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Friday, December 15, 2006

Random Friday Post

So the Nuggets seem to be making a serious play for Allan Iverson, who doesn't want to play in Philly anymore. That would be awesome! Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, JR Smith, Andre Miller, Nene, and little Earl Boykins.

That reminds me. I need to make it to a Nuggets game soon. Maybe after the trade?

A few posts ago, I mentioned I wrote a few crappy stories about a skinhead murder that had a strange proximity. I read through one of them again, and as a story it sucks. But as three vignettes, it does kind of stand up. As a literary attempt to exorcise the demons, it served it's purpose.

If you want to read it, here you go. I don't like the title, but try as I might, I can't think of anything better.

Also, the names were changed but not very much. Jenny Von Straussburg is really Jeannie Vanvelkinburgh. Omar Shaw is Oumar Dia (Dia is kind of pronounced "Shaw"). Nathaniel Hill is Nathan Thill. It's simple really. Still, I could probably be sued for libel.

And perhaps even plagiarism. Some of the dialogue spoken by my character "Nathaniel Hill" was actually spoken by the real murderer, Nathan Thill.

And now...the Friday Random Ten.

1) Out of Control - Chemical Brothers
2) Man or Animal - Audioslave
3) Equinox - Clutch
4) It Wasn't Me - Shaggy
5) Golden Years - David Bowie
6) Jerry Was a Race Car Driver - Primus
7) By My Side - Ben Harper
8) Rodeo Clowns - G. Love and Special Sauce
9) The Wanton Song - Led Zeppelin
10) Stone Breaker - Corrosion of Conformity

Don't forget to post yours over at Corey Anderson's American Idle! You know what will happen then. That's right. The guys from Slipknot will show you how it's done back in Iowa.

Tonight's the company Christmas party. It should be fun, but hopefully it doesn't turn out like this.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Music Minute

Remember the Pharcyde? No? Where the hell were you back in the early 90s then? Listening to Pearl Jam, were ya? Well you missed out, man. The Pharcyde had a jazzy, humorous bent that was more concerned with hooking up with girls and smoking trees than busting caps in a pig's ass. It's too bad this kind of hip-hop was eschewed in favor of a gangsta style obsessed with bling and bitches. There is hope, though. The Wikipedia claims Pharcyde is coming out with a new record next year.

Listen to a snippet of Pack the Pipe.

I'm reasonably sure you've never heard of a band called Electric Wizard, and even more certain you've never heard their music. They're underground, man, darlings of the stoner rock scene who conjure images of smoky black light posters and Black Sabbath inspired riffage. I can't find much merit in all of their work, but I dig this song called Vinum Sabbathi. It could be because of the jokey intro, but I fear that the power of the riff is what compels me.

Listen to a snippet of Vinum Sabbathi (and prepare to have your speakers blown).

Remember GWAR? Yeah, they're jokey too, if you can call making fun of anal rape and mass murder jokey. Many moons ago, they put out a song about Saddam Hussein, but don't think the most notable thing about the song is the topical relevance. Nope, it's the brass section, which leads me to wonder why more heavy metal bands don't have horns. It sounds awesome!

Listen to a snippet of Saddam A Go Go and wonder with me.

Finally, another song with a funny intro. I have no clue what it's from, but the intro is much much better than the song, which to this ear collapses under its own weight. The band is Mastodon, a weird metal band that once devoted an album to a heavy metal retelling of Moby Dick. (No reason to read the book when you can just buy the record.)

Listen to a snippet of Shadows That Move and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Run, Rabbit, Run!

So as I was pulling into my driveway after work tonight, I spotted something in my yard. Being the ghetto, it's not unusual to find something in my yard, but usually it's a pop can or a flattened cup from Wendy's. Tonight, it was a rabbit. He hung around long enough for me to get this shot.

It's So Easy....

So if jumping on a couch and marrying Katie Holmes can ruin Tom Cruise's career....and going on an anti-semitic rant can cause some professional problems for Mel Gibson, shouldn't shooting a man in the face have a similar effect?

