Archive for the ‘Matrix’ Tag

Hello DC: Rubix Cube Party   Leave a comment

I’m at a Rubix cube party.
We all know the Rubix cube. It was a genius little device invented in the early 70’s by the Hungarian architecture dude. You spin the faces, line up the squares and make the colors match. We know how it works. At this party, we are the colors, and by the night’s end, we must be wearing one color of clothing. In a sense, we are squares on the cube.
Earlier in the evening, I was happily munching on Chicken Tibs at a local Ethiopian restaurant. I was eating with a good friend of mine. We spoke frankly about the diatribes of broken relationships, growth and Sean Penn’s new Movie, “Milk”.
Afterwards, we stepped out into the darkness of DC’s winter cold, and I bid her adieu. Then I hopped on the 70 bus towards Columbia heights. I spent the trip listening to dancehall, and watching the dark blobs that represent rowhouses go past in a dull blur.
I was sitting quietly, (like most people in the bus), but I was listening to sexually charged, uber-voilent dancehall music. I’m sure my hipster pants and trucker hat hid that fact nicely.
It’s really cold when I exit the bus to head towards the party, but there is something oddly stimulating about it.
Maybe it’s the feeling of the wind biting my fingertips, the little brown leaves that rustle above me whenever a gust of wind flashes by, or the fact that I’m underdressed. My fingers are burning me, and my jacket (stylish as it is) has no outer pockets for me to slip my fingers into.
I walk fast.
When I reach the party, there is no one milling outside. This makes perfect sense. Even the smokers are happily huddled inside, accepting warmth instead of tiny doses of nicotine, cyanide and a dozen other harmful chemicals.
As I step in, a guy wearing red tights, and a red dress walks past. His eyes are glassy with alcohol, and he has a wry smile. “I need your hat!” he says to a girl walking nearby. She is wearing dark leather pants, a red hat and a suede Jacket that looks straight out of a vampire movie. She chuckles and disappears into the small crowd of people occupying the space.
I personally am out of place with my outfit. I’m technically wearing full black, (even though I wore a yellow shirt to throw my outfit off) but I am determined to find matching yellow pants. I see one person dressed in yellow, a short girl with dark features. She is wearing what appears to be a yellow jacket around her waist, webbed yellow shoes, yellow stockings, a yellow hat and a yellow shirt. I groan, as I have nothing to trade. The idea of taking off my pants right there to put some yellow tights on isn’t stimulating yet. I need to get some alcohol.
I meet and greet the hosts, and I find out it’s a birthday party. I was invited by a girl I know, Ash, and she is decked out in a full red outfit; large red shirt that reads “Ameican Heritage”, red tights and a  red baseball cap. At some point later on in the night she will be completely blue, complete with a blue wig. “Would you like some whiskey?” she says to me as I step inside.
For a moment I pause, and my mind flashes back to Halloween weekend a month prior. I saw a blur of people, faces and felt the heat of different bars and houses on my face, then I remember waking up and not knowing where I was.
“I think I’ll get a beer.” I say with a smile. Ash starts talking to the girl in the full yellow. Behind me, a guy says. “She (yellow girl) looks like a creature from Final Fantasy.”
I spend the next ten minutes trying to remember what creature she  looked like. I was never a huge Final Fantasy fan, but I knew a few of the creatures.
When I was in high school and Playstation (not Playstaion two or three, not even PSOne… PLAYSTATION) was all the rage, when Final Fantasy seven came out, it was lauded as one of the greatest RPG’s of all time. I didn’t have a Playstation, I had an N64, and I forever regretted not feeding on the frenzies of my school mates. I wished I could have huddled under the tree where the nerds hung out and read backstory on the FF universe, talk about little creatures and boss fights and escape in that world of fantasy. Instead, I played games like Bomberman 64 and Turok. I’m thinking about this as i walk through the kitchen looking a cup, then a word pops into my head:
Chocobo.
That’s the thing the girl in the yellow looks like. It’s a little bird sort of creature. I walk down a narrow hallway and through six active conversations. Outside is  a keg, and I get a drink. The temperature feels like its dropped another six degrees, and I hurry up and go inside. After my first beer, I’m determined to get some yellow pants.
The music isn’t very inspiring. It sounds like slow lounge music mixed in with upbeat country or old pop songs. No one is dancing yet. I see the birthday boy (who I incorrectly called “Jesse” for most of the night) and say hello. He is wearing a hodgepodge of colors. He has an orange shirt on, tiny blue shorts and black socks, and he has an orange bandana tied on his head. “So, you are twenty five eh?” I say. “Yeah, maybe in a week it will hit me and I’ll either be like “oh god!” or “oh yeah!” He says with a laugh. “I’ve been there,” I say. “I’m definitely in the “oh god!” stage right now.”
