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Friday, December 19, 2003

The superlatives of Beauty and Luck were at Murphy's Pub last night.

Her with Her red hair and dyn-o-mite body and geeky laugh and Him cradling Her shoulder and proudly towering nearby.

Public displays of affection? Territorial pissings?

I looked away and down into my beer.

Sunday, December 7, 2003

I think my granny likes to kick back a few beers on the weekend.

My grandfather's faraway voice coupled her's on the phone as they sang a smile-inducing version of the Birthday Song to me.

On the phone she told me stories about their tender moments of romantic abandonment and I wasn't afraid to listen. Letting go of cynical reflexes I silenty gave props to love.

What's cooler than being cool?
Married for 50 years.

Thursday, December 4, 2003

"How are you?"
I'm thinking about purchasing a one-way ticket to Iceland.

"How are you?"
I'm trying really hard to not be sad when you leave.

"How are you?"
I am peaceably outliving these strange and disturbing digestive proceses in my belly.

"How are you?"
I'm worried that worrying about my receding hair-line will only make things worse.

"How are you?"
Not too excited about checking my checking account balance.

"How are you?"
I'm sleepy.

Monday, December 1, 2003

the second city

Chicago has really tall buildings.

And giant pretzel pits and Willy Wonka and car accidents. There is a statue of a golden bull somewhere in Chicago.

There are little black kids that play upside-down bucket drums and sometimes there's a crowd gathered around and sometimes people just pass them by. Novelty tends to be short-lived.

Maybe your ex-girlfriend is looking at pretty fish somewhere in Chicago.

Chicago is far away from here and it's expensive. Though you can skate for free on Michigan street and look up and feel cradled by really tall buildings; Prudential, Sears, Hancock. Someone will probably stop you and ask you for money in Chicago.

You can eat greasy food, yuppie food, russian food, and outdoor food in the middle of December, in Chicago. Small brown-skinned people will clean up after you when you leave your favorite downtown restaurant.

Then you can look up at the really tall buidlings while spinning around in circles and feel like the most powerful man.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Copito de Nieve

Snowflake the rare albino gorilla died today in Barcelona, Spain.


I woke up this morning and was amazed to see snowflakes twirling down outside my window.

It took me a little while to put it all together.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Die-Hard Sox Fan

When he said "sox fan" I thought it came to his mind as he saw the soft woolly stockings covering my feet, exposed beneath my Jesus sandals. I was sleeping on a couch in the lounge of Snyder Hall, and he was walking with the rest of his family, his wife and son and daughter, the college student. She was showing her family around her dorm and eventually they walked passed me and woke me from my slumber with their comments about my socks. For just a second I wondered how I got to this foreign place and then I remembered walking into the building a few hours earlier to study. (i.e. take a nap)

I saw a squirrel stuff his mouth full of grass outside the entrance to the dormitory. The elasticity of his cheeks seemed to know no end.

I began to to reminisce about living in the six-pack, long days and nights of production-less procrastination, ramen noodles, late night pizza ("Can I get some cheese with that cardboard?"), and my triple-sized dorm room, occupied only by myself, and once in a while by my ex-girlfriend Kara.

She would've cooed endearingly at the squirrel, charmed by those soft and furry and small and fluffy-tailed things that would cross our paths while walking together somewhere. Haunting remnants of our pedestrian relationship floated next to me, held me there as I saw the squirrel and heard her voice, her squeals of delight, her pointing finger and smiling face before I finally realized that the ghosts weren't holding onto me, but that I was holding onto them.

I stoically un-clung myself from this daydream, clasped tightly to the dry reality of time-management and responsibility, and headed home.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

"To do the dishes, to do the laundry, to clean up my room..."

When I walked into Brothers the first thing I noticed was two young ladies gyrating their hips and flinging their arms in the air side to side, dancing on top of the bar.

Their dancing moves were repetitive and recognizable, and their cookie-cutter outfits made them carbon copies not only of themselves, but of the hundreds of other look-alike sorority girls on campus. I still gawked though.

Later on in the night they were dancing to a song that you just aren't supposed to dance to and i'm on the second floor of Brother's, looking down, still refusing to deny myself the simple pleasure of watching them move. There were two older guys on the floor below within dancing distance of them, drinking some kind of expensive foreign beer. One of them had a Solo Cup Company sweater on and the other a brown leather coat and nut-hugger jeans.

