This afternoon I was going to write an angry, frothy rant about the music industry suing their customers, but as I was walking around the kitchen composing my thoughts like I usually do, I ended up sitting down with my brother to watch the D-backs play the Marlins because I hear good things about this Dontrelle Willis kid. The things I heard were right. So right, in fact, that he beat Randy Johnson because our offense is non-existent.
There are things more important than rants about the music industry. The music industry will either learn from its mistakes or fall by the wayside. Baseball went through similiar growing pains, which is why the announcers today wouldn't shut up about the attendance at the Marlins' stadium: it was shockingly full. The Marlins management pissed on the fans by trading away their championship team, and they learned that your customers do not take kindly to being pissed on. That, and you know, the whole strike thing.
Take heed, music industry, listen up, MLB: The fact that aging arrogant institutions are referred to as "dinosaurs" is instructive. Know why?
'Cause the dinosaurs are fuckin' dead.
I don't usually write letters to horses that have been dead for decades. But the success of the recent book based on your exploits, and the movie based on that book, have forced me to break with that tradition.
To be honest, I haven't read your book or seen your movie. But I have been bathed in the heartwarming glow of your promotional materials enough to know the story: A pint-size horse and a too-big jockey and Jeff Bridges prove everyone in Depression-era America wrong by winning something horse-related. From what I'm told, the story is true. You did it, you beat the odds. You and Tobey Macguire pulled one over on genetics and destiny and people's expectations, good for you. But here's what I want to know, Seabiscuit:
What about all the horses that were too small to win, and just never won? The weak-kneed last place steeds that stayed that way? What sort of bar is your story setting for these horses?
Imagine it, if you will, Seabiscuit, though you are rotting in the ground and horses probably don't have the most vivid imaginations to begin with: So the Depression has knocked everybody around, people are starving, the bottom has dropped out of their lives. But your victory brings hope to millions, they think, perhaps if four-legged underdogs can make it happen, maybe two-legged underdogs can do the same. Among these millions is a small boy, we'll call him Edgar, because why not, whose family is let's say a month away from being evicted from their farm. Maybe it's the Dust Bowl, I don't know, maybe his dad is just a shitty farmer and would be getting kicked off his acreage Great Depression or no, but it's going to happen. One of the only things they have left is this old horse, who looks a lot like the rest of them: Waifish, sickly, in need of a good meal. Nobody sees much in this old horse except Edgar, who, thanks to your exploits, has become convinced that any no-account mule can be a champion.
He doesn't eat the lunch his mother sends him to school with, usually, on particularly hungry days he eats maybe half. He brings it home tied in a napkin and on his way up to the house Edgar sits on the fencepost where the old horse is tied up, and unfurls the remainders of lunch in front of him. He says, "Come on, eat up, Papa's Newest Hat" (horses have weird names, you should know that from experience.) He is determined by skimping on lunch he's going to turn this horse into a big strong blue-ribbon stallion. Maybe, he thinks, Papa's Newest Hat will get in some races, maybe he'll place higher than we expect. Maybe he'll win. Maybe he'll win the Kentucky Derby, maybe the Belmont Stakes. Maybe his hard-luck grit and determination and the way I nursed him back to health and spurred him on to victory will inspire an author, let's call her Lauren Hillenbrand, to write a book about us. Maybe they'll make one of them motion pictures based on that book, maybe they'll cast an squeaky-voiced alcoholic who also played a comic book superhero as me.. But it won't happen. Papa's Newest Hat is just a crappy horse who's getting an extra meal that will slightly prolong his crappy-horse life.
You cannot feed a child on hopes and dreams, Seabiscuit, especially not hopes and dreams related to the topsy-turvy world of high-stakes horseracing. Any graduate of Gambler's Anonymous with alimony to pay will tell you that. Some horses are just shit, SB, and by attempting to acheive beyond your means you've now hitched the hopes of thousands of children to said horses. And the metaphor extends far beyond the equine: Teachers will invest hours of after-class time attempting to get Quincy P. Illiterate to sound out the first ten syllables of "Dick and Jane" when we all know it's not happening, the teacher's time would be better spent writing his terrible never-finished novel and Quincy's time would be better spent shoplifting and smoking. Women will stay in abusive relationships hoping their bum husbands, although they are definitely not horses, racing or otherwise, will somehow win the Triple Crown. And it will all be thanks to you and your supposedly heartwarming story of so-called hope.
If you make people think they can beat the odds, SB, they will soon be reminded why the odds usually win.
I would express disbelief at your ability to sleep at night, if I wasn't almost completely certain you were stone-cold dead.
