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Been & Going

[Should I See It] – Academy Awards Edition

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Recorded this while wrecked with the flu – you’re welcome.

[California Seething] I Seethe New York – (Part 1)

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The best part about Citrucel Sugar Free Powdered Fiber Supplement is that it is vaguely reminiscent of Tang. So when I drink it, I can pretend that I’m not just some middle aged schlub choking down a cold glass of gritty orange crud to soothe my perpetually irritated bowels (yes, that’s right- I suffer from IBS. Also, evidently, from TMI.) but an ASTRONAUT zooming through outer space-  a goddamn Right Stuff American Hero seeking out new worlds and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before and right before I get there- taking a quick time out to choke down a cold glass of orange gritty orange crud to soothe my perpetually irritated bowels. Because on a claustrophobic, unventilated little space craft the guy who says “Who’s got two thumbs and horrible space-shits? This guy!” is almost as unpopular as Mr. “Did I Leave the Door Open Again?” or the dude who won’t shut the fuck up with the “Houston, we have a problem” jokes already. “Houston, we have a problem- WE’RE ALL OUT OF PRINGLES!”, “Houston, we have a problem. SOMEBODY’S A LITTLE GRUMPY TODAY”, “Houston, we have a problem- I’VE GOT HORRIBLE SPACE SHITS. No seriously, my stomach is killing me. Who the fuck drank all my Citrucel???? For the 10,000th time you guys- IT’S NOT FUCKING TANG!!!” Anyhow, you get the idea.

I thought of this when I was packing for my trip to New York this week and trying to figure out how to pack my Citrucel. I couldn’t exactly bring the entire container because they don’t sell this stuff in dainty little “oh I’m just taking this for a couple of weeks til things settle down in my tum-tum” packages, they only sell it in big-ass “who ya kiddin’ bub? You’re gonna taking this crap for the rest of your stinkin’ life so shut up and get used to it” enormous size.  And, sure, I could transfer some of the white powder to a plastic baggie- but then there’s the inevitable misunderstanding and funny funny body cavity search- or worse yet, the cop’s gonna dip his finger in there to do the heroin pinky tasting thing and find out I take fiber and I couldn’t live with the shame although, oddly enough, I feel no shame sharing with you people and the entire internet. I’m complex. Anyhow, the point is, the last time I was in New York, fiber was the last thing I was worried about because the last time I was in New York, I was but a lad of 29 with a world of possibilities and intestinal difficulties ahead of me. I didn’t feel young, though. Hell, after six years of hard living on the still-sorta-mean streets of Guliani’s New York struggling to make it even when I didn’t have super-clear idea of what “it” was I was trying to make, I felt ancient-  like a grizzled old prospector panning for stage time in the Klondike wilderness of late night comedy clubs or a Vietnam vet with a dried up human ear clipped to my belt for every incredibly shitty day job I had (“They can’t send me to hell, cause I’ve already been to Santaland”.) It wasn’t til years later that I realized how young I really was – unfortunately the only cure for feeling old is getting older.

Anyhow, the point is, it’s been a dozen years since I’ve set foot on the urine soaked streets of Manhattan (they are still soaked in pee, right??? Tell me they’re still soaked in pee. DAMN YOU BLOOMBERG!!!!) and as I packed I could feel the energy of the City building up inside me like helium in an Eric shaped float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade til I was bouncing around the room uncontrollably like The Cat in the Hat in a windstorm. It’s that feeling I used to get when I was on a Greyhound bus coming back from Albany stuck in traffic waiting to enter the Midtown Tunnel or clank-clanking slowly uphill on an impossibly tall roller coaster or sitting in a dorm room on a Friday night waiting for the Acid to kick in. The feeling that tantalizingly soon, but excruciatingly far away the madness will begin- and all I can do is sit back, take a deep breath, and go….

Living in New York, you see, is like living on another planet. No, that’s not it exactly. It’s like New York is Planet Earth and everywhere else is Outer Space with an Applebee’s.  Whether it’s Poughkeepsie, Michigan or Alpha Centauri- tell a New Yorker you live there and you’ll get the same condescending look of total disinterest. As a result, you may think New Yorkers are dicks and, of course, you’d be right but that’s Cal Seething- 111813- Sandranot the only reason they’re acting this way. After all, NYC may seem like an overstuffed, overheated ball of chaos, commerce and crappy apartments but there is a rock hard logic to the place. Life there is guided by certain immutable laws, as fixed as the laws of physics and, once you adjust to these laws, it becomes the only planet you can live on. Take a bus to Albany, for instance, and you get off in outer space- it’s dark, it’s cold and it’s quiet and all you can see are are stars. All those rules you lived by that seemed as solid as concrete just fall apart like a $3 umbrella in a gentle breeze and you’re tumbling though the streets like Sandra Bullock sobbing  “my baby!”. You try to get your bearings but you can’t even tell uptown from downtown and nothing makes sense. Even things you think you understand don’t work the same way. Sure there are taxis- but you actually have to call them on the phone and then wait for hours for them not to show up. Sure, there are homeless people, but you’re actually expected to acknowledge them when they talk to you and not just blow by them like they’re part of the scenery- just there for atmosphere like animatronic junkies on Bloomberg’s New York ride. And then there are the life forms you encounter- sure they look human enough but they’re all white and squishy and smile all the time and talk to the homeless and shop at Walmart. What the fuck is a “Walmart”???? Somebody get me out of here!!!! But nobody comes to your aide. In Albany, no one can hear you scream.

 

Anyhow, about a dozen years ago- I left my home world of New York for the distant galaxy of Los Angeles- and if you want to understand Los Angeles- all you need to do is picture New York wearing Ugg Boots and a scarf in 80 degree weather with a mini skirt, angrily posting about GMO’s and asking for gluten free options at Denny’s and you’ll end up with something which, well, doesn’t fully reflect LA at all though it is a terrifying vision of what New Yorkers can turn into when they move out here. So beware! Remember- just because you’re in California, doesn’t mean you have to be a douchebag (though it helps). Anyhow, this week – for the first time since departing I’ve returned to NYC. And, for the past few years- all I’ve been hearing from people is how much it’s changed since I left- and how I’m barely gonna recognize it and how Bloomberg has either saved or ruined the place, depending on how disgustingly rich you are, so I’m here to find out for myself- and what will I discover? Well, I just got here so how the fuck would I know? But – have no fear, I’ll be posting all of my opinions once my journey is complete (I know how scared you are of not knowing what my opinions are.) Will I recognize my home world or will I wind up on my hands and knees screaming at the Statue of Liberty “You maniacs! You did it! You cleaned it up! Ah Damn you! God damn you all to hell!!!” – kind of like I did when I first came home from college and saw that my mom gentrified my bedroom. God, I’m a drama queen. Fortunately that means I fit in pretty well in New York- or, well, I used to anyhow- DAMN YOU BLOOMBERG!!! GOD DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!!

Cal Seething- 111813- Heston