The girls mostly danced on top of each other suggestively satisfying and enticing the libidos of many guys (and girls, i'm sure) in the bar. Then they began to move apart from each other like dancing fingers on the hands of the opposite sides of an accordion in action. (breathe in)

Eventually, one girl backed into the Nut-Hugger Jean guy.

She turns around to face him, busts a move real quick, and the guy responds as if he is punching some imaginary foe in the stomach on his right side and kicking another in the shin on his left. She abruptly turns around and glides back closer to her friend. (breathe out)

"Girls" by the Beastie Boys comes on next, I bob my head for a bit, finish my Pork-Chop-In-A-Bottle and head home.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

I'm going to write this and then I'm going to find out what gender I am.

Shirley had the link posted in her away message and I clicked it even though I knew that it would log my screen name.

Stalker? Just interested?

She bakes cakes and cookies and can talk at length and with great enthusiasm about her life.

And she bakes cakes and cookies and maintains a large vocabulary and she doesn't believe me when I tell her I fell in love with her.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Maybee she is ultra catholic where she lets nothing fly. But her eyes and she doesn't speak English and her red hair speaks Spanish. "Please, speak Spanish."

Y esto, yo que quiero decir. "Cómo sabes mis palabras! Cómo sabes lo que estoy diciendo aunque no sé yo! Como que querría que nunca sabe nada lo que estaba diciendo.

Un borracho yo, un capitán nuevo de esta lenguaje tan inmóvil, tan inexpresable.

I wanted to tell her that the fondest memories of my life were somewhere stored away in Spain, in Spanish.

En Español.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

the inclination to breathe

Dave says it's all about the inclination to breathe.

Like, when you're trying to swim the length of the pool at IMPE without breathing, the hardest thing about doing it is staving off the inclination to breathe. Of course there's always the physical effort involved, the kicking, the pulling, the reaching- all of which gradually require more and more effort as you get farther and farther along the pool. All of which seem to become all the much more dramatic as your lungs start flipping out and your heart starts pounding.

But they're just panicking, you tell yourself. They're just pussies who need air. If you can fight off the inclination to breathe the first thing you'll notice after the little bitch-fit your respiratory system throws is this numb tingling feeling in your fingers. Then the feeling oozes up your hands and arms and you have to really begin to become mindful and deliberate about your movements if you want to make it to the other end.

Maybe the feeling creeps up again in your toes, then your feet. But by that time usually, it's only two or three more half-assed strokes and there you are at the other end of the pool. And there you can show your heart and lungs and nervous and respiratory system that they really had nothing worry about.

Fucking pussies.

So all it boils down to fighting off the INCLINATION to breathe. The DESIRE to breathe- not breath itself, but the yearning, wanting, empty grasping of it.

There's that feeling you get when you look up at the sheet on the board that has the grades posted for some test or exam that you spent hours and hours studying for. As you scan the huge list for the last five digits of your ID number you're thinking to yourself somewhere in the back of your head that no matter how well it says you did on the test, you probably pretend not to be satisfied.

Because you're proud and you try not to show it, excited yet you try to remain stoic. Can I stick this on the refridgerator? Can I get a pat on the back?

Why can't I burst out of the school building doors and run to mom and dad, clutching my graded papers, fluttering through the air? Where's my encouragement and my praise? Where is the pleasant, congratulatory cooing tones of my grandparents? Where is the envy of my peers? Where's my shiny golden star? Where's my Pizzahut Bookit sticker?

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Metamorphisis of a Question

Metamorphisis of a Question

Starring: the Eggman & the Walrus
Scene: Sitting on a wall somewhere, the duo are engaged in polite conversation.

E: Blah, blah. This and that and this and this.
W: Mhmm, mhmm.
E: Right so, dun, dunun, dundundun doodoodo. Dun.
W: I see.
E: But what about whawha wha wha wha ...

[The walrus patiently awaits the delayed arrival of a question mark, yet he somehow knows that it just isn't coming]

E: ...doodoo doo dOO

[if he was younger, more spirited and more naive, the Walrus would have heard the raised intonation and abrupt pause of the Eggman's voice and been convinced that it was soon going to be his turn to speak]

E: ..beCAUse... if this thisthis this and whawha wha wha you would think that doo doo-doo, doo

[the Walrus huffs just as gradually as he pulls his head away from the Eggman, distantly, resignedly. Nonchalantly he splays his body further along the wall to sleep, Eggman chatter becoming more and more distant as he becomes more and more soporific. His eyelids draw shut, he's sleeping, and now he's dreaming about kings and horses and men and rotten eggs.]

Friday, October 31, 2003

The [key]Strokes

I've been delivering mail for the Foreign Language building now for just over 4 months.

