Archive | July, 2009

Food Handling

29 Jul

What a difference a year makes eh?

Last year about this time I was pushing for answers about where I’d end up.

It became Portland by default. I didn’t mind but it was nerve- racking but still fun and different.

Living at my cousin’s house, smoking out with my little brother every day and just playing video games.

I’d written my first book last summer, but I was also busting my ass at Chili’s also, working with stupid hick kids and even dumber management.

I’d even ran into a couple of girls I’d kicked it with in high school, back in my old hometown of Cedar Hill, Texas.

Its still a strange sensation riding my bike across Peoria towards my apartment and seeing downtown and realizing how much has transpired since last year, when I was sitting on my front porch shirtless and listening to the Dead, taking midnight walks across town.

I didn’t work for a couple of months after Chili’s then I moved here to Tulsa, got a job at Whole Foods, and then at my current gig.

I’m not that far removed from working retail and in the service industry. If I could have my druthers I wouldn’t go back, but still I had to get my food handler’s permit.

I thought this was stupid at first, a way for the state to get more money, but it wasn’t half bad.

The lady doing the class was fairly funny and I even learned a little bit.

Now I think every state should require this class. I didn’t learn anything earth shattering but it did remind me of some things I’d forgotten and confirmed stuff I’d suspected was true.

It made me consider how much better a home cooked meal is than eating at a restaurant. At least you know who’s handling food in your own kitchen.
I’m not saying I’m gonna stop going out to eat altogether and it may not change too much about handling food, I will say that its making me think twice about performing analingus on someone ever again. That’s how you get hepatitis.

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All Star Break

24 Jul

Yessir Mr. Twain, it's only the beginning. Thanks for all the good advice.

Yessir Mr. Twain, it's only the beginning. Thanks for all the good advice.

Well we’ve come to midway point of 2009 and I’m not ashamed to say that this is unequivocably the best year of my life.

Achieved a couple of milestones this year.

First of all I turned thirty which is a big deal in any culture, but for a black man, an even bigger deal.

In my culture, I’m considered long in tooth. it’s almost like measuring in dog years. You hear about so many of us being dead, or in jail by this time. Even celebrity doesn’t make you immune, look at Hendrix, or Tupac, and Biggie, or even Reggie Lewis, or Lenny Bias all dead before the age of thirty.

So for that fact alone I’m very thankful and proud.

Secondly I finally got my first book published. I’ve got another ready to be published, we’re just going through the edits and formatting stage before it gets sent through the print machines. “Instant Exchange of Recognition” will be ready by September.

I finished my undergrad finally, and can move on to other projects. I can even work a real job should I choose, however I got a great job I love which has changed my life as well.

The trip to Toronto was life changing as well, meeting new people who have had a tremendous effect on my life and perspective.

So the second half of the year looks like this:

A west coast trip that will result in a couple of consignment deals at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and Powell’s in Portland.
As well as another appearance on the Ed Forman Show, something fun to look forward to.

I’ve got another poetry reading to do in Wichita at the Blank Page Gallery, and another appearance on The James Gate Show.

Finally I’ll be visiting Lawrence again to see a Jayhawks game at Allen Fieldhouse, and hopefully get a book into their public library.

Somehow I’d like to sneak in some studio time to work on my comedy album and/or begin working on an audio version of Supplication and Masturbation.

A great beginning to what will be a great ten year run in the life of Bobby Mickey. I’m right on the cusp of that 20 year apex.

“Good times are coming, I hear it everywhere I go.” ~Neil Young~

Rejected T-Shirt ideas

24 Jul

You gotta hand it to him, it takes some serious magic to make a band of black dudes sound so white.

You gotta hand it to him, it takes some serious magic to make a band of black dudes sound so white.


or trashy bumper sticker ideas that went nowhere:

I’m allergic to Peanut butter but my dog isn’t.

White People Love Dave Matthews Band.

In certain circles I’m a very square dude.

She lost the Weight but kept the Oral Fetish, thanks Jenny Craig!!!

Bulimic chicks are great in the sack.
Got warts???

Feel free to make money off any of these ideas if your conscious allows.

First Love

22 Jul

the moment my love for a certain  Algerian was cemented.

the moment my love for a certain Algerian was cemented.

