Thursday October 31 2013

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)[i]

Waking up next to Ana. The click-clack sound from her texting sounds like popcorn popping in the room over.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Almond Milk.

Anthony left a big box of books downstairs free for the taking. Ana and I go through them and find any interesting ones.

Ana drives us around Hilltop to run a few errands: browsing the thrift store for any costume ideas and getting groceries at Trader Joe's.

Toasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Baked Lentil Chips. Orange Juice.

Riding my bike to the 17th Street shop to pick up my car – had to get a new alternator. The trick-or-treaters are out and about with colored sword lights and bags full of candy.

Back home. Anthony and Kelley are in the process of moving and cleaning out their room. Anthony will be hopping on the China bus tonight headed for New York City, for good he says. He's off to plant new roots in a new city. I help him organize and pile the library of books into boxes and crates. He spent the last eight years collecting these from the thrift store when he worked there and now we're donating them back. But sometimes it feels good to give up the burden of material things. It's strange. I feel like we lost touch with our friendship. I don’t remember the last time we "juggled question marks" and dug deep into our brains. But I'll definitely visit him in New York. And things will be different.  


He entrusts me to keep a few boxes full of his physical most concrete writings along with three jars of the last three year's summer rain.

Tilapia with Brown Rice and a Spinach Salad.

I adorn myself in an old dress/night gown I used to wear in The Vaginasaurs and grab a green wig from the storage unit. Driving out to Norfolk. At The Taphouse there's a Halloween rock show. It's at capacity loaded with costume wearers. If you're not obviously wearing a costume you stand out like a sore thumb. Ana looks beautiful in her Morticia Addams dress with an extra length in the back that drags on the floor – her long flowing black hair adds to the resemblance. Someone comments how she looks so natural in it that when they made The Addams Family they tried to make Morticia look like her. I buy Ken and I Nude Beach Drafts. An instrumental math rock band with two drummers performs on stage to the backdrop of a double projection screen playing an old puppet show and Power Rangers episodes. Feeling loose from the bubbly beer. Outside on the patio everyone gathers at the cement tables conversing and smoking.

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

Afterwards, Ken, Will, Ana, and I make attempts to find a place to eat that's open. Donut Dinette? Closed. Mama Joe's? Closed. Chanello's? Closed. I pick up a DiGiorno from Harris Teeter and we meet back at the house. Sharing salads and slices around the wobbly card table. Ken mentions how this little scene reminds him of a lost David Lynch film. 

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween... (Oct 31 2013)

Upstairs, Ana and I settle in the bed. I'm disappointed she took her dress off without letting me do the honors. But the sexual energy is inevitable. We tumble in the bed – pumping and humping to our heart's content.


Me: "That was really good. "

Her: "It's always good."

[i] All images by me.

Wednesday October 30 2013

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

In the dining room of 1435. Everyone is gathered around the big sturdy wooden table. Kevin, in his typical rambunctious attitude, manages to break the table causing it to topple over everyone. It doesn't seem to cause any serious injury but Ana could've been hurt real bad if things had gone a different way. Ana, Kevin, and I migrate outside. I scold him,  "I don't even care about the table so much but dude..."

He suddenly realizes how much of a danger it was to Ana, "I know! I know!" and then begins to apologize over the top.

As I push him aside I interject, "I don't even care, Kevin. Just...just go away." I keep pushing him towards the front door and shove him inside. "Really, dude, just go away!"

After tending to Ana for a few minutes I march inside the house where everyone is laughing off the incident and having a good time. I walk right up to Kevin who is sitting by the piano with his clowny face. I point my finger at him and say, "You are the source of all the trouble in my life. Besides relationship issues you're the reason for all my trouble."

The whole room is quiet. I know they'll be cracking jokes about what I said later. I start to leave but change my mind a little as I feel I reacted a little brashly, "Actually, that's not necessarily entirely true. Cause you're my friend, too." I don't even know what to say anymore. I just leave.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

All day shift at China Wok.

Toasted Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Trail Mix. Honey Green Tea.

It's slow for business.

My car won't start a few times during my deliveries. Thank God for good Samaritans.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin.

After 8 o'clock it slows down dramatically. Cecily and the girls are eating dinner at another table. Eggs, tomatoes, and rice are prepared. I watch Cecily spoon-feed Eileen somewhat forcefully. She has an on-going eating problem where it takes hours for her to eat one meal. Her parents think that pushing food into her mouth is going to somehow train her to enjoy eating. It's only inevitable that she will throw it up soon after, which is exactly what she does. She was left alone. I catch her sitting with her hands cupped over her mouth, which is gushing out an egg-tomato-rice mush – her eyes wide open with embarrassment. I have nothing but pity. Her sister cries out to the family in the back. Ming, the uncle and other cook, just laughs. Cecily, the mom, comes running with scolding remarks. Janice, her one-year-younger sister, sits down next to me while Eileen cleans herself in the bathroom. She explains to me in her limited English that Eileen has three problems, not doing homework (bad grades), not eating properly, and her style of walk apparently is baby-like. I just don't get it. I just don't. I try to explain to Janice that patience is important and that she needs special help and understanding.

Later on, Elliott and Ana show up after 9. No more deliveries. I share Vegetable Moo Shu with them.

