Tag Archives: cities

selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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sex with me… sex with me… sex with me…

the drive
six-dollar garbage
L. A.
Micah’s little lab
dropping by Federal
sunset cruise to Santa Monica
sir, this is valet only
the motel, Steve, Thai curry, the cockroach

Vator Splash
walk for oil
chillin w Tram
goodbye Santa Monica

sunrise to LAX
the literati
trader joes shopping
gal palace
aerienne’s curry
rise of the jack o lanterns
staples center
the pantry
sex with me, sex with me
film shoot
martinis at Clifton

sweating, parking
Meryl the blonde tart
Clara the effortlessly beautiful
Travis the sexy handyman
back at the chicken shack
raw silk
maximum laughter, minimal consequence
scene queen
80s club (wreck 86?) speakeasy
overpass popup
gig rig piss
spurned the hip hop breeze
hot dog, malt liquor, blow

video chat w love
high as fuck w Fitzcarraldo


piece of shit
part one of Anna Karenina
the Ivy
over the garden wall
finished Fitzcarraldo

fragment of shit
cacao coffee
barneys beanery
little dieter needs to fly

bagels n coffee
work, work
laundry out
car wash
seat belt ticket
laundry home
yoga nap
chicken kebab election
bye aerienne

moving the car asleep
cafe 50s
el matador
shower and jojoba
long lyft
a novel Thai feast
double double rye, straight
bye Meryl
bye Virgil
hello j
from sleep

early morning car move again
waiting for the call
toilet call
pack fast and peace
selected ambient drive
peter gabriel
fresh fruit
surprise! Continue reading

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with the birds i’ll share this lonely view

one of the first albums i ever bought on the Compact Disc format was Californication by Red Hot Chilip Peppers. i bought it at target on the same day that i bought Renegades by Rage Against the Machine. i loved all the Rs in their names. i loved how i had chosen such weird, crazy bands. i loved how they sounded pouring out of my can’t-be-beat portable Aiwa cd player.

i was probably over 10, but still far from 15. today, as i approach a quarter of a century of age (a month away if birthdates start at conception), i still adore both bands.

that’s “Scar Tissue.” most people know it. last night, riding across the Bay Bridge back into the city after a psychedelic experience of a show provided by Animal Collective, the radio station of my teenage years (Live 105) churned out this baby. picture me, stoned, and my favorite girl, Amanda, stoned, cruising in slow motion back to the City by the Bay, while RHCP enchants us w their meaningful, conscious, crazy cooing of bass, drum, electric, and vox.

such good things i’ve been immersing myself in. Animal Collective last night at the Fox was four trips and a half. their stage setup had giant, inflated, illuminated teeth and behind the teeth were giant spikes of fangs and behind the fangs was a screen to oblivion and in front of oblivion was the band belting out their dark disco jams and arhythmic rhymes.

the day before… just nearly twelve hours of drinking, dancing, and disco w coworkers. and by disco i mean soul like “you just call on your brother, when you need a hand… we all need somebody to lean on…” and i mean sass like “i know he used to do nice things for you, but what has he done for you lately…?” and i mean a big bright shining sun like a 9-2 victory over the rockies. the Giants are going to the World Series. take my word for it.

the day before… RHCP live. i would have been happy seeing Red Hot Chili Peppers play anywhere—in my bedroom, at the Fillmore, surrounded by hippies, surrounded by thousands of sales, business, and tech stars? okay, maybe that last one isn’t ideal, but i took it. and you know what, no matter how many notches of cool you lose for playing a mega massive tech conference, you earn them all right back for using 3D projection mapping on city hall:

Amanda and i made a spectacle of ourselves by drinking all the free beer, smoking a few fat bowls very openly, and then headbanging in an uncontrolled fury to all the best, like “Higher Ground, “Scar Tissue,” “By the Way,” and “Give It Way.” good god we gave it away to the higher ground.

the day before… sure, a long day of tech conference. but conferences are awesome! you get to go to some place new, listen to people pontificate about the future of social business, do stuff on your computer while they pontificate (multitasking is fun), eat free lunches, talk to friends, talk to long lost friends, avoid long lost friends, and then, at the end of it all, free beer and food and dancing w the one and only Amanda! yeah, i snuck her in (even though “snuck” is technically not a word) and we, again, made a spectacle of ourselves by having too much fun. god i love her.

the day before… was hell.

about three weeks ago, the above mural went up on the building across the street from mine. for most of my time living here, nothing had popped up on the wall except random flyers and shitty tags that Alex would blotch out the very best he could. then a little over a month ago, someone put up these giant hilarious dogs wearing Giants cap. it was random and cute and appreciated… but they didn’t last long. sadman up there soon came, shuddering and scared, tripping out in the center of the city about god knows what. you see girls sitting on curbs crying, you see grown bearded men screaming and cursing, you see strange sadman shuddering on the falls of the Franklin River, and you think nothing of it. it’s the city, and cities are designed to kill people. you walk on and think nothing of it.

then the fences went up. not all at once, of course… that would be too obvious. first, it was a small square of fences around an entrance underground, right next to the building. looked like some routine check, some benign maintenance. but it wasn’t. the fences proliferated so fast that, before anyone could take a second from their busy lives to see, the entire building was surrounded. and still, no one, especially me, thought anything of it.

