Wednesday, June 29, 2005

You Can't Go Home Again

Not being one who left home, since I had to care for my mother, who had become homebound while I was still in High School, I often wondered about that expression. I knew it was true for other reasons. Experiences. An experience will always be the way it was. Like home is in your heart. It never changes in your memory, but in reality, it does. I was reminded of this when I went to my End Term Party, not for my current school, but for the one I had left last June.

There were about 60 people and at least 15 of those who had shown to celebrate surviving another year had returned from the places they had transferred to. I thought I would never return if I had left, while I was there I did attend the parties, but always felt that other schools had to be better, and while some are, the people you work with are never the same. I found this out the hard way and knew I wanted to go back to see some of the faces I had left behind.

The parties were usually good, fun, and memorable, though this time I was disappointed. I was coming back as an outsider, and while I was greeted warmly by all my former coworkers, something was different, the dynamic was changed. I had moved on, and while I wasn't happy where I had moved to, I had gone, and now, I could never return.

While I was welcomed back, as a child would returning home, whatever relationship that existed was gone; severed. If you got back everyone from your senior trip, even the chaperones, and agreed to take the same trip, and do the same things, it will never be the same. The experience, was a moment, a snapshot in time, that can never be revisited, altered, or duplicated. So enjoy home, whatever home is to you, while you can.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


No more pencils
no more books
no more Administrators
dirty looks

Today, June 28th, is a day that I will always love and hold dear. It is the last day of school, the last day I have to get up at 5:30 am and drive very far for the animosity and chaos and blatant disrespect I get as a teacher. And then there's the students! I started to write a poem about the day once, a love poem but the person didn't really appreciate the feeling behind the words, it went something like this:

You are the sun, the stars and the moon
You are more important to me than
You are the 28th of June

Now if that ain't love I dont know what is!

To any teachers out there have a good summer, and recharge those batteries, we'll need it in September.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Ratboy Reports 4

Before reading this, if you have not done so please read the Ratboy Intro by clicking the link below.

He came in with a big Century 21 bag with lots of books from the library that he took out for the comps. He said “this is good stuff, I read a little of the criticism and talk to Jack, about it, really likes that. You know, when you suck up to him.”

He misread Jack that wasn’t what he was about, but I wasn’t going to stop him when he got on one of his tirades. Thankfully this wasn’t a long one. He changed the subject said he wants to scan some pictures from this science book into the
computer and print them to use in his thesis. A Masters Thesis. He wanted to put pictures in his thesis so it will look nicer.

On the bus ride home he said that Jack didn't even read his rewrite, and he
wants to give him everything at the end, like Frank and “Mr.ABD” had done.
Meanwhile he had already given Jack up to page 87 of the rewrite, which he actually rewrote, and now is a totally different script.

When I got off the bus, he usually gets off to wait for another bus, this time he asks to use my bathroom, I said all right, so we walk towards my house and he stops
and says I don’t want to miss the bus. Then he walks a few more steps toward my house and talks to himself, I think I can make it. He then talks to me and says, “No. No, I should stay here. I’m afraid ill miss the bus.” I left him there and hurried home before he could change his mind again.

Pretty slim entry but that’s how life goes sometimes…

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Stranded In Beautiful Downtown West Nyack With A Spinner 2

She walked over to her entertainment center and bent over and retrieved a phone book that had been lying midst some magazines. I was hoping it took her longer to find it. I was enjoying the view. I found the number of the car service and told the dispatcher the problem. I didn’t know the car number but I described the guy. The dispatcher called the driver. The driver had been on calls since he dropped me off. He said he found the wallet earlier and was going to drop it off at dispatch at the end of his shift. I gave the dispatcher my address and he said he’d have the driver swing by in a few minutes.

“You left your wallet in the cab?” she asked.
“Seems so. Damn I guess I was still a bit shaken up from the accident.”
“Like I said I would have been a basket case.”
“Hey well I can say it was worth it all meeting you tonight.”

Slick, aren’t I?

She sat close to me and held my hand. I must admit I am a bit embarrassed but I got an instant erection. I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to use it, and had no intentions prior to meeting her that I would even have to option, but things were looking up nevertheless.
I went downstairs to wait for the car service guy. He had doubled parked the car and was walking up to the building as I got outside. He handed me the wallet.

“Damn this is some night.” I gave him 5 bucks for being a good guy about it all.
He smiled broadly, “hey but at least your up in there.” He pointed to a the building
behind me. “Hah? Hah?” he winked and walked away. At least somebody thought I was
getting laid.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Stranded In Beautiful Downtown West Nyack With A Spinner 1

Anna was a spinner. At the time I was with her I didn’t know the expression, but once I heard it, I knew that was what they called women like her. Anna was about 4 feet 10 inches and weighed about 96 pounds, which was probably what one of my legs weighed. She was the shortest and most petite woman I had ever dated. And she was definitely a spinner.

