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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fast LA and Hot Girls Farting: Update

This is an update in general of my pervasive and sad but curious thoughts on the world.  After the long local confinement that’s been my life for the past almost two years, we finally took a road trip.  The truth is, we’ve been terrified of our daughter to the point of not wanting to wander out any further than the city limits of our sleepy big town that is San Diego.  The fear has been that she’d crucify us with her undying contempt and disapproval by means of shouting and crying.  Be that as it may, we felt that we were finally at a place where we could handle a small trip to LA.

Our beloved love child was great during the trip, so there was definitely no issue there.  And while it was awesome to get out of the city, it was even better to get up to LA.  Anyone who’s read either of my books will know that both stories were set in LA.  There’s good reason for that.  LA is an amazingly vibrant, exciting, and powerful city with a huge culture and mix of interesting people of worldly elite.  I love LA.  And, as I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the attitude that San Dieogoans have towards LA, in general, but I will address that piece separately.

While we were hanging out with my cousins at a park, my babygirl was playing in the playground.  My wife and I watched proudly as she maneuvered through the play structure when a few of her peers wandered on to the sand.  I said to my wife, “here is the real test.  The LA kids don’t mess around, they will test her.”  My wife smiled nervously, and while she generally knew what I meant, I of course went on to explain.

I have spent a lot of time in LA, growing up here in San Diego.  Most of my family lives there, so I spent a lot of time as a youth there.  Plus, it’s only a two hour drive, and if you’ve ever seen the traffic on the 5 freeway between LA and San Diego, you know that it is as heavy as it gets.  But, even though the city is so close, it is so far, and also so much faster than San Diego.  You grow up fast in LA.  The fit are simply more fit and the weak do not last long.  I know it’s the same in most big cities, but through my experiences I know that San Diego is a lot further behind in that sense.

When I was a kid, I’d get to LA and the kids my age were doing things that the older kids were doing.  They were smarter, had quicker wits, knew all the cool shit out there, dressed cooler, talked cooler and even listened to cooler music.  And I know that everyone pretty much learns the same things over time, but they just learned them faster in LA.  And everything is magnified more too.  Flaws are magnified and exploited and virtues are magnified and reveled at too.  You gotta have tough skin and you can’t be afraid of the spotlight.  In San Diego, you can get away with being a weirdo; well maybe just being a bit off, but in LA the kids will call you out on that shit.  You might be the coolest in your school in San Diego, but when you get to LA, you aren’t so special. 

Another thing I just thought of is food.  In a big city you can keep the night going, but that’s pretty hard to do in San Diego.  Even when I lived in Toronto, I could get chinese food or pizza at three in the morning.  You think I can get anything like that here?  Hells no.  I gotta hit up Walmart for some frozen pizza if we get a late craving.  We did that at least once too, on the way back from the one short strip of clubs that makes up San Diego’s club scene.  Don’t get me started on that either, because once you start going to the clubs here on the regular you just run into the same old people over and over.  The club scene in Toronto was off the chain, and the music was way way better.  Listening to San Diego radio stations has driven me to talk radio.  Can you say, put on top 40 and hit the repeat button?  

That’s the gist of it anyways, and that’s part of the allure of big dynamic cities over the sleepy, slow life of smalltown, USA.  It’s way bigger than that, of course, and to really cut to the core of it as Baxter would, you’d have to dig a lot deeper into it.  It would require more analysis, including psychological and sociological impacts, economic and environmental impacts, industries, politics, race and culture demographics, climate, geographic topology, equatorial relationships, and so on and so forth.  Alas, I try to keep my puff pieces light.  Let’s just say that life in the big cities and fast and exciting, whereas life in the small cities and towns is a lot slower and mellow.  Which one is better is not the point.  At any point in one’s life, one or the other might be the best medicine. 

