Monday, April 30, 2007
Pain and agony! Burning and numbness! I can now describe Hell to those curious. I hope to be back blogging around Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The worst part is that it is my left hand and I am left-handed. Sorry I have been MIA in Mia.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I refuse to engage the thought of the repercussions to come although I can see them on the horizon. No, today is a day to enjoy the canned laughter of the Almighty and not wallow in the inescapable reprisal.
Inadvertent yet well timed as all great jokes are, this one set my boss up in the presence of her boss, my dad. I did not intend to get her to do what she did, but it was so damn funny that I wish I could do it again and again.
I was talking with my dad in his office this morning when my boss dropped by on her way to the sleep lab. We had the door closed so she knocked and I rose to answer. I forget what I said to her when I opened it. I think it was “oh, it’s you” or something along those lines. Whatever it was, it got her to flick me off with a well manicured middle finger right as I sidestepped and her boss, my dad looked up to see who was at the door. The impression- my boss flicked off her boss while he wasn’t looking. Tee-hee. She blushed; she fumbled; she reads my blog. There will be reprisals; oh, how I fear the reprisals, but it was so funny I think I hurt myself laughing.
He knows our relationship and knows perfectly well she was flicking me off- yet again, but I think it is actually part of her job description so he expects it. She gets a bonus if she get more than twenty in a single day. G-d is going to tune in tomorrow for certain and I am thinking of some reason I could possibly call in sick.
Never let your boss know you blog =D. Love you boss!
Monday, April 23, 2007
The wedding we were attending was held at a plantation that was built around 1840. It sprawled across untold acres and the house sat in the dead center of the estate. It was a three story colonial house complete with pillars addressing the porches of both the front and the back doors. The room connecting the two doors held only a staircase and two doors to the adjoining rooms; one on each side of the hall.
The wedding was held in the backyard of the house, but the house was open for us to enter and explore save for the third floor that was roped off and completely dark. An antique Grandfather clock was the only thing that was visible in the shadows. A single employee in period dress was the only person on the second floor, but little Jayden insisted that something was up there and ran up the first staircase with purpose.
Jayden is now my niece I suppose since my brother married her mother’s sister although most people think she is my daughter based on how she acts around me. She lights up when she sees me and insists I carry her most anywhere we go. I get complimented on my child quite a bit when she and I are together and I actually feel a fatherly need to protect her. When I have a child, I hope to have one just like her so, when I saw she was going upstairs alone I felt the need to go with her and make sure she would be OK.
As I reached the top step I saw little Jayden clinging to the dress of the plantation employee in period clothing and staring at the third floor. I heard her ask “are they nice” as I approached the two of them.
“Are who nice?” asked the young lady.
“Those people” Jayden answered. “The people upstairs.”
The young lady and I both immediately thought some wedding guests had wandered past the rope barricading the staircase, but neither of us saw anything at all.
“What people Jayden?” I asked.
“Those people,” and she pointed towards the Grandfather clock with a look of frustration on her face. She could not believe we could not see about whom she was talking. She started to think we were teasing her. “The people upstairs” she said to clarify to us.
I looked again and there was nothing there, but the young lady had become ghostly herself.
“I have heard people say this place was haunted.”
“When I was in New Orleans last year, “I began to tell the lady, “Jayden saw someone on a street corner and no one else did. She was intrigued by a guy with a beard in a grey suit.”
“OK, you are freaking me out. Tell me you are joking!”
“NO, I am serious. We kept looking and she kept pointing, but there was no one there. I am a bit freaked out right now as well to be honest.”
By this time, Jayden’s mother had wandered upstairs wondering where her daughter had gone and saw the scene. When I told her what Jayden had said she replied with “again?”
The employee was now almost transparent and was stuck to the mother and me as we walked down the stairs. When we left two hours, later the poor girl was still freaked out and so was the mother as I told her more of the details. She stopped me mid-sentence with the words “I don’t want to talk about this anymore” and waved my words off.
I don’t believe in ghosts and never have, but I saw the look on this child’s face and she was not joking either time. She really did see something and at the plantation was so convinced that she was almost demanding to be taken upstairs because she wanted to “meet those people.” It seriously is causing me to now question what I always thought was reality. Just because I do not believe and cannot see does not mean something is not there.
There is something in New Orleans, some “vibe” that I cannot put my finger on. Maybe it was the cold showers I kept taking (again my hotel had no hot water when I bathed) or maybe it is the power of suggestion, but there is something working under the radar in that town and I maybe a believer now. I don’t really know what I believe anymore.
The wedding was really nice and more will be said about it soon, but right now I cannot really type yet. I slept wrong or something and pinched a nerve while there and it is hard to type right now. I just wanted to let everyone know I was back and will be telling a really cool and true ghost story from this weekend that I was involved in so can testify to its truth.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standin' here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin', it's early morn
The taxi's waitin', he's blowin' his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could die
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I will be back-
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!
One Night Only!
Unless You're Dead
Or in Jail!