The first baseball game I ever went to was in the spring of 1989.
It was an Astros game at the Astrodome versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Some old school cats in that game. Had no idea I was seeing THE Barry Bonds, back then. I was in fourth grade and was more interested in this older gal Peggy, than in seeing Craig Biggio, Glenn Davis, and Bill Doran eek out a win.

She was kind of a fan, and her older sister was a big fan and they were both really kind to me, and somehow I became interested in baseball. Thus beginning a 15 year affair.

I started playing that following year and got my hand eye coordination good enough to play in a few all star games as a teenager before the pressures of high school sucked the joy out of playing (and sometimes living).

For a long time I hated my father for putting so much pressure on me to be a good player, and I grew to hate him even more for trashing my collection of baseball cards as a kid.

Recently though I realized he might have done me a favor. I used to view those cards as a gateway to my youth. Seeing the old cards of Cal Ripken Jr. Bob Tewksbury, or Lance Blankenship still bring about memories of riding my bike to the card shop and plopping down some moulah for the chance at a Darryl Strawberry in Dodgers uniform…….

but now…… not quite the same…….

two strike years lost, and a huge steroids scandal has jaded me a bit.

Finding out about the ‘roids made me feel like James Spader character in Sex, Lies, and Videotape, when he finds out the girl he had on a pedestal fucked his college buddy behind his back.

Names came up and more names came up and everything jsut kind of made sense. All the talk about juiced balls, and all the on the field, bench clearing brawls were suddenly put into a different context.

But in a way i’m like so what? How many of us are on performance enhancing drugs? I’m sitting here writing this blog (and about to work on a short story) with the help of two gigantic, 16 ounce Red Bulls.

So what if it takes years off my life? I have to get this stuff done. And maybe that was the thinking during the Steroids Era. Getting it done, putting up stats and being as good as possible while you still have the chance, because when your career is over, its over, and no one thinks about you because there will always be another player to eclipse your statistics.

So in a way I get it, but still, it takes a little of the luster off the game I had held in such high esteem.

I guess aging does that to you. You get a different sort of perspective on things, and players become people, fucking up like everyone else but having it appear in headlines everywhere.

Players die, players retire, players go bankrupt and get divorced.

I finally learned to seperate what a player does on the field with the off the field stuff.

True Lenny Dykstra had one of the most phenomenal post season runs I’ve ever seen (and should’ve won the ’93 MVP in my opinion), but does that make him a decent human being?

Even if there weren’t the scandals and the strike stuff, it seems inevitable that I’d outgrow the sport. The last world series I watched with any interest was the last one with the Yankees, in 2003 when they lost to the Florida Marlins.

Even back then my interest was waning. A friend of mine once remarked that baseball was too slow for him, and boring, and I told him I liked the pace of the game, that I found it relaxing.

But that changed. Maybe my life got more complicated and the pace of basketball and international soccer resonated more with me, or maybe baseball really did become boring.

I just noticed that going to the game and sitting still for three hours became harder and harder. Unless I went with a friend, I found myself falling asleep in my chairs, a bit too relaxed by the near silence of crowds, smell of chalk, grass, and roasted weiners and peanuts.

The days of visiting cities just to watch a game in their ballparks are over. Tickets are too expensive and I don’t know any of the players out there anymore.

New and exciting NBA players have won me over, and the intensity of international soccer draws me away from the stop and start of baseball and football.

Besides I can’t stand all the constant advertisements that bombard you inside and outside the stadium. All the parks are owned by banks, and billboards dominate the venues, it used to be a simple church organ between innings and a generic wall. Now every outfield is sponsored by TBS or Staples, or Taco Bell.

In 2006 I fell in love with a certain soccer player who reminded me of a certain hockey player I had a man crush on.

Zinedine Zidane took the French national team as far as it could go without winning. Displaying the characteristics of something I’d recognized. Armed with deft passing skills, a steely glance, and a champion’s cool, I found myself wrapped up in the ’06 World Cup, realizing that the intensity of the fan base was a major attraction to the sport.

No matter where I was, no matter the nationality of a person I came across while traveling, I found that soccer was an interesting starting point to engage a complete stranger (often foreign) in conversation.

That combined with countless hours of playing the FIFA video game with my roommates in Austin, got me to start tuning into UEFA Leagues and Champions Leagues and I’m a full fledged fan now, even if Zidane retired.

