Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Beijing Images - June 2011

Beijing Highlights - June 2011

Sat next to two silly Thai girls on the plane ride over. They wrote me love notes in Thai that I still need translated.
Thomas met me at the airport and we grabbed cheap good food just around the corner from his apartment - one of those storefront restaurants which could double for someone's home kitchen.  There was a table of chinese guys next to us who kept getting up to pee on the wall across the street.  This in turn made me feel comfortable shooting food debris off my tongue whenever I felt so inclined.
The apartment we're living in is posh.  Might even cost over a million dollars.  I should carry around photos of it in my wallet like people do with their children.

note: The correct pronunciation of Beijing is "Bay-jing."  The way American newscasters say it and popular perception is a bastardized attempt at sounding foreign.  Blame the French.

On day one, I hooked up with 11 other people (I'm a slut, I know), some friends of friends, and we bused it to a village 1.5 hours outside the city nestled along sections of the Great Wall that haven't been refurbished.
We stayed at an incredible house. Went hiking. Ate elaborate meals. Drank plentifully at night.

Can't use Facebook, which is a massive inconvenience considering that’s how I conduct most of my correspondence.


Return from countryside retreat.  Eat dinner at a Korean bbq place where they cook the meat on a mini-grill in front of you.  It’s like having an uninvited guest at your table.  All the girls in this particular establishment have tattoos.  Thomas is automatically impressed by Chinese girls with tattoos. 
As for the bbq, I’m less than thrilled only getting to eat one piece of meat or onion every five minutes - the amount of time it takes for them to cook something and divide it up amongst the three of us.
At night, one of Thomas’ Chinese prospects comes over.  She looks cartoonish with her big eyes and small frame, but definitely pixie cute.  There is a tattoo on her wrist, so after Thomas confesses attraction for her and she responds that “It had never crossed her mind,” Thomas does not believe her.


Spend loads of time in the apartment reading and editing short videos compiled from pictures and vids of my trip so far.  Reading The Sheltering Sky, which is quick and easy prose that hints at greater heaviness.  Three Americans wandering around North African desert in the aftermath of WWII.  There is a love triangle and resonant theme of Americans in foreign land.  Talk of the Sahara makes Beijing feel not-so-remote.


Been eating loads of baozi and gong bao ji ding.  
Thomas' bike was stolen yesterday, even though it was locked up.  Somebody just picked it up and walked off.  So we buy him a new bike.  This time he gets two locks.  We ride the new bike down a ways, me sitting side-saddle on the back, to a market that sells dumbbells.  It is a massively arduous process getting them home.
I learn about “Beijing Air-Conditioning” - the phenomenon where Chinese men pull their shirt fronts above their nipples to cool off.   


Bike ride around town in the afternoon.  Thomas harasses me for not going fast enough on my rickety rental bike.  Wend through Hutongs, past Forbidden City and along Tianemen.  Feels great to be out and about.
Join Seb for Shabbat dinner at Chabad House.  Seb was on the group retreat to the Great Wall that first day.  Catch the tail end of services.  Can’t understand anything.  I only came for the free dinner and booze.  There are an assortment of different looking Jews - Arabs, Brooklyn Black Hats, Russians, nerds, etc. They all know their prayers better than me.  My kippah refuses to stay on my head.  A man behind me points out I’m in fact wearing two stuck together.  Even with just one, it keeps falling off.
There must be 100 people at dinner.  I’m seated with guys around my own age.  Wash hands for chamotzi.  There are loads of other prayers I don’t know throughout the multi-course meal.  The Rabbi continuously comes around to fill up our disposable medicine cups with nice scotch.
“They know how to party,” Seb tells me.  
The Rabbi makes some spiel about nepotism corrupting the world.  I am confused.  I thought the Jews were all about nepotism.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I had/I have

I had a cousin who was big and masculine and forced to flee the country.  After which he became a woman and died in a fire.

I had a conversation with a girl in which I relayed the cool things I had done.  I could see her face get all twisted up with excitement, then melancholy, at the prospect these things were unattainable to her. 
I feel that way a lot, when people tell me about all the cool things they've done.  It's like a drug - you get real high hearing about travels and nights out and accomplishments, and then you get real depressed thinking these things are out of reach; that they require all sorts of impossible hoop jumping.

