10th Aug2005

RARB Likes Me! They Really Like Me!

by Will

“I love Connect Four. If my entire family died and a stranger offered to play Connect Four with me for a full afternoon, I’d skip the funeral and blame it on car troubles.”

Well, RARB has put up the review of “Straight Up”, Last Call’s latest CD. I had NO part of this CD, so it’s not like it makes or breaks me, but they’re still my boys, so I care.

http://www.rarb.org/reviews/554.html#

The BEST line of the whole thing: “Straight Up provides the most heterosexually dubious track list I’ve ever seen from an all guys group.” Not only do I agree, but that about sums up my entire life…

Anyway, I NEVER thought I’d read LC compared, favorably, to Off the Beat and the ‘Bubs. Who’da thunk, right?

Well, it’s certainly an ambitious album, as most of the reviews will attest. It seems like they’re catching Hell for using the a cappella equivalent of Kanye West and The Neptunes to produce the thing. All they did was start doing what every other group with a wad of cash to blow did. But I guess people expected more of LC or something.

Anyway, the CD never really screamed “Last Call” to me, but I liked it. Plus, the girlfriend liked it and outside of a few UMD Faux Pas references, I think she may be embarassed by the whole a cappella thing, so I guess the CD’s got “convert potential”…

19th Jul2005

The One Where I Talk About Cornell’s Secret Societies

by Will

“MOM! MEATLOAF! NOW!”

Captain’s Log: Stardate 052019.7
So, I’ve been doing this dance since 2003, and I typically post anything I want. But it has finally happened. I’m having a Woodward moment. I’ve got a post I’d REALLY like to write, but I’m afraid. You see, I know I’d be biting off more than I can chew, and I don’t want to open that box (MMmm…mixed metaphor?). What, pray tell, am I afraid of? Secret societies.

That’s right. I want to write about collegiate secret socities. But I’ve learned that many of these are tied to more powerful, non-collegiate secret societies. What may start as an examination of Quill & Dagger, one of Cornell’s secret societies, would then lead to an examination of Skull & Bones, which would then lead to an examination of that fact that George W. appointed 2 Q&D and 11 Skull & Bones members during his first term. Then, I would have to address the fact that Skull & Bones is considered a branch of the Illuminati. I’m talking real Section 31 kinds of stuff. No, I can’t have that. That simply will not do.

I would, then, write about the fact that Quill & Dagger’s rival society, Sphinx Head, has been recently revived on campus after 30 yrs of dormancy. I might even discuss the fact that one person cannot accept membership in both. It’s actually quite the controversy when someone is “double-tapped”. I’d write about the fact that Sphinx Head is older, yet Q&D has more prestige. Then, I might even dangle the tidbit that Cornell’s oldest secret society is actually Chancery, which was started when law was still an undergraduate major. When the law school was established, Chancery disappeared. But recent rumors suggest that it has been resurrected.

I would discuss the fact that Sphinx Head take credit for both the pumpkin and disco ball being placed atop McGraw Tower, despite the fact that there is no proof. In fact, it seems that they’re taking credit simply to give themselves more clout on a campus that is in drooling awe of Quill & Dagger and its secret rituals.

I might even venture into that other Ivy school (you know, the one that sucks), and its secret societies. Bet you didn’t know that Skull & Bones had an island, did you? Well, they do. And both John Kerry & W were in the society. Wonder what kind of fun times they had…

But I’ve said too much already. I must go, for my life may be in danger. I may be blackballed for this. I suppose I won’t even get to write about my own Q&D experience. Yes, I DO have one. But that is for another day. If that other day is to come.

Wait!

Someone is at the door…

Never forget me and make sure my story is told….

*muffled sounds of struggle*

-End Transmission-

07th Jul2005

H&M: Series Finale

by Will

Previously on williambrucewest.com: Well, let’s see…I was being hounded by Eunice at work. Essentially, I had caught her doing some shady managerial work, and I reported it to corporate. Well, they sat on their thumbs, while Darkness proceeded to make my life a living Hell. First, she started writing me up for stuff that I hadn’t done, and then she tried to out my relationship with Shelly. In the meantime, Shelly transferred to another store, and I began to hate that H&M more and more. I vowed to leave, in many melodramatic posts seen here. And then…nothing. Until now. Brace yourself for the action-packed season finale. NEXT!

Today’s Episode: “Emancipation Chocolate Nation”

So, the other day, I was reading an article about season finales. Apparently, contrary to popular belief, writers have very little idea where a show is to end up when the season is over. In the beginning, they have a general idea of the arc that the character is to take, but in terms of “Will ___ die?”, they don’t have a clue. They figure this stuff out over the course of the season, and save the big decisions for the end. For example, (Davis stop reading) the writers of 24 originally planned to let the president die this season, but changed their minds at the end, fearing real-life political backlash. Coward move, I know…

So, why do I bring this up? Well, I had this whole post mapped out in my mind about 2 months ago, but over time, I’ve either forgotten it or don’t care. So, there’s not really gonna be an action. No real drama. If anything, this will be an informative post with the air of the “Whatever Happened To…” quips that air during the end credits of a movie(See “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”).