Off work. Ana helps me drop my car off at the shop overnight and then we head to Tapped across the street from the house for Pinball Locomotive's final show before Anthony moves to New York. As expected it's like a little reunion: Kofi's here from NY, our old nanny/roommate is here, Tristan's here from Europe, etc. Besides the lack of dancing and audience participation it's a great Pinball performance. Richie stands like a statue with a strange shifty smile on his face plucking the guitar; some of us wonder if he's even conscious. Kevin's doing his best rock violin and hollering as needed. Rusty wanders valiantly on the bass. Chris keeps the rhythm steady. And Anthony leads the band on charismatically with melodic poetry. They've always kept catharsis as the main ingredient to their sound. Slightly out of tune instruments and traveling notes only feed the rock n roll train. There's a certain amount of sloppiness that comes across as genuine. At the heart of Pinball Locomotive is heart. Meanwhile the Red Sox just won the World Series on the television.

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Pinball Locomotive Farewell (Oct 30 2013)

Before the last song Anthony gives a brief speech about finding magic inside of you, "There's a magic. And when it goes you gotta be that magic."

Afterwards, most of us reconvene at Rick's Café. I have a cup (or rather multiple cups) of Coffee and a Biscuit. A big group of people already has possession of the combining tables so we have to revert to sharing booths next to one another for our group of nine. Someone sets a ten-minute timer for a game of musical booths.

James: "So I was watching a Tom & Jerry the other day..."

Tristan interrupts, "What? Did you notice a plot hole?"

It's clever conversations such as this that fuel our meeting at Rick's.

Back home.

Settling in with Ana.

[i] All  images by me.

Tuesday October 29 2013

Breaking Bad. JThree Concepts.[i]

Waking up at 1:27 p.m.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Almond Milk.

Breaking Bad.


Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Pretzel Thins with Hummus. Honey Green Tea.

At the Rec Center for basketball. My thumb is still recovering from injury but it's not as bad as last Tuesday so I give it a whirl on the courts. It impedes with my game play and ball handling skills but I still hustle and do my best. Some embarrassing moments and some redeeming moments.

Back at the house. Doing chores.


Somebody left some kind of French Onion Soup and Brown Rice on the stove. I help myself to a serving along with Mushrooms and Carrots.

Finishing the last episode of Breaking Bad. Wow. What a relief.

More chores. Cleaning up.


Watching a Clippers Vs Lakers game. I don't remember the last time I really watched an NBA basketball game.

Trying out a recipe for Pumpkin Streusel Muffins.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Breaking Bad. JThree Concepts.

Monday October 28 2013

Vampire Salt and Pepper Shakers (Oct 28 2013)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Meeting up at a gas station with friends. Rachel and a girlfriend of hers roll up in a new ride, a sparkly purple 80's Chevy Caprice convertible. Inside the car it's similar to the inside of an inflated boat. Rachel asks for my help to put air in the tires. I slide it down this hill where the air machine is. I notice the back tires are so old the thread is ripped off. I don't even know how she drove it here. I spend a lot of time attempting to put air in these tires. There are little electronic gauges for each tire. 44 PSI is the recommended pressure. Everybody's waiting for me to finish. 

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

All day shift at China Wok.

Banana. Pumpkin Seeds.

It's a slow and steady afternoon. Ling tries to talk with me about how easy it is to create a multi-billion dollar business in less than 10 years.

Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwich. Pretzel Thins. Honey Green Tea.

Delivering an order to The Schooner Inn over on 2nd Street, the last hotel on the south end before you hit the Rudee Inlet. It's 6 o'clock, that magical part of the evening when the sun is almost finished setting creating a pleasant orange glow that makes everything look so distinct and unique. On the 6th floor walking down the breezeway, I can feel the wind from the ocean blow across my face. I reach the room at the very end. I look down below at the fishermen waiting patiently over the shoal and some kid with a skateboard attempting a kick-flip on a curb. The customer opens the door. She's an African beauty dressed in mostly black with shiny, but modest, gold earrings. There's nothing exceptional about our interaction except for this smile she gives me, such a genuine smile, the kind of smile that makes you feel like a million bucks. I walk back to the elevator and, during the brief ride down, allow my imagination to create a story. I would go back into that room. There would be an understanding between each other...a shared sense of romance. An endearing and sexual scene would unravel in that hotel room, maybe just for an hour or the rest of the night. It's not even her that I was necessarily attracted to but it was the idea, the potential for an erotic encounter that attracted me. It was only a fleeting daydream, and I only entertain them for entertainment value as you would watching a TV show or something. 

Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar. Apple.

Delivering an order in Chanticleer. These three kids sitting in the back of a pickup truck ask me as I run to the car, "Hey, is your job fun?"

Without enough time to think of something funny to say I respond, "Oh, it's great!"

What I really wanted to say was, "Oh. Mad money and mad bitches!" Of course I would've meant that literally, the mad bitches part.

Around 9 p.m. Elliott shows up unannounced. He needs to print out some show flyers next door at the FedEx office. While he rides in the passenger seat on a few deliveries I recant some funny stories from the day and from the house.

Off work and back home.

Earlier Elliott gave me a chicken sandwich from Chic-fil-A. I asked Ling to cut it up into a dish: Chicken with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Breaking Bad.

Skippy, Anthony, Josh, and Kevin are smoking out front. I carry the bike over to my car. They're giving me a hard time.

Josh: "Careful guys! He needs to focus cause he has to write about this in his blog later!"

While fiddling with the air pump Kevin pesters me with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other.

I mock, "And as usual Kevin's drinking a cigarette and smoking a beer!"

Realizing the switch up I made Kevin repeats questioningly, "Drinking a cigarette, Robert?"

He pops a squat in the driver's seat and puffs smoke into the windshield.

I ignore his behavior.

Realizing I'm not affected by it he gets out and says, "You're no fun, Robert."

Me: "I know you want a reaction. I'm just not gonna give it to you. Everyone wants a reaction and I'm not giving it to them!"

