Storm Watch 2010


I go out on a limb and stake my global reputation on my cosmetological knowledge and it turns to shit.

It happened Sunday night, in my “musings” post. I mentioned that the weather forecast called for three big winter storms to hammer L.A. during the week and I shrugged while mocking the typical SoCal storm which barely pisses enough rain to make a small puddle in your dog’s water dish. I mocked the weather report.

I mocked my fellow Angelinos who turn into liquified dorks at the first hint of drizzle.

Well shit.

It really has rained. A lot. Definitely more than two inches. A tornado or two have touched down in the greater L.A. area and there is a danger of “mud flows” which confuses me. Is that a modern term for “mudslide?”

So it’s been cold and windy and there was a little lightning earlier, but I’m thankful for one thing: no power outages (yet). Power outages are undoubtedly my version of Celestial Wrath. Without power, I shrivel and die. No radio, no computer, no internet, no refrigerator. Dude, power outages are like fate telling me to get a life and walk out the friggin’ house.

Coincidentally, even though I experienced no major power outages during the first 5 years I lived in this apartment (marked in July of last year), a local power station went down in flames within days of Phoenixism’s debut back in August and I lost complete power for 3 days. Actually, maybe it was 2 1/2 days…whatever, it was a long time and I was miserable. The weather was typical August hot and my A/C was nothing but a symbolic piece of overweight metal balanced precariously out the window.

What I missed most about that Dark Age period? This damn blog. I was starting anew. I was exploring fresh territory, I was bursting with ideas and creativity (unlike the state of my blog 4 months later). And with no power, there was nowhere to put them. I resorted to typing some of this bullshit out in my Open Office Writer (a poor man’s MS Word) in dim candlelight. It was kinda cool.

Very Abe Lincoln of me.

Thinking back, I can’t begin to imagine how good it would feel right now if the temps were in the 80s, even at this time of night.

The human mind. Reactive, craving that which is not likely nor possible at the moment.

It’s really cold in my apartment, below 60, and I would love a bit of heat to defrost the icicles which are my fingers. The way it works here, and I’m sure everywhere else, is that as long as there is a cloud layer the temps are reasonable. Nothing too crazy. BUT. Once the storm moves on and the clouds leave the sky bare to absorb all the heat that the earth may have absorbed hungrily during the day, the real chill sets in. In addition, the mountains north of L.A. are packed and covered in snow. Southerly winds rake down those mountain passes and carry with them frigid-ass conditions. It’s raining now as I type, but if the storm passes through, I guarantee you Los Angeles will experience one of those subfreezing spells. There is nothing quite so humbling as scraping ice off your winshield even though you live in Los Angeles.

Speaking of humbling. There is nothing quite as humbling as taking the bus around in Los Angeles either. Whatever. I rather enjoy sitting in the back of the bus on days and nights like this. The bus engine is located way in the back and during the summer it is a source of dastardly heat which suffocates your ass and spreads through your body like a heating coil turning red gradually; but in the winter, it is like sitting on a nice, comfy, bosom-y furnace that keeps you warm.

Tonight I sat there and it was oh so nice.

Then this familiar couple boards. I see them occasionally. Mexican, maybe in their late 20’s. They don’t talk much but the guy is always engulfing the girl like he’s afraid she’ll get away (or that someone else will get to her). He’s not a typical-looking macho guy. He is rather short and slight but with a subtle muscular tone to his body…he reminds me of myself actually. He always wears a cap and carries a courier bag. He’s clean-shaven and not bad-looking (OK, that’s where the resemblance ends, I suppose) but he is so damned insecure and reactive and oozing of overcompensation.

He handles his girl like a frightened high schooler. He’s always leaning over and macking heavily all over her. This is unnatural for a couple that has been around each other at least as long as I’ve seen them.

However, they also seem a bit defensive as a couple. That is their couple vibe.

You know it…couples give a vibe, the combined essence they exude as a pair. Well this guy and his girl give off the defensive and guilty vibe. I wonder if they are quite boyfriend and girlfriend? Boss/subordinate, married/single, married/married, cousin/cousin? Who the hell knows what their deal is. All I know is the guy walks around with a romantic chip on his shoulder.

After spending the entire bus trip bathing her in his spittlel, their stop beeped, during one of the most rainy portions of the trip. A pounding downpour.

Fate, you are a spectacular creature.

