September 17th, 2007


Saturday 2, or, 1:25 To Yuma

Finally, a day where waking up isn't on the Taylor Family Clip Board Of Fun! And yet ... oh yeah, Josh forgot to turn the alarm off on his phone.

We probably got another couple hours of sleep in there after that marathon Friday night, but as it stands, something around eight hours of sleep isn't much consolation for all the work we've put our bodies through. Josh dragged ass for an hour or two longer than me, so I caught up on some long overdue gossip ... has anyone heard about this Britney Spears mental breakdown? I mean, I know, in one of my more pompous posts I declared my desire to forever rid myself of ingesting any further news about Britney Spears or those of her ilk ... but OH, MY, GAWD. I mean, I don't know who's more shitcakes, her or Jack Nicholson during the last half of The Shining. Shit man, pick Ozzy Osbourne's craziest day back when he was on the sauce, multiply it by 50, then throw on a pair of tits and you've got Britney Spears, looks and all. I'm no spring chicken (no, wait, wrong analogy) ... I'm no sexy chicken, but seriously, doesn't she have people to tell her it's absolutely NOT okay to be going about in your underwear when you look like she does now? There's a reason why erstwhile extremely attractive women who go on to have two kids don't do MTV awards shows like that. I can't wait for the Mike Tyson face tattoo moment to hit; maybe she'll want to wrestle a grizzly bear or have sex with a 300 year old corpse on a reality show. I'm ready for anything at this point.

Aaaaanyway, eventually we got Josh off the cot and out into the real world. Had a lunch/dinner at this diner around the corner, then went out to see 3:10 to Yuma at the movie theater just down the road. Excellent flick, a western starring Russell Crowe as this robber who's arrested and is to be transported to a prison train bound for Yuma. There were some questionable casting decisions - like Crowe's right hand man who looks like a combination of Screech Powers from Saved By The Bell and any homosexual drama choreographer you've ever seen ever. And was that Luke Wilson playing a racist? Sorry, I'm not buying it, I don't care how yellow you make his teeth. Nevertheless, the leads were good, so I guess that's what counts.

After that, it was Miller Time. Bought an 18-pack of Budweiser - making this seven drinking days out of the past nine, God Bless America - and another frozen pizza and headed for home.

There, we played a couple games of Fuck The Dealer, we watched some Artie Lange stand up, we watched Beerfest (and were too chicken/partied out to make up a drinking game), an episode of South Park and pretty much called it a week a little after 2am.

Set the alarm for 10am, got outta here by 10:30 after a hellacious dump, got him to the airport a little before noon and that was that. I'm assuming he got home OK, but there was a lengthy delay in getting out of Chicago.

This had to be, by far, the best week I've ever had in New York. I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out.
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    BBF3 (Blaise Bailey Finnegan III)

Friday 2, or, Boy I Sure Do Enjoy Not Hearing Rave Music unce unce unce unce unce unce unce unce

If the first weekend where my brother arrived was the lighting and the smoldering of the fuse to the Festival Balls fireworks display, and the subsequent Monday - Thursday was the THUNK of the mortar being jettisoned higher and higher into the night sky, then the day of Friday, September 14, 2007, was the colorful explosion of magic in an array of shapes delighting all who witness (with the last night, Saturday night, being the pleasant crackling of the fiery morsels burning away into blackness).

My brother had been looking forward to this day for some time now, as this was the day we'd see Underworld play in Central Park. Underworld, for those of you unhip, is a trio of musical masters from England who play what's known as Techno Music. Two guys spin their DJ shit and the third guy chants lyrics and plays the occasional indecipherable guitar.

We started off this day the way we pretty much started off every day of this trip: waking up having received too little sleep, with varying levels of Hangover, clawing our way out of the apartment in desperate need of coffee and honest to goodness food. We did this around noon (but didn't actually get out until a little after one). Our first stop was Central Park, where we found right away where the concert was taking place. It was about 1:30 at the time and we still had three hours until the gates opened. That put us on the eastbound trek for food, walking down 69th Street towards 3rd and eventually 2nd Avenue. There, we spotted an ATM so Josh could check his balance and take some cash out, then we crossed the street to an outdoor cafe where we both ordered club sandwiches because we both love frilly toothpicks and we both hate mayo (but he takes his with a little dab of fancy mustard every now and again).

Eventually, we managed to kill enough time to make it worth our while to sit in a recently formed line outside the gates. After a half hour to 45 minutes (depending on who you ask, this could also be a million billion years of waiting), the crack security team put us into four lines - three of them for men, the other for women - and proceeded to have us empty our pockets. Fortunately - or more accurately because I was worried I'd barf on the train - I had a couple plastic grocery bags in my front cargo pocket. So Josh and I put our crap in there and stood rigid as the short black kid reluctantly gave us a couple pats around our waist and let us through.

Inside, I made a bee line (shouldn't it really be an I line?) for the nearest Honeybucket and released all that soda and water I had at lunch. Then, we staked out our seats on the hard, uncomfortable, ass-numbing metal bleachers at the back of the venue. We estimated the outdoor, fenced-in area could hold about a thousand people, so we weren't too far back, and we were sure as shit too hungover and weary from the long week of partying to tangle with the mob around the stage area. As a reward, we got to shift our buttcheeks every 20 seconds by the end of the 4-hour concert, but it was worth it.

