Archive for October 2007

No 1 Can hear U Singing in D Rain   1 comment

Its raining and I feel like singing.

Its Friday, and so far I’ve shared the company of three women under three umbrellas. I wouldn’t say this is a great feat, but it beats walking with my own umbrella by my lonesome. On rainy days I don’t like to stay indooors. The columns of rain droplets peeing on the land always makes me want to walk around and look at puddles, wet dogs and soggy pieces of newspaper. As I write this, I am sadly not in the rain.

I’m in a computer lab sitting across from a guy who I think had a brief hookup with a girl I once dated. I find this interesting, simply because he probably has no idea if I hooked up with the girl he once hooked up with (though he did give me a lingering eye). Nonetheless, it is raining outside.

Lately my impetus to write has been mixed between my impetus to go out and socially interact. (yes, I said “impetus” twice in one sentence…I should be put on the Writers’ Guild guillotine ASAP).

My last outing was over the weekend, the amazing Homecoming weekend. I’m calling it amazing because this particular weekend was great, because I spent it in the company of five people. Myself, my cousin, his friend, my other friend and my alter-ego, who I have dubbed “Vinton.”
My alter-ego is that side of me that wears his hair mangly and half braided, who sneers at women and cheers guys on the more they look at women’s asses. Vinton is the kind of guy you wouldn’t invite to choir practice, a job fair at school, or a wet t-shirt contest.

Luckily Vinton doesn’t appear as my alter ego through any phsyical changes within me. He is merely a voice, that gives credence to his existence. Say for example, myself and my cousin and his friend are walking down the road.
“Yes,” my cousin says about a girl named Alice. “Alice is a good girl.”
After a brief pause, Vinton would say in a hushed and scraggly voice.
Good gyal? You mean she can get some good wuk.”

(do I have to explain what “wuk” means?” )

Vinton’s occassional appearance is good for a quick laugh or a skewed observation on a hot issue. All in all the weekend was pretty interesting. At homecoming events clubs hustle. I don’t like knowing that last week I paid 5 bucks to get into a club that sold 3 dollar rails, and homecoming weekend it costs 25 (before 10 p.m) and drinks cost 8 dollars each. Things like that make me want to slap a bouncer in the face … but I like my teeth.

There were moments I enjoyed during the weekend–dancing in the middle of a group while I was cheered on for my dancing among my favourite–but it was the company I enjoyed the most. Sometimes a guy needs to be a guy around other guys, for that explicit purpose. (I’m sure Vinton would say:” Guy? You need man in you life? ” )

That was a guy’s weekend. I didn’t even make any attempts to meet new women or do the usual drinkup to the point of floating on air. I just had fun.

Today was diferent. Its raining in DC, and I feel like its a sunny day.

I’m bored and I decide to head to Filene’s Basement to get some new jeans. I have lunch with a cute lacrosse player and we hop on the shuttle. She is going shopping for shoes.

After a thrilling conversation and a short metro ride later, I found myself at Border’s near Farragut North. It was raining so hard outside of the metro station, only the large white letters of “Borders” was visible through the deluge. I didn’t even remember what direction Filene’s was in. My new pair of jeans would have to wait for another day to be tried on and purchased. I hobble through the rain, making sure to look expectantly at any cute women walking with large umbrellas, but I find no saviour on this Friday. I’m glad the walk is only one block. I walk through the store, wincing a little bit inside because this store has a potent memory in it for me. My ex-girlfriend and I argued inside and outside of the store for almost an entire hour about whether or not Alligators had tongues. As it stands, they do NOT have tongues… but that is a moot point. (I think crocs have tongues, or vice versa…you get the idea ).

I’m in the sexuality section and I grin to myself because a book about “Race, Image and Citzenship” is between the “Licoln Boys Club” (gay erotica ) and “Omnivore’s World” (general health).I like seeing people read 35 dollar books for free. Everyone is quiet and soaking up their free literature. I almost step on two girls drinking coffee in the Self-help aisle. I’m slightly tempted to speak to one of them, a cute brunette wearing a horrible-looking red jersey, but they leave twenty seconds after I pass them. Border’s isn’t that cold, but I’m freezing because I walked into the place soaked. I head into the Border’s cafe and sit and write a few stanzas for a song I made up while walking. (Therefore, I DID sing in the rain). After I peruse the formidable selection of mindless literature they have, I head outside and stare at the falling rain. It is captivating and hypnotic, being shrouded in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a city, slowly being drenched with fat droplets falling from the sky. I am one of the only persons without an umbrella on the street side, looking like a bull in a big… freaking china shop. After a while, I give in and walk towards the metro station as it pours, feeling the droplets hit my head, skitter through my hair and travel down the slope of my nose. Its wet and it feels good.

Potent memories of ex’s and arguments about bogus topics aside, its good to be alive. Its good to be aware of the rain hitting my face, and feeling my body shudder occassionally. I’m thrilled by the prospect of reading, engaging and interacting. The gray sky no longer looks portentious and intimidating. The sky, like the buildings and people around me, is merely an extension of my reality. I can choose how I perceive it, among many other things.

I shudder once more, and wonder to myself if I should get an umbrella. I would certainly keep my head under something protective. “Nah…” Vinton starts to say, “What you mean unda? Bad man don’t go “unda” anything…just pon top a gyal!”

Posted October 27, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Baby Blocking is Unethical   Leave a comment

Its one of those days again.

I’m on the metro heading towards Farragut North, i’m standing akimbo in a train moving at probably seventy miles an hour, testing fate. Okay, i’m not standing Akimbo, but I am look through the lenses of the train (otherwise called Windows) and I’m wondering why I’m even on the metro so early the in week. To me the metro is a sacred place, relegated for Friday, Saturday and MAYBE Sunday usage. During the week, it is not to bee seen or touched.

