It’s time for the debut of the long awaited Gripeycast! Watch the first episode here:
Yesterday, The Grass-cast debuted on the internet. Watch the first episode here:
Once upon a long ago, we had a writer signed up here at this rag who was supposed to write, ya know, like, what we do and shit. But he never posted a thing. He had told me once upon that long ago, that he was going to post something about fapping to some cutesy femboys on the internets and then questioning his actions. But his browser crashed. Go figure. He isn’t signed up anymore. Hasn’t been for a long time.
So this quarter-mast, zero stack (more on that here) was also a video game developer. Was. I saw a small build for an 16-bit game and recolored a sprite for him. I also made motion graphic shots for a trailer for a seemingly revolutionary concept for a game-ified online school program. None of these have gone anywhere. The bits of work I did were for free.
A while ago, like maybe a month at this point, Quarter-mast had a pathetically small meet-up at a friend’s coffee shop to discuss the potential for a UBI program in Oregon. He printed a commemorative “banner” on individual pieces of paper and stapled them together. Not only do I understand that at this point, there’s no practical way to support UBI, but I know that at the point where UBI must be necessitated due to automation, UBI could be outmoded by a conceptual Resource Allocation Metric. When nobody is earning money, do you need it, or the meritocratic allocation of resource allotments? Which is what currency is supposed to stand in place of.
If this chuckle-fuck had any balls or brains, he’d have used his game dev knowledge to create a game wherein the players earn cryptocurrency through their actions sort of like that new thing Crytek is doing but with the main goal of the player’s actions in the game entirely contributing to the mining of the currency. You couldn’t do that? You couldn’t talk to somebody about game-ifying some blockchain shit and an economist? You couldn’t do that? You who complained about living in Lake Oswego….
Hey Crytek, can I work for you? I’m an amateur writer, director, and graphic designer – so pretty all-around useless. But, seriously, “Crycash?” And if I’m being honest, I don’t know if you can earn Crycash by playing the game but I don’t really think it’s the sort of game that can hold my attention long enough to commit to such a task as earning money from it.
What if this is what Death Stranding is? What if, with the help of Sony, Kojima is gonna give us this transcendent experience and opportunity? One can only dream….
Merry Crushmush, and Happy New Year
Has it been long enough to write this? It’s only taken me what, a year?
In all seriousness, there have been a mix of things keeping me away from the keyboard, from the unacceptable excuse of laziness to an increased quality of my life (such an increase, in fact, that there have been no gripes to catalog). That said, one of the chief reasons is that this story is unpleasant; yes, most of my stories are unpleasant, but this one is worse. Sure, one could suggest avoiding it for the time being, but not only have I already postponed too many Gripes (don’t worry, Fini – we’ll complete your tale someday), there is an importance in getting this one out of the way early.
Because it’s nasty.
Whatever, enough build-up. On we go:
The Gland Incoherence
After a somewhat bizarre trip across the state of Oregon (we’ll get to this another time), fellow writer Funky and I found a temporary home in the apartment of our friend, Garrett. He was living on the second story of a popular downtown complex, splitting rent with a friendly middle-eastern man named Abdul (who soon, from a mixture of general discomfort and strange American antics, would be moving out). There we cooked slabs of fish in whiskey, slept in a sweaty pile atop randomly assembled mattresses, and chain-smoked enough cigarettes to personally incite climate change. In a simultaneously fun and impossibly bleak way, it was a perfectly enacted stereotype of the urban, white, twenty-something lifestyle – communal, loud, directionless, indulgent, and somehow still quite lonely. Jolly Oswald was there, too.
On the second night of our stay, a tragically misinterpreted light appeared, something I took as a lifeboat to fight my grubby first-world emptiness with; this light was a young woman. Yeah, that’s where this grease-stain of a story goes. Good old unreliable Mack fucks it up again, combining his classic weakness with impossible ignorance and desperation that is (admittedly) often seen, though not usually implemented in such a catastrophic way.
Her name was Ysabelle. I mean it wasn’t; she went by Jasper, then revoked it (“call me by my real name,” she once asked me soulfully), then took back revoking it because fuck it. So we’re calling her Ysabelle. Just let that one slide.
She was an on-and-off nonbinary, hetero-but-sometimes-bisexual-polyamorous, semisexual nymphomaniac who was in love with two other people upon the time of meeting me (one of them being a trans woman who had recently reverted to identifying as male again, because they had just completed a stint in prison and wanted to fight for custody of their alienated children). Also, she was pretty nice. Also also, she had cervical cancer (this is important and you should remember it). Also also also, I’ve been thinking about giving up on this story ever since beginning this awful paragraph, but I won’t because it’s literally been a year since I’ve contributed anything to this literary pile of refuse.