Oh yeah, and I guess I never got to the hot girls farting part of this piece.  I guess I’m saving that for next time.  For now, just try to imagine.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ugly A$$ Fools

“I’m not what you would call a handsom man.  The good Lord chose not to bless me with…” – Paco from The Waterboy

I remember seeing that scene for the first time and thinking the opposite.  Ron Howard’s brother, Clint, played the part of the “ugly” guy in that movie and scene, and I remember thinking that I just didn’t get it.  He seemed like an ok looking guy to me.  However, I also remember thinking that I suck at being able to tell if a dude is good looking or not.  This thing really goes back way before that though.

Many years ago, when I was a teenager and even into my twenties, I couldn’t tell if a guy was good looking or not.  And why would I?  I mean who gives a crap?  All dudes pretty much looked ugly to me, just in differing degrees, perhaps.  When the world went crazy for NKOTB, I was like, why.  All the chicks wanted those dudes, but they looked whack to me.  Nice hair, guys.  Back then, I’d see a blond guy with blue eyes and I’d say, hey, Allie (my wife), that guy’s gotta be good looking, right?  “Gross,” she’d say. 

Fast forward to today.  It’s getting a bit better.  Maybe it’s because I’m a bit more in tune with myself and my own standing in the world.  Maybe it’s because my eye for details has gotten so much better.  For example, I see the straight lines in face structures; I can see cratered skin, crooked noses, uneven eyes, sloping foreheads, bad teeth, funny chins etc…  I see those things now, when before, possibly because of some mental block, I didn’t see any of it unless it was super obvious.  Whatever the reason, I think I come a lot closer, but still (and proudly) I cannot tell.

Just the other day, I laughed that Channing Tatum was going to be a guest on the Ellen show.  My wifeypants got all super excited that this ugly a$$ fool was coming on that day.  Now, this dude makes pretty good movies, and he seems pretty cool.  “Fighting” was an awesome movie.  This guy is cool enough to be my friend, from what I can tell, but that says nothing about his looks.  I never thought anything of it until he blew up and got every chick’s attention.  I ain’t hatin’, and congrats to him and all that, and I guess I know he’s not an “ugly a$$ fool”, but I’m just saying, he doesn’t look like anything special to me.

Anyways, that’s what prompted me to write this piece to begin with.  Oh, and I lol’d when he didn’t show up to Ellen in person, but telecommuted instead.  Pretty funny!  So I got to wondering how it was that women can always tell.  They can tell if other women are hot as well as men.  If things were fair, they’d be able to tell if men were hot but they’d be confused about other women, right?  Not the case.  Now wouldn’t that be so easy and nice?  How many female problems would just vanish if they couldn’t tell if the other were hot or not?  Jealousy?  Poof!  Be gone!

Fat chance.  But, there was something else.  Some dudes can tell if other dudes are hot.  What’s with that?  Maybe the ones who can tell are more in touch with themselves.  Maybe those dudes are more on the sensitive side, which in all honesty I can’t see how, would make a difference.  I think it’s a little more than that though.  I haven’t done any research, and I doubt that I ever will, but I think it is simply people having an eye for these sorts of things.  Like and art collector or anyone else that has a keen eye for the beauty in the flowers, the even sound of a well-pitched note, or even the beautifully combined words of thought provoking prose, maybe it has more to do with the eye of the beholder.  Maybe only those, male or female, that have reached a certain level of enlightenment can discern real beauty, and beauty that is beyond skin deep?  Does that mean that women are more enlightened than men?  Maybe.  You tell me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stuff I’m Doing Right Now: Update

So I recently made mention to all my FB friends how fall is my favorite time of year.  The summer releases its relentless grip on us and gently gives way to a comfortable season where I can get to where I’m going without breaking into a sweat.  In addition, fall is good for football season, all things pumpkin, primetime TV, beautiful changing colors of the natural world, and of course the holidays. What’s not to love about that?

I’ve been watching TV and trying to read books and other stuff.  I’m watching the Vampire Diaries, and the spin-off, the Originals.  Both are easily my favorite shows.  I don’t care much for the tired Vampire themes, but the characters keep me wanting more.  That goes to show how important good characters are in a story –just ask the Breakfast Club.  I’m also watching Revolution, but I’m barely hanging on.  The storyline is getting a bit sloppy.  Two Broke Girls are smoking hot, and the show is good too; Dads is sofa king funny; RHONJ is pretty good (don’t ask), and I’m still watching some of the old shows and a few other new ones that are not yet worth mentioning.

