September 10th, 2006

Don't Hassle the Hoff

Don't You Take It Personal

If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it's that you can kill anyone.

You'll have to excuse me, I've been holed up most of the day and I just finished watching The Godfather Part II. Standing alone, you can watch it without seeing the first and it keeps up its part of the bargain. I don't know yet if I like it better than the first or not. I don't suppose I'll get to testing that query any time soon.

It's a whole different ballgame over here. Really, I haven't felt this way since Costa Rica, but it's nothing I can't get used to. Walking down the street, where I live, you don't know if you're gonna walk up to someone and they'll understand English. For once I'm the minority, but it's not something you'd see in a predominantly white area where the minority is seen as the threat. The thief, the rapist, the gangbanger, the murderer. No, this place is like the Prison Minority. Everywhere you turn, you're watching for your cornhole. Not literally, of course, but it's hard to shake the feeling that I could be swallowed up at any moment and disposed of without any justice or vengeance.

It keeps you on edge. You hear the stories of crime and murder-rate going down, but that doesn't stop you from carrying just enough money to pass - money you won't necessarily miss. You read the statistics and they tell you it's not bloody likely that you'll be a target. Doesn't stop you from keeping to the well-lit streets and avoiding any contact with the outside world after dark.

I'm an outsider here, and I can deal with that. But, sometimes it'd be nice to blend in. I went outside after Lights Out to get some food tonight and, on three consecutive side streets, the people living in those neighborhoods blocked off the road, had giant speakers blasting Spanish-Speaking Rap Music, and were just having huge impromptu parties. Kids running around with glowsticks, couples dancing in the middle of the street, barbecues char-broiling whatever meat they'd procured for the event, everyone chatting about this and that (what do I know, I can't understand a lick of what they said). That's the kind of solidarity and community togetherness you don't see in the Northwest. Do you know what OUR block parties were like? First of all, they were put on by the church. They had faggy cake walks and lame beanbag toss games for crappy prizes. Unless you GO to the church, you don't know anyone; MAYBE a neighbor or two who live directly next door to you. I don't really remember, because I think we only went to a couple in my day; but I know damn well what the highlight was: One year, my mom won a chocolate cake in the cake walk, then a few minutes later, I won a carrot cake. BIG FUCKING DEAL! Christ in hell, that SUCKS compared to these I see here! People actually KNOW their neighbors or, more importantly, they WANT to know their neighbors.

Growing up as a real young kid on 16th street, things were a little better. I had a real good friend - Ryan Cook - who lived right across the street from us. Next door, we had an Asian family living there for a while and they were friendly with us. I'm sure I rememeber my parents and the family next door on the other side got along. That time's a little fuzzy because we moved when I was in the first grade, but it was as close as we'd get to what they have here.

It's gotta be a cultural thing, that's obvious. Or maybe a class thing; maybe both. In your middle-class white neighborhood, you might indulge in some small-talk over hedge-trimming. Maybe you compliment someone on their Christmas lights in December. Or you could talk cars or boats or motorhomes with someone who's just splurged. It seems like, whenever anyone gets into a nice little suburban neighborhood, they'd rather isolate themselves. Like, since you've made it - got the good job, got the family and the kids, got the cars and the other toys to play with - you don't necessarily need outside contact from people living around you. I don't get it; all these people living in close contact with each other, and nobody knows anyone else.

Of course, I say that, but who the hell am I making friends with right now? Fuck it, I've got friends. If I'm to make anymore, they'd better be damned interesting, that's all I've got to say.

I dunno, though. I guess seeing all the community-togetherness around here, it's got me thinking about the dorms. They party like we partied, except instead of Spanish music and glowsticks, we'd throw on some "Eye of the Tiger" and run around wreaking havoc with whatever impliments of destruction we could find.
  • Current Music
    Under The Influence Of Giants - Mama's Room

I Think You Hear Me Knockin' and I Think I'm Comin' In

The ESPN Zone was a-rockin' today in Times Square! Mostly because the Jets pulled out yet another ugly win; but they're not the ONLY team that wins ugly!!! Oh, that's right motherfuckers! Our boys pulled out a 9-6 victory at Detroit against a stiff D-Line (or, I guess, in SPITE of a really weak O-Line on our end . . . seriously Pork Chop, how many times can you get beat with the same swim-move? Walter Jones, was it really Steve Hutchinson carrying YOUR ass? Who's this Ashworth fuck? He needs to die right now! And WHAT'S the deal with two fucking blocked field goals???). But, that's not really the story here.

The story here is: Steve Finally Made A Friend.

