October 31, 2005

Crappy photos

Top Tier insisted that I give him some pictures or he was leaving me, so I squeezed out some crappy ones for you all to enjoy. Sorry, I just canÂt take pictures of exciting stuff, it makes me feel like a dork.

http://eloise.cementhorizon.com/gallery/album14

Posted by jason at 08:14 AM

October 11, 2005

clown fangs

My classes are finally over, thank God. I thought Iâd be a better student since Iâm older, but it turns out I couldnât be lazier. I showed up maybe two thirds of the time and I didnÂt take my final exam. It was unsettling to me to discover that I still do the same thing when Iâm bored in class as Iâve always done: draw fangs in my school book. Who knows why, but always fangs. Dog fangs, vampire fangs, bloody fangs, all kinds. It made me feel like I was in high school again, so I donÂt think IÂm gonna take any more courses.

Now I have more time to just futz around the city. This place is so cool. One of the prettier things about it is the butterflies that fly around all over like we were in the country. Itâs the perfect counterpoint to all the trash and noise. Itâs probably whatâs inspiring all the damn kids everywhere you turn practically making babies in the street.

Recently I saw some kid downtown who mustâve been late to work because he only had the tiniest bit of surgical tape on his nose, an amount that couldnât have helped at all with any of the three Râs of young Mexican male nose tape. Just a dash of it before running out the door without breakfast, I guess.

And the other day I saw the youngest policemen in the history of law enforcement. These kids looked like they were sixteen at most. This canât be true, but thereâs no way they couldâve been more than eighteen or nineteen. They were escorting a money delivery and so they had their guns drawn because thatâs what they do here when money is being delivered. It took everything in my power not to to go over and confiscate those things.

What else? I think, maybe, Iâm finally getting over the goddamned altitude. At first I thought the whole thin air thing was nonsense, but it really does affect me. I get that weird wooziness pretty much whenever I get out of a lying position and I get winded at the oddest times. But the crappiest part about it is the fact that singing in the shower is more difficult than it used to be. Seriously, this is no joke, I canât sustain those long notes like before. Opera singers should come here to practice, just like those sports stars who go up in the mountains. Thereâs this restaurant four doors from my apartment that hosts a sort of Mexican bolero karaoke night, and I kinda want to try it out. Itâs my big âdonât be a chickenshitâ goal for the next few months. Iâve been giving it a lot of thought and I think that singing Mexican bolero might be the reason I was put on the planet. Iâve bought collections of it on the street and am quickly falling in love, trying to imitate the voices all the time. There was even a point, Iâm kindâve embarrassed to admit, when I thought the people singing at the restaurant got paid, so I was gonna ask the emcee if he needed some young blood in his act. I went and spent a couple of hours there on a Friday night (I was the only one in there under fifty) to learn the routine and discovered that these people couldnât sing worth shit. I was really disappointed. What a short commute to work it would have been. But passing out from lack of oxygen might have kept me off the stage anyway.

The singing/breathing difficulties gives me an idea, though. On top of the tutoring, Iâve also come up with a million dollar business idea for Mexico City: oxygen bars. Think of it, what with the altitude and the pollution, these people donât know what oxygen is. But it might be dangerous. Iâm not sure they'd be able to handle the good shit. Or maybe Iâll just get into police work, since itâs apparently about as attainable as a summer job at Hot Dog on a Stick.

Oh yeah! Speaking of Mexico Cityâs finest, my new student is a cop! An on duty cop! He was in full uniform and he brought his partner with him! We all piled into my bedroom together and the partner just sat there alternately snoozing and looking at her hat while the student and I did our thing. I canât tell you how cool it feels, after all the stories Iâve heard about the culture of bribery, to accept money from an officer.

But I have an even better image to leave you with than that. Last Thursday there was a big rain storm that caused delays on the Metro and I had to wait two and a half frickinâ hours for a train that wasnât terrifying. I guess I couldâve taken a cab, but that wouldâve been expensive. Plus, I had plenty of things in my backpack to entertain me so I just sat around waiting and watching other people freak out. At about the hour and a half mark, two clowns came along. There are clowns all over the place, by the way, and the greatest thing about them is that theyâre usually just doing everyday stuff like checking email at the Internet cafà or buying a gallon of milk at the liquor store. Imagine my delight when these two clowns in the Metro approach the impossibly full train, with their gigantic red shoes and everything, and somehow squeeze themselves in. Like it was a clown car! That made my week.

love jason

Posted by jason at 10:56 AM

October 02, 2005

Hi

Okay, weÂll give this another go. GeneÂs convinced me that I can't keep quiet any longer.