So, it's 4:45, we're sitting on the bleachers next to the press area that had zero famous writers I've ever seen, we're not opting for beer because it's $7.00 for approximately 8 ounces of liquid (it was $5.00 for a little bottle of water and $7.00 for a small can of Red Bull ... that's Manhattan for you), it's a little cloudy but there appears to be no cause for rain, it's a little chilly but I'm still doing okay in my black Emerald Queen Casino t-shirt I got for free at the Bite of Seattle and my black polyester shorts that are chock full of paint splatters from that time I painted some boards of wood for mom a couple years ago (remember this outfit when I tell you about the after party). The place is still pretty devoid of people, which is awesome because off in the distance I'm seeing the most attractive woman I've ever seen eating a kebab. Remember, I've got a different taste in women than your blonde skirt-chasing frat guy; I like 'em looking a bit strange. Distinguished in that She Stands Out kind of way. This one has just a gray t-shirt on over a hip-hugging pair of blue jeans, nothin' fancy. Her hair is pretty short, jet black, and she's got these oversized black Bono sunglasses. Not too thin, nice rack, and she walks in a manner that should attract attention wherever there's attention to attract. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, but I surely couldn't walk all the way over there and talk to her - she had a less-attractive, larger friend with her - the kind who's there for the sole purpose of providing the Pug-faced muscle against guys like me (or, more accurately, guys with the balls to go up and talk to the most attractive woman they've ever seen eating a kebab). I stare at her until they walk to the front of the stage and sit down, then I lose them in the growing mob of New Yorkers chatting and drinking their dollar-an-ounce cups of beer.

The show doesn't start until 6:00. Josh and I are smoking his cigarettes, shooting the shit like usual, then finally James Holden comes on. He's another DJ who spins a solid set of tunes for 90 minutes or so. Just long enough to get us over the top of the hill and fully immersed in Dusk. We approve of this music, but we didn't pay $50 each just to see James Holden. We're here for Underworld, and man were they ever something. I think they played a lot of new songs from their upcoming album, but we eventually got to the classics like "Rez/Cowgirl" and "Born Slippy" and "Shudder/King of Snake" and, I believe, "Dirty Epic". They had these long, inflatable tube things that were closed off at the end and during the song "Two Months Off", they turned the air on and pointed these things in a variety of directions. They had lights in there changing colors, and then they turned on the smoke machine. As the singer kept repeating, "You bring light in, you bring light in, you bring light in," I'd have to say that I ceased being me and instead became a mass of disconnected molecules floating in the air.

It's when I made my revelation.

Underworld ended the night promptly at 10pm, probably having to do with some kind of curfew laws or park laws not allowing concerts after a certain time. Also, I'd have to believe it's a safety thing, as who really wants to be in Central Park that late at night? Anyway, while we were waiting for James Holden, I walked around the grounds a little bit - presubably in the process of gluing my eyes to the most attractive woman I've ever seen eating a kebab - and I noticed a table with what I thought were free stickers. Instead, they were advertisements for upcoming DJ shows at various New York City venues. One of them in particular grabbed me, as the date on that one read September 14, 2007. Yes, this night and this night only, at Webster Hall on East 11th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues in the East Village, for the low-low price of $45 at the door, my brother and I could attend the Underworld After Party and see an array of DJs spinning music until all hours of the night (and I ain't talking 5:30pm either, Mr. Seinfeld). Right away Josh wanted to go, because he's actually heard of Webster Hall on the techno/trance/Boy-I-sure-do-enjoy-hearing-rave-music message boards he reads occasionally. And because he wanted to get his drink on and listen to some fat tunes. And because this was our fucking day to blow out the city of New York in style.

So, we made the 10-block journey south through Central Park, we stopped quickly at Starbucks to use their bathroom and leave without buying anything, we got on the D-Train that took us to the N-Train that took us to 14th Street/Union Square, and we walked south the three blocks to Webster Hall. There, we stood in line near the door, behind these really really REALLY drunken Slavic guys and their dates. How could we tell they were drunk? Well, the one guy in the green polo shirt had a ripped area near his left pectoral muscle thanks to being repeatedly tackled at the Underworld show - during the James Holden set - and kicked out twice. Once for being a drunken nuisance, once for sneaking back in after they kicked his ass out the first time. I thought for a minute that he'd be too drunk and obnoxious to be let into Webster Hall and wondered with Josh if this would be the third time he'd be kicked out of a place in the same day.

After like a fucking HOUR in line, waiting for the fuckheads to set things up, they started handing out wristbands to the growing mob: one that said we're 21, one that said we were okay to go inside. This was a coup for me because everywhere I looked, all I saw were guys in jeans and collared shirts and ladies in dresses and fabulous outfits. Fabulous. There I was, black t-shirt I got from the Bite of Seattle and the black shorts with the paint splatters. The riff raff had finally arrived. Of course, I felt so good about my big victory against proper attire laws, I almost didn't even care that much that everyone who was being let in practically had to strip down to their bare asses and take a rooting finger to the sphincter. I shit you not, in a tiny, cramped little hallway, with people trying to buy tickets from booths and people bitching about their tickets they bought online being no good and demanding repayment, we all squeezed together wondering why the two security people were making us take everything out of our pockets, unfold every piece of paper, and then patting us down like we're being cleared to go to prison. Buy me dinner first, please!

Once inside, Josh and I scoped out the dance area, looking for places to sit along the outskirts because neither of us are much on dancing. We're much on drinking and music, but not dancing. They didn't have any tables, which disappointed me, and they didn't have any cushy booth-like seats, which disappointed my sore buttocks. What they had were big wooden structures, about 4 feet up off the ground. So, we collected our spots at the left edge, next to this little raised up spot where people could dance and not be mobbed by the main dance crowd. Then, I proceeded to order Double Jack and Cokes the entire night, seeing as the place was sure to fill up and I didn't want to keep walking back to the bar every two minutes to renew my single-shot Jack & Coke. We were five Double Jack and Cokes into our evening before I realized that each one was costing me $20. After five, and the one vodka cranberry I bought for Julie, and after an $11 tip (because, seriously, I'm only tipping a buck a drink if it's gonna set me back that much), I was out $220. I should've known the drinks were gonna cost a bundle when the bartender said - upon hearing my request to start a tab - that their Bar Policy is to charge $150 up front, and then reimburse you the difference should you spend any less than that.