So, taking it all back to where we left off, I was at H&M and hating it and Eunice. One day, our store manager kinda tricked us, and we ended up having an intervention in the office. Nothing major, but I told Eunice that I didn’t like her and couldn’t work with her. Her ass tried to threaten me with litigation for suggesting she was a thief when she wasn’t. Yadda yadda.She kept talking, but all I heard or saw was ugly. Anyway, I knew the place was a house of cards, and I was just hoping to get out before it toppled.

In other H&M news, Shelly got fed up of being under appreciated and gave her notice on April Fools. I’ve never been more jealous of another human being. But in a good way, ’cause I love her and she deserved freedom. So, she got a job as a management recruiter in that magical young adult compound known as Bethesda. Meanwhile, I continued to unload trucks and deal with tax-exempt transactions. My partners in crime were dropping like flies. Bruce had given his notice, retracted it, and then just abandoned his job. Kevin had gotten fired. Jeanine, my most worthy adversary, simply waked out one day. Christina up and quit. Audrey hit the road. Soon, I was the only original cast member left, and I began to understand how Dustin Diamond must’ve felt when he returned to “Saved by the Bell”: I needed the money, but I knew I had no business being there any longer.

I got to the point where I was taking a sick day a week. Not because I had to, but becauseI could. I couldn’t deal with a 40 hr week at H&M. It just wasn’t in the cards anymore. I’d schedule interviews and call out sick every chance I got. Nobody really suspected anything ’cause I’d vowed I was leaving since the 2nd day i got the H&M job. So, by this point- one year later, I was the equivalent of Crazy Rambling Homeless Guy. Everyone was like, “Sure you’re leaving, Will. We believe you.”

Well, I showed those sons of bitches. I got a job. It took forever (OK, it could’ve been a LOT worse, actually), but I finally got what one might call “a real job”. I gave my notice, and H&M didn’t know what hit them. Guess they thought I was gonna take it up the ass a little longer. My last day at H&M was May 13th.

On May 23rd, I started my new job. So, what do I do? Well, I’m a research analyst for a commercial real estate firm. Which firm? Can’t tell ya, lest someone Googles it, and it leads to my site (trust me, it happened with H&M). I prepare sales comparables for appraisal purposes. Basically, when property sells, I call brokers, sellers, etc, to get info on the sale so that it can be applied to similar properties when they go on the market. Do I like my job? Heh…Well, I make a lot more than I did at H&M, so that’s a plus. Also, I work in Bethesda…right across the street from Shel. Yup, hilarity will ensue, 5 days a week!

Honestly, though? I’m bored. Out of my skull. I’ve been doing this for about a month, so I have a general idea of what the job entails. But I’m bored. Still dealing with the “not meeting my potential” aspect. Not sure if its the Cornell snobbery, the Will snobbery, or the cold hard truth, but I still feel like I’m sitting in “Idle”. For the past 3 days, I’ve read the entire 5 yr archive of “Penny Arcade” and caught up on the last yr of “PvP”. Yup, SO productive. But, hey, they’re paying me. And right now, the price for my boredom is quite affordable.

Whatever became of H&M? Well, Stephen got out and he’s now a store manager at Coldwater Creek. Ntumba & Brandy are still keeping hope alive at the store. And did I forget about anyone….Oh, right. Eunice.

Well, Eunice always had a problem with punctuality. Hey, I have my issues, but I wasn’t a manager. If I was late, the store could still open. The same couldn’t said for her. She had the keys. It had gotten to the point that, about once a month, I had to spearhead the unloading of the truck because we didn’t have a manager present. Why? Because her ass was asleep. This was part of what finally drove me out: I wasn’t being paid to be a manager. If they wanted me to perform those tasks, then we could renegotiate. Otherwise, that wasn’t in my job description.

So, fast forward (or rewind depending on how you look at it), I dropped into H&M to see how Brandy et al were doing. It turns out it was my lucky day. Why? Because Eunice had overslept that morning, and it was the straw that broke Sweden’s back. Jen, the store manager, fired her. You know what was even sweeter about the who thing? Eunice had already given her notice, so she was working of her final two weeks and STILL ended up getting fired. I’m sure she’ll tell future employers that she quit, but A) her ass isn’t rehireable and B) her ass finally got what was coming to it. I only wish I could’ve been there to savor it…

So, stay tuned for new adventures. H&M’s loss is the world’s gain. We’ve got a new workplace. A new status quo. A new neighborhood. But the same old Will. ‘Cause “where there’s a Will, there’s a way!”

07th Jul2005

Looking Back On Roald Dahl

by Will

“You paid for the whole seat, but you’ll only need the EDGE!”

I was so glad to read this refreshing article in the New Yorker about Roald Dahl:

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/050711crat_atlarge

I have always LOVED this man’s work, and I feel that outside of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, few people are familiar with his books. In fact, most people just know “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, which was the Gene Wilder movie. Sure, it’s inspired by the book, but not nearly as good. This article helped me to learn what it is I like about Dahl’s stories: he cherishes the notion of childhood.