I'm gonna post the emails IÂve recently sent from Mexico, so the next few that show up are gonna be old news to most of you. As for the rest of you, bring a change of underwear.

IÂm kind've excited about all the fancy stuff IÂve got at my disposal now, like the "bold" and "italics" buttons. I can do this, or I can do this, but really I'm just doing those things for the money until I can do this. There is also stuff like the "trackbacks" button and the "templates" button and the "weblog config" button that I will be using a lot of, so watch for that.

love jason

Posted by jason at 05:33 PM

September 30, 2005

no, this oneÂs not about masked wrestlers either

The big news is that the editor of this gay magazine in Boston wants
to buy an essay I wrote about my experiences down here. My first paid
piece, thank you very much.

And I'm making some cash down here too, which is nice. This guy pays me lots of money to speak with him in English. God bless supply and demand. His brother wants "lessons" too now, and I put up fliers not too long ago for even more work. (It was impossible to avoid the sad irony of posting the "Learn English!" fliers right alongside the
ubiquitous Mexican "Independence" flags.)

But more good news for me: Mexicans are finally starting to dilute my very German experience here. I've been pounding the pavement, finding the cool bars and meeting neat young Mexicans who invite me to their neat young Mexican parties. All of which, of course, is like a final Spanish exam that you show up to in your underwear. But, really, it's like showing up in really stylish Calvin Klein underwear, because I'm doing pretty damn well, talking up a storm, not worrying about how poorly I speak.

But back when I wasn't swimming in local friends I answered an ad I
saw around campus looking for an American or American-ish person
interesting in a role in a student film. I figured this might be a
good way to meet some creative folks (though meeting "filmmakers" is
always a craps shoot). I went in for an audition without knowing what
the part was. Naturally I assumed I'd be playing an evil (but
hopefully more or less taciturn) symbol of American excess. I figured
the only lines I would have to remember would be something like,
"Howdy partner, got any resources ya ain't usin'?" Then they would
throw some Starbuck's products at my head and we'd call it a day,
adjourning to some bar where we could get to know each other. Turns
out the character was a very strident and lines-laden symbol of
American excess. (At one point in the synopsis they gave me, I am even
in the throes of a hamburger-eating orgy, throwing half of the burger
in the trash, wasted. Real subtle, fellas.) They made me get on my
knees and pray and then tell somebody who comes in the door that I was
just attacked by an Aztec demon who was after my heart. Then I had to
cast out another demon from another part of the script by flinging
holy water every which way and screaming, mostly ad-libbed, about
casting thee out, etc. etc. Mostly I just kept repeating the holy
trinity because I couldn't think of anything else to say. In the end I
think we all agreed that I don't have the range necessary for the
part. I must've done each scene five times, and each time the director
told me to put more gusto into it (what he was after, I realized only
after leaving, was Southern zealot buffoonery). Then when I was done
the director said, in just this way, "Oh yeah, just one more thing.
Would you be willing to die your hair blond? You don't really look
American." (I will once I have Big Macs hanging from every hole in my
head, schmuck.) I told him I'd think about it.

Speaking of the Ancients, I made an attempt to see the pyramids in
Teotihuacan the other week. Some of the Germans invited me to an all
night techno rave thingy up there, supposedly smack dab in the middle
of the site. Even though I despise techno (somebody at the rave was
quick to point out to me that it wasn't techno, but some other crappy
music that sounds exactly like techno) and the rave thingies that go
along with them, I agreed to go because I figured the pyramids would
be nicely lit, because if there's one thing that ravists know, it's
lighting. But of course I was lied to and there were no pyramids. It
was in the middle of what I'm pretty sure was a bullfighting arena. I
was so pissed. I knew I'd be bored in five minutes, with or without
pyramids, so I brought a book, which saved my life since there was no
way to get back home until dawn. Let me tell you, it is no easy task
explaining Winesburg, Ohio to rolling raver kids who curl up next to you and ask what you're reading while making a concerted effort not to play with your hair.

That might be the last thing I do with those fellasâI don't really
have anything in common with them (except for the Delightful German,
who's still delightful). Now that I'm making friends in high places,
I'm gonna drop them like a bad habit. By the way, I've got more to say
about the German mouth and what comes out of it. Who knew the subject
would be so rich? It's fascinating to me how the same accent can
completely transform from unbearably grating in Spanish to vaguely
threatening in their native tongue to *absolutely frickin adorable* in
English. Occasionally after one of them has just finished mutilating
some poor Spanish phrase, making me want to lie down and die right
alongside of it, she will then repeat the phrase in English out of
frustration and I just want to take her in my arms and cradle her.
This doesn't apply to the Berliner, though, whose accent is like
broken glass in whatever language. Interesting fact about all this,
though: none of them think it's particularly funny when I tell them
these things, especially that they have thick accents in English.
Though they're pretty well aware of their crimes against the Spanish
language, they each think they speak English like a hard livin' Oakie.

Oh, and I'm officially no longer living with a transgender prostitute. I don't think everyone knows about her, but she moved in about two or three weeks ago, Adam's apple and all, and brought lots of customers with her. But then the room was suddenly cleared out. My guess is the owner lady of the house (whom I love, by the way) didn't like the men coming in and out of the place and kicked her out. I didn't even get a chance to really talk to her. She practically ran away and hid whenever I tried to say hello. Now there's some other more boring lady in the room.

Mexican Independence Day was nice. My favorite type of holiday
experience is when you more or less forget about the holiday's
existence and it all of a sudden shows up in the middle of your
routine, without your effort or heightened expectations. So it was
really nice to walk home from the metro and all of a sudden be
surrounded by fireworks, coming from the Zocalo in one direction and
some fancy old building I don't know the name of in the other.
Fireworks always uncontrollably make me sing that country song "Proud
to be an American," and that night was no exception.

Crappy news: the turtles are gone. Just up and vanished one day like the prostitute.

But my obsessive and probably unhealthy search for good local music is keeping my mind of the loss. It's worse than my problem with
magazines. I've found some pretty good stuff, though I have to wade
through a LOT of crap, which is not much of a problem financially,
thanks to the thriving intellectual property theft industry here. In
the last two months I've increased my music collection, with minimal
burden on the pocket, by about 500%. The other day I bought the
seventies.

The best Mexican stuff remains the ranchero and other old folk stuff (though I feel like I'm on the brink of some real pop discoveries). The best Spanish-language pop music, to my ears, seems to be coming not from Mexico but Argentina. All that energy that used to go into hiding Nazis is now being put into totally rocking. My favorite song so far is "Luces Sencasional" by Los Latigos. I canÂt figure out how to send it, so hopefully Gene will write me back soon and tell me. Once you do get it, for the full multimedia "Jason's life" experience: turn off the lights and listen to the song as you stare at the picture of my roommate, while wearing lederhosen. Oh yeah, and try, for the 4 minute duration of the song, to live in fear of a very abrupt and painful subterranean existence.

