October 31, 2008

525,600 minutes later

in Ourglass
it took me
2 seconds to dial
3 rings for an answer
approximately 7 minutes to hear
that I should be nowhere
near O'Hare
in 14 years.
time is relative.
they say
to make perfume from an iris-
you have to mash the roots
but leave the petals
the only thing
that lives is
the fragrance
of such a grisly task.
it took us 12 weeks
to learn that
some skeletons
are not made
only of bone.
and once you know
where they rest-
should neither be
or buried.

October 30, 2008

Memorandum: Halloween is Cancelled

There once was a time when I loved Halloween. Loved It. Something about the crispness in the air and the bubbly anxiety that came with dressing up and going house to house for sweets. It thrilled me to no end. Then I grew up. Which really sucks because of part of me still really wants to celebrate this peculiar holiday. It's the one time you can step out of your 'all grown up' shell and really let your fun-loving side show. I can't say exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way- everyone became too cool to wear a costume...and This Bug was forced to assimilate.

Take 4th grade for instance. Only two other kids in my class dressed up the year I came as a fortune teller. It was really cool, too.
I wore one of my mother's decorative scarves around my head and my arms jingled with a bevy of gold bangles. I was the most spell-bounding gypsy that elementary school ever did see. I also had a clear water balloon for a crystal ball but that didn't work out so well. I can still see the look on the custodian's face as he dragged his mop around my desk. That was last time I wore a costume for the rest of my school career.

Fast-forward to my 19th year. I was Tina Turner for Halloween. I know, I know. It was a cheap shot, but I got rave reviews for my red shimmy dress and black eye. Incidentally, my date stole the show as Ike Turner. He carried a single Stacy Adams alligator shoe (size 13) and repeatedly threatened me throughout the night. "Sing the GOTDAMN song, Anna Mae- before I go upside your head!" I know what you're thinking- but we can all celebrate her freedom from that abusive relationship now, so it's all in good fun, right? Right?! What's Halloween got to do with it? Let's just move on...

The last time I dabbled in the spooky revelries was during my illustrious stint as a bartender. I was some variation of Spider Girl. Yes, the outfit was a tad on the racy side À la Frederick's of Hollywood, but it spoke to the superhero in me. I had fun with it, complete with a spider in my luxurious wig (which was mistaken for a crab by one inebriated patron) and creepy-crawly accessories. FYI: For looking equal parts 'trick' and 'treat' I made record breaking tips that night- and it was unanimously decided that I would have won best costume, but as an employee was ineligible to enter the contest. Who cares? I could have bottle of Perrier Jouët any time I wanted, anyhow. Sidebar: I recently found that webbed leotard get-up while cleaning out my closet the other day and simply could not bring myself to throw it out.

So now I'm all grown up and it's all about the kids now. I really need to make my way to Walmart and stock up before my doorbell starts ringing. But dammit, I still want in on some of the fun. Just once, I'd like to be Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've got the black sheath dress and the fake baubles covered. All I need is the cigarette holder. Or maybe even a Geisha Girl. There's a ton of fun to be had with the Kabuki make-up alone. Oh well, I guess it's time to pass the torch. But I still love Halloween and I still love candy...And they can't take that away from me.

October 25, 2008

B is for Bozo

As the clock winds down on the Presidential campaign, desperation rears its ugly head...and ugly it is indeed. By all accounts, Ashley Todd is not the brightest bulb in the box. For those of you just tuning in, she is the young lady and McCain campaign "volunteer" who claimed she was attacked and mugged by a 6 ft.4 Black man. Because as we all know, the bigger the black man- the scarier. Why did I get Susan Smith flashbacks when this story first broke? From the looks of it- she got her ass handed to her and had the black eye to prove it. What she could not prove however, was who had actually done this to her. And that is where her story began to unravel. She claimed that her attacker was going to "teach her a lesson" for backing the septuagenarian candidate, and carved a 'B' onto her pasty, fat face. A backwards B for that matter. This Dumb Ass probably did it in front of a mirror, lacking the good sense to know that it would have appeared in reverse had someone done this while facing her. Well, all she did was successfully piss off the Pittsburgh Police and got herself charged with filing a false report. Perhaps she should have gone with the less tricky 'O' instead- but something tells me this moron would have botched that too. Election be damned, if I ever have the good fortune of running into the person who did in fact deliver that eye jammy, the drinks are on me.