Anyone who knows me realizes that this is a very important thing to me. Just look at my site’s tagline. I have “Peter Pan syndrome” like no other, and Dahl has a knack for bringing this out. He was the textbook case of “didn’t have a happy childhood, so he never really grew up”. Hell, we see this today, from Michael Jackson to the entire frickin’ cast of “Diff’rent Strokes”.

Not to throw my HD in anyone’s face, but it should be noted that “childhood” is a very young concept. We like to think that a person is born, enjoys some play years, and then enters the work world. But the notion of childhood hails from the very beginning of the 20th century. Prior to this time, children were seen a “little adults”. The fashions reflected this, as did the activities in which they participated. Dahl was born in 1916, so it’s safe to say that he was still reveling in the infancy of this cultural shift. While his own childhood didn’t reflect these changes, he took notice and began to romanticize this movement, later featuring it in his books.

In the Dahl-verse, even the unhappiest orphan can seize the day. Charlie slept in the same bed as his old sickly grandparents, in their one-room apartment. But he still ends up with the chocolate factory. James is abused by his aunts, but he still crushes them with his giant peach. Matilda dealt with abusive parents, but discovered she had telekinesis and put them in their place. In Dahl’s stories, childhood is about cheerful, reckless abandon. Let your imagination run wild and run wild with your imagination.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share. I know there was that recent quiz being circulated about meaningful books, so this is a collection that’s meaningful to me. It may not have the Summer Reading List clout of, say “Heart of Darkness”, but I’m always transported to a good place, and notice something new and exciting with each reading…

04th Jul2005

Back To The Minors: From A Cappella To Karaoke

by Will

Today’s Episode: “Back to the Minors”

So, let me tell you about the cutthroat world of karaoke: you’re only as good as your last performance. And, you see, my problem is that I never know when to stop…when to leave well-enough alone.

About every 6 months, I feel the need to get back in the saddle and sing. Since I no longer have an a cappella outlet, I usually find myself at karaoke. My normal place is Cafe Japone, ’cause Eduardo and I kinda “discovered” it a few yrs ago.

Anyway, I usually go around a holiday, and I go alone. As much as it may surprise some, I’m still very shy and get stagefright with the worst of them. I’d rather be with strangers than with friends.

So, i normally sing about 3 songs, and it’s that third one that I should always leave off the list. You see, my first two songs are “One More Try”, by George Michael and “Hello”, by Lionel Richie. Now, I’ve got to say that I’m not usually a favorite a karaoke. The key to success is picking a “crowd song” that everyone wants to sing, like “Sweet Caroline.” But I dont play by the rules. I’m the guy who has to sing the slow songs. But don’t knock my choices. I’ve almost had marriage proposals for singing those songs, I shit you not! But what happens is, I get off on the accolades from the first 2, and usually choose a bad song for #3. Normally, it’s song I’ve never done, but have enjoyed singing along to on the radio. And, normally, it bombs, and it’s amazing how quickly your “fans” turn on you.

Tonight was one of those nights.

I was bored as crap, Shelly was having a “girls night”, and nobody else was returning my calls. So, I found myself at Cafe Japone. I got my drink, and chose my songs. Sure enough, I chose “One More Try” and “Hello”. Due to lack of shuffle, they ended up back to back. At first, the crowd didn’t know what to make of me. The night had been dominated by some kind of South American summit, and they had commandeered the playlist. My songs came on, and they warmed up to me. Yup, still had it. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I HAD to choose a risky third.

While I was choosing my comeback track, this chick came out of nowhere and kicked ASS on Leann Rimes’ “How Do I Live”. Now, that’s also my Karaoke Achilles Heel: competition. There are 2 kinds of people at karaoke: 1) The Crowd Song Drunk and 2) The Competitor. You see, I usually enter the arena as the latter, but it’s only good when everyone else is the former. When another #2 enters, it’s “Oh, shit.” It’s kinda like when another Black guy would enter that frat party back at Cornell (C’mon, y’all have seen “Not Another Teen Movie!). Anyway, it blows the wind out of my sails and makes me all self-conscious.

So, she knocked the song out of the park, and the lines were drawn in the sand. It was between me and her, and she had the advantage that she was in the party of South Americans. Her fanbase was loaded (Nice, play on words, Will). So, it was time for my encore, which I had already decided would be my final song of the night. Go out on top, right? WRONG. What did I choose? “Flying Without Wings”, commonly known as a Ruben Studdard song.

Now, I say “commonly known” because the Ruben version is the one that 9 out of 10 people know. But anyone with knowledge of European pop (and I figured the South Americans might know this, too) knows that it was originally a #1 hit by Irish boyband, Westlife. Now, this was my first mistake: choosing an obscure song. My next mistake was trying to reinterpret it. I’ve always hated Ruben’s version. I felt he played it safe. So I decided to sing the Westlife version, but the backing track was for Ruben. Also consider the fact that there were different chord progressions, and it’s not like I had practiced it before. I was singing without wings, and didn’t have a parachute.

