Friday, September 24, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
I guess you could say I feel uninspired to write these days. RNC, DNC, Bush, Kerry, it's all so painfully boring, to say the least. And I'm busy doing other stuff, feeding addictions (girls, food, community, etc). Hopefully this is just a lull and I'll be back at it in maybe a few months. I'll let everyone know when. Sorry for not posting this earlier.
Friday, September 10, 2004
(a female inquiring about my roommate wanted ad)
Myisha, Hey, I'm down. Are you wanting the whole room for $550 or split $275/each?
The thing is, I need to ask if you are black. I'm not racist at all but
my Indian immigrant roommate and
many of his friends have been robbed or robbed and beaten by black guys.
They are fairly intolerant now to all black people. We live on the thug side of town,
but safe apartment complex... I said in remedial english, "some black
people bad, some good." A friend of theirs told me, white looking, "I
like white people." I laughed and said some of them will drop bombs on
you and jack your resources if you don't sell them super cheap, but he
just smiled and changed the subject...
I dunno, if you are female, I doubt my housemate would be afraid of you
if you would like to still meet up. I can talk to him...
Sunday, September 05, 2004
The other day under a bountiful fig tree shielding us from the hot sun, I met another dirty beautiful punk girl. She even had a rat companion, and was talking about going to a roadkill barbeque. Me and this other kid laughed about how many bazillion punk points we'd get if we came home with a roadkilled raccoon or parts of a deer in our backpacks. Rat Girl didn't think it was too funny but she had just smoked some pot and
was excited to find another kleptomaniac sitting right next to me. Definitely no rain on our parade.
I tried to brag about the bags of goodies like nutritional yeast flakes
and granola that is donated by a health food store to me under
the cover of Food Not Bombs (stuff that customers wrapped and then
changed their minds about). But I don't know if that even impressed
them. They like the rush of crime and sticking it to the Man, I think.
So I asked these kids if they'd like to go dumpster dive with me after
sundown. To my surprise, Rat Girl said yes, and made good on her word.
I guess since she's not familiar with the area and doesn't have a whole
lot of money, she wanted to go with me. All the more since I had a
second bike I had scavenged and built up (sold today for $60). Not that
she really liked me.
At my prisonesque apartment complex I layed in bed wondering if I could
actually be comfortable around someone I thought was so rad and
exceptionally hot. But it was the other way around. I showed up late
and she had switched out of her short homemade denim skirt into what
looked like mens boxer shorts she had found at the Free Box and we took
off. I tried to make small conversation that would reveal I wasn't a
sociopath out to assault her in the vacant streets of industrial
Emeryville("There's a whole bunch of other kids down the street that
want to go to" and mentioning my fear of walking at night after all the
personal stories I'd heard from good friends). But no matter what I
said, she could not, would not be friendly or care free. As she scanned
the rail yard, preparing for her train hop Northward to Eugene, I said "Oh,
check it out! There's a brake in the fence. Rat Girl: Yeah, I already
saw it back there. (I can take care of myself. I don't need some guy.
I'm not stupid). Me (as an Amtrak train rolled by): That'd be funny to
hop on an Amtrak train and wave at the passengers on the inside, the
look on peoples faces...." Rat Girl: (forced laugh).
And as we surveyed the rail yard I tried to send the message that I wasn't all needy and
wanting to smother her with unwanted affection by not riding so close.
Once I road ahead of her and she went the other direction unannounced and disappeared,
leaving me wondering if I still had a second bike. I waited in the
vacant intersection and after a few minutes she came pedalling back. On
her way back she thought the way home was south on Hollis when in
actuality it was north. Rat Girl said she'd let me lead the way since
I'm familiar with the area (but when I looked back she was creeping
along a block and a half in back of me, as if I was possibly leading her
into harms way. When I stopped to pick some cactus to stir fry she kept
Well, I guess she got what she wanted: some sausages from Trader Joe's
dumpster, an opportunity to ride bikes and a chance to plan for her
train trip out of the East Bay. Me, I got some company with a lonely
Monday, August 16, 2004
Just about everything in the Bay Area is so damn easy. I've got a free bike fixed at a moneyless bike workshop, free clothes, just ate some free feminist candy-i.e. dumpstered Luna bars from a local factory here.