He disappears down the same long hallway with two girls and I eye some cake. Lately I’ve been avoiding a lot of pastry, and I don’t feel like digging into a suger-laced cake while I’m drinking. Ash is standing beside two more girls who are working the Rubix. One is wearing full blue regalia and has a blue wig on. She does Madonna style poses as cameras flash in the background.
I smile and survey the rest of the party. It’s a weird mix. Some people are dressed very normal, in the usually array of jeans and jackets. Then there are a few hardcore guys, who I call the “Rubix dudes”.
For some reason, they are all wearing dresses, and I think their oufits were elaborate plans engineered by the women at the party (they are in the majority). One guy is about six foot three and wearing a green skirt, a green halter top, what looks like a shiny set of green leaves on a string around his neck and (I think) a green necklace. Another fellow, who I later find out is Mark, is wearing small,orange boy-underwear, what look  like orange tassles around his waist, and a v-neck orange shirt (above a green one) complemented by a knit orange hat. He has sharp eyes, a playfully expressive face,a moustache and goatee. He looks like Robin Hood, if Robin Hood left Nottingham to join the broadway cast of Mama Mia! And ended up doing West Side Story instead.
There are a few other guys who enthusiastically get into the Rubix-mode, but the guy that took the cake was a short, broad-chested fellow wearing a full white female outfit. It was his manliness—hairy chest and broad flat features—that made his outfit the funniest. A tiny white haltertop barley fit on his chest and he wore a small white dress, and what looked like a white hairnet…. Or head tie, I’m not familiar with what all forms of female clothing are called.
They Rubix dudes were constantly taking pictures, smiling and laughing. I was on my second beer now, but I didn’t feel like clothes swapping that much. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted to get my yellow pants. I started talking to Mr. T, a friendly-faced guy with a classic Midwest disposition. Ash told me he was apparently, a rubix cube expert.
We started discussing the dynamics near the front entrance. By this time I was on beer number four or five and sipping on a Bacardi ginger ale. Needless to say, talking about the concepts behind multiple planes and matching edges were lost on me. The music changed, and I started dancing with Ash.
At some point, I start a conversation with the tallest women at the party. One looks Scandinavian, and one looks German. I mention this to them.
“Hah! One laughs. I’m Swedish.” She says. “I’m German.” The other replies.
We talk for a few minutes about their amazing athletic abilities. (The swede did decathalon, long jump, high jump, 200M ,800M and deep sea shark hunting). The German did shotput, discus and javelin. (I guessed discus correctly).
Then the German speaks about one year of celibacy, and its implications as it relates to meeting people for “who they are.” I smile as she says this. “I wanted to know how it felt you know? To just not experience that for a year.”
I laugh, and say.”Most people know that feels for a good ten, fifteen years. I think they are too aware of celibacy.”
“Ten? Try twenty!” The Swede says with a laugh.
Ash is now in blue mode, and is dancing amongst friends, laughing and taking pictures. I wear the wig for a few minutes.
I go to the kitchen, and talk to two girls wearing black trucker hats. “What do your hats say?” I ask, squinting to read the writing on them. “Hah! You though it was Japanese didn’t you?” one of the girls says.
In fact, I didn’t think that, because I can read some Japanese. I was thinking it was some kind of Arabic language (and in my defense, the girls both had that “dark-ish” look. Long black hair, sharp dark brown eyes. Which means they could have Persian ancestry or just be from Manhattan.)
“It’s a hat our friend made. Its actually in English.” She points out what it says, and it becomes as clear as day. “ohhh….” I say. Then I look down, and see that she is wearing YELLOW PANTS.
“I said I’d get some yellow pants tonight.” I say seriously. “You have what I want.”
She swaps pants with me, and we snap pictures with her friend, who also has the pants on. Technically, they are little boy shorts, but I rather refer to them as pants.
I parade around in the pants for a while, and smile broadly. Ash comes over, she rubs her small hands across the small of my back. “I see you got your yellow pants.” She said. “Yes I’m a happy camper!” I reply.
I spend the next few minutes taking pictures of all the other emasculated men, including those I’ve named the White Russian, the Green Giant, Robinson Hood and the Black Tight. Outside where the keg is, people are huddled around a grill, talking about nothing in particular. I snap a few more pictures and go back inside.
The girls in the trucker hats are heading out, and I return the yellow pants. The party is beginning to thin out, and everyone is heading to wonderland. I feel a twinge of regret as I head out with Ash and Mr. T to wonderland. I was hoping I could wear my yellow pants there.