And if You're in Jail,
Today’s tag is to list your top five favorite blogs. This is going to be tough. I don’t want to hurt anyone by leaving them off the list. I am going to just do it and pray I don’t hurt anyone.
In no particular order-
1. Parenthetically Speaking…- I know everyone knows Serena’s blog who comes here already, but enough cannot be said about it. It is leaps and bounds beyond original. Her daily updates on her life, the Words Gone Wild, and now the “Dear TWIT” makes her site an important part of any breakfast.
2. Me No Blog- Another famous blogger who deserves all his fame and more. Scary Monster has a view of the world that always makes me think. More often than not he is my blog-muse, inspiring long rants that spin off from posts I make on his blog.
3. Something Wicked This Way Comes- Roxan is as dark and twisted as I am and it fills me with such joy to see myself if I were born a woman. Just kidding, she is my soul-mate of the blog-realm and her writings and thoughts are always frosting on the cake of life.
4. Littlebird Blue- Every blog needs its dose of sweetness and joy; a happy place to go and escape the complaining and sarcasm we all so usually enjoy bathing in. Birdie is that light at the end of the blog-tunnel. She is always up and can brighten any blog just by her presence.
5. Variant E's Fantastical Nonsense- If ever a blog was named correctly it is this one. Variant E finds the most fantastical nonsense the internet has ever seen and let’s us all see just how wonderful the absurdity is.
Please please please forgive me if I you did not make the list. I could go on forever and a day, but the rules said only five.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The asshole who murdered 32 innocent people stalked women, he was jealous of the rich, and was unpopular. He was punishing people for years of ignoring him. A true loner would not care about the years of being ignored and would actually do all he could to stretch it out even longer.
The asshole who murdered 32 innocent people mailed a package of photos, videos, and a manifesto to NBC news so that the world would pay attention to him. A true loner would not want the world’s attention.
The asshole who murdered 32 innocent people on Monday was not a loner. Just like mistaking Iraq for Iran, we got most of the letters right, but missed a key one. Remove the “n” and replace it with an “s” and you see what this asshole really was in life: a loser.
The asshole (a man whose name will never appear here) apparently had a very long history with the Virginia Tech police dating back to 2005. He was labeled as “mentally ill” and considered a danger to himself and others. Twice he was accused of stalking female students and was committed to a hospital for mental reasons at least once. It boggles the mind how he was still a student on campus, doesn’t it?
This man was a man with no sense of self-identity and desperate for attention. He modeled himself after the Columbine kids it seems and mailed his package in the down time between killings because he wanted the fame those two kids got.
The ramblings NBC aired tonight shows this was a man with no clue why he was doing what he was doing and was just listing anything he could think of as an excuse. He blames the rich, greed, Christians; he talks in the past tense; he uses every fifty-cent word he can find and uses most of them incorrectly. The tapes did not show the monster he envisioned, but rather a pathetic insane kid.
Some people are going to attack NBC for showing this asshole’s words fearing it will inspire other people, but after watching the segments I honestly do not think that will be the case. He comes across as someone redefining “pathetic.” He appears not as a hero, but as a victim of his own delusions that he obviously doesn’t even understand himself. He was someone whose life would be a joke if it were not for the final count.
I say we not speak of him again. He once signed a roll sheet with a question mark so let him forever be nothing more. 32 innocent people were killed by _______ is all I will remember from this day on.
P.S. Although I do not believe in Hell, times like this make me hope I am wrong.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I have a confession to make and this lull in readership seems like the best time to do it. See, I am not the brave and stoic figure I present here on this blog. In reality, I am actually a bundle of neurosis held together by stands of sanity. Imagine a ball of yarn after being played with by a cat and that is me inside- emotionally, not physically. I don’t think I would be alive if I were all mangled up inside actually. That is a rather sick thought too. I’m gonna move on now I think to my point.
I have to face one of my more recent fears this Friday and I am really not looking forward to anything other than it all being over with. Just when I thought I was getting a handle on this Friday problem I have too. This Friday is even 420 damnit and I am going to spend it white-knuckled and/or Xanaxed out.
I can hear the questions rushing to your minds and I will answer them all I promise. OK, you in the back.
“Hello Mr. Kanrei and thank you for taking my question. Am I to take it you trying to say you are afraid of flying?”
Yes, well, no, not exactly afraid of flying, rather afraid of suddenly not flying. I am afraid of a sudden and unscheduled landing. The flying part really doesn’t bother me at all.
“So you are afraid of dying in a plane crash then?”
Again not exactly- I am afraid of living through a plane crash. I am afraid of becoming really messed up and surviving. I really don’t mind dying in a crash or landing safely. It’s just that third option that really bothers me.
I think I should take someone else’s question now. Yes, you in the corner.
“Hi and thanks. Why exactly are you going to fly then and where are you flying to?”
Good question and thank you for not dwelling on my fear. I am flying to New Orleans because my brother is getting married on Saturday.
“Well that should be fun at least.”