The first night we met, she sat down on Garrett’s couch and told me that she had fallen madly in love with me. I asked her what made her so sure about this (we’d been talking to each other for about an hour, now), and she kissed me instead of answering my question, because it was both easier than improvising reasons behind a falsely proclaimed emotion, and I was too much of a shithead to ask for anything beyond spontaneous and rudimentary sensual gratification. That night, we slept in the same bed, but there was virtually no touching – though this detail may seem a little arbitrary, it left an incredible impact, as we were so immediately close and yet without a shred of intimacy. Beyond that first kiss, there was nothing.
Fast-forward a handful of days, and all of that would go tits-up.
See, roughly around the time of meeting her, I reacquainted with another young woman (don’t worry, she had a weird older boyfriend at the time, so this doesn’t quite go the predictable route, at least not immediately). Her name was/is/will likely remain Sofia, and I very much liked/like/will continue to like her. By like, I mean feel gross romantic things (I like her more than I dislike cherry candy, which is a really big deal if you understand how much I truly despise cherry candy, and also this is another thing you should keep in mind for later). When Funky and Oswald proposed we go and see Sofia, I was on-board in a way that lacked all subtlety and grace; witnessing the activation of my Attention-Seeking Vacuum, hindsight provides the understanding that Ysabelle was probably made nervous by this pitiful display of need, and opted to come along as a chastity belt rather than a guest. I was too dense to see this, as my empathetic skills had crash-landed at an record low, and I honestly believed it would be a wise idea to bring her along. It wasn’t.
Shortly after we reached Sofia’s house, it was painfully obvious where my attention would be for the remainder of our visit. Within minutes, Ysabelle had spread herself on Sofia’s living room couch, telling me that she was tired and wanted to take a break from all of the socializing. When I attempted to rejoin said socializing, she grabbed my pant-leg and drew me back to where she was lying, showing me a tattoo that ran the extent of her forearm. Terribly paraphrased by my garbage memory, it said “I was birthed from the rot and the flowers, and when I die I will at last rejoin them.” She told me the words bore great significance, but wouldn’t reveal what significance that was; when I asked again, she demanded that I admit my mutual love for her, and after I responded by saying nothing, it was her turn to repeat a question. I choked out something along the lines of “I don’t think so,” doubtlessly sounding like an intoxicated Muppet doing an impression of a deaf person trying to whisper across a stadium (this analogy solely exists to communicate my inability with tact, please don’t read into it). The response I gave upset her, but I couldn’t really tell (refer back to that Muppet thing I just apologized for), so I went out with the rest of the squad to drink water that tasted like runny mud and was also a muscle relaxant. Jump to a couple of hours later, and we were back at the house, loosened up and acting like a bunch of assholes.
“I want to go back to the apartment,” Ysabelle said.
Feeling genuinely terrible, the cruelty of the situation hit me like Ron Jeremy’s wrecking ball. Though not enough, I was very remorseful, and offered to ride back on the bus with her (none of us drove at the time). On the way home, she shared much of her life with me, some stories truthful and others clearly fabricated, and all I could think was “I have ruined this person’s life,” which was admittedly an amazingly dramatic thing to be thinking, but it gets worse so hold on a second.
The events took place as follows:
We arrived at Garrett’s apartment, and nobody we knew was home. Abdul had some friends over, and they were playing a game in the living room, dance music pounding from a speaker near the balcony. A sinking feeling filled my gut, sickening but difficult to explain, and I couldn’t keep my sight from locking onto my own feet.
Once we retreated into the bedroom, Ysabelle shut the door behind us and threw me a small bottle of lubricant. I almost dropped it, and when my eyes unlatched from what she had given me (I swear to God, I thought it was lip balm at first), she began to tear her clothes off like they were on fire. It looked like a bad eighties commercial, where a glam-rock girl with a pixie haircut and Member’s Only jacket is knocking shit off the shelf like it’s going out of style, and apparently this is supposed to be selling you Levi’s jeans. Only I didn’t want the Levi’s jeans that Ysabelle was selling me, so I stood there like a scarecrow and watched as my reality became a hilarious nightmare.
“I want you to fuck me,” she hissed, trying to tear my shirt off and scratching my back. Her nails reminded me of a movie poster I saw once, where a werewolf was ripping his claws through the screen, making this face like “I don’t give a shit, I’m breaking the fourth wall!” However, in this case, the fourth wall was the skin between my shoulder blades, and it wasn’t a Joe Dante film.