So, I got up, did my thing, but my thing wasn’t good enough. Early into the song, the South Americans were booing me, as if I’d scored in the wrong goal or something. I persevered, and finished the song. My reward? A lone clap from someone in a corner. Everyone else had either intensified their conversation or just forgotten that I was even up there.

Now, let me tell you about my fans. There was this “reverse 3’s company thing” going on next to me at the bar. This chick was there with her 2 gay guy friends, and they were just chillin’ with some sushi. After my first set, they were like, “You were awesome!” I went on to tell ’em it was only because of a cappella. They asked where I’d gone to school/sung, and I told ’em Cornell. The girl had actually heard of Last Call, and I instantly had friends. Another guy friend showed up, and he leans over and says, “So, I hear you’re incredible at this”. Now, this was following Clone Leann had done her song, so I wasn’t feeling too confident. I told him, “Well, it’s really all about your song choice.” Man, was I sorry to be right. My song choice, “Flying without Wings” was NOT a good one, and my new friends did not notice me again. In fact, you could tell they were going out of their way to not really look at me, so as not to have it be awkward. Funny how that works…

So, I got my check, which took forever, and I walked out into the DC night. I only do this every 6 months because of nights like this. It takes me that long to get back on the horse again. I wondered if I still had it, I found out that I did, and then I took it too far. During the 6 months, I’ll go to the redneck karaoke and hone my skills. The “minors”, if you will. You see, at redneck karaoke, everyone’s a drunken crowd singer. You might get the “pro”, but he’s not competing. He just brings his own CDs, and REALLY gets into the songs. But it’s all about him, and no one else in the bar. It’s a good place to get your courage back because your ability to make friends and fans is directly proportional to how drunk you’re all willing to get. And that’s never a problem. DC karaoke is chock full of former a cappella, Capitol Hill interns, looking for one last shot at glory. And they always kick my ass. I don’t know if it’s really a vocal thing, or if it’s the thoughts in the back of my head saying, “They have great jobs and great lives. They don’t NEED this. They’re doing this for fun.” I wish I could say the same, but I put all my eggs in this basket ’cause I’m an attention whore. I NEED this. I think back to the college days when I was singing and happy, and the world was my oyster. I was gonna rule the world when I graduated. Well, I kinda ruled a department at H&M for a while, but that was about it.

Karaoke, to me, is a test to prove that my college career was not in vain. Most people use college to network and study; generally plan for their futures. I, on the other hand, used college for singing. It brought me confidence and took the stress off, but a cappella’s what consumed my college career. So, unlike a graduate degree or some specialized skill, what I took away from college was singing. And karaoke is the only place I can get any use out of this. Wow, I guess college WAS in vain. I know, some of you are gonna say, “Don’t sell yourself short, Will.” And, I guess you’re right. But, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go practice. I’ve got a rematch in December…

08th Jun2005

I Already Forgot What I Was Trying To Do Here

by Will

I think I did really poorly on my SAT’s, but I’m not sure. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a worrywart, but I can’t help but worry.

Oh well, I got into Cornell, so I guess I didn’t suck THAT much. But I’ll place a little wager. I’ll give $5 to anyone who sees what I’m doing here and calls me out on it. I may honor the bet, and I may not. I’m really just doing this for attention.

By the way, if anyone knows of any jobs that provide parking spaces and pay between the 10-15 dollar range, send ’em my way. After all, the Westman don’t come cheap ;-p

06th Apr2005

Last Call SUX

by Will

Tonight’s Episode: “Join Me Brother In Song Tonight-The Last Call Story”

Starring Meredith Baxter (she dropped the Birney), Valerie Bertinelli, Judith Light, and Chad Lowe.

Wow, that movie would suck! All the f-list acting Lifetime money could buy, and that movie would be an utter turd. But I still kinda wanna see it…

Anydangways, last weekend, Lip, Cape, and I went to Cornell for Straight Up 10, or as we fondly refer to it, “Last Call SUX”. ‘Cause we do. But in a good way.

As far as LC is concerned, we had special guest stars out the wazoo. But you won’t care if you didn’t go to Cornell. Jed Farlow, Pete Bronski, Keith “Let Me See That Thong” Herrador… For anybody out there with a vagina, we had the Latin lover known as Eduardo, wooing the laides with his Freddy Mercury-channeling-Gay Elvis rendition of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. We had a rare appearance by Jonny Wu, AKA Armani Jonny. Anthony “Gooseberry” Cuccia made an appearance. We even had LC Superfan Lenora Lee. All in all, it was a pretty good showing for the LC alums.

The show was TIGHT. The current group was tighter than I’ve ever heard LC, and they’ve got some AMAZING members. Jamie kicking ass on a Temptations song?I was also jealous of the comedy. I worship at the feet of ANY man who can pen a skit called, “Pimp My Couch”!

