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

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