Soon enough, we were on the floor. “Put on the lube,” she was snapping at me. “Put on the lube.” I had never used lubricant before, and this whole ordeal was ludicrously weird, but I did my best to comply. Uncapping the container, I spilled way too much into my palm, and began mashing it inelegantly against my partially flaccid penis, the liquid far colder than I had anticipated, dripping onto the carpet and sheets beneath us. The scent of artificial cherry flooded into my nostrils, and I began to wretch, trying to pretend like I was stifling a cough as vomit threatened to eject from the back of my throat.
“Is it on?” she asked.
I tried to nod, propping the balance of my body onto one elbow and hurling the lube angrily across the room, the frigid sensation that once coated my balls transitioning into one of heat, awful stinging heat, as though the substance was attempting to drill into the follicles of my testicle hair. My thighs trembled and I began to sweat, but the combined tension and extremity of the moment prevented me from articulating this pain, so I said nothing.
“I shaved my pussy,” she gasped, her speech greatly worsening the sense of impending sick. “Put it in.”
Biting my lip, I began to enter her, but like all other happenings within this story, such an act did not go as planned. There was something inside of her, something bulbous and fleshy that was so large in size, it seemingly left a bulge in the skin above her groin. The sight and feel of it shocked me, and my mind returned instantly to her cervical cancer, my hand brushing over her skin in attempts to recognize what I was dealing with, the rough hairs of her shaved vagina scratching my open palm as I resisted the urge to break my own neck. There was something wrong here, and although I was worlds away from being a sexual expert, it was all too apparent that this was a special sort of case.
Pulling back from her, I stood up, grabbing my underpants and sliding them on at lightning speed. Our gazes connected, and she too shot up, whipping a blanket like a cape about her shoulders and sprinting into the bathroom. Upon Garrett’s mattress, I sat alone, sliding back into my clothing and doing my best to ignore the stench which now filled his room.
When she returned, she was weeping. “I don’t know what you did to me,” she cried, holding out her bloody hands, squeezing her legs together with a tuft of toilet paper jutting out the front. “Do you have something?”
“An STD, do you have an STD?”
“No,” I scrambled for the right thing to say, fidgeting awkwardly in place. “I don’t. For sure I don’t.”
“Then,” she tilted her head down, shadows casting dramatically across her face in the shitty lamplight, “I think you found it. The cancer; you found the cancer.”
Although I have no clue how such a thing works, or if one is actually capable of “finding” cervical cancer with their botched erection, there was no doubt in my mind that whatever had just transpired was deeply wrong.
That night, once Garrett and Funky had returned, we all laid down together and watched an animated movie. After she had fallen asleep, I brought Garrett into the hallway and told him about what happened. He had been drinking something at the time, and upon gaining this information, pitched his cup against the plaster wall, glass shards and extra-pulp orange juice cascading through the air. “I care very much about her,” he said, stepping about the glass (we were both barefoot). “I haven’t told you this before, but when we first met, she told me that she loved me, and we also had sex too, and I also found the cancer.”
He spoke frantically – “I mean I found it, the cancer. I found it, too. I touched it with my penis.”
I shook my head and he disappeared through a nearby doorway, quickly returning with some traffic cones he’d allegedly stolen. Setting them on either side of the mess, he clapped his hands together as though dusting them off, then headed back into the apartment. The cones, along with everything else, remained there unattended for days.
The following morning, we made coffee and sat out on the balcony. She was leaving to see her doctor soon, to discern if anything new and/or horrible had occurred inside of her body. I dumped a comical amount of Funky Mannequin’s raw tobacco into a rolling paper and nodded along, beginning the second stint of chain-smoking that would prove to rival the first. About halfway through my massive smoke, she proposed to me.
“Let’s just get married,” she said. “We love each other, we can just get married and go wherever we want to.”
Politely as I could, I declined, so she took a bus to Vancouver and asked the no-longer transgender parolee if he would like to marry her instead. He also declined, so she stayed in Portland and drank the baby to death.
Oh, you thought I was going to end on a funny line. No, that’s seriously it, that’s how this story ends.
On the 9th of June, fellow writer Funky Mannequin and I left our home in La Grande, Oregon. The goal was to travel the length of the state and return to Portland (where we first met), and travel we did; through incredible heat, scrotal ticks, the corpses of decaying roadside house-cats, and the backs of vans owned by religious meth-head couples, we pressed onward. However, this story is about none of those things (though you can bet there will be more on such escapades later).