The alums performed a set, where I got to sing Depeche Mode’s “Somebody”. While a part of me would’ve loved singing “Lean on Me”, Nishant’s incredible on it, and it’s rightly his song now. When people come to an LC show, they beg for that song, but they’re begging for his rendition. Rightly so…

After the show, we all went to “go get fucked up at the Chariot”. That was a fun afterparty, hands down. I lost track of the Alabama Slammers, and the next thing I knew, DT and I were doing shots of Tequila and Lemon Drops. I’m SO not a shots kid, but I’ve gotta let those theatre kids know I can hang! Plus, it was DT…

After the debauchery at the Chariot waned, we headed over to the Kurnos crib for the after-after (No, babe. There was No hotel lobby!) But that was THE BEST AFTER, AFTER I’ve ever been to!!! It was a fucking cauldron. But it was hot. It was kinda like the “I’m a Slave For U” video; nothing but people, alcohol, and sweat. The place started reeking like a locker room, but we were too drunk to really care. And somehow, I lost track of everybody I knew at the after-after. i mean, they had to be there somewhere, and it was a SMALL apt, but familiars simply disappeared. I did, however meet cool, new people. Jules, you rock! Dan Chang, you are a dancing fool! Jonny, I now know what rhymes with “shlabbid bump”…

I think the beauty of the weekend was the reconnecting with old friends. During the show, there was a skit about the facebook, and how pervasive it’s become, but also how useful it can be. Both live friends and e-friends, I have been on a reconnecting HIGH. Kim B, it was awesome seeing you again! Tarpinian, it was great seeing you; maybe next time the dancing aliens will make a visit. Bridget, who knew the Chordials’ ‘Snow White’ could dance like that? All you AKPsi’s, “In U…&I….”, kiddies! Tat, you’re a musical genius! G, can’t believe you’re a fucking traitor…but you know I love ya 😛 And Tarek, I knew you were coming. You knew you were coming. Why’d we have to go through those hoops?!!

Anyway, this is kind of a ramble post ’cause I felt I should write something. To all you old friends, and all the new ones, it was an awesome weekend. Keep in touch, and I hope you enjoy the site!

*Guests of williambrucewest.com stay at the Economy Inn while in Ithaca.
**If you didn’t get a shout-out, it’s ’cause I was prolly too drunk to remember you. No worries, you’re in my heart, somewhere….

29th Mar2005

Look At Me, Being All Mature And Happy For People!

by Will

Congratulations to Jennine and Andrew on their engagement!

Wow…

Jennine and Andrew….

You know, it’s fitting. It truly is. They deserve nothing but happiness, and in a reverse Lucy & Ricky scenario, I think they were meant for each other 🙂

23rd Mar2005

Gay Guys & Entrepreneurs – They All Want A Piece of The Will

by Will

“One word: ‘Thundercougarfalconbird!'”

Gay guys and entrepreneurs…I’m beginning to think that’s gonna be the title of my memoirs. It never fails. I’m preyed upon by gay guys and entrepreneurs. I swear, if some gay entrepreneur comes out of the woodwork, I may not survive the exchange.

So, why do they come after me? Do I look that gullible? That…gay?

A few weeks ago, I’m in Borders looking at the bargain books. These were the MAJOR discounts, like 50-70% off. This guy next to me offhandedly asks, “What do you think’s wrong with them? Anything worthwhile?” I kinda laugh and say, “Well, they are sort of limited. After all, I’ve ALWAYS been looking for a book on the “Business & Contracts of the Recording Industry!” He kinda laughs. Then, it segues into, “I think I know you from somewhere.” Keep in mind, I don’t think this is flirting or any kind of “advance.” I didn’t get that vibe. He was just some innocent, techie looking Indian guy. Like SO many of the Cornell Engineering kids. Turns out he went to Georgetown, and thought he’d seen me there. I told him it wasn’t me ’cause I’d gone to Cornell.

Cue presentation of business card. All of a sudden he’s “all up in my sensor box” (That one’s for you, X-tina), asking what I’d studied, etc. Turns out he runs a side business, you know for those self-starters looking to make good money. Why did I fall for this? Well, I guess part of it was prejudice.

This is the part where Jenn chimes in.

You see, the dude was Indian. I’m sure there’s some better, PC term for me to use, but for the sake of argument, he was from India. Now, my experience tells me that that’s a good gamble. I mean, THE DUDE WAS INDIAN!!! They can turn a business around in a minute. Sure, it may not be the most glamorous work, but they seem to have a good business sense, especially small businesses like….stores…and….stuff.

You’re saying, “Will, you’re stereotyping.” Yes, I am. And it takes a big man to admit that. We all stereotype. Hey, any middle-class white kids out there go to the “village black guy” when you’re looking for weed? That’s stereotyping. Ever take your car to be serviced in the “Spanish part” of town ’cause they’re “good with cars”? That’s steroetyping. Ever go to the one, specific nail place ’cause “those little Korean girls are so great with the nails”? That’s stereotyping. We all do it. Few of us admit to it, though. I pride myself on being the guy who SAYS what everyone else only THINKS. Sure, it results in cries of, “Will, you’re horrible!” But someone HAS to be. I’m kinda like an un-PC James. Bizarro James, if you will…

So anyway, I took Indian dude’s card ’cause he’s Indian. But when he called, I didn’t pick up. I want no part of that fast-paced, seedy, sinful world of “self-employment”. I hope he gets the point.