until last friday. i was dead in the center of a fantastic and trippy night with my girl Ayelet, wandering from Pretty Lights at Civic Center to Public Works in the Mission, and we passed the mural on the way. but the mural was now surrounded by fences. and, in my inspired, loving, drugged out state, it hit me. the sadman was not shuddering because of the death in the family. he was not shuddering for too many bad drugs. he was not shuddering for attention. he was shuddering because he was going down. him and the entire building. the fences were more than an omen, they were walls to shield us from the blast of future ballistas, set to destroy the ancient structure.

my girl said no, you can’t just assume. but i already knew with 99.9% certainty.

the following monday, the day of hell, i left my little lover in my bedroom after a morning of warlike drilling outside our apartment and in my mind. the drilling hurt a thousand times more because the girl wasn’t returning the comfort i craved. it’s not her fault; i was being needy, so she responded (like a woman) in kind. i biked away from bermuda but stopped for one last shot as the Franklin River busily, uncaringly whizzed on…

biking back after work, i returned to a graveyard.

i felt like crying. i needed a drink. it was just a stupid building but i had grown to love it. back in the apartment, i was drawn to the deck by a crowd of neighbors (including my cousin Chris) cheering and photographing and drinking. a lot of the old neighbors had remembered the building when it was an old, ghetto club whose dance parties inside would be followed by knife fight encores outside. so they were pleased… which somehow comforted me a little. it was just a stupid building but i had grown to love it. after all, i knew it as the Pastime building:

from our kitchen, from our roof, the Pastime wall was always visible. for over a year, i think. people would walk past it and stare, brides and grooms-to-be would go stand in front of it holding flowers and have their pictures taken, skater punks would zoom past it drooling w lust. it was one of my favorite pieces of urban art ever and, in less than a day’s work, it was demolished so that some lucky landowners could put up a five-story apartment building to house a couple scores of tech startuplandia hipsters. people with a relatively short history of SF appreciation. people with little to knowledge of the underground urban workings. people with money. people with interests. people with money. people with too little time to realize how much time they really have. people a lot like me.

if only this had happened in august or october. if only it happened two weeks ago or two weeks into the future. why did it have to happen on this very monday? why did it have to happen at the end of a fantasy i lived too hard? why do i fall in love so easily?

one of my favorite people in the world, Chris, came out w me to the Mission for a pitcher of beer as my clothes laundered. i smoked cigarettes and sipped the IPA, thinking about Pastime, thinking about sadman, and thinking about myself. thinking about Ayelet. why do i fall in love so easily?

i had just met her a week ago, and some change. it was at Andrew’s party in the Outer Mission. i was the first guest because i wanted to bring my vinyl over, and then go meet up w Rich. but the second i walked into the apartment i was greeted by her pretty Mediterranean face and a bottle of Flor de Caña. and i was floored. she poured me a stiff rum as i spun some disco for Andrew to soundcheck to. things were off to a great start.

several hours later, drunk and dancing w everyone—Rich, Chris, Amanda, Zoe, Naomi, Vivian, random dudes, random girls, Ayelet—i wasn’t thinking very much. that’s happiness, right? i was surrounded by awesome friends and beautiful, brilliant girls, and we were getting down, and it was sometimes sexy, and it was sometimes sloppy, but maybe the only thought that kept creeping into my head was, this is good. no strings, no pursuits, no worries, all happiness. all rhythm. dancing.

the night didn’t end incredibly positively except for one ray of light. outside on Mission St, Ayelet drunkenly tells me something in Hebrew. i ask her what it means and she says not to worry, that it’s just very respectful. okay. later, she wouldn’t even remember that she had something to me in Hebrew, so she couldn’t even remember what it was that she had said. no matter. the spell was cast.

i proceeded to spend the saturday and sunday of that weekend in the most magical of musical dazes, playing bass for several hours both days, seeing dOCs in Oakland the first night, and djing myself at dada on the second night. where she showed up. goodness gracious the gifts the universe presents you when you’re too busy looking in the wrong direction. i was on one, spinning my mama’s vinyl while she danced with my dad, rubbing up against the wall like a self-aware Jim Morrison to get photographed, and, of course, trying to flick Ayelet’s curls, trying to hold her waist, trying to lick her psyche. and so i did.

at the office, not even seven hours later, my entire body, mind, and soul were in complete disbelief that it could possibly be monday. to be fair, a girl had laid her dark long curls across my body both at midnight and in the morning. i was sinking, stupid, smitten. a sorry sad puddle of holy fuck and wow. heart of golds melding so fast the whole thing would fall apart, and i should have known. i claimed to have a hint. i pretended to be in control. i acted like i could handle it. how many more times? how many times can love teach me the same lesson? she never tires.

after a couple nights of acting like boyfriend and girlfriend, we started sharing a bedroom. she was a backpacker and i was a lover. she was bedless and mine was big. so she stayed through the weekend. we danced and danced and danced and danced and ate and danced and danced and danced and danced and whispered poetry and danced and danced and danced and danced and smoked and danced and danced and danced and danced and stared at the big beautiful pond of a Pacific and danced and danced and danced and danced and all the while i feared and knew and felt her slipping away and then we danced and danced and danced and danced and then i biked to work a week later almost on the brink of tears because sadman was getting torn down, the city had decreed it, and there was nothing nobody not even Allah could do about it.

just because you repeat something ad nauseam means not that you have internalized it. cities are designed to kill people. om shantih shantih shantih. Continue reading

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notes from the second and third book of The Sun Also Rises

BOOK II [Bill Gorton] was very cheerful and said the States were wonderful. New York was wonderful. […] He wrote that Vienna was wonderful. Then a card from Budapest: “Jake, Budapest is wonderful.” […] “Well,” I said, “I hear you … Continue reading

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