Oh, who's Julie you ask? She's just my new girlfriend, that's all! Actually, I'm lying, she's not anything, but I bet your heart just skipped a beat for a second there. Julie is this pretty little lady who actually reminds me of a friend of mine in the looks department. Anyway, as Josh and I were sitting on our wooden structure, she came right up to me - paint-spattered black shorts and all - and was kind of drunkenly dancing. Mind you, we're way off to the side, and at this point it's not yet crowded. Anyway, she said something to me and I couldn't hear because the music's so loud, so she leaned in and repeated her request (at this point, I was trying to keep my composure as her boobs comfortably rested on my left thigh as she leaned in). She wanted to know if I could watch her coat while she danced and I said Sure and she put it on the floor just next to this giant wooden structure I was sitting on. It was out of sight and in no danger of being stolen, but I told her I'd guard it with my life. Then, for a little bit there, she continued dancing in front of me and smiling the whole time.

This is uncharted territory for the Dude, you see. Girls don't approach me; they flee in terror. They hide cowering with their girlfriends and link arms with the next available guy who walks past. Surely they don't pick me to talk to unless they need me for something (such as watching a jacket), and SURELY they don't stick around for a bit, dancing and smiling in my general direction. So, simple minded me, I took this as an open invitation to make a move, as opposed to the standing open invitation from every other woman in the world to go Fuck Myself. And, as is customary with my style, I made a move. That should actually read: I sat there, smiled back at her, made sporadic eye contact, wishing that SHE'D make the first move (which, really, she kinda already did in her own way), and then I let her go off and dance away into the floor full of other dancers.

Yes, I was kicking myself. Yes, I was berating myself in my mind. No, I wasn't going to go after her. No, I was just going to sit there and continue swirling my half-full plastic cup of Double Jack & Coke.

Then, shock of shocks, she came back! Like, ten minutes later. Maybe twenty, I dunno, but she returned. She leaned in and yelled something into my ear (boobs on the lap once again), and then she continued dancing and smiling in my general direction. At this point, my mind was screaming


and still I sat, and still I smiled, and still I swirled. A couple of her friends happened by (she'd apparently, in her drunken state, lost track of the guy/girl pair) and off she went. My mind continued to scream


and for the longest five seconds of my life, I sat there on the edge of that wooden structure trying to will my dangling legs to the floor. I almost didn't. Talk about the hesitation of all hesitation shots; if this was basketball, I would've looked like a statue there behind the arc. The ball would be halfway down the other end of the court and I still would've been standing there facing my goal with nothing in my outstretched hands. But, I did. I tracked her down - about ten yards away - and asked if she'd like to dance. She said yes, then I asked what her name was. She said Julie, I said Steven, and we danced for ... about a minute. And then she made haste towards the front of the stage. I didn't receive that "Come on, follow me" glance over the shoulder, so I took that as a sign to sit my ass down on the giant wooden structure.

How should I take that? There could be any number of reasons explaining the behavior. She might have a boyfriend. She might not find me attractive enough to dance with. She might just be the kind of dancer who's always milling about the floor. She might be nuts. I'm telling you, there are reasons out there, I'm just dumbfuck blind to what they could possibly be.


I'm too sincere around girls. (I'll stop calling them "girls" when they stop calling us "boys"). If I had to best describe why I'm so inept around them, approaching them, talking to them, I'd have to say it's because I'm too sincere. Like, I can't seem to joke around or make fun of them - unless I'm around other guys who have this ability, and then I just pounce on whatever they have to say like an eager little fucking beaver. This is a huge problem for me because, if you discount the bullshit line they give you that looks aren't very important (I'll buy THAT for a dollar), then it ultimately DOES boil down to personality. And, I have no personality. I can't be funny around girls unless I'm being myself or unless I'm being self depricating (which kinda defeats the purpose, no?). Being myself doesn't work, because "Myself" includes all the warts of my warped sense of humor. My kinda humor revolves around the runny shits I had after White Castle, or the dozen or so times I Prison Masturbated in the top bunk while Nate was fast asleep on the bottom bunk Sophomore Year in college in the dorms, or dead babies dead babies dead babies penis vagina penis vagina HEY NOW!

So I have to be guarded. Guarded and sincere. I'm guarded and I'm too sincere around all girls I want to have sex with (so, if you're in that special minority where I'm not too afraid to say Penis Vagina within the reach of your hearing ... well, I probably wouldn't throw you out of bed either. Let's back slowly away from this topic ...).

You take away my arsenal of dirty humor, then all that's left are the pop culture references I've accumulated across a lifetime of sitting on my fat ass watching television (there's that self-depricating bit again). But, I can't count on some chick I just met in a bar understanding where I'm coming from when I say, "I'm your huckleberry." In fact, the thought of saying, "I'm your huckleberry" never even crosses my mind because usually all I'm thinking is:

God damn it, don't screw this up. Don't make a fool of yourself. Gotta say something. Go talk to her. Just say anything; anything that pops into your head! Anything? Anything? OK, just go over there and say, "Hi." Shit, I can't believe I just said, "Hi," what the fuck's the matter with me? Say something else. Say something interesting. Say something funny! No, not that Hooker/Onion joke again, dammit say something genuine. Don't be corny, please God don't be corny! Fuck it, you're always corny! Man, this music's really loud. Not that it matters; it could be stone silent and I still wouldn't have anything to say. My mind is a gelatinous block of refried shit-for-brains. OK, quietly sit back down and order another drink. Drink yourself into being funny, or just fucking drink yourself into a giant stupor. A giant stumbling drunkenness; maybe then the personality will become more appealing.

