6-4-03, 5:30 PM -

Rage, joy, rage, joy. My adrenaline pumps from both, and my mind fights to determine the course of its flow. Which is mostly cursing and fidgeting, not to mention grinding this pencil lead into a stub.

The rage part is just stupid. Hagatha the Fidgety Workaholic Manageress keeps harping on me to finish every file on my desk before I leave for the day, despite the fact that everything gets done by the end of the week regardless. So I keep ignoring her. Mostly.

My departure times have been scooching into the 5:15 range lately, and it's creeping me out. The little Pilgrim inside my sphincter refuses to let "almost finished" alone, and smiles to himself at the sight of a clean desk. See, this is why I try not to stay at one assignment for too long: I start giving a shit.

Though to be fair, I'm actually only being asked to work closer to a 40-hour week. 9 to 5 Monday through Friday only nets me 37 1/2 hours, which is fine, because it ain't a lot of cash to lose for convenience.

But I just don't want to let that sweaty, micromanaging, screeching harpy win. That's all I'm saying.

And then there's the joy part: We got an apartment.

An honest-to-Pete, nobody's-bathroom-but-ours apartment. And it's in Manhattan. Hell's Kitchen, to be precise, though that description isn't as descriptive as it used to be. The real estate people call it Clinton, now that it's all gussied up, but everyone I've told about it says, "Oh, Hell's Kitchen!" (though Wifely disagrees...how embarrassing.)

As you might expect, the place we got is on the ass end of the neighborhood, but the ass end of Midtown Manhattan has a much lower ass quotient than the corresponding region of Brooklyn.

Once again, we're only two blocks from the water--the Hudson River this time--a coincidence which I'm certain can be traced to some perverse spirit lurking about in the firmament, but nonetheless I like seeing the waves from my doorstep in the morning.

It's about as centrally located as one could ask for. Two blocks east, BAM, you're in Times Square. Few blocks northeast, BAM, you're in Central Park. Few blocks west, BAM, you're at the Intrepid Museum, which is actually an old aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson.

So we could do worse. Though my commute to downtown Brooklyn is equivalent to the one I made from Sunset Park, but at least it didn't increase. Wifely's is way better. She could walk to work if she wanted to. But she doesn't.

The second bit of joy is that I've finally sent my disc off to be mastered. Whew. Big stuff, that. It means that soon, very soon, I'm gonna be kicking my ass into gear so brutally that the foot will become indistinguishable from the cheeks. I gotta get gigs, get reviews, get any damn thing I can get or the last three years has largely been a prolonged jerk-off session. (the disc is out now, have a look - ed.)

To that end, Wifely and I have instituted Television Rationing. That stupid fucking box is the death of my evenings & weekends, so we've decided it will only exist for the morning news, The Simpsons, and Law & Order. These shall be the holy triumvirate of our TV indulgences, and with any luck, they'll all get taken off the air soon & provide us with no excuses whatsoever. There's that little Pilgrim again.



6-8-03, 7:00 PM -

We utilized our newfound Manhattanness and televisionlessness to catch a show at the Luna Lounge on Thursday. The opener was a fairly innovative blend of hip-hop and country. Now all they need is a vocalist. A REAL vocalist.

I took pity on the second band, because their usual vocalist was deathly ill and couldn't make the show. They played anyway, but probably shouldn't have. I've done the same thing enough times that I should be slapped forcefully, so I listened politely. (word to the wise from experience: playing a gig with bum lobster forcing itself back up your esophagus is NOT the way to impress the club owner)

The headliner was a pleasant surprise, though not in the way I'd thought it would be. I've been developing a theory that New Yorkers can't do country music for shit. There's just something about it they can't grab. Lack of exposure to cows, maybe.

So when Fort Bragg took the stage and proceeded to whip all kinds of country-punky ass, I was more than a little shocked. Until they introduced their members & hometowns. Three of the four were from Texas, with only the drummer bearing a Yankee pedigree. My theory remains intact. (with the possible exception of Citigrass, whom I profiled earlier, but I'll bet most of those guys are transplants, too)

The thing that explained Fort Bragg's NYC transplantation to me was a rockin' countryfied cover of Snoop Dogg's Gin & Juice, which can no more be explained by rational means than the popularity of Everybody Loves Raymond.

In the words of the Englishman I met in the pisser: "It's noice to hea samfin nat's not va fackin' Strokes." Quite.

Best of all, though, it didn't take ALL FRIGGIN' NIGHT to get home. Ahh, Manhattan.

I'm at our new neighborhood laundromat now. It's larger & cleaner than J.J. Topsy, but it's also a bit more expensive. The rain's coming down with a vengeance, & the Empire State Building's spire is shrouded in fast-moving fog. No summer to be found in these parts, friend.

Which is good, actually, because we haven't purchased an air conditioner yet. We're having to do a bit of creative shopping lately, since everything around here is a bit higher than in Brooklyn, but it's not the pocketbook shock it could be.

That's partially because we've gotten used to living with so little for the last two years. Simply getting up, walking to the bathroom, peeing, and never putting on a scrap of clothing all the while is such a joyful experience that I don't even remember how back in Texas, an apartment without central A/C is cause for writing to Channel 5 AND the City Council. Of course, it's 95 damn degrees in Dallas while I zip up my jacket against this cold wind coming through the laundromat door. Apples & pineapples, I reckon.

Soon, however, I will receive a bit of creature comfort when I retrieve the wily Miss Jehosafat, who has been staying with my cat-friendly superpals deanpence & Hippie in a Fort Worth attic. Not that they just stuffed her up there alone. That just happens to be where deanpence's bedroom is.

I'll say this: Getting clearance to fly a cat in the airplane cabin is a more convoluted process than I'd ever imagined. You'd think I was trying to bring a side of beef and a vial of anthrax on board.

But I refuse to put her in the cargo hold. I haven't put her through over a year of new roommates, indoor feline territory disputes, & frequent uprooting just to lock her in a dank, loud metal dungeon for five hours, forevermore freaking her out every time I bring out the cat carrier. She's a resilient little critter, but enough's enough. I'm giving her a sedative for the flight, so as far as she'll know, it was all a dream.

The space here will be a little less than she had during our two-bedrooms-and-a-yard days in Arlington, but she's lived in apartments with me before. To be honest, the cat was nearly a dealbreaker for me when we were considering the NYC move in the first place.

At that time, we had TWO cats, and they didn't get along terribly well as it was. We were thinking about giving Albert, the youngest, away when he ran off and saved us the decision.

But Jehosafat and I have been together longer than me & Wifely, and the thought of giving her up was just too much. Thankfully we decided on an interim arrangement. We were only supposed to take 3 months to find an apartment up here, but...well, you've got over a year of this damned letter to tell you about that. If I'd known we would be separated for so long, I'm not entirely sure I would've gone for it.

But that's the marvel of linear time for you. It'll make a good story for Behind the Music one day. Or they may cut it in favor of my conversion to Scientology and subsequent marriage to Yoko Ono after Wifely is mysteriously run down by a black, unmarked bus. The Scientologists' east coast headquarters is a mere block away, so there's always that.

Right, enough of this letter. Hatred for Hagatha, new apartment smell, mastering a-go-go, Snoop Dogg goes country, my cat shakes her head in bewilderment, and I'm outta here. My new bathroom's not gonna use itself.





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