4-21-04, 3:56 PM -
I must say that my new hero is Randi Rhodes. No, not Ozzy's dead guitarist, the 3pm-7pm host on Air America. By Pete, she is PISSED OFF, and I like it. Starting to turn me into a tin foil hat man, though. However, with the present administration bumping around up there, you gotta keep your foil at the ready (Saudis? What Saudis? I ain't seen no Saudis...).
The weather's been Spring-Summer-Spring-Late Winter-Spring for the last few weeks, & it's beginning to cheese me off a bit. Today we're at a comfy 61 degrees with no clouds, so it could be worse.
Thanks much to those who stayed late at the C-Note on Monday. Enjoyed the hell out of the show, and in my nerd rock abandon I even broke one of my lights. That's okay, I buy the cheap bulbs. In fact, I'm returning to the C-Note on May 20th with new bulbs in tow. Y'all come out, now, y'hear?
After Monday's show, me & my associates stood jabbering on the street corner outside, and it kind of struck me: A honky, a black guy, a Jew, and an uppity feminist, all standing there like some old Texas lady's worst nightmare. Yessir, some things are different in New York.
And some aren't.
See, a couple of Saturdays ago, Dorian calls me.
"You up for playing in the park?"
Sure, what the hell. I could use a bass workout, & it's the first pretty day we've had since the Hundred Eons Of Winter kicked in back in November. Stupid seasons. I head out to Columbus Circle, a short walk from my apartment.
I'll say this for Donald Trump: He can pick a location. Upon arriving at The Donald's tower across from the park proper, I spot our hero setting up his amp contraption in front of God & everybody. The cops have their eye on the loudly attired Bangladeshi drum squad over by the park entrance, so our machinations go unnoticed.
Soon the lilting strains of our strained lilting pierce the roar of traffic and begin to draw attention from passersby, temporarily halting their rush to the subway stairs. Dorian sings, people tip, I remind him when he forgets a lyric, people tip again.
Try as we might, transplants to NYC are still victim to the occasional sudden realization that we are in a picture postcard. Standing in front of the Trump globe and facing Columbus Circle, with its statues and Time Warner Center and the furthest reaches of Central Park's green tree canopy framing the cloudy sky, I watched our performance through the naive, amazed lens that 28 years of growing up in Texas has provided me.
And then the cops come up. Apparently there's an old lady who lives in a building on the circle, and she's called them with a noise complaint. Not the Bangladeshi drum squad. Not the jazz combo over by the park entrance. The black guy with the acoustic guitar.
What a stupid old bitch.
The cops don't want to give Dorian any grief, in fact they like him, but they can't not respond to a resident's noise complaint, even though the traffic is noisier than we are. We are surreptitiously advised to set up on the north side of the bigass statue near the park entrance where both the combo and the drum squad are packing up. She can't complain about what she can't see.
Despite an overwhelming urge to throw a brick through the old bitty's window, we follow the cops' directive and set up in the shadows, where the Ghost Of The Ku Klux Klan has no eyes. And actually, we do pretty well. Take that, David Duke.
So to the old lady on Columbus Circle, I offer these simple words of wisdom: It would be really great if you died soon. Thanks.
Had a bit of a startled revelation last week when I checked my CD Baby sales figures. Suddenly, texas was flying off the shelves like I was Limp Bizkit or something. I searched my referrals for a reason, and found that they all came from a CD Baby sale. I had forgotten that I signed up to be part of their $5 promotion. Since I normally sell them for $8.99, I figured it wouldn't make much difference, but apparently it does.
Actually, I can see that. People who are buying their CD's at an independent online retailer are most likely also downloading. And the price of downloading per track makes album purchase moot once you'd added in the shipping charge.
But here's the thing: I like the album form. I think my songs speak more powerfully when they're presented in that form. And there's something about holding the artwork while the disc plays that sets my old-timer heart afire.
So here's what I've decided to do: As an incentive for people to buy the full album, for a limited time, texas costs $5 (this sale is now over, but you can still get it for durn cheap here - ed.). Once you add shipping, you're still under the cost of a per-song download of those 11 tracks. I'm not against song-by-song downloading, but I think it's better as a taste spoon than as the actual ice cream cone.
