Monday, November 29, 2004

Trends

I had been blocked out of my blogger for a week. I reconfigured all the wifi and such and now am able to access it all. Much has happened, Thanksgiving and such. Good eats, good times.

The one interesting thing that happened is a couple of parties I have gone to over the weekend. They were mighty fine. The first was quite a difference from what I was used to. I used to live in Shaw about a dozen or so years ago. It was a beautiful three story Victorian. Hand carved wood staircase. Butler stairs and butler pantry. Stain glass. Painted Victorian floors and ceilings. Beautiful windows. My mother urged me to move out of the house by circling rentals on the southside. She was jealous of the place when I got it for it was a much nicer base house than theirs. It was hardly refinished. The bathroom was in need of rehab as just about the rest of the place, but it was stunning.

When I threw parties, they were a rough young crowd. Poor students. Runaways. Working kids. Kids in bands. I had to padlock my room. I thought that was a normal thing.

Naturally many of the people I run with now have gotten older as I have aged, but I have noticed other changes. The rental units in Shaw are much nicer now. There were always a few nice ones in Shaw, but most the people I knew who lived in Shaw, and much of the southside had cool spots, but they were all original and usually a bit rough. Drafty places, worn hardwood, cracks, old appliances, chipped paint. But this place was different. And I have noticed that many of the places I am going are no longer quite as rough in that neighborhood. They reasonable rentals are starting to become the rule not the exception and now have track lighting, new appliances, dishwashers, nice bathrooms, reconfigured walls, refinished floors, landscaping and such.

I still have many young friends, 20-23 years old, that live in rougher spots that remind me of that stage I was in life, but fewer of them are living in Shaw and Tower Grove and more are living in other parts of the southside. Dutchtown. Marine Villa. Fox Park. Cherokee. The places they live in are in the same kind of shape that I had been living in at that point in my life.

The neighborhoods are changing. Good signs. But they all still have far to go.

The other thing I noticed at the party in Shaw was the kind of people. Now most of them were in their late 20s and early 30s. Grad students. Working people. Artists. But more than a few of them were transferred in. This was also the case when I was younger for many of them were students who moved here for school. But many of these people were living here and were from somewhere else. Some were also headed out, but others were fresh arrivals. Normal transitions of adults. But it struck me when I was at the place when so many were *not* natives to the area. It struck me because it reminded me of another party I went to. In Brooklyn. I went to a party in Brooklyn about three or so years ago and no one was from the area. It was kind of funny actually. It was in a nice refinished apartment, *but* it was not nearly as pretty as even my crappiest apartment in STL for it was a basement apartment teeming with tenants. The people at the party were in their late 20s and early 30s. Now none of them were from NYC. They tended more toward the arts and more rich kids who were subsidized. But that Brooklyn party always stuck out to me first because we were hanging in what was considered a cool apartment that was in a basement and secondly that there were really no native New Yorkers. It looks like the transitions are hitting the streets. I am curious to see if the trend rolls east towards Jefferson. I think so, for the shithole I lived in on Michigan has several rehab dumpsters on the street and I noticed that the corner building at the end of the street nearing full renovation. Something that would have been scoffed at back when I was on the street. Yeah, it is changing.

But the clincher was the po-po. I used to have a band living in my basement in Shaw. The parties we threw drew mobs. They were loud. We would park motorcycles on the lawn. The cops would show up very late to bust the party riddled with various violations. But this party I went to last weekend was broken up at midnight. Midnight. And it was just a normal amount of people.

Obviously the cops have more ability now than they did in the early 90s. This is a good thing. Things were real rough then. A lot more violence. I had a strange habit at that age when I would clip out stories from the paper of nearly every shooting or killing in the city and putting them inside my closet door along with editorial cartoons- when the Post actually had a cartoonist- editorials and crazy letters to the editor.

It was sort of sick to post up the law and order reports, but what happened and is still happening is so sick. What got me was how simple of a story it was when someone would be killed at Darst Webbe. Four or six sentences. And this would happen nearly every day. It seemed and still seems surreal. There still is a lot of violence now for the murder rate I think is about a third of what it was, but it is still way too much though. So much of this is preventable. Those kids that went on that murder rampage last year shooting out of their car. Those awful execution style killings way back at the old National on Grand. Enough of this nastiness. Sorry to rant.