In 1000 words, how a soccer player from Cameroon comes to perish

Preface: see this post for an explanation

It was Monday morning and Mehann was late for work as usual.  He sped down Sepulveda Boulevard in his 1987 Dodge Omni and as he neared Olympic he noticed with a touch of disgust that the light was rapidly switching modes, from green, to yellow…he floored it, but too late, for the light had turned angry red before he had even cleared the intersection.

January 20, 2010

Blood on your hands

The other day while putting together another questionably stellar post, Ten things about me (oh, and my Biblical failures), I was struck by Commandment #6. You know it?

The one about murder? Thou shall not put a gun to thy neighbor’s head and pull the trigger?

I reflexively answered NO WAY, never, not me. I mean, I’ve done some rather suspect things in my life, some shadier than others, but I’ve never, never, murdered. Never even toyed with the idea.

And I got to thinking as I frequently do while I find myself staring at the blank white Word Press template screen. Thinking, my curse.

How can I so readily and proudly assert that I am not a murderer?
How do I know that?

Is it not so far-fetched to note that the billions of lives currently sharing space on this planet are intertwined and entangled in a mass of overlapping and colliding paths and pasts and futures and that, considering the infinite mass of humanity that somehow, somewhere, someone is performing a seemingly trivial action, which by a series of connected qualities, affects the life of another far away in distance and time?

Remember that whole “6 degrees of…” stuff that floated around a few years ago in which some geniuses linked together disparate public figures and their 6th degree separation from Kevin Bacon?

Of course we are linked. Is it not feasible that something I do this minute may, through a random and not-so-random series of events affect you in a week? I think it’s quite possible.

So considering this, is it not likely that many of us are actual murderers? Obviously not directly, or even second-hand, but maybe 300-hand or 1,500-hand; perhaps some of us have unwittingly contributed to a stranger’s demise simply because of a path or action we chose and which set in motion a strange series of domino-like ripple of events that resulted in the premature (or not) death of someone around the planet, 6 months later?

And I thought, is it not presumptuous of me to stand on the soapbox and bask in my alleged non-homicidalness? Of course it’s presumptuous. Who knows how many people I’ve killed by now just because of some lame-brain, inconsequential choices I’ve made.

Doubt me? Not sure what I’m yakking about?

Let’s put this into literary practice.

I’m going to begin to write a story. A story which I will gradually build upon, like a bricklayer builds a wall. I will begin with sentence one. An inconsequential event, which, viewed superficially, looks decidedly non-noteworthy. But which will, in the matter of 3 or 4 months and maybe thousands of miles, result in the death of a soccer player from Cameroon.

How does that grab ya?

And I’ll do it in 500 1000 words.

The Bree Condon Story: is the gold-digger/sugar-daddy dynamic immoral or illegal?

The L.A. Times printed a rather genderfusing story which slyly illuminates the normal M.O. many gold-digging women engage in by stringing guys along so they can afford their Prada bags. I say slyly because the story accomplishes this by “switching” the gender roles, so to speak.

In the story, Man masquerading as fashion model bilks wealthy men, we learn that Bree Condon, just another of those nameless mass of marginally famous brand of “up and rising models” who infest Los Angeles and its nether regions (Newport Beach, in this case), a pretty brunette, aspiring actress and former Guess model, was the victim of a strange sort of identity theft.

Her sexy and available identity was assumed and pseudomarketed by a 24-year-old dude from Austin, Texas, Justin Brown. Justin, an incredibly resourceful thief who also happened to have a very feminine voice which further enabled him to lure his desperate customers deeper into the smoke and mirrors scam he ran.

The real Bree Condon

As the Times points out, Condon resides at that level of fame where strangers can look her up online and confirm she is in fact real and much of the script Brown assumed over the phone he gleaned from the internet as well by investigating Condon’s cyber footprint. Yet, she is not so famous as to have her private life completely unearthed publicly (which would have blown Brown’s story as well). She was in that middle-ground, purgatory state of semi-celebrityhood which haunts many of those looking desperately for their big break.

Brown was ingenious. He learned all about Condon and assumed her identity skillfully which he recited girlishly over the phone to his many national customers. There were never (for obvious reasons) face to face meetings.

Despite this, many of “Bree’s” customers sent him gifts, money, phones, even a dog.

The ostensible lesson here being that many lonely men are more than happy to fall in love with an idea, an image, a character. And to part with their hard-earned money in pursuit of ghosts. Hope springs eternal.

