DC Conspiracy is Live and Disrupting Differentials

Monday, February 28, 2005

First things first. D to the mother fuckin’ C Conspiracy is fully live, go check it out. If you’re in the DC area, join up. We’re going to be drinking, talking about the industry, drinking, going to events, drinking, making a jam book, drinking, sharing a table at SPX, drinking, doing a local FCBD promotion and drinking. I designed the tight, tight site and the massively talented Deborah Orgel did all of the illustrations except for the bad ones. I did those (and to see the bad ones you need to explore the inside of the tree house – put a few Easter eggs in there – more to come). So check it out.

As for me, I studied all weekend. ALL WEEKEND. I took one shower since Friday night and put on jeans once to get a burrito on Saturday. I got a second burrito on Sunday but I stayed in my sweat pants. I am so fucking hot right now. I’m just having a hard time grasping this class, my last class, and then I get my masters. All I want is a C.

Shit used to be a lot easier, I was a lazy fuck over at Boston University and yet I still flew by. Take my Differential Equations class, for instance. Sounds tough. It was at 8AM. I rarely went. I went for the midterm and the final and then a few random classes that I slept through. One class had a great moment, probably the greatest moment in class sleeping history.

I actually had the nerve to show up to class in my pajamas. Red fucking flannel pajama pants and a crusty t-shirt, a hoody thrown over it. Now, this wasn’t too strange for me. I wore my PJs quite often. I wore them out to bars occasionally if it was a weeknight. PJs and slippers. If it was cold I threw on a robe. So to say that I showed up in my 8AM class in PJs wasn’t really that big of a deal.

But, obviously, I instantly fell asleep. This was one of those stadium seating style rooms, I had my feet up and draped over the chair in front in me. A little bit into the class, I’m snoozing away, when an anomaly in my environment wakes me up. I hear a tremendous fart.

I wake up, turn and look at my Mormon friend Josh, point at him and start laughing my ass off. My laughter dies down as I realize Josh, and everyone else, is laughing at me. It was pretty embarrassing, I let the laughter and smell die down and go back to sleep, never to return to differential equations until the final.

I got an A in that class. A is for ass of death.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Man Bites Dog

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Hooker Hand

Friday, February 25, 2005

This is what you call a pleasant surprise. I’m not going to do Day 5 of birthday week. Instead, today is all about the Hooker Hand.

I have done some really stupid things in my life – I have some moments I am not very proud of. I think if I were to rank my least proud moments, number one would certainly never appear on the blog, number two could potentially appear one day on an alcohol induced night and number three, well, I’m going to tell number three now. If you are one of those weird people that hold me in some type of regard, skip this story.

I have the tendency to really go for something when I have my mind set on it. If something sounds like a good idea, I get so fucking jazzed that I don’t even think about what I’m doing anymore, I just blindly dive in. Most of the time it works out ok. But sometimes, I look back and see what sparked the mad fury and I realize that I was absolutely retarded for even starting down this path, let alone finishing it.

And sometimes I don’t finish it. Sometimes I cut my losses and move on, ashamed.

And one time, that shaming led to my number three least-proud moment. So, like I said, I sometimes set my eyes on a prize and fucking go for it. If you’re the same way, you should stay away from 25-cent live peep shows in Times Square.

Times Square used to be the Mecca of filth and pornography. Pros would solicit men, women and children with reckless abandon. Then Disney came along and paid for a major Times Square renovation. You can’t even recognize the place anymore – Disney Store, theaters, video game joints, family restaurants – Times Square became pristine and the pros moved out of town.

Some business’ held on, however. If you walk a couple of blocks of you’ll see the sex shops and peep shows. They’re sparse, barely holding on. The only reason they survive is because there is so little competition. One day Max, G and I had the great idea to visit a sex shop/peep show. It was a Saturday night, we were home from college and it just sounded like a good idea.

We get to the place. I don’t remember its name; I think I blocked it out. We go inside and hang around the first floor for a little while. This is where all the dildos, fake vaginas and pornos can be found. The only people who hang out on the first floor are the people building up the courage to move up to the second floor. We loiter a bit, point out some funny porno boxes. Joke around about the losers that buy fake pussies knowing full well that fake pussy is more pussy than the no pussy we were getting.

Finally, we make our way upstairs. Video booth floor. The Video booth is the lowest of the low but I dare any New York male to tell me to my face that he never went in one. He’s a fucking liar. The premise is simple, you put a buck in the slot for five minutes of video, there are browse knobs on the control panel and you flip through and find whatever fetish you fancy. Technically, you make note of the movie and purchase it. In reality, you pop a quick one and let the clean-up crew worry about it. There are rules for the video booth. Never touch anything. Stay away from all the walls and NEVER sit on the seat in the corner. It’s a trap. Pull your sleeve over your hand when operating the control panel. Burn your shirt when you get home.

Anyway, I put my buck in and start flipping. Every fucking channel is gay porn. I step out of the booth, I see G looking above his booth – looking for a sign.

“Is yours all gay porn too?” He asks me.

“So far. No sign?”

“No. I’m gonna keep checking.” We go back into our booths. Finally I hear G shout, “I found some straight porn! Channel 72.” I start flipping to channel 72. “Nope. Never mind, bisexual. Camera pulled out, a guy was licking his balls.”

Max chimes in, “Let’s go to the live booths.” We each step out of our respective booths. And make our way to the third floor, the night being a bust so far.

This was my first and only live booth experience. I didn’t know what to expect. I went into a booth, put my buck in, screen comes up. A chick is behind the glass, doing her nails. She looks at me, I smile. She goes back to her nails. It’s starting to get uncomfortable. “Don’t you do something?” I ask her.

“You gotta tip me first,” she responds, motioning towards the hole in the glass I originally thought was for my penis.

“Oh. How much?”

“Five bucks for now.” Reluctantly I put five dollars in the hole. She starts dancing. The screen comes down about ten second later. Mind you, this was probably less than a minute. The timer on the live booths is obviously much faster than the video booths. I put a five in. The screen comes back in and the girl starts dancing around again, showing me her software.

Now I have pressure on me, I know the screen is going to close in five minutes. She’s talking it up, “Cum for me baby. Come on.” That shit doesn’t help; it just makes the whole thing even more stressful. Time was running out and I think she learned how to play me. While grabbing her tits she looks me in the eye and says, “You know, for twenty bucks I can jerk your cock off with my ass.”

For some reason this was the best fucking idea I ever heard. Here I am so far, eleven bucks down and nothing to show for it. For an additional nine bucks I won’t just get off but this woman will get me off with her ass. With her dirty, disgusting, diseased, ho ass. Here’s where irrational Jason kicked in.

I agreed, smile on my face, and she meets me outside of my booth and takes me to a private booth. We get there, she holds out her hand. I give her a ten.

“I said twenty dollars, baby.”

“Yeah, and I gave you eleven already.”

“That eleven is separate. I need twenty now.” I reach in my wallet and give her another ten, leaving me with five bucks. “And a tip.”

“I already gave you a tip!”

“That was for the peep show.”

“Well, how much tip do you want?”

“If you want me to get you off with my ass it’s a fifty dollar tip.”

“Fifty dollars? Why didn’t you fucking say that?” I was getting rip shit at this point. Now, if I was behaving logically, I wouldn’t have been arguing with this skank about pricing schemes for laying my dick between her ass-cheeks. “What the fuck, how much tip to get me off without your ass?”

“Twenty, baby.”

“What the fuck! I got five, what does five get me.”

”Go ask your friend for money.” And there it was. Every time we go to a strip club there is always that one friend that asks for a hundred bucks so that he can get into the Champaign Room. Go ask your friend for money. We’ve all heard it; no way was I going to be the guy that asks my friend for fifty bucks so a hooker can ride me.

“Give me my money back!”

“Fine, we can go to the touch booth for the extra five.” I didn’t even ask what the touch booth was; I just wanted to finish this shit. I give her the five; we go to the touch booth.

The touch booth is a booth where we stand on separate sides of a Plexiglas wall, there is a tit shaped hole she pushes her breasts through and I feel up her tits while taking care of my own business. It was officially my third lowest moment. And to make it worse, the whole time she’s telling me to ask my friends for more money.