Ain't No Half-Steppin'

You can tell a lot about a person based on the music they listen to. For a long time, I judged a man by what he had in heavy rotation. It may not have been right to judge- and I still somewhat do it to this day, but I think it gives you insight into one's character content. In my teens, way before Hip-Hop genres were given titles like New School, Gangsta, Conscious, Horrorcore, Crunk, or New Jack Swing I was the quintessential backpacker. It was all about Black Moon and the rest of the Boot Camp Clik for me. And Wu Tang Clan wasn't nothin' to f*ck wit. And as far as Underground emcees went- the more subterranean, the better.

By my mid-twenties, just when the Golden Era was coming to a close I was hitting the club scene something serious and there was a man who 'invented the remix'. Back then, his name was Puffy and every dude wanted to be him. A guy would approach me, telling me it was all about the Benjamins as if this little hook and line was supposed to impress me. I don't blame Diddy for the downfall of real Hip-Hop (anymore). At the end of the day, cash just did NOT rule everything around me. It sort of sickened me- the shiny suits, the flashy cars, the excess on a whole. What looked like swagger to them, looked a lot like a clown to me. I was too busy collecting my praise from Mos Def and Talib Kweli for being a Brown Skin Lady. If you didn't have something productive to say besides how long your dividends were- I swiftly picked up my drink and moved down the bar in search of refreshing convo, or even more refreshing silence.

These days, I'm a lot less judgmental. I understand that Hip-Hop is a culture with many facets. You can get your paper and still be down to earth. It doesn't bother me. I can remember when Jay-Z and Nas had their infamous face-off, I felt like anyone that was rooting for Joe Camel was a shallow parasite with delusions of grandeur and no respect for skills. How naive I was. Nas actually spoke of the same things as Jay, but he did it with more eloquence. Plain and simple. There is no more East Coast/West Coast rivalry, either. Honestly, the Midwest and Dirty South somehow put the game in a choke hold while everyone was busy bouncing to a catchy synthesized beat. I'm still scratching my head over that one.

A friend of mine once sat at my computer, looked over my music folder and said, "Yo, you are stuck in 1988-1993 Hip-Hopwise." I chuckled at the truth of this observation. Because the radio has nothing for me anymore. I listen to the timeless classics because they are still relevant today. I feel sorry for the younger generations who have nothing of a legacy except Now Watch me YOUUU! I know it may sound bitter, but this Hip-Hop thing is in my heart- so I reserve the right to say when something is certified trash, no matter how many units are shipped. Aside from the occasional head-nod to a L'il Weezy tune, I really find consumption of that garbage unforgivable- and a guy is likely to rack up demerits in the respect department from me if he supports the nonsensical bullsh*t. He can keep it moving in his tireless pursuit of the "classy" video ho. (I guess I'm more judgmental than I originally thought.) Oh well. No apologies.

I'm not new to this- I'm true to this.

October 20, 2008

No! We can't just all get along!

"Alright. Break it up. Nothing to see here, Folks." No, really I mean it. There is nothing to see here. Not if you're going into Lakeview Terrace actually expecting an enjoyable movie. Honestly, this is 110 minutes of my life I can never get back. (I'm especially miffed at the last 10 minutes this movie stole from my remaining existence on this earth.) Really and truly, this is not a movie review. It's just a rant.

Sam Jackson is loud and really mean. Surprise, surprise. The yellow-bellied husband takes entirely too long to grow a pair and handle his business. And Kerry Washington bring nada to the table. She also fails miserably in the eye candy department in a pair of heinous cat-eye glasses in her 'studious looking' scenes...Pshht. Oh yeah, the dialogue is crap, too. There is nothing engaging about the object of Sam's indignation, interracial relationships or the reverse 'There Goes The Neighborhood' premise.

