Archive for January 2008

The Super Pants Return!   1 comment

I’m sitting down, and breaking in a new pair of pants.
This amuses me, because breaking in a new set of jeans usually requires physical activity, a party or two, and a few thousand steps of walking. I recently bought a new pair of black fitted jeans (the word “fitted” is a gross understatement) and I’ve started the breaking-in process by wearing them and sitting at my computer desk. I was at my friend’s house last night, watching Live Free or Die Hard on his massive HDTV, playing Gears of War and eating a snack I’ve concocted which consists of Tostitos and shredded cheese (mixed cheddar.) “I got a new pair of paints today.” I say to him.
“Tight pants! Rockstar pants!”
He laughs. This observation is true because these are quite possibly the tightest pants i’ve ever worn (Purple versace jeans not withstanding). As soon as I tried them on, I knew they were me. They aren’t as bad as the “Skinny” jeans I tried on at Urban Outfitters two weeks back. Although these are skinny jeans, for some reason they don’t feel like fluffed up Spandex. They have a nice tight fit, have a little leg room and make me feel amazing. These are pants designed for men who wear briefs, but I dont’ fall into that category and I can’t see myself wearing no underwear (at anytime, not just wintertime). The pants are designed by a guy who named the line Bowie after the original pretty-man himself, David bowie. I didn’t spend that much time looking at the rest of his line, I just saw these jeans at a GREAT price and decided to “cop” them.
My last affair with the first pair of pants I dubbed the “super pants” was in early 2007. I was heading off to Europe and French Connection was having a sale. I couldn’t resist, as I had been searching for a pair of proper straight leg fitted jeans for a while. I had a venerable pair of black Dolce& Gabana jeans which put up a good two year fight. The Dolces had seen at least four tailors, had the crotch patched an equal number of times, and had a hole or two stiched up near the thigh. Now that I think about it, my D&G’s were my first real pair of super pants. When I wore those I felt powerful and classic. Ready for any number of paparazzi pictures with me walking with a nameless soon-to-be supermodel. In retrospect, there are many things I should have never done in those jeans:
1) Play a heated game of Badmington while wearing dress shoes
2) Play a second set of said game
3) Learn a German rave-ish dance called “Jumpstyle” in the jeans.
Now my D&G’s are lying on my floor. They are weathered and a little rugged with the tell-tale sing of faded black jeans. I still wear them on occassion, though they fit a bit loosely. The reigning set of super pants from FC still get regular wear, and they are well broken in. “Tight but not toight.” is what I like to say, following the description of Goldmember from Austin powers. If he were to see me in my jeans, he would say. “They are toight! Toight like a Toiger!”I am not entirely sure why I feel so drawn to a well-fitted pair of black designer jeans. I have an ongoing anti-blue jeans crusade ( fodder for another post) and I like to feel “snug” when I walk around. Either way, the current king will know soon enough that a new pair of jeans have creeped in to slowly dethrone him. As time passes and the jeans become more broken in, I will give them a test run, maybe even this Friday. However, walking to the bathroom I could feel the pants hugging my thighs like a lecherous woman and affecting the speed with which I walk.
Its a little sad when you begin to grade how tight your pants are by what you can’t put in the pockets. For a few pairs of my pants, they cannot hold my:Wallet, cellphone or keys… only chapstick.

I should call these the super-tight, superpants. A whole new category. Actually I think I have a name for them:

Pete Wentz Pants.

Yes! The super pants will remain as they are, and now these are the Pete Wentzes.


Salty drinks make Salty kisses   Leave a comment

Its funny how broken things can still be used.Sometimes I walk around myself, feeling like a sad, emotionally broken creature, who still has use. I sometimes meet an attractive girl, smile with her and spend moments worthy of any number of Dawson’s Creek episodes, then she might flake, and act strange. In moments like these, we broken individuals realize that even though we are emotionally winded and a bit jaded, we still have some use. We pick ourselves up, head out into icy winds and go to bars. We drink and entertain idle conversation, sometimes we don’t mind when strangers look at us with lascivious expressions, lecherous gazes and leering eyes. So in a way, we are broken, yet functional.Like my bike.A few days ago I almost crashed my bike. It was a dangerous affair, with me almost falling face first on the street going at thirty miles per hour. The back wheel was bent out of shape and I was pissed. I was heading to the Giant to get some ice cream for an achy stomach and I almost ended up breaking a collarbone. Long story short, the bike still works. Its broken, yet functional. As I ride through the city I realize the bike isn’t in such bad shape. It creaks and groans like Tony Soprano’s mother, but it gets me from point A to B.Broken yet functional.I wonder sometimes if this is a theme for a lot of people I know. They are injured through circumstance, edgy from limited expecations and a bit frazzled by fortune. They are effectively wading through the marshes of daily life with their nose out of the murky water praying that a Crocodile doesn’t make mincemeat of them.

Today was a day of traipsing. First I traipsed around Chinatown regretting my Alfie-isms. My thin French connection pants, sports jacket and scarf couldn’t save me today. The wind chill brought temperatures down to the twenties and I felt like I was walking in a cloud of ice.

Later I would reach Adams morgan, stopping by Adams Mill for the first time. Even though I consider myself an open-minded equal opportunist, this bar seemed much whiter than any bar i’ve been to in a while. This had to do with the song selection more than the makeup of the patrons. As i’ve stated in a few blogs before, most bars I go to are 98% white. Tonight that statistic was 99.9% until seven or eight black guys walked in, (adding on to me being the 0.1%) and then became the 2%.

Regardless of the math, for about an hour, about 80% of the songs played I didn’t know. When I heard the songs, I immediately thought of wheat field and people in large Suburban houses singing along to these songs as they played through a large, black radio. When the songs played I no longer felt like I was in the confines of a major city, I was out in Connecticut in the boonies, where anywhere to your left or right you were liable to run into a deer, get touched by poison ivy, or get bitten by a tick. I recognized a few key tracks, which populate what I call the “white DJ” list. I’m saying this with no bias. There are certain songs that are played in certain bars that are never played in other bars.

Songs with choruses like:

“Pour some sugar on me!”
“Oooooh! Living on a prayer!”
“I’m not here for your independennnnce!”

And the list goes on. Those are the ones I recognized. For a few minutes, I had a spirited conversation with two friends about not knowing that the last song was not sung by Kelly Clarkson, but by formerly hip-hop-ish punk starlet Pink.

I didn’t mind the music either way. If I was in a bar with 99% black people, I’m sure i’d hear:

“…my drink and my two step”
“this is why we hot”
“i’m a upgrade yah!”

and the list goes on an on. Quite like a broken record. Broken yet functional.

It was Chrissie’s birthday, and she was learning a hot pink shirt with the word “DANGER” emblazoned above the right breast. There was text on the back, but I never took the time to read it. I didn’t feel like dancing, and spent most of my time watching three LCD screens flash
“Tom Brady’s mystery injury continues.” I like watching people drink themselves into supreme states of confidence. A short guy with an interesting haircut had been walking around with a smile all night. I nearly fell down laughing when he literally accosted two blondes.
“Why are you ladies so FUCKING tall??” he said in perfect pitch.
The girls laughed and they started talking.

I sighed. Only in a white bar. No, only in a bar this white.

I’m sure if I was to walk up to random girls and say that I’d be liable to get slapped. Especially since i’m not a short person that can use such profane declarations to my advantage. Eventually some Justin Timberlake started playing and I felt like doing my pop-n-lock routine, but alas, I had no energy.

After Adams mill, I took a quick run to Dupont circle. At this point I really loved my bike. Dupont always sounds like Africa distance wise when I think of walking there on foot, but on my bike it was only five minutes away. I went to Cafe Citron. I was a tad intimidated at first. I was the only black person in line, and everyone had tell tale Latino features. Jet black hair, off-white skin and spanish accents.

Inside, there was a mixture of latin-pop and latin-club music. It was a lot of fun. the place was packed, lots of people were dancing and I had a eight dollar margarita that tasted like a cup of salt water. Even though the DJ was playing remixed latin songs, I heard at least three popular songs remixed to latin beats:

“….I like to move it move it.”

I can’t remember the others, but they were there! Playing like a broken record. Broken yet… you get the idea.

Cafe Citron exposed more of the segregation of DC clubs. It seems everyone can find a place to group up everyone that resembles them, and sweat together as they walk past people that look a lot like them. I need to go to more latin clubs. I felt unnaturally tall in there, as the average person seemed to be no more than five foot six. At six one, I towered over almost everyone. I stood at the bar and beamed a smile at ladies dancing near to me. In my mind I was saying:

Come with me if you want to live.

In my best Arnie voice.

After Cafe Citron, I rode home, listening to FutureSexyLove for what seems like the tenth time in the last four days. I ride, navigating traffic lights, crazy cab drivers and the occasional pedestrian, singing words to high-pitched songs. Its too late to draw any stares from any passersby. Its too cold for people to be on the street gawking at this Jamaican guy riding a bike and singing along to “Sexyback”.

I received at text when I was in Cafe Citroon, a Serbian girl I know told me to come to last call at Bossa–In Adams Morgan–which was a nice 18 blocks away. I shoot a reply.

After party?

She tells me there is something on 18th and Belmont, but then she says not to come. The party is wack. I pop into my room and feel a wave of heat cover my face. I toss my clothes onto my bed, flop into my computer chair and stare at the screen. Maybe I’m not broken and functional.

Maybe i’m just functional.

O Brave New World   Leave a comment

During the winter time, I refer to myself as Alfie.

In the movie Alfie, Jude law is a city-roaming Lothario who is a man of little means but is well established in the female community. Even though it is wintertime in bitterly cold New York, he wears nothing more than a dress shirt, a sports jacket and a scarf. I have the same style of dress during winter ( unless I’m walking ) so I refer to many of my outings as the “Alfie-flexes”.

Tonight I was Alfie again, looking somewhat like Sweeney Todd in the beach scene. (If you haven’t watched the movie, don’t worry that’s not a spoiler). For a Friday, tonight was pretty slow. Everywhere I went was a sausage fest, even the infamous Tom Tom was half-empty. Last weekend was much better, every bar was packed and I’m sure a lot of guys got laid.

I finished reading Brave New World today, and I was very impressed by the book. In it, author Aldous Huxley talks about a sort of anti utopia where people are medicated with something called Soma, and have almost every aspect of life controlled through an intense system of biological engineering. When I went into a few bars tonight, I myself felt like taking a “gramme of soma”. But, we already have our soma.

Our soma is alcohol. It is our escape from the realities of the world, to sip of drinks that can eventually kill us, boost our confidence and make things dull and less painful. I don’t normally drink to escape anything, but its hard going to bar after bar and not having at least one drink.

Drinking isn’t fulfilling if you aren’t having fun, and I realize that most guys tonight aren’t fulfilled. They are the same group of faceless men, all sipping on beers and standing up staring at the women who are dancing in groups. I myself was lost in thought. Tonight wasn’t a night to be a socialite, I felt quite introspective. It might have been a mixture of the cold and my lingering feelings of disassociation from earlier during the day, or something else.

I have developed a small obsession with cleaning my room. It is a futile obsession, merely because in a room with limited space, there are only so many drawers and closets you can put stuff into. But there will always be a few extra things hanging about; a grisly menagerie of poor planning poking you in the back all day long. While I was fiddling with my cleaning, I listened to a few albums that always make me sing along to them: I listened to Flyleaf once more, Spiritual Machines by Our Lady Peace, Chuck by Sum 41, and a host of dance tracks, including “blow my whistle bitch” by DJ Alligator.

I’ve been reading constantly for the last few weeks, which might explain my feelings of isolation on this Friday. After reading a good book–particularly one that deals with weird social issues in an antiutopian society where promiscuity is seen as a good thing–you can experience a small fallout. In one of my earlier blogs, I believe I described an effect called a “disconnect”.

“Fallout” and “disconnect” are two different things. To disconnect is basically to experience a mental overload which thrusts you back into reality. (Think, typing 120 pages in 5 days, etc.) Fallout is simply exiting the frame of mind the book put you into.When I was reading Brave New World, I felt like I was looking into the future, a future written with sometimes jumpy prose and dense dialogue. For the few days I read it, I felt enamored by this weird world of strict order, strange rules and interesting societal castes and biases.

Immediately after finishing the book, I wanted to leap into The Road, a tale of a dystopia by Cormac McCarthy(a writing God), but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go from anti utopia to dystopia right away. I think reading those books back to back might affect my reality bubble and stir up some latent depression. But either way, today was a “fallout” day.

I sang along with songs, ironed dress shirts I rarely wear and ran four and a half miles. My tally for the week so far should be about 17-20 miles, since I’ve been running each day. The running might also explain my lack of impetus to party tonight. At 7:30 I went running from where I live to Dupont Circle and back. I returned at about 8:45 and headed out at about 11. The run was nice, but I think the music was also another factor in my changing mood. On my Ipod I creating a playlist called “jogging mix” which was all over the place. One moment i’m listening a hardcore dancehall track from the mid 90’s, to the melancholy overtures of Sugar Ray. My jogging mix was more somber than upbeat. I will remember in the future to stick to heavy metal, dance music, or upbeat, super-violent dancehall to keep me charged when I jog 50 blocks.

But my shining moment came when I was running through Logan Circle, U2’s “It’s a beautiful day” blasted through my headphones and I looked up to the sky and felt happy to be alive. “It’s a beautiful night.” I said to myself, chuckling at the thought of Bono making custom versions of the song for joggers, with titles like:

It’s a Beautiful walk
It’s a Beautiful flight
It’s a Beautiful Afternooon

You get the idea. But a good feeling washed over me as I heard the song (though it could have been the endorphins finally kicking in. I think they take longer in 30 degree weather).

Friday is gone, but Saturday is bristling with possibilities.


Posted January 26, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

I’m Fully Alive…   Leave a comment



My staring at my 19 inch HANNS-G wide-inch monitor, and I feel like head banging. I’m listening to Flyleaf, the first-release of the band with the same name, and I’m feeling chills run through my spine… and everywhere else. At first, it was me trying to figure out some of what lead singer Lacey Mosley was saying, but it was mostly her voice. It has a haunting quality that reminds me of quiet churches and scary calliope music.


It makes me wonder about feelings in general. The track “Cassie” talks about suicide, but in a way that make me nod my head and go “Hell yeah!” without feeling suicidal myself. This is an album for people who’ve had issues, or for people who wished they did. Personally I don’t recommend having an album filled with dark, from-the-pits-of-my-soul-yet-kinda-scary music inspire you to toss your hands into the air, but hey, there are enough people with issues to go around no?


Sometimes I feel like I’m walking in a bubble, and everything around me is obscured by this semi-opague coat of the bluish bubble membrane as I walk, Bose headphones on, listening to crappy quality MP4s on my Ipod nano. I feel this way even more when I have odd dreams, today I had a scary dream about seeing a UFO (thanks a lot Anderson Cooper 360!) and then an odd dream about a bomb going off in a restaurant in a high school in Jamaica. They were both extremely vivid dreams that left me feeling winded when I woke up. I’m promising myself not to fall asleep in my clothes again.


I ask myself sometimes if its even worth it writing a blog in detail about little things in my life people will never read, but its part and parcel of the whole writer business. Should I ever become world famous, one day a super-hot girl (most likely from Italy) will approach me, and in her sexiest accent quote one of my blogs. “Yes Mistar Bird.” She will say, putting images of wheat fields and little old men on tiny wooden chairs in my mind, “When I read ah your ah blog, the Jesus and the cock a block, it a made me laugh.”


Okay fine. I doubt this super-hot Italian woman would sound like a super mario impressionist, but from what I’ve heard, thousands will read the blog, many will see it as a gateway into my mind and many will either like me, or despise me for my honesty. Today, I’m not even speculating about that, I’m merely existing, listening to my melancholy album and feeling the occasional spikes of “that good stuff” floating through my system.


I’ve been thinking about Type-A personalities lately. Wikipedia says a Type A personality is impatient, extremely time conscious and driven by goals. They are also very competitive. A type B is more relaxed and easy-going. But there are also type Abs that exist. I think I’m a type AB. When I’m working on something that fascinates me, I will work on it until I fall asleep at my computer desk (which I’ve done before). I will not eat or sleep, and I will demand a lot from those around me should they offer help (this never happens :p). I realized this when I was jogging yesterday. Its like 30 degrees outside, and I toss on some thin clothes and start running, blasting Linkin Park in my ears. My body was aching from the day before, and yet I trudged on, determined not to stop myself just because I was “in pain”. I dunno if that’s’ me being type AB or just being plain crazy, but alas, it’s a passing thought.


Just one of those days I guess. I will leave this blog with a quote from “Cassie.”

Do you believe in God
Written on the bullet
Say yes to pull the trigger.
Do you believe in God
Written on the bullet
and Cassie pulled the trigger.


Posted January 24, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized


I know some random people read these posts, and most do not comment. I have used an event over the past Christmas, a party I went to, as a sample for, I dunno… something. I write a lot, and I’m testing out a more interesting version of my non-fiction writing. So yeah. Comment. Do it. Do it.

– Marcus

“…I can’t believe this, even the guys here are being bitchy.” This came from my friend Jov, who was lamenting at the particularly stuffy atmosphere of a upper-Norbrook house party. Norbrook, like many affluent areas, comes with a certain level of tight-assed ness with some of its residents that was very subtle, and subsequently rather annoying. It is a close knit community—most people seem to know each other—and if you don’t know them, it is quite like not existing.


I’m in a very good mood, I’m particularly pleased to be in Jamaica, during a time when most of the people I know in Washington D.C are wrapped up in heavy garments, forced to forge out into icy winds to get their lattes, bags of groceries and late-night condom runs. I was standing near a poolside, up in hills of a party that was the precursor to one of the biggest parties of the year—Juciy.


There is a term that exists in Jamaica, and it is called “uptown”. After a few generations of post-colinial racial mixup after slavery was abolished, the British controlled the country and eventually left, a new caste of Jamaicans emerge who ranged from a delicate blend of chinese, white and Indian, commonly referred to as uptowners. These families, who for generations had access to better education, money and resources from other countires became a ruling class of sorts. Juicy was their kind of party.


I myself could regard myself as an uptowner in many way, despite my dark skin, head of shaggy hair and otherwise “regular” appearance. Jov had proclaimed the women at this party would be “ridiculously” hot and that more than its location predicated my reasons for attending the party.


Our journey began too early. Initially, the party (which was on a random street called Cedar Grove) was a needle in a haystack. I wanted to go to this party, which was part barbecue, part posing fest, but I only had an hour or so to stay there. My sister was arriving from the states and I had to pick her up at the airport. A few arguments later, parking in front of a large house (which drew constant stares from the tenants inside) and a frank discussion with a pizza delivery guy, we found the party. We rolled in three strong at a supposedly good time of 8:30.


No one was there.


My friend checked the facebook invite and told me at least seven times during the week that the party was from 3 p.m to 10 p.m, so 8 should be a good time to reach. But this was Jamaica, nothing starts before 12 in Jamaica, even a New Year’s party. The last time my cousin and I counted down to happy New Years, it was us and about ten other people.


A short, dark-skinned guy wearing large sunglasses floated past me. He oozed confidence, grabbed a slim, attractive girl at the bar and sat on a bar stool.

“What’s up?” I said.

“Nothing much.”

“Wow, I had a lot of trouble getting here. Cedar Grove sounds more like something from Lord of the Rings than a street address.”

He chuckles and then I find out it is his house. I quiz him about Juicy and its origins and get in his good graces within three minutes. This is good, because a short, bald fellow who was slightly overweight comes up to him and says loud enough for me to hear:”Do you know these guys? They cool?”


He nods, like a magician about to do a trick. “Yeah, they are cool.” He looks at me and flashes a bright smile. “Have some drinks, eat a little food. Enjoy.” The line sounds practiced and typical of a guy who knows everybody. Share my world, but you will never be me.


I head off to the airport with my cousin in a few minutes. During that time, I speak to one of six girls at the bar. Two are somewhat friendly, four I didn’t want to approach. This is another aspect of the uptown sprawl—association. All of the girls looked similar. They were all brown skinned, appeared to be from the meditteranean and were talking with each other. Not once did they look in our direction. I nodded at Jov and walked to the car. He would have to hold the fort until we returned.


An hour later, almost home fomr the airport, my phone vibrates. I have a text message. My cousin flips it open and starts laughing. He shows it to me. In large black letters on Motorola Razor’s LCD is displayed:


Tough crowd yow.

I laugh to myself, reinvigorated to return to the party. For a few minutes before we left, many of the promoters, almost drunk to the point of fainting, were singing freestyles to a one-drop rhythm. Thankfully, it passed. Adding to the usual small crowd expectations, a short, caucasian-Jamaica girl asked me, “You’ve never eaten here before? The food is always good.”


I raised an eyebrow at this. This was a person’s house, tucked away somewhere in the hillls of Norbrook. Of course I’d never eaten there.


When we returned, the crowd had increased by a factor of about 400%. There were many people milling about, eating food, laughing and drinking. Again, I noticed the effect of the sprawl. Many individuals were of ambigious racial makeup, standing mostly to themselves, not speaking and staring directly forward. My cousin and I strolled in like penguins wearing five-inch platforms. We were each carrying a bottle of Vanilla Vodka and a chaser. Not looking at anyone, we went straight to the bar and did shots, making lots of noise. This drew the attention of several girls at the bar. I recognized one of them, a short, hafl-black derivative with a face that deserved to be in some distorted Jamaican version of a teen-movie.

“Do you want a drink?” I said to her. She opened her mouth to answer, but I cut her off, saying”…But you’ll have to tip me.” She laughs, and I turn around. My cousin, Jov and a guy I recently met named Brandt do more shots. We are in full swing. I survey the crowd. As “uptown” as it was, I recognized a few faces, and saw a few girls I met in the time I had been in Jamaica, which was now approaching a week and a half. They were very friendly when I met them previously, but in this atmosphere, well… you never know.

I headed towards the dance floor, where more “unquestionably black people” were standing. A hands touches me on the shoulder. It is a girl I went to school with. I don’t remember her name.

“Marcus! What are you doing here?” she says excitedly. I chit-chat briefly and then a familiar riff echoes through the hillside. It is a clinking noise, quite like steel pan drums made completely by a software engineer. It was the Superman song. My cousin, a six-foot four bundle of energy, appears from nowhere. Something fascinating happens. He starts to do the superman dance, and then a bevy of girls follow him, as if magnetized and begin dancing as well. The party has officially started.


The rest of the night is a blur. I get rejected once, talking to a girl I observe for most of the night standing by herself staring at seemingly nothing. I find this highly amusing, particularly because of the alcohol in my system and go back to my friends. The party starts to become lame. The crowd is antisocial, only ten people were dancing. We decide to go to Wally’s.


Jerk chicken is the staple after-party meal for almost any Jamaican. Men with white drums expertly cut into halves with grills and coals in them to cook chicken dot the Kingston landscape like scattered bread crumbs. I have seen and eaten from many a jerk chicken man, but I am a die-hard customer of Wally.

I heard about Wally through Jov, who always raved about the quality of his chicken. He had an enviable location, just behind an Esso gas station in Manor Park, just below the foot of stony hill. Here the average person driving by would have more than enough disposable income to buy as much chicken as they needed. I was here almost every night. More than simply eating tasty chicken, Wally’s was our stop off point to discuss social issues, de-tox a bit and occasionally argue. 99% of our visits involved analysis the complex social behaviour of Jamaicans at whatever party we just left. It was always the most interesting and pertinent thing. Jov and I differed intensely on certain viewpoints. I was very apathetic to the needs of people I didn’t know, I was somewhat annoyed by people who isolated themself for no reason and I was a big bullish in certain approaches. Jov was annoyed by all the things I was, but had a sensibility about morals and people that I never always agreed with. We always had great Wally’s conversation.

Tonight was no different. With my cousin in tow, we were ready to head to Wally’s, bit voraciously into a well-cooked piece of chicken, and each delineate of their own series of circumstances throughout the night. Everyone was either drunk or very tipsy. Jov kept talking about a girl he wanted to marry. A girl who didn’t engage him in much conversation, and was there with another guy. I would be on the attack this time. We strol up to Wally, who is a short man with classic Jamaica features. A medium-sized nose and bright eyes. I rarely hear Wally speak, except when he asks the question every Jerk chicken man asks: “Ketchup an’ Peppa?”

I demand the largest piece he has, and Jov protests. As the driver, apparently i’m abusing my authority with chicken selection. I laugh and ignore him. I eventually regret it. My piece was large, but a bit tasteless. Before I ate, a grey SUV pulls up so close to Wally’s stand we almost get hit. A bald man with hard eyes looks directly at me, and then Wally. I feel a hand on my shoulder. My cousin’s.

“Yow, that’s Mavado in the car.” He says to me.

I look into the car and see Mavado, the gangster for life staring directly at me. Everything anyone has ever said about him is true. His face looks hardened and a bit sallow, complimented by striking yellow eyes and an fuzzy head of braids. I feel frightened.

“Yow, we want some fowl, fast!” he barks.

I almost laugh. The statement seems a bit too cliche’d to even be true, but it happens. Wally dips into his bin of pre-cooked chicken and my eyes widen. Two of the largest pieces of chicken I have ever seen are laid on the chopping block, to my chagrin. Immediately we laugh to ourselves. “First we are trumped by the girls at the party, and now Mavado. Its a perfect night.” Jov says.

I laugh heartily. I have to admit, it is almost so pathetic that its funny. As Wally is putting pepper on the chicken, Mavado barks again, in that telltale raspy voice that has already earned him millions.

“Put more BLOODCLAAT peppa pon di chicken! You tink a gyal you a serve?”

Wally freezes for a moment. His face remains the same, an expressionless half-smile that never waivers and then he pours more pepper onto the chicken. He hands the package to Mavado and his driver. “Yeah, stand up strong you know!” He says to us, the last bark from the wolf of the pack. We stare at the SUV dissappear up the road. It screeches to the right and dissappears . A pregnant pause followed, then Jov tuns around. He is beaming.

“Yow, that was so fucking hype!” Jov says. I agreed. Mavado hailed us up. It was like getting a high-five from Mike Tyson in his prime, or a hug from Jenna Jameson. The events of the night started to dissappear in importance. The stuckup girls, the odd crowd all dissappeard in a few bites of chicken and a red strip or two. We stood under the night sky and kept talking about how Mavado said hello to us. To anyone else we might look like losers, but it was a happy and fulfilling moment.

I had to buy another piece of chicken though.


/ends here

Posted January 22, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Nerd Nerd Nerd, Nerd’s the word.   1 comment

I haven’t opened my mail “gleefully” in a while.

I’ve been on a reading binge of late. Reading is truly the writer’s domain for inspiration. Like weed for reggae and rap artists and coke and heroine for rockstars.

I ordered a few books off Amazon that I’m itching to sink my teeth into. I already finished I’m Dreaming of Gwen Stefani, which surprisingly was a book less about the pop-star and more about boilogy, human choice and the concept of love. It was a quick and tasty read. I’m currently about 30% through Fast Food Nation, a book i’ve heard lots about but never read.

After a reasonably interesting Saturday night (realizing i’d made a VERY tall girl sensitive about her height, and trying to get a slice of icebox cake at a birthday party I crashed) I ended up heading over to the house of a friend of a friend to chill and play some Nintendo Wii for a bit. I’ve always been an adamant, die-hard Nintendo fan. When Playstation came out, I told everyone I hated it (though I secretly wished I had been able to play Final Fantasy 7, Street Fighter Alpha and a host of other games) and stuck to my trusty old N64. I’ve owned every Nintendo console before the Wii and my love… and subsequent die-hard status for Nintendo crashed after the Wii came out.

I’m old school, and what we old school gamers LOVED about the latest iteration in a new system was one thing and one thing only: An improvement in graphics. When I played then Nintendo Entertainment System, an ergonomically horrible controller and two buttons (A & B) were sufficient for the level of games they had. They all had something to do with hopping on your enemies head, or running in a straight line. When the Supernintendo came out, I was amazed it had a whopping SIX buttons for me to use, which made sense because the games were more complex and required more functions. Then came the N64, which had 7 buttons, one of which was a trigger. Life with Nintendo was now in full 3d, and as such there was a D-pad and a joystick. Each evolution made sense as we stepped upwards and onwards. Then game the Gamecube, which made me happy, because in my naivety I thought the N64 would have Gamecube quality graphics, but alas, I was young. The gamecube had a modified and interesting controller system, marvelous graphics and games that competed with Playstation and the then newcomer, Xbox.

then came the Wii.

After I heard that the Wii wasn’t even graphically superior to the gamecube (it was basically the same chipset ) and that it was an “interactive” gaming system, my heart fell into my stomach. I was hoping for playing Mario in some ridiculous Open GL, with his hair bouncing as he ran around a dark cityscape, filled with little mushroom men flashing light sabers or something odd. Instead, I was told that I had to hold a wand and gesture towards the screen.

I hated it. This weekend, I realized my beliefs were justified. I played a bowling game and some tennis. The graphics didn’t impress me, neither did the interactive waving of the Wiimote. I wanted a flashy controller, graphics that would be good enough to make me ignore beautiful women for days on end and so on….

I digress… I needed to Nintendo-rant a bit.

So i’ve been reading a lot of books. When I was Wii-hating that evening, a girl who lived at the residence, Chelsea was giving away books. I took a few (including Fast Food Nation) and felt excited to read them. I’ve never read a set of semi-feminist Adult Fantasy books.
“They are really fucked up.” Chelsea said.

Today though, my gem arrived in the mail. It is the quintessential Scifi book: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

I know Huxley’s book is chronicled in the annals of our modern history in a really cool way and after I saw him on the cover, he looks sort of like a brooding Clark Kent with bigger glasses and that “mad writer with class” type of hair. I was intrigued.

So I’m amped to finished my current book and dive into that one. Then maybe i’ll try and read on of the Adult Fantasy books. Last night I found it a bit ironic that i’m reading a book on fast food, how it is prepared and how it is seriously affecting people’s health, and I almost had a bad crash on my bike on the way to get some Ice cream at 1 a.m in the morning. My stomach was hurting and I felt some Breyer’s would sooth me. Going at least 35 miles an hour, I heard something go KRAAATKKT and the bike fell 30 degrees to the side. Luckily, I have reasonable experience in dirt biking(which helps with reflexes with road biking) so I was able to stop the bike in a way that didn’t cause me major injury. If I had fallen on my side with the bike going that fast, I would probably have a shattered rib or two and maybe a dislocated shoulder.

Somehow, in stopping the bike, the back wheel was bent completely out of shape. After mumbling to myself a bit, I hopped on, and went to get my ice cream anyways. I’m happy this happened, because I was about to sell the bike, and I would have hated for someone to buy my bike and have gotten seriously injured riding it. The bike is now a relic in my living room.

So, the reading continues and I’m diving in, eyes first.

Posted January 15, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Love! Love… love.   Leave a comment

No, I’m not in Love. My mind however, has been reintroduced to the concept in certain ways.

After reading a book written by Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself To Live. I realized there were new ways to write. Traditionally, I always thought writing was about putting down details that spark the imagination, work the body up into a spicy lather that makes lines such as:

She was a tall brunette with a lithe body, sensuous lips and an ungainly gait. At first glance, Mark felt his heart flutter as she paused in the doorway.

That makes lines like this make you think of YOUR ideal brunette with a lithe body, not mine. But what If I was to write on paper the details about my ex-girlfriend’s body? Or all of my ex-girlfriends? This would be interesting, not to mention extremely personal. However, how else does a writer search for ways with which to explain that which the mind cannot explain. A boxer punches meat, top-class lawyers do lines of coke and actresses date their line directors. Writers write.

I’m reading a new gem, I’m Dreaming of Gwen Stefani, and the author makes an interesting analogy about love and biology. Apparently people have certain predilections to choosing their mates based on characteristics as odd as the length of the middle finger and the circumference of the wrist among other things. Therefore he asks, “Can we really choose to love, if our genes tell us who to ‘love’?”

This made sense to me. Going back to my aforementioned Klosterman reading, I was almost shocked by how open his book was. He spared almost no details, from talking about taking drugs (and not being a druggie) so his painful and strange relationship with a girl named Lenore (which is also the name of an underground Goth-cute clothing line/comic).

After reading the book, my mind was opened to the true nature of non-fiction. There was nothing stopping a man from writing whatever the hell he wanted, granted it was interesting enough for others to read. Even though Chuck writes in a very self-deprecating, just-above the masses in intellect sort of way, reading juicy details about someone else’s life are always good reading, much more so if that person is actually interesting.

After reading that book in the summer of 2007, I started a non-fiction project of my own. It had no title, but I promised myself I would write each day about the month I was spending in Jamaica, chronicling all of my wacky observations, run ins with women and odd characters, and put it on paper.

The result after 3 weeks of writing, was 110 pages of witty prose, dealing with a lot of things, including the topic of love. It was a very intense and involved exercise; motivating one’s self to write in the face of several of life’s uncertainties, but at the end of it all, my search was the same.

I made two people read that first draft of the project, which I stopped because certain elements became too painful to write. I know that many writers are notorious for torturing themselves, writing about unrequited love, constipation and other things, but I couldn’t keep it up, it was too much mental pressure. The two people that read my first draft were amazed by my brutal honesty, in fact, one of them, a friend of mind, said:
“You sure you want people knowing your business like that?”

To this I gave a simple reply. “Its just information.”

In fact, what I realized about that sort of writing is that its not therapeutic. It is mostly observational, very personal and detailed and requires high mental focus. If I want to write about a trip I make to a local bar, its much more fun to talk about a “Tall man with massive hands asking me for a tuna sandwich” versus “A bartender with a snotty nose”…although those might work in either case.

I’m going off topic here… but the main thing that this sort of writing does is force you to not look back. Sure, I can hide behind the curtain that is my mind and my past and not speak to anyone and delineate on certain things in my mind forever, or I can jot it down and get some comments on it. The memories aren’t going anywhere, and neither is the information, but what can change is how you observe aspects of yourself based on what others tell you. The only thing that would suck is if everyone completely agrees with what you wrote and you didn’t grow. But that rarely happens.

This type of writing, and this type of searching I find very intertwined as it relates to love. Since I stopped writing the book, I have had several good lines of prose run through my head that I have never wanted to type. Though I keep a log of some of my thoughts, that project and its exposure level scared me. It was as if I was asking the world for an answer to that which has plagued man for as long as he can remember.

Love? What’s it got to do with me?

Sometimes I feel like stepping this blog up a notch–writing about my “TRUE” thoughts–but I’m not sure how beneficial that is. I think a faceless blog with highly personal information ready by faceless people who don’t comment but willingly read it is a bit scary. A book however, has a face … and readerships usually find their way to the Author.

Anyways, the feedback I got from the two readers about the project was pretty good. One of them, a girl I know, said that my” ability to describe the depths of my emotional chaos was thrilling.” She didn’t use those exact words, but you get the idea.

Two months after I wrote the project I looked back on some of it, unable to draw anything from the stories, or the words. Writing is like that sometimes. A novel I worked on in 2004 that I haven’t touched since then amazed me when I re-read a section of it. The characters were alive and real, the writing was on point and I had forgotten many of the plotlines. I didn’t even realize I wrote the damn thing. This lets me know that I can’t always second guess my need to write, which means i can’t second guess my search.

So yeah, I might have a day or two when I need to write about something that stirs up the heart a bit, but that’s life eh? In my short life, I’ve attempted to write three books about girls i’ve had “passionate enterprises with” (I can’t classify all of them as ‘love’), but I’ve only finished one book out of the three. I think its easier to fabricate a story with a few common elements from your life than writing down sequentially the ways your heart got wrenched into ten pieces.

This makes sense again. Love is interesting, a bit illogical and maybe writing is too. Maybe they are both lovers and in love. Writing and Loving. Forever intertwined, like a sappy mid-Sunday evening radio song, or a bad Mills and Boon novel.

who knows. Someday soon I’ll hop onto a computer somewhere and finish that project. But I don’t think i’m ready.

One day, I will be.

Posted January 14, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

Itty Bitty Comparisons   Leave a comment

The bubble has popped, and I wake up in the real world.

I rarely stay awake on an international flight, but recently I was flying over the Caribbean sea, deep in thought. I wondered if the clouds above me held some mystical realm where I could go, sit, meditate and play Nintendo Wii with cherubs wearing Mario Brothers t-shirts. But all I came up with was the quiet reflection that being in a massive work of art (i.e a plane) can give you. One hundred years ago, if you told a person that an object the size of several houses would be able to fly thousands of miles across the sea, while having all the amenities of a house, such as a bathroom, lights, carpeting and refrigerators to store food (and people), they would probably burn you on a stake.

When I fly, I am always appreciative of modern technology, even if flying of late gives me headaches.

However, the first thing I noticed when I was in the plane, was the girl sitting beside me. She was a short, very overweight caucasian girl. It was then it dawned upon me, that I had not been this close to a fat person in four weeks.

After I arrived back into the United States, it was that I could see that America truly IS a fat country. I’m not sure why this dawns upon me now of all times, simply because I never try to compare Jamaica and America; they are too different, one is too small and one is too big, and the culture is just skewed on both sides. Jamaica has post-colonial issues, America has post-colonial, racist, immigrant and whatever else kind of issue you can name as well.

But I can see that Americans are “fatter” people. In my blurry Christmas of extreme partying and too much eating and drinking, I didn’t realize that pretty much every set of women I saw had a physique within certain borders. No one was really “thick”, many women were petite, and most were very short.

As soon as I started my traipsing about in DC, I noticed the difference especially with black women here. Even if they are young, many have the tell tale large hips that women who are in their thirties in Jamaica have, and many of them are overweight. Many of the men are overweight too, and tall. People in America are generally much bigger, even without the weight. In Jamaica, me standing at 6’1 and a half, I’m a reasonably tall guy. When I wear certain shoes, I’m very tall. Shoes or not in the states, i’m very, very average.

This is why the bubble has popped as well. In Kingston, my stomping ground (and i’m guessing many other parts of the island) there is an immediate exposure that comes with being in a “small town” atmosphere. You see the same people in the same places, people give you funny looks all the time. Everywhere I go, I feel watched. By the jerk chicken man, the attendant at the jewellry store. EVERYWHERE…. I feel watched.

When I’m in the states its a 100% shift. Wherever I go, no one looks at me with any interest. I become another faceless black man on the street. This stood out to me today in particular. I was in Pentagon City mall, doing an excercise in what I call “social meditation” (more on that later) and I went into a Ritz camera shop to look at a few digi cams. I was wearing a tan jacket, a blue and orange trucker hat and gray pants. To my left, a young black man wearing almost full black sat down. “Do you have any ten dollar t-mobile cards?” the young man said to an attendant at the back. The attendant, looked directly at him and said. “Yes, if we have some, we have them.”
I proceeded to walk up to the counter at this point. He turns around to me, looks me square in the eye and says. “Ten dollar t-mobile card?”

I laughed to myself at this point.

I think being faceless has its advantages and serious disadvantages. Sometimes I can hide in a crowd quite easily and walk around and think for hours on end about nothing in particular. I can roam the city for days and no one will say a word to me. Other times, it is a bit unnerving to be in the presence of such a large social atmosphere comprising of millions and not be inclined to want an interaction. I find it very interesting. That is not a comparison to Kingston culture, because that is a whole other kettle of fish… possibly for another blog.

So America is fatter and more isloated (in the cities) at least. It might be an island thing, but I can see how living in such a large city can make a person feel very isolated very quickly, even if you are quite familiar with the area itself. I don’t mind it anymore. I have a reasonable sense of DC. In Jamaica, we have classism based on skin colour and money. Here it is mainly racism, in the sense of entitlement that doesn’t have anything to do with money all the time. Having both views of these cultures has always made me have a semi-neutral stance on my surroundings.

I am not appalled that on certain buses there are mainly sick, poor black people riding them. I am also not bothered anymore that the area I live is being gentrified at a rapid rate. These are not things I can control, but they are merely things I observe.

I felt like writing this more than talking about how I successfully blocked no less than seven Express employees from making me sign up for a credit card while I was at the mall, even though that was fun.

Tonight is Friday. May I storm the streets of Adams Morgan like it was Normandy, walk with the focus of Napoleon and get jiggy like big Will.

Hello, Konnichiwa, Ni Hao, Halo 2008.   Leave a comment

Its the first of the new year and I’m sitting in my study, thinking about the last three weeks.
It seems to be a hazy blur of strong drinks and beautiful women dressed in cute dresses, images of teeth biting into jerk chicken and random run-ins with celebrities, rich-kids and long time friends. I realize that I have not spent a night home in almost an entire month.
This doesn’t matter, because partying is good if you have something left to do after you expend all that energy. I spent the day with my family at a friend’s house. We ate, we danced, we sang along to some popular songs. I spoke about the year and my plans with a good friend of mine and ate some more chicken.
Thankfully i’m not experiencing the crawl. The “crawl” is the sudden reentry into the normal pace of your life after living a brief (or extended) whirlwind existence. I don’t feel the crawl right now in any way. I’m actually considering watching a movie (Black Dahlia ) and doing some reading.
 I’m retiring my “party-man” persona for at least one night.
Today was windy, and it felt as if the earth was yawning from the stresses and effects of 2007, ushering in the New Year. I felt somewhat introspective, looking out at the beautiful Kingston landscape, watching pink clouds hover over distant moutain tops, while soft oldies played in the background. Even though I don’t particularly advocate the whole “New Years Resolution” thing, like anyone, I still feel like the new year has its beginnings.
In my last blog for 2007 I mentioned that a New Year is a continuation of the past, which is true, but when I felt that wind hit me today it felt like last year was washing itself away. There are many things I accomplished last year that I am proud of, and I have many interesting plans this year that I hope to accomplish as well.
I tell myself quite often that I am happy to be alive, happy to be sitting in my house on a cool January evening, drinking sorry and chewing a piece of pastry while I type on my blog. My friend told me something I liked tonight.
“Yes, youth, we just moving forward for the new year. Straight forward.”
I agree. Forward is the place to go, and it is the only direction that exists. In a week I will be back in the cold, wintry atmosphere of Washington DC. But I’ll also be smiling, hanging on to the last breath of 2007 and using it to fuel 2008.

Posted January 2, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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