Finally I had enough. “Why don’t you shut the fuck up and act hot for five fucking minutes!” She didn’t like my tone or choice of words and neither did the big, black bouncer that told me I should be going now. I was escorted out, met up with G and Max. They spent ten bucks inside verses my 36. They had a good time, I had a diseased hooker hand and I forever have to live with the fact that I almost got anal from a peep show hooker, cursed at her, and had my two friends witness my ass getting bounced out of a piece of shit, disgusting peepshow. I was that guy to the tenth power.

I washed my hands all night. Scrubbed them! G and Max were continuously ripping on me, calling me hooker hand. It wasn’t even that I touched her, it was what I wanted to do that really fucked me up. That was my third lowest moment. I’ll never tell you the first and the second might come out. It gets a lot worse than that. Lowest-moments are exponential; a lot of them gather low by the axis but as you increase in lowness the difference between them increases immensely. My lowest moment is a singularity; it’s the limit as lowness reaches infinity. Usually the lowest moment is incriminating and mine is as well. Several counts, actually. And one of them is manslaughter.

No, just kidding. Two of them are manslaughter.

Ok. Kidding again. First degree murder. On all three of them.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: The Very Best of John Lee Hooker

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posted by Jason at 5 Comments


A Week of Birthday Stories (Day 4): Warning Signs

Thursday, February 24, 2005

My plug goes first otherwise it takes away from the story. I posted this yesterday, but I wanted to direct attention to it again today: Western Tales of Terror, and all Indy books, are getting muscled by a distribution system that was designed for the big houses. We’re asking for your help. Please read this.

One of my earliest birthdays that I can remember was a family birthday. We were at an aunt’s house, my mother and father’s family were there. It was really the same as every party, Carvel cake, loud Puerto Ricans, presents and all the usual good stuff.

An uncle of mine (through marriage), always a joker of sorts, told me to smell the cake, it smells funny. I’m probably 5 or 6 years old so, if someone tells me to smell a cake, I smell a cake.

I bend over, force against the back of my head as I get pushed by a grown adult face first into a carvel ice-cream cake. For the past three days I talked about Carvel Ice-Cream cakes, but I didn’t really give you a lot of background. You see, you always store a Carvel Ice-Cream cake in your freezer. A couple of hours before the cutting of the cake, you move it from the freezer into the fridge. If you don’t give it a couple of hours, you can still eat the cake; it’ll just be a little harder. Generally, as you slice it up and serve it up, it softens up a bit.

When my uncle slammed my face into the Ice-Cream cake it didn’t even leave a dent. I bounce off of the cake, a stream of blood coming from my nose and depositing all over the cake. The family was screaming. My father’s side of the family, my one aunt in particular that always took a special liking to me, flipped out. She was going to kill my uncle. I was crying, my cake was ruined and that was possibly the worst birthday ever.

I have similar things happen to me, all revolving around this guy. One of my earliest memories, verified by family members, I was probably 3 or 4 years old. I was still a toddler. My uncle had a coconut, and for some reason he was getting me all jazzed up about it. “Look at the coconut!”

It worked, I get excited and make my way towards the coconut. He bowls it at me and for some reason I scream, run to my mom and start crying. Now this is interesting, because to this day I can’t eat coconut. And not like I’m trying to be different, I physically get ill when I eat it. I’m not allergic, I got tested, I just can’t east coconut. And I can pick it out like you wouldn’t believe. So many times I’ve been at a restaurant or over someone house and I’ve called coconut on a dish that no-one else even believed me. Sure enough there was coconut every time. I can smell it, taste it and in some cases just sense it.

He wasn’t all bad; generally he had his moments where he was great around kids. But as you get older you start noticing stuff. The anger, the lies and the childlike mentality. All should have been early warning signs. There’s sort of a rift now – I don’t want to get into the details but involves a lot of family members, a house and a good chunk of my money. A serious chunk of my money. Money that I really didn’t have but I was able to get to help some people out. Good people that deserve the help. And he’s the nexus.

The lawsuits, the racial slurs, the stress, the aggressive mood swings. All should have been early warning signs. I didn’t see my uncle, a different uncle, my mother’s brother, before he slipped into a coma and died. He had a few hours, a window to see him. He died alone. My mother didn’t see him, his sister. None of us did. And he was the nexus.

The coconut, the birthday cake. All should have been early warning signs.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Your Funeral...My Trial

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posted by Jason at 2 Comments


5 Updates a Week My Ass

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ok, I need to put up a second post today because this one is kind of important. Please read this and please do what you can to get the word out. The thing is, it's kind of crappy what's happening here and we could really use a little help to let Diamond know that this is a quality book that needs their support. I've been calling comic shops and letting them know that the books are still available and ones that I've been super friendly with I asked them to reorder a book or two this week to send a message. This type of thing happens to a lot of Indy books and sometimes Indy books just need to band together. So read the below press release and hook a brother up. Repost it, email it, do what you can.

WESTERN TALES OF TERROR #1 and #2 STILL AVAILABLE FOR REORDER

It has been brought to our attention that many retailers have tried to
reorder the first two issues of indie buzz book Western Tales of
Terror, and found that the books are back-ordered or seemingly
unavailable through Diamond Comics Distributor.

While the books are sold out at the distributor level, we have been
filling re-orders on a weekly basis. We encourage retailers to please
put their orders through, and "back order with confidence" as those
orders absolutely will be filled. Barring that, the books are also
readily available from both FM International and Cold Cut

The third issue of Western Tales of Terror will be in stores March
9th, which features the conclusion to our first multi-part story
"Phineas' Gold", as well as stories by Jay Faerber, Ryan Ottley, James
Francis, Greg Thompson, and more. The book has been described by
thefourtrail.com as a book that "should go on every indy-buying fan's
wish list." Now is the perfect opportunity to check backstock of the
earlier issues, to ensure that you can accommodate new fans of the
book.

We want to thank our retailing partners for bringing the problem with
reordering to our attention, and reiterate to any other retailers
who've had problems that we are more than happy to help find a
solution to any of your Hoarse and Buggy Productions needs. We can be
reached via e-mail at josh@hoarseandbuggy.com

DIAMOND ORDER CODES:
WToT Issue 1 is: SEPT042752
WToT Issue 2 is: NOV042745
WToT Issue 3 is: JAN052812

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A Week of Birthday Stories (Day 3) and Some Site Changes

Every kid has at least one birthday party in McDonalds. I think I had two, same McDonalds both time, 4th Avenue and 9th Street. Looking back now, the McDonalds’ birthday is such bullshit. McDonalds sucks, crappy hamburgers, crappy smell and a crappy atmosphere. I don’t know if kids do McDonalds’ birthdays anymore but, if they do, at least they have the ball pit and other attractions that make it worth while.

The McDonalds on 4th and 9th was really, really weak. It had this Hamburgler tree house made out of metal. You entered in a little hole on the bottom, climbed a ladder and you were then in the Hamburglers’ mouth which stretched 360 degrees around his giant hamburger head. There were bars on the perimeter that stopped kids from falling out and the crawl space was pretty tight but it was fun, you know, if by fun you mean crawling around in a tight circle on a hard metal surface.

The sad part is the hamburger head is where all the kids congregated – it was actually the best part of Playland. The ride-on Fry Guys or talking Grimace just couldn’t compete. These birthday parties usually turned into a long, painful game of tag where we constantly fell and knocked our heads on pieces of metal due to the confined space.

I could just say that at one McDonald’s party I had a Carvel ice-cream cake with a football theme. I could leave it at that and walk away perfectly masculine.

Or, I could redact my earlier statement that my Pirate cake was the gayest cake ever and elaborate by saying that this particular cake had a Cabbage Patch Kid in a football uniform. And to add the jersey was a Ken O’Brien jersey, thereby showing that I a) loved the loser Jets and b) loved their loser quarterback. If a & b then c) I had no clue when it came to football and really just wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid cake but didn’t know how to tell that to my dad.

A couple of things. For starters, I decided to be a man about it and tell the Hooker Hand story next week. I would have just posted it today but I committed to this whole “Birthday week” shit. Second thing, you might have noticed that I redesigned the sidebar with all the links. I’m breaking all the headings into separate pages and writing a little piece about each link. So if you were there before, you’re now on the linked pages with a little blurb about you. I also added a “Blogs of Record” section, other comic blogs that I noticed and deserve some attention. And finally, I’m not going to post a book and music link a day because I’m afraid I’ll blow my load too soon. One link a day. I’m also going to add movies to the mix, as well. Eventually I’ll put all the past product links on it’s own page as well, it’s just too massive to do right now. ‘Cause I’m lazy.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: 12 Angry Men

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A Week of Birthday Stories (Day 2) and a Great Webcomic

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

First things first, a little sneak peek on DC Conspiracy’s development. It’s all still raw (yes, the desk looks horrible), but it should be a cool sight when completed. Any of you guys that live in the DC area, create comics, and want to jump on from the ground floor click the Yahoo Groups button on the front page. I’m not going to name drop yet but some serious talent is going to be a part of this.