Bree Condon, the real one with the sexy lips and tanned legs, got wind that her name and image were being used to bilk swarms of desperate men. Perhaps angry that she didn’t have the heart to do it herself but sure as hell not about to let someone else do it on her dime, she complained to the police. After some sleuthing and staging, one wily investigator posed as one of Bree’s many prospective sugar daddies and offered to pay her motel room bill. Brown, having a truly bimbo moment, gave the motel address over the phone.

…police officers…knocked on the door of a budget motel room in Austin, Texas. Inside, according to police, they found an iPhone that had been a gift from one suitor, a small dog paid for by another and a 24-year-old man with a very high-pitched voice.

Authorities say the man, Justin Brown, had been impersonating Condon online and on the telephone for years. A grand jury indicted him last week on a felony theft charge. He’s accused of duping a wealthy Miami Beach doctor out of about $15,000 the doctor believed he was sending to Condon. Los Angeles police also are investigating.

So now Justin Brown, blessed with a high voice and a very conniving nature, has been indicted for grand theft and sits in jail for doing something many women do to a lesser (or greater) degree and never spend a day in jail for.

In fact, not only do they never see a day in jail or courthouse, many of them even drive expensive cars, live in pricey condos, wear the most stylish clothes, and their idea of incarceration is being stuck behind a drying layer of mud mask at the spa.

Conjectural experiment: if Bree decided that Justin’s little ploy was much funner and more profitable, and had taken over the reigns of his operation while continuing to elicit wealthy donations from fools, would that be considered illegal?

If your stupid horny ass falls for a hot chick and all that she demands of you for her valuable attention are an occassional gift and dinner, maybe a skiing trip, which you gladly hand over because you are desperate and mentally imbalanced beyond belief, does that make her a criminal? Should she be the one sitting in jail?

I think Justin Brown did nothing wrong.

Can he help it if there are an endless stream of pathetic men waiting by their phones and computers for a romantic ideal to live itself out in their ears or in front of their eyes? If the morons are waiting and the morons are biting, where’s the harm?

What is the difference between Justin Brown and your regular ol’ gold-digging hooch who stalks upscale Westside nightclubs looking for a rich loser to pay for her next big shopping spree?

The saving grace of dissolution

I wanna be adored
I wanna be adored

I don’t have to sell my soul
He’s already in me

-”I Wanna Be Adored”, Stone Roses

I firmly believe we own our failures.
Failure is not a timeshare, it is not a team effort.

Failure is yours alone.

Over at In Mala Fide, Ferdinand Bardamu links an interesting article from Psychology Today entitled “Sex Against War.”

It reiterates a thought I’ve seen echoed of late in some circles. Which goes something like this:

Sexually repressed men are extremely vulnerable to the intensely erotic act of mass murder.
OK, it’s not phrased quite so intriguingly, those are my words, but the gist is…

I generally don’t find this mindset very pleasing. It represents a view I’m not overly fond of nor which I respect: for I detest its basic ingredients which are a lack of accountability and willingness to dish out blame. I was alarmed to hear the chorus of men’s voices rise in half-hearted commiseration with George Sodini last year when the middle-aged virgin unleashed a flurry of gonad-driven anger in a hail of bullets at a Pennsylvania gym. Rather than denounce Sodini’s actions, way too many men hemmed and hawed their way into a strange and twisted brotherhood of laments as they whined to his defense. Well, not quite a defense, because a lot of guys didn’t literally defend him, but their sentiments were anything but harsh. I got the sense that a lot of guys felt that under the right circumstances, it could have been themselves.

Of late, this shameless accusatory sense of masculine helplessness has begun to surface more often. Terrorists are now included in this repressed and semen-logjammed parcel of maledom.

In Ferdinand’s link, the Psychology Today article quotes a British writer from the Independent postulating a possible “cure” for terrorism. “…partially educated, preferably pampered, but certainly crestfallen young men for whom the usual safety valves of dissoluteness have for some reason failed to open.” These guys need to get laid, the writer hints. It seems that if you can’t replenish the human race, depleting it is the next best thing reads the humorous byline.

The concept of a “safety valve of dissoluteness” is priceles.

And I’ll be honest. I’m still not enchanted with this thinking. It makes me uneasy to even admit that I might consider lending an ounce of validity to this Murderous Theory of Sexual Alienation. I don’t look forward to being even closely associated with this club of self-pitying virgin losers who would happily destroy the world to spite their little unlaid asses.

However, I feel there is a kernel of truth in this theory.