Aside from her being petite, and about four years younger than me, she was the first black girl I was going to date from the Internet. That she shared with me because it might have been a deal breaker for some. It reminded me of the comments Carol had made about her friend’s man. Her race didn’t bother me. I had dated a black woman before, and while I wasn’t as race obsessed as a friend of mine is, it didn’t faze me. My only requirement of a date is that she is a she, alive, and calls me back. So we were getting off on the right foot here.

I was now driving and agreed to meet her in her neighborhood. Being a young woman living alone, she made a good choice to meet me at a public place. I was running on time for our date, but Queens is a bit confusing, so I had to cut across the Grand Central. I was off of the highway and about to turn on Jewel Avenue when a car barreled down the exit and showed no sign of slowing. I remembered what they taught me in driving school. If a car is coming at you on the left make a sharp right. I did just that I made a hard right. Right into a tree.

Amazingly the tree was unharmed. My car, on the other hand, was another story. The front end was pushed in to form a V shape. There was smoke everywhere. I parked the car and got out and called car service so I could meet my date.

The car service arrived and I told the guy my story. He was the first person to say he would have abandoned the date. We joked around a bit about how he hoped it was worth it and all. He dropped me off at the place I was supposed to meet Anna and left. At the moment I didn’t know I had left my wallet in the car as well.

To Be Continued

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ratboy Reports 3

Before reading this, if you have not done so please read the Ratboy Intro
by clicking the link below.

We were all sitting around the table in class, and Jack was reading us a memo from the English Department about a special MFA program reading at SUBO.

“Can playwrights go Jack?”
“Yes Mark. Anyway it will be in the Occidental Lounge—“
“Would we have to read ourselves or can we have others read it for us?”
“I don’t know Mark, it is a reading sponsored by the Fiction program.”
“Fiction, can playwrights go?”
And on and on,

That day we read Mark’s “Once Upon A Time On Mars.” Mark said it was done as an homage. He admitted that he popped the laser disc of “Once Upon a Time in The West” into to his player, sat on the bed with his laptop and wrote.

The criticisms, the barrage of the criticisms were harsh. They were really harsh, and the script was deserving of most of it. First of all it was a 90 page draft, and the general rule is one page equals one minute. Well the 90 page draft too one hour and fifty five minutes which is roughly 30 minutes longer than it should have.

Amidst all of the comments Mark kept talking about what the script was about, that it was an homage and he was trying to justify it.

“It is a rough draft, I am going to change a few things.”
“Mark, just listen to the comments first,” Jack said.
Mark interrupted him, “I’m not finished.”
Jack shot back, “yes you are.”

Sweaty boy, wiped his brow and said, “Mark some of the dialogue sounded really familiar.”
Mark beamed. “Yes, yes, some of the dialogue was so good I didn’t want to change it.”

Zev said, “Isn’t that stealing?”
“No its paying homage.”

Tunnel rat glared at him. “How about paying royalties.”

Mark said “Can I just say one thing? One thing Jack, please.”
Jack said no that he could not speak anymore and he had to take the criticism like a man. So he sat ther and took the rest of the criticism and he was not allowed to speak until everyone was done.

On the way home Mark starts to mull it all over in his head.

“I’m glad its over. I put my head on the chopping block. I can relax now. Do you think hell let me keep it as the thesis?”

“I don’t know Mark. He was pretty pissed when you kept interrupting everyone.”“I don’t care. I had to. They didn’t understand. It was an homage, I didn’t rip anything off.”

He started to get nervous. "Do you think he'll let me keep this as my thesis?"
and so it went until Bay Ridge Parkway.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Reflections On My Chosen Profession 2

The best intentions and the optimistic light that had burned bright in my eyes were extinguished about ten minutes into my first day of work as a licensed Pedagogue in the New York City school system. The joke I make is that I was burned out before I started and while the statement is half true I did have some hopes that it was a good job, the right job for me, and I would grow old in the profession, never tiring of it, but loving it increasingly more and more as the years went on. I went to college, and majored in English and took a minor in Education, Secondary Ed mind you, not Elementary Ed, there is a stigma attached to males who become Elementary Teachers you know, not that was the reason for my choice. The main reason that I made the choice to be a High School English teacher was that I wanted to be able to talk to soon to be adults about books and ideas and hopes and dreams and all that liberal horse manure that they ram down your throats in the colleges and Ed courses in America. Not that I am bitter.

I wanted to teach because of those reasons and because I would have a lot of time off, time to write, time to vacation and time to relax. Ten plus years later and I haven’t gone anywhere except for my Honeymoon in Miami (hey it was such an event it deserved to be in bold, in caps AND italicized) and haven’t written anything but this piece you have before you. And as for spare time, well don’t make me laugh. Summers off, well if I didn’t have them, if most of us didn’t have them we would eat our guns. Well we don’t have guns but you know what I am talking about, and it burns me that every other profession out there mocks up saying we are overpaid and under worked, I would like to see them trade places with me for a month and see if they can handle it. I bet you they would run screaming into the night, well screaming into the street to their car and driving away never to return. God bless direct deposit you know? There was a major drive for other professions to come into the teaching industry, most of them didn’t last the year. The rest are now climbing up to AP positions. The Fellow program we those have people in them who bail the second their obligation is done. The statistics when I started were abysmal and have only gotten worse. I believe it was something like that 30 % of all new teachers leave within the first year and another 40 or more percent leave with the first for years. So we only retain about 30 percent of our profession, and a certain amount of those remaining go into administration. Then they say we have got to get rid of bad teachers. Well go ahead you already got rid of the good ones.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Reflections on Meeting Someone