Birthday week continues. Believe it or not, I used to bowl. For about 4 straight years I was on an actual league. I think I started when I was 8 and played until I was 12 or 13. All the kids in my neighborhood joined this youth league at Melody Lanes. It was a great time, my team never won a championship but I won the “I Beat Santa Claus” tournament by rolling a 186 at a young age. It was a proud moment, the trophy still proudly displayed in a box in the basement.

Naturally, one year I had a bowling party. Not surprisingly, most of the people I invited where people in my league and a few neighborhood and school friends. We all rolled a few games and spent a good amount of time plating DJ Boy and Operation: Wolf in the arcade. I think as far as over all party atmosphere and fun goes this was probably the best of my childhood birthdays.

Fitting that it was paired with the worst cake. This cake was nothing like the Snake-Eyes cake I had at my Roller Skating party but they did have some thing in common. They were both Carvel cakes, both Vanilla Ice-Cream goodness and chocolate cookie crumbles. But were nun-chuck clad Snake-Eyes was standing we now see a humongous pirate head in all it’s pirate-glory. No eleven year old kid should have a pirate themed birthday cake. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking when my mother asked me, “What cake do you want” and I said, “A pirate cake.”

I honestly don’t think I ever even liked pirates. I still don’t, even after Pirates of the Caribbean and Nate and Benito made them cool. To me, a pirate will always be the epitome of gay and when I was eleven years old I had the gayest birthday cake ever made.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Argghhhhh!

You should be checking out Jorge Vega and G.A. Perkin's Everyday Cosmic. It's getting stronger every week. Go now.

read a book, fanboy: How I Became a Pirate

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Original Pirate Material

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A Week of Birthday Stories (Day 1) and Jason gets Zombied

Monday, February 21, 2005

Yesterday was my birthday. 27 years old. I’m doing pretty well, no complaints. Got the girl, the friends, the family, the job and the comics – what more can a man want? I had the most laid back birthday of my life. My parents were up this weekend, did the family thing. Sunday, my birthday, I slept in, went to Best Buy and Barnes and Noble, got myself some presents, got some lunch, opened some presents from Robin, had some birthday cake, took a bath while reading The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume II did some homework, worked on DC Conspiracy’s webpage and now here I am. Just chilling; ready to pass out after I write this.

I’m sitting here and trying to figure out which birthday to talk about for my story for today. I have 26 to choose from. I really don’t know which to tell so I think I’m just going to make this week my birthday week, one birthday story for each day. Maybe try and make them short and sweet.

Back in the late 80s roller rinks were back in hard-core in Brooklyn. There was this one roller rink, I believe it was called Skate USA. For some reason, my recollection of most family oriented entertainment facilities in Brooklyn have the word USA in it. Skate USA, Funtime USA was an arcade, Baseball USA was this batting cage complex, USA Mini-Golf, etc. Now, there are two possibilities here. One is the fact that everyplace I ever visited as a kid had “USA” in its name or for some freakish reason I happen to insert the word “USA” into the names of everyplace I ever visited as a kid. I prefer the alternative. USA rocks! Buy Ford.

Anyway, my friends had back-to-back-to-back-to-back…birthday parties at Skate USA and, naturally, I wanted one there as well. Now, this made no sense because, I couldn’t skate. I had these black Return of the Jedi skates as a kid and I think I wore them once, to a skate party, where I played skee-ball the entire time and won a fake nose, three creepy crawlers and a harmonica – making it the best day of my life up until that moment.

When it’s your party, you want to be the center of attention. It just makes sense. And if your party is a skating party, you need to be on the rink skating with the prettiest girl in order to be the center of attention. For our neighborhood, hands down, the prettiest girl was Mita. She got invited to every party and she knew how to skate.

I sort of remember entering the rink. I timed it to when she passed, hoping I can simply projectile skate directly at her, turn 90 degrees and somehow have enough momentum left over to keep up with her. If that involved grabbing her hand, so be it, this was a skate party. My skate party, no less.

So, like I said, I sort of remember entering the rink. And then I sort of remember sitting at a table, ice on my bleeding nose, and yeah…I could have been crying. I think I got one wheel of one skate onto the rink before hitting the ground hard, face first, no hand out to brake my fall.

I put the skates away, content with playing skee-ball and Outrun while anxiously waiting to open my presents and see what Transformers awaited me. I might not have skated with the prettiest girl but I had a Carvel cake, G.I.Joe written in glorious red, white and blue frosting across the left side; Snake-Eyes sneaking through the bush, nun-chucks in hand on the right side. Women, they come and go…but that cake will forever go down as the best cake design I have ever had.

So hey, the seriously talented Jared Bivens zombied up my profile picture, check it:
Zombie Jason
Don’t you want me?

read a book, fanboy: Trainspotting

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Madvillainy

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posted by Jason at 3 Comments


I totally punked out - even I have limits, I guess

Friday, February 18, 2005

You know, I actually wrote something last night like I always do. This was a long one, four pages. It was about my third lowest-moment. It’s a really funny story but I went to post it today and I kind of choked. It’s a really funny story that makes me look really bad and I sort of got embarrassed. I don’t get embarrassed very easily, because I generally accepted the fact that I’m part idiot, but for some reason I’m not ready to drop this story yet. I’ve told it many a time. I think there’s a difference between telling a selective audience vocally and dropping it on the internet for all to read. I’ve been breaking a hundred readers a day (who are you people?) and that’s sort of the problem…I don’t know who you people are. Maybe I don’t want some of you knowing my “hooker-hand” story. Eventually, when I get up to like a thousand readers. Then I won’t care about scarring off half of you.

So now I have no prep and I’m just going to bang out a quick one. Since I’m pretty sure 90% of the people that visit this site are comic fans or creators, I’ll tell a comic book related story.

The Amazing Adventures of DJ Stringboy was my first attempt at sequential storytelling. I’ve done some illustrations before then but never really put it into a story before. I was actually a fairly decent artist as a kid, anatomy was a little off, but I got pretty far practicing on a light-box and eventually translating that to free-form. Too bad I gave it up, now I’m just a dime-a-dozen writer.

The Amazing Adventures of DJ Stringboy (I still have all twenty some-odd comics) was a twisted version of Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men series. All of the characters were simple shapes and happy and peaceful before DJ Stringboy moved into town and corrupted them. Now the town is overrun by drug-dealers, prostitutes and gangs. One gang is run is by evil-Jesus. Evil Jesus was a clone of Jesus created by Isaac Newton. Since Jesus’ DNA strand was incomplete he used pieces of Hitler’s DNA to complete the sequence. The other gang was controlled by DJ Stringboy himself. Other characters made regular appearances: Pontius Pilate, Peter North, the real Jesus, Loc X. Bui and Loc V. Bui, Ben Prick – the deaf and horny international super-spy, the society of dead rock stars. It was a good time, the cartoons mainly shared between friends and eventually hosted on a geocities site in 1997 or 8, back in the early days of the internet. I could have been the original webcomic. That would have been cool.

Anyway, I’m bringing it up because I’m thinking of relaunching the DJ Stringboy franchise, busting out the Wacomb and going to work with some 2D goodness. Start from scratch with the whole thing; call it The Ultimate Adventures of DJ Stringboy. I have no time though, no time at all. Editing for Hoarse & Buggy, trying to get my own shit out, this blog and now I’m working on this DC Conspiracy thing (coming soon, with details) - I just need more time. Gah! Don’t want to bitch, just trying to fill in the space left by my four page long hooker-hand story that won’t be seeing the light of flatscreen just yet.

read a book, fanboy: Absalom, Absalom!

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Mr. Hood

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posted by Jason at 16 Comments


Prelude to Junior High and an Elk’s Run Review

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I originally saved the plug for the end but it really took away from the story. So, Ain’t It Cool News likes Elk’s Run. Ok…

I’ve been saving all my Junior High stories; don’t want to shoot my load too early. Junior High stories are sweeps material and I don’t have the viewer ship to compete in sweeps just yet (otherwise known as the Arrested Development clause). But I think I might give a little taste of Junior High, you know, to add to the suspense. I don’t think I want to drop this name – yet – those who know him will know who I’m talking about. Let’s just call him B, and this story is about him.