Thank Heaven this Bug saw this for free due to a nifty rewards program for having a particular cable package, blah, blah, blah. I'm too annoyed to even link anything in this post. What an utter waste of a film crew. The Movie Gods are apparently out to lunch.

If you haven't already done it to yourself- I implore you...Don't. You're much better off seeing Max Payne instead. Now, there's a dude with some balls! He's come a long ways from that Funky Bunch, I'll tell ya that.

Mambo Italiano Go, Go, Go!

I can remember when I fell in love with Spaghetti and Meatballs. I was 6 years old when I first saw Lady and the Tramp. There was something so sweet and endearing about the way those lovable canines shared that meal. Of course, most will remember the ever-so-innocent kiss that took place via pasta- but mostly what I found unforgettable was the food looking downright delicious.

I was craving comfort food this weekend so naturally I had to whip some up for myself. The entire process was therapeutic. I rolled carefully down the aisles at the grocery- sans purse, which is a rarity for me. I just wanted to be completely unburdened while shopping, so I stuffed my wallet into the front pocket of my green hoodie and rustled up a cart. Sidebar: Why must I ALWAYS grab the cart with the one wheel that won't comply with my autonomy? For some reason, while heading for the produce aisle that dastardly wheel always has other plans. I'm convinced there's a conspiracy hard at work here.

It might sound strange but I absolutely love to food shop, especially when I know exactly what I plan to cook. Selecting the ingredients is pure poetry. The sweet, heady scent of fresh basil, the firmness of the tomatoes, the vibrant colors of a bell pepper trio all let me know that I'm alive and my senses are intact. And then there's the preparation of such a meal. Beating the eggs and rolling the balls of meat into breadcrumbs, the sizzle of the garlic in the olive oil...it's something of a dance to me. Tango to be exact. Somewhat forced but fluid- violent and sensual all at once.

Anyhow, I say that to say this: There is nothing like a good bowl of pasta topped with some well made meatballs. Delicious. And Oh, it doesn't taste quite the same unless you have some beautiful people (or just one really hot person who appreciates Italian cuisine) to share it with. Pop a nice bottle of Red and you're in business.

Mangia! Mangia!

Photo courtesy Corbis

October 16, 2008

Last Tango In Hempstead

No doubt about it. Joe The Plumber's ears must've been ringing nonstop last night. I wonder if he'll ever get that business off the ground. He obviously has the disposable dollars to toy with the idea. Good for him. Meanwhile, folks all over are gravely clawing themselves out of foreclosure and unemployment.

Some, not all of the issues were tackled in this final Presidential Debate. I can honestly say that I listened intently with unbiased ears. So just imagine the degree of my discombobulation when this jarring little gem was delivered: "When Senator Obama was first asked, he said anyplace, anytime -- the way Barry Goldwater and Jack Kennedy agreed to do before the intervention of the tragedy at Dallas."

And that Folks, was my official WTF!? moment. More allusions to that? Really? Wow.

In the meantime, at least we know now what sheer desperation looks like in all of its ignorant, impacted wisdom tooth glory- at least when it's measured against seemingly detached amusement. This Bug has said it before. Cool can't be bought nor taught.

If all else fails, at least we have "that bresh of freth air." (sic) I stifled paroxysms of laughter on this one.

But in all seriousness- I think my girl, Anna Mae Bullock said it best: We don't need another hero. All we want is life beyond the Thunderdome.

Whoo...It's a wrap. I'm exhausted. Wake me when it's done.

A Predicament of Sorts

The weekend approaches. I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be the social butterfly. So how in the world did I find myself in this dilemma? Behind door number one is a good friend we’ll call “B” for now. She’s everything you could want in an amiga. When she listens, she truly listens instead of just waiting for her turn to speak. She’s vivacious, attentive and trustworthy. She also happens to be a devout vegetarian. The girl loves her tofu like a cowboy loves his whiskey.
Behind door number two is a good friend we’ll call “V”. He is hands-down the most hilarious person I have the pleasure of knowing. Our conversations are littered with side-splitting laughter. He is witty, well-read and to the best of my knowledge, an absolute foodie. I should note that nothing makes him happier than bacon, which he considers a condiment. It's part of his charm.

Now…the crux. Both are celebrating birthdays this coming Saturday. I have been invited to spend an evening out with "B" and several of her vegan friends at a no doubt organically acceptable restaurant. This would be a good time to mention that I can only take pretentious folks in limited doses. It has been my experience that strict vegetarians can hardly offer an opinion or state a fact without prefacing it with, “Well, before I went vegan…” or “After I became a vegetarian…” And mind you, we could be talking about some random item in the news or one’s last trip to the dentist. The very thought of it is an exercise in tolerance. On the other hand is a night out with my meat-loving buddy "V" and a few his friends. He loves a good porterhouse, fine cheese and a bottle of Bordeaux to wash it all down. He is also never quite sure of when to call it a night. There have been many misadventures that wouldn't be so funny had we not been three sheets to the wind. Luckily cops were never called, the consequences being only a severe hangover. More on that some other time.

I don’t want to make this sound as simple as differing food preferences. She’s a militant 80's Baby who is strong in her convictions. He loves Reaganomics and all that it did for this wonderful country. (His words, not mine) You’d be hard pressed to find two people more opposite in views, tastes and dislikes. But they both are a joy to be around. I can only imagine the carnage that would ensue if these two were left alone for more than five minutes. I simply cannot decide. I just wish there were a happy medium. With all the stem-cell research going on, perhaps I can clone myself by Saturday night. Maybe I’ll just hide out until Sunday. Argh! The quagmire…

October 11, 2008

La Misma Luna, Upon Further Observation

Real life is...
catching the bank
before it closes.
Or withdrawing
before you never see
another dime.
Real life is
laying under
the seductive sky-
Watching Orion
unbuckle slowly
only to learn
it's not just you
he needs.
Real life is
welcoming an alarming
5 a.m. call
because now
it can only mean
good news.
Real life is
staying put
when you'd sooner
drive 700 miles
just to see
his face.

October 10, 2008

don't know why I love you, but I do

Disclaimer: A totally random and overtly superficial entry by This Bug. There are few ugly hot men skulking around Hollywood. I know, I know. I've heard it all before. We are all God's creations and therefore all beautiful, yadda yadda yadda. But seriously- there are a handful of them out there who at first glance do not fit the "Awesomely Hot" bill, but the longer you have a gander- you find yourself drawn to a mysterious sexiness about them. Well, this Bug does anyway. They are in stealth mode...and they can get you too.

Topping my list of ugly hot Hollywood guys is none other than Marc Anthony. I don't know what it is about him. After seeing his performance in El Cantante, I've had the biggest crush on him. I am baffled by my newfound attraction to this guy. I mean, look at him.

He's gangly and awkward and his face sort of reminds me of the Geico Caveman minus all the facial hair. But then you start thinking, "This dude bagged J-Lo, man. He must have something about him!"
Well, whatever that little magic trick may be- I wouldn't mind being his assistant when that rabbit emerges out of the hat. I'm just sayin'. I don't really want to look at him. He can just stand really close beside me and sing Todo Tiene Su Final into my hair. Kinda like 0:44 in this vid...Yeah, that'll work. Fuego!

Next up is Adrien Brody. Hmmm...where do I begin?
Huge nose, sad eyes, crooked smile. All of those wonderful things give his odd face character. Also, he wears his clothes well. This Bug has always been a sucker for a man who looks good in his clothes. Because let's face it- if I don't like how you look in your clothes, I'm not going to wonder what you look like out of them. Though, in Adrien Brody's case I would rather not picture that lanky frame unadorned. There's also the passion factor with him.
What woman doesn't want a man to swoop down and plant a kiss like that on her? You can watch the famous smooch here. And just like that, a sex symbol was born. I'm still hatin' on Halle for this one...that bitch. Show me a woman who doesn't want a man to kiss her like that at least once in life, and I'll show you a raging, muff-loving lesbian.