I’m also reading a few things.  I (virtually) bumped into Ernest Hogan at Labloga and I started reading High Aztech and his short story, the Frankenstein Penis.  I gave up, for the time being, on High Aztech, not because it wasn’t good, in fact, I’d like to see where the guy (protagonist) ends up, but I stopped because I didn’t have the vocabulary needed to get through it easily.  It was a bit hard to read because Ernest artistically chose to use a made up language, mixed with Spanish and Aztec.  I’m sure I’m fucking that explanation up, but that’s what I perceived it to be.  I have the Frankenstein Peen bookmarked, but I haven’t got around to it yet.  Either way, I’m glad Ernest is out there doing what he does, and from what I can tell, he is a pioneer in the Chicano Sci Fi genre.  ChiFi?  I don’t know what my obsession is with coming up with short cut phrases.

I’m also reading Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, a free promotional e-book from Marta Costa.  It’s ok so far.  I just started chapter 7, and it’s probably a bit too chick lit for me, but I feel vested at this point and I will probably finish it.  More to come on this one.  Uh, I also started reading a book on my iPhone called Shoe Strings, by Christy Hayes.  I found it because I was scoping competition in the “Pumps” category of stories, but this didn’t turn out to be that at all.  I read the first four chapters, and the story was taking too long to develop.  The writing was mechanically good, but the story lagged too much.  Sorry Christy, if you’re reading this, but not enough was happening.  I kept hoping that the lady (I forget the protagonist’s name) would do something, but she just kept hanging out with the old guy and giving the young guy the cold shoulder.  And why was she not working on her shoes?  She just ran away for no reason, which I’m sure Christy explains later…?

Lastly, I found a friend of mine online.  She is a poet out of North Carolina, just beginning to get her stuff out there.  Her name is Tye and this is her.  She is a very outspoken free thinker with a strong voice and mind.  Tye is definitely a strong woman, as is my wife, Allie.  Love the strong women out there standing on their own, representin’!  Tye has some very raw pieces out, and I love them.  Can’t wait to read more, Tye!

Lastly again, aside from all that, I’m working diligently on LA Ninja II: Rise of the Cartel.  Nobody will read it, as nobody read LA Ninja I: Fallen Love, but amazingly, it doesn’t stop me from the insanity –lol.  Anyways, I’m on chapter twelve, and even though I had the blueprint all set, the story has taken me in a different direction.  Surprise surprise, not.

I will say that writing LA Ninja II has made me feel a bit embarrassed for writing LA Ninja I.  It’s not that LA Ninja was bad; I still think it’s good, but the story was very singular and linear.  It was written more like a movie script, which at the time I had purposely set out to do.  But now, my writing is very different.  I have many plots going on in parallel, right from the start, in LA Ninja II.  It’s turning out pretty good, and Sergio Munoz, Gabe, and some others are doing some pretty interesting things.  I wonder how it will turn out?  Anyways, that one is almost to the halfway point, I'm guessin, so it’s gonna finish out at about 27 chapters or so.  That’s my life in books and TV at the moment.  And don’t you guys get any ideas about me not spending QT with my two girls –they wouldn’t let me have it!  I’m the quintessential NightWriter.  NightWriter, I love that!  It’s so me.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Taking on the Monsters

It was a cold winter evening, high in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, when Allie and Adrian decided to savor the last bit of the day’s sunlight by driving down a steep, single lane road to the edge of the lake.  This sounds like the beginning of one my bullshit short stories, but alas, my friends, it is not.  This is a true story about a night that my lovely wifey and I barely made it out of alive.

