Sunday, August 28, 2005

Jury Duty

I was summoned to jury duty for the first time last week. Being gay, at my age, there aren’t very many "firsts" left. I’ve lived my life hard and fast, but mostly hard because fasting makes me hungry. I’ve bought my first car, my first home, my first personality chip. I am one jaded individual, and I’ve got the jewelry with semi-precious stones to prove it.

Even though I got there early, the jury waiting room was already packed. It was like a hospital waiting room, full of people who looked like they needed plastic surgery. I carefully waded through the room, looking for a good space to sit, preferably in a nice, quiet and clean corner--or next to some hot stud, I’m not picky at all.

Not too long after, we were herded into the jury room proper for jury selection. I realized right away that I must be excused. It would be a hardship for me to sit through a non-celebrity trial. I would have to sit through a low to mid-priced attorney’s arguments and with no cameras, reporters or book agents waiting to offer me millions for my experiences during the trial and the various detailed deliberations of what kind of makeover to give my fellow jurors.

Besides, the defendant was wearing an ill-fitting dark suit! I would surely not belong in a jury of his peers. My peers would be dressed in perfectly tailored, see-through t-shirts and leather chaps, the standard conservative formal attire for gays. And maybe a small, tasteful man-purse.

Ideally, I would be in a hung jury, emphasis on hung.

And there should really be a rule that says there must be a minimum of one cute guy per eleven potential jurors because otherwise, I don’t think I can stay awake long enough. This ratio will keep me interested in the details, the nuances of the amicus brief or boxers that he might be wearing. In our isolation from the world, I would pore over the evidence of his rising desire and we would cross-examine each others' members. Heady with information and drunk with facts, we would fall into each others' arms in our court-supplied hotel rooms.

Luckily, there was one such man in our pool: juror number six.

Jesse Jurran, 22, a six-foot-three, dark-haired, latin dreamboat with broad shoulders, hazel eyes and a mouth just meant for giving blowjobs. He had a back problem from playing high school football. He worked as a caddy to support himself through college. No priors, one moving violation in the last six months. He was reading a paperback copy of Siddhartha. Philosophy and fellatio, these are a few of my favorite things.

Jesse intrigued me, he sounded like a man with mystery. I learned all this because of all the questions the judge and lawyers asked to determine the suitability of the potential jurors. I tried googling his name afterwards to see if I could find pictures of him in his football gear. I wanted to re-live those moments when I threw him intimate glances and he ignored me completely. It was just like my first love.

But the questions they asked of the potential jurors! They were very, very personal and clearly made some of the people uncomfortable. It made me wish intensely that I had some unbuttered popcorn. And a large soda, diet.

If these were the questions for a lawsuit for a car accident, I wonder what they would be for something really juicy, like an emancipation case. I would pay to see Mimi try to emancipate herself from Mariah Carey, coz you know it's gonna happen.

We had been reminded that we swore a solemn oath. The act of holding up our right hand and swearing in compelled us to tell the truth. One friendly-looking guy revealed that he had been incarcerated for breaking into a hardware store and stealing tools. A middle-aged man in a dress shirt had been recently convicted of domestic abuse. They were both excused.

A young woman, 19, a very pretty college student originally from Uganda was next. Daleesha was her name, I think. I don't know how it's spelled.

The judge had been asking her questions in a very direct manner. And then he asked, "Have you ever the victim of a crime?"

She sat there, silent for almost a minute. You can see her gather her words, putting them together, trying to answer the question; her face a quiet storm of emotion.

The air in the courtroom was completely still. I was distracted by the silence; I had been boring a hole into Jesse's forehead, willing him to make eye contact. I turned my attention towards the jury box.

The judge, becoming aware of her consternation, leaned in and repeated the question. He said in a gentle, fatherly way, "Miss, have you ever been the victim of a crime, one that has been reported?"

With those five words, he gave her an out. I saw her shoulders cave in relief, defeat or something else, I don't know.

"No," Daleesha said in a small voice.

"Ok," the judge nodded. A small pause, "Ok."

In a low voice, the judge asked a few more questions and then excused her. Everybody looked at her as she left the courtroom. I'm sure in everybody's minds, the same scenarios were flying: domestic violence? Sexual abuse? Rape? Then the judge was back to the business at hand.

At this point, there were eleven jurors. One more to go. There was one guy who was ahead of me. I was afraid of the questions the judge was going to ask. Because of the nature of this case, I was going to have to tell him about Doug. I was nervous about that.

