Saturday, July 03, 2004

Post-birthday placeholder 

Oh, goodness. It's so late that it's early.

More to come when sleep has been had. In the meantime, rest assured that the birthday was sureally grand (emphasis on the surreal).

Sleep. sleep. sleep.

Alright, it's ten o'clock and I've now been nursed by three multi-hour naps and can again focus my vision without trying, so I figure I should set down a few notes before I repeat the whole process again.

Firstly, someone within a few miles is launching fireworks that sound like military artillery cannons. The concussion is great enough that two glasses set rim to rim on the computer table resonate a bit when the blasts rumble past every two seconds of so. I can tell the explosions are coming from almost due west because, when I face south, I hear the rumble first in my right ear, and then doppler shifted a bit in my left. Spooky, but intriguing (because I want to go see things blow up).

Secondly, I'm still laughing at Megan from last night. Without going into space-consuming detail on the nature of the evening, suffice it to say that at every possible opportunity, normality was summarily replaced by the insane (the good kind). An early example: remembering at the last minute that I was supposed to house sit a stranger's dogs and that, upon arriving and chatting with the lovely couple who needed the service, finding that I'd been replaced minutes before by their next door neighbor's kid, yet staying in their living room talking for twenty minutes about vegetarianism, depeche mode, and Washington DC. The big example: arriving at the "free" Runaway Planet show with a $5 cover charge and realizing that, wait, this is a Baptist Church and that, oh my god, we are the only people in attendance under the age of forty-five; a bluegrass show, by the way, is breathtakingly postmodern when set among an audience of the pious who hate dancing in public... especially to songs with lyrics that involve toking and getting rocked, baby, getting rocked. See, I went into too much space-consuming detail. Anyway, Megan at one point makes a call to Loca Luna to ask them about when they close. Reprinted for your pleasure:

Phone person: Loca Luna, how may I help you?
Megan M: Hi, what time do you close?
PP: Ten o'clock.
MM: Okay thanks, Rodney. (assumes person on the phone is an acquaintance of hers)
PP: What?
MM: It's Megan, sorry.
PP: Who? Megan who?
MM: (giggles) Oh, you are in so much trouble. It's Megan!
PP: Megan Thomas?
MM: Oh hell no, come on, it's Megan... MEG-AN!
PP: (pause) Uhhh, okay.
MM: HEY! Come on! It's Megan, you know, UALR, Share America, MEGAN!

At this point I'm simply laughing my ass off in the passenger seat of her car, because we're parked maybe ten feet from the front door of this restaurant, she's on the phone with someone on the staff, and I'm essentially listening to her repeat her name over and over and over again in explanation. My laughter works its magic on her, and soon enough she's laughing on the phone! Megan is laughing, loudly, with the phone still up to her mouth, still trying to convince who she thinks is Rodney that he does indeed know her. This goes on for two minutes, easily, when there's a breakthrough:

MM: RODNEY! (laugh laugh laugh), OH MY GOD RODNEY, IT'S MEGAN!
PP: Rodney? No, this is Rob.
MM: (makes startled face, laughs) Oh, sorry! Bye! (hangs up)

So we sit in this parking lot, each of us laughing to the point of tears and side cramps, while Megan, recounting the story to me, is trying to do a three-point turn to get back onto the road. By the end of the story, we've made a nineteen-point turn, still aren't facing the road, and are both laughing so hard that neither of us retain the ability to speak more than a couple of hilarity-strained words. For minutes. Many of them.

We, of course, didn't go into the restaurant after all of that, and instead chose a popular downtown bar with couches and snacky foods. While drinking there, Megan's hairdresser shows up with an entourage, and our groups are joined when a highly intoxicated stranger saunters over. Attempting to be a little bit country, this gem of a gentleman is dressed in standard business attire, sport coat, and straw cowboy hat. He plays with the hat like it's an especially sensitive extension of his body. He's also rattling off a story of how he had come into town from Ohio or Iowa and found his girlfriend to be having an affair, activating his drinking binge. Then , at this particular bar, he had run into his (ex-?) girlfriend's sister, and it had him all aflutter! We suspect perhaps he was simply an actor from the Rep perfecting his social technique, but he did tend to knock over glasses and break things from time to time, eventually getting him thrown out. Since the bar's open windows run floor to ceiling, though, he simply continued to schmooze from the sidewalk. Megan's hairdresser took up the valiant cause and tried to stop the drunk chap from driving anywhere, but only found out that fellow was headed to another bar on foot.

After that the evening's details slide away, not particularly because of inebriation, but because by this point I was so tired that ten minutes of quiet would find me nodding off wherever I lay. At around two in the morning, just walking up to my garage door, who else but devil-may-care Jasper shows up and says "Let's go to the lake!" I agree on the condition that I don't have to drive, and we're off. We get to the lake at about three to find that, because of the weekend of the fourth, all of the lakeside campsites are occupied. Darn it, that means no fooling around on the isolated cliffs. Instead we go to the central swimming area and splash around in the inky black water, radiating heat out into the unseasonably temperate air. We leave as lighteneing approaches.

It was a nice birthday, a calm one without too much noise that lasted and lasted in accordance with the persistance of my friends who understand my laziness.


Friday, July 02, 2004


Twenty-four has a magnificent ring to it. It isn't as euphonic as mille neuf cent nor cinquanta sei, but I'll take what I can get.

I'll probably want to write something wise and critical as the day goes on, but it's still morning and I've yet to go to work, so my mind is pleasantly elsewhere (the Japan "Quiet Life" album, this wicked leftover baked potato, yesterday's confrontation, etc.).

Y'all take it easy and have an ridiculously good day.

P.S.--Happy 39th anniversary mom and dad!