So it goes. Old relationships die, new ones start up, right?

I went to a Tulsa Drillers game tonight with teh kids and it was fun. I didn’t know a single player’s name, and didn’t care. I was just watching baseball. Didn’t care about stats or anything, just enjoying the fundamentals of executing a bunt, or a double steal, and witnessing the beauty of a 6-4-3 double play.

It was great. Tickets are cheaper at minor leauge games. Less frills between innings, better seats, less lines for cheaper concessions, and real fans.

The kids were ready to leave after six innings and I didn’t blame them, baseball is a slow and often boring game. Kind of like 1,000’s of people sitting down to watch a chess match (although I rather enjoy chess).

Its not for everyone and maybe not for me anymore, but I will always look back in fondness at certain players and moments I was lucky enough to witness.

I got to watch the two greatest World Series of my lifetime in 1991 (Twins-Braves Smoltz and Jack Morris 10 inning duel) and 2001 (Diamondbacks-Yankees 7 games extra inning affair as well).

I witnessed in person a perfect game thrown by Randy Johnson with a high school teammate in Atlanta in 2004.

I got to see Bo Jackson, George Brett, Matt Williams, Andre Dawson, David Cone, Nolan Ryan, Carlton Fisk, Roberto Alomar, Rickey Henderson and Dennis Eckersley play ball at one time or another.

I’ve been to Wrigley Field, Turner Field, Dodgers Stadium, Roylas Stadium, The Sky Dome, the Astrodome, Ballpark in Arlington. I’ve been on the field at Oakland Coliseum. I even took a plane to Pittsburgh to see the Pirates game. I was a huge fan of the sport.

I enjoyed just coming to the game and sitting for hours, watching and thinking, and talking ball.

And as much as I loved watching, I enjoyed playing even more. Just stepping across the chalk lines brought a smile to my face. I miss having teammates and having reasons to high five, and focusing on tendencies and stealing bases.

Had I known how much focus, and preparation went into being a good player, things may have been different for me. I wish I’d have known just how much of playing the game (and even living life) was mental.

I certainly regret not getting the most out of my ability. Its tough knowing that I wasn’t as good of a player as I could’ve been. I’m thirty years old now, and in what should be the peak of a player’s athletic conditioning and career.

I’d like to think I’d join another men’s league and play until I’m seventy like Bill “the Spaceman” Lee. And if not that then at least coach a bit. Who’s to say what will happen.

I can say that the only way you’ll catch me at a major league game is if someone I know is playing on a major league ballclub. Its refreshing to say that I have better things to do than to spend 30 dollars on a seat in a ballpark named after some corporation.

That’s too expensive of a nap. I’d rather just turn on the television and fall asleep on the couch.

Vonnegut

20 Jul

Q:What's the white stuff in Bird Poop?  A: Well that's Bird Poop too.

Q:What's the white stuff in Bird Poop? A: Well that's Bird Poop too.

Just got through reading Slaughter house Five for the second time in my life.

I feel like it was a wasted attempt the first time I read it. I was 21 when I first read it and it was my first Vonnegut book.

Looking back on things, I’d have been better off by starting on Player Piano, or Bluebeard, maybe even Breakfast of Champions, but Slaughterhouse Five can’t be truly digested without having some sort of intimate knowledge of Vonnegut and his work.

It was a completely different experience this time around. The first time I did it , I just thought it was weird. But now I understand.

What struck me this time around was how funny it was, hilarious, tawdry, and most of all, touchingly human.

I love reading Vonnegut because of his down to earth, matter of fact style. He was a real rule breaker by taking chances with characters and plot lines, and even went as far as to insert himself into many of his novels.

The craziest thing to think about is the fact that he survived the fire bombing in Dresden. All those 130,000 plus people who died and the few who survived were ironically saved by a structure that served to kill many of the oxen, pigs, and cattle in that area.

I can’t imagine coming up and seeing what he saw. It seemed like it was the most profound experience of his life. So many of his books deal with WWII and a survivor’s mentality.

Elements of that event pervade Bluebeard, Mother Night, even. How could anyone look at life the same after miraculously surviving the biggest massacre in world history?

Then of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki came after the Dresden bombing.

