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Echoes and Mirrors » 2008 » June

Archive for June, 2008

reading is for winners

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Walter Mosley’s Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned was basically amazing. I found myself completely sucked into the stories.

That does not happen very often.

I have forbidden myself from doing book reviews here, so that’s about it. Compelling is a good word. I would use it here, in a review. So are concise, zen and gritty.

Take it for what it’s worth.


The day voodoo died, Part One

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Julio rubbed his eyes and thought about his abuelo. When he opened them again, the half-blurriness was still there, his eyes still dry and red; he could see the smoke momentarily wafting around in front of him. Or at least he thought he could. Julio could smell the smoke, anyway.

The breeze on the roof of his building was nice and he could smell rain coming. That made him smile. He was tired of the heavy fucking heat. It was fucking brutal and it seemed to last forever, insisting that it would suffocate anyone stupid enough to wade around in it for too long.

The only person he had never heard bitch about the heat was a crazy old puta voodoo bastard who lived on the floor below his. He had never even see the crazy old bastard before dusk, but somehow the old man’s skin was dark as night. There was always an odd smell in the hallway near his door, too. Like peppermint and ozone and… woman? He couldn’t decide if that was right, but it seemed like it was.

Julio tossed the cigarette butt off the roof and turned around to go back downstairs when he came face to face with the old man.

—whachoo been doin’ up here, boy?
—been smokin’ dem cigars, no? He laughed, a row of teeth so white and perfect that Julio’s thoughts sort of skipped a note for a second.
—Uh, yeah. Can’t smoke around the niño, you know?

The old loco bastard glided past him to the edge of the building and stared out into the city. Julio began heading for the door, confused but unconcerned.

—You be careful tonight, chile’, de gods are musterin’ some’n strange. He turned around and caught Julio in the eye —some’n fierce.
—Aight, sure.
—You ever had a poor shit? Where it just don’ move right an den it move bad?
—Yeah, sure. Julio had stopped again. Something had the old man wound up—there was a shake in his voice and he wasn’t sweating in the sunlight.
—dis mornin, woke up and da whole worle’ felt like dat. You go’an, get back to ya woman an chile.

Julio went into the dark, and much warmer staircase back down into his building. He could smell peppers cooking and laundry drying and heard the howl of niños and a gameshow on his abuelo’s television. She had taken ill and he was worried about her.


Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Monday, June 30th, 2008

1 lb. ground chuck beef (cubed beef might work a little better, but this is what I had handy)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 med. onion
A few mushrooms. I used half the package.
Add Salt, Pepper, rosemary, thyme, oregano and garlic to taste
1 bag of egg-noodles.

Cook the egg-noodles, drain. Done.

Sauté the onions, mushrooms and beef with salt and pepper. When beef is done, add mushroom soup, season, mix thouroughly and let simmer for a few minutes.

Serve over those damned noodles.

This could use some tweaking but it certainly did suffice as a decent meal.


Things I do when I have nothing to do

Sunday, June 29th, 2008
  1. Write little koan-like stories, often involving some level of debauchery or otherwise unsavory behavior.
  2. Masturbate
  3. Attempt to figure out what the hell happened to my novel, read a bit of it, become disgusted with myself, barely keep my finger off the delete key and smoke a cigarette.
  4. Look at recipes and remember enough to experiment with later, often with delicious if not bizarre results.
  5. Devise criminal behavior that I have no intention of committing.
  6. Write Movie/Music reviews.
  7. Fiddle with one of my police scanners.
  8. Bittorrent + VLC = 2 hours of my life spent 1-5 out of 5, depending on the situation.
  9. Work on avante garde essays that defy all but the most discordian of logics.
  10. Read a book.

Often these activities are circumvented by the bar or work. Or school.

I saw a girl from one of my classes last semester in the grocery store earlier. She said hi to me and asked me how my summer was going. She hadn’t spoken to me once for the entire fifteen weeks of class, but now it’s okay? (I should mention that her girlfriend was with her.) Not to be a dick, but a head-nod or some other sort of acknowledgment would have sufficed. It made me feel uncomfortable.

I’m about to go experiment with some Beef Stroganoff. I’ve never made it before and have little idea of what I’m doing aside from the fact that I’m lactose retarded and cannot use sour cream. This should be interesting. I’ll post my recipe and the results later.


This dream is so very different

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Having kids makes you happy? Apparently not.

On Friday an older lady looked at me and said, with a very concerned look on her face, “Don’t you want a wife and kids, a house?” I just looked at her and said, “I dunno. Maybe. Should I?”

I was thinking more about the inevitable horrors of today’s society. I am not responsible enough for children and there are probably a couple women out there who will attest to my incompatibility with marriage, let alone a relationship. (I’m really not that bad, but they might have good reason to believe so.) Being tied down to a house and stuck in a place sounds like a death sentence to me.

I can see myself behind that white picket fence, playing with the kids and the dog, working the nine to five and smiling a lot, but I can also see the dullness in my eyes and the strain the smile. I can see that my soul is already dead in that vision, sucked out of me by the corporate forces that I rely on both for work and living. I can see how my checkbook is a means to an end. I can see how I am gunning for my kid’s success to reflect my own.

I think I’ll take the devil I know.


Cold feet

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

It’s a hard state to change. It takes forever and by time you do it, it feels pointless or it turns out it didn’t matter. Or you regret it.



Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Tastes like ass.


Crazy kids and their internets

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

This is legendary in that ‘came on my mom in Grandma’s Boy’ sort of way. Read it slowly and bow down to the power of the internet. (NSFW)


Boring… NOT!

Saturday, June 28th, 2008


Look how long it took “jump the shark” to jump the shark. But “under the bus”—as in, “throwing someone under the bus”—got old from overuse in a matter of weeks.

I like ‘jump the shark’ and quite a few others. I tend to feel that catchphrases are a common ground for language: you can glean a better understanding of someone just by which ones they use and how often. Too many and you’re a sheep. Too many old ones and you’re a hipster who’s trying to hard. Etc. Etc. Also, some only gain popularity within a small segment of the population and are ridiculed by everyone else. Others burn out quickly. Some become retro and are pleasant comedy devices for future use (See: Groovy).



Friday, June 27th, 2008

I had a very interesting time in Atlanta this week. The seminars were either very informative and interesting or dry and dull. There wasn’t much middle ground.

I am dehydrated from drinking coffee all day long for three days straight (and plenty of beer in the evenings, as well). For some reason my back is sore, too. Maybe the banquet chairs and my shitty posture? I’m thinking so.

I heard about the Heller decision yesterday after our classes were finished. It’s definitely a (big) step in the right direction. I’ve been seeing a lot of bitching about the majority opinion. My response? Take what you can get: what, exactly, did you expect from Justice Scalia, anyway? He’s socially conservative and makes common sense compromises. While the ruling does state that citizens do not have the right to own any weapon, it does guarantee something. If they had ruled the other way, the government could ban any sort of firearm, from anyone, tomorrow. I’ll take it, and hope that the forthcoming cases turn out well.