Fortunately, the guy ahead of me was accepted into the jury. The rest of us were dismissed. I received my check on the way out. $17.20 is the going rate for jury duty these days.

As I pushed the revolving door, I saw Daleesha standing outside the building, a few paces away. She was looking intently at the check in her hand. $17.20. A paltry sum. I wondered what that one question cost her.

Justice stood before her. It loomed thirty stories high. It had asked for her help to mete it out. I wondered if she would seek justice for herself. A step forward or a step back?

Then my bus arrived and I ran towards it. I saw a glimpse of her as the bus pulled away, still rooted to that spot.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back On The Bus

This is the first time I am back on the bus since the London bombings. After getting a job in the burbs six months ago, I have been driving to work, along with my virtual carpool of zany morning DJs and shock jocks.

I think the term 'shock jock' has become meaningless at this point, along with 'War on Terror' and 'Whitney Houston's Career.' And after the following things shoved up my ass: a 10” thick Marine cock, phallic vegetables, the Defense of Marriage Act, I am virtually unshockable.

I do wonder how NPR manages to exist, with its dry, factual, nuanced reporting and discussions. Like Sven (formerly of ISeeMonsters.com), I find myself teary-eyed at some story from Morning Edition or All Things Considered. Sometimes I wish I could tune in to Margaret Jo McCullin and Terry Rialto on The Delicious Dish, but alas, they're only fictional.

I am taking the bus today because I had been summoned for jury duty. As I boarded the bus, I felt some trepidation. Despite what our current administration says, I don’t think we are winning the 'War on Terror' (apparently, it's now called the 'global struggle against violent extremism'). I don’t feel safer that Iraq’s dictator and Cheetos spokesperson has been removed from power.

If anything, I fear that we have now provided a bigger reason for our country to be a target. These people are willing to die for their cause. They went ballistic when they heard about the flushing of the Koran, you think they are twiddling their thumbs after our invasion? I think our tax dollars are better spent on increasing security at our borders and ports and improving our relationship with Islamic nations.

I scanned the bus for passengers who fit the profile of a potential terrorist--someone who looked like Gary Busey, but with a tan perhaps.

I froze when my eyes came upon a suspicious-looking young man carrying a large backpack. I got nervous when he paid cash for the fare. A regular bus-rider would surely have a CTA card, wouldn’t he? His lack of pectoral muscles could also indicate a reason for a suicide mission. I trained my eyes on him as he made his way down the aisle and sat down across from me.

As I examined his backpack, I let out a sigh of relief. I recognized the high-quality leather and metallic tag. They wouldn’t dare blow up a Kenneth Cole bag, would they? Even a terrorist would respect that. And if they don't, they better watch out or we'll sic our most fearsome warrior on them; I hear Andy Dick is merciless.

But I worry about my boyfriend who rides the El everyday to work. Even though I know that statistically, the risk of dying in a car crash is much larger than being blown up in a terrorist attack, I still worry. I can’t help it. I may be a self-assured, stylish homo on the outside, but inside, I am just an old Jewish grandmother. Oy, pass the gefilte fish.

I worry the minute I drop him off at the station until I hear from him. Sometimes, I find myself anxious when I don't see him sign on to Yahoo messenger at work. Is that weird? The bad feelings linger like a fart in an elevator.

Back on the bus, I settled in my seat and pulled out my book. Today at least, I won’t be blown to bits...


NEXT: Jury Duty

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Check out the Chicago Blog Map

Also:

On The Bus - Readin' and Ridin' on the bus. Part 1 of 2.
Three Hours - I hate driving, I hate airplanes.

Stuttering - My encounter with a Marine cock.
A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby and my suicidal thoughts.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Aristocrats

WARNING: SPOILERS! GRAPHIC SEX, VIOLENCE AND PROFANITY. IF YOU READ THIS POST, YOU WILL HAVE NO REASON TO WATCH THIS STUPID MOVIE ABOUT THE DIRTIEST JOKE IN THE WORLD.

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A man comes into reality TV show producer Mark Burnett’s office. He says, “I have a great concept for a reality show.”

Mark says in his British accent, “Hit me.”

The man says, "We bring in a pastor’s family: husband and wife, their son, daughter and their cute golden retriever."