Sincerely, DC Pierson who has never ever given false hope to anyone, starving or not
Last night I was talking to a girl and we were talking about a song and she said it shouldn't be the last song on the album, and I don't even have the album, but I agreed and what I wanted to say was marry me. Because what else can you say when a pretty girl expresses passion not just for music but the order in which that music is placed on a CD. Goddamn.
The thing is if I said marry me as many times as I almost say it, and every time I was answered in the affirmative, I would have more rings than I have fingers and toes (17, thank you very much childhood thresher accident) and we'd have to move to Utah for the state to legally recognize our union(s). But you know we'd have one hell of a record collection.
It's not just passion for music, it can be anything. Books, for instance. Alecia said if her blog had a wishlist the first thing on it would be an ee cummings collection so I said what the fuck and got her one when I was at the bookstore the other day. I mean, she flat admitted to wanting a book. NO ONE wants a book. How could I not? And I'm not even trying to sleep with her.
These things matter, I am coming to realize. Not in the way that if I like something and you don't like it you're a heathen and a moron, I'm not talking about black-and-white middle school type passion for things. I'm just saying, the culture we chose to accompany our lives, it counts. It enriches us. It is important to seek out the good and not worry about the bad. The movie that tells your life story, the song you kissed someone to, don't let anyone tell you it doesn't matter. It does, it does, it does.
Patrick and I walk back from the beach, beach mats sticking up from our backpacks like antennae. We have a beach in front of our condo, but it's not like the one we were just at. It's really more of a ten-foot strip of scub that drops off into the ocean, a line of trees, definitely not palm, planted as a windbreaker make it look not a little bit like Michigan. The beach we're walking back from was a real beach, white sand meeting water that was furious today.
My beach mat works the zipper of my backpack open, the weight shift alerts me and I end up holding it as we walk back to Kapa'a.
Cars do not last here, the near-total humidity causes rust, and the rust eats away at their bumpers and roofs until their owners abandon them, chalked messages in the windows ending with the letters "OBO." We saw a lot featuring six or seven of these on the way back.
Pat and I don't talk much, for people who've spent just about every minute of this trip together. He is tanned from construction work and carved out of wood, I am a scrawny six-two. I read on the beach while he listens to Linkin Park, soaking up the sun only I really need. He spent high school playing basketball and football for championship small-town teams while I was highlighting lines. We are united only by our genetics, our love of Duffman and Old School, and our fondness for Beef. He is never not eating.
We pass a yeard where a giant pig is eating from a bucket, ringed by three cats. More cats pour from one of the windows. I'll bet it smells great in there, I think.
Today we went to the Kapa'a Famer's Market; it was mostly islanders and Asians selling tropical fruits out of the trunks and the backs of trucks, lopping the tops off coconuts and handing them to kids with straws in them. The coconuts had straws in them, not the kids. Damn sentence structure.
Man, were there ever some hippies there. There seem to be two distinct groups on the island: the tourists and the natives whose continued existence on this island is thanks in large part to the tourist's dollars. A third group came out of their VW buses and health-food co-ops to buy organic fruit today: The hippies. They were present in full, straw-hat-and-Jesus-beard force, dragging bra-less sun cracked girlfriends past stacks of papayas. I saw enough hippie-nipple, implied through too-tight "Free Tibet" tank tops, to last me through five Woodstocks. (Could Hippie Nipple be a Ben & Jerry's flavor? Yes, I think it could.)
Don't get me wrong, the world needs hippies. The world need someone to buy its pot from and staff its concert merch booths.
The parking lot was depressingly devoid of typical leftie bumper stickers, ("Think Globally, Act Locally," that one about the Air Force holding a bake sale to buy a bomber) that usually tell you with amazing accuracy A) The likelihood of that car's occupant to be an elementary school art teacher and B) The physical attractiveness of that occupant. As a rule, the more numerous and extreme the political bumper stickers are (Left or Right, really) the less of a looker the owner is likely to be. Get in the car and try it today!
The patrons were shunning Conventional Standards of Beauty left and right: Hair was unwashed, teeth (when present) were unbrushed, the most basic capacity for hygeine had long since been traded for tickets to see Phish on Oahu. If this is humanity in its true form, lie to me!
Am I being unneccesarily mean and judgemental? Yes. But I was bored and they were ugly.