There we were, driving my fairly new car down a narrow path, snaking through a deep forest with a snow bank of at least three feet surrounding us.  We got to the bottom and the sun disappeared over the mountains as we looked over the peaceful tranquility of one of the most beautiful, clear and deep lakes that I have ever been to, Lake Tahoe.

As we look out over the calm glassy water, I am ever vigilant and on the lookout for Tahoe Tessie, the infamous water monster that fearlessly comes ashore to eat its victims if it so much as catches a whiff of them.  I do not mention this to Allie as we are there, so as not to jinx us, but as the cold increases with the dwindling light, I eventually urge her to get in the car so we can get the eff out of there.  Better to be safe than sorry and dead in the belly of a monster.

So we get in the car and blast the heater as we begin to make our climb back to the top.  It is only about a quarter of the way up that I notice that ice has formed on the road in the rapidly freezing temperature.  My car cannot get past the ice, and we slip to no end.  It is at this time that I realize that I was as dumb as I was adventurous on this decision to come down to the lake’s edge in a sporty rear-wheel drive car.  I struggle in numerous attempts to roll the car back and try to climb past the icy patches in the road, to no avail.  It is on my final attempt where my car careens into the snow bank when I decide that we need to go to plan b.  The infamous plan b haunts me to this day.  It is what almost got us killed. 

We can’t get a cellphone signal so deep in the woods.  The light is disappearing so fast that we know we only have minutes, possibly twenty at the most until we will be able to see nothing.  Literally nothing.  There are no lights.  No lamp posts, no stars under the forest canopy, and no moonlight.  We know our only chance is to walk up the hill and hope that we get enough phone signal on the main road to call for help.  Our friends are in the cabin only five or ten miles away –where we should be.

We begin our trek, walking quickly.  We have a long way to go.  It is getting so much colder than when the sun had been out.  Fear is setting in.  The road twists and winds like none that I’d seen before, and before we know it, my car is way out of sight.  I feel terrible leaving it behind, alone and stranded in the middle of a forest, but we had no choice.  She failed us.  She is great on the paved roads, but lousy on the dirt, and in this case, the ice.

My mind races with thoughts on how I will get the car out.  I think about tow trucks, wondering if they will come out at that time of night.  I wonder if my friend Brian, at the cabin, will have any ideas.  Can he tow me out with his minivan?  As my mind looks for solutions, we notice that something is terribly amiss.  We were not alone.

Three large white wolves came upon us suddenly, stopping directly in front of us.  We never saw them coming, and we froze in our tracks, horrified.  Allie came closer to me, and I tell her not to show fear, as I begin speaking forcefully and loudly, in an attempt to frighten the wolves and show no fear.  I ask her if she can see a stick or a rock.  I look too, subtly, but there is nothing as the snow is covering everything.  Seconds that felt like minutes pass, and we are at a face-off with the wild wolves.  I prepare to defend us to the death.  Two of the gigantic beasts, whose curiosity finally subside, decide to move along.

We were nothing to them.  They could have easily devoured us.  I am sure that the third wolf, the closest one to us, at only five or six feet away, thought about it.  He lingered a few seconds longer, staring at us, before he finally decided to move on too.  In retrospect, I am surprised that they didn’t kill us.  I can remember the lifeless look about their eyes, much like I know a shark’s to be.  I remember feeling that the wolves were living on instinct, and that was the look of their eyes -just stone cold.

As the beasts walked across our path and off into the snow, we walked too, slowly at first, then quickly, and when we knew were at a safe distance, we ran our asses off.  By the time we made it to the top of the hill, it was dark.  Pitch black dark.  Luckily, the road was busy.  We had a cell signal too, but the cops wouldn’t do anything.  They were not impressed by the wolf story.  We ended up finally getting a ride to the nearest store by a friendly passer-by, and Brian eventually came to pick us up.  We made it.

I think back about the wolves we saw.  They were huge, much bigger than I would have thought them to be.  I had previously imagined them to be something like a large German Sheppard, perhaps, but they were much bigger than that, both in height and in girth.  They would make a German Sheppard look like a Chihuahua.  The chances were slim that we would come across them like that in the wild, but this story goes to show that this kind of shit actually happens.  Why couldn’t we win the lottery?  Is that not just as rare?