But, it never does. It doesn't matter how drunk I get, I could count on two hands the number of Double Jack & Cokes I've drank and still felt stone cold sober. When I'm in the mode of, "I gotta get out there and meet women. I gotta get out there and get my dick wet. I gotta get out there and disappoint in bed," - which, I'll admit, isn't as often as most Pussy Starving men - I become the frustratingly mundane Quiet Drunk. And, if it gets to the point where she wants to talk to me for an extended period of time, then I run out of shit to say pretty fucking quick because it's hard to sugarcoat my life. I'm a temp. I came from Seattle (Tacoma actually, it's just south of Seattle). I went to the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in English. Creative writing; yeah, I want to be a writer. No, I haven't really been published in anything ... a couple of small-time literary journals. Well, I guess more than anything I want to be a novelist, or a sports writer, but really at this point I'd take any kind of writing job that comes to mind. Yep. Yep. Want another drink?

Going back into that whole sincerity angle, that therefore means that I'm unable to lie. Would I LIKE to lie? Sure, if it helped me seal the deal. Would I like MYSELF if I did so ... probably not, but that stinging blow to my self esteem would be salved should I achieve post-coital bliss. Anyway, it doesn't matter, because I can't lie around girls. I can lie to myself and think that maybe I have a shot; I can withhold the fact that I'm enamored with someone for an excruciatingly long time without ever uttering a single word on the topic anywhere within their hearing; but I can't straight lie to them.

And it doesn't help when people tell me, "Oh just be yourself." Believe me, I'd like to, but I can't. My body physically shuts down and I'm left on Safe Mode. Just the basic functions to get me through any social situation - occasional eye contact, speak when spoken to, simple sentences, goofy ass motherfucking grin on my face at all times. It's like trying to pee in front of a crowd of people all with their eyes on your johnson, no matter how close your bladder is to exploding, your penis just won't cooporate. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to say to myself, "Fuck it," and go up to a girl and say Penis Vagina Penis Vagina and she'll laugh and know exactly what TV show that line's from and we'll go off and hump for a few hours, but until then I'm stuck in this constant limbo of not knowing what in the fuck to do with myself around the female population.


Getting back from that little diversion into my personality, I'm once again relegated to the giant wooden structure on the side of the dance club with the DJ spinning the fatass tunes. I've peed a couple few times, I've gone back to the bar two more times for our drinks (we're up to three at this point, but it's time to start slowing down because Josh and I haven't eaten since those club sandwiches at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and it's 12 hours later practically and we're REALLY starting to feel the groove of all this Jack Daniels), and there she is, shimmying her way back into my life. Little blonde-haired Julie with the smile and the boobs. She stands on that little platform next to the giant wooden structure, puts her arm around me and I tell her that her jacket is safe and sound. She asks me what I'm drinking and I say Double Jack & Coke and she winces but asks to try it anyway. Julie doesn't like whiskey, she's a Vodka Girl. I ask her if she'd like a drink and she looks kinda embarassed, like that's not REALLY why she's here, she's just being friendly. Obviously, she doesn't want me to think that by this little gesture, she's obligated to stick around, but what she doesn't realize is that I could care less. See, I too am just being friendly, and I like seeing people drunk and happy and dancing, so without waiting around I go and get the vodka cranberry she says she wouldn't throw out of bed. When I get back - after having received a questioning look from the bartender who's only seen me order Double Jack and Cokes; to which I reply, "It's not for me," with a wry smile - Julie is much appreciative. She bear hugs me and plants a sloppy one on my cheek. A little more dancing, and then she's off again into the crowd.

Around 4am, the party's still goin' because my mama ain't home. The next DJ gets on the stage after the first one did a marathon 4-hour set. The second guy says, "We're gonna be going until 10am tonight!" and I'm thinking how amazing it's going to be to stagger out of Webster Hall and see the sun. I couldn't be more thrilled with this prospect, but there's one thing I didn't account for: my brother's empty stomach getting the better of him. See, after our third Jack and Coke, I knew we should take it easy. Maybe just one an hour. But, I'm drunk and impatient and I'm not NEARLY as hammered as my brother - who's whooping and hollering and screaming and taking pictures with his camera phone of EVERYTHING that walks by and texting the hell out of my phone even though I'm sitting right next to him - so when I tell Josh I'll get us more drinks in a half hour, it really means I'll look at the time on my phone fifteen minutes later and say, "Good enough." We've made it through five of those hummers and Josh is spent. He NEEDS to go home, right now! It's 4:30 or 5am (depending on who you ask) and I reluctantly lead my brother down the stairs and out the doors of Webster Hall at least 5 hours before I would've liked.

Right away, I know we need pizza in our bodies. We scarf down two slices apiece like we're starving African children and then we go around the corner to the Union Square subway terminal. It's a nominal wait for the N-Train (for Saturday morning, 5:30am or so, a half hour wait ain't bad) and my brother is passing out in his seat. His seat faces me and mine faces the other wall, so when he leans his head forward on my shoulder, I do my damnedest to keep my body steady so he won't wake up until I want him to. Somehow, I wake him up and practically drag his ass down the street; he collapses into the cot and immediately passes out. I take care of some business on the computer for a minute, then follow his lead, with a pile of clothes as a pillow and a poncho as a blanket. The fan is buzz buzz buzzing and the window is letting in the cooling night air of transitional autumn.