The guys go back inside and I take off into the cold night. Taking a detour through the Linlier neighborhood and eventually stopping at the basketball courts at Linkhorn Middle. I wanted to test out my recovering thumb to see if I could handle throwing a ball around.

Back home.

Sipping on a Yuengling.

Sleep 5 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Sunday October 27 2013

Green Hair. Source unknown.[i]

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk and Brown Sugar.

All day shift at China Wok.

Sunny and chilly makes a pleasant day.

Banana. Pretzel Thins. Egg Drop Soup. Honey Green Tea.

It's steady for deliveries and the tips are more generous than yesterday by a long shot.

Ana shows up for a visit. She's wearing an all black outfit that looks really comfortable.

Me: "You look cute today."

She rides around with me on a few runs. We drive into Broad Bay Island, a five-mile island stretch of very expensive housing near Shore Drive. It's like a roller coaster ride coming down the steep hill entrance.

At one point, Ana and I witness a heated lecture given by Ling, my boss, to the other cook. His voice is raised high enough to interrupt my conversation. Ling gets so frustrated in the moment he starts shoving the guy into the prepping table. We both sense the awkwardness of the bad energy.

Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar. Apple.

After everything pipes down for deliveries I talk with Ling about how business has been slow inside the restaurant. In regards to earlier I ask, "Everything okay today?"

Impassioned he explains how thickheaded and slow the other cook can be sometimes. It infuriates him, just the same as Eileen (his daughter) infuriates him. I think he might even be afraid that this inferior behavior got passed down to her.

I get off work at a decent hour and leave with over $30 more than I made yesterday. Checks and balances.

Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Breaking Bad.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Bar.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Source unknown.

Saturday October 26 2013

Butterflies at China Wok (1)(Oct 26 2013)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Attending a gathering where comedians are expected to take the stage. Jackie Chan appears. He pulls out a blunt. As I continue watching him the blunt seems to morph into a handful of wrapped up weed. He lights it up with no intention of smoking it. A police officer nearby nonchalantly walks over with an extinguisher and sprays it till the fire's out. He then arrests Jackie Chan. It's almost as if he knew this would happen and the whole idea was to send a message of some kind to the public.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 11:05 a.m.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

All day shift at China Wok.

Banana. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Pretzel Thins. Honey Green Tea.

Stopping by Advanced Auto. I purchase a quart of oil and an air freshener that appealed to me. The total comes out to $11.11. The guy at the register comments, "Oh! eleven eleven."

Me: "Yeah. I used to see that all the time."

Guy: "You should play."

I assumed he meant like the lottery or something.

I accept some Fried White Rice with Egg and Shrimp that Ling offers me.

It hasn't been very profitable. In fact, I've been getting shitty tips and an unwanted amount of stiffs. I'm not very enthusiastic about it, especially after I coincidentally step in dog shit without knowing and discover the smell while I'm driving. However, the girls back at the restaurant have their own way of brightening up my day. They march around dressed in matching butterfly costumes complete with wings strapped on their backs.

Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar.

Delivering an order in Harper's Square to a regular customer, one who orders the bare minimum, never tips, and lives significantly far. But I've always held a secret fondness for this black girl. Despite the lack of tip she has this great smile and such a pleasant face. After the transaction I try to say something before she shuts the door...

Me: "Hey I know you've ordered from us before. I just wanna let you know I work for tips."

She smiles and says, "Oh okay. I'll remember for next time."

Me: "Alright. See you later."


It's after 10 o'clock. I get a delivery off Great Neck Road almost near Shore Drive. I always remember my old friend Robbie and his parents who lived in this neighborhood. And to my surprise the address on the ticket matches his house. I knock. His mother, along with two excited labs, answers the door. Robbie comes down the stairs. He's looking slim as ever and wearing a Joy Division t-shirt. Then, Kevin walks in.

Me: "Kevin? What are you doing here?"

I know they hang out sometimes. But then I see Steve, who was just working at the restaurant for the dinner shift a few minutes ago.

Me: "My mind is blown."

Off work and back home.

Enjoying Vegetable Lo Mein and Breaking Bad.


Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Bar.

When punching in the numbers from the day's work into the computer I calculate 111 miles driven. Weird. Maybe these 11's are a new wakeup call for me. I used to believe that their repeated appearances meant something.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Friday October 25 2013

Step Pets at JewMa Backstage (Oct 25 2013)[i]

I awaken to Josh singing his little heart out on guitar in the next room over.

Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


Egg Sandwich with Tomato and Mayonnaise. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Strawberry Greek Yogurt. Honey Black Tea.

Breaking Bad.

At the storage unit having a quick brush-up practice with Josiah and Calum, then off to Norfolk.

At The Jewish Mother Backstage on Granby Street. Our band, Ladada, is opening up the show. We perform our short set of happy pop-rock songs. Surprisingly I have no issues with my thumb, as I'm able to hold the pic and strum the bass like normal; maybe all I needed was a mild surge of adrenaline. We seem to get a positive response from the crowd.


Eating dinner with Ana up on the second floor (the green room). A thick Spinach Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Egg, and Hush Puppies. Lionshead Beer.

The Thirst That Roars (Oct 25 2013)

Step Pets goes on next. It's Mike Gombas and Chris Kendrick's new band; I perform solo with these guys frequently in VB. It's only their third show. And they do prove themselves valiantly with their well-rounded melodic rock and a near replica cover of the Radiohead song "There There".


A band called Buried Beds from Philly and with former members of Me Without You goes on next. Their well-crafted chamber-pop harmonies are inspirational. All of us are blown away by the sound. Looking up at the regal neo-classical design of the white ceiling blends right in with this beautiful mood.