It will be interesting, fun is up in the air, but it will be entertaining. I have a feeling there is a movie to be made about this wedding. I don’t know why exactly, but with all the families and step-families on both sides coming together something has to happen and I have a front row seat. There are going to be three fathers and three mothers there for one couple. Check my math because to me it adds up to potential hilarity! And this doesn’t even account for inner-family feuds that we all have.
“So you should be very excited about it and not such a damn chickenshit then pardon my French.”
You’re pardoned and I should and would be if it were not for that cursed flight back to Miami. It is sitting there taunting me and laughing at me. It knows that no matter what I do I cannot return home without first confronting that fear. I hope the Xanax holds out.
Well, that’s about it for tonight. I hope everyone has a great night and drive home safely.
The shooter cracked from all the Don Imus coverage and figured this was the only way to get the media to move on.
I feel a little better now. It was not that funny I know, but it has been bouncing around my head. Yesterday was the first day in over a week that I did not see that kinky-haired redneck’s name in the news. Now for the serious part of the story that is on my mind- profiling.
“He was a loner” is something we are now hearing over and over again about this guy. We are hearing he wrote “disturbing” things in his creative writing class. We are looking at these things as explanations for his actions and, as a loner who writes “disturbing” fiction I would like to say that this guy does not represent the loner crowd. Just because a person is anti-social does not mean he hates society.
Most of us who wear the “loner” moniker are actually shy people or self-centered people. We do not really care enough about other people to want to kill them. If we like you we like you and if we don’t we ignore you. It is that simple. Hostile opinions from others do not factor into our minds because we really do not care that much about what those people think. An asshole thinking I am an asshole means nothing because it is the opinion of an asshole for example.
This guy who killed the people in Virginia yesterday was sick and disturbed, but it is wrong to look at each thing he was and did in order to help find the next one because all you will do is disenfranchise an entire group of people who are just trying to live in peace. Someone who really wants to do a bad act will do everything they can to fit in and not stand out. The terrorists who attacked us on September 11th did not have beards or wear turbans or act any way that told the world they were terrorists. A profile would not have stopped them, but it would have upset hundreds of innocent people. Profiling never punishes those it looks to stop, only those who fit the profile.
The events of yesterday are tragic, but sadly unavoidable. Removing guns from society would not have stopped what happened. Profiling and starting files on every “loner” would not have stopped what happened. There are sick people out there who will always find a way to hurt people. The way to slow it down (since it will never stop) is to stop glamorizing these events when they happen.
I have not read this kid’s name nor will I learn it. I do not know the names of the Columbine kids either. To do it would be to give them the fame they sought and that really is all this is about. The best thing for us to do is learn the names of the victims and talk about who they were and ignore the prick that did it. We will learn nothing except new ways of dividing ourselves from looking at him, but we may come together by remembering those we lost. Learn about who we lost by clicking here.
I did not expect to ramble so long about this so I suppose the other thing will wait until tonight.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
For those who live under a rock or are active in the “War on Drugs”, 420 is slang for the time to smoke pot. Since next Friday is the 20th day of April and April is the fourth month of the year that makes April 20th the official pot smoking holiday AKA 420 day! Smoke em if you got em and if you don’t, sit back and remember the good ole days when you did. As of now, only kids know where to get it. How exactly is that fair?
Also, starting the week after Monday I am quitting smoking cigarettes while on the subject of lighter purchasing sub-cultures. My brother is getting married next week so there is no way I am quitting before that stress-fest, but the week after I say goodbye to my friend of 16 years. It will be tough, but it is time. We are not getting along like we used to any more. They wake me up at night and demand my first attention of the day. They make sitting at my desk at work even harder than it should be and they are costing me $5 a day. While not sounding like much daily, it is $150 per month and that is quite a bit.
Once you decide to quit it is amazing how the taste of a cigarette changes. I no longer am enjoying them like I did. I find myself eager for them to end now instead of smoking them down to the filter like I used to do. OK, yes I did just go out and have a cigarette as I typed this blog, but that is simply the power of suggestion. I am serious about quitting and I have always said I will only ever quit smoking once- I hate to fail at something once I convince myself to try. This stubborn nature will serve me well in my quest for nicotine-free air.
While not dwelling too much on Imus, I do have a few questions-
1. Is free-speech racially oriented? I mean are there words that only a specific sub-group are allowed to use?
2. Where was the outrage when Imus called his mangers I believe a group of “money grubbing Jews?” Why do we feel the need to get outraged only when certain groups are attacked and not when others are?
3. How long until Imus is on XM or SIRIUS free from the FCC and able to say whatever he wants?
Now this is an Imus free zone. Happy Friday the 13th.
It appears Survivor is going to try a battle of the races next season. I just read that they are going to divide people into four groups instead of the usual two teams. The teams are going to be racial in their make up: Black; Asian; Hispanic; White. While that does not sit right with me, I am going to save my rant on that for another day. Instead, today, I am going to deal with Rush Limbaugh’s comments on this as reported by Media Matters.