For now, let’s focus on The Grand (and somewhat bland) Appearance.
Upon reentering Portland, Funky and I were greeted by a typhoon of litter and profoundly retarded transit system. The destination was across town (the apartment of a dear friend Garrett), so we got change from a local barkeep and his transvestite girlfriend, seating ourselves at the nearest stop and checking the schedule. It read eight minutes – five minutes later, it read nine.
When the vehicle at last greeted us, it did so with an overweight woman screeching into a speaker-phone and a coughing man who would have shamed victims of the bubonic plague.
We were up to our taints in boozy broads and gutter condoms. We were home indeed.
Once freed of the public access vehicle, we promptly located Garrett’s building and illegally tailed a resident through the safety-locked doors. Instead of the stairs, we took a dangerous-looking elevator up a single story and reached the room in minutes, ushered in by a middle-eastern man bearing a plate of assorted fruits. “For you,” he spoke smoothly, presenting the organized dish of succulent offerings.
We took the juicy gift and rested upon a crimson sofa, breathing in the sheer emptiness of the apartment’s space. “Where’s Garrett?” we asked, slightly unnerved.
“He went to get you,” the man responded, producing a smoke and heading for the balcony.
Eerie music filled the air. No, there is truly no joke or metaphor to be found here; there was suspenseful music quite literally flooding the room around us, echoing from somewhere within the walls (from which room we did not yet know).
On the coffee table before the couch, a sculpture of a pirate skull glowered at our knees (“I dug that out of the trash!” our friend would soon proclaim with an appropriately dramatic gesture).
When Garrett finally did arrive, he did so with a homeless companion named Jeremy (known to Garrett as “Gregory” for absolutely no reason at all). Jeremy talked about an ideal world on acid, grew offended when asked to play a love song, refused to shower, then gave everybody his filthy, filthy lice (they filled all of the hand towels, so cleaning oneself was deeply counter-productive). Levi cooked us delicious salmon to rectify these things.
That night, we watched a television of static. The channels wouldn’t change unless we were using the remote. When the remote eventually stopped working (no big deal, all of the channels were static anyway), Garrett opened the battery compartment and two small pieces of aluminum foil fell from the device. We were all dumbfounded.
On the television (or rather, within the static on the television), we saw intergalactic travel, spiraling serpents, parting seas, and a vigorously dancing man. The dancing man was so horrendously funny, we all laughed for a good five minutes (five minutes is an absurdly long and painful amount of time when you can only laugh). This television, like the pirate skull, was obtained from a dumpster.
The following day, Funky and Garrett made Jeremy the Louse King collect all of his shit and throw it into a sack, putting him on the bus and taking him to a tax-evading semi-cult otherwise known as The Boneyard (read: Road Trip Through Purgatory, My Accidental Life As A Full-Time Meth Peddler: Part One, and Bags Of Flesh, Bottles Of Urine – all appropriately titled entries in the world of Boneyard lore).
“It’s a commune of artists,” they misinformed the Louse King.
He looked very worried, as he should have been. When they were traveling via the TriMet streetcar, he spent the ride face-down in his guitar. He knew they were stretching the truth.
When they reached the communal settlement of degenerate scum, the landowner was evicting a local junkie (Fini, Lord of Ice-Cold Milk). All of his greasy belongings had been tossed onto the lawn.
The Louse King was abandoned there, yet to be seen again.
So we made a safe return and lead normal lives, right?
Well, unbeknownst to my shitty little heart, this was but the beginning of a new breed of adventure – an adventure so lethargic, pasty, and unexciting that it would be a crime to shove it all into one post.
In stories to come: handguns, familial alienation, bloody intercourse, parolee sex-changes, cancer, long-lost siblings, and open relationships. Yeah, yeah, don’t get your hopes up.
Behind “The Boneyard” (a tax evading semi-cult, named after the unearthing of animal bones from below their back lawn), there is a massive hole in the ground.
Levi and I sat at the edge of this ditch, kicking loose dirt from its edge, earth and rock tumbling down to the pit’s bottom. The sun was hot and blinding, searing our backs through tee-shirts and thin jackets, drying the mud beneath our worn shoes.
“This is gonna be an underground greenhouse,” Levi told me, sipping from the brim of a black coffee, his long hair dangling over his face. “I’ve been doing all the fucking work though. Ripped a hole right down the ass of my favorite striped pants.”
“It looks like a mass grave,” I told him.