"The pastor beats up his wife and punches her in the face until she’s cut and bleeding. Then he face-fucks her until he reaches orgasm and comes on her face, the jizz mixing in with the blood. He ties her up in a chair and brings in his daughter and starts fucking her while his wife watches. After he’s done he ties up his daughter and brings in his son. The father forces the son to fuck his daughter and when the son is done, the father starts fucking him. Then he brings in the dog and makes the dog fuck the wife, the daughter and the son, and then he fucks the dog."

Mark sits there stunned.

Then he says, “I like it! It’s fresh, it’s ground-breaking!” He jumps out of his black leather chair and starts pacing. “We may have to blur and bleep out some parts but I think it will be a hit!” He turns to the man and asks, “What do you call it?”

The man says, “The Republicans.”

“Perfect! What about a sequel? Any ideas about that?” asks Mark.

“Absolutely!” says the man, “For the sequel, we bring in a black family and do the same thing except the wife will be pregnant and the father will perform an abortion. We’ll call it The Democrats.”

That’s it. That’s the movie. I just saved you $10. It is quite literally a one-joke movie. And before you go all lunatic on me and start flaming this post, I want to mention that everything I wrote here is in the movie* except Mark Burnett. I also left out the part about the n*ggers and Jesus coming back to earth to fuck everyone.


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* This is my version of the joke. It didn't appear in the movie, but it contains elements that were used throughout the movie.

The Aristocrats joke as told by Eric Cartman

The Aristocrats Movie Page at Yahoo!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Do-It-Yourself

Oh no, not her again.

I know I know I know, my boyfriend Brian would like to have a moratorium on Bjork posts as well. What do you do when you have a significant other that hates some artist or record that you absolutely love?

It’s almost like in my closeted teen days when I had a huge crush on Boy George. I didn’t really know what to tell my family and friends about my obsession with this tall, outlandish, heavily made-up person.

I needn’t have bothered with my family. I talked to my parents a few months ago and they were going to turn my old room into a sewing room for my mother. They asked whether they could take the poster of that brutish, unattractive girl off the wall. I was like, “Oh sure! And wait, mom can probably use the sewing kit that I have under the bed. Does she like quilting? If you look behind my desk--I know it’s heavy--there’s a quilting frame she might be able to use as well.”

To my friends, I defended my musical choices by saying that it’s just theatrics--it’s performance, you know, like David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust phase, Michael Jackson in his Diana Ross phase or Michael Jackson in his LaToya Jackson phase. They all nodded their assent, but thought privately: what a big, raving F...ilipino.

Before I got my iPod, I used to have to sneak into the apartment building's garage and listen to Bjork in the car. I would grab my pack of Marlboro’s and lighter and tell Brian I was out for a quick cig, which I would ditch for the CDs I stashed in the fire extinguisher cabinet. Apparently, it was a popular hiding place. I found a set of spare keys, a small bottle of whiskey, a tube of salmon pink lipstick. I thought, it’s gotta be Chuck from 11N, he’s the only one who had the right coloring for salmon pink.

Because of this, I hadn’t really been able to appreciate Medúlla, Bjork’s foray into musical weirdness. But I wasn't too worried about it. Suffice it to say, an album of all vocals: choral, Inuit throat-singing and human beatboxes, was something I probably would listen to once, maybe twice a year--three, if I was trying to get rid of unwanted guests.

As has been her custom, Bjork would release various remixes of her singles. These singles often included some very good mixes that I sometimes prefer over the originals; I hungrily acquired them.

She had even gone as far as releasing Telegram, an album of Post remixes. Telegram was very hit-or-miss, there were some cool mixes on it like “Isobel” and “I Miss You,” but by and large, it was quite impenetrable, like Katie Holmes’ skull. In addition, I would scour the local DJ record stores for “white labels,” records of bootleg mixes of artists. That was 1996.

Since then, with the help of production software like Sony’s ACID-Pro 5, music lovers have turned their PCs and laptops into portable recording studios and themselves into amateur DJs.

In 2005, as soon as a record hits the stores, fans puts their own spin into it and throw it out onto the internet. Google any song by an artist and the word “remix,” it is very likely that you will find some aficionado’s set. Some of these “amateurs” are so accomplished, their mixes sound better than the official releases.

In the months following the release of Medúlla, Bjork had released three singles “Oceania,” “Who Is It” and “Triumph of A Heart,” of which, only “Who Is It” had remixes that appealed to me. The mixes of other two were so much in the vein of the original that I didn’t get the point of them.