And yet this clown is still Vice President.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vicariously I Live

No one that is close to me has been murdered. Some members of my, er, family have been. My cousins' Dad, Dennis, was beaten to death behind an IHOP. His killer, or killers, has not been caught. I didn't know Dennis at all, though, so that shock was overcome with sympathy for my bereaved cousins.

It's possible that another cousin may have been murdered, but whoever it was, staged it as a convincing (at least to the authorities) suicide. They found him hanging from a tree by a dog chain.

I didn't really know him either, and when I did, I was pretty little so I don't remember much of it.

The summer between my sophmore and junior year in high school, I heard news that one of my classmates, Dennis Lopez, had been shot and killed in a gang related beef. Everything was gang-related back then, for some reason. I knew Dennis a little bit, but he was too vatos locos for me so I didn't hang around him. But at the time, I had visions of Dennis sitting in his coffin as his family cried around him, muttering prayers in Spanish. 40s would be tipped. Blunts would be passed. Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony would be on the radio, or Dr. Dre.

The next summer, another kid, Juan Valdez, was killed. I don't remember the circumstances, drugs or something. Something stupid, no doubt. I didn't have the same haunting visions of Juan in a casket. I didn't know Juan much either, but I knew enough to know he was a punk. Always getting in fights, always talking shit. By then, I thought Juan's tragic death was a case of, "You better check yo' self befo' you wreck yo' self," and too bad for Juan, he wrecked himself.

Later, after I left high school and its petty gang squabbles, I was working downtown in a high rise. I used to ride the bus to my apartment in the Robert Frost building on 10th and Sherman around the corner in Capitol Hill, and one night, a few hours after I had departed from the bus stop across the street from the office, there was a shooting.

A man, an African immigrant, was dead and a woman, an innocent bystander and some would say good samaritan, was paralyzed. Witnesses reported it was a racially motivated incident, with two skinheads who taunted the black man, knocked his hat off. The woman stepped in to intervene, and that's when the skinheads pulled out their .22 and shot them both.

Turns out the skinheads worked at the convenience store just around the block from my apartment. Most days, I would get off the bus, go into the convenience store, buy a few trifles, and walk up the hill on my way home. Most of the time, the skinheads were working. Of course, I didn't know they were skinheads. Sure their heads were shaved and they were tatted out, but I never saw any swastikas.

They later confessed to a TV reporter, then were arrested and plead guilty. They claimed it was all part of a rahowa and they were just taking out the enemy. I'm sure they're the leading lights in the prison Aryan Nation about now.

That one still freaks me out. The shooting occurred across the street from my job, and the murderers worked two blocks from my house. I had semi-daily interaction with them, and had actually talked to them. They even joked about my Ben and Jerry's fetish.

I couldn't believe it when I saw them on TV, confessing to the crime, being led away in handcuffs. Those two dudes from the gas station??? You gotta be kidding me.

When I went to work the next day, bits of police tape were still flapping in the wind around the bus stop.

A couple years later, the lady who was paralyzed killed herself.

I've tried writing about the story before and produced two very bad short stories. I'm not sure I'll ever wrap my mind about the whys and wherefores of that crime. There are so many dimensions. The African immigrant, who actually helped support a village in Senegal with his earnings in America, dead. The single mother, who rides the bus, mind you, paralyzed, then later a suicide. A couple young punks who wish life was more like Romper Stomper, now prison bitches. Racial Holy War. Cold blooded murder. Heartbreaking tragedy.

It's like blood to a vampire.

Senseless Acts of Murder Part Two

It's official now. The victim in the 7-11 shooting was "the sour old lady with painted on eyebrows" that used to work in the store by my house. I didn't know her name --I knew her as the 7-11 lady-- but this is what the Post says:
Jutte Gallegos Burton was a short-haired, round woman who painted her eyebrows on and didn't worry too much about fashion.

Friends of the 7-Eleven clerk said she had a high-pitched cackle and liked to call people "honey."
I had been called "honey" by her many times. She seemed to like me, but I can't say I really liked her.

Back in my 7-11 post, I mentioned that "despite horrible experience after horrible experience, I kept coming back." And Jutte G. Burton certainly contributed to those horrible experiences.