I have often wondered about happiness and being in love. I just watched Hitch, and wished I could have hired someone like that. When we meet someone, we never truly meet them, we meet their representative. We meet a person that is on their best behavior, and a person that seems to be many of the things we are looking for. However, as time goes on, the facade cracks and the real person shows through. Shortly after that, animosity grows and doubt festers. Why is he/she changing. They are not changing so much as they are revealing the truth beneath the facade.

Their true personality can be good, can be something we are attracted to, but once you fall for the person you think you are getting, you are left with a bad taste in your mouth and the relationship sours. We want the opposite sex to like us (or the same sex, it goes both ways) so let them meet the real person, not the representative.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


It was as though she were afraid of you watching her simulate fellatio that she had done what she did the way she did it. Dawn would eat a Twinkie upside down. Now I know there is no proper way, no prescribed way, no message sent from up on high from the snack gods, or snack demons since they do more harm than good, about the proper way to eat one of those golden delicacies. Notwithstanding I have been known to scarf down a few Twinkies in my time, as well as watch other people eat them. Some pull the wrapper down a little, some rip it off completely, some take little bites, while others almost deep throat the spongy phallus. She would eat it in a way that was so erotic it was almost criminal. I met Dawn at Kids R Us. She was a rocker chick, fairly hot, and all attitude. I liked it when we would close because I would get to walk her to the bus top, where she would inevitable eat a Twinkie. Still to this day, no one has done a better job than she. Damn. Now I want a Twinkie.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Beers and Boatmotors

Bryan and I were sitting on my stoop drinking some Old English when Victor Jr. drove by in his Firebird.
“Hey you guys want to make some money?”
“Sure Bud.” Bryan said.
“I do need some money, what you need?” I asked.
“Get in the car.”
Mikey Ideas was already in the front of the car with Vic Jr.
“Hey how's your mom?” Vic asked.
“Getting better.”
“How long has she been in?” asked the Idea Man.
“About four months so far.”
“Damn bud, that’s fucked up”
“Yeah, well so whats the deal Vic.”

He put the car into gear and we drove while he started to tell us about a boat he had and the motor fell off, so now he had this cool speedboat, but no motor, so he wanted to go to steal one.

“Vic aren’t you in the police academy?” I asked.
“Yeah, just got accepted. It’s pretty cool.”
We all said we were interested, he offered us fifty a piece.
He stopped at a light and put the car in park. He looked at all three of us.
“I’m feeling I could use a boost any you guys want some Coke?”
“Yo Bud soda is for kids, I got Budweiser running through me, in fact, let m out I gotta blow my nose.”

“Not Coke, Coke.” He made an inhalation sound. I shook my head now. Ideas had the right idea and said no. Bryan said he didn’t do anything harder than beer. Vic Jr shrugged and said he could probably get by without it.

He let Bryan out of his car to, “blow his nose” which was a polite euphamism to urinate. Which he did on a Yashiva.

We drove out to Long Island. The ride was fun though it was cramped in the back of the Firebird. Bryan was not as big as I was but we both barely fit into the car, and I wondered where we would put the boat motor if we did get it. I wondered what I was doing there. The money would be nice, but it wasn’t worth going to jail for, was it the thrills? I had no idea why I went along but I did.

I guess this is what they are afraid of; an unsupervised kid. But I knew what I was doing; on some level, I wanted to express my freedom. We got to our destination, and thankfully I was the lookout. I can act dumb well and look fairly innocent and nice, so the role was perfect for me. I stood by the car, looking at a map while they went down to where the boats were docked. I had the headlights on, directed in the way opposite of where they were, so anyone that would see me or come by would be drawn to the headlights and not to the dock, where a motor was being ripped off. No one came buy and soon the three of them returned with the motor.

They set it down as Vic opened the back of the car, they fumbled with it several times trying to figure out how to get it in the car. I guess Mikey had no ideas on how do it, and neither did Vic. Soon they got it in. The long part went down the center of the car towards the windhield, and the bulky part was resting on the back of the car, a large portion of it between me and Bryan. The back of the car had to remain open. If he would stop short the motor would fall out of the back of the car, or go through the front windheild. If he turned sharply, either Bryan or myself would get our skulls smashed in my the weight of the motor. All in all this situation really sucked. If it didn’t suck it wouldn’t be my life.

The ride back was excruciatingly painful being cramped in the back, and having to hold onto the motor, so it wouldn’t crush either of us. When we got back we all carried it into the basement of the apartment house. Vic paid Nick the building’s superintendant who was near seventy, for use of the storeroom. Vic’s father used to be the supe until he moved out of the apartment because he was divorcing Vic Jr’s mother. We got the motor up on a large 2x4 balancing on two ladders. Why I don’t know, but a few seconds later it came crashing down almost crushing me. God’s karmatic justice, or my being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I didn’t want to stay and find out so I went outside to wait for them.