Afterwards, Bianca, Josiah, Calum, Ana, and I walk a few blocks down the street to a studio in the art district where some friends of friends are hanging out. Inside, Ana and I hop into two comfortable Brazilian hammock chairs. We get the tour of the vast space of a place this is. Out back in the alley we share nonsensical conversation. It's the first genuinely cold night of the season it seems like. The North Star and the half-moon stare down at us from the sky.

Settling down at home with hot Tea.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

Thursday October 24 2013

Ana Pumpkin Seed Grandma (Oct 24 2013)[i]

Deep...deep sleep. I check my phone for the time. 1:47 p.m. Goodness. Ana and I slept in late.

Sharing bowls of cereal: Honey Bunches of Oats with Brown Sugar and Almond Milk. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

She leaves but with a taste of disappointment to which she texts me about later...

Ana: "We haven't had sex in a while. I don't like it."

Me: "Well let's take care of that tonight, huh?"

Grilled Cheese on a Bagel with Hummus and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Black Tea.

Breaking Bad.

Running and working out at the neighborhood clubhouse.

Salmon with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots, Lentils, and Rice Pilaf.

Breaking Bad.

Ana went to a Halloween party in Norfolk but returns here as we agreed. She's got a "Grandma" dress on, which she looks exceptionally attractive in. Downstairs, we cut up a big pumpkin into pieces to cook and mash up for baking uses. Picking out the seeds, cleaning them, then roasting them in the oven. Meanwhile, Sasha is in and out tending to her pot of beans. Sipping on Hot Chocolate and listening to songs on Hype Machine.

Girls in the Kitchen (Oct 24 2013)

Upstairs in the bedroom. Ana settles down in the bed to read her Zen book. I let her finish reading the last paragraph then creep up around her with a sensual vigor. Underneath she's wearing tights that have a few holes. I rip a few more into them, with her permission of course. Leaning my head over her grinning face. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Touch. Touch. Touch. Inside. Tumbling. Humping. We needed this.

Sleep sometime before 4 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

Wednesday October 23 2013

Hanging Laptop (2)(October 23 2013)[i]

Waking up at 1:17 p.m.

Grapefruit. Almond Yogurt Granola Bar. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).


Grilled Cheese on a Bagel with Hummus and Tomato. Flaxseed Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Hummus. Honey Black Tea. Strawberry Greek Yogurt.

Breaking Bad.

At the neighborhood clubhouse running a few miles on the treadmill.

Chocolate Hazelnut Bar.

At the storage unit practicing songs with Josiah and Calum. My right thumb is still healing and therefore I can't hold a pic and strum a guitar or bass. It's amazing how much this affects almost every aspect of my life. I'm restricted from music, playing basketball, etc. At any rate I attempt to finger pic the bass but it doesn't sound as crisp.


In between sets Josiah and I reminisce over a few Mae tour stories.

Josiah: "Sometimes I wish I could hop in a time machine just to see what was around that corner..."

After going over the bridge of "Comets" Josiah stops to stretch his back and neck. He does it in such a way that seems cathartic and non-human.

Josiah: "Whoo! Heebeegeebees."

Me: "For some reason I just imagined you taking off your head and your arms, and all of a sudden we realize you're a robot."

Josiah: "Sometimes I think I am, man. Sometimes I think I am."


Me: "That's too philosophical for me."

Back home. Sasha cooked up a big pot of Chicken and Bean Chili, a recipe she found on a blog. Ana arrives and we eat a few bowls with some Bread Rolls.


Upstairs, I rig up a hanging laptop shelf on the roof of the loft bed using some fruit basket chain links and a tray from the mini-fridge. Surprised at how functional it turns out to be, creating free leg movement. I put on Drive (2011) cause she hasn't ever seen it, one of my all-time favorite films of this century. Sharing Popcorn and a can of PBR. Afterwards, she keeps me up for hours talking in the dark. During a moment of silence she'll emit softly, "Robert?" I can't do anything but smile and listen. This is peak time for her thoughts and analyzations. She would usually write in her journal but prefers to talk out loud. Sometimes she'll start out saying something and then...nothing.

Me: "Ellipses. There you go again...never finishing your sentences."

There are humorous points in the conversation and sometimes we hit serious points, like the topic of cleaning up her life: new job, new living situation, change and such. It takes time. Accomplish one thing at a time. She always complains about how she doesn't open up to me like she wants to and I feel this might be pivotal that she's doing this now. Eventually, I don't know how or when, we drift off to sleep.

[i] Image by me.

Tuesday October 22 2013

Circa 1949.[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Somebody opens up this casket meant for two bodies. It makes a creepy creaking sound. Inside are two decomposing skeletons, characters from an ancient time. The guy that opened it kind of pokes at the bones in disgust and then shuts the lid. The casket submerges back into the murky water.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 1:24 p.m.

Grapefruit. Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

Taking care of business.


Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Black Tea.

At the Rec Center for basketball. I wrapped up my sore thumb in athletic tape in hopes to protect it from further agitation while playing but after a few minutes of playing I realize it is still weak. The more I handle the ball the more irritated it becomes. I ask for ice in between games and can still keep up with defense.

Back home.

Lentils with Kale, Carrots, Mushrooms, and Rice Pilaf.

Breaking Bad.

Downstairs Josh and Richie are inscribing secret messages behind pictures on the wall.


Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts. Almond Milk.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Circa 1949.

Monday October 21 2013

Keun Young Park.[i]

Waking up around 11 a.m.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

All day shift at China Wok.

While driving down Oceana Blvd I get spotted by the Russians (Jamil with his girlfriend and Roma with his girlfriend).

Danny's in the area trying to get a part time job as a videographer at a real estate company. He stops in for lunch. Now that Anthony is finished with the script for our film we discuss the next steps in production like formatting, planning the budget, location, cast, etc.

