Friday, July 9, 2010

And now for something completely different....

2 month long trip to Europe for life seeking/finding art-filled adventure

[Insert manic, life changing job shift here]

So now I'm the GM of a restaurant? I have a salary? A "stabilized schedule?"  Things should be getting pretty sweet right about now eh?

Curious I don't have a snap YES answer for that question right now.

Back when I worked three completely separate and unrelated restaurant jobs and had a crazy all over the map schedule driving here and there on this night and another place that night and yet another place on yet another night, splicing together days off into a night here and a morning here and there to never actually have a legitimate FULL DAY of self preservation/reconciliation/relaxation...I actually had tolerable stress levels and comfortable finances...odd.

Now, I have one job, with one restaurant, with one schedule (that actually has two consecutive days off each week), and one salary.  But what wasn't mentioned in the finest of the fine print was the fact that my hours would increase exponentially, as would my responsibilities, as would what the expectations of my performance, only thing that didn't increase based on an algorithm that uses a positive curve is my financial compensation for all of these factors.  In fact, when its all said and done it looks like an ax murderer got a hold of my pay check with all the slashing thats been done.  So now we've got job based stress going on, financial based stress reaching fever pitch, on top of that whole cyclical self defeating conversation I have with myself from time to time involving the trapped nature of being an artist who needs to eat but can't rely on his work to feed him.......

Life can be so fucking ironic sometimes it should seriously take a break and hit up some old three stooges routines instead.  

The whole process of doing one thing to fuel another thing which is done again to fuel something else and then trickle more down the line until the thing at the end that you really want to fuel gets but a drop.  Why?  I mean seriously?  If most people live their life this way (and by most people I mean those pretty much who are in the work force not by choice but through necessity) then who out there is really happy?  If everyone's doing something else they maybe...well, lets give it the benefit of the doubt and say its tolerable to the point of sometimes even being enjoyable/fulfilling, but otherwise might not like just to give them the means/hows/ways/ability to do what they really love, how in the name of Whoever is that a win-able process???  There are the few who are lucky and hit some hammer at just the right time to resonate and fuel their brighter flames, but for the masses its pretty grim I would surmise.  

This is all quite pessimistic and negative, and typically I'm an optimist, but I'll be fucked if not a pragmatic one at times.  

Remember that suitcase full of money surrounded by bullet-riddled pickup trucks and dead bodies/dogs in that movie with Brolin and Bardem?  Well why not me!? Fuck I don't hunt but I walk in the woods enough.  And at the very least I'd be smart enough to take the goddamn tracking device out of a suitcase filled with money.  How do you not look for something like that in a bag     fulll     of     money.  "Oh yeah no just grabbed my gym bag before I went to the bank and took out 9812943871298471 dollars."  

Anyways, I think I could put it to good use...probably so could a lot of other people.  
Whatever, not holding my breath.  I'm a working man...I keep telling myself.

Over and out 10 4, don't come back

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Edge

Something about long car rides, they get me thinking.  It seems that hurtling along a freeway at 80 mph is the perfect catalyst for brain activity.  No matter if its driver, passenger, full car, or just me, it seems I always slip away into my own head for however long the ride takes.  Not saying I'm just a mute for a whole ride, no one would drive with me.  I chat and make jokes and entertain conversation but I feel a disinvestment in it.  Its hard to fake not being completely immersed in my passing surroundings, save for the fact that my one excuse would be "this is my first time in the desert."

We left Tempe and Phoenix and traveled through a wide open urban/suburban sprawl that seemed to reach for miles, until it subsided to trailer parks and vast empty lots with "for sale, 5000 acres" signs and evidence of some vague preliminary construction.  Little bright green grass farms tapered off into unfilled irrigation ditches and parched sands.  It seemed the desert was the only thing surviving the journey westward towards Joshua Tree.  Soon after we left the city and its withering stretched out fingers we entered complete wilderness.  The road was the only sign of civilization aside from large telephone and electric lines traveling along with us.  It was as if the further we went the more the sand crept up against the shoulders of the interstate, the mountains loomed larger and more comfortably on the horizon, and the more I felt like I was entering a space that was not my own.  

There was a strange comfort in it, unlike an intruder crossing a forbidden threshold.  I felt more like I was being welcomed into the outstretched arms of big sky and big country.

The only sign of man out here is the staccato tick marks of rumble strips. 