Rounding out the list is my current favorite British thespian, Clive Owen. He makes me weak.
That craggy face. The wooden stare. His intensity is unmatched. He's like the second coming to Richard Burton- only hotter. Way hotter. He is the cad Mum warned you about. His accent is pure class, and it doesn't matter if he's saying something cheeky or completely vulgar. Case and point, the strip club scene in Closer. I always refer to him as my future ex-husband, because it will never work between us, but on the road to ruin- I'm going to have a bloody good go at it with this shaggadocius bloke. In the words of Mos Def: Y.E.A., Yeah. You could get it.

Honorable Mentions:
Vincent Gallo What can I say? He's stylish. He looks weird and he loves Hip-Hop. And he could give two shits what the critics had to say about Brown Bunny.

Mickey Rourke
Let me clarify. Mickey Rourke circa 1986. He was at his sexiest in 9 and 1/2 Weeks before Botox and Boxing completely destroyed that curiously rugged, unshaven face.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

More ugly hotness from across the pond. Sure, he's no Idris Elba- but there's something about him that is alluring. He does a great American accent too, which shows some versatility. And that scar in the middle of his forehead just does it for me. Is that weird?

October 9, 2008

Lifelong Learning

Every now and then, if you’re fortunate enough- you cross paths with a remarkable person that makes quite an impact on your life. In some way or another, they make the world a better place by simply being themselves. Over the years there have been a precious few that hold that distinction for me, but this is dedicated to one in particular.

Almost everyone that walked the hallways of Uniondale High School can recall a teacher by the name of Mr. Chu. I say this because there were plenty of students who were not ‘officially’ enrolled in his class that still came away with a sufficient knowledge of Photography. Way before I learned what purpose an aperture served or how to manipulate ambient light- I learned what it was like to be yourself and embrace it. Chu Man, as he was so oft referred to as- was by far the coolest teacher in that institution. Everyone loved him, and I believe it had a lot to do with him just being himself. He possessed such a genuine manner that was never forced. Some teachers are totally removed from the student experience by default. They form quick opinions of whom they perceive as rabble-rousers, make snap judgments and decide that there is nothing they haven’t seen or heard during their tenure. But Mr. Chu was different. He was never so world-weary that he tuned out what was relevant. Trust me. He may have been the only staff member at the time who knew Hip-Hop even had a pulse before it got all “blinged out”. He seemed to understand that teaching was an exchange rather than a one-way street. We learned from him, and he from us.

There are some teachers who immediately want to show you who’s boss. Then there are those who try so hard to be cool it is transparently phony. Neither was his style. He somehow walked a line of his own with dexterity…and made it look effortless. Mr. Chu had an open-door policy. He treated troublemakers and straight-A students with impartiality. (Yours truly fell somewhere in between.) I think he was much more comfortable in the knowledge that droves of kids opted for his class, rather than leave school grounds to find inevitable trouble. I witnessed firsthand what some may classify as the most “unreachable” of pupils take a heartfelt interest in learning something new. And it was all because of Mr. Chu. We were accepted without being molded by an iron fist. He had our respect without ever having to demand it. That in itself was an estimable art form.

I don’t want to sound as if I’m eulogizing someone that is no longer with us. He is still very much alive, and thanks to the great age of online social networking, sharing other aspects of his life with Alums who admire him just as much- if not more than in the bygone days of Photo lab. That photography lab is now defunct. It has been transformed into what I can only call a depressingly modernized box. Four walls, devoid of the spirit that once inhabited that space. And Mac computers everywhere. Copy. Paste. Print. Gone are the days of having your 35mm camera for the weekend. The darkroom, the chemicals and the indescribable fulfillment that came with watching a perfect image materialize from a once watery tray.

