Sunday, May 24, 2009

BLOGGIN AGAIN: Indisposed vehicles, first amendment pills, terror bankers, and waiting for the coming of Wander

MEMORIAL DAY weekend… It wasn’t really a good start of “holidays” though, at least for me. First, I don’t really “observe” holidays—I just let it flow, slide pass me, like some ebbtide that’s got to waft away, anyhow. I was at San Onofre Beach yesterday morning but it has nothing to do with the long weekend. Nevertheless, I saw the long queue along Interstate-710 and 405 to San Diego —people really need these family respites and stuff, people need some break.
But it was work day for me and Cathy The G. We sort of observed/hanged out with “paddle surfer” Chuck Badar (“Dr Surfer”) do his wave-rockin’ gig out there (for an article or two), with two other dudes (Patrick and Bongo). It was chilly though by the shore, and since I only had three hours sleep previously… you know, tiring. The “reclusive feel” of the beach also kinda got me—it seemed disturbingly crowded yet it felt secluded, empty.
Meanwhile—the night before, I covered ex-Philippine President Fidel V Ramos’ “jovial gig” at the LA Consulate on Wilshire Av. It felt like an obligatory coverage or maybe I was just bored (nothing to do with the assignment)—it was interesting to see the “old man with a cigar” cracking jokes and stuff again. He’s sort of doing a Carter-like road gig these days (peace, development…)
A nice pho soup dinner with Cathy The G at a 4th street Vietnamese restaurant saved my night… Was I funky within, or it’s just the weather?
A day before that, I was at the Arco/BP (British Petroleum) oil refinery plant in Carson, with another friend Malou M—to hear the company’s PR dude tell us all and sundry that they’re safe and environmentally-cool (how can an oil refinery be “environmentally safe”?)
It was a tiring day, tiring. No need to over-analyze stuff and things, I guess—until I bang the keys again for my week’s deadlines.
So what am I suppose to write or blog about? It’s been few months since I laid down anything about anything—so I don’t know what to write. I consumed almost all of my rest of Saturday trying to get the car fixed at a 7th ave auto shop—with Cathy and Marta The Nicer—which meant, it cost me some more $$$. Bad. Good thing is, the mechanic (Andy The V) had it fixed before people go and spend their long weekend, wherever. I wondered out loud, do people still have money to take a break really?
Thanks to Michael (Cathy’s son) for loaning me the car for the next two months—while my boss and my shrinking Wells Fargo account figure out how to produce more than a thousand $ to remedy my constant-as-prozac nation vehicle predicament.
I digress…
Well, I started watching this little film called, “Incendiary” (Michelle Williams/Ewan McGregor) with Cathy via my Netflix queue but I never got pass the “sex by the couch (simul with a bomb blast) sequence,” or even got to take a bite of Marta’s lasagna (thanks, anyhow).
I crashed.


GUILTY PLEASURES—such as NBA playoffs and “longanizang hubad” (barenekkid Philippine sausage)—saved an otherwise migraine-dreary, bad rap MC-distracted Southern California weekend. What do I mean? Uhh, I am kind of whining about a Florida-based rap “artist” nicknamed Plies, who roused me from sleep (from my apartment building neighbor’s boombox), few afternoons ago, with lines that went: ”Kill my first rap nigga… all head shots” and “Fuck you till you’re out of breath” and “You ain’t got enough guns, you gonna need some help.” Freedom of speech, First Amendment “privilege,” I guess… well, until kids shoot kids by the dozens, then “serious” talking points ensue, right?
Let’s review: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
America, indeed, is a country of contradictions… (A Facebook buddy squirms about Socal’s second quake in two/three days yesterday… “quakes” are going to eat us alive! Nah, acute ulcers on Prozac nights ushered by the almost-12 percent unemployment rate will, actually.)


I ACTUALLY started working on (or laboring over) this blog almost two months ago, I think—at Viento y Agua on 4th street in Long Beach, obviously my café of choice these days. Probably, I’m averaging 4,000 words a week—racking up my weekly (newsfeature) deadlines, excluding intermittent emails—but it has been a quiet struggle putting down “blog/journal” words lately. As the usual case since I moved to freeway country more than a year ago, my distraction level has gone past the maximum level… stuff and things crisscross my beaten paths like ricocheting bullets or cockeyed meteorites. But then, I am still here.
I need to get this blog done before I forget it again. It’s a kind of ritual that I gotta do, no matter how blank my brain-motors have gone in the past few weeks. Tomorrow night, I’ll be back to my usual Sunday/Monday deadline grind again, so—yes, I gotta do this now.
But let me talk about my bank. I love talking about banks.
Last week, my bank told me that there’s some complications in my account—like, some hack stole $165 off my imporishment money. Big deal. They had to take that off my money until they are able to figure things out… Few hours ago, I tried to get $10 off my account but it won’t let me. Then I tried in another ATM, it did give me $20 ($10 isn’t gonna be okay), plus a $2 for that 10-second fingerwork.
These days, the obligatory bad dudes like neo-Nazis, Third World dictators, religious zealots and global terrorists have been beaten up the marquee by bank CEOs who hold a firm grip to their super-bonuses, stock options, and corporate perks. Do you believe that?
During the day, Wells Fargos and Flints were fine with simply foreclosing on the elderly’s mortgage. Wearing Brooks Bros suits, silk ties and the unruffled expressions of the professionally soulless, are out to suck you dry till you got nothing but a Mission-scrounged Campbell soup can.
Few months ago, I was at a New America Media (NAM) and California Forward meeting in regards California’s stalled budget and why the hell laid off county souls need to vote on May 19—that’s on Tuesday—in regards this Proposition this and that? They freakin’ just lost their jobs. Stimulus package, where is it? Federal dollars at the mailbox when the truth is legislators are batting for a $1.8-billion personal income tax increase and almost $1 billion in reduced services? Besides that, California still tops in all kinds of taxes (ie sales tax that are forked by small businesses and starving consumers).
Almost all of the Props whatever lost, anyways—so what is there to talk about? I don’t know. But I just gotta work and file a story, you know?
At least, I still hold on to some wisdom somewhere. The past few weeks, I wrote page one stories about a preacher dude in Las Vegas who racked away thousands scamming the elderly via “mortgage rescue.” This guy, who sermons at a local Church, actually offered me a job almost two years ago to edit a Caesar’s Palace-distributed magazine that peddles hookers (prostitution is “legal” in Sin City , remember?) What about this prison guard who funneled huge dough to Asian banks purportedly saying he’s a business buddy of Warren Buffett? Funny thing is, he misspelled “Buffett” as “Buffet” in his business (“hedge fund”) brochures and still got away with it… ha!
Life, indeed
Right at this second, I am listening to Lucinda Williams—but this lady always drives me to gulp some more Jose Cuervo, so not now, m’dear. I gotta work.
Well, all I can say is—the Traveling Bonfires—despite my intermittent incomprehensibleness (is that a word?) and obliqueness, is still fine. Next show is June 6. And the first issue (or “resurrection” issue) of Wander—“an open mag that moves”—will be out on July 15. We got great new Long Beach staff (joining me and MTNO, you know who)—Cathy Gruman, Rachael Mills, and Gina Cifonelli (with Grace de Jesus Sievert and Federico Sievert, as lead artists/art director, in Manila ).
It’s 3:46am as I conclude this rambling. Suddenly, I get seasick… but, never mind—just live good, love good, and eat only good food!

Temple and 4th, Long Beach CA
24 May 09


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