B lived across the street from my Grandma, he was my age and I knew him for as long as I can remember. We were never great friends but he was a friend of the family and we would play games together, hang out occasionally. This was all deep in Red Hook.

I was always in sort of a weird state. My block really didn’t belong to a neighborhood. Red Hook was south of the battery tunnel and Columbia Street. Carroll Gardens was north of Hicks Street. I grew up on Woodhull St, firmly situated north of Columbia Street and South of Hicks Street. Woodhull was part of a one block wide, mile long stretch that didn’t technically belong to a neighborhood. Carroll Gardens was all white Italian. Red Hook was all Latino and black. Both sides hated the other. My mother was Italian, my father Puerto Rican. My last name is Rodriguez but I’m as white as my momma’s ass. I was a completely neutral kid in a completely neutral neighborhood. However, Carroll Gardens and Red Hook both went to JHS 142 and I was a white Puerto Rican that was smart to boot and hung out with the smart crowd. I was so fucked from day one.

B was my link, my glimmer of hope. I grew up with the kid. I remember talking to him the weekend before we started at 142. We were playing basketball; my cousin RJ (who occasionally posts on this board) was there as well as was my cousin Luis. I was asking him about 142, if he’s nervous about going, stuff like that. He told me he wasn’t; he knew a lot of people there already. We talked about different things, the rumors around the first day and what they do to freshman, classes and teachers…just shit kids talk about. As I was leaving I told him I would look for him, he said the same.

The first day of school and we’re all in the schoolyard. I find my friends and hang with them. We’re the weak ones, the sickly sheep. We feel the eyes on us. “Don’t worry,” I say to myself, “I know people. I’ll be fine.”

We line up to go inside. It’s like prison; the older kids gather around, throw shit and chant as we walk by. Eyes wide, smiles obnoxious…they tower over us because we’re all slouching so much. Inside is worse, the stairwells have these fences spanning them, so hard to explain what they look like, but as we go up the stairs there’s a general pushing and rapid movement, a bunch of older kids are on the other side of the stairwell fence, banging on it like prison bars, telling us they’re going to fuck us up.

And then I trip. They all start laughing. My friends keep going, survival mode in full effect. I come down hard on the stairs, momentarily dazed. Look behind me and I see B, starring at me, almost asking for forgiveness in his eyes. He pulled my foot out. His friends he is with is laughing, the older kids are laughing. At that moment I know the next two years of my life are going to be hell.

“What are you looking at?” was all he said. I honestly saw the regret but it didn’t help my situation. He made his name and in doing so made mine as well.

I had several encounters with B throughout Junior High, each one as bad as the one before it. I honestly can’t say I even hate the kid. I don’t hate any of the people from my Junior High days. The whole thing is just fucked; it’s just a bad deal. It was a recession, no-one had money, and everyone was poor and miserable. All we wanted was to improve our lot in life. Guys like my friends and I, we had shit going for us and we knew it. Everyone knew it. Guys like B, they had nothing going for them and they knew it. Everyone knew it. Junior High was all they had. It was their moment to be someone, and when that’s all you’re going to have, being someone really only means trying to hold someone else back. That’s your only real influence you can muster up when you know you’re going nowhere.

I hated them back then, but I took it and came out ahead. I pity them now. I know where most of them are. Most of them didn’t make it through High School. A lot of them are in jail. Some of them are dead. Junior High School really was all they had. I might be more reflective now but it was bad at the time…and those are all stories for sweeps.

read a book, fanboy: V.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Beneath the Surface

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posted by Jason at 4 Comments


An Elk’s Run Plug and Trumpin’

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I usually do my plugs last but, since I wrote this little Behind the Scenes thing for Elk’s Run myself, it comes first this time. I showed the link to my buddy Jon Wye (buy his belt buckles, pant-wad, they’re dope…now that’s a plug) and the following conversation ensued, a perfect lead-in for my story.

When we were kids it was all about the trump. To some extent the trump is still an integral part of our lives but a least now we understand the concept of giving in and occasionally walking away. As kids, however, the majority of our statements started with, “Oh yeah? Well…” We always had to have the last word and it always had to be more fantastic than what came before it. We trumped and trumped and trumped until one of us hesitated on a trump or came back with the trump killer: “Oh yeah? Well, you’re stupid.”

Game over, you fucking lose, you unoriginal bastard.

That’s usually the way trump ceremonies end. One time, in the sixth grade, a trumpin’ went horribly wrong for me, however. Madeline; the girl that made me think twice about trumpin’ and taught me to never question a girl’s choice of shoes.

She came into school one day with these steel-toed combat boots, pink laces. I’ll never forget those fucking things. She was parading around class, showing off her boots. She came to me and, paraphrasing here, said, “I stole your momma’s combat boots.” Now, I think this was universal, but the whole momma wearing combat boots was a pretty substantial dis back in elementary school. Madeline was unprovoked in her momma dissin’ so I had to trump, it was the rules.

“Oh yeah? Well you look like a construction worker.”

This smile. This evil fucking smile flashes at me. Life slows down, everything happens in slow motion. I see Madeline pull her foot back, the smile etched across her face. The foot comes forward, I see the boot coming at me in all of its black-polished glory but I can’t move. Maybe it’s the smile? Like Mona Lisa’s smile it was captivating, inviting…what did it mean? Why was she fucking smiling?

What’s that pain?

Oh. It’s a steel toed boot planted squarely in my crotch. I grab my nuts and double over, fall to the ground crying and apologizing, confessing that my momma did, indeed, wear combat boots and Madeline did, indeed, steal them. Just leave me alone. Leave me alone you evil, smiling bitch.

Game over. I fucking lost.

read a book, fanboy: Lady Chatterley's Lover - Lady Chatterley probably kicked many a men in the nuts as well.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: First Come, First Served

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posted by Jason at 15 Comments


Porn, Puberty and a Lack of Respect for Personal Property

Robin and I had a nice, romantic night. She wasn’t expecting anything, she is in class until 10PM, I’m in class until 7PM and we hardly see each other on Mondays. But last night I had the bath going, some bubbles, a bath-bomb from Lush, flowers and candles all over the bathroom, cake from Heidelberg Pastry and Al Green going on the radio. Fucking smooth.

A far cry from my developmental years, I’ll tell you that. I was a horny as fuck kid when I first hit puberty, all boys are. For some reason I think I was especially bad, I really have no evidence to back that up but it just feels right.

I was into skating when I was 12/13, we used to skate all over Brooklyn and Manhattan – fond memories of CS Skate Day and The Banks. I sucked, though, but it was a good scene. Tight knit. But with the skating came that rebel mentality, especially in 1990/91, and part of that rebel mentality led to an illegal hangout where no adults would go. For us it was this alley along the side of the Phase II Condominiums on Columbia St.

This wasn’t really an alley, it was someone’s lot. The guys who owned it parked a car there or something but never went back. There was a wooden fence that blocked it off but that shit was never opened, we simply hopped the fence.

We set up a whole thing there, we had a mattress for sitting (and yeah, it was fucking gross), tires for sitting, a makeshift milk-crate basketball hoop and a shelter made of broken wood and pieces of metal for when it rained. Looking back now, it’s really funny that we had all this shit on someone’s private property.

Anyway, the shelter also kept our porn safe from the rain. We had a collection of porn that everyone contributed to. Stolen Playboys, Hustlers and just shit you find on the street. Everyone contributed to this stash except me. Whenever I stole porn or found it on the street I hid it in my room. I even stole shit from the shelter occasionally.

I had this strange affinity to this one item. It was a moldy, crusty box to some uber70s porn movie. The back had this guy facing these two girls with nothing on but some Le Tigre shirt or some shit and the two girls are naked and screaming. That image is forever engraved in my mind, mainly because I stared at it many nights. To this day I still wonder, “Why are they screaming? Is he that large? Did he just surprise them?” I’ve tried to recreate the scene with various girlfriends but none of them ever screamed. So, you know, it couldn’t have been the large dick theory. Anyway, the box always had this weird smell to it, the smell is catalogued, I can easily pick it out of a smell line-up. It was a mixture of mildew, porn cardboard and…bodily fluids. It was quite possibly the most disgusting thing that I ever touched every night for a year straight.

