Saturday, May 17, 2008

Looking for the dude who bit the dog, what’s up with my next story—ah, wondering about Long Beach this summer

THIS `HOOD is called Lakewood. However, there’s no lake—there’s no woods. None at all. A morose stack of accordion bungalows is all that I see—boiling like cheap frijoles on 100 degrees temp. By the way, this neck of the woods is also called Hawaiian Gardens. But—no voluptuous hips on hula out here. Don’t get ideas. And the palms trees have dried down, the humidity is sticky as Elmer’s Glue, and—need I repeat—no “waters” here. (I mean, there’s running water on the sink and shower, but you know what I mean, right?)
That’s okay though. After June, I’d renegotiate with my publishers and then, I’m heading to Long Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Venice Beach—any of those beaches, I don’t care. That is, if they don’t relocate me to San Francisco head office.
I am about 7 to 10 miles to the nearest beachfront community—that’s what I need right now. My current living situation is free by way of a supposedly “employment perk” that I hooked up early this year with Philippine News—to handle the newspaper’s Southern California bureau. The house is relatively nice—with three rooms and front/backyard (with a small lemon tree teeming with—you know, lemons). But I feel I need some “sweetly messed up crib” like the one we had at 61 Dunwell Av in West Asheville—or a neighborhood that’s evokes Fells Point in Baltimore, Adams Morgan in DC, east village in Manhattan or, well—Asheville of 7 years ago.

I HAVE been filing an average of 5 to 7 news stories a week—yet I don’t really feel like I’m actually “writing.” You know what I mean? It’s obligatory, bread-and-butter writing right now. There’s no pressure yet there’s no action either. It’s just that—chugging along, cruising by, getting over things. No blood spilling over. It can be boring.
Uhh—I should say, I get to write stories that I can call relatively newsworthy and relevant but I still feel that I haven’t really maximized that “journalist edge,” you know I mean? This morning, a Las Vegas businessman/investor who was allegedly scammed of $2.4 million by his supposedly compadres called me with his story (apparently, he wants me to write the story). And then I got an invite to cover the culmination of “coast to coast fundraise road trip” in San Diego. And then, I wrote the headline story for this week’s issue—about a super-generous Filipino community leader in San Jose who pleaded no contest to a funds “juggling” charge. Then, there’s my analysis of Nevada’s housing crisis and how Filipinos are coping with it—for New America Media (internet magazine based in San Francisco). Then my usual ICE/immigration issue reportage. And there’s this Asian vote event that I was in a night ago in Little Tokyo…
Last Wednesday, I was interviewed again (by Odette Keeley) for New America Media’s radio program. It’s about recession, housing situation—and how Asians or Filipinos cope with the problem. How do we cope with recession? I don’t feel it—financially, I am better than when I was in Asheville, so I don’t know. (As long as I can pay my bills on time, or at least one car payment behind, and you see, I haven’t touched my ramen noodles in “years”—so I guess, I don’t know what recession is all about.) But then, we assume a “professional persona” once in a while so we just say whatever.
(Sometimes, I wonder—are these people that I am interviewing “bullshitting” me or what? Are they just being “professional”? Sometimes, when I’m interviewed myself, I just mumble words on radio I don’t know what the hell I was mumbling about during interviews—because I never listened to my radio interviews at all, not once. I tell myself, maybe the interviewer is telling herself now—ah this Pasckie should stick to writing, I can’t understand what the crap he’s yapping about!)
Okay. Hey, two weekends ago, I was in Las Vegas to cover a dance-benefit at Bally’s. You know, a lavish dance benefit for poor people of the Philippines at Bally’s Casino & Hotel’s ballroom. Go figure. DANCE BENEFIT FOR POOR PEOPLE AT BALLY’S CASINO. (They will hate me once they google me and read all this crap that I am rambling about.)
Anyways, I will be back at the Sin City on June 28—to cover the world title boxing bout between Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (Filipino) and David Diaz (Mexican) at Mandalay Bay. And I might treat myself (on my 112th birthday)—and watch Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick there—on July 18, at the same venue. That is, if I don’t catch these guilty pleasures of mine on July 16 at Irvine. (Journey’s current vocalist is a Filipino, by the way.)
Two days ago, I was at these two boxers’ press conference at Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown. I realized that it could’ve been more cool if I just stayed at home and stared at the ceiling. I listened to Bob Arum tell reporters that “this bout is the best that I ever handled”—I wonder, politicians will make good pro boxing promoters, or the other way around.