But the cops still busted a tame party that was far less of a violation. The city cops have been pretty cool though, back then and now. Nearly always reasonable and effective.

I will follow later with the party that reminds me what group housing was like in Lafayette Square pre-regentrification, how I was rushed by some old SBAC members at Guns and Hoses and why Wash Ave continues to suck even more by promoting produce haters.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Apparata! tonight

I am here in my office at the Panda. I got the wi-fi kickin' and am catching up after my trip to KC. I checked out a venue over in the West Bottoms. It is right above this gym called the Authentic Boxing Club. Should be pretty cool if I can get the deal to work. I am close to confirming the Soulard Market Gymnasium on Feb 4 for the next fights. Need to get that confirmation.

John-Carlos Marino is fervrently assembling his works for the art show tonight at the Panda. Here is the press release.

APPARATA!
An evening of mechanically augmented enjoyment featuring new works by John-Carlos Marino. On display will be video and interactive sculptures for the audience to use. Marino creates makeshift contraptions from found objects that are equal parts absurd and serious, then invites the audience to operate them.

One Night Only
Free to all
Friday, November 19th, 6pm - Midnight at the Panda
Athletic Club, 1619 N. Broadway (between Mullanphy and
7th Street).
For more information call: 314.621.0552

RIP ODB

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Northside gets all the cool stuff


Enough already. All this chicken talk is gross. And I have taken a look at the blog and it involves chicken and mice in the past weeks. No more varmint talk!

So I was driving through the northside the other day. They get a lot of cool things up there on the northside. First they pave the sides of the highway with concrete making it look futuristic, then the take them out and plant flowers. Over the past year they have been putting all these way cool iron fences over the bridges with the posts covered in faux brick not unlike the ridiculous gaudy overpasses out in Creve Coure and Chesterfield. It is kind of like gilding the lily, but that is in the true Saint Louis spirit. Look at any of the older homes in town. You can even look at the houses that are essentially shacks and they usually have a lot of hand carved wood, decorative facades and stain glass. Kind of fun really. Of course we don't have any of these cool overpasses in South City. Only in North City and the tony burbs.

I am headed off to KC this week on bidness. I am also putting the Merc up for sale again. I have been looking around for a while and found a nice 71 Thunderbird. Nice one too. It is green. So if anyone is interested I am putting the Merc in the paper for 2400 bucks.

Here is what I am advertising:
1978 Mercury Grand Marquis
A legend of automotive superiority, this Grand Marquis was made for no greater comfort or convenience from the finest engineering and design America has ever produced. There are no higher levels of owner pride, prestige and lasting value. Be a part of this great American style that is at one time classical and contemporary. Own the luxury Mercury lifestyle.

Full sized luxury four door, powder blue exterior, white vinyl top and stripe in excellent condition, ac blows cold, fully operational am/fm hi-fi stereo eight track with tape collection (including Captain and Tenille, Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent, Merle Haggard, Henry Mancini and all the finest American performers), power windows/locks, cruise, tilt, defogger, full size spare, flip up lights, map lights, cb radio, trailer hitch, 400cid V8, runs smooth and strong, great/excellent dark blue vinyl interior no rips a few minor scuffs on driver's side, ersatz wood grain interior, great/excellent exterior- original paint looks nearly brand new, only rust showing on the side skirts about three inches by one inch- barely evident, clean chrome, very clean car, new front brakes/master cylinder, new rear springs, new front tires, new y exhaust pipe, all records, 170xxx miles. Minor rock chips on front end from being a highway driver for a striking older woman and her dashing husband to take to the Ozarks. Garaged for 25 years and the car looks like it is only a few years old. Drives smooth, the car just passed inspection in October.
Price: $2,400 American/obo

I should find out tomorrow about the location of the next fights. If this location works out it will be extra fine. Very nice. Like the Blue Horizon.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Too much chicken thought

I have gotten the second most feedback on my blog from this chicken thing. It seems that people think I am putting this chicken on some sort of rack and torturing it. Far from it. One person hoped that a kid would get his eyes pecked out, and in turn sue me. Okay. I can only imagine the horror a kid would have after seeing a friend get mauled by a chicken. That chicken would have to be put down for sure. My mother was even extra concerned when she heard I got a chicken. She didn't like it when I ate that racoon.