Now for the gay guys. I don’t get it. I’m cute to the gays. Why is that? What am I sending out?

The other night, I dropped by The Cornell Center to see Cape, who was actually in Cali with the rest of Last Call. Now, it’s about 10 PM, and things were getting a little seedy in that area. I’m walking, and this FLAMING little dressed-up dude and, for lack of a better term, his hag, called out to me. “We want to talk to you.” I just kinda smirk and keep walking.

At the same time, there were guys along the side of the street, begging for money. Now, I’m no stranger to the guys panhandling for money, but the people out at this time were kinda edgier. They weren’t humorous, nor did they have little signs. Instead, it was more like, “Money or I kill you.” So, after passing about 2 of them, I realized I’d better get into populated areas.

So, I walked in a circle, and who did I run into again? “Jack & Karen”. FUCK! I didn’t want to entertain them, but it was better than getting shanked. So, we kind of pass at an intersection, and they have a little dog. I’m starting to get all paranoid that I’m being followed. Lagerfeld coat coupled with Nordstrom scarf with Burberry print kinda makes my “I don’t have any money” a little less convincing (Wow, when did I become such a materialistic snob?) “Jack” immediately notices me and says, “Oh, we wanted to talk to you! We just wanted you to meet our little dog.” Glancing around, I half-assedly respond, “On yeah, what a cute dog. What’s his name?” The guy says something in Spanish. “What does that mean?” I asked. He sort of giggles and says, “It means he likes boys.” FUCK! Why does this happen to me?

People would say, “Oh Will, you’re LOOKING for these situations. You’re just denying it.” But that’s NOT true. I was just raised to be friendly. It’s that whole “Southern Hospitality” thing, which kinda sucks ’cause I’m not a big fan of people. But I was taught that I SHOULD be a fan of people. Plus, it was kind of a self-defense tactic.

Anyway, next thing I know, they’re trying to take me home with them! Sorry! I don’t think so. “Nah, thanks. I’ve got to go see my GIRLFRIEND!” The little pissers are aggressive, but I ain’t having none of it. I just walked away, rushed to the Metro, and told myself I’ve gotta stop going to DC at night.

Cornell, why the fuck did y’all have to put your DC headquarters in Du Pont Circle? Was Georgetown not good enough? Was the center established by a bunch of Risley kids?!!! Why oh why did you create such a hostile environment, preventing me from upholding my alumni duties?!!! Now ya see, if y’all had put an Indian kid in charge of planning…

17th Mar2005

Boston & The West-1

by Will

Zorak, it is OK if you are afraid of me. Most sissies are!”

BOSTON!!!

So, a few weeks ago, Shelly and I embarked upon a journey to America’s chowdah capital. Yes, folks, we’re talking BOSTON, MASS! For the uninformed, this trip was actually Shel’s Christmas present to me, and it was certainly the best present I’ve received in quite some time.

Our adventure began on the morning of February 24th, as we prayed the airports would stay open long enough for us to leave this God-forsaken town. There was more snow blowing around than on a model’s bathroom counter! But we hoped that the planes would stay aloft just to spirit us to our long-awaited, and well-needed vacation.

Either way, we made it to Boston, and received the longest cab tour possible. Way to pad the fare, my man! Imagine our surprise when we pulled up to the fabulous and magnificent Omni Parker House.

This hotel was like a palace! It was beeyootyfull! And my typing “beautiful” like that is exactly the reason we had NO BUSINESS staying there. The staff looked at us like, “What do you all think you’re doing here?” But the joke was on them, for we had reservations. Check-in was smooth, except they conveniently forgot to give us the key to the minibar. A problem we’ll soon rectify.

Anyway, we got started on the room service, a practice that would become quite common and welcome over the weekend. The dude brought the food, and I didn’t know a damn thing he was saying. What kind of weird patois do they teacj you Bostonians? It was like speaking to a drunk Kennedy (was that redundant?). Either way, it’s like a fast, New Yawky slur, topped off with random tidbits regarding the Sox. I was gonna need a Stiglitz guide to understand these folks!

Later that evening, we navigated the T system and found our way to Malden to have dinner with Big T and his sweet lady, Dawn. Tarek met us at the station, and we went grocery shopping with him. Apparently, he was going all Iron Chef that night, and preparing some sort of Mega Feast. When we’d finished shopping, we got to meet Dawn, who was even nicer than she’d come off electronically (after all, all my prior dealings with her had been over the phone or internet). But she’s a great girl and she kicks the ass of any of other Tarek Girl. We went back to their place, and had a HOT swinging session! I keed, I keed! No, they both prepared a lovely feast for Shelly and me, as we educated ourselves on the finer points of Tivo. We also got to meet their pet, who for the moment I’ll refer to as, “The Turtle Formerly Known as Otto Von Bismarck” (For more details, visit http://www.livejournal.com/users/palaedorian )

Tarek should be a chef! If you’d seen the presentation of this meal! Chicken fried rice, served inside a pineapple! Dumplings! Satay Gai! Chicken & pasta! Mint Ice Cream log! IT was all so de-lish! After dinner and the tour, we were off to visit Alisa, Shelly’s friend from high school. Well, the journey wasn’t that smooth. We kinda got lost on the T system. That bitch is confusing! I think it’d be easier to dig a hole to China than try navigating Boston on the subway. (Jenn’s gonna respond to this post, and all she’s gonna do is talk about that very line right there-bet you $20!) We found our way to the surface, but the surface dwellers were of no help. We were in the theatre district, and the patrons did not seem to see us.

