Saturday, July 22, 2006


The vanpool. I have been breaking rules and getting stuff DONE. Steve Bawls possesses my driving soul. It has been an eventful week. Read on, gentle one...

Every day there is a red light in Fort Ord that won't let me turn right and merge with traffic. Every day, I run that stuff. Every day when I run it, I look in the rear-view mirror and say, "Sorry Gloria." Gloria always shakes her head in disgust. After literally months of this stale joke, on Tuesday, Gloria finally countered it with, "I don't know why you always apologize to me, you are just going to do it again."


Gloria is probably in her late 50s. She is a lot of fun. I have nothing but respect for the woman. I know that she is mildly shaken by how I handle the vanpool van, but she comes back month after month with her monthly pass, so something must be working. She does this thing after a particularly brutal ride home where she says, "I will NOT be riding tomorrow." Emphasis on NOT. Whenever she says this, the implication is that she just can't take my driving anymore. She plays into it. I always apologize. I always say that Venkat could drive the next day, if that is what she wants. Then she clarifies and says that she has to go to the doctor, or take her car in or some such trash. It is a fun little exchange.

There is a woman with a cane who smokes out in front of our building every day. Her voice reminds me of Burgess Meredith as the Penguin in the old Batman show. She's got a shock on blonde hair that is very Beatlesque. Well, we were bombing through Fort Ord the other day and suddenly, I realized that I was neck in neck with this mop-top woman in a 25 MPH zone. She was in the slow lane, and I was taking her down from the fast lane...if such things exist in a 25 mph zone. She felt my overtake, and started to push. I hate it when people do that, so I pushed back. She must have been doing 35, and I bounced it up to 45 to take her, and I held pole position for the rest of Fort Ord. She took me out at Blanco, but I just don't have the get up and go in that van; or I woulda left her sideways in my dust.


She comes up to me the next day, cigarette in one hand, cane in the other and asks me who will pay for the speeding tickets the vanpool will get if I keep on driving like that. I told her I would. For real. None of her damn business who is going to pay for the ticket. I sort of cocked an eyebrow at her, because she wasn't without sin on the subject. I'll betcha if I swipe and pawn her cane, I can have a little trust fund set up for my inevitable speeding ticket. I have to make a skull note of this, because I really like the logic behind it. Internally though, I dismissed the whole thing. Her halitosis interrogation was beneath me. Apparently, crutch-smoker went to other people in the vanpool asking them about my driving. For an old little gimpy chimney, that woman got around. But perhaps she is an angel (albeit a crippled, bowl-cut one), because the next bit of this blog will show you that I really need to get my act together on the subject of driving.

Yesterday morning, I ran a red light in the morning, POINT BLANK. It said "NO U-TURN" and the light was red, but through traffic was green. Well, I wheeled my big ass around that corner and had to slap it into reverse a bit before I could make the turn.

"PETER! YOU JUST RAN A RED LIGHT!" Smitha said. I must qualify Smitha as one of our newer riders and not ready for the real.

"Yes, I did, but technically it was green, except I wasn't supposed to make the U-turn." was my response.

To my logic, that U-turn had to be made, and it was better to make it on a red light than on a green light when people making left-hand turns behind me would have to spike their brakes as I backed my big ass up.

I made the point with Smitha that overall I am a very good driver. She countered with the sarcastic view that even though I run red lights and drive twenty miles over the speed limit on a regular basis, she felt basically safe with me.


I told Smitha that she should feel good about it all because if I wreck, she will die. She wouldn't be one of those poor wives or mothers that have third degree burns and missing appendages. Her husband wouldn't have to cry himself to sleep at night because his once beautiful wife was now ugly. Her child wouldn't have to recoil in sheer revulsion of his own mother's visage at every hospital visit. Smitha laughed. She pondered the fact that she might not die in this inevitable car accident.

Then I added the juice to it all. I told her that I was committed to crawling back to the back of the van if we were in a fiery wreck and finishing her off with a tire iron. I told her that I wouldn't damage her face, I would aim for the back of the head. Painless and quick.

I got my laugh.

I also drove under the speed limit for the rest of the trip in.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


This picture has nothing to do with the posting below. It is just the dopest pic I have found online in a long time.

After the Superman Returns debacle, I am convinced that Snakes on a Plane is going to be it.
This summer has sucked on the film tip. Everything worthwhile has been WORK. I had to hustle to get into the PROPOSITION (dope BTW). L-Dogg won't stop about how lousy PIRATES is.

Scanner Darkly is on my horizon...that might change stuff up.

Until that point...I am David Ellis' biggest fan. Final Destination2 changed my life. Look him up on IMDB. Better yet, I will for you and provide the link. This guy knows what he is doing. Plus he is associated with some of my all time favorite films...including SCARFACE, mang.

In the meantime, listen to this:
I just looped it about 40X.

I'll be around with a post of substance soon. I have houseguests. I have Casson, Anna and Sammie here. You think I am gonna be blogging with people that cool around?

I gots ta go.

Friday, July 14, 2006

24 Minutes of Scanner Darkly

I am on the this has to be quick.
Superman Returns sucked. I'll post about that later.

L-Dogg saw Pirates and said it sucked worse.

So here is a link to the first 24 minutes of A SCANNER DARKLY. The stuff is looking smooth enough.

Click on "first 24 minutes" then click in your age (and make it over 18, smartass).

And POW!!

In like sin.