With the help of two elevators and a four foot tall beige cart I scale throughout all 4 floors of this upside-down pyramid of a structure, delivering postcards from Warsaw, packages from mom back in France, quarterly Chinese language journals, round poster tubes from Italy, massive steel rolls of film canisters from Switzerland, a broad broad array of various advertising pamphlets, including the monthly Victoria Secret newsletter to several naughty naughty staff members working here in the building.

So whatever. I've delivered hundreds of messages in handfuls of languages to dozens and dozens of different people. I am just one of the many intermediating forces between one nameless, faceless, handshakeless, small-talkless entity and the other. Though I pride myself as a conductor of information, a sieveless filter, a dreamcatcher with no strands, just a hollow hoop with no bad dreams or paranoia.

There's point A, there's point B and there is me, disappearing between the two points, strecthing thin with the gossamer thread that trickles and traces it's way across a really big blue ball. From point A to point B: "We miss you, please come home."

No handshakes, no small talk, "Don't miss out on this special offer!" No quick furtive peeks and shy glances away, "This is how much you owe us:" No shaky stuttering or random outbursts of nervous interruption, "Yeah, but- No, but-" no ruminations about what you could have should have would have said, "Learn how to speak five different languages!"

Simple. Direct. Bold. Impervious messages delivered from point A to point B; it's just overcompensation for being unable to get to point You from point Me.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Last Night

Hesitation. Nervous, Scolding, Judgmental hesitation. Two large jugs of alcohol still standing, standing still, waiting for me at the apartment. The spirits within colliding with the spirits without.

"I deserve this," rationalizing unhealthy behavior.


"Hello, yes i'm very interested in what you have to say. Sorry, I have a bad case of homophobia. Won't you come sit with us? Hey at least I tried. Do I look cool smoking these cigarettes?

Tell me all about faraway lands while I pour te-queel-ya shots. Do you enjoy my hospitality?

Let us pray."


"I'm not too good for cheap beer." Old Glory hangs faded on the balcony with a view and people-people. "I'm a people-person too." A thin blanket of wetness (blanket: watching mom watching it as she floats it down on your bed) lies over the black pavement below, reflecting fluorescent lines of red from above, from the bar next door, Legends. "So tell me stories about your faraway land," legends.

"Why hello there, sorry to interrupt" now casually make your way back inside with the people-people.

And the Mom:

An older woman uncomfortably coursing her hands over her booty. Ample bottom, round rotund dairy-air. "Close-fit me, hip-hug me" she says to her jeans.

Dear Slim Fashionable Modern Woman,

Your slight random knee-jerks and fickle hands and hair adjustment, all of this: of course you feel out of place now come to baby.

baby needs milk,
A Lug to Chug

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

words that describe (but don't belong to) me

Today in Spanish class we were all instructed to anonymously write down three different adjectives for three different people, respectively (i.e. three for each person). Mine are as follows:

-"comico, divertido, relajado";
-"extrano, divertido, chistoso, especial";
-"ablante, funny, amable";
"-interesante, calmado, buena gente";
[Because of the grammar, I can tell my teacher wrote this one]:
-"humorista (buen sentido del humor), inteligente (contribuye cosas nuevas), original";
-"comico, inteligente, determinado";
-"pensador, carinoso, inteligente".

Later on today in group Psychology class, coincidentally, we were also instructed to write a comment directed towards an individual regarding their contribution to the discussion of gender roles and homosexuality. I was touched by several of them:

"Marty: (Absolutely) I appreciate your honesty and the expression of your fears. I know what it's like to feel scrutinized and to feel like I should've said something different in the group setting ... but ultimately it was important for me to realize that I can NEVER be at fault for simply being open. You never imposed your ideas on anyone, so you have no reason to feel bad!."

"I appreciate Marty for admitting that he spoke before he thought."

"Marty, I appreciate how open & honest you always are. I view you as an extremely insightful person, a asshole is the last thing I would have thought to call you."
(I said I felt like an asshole for unleashing some disparaging remarks concerning lesbians.)

"Marty, I appreciate your openness. You really sparked a informative, and educational discussion."

"Marty - I have appreciated everything you've ever said in class but today you took a huge chance & spoke from within. You have alot of courage not only to be honest but to also admit you mis-spoke or spoke to soon. You're amazing."

I try not to hold on to words, words that don't belong to me.
But it just feels like sometimes, some words hold on to me.