I checked out sunday-in-the-park.com’s Bjork Remix Web Archive, a good site to find homegrown mixes of the artist and I found a plethora of mixes from that album and previous ones. Medúlla makes it easier for the novice DJ to remix because there isn’t a lot of production that you’d need to edit out or overlay; you can take the song to a direction that it wasn’t meant to, you know, like a straight man after three beers.

I was particularly impressed with Dark Jedi’s remix of the dense “Where Is The Line.” Where the original version was very darkly insistent, his remix added a sad, plaintiveness to the song. This is probably the hardest song in the album to remix. I think that when I first downloaded this mix, I must’ve played it thirty times, really getting into the groove of it. One of the more prolific ones, Dark Jedi offers five remixes from the album, including “Pleasure Is All Mine” and an industrial, bass-heavy “Oceania.”

Another exceptional remix is Prydrm’s nervous, jittery version of “Triumph of A Heart.” I am not sure how he eliminated Rahzel’s beats, but it is undetectable. To confound me more, he offers a great melodic mix of “Mouth’s Cradle.”

I was leery of Psy’s “Out of the Deep” mix of “Submarine” at first. I wasn’t sure of what anyone could do with the song and with Robert Wyatt’s atonal backing vocals, but Psy transforms it with a hard-driving jungle beat. The repeated phrases of “do it now” and “out of the heavy deep sleep” becomes a hypnotic command.

Digging further, I found Disk69’s sensuous “Desired Constellation” and Jeranium’s scratchy music box version of “Show Me Forgiveness.”

So here they are, in my humble opinion, the best do-it-yourself Medúlla remixes from the web. You can download them for free from the links below. I suggest you put them in the same order as the songs in the original CD. Mine includes the original version of “Sonnets / Unrealities XI,” a beautiful a cappella song, which works surprisingly well among them. I've even provided the artwork, click on the scary Bjork picture in this post.

Jeranium - Pleasure Is All Mine
Jeranium - Show Me Forgiveness
Dark Jedi - Where Is The Line
Mark Bell - Who Is It (Choir Mix) - get the CD
Psy - Submarine (Out of The Deep Mix)
Disk69 - Desired Constellation (MJU:O Mix)
Dark Jedi - Oceania - get it here
Prydrm - Mouth’s Cradle (Hidden Cradle Mix)
Prydrm - Triumph Of A Heart

Other notable mixes:
Lesser - Who Is It (c2n dattasette mix) - get the CD
Buddy Bravo - Oceania (Impression Mix) - get it here
Buddy Bravo – Where Is The Line (Keybroad Mix) - get it here
Dark Jedi – Show Me Forgiveness - get it here
Dark Jedi – Desired Constellation - get it here
Dark Jedi - Pleasure Is All Mine

Note: Find the mixes above (as well as others) in the Bjork Remix Web Archive

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Get "Who Is It" remixes and Medúlla



Other music in my CD rack
My original Medúlla post
"Bjork’s Saga" by Alex Ross from The New Yorker
"Breath Control" by Kylee Swenson

Monday, August 01, 2005

Stuttering

I once dated this hot Marine who had a serious stuttering problem. We could barely have a conversation. It would literally take a minute for him to finish one sentence. But I dated him, because it's what's inside that counts right? And what's inside his pants was 10" thick motherfucker.

This is where the weirdness comes in. When we're having sex, he does not stutter at all. Not one bit.

While we were having sex, he wanted to talk talk talk about books he read, movies he's seen, where the lint in his navel comes from. Anything. It's like he had all these words pent up and it all gushed out.

I would've obliged except that it's hard to have a conversation when you have a huge Marine cock in your mouth. Ironic really. He can't talk when we're not having sex, I can't talk when we're having sex.

Besides, my mom taught me never to talk with my mouth full and old habits, like geezers with priapism, die hard.

This went on for about two months, until he dumped me. It took him about thirty minutes to say "I t-tttt-tthhhh-thhinkkk www-www-wwe ssh-ssh-ssh-shoulddd bbe jj-jjjust-tt ff-ff-friends." I guess he was nervous.

It was very humiliating for me because I knew what he was going to say after "I t--". I was raised to be polite, so I had to sit there and wait for him to finish.

It's true what they say about how communicating in a relationship. You really have to work at it.

I know what I would do next time: learn sign language. Then it wouldn't matter if I had a mouthful of cock.

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I wrote this following an e-mail from Joe.My.God, one of the best bloggers around. He had asked his readers for a few lines describing the kinkiest thing or about a time we were most surprised, baffled, or completely freaked out by a scene laid on by a new partner. Check out the others.