Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thanks You Letters to Strangers

The Lady with the Black Dog

The crosswalk of North Ave. and Wood St., Saturday morning, Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Your back was turned to me while you were talking on the phone. Your dog, a big black lab mix, held his nose up, smelling the scents coming from the Gallery Cafe. I had just exited the cafe having treated myself to a delicious egg, turkey sausage, tomato and swiss sandwich on hearty multigrain bread. You were talking in a slightly raised voice, one hand on your hip, in a fist, and the other holding onto the leash. A few moments passed as we waited for the light to turn.

I cannot help but listen to the increasing distress in your voice. You realize that I'm standing there, and try to walk the other way with your dog but he is not moving. You pull at him, and he just sits there. I glance down and see he's looking up at me. The overwhelming frustration of the two actions causes your eyes to water up and your checks to go flush with blood. It reminds me of someone.

Without saying a word you hand me the dogs leash and walk the other way. Each step the sobs get a little more pronounced. The dog turns his big head from me to his owner and then back to me. Looking down at the beast I see that his nose is graying and his teeth are slowly falling out. I kneel down, placing my right hand on his head, rubbing his lower ear with my thumb. His eyes slowly close as his panting increases and his tongue falls to one side. His smile is infectious.

The morning sun is falling down on us. The streets are waking up as pedestrians begin to make there way to and from shops, cafe's, etc. The neighborhood reminds me of Portland. Small streets. A couple passes the dog and me, looking at how happy the two of us are. She whisper to him, 'I want one' and without looking at her he says with authority 'No.' which causes her to look back at us with a longing.

It's been about ten minutes and the owner eventually returns. Her conversation is over though it is apparent that the words exchanged by the two parties are weighing heavily on her. I stand, and hand her the leash. She politely thanks me and turns to walk the other way, pulling at the dog. The dog stands, and follows her. I turn and walk towards Ashland to catch my bus home. Neither of us look back.

Thank you for letting me have that moment with your dog. I hope everything is fine.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Capturing Rudolf

I took a series of photo's three years ago which I now call "capturing rudolf". these are my three favorite photos.This is one of those shots you take and remember for a long time. Rudy Tyburczy was my model, who agreed to dance (practically naked) around the streets of Eugene OR only because he was drunk (as was I). We did this because my roommate at the time has asked us to leave the apartment because a girl he'd always wanted to sleep with was in town. We got drunk at a local pub, returned to see that my roommate had yet to attain his goal. We decided to be little devils and began jumping on his bed without shirts or pants. We then walked a few blocks up the street, where I asked Rudy to run, jump an dance in the street. Odd what the mind thinks of when it's pissed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fun with Words II

Comment with a word. I'll see what comes.

'Fumble' suggested by Devika

i fumble

fumble rhymes with jumble rhymes with tumble rhymes with rumble rhymes with stumble rhymes with crumble rhymes with mumble rhymes with humble rhymes with grumble rhymes with bumble rhymes with fumble.

fumble with my words. fumble with my hands. fumble with my thoughts. fumble with my past. fumble through a class. fumble with women. fumble with a bra. fumble in the darkness. fumbling to please. fumble out of bed. fumble with excuses. fumble.

jumbled words. jumbled thoughts. jumbled books. jumbled songs. jumbled stories. jumbled relationships. jumbled messages. jumbled meaning. jumbled apologies. fumble my jumbles.

tumble down a hill. tumble down the stairs. tumbled thoughts. tumble to the ground in laughter. tumble into open arms in tears. tumble across the dance floor. tumble drunkenly into a cab. tumble in the sheets. tumbled hair. tumbled clothes scattered across the room. tumble dry. tumbled heart. tumbling emotions. tumbled affairs. fumble with tumbling jumbles.

rumble between gangs. rumble between friends. rumble between lovers. rumbles behind closed doors. rumbling voices. rumbling thunder. rumbling stomach. rumbling engine. rumbles in the heart. rumbles from the past. fumbling rumbles of tumbling jumbles.

stumble along a path. stumble onto something new. stumble into someone on the street. stumble out of a party with a stranger. stumble home drunkenly. stumble through a conversation. stumble under pressure. stumble with responsibility. stumble with a weakness. stumble over my words. stumble with lies. stumble across self discovery. stumble across hidden beauty. stumbling across fumbling jumbles and rumbling tumbles.