Rotating to look at me, Levi squinted through the blaring sunlight and shrugged, then nodded thoughtfully. “Huh. Fini should be here soon.”
As though waiting on a cue, the infamous Fini emerged from the cluttered house behind us, jarringly slender with the stature of a retarded hunchback. His smelly jacket blew in the late springtime breeze, eyes sunken to the back of his rotten brain and peering through inflamed rings of sleepless drug abuse. Slight winds carried trash and dust across the inconceivably filthy property, blowing against the legs of his undersized jeans, tight and childlike on his sickening chicken legs. Taking a long drag of a hand-rolled cigarette, he blew smoke into his own face and grunted, “Alright kids, let’s hit the road. Just a couple hours, right? I’ll get you the camping gear and we’ll all be set.”
Complying without question, my companion and I signed ourselves onto the most nightmarish trek that would ever grace our shitty lives.
“Garrett keeps asking about camping gear,” Levi informed me as we approached a small car. “He gave me a list and shit. Like, a color-coded document that’s all bulleted and fancy and shit. I don’t know, this guy says he’ll hook us up for free. He seems good for it, long as we come along and help him bring stuff back.”
Opening the hind-passenger door, Fini reached in for a small cooler, then shut the vehicle before we could enter it.
“Oh, not this car,” he told us. “We’re taking that one.” Pointing a scummy fingernail down the driveway, he drew our sight to a white, nearly windowless van, screws and nails jutting from its chipping sides. “You dudes can sit in the back on the way out. I rigged up some seats and shelves and all that, so you’ll have an alright time.” Laughing lightly under his breath, he wiped his nose with the side of a greasy fist.
Upon entering this automobile, the unfamiliar fellow slammed his cooler down and removed the plastic lid, hunger brewing in his beady little pupils. With shaking hands, he dipped his palms into the small box and produced a single bottle of milk, covered in frost and chilled water. With but one fluid motion, he wrenched the cap from its container and latched his mouth over the brim, sucking with famished aggression. “God damn,” he hooted as the flagon unlatched from his nasty lips. “There’s nothing better than ice-cold milk!”
Tossing it at Levi, he juddered with uncontrollable passion. “Ice-cold milk,” he announced again. “Really, you have to try it.”
Shrugging with absolute apathy, Levi lifted the frothy beverage and sipped a bit down. “Yeah, it’s pretty good,” he said.
“Pretty good?” Fini retrieved it, passing the drink to me. “Ice-cold milk,” he said.
“It’s lactose,” the words slipped almost nervously through my teeth. “I can’t drink milk, man.”
Deeply offended, Fini pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows, taking another hard swig before returning it to the cooler. “Whatever, dude.”
[Editor’s Addition: Mood Music for the ensuing smut-fest.]
Then, without warning, the world caved in on itself and we were cast into the proverbial fires of a very real Hell. It all happened so unbelievably fast – one moment, we were standing at the side of a crumbling-home-turned-cult-residence; the next moment, we were huddled down in the back of a strange junkie’s hazardous van, nail-riddled shelves lurching with every slight turn, tobacco smoke filling the airless space as we pressed a foam slate across the hind window to “prevent being seen.”
Emily (Fini’s girl) sat in the withered passenger seat, every inch and orifice of her body (visibly) perforated by some form of steel rod or ball, arguing with her partner over every line that oozed across his mindlessly flapping tongue. When we reached the toll-bridge into Washington, she had to take the wheel in his place, the crusty felon hiding in back with us because the entire state wanted him on charges of “avoiding a parking ticket” (widespread and repeated possession, production, and distribution of Class 1 Narcotics). Immediately after reaching our first destination (one of many, as we were soon to discover), we were forced to endure five hours in waiting while Fini dealt methamphetamines to a disabled woman and downloaded an unfathomably shitty phone application (“Asphalt 8” he boyishly chortled at us as he reentered the van, chucking his sticky smartphone into our laps). Emily had thrown us twenty bucks to spend on food, but not even delicious and pricey sandwiches could ease the discomfort of her boyfriend’s vile antics.
And as the North-Western rain came pouring down, my thoughts could only shift back to those frail few words, muttered so simply by Fini before we departed from The Boneyard. “A couple hours,” the putrid lie echoed like an ominous premonition through my aching head.
A couple hours. A couple hours. A couple hours.
A couple hours turned into five, which turned into eight, which turned into twelve-and-a-half. That’s right, over twelve fucking hours were we made to endure this travesty of a “road trip.”
And it only spiraled down from here.