love jason

Posted by jason at 06:31 PM

September 09, 2005


Hi everyone,

Me again. Still not too much to report, but IÂm still having a
wonderful time. People keep asking me if I've been to this museum or
that pyramid, but I haven't done any of that stuff yet. I figure when
somebody comes to visit and they want to see something old and
unpronounceable it will be just as exciting for me. But for now just
figuring the place out is more than enough enjoyment.
Let's see, what to tell youâ.
Have I told you all about the noses of young Mexican males? I don't
think I have and the subject needs to be addressed. It is unbelievable
how many of them have some sort of tape or bandage on their noses.
It's amazing, and I can't figure what it's about. A bunch of them
obviously have had their noses broken, but a lot look like they might
just be wearing those respiratory thingies. And, I swear to God,
some--more than some--look like they've just gotten a nose job. And
more than once I've seen the medical tape wrapped under tip so it is
pulled up at an unnatural angle. I've asked several locals about it
and, while none of them can give me a definite answer, each of those
three possible explanations (rough housing, respiration, and
rhinoplasty) have been offered more than once. My roommate even claims
that young Mexican men often don't like their noses and want to
conceal them. But he's not a very reliable source.
In case youÂre worried that the holes have disappeared, rest assured
they're diggin' em bigger and deeper than before. I'd take another
picture but I'm afraid that would only encourage them. There comes a
point when you can no longer refer to the holes in the street you live
on, must refer instead to the pieces of street that remain in the hole
you live on. It's a real treat on days when there's an event at the
concert hall a block up and the remaining pieces of street in the hole
I live on are packed with teeny boppers waiting to listen to the
latest Johnny CanciÃn.
What else? I'm becoming better and better acquainted with
the Germans. Even as they remain completely unacquainted with long
vowels. I'm now convinced that the French language was born as a
result of a German trying to pronounce Spanish. But they're fun, we go
to bars and stuff.
I'm pretty sure I'm not dating Oscar anymore, but that's
something you're gonna have to ask him yourself.
Also, the Metro is no longer the tunnel of love it once
was. There have been mind-boggling delays for the past two weeks,
which of course means the trains are as packed as can be, compelling
me to look for a more practical phobia.
I've been writing a ton, which is good. Also a friend who
is starting a publishing company wants to publish The Black Crayon,
(Take a bow, Cantara), so I'll have to go back and read it to remove
all the words that don't really mean what I thought they did when I
was 21.
And I've been reading a ton, IN SPANISH! Very exciting.
I've become obsessed with the three- and four-month-old issues of
local magazines that you can buy for cheap at certain street stands. I
sit in my room surrounded by them and, armed with my Spanish
dictionary, try to culture-fy myself. There's a pretty good magazine
about city life that I like to read. And there's a really good
literary magazine based here that I'm into. I can tell it's high
quality because I don't understand a third of the what it says. It's
funny, though, as the sentence structure gets more complex, the words
themselves often get easier because big fifty centavo Latin-derived
words are commonly similar to those in English. Unfortunately, there's
no alternative paper on the SFGuardian/LAWeekly model, which is what I
really want. I didn't realize how spoiled I was in the States.
Instead, they have a paper, I can't remember its name, that always has
on the cover the end result of the grisliest murder of the previous
night. They have the best headlines, too, like ÂNARCOVENGANZA! You
better hope I have a kid before you do, 'cause the next one that comes
into my life will bear this name.

Love jason

Posted by jason at 06:23 PM

August 24, 2005

August 24, 2005

Sorry for the long silence, everybody. IÂve just been very busy. I
actually still have nothing to say, except me and Oscar are still
dating. (Not the ballerina, that never materialized. The other one). I
only catch about half of what he's saying, but it's probably the
interesting half. He says "suddenly" a lot, I discovered later in my
dictionary. I don't know why, though, and I'm curious. What could
possibly happen to him "suddenly" so often?
Classes are going well. I met an enjoyable German today. I
despise the only other american I know. Not because
he's american, you understand. Just because he's a jerk off. And
wouldn't you know he thinks I'm neat, so I have to keep trying to
shake him. Plus he butchers the Spanish language with a barbarity i
didn't think a boy his age was capable of. He's got a Chicago accent
that can only be described as unholy. He's almost as bad as the
Germans (the enjoyable German speaks like a prince, though). I want to
rip the other Germans throats out when they speak--I know that's not
natural, but I canÂt help it. ItÂs like theyÂre not even trying. I
have an irrational fear that my own Spanish will corrode under their
influence.
Other people I currently despise: my roommate. Only him, really. He
wins the prize for his exemplary work in the field of being so boring
I could cry. He also speaks too fast, and he makes me feel guilty for
taking my clothes to a lavanderia instead of washing them on the roof.
He took me up there to show me how, and now...well now I know we have a roof. I go up there at night in my profesionally washed clothes to
enjoy the amazing view.
On the whole, everythingÂs peachy. I went to a cafe in a fun part of town and actually came into contact with homos who weren't dancing to bad techno or wearing bumber stickers that say "I'd rather be dancing to bad techno." I havenÂt secured friendship yet, but at least I know now that they exist.
There are still holes in my street, only different holes. They keep
changing places once I get used to where they are.
Oh, and I had my first potentially terrifying experience on the
metro yesterday. There was a problem with the system, so twenty
million people had to fit on fifteen trains. I had to let two trains go by because they were absolutely, completely, totally,
phantasmagorically packed. The only reason I attempted to get on the
third one was because a dude unwedged himself from somewhere within
and so I knew that, mathematically, there must be room for me. As most
of you are aware, I am claustrophobic. But, as you might not have been
aware, I am also late for class, so I forced myself to squeeze in and
pretend I was in the "Hills Are Alive" scene from the Sound of Music
for FORTY FIVE MINUTES. I said it was potentially terrifying because I was brave, even at the Centro Medico station (my nemesis), where tons more people tried to push in and squeeze the christ out of those of us already on the train. My favorite is when they stop in between stations where it is dark and suffocating and there is absolutely no hope of escape.