“We've been looking at this here amongst ourselves, and our early money is going on the Hispanic tribe, providing they stay unified... if they start fighting for supremacy amongst themselves, that could lead to problems. But our early money is on them anyway, because these people have shown a remarkable ability, ladies and gentlemen, to cross borders, boundaries -- they get anywhere they want to go. They can do it without water for a long time. They don't get apprehended, and they will do things other people won't do. So, our money, early money, is on the Hispanics.”
Oh my G-d Rush! Did you really just say that? That is…I am speechless. I wish I could say the same for you, but you just had to continue.
“The Asian -- the Asian-American tribe probably will outsmart everybody, but will that help them in the ultimate survival contest? Intelligence is one thing, but raw, native understanding of the land and so forth -- this is probably why the Native Americans were excluded, because they were at one with the land here, and they probably would have an unfair advantage.”
You got a two-fer on that one Rush. Native Americans are not even part of this show and you still just had to show yourself to be an equal opportunity offender, huh?
“The African-American tribe, tough to handicap on this one, because you just -- it's -- it's -- there are many characteristics here that you would think give them the lead and the heads up in terms of skill and athleticism and so forth.”
Oh, but Rush is only joking, right? I mean his tongue is firmly in his cheek with his white comments.
“We're speculating among ourselves that if the white tribe behaves as it historically has, they will bring along vials of diseases; they will end up oppressing the other groups; they will deny them benefits; deny them their property, steal it from them, and you know, put them on some kind of a benefit program. The white tribe put everybody else on some kind of benefit program, but the benefit program, of course, will not be enough. There will be no education. The white tribe will not allow any health care.”
So he must be joking about this. Sick jokes, but they are still jokes, right? Well a caller asked him what group would have the best swimmer on it.
“Well, now, wait, wait a second, though. If the Hispanic tribe has a Cuban in it, those people swim 90 miles, you know, sometimes for freedom. So you know, you just never know. That's why you've got to watch the show.”
When the caller reveals himself to be black, Rush immediately claims he is not the racist one because Survivor is the one showing this.
“I am playing the racism card! I'm telling you what a major network is doing in its prime-time schedule. They're pitting races against each other in this stupid Survivor format, and you tell me I'm being racist.”
That is like a Klansman saying “I am not burning the cross so you cannot say I am involved.” Bad example I know, but it is late. You get the point. I will change it tomorrow.
In essence, think about the fact that he repeats stereotypes of races until he gets to the white race, then he switches to describing liberals. He has scorn for all those groups and it shows. His “humor” reveals his character because only he finds his jokes funny. Well, him and his “dittoheads”.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I was talking today with a friend about how amazing muscles are. Strange subject usually, but this friend does deep tissue work on me to help with my carpal tunnel. We talk about such things usually as we meander from television to work to movies. You cover quite a bit of subject matter over the course of an hour. The guy is really part physical therapist and part psychological, but that is not my purpose to taking up your time tonight. Tonight I am talking about muscles.
I can type with my eyes closed. I assume most of you can, but I have no idea what letter is where on the keyboard. I could not even begin to tell you even now as I type this where that “E” was on the keyboard. My typing is 100% pure muscle memory. I used to play online games where typing speed usually meant the difference between life and death so I had to type fast. Pure repetition taught me to type and not keyboard awareness. That amazes me.
No matter how fast computers get, they will never be able to compete with the human body- not mind, but body. Think about how many tasks the body performs at any given second and all without lag. My computer cannot check email and play MP3s at the same time without slowing down to the pace of a stoned snail who’s lost. That amazes me.
The mind is the CPU certainly, but the body has its own memories I believe. Think of the stories of people who receive heart transplants and end up with some of the donor’s memories or tastes. If that doesn’t prove memories are full body experiences nothing does. That amazes me.
Blogging is a weird beast. The above thoughts are pointless ramblings of a bored mind, yet I somehow felt compelled to post them on the internet. Now, years after I die years from now, it shall forever be immortalized that on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 I, Brad AKA Kanrei was, in fact, bored and rambling to a virtual audience. That amazes me.
I actually posted this even after the above paragraph. That amazes me too.
How many times shall I bang my head against the wall before I realize I am going to hurt my head more than change the wall? At what point does it just become masochistic to keep pissing in the wind? I am giving myself an ulcer without any change happening in the world and why?
I could go on about how Obama has zero experience in the government so is no where near qualified to be President. I mean he has been running for the White House since before he was sworn into the Senate. He is a one term Senator who has yet to appear at the Capitol. He has been running for office the entire time. The Senate is a stepping stone to power for him and nothing more.
I could talk about how Hillary is a socialist in every way Stalin wished he were. So she slept with a President. So did Monica, but I would not say she was qualified to be President? Political ability is not passed on like a venereal disease. All one needs to know about Hillary is that she is a conspiracy freak who values power over people. It takes a village my ass.