It's a brave new music economy, so off we go. Tell a friend. Maybe two.
4-28-04, 8:13 PM -
I learned two super-interesting things this week:
Firstly, in New York's Sarasota National Park, there is a monument to Benedict Arnold's leg. Just one of 'em. Apparently he injured it in the American Revolution, and was thus a war hero. However, he was also a traitor to the American cause a few years later.
I can only imagine the committee meeting that came up with that compromise.
"What about the leg? Anybody got a problem with the leg?"
"No, the leg fought bravely. It's the rest of him that betrayed the nation."
"All right, motion to enshrine the leg."
"Right, time for lunch..."
The second super-fabulous fact that I learned is that the Mesopotamians used to hurl baskets full of scorpions at enemy armies. Since these are the kind of scorpions that kill you, this is one of the first uses of biological warfare in history.
I personally think that would still work today. Maybe that's what Rummy's got cooking down at the Pentagon. Though they'll probably do it on the cheap and get Texas scorpions, which just hurt like a bastard and scare the hell out of you when they fall out of the overflow drain into your bathtub water. Little fuckers.
So as you can see, it's been an interesting week. But even these mind-blowing discoveries couldn't top the adventure of my wandering employment.
On Thursday, as I prepare to leave Don't Be Gankin', I get a call from Jelly Temps offering me a "scanning & PhotoShopping" position in Times Square. Good money, close to home, I figure what the hell.
The bitch? 7AM to 5PM. Hmm. Well, I do need the money, and it is close, so I go for it. After the requisite Sunday night sleeping pill, I arise at a headache-inducing 5:45 AM to find the bleakest & rainiest shitpile of a morning this side of Scotland. Not auspicious, but I guess I should take that up with Big Pete the Omniscient sometime. Right now I gotta walk through this crap.
See, we're two long avenue blocks from the nearest subway, and by the time you've walked that, you feel silly getting on a train to go eight short street blocks down to 42nd.
But wait a moment, what's this? The bus gods have blessed me with an M11, which will take me down to 42nd. From there, dare I hope for a...why yes, there's an M42 to take me down to Broadway. You must understand that these are the same bus gods that kept me & the Wifely on a two-week streak of showing up just as the M50 was pulling away from our stop.
Maybe it's Wifely they don't like.
Anyway, I arrive at a rather deserted Times Square relatively unmolested by Pete's cranky weather. I think he's just bitching because he didn't think anyone would be up at such a time. Stupid morning.
So up the elevator I go, to stand in a large, well-polished room at El Scanno Mundo Graphics and do...well, as it turns out, absolutely nothing. For a couple of hours, anyway. The two hours I could've used for sleeping, but then you've heard enough about that.
Finally the boss shows up & we get the jist of the joint. Basically it's scanning. But not scanning in the way we home PC users think of it. Oh, no. This is some serious shit. They do have a flatbed for unbendable items, but most everything else has to be mounted on these big, clear plastic drums and loaded onto a big, honking spinning device that just scans the shit out of it.
And mounting the damn thing is like the fucking Los Alamos Primer or something. All these special cleaning solutions and mounting fluid and lens cloths and acetate strips and five kinds of tape and lord I don't know what all.
The great part was Bob, the been-there-forever guy who grew up in Brooklyn, don't you know, and lost his right index finger in a printing press back before you had all this fancy nuclear shit. "Da best part is when I do the take-off-my-finger trick with my nieces. When I can't put it back, it scares the hell out of 'em." Bob's great.
Unfortunately, Rashid is not. Rashid is Bob's boss, and it took about ten seconds from his entrance for me to figure out that he was trouble. No doubt he suspected the same of me, for his beady eyes fixed me with a suspicious glare as he put down his thing: Remember when I said that it was a 7-5 shift? Well, apparently that was a COMPLETE, BALD-FACED LIE.
It's only 7-5 sometimes. Other times it's 10-7. Or 12-9. Or 7-7. Or basically whenever they tell you to show up. Which is, of course, not what I signed up for.