Fiberful Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar.

It's a fairly steady afternoon for a Monday. Some stiffs, some tips.

Stephanie shows up with her application to move into Chanticleer. We go over a few concerns and talk about the housing arrangement. She's retreating from a confined depressing apartment in Washington Square down the street. She wants a new environment, bright and opportunistic, which she's hoping to find here at 1435.

Egg Drop Soup. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Half of a Cinnamon Bun.

Delivering an order to a house across the street from London Bridge Baptist Church. A mother tends to the credit receipt while her mom holds the door open. Thunderous jet noise fills the air and interrupts our conversation – nothing out of the norm. After it dies down the older mother comments, "That's our dinner music."

"That'll be my dinner music, too, later," I add.

But she doesn't hear me so I repeat it. Then she says, "A small price to pay for freedom I guess."


It's a nice night – the temperature is chilly but endurable and the orders steadily come through, easily manageable for a solo driver. No help from Kevin or Steve.

Delivering an order in Bancroft Hall Apartments. A mom answers the door and fills out the receipt. Her little girl stares out the door at my car and says, "Mommy! The Chinese man has a purple car!"

Mommy: "Yes he does."

Off work and back home.

Tofu with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Breaking Bad.

Anthony taps on my door.

Me: "No! I'm relaxing, trying to stay away from the world."

I keep myself relaxed for the rest of the night.

Ana had written me a semi-lengthy Facebook message explaining herself – her insecurities and such with opening up to me.

"I want nothing more than to just release all my thoughts to you, but I guess maybe I'm afraid of letting you see all of me because I don't want to be left as some souvenir. You've got this warm soul. I care about you a lot. And I really appreciate you dealing with my difficulty of opening up to you all the way. Goodness is all that you are. I like this relationship of ours. Other than me not opening up (which will change I promiseeeee!!!) I do not have any complaints."  

Sleep around 3 a.m.

[i] Keun Young Park.

Sunday October 20 2013

Ana and Steffy Duo Mercedes (Oct 20 2013)[i]

Waking up at 11:35 a.m.

Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.

All day shift at China Wok.

Ana and Stephanie roll up in the yellow Mercedes from the 80's to grab some Chinese donuts and moo shu. They've been job hunting around Hilltop. Ana's wearing this new lavender buttoned top. I comment on how I like her outfit.

Me: "You should be in a music video or something."

I snap a few photos of them sitting atop the hood of the car. Stef placed a banana behind the medallion.

Me: "Is that a banana on your Mercedes or are you just happy to see me?"

Peanut Butter Bagel. Baked Lentil Chips. Greek Strawberry Yogurt. Honey Green Tea.

It's significantly slow for the afternoon.

Janice is sitting next to me at the table wobbling on her knees hovering over my computer as I type.

"Write about me!" she exclaims. "Okay?"

I smile and say, "Okay."

Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar.

It picks up dramatically for the evening deliveries.


Just waiting for the night to end so I can be sitting comfortably at home in my computer chair eating a hearty meal and watching Breaking Bad.

And so it happens soon enough...

Teriyaki Chicken with Egg and Vegetable Fried Rice.

Ana comes over.

I mention my concern about my belly, "I feel fat. I've just been feeling fat lately."

So we suit up – stretching a little bit on the floor – then going for a night run. It's chilly enough to wear hoodies to keep our ears warm. We can hear the echoing sounds of the open mic at Tapped across the street – the folk singers wailing away on their guitars – from far away it sounds like a bigger event than it actually is.


Back in my room. Ana pulls out her big black journal and starts writing. 


Hot Chocolate.

She talks about how excited and determined she is to get a new job and move out of her mom's house. She just needs something new...a change.

Me: "You're gonna clean up your life!"


It's 3 a.m. Interlocking in the bed. After a while as I'm turned over facing the wall with intention on sleeping she fumbles around in the dark.

"What's going on? Where are you going?"

"I'm just going to the kitchen," she says. "I can't sleep."

[i] Image by me.

Saturday October 19 2013

Rubri (Oct 19 2013)[i]

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg).

Working all day at China Wok.

Egg Drop Soup. Baked Lentil Chips. Honey Green Tea.

On the down time at the restaurant Janice sits anxiously in the chair across from me while I read and type on the computer. She keeps saying my name over and over again, and encouraging me to get back to work and finish the snow peas.

Me: "You can call me Bob."

Janice: "Bob? Bob!"

Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bar.

It's unusually slow for a Saturday night but I'm the only driver and that just means more profit for me.


Off work and back home. Ana and Stephanie were hanging out today. They baked chocolate cupcakes together. They seem to be budding a friendship. Stef is supposed to move in on the 1st. As I'm told those two will be baking together quite often. I spot Ana upstairs and immediately start reciting lyrics to that Beatles song "A Hard Day's Night"...
"It's been a hard day's night. And I've been working like a dog. It's been a hard day's night. I should be sleeping like a log. But when I get home to you I find the things that you do they make me feel alright!"

We talk outside by her car. She keeps iterating that she doesn't want to intrude on my settle-down time after work.

Me: "You're always so careful not to hold anyone back from something."

Ana: "I know! I don't wanna be a burden."

I reach my arm around her soft black hair and embrace. She nips me on the neck with her lips, something she has no choice of doing when her face is in such close proximity with my face.

Broccoli, Carrots, and Rice in Brown Sauce.

Breaking Bad.

Tending to the bruised thumb with hot water and massages.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Friday October 18 2013

1992: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson of the United States Basketball Team share a laugh during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Driving around in a Mini Cooper with the convertible top down in light snowfall – Ana's in the passenger seat.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up at 11 a.m.