While we were at Joshua Tree we had the interesting and pleasurable experience of meeting a couple other fellow climbers who we cooked a fireside dinner with and talked over cold tecates.  Apparently Arizona is crossing out calendar boxes until the day they literally run out of water.  All the while, cafe and sushi-goers in Tempe and Scottsdale alike enjoy misting devices while they dine on outside patios simply to cool them off in the thick of the summer.  Everything in the city limits is so well developed it seems its gotten to the point where its reached a fever pitch of non-sustainability.  While dry cracks and barren lots seem to edge closer inward rather than be stifled and stretched further, the city-goers enjoy water waste in a blissfully decadent and unabashed manner.  To boot, while this waste goes unchecked and seemingly uncared for, the Dept. of Agriculture and the US Gov are buying up water rights for large ski areas, allowing them to use reprocessed water rich in birth control hormones leached from surrounding water waste systems, this disrupts reproductive processes in surrounding ecosystems, most noticeably with amphibians and reptiles in the area.  All the politics aside (something I really want to steer away from), it seems as if nature is slowing creeping back to claim its right on the land.

The sign next to this one said "Reserved Parking Only"

The brink seems like quite an interesting place.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Help! I'm in an Airport

When I was still an adolescent I had this grandiose and romanticized view of flying in airplanes.  Just the sheer idea of flying is exciting enough for an 11 year old.  You hop in the car with mom and dad and a bunch of your stuff in big bags and drive to some big glass building with lots of people and noises and announcements and all of a sudden you're on a huge winged beast hurtling over the earth thousands of feet in the air to some far away land that usually had palm trees and large mascot like characters.  

They say as you get older you gain a certain perspective or wisdom about things.
Flying fucking sucks.

I am currently hanging out in the Gate 7 "lounge" on my computer surrounded by what appears to be a group of equally disinterested and disconcerted people, trying to busy themselves with whatever electronic device they have (for instance there's some kid a few seats down to me with an ipad...this is matt's raging jealous heart).  To make matters worse, at least for this traveler, on my past recent bouts with flying I've endured some mind numbingly painful sinus migraines that have brought me to the brink of my pain threshold.  For this trip I have armed myself with afrin and some type of hardcore headache medicine to hopefully thwart these vomit inducing skull fucks of head aches i've had.  To boot, its 12:03 and my flight doesn't leave until 1:20...

On an up note, when the flight reaches its destination it will have plopped me into Phoenix where a couple of certain friends happen to reside.  Even though now I'm wrought with angst over this pending potential airborne fiasco I'm pretty sure that the end result will be well worth any pain endured or fluids lost.   

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tundra #1

Wake up
frost on the window
Howling wind 
and bare, shivering trees
The World outside 
is twenty shades of blue and grey
Mixed with burnt 
coffee brown and cigarettes. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The only line that is true is the line your from

Bearing down on this loosely fitted date of departure.  In the next couple days I'll have a round trip ticket and my first weeks stay arranged.  Kind of a load off the back, in spite of all I've said about just wanting to rush over there with a plan trailing on my coattails its kind of nice to have a little firmness of action.  Its funny because I keep feeling like I'm embarking on a dream.  As in it literally is not real.  So whenever someone asks me something like, "oh what are you going to do with your dog?", or "are you going to pay your studio rent ahead?", or "what about your jobs?" it kind of snaps me back down to our terrestrial plane.  I hope that doesn't mean I'm enjoying the idea of this trip more so than the actual event.  Interesting though how we become enamored by ideas of things instead of the actual things themselves.  Take restaurants for example.  I've been working in restaurants since before I even had the legal rights to work (only by 3 months I'm not that hardcore).  What I've seen over this 12 year span of time is that restaurants are usually nothing like what their customers perceive them to be.  I mean sure, you walk in as a patron and see the decor, get some vibes from the hostess, sit down, have a meal, its good or bad, and you leave.  Presuming its somewhere you've been before, you're walking in with the idea that this place is good based on the food and maybe some personable employees who work there.  If any one customer actually knew the restaurant for what it is through and through, which is so far beyond just the microcosm of good vs bad food/service their minds would be launched off their skull like a clay piece in a skeet shooter.  I don't think their was anything left out or looked over between Bourdain and Pierre in their books about the inner workings of kitchens and restaurants, but just to give a recent example:  Walking into the service station (the waitstaff lounge) the other night and find myself in the throngs of a full blown conversation about the how why and practicality of "docking".  "Docking" if you are unfamiliar (which if you are this will be hilarious) is a sex act between two men in which one uncircumcised penis stretches its foreskin over another circumcised penis.  The etymology of the term is now obvious as it would clearly appear quite similar to some sort of ship-to-ship airlock situation, whether in a submersible or in space.  Maybe this seems like a digression but my point is this.  People eating in that restaurant at the time stuffing their face with their shit eating grins enjoying the lovely atmosphere or art fixtures have no idea of this utterly perverse and disgusting (aka hilarious) conversation going on at the same time.  So I guess my theory, going back to the start, is that if these same customers knew the restaurant they would know about such conversations and their understanding of the place as a whole would change.  This, however, will never happen, and employees of restaurants will forever be able to freely pass their time with the most colorful of vulgarities in all their wonderful and various forms, unbeknownst to their customers.