My quest for porn got ridiculous. I knew where every friend hid his secret stash. If I was over his house and he went to the bathroom, I would sneak a quick peak. I even knew where most of my friends’ parents hid there porn.

For a month straight I ordered Spice TV skin flicks on the cable. For some reason I thought my parents would never know. They got a bill for a few hundred bucks. I denied knowing anything. They claim they fought the charge, maybe to save me from embarrassment, but there’s still to this day a block on their pay-per-view, and you need to call in an order. I think this is the first time I’m confessing ordering all that shit – even though I’m sure they know. Maybe now they’ll ask me to pay them back, however.

I was bad. I was recklessly bad. And then I got a job at the video store at the age of 13. It was all down hill from there as porn just became a lot easier to get. And it’s been easy ever since and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten much better. I just don’t sneak around alleys anymore stealing it.

Interesting side-note, one day we accidentally set the alley on fire. Firemen came, guy that owned the lot was pissed. He assumed it was us but never really did anything about it. He was probably afraid of getting a skate-truck to the back of the head. That really wasn’t our scene but the stereotype had its advantages.

read a book, fanboy: Things Fall Apart

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Things Fall Apart

Things are just falling apart, I guess.

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posted by Jason at 4 Comments


The Perk (plus a surprise bonus media file!) and The Second Best Link Ever

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ok, big surprise time, I write these entries the night before I post them. Something like this doesn’t flow that well, you have to prepare it. I have a list of about 50 or so stories that I want to tell (so far) just so I can deliver daily. I was just sitting here, trying to decide which one to tell, when all of a sudden I get an email saying someone posted a response to my “G gets the Hulk” story – it was G himself. And his comment ended with: “Well, at least I got away with only getting the Hulk ... and not the Perk” and just like that I had my story, not even one on the list.

Frank Romano was an interesting character in High School. He was smart, quite, kind of shy. We sort of rolled with the cool dork crowd, we were A-students but we all played sports, smoked a lot of weed and partied quite regularly. Frank was just the A-student; we really didn’t get to know him that well. Nice guy, though. We really discovered Frank senior year – the year he first threw us a perk.

So anyway, we were talking about girls, as most high school boys do, when Frank Romano, the beautiful little Italian genius, says, “So I threw her a perk.” Now, at the same time, he did this motion with his hand that only Italians could do, it was a slow half-jab, aimed at the ground, pinky out, pulled back quickly. Sort of a build up and a quick cock-back. And the vocal delivery was clutch as well, every word said slow except “perk”, said fast and choppy.

“You did what?”

“You know…I threw her a perk.”

And just like that our senior year was defined. “Throw her a perk” became our official slogan.

We expanded it as time went on. The ones I remember:

“Trow her a boom.” (Yes, “trow”, not “throw”. Italian, remember.
“Trow her a ka-boom.” (Pause between ka and boom)
“Trow her a ferce.” (Force, in case you were wondering).
“Trow her a ba-da-bing. Oh! A ba-da-boom!”
“Trow her a bang.”

You know what, text doesn’t do this justice; click here to hear me trow. (I recorded this on my IPAQ since my wicked nice microphone apparently broke in the move, so it loses some of its charm).

Frank Romano, what a guy.

Ok, so the second best link ever. Last week I threw up Superman is a Dick. Great site. This week I think I need to direct you to the Perry Bible Fellowship. Where else can you get classic comics such as these?
Shotgun Settle, Nice T-Shirt, Angry Hammer, No Survivors, Adult Heaven, Puppy Wish

read a book, fanboy: The Wretched of the Earth

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Fantastic Damage

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posted by Jason at 6 Comments


G gets the Hulk

Friday, February 11, 2005

I knew G since Pre-K, we went to this Brooklyn College Tutorial program together. It was some selective shit, interviews and tests to get into it. Kids from all over the neighborhood tried to get in and in high-school and college I discovered that kids from all over NYC tried to get in. I don’t know what the big deal was; I hardly remember shit about it. I just know it was super liberal. My teacher was “Kathy”, not Ms. Something. We did a lot of reading, art and some basic math. I think it was just the “in” thing. Plus it was free, I believe. But I’ll talk about Pre-K some other day maybe, I got a G story for now.

This was probably Freshman year in High School, G was over my house and we were playing some video games. Now, my mom makes the best mozzarella sticks possible. I don’t know how she does it but she weaves cheese, breadcrumbs and spices into pure mouth-magic. She used to make 50 of them at a time and freeze them so we can have them as snacks throughout the day.

G and I decided to have some mozzarella sticks so I bust out the deep-fryer and kick it up all the way. While I’m on the subject, I should mention that my family fries everything. When Robin and I first started dating she was amazed that every recipe in my little cookbook was a fried recipe. Green beans – fry it. Chicken – fry it. Meatloaf – Bake it then fry it for the crispy goodness. I have since learned to cook many non-fried recipes but you better believe that on the nights Robin has class I’m frying a steak.

Anyway, I take out a mozzarella stick and drop it into the boiling hot oil. Of course, I’m an idiot, and drop it from about three feet above the fryer. Oil splashes out, hits my hand and I scream like a bitch. Not even like a bitch, this is the kind of scream that, when heard, a bitch says, “Damn you screamed like a bitch.” This is the kind of scream that makes a dog’s ears bleed. I’m a big dude, deep voice…it must have looked like the scream was dubbed.

So, G, being my friend for so long, responds appropriately and starts laughing so hard that he doubles over, tears in his eyes. I am crying as well, for entirely different reasons.

I have the tendency to Hulk out sometimes. I’m generally pretty passive but I occasionally explode with rage. G knows this, and I think he realized it was serious when I screamed, “You think this is funny, asshole?”

I chased him. Around our small ass apartment, hand balled into a fist. I think we circled the dining room table two or three times. I’m fucking flipping, G is just laughing. There’s a hardball on the windowsill and I pick it up and cock my arm back, prepared to throw it. G, still laughing crouches onto the floor, arms protecting his head, still laughing, realizing I will absolutely throw it at him but the situation is still hysterical.

I pull up along side him. His leg is up in the air, towards me, warding me off. His head is well covered; Ozzie Smith couldn’t get a hardball through to his dome. So I throw it to the place that can cause the most damage with the opportunity presented to me.

Point blank shot right to G’s nuts as hard as I can throw.

The laughter stops for a moment; G lies limp. Then, slowly, the chuckling begins. We’re both laughing. G is in serious pain but he can’t help it; it was just too perfect of a moment. That’s sort of what happens between old friends, shit like this, if done at the right time, is more funny than painful. It’s an instant story. My hulk rage is finished; the mozzarella sticks burnt. I get a new batch going and go back to the video games. G stays huddled on the floor, continuing his hybrid cry/laugh. He finally comes over to join me, play some Madden football, eat some mozzarella sticks and chill out, as if nothing ever happened.

read a book, fanboy: Grant

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Deltron 3030

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posted by Jason at 4 Comments


The Gang Fight

Thursday, February 10, 2005

In the late 80s to early 90s gangs were all the rage. It was mainly a west coast thing with the Bloods and the Crips, made popular by numerous thug-life movies such as Boyz ‘n the Hood and Menace to Society. Some of it made its way out to the east coast, the Autobots and Decepticons being the similar gangs in New York but an obvious imitation at best. It was like they were planned rivals, picking different factions of Transformers. That’s not even remotely cool.

I was neither an Autobot nor a Decepticon but I still represented a few crews. Fuckin’ Up Toys (F.U.T.) and The Price of Fame (T.P.F) where two crews I somehow got involved with while in Junior High, the specifics are a bit of a blur. My involvement with them was minimal except for when I tagged up (Maze was my tag, by the way) I would represent them.

Tony was my friend growing up that came to the east coast from the west. He claims to have represented the Crips out there and decided to start a faction in Red Hook called the Four-Deuce Bishop Crips (4-DBC is how we tagged it). The gang involved myself and Tony as well as David, Dexter, Seymore and some other neighborhood kids, around 8 total I think. We were small but localized.

Anyway, for me, gangs and tagging was always more of a way to be accepted. I never really had enough beef to need protection and the whole gang philosophy was more of a joke than anything else to me. I just wasn’t raised that way, a great example being how my father took away my N.W.A. cassettes. But, graffiti was fun, I loved my hip-hop and I immersed myself superficially in the culture.