I didn't hit the sack until nearly 6am, but I wouldn't let sleep deprivation stop me from getting my ass up at 11am and checking out Week 1 of the NFL Season. I got up quick and checked out some more sports bars in the Manhattan area. Let's see what kind of a clusterfuck we've got here. Well, The Heartland Brewery was the first place to show up when I typed in "Manhattan NY Sports Bars" at, but they had like AH television, and that was gonna go to the F-U-C-K Jets Jets Jets Jets! There was one in Lower Manhattan, but the bulk was either in Times Square or Upper Manhattan, so I just took the N-Train to the T-Square. Oh, well, actually I guess I lied. I could've gone to the Chelsea District where we have Gyms Sports Bar. Now, Gyms Sports Bar is dubbed: "The First And Only Gay Sports Bar In New York City!" Their little blurb says, "A gay sports bar in Chelsea, which means it's pretty much the same as every other sports bar, with men glued to the TV, watching other men in tight pants run around and get all sweatly playing a game. Except different, you know?" I've never really thought about it before, but that IS what football is! Men watching other men playing on fields of green. Granted, I was desperate to see the Seahawks this week, but I dunno.

I just said, "Fuck It" though and went to the ESPN Zone, even though they told me to "Get There Early" otherwise I'd be standing. At least I knew they'd have our game on ONE of the TVs and that's all that mattered. So, I get there RIGHT AT 1:00, and of course they put the Seahawks @ the Lions on some tiny TV way over on the right side. There are two levels to the ESPN Zone. The bottom level is mostly tables and restaurant, with a little bar on the side. Upstairs, however, they have the longest bar I've ever seen. So, if you sit at the bar and look ahead, there's a giant screen on a wall way down there, with a bunch of smaller TVs on either side. Behind the bar, towards the row of TVs, there are booths. You've gotta reserve these badboys, but if you do, they come with a little individual TV in each booth for you and your buddies to control. In front of that, there's another row of reserved tables, and in front of THAT, right front and center are a row of leather-recliners. Man, you gotta be VIP to get up there.

Anyway, I went upstairs, because there was no way I was getting to that small bar downstairs. I wandered around until I found which TV had the Seahawks game, then made a path to the very right side of the bar. While standing, I noticed two Asian guys were rooting at the same exact times I was; SEAHAWKS FANS!!! Thank God! I said, "You guys like Seattle?" They both said, "Yeah, we're from there."

Apparently, Richard - who lives in Seattle now - is visiting his friend Sam - who lives in Manhattan. Both went to UW, and I know at least Richard graduated the same year as me. Anyway, they were saving a stool for their friend, but since he was running late, Sam offered it to me. Hell yes! A seat and the company of bretheren! So, we're sitting there, bemoaning the first half follies, when all of a sudden some douchey white guy comes up and stands next to us. Yep, you guessed it, another Seahawks fan. And, get this, he's from Tacoma and went to Bellarmine Prep and graduated in 1999 just like me. Man, when Sam and Richard's friend got there, and with the addition of the guy wearing the Shaun Alexander jersey, we had a nice little cheering section.

Of course, we had three fuckheads standing right behind us when things started to get tense in the 4th quarter. I heard some drunken loudmouth saying, "I didn't even know Seattle HAD a team until 3 years ago." He thought he was really funny - and that no one heard him the first time - so he ended up saying it twice more, right next to my ear.

Then, I noticed. San Francisco 49ers fans. Good lord man. So, I told him, "I hope you enjoy your 2-14 season this year."

He didn't think that was too clever, so he retorted with, "We're the greatest NFL Franchise in the history of the NFL."

To which Richard said, "Yeah, don't worry, you'll be good again in 5 years."

I just said, "Yeah, you guys were GREAT in the 80s."

Mr. 49er got fed up with our crap - especially since the Seahawks just kicked the game-winner moments before - so as he walked past me, he said, "We were pretty dominant in the 90s too."

I called back, "Yeah, too bad those Dallas teams were so much better! You guys were the Atlanta Braves of the NFL that decade!"

Not gracing my words with any response, the asswipe called out to anyone who would listen - as he and his friends walked down to their reserved booth - "We're going down to watch a REAL franchise."

The last I saw before I left the ESPN Zone, Arizona was beating San Francisco 21-7 en route to a 34-27 victory. Glory be thy name, Karma.

Before Sam and Richard left, Sam told me about this place he usually goes to see Seahawks games, on 38th and 3rd Ave called The Black Sheep. It's not a "Seahawks Bar" per se, but he says they'll always throw the game on. Sam's actually flying out to Seattle this week to see the Seahawks' Home Opener next Sunday, but he gave me his number and told me to call in two weeks. You bette believe it! Pretty soon, we'll have a large-and-in-charge Seahawks Contingent in the NYC!!!

As for me next week, I'm gonna make sure to put my Joey Galloway jersey on and get to the ESPN Zone an hour early. I just gotta hope the Giants aren't playing at the same time; I hear that's suicide 'round these parts in getting a place to sit.
  • Current Music
    Modest Mouse - Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes