Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Marcus Bird’s “GAIJIN GIRL” Ebook, Great in-flight reading   Leave a comment

This is a collection of short stories that span the globe from Jamaica to Japan. Please read the story when you get a chance, and feel free to e-mail me feedback at the address included in the ebook sampler. Thanks in advance.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28255995/Gaijin-Girl-Ebook

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Hot Japanese Mom & The Ribbon Girl   1 comment

A Daquiri, I say, Is a sweet drink. It usually has strawberries in it, or some kind of fruit. You blend it with vodka, ice and a little sugar. In front of me, nodding and somewhat understanding, is a bartender at Planet Café. I’ve been trying to explain for roughly twelve minutes what a Daquiri is.

I’m here on a Sunday, and I feel bored, even though my day has consisted of watching Terminator: Salvation at noon, passing through a barbeque with some friends and hitting up a video arcade. My city restlessness has a new face.
At the bar are a few people from the reggae parties I’ve seen around. A DJ from the T.P sound system crew, his girl and Gully. I order a gin and tonic after giving up on my Daquiri. As the bartender made my drink, he laughed and asked me to write down the ingredients for the Daquiri. I’m waiting on Ribbon girl, the one I met at the party last night. We chatted on the phone briefly after I went to my Barbeque. When I spoke to her, a twinge of excitement had trickled through me when her number popped up on my phone. At the time I was sitting on the sidewalk, chatting to a friend about nothing in particular.

 
I took a sip of my drink, when a flurry of activity beside me grabbed my attention. Two gorgeous girls with slim bodies and long brown hair came to the bar coasting on a sea of giggles. I thought one of them was a girl I met the night before, at the reggae party.

“Hug.” I said.

Nani?” (what?)she replied.

I said it again, more Japanesey. “HUG-OO.” I said. She hugged me, and then I realized I’d never met her. I also realized in the same thought she was very drunk. Japanese girls never hug guys they don’t know. Unless of course, you are famous.
“Hi.” She said exasperatedly.
“Hey.” I replied.
She was pretty, with movie actress looks and flawless skin. She wore a stylish outfit that screamed high fashion. Her friend smiled as I talked to her, but chatted to one of the bartenders and left us alone.
“Where you from?” she said.
“Jamaica.” I replied.
“Really?” she said.
She said this with absolute surprise, in the way a child who swore he failed a test  realizes he actually received an A. I told her I was a designer. Incidentally, I was wearing one of my own shirts.
“I want to buy one.” She said, rubbing my chest. “I am a mother!” she exclaimed triumphantly.
“Very cool.” I said. “One child?”
“Yes, I have one. But I am twenty-one!”
She said this with a bright expression. I held her hand and without getting up, beckoned her to twirl. “Very nice.” I said.
She was. If she hadn’t told me she had a kid, it would be impossible to tell.
“You think I am nice?” she asked. Her eyes were filled with desire.
“Yes, you are.” I replied.
A part of me wanted to exploit this situation, but as a rule, I never like drunk women. The only way it works is if I’m equally drunk when I meet them, but at present I was stone cold sober. Having a sexy mother of one on my speed dial would be cool, but alas, Ribbon girl would arrive any minute.
I was right. In the periphery of my vision, I glimpsed her. She was looking very cute, with huge designer glasses. She wore a black and white dress over a pair of tight jeans. I could see the taper of her body through the layers. She had lip gloss on and a purse that resembled a ribbon. The theme continued.
I saw her pause as she said hello to some of the people from last night. Her eyes were on me, but I didn’t move. I’m not the type to play too many headgames, I was just observing.
The hot mom disappeared with a guy onto the the dance floor, and I turned to Ribbon girl. “Hey! You been here long?” I said. She walked over. She gave me a weak hug and stood by the bar. Close up, I could see the glow of the bar lights on her lips. She put her bag down. She seemed a little nervous. I chatted to her about my day and ask her some questions about herself.
“I don’t do much.” She replied. ” I just like to dance.”
Ah, I said in my mind. She’s a party girl.
I’ve messed with party girls before. One word always comes to mind when I think of a party girl.

 
Dangerous.

 
Party girls always seem to have nothing to do, are often sexy and probably slept with a few guys you’ve met before if you go out a lot. This generally means it’s a bad idea to think you’re special if she likes you. Sometimes this can change after a few sexual encounters, but not always.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a small camera. The LCD flashed brightly as it came on. With her glasses and jeans, she looked like a shadow of herself the night before.  The image of her leaping on me, her face pressing against my neck and the smell of her shampoo flooded my senses quickly. It faded quickly, like a puff of cigarette smoke.
She showed me pictures of her in Jamaica. “Maji de??”(Really?) I said. Then I remembered somewhere between tequila shot eight or nine she had mentioned living in Jamaica for a month. Through her pictures I was catapulted back home. I saw the bright glowing faces of people with dark skin and short curly hair. She showed me the hot spots; Stone Love’s headquarters for Weddy Wednesdays, Lime Quay beach for Sunday afternoon, Devon house for tasty ice cream, and more. There were pictures with famous Jamaicans, and a few of her Japanese friends going wild at big parties, like Passa Passa.
I playfully joked with her, but she was shy, different. She ordered Chozou, a popular drink (sake mixed with water). I didn’t know why she was nervous. After she put the camera back into her bag, her entire focused drifted to the UNO game the people beside us were playing. I hinted a few times at going to dance, but she kept saying she was watching the game.
That’s an incredibly fascinating game of UNO, I thought to myself. Then I remembered. She was a party girl. I’m new to the scene. Disappearing with her on the dance floor might put her on the bad news bus. While we were looking at the pictures, she mentioned some party on Friday she was going to. She watched the UNO game, and I sat, bored on the stool. I got up and left.
As I exited the bar, before the door close I heard my name. In a movie-scene way, the door slammed in front of her as I glimpsed her looking at me.
“I see you Friday night?” she said.
“Yes.” I replied.
She went inside. I laughed a little, because she had practically chased me out of the bar. Party girls are different, I thought. I left the underground passage leading out of Planet and heading outside, back into the nighttime and towards the bowels of the city.

/* Blog reposted from my other site www.jamaicaninjapan.com */

Lonely heart + Cold = Hit Song   Leave a comment

(me at the National Gallery of Art in late 2006)

 

I’m incubated.

I’m locked into that cycle of in the house doing work, out to class to spend hours in lectures, and then back into the house to do more work. I broke this down with my friend today. When an able-bodied young man finds himself watching 4400 at six p.m on a random Tuesday evening then you know something is wrong. But this is real life.The reality of certain things were unveiled to me when I moved off-campus two years ago. Firstly, when you live seven miles away from a social hub (i.e college). There willl be no one to speak to save your roommate, and no where to go. Secondly, you desire to do less. Basically everything else becomes important. How well food tastes, how comfortable your bed is, how funny that romantic comedy you watch by yourself is, etc. I was walking to class today listening to an Our Lady Peace album, Spiritual Machines, and it sounds like the soundtrack to my life right now. Track 4, “Life”, starts out with a few questions that everyone can relate to:

“How many times have you been pushed around? Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”

“How many times have your friends let you down? Is anybody there? Did anybody stare?”

Introspective questions run abound in this track, and then it goes into a melancholy (yet oddly uplifting) chorus, where leader singer Raine Maida tells me that ‘Life is waiting for you’. The Peace has been known to drop sometimes cryptic lyrics onto their fans, but I felt chills hearing these questions asked to me by someone I don’t know. Then, on track 7, “Are you sad?” it asks even more questions:
“Are you sad? Are you holding yourself? Are you locked in your room? You shouldn’t be….”

Too often I have felt like this person… sometimes a bit trapped by circumstance, or something else. Its the working grind of the world that keeps us in that bubble of limited social interactions.
Even though I do have classes with people I interact with THEN, when the day ends everyone goes their separate ways. I go home, and listen to depressed millionaires sing about their life’s discourses.

I think this is part of being a writer, or an artist. I’m not just sitting by myself staring at the ceiling, getting familiar with little cracks in certain spots, I’m being proactive. I sit, I write, I design, I do a lot of things. But as I told my friend from a class today, “If no one knows you, no one can ever know you are talented.”

I think I’m having an off day again. The work load of school is normalizing. This means for me that things are reaching a natural order where I know what I have to do to maximize my time in classes and so forth, but dammit it gets really lonely sometimes. Its also starting to get cold, meaning if I am going to get in the groove with some people, i’ll have to do it soon. Or I will be “holding myself” in my room, amidst the eerie pluckings of some faceless man’s guitar.

No one can really describe certain kinds of loneliness. It sits on your tongue like the leftover taste of flat soda, and tugs at your hair like an inattentive child. I’m sure the loneliness a business CEO with 14 hour days, millions in the bank and no time to socialize is uniquely different from a college kid who spends his days writing and doing classes. But at the end, they are both suffering from a mild form of social disconnect; a lack of options.

I don’t think i’m sad, but man, sometimes I feel like i’m halfway there. But I will press on… keep writing, with my eye on the prize.

Best Week Ever!   Leave a comment

Okay.

My title is horibbly deceptive. Last week wasn’t the greatest week, but I did feel like I accomplished a lot. With an 18 credit load, lack of sleep and feelings of mania crawling up my back, I still managed to do a lot of design-work, kept blogging and deal with my course load for classes.
My most interesting part of last week were my late night trips to Kinko’s to make this birthday gift for my ex-girlfriend. Yes, yes, I know what you are saying, I’m a loser.

I went to a meeting today for my school paper and one of the offered articles related to OCD. I wonder if I have a compulsion when it comes to design and writing. Maybe its my outlet, or my mojo or whatever. But there was one night after traveling for about an hour in total time (walking, waiting on bus, then walking some more) the Kinkos I went to was locked. I thought about smashing the large glass pane and doing my copying then. But I doubt the officers would believe I was trying to spend a few bucks doing copies.

So it was a long, involved week, with emotional ups and downs, and the release of that emotion during the weekend. It got released because the week ended. Today was an amazingly productive day. I did a ton of homework, two cartoons for the day, a presentation for class, and i”M about to start doing some script editing. Maybe I’m not doing as much as say–the CEO of GE, but i’m trying to maintain. I’m idle and e-mailing random people on the “w4m” section of Craigslist as a social experiment. Who knows, maybe it will give me something to write home about.
ciao

Half-life 2 got Pwned: Enter “The Piccard”   Leave a comment

Okay, my title really has nothing to do with anything. I’m just trying to get more subscribers with catchy title headings. The demands of my day to day have been starting to get to me already. I have scripts to write, papers to hand in and i’m always up and down as the cartoonist trying to get something done. Add to that some design work, several books to read and the “bachelor” life and you have a recipe for burnout. So i’ve been using what little free time trying to get back into my gaming.

Gaming has always been a fun enterprise for me, and now with my new computer, I think I can start feeling that nice squishy feeling inside I used to feel when I was 18. In my Freshman year, I had no computer for the entire first semester, and I was envious, because all the guys in my dorm were playing Counterstrike till the wee hours of the morning. For those who don’t know what Counterstrike is, is was a “mod” (meaning modification) based on the original Half-life game engine. Half-life is one of the most successful video games in history, and Counterstrike is certainly the most successful Mod ever. Either way, the game works on a Agents versus Terrorists split. Either you are a terrorist, using Ak-47s and other weapons worthy of a cell, or you are a counter terrorist, meaning your guns and armour are better …sort of. Either way, coming from the stilted internet in Jamaica at the time (we had a measly 56K at the time), I was fascinated. Not only could I play online at blazing speeds, but with SIXTEEN people at once! It was amazing. Needless to say, when I got my computer in Spring of 2001, I didn’t sleep. Actually at the time I was suffering from severe insomnia, but Counterstrike was there to keep me company. I can’t describe how it feels for a guy who existed in a non-broadband society to jump into the bosom of super-fast downloads and ridiculous bandwidth. It was like a drug.

So flash forward seven or so years, and i’ve gone through a few gaming evolutions. My game of choice since day one has always been ID software games, since Wolfenstein and Quake are tattooed on my left butt cheek. (kiddding). As these games got more awesome, my sucky system couldn’t play them. It reached a point where all I did on my machine was write, and do graphic design because I couldn’t play any video games properly. I had a Gateway, which was a 1.2 gHz machine with I 512 megs of RAM and a 30 gig harddrive for two years. The harddrive died a few times, and then I upgraded to a bigger drive, same machine. Then one day I felt my computer crashed (actually it didn’t ) and rushed and bought what would be dubbed ” THE BEAST”.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. Currently i’m on “BEAST” number four, but I think that name is jinxed, so I’ve dubbed my new machine, “The Piccard”. Beast number one was a cool Pentium 4 with a gig of SDRAM (really really good ram). It worked great for a few months, but the started making noises like the kid in The Grudge when I was playing and then it died. Enter beast number two. This I actually bought from a friend of mine when he upgraded. This was a better machine, with a 64 bit chip, 1 gig of RAM and a bigger harddrive. I could play heavy hitters like Doom 3 and Half-life 2 on this one. Not maxed out (meaning all settings put to high) but I could run them. Then that died a mysterious death. Then my most recent machine ( you can check an earlier blog relating to my computer woes with that one) started acting funny and now… THE PICCARD is here.

This machine is a beast. It PWNED halflife on max settings. it PWNED Bioshock two and Quake Wars. If I wasn’t tired from school, jaded from lost love and a little bit hungry right now, I would be playing games into the wee hours of the morning. I thought it fit that I devote a blog to my new computer. A cool, dual-core “beast-esque” machine with Windows Vista (gay…) and enough bells and whistles to keep me well into next year. Like Piccard, I will go where no one has gone before.

Into the max-out-everything-verse. :p

IPOD – TOUCH ME   2 comments

Today isn’t a great day for me. As you can see i’m doing my second blog of the day. I’m hurting a bit right now, because of an event that happened on Friday night that I can’t get into. So, like most people, I’m trying to distract myself by either eating too much, watching tv, or spending money. As it stands, I really don’t want to go down a self-destuctive path, so I decided to research the new Ipod, a.k.a “The Ipod Touch”and blog about it. I wouldn’t call myself a technophile, and I am a skeptical early adopter (I learned my lesson after the Ipod Video came out). This new version of the Ipod excites me somewhat. Hey, I’m bored, single with nothing to do. A cool device that has a cyborg like sexiness has appeal in our wired world of today.

I’ve owned almost every version of the ipod ever made. This hasn’t been by choice. I bought the third generation thinking it was a godsend. I like the way little red lights lit up the buttons on the Ipod face, and even though it was pre click-wheel, it was still pretty easy to navigate. One night I went to a club my friend worked at. It actually wasn’t a club, but this cool Sushi restaurant called Japone in Dupont circle. Either way, I was chilling in the the back where there was a bar, talking to this cute bartender. As she commented on my hair (it was a huge fuzzy muff of blonde at the time) I rested my man-bag on the bar chair. I took a thirty second walk to the front of the restaurant and when I came back my Ipod inside the bag was gone. I was upset because I had never had a device stolen from me in that way, but it wasn’t that bad. The third gen had a terrible battery life (mine capped at 8 hours) and it would “crash” on me occassionally. A little while later, I sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist and then I bought my fourth gen (with clickwheel!) That wasn’t bad, but I only owned it for one week. I went on a business trip with a few classmates to checkout the Investment banking world. Seeing all those droopy eyed, highly paid college grads only a year or two older than me made me cringe. Investment banking wasn’t for me. I did read the paper however, I see that a new “Ipod Photo” was coming out in… a week.
I almost screamed, because I had bought my Ipod just recently, but as soon as I got back to DC I put it for sale on CL and bam! It was gone. So I bought my Ipod Photo soon after, and I must say I was the most pleased with this Ipod (even more than the Video). The Ipod photo felt very sturdy and it had an amazing battery life, it went up to 21 hours on a full charge. I used this Ipod for at least a year, then I heard about the Video. I researched it for a while, hating the fact that the battery life was now a paltry 16 hours and that you couldnt’ adjust the brightness on the screen. “No matter,” I said to myself “It is new tech. And New tech is F-ing cool.” So I bought the new Ipod with most of the Photo sale money and I was very dissapointed. The screen was marginally bigger and the menu was cool-ish, but the battery life for me was almost cut in half and I didn’t like watching video on it. The screen was too small to really enjoy full length video, and it was a task actually putting movies on the device itself. So after owning the Ipod video for about two months, I sold it.
Later I would horribly regret this, when I eventually wanted a portable music player and had none. Either way, as a birthday gift I received an Ipod Nano and I’ve been using that for over a year now. Naturally my head works in tens of gigabytes, and its a huge drop from 30 gigs on the Ipod Video (or 20 gigs on the Photo) to a measly 2 gigs on the Nano. But, I organized my playlist, made sure everything was okay, and I’ve been using it ever since. My happiest accessory is a pair of those Bose headphones they sell at the Apple store for 150 bucks. (I bought mine for $85. Ah…Craigslist). I had no desire to ever get an Ipod video again. I knew sooner or later, Apple would drop an Ipod that would wow the masses again. When the Iphone came out earlier this year, I didn’t bat an eyelid. Only a crazy person (I thought) would camp out to get a device with slow phone service, severe data limitations just because it looks “cool”. I fiddled with the phone at the Apple store, and I agree it IS cool, but not 600 bucks worth of cool.
But now I hear about the Ipod Touch, and my heart feels warm. I’m so used to my 2 gig nano that 8 gigs sounds like a lot of space. I like the fact that it has more functionality as well for my money. The $299 price tag doesnt’ sound that bad either BECAUSE it has so much. I can access wifi points and surf the web, I can browse my music by tapping my fingers, and the battery life isn’t 16 hours, its 22. Its also thinner than the Iphone (take that At&t!). So if I can, I think I’ll be heading to the Apple store to get my touch and be an early adopter of THAT product. Then I’ll hear about the “Ipod Touch II” which comes out in January which has 20 gigs of Space for $299 and then i’ll rush to sell my little 8 gig. But until that time comes, we’ll see what happens. This has nothing to do with my usual blogging about writing, but I needed to vent about something and the Ipod gave me a really good excuse.

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