But one day Dexter found himself some beef. Dexter was the type of guy I should never have been hanging with. Straight from Jamaica the kid wanted to be hard, not just go through the motions. But, he found beef with some crew and he needed 4-DBC to back him up.

It was a very surreal moment of my life. I remember we were gathering weapons, I grabbed a bat, people were breaking bottles and others were getting switchblades. I remember asking myself, “How the fuck did this happen?” What if they showed with guns? At this point I already had two guns pulled me, independent of the day Mike got shot. I know kids our age pack heat and I have a fucking baseball bat.

We walked over to the JHS 142 school yard, the 8 of us, with ragtag weapons and meet the other crew.

There were fucking twenty people there. Twenty big, black, angry looking mother fuckers. And they LAUGHED at us when we showed up.

I don’t even remember the exchange, something about an agreement to brawl that night. No guns or something. Dexter said he was going to round up some more of his people to even it out. I don’t know, I didn’t go back that night. Neither did David. There was no point, you know? We were younger than them all, it wasn’t our beef, and we just wanted to listen to Tribe Called Quest.

I didn’t hang much with Dexter after that. One time I asked him if he was egging for Halloween and he responded, “Fuck eggs, this nigga throw bullets.” That was the last time I spoke to him, he moved out of the neighborhood shortly after that. Last I heard he was arrested for dealing drugs, someone even told me he was killed.

After the night of the gang fight I was still tight with Tony, Seymore and David. They said there wasn’t even a fight, people showed up, cursed a little bit and then cops showed and everyone scattered. David and I thought that Seymore might have tipped him off; he was like us, that wasn’t his thing.

But my ditching sort of resonated with some of the other kids in the neighborhood, but that’s a bunch of stories for other days.

I have to kind of wonder what would be different if I went to the fight. I sort of have this theory that there’s a point in everyone’s life where they commit to who they’re going to be. Their decision gets challenged as time goes on but there’s really one defining moment. Even if the fight didn’t go down that night, was that the moment? Was that the difference between me becoming a high-paid government mathematician or getting arrested? One of the guys that were with us, Nick, was probably smarter than me school-wise. He went to the fight that night. He’s a junky now. Is that the alternate me?

Like everything in my life I need to really thank my parents. They’re sort of that x-factor. Nick lived with his mom who neglected him. My parents worked hard to bring me up right.

I don’t know, I’m rambling now. I plan on talking about Nick some other day. I’m just reflecting on what my life could have been like, I guess. I’ll leave it at that for now.

read a book, fanboy: Crime and Punishment

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Labor Days

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posted by Jason at 5 Comments


Luckily, they don't make concrete shoes in toddler sizes

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Damn, writing this blog is bringing back all types of shit. In yesterday’s posting Jay Busbee (friend and talented writer, check him out) talked about playing “Smear the Queer” as a kid to which I mentioned us northeasterners being a bit more progressive. Got this memory flash, of sorts, early memory – probably served better as a Fourth of July story but I know I’m going to forget about it.

There was some big Fourth of July celebration; it was some sort of bicentennial or something. We were going to have massive fireworks over the Statue of Liberty so everyone in South Brooklyn went down the Red Hook pier. I’ve been to the pier many times, it was around the corner from my Grandma’s house and a great place to hang out as a kid, you know, because the hundred year old rotted wood could break at any moment and you could drown.

Anyway, this was a big celebration and a lot of the goombas from Carroll Gardens came down, the neighborhood next to ours. Carroll Gardens is a lot better now but back then is was the epitome of white, Italian, wannabe mobsters. One of the goombas had this firecracker, I think it’s called a Jumping Jack; it’s the one that lights up bright, jumps around on the ground…maybe makes a zipping noise? Anyway, it has an alternate name and I’m getting to that.

So the goomba lets it go and starts chasing this black guy around, he runs like a mother fucker, possibly lets out a girlish scream as well. The goombas laugh and say “Guess it really is a nigger chaser”.

I have to be five or six years old, I know shit about shit. Not noticing the uncomfortable silence that comes before a race riot, I turn to my father and say, “Dad, I want a nigger chaser too.”

My dad looked like he wanted to cry. The goombas start laughing. I think my family moves further down the pier. My dad told me “nigger” was a bad word and I should never say it. What he should have added was that I should never say it and if I do I should never say it on a crowded pier in Red Hook.

In retrospect, Red Hook being 99% minority and having a pretty high crime rate back then, I can’t believe those guys didn’t get their asses beat. I can’t believe I didn’t get my little ass beat.

So maybe no area is truly “progressive”. I guess I was just raised right and that’s all that really matters.

read a book, fanboy: Catch 22

turn off the metallica, fanboy: '93 Til Infinity

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posted by Jason at 2 Comments


Manhunt Manhunt 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3, The Best Link Ever and an Elk’s Run Plug

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

So much to talk about, let’s get right to the goods.

Manhunt, the greatest game of all time. It was like tag on steroids. There are several games that children in Brooklyn play that seem more popular in the borough: Stickball, Suicide (and the less popular variant, Homicide), Stoopball…but Manhunt was the grand daddy game. You needed twenty players or so to play it right and the proper environment capable of hosting the game.

Two teams, let’s say ten vs. ten but I’ve played in games that had twenty vs. twenty, usually during block parties. One team goes out and hides, usually gets about five minutes to get a good spot. The boundaries are generally 1-4 square blocks, enough to really spread the hiders out. My block was perpendicular to the BQE and growing up the Brooklyn-bound side was closed to traffic for about two years. We could simply walk from our block onto the highway and play Manhunt amongst construction equipment, good times.

So we all go out and hide, the other team comes and finds us. When one of us is spotted we have to run for it. The person looking for you has to grab you and hold on while saying, “Manhunt, Manhunt, 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3.” If he loses his grip it doesn’t count. The strategy was to run full steam into a Manhunter and try to knock them over. Manhunters usually paired up, making it harder to break through them. One slowed you down while the other tackled you.

Once you were caught you went to jail. The goal was to have the whole team of hiders in jail. The Manhunters assigned guards to the jail because if only one player got close enough to “tag” the jail everyone inside got free. Everyone had that moment, 19 players in jail, 10 people (or more) looking for you. You make a break for it, bobbing and weaving and dive for the jail as a plethora of people grab hold of you and scream the manhunt chant. But you tag it; all 19 teammates scatter like roaches. You end up in jail but it was so worth it. You better believe your teammates are going to treat you to a Quarter Water.

One time while playing Manhunt my cousin Steven was hiding out in the basement pit to some apartment. Apartments in Brooklyn sometimes have a pit of sorts to the left of the stoop that goes down to a basement apartment. They make for good hiding spaces. He was spotted, he jumps over the wall of the pit, the wall that had iron spikes protruding from it. He falls, quickly gets up. Runs to the jail, no one stops him. Tags it, no one scatters.

“What?’ he asks us. Steven looks down at his leg and there is the biggest fucking gash I have ever seen in my life. Flesh ripped out, blood pouring from his leg. He crumples to the floor, crying. His parents take him to the hospital.

But that’s what happens in Manhunt. It’s not a game, it’s a fucking war, and in every war there are casualties.

Feel free to share some of your own favorite childhood games.

Ok, best link ever, the place where you can find hundreds of covers like this one:
Glasses
Superman is a dick.

And as for Elk’s Run, here’s a link to the trailer we made. It’s huge so be careful, only recommended for broadbanders. The trailer will be premiering next week on Comicon Pulse, I wrote a little “Behind the Scenes” for it.

read a book, fanboy: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

turn off the metallica, fanboy: By all Means Necessary

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posted by Jason at 11 Comments


1986

Monday, February 07, 2005

Patriots won…again. I get somewhat amped, as a Jet fan I learn to just cheer for the AFC period because the Jets won’t win it all. The thing that bugs me is that Robin is a Masshole, you know? We’ve been together for 5 and a half years and in that time she’s celebrated three Super Bowl victories and a World Series.

I just want that feeling. The Jets haven’t made it into the Super Bowl in my lifetime. The Knicks…the past few years have been so bad for the Knicks I don’t even remember anything about them from my childhood. They could have been good. And the Mets. The Mets, the Mets, the Mets. My first love. I have one moment with the Mets, 1986 World Series. I was eight years old.