While i’m bustling about in the thick crowd in the Chinatown station, I’m running towards the train and a man with his infant child in a very cheap looking baby carriage veers in front of me, even though he saw me coming. “Ouch.” I said to myself.”The baby block.” Now, the ‘baby block’ isn’t nearly as bad as the Jesus Cock Block, but its oddly familiar. The Jesus cock block was weird and downright strange in how it happened, but this, this was unethical. It is not fair for a man who has lived life, had sex (i’m assuming this and also assuming the child was his) to put this fragile, thirty something pound baby in the way of a semi-tallish guy who weights 175 pounds. It is unethical to assume that I even care about babies and that I would stop before I slam into the side of the pram, sending pacifiers and baby limbs flying asunder.

Luckily for the man, I pause my sprint and and allow him to go past me. He hurries along, blocking at least two more people before the tell tale sound everyone hears before “Doors Closing” chimes through hidden speakers in the Metro train. I’m glad that I stopped, because I really didn’t want to have to explain to Metro Police why I sent a helpless child flying ten feet after his father was walking with him in a “calm, cool and collected manner” towards the train. I know it wasn’t like that, but naturally that’s what any protestant (and unethical father) would no doubt say to the police while they glare upon me with contempt. There are many other kinds of Baby phenomena i’ve witnessed, two of my favourites being the “traffic block” and “baby angst”.
The traffic block happens when the unethical parent doesn’t just assume the casual passerby is acutely aware of their baby’s existence and are therefore in awe of the small life form, the parent assumes that HUMANITY itself has a vested interested in her 9 month project. At this junction, a parent will merely stroll onto a street of busy traffic, red, amber or green light and smile at the ensuing chaos as individuals maim, injure and kill themselves to save the anonymous child. I’ve seen this happen several times and it always baffles me how condifently these parents stare at the face of death on these roadways, when the face of life is staring back at them, blinking and unable to speak without the use of “goo” or “ga”.

Baby angst is the reverse of this situation, where a woman or man assumes that everyone knows what a daunting task parenting is and are therefore believes it is okay for everyone to be privy to their bouts of annoyance in any situation. “Since I had my son, ” a man might say. “I’ve had no time to myself!” Then he would probably attempt to slap me and then apologize for his “baby-induced” anger, or “babe-rage”. Whatever the case, I tend to avoid pregnant or baby-carrying women who work in restaurants or public places because should they give me bad service, an odd look or a feral growl of dissent when I ask for that second glass of water, it is simply “understood” that I cannot say anything becase it is due to Baby angst.

Alas, I digress.

Posted October 18, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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Cloud Nine – Writing competition Entry   2 comments

I have a lot to write about, the last few days have been pretty crazy. Not only did I meet four girls in one night who all work to save the environment, flew to four states in less than 24 hours, but I saw a friend of my proclaim “Yay! White people” when Tupac was playing at a bar I went to recently. I also met a nymphomaniac cab driver. I’ll blog about those things pretty soon. I’m posting a story i’m entering in a writing competition.  A very quick read. Ciao.



Cloud Nine


Nights like these, Vince thought, made cold people wrap their arms tightly around one another while bustling to some destination. Nights like these the sky is streaked with grey clouds that turn into a brooding, black coat. This was the night he smelled Michiko’s hair. He was by himself—an amazing feat considering he hated being alone—and always felt the need to express himself through people he knew. He went to a popular bar, called Cloud Nine which had great Wednesday night happy hour cuisine. It was in this place, eating a Caesar salad, he saw Michiko. She walked in, a bundle of foreign expression, an externality of the rawness of Japan’s populace and fashion sense. She wore a shiny gray jacket adorned with large yellow buttons on the shoulders, a thin yet form fitting black vintage tee-shirt and a chocolate brown skirt complimented by long Cat-in-the-Hat looking socks which seemed fit for any number of Rugby teams. Vince was in mid-bite when she walked in. She looked perturbed, lost in another country, or searching for something. Her eyes were dark and mysterious. Even her hair, a large bob of luxuriant styling courtesy of some uber-expensive Tokyo fashion shop, stood out. As Vince stared at her, she glanced at him and held his gaze. He coughed briefly, turning his eyes, and finished biting into his salad. After a few more chews, he glanced through the corner of his eye in her direction. She was at the bar, standing by herself.


Something inside him stirred in a way that it had never done so before. Maybe it was her striking contrast to everyone else, or maybe it was her foreign touch, that spark of Tokyo-pop and extreme fashion that tickled his relatively conservative sensibilities. Whatever it was, it gave him impetus. He sucked his teeth to check for vegetable particles, and wiped his hands on a napkin. A few long strides took him to the bar directly beside her. As he asked for a drink, Michiko hopped up quickly, so fast that her hair flew upwards and slightly touched Vince’s face. A smell briefly wafted into his nose.

Bubble-gum and Cookies.

She squealed with delight about something and Vince turned to see her hug a young man, also of Asian descent. He was much shorter than Michiko, with a round face, spiky hair and gentle eyes. In a full black shirt and pants, he was also in contrast with Michiko’s outfit. “That’s the DJ.” The bartender said. The bartender was a young twenty-something year old guy with a small outcropping of stubble on his chin, a wide well-proportioned face with a permanent cleft in his left cheek. He always seemed to be smiling.

“Is that this girlfriend?” Vince asked.

“No, nothing like it. She comes here every now and then to hear him play house music.”

Vince looked over to where the two just were, and they were gone. He turned his head and looked across the room. He saw Michiko sitting in a plush couch near to the DJ booth, where the small man was setting up.

“That’s DJ Yoda.” The bartender said with a laugh. “I love star wars.”

He slipped Vince a Vodka Cranberry and turned around to polish some glasses. Vince felt the same twinge of that weird feeling run through his stomach again. Michiko was sitting quietly in the couch, in the soft shadows of the lounge. Her hair almost covered her eyes, making her face look like a beautiful yet disturbing mask. She flicked up a strand of hair with her finger and looked directly at Vince. At this point, a hand seemed to be pulling him forward, tugging him towards the mysterious woman with the funny socks. Vince found himself with his drink in his hand, floating over to Michiko. She gave him a bright smile, showing rows of small white teeth.

“Can I sit here?” he asked.

“Yes, please!” Michiko replied.

“I love your socks.” Vince said.

Michiko let out a loud laugh that sounded like the jingling of bells. When she laughed, Vince’s eyes flashed to any number of hypothetical bars in Tokyo, where she would be sitting with some equally quirky girls, laughing in a booth on the twentieth floor of a nameless building. Laughing that same laugh.

“Thank you, thank you!” she exclaimed.


Vince knew she was from Japan. He had been there himself for two months, walking through the almost maddening architecture of a contiguous landscape, filled to the brim with people. There was a certain look many of the locals had, a look that a person who lived there for some time could pick out immediately. Sometimes it was a certain slanting of the eyes, the shape of the nose, or even the walk, a particular gait reserved for certain boroughs. Then it was the fashion, the odd sensibilities that reflected a city of bright colors, flashing lights and time-your-watch-to-the-second trains. It was like technology and man had mated and produced a host of Michiko’s, happy to exist in a world laced with self-parking cars and rapid text messaging in Kana.

“I’m Michiko.” She said.

“I’m Vince.”


She said his name in the usual Japanese way, adding “su” to the end. Vince was now, Vinsu?

“That’s’ right. “ Vince replied.

“You like Japanese girls? Eh? Vince-san?” she giggled.

“I like all girls.” Vince replied.

“Ah, so-dayo..” Michiko said.

Vince smiled to himself, “Is that so”… bounced around in his head as his mind translated her little phrase. They spoke for a few minutes until the music started. Michiko ordered a few drinks and Vince was following suit. Michiko was wild—dancing like a possessed squirrel—and Vince struggled to keep up. She had an odd rhythm to the pulsing house beats playing. She was half-hopping and half-shaking in a way that didn’t really work with the music, but in a way … it did. In the middle of the usual interlude in a house song—an instrumental break of about thirty seconds that leads to the reintroduction of the bassline—she gave Vince a hug. Her body was small and firm and Vince could feel her shape as she pressed against him. The smell of her hair mixed in with the smell of a strong perfume she was wearing. She kissed him on the cheek, with soft, tiny lips and laughed.

“Dance, Vince!” she said.


Vince felt the buzz of alcohol hitting his body in waves. The music sounded duller but the bass was everywhere, reverberating off the walls, rattling his teeth and scratching the insides of his ears. The club was full of people as well, many of them looking like moving mannequins, in Vince’s increasing blur of disconnect. Sometimes he looked at the DJ, standing in his booth with a massive pair of grey headphones on. If he looked up, Vince never saw it. He was fully focused on his job, pleasing the crowd… pleasing Michiko. Michiko grabbed Vince’s hand and pulled him close to her. After dancing for twenty minutes, the lightest sweat was on her neck, it glistened with each flash of the strobe lights overhead. She reached up and over his shoulder and grabbed him, pressing her face against his. Vince felt her lips quickly force his lips open, and her tongue, small and searching, invaded Vince’s mouth. The kiss seemed to last forever, and Vince found himself becoming enamored by Michiko. Her weird sense of style, the way she smelled and how she kissed all seemed to be perfect indicators of something he wanted. Something he needed. They broke the kiss for a moment, and he looked at her in the frantic glow of flashing lights. Her eyes were still dark and mysterious, and Vince wondered how many other guys had she kissed in this way, or looked at with those eyes. She felt slim and supple in his arms, and Vince found himself beginning to wonder how her body looked. It wasn’t something he was thinking the moment he saw her, but now after that kiss and her subsequent gaze—it was impossible not to.


“Let’s go outside.” She said. Michiko bounded with surprising control over to the DJ booth and gave Yoda a kiss. In the brighter lighting of the booth, she looked beautiful. The light accentuated her features, showing the slight flush her cheeks becoming red and made her hair look so shiny it almost didn’t seem real. They exchanged dialogue for a few seconds, but for Vince it seemed like forever. He was still thinking about the moment after they kissed, when she had her arms around his neck, almost staring into his soul. After giving Yoda another kiss on the cheek, she walked back over to Vince. They walked across the marble floors of Cloud Nine, excusing themselves as they felt dancing bodies lightly brush them. They grabbed their coats from the lobby and walked towards the exit. A few large bouncers in dark glasses stood motionless at the doorway, not seeming to breathe as they walked past. A set of large transparent doors with an artist’s rendition of a series of clouds on it was at the end of the lobby. Vince pushed the door and they stepped outside.


The first thing Vince felt was the cold hitting his face, then he felt Michiko’s hand in his, and it was surprisingly warm. She wore a soft orange jacket that fit her form perfectly. With a zip going all the way up the front just below her face, she looked warm and comfortable. “I got this jacket in Shibuya.” She said. “It’s a nice place in Tokyo.” Vince nodded as she said this. He himself had enjoyed walking through Shibuya, shopping for shoes and t-shirts. They walked down the sidewalk, not speaking for a few minutes and then Michiko turned towards Vince.

“I like you Vince.”

“I like you too.” He replied with a smile.

The statement seemed half-sincere, as if she said it knowing that something strange was about to happen, or that she had some kind of power Vince was not aware of, like telekinesis. Michiko must have read Vince’s thoughts.

“I don’t have a boyfriend.” She said. “But I am new to this City. “

“Oh? The bartender says you are a regular at the Nine.” Vince added.

Michiko laughed softly, echoing the sound of softer jingling bells.

“Cloud Nine reminds me of one of my favorite lounges in Tokyo.” She said. “It was funny that the DJ who played there is actually Japanese! That was so crazy. Even though I’ve been here for two months, I’ve been to Cloud Nine maybe five or six times.”

“Ah, sodaro. “ Vince said.

Michiko’s eyed widened and a smile forced its way onto her face.

“You speak Japanese!” she said with excitement.

“Just a little.” Vince said.

She gave him a playful slap on the shoulder. They kissed once more and held hands.

“I live just a few blocks that way. Would you like to come over?” Michiko said.

Her voice sounded more reserved than before, and the tell-tale signs of her alcoholic buzz were wearing off. Vince could feel himself normalizing too. It was probably the cold.

“Sure, we can drink some ocha and watch terebi .” he said.

“Hahah! Drink tea and watch TV… very well!”

Michiko held his hand and they walked in the darkness of the night, heading towards her place. Vince felt the stirring in his stomach again and looked at Michiko’s hand entwined with his. It had been a long time since he had met anyone so interesting that liked him. He could see himself in Michiko’s life. Probably at more clubs, eating at restaurants and sitting on a couch together watching television. He wondered if Michiko was thinking the same thing, seeing them through the designer panels of her Tokyo mind, creating an alternate reality with more gadgets and brightly colored clothing. They stopped by a row house with a bright blue door on the corner of a main street.

“Here we are!” Michiko said.

As they headed inside, Vince thought it was ironic that they met at Cloud Nine. In the morning, he wondered if he would know that he didn’t just go to Cloud Nine, but that he was on it. Michiko laughed again, a cascade of soothing resonation that made Goosebumps run up his neck, and Vince knew he would get his answer.








Posted October 14, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Monday = Fallout   1 comment

This weekend was a fat blur.

It was a fat, pungent blur, filled with enough random circumstances to fill any number of observational narrative books you can find in any Urban Outfitters store. Long weekends are a crazy social scene. Tack on another day to get over a hangover and you have an extra day to get a hangover.

Sunday was no different. The fallout from Saturday was:
(a) talking Japanese with two girls, one native Japanese, one from New York.
(b) meeting the three K’s (Kat, Kate, Katherine)
(c) meeting the two Anna’s
(d) waking up finding bits of paper with myspace/facebook information on them
(e) subsequently not hearing from anyone

I can’t say this weekend was the most hardcore a weekend has ever been for me. But then again, one needs to define “hardcore” to establish what it truly means. For most, it floats between having a good night, and “almost blacking out”. On Sunday, two people I was hanging with would explain to me their various nights of reaching the coveted “Black out zone”. A mysterious girl I met the night before (Saturday), explained the quota.
“It takes probably 19 beers for me to black out. ”
I said, “wow, I can see this guy–“I pointed to my friend Nate, “drinking 19 nineteen beers, but not you.”
“Damn, I can see myself drinking 19 beers! ” he replied.
The conversation would go like this for a long time. But in terms of the weekend being hardcore, I’d have to give it a 6.5 out of ten. In terms of mental stimulation and the “very cool” factor, it would get an 8. I’m slashing two points because there is no romantic ending to this affair. This weekend has had an interesting theme of educatedly-alcoholic discussions. It is funny to see how passionately and eruditely people can speak about dense, technical issues after seven glasses of wine. It is also interesting to note, how attentive YOU can be, when watching these people extoll the virtues of proper water-shedding pracitces to preserve our water supply, when a drunk (yet very intense) guy is simply like “But… we need plastic!”

Today was a “me” day. Meaning I had nowhere to go, no one to hang with and I needed to get the hell out of my room. The better my night was before, the smaller my room seems to be when I wake up. It is as if the world itself is pulling me outwards, telling me to enjoy the sun and look at the green-leafed trees before they become bare and the sky is grey for months on end.
Its a fitting end to a blurry weekend… a five hour introspective hike across the sprawling DC landscape. My stomach is growling and I eat a protein bar and drink some water. I’m feeling liberated after being so “open” this weekend and I sport a tank top, cargos and my always fashionable Von Dutch trucker. I stop in Chinatown for about ten minutes. Fall is approaching and I want to grab one or two hip looking sports jackets for those longs walks home. I see a few hung up and I make a mental note of the names and the sizes, then I start walking towards the National Mall.

To me the National Mall represents DC tourism. On any given day you can see buses filled with dozens of curious looking Asians, and people speaking a host of Germanic languages. Chinatown is ten or so blocks away from the Mall, which is a wide, sharply designed area that’s the tip of the political hub. For about half a square mile, large museums dot the perimeter of a large open space which leads to the Capitol building, shadowed by the massive totem pole people affectionately call “The monument”.

I’m walking around and snapping pictures, which naturally leads everyone to think I’m a tourist. (I see no one else wearing a ribbed tank top and cargos for the rest of the day). The last time I was at the Monument, I was watching an AFI (American Film Institute) “Screen on the Green” presentation of Annie Hall. That was one of the first times I truly saw a huge difference between white American culture and everyone else. Just before the movie started, a very old, horrible looking HBO graphic floated across the screen, as low rate synthesized sounds chimed out some horrible version of a pre-digital age  jingle. At this point, several thousand (white) people jumped up and started dancing as if possessed by the devil. The screen was well over fifty feet in height, and by my inaccurate estimates I would say there were no less than twenty thousand people in attendance. The dancing was interesting, but not monumental. Hah.

I end up going to an exhibit in the National Air and Space museum. I snap pictures of Korean artwork and eye many cute, visiting Asian girls. There are tons of families milling about. Everytime I see these couples, whatever theories i’ve heard about aesthetics and the “typical guy” women wants is shattered completely. I ALWAYS see a tall, bald white man with an extremely gorgeous black girlfriend/wife. Or a tall, waspy white man with a gorgeous Asian girlfriend/wife.

I don’t look on these people with envy, but I do wonder how it happens sometimes. Before the day is over, I will end up in Ballston to collect a guitar tuner from a guy I interfaced with on craigslist. I will see a short, very hairy chested man (the hair was literally pouring out of his shirt) with a very tall, very attractive Asian girlfriend/wife. The guy wasn’t ugly, but he was closer to Wolverine than Superman. This trend isn’t limited to waspy white guys of course. I do see many a tall, bald black man walking hand in hand with a cute Asian, but the trend over the last few weeks has definitely been:

Average white guy + attractive girl of other race.

The second to last time I came to the monument, was after a bad breakup with a girl I really liked. That day it wasn’t easy watching all the waspy, squirrely men walk by with their gorgeous wives/girlfriends. That day I was wearing a nice white linen shirt, a fresh pair of “man capris” and my famous hat. That day I wanted to feel attractive, but the unbalanced couples all around me was like a slap in the face. Today, it wasn’t like that. I don’t feel lonely walking around a museum by myself. I am genuinely interested in reading up about Award winning pictures, Korean activists and the mating habits of Terns (a type of bird). I browse the museum a little longer, wondering if I should walk up to a group of Japanese-seeming tourists and say:

Sumimasen? Ago ga wakarimasu ka?

I decide against it. I have a copy of my project in my bag, and I spend the better part of thirty minutes reading through some of my writing. As usual, I’m not impressed by what i’ve written. These are my thoughts, and my experiences. Re-reading dozens of pages of my own prose isn’t inspiring, or very interesting. Its like listening to my mind speak. It is almost boring, but its saved by the fact that there are some anecdotal memories associated with much of what I write. I sit on the steps of the museum, watching about twenty Asian families go in a large purple bus, and I wonder if I’m cut out to be a writer. I wonder if i’m just a ‘passionate’ writer, who had a great memory as it relates to conversations and circumstances, who can “somewhat” write. Sometimes I used to re-read things I wrote a long time ago, and I would marvel at how well it was written. Now, it is like looking at a page of barely legible scribble. Some call it a personal bias, I call it a lack of innovation.

I get up from the steps and shrug my shoulders. I’m listening to a Goo Goo dolls album, and one of my favourite tracks, “Am I gone” plays in my head. Part of me is hoping i’ll see someone I know, but the odds of that are staggering. Most people are using the Monday to sleep, or recover from a nasty hangover. I’m using it to excercise my right to exist in a pattern of conditioned loneliness. I grab my man-bag, and head towards the metro. I see runners dripping rivets of sweat onto the hot midday soil, some wincing as they run, making them look like the messengers of somthing scary and forboding; they are the harbingers of Nike shoes. Some people are laying on tree trunks, sleeping as the leaves comfort them for another few weeks. I ask two large (possibly gay ) men where the metro stop is. They give me a concerned look and I head into the recesses of the city’s underbelly. On the train, I switch my Ipod to a dancehall mix, and start reading the Onion. Even though I am sitting by myself on this day, I find solace in laughing at a joke that someone made up.

Maybe writing isn’t so bad…

Posted October 9, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Von Dutch Ireland Man.   1 comment

“Oh ho! Von Dutch Ireland Man.”

This is something I would be called twice in one night. There was a period in time when I liked to wear Von Dutch caps. I must confess my initial impetus to get one of the caps was watching an MTV special on “It” clothing and the first chance I got, I headed to nordstrom to get a hat or two. But unlike a lot of people who wore them mainly during that time period, I still wear mine on occasion.

Last night was one of those nights that’s part-blur, part survival-horror movie waiting to happen, if somehow Washington D.C mysteriously had its water supply infected by a malevolent plumber recently kicked out of a closed doors Union meeting.

People would comment on my hat twice for the night. My first stop was a house party somewhere on Otis street. This is near the lovely Wonderland, to the tune of six or seven blocks. I always like house parties, because they remove the touch of skank that a bar can give to meeting someone, but if you have enough alcohol and people a house party can get skanky too.

This night wouldn’t be skanky. A few people are watching an LSU home game, and before I say hello i’m offered Alligator meat. I cringe inwardly, trying to make mention of the fact that I eat little or no meat, but I’m trying not to come off like a prude when I’m in the house for thirty seconds. “Please have a bite!” my friend asks me, holding up a very red sliver of “gator meat”. I smile.
“Can I get a drink before I start eating anything guys?”

Even though this does not sound humorous when I qoute this, it created enough laughs to create a temporary diversion. I then proceeded to the Kitchen to get something to drink. It was a nice place, fitting into the typical Row House theme i’m getting accustomed to seeing. This party was  an LSU party, but grew to a bigger size because 70% of the people invited weren’t LSU fans, and were out on the deck.

After a few minutes I found myself on the deck as well, talking passionately with a very Chirpy Archaeologist, a cool NGO worker, the head of fundraising for a Musician’s committee and a bunch of other people. It was one of the three K’s—three girls I would meet that night with extensions of the name ‘Kat”–who would say something extremely interesting to me.

Kate, the archaeologist had that almost tv-like super-blonde bubbly energy. It was very cute.
“Tell me what you are passsionate about.” She said, after telling me just why Archeology was just the coolest thing ever. I proceeded to go into a light talk about choosing a career and how often times if you are in school some classes you might hate, some you might like, but inevitably you might hate more classes than you like unless you choose the perfect career. Kat, who’s career I was not aware of, explained her theory on it.
“I make all my classes interesting in my own way. For example, if I’m in a Math class, I just sit down and say to myself, ‘well… what if you take X number of parents without children in Rwanda and Y number of Orphans in Bosnia and add them together?’ that’s how I do it.”

I guess it made sense, but hopefully she was mixing her math class with her international relations one. This dialogue continued for a while and people sipped wine,wine wine. My friend gave me his reason why wine was so good two days before. “Wine is friendly with you. It sits with you in a nice, easy way, you know?” I have to agree. You can drink five or six glasses of wine, thinking it won’t mess you up until you stand up and fall face first on the pavement. Thankfully, that wasn’t me.

Our host hopped outside for a second, mentioning that they would be having a nice “recreation time” upstairs. “Ah,” I said. “That kind of recreation.”
“I don’t do coke.” she replied. “Maybe if I worked in a Law Firm in Georgetown, that would be expected, but its just weed here man.”
I nodded as she said this (to me, “recreation time” meant smoking, not snorting.)

I was hoping the party would spillover into Wonderland, but apparently the night was hot. There were two more parties going on at various spots all nearby. “What are the parties” I asked Katie—number three of three K’s—who replied: “Well, there’s a 70’s party somewhere on Euclid and then there’s a white trash party on 17th”.

I’m not sure why it was a ‘white trash’ party, and I didn’t ask. The 70’s party sounded pretty interesting though. We walked down the road for a few moments, and I ended up talking about bikes with a guy who was at the party who reminds me of a really tall version of an actor I can’t mention. This conversation about bikes became attractive, and a random guy in a straw hat and white shorts began explaining how he bought a Daimler-Mercedes bike for 300 dollars and it was piece of crap. I didn’t even know you had bikes branded that way (Daimler-Mercedes?)

I ran over to Wonderland for a brief moment. The staff were all wearing “Columbia Heights Day” shirts and tank tops and I was envious. I ran into a guy I’ve seen three times in my life. Once at my friend’s Japanese party two yeras ago, second at Wonderland on Friday, and Thirdly on my five minute stop at the W on this Saturday. We talk black politics in bars for forty-five seconds(i.e they were there to get some white nookie). I shake the hand of his half-Japanese friend who is at least six-foot seven. I don’t know what the other half is, and I don’t ask. They both look ready to leave with two girls each, even they just enetered. I say goodbye and head down to the 70’s party.

The 70’s party becomes a blur in twenty minutes. I will meet even more Kate’s at this party plus the three K’s, who are all having fun dancing and chatting. The party is HUGE. When I approached, there were no less than forty people on the front lawn drinking smoking, and talking to each other. Inside was like a sweatbox. Even though it was dubbed a 70’s party, the music was all hip-hop, all contemporary. I didn’t mind.

I float through the crowd and within ten seconds a guy touches my shoulder.
“Von Dutch! Yeah dude! You’re bringing it back!” I laugh to myself, say cheers and head towards the kitchen. As I saw a girl I met on Friday, (one of two Anna’s) and she gave me the “oh shoot,he-met-meand-i-gave-him-my-number-and-I-didn’t-call-him-back-but-let-me-act-l
ike-i’m-not-a-bad-person” look.
I smile with her and talk to someone else.

After leaving that Anna, I meet the second Anna in the kitchen. She is wearing a summer-esque black dress with a white belt and white shoes. For a brief moment, I am reminded of Sarah Jessica Parker, if she was a brunette and a million years younger. We both lament at the lack of liquor available and I tentatively hold a shot of Jose Cuervo in my hand. Then, I eye a large keg people are pumping beer from, and I decide to take the easy route. We chat for ten or so minutes and the night presses on.

I’m not sure how alcohol, language and interactions work, but the night goes pretty well. I find myself speaking Japanese with two girls from New York. (Eventually they would give me a ride home as well). Each time I go out, 30% of the girls I meet are visiting, and of this 30%, 95% of them are always VERY cool.

After I reach home I fall asleep and dream about having a punk-rock Malay band with a Middle-eastern lead singer. It was a good night.

Posted October 7, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Pretty Man Stand   Leave a comment

At 8 p.m this evening I was in the library.

Right now its 3:07 a.m, so technically i’m supposed to say, “yesterday evening I was in the library.” However, I’m speaking the present tense, so I don’t really care. It’s one of those weekends–a blur of alcohol and a forgotten credit card—that leaves me thinking its going to be pretty goood. Its the columbus weekend, and I want to make the most of it, with as much revelry and little sleep as possible.

Today I studied for two hours on the history of various races of people in America. I wonder how many people know that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that Japanese Americans were able to be citizens of the United States, or that the history of America is pretty clouded (and mostly white) which leaves the educational system in a very slanted way? I’ve been reading Media Messages, a book by the author Linda Holtzman, which is extremely well researched. Her arguments makes sense, and she does her research from the point of view of a white, Jewish woman who is trying to be unbiased, but notes that being a member of the ‘privilidged’ class may affet her research in some way.

It left me thinking about certain things. I do know that the history of America is rather blurry. Andrew Jackson did many things to destroy the livelihood of many Americna Indians in the past(i.e kiling and exiling ) , but he is revered as an American hero based on other things he did. Many people believe that Asian Americans have had it “easy” but the truth shows that many are immigrants who have faced serious discrimination and hardships, even legislative issues that hampered their progress in the United Sates. Even though 90% of all railroad workers that built the railroads in the U.S were Chinese, there are rarely any photographs of them working on the railroads.

Trippy eh?

Everyone knows the story of black Slavery and the subsequent fragmentation of classes (i.e mulatto, etc) but does everyone know that for 200 years the black families were subject to limited education, severe exlpoitation through rape and “property ownership” which severely affect their nuclear family structure? The more I research, the more I realize that most people probaby wouldnt’ be aware of these facts, as the basis of these things start at a more elementary level.

The first time I ventured to the American Indian Museum in Washington D.C, there was a cinema inside, where every twenty minutes, they showed a video chronicling several Indian achievements. It was the day after Valentine’s day when I went, and I was upset with my ex-girlfriend for being hesitant about giving me a gift. Nonetheless, we took a trip to the museum and I almost cried when I watched the videos. Such a broken and disenfranchised people, so much history lost… so much struggle.

I thought about that as I studied because I knew that I would most likely be heading to Wonderland later on. Wonderland is frequented by mostly white patrons, and reading this information put me in a mode of dialectic thinking. I wasn’t angered by most of what I read, but some of what I read made me raise my eyebrows, or made my heart stutter a bit. There was so much information about media initiatives that stirred up racial antagonism (such as the 2,060 lynchings between 1900 to 1930). I can’t even imagine that now. Many days if I’m walking home, I may see a young white lady. Maybe I will smile at her and say hello. Often she will say hell to me first.

I cannot imagine a time when me simply looking at a young white woman and saying hello would mean certain death for me. I absolutely cannot. But it was a reality not too long ago. These racial things always tickle the back of my spine. I don’t ignore them, in some mad quest to forget the horrors of the past, but I always remember that the majority of people will never research these things or question them. I, as a scholar, studying these things will be all to acutely aware of many things which create the complex racial dynamic that we call the world, and many will be merely affected by it, and react to it. I think both sides are equal, the reactionary side and the scholarly side. We both have to work in some way to give each other information.

Even though I go out and dance with whoever, drink and find myself leaning on a wall, there are times I pause and remember that I am in the United States because of the sacrifice of those before me, as well as the countless others who died in ships, so that I may blog freely on the internet.


Posted October 6, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Club a Dub Dub…   Leave a comment

I feel like a soggy bowl of cereal.

This is funny, because I’m eating a bowl of cereal as I write this. It is my latest addiction: Raisin Bran. Most people hated this cereal, and I must admit I found myself searching for the raisins as a kid whenever I had the opportunity to eat any. But after the evolution of “two scoops”, I am more than satisfied.

Liking Raisin Bran has nothing much to do with feeling like a soggy bowl of cereal. Its one of those days, when it seems like the week is actually nine days long with four days of choir practice. Monday feels like it happened a really, really long time ago, and I keep hearing Leonard Nemoy talk about Star Trek just before I sleep. Maybe this has to do with me not sleeping.