It gets old though.

I was in CVS a few days ago and saw this massive banner hanging over the register.  The exact wording of it escapes me now so in attempt to paraphrase it went something like, "Get Out and Start Living."  What a terrible banner to have up in a place like CVS.  I mean, its a great uplifting, seize the day-type thing to have, and I'm sure there are more than a few customers that see it since, well, I noticed it.  I don't even work at this place and its making me stir crazy just thinking about all the other places I do work at just while standing in line for cigarettes.  Its like daring your employees to go Jerry McGuire on your ass.  Fuck if I worked at CVS I probably would.  I have a hard enough time not doing it at some of the other places I work, and for no other reason than fuck I've been working in restaurants for 12 years I've had enough.  I guess in the end though its almost a good thing its there, the banner that is.  Every day those employees go in to work and every day they are dared to start a new life.  Kind of compelling if you ask me.  Also perhaps an extreme metaphorical stretch for a goddamn banner in a fucking CVS but hey, it was a 5 minute wait in line for cigarettes, I could play out a whole fucking three part miniseries in my head in that time.  So those who may scoff I challenge them to do the same.

If anyone is wondering about the title of this post its from a song by a band called Blind Pilot.  I think its maybe the most powerful verse I've heard from any of their songs.  So start drawing some lines people.  Not boundaries or borders.  The line is you.  

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Loose Itinerary

The more I look at flights to different cities where I could potentially start this trek the more I feel like I should blindfold myself and point at a map.  I mean, I am so accustomed to routine and schedules and the like that I feel like mapping out an entire trip on paper is the exact opposite of what I really want.

I want freedom.

I want to wake up and say where am I going today and be ok with it.  The not knowing.  If I wrap myself up in the where and when and how I don't think I'll reach my goals.  I want exploration, not some played out tour bus style review of an entire continent where I can sit in the backseat with headphones on and think to myself how ironic it is that whatever song thats playing seems to roll through its melodies like the landscapes that are passing me by.  Fuck that, I AM the bus.  And I'll drive it off the goddamn road if I want to.  Give me an old german motorcycle and a couple liters of petrol and hopefully a country where they drive on the same side of the road (FYI 72% of the worlds countries are right hand drivers).  
I want to ride in the back of a lorrie filled with chickens between unheard of villages across plains traveled most widely by cattle.  No Fromers.  No Rick Steves.  Matt Rose.

I spoke with someone today about blogs and blogging and how most people just sit at their desk and blog about their stupid lives or what they had to eat the night before thats now aggravating their aging decrepit bowel system.  Not to say I won't talk about any epic shits I give a nice water birth to, but I'm hoping that in the end this can be something fun to read, intellectually stimulating (roll of the dice), and important in the sense that its a literary and pictorial depiction of our world around us.  

Kind of grand goals but hey its a work in progress, I haven't even left the country yet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's fricken freezing

I swear the winter season in Gloucester does everything in it's power to drain motivation and hinder productivity aside from handing you a bottle of depressants to wash down with your apathy. Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of living in an area where the four seasons make their rounds but throw me a goddamn bone here mother nature.
Most try to keep the cold at bay with some choice (hopefully local) hops or a nice bottle of scotch or bourbon, maybe the casual spliff, or two....or three. Hell i myself fall into this category of self medication/deprecation but while this may seem like a fine way to pass time it's also rather expensive.
So what really can one do to save yourself from this aenesthetic blanket of cold winter? Go to Florida? Auto-erotic asphyxiation? Well for the cheap and sexually timid perhaps there is nothing we can do but zip the collar tight and bite down on this hard wintery grit and say thank you sir may I have another.

Me, I paint. But I'm thinking about bringing a belt to my next masturbatory session just to see what all the fuss is about.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The start of something...

First post jitters, what to say.  Make it meaningful.  Make it deep and inquisitive and insightful.  Well fuck it I have no idea what to say to come close to any of that right now.  But perhaps thats the point of this whole thing.  I never would have considered myself a blogger or a tweeter or anything of that nature.  Maybe after this whole thing takes flight and I get the hell out of dodge and into a head space thats slightly more conducive to thoughts outside of where do we drink tonight, or fuck i hate january in gloucester, then we'll have something real on our hands.  Something a little bit more than just a drop in the massive, all-encompassing, shit bucket that is the internet.  

until tomorrow.