The soul of that place is gone. Chu all but took it with him upon retirement. To many of us, he was that studio. But what I hold near and dear are the memories that were constructed in that studio. I have a myriad of black and white photos that capture my youth, my friendships and my peculiar fashion choices from back then. All those seemingly minuscule things that in retrospect; have a great deal to do with the person I am today. I consider myself blessed to have ever been in his class- where he taught us the importance of being true to oneself, by none other than example. The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. Without realizing it, we learned to develop character along with those negatives. He may never know just where his influence stops. Truly of a different ilk, I tip my hat in reverence to the Chu Man.

There can never be another.

October 5, 2008

Don't Look For Me on Sunday

There is something so absolute about Sundays. To me, your quality of life can be measured most genuinely on this day of all others. Why? Because it's the one day you're either loathing due to its inevitable successor; or appreciating wholly because it is the working week's reward. Any Given Sunday would have been a much different film had it been about my life. On this day, I'm reminded of how fortunate and blessed I am. On this day, almost everything takes a veritable backseat to a beautiful familial gathering. The only thing that outmeasures the family I am surrounded by is the amount of food to go around. I can't say exactly when it all began; the cooking, the laughter, the gaggles of children, the love- but I honestly cannot imagine my days without it now. And when the revelries die down and the flock has flown- Sunday evenings are all mine. They cannot be counted. Only cherished.

October 3, 2008

That'll Learn Ya

Grappling with writer's block on this fine Friday night, I've decided to go with my old stand-by: The list. In this particular case, the list consists of random things I have learned over the years. It's been an amusing and at times, wild and scary ride. And I don't regret a stitch of it.

1. Cops do not possess a built-in lie detector test. They will believe you until you give them reason not to.

2. An entire busload of people will laugh at you if you fall running for the bus. This includes the sweet bus driver lady who up until that moment- always seemed above that type of thing.

3. Gravel embedded in your palm really, really stings- after you break a fall...running for the bus.

4. If a man says that his wife doesn't understand him anymore- he means that she understands him all too well and he cannot bullsh*t her anymore.

5. Wearing brand new, straight-backed motorcycle boots are not the wisest choice of footwear for a night of heavy drinking. If no one is around to help remove them, you will wake up with those puppies on.

6. The most annoying commercial will only show up on TV when the remote decides to keep Jimmy Hoffa company for a few.

7. In strip clubs, if the ladies room door is a stone's throw away from the dressing room, the..um... employees will more than likely try their damndest to recruit you.

8. Most people only sit through the Govinator's old movies to hear his hilariously pronounced one-liners. "Ruuhn! Go! Get to duh Choppah!"

9. Almost any love song can be transformed and interpreted as a gospel song with the simple replacement of a few pronouns.

10. It is possible to board a plane with ID constructed at your local Army/Navy story if you kick up enough dust with the airline. Well, it was possible. I seriously do not recommend trying that now.

Hurricane Haiku

Unmerciful wench.
Swallowed life.

October 1, 2008

thunderstorms, with a slight chance of sleep

The premise is simple. Erase the memories that are too much to bear. Deep within- I know that it is our memories that shape us, make us who we are. I know that. But since fast-forward or rewind is not at the touch of a button in life, a total erasure would suffice. Today. At least that would allow a clean canvas on which new memories can be painted. I am sure new meanings to old words are just out of reach, waiting to be unlocked. But the truth is until they arrive- I am only floating above myself. All of my senses are askew.

Taste is touch and sound is smell. And my sight? What of it? My eyes have no cause to believe themselves anymore. Gone are the days of convenient linear explanations. Some places are haunted. Not only do I see ghosts. I see epiphanies with my eyes wide shut- the smell of what should be soul-soothing food buried in ear canals. The sound of genuine laughter lodged in nasal passages. Thoughts of warmth are bitter on my tongue.

So strange. Losing thoughts should be no work at all. But it is work. Memories as far as the third eye can see- memories by the plentiful pound. It makes me want to lift out my brain. Have a look inside at what likely resembles a rubber band ball. Deconstruct it for good. Tear the world in two and start all over again. Blink away dream littered days with involuntary ease. But still... no balm to numb my brain. No topical procedure. Only prayers for sleep and hopes for amnesia. I would welcome the newness of confusion with arms wide open. And bask in the eternal sunshine of mental spotlessness.