Upon explaining this to him, I received a look that I am far too familiar with: The look of a man who cannot fathom why he is being questioned. These people really piss me off, and I keep running into them. It's not that they couldn't adjust the schedule to accommodate people who have lives outside of work. It's that they can't imagine why they would ever have to.
And, of course, I had a posse. My fellow temps Carl & Zeke were none too happy about the bait-n-switch either, and my natural Norma Rae instinct kicked in to press the point home. Rashid had to make a choice: Accommodate or find a new squad.
Oddly, he said he'd have to think about it. But first he wanted me to talk to his boss. Right before quitting time, he called me over to his boss' office. I put my thing down, and the big bossman gave me the same look Rashid had. Well, of course they hire their own.
Even more oddly, HE said he'd have to think about it. Problem was, it was 5:00. Jelly Temps was only open for another half hour, and after that they wouldn't be open until 7:30 the next morning. How would I know whether I was coming back in or not?
"I'll call them," the big bossman assured.
This, of course, was another COMPLETE, BALD-FACED LIE. For 5:30 came, and the folks at the Jelly hadn't heard from mister big bossman. Their advice? Go in at 7AM and see if they send you home. Well, that sucks hairy donkey balls.
But aside from bailing outright, there was no other choice. Walking in the half-light of early Tuesday morning, I spat out vile curses as I passed shuttered shop windows. Ass-grabbing monkey pokers. Fart-snoodling armpit suckers. Kangaroo-balling nugget crunchers...
Wait. Stop. Fuck this, I thought. I'm gonna sit down in this McDonald's, eat a goddamned sausage, and wait for 7:30 so I can call the Jellies and save myself the unpleasantness. If it turns out they're willing to work with me, fuck 'em, I just showed up late and they'll get over it. So I sat. And I ate a fine, fine sausage. If, indeed, it was a sausage.
7:30. Bam. Call the office. Damn. They haven't finished checking voice mail, and won't for a while. Go in anyway, see if they send you away. Ass bandits.
Walking, cursing, hating people, hating the rotation of the planet, hating the foul, foul sun, I finally arrive at El Scanno Mundo, ready to stab someone, anyone, in the eye with something, anything. This pencil, for instance. I board the elevator, hit the floor selection, and feel the Pete-begotten gravity thrusting me up to meet Rashid and his idiot boss.
Suddenly, my cell phone rings. Jelly Temps! I immediately hit the button for the nearest floor, and step out into someone's empty lobby. Guess what? Rashid loves me not. Oh, darn. But someone over on the East Side DOES want me. At 8:30, even! Yes, anything! Put me in, Coach, I'm ready to get the sun in my eyes and lose the game! Or at least show up. I'll show up, how's that?
So at 8:30 AM, I find myself scooting up a different elevator in a different building, one that's a bit older and more mildewy, but nonetheless different. I enter the office to find...bras!!
Bras EVERYWHERE. On the walls, draped over chairs, hanging from display racks, clinging to overly-muscled mannequins, bras as far as the eye can see. Yes, friends, I'm now an admin at Boulder Holders, Inc, and by gar, if you think they work a minute past 5:00, you've got another thing coming, me bucko. Bra people have sense.
They also have a lot of friggin' braziers hanging around. Never seen so many bras in my life. And I live with a woman. I don't actually do anything with the bras personally, I just make sure everyone else knows what they're doing with 'em.
Through my many assignments at Rich Bitch Clothiers, I've become rather familiar with the fashion design process. One stage I cover at this assignment is my favorite. It's where they come up with the names for the new bra and undergarment prototypes. I've already typed up "Expectant Moments" and "Pretty Foam Boy Shorts", so I'm sure I'll have as much fun as I did with Rich Bitch's "Silky Pig Suede" and "Nylon Eisenhower".
So that's my adventuring for the week. Pete knows how long this thing'll last, but I'd definitely rather come to work at 8:30 to a roomful of bras than at 7:00 to a scowling fucknut in a tie.
Amen, and pass the Silky Pig Suede. Mind Benedict's leg, now.