Saturday, April 15, 2006

Poets Row

This morning I awoke to the pitter patter of raindrops on the window. This is good for a few reasons, mainly because of all the work I've been doing in the ghetto garden. Yesterday, I set out some seedlings to harden them off before planting, and they got their first full taste of life in the great outdoors, as well as a nice drink of water.

I also ran into George Karl, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, during lunch with my Mom at Red Robin today. He was there with his family and was a really nice guy. My nephew Scott got Karl's autograph on the kiddie menu, but I only nodded my thanks. Go Nuggets. Although I have to say...I still don't feel those baby blue uniforms. They look alright on the court, but if you wear the gear you look like you just came from a baby shower or something.

I forgot to mention this in a previous blog entry, but I went to the post office the other day. It's always excruciating going to the post office, especially with a handful of packages. The guy working behind the counter was name Ulysess. He was the only one there and let me tell you, he was slow. His parents should have named him Molasses. Ulysses was the fleet-footed man killer. This guy was the dimwitted time killer.

On another note, I found this poem about Poets Row after looking for pictures of the place on the web. In some ways, the poem captures a little bit of the essence of the place. It took me back anyway. The Charlie Brown’s that they are talking about is a little jazz bar around the corner in the lobby of the Colburn hotel. When Kerouac and Ginsberg were in town to see Neal Cassady, that’s where they hung out. Technically it's around the corner from Poets Row, but it's close enough. I used to go there to make my calls when I didn't have a phone, so I guess it could be considered an honorary part of Poets Row.

And now the news...

This story is relevant to a discussion I had with my brother the other day. We were talking about abolishing government programs, which led to discussion about New Orleans, which led to a discussion of San Francisco.

Lionel Richie went to Libya and had a great time.

Stop the presses, Lacuna Coil debuted at number 28 on the Billboard charts. You gotta hand it to their publicist. This kind of thing is usually celebrated privately.

I also heard from my cousin Josh. He is on his way from Florida and should be arriving tomorrow. He'll be here for two weeks and will be getting together at some point for some IV:XX hijinks, and I'm sure, some heartfelt conversation.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Taste in Music?

My brother stopped by earlier and kicked my ass at Madden.  We watched a Pantera video I have then I took him downtown to Market Street Station.  He played me some rap CD by Lench Mob or Brotha Lynch or someone that was horrible, just horrible.  I’m no stranger to rap music, I grew up with it, but this stuff was awful.  This guy was talking about sticking his nine up someone’s pussy and blowing her guts all over the wall.  Disgusting.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a stack of death metal CDs.  Now I love metal, grew up with that too, and I listen to some extreme stuff sometimes, but I couldn’t listen to this crap.  It was too heavy, too fast, too cheesy.  And it was disgusting, too.  One of the CDs, a Cannibal Corpse album, had a song called Entrails Ripped From a Virgin’s Cunt.  (Don’t believe me?  Check the link.)

They say that music is all about taste.  Perhaps that’s so, but I like degenerate rap about as much as I like degenerate metal.  That is to say, not at all.

The funny thing is that after I questioned his selection, he popped in a CD of Christian music.  Can’t say I like that too much either, but it was a welcome relief from that stick my nine up your pussy crap.

On the way back home, listening a radio station of my choice, I had a chance to do some thinking.  I was driving through Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where my Max Beatty book is set, and found myself thinking about it, driving by places, thinking about how I could work them into the story, which then of course opens more doors onto new ideas.  I’m not going to try and describe the process, but in doing this thinking, I think I hit upon a title.  Ready for it?

Poets Row.

Yeah, I don’t know.  I kind of like it, but it’s also….simple, descriptive but not altogether clever.  It certainly touches on an aspect of the story, since Abby lives on Poets Row, as I did once when I was a young(er) man.  But there’s no menace, no mystery.

But there is an upside.  I’ve been toying with the idea of themed titles, which is a mainstay of the mystery genre.  Mosley and MacDonald use colors.  (Devil in a Blue Dress, A Little Yellow Dog, Nightmare in Pink, Pale Gray for Guilt)  Sue Grafton uses the alphabet.  Even Dan Simmons got into the act when he was writing the Joe Kurtz books.  It’s everywhere.