La Higuera
por Juana de Ibarbourou
Si ella escucha,
si comprende el idioma en que hablo,
¡qué dulzura tan honda hará nido
en su alma sensible de árbol!

Y tal vez, a la noche,
cuando el viento abanique su copa,
embriagada de gozo le cuente:

¡Hoy a mí me dijeron hermosa!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

ella tiene un novio

She gave me a sweater to wear as I walked home from her apartment at 4 in the morning last night.

I told her I would try not to get too sentimental with it, hiding from her the fact that I wanted the sweater more just to have an excuse to see her again than to fight the chilly 20 minute long walk home.

But it was colder than I thought it would be, and walking home warmly I gradually began to appreciate her kind-hearted act of compassion.

Friday, October 10, 2003

milk shakes and bloody knuckles

We were driving to Steak and Shake for a late night bonanza of calories and saturated fats yesterday, Rahul my roommate in the driver seat and me riding shotgun with a Lactaid pill in my pocket. I can't digest lactose, a chemical in most milk-products, but with this pill (which contains the enzyme that digests lactose) I greedily ordered a chocolate milk shake from our waiter, vindictively mocking the Gods of Lactose-Intolerance.

Eating so much so late, I knew I was going to have nightmares so it was no surprise later on in deep sleep when I heard violent yells and vicious screams from all around. But the dream started to become too realistic to believe. I woke up, got up, and looked outside my window, groggily staring down at what was apparently a fist-fight between two guys who wanted to "settle things like men." The hooting and hollering of each of their groups of homies eventually transformed into astounded silence while the irregularity of loud thuds and smacks, fists flying about, skin-smacking and pounding gradually turned into a steadily repetitive, gruesome thumping noise. One guy was obviously beating the shit out of the other, and although I couldn't see but only hear all that was going on, it was obviously time to stop the fight.

The more physically wounded of these two victims of aggression was pulled to his feet by his friends. I finally caught a glimpse of him as he walked into sight of my window and off into the early morning night.

"Fuck dude, I'm going to need to get stitches for these bloody knuckles," he said, and I went back to sleep.

get well soon

I saw a girl being carried outside of Lincoln Hall today in a stretcher. The entirety of the naked bottom half of her body was showing through a thin partition of a white blanket that covered her legs while the paramedics loaded her into an ambulance. I saw no blood or scratches or any other obvious signs of physical trauma. The white baseball cap she had on couldn't hide the look on her face that could have been at the same time either a hysterically manic smile or a distorted, painful grimace. Given her unfortunate situation though, I pretty much doubted that she was in high spirits. She laid on her side motionless all the way into the ambulance but I had to keep on moving.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003


I swear the ladybugs are taking over campus.

I didn't think any much of them at first, especially when I swallowed one of them on my way back home from Spanish. It was sunny outside and I think I was singing to myself too loudly or inhale-whistling too deeply. So whatever, no big deal.

The next I heard of them, (their annoying presence at least) I was walking with a girl who told me she got bit on the neck by one. "Ladybugs don't bite," I asserted, only to be painfully corrected a few days later when one actually did- bite me, that is, on the underside of my wrist. "It's all good," I told myself. Ladybugs are cool, they're orange and have polka dots, and maybe sometimes they bite, no big deal. Besides, the bites don't really hurt or leave any permanent scarring.

Well the past few weeks have forced me reconsider my favorable disposition towards ladybugs. When I'm watching the sunset through the seventh floor window of the Psychology Building, there they are, clamorously banging the window, absolutely convinced that if they bang themselves against it long enough, they will eventually make it through. Directly on the other side of the window, through two seperate one-inch-thick window panes, FYI, are tons more ladybugs. Now those motherfuckers must have telekinesis or ESPN or some shit like that cause I KNOW they can't smell each other through those bulletproof windows.

ANYWAYS, being forced to share the sunset with ladybugs really is at the bottom of my list of concerns, so cool, whatever, I go home and make dinner. But there they are outside the screen of my window of my room. There they are scattered throughout little crevices on the ceiling of my outside balcony. There they are again, today, biting not only myself, but others in my Psychology 396 class.

And here comes the horror story. Today, during the 15 minute break of our 3 hour long 396 class (*) I look up at the light fixture in the ceiling near the water fountain, near the window and the girls bathroom. Somehow trapped inside the fixture are dozens and dozens of moving ladybugs, several of which appear to be immobile corpses. There are also about fifteen to twenty ladybug larvae being carefully attended to by the more agile of the spotted insects.