Someone tell me when this link is down...because when it is, I'll delete this post.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Gluttony, Athletics and Bad Neighbors

competitive eating? Pfeh.
Casson is here.
I asked him if he knew who had won the big nation's Hot Dog showdown. He had no idea. He said that there were other things that he was paying attention to. Things like Wimbleton. Things like world Cup Soccer. He further mused that it was somewhat offensive that the Hot Dog stats were being posted during real sports events on ESPN. He's right, you know. I'll never be on ESPN. I am not an athlete or a competitive eater. Here are the hot dog facts anydamnways:

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan ended the 2006 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog contest as champion once again, setting a new world record of 53 and 3/4 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.
But not with a major challenge from rookie Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA, who set a new American record of 52 Hot Dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

Chestnut led Kobayashi for the first half of the contest, establishing a two hot dog lead before falling behind the five-time winner from Nagoya. By the 10 minute mark, Chestnut was a dog and half behind and could not mount the comeback necessary to win.

I am not going to give some anti-gluttony rant here. I am not going to question the inevitable return of the vomitorium. But I am going to cite something that I observed a little while ago that shook me to the core. I have to set this up for you that you understand why I would be looking into someone's window at two in the morning.

I watch my neighbors. I watch them hard. I expect them to be watching me as hard as I watch them. When I used to teach, I used to talk about my neighbors to my class. The purpose was to show them how a community works. I think I was linking my gossip to the books TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or CANNERY ROW or something. It always opened the class discussion for some wonderful exchanges. They would tell about the weird things that they had seen in their neighborhoods, and I got to talk about mine.

I would talk about the guy across the street (no longer there) who smoked so many Marlboros that the tobacco company hooked him up with a free Marlboro telescope, and this guy was always out on his porch, smoking those crappy cigarettes or taking some serious hits from a brass pipe, howling at the moon. One night I went over there and had a few shots of tequila with him. The tequila was just his warm-up though. He really wanted to get stoned with me. I just wasn't feeling it, and went back home.

I would talk about my other neighbors where I have no idea how many people live in the house. I have no idea how many people live in the garage and I have no idea how many people live in a separate section of the garage. At any time there could be 20 people on that property that I have never seen before. It is still like that to this day. Today there was a birthday party there and my son was irritated because they wouldn't tell him who's party was being celebrated. He is curious too.

I called the cops on a domestic dispute across the street. I watched him punch, kick and headbutt her. I called the police and gave a play by play. Freaking cops didn't show up until he had already packed her into his truck and driven off.

The SWAT Team raided the same house during that season. Big guns. Lots of cops. Sheriffs. Detectives. Riot gear. No arrests.

In our backyard we have had two volatile couples living there. One just liked to scream profanities at each other. The other had a guy who threw punches. The cops broke them up a few times. The couple back there right now are rather peaceful, and I am thankful for that. However, homeboy is retentive to the point that when he opens his mouth, you can see his sphincter twitching, and my kids can't stand him.

My big story is that on the other side of my house. One night I heard this woman screaming "Help me!" at the top of her lungs. She was screaming it over and over and the pitch was rising in her voice. Initially, I thought that it was a movie that they were watching in the in-law suite in the backyard, because the screaming was so extreme. I went to the front of the house. The other neighbors had clustered there. I asked around and no one knew what was going on, but they heard the screams. They were still blasting out of the house. I went up the driveway and pounded on the door. I stepped back. I didn't know what to expect, but I was sure it was going to be violent. Then my neighbor opened the door with a beatific smile on his face and asked me if he could help me.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Oh, nothing. Everything is fine." was his response.
"You sure?" I asked.
A woman passed in the background of his house.
"Yes, everything is fine."

I wasn't convinced, and I made a skull note to call the cops if I heard another scream. In retrospect, I should have called the cops in the first place. I went up front, gossiped with the people on the sidewalk and then went inside. Later, as I did the dishes, I saw this neighbor of mine escort a woman out of his house. He opened the passenger door for her politely and she got in. Then he got behind the wheel and drove away. I never saw her again. To this day, my bitchass neighbor won't look me in the eye. I really don't think that I did anything wrong.

How the hell am I supposed to link this up to Nathan's? It is all because of my latest observance. This one has me shook.

The other night, actually it was 2AM in the morning, I was outside milling around (I am telling you, the neighbors should be watching ME) and I saw my neighbor eating, through one of his windows. This man is obese. He is also a smoker. He is one of those heavy people who looks like his skin is tight on him. This isn't that loose fat, this is the stuff that is mixed with some form of muscle and is dense. The way that this guy was eating was insane though. He was packing it down. He was shoving it in, like someone had a gun to his head. He was eating with both hands. He was drinking to wash down the unchewed mouthfuls. He was watching his television while he was doing this. I watched this spectacle for about five minutes, slackjawed. I had never seen anything like it. This man was packing it in like all food in his vicinity was going to disappear and NEVER appear again. It was the most extreme form of power-eating that I have ever seen.

I have struggled with this image for about a week now. I have told my kids about it. I have tried to process it. I simply can't. There is a part of my brain that just cannot understand what it was all about. But I am beginning to get a notion. You see, there is no way that I could do that. There is absolutely no way I could put my body through that. Absolutely no way. It just couldn't happen.

What would I feel like in the morning?
I would be hurting for days after that.
It would change the way I look.
It would shave years off of my life.
Juxtapose that with Wimbleton and World Cup Soccer, and it is the exact same thing. Who says that these guys aren't athletes?
Competitive eating? In some ways, the ridiculousness of my perfoming in Wimbledon or the World Cup is just as clear as if I was to win a hot dog eating contest. These hot doggers aren't athletes, but they are still doing something that I can't and won't do. I will never be on ESPN in any way shape or form. It is all beyond me.

And my neighbor? Homeboy needs to close his windows at night. I am tired of seeing into everyone's trashy life around here.