Yesterday we drove over ridiculously bumpy dirt roads through cane fields to a beach that was worth it. A beach that meant it. Waves that didn't break too far in or too far out, a bottom that was all sand. Uncle Tom, Patrick and I waded out to meet them, getting knocked over and thrown back to shore. I was tossed end over end most of the time. I actually caught one or two and surfed in like you're supposed to but I didn't have my eyes open but I don't know for sure. Mostly they just demolished me, which is exactly what I want out of a wall of saltwater taller than I am.
(It was the first real fun I've had this whole time. The rest of it has been "nice," it's gorgeous here and mostly we've been looking at it, or me and Patrick will go sit on the beach, which is relaxing, or we eat, which is always welcome. But this was the first time I legitimately had fun. I almost want to shoot myself for saying it, because it seems so ungrateful, my grandparents are getting up there and can't really do a lot of the things Patrick and I would consider a good time. I'm in Hawaii, for chrissakes. I owe it to everyone who isn't here to have good time. Walking around downtown Wakiki, that was entertaining.)
Listening to my grandpa tell stories, that's also fun. He was stationed in Japan in the 50's with my dad (two years old) and my dad's mom (he remarried, his second wife is the grandma I'm on the trip with.) They had a maid named Keiko who loved my dad. She embroidered a pillow for him with the letters "DC BOY" (we have the same name, he's a boy, she was Japanese, figure it out.) What they never knew throughout the tenure of her employment was that she had a husband and child in another city. She had Thursday off, so every Thursday she'd take a six-hour train ride to see them, then catch another train to be at work on Friday. They had no idea until they were leaving Japan.
My grandpa went to VMI for two years, finishing school at Iowa State, turning down an appointment to West Point. He considers VMI his alma mater, and probably rightfully so.
At VMI you couldn't leave unless you had a furlough or what was called a Dance Permit, obviously a permit to go to a dance. The permission was given out by the student-run Honor Court. So my grandpa and his friends ask the court what exactly constitues a dance. Four or more couples, the court answers, for at least an hour. So just about every weekend they apply for a Dance Permit, and one of his buddies calls his girlfriend at a woman's college a few towns over and gets her to rustle up three dates for Staurday night. They leave Saturday aftertnoon, go to one of the girl's rooms, put on records and dance for an hour. Then the couples go their seperate ways, with the boys reconvening in time to drive back and report in at midnight. After a few weeks of this, my grandpa says, they have it timed down to the second.
...and that's pretty much all for things I scribbled in notebooks in Hawaii.
I'm glad I went.
She did it. What's your excuse?
Actually, I've been back since yesterday morning, but I was too lazy (I didn't sleep at all on the plane and then I was in this weird productive hyperactive mood all day) to post and when I finally got around to it all the Internet in our house had been severed by my dad's abandoned-for-the-evening attempts to set up a wireless network in Chez Pierson.
Hawaii was nice, picturesque and perfect weather if you add in the sea breezes. Saw some sights, did some snorkeling and running headlong into the ocean, but mostly I just sat on the beach and read (five books down.) It was a little too long and I'm h, a, a couple of p's and a y to be back. Call this the whirlwind tour of my hometown before I head East in mid-August.
There's a little double sun-burnt patch of skin on the end of my nose, red and leathery, making me feel old which is exactly what I need to feel right now. I bought suntan lotion with a low SPF, and its sun-blocking power was further robbed from it by the fact that I never actually put it on. But now I'm a golden god with hair three shades blonder.
I will probably get around to typing up my scattered notebook musings from the trip, plus pictures, tommorrow sometime.
The wireless thingy is now working so I'm talking to you via tiny bits of info flying through the air, like Mike TV in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.
I missed you too.
First off, for this to make any sense you're going to have to be on intimate terms with the Notorious BIG's "Hypnotize." Why you wouldn't be, I have no idea. Why you don't orchestrate it so everytime you walk into a room it plays, I have even less of an idea. But if you're not you should be anyway, so go, download, now.
Alright, about seven seconds in, after Puff Daddy instructs you to "take dat take dat take dat" and a couple seconds of heartbeat, Biggie goes UHHnnHH. Twice, he does it. And it's the most joyous sound in the world. It's triumph. Pimpitude. He is cooler at several hundred pounds than any of us will ever be at one and a half, and he knows it. He is at the top of his game. UHHnnHH.
As of late, that's what my life is like. I'm going to Hawaii tommorrow for ten days, but in case you were curious I am having exactly the summer I wanted to have, if not better, the future is wide fucking open, and all I can think is UHHnnHH.