It sounds simple but this place is kind of unusual in America in that when people throw stuff away here, often times they put stuff that other people might want in a box by the trash can. If they are feeling extra-industrious they might write "FREE" on the box.
There's just one problem: rent, er, the "H" word. If you talk about it and your problems in finding something affordable it can be drama. Best not bring it up among highly emotional low income types.
Right now I'm on the other side of the equation, trying to sublet a room, but my roommate only wants one person for it and split evenly that's $550/mo, in something one step above a housing project. The thing is that can actually be done, and I've got a few bites in the last week or so. But it would be so much easier if he wouldn't mind 2 people splitting it. Just about every day I'm at the infoshop, someone gets on to the computer looking for something cheap. A couple minutes ago this rad looking girl just typed in "vegetarian" on craigslist rooms/share keyword section, and probably would have found my place, even if I hadn't introduced myself, if the price was $275/each for 2 people instead of $550 for 1.
So I'm stuck appealing to budding yuppies with plenty of options, that might be attracted to the yoga center down the street.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
"Maybe I'd have more credibility if I'd gotten here on a freight train".
Those are the words of a jaded old FNBer I work with. There's probably a grain of truth for where she was at. It seems like most everyone in the circle of people I'm hovering around used to be into punk rock, but now they are more likely to be learning the accordion, fiddle or banjo than a 3 chord bass.
Last night at the Long Haul an amazing puppet show entertained a packed crowd. The lighting, the music from a nerdy looking girl playing a saw, the intricately decorated puppets, the masks, the old folk accents, and the wine with lavender that was passed into the audience was all so amazing and overwhelming that I didn't even pay attention to the dialogue.
Then a tight 3 piece punk band played. But even though every member of the group knew what he was doing, I and their parents felt compelled to clap so as to save them from a painful silence after each song. A handful of hobos stood quietly as if they were harking back to another era they had been a part of, but no longer had the energy for.
But then the puppeteers got out their drinks and instruments: fiddle, accordion, banjo, saw, a boy with his drum, an instrument that looked like a giant bow... and within seconds there was a crowd dancing, glass breaking, laughter. It was like all of a sudden I was transported back to the 1600s as these poor souls in this world of concrete and strip malls took us to a place they'd rather be: perhaps out in the woods around a camp fire full of friends each from far away lands, or in a small port town that is almost dead when the pirates are at sea but a never ending festival when they sail in with their stolen booty from the conquistadors.
I don't know. Maybe 10 years from now I'll be able to look back on this time and see the cultural shifts going on in the underground. But right now it's hard to say. I remember when in the 90s it seemed like a huge shift in attitudes towards gay folks was underway. Now that's most everyone's observation yet it was hard for me to say at the time because I had just moved from Winfield Kansas (: doesn't that even sound rural and backwards?) to Lawrence-perhaps the activist capital of Amerika right now.
So maybe its just me and where I am heading, not so much the rest of the world. The time I checked there was a huge line of patched up punks outside Gilman and Kerry signs in the rich neighborhood here.
Monday, August 09, 2004
I have been helping out with East Bay FNB less than 2 months and being coerced into more and more responsibility (see post from a couple weeks ago). Now it appears that the Wednesday meal will be a simple beans and rice instead of the usual 4 or 5 options unless I step in and pick up the bike cart, ride it over to Whole Foods, and then drag it and the donated food up a steep hill to a place called Lothlorien Co-op.
It might not be so difficult but the food is supposed to be picked up at the latest by 10AM, which probably means waking up some hippies at 9:30AM to get the FNB bike cart. Also, if you've been reading this blog for a while you know I have knee problems but have managed to ride bikes almost pain free until now. I have been feeling some minor irritation when I ride the last week or so. This has happened before and it went away, so hopefully (God, I hate cars....), I'll still be able to ride or figure out a way to ride that doesn't hurt. And hopefully my new 10 Speed that I found in Rockridge will get me at least to the foot of the extra steep Lothlorien driveway. (sigh)Ï