Vic Jr. said he would pay us the next day, we were all pissed but thought he was good for it, he wasn’t, he never came with the money. The fall had broken the rotor on the motor, and it was useless and he got rid of it so there was no evidence, and decided if he didn’t have a motor then it never happened and he didn’t have to pay us. It was okay because the price eventually failed a drug test and was kicked off of the force shortly after he graduated from the academy.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Reflections On My Chosen Profession

Now while even though I am indeed a pedagogue, I have never been an altruistic or even an optimistic one. I take things for what they are, students for who they are, and situations for what they are. At times, I know I fail miserably, in my attempts to reach the students, but nevertheless there are some breakthroughs. Though, the truth is painfully obvious to me, that these breakthroughs, these successes, would exist without me.

I have had recent online conversations with some former students, two to be exact, and both of them have succeeded in either achieving their goals, or well on the way, without having the obstacles of life trip them up. With one, we spoke of our class that we had, the one I taught, the one in which she learned, or I had hope she learned. The other we talked about the class as well, but briefly, and how I was still "silly".

Those of you who know me may or may not believe, that I do, at times try to help, and do no harm, and I try to reach the person more than teach the content. I do not know if I am doing a disservice or not. While I do, genuinely like many of my students, I hate the structure of the system. The machinations of which do all they can to widen the chasm between student and teacher and administration. All should be working together. Instead, we have a system in ruins.

I am left, after my twelfth year in the system believing that I am not a good teacher. That I am doing more harm than good, and in fact, I am left feeling that I have never done a good job. Though, when I chatted with these students, while not querying their opinion, they said that I was a good teacher. I find it hard to believe that, but I didn't ask, nor did we talk about teaching, but it was said nevertheless.

After being dehumanized, demoralized, and abused by a system that is unjust, and unfair, I wonder what am I even doing here. And then I ran into two of my students, and I know exactly why.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Movie Review


An Action Romantic Comedy. That is it in a nutshell. The first thing I noticed about the movie was that it was bookended in a couples therapy session. This is widely reminiscent of romantic comedies, and indeed that is what we had here. The window dressing was nice, both stars are attractive and make a good couple. This worked for the film because they did look good together and had a chemistry, even when they were kicking each others asses.

Doug Liman, Director of the Bourne movies, as well as GO, and Swingers, seemed to blend those styles for this go around. During production he was fired only to be rehired again. The steamy sex scene rumored to have been filmed was cut for the PG 13 rating, and various other actors were considered for the roles, such as Nicole Kidman, and Johnny Depp. Hmmm do you think that would have been a different movie?

Vince Vaughn's character was funny, but under used in the film, you wanted to get a sense of closure with his character that never actually came.

The action sequences were decent. There was nothing earth shattering effects wise but it was definitely first class. And did I mention Angelina looked hot? If you like either of the actors, see the movie. If you like light romantic comedies that you can predict the outcome of, see the movie, if you are a fan of Doug Liman, see the movie. If you want to see a blockbuster, or something groundbreaking--don't bother. I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't blown away either.

I also heard that Angela Basset had a decent sized role in the film, those shots were cut as well. I would be interested to see a directors cut of this picture, and hear why the director chose to do certain things. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend the movie, but if you like any of the things I mentioned, than this will be to your liking.

Until next time,

Look for someone wearing a Fight Club T-shirt. I thought that was a nice touch

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ratboy Reports 2

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you haven't already read RATBOY REPORTS...A BRIEF INTRO please do so before you read on. Thank you. Enjoy.

I was sitting in the class waiting for Jack, it was almost time for the class to begin. I was talking to Madeline about some Dramaturgy class she was taking when Mark enters the room. Mark interrupts asking her how she feels about putting her head on “the chopping block.” She said that she would let her play speak for itself.

Madeline was the only female in the class for a while, and was a bit snooty, and there was strong indications that she was going out with Sweaty Boy, who was this huge hulking, hairy mass of flesh that sweated profusely, often dripping onto the scripts we were reading. He wrote a play about their relationship that was weird, sick, twisted and almost completely incomprehensible.

After the reading, Mark says something about the characters being wooden, and the story being unrealistic. The almost then immediately turns to her and apologizes for criticizing her. It appeared as though he were afraid she would smack the crap out of him.

After class Mark tell me Jack would not sign the sheet for acceptance of the tutorial.

“You think he’s trying to fuck me Doug?”
“No Mark.”
“Think I should talk to him again?”
“No Mark.”
“I’m going to talk to him,”
“Okay Mark, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

At the break Jack runs out to the mens room, I go out in the hallway to strech my letgs and to see what trouble Mark is going to get himself into. He waits outside of the bathroom for him.

Mark talks to Jack when he comes out of the bathroom Jack looks pissed. Mark complained that Jack did not want to talk about it.