I fall asleep wondering what might've happened if I were to have stayed. Did Julie hook up with somebody else? If she ever returned for her coat, might I have received some tongue action? Hey, a guy can dream, can't he? He pretty much has to, when he acts as he does around girls like I do.
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Thursday, or, All I Thought It Would Be And Less

Almost forgot that we did the Natural History Museum on this day. Yeah, that was first ups. Oh, and the life-sized Blue Whale in the Oceanography section ... fucking brilliant. I can't believe Kon and I missed that!

Saw the same shit I saw before for the most part, though. Definitely not as many funny pictures as before, but that's to be expected. We did check out the meteorites and the rest of the animals and native peoples and all that. Those fuckers started charging extra for the space exhibit, so we missed that. Plus, there was some Mythical Creatures exhibit that we passed on as well.

Even though he'd spent a king's ransom at Abercrombie on Tuesday, Josh still needed new shoes and some fresh techno music. After trying and failing for the better part of the week as we wandered up and down Manhattan's mid-town and downtown to find either a quality cd store OR a quality pair of shoes, we decided to sell out and hit up the Virgin Music Store and the accompanying Shoe Mania store across the street. I wandered up and down the aisles in Virgin looking but not touching. I think I have some good ideas on shit I'd like to download though. Josh, in the meantime, dropped another massive amount of cashola but it sounds like he got some good shit.

I wanted to go to an actual sit-down restaurant today because for the most part we've gone the fast food route, either Subway or Pizza or the like. So, I took us down 19th street, moving west, and we happened upon this hole in the wall Italian restaurant. They served hard rolls with this weird limey oil that was all right because I was starving, but it quickly sickened me like no other. Pasta was good, nothing spectacular; when we were outside the restaurant reading the demo menu, I liked the cut of their sandwiches, but when we got inside it was dinner time and no sandwiches existed.

Then, we finally made it. The Empire State Building! At long last. Earlier in the week we'd harbored ideas of going really super late (because it's open until 2am every day), but after dinner we thought it'd be cool to catch the sunset. And, surely since it was a weekday, there wouldn't be the usual mob of people waiting to get to the roof.

You see what I did there, I set it up with a false assumption, so now when I tell you how long it took for us during this whole ordeal, you'll be like, "Wow, there actually WAS a mob of people there on a Thursday in September; golly gee whiz I sure was fooled."

I've seen it so bad there's a line of people out the building. Now that I know what it's like, I can't believe anybody would stand for that long; it's not like you're waiting to see the Pope's body or something. You go inside the first floor and you wait a bit. Then, they let you through and you walk down these hallways. Then you hit a line. This line ushers people into the elevators - yes, like cattle, very good descriptive choice there - and you're guided to the 80th floor. And from there, it's like a fucking ride line at fucking Disneyland. Only, instead of the anticipation of fun and exhilarating thrills, you feel like you're being led to the gas chambers. So, this took about an hour or more, completely wiping away our sunset chances. To pass the time, we played inane games of Hangman and bitched about how long it was taking. Around and around a myriad of turns until finally you round the corner into this other big room ... and therein lies another myriad. Fuck me. You buy the tickets - somewhere in the realm of $30-$40 apiece to see both the 86th and the 102nd floors - and then you're ushered into the next set of lines and the next row of elevators. Lines: security. Elevators: the final six floors. Only, fuck that, Josh and I did the walk up those last six floors - which kinda felt like 86 by the time we got there, but that's smoking for you.

Hooray! I feel like I'm in Sleepless In Seattle ... only it's packed to the fucking gills and has the feel of a subway in rush hour. We did our circle around - without the audio accompaniment from Tony The Cabbie that we could've purchased for an ADDITIONAL $12 ... but he's comical to people of all ages! - and we decided to head upward. On 102, there was considerably fewer people. Apparently, there isn't quite the same draw to be in a dark, smelly, sticky room with smudgy glass separating you from the fresh New York air. But, at least we had elbow room.

More lines to get into the elevator to get back down, and finally, about a million hours after we started, we were out of there. And we shall never speak of this horrific tragedy ever, ever again.

The night ended with lots and lots of beer, because it wouldn't make us as sick as the Jack & Cokes, because it was cheaper, because it goes great with drinking games and watching Tombstone, and because we didn't drink last night. Plus, it's always fun to be on the verge of puking when you're out in Central Park watching a concert.
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Wednesday, or, I Can Finally Say I've Puked On Liberty Island

Hungover. Yes, considerably. That's what happens when you hardcore binge drink four out of five days in a row. You get a hangover. Not getting much of any sleep helps. Helps quite a bit, actually.

But, we had to get out there. There was touristy shit to finish. Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, World Trade Center crash site. I didn't really feel like going to the former WTC on Tuesday the 11th because I really didn't feel like listening to Giuliani continue to milk a national tragedy just to get elected president. By the way, do you know how much he was at Ground Zero after the 17th of September, 2001? 29 hours. Do you know how many hours he was at Yankee Stadium watching baseball games since then? 58 hours. Just a great, courageous human being. I'm surprised he doesn't get lost around Wall Street.