I could complain about all the GOP candidates, but why wear down my keys with useless words? Rudy is a joke who was going to be tossed out of office on September 10th. No man got more out of 9/11 then Rudy did.
McCain? No one is serious about McCain. He does not even have the credibility to be a flip-flopper. To flip flop you had to have at one time had an opinion and then switched. McCain thinks whatever he thinks the party wants him to think and nothing more. He sold his soul long ago and the White House has had enough soulless politicians.
I could talk about Imus and his racial flap, but I just don’t honestly care. It is ironic to me that a nappy-headed radio broadcaster is calling someone else nappy-headed, but let’s be honest about it all for a moment- Imus has not had this much attention in years. I think most people who have actually heard of Imus (a small amount to being with) are shocked more that the guy is A) still on the air; and B) alive.
This is a horrible time to be a logical political junkie. I can’t stop watching it, but logic tells me all I am doing is upsetting myself without making any difference. Why can’t I just be reactionary like every other political blogger out there, pick a side, and defend it to my death? Why do I have to be so damn consistent and logical? Politics has no room for logic after all, only reaction.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I don’t mean to fish for comments, but considering the quality of author I seem to have reading my site I would love to know what you think of the Charlotte story as a narrative. I am not that worried about if the story was good per say because it is a true story and there is little I can do about the events, but I would really like to know how I did telling the story.
I am not looking for “you did great” really. I get that from my mother. What I want is to know what I did right, what I did wrong, where I was strongest and where I fell apart. It is the first real story I ever finished and I feel like I lost most of you along the way. Could be paranoia or it could be my being observant. I really value your opinions.
Was this a pathetic plea for comments or what?
Monday, April 09, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The movies and television shows we watch definitely affect how we perceive reality. At least a reality we have yet to experience. We cannot fully blame ourselves for the things we think of when we hear about jail simply because most of us have never experienced it firsthand. Some of the clichés are real and truly scary, but others are myth and urban legend. I was about to discover which was which and was rather uneager for the experience.
First is this: every description of the cell door closing for the first time you have ever read or heard described are all one-hundred percent wrong. It resonates into the marrow of your bones and shatters any confidence you felt the need to fake. Your entire room suddenly shrinks to the size of a college dorm room and you are trapped with your new roommates. There is not even a wall around the toilet for privacy; in fact, there is no more privacy at all.
The next cliché I encountered was the round table discussion of each person’s crimes. I always thought of it as simply a quick narrative device used by poor authors, but it really does happen. We gathered in a circle with some of us on beds and some on the floor sitting Indian-style. There was a hushed tone to the voices. The stories told me that each of twelve men I shared a room with were real criminals. There was pride in their voices as they shared their charges with each other, almost like a group of anglers telling the tales of “the one that got away.”
“They got me for holding up a store.”
“I was drunk and got into a fight.”
“Assault and battery.”
“I didn’t do anything.” Got that one a few times.
“I was firing a gun.”
Then it was my turn. I was embarrassed for having something so boring to tell. Would they just think I was an idiot for getting caught doing something so minor? Should I make something up since I might be in here for a while?
I choose to tell the truth. I suck at lying and always have. It is not that I am not convincing when I lie, but rather that I have a horrible memory for the lies I tell. My mother learned early on in my life to ask me something twice if you do not believe the first answer. If you get the same answer the second time then it is true: works every time.
I looked down into my knees as I sat on the floor. I was no longer sitting Indian-style, but an upright fetal position as I quietly uttered, “I got busted smoking pot at a Dead show.”
“And that’s it.”
The mood in the room suddenly changed. They broke out in laughter. They shook my hand. They felt bad for me being in the cell with them. They were all real criminals and knew I had no business in that cell with them. It was very comforting in a weird surreal way. Mr. “I Fired a Gun” even paid a janitor twenty-five cents to give a cigarette to me. It was menthol and I hate menthols, but that was the best damn cigarette I ever had in my life.
After an hour or so more of talking and laughing we all decided to go to sleep. The only spot left for me to lie down was next to the toilet, between the seat and the wall. It was a very unsettling place to lie down, but there really were no other options left. I kept reminding myself that my friends were in the lobby and it would all be over any second.
A few hours later, the solid metal door opened and my name called. I slowly dislodged myself from between the toilet and the wall and said “here” as if I was answering roll call in school. The officer told me I was going home. I was stunned. Was this a trick? Were they pissed that my cellmates liked me instead of killed me? Oh yea, my friends: my bail was finally paid.
I reached the lobby after picking up my possessions to very surprised friends. It seems they had not paid any bail as of yet. They had been waiting eight hours for me to be “processed” so they could pay they bail. I was simply being released. The court date was set for three days and I was on my own until then.
I would lie if I said the thought of running never crossed my mind. It crisscrossed my mind to be honest, but I could not do it. Instead, I did the harder thing to do- I called my parents for the cliché “hello mom, I’m in jail” phone call.