Honey Almond Granola Bar. Grapefruit. Orange Juice. Vitamin C (500 mg). I'm hoping the extra doses of Vitamin C will help with the healing process of my thumb, like rebuilding tissue walls and such.

All day shift at China Wok.

It's amazing how difficult basic tasks become when I have a non-working right thumb. I have to improvise almost everything: writing, folding bags, shifting the gear and turning the ignition using my index finger, phone handling with my left hand, etc.

Delivering an order on Five Points. A casual black dude walks out the front door to greet me. He lets me keep about 50 cents as a tip and tells me as I walk off, "Enjoy yourself man. Have fun today!"

In my head I respond sarcastically, "Right. Yeah, I will man. Thanks!"

Five Guy's French Fries with Ketchup. Honey Green Tea.

The day continues pathetically but with acceptance.

Oatmeal Cookies.

Dinner deliveries pick up dramatically.

Ana comes by and accompanies me in the car. She wraps up in the turtle towel as it's become a little chilly tonight. I put the iPod on shuffle and reminisce on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even though it hasn’t been but a few days I missed her presence. She tells me about how she went to the Norfolk Zoo today by herself drawing different animals, saving the red panda for last.

Off work and back home.

Hot and Sour Soup with Broccoli and Rice.

Breaking Bad.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Sleep 3:45 a.m.

[i] Jordan & Johnson (1992).

Thursday October 17 2013

David Maisel.[i]

11:24 a.m. I wake up on the couch in my dad's guest room. The plaque and picture frame with all his Air Force medals is hanging on the wall next to a picture of golf paraphernalia and an eagle. His service in the Air Force reminds me when I was a little boy. After he retired I remember spending a lot of time at the post office on base where he worked. I would sift through the junk mail out of boredom or play NBA Jam on Sega in the break room.

In the kitchen making breakfast alongside Jennifer. She makes herself pancakes with globs of butter. I cook Scrambled Eggs with Toast, Grapefruit, a Pancake with Nutella, and Orange Juice. We talk a little bit about school. I learn that she can draw and paint really well. I commission her to make me a picture of something and mail it.

Out in the driveway my dad sips on a Sam's Cola and chows down on hamburgers and hotdogs. We have a brief one-on-one conversation. It's important for me to talk with my dad about anything. There's no telling how long he'll have to live, not that he isn't healthy but nobody is promised tomorrow. I just want to stay as close as I can to him. It's hard when there's always people around, like Patty and Jennifer. I realize he's got his own agenda trying to provide for this new family. It's an honorable thing. He's developed a good amount of wealth and he just wants to give.

I leave the Carolinian plains behind – a three and a half hour trip ahead. For nourishment, a Peanut Butter Sandwich, Salt n Vinegar Chips, and a Coffee. Just listening to music until I arrive in Virginia Beach.

At the house. Of course there's a pile of dishes in and around the sink and nobody took it upon themselves to run the dishwasher, which would be full. I take care of everything in about twenty minutes. I don't worry about these kinds of chores that I shouldn't be responsible for cause I get reimbursed in other ways.

At the Rec Center participating in adult basketball. Within the first few minutes of the first game I block a pass with my right hand and the ball jams my thumb pretty bad. I could've avoided this injury if I held my palms out facing my opponent like a defender is supposed to do. Despite the non-working thumb I manage to shoot three shots in a row. My teammate mimics the sound of an airplane as the ball swishes into the hoop. The thumb is getting worse but I continue on until shortly after 8 when people start to leave. I was supposed to have practice with Josiah and Calum afterwards but I realize there's no way I can even grip a pic to play bass without it hurting.

Back home. Keeping ice on my thumb. Making dinner.

Spaghetti with Tomato Basil Sauce, Onions, and Peppers. Kale and Romaine Lettuce Salad with Carrots and Cucumbers.

Breaking Bad.

Taking it easy. Using Tiger Balm on the injured thumb. Then, a splint.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] David Maisel.

Wednesday October 16 2013

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 2013)[i]

Waking up at 1:23 p.m. Dad and Patty went to the store to get food for camping tonight.

I make myself some breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Grapefruit, and Orange Juice.

Jennifer just arrived home from school. We chat in the kitchen like stepbrother and sister. She tells me about how a girl got jealous of her because she was talking with the girl's boyfriend or something.

Jennifer: "Mexican girls jealous of me for some reason."

Eventually, dad and Patty get home. I had mentioned yesterday about why he never had a basketball goal in the driveway. So he bought one but it turns out to be a junior size. I'm delegated to drive back into town to return it and buy the official size. I take the wheel of dad's old pickup truck. It's a 90-something with over 240,000 miles on it, the only vehicle he'll never sell or give up. Jennifer and Patty come with me.

Back at the house. Using the picture instruction manual I spend a few hours constructing the whole thing. It's quite a production but with the proper tools and patience we complete it. Everything's set up and we all shoot the balls around. Apparently, Patty used to play ball in high school back in Honduras. Dad attempts a few shots but his foot prevents him from running around.

A bowl of Raisin Bran Cereal with Bananas.

Out in the backyard the campground is in high gear, the picnic table with grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, and baked beans laid out, my dad with tongs for the grill in hand, and the neighbors socializing. The radio from the garage is blasting classic pop tunes and there's a general happiness in the air. Chugging down a few beers. I grab a Hot Dog for myself and try some of the homemade Baked Beans.

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 2013)

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 2013)

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 2013)

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 2013)

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 2013)

Keith, the gentlemanly redneck neighbor, offers some moonshine, which usually happens anytime I'm here. I take a shot. We all gather 'round the fire. I pick up the guitar and try my best to entertain and lead us in song. A few oldies classics satisfy our vocal cords.