This morning, upon reading Ferdinand’s post, I commented:

The safety valve concept of young male violence. Very interesting and I notice it’s been bandied about lately. At first I was skeptical for I didn’t feel comfortable with its inherent sense of helplessness and external placement of blame.

As I read the [Psychology Today] article, something very scary occurred to me. When I was in my early 20s, I very easily could have been one of those young men done in by his frozen safety valve.

I had the entire day to mull over my thoughts while I was at work, on the way to work, on the way home…mulling.

That comment was ambiguous and I wasn’t clear what it was I was insinuating. It was an instinctual chain of thoughts, it was real and very genuine and disgustingly honest. Love the internet, don’t ya? Why would I say such a thing?

Well, I thought back to, let’s say, 1984. I was 20, squandering my time in college, not incredibly sure what I wanted to study, not quite drinking yet, not quite partying, and definitely not having sex. Repression, thou art David at 20. I was a mess. And because I felt like a mess, I looked like a mess. I had zero game. Fuck that…I had negative game. Drove women away. I had no visible charm. To compound matters, this vicious circle completed itself in the callous coldness of women I encountered who undoubtedly marvelled at the social mess who stood before them. I had no social skills, I was shy, my confidence level was below sea level. And I wasn’t improving. As I felt worse about my situation, I invited worse reactions. I won’t even detail some of my most hideous and private thoughts. They were not good. Hostility, anger, resentment…dude, I oozed that toxic attitude out of every stinking pore.

As the PT article states, “If young men are designed by evolution to be obsessed with sex, like dogs in heat, you’ve got to wonder what kinds of destructive energies are created and compounded by ideologies telling them these feelings are shameful — feelings common to both Islamic and Christian fundamentalism.”

Then I turned 21. I now had no Islamic or Christian fundamentalism to tie me down. Still, my sense of frustration grew by leaps and bounds, on a daily basis, it seemed. I was alienated and sinking.

But I was 21 and suddenly all my rage, all my antagonism…suddenly became diluted with alcohol. Turning 21 was my pathway into a life of utter dissolution. I love the word, dissolution. So very apt.

It wasn’t only the drinking, but all that it entailed in the social realm. Parties, groups of people hanging out in the streetlight’s shadows, nightclubs, concerts, strange dirt roads leading into the hills of East L.A. where you could smoke pot in privacy while you looked out across the urban wasteland. It was dissolution and it was my savior. Without that dissolution, I have no idea where I might have channeled that frustration. No idea. But it would have been channeled, one way or the other.

So in this way, I see how we can begin to lay blame on murderous sprees at the foot of sexual frustration/repression/abstinence.

The heart of man is dissolution solidified. And the need must be met. As a combination of lifestyles or just one, but the urge must be sated. It’s testosterone, it’s aggressiveness…and it needs a home.
I never blamed anyone for my state. Women sucked, or so I told myself. But it didn’t have to be that way. They sucked because I let them.

This smoldering hate, self-hate, frustration, it simmered, like a lit ember which flares up with a breeze and then cools down in the still air again. It bellowed out violently and at times it regressed back into my dark soul.

Oddity that I was. A psychological puzzle. Was it borderline personality disorder? Clinical depression? I’m sure any competent and greedy mental health professional would have made a killing off my case and if, in the need of a reason, and a name, and a cure, the pain drove me to accede to their diagnosis, I would be classified as just another nut case. But I didn’t accede. I just partied instead. Drank, smoked, and just loafed and hung out with a bunch of similar guys. The safety valve was busy. And in my Psyche class I read about mental illness and how it frequently surfaces at that very age. For you see…despite the fact I was living this raucous life, I still wasn’t getting much action. But it didn’t matter as much, for I distracted myself with other harmful behaviors.

If my religious devotion had prevented me from enjoying the frivolities of dissolution, where would have I gone for serenity? Darkness lurks in our hearts.

Ferdinand’s post is titled Scientific proof that game can save lives, which I thought was farfetched at first.

But he’s right, in one respect.
If I had had “game” back when I was 20, I would have discovered that safety valve then and had no further need for the helping hand of dissolution to guide me back to “sanity.”

But game in itself is bullshit.
I think the best game we can teach young boys is the game of confidence, the game of wholeness and the game of self-acceptance. Game is overly centered around females and that in itself is a relinquishment of personal power. And we’re back to square one.

Guys don’t need to get laid. They need to know they can get laid. They need to surmount the natural social barrier of unfriendly, antagonistic women. And how do they do that? By cleaning up their social act. That’s what Game needs to teach.