So we went today, but first, the islands. Again, they were pretty much the same as before when Kon and I went, only the cafeteria on Liberty Island is a lot more fancy; and the seating was open on the top deck of the ferry. Oh, and it wasn't 10 degrees outside. Yeah, almost forgot. It's always cool to visit - especially Ellis Island - because there's so much to see. We didn't get a voucher to go into the statue, but really, when you can't even go up to the feet, what's the point? I tried to save us more time for Ellis Island, but since I was so fucking nauseated, I delayed our initial ferry voyage.

Yes, I puked in the bathroom on Liberty Island. It was mostly red Vitamin Water - which I hear that portions of every bottle I buy goes into 50 Cent's pocket, so I may have to switch vitamin drinks. But that didn't stop us from circling the island and catching the very next ferry to Ellis Island.

There, we pretty much went straight upstairs; we saw how the new immigrants lived, how they were cared for, where they slept. We checked out the walls of pictures ranging from dingy foreigners to anti-immigration propaganda. We went to the third floor briefly to see whatever there was to see - which apparently didn't phase me too much, otherwise I might've bothered to remember more - and we had just enough time to do a half-loop outside by the wall of names before catching the second to last ferry of the day. There was no way we could wait for the 6:30pm boat when there was one at 5:45.

That's because Emily and Jenny invited us to their apartment for a dinner. Let me say: we never ate as well before or since on this trip. She made pasta and salad and there was bread and pie and conversation - albeit struggling, hungover conversation on my part. I felt bad about eating and running like we did, but Josh had online homework to tend to and I was really dreading the hourlong subway ride back home.

Nevertheless, there was one question in particular that struck a chord with me. As Emily was preparing the meal and we were haggardly sitting in our chairs across from each other (with Jenny on the sofa to my left, his right), she asked, "So, are you guys arguing yet?"

It's a good question. Siblings tend to argue. They can get on each other's nerves, and since there's that familiarity with growing up in the same household for so many years, that familiarity breeds a certain kind of informality within a sibling relationship where respect for one's feelings tends to dissolve completely away. They're family, they're always going to be family, so the occasional snarky comment will be unleashed at any moment because they're always gonna be there. That's how it works.

But, we really haven't argued, not since I went away to college. It's my opinion that an alien race descended upon my dorm and implanted a pod into my brain that will end up hatching any day now, thereby causing the end of civilization as we know it. How else do you explain the fact that I've calmed down as much as I have from the angst-ridden teenager I was? Maybe it was making friends with girls instead of hiding from them. Maybe I just realized it's not worth it to get bent out of shape over shit that doesn't really matter anyway. Shit that'll be forgotten before you know it. Dwelling on things or people that piss you off will only give you ulcers; and with all that I do to my body as it is, taking further years from my life due to being an angry sonofabitch is probably not the best idea.

So no, we didn't argue. And we didn't argue the rest of the trip. And we probably won't argue much ever again. Shit like that does happen.
  • Current Music
    Antennas to Heaven

Tuesday, or, ANFNY

Being unattractive has its advantages: you don't have to spend a fuckload on clothes you don't much need anyway. Of course, there's the school of thought that the unattractive people should spend even MORE, to compensate for their disadvantages elsewhere. But, that ain't me, babe.

ANFNY stands for Abercrombie & Fitch, New York. That's where we went on the tail end of our day today, for Josh needed clothes that fit - small, 30-waist small - because he only brought a couple outfits from home.

ANFNY has four floors of beautiful people shopping for beautifully ravaged clothes. Paying for pre-trashed jeans and shirts with frayed lettering really makes me weep for the direction our nation is heading. I'm pretty sure I showed up unshaven, unshowered, in shorts and a t-shirt, looking like a huge slob, and not giving two shits either way. I kept waiting for secret police to quietly tap me on the shoulder and carry me out of their establishment kicking and screaming. I'm pretty sure nothing there would've fit me properly - because nothing ever does, no matter what I'm tipping the scales at, I've got that George Costanza body - and even if it had, there's no way I could've afforded it. I'm also pretty sure my being there constitutes some kind of Sexual Harassment violation - what with all the beautiful people being forced into a close proximity to yours truly - so I'll be expecting a fine in the mail any day now.

Tuesday, bloody Tuesday, was a bloodly long day of shopping. Which, for me, it meant walking around Manhattan looking at all the clothes I'd never want to buy because I could find something I really actually like at a thrift store. We DID catch this cool used T-Shirt place. They had this one of Ozzy Osbourne from the early 80s that would've killed. I'm gonna go back there once I get some money.

I think there was a Banana Republic in there, and a Gap across the street. I dunno, it was a long day and I didn't buy anything, but Josh was pretty pleased with his purchases. He also got souveniers this day too, so there you go.

When we got back, we hit the Internet hard looking for bars to go to that might play some techno music. In the Lower East Side there were a couple we hit up; neither had techno, but the music was OK and the Jack and Cokes were excellent, and at Dalia they had an outdoor area for smoking. Inside Dalia, there's this cool, dark motif going, with furniture everywhere. It was pretty dead, but that suited me right down to the ground. Tribe - the second place we hit - had a DJ spinning music that varied, but I guess was mostly rock based stuff. It was really tiny, but there weren't that many people there so it was cool.

Pizza finished our day.
  • Current Music

Sunday & Monday, or, Beer No Beer

It's so nice to be able to wake up at 1pm, roll out of bed, and still know I have three more hours before the Seahawks start.

That's pretty much what we did on Sunday, and that was crucial to our being able to take down an afternoon's worth of beers as the Seahawks took it hard to Tampa Bay. Had the steak sandwich with onions, he had the cheese sticks, and we both had maybe five beers or so. And the bartender, who remembers me from all my time spent there last season, was genuinely pleased to see me. She gave us both a free shot considering this was Josh's first trip to New York and all. I like to think I'm the reason he wasn't hassled because all he had for an ID was his crumpled paper Driver's License copy - the bartender took one look, saw he was with me, and waved the waitress back saying it's OK.