Later, Keith offers some bud. I normally don't smoke but on this occasion it's nice. I light up a few hits and enjoy the green smoke traveling inside and out. I feel a mild internal pulse in my head; the buzz is on its way. Keith catches me staring deep into the fire pit.

Keith: "It's startin' to creep up on ya itn't it?"

I smile with contentment.


In one moment I stare over at my dad inspecting his appearance and remembering how different he looked when I was a kid, how much he's changed and stayed the same, always attempting to rile you with a joke or smart remark with that great smile on his face.


Patty tries to verify my age and asks if I'm 28.

Me: "No. I'm 29."

Keith interjects, "You're scaring 30 to death!"

Me: "Yep. That's what it feels like."

"It gets better," he assures.

Me: "I'm hopeful."


My mind clicks on an idea to chow down on some Lay's Pickle Chips. It was a good idea.


The neighborly crowd begins to die out leaving Keith, my dad, Patty, Jennifer, and me to maintain the last of the fire. The radio gets shut off. And then...then I can hear the hypnotic sounds of the crickets and the night's stillness. Some brief politics are discussed and then the campers scamper off into their tents. While Keith and my dad are taking a leak at the edge of the woods I produce a few muffled fart noises with my hand over the shoulder.

"What was that?"

Jennifer and I can't stop laughing. I can hardly breathe and begin to snort.

Feliz Campistas in the Carolinas (Oct 16 

Everybody's off to sleep now. I'm alone by the fire. I can hear the faint abrasive sound of a dog barking miles away. The yell echoes through the woods, drenched in a natural reverb. It's a beautiful and peaceful feeling sitting here by myself. After 20 minutes I start to hear the rumble of my dad's snores in competition with Keith's snores. I can't imagine Patty and Jennifer are comfortable all cooped up in that one tent. I revert to the guest room and settle down there for the night at about 3 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

Tuesday October 15 2013

Mil's Manor Mystical Moist Air (Oct 15 2013)[i]

Waking up at 1:25 p.m.

Cinnamon Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.

I pack up into the car and start my drive to Goldsboro, North Carolina. My dad really wanted me to come to his house and camp out in the background with his neighbors. I occupy myself at the wheel with an audio book: James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Turning on the radio briefly. NPR is interviewing Nash of Crosby, Stills, and Nash about his ability to still perform at an old age.

Nash: "I'm 71 years old and I don't do anything to protect my voice. I just do what I always do."


Stop at a gas station off I-95. I had planned to just get some hot Tea but two big pots of Boiled Peanuts catch my eye. One cup will do along with a Honey Almond Granola Bar.


Anytime I go on this 3-hour journey to NC I'm always inspired to call my mom and catch up. She's still living in Bartow, Florida enjoying her new job as a counselor at a residential support house for troubled adults, some with autism, but most all of them have committed crimes. The woes of living expenses and bills are still a struggle sometimes but she's never been one to let that suck up her happiness. We entertain the idea of seeing each other this Christmas; I might fly down there or she might fly up here.

Arriving, I pull up into the driveway. There's my dad sipping on a can of Michelob with his classic smile and a bigger belly gut than the last time I saw him. He's 65 so I guess he's hit that point in his life where he simply wants to enjoy himself and eat as much as he wants. He just had foot surgery not too long ago and he's been stuck at home without the ability to walk very well. Joe and Keith, both of my dad's Vietnam vet neighbors, are hanging out and giving him a hard time about wanting to camp out.

He exclaims, "Just because I'm 65 doesn't mean I can't be young!"

I dig my dad's spirit. I notice a shiny new electric powered golf cart parked in the garage.

Me: "Whoa. When did you get that thing?"

Apparently, it makes his life easier and he can get around the neighborhood to see his friends. I like that my dad still has a desire to do fun things. We set up the tents together – hammering the stakes into the ground. Meanwhile, I notice impatience and bitterness and an overall quick-to-criticize attitude in my dad, mostly towards his wife. Even though I've always noticed that in the previous years it seems to have increased a little. I hope it's not him becoming senile. He's not that old yet.


Jennifer, my stepsister, and I take a joyride on the golf cart down the street. She's 17 now, still in 10th grade because when she came over here from Honduras two years ago they had to set her back in school. Her English I notice has improved a lot.

Time to go into town for dinner. Every time I'm here my dad has a new ride. We all hop into his latest, him, Patty (my step mom), Jennifer, and me. I'm delegated to drive since my dad's foot doesn't allow him to. It's a Mazda crossover with a no-key ignition and equipped with a rear camera to help when reversing out of the driveway. Fancy. We sit down in a local pizza joint called Brooklyn Pizzeria with authentic New York style slices. The greasiest, cheesiest, tastiest Pizza I've had in a while. Washing it down with a Dr. Pepper. I know my stomach is gonna hate me later.


Back at the house. I help Jennifer with her history homework; she's learning about The Magna Carta and the crusades. I notice she's got a well-used container of Vick's Vapor Rub on the bed stand.

Me: "I love this stuff!"

Apparently, she even eats it. I didn't know you could do that. Ana also has a fascination with the stuff.


Later, sitting on the couch together in the guest room with Jennifer – sharing music videos on Youtube. She's really into the latest trance-dance music, some Spanish and some classic rock like Bon Jovi. I mention how I used to listen to similar styles of dance music back in the 90's. It's interesting to me how these kinds of melodic pop progressions survive through the decades; it's just a regurgitation of the same musical feelings.