Now one friend, Cathy, pleaded with me to keep the chicken as a pet. She is the one that forwarded me raccoon recipe. She told me a great story about a young lady in Saint Genevieve who owns a chicken and how her chicken is such a great pet. Cathy helped to that end by naming our chicken Adrian. Her methods are exceedingly convincing. Hoping I get sued by blinded children's parents, not so much.

I have respect for this chicken. I do. Adrian the chicken. The students have yet to decide whether or not the chicken will become a pet or not. Right now it is going 50-50, but I have a feeling that the longer the chicken stays at the gym, the more likely that the chicken will grow on the people. But time will tell.

I feed the chicken every day. Cracked corn mixed with stuff. I put a mirror by her cage. I spoke with Scott, the chicken guy about proper care. I got information from the chicken lady in Kirkwood on how to take care of a chicken in an urban environment.

I have been learning a lot about chickens. I learned that chickens need to be fed small pebbles for they don't have teeth. I learned that chickens crap a lot. It is fun figuring out what to line the cage with. First, which paper? The RFT is always good, but the targets on the front page of the Post tend to be ideal. I learned that chickens are not all that bright. I let the chicken run around the place one night. Free range. I found out that chickens don't really like to walk around. In fact the chicken walked over by the cage and got between it and the wall and just stared at the mirror. All night. But the chicken has been more lively of late. It has been walking around a lot more. It now walks over toward the other mirrors when I put food down. I mentioned to Scott that I didn't think the chickens were that bright. He gave me that look of- "yeah, and?"

One of the students gave me a documentary on chickens. Now if you want to talk about "gross", there are some gross parts of that documentary. It showed, at length, this story about a chicken that had no head. It went around the world and was put on display. It was so gross that I am not going to detail how a live chicken could have no head.

I am worried that some people don't have respect for children's eyesight.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Yo, Adrian


Here is a shot from the Panda AC last night. Rashaun was chasing after the chicken. It was the duty for each kid to catch the chicken as their final training exercise. The chicken is allowed to strut around during training. The kids love it.

"Little Man", Preston, the kid in the back put on the rubber gloves, cuz he didn't want to catch any chicken flu. Little man is quite possibly one of the finest boxers at 80 lbs in the US. This ain't no joke. He has form, excellent form, head movement and is just downright slick. The kid has it. He has better form than almost all fighters that I know and the kid is not even 10. Kids that young rarely can do anything else than swing. Little Man always runs into the gym, grabs the gloves and just keeps punching the whole time. With a smile on his face. He boxes kids twice his size, and tags them regularly. The bell will sound to end the round and he will keep on the kids twice his size and follows them into the corner tagging them, smiling, reaching around his opponents back around to the front to tag them on the stomach. He will not stop. And in such good spirits. If I ever need a man to work for me, someone to watch my back I am going to get Little Man.

To Jeremy's left is Juzzton Hill. Juzzton is one of the baddest kids in town. Sweet skills. He fought on my last Hoosierweight card. The kids were a bit pensive and anxious in their pursuit of the chicken. One would think the toughest crew of kids in town would tear the chicken apart, but that was far from the truth. One of the older kids was terrified of the chicken. The others could not stop laughing. One of the kids would have his hands around him, but he just could not put his hands together on the chicken.

We named the chicken Adrian. Makes sense cuz Adrian worked at a pet store. The chicken is doing well. We put a mirror by the cage so she has company. (Credit Cathy Johnson for the name)

Training has gone well the past couple of days. We are getting the flyers printed up. I had to run out to Fenton to do the press check. The sign guy is coming by tomorrow. I got the bathroom up and running. I still need to get the floor right. And a shower curtain. The ring is still under construction. We need to get some more brackets for the other speed bag. We got some more gear today. More wraps. We need to make sure we got more revenue though. I wound up taking my Grandmoms and Moms out to dinner today. My Grandmoms needs to eat more. She is 91. She is still in great health.