We capped off what was a picture perfect start to the week by seeing a movie in Times Square after the game, then had White Castle and finally drank more beers at home.

First, the movie: Shoot 'Em Up. Flick is exactly like it sounds; it's so completely over the top with the almost cartoon-like scenarios, that I absolutely adored it from start to finish. I mean, it had the cheesy one-liners (as he shoves a raw carrot through some dude's mouth, he says, "Eat your vegetables"), it had a mid-air shoot-out as he and a bunch of bad guys jumped from an airplane, it had him having sex with the super hot Eastern European, then being bombarded by more bad guys barging in, and him CONTINUING to have sex as he shot and killed every single one of them (followed by some clever one-liner I've since forgotten). I mean, this movie had everything imaginable and most things unimaginable. Josh didn't really buy into it as much as I did; it's no Smokin' Aces, but it was still damned entertaining.

After the movie - where I ate nothing - I was starving. So, I ushered us down to 8th Ave for some White Castle hamburgers. I got my customary 10 and he got a sampling: 1 cheeseburger, 1 jalapeno cheeseburger, 1 order of chicken rings, 1 order of cheese sticks. The chicken rings were kinda bland, the cheese sticks were good, and the burgers he got eventually made him sick to his stomach. That's White Castle for you, right before they induce runny stool.

We capped off the night with more drinking games, more movies, and more beer. Which led to my Monday afternoon stumbling around Manhattan looking for non-existent CD stores we found online the night before.

Many a sit break was required and in the end, we never did get any CDs. I think one turned into a nail salon, another turned into a different nail salon. Lots of nail salons here. I'm pretty sure Monday was a throwaway day, because I can't remember a single eventful thing we did - other than my getting an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins.

No beer for me this night.
  • Current Music
    Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls

Saturday 1, or, Playing Possum in Club Midway

We met Emily for Dim Some at 2pm in Chinatown. On the way, Josh and I walked around Canal street, mobbing our way through the masses. Then, we got there and were forced to wait for Emily as delicious food rode by on carts all around us just begging to be eaten by two starving individuals. It was good shit, we tried a lot of weird creations.

After walking around some more, we left Emily at a subway stop and made to do some more window shopping. We walked up and down 5th Avenue and Broadway, hitting as many stores as caught Josh's fancy. The bulk of this trip was spent at Macy's, with 8 floors full of clothing. This was the most walking we did on the trip, and in New York you can't help but do a lot of walking, so that says a lot. From Chinatown to Times Square and all around between the avenues.

Then we went home and tried to track down some live techno music. We happened upon Club Midway in the Lower East Side, where there was three DJs spinning from Midnight to whenever. I guess we'll never really know, because I ended up passing out between the first and second hour. Fuck me.

See, we wanted to get there early so we could stake out a table or seating somewhere. So, we got there promptly at 11pm - an hour before the DJs were to start. Walked downstairs to the main music area, and the girl at the door said to come back at midnight; there were other bands playing then. That's when I started a tab upstairs and got each of us somewhere between 5 and 7 Jack and Cokes. Then we went downstairs and I had three more during the show. After that, I was a drowsy motherfucker; Josh poked me in the arm and said we should go home, so I obliged.

But, not before some late night pizza. Oh yes, pizza would definitely be the theme food of choice on this trip.
  • Current Music
    Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls

Friday 1, or, My Brother's New York Vacation Spectacular

Before we get started, there's something you have to understand: all this shit happened so long ago, the further back in time I try to remember, the fuzzier and more incomplete it's going to be.

Secondly, my brother and I really like to get drunk and watch movies (preferably a select few of the same movies we see everytime we're together) and then quote the lines from those movies. This week, we would do that pretty much all day every day. Lucky for us we never got to Napoleon Dynamite or my head might've exploded.

As it stands, here's a list of some of the most oft-quoted quotes:

Come on Pookie, let's burn this mothafucka down! - Burger Shack Employee (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle)
This your bush? - creepy peeing guy played by Jamie Kennedy; we would go on to mime his face all week in pictures as well (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle)
I'm your huckleberry - Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
Ooops - Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
If I thought you weren't my friend, why I don't think I could bare it - Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
You're no daisy! You're no daisy at all! - Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
Forgive me if I don't shake hands - Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
Don't let 'em get you brother. You're the one - Morgan Earp (Tombstone)
No! No! No! - Wyatt Earp (Tombstone)
Skin that smoke wagon - Wyatt Earp (Tombstone)
Law don't go 'round here, Kansas Law Dog - Ike (Tombstone)
Shut up, Ike - Curly Bill (Tombstone)
Frederick Fucking Chopin - Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
Unce unce unce unce unce - Cyanide & Happiness comic strip on my desktop
Jackson! - Ray Jackson (Bloodsport)
Hot stuff, comin' thru - gay steel worker (The Simpsons)
Jesus Christ - Mr. Slave (South Park)
You're ... you're drunk / Gimme the keys! - Stewie and Brian (Family Guy Movie)
I Am The Walrus - Donnie (The Big Lebowski)
Woo! I'm throwin' rocks tonight; you guys are dead in the water - Donnie (The Big Lebowski)
Jim Tobleson's a fucking Chatty Cathy - Landfill (Beerfest)

You think you can withstand hanging out with the Taylor men for an extended period of time? Be ready for drunkenly jabbering these same lines from movies and shows - in corresponding voices - all the TIME.