crumbling ego. crumbling connections. crumbling love. crumbling perceptions. crumbling to the ground. crumbling under wear and tear. crumbling roads. crumbling buildings. crumbling statues. crumbling cities. crumbling societies. crumbling ideas. crumbling remains of a once proud civilization. crumbling on the cold bathroom tile, alone, crying. crumbling on a bar stool, to pissed to stand. crumbling connection to someone being buried. tumbling rumbles of crumbling fumbles set against stumbling jumbles.

mumbled feelings. mumbled truths. mumbled replies. mumbled actions. mumbling old men. mumbling under her breath. mumbled protest. mumbled confessions. mumbled fears. mumbled requests. mumbled desires. mumbled rumbles and stumbled fumbles, tumbling over crumbling jumbles.

humble pie. humble abode. humble servent. humble thoughts. humble admissions. humbling moments. humbling words. humble men and humbling women. humbled by the presence of a greater being. humbled by recognition of ones personal mistakes. humbled by the praise of others. humbling criticism. humbled by an understanding of our own limits as human beings. humbled by tragedy. humbled by the compassion of another. humble apologies. humbly holding your head in shame. humbly he fumbles with mumbling praises, nervous rumbles, stumbling over words, the jumble of thoughts crumble as his ego tumbles.

grumbled complaints. grumbling over burn toast. grumble over consternation. grumble over that fact that 'umble' really can only produce so many ideas, emotions, memories, words, etc. grumble over this stupid exercise. grumble over my own inability to just press on. grumble over the music I'm listening to. grumble over R.E.M.'s 'Second Guessing' and how it fits perfectly in the moment. grumble over my own second guessing. grumble that i'm not better at this even though I've been working on it for more than an hour. grumble over wasted time. grumble over not having enough money for a proper dinner. grumble over customers taking their bitterness over a rainy day in July out on me. grumble over not having the confidence to talk to freckled yoga girl. grumbled mumbles and stumbling fumbles, on top of hungry rumbles and tumbling jumbles, humbly crumbling quickly.

bumbling idiot. humble ownership that i fumble often, stumble under pressure, tumble into bed, ignore my rumbling stomach, crumble in the presence of beauty and, grumble and mumble when confused, while all along happily bumbling through life.


Sunday, July 5, 2009


Lay's Kettle Cooked-Original Extra Crunchy Potato Chips

I am a fan of crisps, or as we in the United States commonly call them, potato chips. It is the comfort and simplicity of the chip that has always brought me a moderate sense of gastronomic fulfillment. The chip isn't meant to be a meal, more so a side, or something to accompany a meal. Chips can of course be a meager substitute for a meal, often caused by late night movie watching, sports events, or boredom in the kitchen. Chips often lead someone to gorge themselves on handfuls of chips due their inability to actually fill your stomach with anything more than small bits of processed root vegetables.

I eat chips because I like the taste, and texture. The salty taste causes my mouth to water, craving the salt it ferociously does not need. The salty flavor can pair well with most sandwiches, BBQ, and almost any other snack. A plethora of chips can cause the human taste bud to implode with chemically manufactured taste. The texture is comforting against the soft den that is my mouth. The ridged edges of any chip easily cut though my weak gums. The chips break apart in my mouth, each piece becoming a separate razor sharp slicing implement. Welcomed torture in a bag.

Frito-Lay's is one of the largest American producers of chips, owning Fritos, Doritos, Ruffles, and Cheetos. Cheetos technically don't count as chips, and is more commonly classified as a "cheese curl" thought should be classified as cheese flavored home insulation. Frito-Lay is owned by Pepsico inc., the world's fourth-largest food and beverage company who make "a wide variety of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, as well as salty, sweet and grain-based snacks, and other foods" (wiki). Companies under the Pepsico inc. umbrella are Mt. Dew, Gatorade, Izze, Naked Juice, Starbucks Frappuccino, Quaker Oats, and Human Pride and Dignity. This only furthers my belief that the world really is controlled by lizard people who want me to become fat, and unhappy so they can feed on my life juices which are extracted by television.