Then I saw the QUEEN LADYBUG. This bitch is BAD. It's about the size of your pinky finger, flourescent green moldy jello with tiny little hairs scattered all along its spine (or front, or side, who the hell knows) So I stood there staring at her royal majesty like a 20 year old insect-dork while a few of the girls in my class filed out of the bathroom.

I pointed up at the fixture and said, "Ladybugs!"
"Ew, gross," most of them said as they made their way back to class.

Eventually I found mine as well, but not without a determination to see the end of this orange and black polka-dot infestation.

*=15, 3, and 396 are all factors of 3! :-P

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Geek USA

So i'm reading this book called the Psychology of Awakening, concerning "Buddhism, Science, and Our Day-to-Day lives." Well i've gotten through one-third of the book and so far i've read some pretty impassioned and interesting ideas and parallels drawn between traditional Buddhist thought and modern-day philosophy, psychology, and society.

There are a lot of thought-provoking ideas but little to back them up scientifically. Recognizing the emphasis that has been placed on the necessity of including supporting empirical data in order to establish a decently tenable theory, I kind of snuffed, especially at some of the later articles, as being interesting and well-written but, well, shallow.

So when I turned the final page of the last article of the first third of the book and read the opening title of the second part of the book, "Body, Mind and Spirit: the SCIENTIFIC (caps added for emphasis) Perspective." I literally dropped my head back, looked up at the ceiling and exclaimed "Thank God!"

One of Buddhism's main distinguishing features from those other belief systems termed "religions" is the lack of a belief in a higher, authoritative Supreme Being outside and seperate from the individual. So you can imagine me slapping my hands on the table and shaking my head back and forth, chuckling to myself as I realized that I attributed a greater sense of the credibility of Buddhist thought towards God, a supreme being outside and seperate from the individual.

I looked out the window of my classroom, up through the huge skylight of the atrium of the Psychology Building, out at the grey October sky, wrote about this, then realized that I need to get a life.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

bittersweet gangsta-rap

The sky was somewhere in-between calm and disturbing, breezy and chilly, somewhere in-between summer and fall. I was walking in-between work and home, obligation and recreation, the on-duty soldier getting five minutes to gradually turn himself off. Five minutes is how long it takes me to walk home from work.

I heard footsteps behind me that momentarily echoed mine. They sounded like hurried, purposeful footsteps, like they were in a rush to make the train or beat the crowd outside to the parking lot at the end of a White Sox game. I was effortlessly walking home from work and she passes me, short, with her little black blackpack and long sandy brown hair that entices my hands the same way that moist, cool beach sand did when I was seven years old and anxiously digging away for some long-lost hidden treasure. This time though I managed to curb my anxiety and, more importantly, my hands. "Jessica," I calmly summoned her.

She slows down, we talk small, and i'm happy to be walking down the Quad next to a pretty girl. We part and later I can't resist turning around, longingly gazing halfway down the Quad as she rides away on her bike. And with the pleasant imagery of her nice booty I continued on, on in-between work and home, calm and disturbed, breezy and chilly, happy and sad.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Delta Delta Delta

Holly is a Tri-Delt, the former girlfriend of Scott, who used to live next door to me freshmen year in the dorms. Good times. One night in the dorms, when it was very late and very quiet, I woke up my half-asleep then-girlfriend next to me in bed. "Did you hear that noise?" I said and we listened quietly with our ears pressed against the eight-inch think walls of brick that seperated Scott's room from mine. Holly was getting the brains fucked out of her and being loud as all shit about it. We giggled and eventually made it back to sleep.

I saw Holly today on my way back home from class. It was one of those semi-long-distance instances of recognition where you see the person from about 25 feet away, cautiously pass a glance of familiarity, sometimes smile, and, given the right opportunity, actually approach and engage said person in conversation. Holly has very light freckles and was going to meet her mom for lunch. I thought about her super-green eyes as soon as we parted even if she was wearing color-enhancing contacts. Standing next to her made me feel tall and I didn't even imagine what she looked like that night, her rough and rowdy cries of ruthless sexual abandon replaying through my mind only recently, repetitively.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Chemical Warfare of Gastronomical Proportions

I peeled off the thin piece of wax paper seperating each hunky piece of colby jack cheese from the others in the cheese package and gently placed it on my first sandwich. It was 1 o'clock and time for my daily lunch break back at the apartment. Turkey pastrami, pickles, dijon mustard, sliced tomatoes, and two pieces of colby jack cheese, one each, along with the other condiments, sandwiched in-between four slices of honey wheat bread. I eat two sandwiches everyday for lunch.