And here am I have a little theme with streets going on for the sequels, which of course I have in mind but have yet to write.  Easy Street, Vicious Circle, Dead End Road, Fast Lane, Last Place, etc, etc.  It’s an idea.

Ancient Laws of Combat

Say what you want about Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.  It’s not the best movie, or even Scorsese’s best.  The sound design was horrible, some of the editing static and unmoving.  And you had to put up with Leonardo DiCaprio doing his best Irish brogue.  But, on the plus side, there were great performances from Daniel Day Lewis, awesome sets, great period detail, and some very memorable set pieces.

My favorite is the opening battle scene, a gang war that seems reminiscent of a medieval battlefield.  And interestingly enough, I think this exchange describes our current problem with immigration.

Or, considering the history, America’s perennial problem with immigration.

Hey, can you get me a glass of water?

There’s a lively discussion over at Uncle Jim’s Drop and Give me Twenty about the Iranian question.  Uncle Jim, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is a right-wing hawk (and proud of it) and so is my brother Jason, also seen in the comments.  Me, I’m definitely not right-wing and my hawk streak is somewhat squeamish.  I’m also a lifetime civilian who has never ventured outside the United States.  Uncle Jim, on the other hand, is a vet of the Gulf War and Jason a vet of the current Iraq War.

But of course, I’m right.

Last night being a Thursday, I had to go see what the people at the Park were doing.  The usual cast of characters were on hand.  Brother was manning the bar.  Rebecca was zooming around in a short black skirt.  The Bar Ho made an appearance later, with her sour-faced friend and her bleary-eyed sleazeball boyfriend.  There was some kind of altercation between one of her friends and these cute girls playing pool.  “I’m going to kick your fucking ass,” Bar Ho’s froggy friend said, tears streaming down her face, before Bar Ho dragged her away.

The cute girl smiled and waved, not really comprehending what all the fuss was about.  And I have to say, girl was cute, maybe a little too skinny with no rear to speak of, but soul-searching eyes and something that I can only call style.  This is style:  wearing brown plaid pants and a big brown belt and pulling it off.  She also reminded me, in some small way, of my first girlfriend, the way she smoked, two fingers holding the cigarette at the corner of her mouth, head tilted, one eye closed.

Later, she left with Brother for a stroll.  Maybe out to the alley, where his big pop culture mural is splashed on the wall.  In addition to the anatomically challenged Elvis, there’s also a stumpy funhouse mirror Marilyn Monroe, a pretty good cowboy James Dean from Giant, and fricking Jim Morrison.  When I told Brother I liked his mural, half serious, half joking, he denied it was his.

Even though he admitted it to Ginger in my presence a few months ago.  Which leads to an interesting question.  If he didn’t paint the mural, why did he tell Ginger he did?  And if he did, why would he deny it to me?  So from now on, he’ll be called Brother Peter.  Unfortunately, he’s not quite a saint….

As for the pursuit of Rebecca, let me just say that I’m about as smooth as a cobblestone road.  The only noteworthy interaction of the night came when she came by while we were at the foosball table and asked if we were alright.  (That’s bartalk for, “You want another drink?”)  This is what I said:

“Hey!”  You know, like in Hey you.  “Can you get me a glass of water?”

And I had been planning on saying something smooth, something unflinchingly cute and charming that would get me a cute little smile.  And instead, I say, “Hey, can you get me a glass of water?”

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The M Word

In this story, Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey talk about the President’s careful avoidance of the “M” word.  Some of it is written in code language, of which I’ll be happy to translate.

This sentence:
At the end of last year, the president started to recalibrate his language on the war in Iraq, expressing more candor about the security situation on the ground.
Means this:
At the end of last year, the president started to recalibrate his language on the war in Iraq, BEING MORE HONEST about the security situation on the ground.
This phrase:
Either way, it's time for the press corps to demand something other than the M word. Maybe it's time to ask him to say sorry.
Means this:
It's time to grow up, guys.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mission Accomplished

First there was Chapter 1, then Chapter 2, and now Chapter 3.