Experts say that lack of sleep can lead to severe disillusion, sexual disfunction and increased aggression. Okay, Okay, no experts say that. But a lack of sleep can certain have an effect on us. For me sometimes I hear life on mute. Or slightly muted. I walk around and everything sounds more quiet, my vision narrows and colours aren’t that bright. I’m in class and I can feel myself interacting, but afterwards it feels like someone tosed a cold glass of water in my face. Class becomes a single moment, populated by no memories, just that moment I made the class erupt into laughter. Maybe I am truly becoming a vampire.

I’m not one of those people that really likes to sleep. For years, if I sleep more than nine hours, my stomach cramps and I feel unwell for at least two hours. Sleep to me is injurious. The only time I really enjoyed sleep was when I had to sleep on a mattress for over a year. My room in my apartment was so small that my bedframe wouldn’t fit into its confines, and I was forced to sleep near the grond, Japanese style for an entire year. When I went to the apartment of my girlfriend at the time, I was in heaven. She had a massive Sultan Ikea bed that could hold a small army in it. It was soft, extremely spacious and contoured for me. Her bed didn’t make me want to sleep, but it definitely made the moments I slept a lot of fun.

Now, sleep is half and half. I know I need to, but I can’t spend all day in bed hoping I have dreams involving nubile female ninjas and sports cars.

I went to a presentation yesterday involving creating a dream life through powerful thoughts and a positive attitude. I find this subject matter interesting–I’ve been studying it for almost nine years–and it was good to get a refresher in terms of my inner potential. But potential energy that sits too long can become dangerous, and I think that mine has not been fully released yet.

Maybe that’s why sleep is so weird and I get cramped up. Maybe I need to be doing more than I am (if such a thing is possible). I haven’t been able to truly “dream” about anything for a long time. There are moments when I feel excited by the prospects of a bright future, but I think the jaded Rayban glasses America hands to many of its citizens are slowly putting themselves over my eyes. I know things are possible if one has determination, a plan and constant reinforcement of these ideas… but sometimes, its a little difficult to feel uber-happy when you eat tuna and spaghetti five days in a row.

I think that’s maybe why my stomach is cramped. It is annoyed by the monotony of my dietary habits, and wishing to change this stomach for one more worthy of this less that stellar palate. Lately i’ve been too busy to even cook, and I find myself making the fastest meal possible, which is the tuna dish. But sometimes when i’m pitter-pattering about my ratty Kitchen, I can see the well polished tiles of my future home and I see my future wife greeting me with a hug from behind and a kiss on my neck. In my mind I know that I am happy, comfortable and doing the things that I’m supposed to. My time right now is like this week: After I finish what I have to do, I will feel like someone threw a glass of water into my face. All the bad things will be a moment with no memories, and I will bask in the beauty of the present.

Or I could just sleep, and get cramped up and hope for the best.

Posted October 4, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Leonidas Ain’t Got Nothing on Me!   Leave a comment

In twenty-nine days i’m supposed to be a Spartan. A friend of mine suggested we all work out and get ripped over a 10 week period and then head out to a halloween party in briefs, red capes, with fake shields and masks as our protection against hordes of inebriated women. For me this is a 60% reality. I don’t work out much, but i’m lucky to have the body type that makes people think I “might” work out, which is pretty cool, until I start bashing myself worse than a body builder who forgot his steroid injections.

I realize I’ve never even been to a Halloween party. To my knowledge we don’t (and probably still do not ) celebrate Halloween where i’m from, which is Jamaica. I’ve always read about Jack-o-lanters and pumpkins and what not, but other than seeing that stuff in kids books and on television, there is no way in hell that random Jamaican parents are going to let their kids roam the streets asking for candy. Its just not done.

In 2002, I walked around a shady neighborhood wearing the mask from Scream, dressed in full black. I felt powerful and anonymous, watching people through the tinted veils of some mad writer’s genius. But, I’ve never been to a Halloween party, so this year might be my first. I’m thinking about the choice of outfit. I can already foresee several other spartans in attendance, with many of them having beer bellies, hairy chests and tighter briefs than I might wear. I can also imagine one of these guys leaving with a girl for the night, while I, with my semi-okay six-pack, will probaly be sipping fruit punch and munching on condiments from the table beside the DJ.

Some aspects of being a spartan seem rather exciting, such as hearing a dancehall song play ( most likely this will be a Sean Paul song) and then someone raises their sword, shield, or fist and belts out, “SPARTANS!”. Then we assemble on the dance floor and do awkward Jamaican dances in briefs and capes.
“Oh, there will be blood.”

As I’ve always heard from a good friend of mine, Halloween is a prime occassion for people to hook up. Maybe it has something to do with wearing costumes and being relativley anonymous that gives people more confidence. A guy dressed like Batman might actually believe he is a billionaire with psychological issues, able to get any woman he desires with a swipe of his credit card. Or maybe the guy who dresses like a large teddy bear, is fulfilling some strange childhood fantasy involving himself, Teddy Ruxpin and several sweaty strippers. Whatever the reason, the rumours about Halloween hookups seem to have some merit. I think it takes a certain level of confidence or inebriation to go to a party as a Spartan. I mean, 99% of guys who watched 300 left the theater punching walls and ripping hair of their chests. Then they proceeded to engage in thousands of “Ambiguously gay” battles in their underwear, shouting “Tonight we dine in hell!” to which his friend might reply, “No! Tonight you dine in my ass douchebag!”

Maybe being a spartan will be a cool thing. I could be the one spartan that isn’t filled with bloodlust, uber-manliness and a need to savagely take out his homoerotic tensions on waves of very ugly marauders. I might stand up in the middle of the party, with my cape wrapped comfortably around my torso, debating Science Fiction with the guy who came in dressed as Orson Welles. Then I may offer my condolences to Neo for dying at the end of the Matrix, give Batman a high five and then smile lustfully at any girls dressed as Nurses or Playboy bunnies.

I could have a shield, but i’m not sure how practical that would be on the dance floor. Blocking hundreds of arrows and the sharp blades of my enemies won’t be necessary in the company of college students, people who work in non-profits and on the Hill. (Well, in terms of people on the Hill, I might need the shield.)