Zev overhears this story. Zev was a late twenty something or early thirty something that was divorced and using his student loans to pay his child support. He made his living by playing videogames, beta testing. The job paid more in products that salary, and he used to spend what little money he had left buying comic books. I wonder why his marriage didn’t work out.

“Hey Mark,” Zev says.
“Yeah Zev.”
“Jack just signed my form right in front of me last week.”
“You see, he is trying to fuck me.”

All the ride home he kept rambling on and on that Jack was trying to fuck him over and he said that he will go to Kramer (the director of grad studies for the English department) and talk to him about it. I recommended that he did not go to Jack’s superior, and just relax a bit. He then became paranoid that that Jack wasn’t going to let him graduate.

“Damn I really wish Dom was here.”
“He was a good bullshiter, he’d be able to tell me how to worm my way around things with Jack”

Times like that was when I knew the Ratboy moniker was an apt one.

Friday, June 10, 2005

On the Edge Of Seventeen

On the edge of seventeen
when like is still an unrealized dream
& youve never woken from a nightmare
with a scream
wondering what your future would be like

On the edge of a breakdown
after a dozen years or so of
disappointment and disillusion
waking in a cold sweat
depression is all you get
is this how it seemed to you back then?

On the edge of seventeen
life is still an unrealized dream
dont be in a rush to go nowhere fast
slow down, and let these fleeting moments last.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Paradise by the Empty Gas Light

Why are we so afraid to take alternate routes? Fridays there is an inordinate amount of traffic on the Jersey Turnpike and everyone just sits in it for the most part. Why I ask you do all New Yorkers feel the need to go "Down The Shore" every freakin weekend? A ride home than can take me 1 1/2 hours from SI pace to Bensalem PA, can take up to 3 hours.

I will admit we, as human beings, fear change. Though I did take an alternate route that took me nearly as long, at least I was moving. And I got to see more of Jersey, more than I cared to, but I explored.

Before mapquest, or onstar, what did we do? Waste a hell of a lot of gas for one, but we had a hit or miss situation, trial and error. And sometimes we found some cool things.

Today I tried yet a different route to prepare me for Friday's horrors. I took route one all the way home. And I saw some stores and places that look cool and what not, not to mention Gas prices under 2 bucks, WHOO HOO.

So I was driving and noticed my gas was painfully low, this due no doubt to me having the AC pumping and waiting over 30 minutes to get on the SI expressway. So I looked for a gas station, after I just passed about 20 of them, and low and behold I look up and there, to my surprise was a burger lovers paradise. Fuddruckers. Right smack dab in the middle of Route 1 In Jersey, and yes it was on the other side of the road, but I made note of it and will be passing through there again real soon.

So I implore, you, try a different route every once in a while, who knows what you may find.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Movie Review

As you can see it has been a productive blogging week. Tomorrow I go back to writing memoirs, and rewriting the rest of the ratboy reports, so be patient they are coming.

This weekend I saw Phantom Of The Opera on DVD it was an excellent production, and I enjoyed it better than the play. I had seen the play with an extremely forgettable cast, and I had mentioned to my friend that one of the main songs, "Music of the Night" was almost indistinguishable from the rest of the music. Not so in the movie version. Dialogue was crisp, costumes were bright, and the transfer of the disc was sharp and pristine. The acting was superb and the music and lyrics were given their proper place. All in all it was a great piece and Joel Schumacher, thankfully gave us a Phantom without rubber nipples. (an allusion to his garish Batman foray)

I also saw Cinderella Man. It was a very good period piece about the Depression Era boxer James Braddock. Crowe is Oscar worthy as the never punchy pugalist who makes a great comeback earning him the nickname that is the movie's title. Good performances are also turned in by Giamatti who plays his manager and Renee Zellweger as his loving wife, who is always in his corner. Craig Bierko also turned in a decent performance as the reigning champion, Max Baer.

The fight scenes were realistic, (with the exception of a CSI shot, if you see the film you will know what I mean) and showy camera movements are minimal. Also the portrayal of the Depression and how it ravaged individuals, families and the city as a whole. The day before I saw the film I heard a guy, in the library, tell the librarian he had seen Cinderella Man. I was about to walk away because I didn't want to hear anything about it, but I was too late. The guy said that it took place around the Depression, (and now I am quoting) I didn't really know anything about the Depression, so I really couldn't relate. I guess he could relate to Episode III because he was a padawan and the force was strong with him? Oh well. I digress.

Hope your weekend was aiiight

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Ratboy Reports 1

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you haven't already read RATBOY REPORTS...A BRIEF INTRO please do so before you read on. Thank you. Enjoy.

Mark came up to the second floor of Boylan Hall with a huge Conway bag. The bag that he was carrying was full of scripts. He says that he brought in all his scripts to get free copies at the GSO (Graduate School Organization). He then tells me that there are no more free copies there, he gets mad and says,

"Fuck them. They're not good for anything now."

I just nod in agreement knowing he is probably the reason for them stopping us from getting free copies. He picks up his bag and proceeds to go "visit" Jack, for the tutorial portion of the program.

