Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earthquakes on boob tube, broken Seagrams, dropped Blackberrys, $100-plate fundraisers, and my life as a “superhero-imagined" journalist

EARTHQUAKE! Same time yesterday, a rockin’ wavy 10-secs (or more) tremor roused me from my sleep (yes, vampires are still asleep at 11am). I thought a combined force of Hellboy and Rosie McDonnel was pulling me out of my slumber, or something. (Okay, it’s over now—no significant damage to life and limb. Right now, I am dancing to The Police’s “De Do Do Do, Da Da Da Da.”)
A Hollywood-based dudette with a Pam Anderson head and trans fats-fed brains: “Oh my God, that wasn’t cool at all. Scary! That was my first time ever to be in an earthquake! I was tryin’ to text my mom, but all signals were gone. It was scary, so scary! I actually dropped my Blackberry and hit my foot!” Rewind to many months ago—a banished young beauty contest winner (maybe a future wifey of Donald Trump): “Yeah, it was awesome at the rehab. It so like, spiritual cool! We had party at the pool and I chilled and hanged out with really awesome people out there! I wanna visit one day—you know like, this summer?” [Sting: “De do do do, da da da da—that’s all I got to say to you.”)
Back to the 5.4 intensity earthquake.
I actually felt for the liquor store owner in Chino Hills (quake’s epicenter): [Imagine William Hurt sullenness, near tears] “Yeah, that was terrible. We had like hundreds of wine bottles, expensive liquor that broke… Sad.” / How about this. An “expert” in emergency situations: “When things like this happen, don’t leave them alone, don’t show them that you are panicking, keep calm. Because they don’t like that, they have to be assured that things are okay.” (He’s referring to dogs and he’s reporting from Beverly Hills.)
But everything’s okay now… Let’s go back to our superhero-smothered summer. (I haven’t even seen “The Dark Knight” yet in a multiplex near me; that quake made me paranoid! It was so, like, y’know, scary shit!)

NOW, HEAR this! According to former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, UFOs are real and aliens are watching us. ETs are checkin’ us out, so how cool is that, huh? I’d rather be watched, pursued—and shook, rattled and rolled—by some dude with spatula-shaped head, aquamarine flesh, Jell-O ears, and tiny Michael Jackson nose than really-fearsome ICE agents and multi-accented telemarketing phone commandoes. I’m down with a multi-galaxy of diversity (the NEW bitch)—like meeting up for a fun Friday night with a plethora of Guillermo del Toro’s cute creatures (eg “Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Devil’s Backbone”) over Corona Lites and calamari.
“Hey, hom! What’s goin’ on up there in Jupiter? I heard Axl Rose just moved there, and Motley Crue’s doin’ a gig at Planet Hollywood-Jupiter, awesome!” / “Check out hummus in Saturn, m’friend. No trans fats, no preservatives—got that? We also have permanently-stickin’ organic condoms, it stays there forever, man! Real cheap, just 2 Saturnean dollars (equivalent of an American dime).” / “Lose the Blackberry, panero! We, Venus People, got built-in cellphone down our esophagus, you can actually text while you’re having dinner. How cool is that? It’ll be available at Target-Mars next month for $2.00 with 75 cents rebate, I’ll check that out. Have you been to Mars? I met my awesome boyfriend out there, he’s got 15 arms—so New Wave, so wayyyyy out cool!”

TRANS FATS. Yup, I mentioned that already—three times. I just wrote the headline story for my newspaper’s Southern California edition this week: “Restaurants okay with trans fats ban” (that meant, Filipino restaurants). My lead: “California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants his constituents to keep fit and healthy so he signs a bill over the week requiring restaurants to cook without artery-clogging and disease-inducing trans fats. Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, can increase the shelf life and flavor preservation of foods but has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity, according to medical research.”
My “healthcentric” friends will love me for that story. Nuff said. But check out my story by the weekend (
Hmm, I just wish that the federal government or The State of Kaleefornya give their constituents more work hours and higher wages. What are they gonna do—tell LAPD to arrest a 26hr/$8.15 workweek overweight citizen because he/she just dined at Burger King? Trans fats are not even a figment of Third World/starvation-salaried people’s lives—they preserve and flavor their food with natural earth endowments (again, check my article. Now that’s enough self-PR already!)
Why can’t we focus on something else more… uhh, real? Look, I am a vampire, too—but that’s just my “personal bullshit.” I ain’t going to score Stephenie Meyer’s book (it was handed to me by a publicist) and eat it. There’s this one-full page ad at Entertainment Weekly that’s paid for by the American Vampire League of America that says, “Support Equality for All Citizens! Support the Vampire Rights Amendment!” Let them drown in Diet Mountain Dew and Waffle House pancake syrup!
Check out my poem, “The Vampire of the 20th Century” (yes, that’s another self-PR).
You know what I’m saying. There are many activists who profess “peace around the world” but cringe when you request them to sign a “Stop the War” petition. Or, years ago, a local paper in Asheville NC refused to print a photo of a homeless man who was stabbed in downtown’s Pritchard Park, because “it advances violence… we are not after violence.”
No wonder we all freaked out like tail-less roosters when 9/11 struck—when 9/11s happen in many parts of the world where foreign policy gods rear their ugly, helmeted heads. It’s because it’s them, not us…