Props to Andrew Cutraro, a Panda AC charter member for his pic of the beautiful scene.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Chicken huntin'


I went to the market today. I always stop by the chicken stand. The live chicken stand. I used to work a stall at Soulard selling fair trade coffee with my old roommate. I took a particular interest every week and talk to Scott, the chicken guy. He told me all about the chickens. Mostly immigrants buy the chickens. It is much fresher to eat a chicken that you slaughter. Today, a Bosnian lady and her husband were haggling over a chicken. They wanted to pay three dollars for the chicken. The chicken was for sale for five dollars. Scott is pretty cool with all the different people that buy chickens from him.

I bought a raccoon from Scott a couple years ago. It was trapped and he was selling possum, coon, beaver and other varmints. I cooked it up with some friends. All sorts of people sent me recipes and got quite excited. I had a dinner party and all types of curious carnivores showed up to sample the country style dinner. I had a bit of a culture shock about all of this, but Scott told me he loved coon, and he had been eating them since he was a kid. He told me that I might have to adjust to the taste. I figured it would be like the first time trying something to eat when I was a kid. I was a picky kid. Ridiculously picky. I am not picky anymore. I like to eat all sorts of things. I love to eat new and interesting foods. I wanted to break myself of cultural barriers and this silly food phobia.

I had good intentions. I was really looking forward to coon. I had a recipe from my chum Gate's family and Goddard helped in the prep. We had such good intentions. The odor was the first warning. We all sat around the table like civilized people to carve up the coon. Everyone got up and crowded around to see us hack away at this critter. We all wanted a good look. The coon was gamey. Very very very very gamey. I tried. I really really tried hard. It was awful. Pretty much everyone tried it. I tried it again. Still awful. It wound up stinking up the house something fierce.

Today I was looking at the chickens again. Now that I got the Panda AC, I figured that this would be a good time to get one. We need a mascot and until I can figure out how to smuggle in a panda bear I think a chicken will do. I talked to Scott about this. I got a girl chicken. That shouldn't be too loud. I can have the fighters chase the chicken around. Scott lent me a cage. I went down to the pet store and bought some cracked corn. I am going to take him to the gym tomorrow. That is where she will stay. I put her outside in the front yard until tomorrow. She wound up running up and down Macklind a bit when I transferred her into the larger cage. I am getting a roof put on the house and the roofers helped me catch her. Roberto is putting the roof on the house and he was shaking his head. He told me "I didn't say anything about the name Panda, now you get a chicken. You need to get a rooster if you are going to bring it to the boxing gym. We need a fighting cock." I guess a Panda is kind of a wimpy mascot. A vegerarian cutesy asian bear. I still like it though.

I need to figure out a name for the chicken. I think I will let the kids name her. I think we will have a great pre-fight dinner when we have our next bouts.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Will of the people

My sense of balance seems off. The President is giving a press conference right now. That is just not normal. It should be, but he avoids them at all costs. So Bush starts the healing by scolding the press corps by chastising the first question with "Now that I've got the will of the people at my back, I'm going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions." Corny but it came off as an awkward joke, but really kind of a jab. A couple of laughs, but mostly quiet. Then he did it again to the next reporter. "Again, you violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people." Dead quiet. No reaction. He looks at the press when asked if he feels free and comments looking directly at the members of the press corps "Oh, in terms of feeling free, well, I don't think you'll let me be too free." So the press corps stifles his freedom? He might say he is joking, but there is contempt in his voice. It is obvious.

Way to start off for four more years.

Murder on the Macklind Estate


I am a killer. Here is the crime scene. I killed a mouse earlier today. I have mice in my house. Or I at least had a mouse. There might be more. And I wanted to give them a sign of what they have in store for them if they want to roam on my property.

I thought I was going crazy Monday night. I thought I saw something move from my snowman pinata. It had fallen off of my chair. I stopped for a second. Later on I thought about it as I was using my bathroom. Above my toilet I have a set mousetrap, a switchblade and a bottle rocket in a soda bottle with a match. It is my own artwork or something expressing potential energy. Anyway, I broke up my bathroom installation to kill. It was not the first time the installation had been broken up for destruction. Chad Garrison lit the bottle rocket last spring at a dinner party with the rocket shooting out of the bathroom and into my hallway.