I had originally wanted to enter the MFA fiction program but was rejected. I also applied to the playwrighting program, and was surprised to find out I was accepted. So in the fall of 1994, after my first year of teaching, I went back to college enrolled in Brooklyn College’s MFA program. The “Jack” that Mark mentioned was Jack Gelber.

Jack Gelber, was an Obi award winning playwright for the play “The Connection.” He ran the MFA playwrighting course for many years. He was a nice, and decent human being who has since passed on. Me and Dominic sometimes referred to him as Slappy, because of his bald head and resemblance to the bald Benny Hill actor who was often, and repeatedly slapped in the bald part of his head. Despite our musings of the man, we were deeply saddened when we learned of his death. He will truly be missed.

Aside from the 3 hour class, we also had a tutorial. At that meeting you usually discussed what you will bring in to class, what you had brought in and you would discuss your thesis plans. Mark was in there for a long, long time. When he came out he looked upset. I didn’t have a chance to ask him what was wrong because I ahd to go in next. I wasn’t worried either because I knew I would be hearing all about it on the bus ride home.

I entered Jack’s office and sat down. Before my but hit the chair, Jack sighed loudly.

“So Mark believes he is being stalked?” Jack asks.

I laugh and fill him in. It appeared that Mark was being stalked or felt he was being stalked on the Internet by some married woman who wanted him as a sex slave. When Mark refused her advanced because she was married, and he would never do a thing like that, she became nasty and calls his house and hangs up. His mother got so worried she told Mark to go to the police.
Jack leaned back on his chair, with his feet on the desk, and laced his fingers behind his head. SLAAAAPPPYYYY I thought, as a smile spread across Jack’s face. He was amused beyond comprehension.

Class started at six, we were all there except Mark who came in late. He sits next to the hot Cuban chick proceeds to rap to her, informing her that he’s Latino; though unfortunately he speaks almost no Spanish.

After class he says he thinks the hot Cuban chick digs him.

The bus ride brought more of the same and his added paranoia.

“Do you think Jack will be a mother fucker?: he asks.
“No, not at all.”
“Do you think he will accept my thesis?”
“Sure, why not? He has too doesn’t he?”
He shrugged. “Do you think he will like it? Do you
think he will let me go next week?”
He was referring to having his piece read in class the following week.
“I don’t see why not.”
“ Do you think I have to do another reading?”
“I am sure he will Mark, just relax.
“ Do you think he'll fuck me? I don’t think he likes me.”
And on and on and on. I had never been so happy to get off of a bus in my life.

Ratboy Reports...a brief Intro

The following segments are from a limited edition report on RATBOY as mentioned in my Internet Relationship blog. He is truly a character, and my friend, who can be known now as Mr. ABD, left for grad school and wanted to know about the adventures of Ratboy while I still had class with him. What follows has been compiled from 12 reports I had sent to Mr. ABD over the first semester that he had left NY, my last semester in the program. I have edited and expanded some to give you details on the parenthetical characters so you can get a greater and richer sense of them.

Also during the first year and a half of this program there was only a lone female, named Madeline, whom you briefly met in Condum Conundrum. The term in which these reports took place, there was a new female in the class. I never refered to her by name in the original reports, she is only known as the hot Cuban babe.

Another addition to the class was the first black guy in the year and a half I was there. The class was limited to ten, and the selection process was based soley on the manuscripts you handed in. Anyway this guy's name was Tatak (pronounced Ta-TAK) and he was into martial arts. I bring him up because Mark, being the poster boy for non threating latino warmed up to him and wanted to know how to be down. Tatak was also in to martial arts. Mark was gawky and uncoordianated and wanted to learn some moves and introduced himself to TaTak by showing him some lame ass gesture from Enter the Dragon.

Anyway I am getting away from myself, all of these stories and more will follow.


On Writing a Blog and Writing in General

Is there a point in blogging? I have often wondered if there was a point in keeping a Journal, or a Diary for that matter, and well, writing is cathartic in of itself. The problem I think is that some of what we write may seem, at times, too personal and we are loathe to share it. With the advent of blogging, and internet diaries, they can be shared by strangers and thus, we don't feel that they would gaze into our soul so much as share in it. Revel in it. Empathize. I discovered that it breathed live into my writing, not necessarily making it better, but making me write more often.

I am writing my memoirs now. Longer pieces of stories you see here, and some you wont. I have already written a novel, short stories, one act plays, and some screenplays. Writing in those media you invariably use elements of your self, so I figured why not write about myself.

And here is the shameless plug if any of you are reading this and are not on my mailing list, or if you are and no any agents....wink wink.....

One of my screenplays I wrote in about 72 hours, not in a row, but in 6 hour intervals. That's when I ferment the story in my brain for long periods of time, write scenes on index cards and the like. It was easier to do while I was in college because when you are in a writing class you have deadlines, or a writing job. I have neither. Instead I am stuck in the DOE as a teacher and if you don't know, not only do they stifle creativity, they try beat you down into submission. So one has little else to do but look inward.