Love jason

Posted by jason at 06:15 PM

July 24, 2005

July 24, 2005

Hey everybody! I got a room on my second day in Mexico City! That
beats my record of three days, set in the lovely burgh (sp?) of san
francisco. Plus, my place in sf didnÂt come with snoopy sheets. It is
in the Centro district of mexico city, which is in the center. also,
it is disgustingly close to the metro. all this for the equivalent of $140
dollars per mo. Also, I just had lunch with the guy
who lives in the next room over (he must pay more cause he has
strawberry shortcake sheets, swear to god). He made me realize
something very important about the spanish language. I donÂt speak it.
In time, in time. Everybody has been very patient with my deficiency
so far. I asked this new flatmate of mine what he does for a living
and what I got from his words was that he looks for
errors in the robot his company is making. I swear thatÂs what I
heard. IÂm gonna make an educated guess and assume I got it wrong.
LetÂs see, what else is notable. The weather is amazing, the metro is
astoundingly fast, and the altitude sickness I was supposed
to get has not surfaced.
Gastrointestinal status report -- fully operational. And IÂve eaten
stuff from
street vendors even.

Love Jason

Posted by jason at 06:11 PM

July 23, 2005

First Contact

Hi guys,

I`m alive. And the Metro cars look like gigantic carrot sticks. That`s
all i got so far.

love jason

Posted by jason at 06:09 PM

May 02, 2003

Freshly cut grass of death and despair

I came home yesterday to find that the entire, gigantic lawn had been mysteriously mowed. I think the girl in the well did it.

Posted by jason at 06:13 AM

April 29, 2003

Sucks to be a scullery maid, as it happens

I know this is my second posting about reality tv shows, which therefore makes up roughly twenty percent of my entire posting career, but I can’t help it. I’ve become obsessed with Manor House and I would like it to be a matter of public record. I guess PBS finally realized that fart jokes with a British accent are still fart jokes and just because a show stars Judy Dench doesn’t mean it isn’t boring and stupid. They’ve finally got this amazing stuff on about the way life was in fancy-schmancy Edwardian English manors, from the family that lives there down to the people who clean the chamber pots. You get to learn lots of neat stuff, and there is actual drama in the house—they don’t need the producers to add mood music or have a cast that includes a racist cowboy, a gay racist drug dealer, and an American Indian racist techno club dj with Whig Party leanings in order to keep things moving. You might think the treatment of the cultural differences between then and now would be heavy-handed, but it’s not at all. The narrator just tells you the facts, and it’s fascinating enough hearing what comfortable 21st Century people feel about suddenly working 16 hour days.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how the concept of reality shows isn’t so bad after all. I even think shows like Mr. Personality and Joe Millionaire are good ideas—it’s just that the way they’re done is lame. Sometimes the American stuff is well done, like with The Michael Essany Show or even, God help me, The Osbournes (it’s not the producer’s fault that family is so fucking obnoxious).
But the blue ribbon definitely goes to the Brits. It’s as if they’ve taken all that pent up energy that used to go into maintaining Naval superiority and put it into their reality programming. Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the (broadcast) waves.
I am sure you are all thrilled to get my opinion on this particular subject instead of a post about my actual life. But with the quality programming served up by PBS (and supported by viewers like you), how can my life possibly compete?

Posted by jason at 08:06 PM