Next up: Seven Sinks And The Bridge Of Despair (My Accidental Life As A Full-Time Meth Peddler: Part Three)
The other day, I was walking down a street near my house. My friends and I were planning to go out for Good Food Wednesday. A timeless tradition of picking a new, probably recommended or otherwise obviously strange restaurant and eating there. I was already restless and uneasy being back in Portland, so mostly just looking forward to good food.
As I was walking, I noticed a homeless man on a bicycle stop and begin to fan himself a little with a crumpled newspaper, just a short ways in front of me. When I came close, he addresses me flatteringly, “I’m sorry, I just-… I just wanted to tell you that I like your energy. You’ve got a good energy going.”
I looked at him for a second. “Thank you,” and I kept walking.
What I think is that one of two things happened here: he noticed something subtle about my character that brought up hopeful memories of his past, or his drug-addled mind saw something that I couldn’t. I wish that I had stopped to implore further on the notion of my energy. What made him think of my energy as good? What is this energy he speaks of? As though it were a vibrant color scheme, or a certain chord. I guess I’ll just have to take it as it is: I’ve been told that I’m flowing with good vibes.
We never got any good food because our beneficiary of the night threw a pizza in a car to save the lives of everyone within.
So here’s the fuckin’ deal: When I went to college, I went to a film school, and as part of the program, we all got MacBook Pros and thousands of dollars worth of software. We got these in December of 2012, and it was as if Crushmush came early.
Exactly a year later, in December of 2013, my Mac shit the bed.
I was trying to copy some files from a USB drive over to a folder and in the middle of the process, the fucker froze. I let it sit, half expecting it to un-fuck itself, and waited. After an hour or so of waiting, I gave up on the situation getting any better and forced it to shut off, holding down the power button until it powered down.
After it turned off, I gave it a few seconds before turning it back on again. However, when it turned on, it lingered on the gray screen with the Apple logo, the shut itself off. I repeated this infuriating little game over and over again, but to no avail. Shit was fucked, yo.
I scoured the internet (on my trusty PC) for hope. For something. Anything. Anything at all that could fix the little metallic bitch of a door-stop. I had so much work on it and all these expensive programs. The night it happened, I was so angry and sad and depressed, I sat down on the floor of my apartment all alone in the dark and wept pathetically before getting up and leaving to get dinner.
The next day, I bought an external hard drive and tried in vain to use the disk utility to try to copy my files over. Then there was a glimmer of hope. My roommate, Eli, walked in with his friend Josh. I asked Josh if I could borrow his Mac so I could put mine into target disk mode and transfer files from it through his over to my external HD. He obliged, and set his computer up. I put mine into target disk mode, plugged in the fire wire, and plugged it into his Mac. There it was, sitting on his desktop, ready to be plundered for all its sacred data.
I spent the bulk of the day copying the entire HD over to the external, being ever so careful to not accidentally unplug one, or let them fall asleep.
When the deed was done, I scheduled an appointment for the Genius Bar at the nearest Apple store, which for me at the time living in Hollywood, was in this magical place called The Grove. I asked my roommate’s girlfriend Stefania if she could drive me down to The Grove on the specified date (because she was the only one of us who had a car).
Now, I loathe Los Angeles. But The Grove, man…. That place was beautiful. It was lined with all sorts of high-end shops and restaurants/places where I was too poor to enter. It was beautiful nonetheless, especially considering it was Crushmush time, so they had all the decorations up and the soundtrack for the Charlie Brown Crushmush special could be heard intermittently over the speakers. The See’s Candies was giving out free samples. We bought mint toffee lollipops. We met Grumpy Cat. We perused the Barnes & Noble, which was three stories high, and bought Starbucks holiday coffees.
Eventually, my appointment came around, and I ventured off to the Apple store. I climbed the glass stairs, checked in, and sat down to await the illustrious Genius. They arrived and I went over my predicament, explained how I backed up my data, and they began tinkering with the machine to see what could be the problem. As it turns out, the drive had been completely fucked and was unable to ever boot. I was lucky I was even able to get my data off it at all. He was going to need to replace the drive. I handed him my Mac, thanked him for the help, and I returned to Stefania and Eli so we could depart from the consumerist wonderland of The Grove.
A few days later, I received an email to notify me that my Mac had been repaired and that it was ready for me to retrieve it. We made another trip to The Grove, got my Mac, snagged some more free samples, killed time in Barnes & Noble, and got the barista at Starbucks to write the names of horrible historical figures on our cups, and finally left. I spent the rest of the night transferring all my stuff back.