Since it's been a while, a summary might help. Private detective Max Beatty has been hired by Abby Jeunet, the frontwoman of a small time rock band who is having troubles with an overexuberant fan. Max enlists his friend and sometimes partner Micah to help with the case. They get their first break, if you can call it that, by obtaining some surveillance tapes that may, or may not, identify the Creep.

In Chapter 3, we meet Max's wife, Karen Beatty, for the first time, and we finally learn what exactly is on those tapes.

Now I must rest.

The Clincher

Let it be known:  Carmelo is the man!  

In honor of the Nuggets’ historical achievement, a little bit of Chevelle’s The Clincher.  And speaking of Chevelle, has anyone ever noticed how heavy they are?  Sure, they’ve got that whole emo thing going, but some of their riffs are thunderous.  I love it.

More Max Beatty material here.  Vague news reports and a vivid imagination can be a scary thing.  You start asking yourself questions.  Who was she?  How did she get there?  Next thing you know…

Speaking of Max Beatty, I’m going to make a concerted effort to finish Chapter 3 tonight.  I worked on it for about an hour this morning but only got through about ten sentences.  And they were short sentences.  Lame!  Of course, if being hard to write makes it easy to read, then it was all not in vain.

Stuck as I was in a mobius strip of unproductive writing, I turned my attention to my garden.  I’m in the process of transforming the back corner of my yard, once a wasteland, into a green oasis of blooming flora.  The latest addition has been the tires which I recycled from some trash dumping bumpkin, but after further review, I didn’t like how they looked.  I decided to integrate them into a tiered landscape so that they would be more aesthetically pleasing (as opposed to looking like a bunch of mismatched tires stuck in the ground) as well as discouraging the dogs digging it up.  I spread them out, added some tree rings to hold the terraces up, and soon, I’ll be planting flowers.  

It’s only about half done right now, but I’ll post pics when it’s finished.  If it looks half as good as it does in my head, it should be alright.

I have a job interview tomorrow, but I almost think it’s more of some kind of “business opportunity” type thing rather than a job, you know, a job-type job.  (Yes, I stole a phrase from Tarantino.)  I’m going to go anyway, which means I guess I have to shave and actually comb my hair instead of pulling it back with a hat.  I might even have to iron some clothes, too.  Sheesh.

I’m also supposed to be meeting an old friend for drinks.  We had a falling out last year and it’s been icy between us ever since.  Ironically, he has a job interview tomorrow as well and so we might have to reschedule the peace talks.

In other news, Proof is dead.  I’m sure he’s not too happy about that.

What I’m reading these days:  listening to the unabridged audiobook of E.L. Doctorow’s The March, read by the inimitable Joe Morton.  Funny and grand, but still not sure what the fuss was all about.  Also reading Ross MacDonald’s The Moving Target, the first Lew Archer book and not as good as I was hoping it would be.  Here’s hoping the Lew Archer series gets better…and here’s hoping I finish Chapter 3 tonight.

Monday, April 10, 2006

And Now the News

The Real World is coming to Denver.  I’ve talked about this with my buddy Brando over at Bonjour, Peewee.  He’s a longtime Real World junky.  I haven’t really been keeping up, to be honest.  But I think I’ll watch this new one, if only because it’s my city.

Denver Nugget Julius Hodge was shot in a drive-by this weekend.  It’s still not clear what was what, but he’s alright.  We’ll see what it does to his basketball career though.  

A former Lt. General of the Marine Corps admits that the Iraq war has been misguided from the start, not “on the ground” but in the halls of Washington policymakers.  Good reading.

President Bush is in trouble again.  Or still.  Or something.

And Jeff Skilling is having trouble convincing everyone that he’s “absolutely innocent” after the meltdown of Enron.

Alice in Chains is regrouping without Layne Staley.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Mike Celizic has an interesting take on Brett Favre’s retirement question.  I for one would like to see Brett stick around, but he’s got his own legacy to think about.  Does he want to flame out due to age?  Or try to be a John Elway and go out on top?  Considering what he has accomplished, it might be the latter.  If so, Green Bay might not be the place for him.