So, Saturday was a split-up day: Shelly was gonna have a Girls Day, while I was gonna hang out with T. Originally, I wanted to record. It’s been awhile, and I wanted to throw together a new song to put up on the site. But when I woke up, i wasn’t really feelin’ the singing. Instead, I wanted Tarek to show me “his Boston”. My main sights to see were Cheers and the Harbor. other than that, anything was fair game. Before meeting up, though, I wanted to check out the neighborhood, as well. For starters, our hotel was next to one of the biggest Borders Books that I have ever seen. But I knew better than to explore that without Shelly. So, my mission was used CDs. You see, Boston’s got a lot of colleges. Which means lots of college kids. Which translates into big exchange scene for music. I figured I could find some premium used swag if I knew where to look. So, I hit Strawberries and bunch of other places, totally cleaning out Boston’s Elton John inventory. I’m sure they’re thanking me, and I can’t exactly explain this recent Elton kick. The man is awesome, though! A fucking loon, but awesome! But I digress…

After going in the wrong direction, i finally meet up with Tarek and Dawn. We decided to head to lunch in the North End, where there are more Italian restaurants than day laborers at Home Depot. On the way, we stopped by Newbury Comics. Let me tell ya, Newbury Comics is well-known chain in the Northeast that specializes in music and comics. Did y’all hear me correctly? Music and Comics. I’m gonna need a towel….

After Newbury, we looked all over the North End for a good, cheap lunch. We were in that nexus where restaurants were just finishing lunch and preparing for dinner, so the race was on. We found a nice little place. Kinda cliche. The sort of place you see in movies, where everyone who works there’s related and they’re yelling to each other at different ends of the restautant. Stereotypes be damned, the place was authentic. And I felt like such a fat kid ’cause I ordered a small pizza, but they told me they had a new kid working and the guy had accidentally used the large pans. So, I got a large but was charged for a small. Man, that was a LOT of pizza.

Anyway, we all decided that we’d go for karaoke that night, along with some of Alisa’s friends. I was excited ’cause it was KARAOKE!!! But T and Dawn weren’t so sure. They’re early birds. Didn’t want to mess up their sleep cycles. I gotta respect that. I kinda wish I had a sleep routine. But in a way, they’re like an old married couple. Yup, OLD MARRIED COUPLE!!! I’m gonna get a response for that! Anyway, I also thought it would be a great time to see Austin, an old buddy from Cornell, so i called him and invited him to the night’s festivities. Dawn and T decided they were in for karaoke, too. Shelly and the girls broke off, while the law offices of West, Sultani and Hersey checked out H&M and Filene’s. “You went to H&M on your vacation?” Yeah, I did. I had to check it out. See if they were meeting their standards. And they weren’t. I almost cussed out the bitch responsible for the Men’s dept. ’cause she was SO scared I was gonna mess up the rack! Amateurs… I headed back to the hotel, while T&D Productions headed back to Malden to get ready.

I caught up with Austin, and he was going to meet us at the bar. But When Tarek and Dawn found out how late we were planning on going, they bailed. Understandable, but they missed a good time. We ended up at this little redneck bar, but they took their karaoke seriously. Now, I love me some karaoke, but I’m a crooner. I don’t do “fast songs”. I do “make ya panties wet” songs. Yeah, I said it. Interesting fact: James uses me on his sex CD. Not quite sure how I feel about that…who am I kidding, i fucking LOVE that! So, imagine my chagrin when the ladies told me no slow songs. Apparently, they frowned on that at this particular bar. In the meantime, enter Austin.

Let me tell ya, Austin is one of my favorite people from Cornell. It’s funny, too, ’cause we didn’t start talking until around late junior yr, but he’s definitely one of the rare people who fall into the “I get Will and where he comes from” category. That’s a rare breed. In the past 2 yrs, our only contact had been online, but I knew I HAD to see him before leaving Boston. So, he walked into the bar, and pulled up a chair. And so began the drinking. He hadn’t heard me sing in awhile, and i was feeling a bit apprehensive, so he felt I needed some “lubrication”. He introduced me to Jagermeister. Now, understand if I was a bit apprehensive; no one I know has a good Jager story. they’re always like, “Dude, I had some Jager, and then next thing I knew, I’d killed a guy. Damn, was I sick the next day!”. But it didn’t take much coddling for me to give in. I must say, that stuff was good. We kept pounding them and Jack & Cokes as we waited for my song. In the meantime, Alisa’s friend did a mean rendition of Ice, Ice Baby. Eventually, my song came up: “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, by the Temptations. Now, I’ve never attempted that song before but, in my drunken state, I was convinced I’d be able to channel the spirit of David Ruffin. To be honest, I don’t remember much of that performance. People cheered and stuff, but I equate karaoke to college a cappella: there’s a certain audience that enjoys it, and if you’ve got the right group of people, you could shit in a bag and they’ll still cheer for you. Regardless, it was fun and oddly therapeutic. We talked Austin into hanging out longer, and while we tried getting him back to the Omni Parker, he invited us to his place. We felt bad ’cause we didn’t wanna disturb his girlfriend, who was under the weather, but we went back anyway.