When I was in London we went to Shakespeare's Globe, an approximation of the building Shakespeare's plays were performed in for most of his life, as faithful as the 21st century will allow. The most interesting part, I thought, is how much the tour guide said they've learned about his plays since actually performing them in the space for which they were written. How much he was compensating for the lack of special effects. How he was playing to the crowd, composed as it was of both smelly peasents on the ground and well-educated aristocrats up in the boxes. Art is shaped by its time and you'll never know the art 'till you know the time.
That said, I think rock n' roll is written to be listened to at 75 mph with the windows down while the Union rushes by all around you. Future anthropologists will diagram the lyrics to "Magic Carpet Ride" and claim to know the roots of this working-class American music, but they'll never really understand it 'till they pop it in the tape deck of an old beat up Ford and go.
I was just thinking about that today because I went on a car trip with my family up to Prescott for a Fourth of July party (on, naturally, the fifth of July). I never drive long distances, I just make short jumps to Tempe or the store, and I do those in a Ford like the one mentioned above only without the crucial tape deck. I only get to chose the soundtrack when I'm driving a car nicer than mine, or someone else is at the wheel. This road trip was one of those times, and I rocked Chelsea H's mix and thought, yes indeed, a song is the finest gift you can give someone my thought referring specifically to "Cinammon" by the Long Winters, which you may or may not be able to find on Kazaa. Give it a go. It's worth it.
Okay, so here's the deal:
Make me a CD of all your favorite songs, the ones that made you smile and cry and dance your ass off even if it was just internally (I dance internally) and send it to me. So great will be my gratitude for this gift I will do one of the following things for you:
- Bathe your puppy
- Totally make out with you
- Critique your poetry
- Make you a similar CD and send it back your way replete with handwritten tracklist
I will chose which one based upon proximity, cuteness of puppy, and cuteness of puppy's owner.
I am not playing around here, hoss. Chelsea H did it, and look how happy she is now.
Fo real: 3509 E Desert Willow Rd. Phoenix AZ 85044. Hit me up.
I woke up an hour late for work on Tuesday and said You know what? Fuck it and didn't go in at all. I didn't even call the shits. I've gone in an hour late before, a couple times in the last couple months, in fact. I probably wouldn't have gotten in too much trouble, even. I just didn't want to put up with it. I didn't want to be hurried through my morning (read: mid-afternoon) routine. With weeks off for vacation and school across the country in August, I'll be working there another month, tops. Just another month, the twenty-fifth in a series. I just can't keep licking the boots of people who pay me not much more than minimum wage, don't know my name, will be at another store in a month or two, and who, by all rights, I should own. Maybe that sounds arrogant, and yea, maybe it is, but you only end up thriving in the grocery business if you're the very definition of "unexceptional." At least if my previous experience is any indication.
I am tired of taking orders and kissing ass. I don't need to anymore, if ever I did. God-damnit, I have bigger asses to kiss back East. Asses with connections.
Tony Pierce has it pretty much right. His blog accurately reflects the way most of us think about girls, women, the opposite sex, whatever. You could make trading cards of Tony's life's recurring female characters: Karisa, Ashley, Clippergirl, Chris, they weave in and out of his posts leaving trails of joy and lust and bitterness and lipstick.
That's how it is in life, for everyone. There will never be just the one girl. All cinematic evidence to the contrary, no girl is the center of the universe. Quite the opposite, they make up whole solar systems, coming and going but always there somehow. Maybe one eclipses the others but even if their heat doesn't reach you you'll always feel their gravitational pull, however faint.
So I get in the car last night and put the key in and turn it, and the radio comes on. Mya immediately starts in about how her love is "like wo." It's not a very good song so I turn the dial two degrees to the local jazz station, where some silk-voiced songbird is insisting her love is "like an ocean."
And all through that drive I was thinking, First rule of writing. Show, don't tell, girls. Show, don't tell.
When the bedroom door opens I close my eyes and pretend to be asleep so you won't know I've been waiting up for you all night. It takes all the skills I gained when I was six, on the floor of the Disneyland Hotel rolled up in a comforter at the foot of the bed, watching TV with one eye open, anticipation killing every chance for vacation sleep.
When you think my mind is occupied with dreams of other women and more exotic locales, it's really only wondering if you'll kiss me awake. When I roll over, it's not because something particularly distressing happened in dreamland, it's because I'm trying to smell your hair on the pillow without making it obvious.
Sometimes something really funny would happen on the TV, and I'd laugh, but it would come out as a snort as I tried to catch it. My parents either caught on or thought I was getting black lung from the California air.
You shouldn't know I can't sleep without you because that makes me seem desperate. And if there's one thing I'm not, it's desperate.
Not now that you're home, anyway.