Anyways, that is our wolf story.  I will dig up some pictures that we took of the area the next day, and post them, which reminds me of something that Allie will never let me live down.  There was a sign that said the road was closed.  Of course, the sign was blocked by the huge snow bank, so I never saw it until later.  In my defense, the road was gated and the gate was open.  So why would I think it was closed?  It’s easy to laugh about it now, but that was some real scary shit at the time.

Edit:  I went back and found some pictures of the location.

The "closed road" (pfff!)

Closed Road sign (shit!)

Pic taken at the bottom of the hill that night

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby Update Aug2013

A quick few lines just to let y'all know that baby girl is growing well.  We have been having so much fun this summer, going to the beach and playing in the tiny play pool in the backyard.  She is really such a water baby, just like her sign (Pisces) says.  She loves reading books, and she's got like 100. Maybe 75. Thanks to wifey on that, she's bought like 90% of them used. She's become so thrifty.  I have to admit, I never saw that coming, but I digress... Baby girl loves spaghetti, beans, grapes, and quesadillas.  She loves Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and it seems like she's digging Despicable Me now too. Unfortunately, she likes Barney and Friends too.  Sorry Barney, wifey and I have issues with your happy ass!  Anyways, I thought I'd share this video of her playing with her new water table.  She's got quite a laugh!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grocery Store Cheaters

Cheaters in parking lots at night.  Late in the evening is when you can find them, as easy to spot as two hobos at a Sotheby’s auction.  If they were a couple, they wouldn’t just be “hanging out” in different cars talking to each other.  So obvious.

So, every once in awhile, being the student of life that I try to be, I see things going on that seem amiss.  The particular thing I see is a man and a woman, in night of the primetime evening, talking in the parking lot of my neighborhood grocery store.  You may be thinking that it sounds pretty normal, which on the surface it does, however, upon closer inspection you can see that it is anything but.  They are very much out of place.

I typically find myself out on weeknight evenings filling up my water jugs or doing my grocery shopping.  I avoid the crowds that way, and most times I find it convenient because I’m getting off work late or coming from the gym.  I have seen, on many occasions, a man and a woman in separate cars, talking romantically to each other.  You know, it’s obvious, with the deep gazes and exaggerated laughing that there is something going on.  The body language speaks mountains of how close they are and want to be, and that’s when you know that these two lovebirds are in deep.

Maybe they are married, or boyfriend and girlfriend, many casual observers might think.  Maybe, but since I spotted my first case many years ago, I have come to look for certain signs, like wedding rings.  Sometimes one or both will be wearing wedding rings.  Now, what married couple would meet up in separate cars outside of Vons and carry on like teenage lovebirds?  Exactly. 

The second clue, often overlooked, is the fact that neither of them has any groceries, and what’s worse, I never have seen them actually come out of or go into the store.  It could be possible that two acquaintances happen to run into each other and carry on a conversation, which would explain the lack of groceries, but it doesn’t explain the body language and deep, longing gazes.  At this point, I’d say they were guilty as shit.  But…far be it for me to jump to conclusions.

Alas, there is one last clue that I look for.  They are always parked far from the store, but not far enough that they look out of place.  This one is pretty smart because they blend in much easier with the rest of the shoppers this way.  And don’t get me wrong, I don’t care enough to hang out in my car and watch, although I may from time to time stay just long enough to make a confirmation.  Usually, they are there when I arrive and still there when I leave.  Or, they are there while I fill up my water and I can actually observe them more closely. 

Anyhow, I think it’s funny to see such a thing in public.  They are obviously cheaters.  It goes to show that real life happens all around us.  Sinners are everywhere –I know, newsflash, right?  I have seen this probably five or six times in my life that I know of, and of course I assume they are cheating, but the chances are good.  Of course, too, I’m looking for it when I’m out and about.  Needless to say, it inspired my short story on the topic, which you can find here.  Hope you enjoy it!