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Cannes Day 1 – Vive La Crepes!   Leave a comment

Okay. So I haven’t been able to blog about a few things recently.

Number one was my Graduation – too tired.
Number two was traveling to France the day after graduation – way too tired.
So the blog starts here :p

 

CANNES DAY ONE – POLICE, SHUTTLES AND CHILLY WEAHTER

 

I’m sitting in a room in the Cot d’Azur airport. I’m staring blankly forward—this is what I do when I’m trying to keep an innocent face—and trying to understand the French customs officer speaking to me… in French.

 

This would be one of my first experiences with the French. The first would be the passionate request of a French man for me to switch seats with him and his wife on the airplane.

“I would lie to sit with my wife.” He says moments after coming to the seat. I was a little hesitant. No, very hesitant because I really wanted to have my window seat, occasionally looking at the ocean while we flew over it at hundreds of miles and hour. Eventually I gave the guy the seat. Not before he mutters under his breath:

Sur incompetente Americans!” after an air hostess gives him a bogus explanation as to why he and his wife aren’t seated together. I tried not to laugh.

Now, I’m back in the office. Not only do I have no proof that I was invited to the Cannes Film Festival (my reason for being in France) I have no copy of my hotel reservation. This is REALLY bad. The lady took one look at my Jamaican passport and immediately started scrutinizing me. (my fellow participans in my program, all Americans went through without a hitch).

It was a fun experience, as I tried to speak in Englsh and broken French to explain my purpose for being in France. I couldn’t’ remember the name of the hotel right away, but I did remember the website that had the hotels name on it, which didn’t help things at all. Then the name of the hotel popped into my mind.

Villa Maupassant.

A young French guy that resembled an actor from a movie I can’t remember was very helpful. He could see the customs lady was breaking my balls. I would find out later that the French officials didn’t even scan the passports for the American passengers, they just took a quick glance at it, then stamped. She kept asking me questions in casual conversational French while the young man translated. I didn’t think I was screwed, but I was very annoyed with myself for forgetting to bring the essential things any Jamaican should when they are traveling: Reasons to show you aren’t fleeing your home country.

After a while I explained to the woman that I was part of a group that had traveled to France and that I was to be picked up outside. The only problem with that was, I had no idea who was picking me up, how they looked or what they were wearing. We walked over to the customs section where I was grilled on why I was in France. 

“I’m going to the festival.” I said.

“Really?” the customs baggage lady (different from the customs lady ) said. 

“Yes.”

“Where is your letter of acceptance?” she asks.

“I don’t have it.” 

I give a sob story about Graudating the day before and being extremely tired which is only half true. I normally have my information printed in duplicated hidden in both suiticases, with a backup on my thumb drive. I wasn’t only tired this trip, I must have been on drugs as well. You travel eight thousand miles and have no hotel address? Come on dude!

I eventually get through customs and go outside. I begin looking around… and see no one even remotely familiar. In the pit of my stomach I can see how more and more I’m appearing like a Jamaican hoping to make a new life in the hills of Cannes with my French Cougar. 

 We eventually returned to the airport police office. The young man who had been really cool with helping me apparently double checked with the Villa Maupassant people and I was good to go. phew!

The bad thing was my shuttle had already left and the next one wouldn’t return until about ten a.m (which ended up being about Eleven a.m) either way. My entrance into France like many things, was with a bang.

It’s a chilly day in the Cot d’ Azur aiport, but I like the look of the area. Many of the buildings are tan and dot the hillside in a contiguous way. When the plane landed, for a brief moment I thought of Montego Bay—until I saw some massive mountains in the distance. I’m at the Villa now taking a break. I’m tryin to stay awake for the rest of the day to stave off the weirdness Jet lag can give a traveler, so I think I might get something to eat nearby.

Reflectionz 

I’ve just graduated from University, and I don’t have time to really relish the idea of being a working professional, I just am. A colleague of mine ( who also Graduated just a few days ago) goes on a walk with me around the local area. We are trying to find out if we can get a phone, or a sim card for cheap, but the best price we find Is a store that sells them for 20 euros. The man doesn’t speak much English and my French is horrible, so I can’t figure out. I decide against getting the SIM for the moment, but as time passes I realize I might need a way to contact people.

 

I’m fighting against the effects of future Jet lag. This is a process that requires a person to stay awake in the manner you would on any given day, but you are technically staying awake for an extra six hours. When my friend and I stop at a stand to by some crepes, I am made all to aware of this fact. While I’m eating my phone alarm goes off.

For 8:30 a.m

French time is 12:30 p.m. I groan to myself because I have to stay up till at least 8 p.m  that evening to trick my mind into getting into the new cycle. I spend the rest fo the day walking around a lot to get my bearings. Cannes is a scenic town, with sweeping vistas of nice mountainous regions, and lots of teeny tiny cars. The occasional Bentley or Ferrari drives buy pretty regularly, but many people have cars that can fit in a shoe box, or ride a bike.

 

I end up taking a long (possibly 5 mile) walk to the Palais Des Festivals which is the main area of the Cannes Film Festival. On my way there I run into a girl who was in my Cinematography one class. Small world eh? She tells me about studying abroad and how creepy French men are. (The rumors are true!)

 

I hang out for a bit, looking at huge Yachts on the Mediterranean and trying to stay awake. I’m sitting on a bench somewhere, I watch another monster Ferrari with a soft top roll by like a Lion chasing his dinner and I head home. Earlier in the day I bought some bread and cheese and its my saving grace. I haven’t had the opportunity to go to a supermarket yet, and for now I will be eating “du pan au fromage”. I’ll report on day two as it comes. You can also checkout my video blog. (whenever I can figure out how to set that up…)

 

 

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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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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