I have a plane ticket to China for June 16th.  Now don't go twisting your face.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Notes from Kansas City

Dear Jared,

A couple of the guys from Small Black ended up coming to my apartment after their show in Kansas City and _____ made out with my friend on top of my washer and dryer.. And I'll have you know we had a cheers on your behalf earlier at the bar.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lovely Parentes (aka those with foresight to provide)

Vital limbs of mine

Many a night have you rode home with heavy eyes. Too much drink.
Who even says that?
The unique. The unique who care enough to actively emulate creative forebears.
The man across from you is old and a creeper. You hate that term, but it applies with all fire of definition now.
When he was your age, did he know it was in his interest to provide for himself? Work hard? Get a law degree? Have kids who would be successful? That way he could at least be an old creeper with some tie to legitimacy.
No. This old man is purely a lecher. There is no purity of heart. He had never intended any different. He looks every girl up and down their entire stretch, violating them with every eye tick. He salivates with lust. He  is lonely.
Fuck.  I am lonely.  We are all lonely.
But for him, there is no forgiveness for lack of any foresight. He lived like a Buddhist - in the present - in the worst way possible.  And he paid for it.  In his case, being present-minded reflected selfishness. Mindlessness was his sin.
And so he aged. Thinking nothing but of himself, with nobody to love and no children of which to pass the baton.
Farewell, thy lecher. You will suffer a fate worse than being forgotten. You will grow old and ugly. You will lust after young flesh that wishes no part of your deteroirating condition. Not only shall you be rendered irrelevant, but disgusting as well. You are a disgusting lecher who knows not his place. Just die already and leave the young alone.

The youth speaks. He says, let me off wherever on the subway. Vital limbs of mine, I shall run home.
Drop me off wherever. I care not of the leper. Vital limbs will carry me home. Big breaths. Playing woodwinds growing up, I can swim a length under water. I can breathe deep gasps to carry me across continents.
I am young!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Keep Walking

Passing by Barnes and Noble in Union Square, a teenage goth-looking girl with blue hair and pale skin, smoking a cigarette, stops me. I try and politely continue walking but she paces me.

-Hey mister, I need your help. Can you...can you buy me a nook?
-A nook?
-Yeah. I really need you to buy me a nook.
-Sorry. I can't help you buy a nook.

I keep walking and she stops, then calls after me.

-Well fuck you. When I'm rich, I'll buy myself a nook.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The dog's name is Sila, not Beatrice

Chirp chirp goes the bird.  Best to start off simple. 
Rearrrrgggghhhhh! shrieks a Pterodactyl.
We crack ourselves up.  Our onomatopoeia’s are limited.
This is how we amuse ourselves cutting through the dusk air on rickety bikes with loud spokes purchased at Morley’s annual garage sale.  This year we also made off with a working 4 track recorder.  JR and I are starting a band.  There’s only the two of us so far.  I reckon we’re off to a fortuitous beginning.  He sings and I’ve got a recorder I’m teaching myself to play.  We’ve written one song together.  Not too surprising that it’s called “Pterodactyl”.  That’s the name of our band as well, at least for now.

Dear Rory,

I remember when we would ride our bikes to the town dances, hair slicked back, smelling like aftershave even though we weren’t old enough to grow facial hair.  Remember how we tucked our right pant legs into our socks so as to not ruin our nicest pair of slacks that mom bought us at the beginning of summer?  We spent that whole summer moving crates in the unbearable heat and cooled off at the end of every day swinging into the lake from the vine by the high rocks.  That was a good summer.  I miss you.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here You Go - January, 2011

stop moving and that's it

My bro's got a dog.  Beatrice, her name.  B fo short.  B fo beautiful beagle.  B for boo - living in New York far from the dog.

Landed some peculiar but generous paying work this week in Soho helping out a friend's girlfriend's mother who is about to purchase a huge chunk of real estate in Harlem.  Putting to use those quality 'assistant' skills you've got to offer.

Spend time wondering at what point, the precipice irreversibly crossed, in which people become their parents, adults; when the affectations instantiate and become truth.

You think about your consciousness, how it's impossible to verify. You think about what it means to be intelligent. Most adults can read and articulate themselves. Unless you're highly specialized, life experience becomes the great equalizer. The only necessary reality is what it takes to survive and maintain the wits about one's self.
What is so noble about the quest for truth?

Assassin confronts his target. Before he shoots, he shouts, Here you go.
After firing six shots, he turns the gun on himself and exclaims, Here I go.

You think I have no dreams but I'm a dreamer all right.
Oh yeah?  What the hell do you dream about?
I dream about leaping across subway platforms, of defending you against an attacker in heroic fashion, of us being rich.
With agonizing sincerity.

How does a blind man dream?

Straight shot on the C from 109 in Washington Heights to Franklin Ave in Brooklyn. Train won't move. Without movement there is no heat. Spent whole night shivering at friend's with a broken heater. Feel tired like on mornings you had to wake up early for family trips to the airport. Only four hours of sleep. Many people regularly make do on this amount.
It's MLK day. You wonder if your thoughts are worth committing to record. Actively try and arrange them in literary way, even when not jotting down. Stream of consciousness has become affected from too much reading and other influence.
What are any longer your thoughts and not the thoughts you want an audience to hear?
Ulysses as big as a textbook in your jacket pocket. Incomprehensible. 180 pages deep and ready to quit. Seemed like a noble challenge.
In two days you will quit (at least for the meanwhile) and pick up Maugham's The Razor's Edge. It will prove a great relief.