I thought that was going to be the last major problem I was ever going to have with my MacBook Pro.
I was so fucking sorely mistaken.
Exactly a year later, which, you know… is this month, I went to do some work on my Mac. Was gonna fire up Illustrator and get some graphic design work done. I was loading up some fonts when I saw there was a new software update. I finished what I was doing and installed the update. After it was finished, it needed to restart, which I let it do.
During the restart, a gray screen with various lines of text in a multitude of languages popped up saying there was an error and to press any key to continue or to let it do so on its own. I let it go on its own, not wanting to jinx it. What followed was an hour-long stint of the gray loading screen with the Apple logo and a little spinning graphic. I powered down the computer as a bead of sweat graced my brow. I powered it back up again and was met with the same image. A wave of heat coursed through my body. It happened again.
It was the 2nd Annual MacBook Pro Shitting of the Bed….
Again, more searching for answers. More solutions that don’t work. More sweat. More tears. More anger, more depression.
The good news was that I hadn’t done any extra work since the 1st Bed-Shitting. Anything lost honestly wasn’t worth saving or it wasn’t finished/hadn’t had a lot of work put into it.
So I was off to yet another Apple store. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar at the new Pioneer Place Apple store here in downtown Portland. The store is beautiful and so is that area of Portland, but not much merriment, or Starbucks, was had as I only had time for them to fix the Mac. The operating system was practically non-existent due to the error during the install. I had to get the OS re-installed.
And now my Mac is back to square which-ever-number-it-was-before-the-first-bed-shitting.
Here’s the thing about Macs: They’ll do a lot of nifty things and they’ll do them well. But when they fuck up, THEY FUCK UP HARD.
(I guess this is also a reminder to back your shit up.)
[Next: True Jackassery – Tales from Hollywood 1
A new series about my crazy-ass college experiences.
Floor-Sleepin’ will resume at a later point.]
It was Sunday, November 30. A friend of mine, Branson, had come to collect me so we could venture into downtown for some jolly co-operation. Initially, we had plans to go to a sword shop… because why else would Branson want to go downtown except for the chance to gawk at lethal, sharp metal sticks.
Branson’s initial intention was to show up early, to be my alarm clock, as we like to say, and force me awake so we could embark on our metropolitan escapade. I had already been up since an ungodly early hour (as is the nature of floor-sleepin’) and was the one telling him to get up.
We made our way to his house to kill time and wait for another friend, Kyle, to not show up. He wanted to go at the mention of “sword shop”, then proceeded to take a shower, after which, he informed us that he was going to sleep instead.
We headed into downtown, bundled up against the cold and incessant wind. Downtown Portland plays host to a thing referred to as The Saturday Market, where people peddle their wares and food trucks congregate. We parked, paid, then set out to find this sword shop. It was a bit smaller than expected and was stocked with an assortment of various weapons that I wouldn’t trust Branson with. There were actual swords, assorted knives, flails, and other such dangerously named items, along with replica Master Swords that pined for our wallets to empty themselves.
After perusing for a few minutes and deciding our money best be spent elsewhere, and definitely not on regret, we left to check out the rest of the hipster bazaar. We chatted and explored, hoping maybe we’d run into somebody we knew.
At one point, I remembered something I read online: Oregon is the most booziest state in the country. I mentioned this to Branson as we were walking at which point, apparently, the words “this place” were spoken, and one of our fellow pedestrians figured this would be a good opportunity to regale us with a tale that was smoldering a profane hole through their teeth. A Russian woman with short hair wearing a coat that looked a little too big for her and a scarf, who I shan’t name mostly do to the fact that I’m a bit scared of them finding this post, turned and asked us a question:
“Can you answer something for me?”
“Why would anyone in their right mind cut their dick off?”
Initial reaction to laugh stifled, I replied with a half-hearted “Ummm… I do not know.”
She went on to elaborate: She had seen, I think/hope to all hell, a video of a man getting his genitals cut off and reshaped into a vagina. This baffled, and assuredly, disturbed her. However, the end result was apparently a sight to behold. She called it… “the perfect pussy.” She described it in vivid detail as to the size and shape of it and its lack of hair. She couldn’t get over it. She had seen the perfect pussy. I thought maybe the subject of the video was getting a sex change/were transsexual. She asked if we knew what they called a person who would do such a thing, to which I replied “transsexual,” but she already had an answer:
“‘Fags.’ We call them ‘fags.'”