OKAY, I DIGRESS. Maybe I’ll just focus on finishing my novel. I just “talk” a lot sometimes. Right now, I am here under 90s temp and listening to Blur’s Damon Albarn and waiting for our Manila editor to send me proofs and galleys (to read). Bored.
We moved our “Wander” writers group (that I just formed) for next Wednesday. Makes me wonder, as well, why is it more women seem to faithfully pursue writing? Wander (the group) has only women-members. Not that I don’t like it, I am just intrigued sometimes…
Talk about intrigue of the trade. Have you heard about author Brunonia Barry? She wrote this book, “The Lace Reader”—actually she self-published it for $50,000. And then, a huge publishing outfit took notice and signed her up for a two-book deal with $2 million down payment.
Cool, isn’t it? Problem is, I really don’t know where to get $50,000 to self-freakin’-publish my book! Man, I can’t even buy Howard Zinn’s new book or two of Frank Miller’s graphic novels (that my son, Duane, requested) with my starvation salary… So it really works for me that I am a writer, I get freebies from the mail—like S Meyer’s books, Taco Bell gift cards (no trans fats warning, sorry), and Macy’s women’s undies discounts (Lord-have-mercy, why can’t these PR people figure it out, Pasckie is a Male!)

A SUPERHERO summer, AKA the invasion of our pockets by the unreal. That’s what we’re having these days.
Gas prices and Con (what a name!) Edison bills and chopped-up work hours (for minimum-wagers), and all the hassles of life and living’s synthetic gigs. The only way to go is go watch an escapist superhero movie or two…
My criticism vs critics: Critics (Rolling Stone, Time, NY Times etc etc) heap hallelujahs on Heath Ledger’s “The Joker”—because he is already dead, I guess. Do we need to sympathize with a ruthless anti-hero, or are we sorry that the actor—the real person—is dead? Get a grip. Are comics superheroes supposed to be for kids? Or Adults are the Kids now? (So much violence, right? So we don’t like “violence” and then took Batman circa 2008 to box-office dollar pinnacle, in expense of our starvation salaries!)
More. The Incredible Hulk “sucked” because his exploits are so “unrealistic” (as one critic wrote). Duh? He’s supposed to be so NOT real, hello? Batman, the brooding millionaire; Hancock, the brat superman. Ah, the only super-dude that I dig is Hellboy, because he’s got sense of humor and manages to love a lady and shows it. If that isn’t the “real” deal, I don’t know what is.
Contradictions. Contradictions. Don’t be mad—I am just like the millions, just like us. Helpless, hapless prisoners of “timequake” (refer to Vonnegut).

LET’S TALK about real stuff for a bit.
I just watched this a 1999 Michael Mann movie, “The Insider,” a multi-nominated exploration that told a story of a “60 Minutes” TV series exposé of the tobacco industry, as seen through the eyes of a real tobacco executive, Jeffrey Wigand (a comparatively restrained Russell Crowe, inward but forceful). The “60 Minutes” story originally aired in November 1995 in an altered form because CBS’ then-owner, Laurence Tisch, objected. The story was later aired on February 4, 1996.
Anyways… the movie is all about the truth, as seen from the eyes (and conscience) of a “corporate” insider and a balls-out journalist. Perfect synergy. This one made me remember the past, during my younger years as journalist caught in the underbelly of the Marcos dictatorship. I recall an argument I had with a newspaper marketing “god”—and heard it again in the movie (Al Pacino as newsman Lowell Bergman and Philip Baker Hall as producer Don Hewitt).
The words are still there: “I am a journalist. I am paid to find news, pursue the truth. I will risk my life to do my job. That’s what I am here for. You do your job, I do mine.” I was forced to resign. My girlfriend at that time, mother of my eldest, left us.
Until now, I see truths, stories of lives and living—eg 65 Filipino politicians flew to Las Vegas last month to watch a boxing match while relatives of hundreds of people who perished in a shipwreck mourned their dead back home. I want to write those stories, but even though I couldn’t for now—I will. Maybe in a self-published book – that is, if I could raise $50,000 from tips in a poetry open mic.
Plug. In case you have some poet/musician friends who live/travel here in Southern CA—I’m already working on lineups for the Traveling Bonfires’ Vagrant Wind 2008 gigs. The first (or second) show happens at Tribal Café in W Temple, near Echo Park, in LA—on Aug 22, Friday. We may have one before that—in Long Beach’s downtown.

OKAY, LAST but not the least—let me tell you about another fundraiser (that I covered/wrote about) in a swank Hollywood hotel’s roof garden last weekend. Women on Lhuiller gowns, men on Brooks Bros, $100 a plate dinner. Fundraiser for the poor. [Sting: “De do do do, da da da da—that’s all I got to say to you.”)
Let me just switch on my Guillermo del Toro movie, “The Devil’s Backbone” (seen in, like 30 times!) while I chomp away with my trans fats-toxic Twinkies and 99 cents apple cider soda. But for you, my dear friends—love good, live good, and eat ONLY good food!
Buenas tardes!

4:15pm. July 30 08.
Lakewood CA


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It won’t be particularly wrong to call the USA the obesity capital of the world. Obesity is nothing less than an epidemic in this country and it is still alarmingly rising even among the children. Researchers have found that obesity is also fast increasing among the American women and especially those women who have been married to an unhappy relationship. Women having an unhappy married life have been found to have gained around 54 pounds in average in the first 10 years of their unhappy marriage.

2:35 AM  

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