At first, my mom yelled. Then she decided to yell a little more for a change of pace. After talking to my step-dad, she called me back at the payphone laughing for some odd reason. She agreed to pay for a motel for the next three days and loan us money to buy some court clothes. Any further yelling would wait until I was safely back in Florida. Until then I had enough stress I guess.
That first night in the motel, we watched the news. I learned about the massive drug bust at the Dead show the previous day. I was part of 245 people busted for possession of drugs on a single day, which appears to have been a record at the time.
The next story on the news was about the Jamaican drug gangs trying to move into Charlotte’s underworld and the war they were having with the local gangs. They talked about the top hit man for the Jamaican cartel being in custody and there on my television was Mr. “I Fired a Gun.”
I jumped up in the bed pointing and screaming to my friends that I was a cell with that guy! That guy was really cool! He bought me a cigarette! He never told me he fired that gun at someone; an important detail I would tend to think, but a nice guy just the same.
We showed up for court three days later with our bargain Target wardrobes and paperwork in hand. It looked like about 130 people were in the lobby outside the courtroom. It was eerie being in a room filled with 130 people and complete and total silence.
The bailiff came out into the lobby, collected all 130 documents, and returned into the courtroom. My friend who made bail and I handed ours to him as I smiled, trying to be friendly as best I could. He never said a word to any of us and looked at very few of us. I had no idea what was going on. No movie had ever prepared me for anything like this.
After ten minutes, the bailiff came back out into the lobby and began to read out names from the documents he collected. As we heard our names, we were to step forward and collect our document. Nothing more explained to us at the time.
My name was the first out of my little circle of nervous strangers to be called. I slowly walked up, took my pink document in my trembling hand, and noticed that it now had the most magical word stamped across where the charge was. It simply said, “Dismissed.”
Saturday, April 07, 2007
With now two friends out of custody, I felt a tad bit more at ease. I knew it would now only be a matter of time before I was bailed out. Fifty dollars was not really all that much and I knew our friend who avoided arrest had at least that much on him. I realize there were still two of us in custody at that time, but my other friend had much more serious problems at hand and would not be free anytime soon. He was in possession of those more serious drugs they were searching for. His bail was much, much more.
I hope no one reading this has undergone the procedure of going from freeman to state property. It is very degrading and designed to remove any sense of self you may have once had. Especially when you keep reminding yourself that your freedom is only fifty dollars away. Makes you feel cheap for having such a low cost and worthless for not being able to pay it.
I sat in a row of chairs waiting for my name to be called by the booking officer. I never felt quite so alone and hopeless in my life. My friend was sitting next to me, but he had larger problems to deal with. We were no good to each other at that moment. We were in full selfish self-preservation mode. Our only hopes were that our free friends were not in that mode yet. They were all we had.
“Brad.” I gulped. It was my turn. No last minute reprise was coming. It was right then and there the full seriousness of it all hit me, but I was still rather stoned at the same time. It kept the emotion of the drama unfolding a good distance from my mind. I was watching a first-person prison documentary. I knew this guy was fucked, but could not settle on the fact that the guy was me.
“Remove all your possessions and place them on the table.”
I removed my wallet and my earrings and placed them on the table. My cigarettes and lighter were next. I could not remove my “Guatemalan Friendship Bracelets” because they were tied tightly around my wrists, so they were cut off. My unused ticket for the show was placed on the table next.
“I was never read my rights.” My mind was scrabbling for something to attach a shred of hope to. Maybe they would realize this and say they were sorry and let me go.
“So I was never read my rights.”
“First- asking to be read your rights tells us you know your rights and second- you were caught red-handed. We don’t have to read you your rights if we catch you in the act.”
That did not sound right at all to me. I took a mental note of that conversation feeling that I was going to need a lawyer and that might be something. It always means something on television.
The last item I had to remove was my necklace. I wear two charms on it as the two signs of my faith and have since ninth grade. I wear a Jewish star my parents bought me in Israel and a peace symbol my uncle had made for me in Alaska. I have lost numerous personal items in my life, but have managed to hold onto both of these for more than half my life.
“Wot’s that?” the officer collecting my personal effects asked of my pendants.
“It’s a Jewish star,” I politely answered back, confused by his question.
“You Jewish?” he asked. “I ain’t never seen no Jew before.”
I heard the Deliverance banjos in my head. I had never felt fear quite like I did at that moment.
I must state here and now that most writers make up dialogue, even in true stories. A person cannot remember ever word spoken, but I assure you my readers that those very words are the words spoken by the cop that day. I have never forgotten them and my hands shake now as I type this remembering that fear.
My memory shuts down after that for a short time. I think a doctor would call it “shock.” I had no idea what was to come. I only knew I was in the deep South in the custody of people who “never seen no Jew before.” Who knows what exactly they believed about me or what would happen to me. I had seen too many movies. I was terrified.
My only comfort was the blue Honda Accord that I saw from the bus window pulling into the parking lot of the county jail we arrived. My friends had gotten to the station at the same time I did. Freedom was moments away!