So I put some provel on this piece of art. I put the pinata in the backyard. Now that I had inadvertently decreased the mouse's mental capacity with the lead laced Mexican candy stashed inside the pinata, the trap would surely work. And it did. I got'm. The grey haired pest made it a few inches before he collapsed. It was a gruesome scene. The lil' guy had a mini pool of blood beneath his stiff rodent carcass. Right now he is rotting away in a plastic bag in my kitchen trash. I won't even show him the respect of a proper burial.

I like mice. I used to own them as a kid. I had to keep them out in the garage. My mother made me. She is a smart woman. They occasionally would make an escape. Some would fight and maim each other. Occasionally one would bite. Others crawled on my arm and my neck. One mouse even got crushed under the feet of an oblivious chum. They were fun. I bought them at the pet store over on Jefferson by my grade school. I saved up the money I made selling the three star Sunday Post.

I put some fresh provel out on my killing machine and put it next to the murder scene to flaunt my human status in the house. I need to stay on top of that food chain. But I won't eat any of the mice. I don't need to prove it that badly.

Now if it was a chicken...

Irritants

So I need to do something to get rid of this irritation I am feeling. A lot is going on. Nothing I can do anything about at the moment. From national shifts in our country to personal things. Just a lot of things at once. Irritated is the feeling of the moment. I don't like it one bit.

I am not exactly sure what to do. It doesn't seem right. I cannot pretend not to see what is going on. I will try to delve into mental diversions. Just for my mental sanity. I just want to be a good citizen. I am at a loss. I may not get rich, nor will I necessarily be financially solvent, but they can't keep me down. I will maintain my sanity and dignity regardless of what others may believe is the new reality of our world. I will at least be in good company with my fellow misfits. I have always been.

So diversions are in order to keep my personal sanity! Getting hit in the head seems even saner in our world, yet will somehow make me seem crazy. It should be crazy. But I am not.

Maybe I ask too much of my fellow man. I only do it because I know we are capable of quite a bit. No sense in low standards regardless of what is happening.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Slow ride no bus

The ride on Natural Bridge is smoooooth. Now that I got new tires on the Merc on those new paved roads they did on the all over the city on most of the major arteries- oh about a year ago. And it has held up too. Smooth drive. I didn't want to turn at Union.

But what kind of city has nice streets? Not a real rugged big city. Chicago has always had crap streets. NYC was dodgy the last time I was there. I think a few well placed potholes on these new roads would be a good reminder that we are a big city. At least we got some crap streets like Jefferson to remind us of the glory days of our town.

There is some good news about the bus, but as it is with Bi-state it has to screw it up too. I always took the Soulard bus downtown, but I never followed it north. Apparently it loops up around the gym. At least the southbound bus does. I saw it rolling down 9th street just a few blocks from the gym. This is the good news. The bus will take me from my house to where I need to go with no transfers.

And this is why Bi-State sucks. I go to the website. And the website is a perfect example of why they suck so badly. It is supposed to be about the people that ride the bus and people they want to get to ride the bus. Customer service is not what keeps them in business. I go to check on the route and the times. It is easier to check movie times which fluctuat by the week. I had to download their listings on a PDF. I have adobe, but for whatever reason it doesn't work on my machine. Now I have most of the bus schedules in hard copy from picking them up on the bus. Now they put the schedules on the bus- sort of. You can be on the southhampton but it will have skeds for the Shaw Russel. But none of the Soulard, Kingshighway or the Chippewa. I have managed to piece them together over time. But I can not find my Soulard hard copy. I found one I tried to download off the PDF last spring and printed out, but it prints out so funky I can barely make it out and I cannot see the names of the streets. I could call them up, but honestly, I have done this and they give me the most freaky ways to get around on bus.

So I probably will try to download the sked at some point, but honestly I will not be jumping the bus until I absolutely have to. Not because I do not want to, but due to that I need to take laborious measures to get the information on the bus. So I won't take the bus until I need to. Now that will likely happen at least a few times before the year is out for the Cady has been out of commission for over two months due to problems finding that dern proper steering knuckle- got three straight bad ones. But that is why I got the Merc and I have no backups for that other than the bus and push bike.

I need to know the times. I need to know the routes. I pick transit in other cities and they all have faults, but we are particularly riddled with faults in our transit. At least I am not the type to write something off completely.