The world is such an evil place. To think that some people are so wicked that they’d beat a 14 year old boy to death for whistling at his ugly assed, rat faced wife (i’m sure somewhere up there Emmett would love a mulligan on that one–certainly wasn’t a regular ass beating over) , then laugh about it after being acquitted and sticking his tongue down his ulgy wife’s gullet (pure fucking evil).

to think of all the people who run these corporations that lay off 1,000’s upon 1,000’s of people so they can make an extra million or two.

We live in a world of serial killers. Not Gacy and Ted Bundy types, but something way worse, and even more sinister. Serial killers do it for the sheer joy of killing, these fuckers are just sociopaths looking for an extra buck.

Dressed up in suit and ties, determining the fates of millions of people without blinking an eye. We elect these people, shake their hands, and give them the power to affect our lives.

We’re talking bankers, CEO’s, Senators, Governors, and Presidents.

It makes you ask the question of who’s really the sick ones here? Are masochists? Or are we sheep? Or is it really way more complicated than “the world trying to commit suicide.”

Its stuff like this that makes me admire Vonnegut and his writing so much. No matter how dark the subject, he takes a drag of his Pall Mall and makes a joke that points out the absurdity of our existence. Is it or isn’t real?

This bizarre trip we got going on here. Perhaps its better just to do your best, love those around you, and hope that the ripple effect ensues. Maybe the best way is to ensure that every interaction counts, smile more, laugh harder and embrace those tender and sweet moments of joy.

Even in the darkest of times, a sense of humor will get you far.

cuz maybe its just too absurd to take that seriously anyway.

imagine taking this thing way too seriously to find out it was all a silly little dream.
So it goes.

Booty Tax

20 Jul

There was finally that tackler he couldn't elude. R.I.P. AIR McNair

Alas,there was finally that tackler he couldn't elude. R.I.P. AIR McNair

I had a friend in college who would tell these ridiculous stories that were unbelievable.

Usually they involved him losing an anal bead inside a girl, or a chick peeing on him, or a woman requesting that he and a bunch of his friends “kidnap” her and act out a rape fantasy of hers.

At the time I was 25, fairly inexperienced and shocked. The first time he told me a chick peed on him, I was disgusted…..then aroused…….and curious.

So he became my sexual guru. If I had a question about a woman, he was the guy I called. He’d tell me these stories about squirters and freaky Romanian chicks and finally i asked, where and how do you meet these gals?

He told me, “Bobby you just need to meet you a crazy chick, with a sordid sexual past, and possibly Daddy issues, if she’s bulimic that could be a plus.”

And I took his advice, and it led me to some strange places. From 26 to 30 I found myself in the bedrooms of Portuguese cleaning ladies, 48 year old dental assistants, 35 year old nannies, and married Montessori teachers.

You talk about strange trips. The thing was, he was absolutely right. The sexual experiences were pretty out there, I did everything I’d ever imagined (well except the old uncork the champagne bottle in the Vijayjay gag) and it was fun.

But also scary too. He warned me that there’d be a booty tax no matter what woman I’d choose, but I ignored him and would blame him for the advice he gave me.

When he did it, it was always funny, and sounded so glamorous. What’s that they say? “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

After many episodes of creepy, intense women, and high incidents of hysterical crying, sometimes shrieking, I decided enough was enough.

Regular old sex was good enough for me. I no longer need to get peed on, or have sex in exotic places. My libido is right where it needs to be.

I no longer have to jerk off on people’s answering machines to have fun. I’d rather just feel safe.

My brother’s crazy girlfriend once stabbed him because she suspected (incorrectly) that he was cheating on her (well at least for the night in question).

After my own Bukowski-esque episodes with women, and other strange stories I’ve heard of other people, I finally realize that two crazy people cannot be together and it be a good thing.

What good is freaky, crazy sex if you can’t live to talk about it later?

Consider all the stories you’ve heard of late, Steve “Air” McNair, that Boxer dude, Gatti, hell remember the “grits” episode with Al Green?

I’ve caught the paranoia for sure. I now feel the need to lock my doors when I go to sleep, or leave the house, and I stay aware of my surroundings for sure.

Was it worth it? Maybe. I’d like to think I’m capable of living a normal life and having a healthy sexual relationship with a girl without the need to do something bizarre.