When I worked the 6 to 3 shift, I stopped in there almost every day before work for coffee. She was on duty and sometimes in a crabby mood. She was the only one there and I stood in many a line waiting to be rung up.

Before long, I cringed when I saw her through the windows, knowing immediately that my convenience store experience would be slightly more inconvenient than I'd like.

One time I saw her at the other 7-11, not the one where she was murdered at, but the one on Montview. I started going there because they didn't seem to get as bogged down as the one on Peoria. Jesus Christ, I thought at the time. I can't get away from this lady.

I can't say I liked her all that much, but she seemed to like me. Most times I would be grounchy, half asleep and desperately in need of my caffeine, thinking I'm going to be a few minutes late to work because the 7-11 lady was so damn slow. Oh yes, she ruined many a morning.

But then sometimes, she would be in a good mood. She would call me "honey" and make some joke. Those mornings weren't bad, but they were few and far between.

Then the store management changed and I didn't see her anymore. I figured she got fired because she was so damn slow. But that was quelled when the clerks that replaced her proved to be even slower!

Even then, I still can't believe the 7-11 lady, known to her loved ones as Jutte, is dead. Not of old age or hypertension, but cold-blooded murder. It boggles the mind.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This Is Not a Parody

But man, I hope it is.

Christmas Wishes or How I Flunked Weightlifting in High School Twice

My Mom asked me what I want for Christmas, so I sent her a list. Most all of it was for pretty pricey stuff, stuff I want but haven't really worked into the budget. I didn't expect the whole list. It was just a few ideas, you know. Pick the one (or two or three) you want, and I'll be happy.

One of those things was a weight bench...not a cheapo aluminum pole one, but a decent one with a preacher curl bench, maybe a lat bar. I've wanted one for a while now, and was going to buy one with my bonus this year...but a month after I got my bonus, I got laid off.

My lavish plans were dashed...but like an ornery villain, they were only dashed for a while.

I knew what my Mom would say when she saw that. She would laugh at the irony. And sure enough, when I called her, this is what she said, "A weight bench, from a kid who flunked weightlifting twice? I don't think so."

Yes, it's true, I flunked weightlifting twice. Once was because my teacher was Mr. Wells, a humorless man with permed hair and an Elmer Fudd lisp. When I was a kid, I used to think that Mr. Wells was just old and mean, but now I realize that Mr. Wells just hated his job. He had to deal with kids all day, take roll call, blow his whistle. It must have been awful. He probably yearned to be in an office, strapped to a desk. I could just see him saying, "Fuck thethe kidth." He probably drank a lot too.

The second time, I think I had Mr. Wells again, and I spent whole weeks not dressing out because I was recovering from a stab wound to the arm. Yes, a stab wound to the arm. (That's a story in and of itself. Have you ever been in shock? I have, and the only thing I can tell you is that it's cold.)

Then I think I stopped going to class.

Yep, I ditched a lot of school in my day.

And, as crazy as it may seem, I still want that weight bench.

Most Wanted

A few days ago, authorities released a list of Colorado's 50 Most Wanted, and as of today, they have captured six of them, including these characters. For some reason, their mug shots make me want to laugh so hard I pee myself.

First, there's Robert "More Psycho Than Norman Bates" Wright. Scary...
Then, there's Shane "Oh Shit!" Johnston.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Senseless Acts of Murder

Not too long ago, I complained about my local 7-11. And today, I look up the news to find that a 7-11 employee was gunned down in a botched robbery attempt. When I saw that it was in Aurora, my first thought was, holy shit, I wonder if it happened at my hated 7-11. Unfortunately there is no shortage of this kind of thing in my neighborhood.

Earlier this year, a man who was shot a few blocks away died in my alley.

Back in September, I went to the 7-11 on 17th and Peoria only to spy with my little eye, a crime scene where a cop had been murdered.

And now, this. Though the 7-11 where this murder occured isn't technically in my neighborhood, it's close enough (about a mile, I'd say), and to top it off, the victim did in fact work at the 7-11 I've recently disavowed, the one on 17th and Peoria, so it's possible that I may have come into contact with her at some point. Since they haven't released the victim's identity, I don't know for sure, but I wonder if it was the sour old lady with painted on eyebrows.

I guess we will see.