools and continue this cycle of life that seems to eating aay at my soul.

At least then my mother would seem happy for the first time.

At what point do we jsut become too lazy to find those people who are helplessly seeking a partner in crime, a sidekick, a drinking budy.

I really can't take it anymore. The boredom is killing me. If i lose any more weight from it, I could squeeze into girl pants for the first time. How hippster would that be?

But I have not lost all faith in humanity. One of the best deciples of the Temple of Gonzo took more than a semester to finally understand what it was like to have fun.

The problem, I think, is that these people - that I work and live around - do not know how to have fun. The second fun and adventure stares them in the face, they run away and hide in their suburban homes with their significant others who seem content to judge us with their master's degrees and husbands who look at us as wild and unkept.

I hope they choke to death on their own safety net and salvation.

I'm excited for the first for this summer to approach. I wasted my last summer here. I was too shell shocked from graduation and new jobs and broken relationships to do anything. I hid in my own suburban hell hole and did nothing.

So now, its time to right that wrong. And I hope to take down as many who are willing ot follow and fight that fight.

No more barriers - despite their energy consuming nature - will keep me out this time. No more stops.

It's time to come to work drunk at least once.

It's time to swear more and dress more comfortably on weekdays. I wear Chuck Taylor not because I am protesting anything or think they are that cool - i do it becasue they are afucking comfortable slipper/shoe.

Maybe its jsut time to be more selfish. Fuck the rest of you. It's time to blow things up and make my own mayhem...will you behind the plunger that lights that fuse?

Or will you be sitting behind your desk in the building awating your final doom?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Destroy this sweater

We were sitting at the bar of this Gay Karyoke bar somewhere near Greenwich Village. We had started in this small hipster bar near Houston - pronounced How-stun, or else you risk a severe beatin in the street.

The songs being belted out by the orgy of drunk queens was vaugly reminicient of times back in hte j-slums where news nerd s gathers to dance and writh agaist eachother - i blame the music, maybe it was the alcohol.

I was being led by a local and my Attorney who seemed to know the palce a little better than most god-fearing tourstis like myself. But in this bizarr scene we were jsut another gorup of people oddly thrown into the mix.

But then that is how much of life is a t 5 a.m. Drunken, mixed without heed to who is around, whether its a doughnut gobbling bum or some freak who is trying to get under the shirt of another woman right in the middle of hte bar.

There will be more to tell, but for not hte internts are spotty, if that, and getting any message out to the rest of the world is a bit harrowing.

did get to meet Brian Williams as we gawked at this NBC studio in Rockafeller Plaza. Peyton Manning and the whole SNL cast were mere feet away from us - sperated only by soundproof glass - thus Manning and Andy Samberg could not hear me swoon over them.

It was funny becasue of everyone in our 30-ma group, only my family seemed at all interested that hte Superbowl poweerhouse was stnaind right in front of us.

"We it seems that they don't want to know about hte SNl theater," our tour guide joked as she rattled off facts about the history and prestyige of the ancient soundstage.

"It Peyton," my entrouage said in almost unison.

"Does he play basketball - he looks tall," the other tour guide excaimed.

Yes, we are painfully Midwestern and yes we are a sports family. today our toruing is taking us to a bar somewhere downtown where it is told the KU fans gather to watch their Jayhawks. Yes, basketball can put a new york trip on hold, if only for a few hours and only for the shere fact that the Final Four is on the line.

There will be more tomorrow, I am sure. It is my last night here and we will have ot have soe kind of wrap up - a fear and loathing to this awful diatribe i have mde you suffer through these past few days.

now, though, it is off the museum. Time to relear everything that I might have lost in my night of new york style drinking. The animals are out and there is no stopping them.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

No Tourists allowed

It's odd to think of some of the places in New York as tourists destinations.

Office buildings, street corners the bizarre bakery that was once used by the girls on Sen in the City. If its been on TV then its famous ( I recognized the steps of the city's courthouse simply becasue i had seen it so many times on Law and Order).

But I still had a hard time thinking of areas of this city as a torusit destination where you take photos and get post cards to tell mable and frank back at the farm.

I refused, for example, to take photos of the areas where the World Trade Towers fell. there were pushers selling post cards of hte towers and photos of what the new city block was going to look like with the new freedom tower constructed. Tour guides - for the rare proce of 10 bucks - would guide you through a history of hte former towers and walk you around hte property.

its a construction site - for all extensive porpuses, but it still is somehting a little more. its like taking photos with all your smiling children at the Arlington natioanl Cemetery. Does it make sence, not really...it just seems out of place.

Then again, that is new york, one big city that is constantly out of place.

Just outside the Ground Zero area is St. michael's chapel. the place is this tiny church that served as a rest point for crews and volunteers that were digging bodies out of the rubble in 2001.

the place is still filled with momentos and trinkets from the whole day, month and years following 9/11. While we were there, a college group was practicing for a choral show. Their songs and lyrics were simply amazing - i guess to sing in this auspicious church you can't be jsut anyone.

I sat for a moment in the churhc and thought ot myslef the last time i was really in church. not jsut there to appease a fmaily memeber or to make someone else happy - no, the last time I actually wanted to be in church and enjoyed it.

its been a long time. here there were images, photos and letter from people who used this historic chappel to give everything they had to someone else and now here I was a tourist.

I missed my religion - but not hte religion that i left. The religion and church that I had built up in my head. Who knows, maybe it is sstill out there. Open doors to an historic building in some far-flung corner of the country.

but even then i would still be tourist, snaping my picutres and getting in the way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

4 a.m. wake-up call

Bleak and bleary eyed I woke up with a start from the couch of my living room.

"Shit, I'm late."

i had to be at the homestead by 4 and it was already 4:15...apparently the only flight we could get out of KC was at the ass-crack of dawn. no matter, i thought hte night before. ill jsut stay u all night and sleep on the plane

Did not work, per usual.

So far, i can tell you this. the people of new york City are far too hippster for me. i thought a black t-shirt, cordoury jacket and scarf would help be blend in. but I am obviously out hippestered here.

Already we have bene pegged for tourists...but no matter there are 2.1 million more jsut like me. All star-eyed and ready to take on this bitch of a city.

Don't make eye contact - it means aggresions. yes, that is an actuall line from the NY Trousim pamphlet that they throw at us like religious literature from the airport.

Two drinks into the vacation already and I have only been here for 30 minutes. This is whn the going gets weird ... and I turn pro.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New York: The Blog

These are the last final frantic hours here at the Paragraph Factory.

My goal is to write a week's worth of stories in the next couple of hours. Two meetings and a cluster-fuck of city evetns all consolidated down into one night of frantic, drug-addled writing.

We have done this before. It is jsut matter of focusing on the ultimate goal - getting the hell ut of this town for one glorius week.

Folks, the Wednesday Weekly is taking a vacation. We are blowing this popscicle. Getting the fuck out of Dodge. Taking that yellow raod that nobody seems to want to travle.

Then again, many people have traveled to New York - and I think hte Yellow comes from the piss stains left by the wandering packs of hobos and transitents.

But we are not going ot focuse on that.

No, we are going ot focus on the glorious fact that we are leaving; on the move, again. It has been far to long - New Years to be exact - since I have gotten out of this city.

It was draining on my soul to not get a change of scenery. But this Trip is kick off what looks like one fuck of a summer of travel. New York, Las Vegas, Dallas, Ohio - Ok, so not all of them are as glorious as out kick-off event.

I'm not even going ot pretend I know what is going ot happen. I'm meeing my attorney there one night. Other friends other nights. We will tour the Big Apple and take it for all its worth. Like a midnight robbery.

We will sneak in and pillage the city for all it is worth. I have a $5,000 credit card that is screaming to be used violently by every bartender and concert venue in the eastern city of sin and fun.

I'm hoping to keep you all updated on my travels. And by you all, i mean me and probably only me. Out side of daily updates, I'm hoping to also give you a quick glimps into the inner workings of my family - my entourage that will be driving this madcap of a vacation.

Will we vote someone out of the family? Will someone die, lose and arm, an eye? Only the gods know, and we already have seen how they can be a cruel pack of vicious wolves that will eat your hand as you feed them.

It's time to dive in. Get dirty and slop around in this muck and mire I call work. Rip it off like a band-aid and the pain will only be brief...but I'm into pain, so maybe ill make it go as slow as possible.

That's it. Rip the needle out sideways just to watch the fucker bleed.

Look out, New York. I have not even started on you and this the level of crazy I have acheived.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

His eyes are screaming

We were sitting silently in the parking lot of a strip club as we watched the sun rise that morning.

From our perch on the hood of my car, my publisher and I tried to decipher the directions back home. You see, we were not there so much to catch some peep show or watch some stretch-mark addled 40 year old writh against a pole.

No, we were hopeless lost in this rural community and at 4 in the morning hte strip club off county road AA was the only place that was even open. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And we were not above acting like desperate men if that meants getting us out of this backwater hell hole.

I can't be associated with this kind of rif-raff. fuck no. My last update from the Ministry of Gonzo's Department of Weird got me into a little of trouble. Apparnetly my tales of strange people who are humping along in this strange world are too much for the suburban soccer moms and stay at home famliy men.

I had to get out of this place before the authorities found me out and hauled me.

"I swear officer, she told me this was the only position that she could give directions"

We had followed our bartended from the night out to this location. She drove like a bat out of hell and her female associate was not helping us any with trying o keep. At a blazing 90 miles and hour we crushed through the rural backroads of Jackson County trying o keep up.

We had been invted back to her house to drink and such - this of course was after we had spent the entire night at her bar drinking pretty much for free.

Knowing a bartender has its perks.

But once we got there the night took a turn for the worse. I could tell we were not welcome. We were the only guys in the house - not to mention the only straight ones.

there was this ominous presence of distates as soon as we entered. Cupped hands went up to faces to remark about the two ogres that had entered the house to crash this isolated party where the few liberly minded folk out in the rural parts of the county could come together to meets others like them.

i was in no condition to naigate these political waters - I was in my fratboy outfit, not my hipster costume. there was no way I could even pretend to fit in here.

the two that invited us went straight to the couch and started humping eachother like it was last days on earth. I felt a little letcherous watching but my publisher seemed ok to stay.

The family who apparently lived at this house was sitting out back smoking and I needed to get out of living room before I lost my bearing and went insane with the activities that were going on around me.

Once outside, it was brutely quiet. I knew we were in the the middle nowhere. We had been driving for nealry half and hour but stadning on the back deck of his home it looked like we were smack dab in the middle some cookie-cutter suburban neightborhood.

How did i not notice lack luster cluster of homes and family swing sets that infested this neighborhood. The party was something you would have expected to find hindden away in some loft down in the west bottoms of KC. Instead we were trapped in the middle of a hellish ex-urb where no one coudl escape.

I had to get out.

As I searched for my publisher i noticed he was crouching in front of the two girls who continued to suck the breath out of each other lungs. One was strattling hte other and i could jsut make out a small dog sitting inbetween them.

From my vantage point it looked like he was trying o join the fun, but instead he was jsut trying to pet the dog.

not even the most hadrend of gonzo followers was ready for this site. it was time to go.

But geting out was just the beginning adventure.

how true is this story, you might ask...that is a good question. When Hunter S. Thompson was asked if his first Fear and Lothing was true, he simply said "Only someone who is crazy would do all of that." and left it at that.

Well, how crazy do you think I am?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rocking out to the new album by GHB.

My life, as of recent, had been far to normal.

It was time for the Editors of the Weird Sections to strike at me with a great vengance that would leave me and those around me scorched for days after the storm. I could not get by this long with jsut a normal life, fuck no.

But by the time I had realized that my ticket had been punched I was already reeling back from the vicious blow. The entire room was spinning and I was knocked out cold on the flood. My head felt like a ton of bricks and my face was slowly going numb in odd places.

I had not had that much to drink, but I could not even get myself up off hte floor. Escape was not an option. I was going to have to ride out whatever was corsing through my veins. I notced two figures coming close to me, but they seemed less interested in me and more interested in shuffling out the door.

"I need to lie down," I blurted out finally. But I was already splayed out across the living room floor.

Was it an overdose? Was I dying? How could I have let my guard down - did I do this to myself?

Maybe we need a little background. Maybe context will help settle this story and explain my position.

The paragraph facotry is an odd place. Departments and sections rarely interact and talk with other sections. Something as simple as a cubicle divider in an office has the sheer force and abilty to keep desk-mates complete strangers.

I had tried for quite some time to inject myself into a few of the conversations around here when sports or music would come up. More adept at the latter, I found I could easily slip in and out of these conversations around the office. Even if nobody really seemed to be listening.

I was laying the groundwork.

Finally I had given up and said fuck you to all the line-men and women on the factory floor. My cold shoulder snub one day caught the attention of the residetn hipster/music writer. He had two tickets to a CD release party and wanted to know if I Would be interested.

"Eh." I feined, disintersted. Apathy. Don't show emotion or he'll know you are a fraud. He laid the tickets on my desk and said if i didn't want them, I could jsut throew them away.

Screw you, jackass, I'm going. This was my first mistake.

As the night wore on I saw what was, to my surprise, an intense show. Rock on an intimate yet racous level that I had not really expereince since Freshman Year when I would sneak into the Music Cafe to drink and see random acts.

The music cafe was the only joint in town that would serve to minors on a regualr basis - so to go and drink was the main corse, catching an interesting act was like a free desert.

As the bar closed and the mohawked bartender shuffled us out we walked acorss the street to a friend's house where he invited me and female from the factory up for a martini. I had only had a few beers all night - it was a 6 hour concert - and I thought one martini could only grease the wheels of the social occasion.

He mixed the two martinis out of sight as this femal and I talked in the living room about the show and rung out our ears as the silence in the room started to ring in out heads.

I was half way through the martini - dirty gin - when I felt the affects of something else in me. What was sobrity, quickly became pure confusion.

"Finish your drink, get out of the house, fresh air will do you good."

But when I moved to stand, I could not feel my legs. My toes were rock solid and my hips were slowly going. Within 10 minutes I was slumping in my chair - dead in the water. I'd felt this way only once before in New Orleans - but that was after the talking bottle of liquor shoveled several shots down my throat.