One of the many wonderful "food" products that Frito-Lay's produces is Lay's Kettle Cooked-Original Extra Crunchy Potato Chips. The bag itself is expertly designed to make you believe the contents are wholesome and hand made. A soft blue banner frames the image of a few fresh potato's, a small black kettle, and thick, lightly salted potato chips. The Lay's symbol shines like a sun (obviously intentional) above the modern-olde-englishly text. And proudly printed on the top right corner "0 grams Trans Fat" allowing all the obese Oprah following mothers to feel better about their children eating two bags each in one sitting.

The chip itself isn't bad. It's as thick a chip that the stingy bastards at Lay's could possibly make. If you take a regular Lay's chip and put it against a light source, the chip resembles an oily discolored sheet of news paper. Taking a Lay's Kettle Cooked-Original Extra Crunchy Potato Chip and repeating the same action, makes the chip seem more like few sheets of oily paper pressed together for a few years, dried, and then fried. The chip is rather tasteless, uncomfortably crunchy, and oddly small in size. Kettle chips I've had in the past have always had a rich taste, whether that be sea salt, sharp cheddar, or wasabi. They have also had a great consistency in texture, allowing the chip to have an appropriate heaviness, and crunch.

Lay's chips on the other hand feel more along the lines of a handful of chips in your mouth rather than the traditional kettle chip. The so called crunchy part of the chip seems more along the lines of being stale, and over fried. Rather than dense the chip seems bulky, though this is only compared to it's brother the traditional Lay's chip. Compared to a real Kettle chip, the Lay's Kettle Cooked-Original Extra Crunchy Potato Chip seems hard, and unrefined.

Traditional kettle chips have a hand cut feel to the chip, and even the larger companies that produce kettle chips still have a human presence to their product. This is because traditionally kettle chips are made by frying the chips in a batch all at once at a low temperature, where as Lay's makes it's Kettle Chips by using a "continuous-style" by cooking the chips on a conveyor belt, expediting the process and taking out the inconsistencies that are brought about by human interaction.

As stated before, I'm a fan of chips. Sometimes my gluttony can get in the way of my inner snob. I'll eat crappy chips if it means that I can take advantage of post fourth of July holiday sales at supermarkets. Lay's Kettle Cooked-Original Extra Crunchy Potato Chips are a fine chip to eat on a hot day with a cheap beer and a boiled hot dog if nothing else is available. Just make sure you're not doing all that in front of the TV as to not wet the ravenous hunger of the Lizard people.

Friday, July 3, 2009

God, I miss beer.

God, I miss beer

Beer was an experience to be shared.
Beer was something to look forward to.
Beer was part of every meal.
Beer was story time.
Beer was a creative outlet.
Beer was welcomed laughter.
Beer was mentally stimulating.
Beer was the boys.
Beer was courage.
Beer was vibrant.
Beer was away.
Beer was pointing fingers over heated debates.
Beer was after work.
Beer was bohemia.
Beer was for the porch.
Beer was always a block away.
Beer was seasonal.
Beer was a conversation starter.
Beer was collective freedom.
Beer was...

Beer is merrily that.
Beer is soulless.
Beer is simply consumed.
Beer is obvious.
Beer is four red white and blue taps.
Beer is disconnected.
Beer is homeless.
Beer is everywhere.
Beer is forced.
Beer is disinfected.
Beer is clout-less.
Beer is cheaper than water.
Beer is monotonous.
Beer is spilled and forgotten.
Beer is expensively flat.
Beer is vapid.
Beer is pointless nonsense.
Beer is the smell of trashy girls and dipshit boys.
Beer is...

I miss,
Max's Tavern, music blaring, dimly lit booths, fresh popped corn.
The Beer Stein, waiting for a table, pico and chips, hundreds of choices.
John Henry's, rock and roll, the tattooed bartenders, 32 oz. High Life.
High Street, summer, the smell of hops as they brewed in the basement.
Cornucopia, juicy burgers, dark beer, the smell of body oder.
Jackalope, darts, baskets and baskets of salty fries.
Sam Bonds uncomfortable seats, bingo night, tom waits tributes, locals.
Random parties with random home brews.
Family dinners, standing in the kitchen, sun setting over the west hills.

I long for...
Imperial India Pale Ales
Black Butte Porter
Anything Ninkasi creates

God, I miss beer.
I pray that I find it soon.
My the angels touch someone here.
And create something that reminds me
Of what I left behind.