I am limiting my memoir writing to the week, though I am thinking of what to write about, what is interesting, what is fluff, what just plain sux. There again comes the blog to my aid, and that is why I relish comments, and have gone onto blogexplosion and other means of expanding my blog readership, to share ideas and get feedback.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Caffeine, Therapy and Awesome Pizza

One of the worst things that can be said on a first date is anything that is prefaced with the disclaimer of, “My therapist said…” Traintooba and Enigma106 were sitting at an outside table at Timothy’s Java, located diagonally opposite one of the larger Starbucks just left at the new Au Bon Pan across the street from Dunkin Donuts. That was all I needed to be surrounded by caffeine and confined to this meeting with someone who obviously didn’t need any artificial stimulants. I recall her name as being Teresa or a derivative of that. She seemed a bit hyper and her eyes were very wide. Now I know caffeine can have that effect on you, but the fact that she punctuated much of what she said with the precursor of “My Therapist”, made me very leery of continuing any contact with her after that initial meeting.

After Tammy I went on a lot of Internet dates. And believe it or not they weren’t all horror stories. The fact that I decided not to go out with TRAINTOOBA again was because, while I don’t mind baggage in a relationship, its another story when someone brings a steamer trunk full to a blind date.

I had met a med student with the rather interesting name of SAPHENOUS, which is an artery in the leg. We met for a movie and an reasonable dinner. She dropped me off at my car and we shared an Altoid, and a kiss and said goodbye. We never spoke or Imed again.

Bunny Foo Foo, I don’t remember the actual spelling of her screen name was an older woman and we only met because we had been chatting for some time and thought it would be nice to meet. It was, though we fell out of touch, she will always have a special place in my heart and gut. She had turned me on to the rapture that is Spumoni Gardens Pizza. (it truly is a taste like no other)

If It Didn't Suck......the genesis of a title

As you may have noticed the blog title has been changed, I think for the better. The new title follows a motto of mine which is, If it didn't wouldn't be my life. This motto I declared as my own when a friend of mine, who is a lifetime student (Mr. ABD you know who you are) would call me when he first left for grad school back in 1995 to be cheered up. The reason being, no matter how bad he felt, my life was worse, after talking to me he'd feel so much better.

I guess I am glad I could help. Anyway I would tell him things like when Tammy dumped me on the phone, or once when my car locks wouldnt unlock so that the doors would close and I had to tie a rope on the grips of them and drive home with them flapping open, or the fact that my dog in fits of loneliness would shit the house regularly, or getting my nose caught in a revolving door or the fact that I have sleep apnea and sleep with a Darth Vader type of mask so I wont die while I sleep, he would say; affectionately so, "Hey, C if it didn't suck it wouldn't be your life." Thus a title and motto was born.

So you can see, constant and faithful readers, that if it didn't suck....
well no need to bore you with the rest, I have some blogs to write.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Selling Out? Or Buying In?

I find it interesting that when some people hear a song they like, that isn’t exactly top 40 material, they feel the need to share it with others, and get them to appreciate the song as well. I find myself guilty of this at times. However, soon, the band/group/artist is crossing over, and being played on the radio. Now they made it big, and the small niche of loyal fans that feel that they discovered the music now feel cheated and feel that the band/artist/group has sold out. I never really subscribed to that way of thinking that is until Metallica decided to sue their fans.

They were angered that fans were passing along their music freely without them reaping the benefits of royalties. Now this is ironic since the band used to hand out demos to fans at shows at such places as Lamour (the one and only rock capital of Brooklyn) and others. Now I guess there is a time to cut your hair and face the fact you are getting older but do you have to turn against your fans.

Success is not selling out. Though there is something that happens, not to everyone, sort of what would be called a paradigm shift of sorts. I hate to admit but success does inevitable change the once raw and frenetic hunger a band/group/artist once had. As I sat to write this, I was surfing through On Demand on my tv an scrolled through the music stations and came across a band I had great love for, but haven’t really listened to in quite a while. As the song played there were clips from the Adam Sandler film, “50 First Dates,” interspersed throughout,

Don’t get me wrong, the song was good. It was the main love song from the movie and I believe it was called Love Song. It sounded like one of the 100 or so bands out there that do this type of music. When I saw them singing it, Or when I saw Nick Hexum sing it, I wondered what happened to the 311 I once knew.

311’s first album was called Music and it came out in 1993, and at that time it was hard to find in mainstream music stores like the Wiz because their music was an infusion of rock, reggae blues, ska, hip hop and rap. And their sound was unique and eclectic and awesome. Soon they began to get a wider audience, and when their album, Soundsystem came out years later, I felt that they hit their peak, and I stopped following them for a while. And then I saw that video. I was horrified. .

Wendy O. Williams committed suicide because of a lot of issues, but the reason she voiced was the depression of the image of an aged rocker on stage. She didn’t want to be that. So she killed herself, forever being the Wendy we all know and remember tearing up the stage, and other things, with the Plasmatics.