Music Minute

I’ve been hearing this weird song on the radio.  A heavy thrash riff with a curious country sound.  The lyrics, the way they’re delivered by the throaty singer, the chord progression.  It was fricking country metal.  Anyway, I never heard the announcement of who did the song, so I e-mailed Double-A Ron at KBPI and he replied with this:

Its a new band called Rebel Meets Rebel...... the song is "Nothing To Lose"

The band is Vinny, rex from pantera, and David Allen Coe ...

He forgot to mention Dime.  

In the back of my mind, I think I always knew it.  That riff is unmistakably Dime’s.  Here’s a snippet.

Sunday Night Follies

No FFF?  For the second week in a row?  WTF?  What can I say?  I have no excuse….My time management skills as of late have been appallingly inept, almost as if I had hired someone from the Bush Administration to do my scheduling.  Hopefully this doesn’t get me kicked out of the club.

I went out again last night, same place, same people, and somehow managed to stay till last call.  The beers ended up making me a bit queasy, but the bar entertainment was particularly lively this night.  A drunk blonde, kind of cute if you like drunk blondes, sat crying next to us at the bar.  Eavesdropping didn’t reveal the cause of her sadness, but it went away eventually and she was later spotted laughing and smoking with her friends.

The new bar girl that I like, Rebecca, was there as well, although not on duty.  I was getting beat at foosball by Ginger again and looked up to see her looking casually radiant, red hair aflame, but hanging out with the short diabolical bartender she was working with the other night.  A date perhaps?  It sure seemed like it, but an early date, a noncommittal date.   Awkward but friendly.  They played pool, first against each other, then against other people.  Other guys, better looking guys than Devil Man, were playing and flirting, because she is a very cute girl, and it looked like Devil Man might not have come out so well at the end of the night.  She left alone, bouncing down the street all full of champagne bubbles.  Devil Man sulked at the bar by himself, his face twitching.

A girl I have been calling the Bar Ho was there as well, with her sour-faced friend.  She came in late, dragging along with her this sleazy dude in his 40s.  He was already half-drunk and bleary eyed, which you would have to be to hang out with the Bar Ho.  She was going to get him drunker.  She kept going to the bar for drinks and by the time last call rolled around, they had a cluster of half-full drinks and shots in front of them.  I didn’t stick around to see what kind of stickiness ensued after that.

At one point, a beautifully groomed man and his less pretty friend came in.  Ginger immediately thought they were gay.  I knew otherwise.  My gaydar is usually pretty good, although it’s better with women than men.  Turns out he wasn’t gay when he tried to buy a drink for the crying blonde girl.  She was so upset that she refused.  Later, I saw them with a napkin and a pen in hand, and you know what that means.  “Just go give it to her,” was all I overheard.  They parked it by the ladies bathroom, the perfect place for a snake to strike, and even engaged Ginger on a powder room visit.  Apparently they were from New York and just moved here the day before.  This was their inaugural night in Denver and the Park was their forum.

Perhaps the oddest thing was the hunky bartender we’ll just call Brother.  (Because when you’re talking about someone’s brother, it could be anybody, right?)Brother is slimy, and I mean, slimy.  Ewww, slimy.

Last night, as well as Thursday night, I returned from the bathroom to find Brother hunkered over the bar, oozing his seductive charm all over Ginger.  As soon as I sat down, he disappeared, scurrying off like he had been caught.  Of course, he doesn’t know that I’m not Ginger’s boyfriend, but his thought process is obvious.  It’s always safer to chat up the ladies when the boyfriend’s in the bathroom, right?  Slimy.

I had an opportunity to be slimy, too, but I didn’t.  In the game room, I heard someone holler so I got up from my spot at the bar and peeked in.  I missed whatever had happened, but Rebecca was standing right there by the change machine, leaning on her pool cue.  She turned back to look at me and this big smile came on her face.  “Hi,” she said.  I smiled back and said, “Hi.”  She seems like a flawlessly nice person, but it didn’t seem like just being polite.  I’m not the type of guy who is going to chat a girl up while she’s on a date, as ill-fated as it may be, so I left it at that.  But I sense an opportunity...