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

So there 

NYC is, what, three or four hours from DC? I love the thought of going to the Sunday show.

Knee-jerk poo-flinging 

Recently I spend a fair amount of space exploring the narrowsightedness of publicly announcing the sexual orientation of an individual without his or her consent. I think I spoke strongly enough on the issue, but some new information has come to my attention that now seems a fitting illustration of the need for a measure more of social improvement before one can assert that openness is a good idea.

This Sunday saw the first gay pride parade ever organized in the city of Conway, a suburb of Little Rock and home to two univesities. Around fifty thousand people live in the city.

Quite a stir was kicked up among the city council in the weeks prior, flames fanned by those exemplar town Christians, culminating with something of a silent stand-off when the Aldermen failed to second the inclusion of the issue in the day's discussion.

Tuesday night, dozens packed the city council meeting, some supporting the resolution, others against it

It gets better...

Barry Hoffman who supported the proposal, says "I have nothing against homosexuals that's their choice, and it's their right to do this, I just think Conway, Arkansas isn't the appropriate venue for this to happen."

But the public didn't get a chance to debate the topic inside the meeting, after Alderman Brewer proposed the resolution, no one seconded it, causing the motion to die.

...Even though they weren't allowed to express their opinions in the meeting, many took their views outside, pitting themselves against each other.

The mainstream news, then, tidily wrapped up the issue with unintrusive packaging and assured the state that all was well at the bedding-down hour. But, lest we forget, God's representatives never sleep, and instead of doing just that, the American Family Association reports that a local religious man was --seriously-- praying for a miracle.

According to the Baptist pastor [Troy George], area church leaders got together to discuss the situation and come up with a unified response. "The Ministerial Alliance group here in Conway met and decided that the best response that we could have as churches and ministers in this community would be to just pray for our community and pray that God will work a great work in the midst of things going on in our city," he says.

The group decided that the best way to do that would be to organize a time of prayer during the event. George says a prayer vigil will be held this Sunday afternoon while the homosexual pride parade is under way.

Okay, sorry to get a little off track here, but how fucking awesome is it that this Baptist Pastor is named Troy George?! That's the only name actually more flamboyantly gay than 'Boy George!' I can't help but visualize RuPaul with a drawl, immaculately dressed in the pastorial cloth, gesturing wildly and dramatically arching his painted-in eyebrows as he explains his position. Troy George... thank you, circumstance, for comic relief.

Most of the local news stations (okay, all of them) boasted headlines reading something to the effect of "Gay Pride Parade, Fiery Topic, Ends Without a Spark," suggesting sparkling images of peace and restraint. Unfortunately, the tone of the event was nothing of the sort.

The pious protest crowd, a delegation representative of twenty six churches, turned their backs on the parade route and sang "Amazing Grace." Frankly, I think that's the most innocuously goofy protest tactic I've ever encountered (but oh well, right? at least there weren't molotovs being tossed about), but only one state news source, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, reported the more sinister, juvenile, and startlingly brilliant early morning event in which someone spread a truck-load of animal shit across the length of road reserved for the parade (article link coming soon).

It was easier to find mentions of the shit part in the international press than it was with any outlet here (respect to IOL South Africa). What an unsurprising shame.

In a charmingly karmaic turn of events, though, the Conway police had clean-up crews tackle the mess long before the parade, all at the expense of the city (you poor tax-paying, shit-spreading saps!), going so far as to offer to the paper that they already had leads on a couple of suspects.

Apologies in advance for the moral of the story:
After Stonewall, people, it's going to be pretty hard to shit on our gay parade (Bada-bing!), but can you at least see that outing someone is, at its least damaging, akin to giving a brainwashing Jesus cult a free lunch?


Monday, June 28, 2004


The traditional English phrase 'sunburn' does nothing to fully suggest the intensity of the condition it describes. I prefer the french 'coup de soleil,' which far more accurately describes the sensation of having been beaten up by the sun. I swear, I'm going to invent an ice vest or some form of sunblock tattooing.

I spent a better part of the weekend with my full nuclear family on Greers Ferry Lake, something that hasn't happened in years. It's not that it's been difficult to get everyone together (there are only seven of us), but prison and whatnot had been getting in the way during recent summers. Having my brother back in the picture is odd at times; everyone laughed when, prompted by my young niece's bathroom intrusion, someone mentioned that with Andy at least she'd barged in on the one person in the group who was used to going to the toilet with an audience.

It was fun to see everyone in the same room together, all the leaves on our little branch of the bloodline, talking with one another as adults, having some wine and a laugh with the stereo playing softly in the background and a three year old pattering around our feet. I'm also glad that our family prefers the togetherness of reading and sleeping in the shade beside the water to playing educational boardgames and watching parades. We're a grandly lazy bunch with a penchant for cooking as a social adhesive.

I'm curiously proud of the fact that I'm borrowing my mom's copy of "Postcards from the Edge." Reading lines like "...we're talking about someone who's smart and funny and has great skin and great tits--you know how I love tits--and a great ass and a perfect pussy, but you never know..." attain an added element of social surrealism when I remind myself exactly who before me dogeared these pages. I'm almost proud of her for having read this book, bluntly obscene (and therefore out of her comfort zone) as it is, simply because reading something like this implies some sort of interest in or connection with the cultural medium of her children.

I had to drive home late last night to ensure that my sunburned ass (well, back and belly) could get to work on time this morning. I fucked up the punctual part, but I got here. All I can think about is the lake today, even though (or perhaps exactly because) it's a nice, bright overcast day. I'll bet the water feels nice.

Edit: it turns out that dedicating the Greers Ferry Dam at Heber Springs was the last public ceremony attended by John F. Kennedy.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?