I was shackled to some short guy with a moustache and my friend who was still arrested was nowhere to be seen. I assumed they had taken him to a different jail since he was facing more serious charges.
It is impossible to walk when shackled to another person. Imagine taking part in a three-legged race, only instead of twine your ankles are held together by unforgiving steel. I take long strides when I walk. The short guy to my left tried his best, but his legs just could not keep up. It was the most painful thirty paces of our lives until we reached holding cell one.
Holding Cell 1 was not its name; it was just where we were held prior to booking part two, which involved the mug shots and cell assignment. It was a large room with two windows for walls, a bench and a door. Lots of graffiti covered the walls: "what became of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" is the one that stands out in my mind.
I was sobering up and started wondering what was taking my friends so long to pay that bail. I was about to be placed in a cell any moment now. If they were going to get me out, now would be a great time. I glanced around and saw most of the cells were open barred. They held four people in each with four beds.
They had arrested 245 of us that day and it looked like they were keeping the Hippies together. Thank G-d for small favors. A few hours in a cell with fellow Deadheads did not seem like the worst thing in the world.
When my name was called for my cell assignment, I got something very different from every other Hippie that day. I did not get the open barred cell. I did not get three cellmates. I got led down a hall into a room with a solid metal door. Inside I found myself in a room with a toilet, four beds, and twelve black guys. I would say this new fear rivaled the previous fear, but I had a feeling one was due to the other. I cannot say for certain, but I really do still think it was.
TO BE CONCLUDED…
Friday, April 06, 2007
Mr. Sunshine Daydream had left me and I had a new officer escort now. This man was in a much meaner mood than Mr. Sunshine Daydream was. He was all business and I think there to intimidate us as much as possible. He was very good at his job.
Just outside the police barricade there was a man supporting a gigantic crucifix where all us prisoners could see. Upon the cross were the words “those who follow the Dead follow them straight to Hell.” It was a fitting sign. Normally I would have had a few words for the fellow, but in my current position, I would only serve to prove his point. It is hard to take the moral high ground when being detained.
I was seated at a long picnic style table in a specially roped off part of the Charlotte Coliseum’s parking lot. They had a few trailers set up outside the main gate so all those lucky enough to have avoided arrest could look at us as they entered. At least I had decent eye-candy while I was officially booked and charged.
Directly across from me was a beautiful girl, about 20 years old with long dark blonde hair and amazing green eyes. She wore no make-up and looked like she stepped out of the 70’s. I had a hard time concentrating on the cop during my booking. I remember laughing internally as she slipped her hand out from the plexi-cuffs to scratch her nose every time her officer escort looked down to write what she said. Curiosity made me check and I found I could slip out of mine rather easily as well, but chose not to risk showing it off. They would smirk at the cute girl playing around, but they would jump on the guy with free hands. To them I was a six-foot-three druggie and nothing more. I would become more later on, but as of now, I was just a druggie to them.
“Where are you from?”
“Miami originally, but I came here from Tampa.”
“You drove here from Florida to get arrested? Seems stupid to me.” The guy was a smart ass.
“No, I drove here to see a concert. Getting arrested was just a bonus.” So was I.
I glanced down at the paper work he was filling out on me and noticed some very scary words next to “offense” on the form. He had written “possession of less than an ounce and a half.” I roll big joints. I plead guilty to that, but there is no way I had a 42-gram joint in my shoe. It is physically impossible besides impractical. At the least I would have two 21-gram joints.
“I had a joint,” I said almost forgetting to pretend to remain cuffed. My finger really wanted to point out his mistake, but I went for words instead.
“And you are charging me with less than an ounce and a half. I had nowhere near that much. I don’t want to be charged for more than I had.”
“That is the least we can charge you with.”
“How is the judge going to know I only had a joint then?”
“How? You wrote an ounce and a half. That is all they are going to know then.”
A dirty look from officer Unfriendly quickly ended my debate with the man. I was high and I am stupid, but I was neither that high nor that stupid.
Two of my three friends were arrested along with me. The third friend, the guy who was holding the pot avoided the arrest by not being in the mood to smoke when the rest of us were. While I looked a cop in the eye during my hitting off a pipe, he was resting on the hood of the car watching the sky go by. Since he was not smoking, the cops did not arrest him. I kept reminding myself that he was out so I was fine. We just needed to get word to him.
The Charlotte police were very well prepared for the shows. I was personally impressed with their organization. After being booked, we were shackled to one another and loaded into unmarked white vans. Those vans drove us around to the back of the coliseum where we were escorted into a large room backstage. At this point, the officers told us they were going to remove our plexi-cuffs.
There is a look of total shock mixed with fear that a person gets in their eyes when their secure delusion is shattered. This was the look the ten cops had on their faces as forty-five men they thought they bound all held up their free hands and offered the still closed plexi-cuffs. If there were a studio audience, there would have been a deafening roar of laughter and applause. We all snickered and giggled a bit, but really were trying our best to be respectful. Fear does that to you.