WHAT’S WRONG? I am not saying that I hate my job. Okay? I am not saying that. This job pays real money. You see, I have been writing without an income for so many years, mind you (while living in Asheville). Then suddenly, I have a real income every 15 days! So you know how that feels.
But I know what’s wrong. I need to at least replicate a bit of what I left in Asheville. I realized I left a lot, a huge chuck of my heart, in Asheville. But don’t get me wrong—it’s not like I’d return to Asheville when given an opportunity, that’s now what I’m saying. Besides, I sincerely believe that Asheville isn’t the Muse that I found up in the Appalachians almost 9 years ago anymore. When I left last fall, it was like I was saying “goodbye” to someone that I love so much because the relationship wasn’t working anymore. I still love “her” but it’s just not working anymore. So I moved on. Or I said, I have to take a break… I love you but I need to think, figure things out.
But I miss the way it was. Right now, I am hoping to find that Muse again who’d shelter my untiring, hardheaded love. Or maybe I may reconcile with a lost love? I don’t know, I just don’t know. I need to nurture a newfound love within but it seem to have lost the magic—how to actually do that. Tired, aging, midlife crisis?

THERE’S SOME cool spots in Long Beach that could ignite some fire in me, I mean—poetry, that’s what I mean. But something keeps me. Deep inside, I feel I know how to start the spark—but I don’t know how to get things started.
I remember when I first hanged out in downtown Asheville—I just planted my skinny little butt at Malaprop’s, surveyed humanity (ah those round hips, crazy dreadlocks, and friendly Meg Ryan smiles)… then I strode to Beanstreets two blocks down, and read a poem or two. Then, I suddenly belonged.
People on my `hood seemed like spiral creatures unmindful of human intimacy. I get a few zealous knocks on my frontdoor—mostly eager Mexicans who demand cash for LA Times subscriptions and Russian-accented gringos who deal me “all kinds of meat, hom!” On the sides, I find a bit of oblique consolation and 25-minute refuge by shopping at 99 Cents Store and chowing away at all imaginable Filipino food at DJ’s—renting out DVDs at a $1/vendo machines or, most of the time, I get pretty cool stuff at the public library (the last one I got, it was an erotic Brazilian flick with Alice Braga on it). But what I usually do, I eat and watch movies a lot these days—my tummy is starting to bulge that I am about to metamorphose into a Body Snatcher (you know the “invasion of” guys?) and I begin to act like a perpetually stressed-out Al Pacino.
Just kidding, I am fine.

I DON’T know. I really don’t know what to write or what I am trying to say here. All I know is I got a lot of shit in my head—good and bad shit—that I’d like to write down. But I can’t seem to get started. I posted an ad at Craigslist—looking for a place near the beach that I can use as my “writing space” at least three days a week—but there’s no response yet. I really need to write.
I might just’ve to make a short trip to some deserted community somewhere, or maybe a weekend at Santa Fe. I really want to see some action—without having to get crossfired at a Crips-Bloods war somewhere.
I just scored a cool new CD by actress Zooey Dechanel, she’s really good at singing you know, and the Eagles’ “Long Road from Eden” (or something like that), that includes a poignant anti-war instrumental by Glenn Grey. As a consolation, I just laughed my boredom away with a Rowan Atkinson movie, after the Lakers-Jazz game 6. Good, right?
Oh well, I don’t know. I am sorry—I can’t blame in case you email me back with, “Please, take me off this email group” or something. You deserve some peace. I am whining here when Myanmar and China are grieving, and there’s two or three or four random shootings again in east LA. Shame on me—my day’s deepest discourse is, “Ah, Casey is a lot better Affleck than Ben, indeed!” and “I gotta buy tofu and 3 pounds of salmon and six-pack of coconut juice at Ranch’s tomorrow, I should not forget that!”
Forgive me, despite my frozen funk—I must say: Live good, love good, and eat only good food!

4:08am. 17 May 08.
Lakewood CA


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