Cup barley held in my hand, my stare had gone blank and my eyes could not even focuse on the nearest wall. Our host was playing guitar - a smooth accoustin melody.

Oh god, he was trying to impress the girl. While I was being raped by this vicious drink. An intense white light began to surround me and engluff my vision.

I had to throw up.

I'm a pro at this, in - out, clean up and no ones knows what happened. Quiet and easy.

As I returned to the living room, our host was attempting to try his luck with the girl and she was bolting for the door. At least that is what appeared to be happening with the shapes of color in front of me.

As soon as she left, the party was over. I fell on to the couch, or was pushed by our host - im not sure.

That's when it hit me - both the wodden arm rest and this realization: I grabbed the wrong drink.

Whatever was coarsing through my body and had been expunged by my vomiting was not intended for me.

Is this what its like to take a bullet? I did not even get my coat or shoes off before I was down for the count.

I would have been terrified if i could have felt anything at that moment.

I left as soon as I was conscience the next morning - I was still drunk from the drug but the shoes on my feet and my coat still wraped to my body screamed of exit strategy.

Easy get away - that's what we strive for.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Walking through America, Inc.

It has finally warmed up enough in this god-forsaken part of the country that I felt the urge to take a walk inthe middle of the day.

I have been stuck inside for seven months with my back totheo nly good window in the office. This would not be so bad if i could swivel around and stare longingly out the window to a world that was better than the grey cubicle i currently dwel, except that my nemisis sits directly between me and the only window.

I have bene caught a number of times staring out the window when he looked up and glared back at me.

"What are you looking at?" he would yelp from across the room.

My momentary peace was shattered and I had to return to staring my computer screen.

Today, though, It was tiem for me to bust out of this lack luster hell hole.

Now, here is the delima with taking a walk while at work. The bulding I toil away at is actually ion and office complex called Rolling Hills Executive Park.

I know three of those four words in the title give you the idea that there would be fields of green grass, open spaces for you to run or frolic or even, at the least, some kind of trail that might get those executive jusices flowing so you could be a productive worker in this American Corporation.

Instead, it is a vile trap. Rolling, seems to be a euphimisim for parking lots. Hills, seems to also mean concrete patio out back. And the elustrious park title seems more to mean stromwater run off area (Avoid during high water - the sign to my park says).

In all reality I work at the Parking Lot Patio Pad Executive Drainage Ditch.

Classy I know. But fuck be to the title as I wa bound a determiend to at least get a little sun on this pastey white skin. I am an indoor kid, for sure, but not today.

As I headed out I went immediatly to the small sidewalk that seems to jut back into the trees - a hiking trail? No, it tured out to be an access path to the drainage basin in my office park. We continued through the grassy area where all the smoker congregate - it is illegal to smoke within 25 feet of an building entrace.

From there I found myself crossing the wide black parking lot that sevrves several buildings.

"You lost?" One motorist asked as I was nearing the end of hte lot

"Nope, jsut out walking,"

"Where?"

There does not need to be a destination you dip shit. Not that htere was anywhere I could go. Subway? The coffee Shop? The liquor Store - i never understod why we had a liquor store on the office campus.

So i went to go wander around in the Liquor Store of a while. It was one of those high-end joints where asking for the Sparks or 40s of Mickey could get you thrown out.

The manager stared me down the entire time I was there. I guess a punk kid wearing jeans and a t-shirt at 2 p.m. in the after noon in one of these stores sreams stick up more than valid customer.

Oh well, the walk must go on. I fianlly decided to walk to the grocery store that is about a mile down the road.

I make this sound like I'm hiking down some country road, but in reality Antioch Road is like walking down Interstate 70 - but this at least had side walks.

I was the only one out there. It was too nice a day to be the only one out there walking around. But, erriely, I was.

Nobody walks around in Johnson COunty. They either drive or make someone esle drive them. It is a county of high and mighty and they don't have time for walks or afternoon jaunts to the grocery store.

The insist that their government build sidewalks everywehere. They want the option of walking or biking or god knows what. They will pay the taxes to build miles apoun miles of sidewalks, but they will never use them. They will never build a neighborhood or shopping mal where people will actually use the sidewalk they paid for.

It is the biggest paradox of a citizenry and it government. The city knows it can save moeny not building a sidewalk down the highway becasue no one will use it. But the soccer moms insist that a sidewalk brings a community together.

The best crime deterent, they say, is community - build the side walk and let the hug-fest begin.

Well, its too late to dig them up, so I guess I'll use them and walk to the grocery store for a box of Mike and Ikes. I'll finish them by the time I get back ot the office, but then again, the Mike and Ikes were not the purpose.

Nobody seemed to miss me when I returned.

I don't know if that is a good thing or not.