It would be fun to ben an intelligent Spartan, or maybe even a bipolar one. I could savagely kiss a girl i’ve never met, then run into a corner weeping because I acted like “less of a man”. I could be the kind of Spartan that keeps the uber-cool “I can kick your ass with my little finger” vibe while expounding on the laudable attributes of Halo 3. I could be that spartan.

Nonethless, I have been doing nothing towards this goal. I’m too tired during the day to really go to the gym, and like I said before, I am luckly to somewhat look Spartan-esque without doing too much work. Exciting as the Spartan thing is, I think I might just go dress in a white collar shirt and a soft pair of plaid pants. Then, when I am asked what i’m dressed up as, I will give the reply Wednesday did in the Adamms Family movie.
“‘I’m a psychotic killer. They look just like everyone else.”

Posted October 3, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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Kickflips Are Really Hard   2 comments

I’m a skateboard vampire.

Well, I used to be. When I was living on Sherman Avenue, in the enviable upperclassman dorm called “The Towers”, a set of two buildings (aptly designated East and West) I would skate at night. At the time I was working on a killer concept for a clothing line that would revolutionize the world… or at least so I thought. When I have ideas buzzing in my head I can’t sleep–an effect I often experience when I’m going through girl issues–and then I have energy to burn. It would be at this time period, usually 3 a.m that I would grab my trusty skateboard, slip on a grotesque pair of skateshoes that looked like mummified mutant caterpillars, and head onto the street. This was quite a rush, simply because I would skate during the winter time with only a shirt and a jersey on to protect me from the elements. With some rock music playing in my ears (usually System of a Down or Linkin Park) I would skate around the city, doing weak ollies onto curbs, hopping over manholes and thinking about life.

Yesterday I went to pickup two copies of my current project, “Three Weeks” from a Kinko’s near chinatown. I had my skateboard, “Just in case.” I said, and ended up going to the skatepark, doing large ollies over a police cone and losing my shirt in the process. The last time I’ve skated like this was honestly two years ago. I don’t skate much because my knees feel like shredded paper most of the times. I have a knee injury–some might call this a cool thing–that is about five years old. I tore an ACL ( Anterior Crutiae Ligament) when playing BADMINTON of all games in a P.E class. Embarassing I know. Guys usually tear their ligaments when playing rough, manly sports like Rugby, Football, Basketball or Golf. Whenever a person sees me limping, I tell them I hurt my knee saving three cherubic Asian-American kids from the advances of a rabid pitbull.

This knee injury isnt’ pleasant… going up stairs hurts most days, my right knee is also affected by the lack of equilibrium in the leg support system, so both my knees hurt pretty much all the time. However, there are moments when I enter a “twilight zone” and I feel quite like i’m on drugs; there is no pain in my knees, I have boundless energy and for a moment I almost feel as if i”m healed. Wait a minute, this sounds very similar to another excercise… something more coital.

I’m at the skatepark as aforementioned, and i rest my man-bag on the ground beside a crushed beer can. As I start skating on the smooth asphalt, I feel my body relaxing. I do a few ramps, smiling with how comfortable I feel now (previously I fell off a ramp, scratching my ribs and exposing bone) based on my past performance. I find skating interesting, but it often gives people free license to ask really dumb questions.

If I was paid ten dollars for each time someone starting singing “Kick push, Kick push,” as I rolled by on my skateboard, I’d be a thousandaire. If I was paid ten dollars for each time someone said “Do a 360!” (a VERY hard and dangerous move) I would be a thousandaire. But, if I was paid ten bucks for each time someone asked me to do a Kickflip, I’d be really freaking rich.
The physics of a kickflip are simple: You do an ollie, while the board is in the air, you flick your foot leftwards (or rightward depending on what foot you skate with) then the board flips in the air in a 360 degree roation. You time the complete revolution, then land with both feet on the board and try not to break something as the board goes back to the ground.

Okay, the physics aren’t that simple, nor is the trick, which is why its always funny to hear people ask me to Kickflip, as if I am a chimp in a cage with a red button that flashes when people walk past.

I’m not a good skateboarder, I peaked after my knees hurt too much to pratice, but I can coast, ollie and do some basic tricks. This park is nice, but i’m really afraid of going hardcore where the ramps are. The park is split into a basketball court, which has really smooth asphalt, and the skate park with the ramps, which has rough, nasty asphalt. If I fall on the court, I’m liable to get a bruise. If I fall in the park, that’s it for the night. After I exposed that rib doing a simple ramp trick the last time, I put up my skateboard for a few weeks. I wonder if I should call myself a “skate-writer”. It sounds interesting, but its probably a waste of time. “A relatively tall Jamaican guy skateboarding shirtless around DC with his man-bag on” sounds much cooler.

Usually when I’m in the zone my shirt comes off. Partly because I don’t want to completely soak my outfit. Tonight, I wish I had brought my camera to record myself do some tricks. Alas, all I have for company is my Ipod. I’m listening to a DJ Kenny mix tape, and a hot track “Stamina Man” is playing. The opening words go:
“Who is the man, girls want in bed for hours… STAMINA MAN!” (this is quite funny as professional backup female voices chime this with a very unsexual enthusiasm).

So I skate for about thirty minutes, feeling like a stamina man, powerful because i’m shirtless, then exposed because I am alone in a skatepark, singing to myself and constantly looking over my back. My knees still don’t hurt, and I wonder why some nights I can ollie and rail like the best of them, and other nights I hobble like an old man running to the pharmacy to get Viagra.

Its a weird night, particularly because its Sunday, and I spent the better part of the day doing a 12-hour photo shoot, of which I actually did 11. I feel a bit waned. I don’t like spending 12 hours in my house for ANY reason, even if there is a blizzard outside, I will go and watch flakes fly by at thirty miles an hour, for an hour. Maybe being insulated for a day healed my knees to the point where they were happy to exert that extra energy. As I board home, cruising past a bus filled with people heading to some late -night function, I know my knees will kill me tommorrow. I don’t mind. For one night at least, I’m healed.

Posted October 2, 2007 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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