Now that’s a bit extreme but all in all we should all know when we are stagnating. There is time for a change, but the change should not come at the expense of the fans. Remember who had faith in you and who got you to where you are, your hard work did most of it, but the fans pay your bills. Without us, you are nothing. I am not asking for profit sharing, but please, don’t change the very fabric of what made you great.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My First Internet Relationship Conclusion

Familiarity, however, does breed contempt. I had been calling her from work, because she used to want to hear my voice during the day. And on days we wouldn’t see one another we’d talk for at least an hour on the phone, or IM one another. I had changed my screen name to a sickening combo of our initials with LUVZ between them. Yeah I know. Even I can succumb to feminine wiles once in a while as well. Sorry I am only human.

On the weekends that we would see one another she started to not talk as much anymore and began to say things like, “we talk all day, there’s nothing left to say.”

At one point she even said, “we talk all day and see eacher all the time, its too much.”

Too much. Interesting way of putting it. Though this happened after one night, in a moment of weakness during a late night phone conversation I said, “I love you.”

“What?” she asked.
“I love you Tammy.” Big silence. Her reply?
“It makes me feel really good that you said that.” Should I have woken up and smelled the El Pico at that point? No not me, I moved ahead and continued like nothing had changed. But it did.

Soon her friends became more of a fixture into in our relationship. It was me and Tammy. That is, it was me, Tammy, and Ellen and Robin. All the time. Then Robin started to date this guy next door to her, so it was the five of us. All the time. We had very little alone time anymore and I was getting pissed. I decided to do something about it so I broached the subject and she said that’s what couples do, they hang with other couples, I guess she was forgetting her other friend, but that wasn’t the point. I said well couples hang with other couples and then hey spend time alone as well.

The following day I spoke with her on the phone and said that maybe we should just take a week off from seeing one another. Just to take a breather. I figured if that is what she wanted, that if it was “too much” as she put it maybe we should pull back a bit.

The week was the second week in July, It began on a Sunday and would go to the following Sunday. No phone contact or IMing. That Saturday I had already had a party to go to that she declined to come to earlier on so there really wasn’t a problem with this little separation, in fact, it was a good idea, at least I thought so at the time. I was a little upset, but I was willing to give her the space she needed. And I had a chance to go to he party guilt free.

The party was a pool party in Staten Island, given someone I knew from work. It was her first year at my job and first summer party of hers I was invited too. The only problem was I had no ride. The reason that Tammy said she didn’t want to go was because she said that she gets nauseous traveling over bridges. In fact whenever she goes on a long ride she takes Dramamine. So if we didn’t have that little arrangement that weekend I would not have gone, because I would have wanted to be with Tammy. Though it did work out for the best, because I spent some time with Patricia outside of school and soon after that day she became one of my best friends, if not indeed my best friend.

Dan had been invited and wanted to get out of the house so he decided to go, and he drove me. The party was great. I had a good time, and surprisingly I really didn’t miss Tammy all tha much. Now one can say that’s good because we are so comfortable with one another that we can have a good time on out own or it says that we really don’t care all that much about one another. I didn’t think much of that at all. I did think about seeing Tammy that Sunday.
Early Sunday morning I called Patricia to thank her for inviting me and to tell her I had a great time. As we spoke another call came through. It was Tammy, I hung up with Patricia and said I would call her back.

“Hey Tam, whats going on? I missed you.”
“I’ve been thinking.”
Here it comes I thought.
“Yes,” I rather foolishly persued.
“I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
DAMN, she went there. Before I could say anything she continued.
“It’s not you its me.”
Damn right its you, I thought, and I was brazen at that moment I said, “I know.”
“You are a really great guy, you nice and treat me right but I guess I am not ready.”
She was acting as though I proposed marriage. “Ready for what.”
“A serious relationship.”
“Your profile said you were otherwise Tammy I wouldn’t have started anything.”
There was a pause for a moment.
“I thought I was ready for a serious relationship. I guess I was wrong.”
“I guess so.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you and I hope you find someone that will make you happy.”
As long as it's not you I thought.

“Doug, you made me feel things I thought were no longer possible for me, and I will never forget you for it. But now that these feelings are opened in my I think I have a lot of soul searching to do before I get serious, and its not fair to you.”
Oh god, just slit my fucking throat already.
“Take care Tammy.” I said.
She said something at that point and I hung up.

Dumped on the phone. At least she didn’t do it via Email.
I called Patricia back and told her what just happened. She was upset for me, and I don’t know if it was a result of that conversation, or that I felt freer to chill with her and not be guilty that I had a girlfriend at home to worry about, but we became closer on that day and remain as close until this very day.

Incidentally after I got off of the phone with Patricia I went on line. Mainly to change my screen name from our initials to something that would suite my mood. For a period of a few months my AOL screen name was the very depressing AGAINALONE . And there waiting for me, my last piece of email for screen name DVCLUZTJJ was a Dear C letter. I opened it, read it, and deleted it, as I was about to delete the screen name and the memory of this latest failed relationship. If it didn’t suck….it wouldn’t be my life.

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