The first sandwich was great, and I began to daydream about faraway lands. But suddenly I started chewing on something that had the texture of an old rubber band. I tried to ignore it, but, just out of curiosity, regurgitated the semi-chewed food back into my hand. Something wasn't right. Further investigation into the second sandwich led to a startling conclusion. I peeled away the half-eaten piece of wax paper stuck to the cheese in the remainder of the sandwich and incredulously stared at the profile my bite marks carved into it. It looked like the state of Utah.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Your Honor

This morning I begrudgingly put on a sweater.

I was going to stay in my courtroom attire, maybe impressing unas de las chicas en mi clase de espanol with my stylish sense of fashion. But no, I didn't think it worked on the Judge ("Your Honor") and so it probably wasn't going to on them and besides I didn't want to incite questions from my classmates as to why I suddenly decided to take time to cultivate my appearance.

My court date was scheduled for 9am this morning. I woke up 9:02 and ferverishly convinced my roommate to drive me asap to the courthouse. I made it just in time to watch the prisoners in there black and white and black and white horizonatally striped uniforms file one by one out of the courtroom, back to their carcel, presumably. Usually you only see one white guy surrounded by five black guys on the basketball court, but this case was different. There was a white man en queue along with the black men. Their hand AND foot cuffs clanged and clattered while continuing their solemn dirge and reminding me what I DON'T want to be when I grow up. I anxiously awaited my turn in a front row seat.

"Mr. Cortez do you understand the charges put against you." and now i'm standing next to my lawyer, Susan Hessee of the Student Legal Services, before the judge, and politely yet monotonously repeating "Yes your honor" in response to his bevy of questions. "How do you plead, Mr. Cortez?" "Guilty, your honor."

That same guilt now somehow brews somewhere in my intestinal tract here in the basement of the Foreign Language Building, an upside-down pyramid. Brown Bottle Blues, i.e. hangover:

Last night there were no foreigners at the International Illini barcrawl. But that's ok because last night I drank and drank and drank until I became a well-versed conversationalist capable of parlaying whimsicalities about faraway lands. Most of them lasted more than five minutes and girls smiled at me and I smiled back.

Too bad the Judge didn't.

Saturday, September 13, 2003


I'd rather make a sloppy mess with my food than have to cantankerously manage it inside my mouth. I'd rather stain my brand new shorts and sandals with various colors than have to let go of the overwhelming passion of painting walls for hours on end. I'd rather buzz in too early, incorrectly on Jeopardy, than hear my opponent answer first, whether or not he was right or wrong.

I'd rather spill my emotions than struggle to squeeze them inside bottles, knowing that i'll not only need one (or 6, or 24, or 30) but maybe even more in order to drink them all away.

Friday, August 15, 2003

blowtorches and broken nails

Today my cousin's leg hair was singed by a blowtorch. My grandfather chuckled when he found out that he was the clumsy culprit. I nervously laughed along with him, even though I still wished that the sun was out.

Grey skies and scattered showers seem all the more so from the rooftop of a four-story apartment building on the West Side of Chicago. We're watching Grandpa melting the tar on the underside of the black roofing sheets with his propane-powered firegun. When he's done, we provide adhesion through a frenzic stamping procedure, not unlike kindergarteners who just discovered the wonders of Elmer's Glue.

It was really hot mud underneath the roofing sheets, oozy sticky dark chocolate pudding, and i'm pounding down with my gloved fists, the tip of my tongue sticking out of the left corner of my lips.

Today I broke a nail.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

true to form

Sober month lasted a week.

You see, something weird happens when dealing with emotions; either you mask them or express them. Of course, being the macho, manly man that I am, I have no choice but to choose the former.

So, Texas Jerry and Dave, two people that I had the undeserving fortune to meet and befriend this summer also left me with the bitter sensation of knowing that within a few weeks they would be gone, back to Texas, true to form. So what do most guys do when they don't know how to manage their internal lamentations?

They get fucked up, and, true to form, I followed suit. I can't remember if I felt ashamed or proud or relieved when I gave Jerry two dollars to buy me a beer. Maybe I did it to commemorate their departure, or maybe I used their departure as an excuse to get fucked up. Regardless, I drank, and smoked. (the green)

I looked at Jessie with drunken eyeballs later on that night at Margo's afterhours party, "What ever happened to Sober Month?" she asked, and uselessy, just like i'm doing now, I tried to explain myself.

Maybe she understood.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

saturday night dead

Saturday night was Ricky's 21st birthday. Accordingly, he had a few of his friends over to celebrate his birthday (consume lots of alcohol) at his apartment.