Perhaps I got it all out of my system and just needed that outlet back then to experiment. Or maybe I was just crazy and needed women just as crazy(or crazier) to make me feel normal.

I don’t know, don’t even care to get too deeply into it, but I do know this, as scary as Fatal Attraction is, its no where near as scary as seeing it in real life.

Whether its opening the door to your apartment and seeing your ex huddled up in a ball by the entrance, or fumbling with the locked door to your home, trying to elude an angry girl with a butcher knife.

No movie can capture the amount of fear and adrenaline that arises when you step into those moments. Who knows, maybe that is the biggest and main source of arousal when dating a crazy chick.

Like being a male preying mantis, living on the edge, and finally dying to bust that fatal nut.

No sir, crazy just aint sexy anymore.

Gary Snyder

20 Jul

Its not like I wanted to come over, have tea, read poetry, take mushrooms, smoke dope, and discuss politics. I'd have settled for a handshake.

Its not like I wanted to come over, have tea, read poetry, take mushrooms, smoke dope, and discuss politics. I'd have settled for a handshake.

Dear Mr. McFail.

Gary Snyder says to tell you that he’s older than you think, and retired from teaching 9 years ago. He lives in the mountains a long way from Davis. He is not “Japhy Ryder” but one of several modesl for that character. The “Dharma Bums” is a novel, not journalism. And he says he is not reading any new material.

best wishes,
Jann Garitty, Assistant to Gary Snyder

Well, Looks like I won’t be visiting Gary Snyder after all. A bit of a shame considering his age and and the history he holds within his brain cells.

Dharma Bums is one of my favorite books, and its hard not to fall in love with the Japhy Ryder character. Ladies man, ecologist, and poet, he was one of those characters that embodied what it meant to be a renaissance man.

I have a few friends that fall into this character, a buddy of mine living in Oregon certainly comes to mind when i think of real life examples of Japhy Ryders.

As disappointed as I am that I won’t get to meet the man himself, I certainly understand. I’m sure he gets thousands of emails and letters from “writers” and fans just wanting to be near him.

I can imagine it gets annoying. I do feel quite lucky that he even responded. Years ago, there was a columnist from ESPN named Ralph Wiley who iw as a huge fan of.
I’d spent a summer reading all of his stuff, “Why Black People tend to Shout” and other books by him. He was a great voice for sports, honest and insightful, and one of my favorites.

I remember after one morning of reading his article (hew as one of the few who’d predicted the ’04 Pistons would beat the Lakers), I thought I should email him and tell him how much I loved his work.

Of course I didn’t, ended up playing grab ass with my then girlfriend, or something, and figured I could email him some other time.

Well he died of a heart attack later that week. It struck me as odd, because he was only 52, but also because I’d just finished one of his books.

He was a great writer, and funny, and his death left a big void in the sports writing world. And all I kept thinking was I should’ve emailed him.

I’ve sent letters and emails to various people over the last ten years from Radiohead to Wayne Coyne, of the Flaming Lips, to the Sports Guy Bill Simmons, and not one of them has ever responded.

Well of course, Snyder didn’t respond either. But he at least told his assistant to take the time to write me and tell me to “get lost, scram, to beat it kid.”

I’m honored really. One of the last links to the Beat Generation had his assistant write me and tell me to fuck off, but in a slightly polite way. Seriously I can dig it.

And the truth is, I didn’t email him to be another sychophant scmhuck, telling him something he needs to hear. He already knows he’s awesome, you don’t make it that far, not knowing that. He doesn’t need the ego stroke.

I did it for me. I did it because it needed to be said, just to tell him, “hey motherfucker, I know you could really give a shit, but your presence in this world, turned my life upside down. And I realized I couldn’t live my life the same way ever again.”

and what is a person to say to that? Thanks? Cheers?

No response will be anything short of awkward, and yet its almost necessary to send those sort of letters.

Why? I don’t know, because if you appreciate something or someone, it feels good to tell them. No matter what the response.

“I love you” is one of those weird phrases as well. If you’re saying it for the response back then it aint real. I say it to friends all the time and it gets a bit awkward, but at least they know, and it doesn’t bottle up, and when they go, I can at least know that they knew how I felt.

I say it, I give give gifts because it feels good to, not for what I’ll get in return. Its a totally selfish endeavor nonetheless, and I think there’s nothing wrong with that.