Without further ado, Josh arrived Friday sometime after 5pm and I met him at the airport. We took a crowded bus to the train station, subwayed it home from there, went shopping for groceries (beer and frozen pizza) and proceeded to watch a movie and drink some beer. Low key first night since he'd just finished a long day of flights and layovers.
  • Current Music
Don't Hassle the Hoff

My Underworld Revelation

There's a quote from Seinfeld that could apply to pretty much any situation in life. One such quote I'm thinking about right now is during an episode where Elaine is contemplating marriage and Jerry asks her, "Are you sure you want to get married? I mean, it's a big change of life."

Elaine retorts, inside their dingy confines, "Jerry, it's 3 a.m. and I'm at a cock fight. What am I clinging to?"

Another show that tries to deconstruct the meaning of life, in a more serious manner, would be Rescue Me. In the 4th season finale, Lou gives a somewhat poignant speech on how life is like baseball, which goes a little something like this:

I mean everybody says that life is too short, bullshit. Life, unless you get cancer or hit by a bus or set on fire, takes forever, just like baseball. Its a series of long, mind-bogglingly boring stretches of time where absolutely nothing happens. So, you take a nap and then after a little while when that crisp crack of the bat hitting the ball - so crisp you could almost smell that wood burning - jolts you awake and you open your eyes to see something so exciting and intricate and possibly very very meaningful that's just happened ... but you missed it 'cause you were just so goddamn bored in the first place. Well you know, a couple of hot dogs, throw in some beers, the occasional blowjob and that's that.

I'm ... however old I am now. 26, I guess. I'll be 27 six months from now. I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going in this life, but I'm also still having a miserable go of things.

I don't think this New York experiment was ill-advised. I also don't think it was me running away from whatever problems I thought existed. More than anything, I think it was a desperate act made by a man so bored with life that he'd jump at the first available option that fell into his lap. I was only half-looking for a big move to New York City, and as we all know when I put half my ass into something, generally it doesn't get done. The reasons I gave for moving away and the real reasons I did so are two and the different. I said it'd be for my writing career. Really it was for my own selfish reasons. It was a way to get the spotlight focused on me in a positive way, instead of being that schlub who's working the corporate gig, living with his roommate and his roommate's girlfriend. I was too dependent upon my social network and not self-sufficient enough to be able to live alone. To do my own thing. I felt friendships growing apart and instead of risking their utter demise, I cut and ran. I severed the ties thereby putting any estrangement squarely upon my shoulders, instead of the other way around.

Here's what I realized while I was sitting on that cold, hard metal bleacher seat in the afterglow of a sunset in Central Park during the Underworld concert: listening to techno music gives you nothing but opportunity to sit and think about life.

I think that's why my brother likes it so much; because you don't really have to pay attention to the words, they're always secondary to the beats. Ergo, you're free to let your mind wander, and when your life is as hectic and drama-filled as his, you need a couple hours every now and then to sit and contemplate things with a few beers and no distractions.

I was there for four solid hours while music was blasting away; I had a lot of time to sit and think about my own life. First thing's first: nothing will EVER top this week I had in New York with my brother. Sure, there have been weekends - when Kon visited and Donald stopped in - and there are those precious moments I shared with my roommates on Halsey Street. As a whole, this 16-month trip to New York (not counting the 5-6 weeks of vacation) will forever imprint its impact into my personality.

One thing it's taught me is that life is short AND takes forever. I've been a "New Yorker" for a year now and it seems like at the most it's been 6 months. Then again, that's because the first half flew by like a week because I was having so much fun with my new roommates, and this second half has dragged on like 10,000 years thanks to pretty much living alone, staring at this computer screen with every waking free moment because I'm so God foresaken lonely it's all I can do to have SOMETHING talking at me.

Our time is finite, it could go on for another fifty years or it could end for me tomorrow in my sleep. What am I still doing here? That's really what I have to ask myself. What am I still doing here, if I'm sitting on a matress on a floor in a basement apartment with weird million-legged bugs running around watching television on my computer all day and all night? I could easily be doing this at home, where I've got family and friends I'd actually like to have IN my life.

At this point, since I'm still not doing anything with my life, I'm still here because of pride. Because I want to make a losing hand win even though I'm out of chips and the rest of the table has already called. There's no bluffing my way out of this. I've gotten everything I could possibily imagine out of New York, culturally. I've experienced more in a year than I've probably experienced in 25 in Seattle. But, there's really nothing left here for me. I'm plowing into solid stone, it's time to lift the blade and pick up where I left off on the more fertile ground.

What I need are life goals. I need to start living my ambition instead of nestling it, tucked away in the dark recesses of Internetland. I need to stop talking about being a writer and get actively involved in pursuing those goals. I need to do whatever it takes to make this a reality or I need to fucking die trying.

But, I also need humanity. I need my friends and my family there for support. I need to stop missing out on some golden years of my life because I'm too afraid of people moving away from me. Now that I've done it, I know how much it sucks, but how much it's also necessary for some people.

And, I've honestly thought about the emotional impact that beset me during my brother's stay. How much I've missed hanging out with him like this. How, in a couple days, he'd be flying home and I wouldn't see him again until Christmas. This is more than that initial longing from having a familiar face come and go in an instant. This is me assessing my life and seeing what's wrong and executing a solution in a timely manner.

So, I'm flying one-way home to Seattle for Christmas. Once there, on the day or the Eve, I'm gonna break the news as a surprise to everyone in my family. I won't be going back to New York City. I'll have my shit en route via UPS or something, the rest of my crap will be thrown out, and it'll go down as a joyous event for all.
  • Current Music
    Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have (remix)