He passed around the first martini (the first one he ever made, I think) to Angelica, who said, after a quick sip, "It tastes like cough medicine," but then later, after a few more said, "But it grows on you..."

"So does fungus," said Aaron, a childhood friend of mine who is also friends with Ricky. After the fourth or fifth try, it seemed that Ricky started to get the hang of martini manufacturing and freely did the alcohol begin to flow, including many followups of bacardi shots, half of which, later on that night, wound up spilt on the floor.

I tried to gracefully decline all drink offers and casually fit in by drinking a non-alcoholic beer, but had to eventually explain, as succintly as possible, why I wasn't going to participate in the drinking. Being as it was that I hardly knew 4-5 of the 10 already inebriated people there, I think this only served to ostracize myself even more.

But that's ok, this is Sober Month, I told myself while splitting up with them during their march to Brother's. Najah and all Them were at Clybourne's so I went to pick up Texas Jerry before meeting them there. I figured I would be a bit more comfortable around these girls, seeing as none of them are half as big of a drinker as I am. Upon arrival at their table, I self-consciously wondered if my lame attempts at conversation starters were a result of my sobriety, and while Jerry kept on making his trips to the bar for more and more beer I began to wonder if maybe I should start drinking too. You know, in order to become more interesting.

Afterhours and i'm dancing with Najah only because she's kind enough to let me. No beer goggles, no drunken attempts to socialize, i'm just standing against the wall looking cool, every now and then I dance with Najah. Xochitl asks for a lap dance and I tell her i've never seen one much less know how to give one. I turn around and in awe I watch Puertan Rican Liza swivel on the dance floor, "I learned how to step today!"

"I crave my own world," she says while we're walking to the Pimpmobile to go eat late night food. "I don't care if anyone's watching when I dance" she says and I want to open up and get all sentimental with her, but no.

I haven't had enough to drink.

Saturday, August 2, 2003

Alcohol Abuse

An avalanche cascades down my throat, splashing into my belly ambushing a plethora of soft fleshy vital organs. They squeak awake like a seven year old from his death-ninja nightmare and scurry along about their biological maintenance. Chug, chug, chug a lug.

The inevitable by-products, the toxic nuclear waste of my guts amalgamates, invading the remainders of my insides. By the time I wake up next morning, with a skunky funk gently oozing viscosity, the leftover lager, ironically, swallows my own sense of well-being. (or chi, or aura, or spirit, or soul, or essence) Whatever,

"Call it what you wanna call it,
I'm a fuckin' alcoholic."

This is an experiment. (A test, this is only a test)

I wonder what happens when a binge drinking college student suddenly decides to stop drinking. I'm too lazy to try to convince anyone else to do it, so i'm doing it myself. I'm also too afraid of the idea of never drinking ever again, so i'm only doing it for one month.

I like to go out, I like to party, and for me going out and partying almost always includes getting wasted (Shit-faced, tipsy, visibly drunk, above the legal limit, whatever) So, beginning yesterday, August 1st, the challenge begins. Is it possible to go out and have a good time in a midwestern University surrounded by corn fields and other, drunken, hormone-raging boys and girls without consuming lots of alcohol?

The hairlines recede farther back on the guys that hang out at Cowboy Monkey compared to the hairlines on the other guys that hang out at most other bars closer to campus. Maybe that's why I felt more comfortable there. With the bit more chill atmosphere of this downtown Champaign bar, I didn't really feel pressured to drink as much as I would have at, say, another bar packed with sweaty underclassmen rushing back and forth to refill their five dollar pitchers of watered-down, lite beer. I know them, I used to be one.

So I casually ordered Paulaner, a non-alcoholic brew with a nice taste. Despire the $3 charge, I pretty much enjoyed all four bottles. We sat outside in the beer garden, roommate Jeff, Puerto Rican Jessica, Red Haired Theresa, Swiss Stephan, Sung the Korean, and Sam the Girl. Of course, who could forget Cowboy Molly, our beer wench who periodically popped in to take our orders.

I think she (Cowboy Molly) might've saluted us (Jeff, Jessica, and I) on our way out, fingertips to eyebrow, but if she did I pretended to ignore her because I'm trying to pretend I don't have a crush on her.