The bail was fifty dollars as set by a judge they even had on the premises. We pooled our money and managed to have enough to bail one of us out. Since I had no idea how to drive stick, I was not even considered. No matter what, it appeared I was going to jail for a little while and there was nothing I could do about it.
TO BE CONTINUED…
In my younger days, the thought of driving from Tampa to Charlotte was really nothing at all; to see the Grateful Dead even less of a thought, and to see them around my birthday was a no-brainer. This was the case in the summer of 1991 when a few friends joined me on a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina for a two-day span of shows. It was going to be great (no pun intended). To be honest it was actually the week before my birthday, but that is a minor detail.
The drive up was uneventful to the point of it not even occupying a single brain cell in my head. I honestly have no memory of the drive to Charlotte or back to Tampa. I guess it was just filler and endless passing tress: possibly a lot of smoke as well which would help explain the memory gap.
The first thing that does pop to my head is the foreshadowing “Mama Tried” from the first night. It’s the only thing that pops into my head from that first night actually. I really should have paid attention because it was definitely a sign of what was to come. I mean some of the lyrics are “turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole” after all. It was my twenty-first birthday the following week. I don’t think my guardian angel could have made things any clearer for me. What was I on exactly?
The second night we got to the parking lot early. For those who have never been to a Dead show, the parking lot scene before the show is most of the lure for most people. It is where the community gathers and mingles and grows. It is a large part of what made the shows so special. The food, the drinks, and the music- it all created the scene forever embedded in so many of our minds. A small portable community modeled on how we all wish our neighborhoods could be.
After a few hours of wandering about and meeting fellow Deadheads, we all slowly made our way back to the Honda for our pre-concert celebrations. I sat in the front passenger seat with my feet up on the dashboard. We had all four doors open, the windows down, and a really great copy of the ’77 Cornell University show playing rather loudly as we passed a pipe around the car. It was perfection until…
I actually made eye contact with him as he spotted us in the smog of the Honda. He had on the generic “teddy bears sitting in a VW bus with the words ‘Sunshine Daydream’ written above it” tye-dyed tee shirt. I remember thinking that guy was such an obvious poser. He just oozed like some local who heard there were drugs at a Dead show and came looking; the type of guy who gave the scene such a bad reputation. Who could imagine that I was partially right?
“Is that any good?” is the next thing I remember hearing. It came from Mr. Sunshine Daydream as he and a friend leaned into the driver’s side window.
“Yea,” one of us managed to slowly utter from deep within our haze, “You want some?”
“Sure,” he said very confidently as a badge magically appeared in his hand. “We’ll take it all. Get out of the car.”
In my head I heard “turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole and that leaves no one but me to blame cause mama tried.”
I gave up immediately the joint I had stashed in my shoe that I was planning to sneak into the show later. We assured him it was all we had and, after a search of the car, he believed us. He said if we promised not to run he would not handcuff us and “embarrass us in front of our friends.” I was really high and had no desire to walk let alone run so off we went handcuff free to a booking station they had set up in the parking lot.
On our way there I asked Mr. Sunshine Daydream if I could possibly give my ticket away since I was obviously going to miss the show. What can I say, I was really high and that was honestly my first concern. He told me to hold on to it because I had such a small amount there was no way I would miss the show. He said they were looking for harder drugs and all I had was pot. I felt really relaxed at that moment and stayed relaxed until I sat down to be booked and immediately had my hands plexi-cuffed behind my back. Slowly it was getting real.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Thursday, April 05, 2007
One ipod song? Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. I can never get sick of that song for some strage reason.
One DVD? The Simpsons season 5- any disc. That season can be watched over and over
One book? An empty notebook so I could write my own while there.
One type of drink? Diet Coke of course
One kind of meal? Tacos!
One dessert? Something with cinnamon
One toiletry item? only one? Ew
One photograph? my ex - to remind me not to try and get off the island =D
Monday, April 02, 2007
Passover is one of the three I celebrate: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur being the other two. I accept the gifts of Hanukkah, but honestly forget to light the candles most nights. Miamians say “turn on the candles”, but I think that is a Spanish thing. Rosh is the new year, Yom is the atonement for sins, and Passover is the celebration of heritage. The rest are fillers in my opinion. I take my religion seriously, just not most of the rituals. The faith was created by G-d, the rituals by man.
Passover and Easter are forever linked and I think it is part of why Passover is one I celebrate. Most people do not realize this, but Jesus’ last supper was a Passover Seder. Passover celebrates the release of the Jews from the slavery of Egypt. Easter celebrates the rising of Jesus from the dead. Both these holidays represent a rebirth of freedom and hope from desperate and shallow times.
We celebrate so often at the same time, yet rarely together or for same things. This time of year is the exception. Our tales linked and the theme continues through both. Without Passover, there would be no story of Easter: where Moses brought his people from the slavery of Egypt, so Jesus seeks to bring his people from the slavery of the world.
Be you a Passover person or an Easter person, I hope you find both days filled with love and hope for these are certainly desperate and shallow times.