Patty and my dad are vegging out in the living room watching whatever seems interesting on television. I show my dad pictures from my trip to Russia back in March. Sipping on Coffee and humorously debating with Jennifer about what a fruit fly is. They're flying around the fruit basket because of a few bad pears. I locate the apple cider vinegar and pour some in a tiny bowl with a dab of dish detergent to make a fruit fly catcher. 

Carolina Turkey (Oct 15 2013)

Everyone goes to bed. It's only 11:30 p.m. and these are my perky hours of the night. I take a jog/walk around my dad's neighborhood, Mil's Manor. All the houses were built here within the last decade, owned by wealthy families, people who rose to the top of the financial food chain. This part of town and this part of America is a place the older types go to settle down, a quiet place. Oh boy, is it quiet all right. I can hear the squishing of my running shoes smash against the asphalt. No jet noise. No car noise. No city life. Just pure quiet, except for the sound of the crickets and other night creatures producing a symphony in the woods nearby. The moist air is perfect. The temperature is perfect. Everything has a mystical meditation to it.

Back inside I snack on Muscadine Grapes and a piece of Cake. Watching a few episodes of Breaking Bad then off to sleep around 3:30 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

Monday October 14 2013

Within and Without. Fitzgerald.[i]

☼ ○ ▬

There's a story of a longhaired shark-man with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. A friend and I are hanging out with this man in an apartment on the first floor. It's understood he dies alone in his room. He becomes somewhat of a legend; nobody believes he even existed.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up super late and super well rested at 1:47 p.m.

Hot Cinnamon Oat Bran with Brown Sugar, Milk, Flax Seed, and Maca. Orange Juice.

Organizing and planning. Business.

Tuna Salad Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato. Honey Black Tea.

Breaking Bad.

At the Rec Center. Making use of the fitness room – lifting weights – running.

Edamame. Kale and Carrot Salad. Thai Noodles. White Rolls.

It's after 10:30. Ana's here. We share our reflections of the day and previous days. I wanted her to try these Almond Pillow Cookies, part of the massive amount of food donations Skipp brought us yesterday. She has a funny way of pronouncing the word "almond". She always says owl-mund. And I always make fun of her. I make sure to write on the box, "ANA'S OWL-MUND COOKIES".


I rig my laptop under the roof of the loft bed with a broken electric cord and put on The Great Gatsby (2013) so we can watch it comfortably on our backs. I finished the book but she hasn't really started. So the plan was for us to have different experiences. She shall watch the film adaptation first then read it, and I the other way around. Baz Luhrmann, the director, offers everything I'd expect with a Moulin Rouge-like over stylization genre mixing 20's jazz culture with current hip-hop and pop music. The pivotal moments are captured well and with good dramatic taste. Somewhere in the middle we take an intermission and make Popcorn and Black Tea. I decided watching the movie on our backs was starting to get uncomfortable and set the laptop on the trashcan nearby. We finish the movie.


Afterwards I go on a count of my likes and dislikes about it, looking at some message boards on IMDB and such. I get kind of in a talky mood, but nothing too overwhelming or out of the norm for me, and mention some of the fallacies we learned about Christopher Columbus growing up, the abominable acts of violence he was responsible for when discovering the Americas and how he's inadvertently responsible for the slave trade.  

Me: "I mean it's just so amazing to me how all these things we learned in school we later find out isn't all! This country was founded on slavery and imperialism!"

There's a noticeable disinterest in Ana. Maybe all the philosophizing and all the critical thinking just rubbed her the wrong way. She mentions something about not wanting to talk about movies after watching them. But she doesn't mind listening to me. She just feels like I expect her to debate with me. I try my best to understand.

I make sure she knows, "The only thing I expect from you is to be yourself."

She just didn't feel comfortable and for some reason it triggered some hidden fears of inadequacy.

Pertaining to a text she sent me yesterday about how she felt like herself at Busch Gardens I comment, "So apparently the only time you can be yourself is if I take you to Busch Gardens."

The mood teeters on light-hearted and critical.


Her: "That's what I was talking about when I said What am I doing with my life?"

Me: "Wait, so you were thinking about the obstacles in your life in that moment on the roller coaster?"

Her: "Yeah."

Me: "It reminded you of all the obstacles in your life, that fear of roller coasters. And when you were done with the ride you felt hopeful."


After brushing our teeth together, something happens. She wraps herself up in her fuzzy gray sweater, puts on her shoes, and straps on her black bag.

"I wanna go," she announces

Me: "Huh? What do you mean? Did I say something?"

Without forcing I try to convince her to tell me what's going on inside her head. As we continue in discussion a deeper more personal side of Ana is unfolded to me, a side I was forbidden to know before, and maybe still forbidden to know as she's reluctant to offer clarity but still gives me the clues necessary to understand her private battles to greatness. She struggles like all of us in our 20-somethings, and at any age I suppose, to feel adequate in society and to not waste precious time with these...these distractions that hinder us from being ultimately happy. As well she's afraid to get closer to me.


I notice during our conversation she slipped off her right shoe but leaving the left shoe on.

Me: "You're just like Nick Caraway looking out from the window at himself on the street. You're within and without."

Her: "I don't ever want to be a burden to you."

Me: "You're never a burden. You do nothing but brighten my life."

She protests with a smile, "How can that be true?"

Me: "Brightness doesn't mean all positive energy. It just means you're alive. Sometimes we need encouraging. That's what I'm here for."

She smiles. She always has the ability to smile despite anxious situations. She walks over and leans into me. I embrace her. She stays.

While she sleeps I reflect. My beard is real itchy so I take a shower. Around 5 a.m. I slip under the covers next to her. She immediately clamors onto me, like she always does when I get in bed, and caresses me with eagerness. It's been a while since we had sex but now the plague is over.

[i] Fitzgerald quote from The Great Gatsby.