Russia must be really weird because that’s not how we use that word…. Which I guess makes The UK even weirder, I guess. Regardless…. This is where things get even more Portland. The woman tells us that she is a filmmaker and she has made music videos for bands like Guns N’ Roses (which I’m pretty fairly kinda certain that she hasn’t) and she was wondering if such a “spectacle” would be good to include in her next video.
Heh, heh… NOPE. I suggested that the shock value would make it rather interesting to which she agreed. Branson pursued the music video angle a little further and asked her what sort of work she had done and asked where to find it, if she maybe had a business card. She gave us the name of a supposed YouTube account (I pulled my iPhone out to type it in, because “Oh, holy shit, if this was for real,” but Branson strongly suggested I put it the fuck away) which I later tried to find, but no cigar.
She eventually, thankfully, finished what she had to say, and bid us farewell. Deciding that we’d had enough of Portland for one day, weeks even, we headed back to his place to unwind and warm up, but not before stopping at Fire on the Mountain for some tater tots.
[Next: Ep. 3 – The 2nd Annual MacBook Pro Shitting of the Bed]
After walking approximately seventy miles, I reached the Portland city limits. My legs were on fire and my conscience was beginning to fade, fourteen consecutive hours of travel weighing upon the many more spent without sleep. And yet, here I was at last, lost at the edge of my hometown with sixty dollars to my name and a ratty crust of hair plastered across my cheeks. Selecting a random block, my legs began to throb in its general direction, moving against all odds to keep me alive.
Countless buildings passed before another human presence was identified, some young woman sitting on the curb outside of a convenience store, a frighteningly large cigar burning between her skeletal fingers. Seemingly oblivious to my disgustingly disheveled appearance, she glumly informed me that she was a clerk on break, imprisoned in a graveyard shift to pay for a trashy apartment. When asked where one could find a place to sleep, she haphazardly pointed her stogie and proposed we have sex together; greasy, pained, and filled to the brim with undischarged fecal matter, I declined. She then offered to sell me acid, ignoring my awkward dismissal. After declining once more, I bid her farewell and my travels continued.
Soon enough, a filthy motel crossed my path, something cheap enough to rob me of all cash and house me for the following six hours (it was made very clear that I had to vacate by eleven o’clock). Crumpling into a mattress that reeked of adultery and well-fed scabies, I plugged my cell phone into the nearest outlet and proceeded to sweat my body-weight overnight. In no time, the light of noon was upon me and I fell sprawling from the mattress, taking a two-minute shower and drying off with a hand towel (the full-sized towels provided were all stained in copious amounts of shit). Tugging my clothes back on, I gathered my meager belongings and hit the road again. Within hours, I had reunited with my friend Levi.
The plan was to stay a night at The Boneyard (a tax-evading, independently operated semi-cult), later gathering supplies from a disturbingly gaunt man named Fini (unbeknownst to us, a narcotics dealer) before setting out on a group expedition to Eastern Oregon.
“The guys are kind of weird,” he notified me on the bus ride there.
Upon entering the strangely inconspicuous residence, I was greeted by its homeowner, a middle-aged man with frazzled hair pulled into a frayed ponytail. He held a hand-rolled cigarette and discussed his life as a digital effects artist, voice becoming comically gruff when he spoke while exhaling. “What genres do you like?” he asked me.
“Just about anything,” I told him, “as long as it’s not too bogged down with action scenes. I usually like a little bit of meaning.”
“I find meaning in action movies,” he told me, slowly crushing his cigarette against the tabletop with smoke billowing out from his nose. “Meaning in the violence.”
As if on cue, a large man came lumbering into the room with a plastic cup of beer splashing about in his fist. Immediately, an argument sparked over whether or not Vikings adorned their helmets with horns. “I am a fucking Viking,” he boomed drunkenly. “I know this shit.”
After a wry and condescending remark, the homeowner grinned and exited to the kitchen, dismissing his friend entirely. Directly following this departure, the Viking threw his arms out to the sides, twisting them in random directions and stomping his feet, screeching indistinguishable sounds at the top of his lungs with eyeballs protruding and tongue flapping around outside of his mouth. Then, just as spontaneously as he had begun, he came to a sudden halt.
“You know what I mean?” he asked me.
“Yeah,” I told him, giving a thumbs-up.
“Alright,” he grinned, leaving the room.
Calmly turning to me, Levi lifted an empty mug. “Do you want some coffee?” he asked me, utterly unfazed by what we had just witnessed. “We can wait out back for Fini to get here. I’ve got to show you this hole they’ve been digging.”
Nothing could prepare me for the events that followed.