Later on after the bar, Texas Jerry (guess where he's from) tried to jump inside Jeff's Pimpmobile through the passenger seat window, while it was still moving, onto my lap. By the time he was half-way in, I squealed like a ten year old girl and locked the door. He eventually wound up in the back of the SUV with Texas Dave, Xochitl (good luck pronouncing her name), and this girl Nicole who kept asking, "Where's da weed at?" I held my fingers on the outside of the door of the car, for leverage so I could let Margo slide underneath me in the front passenger seat. Before I had a chance to sit down on her lap, but more importantly, remove my fingers, she slammed the door on them.

No one had any weed that they wanted to share and after making an appearance at an after party but refusing to pay $4 dollars to get inside, the night seemed to be coming to an end.

Ten minutes later it did, and as we drove back home, (Jeff and I), after dropping everyone off, I began to wonder if I could keep up this sober state of being for four more weekends.

Sunday, May 4, 2003

from a research article titled "Freud, evolution, and the tragedy of man." :

"For both Freud and Nietzsche, the cause of the human tragedy was not merely the fall from Nature, but the inexorable knowledge that Man's denial of his biological heritage was the very basis for being human."

Friday, May 2, 2003

Sunday, January 26, 2003

traffic jam

I noticed that there were many insightful words written on the bumper stickers of the back of his car.

"I'd like the people behind me in a traffic jam to have their political opinions aggravated and their hopes massaged."

I laughed then asked if I could quote him someday.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Is there such a thing as an "online presence"?

Or are all those people on your buddy list really just ghosts?

Sunday, January 19, 2003

11 Possible Subject Headings for Today, just Today

The Tale of the Frozen Snickers Bar

"Pam" Wasn't Her Real Name

How to Help You Help Me

Spanking-New Entries into the Dictionary of Clichés

I Missed a Spot Shaving This Morning

How To Spend Too Much Money Way Too Fast

The Wonders of Static Electricity

It's OK To Laugh At Yourself

No You Will Never Find the Liner Notes for that One CD


The Poster that Just Wouldn't Stick on The Wall Goddamnit

Saturday, January 18, 2003


My Iowan roommate Dennis says he doesn't like the snow.

He says it's hard living on a farm and having to deal with the copious amounts of snow that do sometimes happen to fall upon his land. His father has to haul out a tractor, in fact, in order to be able to clear out the driveway whenever there does happen to be a large snowfall.

There was a snowfall here today, somewhere outside of Iowa.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Just A Thought, Just A Thought

Sometimes I put more value in the measure of life than in it's actual substance.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003


How geeky is sitting alone in a small coffeehouse at a small table, on the edge of your small seat and hunched over a small book upon which you gaze in small, childlike wonder as you realize slowly that you're on the trail of a much larger discovery? Not just on any trail of discovery, mind you, but on a path that clears the way for a brief analysis of a parallel between human nature and nature itself?

I think it's extraodinarily geeky, yet ultimately constructive and noteworthy, thus:

In Physics there lie laws. One of which is the law that "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Never being a mathematical or physics whiz of any sort, I had a hard time seeing the practical applications of this law, or theory. So while I was confused theorectically, I knew that a real-life clarification must have lied in the mathematical mind of my roomate Ryan. As an everyday example of this law of physics, he analogized:

"It's like right now, how you're stepping on the floor- you aren't just stepping on it, pushing down on it ... it's pushing UP on you too. You see, if the floor wasn't pushing up just as much you are pushing down, you would have already gone crashing down through the ground, but you're didn't and you still haven't yet, in fact, here you are, still listening to me explain the same law of physics upon which you abide."

So then, practically, I was situated with the "nature itself" side of the action/reaction parallel. But there was still:

Another wise man and author by the name of J. Krishnamurti who questions the substance of concepts like freedom in terms of "human nature."

"Is this what each individual insists and demands upon - a freedom in which there is no leadership, no tradition, no authority? Otherwise there is not freedom; otherwise when you say you are free from something, it is merely a reaction, which, because it is a reaction, is going to be the cause of another reaction. One can have a chain of reactions, accepting each reaction as a freedom, but that chain is not freedom, it is a continuity of the modified past to which the mind clings."

So now, again practically, what does this all add up to? Is he saying that accepting that "chain," (or human nature acting in accordance with the physical laws of nature) is akin to being "un-free"? Must we transgress and break a major law of physics, of nature, in order to live free lives?

I see a parallel developing, but in which direction I am still blind. Maybe one day all that seems to be just a small sketch of an even smaller sketch, like this journal entry, will be a part of a much bigger picture.


Monday, January 13, 2003

J. Krishnamurti:

"To live peacefully everyday means you really have no nationality, religion, dogma, or authority. Peace means to love, to be kind; if you haven't that, then you are responsible for all the confusion."