To the rest of the world the Mets are the red headed step child of the Yankees. They’re the “other” New York baseball team. The ones with the ugly ballpark, ugly uniforms and ugly history. They’re the bums that took over when the Dodgers left.
Brooklyn, Queens and half of Long Island; if you grow up in any of those three areas the Mets are fucking magic. Talk to anyone who grew up there and they’ll have a Mets story. Those areas go nuts when the Mets are doing well, on every stoop and in every backyard you see people barbequing with the TV running from a long extension cord draped from the second floor window. It brings the neighborhood together. Even when they’re doing bad we still watch all the games, we just don’t celebrate as much.

1986. Mookie, Nails, Backman, Dr. K, Straw, Carter, Keith Hernandez, Ray Knight, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling, Rafael Santana, Hojo, Mitchell, Bobby-O, Aguilera, Sisk, Orosco, Foster, Heep, Hearn, Mazzilli, Teufel, Elster, Jefferson, McDowell, etc. It was a great time to be a kid in Brooklyn.

Now, my father’s family (the loud Puerto Rican one) used everything as an excuse to throw a party. We would get together every Friday night, my father and all 6 of his siblings and their friends and children and we would just party. Many a fond memories from Friday night Rodriguez get-togethers, I’m sure they’ll come out in due time. In 1986 we partied for every playoff game against the Astros (even the 16 inning marathon but everyone was pretty sloppy by the end of that) and every game against the Red Sox.

Game 6. Mets down 5-3 in the tenth, the Red Sox 3 outs away from their first World Series Victory since 1918. My family was DEPRESSED. My whole neighborhood was. It was all so quiet. All you heard were the TVs, not a single cheer, a clap or a “come on, Mets, you can do it.” We collectively lost hope. In 1969, when the Mets won their first World Series, Tug McGraw said of the Miracle Mets, “Ya Gotta Believe.” It became our official motto, but despite the slogan, at that moment we no longer believed.

Two out, no one on base. We’re already getting out stuff to go home. Carter singles, Mitchell singles. We hang out a bit, a home run will win.

0-2 count to Ray Knight. Jackets are on again. Single scores Carter, Mitchell to third.

Mookie Wilson receives ten pitches, most of them foul balls. Jackets are off, we’re all on our knees praying. With every foul ball we cringe.

Wild pitch brings the count to 3-2, scores Mitchell and brings Knight to third. The game is tied.

And then came the miracle. Mookie’s routine grounder to first, the game was going into the 11th inning.

The ball went through Buckner’s legs. Knight scored, the Mets were going to game 7.

And that’s what defines the Mets, that type of play. You heard screaming and cheering everywhere, the entire neighborhood exploded.

I exploded, my tiny eight year old fists flying through the air…and connecting on my mother’s chin, breaking her tooth. My mother screams, we all think she’s cheering with us. Slowly we see the blood coming from her mouth, her face going pale. Her shaking hands clutch her face as she cries.

We didn’t know what to do, this was our moment. I remember my father asking my mother if she was alright. She didn’t respond with a yes or no so that was good enough for him. She went into the kitchen, about thirty seconds later my father went after her. About five seconds later he came back and told me to get some ice for my mother since I was the one that punched her tooth out. He went back to the celebration.

That’s what the Mets mean to us. That’s why they’re my first love. It’s that feeling, that feeling so great that if your mother/wife is suffering you don’t even care. You happiness for the team transcends petty pain. People get hurt all of the time, the Mets win once every twenty years or so.

I’m sure that before I die I’ll see the Mets win another series. Hell, they have a good shot at it this year. But honestly, nothing will ever beat that feeling I had in 1986. That was the embodiment of baseball, Brooklyn and the Mets all thrown into one.

By the way, I think I’m going to update 5 days a week, I don’t get enough hits on the weekend to warrant a weekend posting and people are complaining that they need to catch up on Mondays. And something about my posts being too long. Whatever.

read a book, fanboy: Light in August

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Paid in Full

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posted by Jason at 3 Comments


Antidentite and proud

Friday, February 04, 2005

I went two years without a cavity. Now my dentist tells me I have a small one, have to go in next Friday to get it filled. Part of me wonders if I really did have one or if I just went too long without spending the extra duckettes at the dentist. I’ve been super good; I made a pact to no longer get cavities. I bought one of those Sonicare toothbrushes, started flossing, fluoride treatment on my enamel to strengthen it, going to the dentist every six months, stopped drinking non-diet soda or any sugar based drink…there is no way I should have a cavity. And the fact that it’s a “small” one and I only needed to schedule for a half hour is very suspicious to me.

I think the dentist is one of those people that sneak by on the fact that you don’t know shit about shit. My mechanic capitalizes off of my ignorance but he’s at least blatant about it. My dentist, I know realize, may just be one slick son of a bitch. If the dude wants to make money that’s fine, but don’t go shooting me up with Novocain and drilling holes into my teeth because you need some extra bread this week. I mean, tell me I need some super special breath treatment cause it’s kicking like Van Damme, I would most likely jump all over that, pay you your money, and won’t have to spend my Friday drooling.

I’ve always been skeptical about dentists; I think it’s safe to say most dentists hate me which is fine, I hate them as well. Every dentist I ever went to recommended I get braces.

“Nah, I don’t need braces.”

“Your teeth are growing in crooked and they’ll start to hurt.”

“No they won’t.”

“Yes they will.”

“Well, if they do start to hurt I’ll get braces.”

26 years old (27 in 16 days) and still no braces. And no pain. Don’t make me a metal mouth unless there’s no other choice. Metal-mouth…ah…Kindergarten. Metal-mouth, four-eyes…insults used to be so blunt and obvious. Ugly, hairy, stupid…we called it as we saw it when we were kids. But I digress.

My hatred for the dentist goes back to Dr. Kramer, my childhood dentist. I loved Dr. Kramer growing up, he was a cool dude. He had this big ass model sailboat in his office that my great-grandfather made. My great-grandfather! He was legend, his work proudly displayed in on of the only dentist offices in South Brooklyn. Everyone in our neighborhood went to Dr. Kramer. He checked us out, filled our pixie stick induced cavities and gave us lollipops, a practice that our parents never saw as extremely sketchy while paying for our fillings. Dr. Kramer was the man.

And then I started getting older.

I think I was around ten the last time I went to see Dr. Kramer. I had a “small cavity”, much like the one I have now, I assume. I sit in the chair; he does his little routine with the pick. Having had my teeth filled before, I know the procedure and begin to wonder why I haven’t been administered Novocain yet. Then, he skips the step where he takes the cotton swab and puts that gel on your gums and goes right for the drill, turns it on and moves towards my mouth.

“Dr. Kramer! What about my Novocain?”

That evil, hallow man turned to me with the gravest of faces, his soulless eyes penetrating my very soul. He holds the stare for a few moments before letting out a small chuckle, a reassuring smile. It reeked of falsities, he wasn’t happy, he wasn’t really laughing. His diabolical mind was probably thinking about my torturous squirming and getting was getting off of it. He delivered his response in a way that reeked of pleasure and drunken lust for masochist pain and torture.

“You’re getting older, it’s time to start acting like a man. You don’t need Novocain for a filling this small.”

I wasn’t a man. I didn’t need Novocain. Every ten year old wants to be a man, so I didn’t hesitate to agree with him. After all, he’s my dentist, he knows when I need Novocain and when I don’t And he knows when I’m ready to be a man, right?

Wrong.

It hurt so bad. I told my mom about it and I’m not sure where it went from there, I just know I never went back to Dr. Kramer.

read a book, fanboy: The Little Prince

turn off the metallica, fanboy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back

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posted by Jason at 1 Comments


Politics and I (or Can it be that it was all so simple...when?)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I was at a bar last night and I watched some of the State of the Union on mute. Who needs to actually hear it, it’s the same shit every year. Bush says something; the Republican side stands up and claps; zoom in on Hillary or Ted as they roll their eyes and sigh or show a look of disbelief.

It’s just boring crap. None of it means anything. I wish it was a little more free-form, I wish Bush was like Donald Trump running the boardroom in The Apprentice. Just once I was to see Hillary roll her eyes and Bush turns to her and says, “Why are you rolling your eyes? Do you actually feel that you managed this project well? Because you didn’t.” All of the other senators see this as an opportunity to stay alive and as Bush goes down the row, asking each one which person should be fired, they all say “Hillary”. They exaggerate their asses off, Teddy says he fears for his life when ever Hillary is around and someone like that should not be allowed to run the country. Hillary tries to defend herself one last time but The Donald cuts her short.