At the door, we met Tizer, the best dog in the world! He was awesome! So smart and frisky. Why is his name Tizer? Well, it’s actually short for “Appetizer”, a jab at the totally un-PC notion that Asian people eat their dogs. I thought that was a hilarious way to buck those kinds of stereotypes. Anyway, Shelly fell in love with Tizer, while Austin and I got all philosophical about our Cornell experience. I felt bad leaving Shel out of the conversation, but Austin and I had similar Cornell experiences, and it was so great to finally have someone to just vent to and get a lot of stuff off of my chest. And did we mention how awesome Tizer was? I wanna dog…So, around 4 Am, we bid Austin adieu and got a cab back to the hotel. It was a GREAT evening, and it kinda makes me wish Austin lived closer…

On Sunday, we found ourselves back in the North End, at a different Italian place. The food was INCREDIBLE. I’m not a person who’s used to “good” food in establishments. I can pretty much eat anything, but I rarely walk away thinking, “That was an incredible meal.” It usually borders on, “Man, I’m so full of shit right now!” Anyway, I find myself waking up, longing for that food lately. And I can’t even remember the name of the restaurant. Maybe it wasn’t really there…

We headed to Malden for sushi with Tarek and Dawn. I lost my sushinity and liked what I tried. Spider rolls are the bomb, and i find myself craving them like it’s my job! Philadelphia rolls, on the other hand, kinda suck. Can’t deal with that cream cheese in there. SUCH a weird consistency! Anyway, we went back to their place and watched the Oscars while consuming chocolate cake and Andre. What is Andre? Only the BEST cheap champagne this side of a 7/11! Check it out today! Soon, we were taken back to the T, and said our goodbyes to Tarek and Dawn. We didn’t spend as much time with them as we could have, but I enjoyed what time we did spend together.

On the ride back to the hotel, Shel and I had one final laugh about the billboard up on the train for 1-800-SAFE-BABY (I know that’s too many characters, so I’m sure I got something wrong there), Anyway, we’d seen these ads since our first day in town, and they were always funny in a sick kind of way. Apparently, Boston has a sizaeble newborn abandonment problem. So, if you have an unwanted baby and you’re thinking of dumping it somewhere, you call this hotline, and they’ll tell you where you can take your baby and avoid prosecution. A good service, no doubt, but it kinda makes ya wonder how big the problem is when there are ads for it EVERYWHERE!! I wish I’d stolen one of the ads from a train…

On the flight home, somehow, the flight attendant took an immediate liking to me. I guess that’s what I get for reading a comic/toy magazine in public. All of a sudden, there was an incessant stream of fanboy questions, such as “Which comic movie would you like to see that hasn’t been made yet?” Don’t get me wrong; these are my people, but you’ve gotta deal with them in doses. It’s a different story when you’re a couple thousand miles in the air, with no means of escape, PLUS this person is responsible for your comfort. Better put on a smile. Especially if you want a crack at the liquor cart. He was a nice guy, and I could totally go on for hours about comics stuff, but I had to harness it in public.

Epilogue:

Flashback: While I was in Boston, it was the weekend of the Montgomery County Auto Auction. I couldn’t go, but Mommy was really excited about it. Her mission was to get me a car, She’d always promised, “If you get your license, I’ll buy you a little car.” So, after my cousins had had success at the auction, she decided that she was take that route as well. So, the mission was simple. My only specification? “Don’t buy me anything ugly.” So, all day Saturday, I was tense ’cause I was supposed to be a good guest for Tarek, but i was also wondering whether or not I had a car. So, around 7, I called Mommy and asked how the auction had gone. She sounded kinda distraught, and i was getting worried. She started with some story about a nice Lexus she’d seen and bid on, but how it was snapped up for about $15K. And then she trailed off. I got kinda testy and asked if she’d bid on any other car. She wasn’t cooperating, which just got me more stressed. Finally, she said, “I got you a car.”

There it was in my driveway, lightly dusted with snow. Yup, she got me a 1993 Anniversary Edition Honda Accord, or as I like to call him: the West-1. We’ve still got some work to do, such as buy a new battery and a tire, so the West-1 will be in drydock for a few more weeks, but stay tuned for the unveiling.

And that, folks, is the tale of a little trip to Boston. I’d like to thank Tarek, Dawn, Alisa, Erin, Austin, and the staff of the Omni Parker House.


(not actual car)