You’re fired Hillary. You’re fucking fired.

But no, we don’t get that. Repeats of Alias and Lost so we can hear the word “freedom” 5,342 times while Cheney stares intently at Bush, ready to down him with a blow dart if Bush strays too far from the speech.

Fuck that.

I’m so cynical when it comes to politics. I’m leftist in my policies but as far as I’m concerned every Democrat is a cock-gobbling whore and the Republicans pay 25 cents every ten seconds to watch the senator on congressman action. It’s like mid-80s Times Square gone horribly wrong.

I tried to get involved. One summer I took a job with the Sierra Club going to door to door and hustling people for money. I was all hyped to be helping the environment but it was such a fucking joke. They were housed in this huge loft in the Village, primo real estate right around the corner from West 4th train station. I took a percentage of my “sales” home as pay and I sucked at it. Now, you would think that since it costs them dick to have me on board and as long as I was bringing in some duckettes that should be fine, they’re getting paid either way and every little but helps, right?

Wrong. I was fucking fired in three days. It wasn’t working out. I wasn’t bringing in enough money. It’s just another business, you know? A year later I was reading some article about the most successful “gen-Xers”. The president of the Sierra Club was number 1. How the fuck does some not-for-profit douche bag make millions upon millions of bills?

The part that pissed me off the most was when they were announcing who made the most money for the day and it was some kid, think his name was Mike, and they introduced him as a Shaolin Soldier. The kid was some dorky white dude with thick fucking glasses and he came up to shake someone’s hand and he was doing this really bad kung-fu thing. And it just pissed me off because there was no way this guy was a Shaolin Soldier. There is no way he can hang with the Rza, the Gza, ‘Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghost Face Killah and the Method. Not to mention Masta Killa and Cappadonna, the two Wu members not mentioned in the intro to Method Man. Of course, Cappadonna didn’t become an official member of the Wu until Wu Tang Forever anyway, but I digress. That nerd could not hang with the Wu; Shyheim the Rugged Child would have kicked his ass.

But the Sierra Club, as an entity - they could hang with the Wu. Cash Rules Everything Around Me, C.R.E.A.M – get the money, dollar dollar bill ya’ll!

turn on some Wu, fanboy: Liquid Swords, Enter the Wu-Tang, Rza as Bobby Digital, Tical, Only Built for Cuban Linx, Return to the 36 Chambers

EDIT: I was just looking at the reviews for Only Built for Cuban Linx and one reviewer gave it 3.5 stars, said it was up there with Illamatic and if you didn't buy it you deserved to be shot. I want to see what he feels about a 5 star album.

EDIT (again): Never mind, that reviewer isn't really a reviewer at all. Apparently he's a robot that generates praise for Nas albums (and a few others) calling everything he ever listened to a "Must Have". He is officially my favorite robot of all time, despite his limited vocabulary. He needs an upgrade.

EDIT (again): God, it's so funny, but I'm so embarrassed that I have two albums where our likes cross (Illamatic and Only Built for Cuban Linx). This guy is too much. And he calls himself "The Best Rap Critic" as the coup de grace. Who the fuck is Haystack and why does he review all of their albums?

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posted by Jason at 1 Comments


The housee becomes the houser ("housed" as in "thoroughly beat" - for all the white boys – or black people that don't remember the dope early 90s)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Going to Fort Detrick today, up in Maryland. I’ve been doing the government contractor thing for a while and I’ve been on my share of bases. Some of them are actually not that bad, like Fort Sam Houston down in San Antonio and some of them are excruciatingly awful, like Aberdeen Proving Grounds. I’ve always had a fondness for Yuma Proving Grounds down in Yuma, Arizona. I love the dessert, love riding Humvees (the real ones, with turret guns on top, not those tricked out pieces of crap) out there.

You do this enough and you sort of get used to it. You learn the rules. But you generally learn them by breaking them, like when I was doing some work on a Navy ship and I started singing “In the Navy” in a low but audible voice. You don’t do that. Also, when looking over the side of a ship and you see a barracuda you don’t sing, “Ewwwwww barracuda!” at the top of lungs in my top notch Heart impersonation.

Yuma gets pretty cold at night, you’d never know it. Didn’t bring my jacket one time, someone dug out a military issue jacket. I threw it on and commented on how “cozy” it was. Guys don’t say the word “cozy” in front of a lieutenant.

I asked a Major if I was supposed to salute him. His official response was, “No. Not ever. Don’t ever salute anybody.”

I just don’t have that military mindset. My father was in the Navy but none of that mentality passed on to me.

But, like I said, I learned. I can now hang with these types of guys, go out drinking with them, use all their favorite clichés (“Throw her over an electric fence” is by far my favorite, no idea what it means but I use it whenever I can, usually when talking about strippers) and even talk about the military without letting my humongous left leaning policies stand out like Dick Cheney at an Auschwitz remembrance ceremony.

Yeah, I’m pretty left slanted. In my defense, I’ve really only worked on defensive applications, usually medically related, and always tried to carry it over into civilian applications.

I don’t really have a story today, I guess. Just sort of rambling. We’re getting out of here in an hour so I’m trying to calm myself my talking to the internets. This is my big moment: my contact, my lead and my project. 26 years old and laying this shit down while my 60 year old boss sits by and watches. I’ll be the youngest person at the presentation, standing up there and doing my shit, bringing home money. I don’t want to come off as bragging, I’m just a little proud sometimes I guess. Like I said, I’ve been doing this for only five years, and I went from a complete mess with no sense of etiquette to “the guy”.

I drove a little rented Neon into the desert and got a flat a and had to radio back to the control tower because I didn’t have a jack, had them show up, open my trunk and point out my jack prompting me to apologize because I never changed a flat before. If, at that moment, you were to tell me that in a few years I would have become “the guy” I probably would have asked you how to loosen the lug nuts on my tire.

I’ve changed several flats since then.

Amazon Associates is down, can’t create my “read a book, fanboy” or “turn off the metallica, fanboy” links for today. But last I checked my account; you guys weren’t reading or listening to any of them anyway. So, you know, blow me. I’ll have some up again starting tomorrow.

By the way, my new apartment rocks. Moving sucked. But the payoff - oh so good.

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posted by Jason at 2 Comments


Hulk smash puny sink

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I don’t have time for my usual post where I do a little blurb about my day and then tell a related story from my past. In case you really haven’t been paying attention, that’s the official format. Anyway, it’s 4AM, I just finished packing and cleaning the apartment and I’m tired. Movers how up at 10AM and I have to make one more Good Will trip first (my fourth, we got rid of MASSIVE amounts of shit…um…I mean high quality items we feel the poor deserve).

Anyway, tired or not I am trying to update this blog 6 days a week so I’m just going to go right into a quick story to keep you people happy. I’m a fucking martyr, bitch.

Before I started college I quit my job at the video store to work full time at my dad’s print shop. My dad was a dope printer, worked upstairs in the nice clean pressroom printing baseball cards. I worked downstairs where there were no windows, everyone spoke Spanish and the entire joint just smelled like rice, beans and Hispanic ass sweat (I’m allowed to say that – Rodriguez, remember?)

Anyway, I have a ton of stories from this place but a nice quick one that elaborates on my klutz tendencies described yesterday has to do with me sneaking a smoke in the bathroom (yeah, long ex-smoker, quit two years ago). Anyway, was tired so I snuck a smoke and sat on the sink to rest my legs.

The sink broke off the wall.

Did you catch that?

The sink broke off the wall.

I’m not a heavy guy now by any means. And back then I was a football player that could run a 5 second forty and a 56 second quarter mile, I wasn’t a fat ass by any means. But I was a klutz.

Anyway, when you break a sink off the wall water shoots out at you at an incredible rate. I spent about thirty seconds trying to stop it from coming out until I went outside to face the music, drenched from head to toe.

I told the maintenance guy that I was leaning against the sink to get a better look at my face in the mirror when I ripped the sink off the wall. I basically told him I was the Incredible Fucking Hulk – so goddamn strong that when I lean against sinks I smash them into pieces. I don’t think he bought it.

Anyway, I got to go to bed. I might throw out some more print shop stories tomorrow.

read a book, fanboy: His Dark Materials

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Revolutionary 2

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posted by Jason at 1 Comments


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