Digging a Hole

Monday, October 31, 2005

Badada, Badada, Badada, Badada!

Let us now speak of brave men who lived their lives just how they would have it.

Oh, werd?
This post may be less story-licious and more, "Like, omigod, here are things happening in life," but I'll try.

Part I: Partying at Rutgers (Friday night-early Saturday morning)
Remember college? Kegs in basements? Freshmen passing out in backyards? Mysterious punch? Shushing people shouting in the yard before the police come?
Yeah, it was as much fun as you remember it. =D
We outpartied half the Rutgers marching band and were told to leave by drunk underclassmen. Awesome. Also, we *tried* to crash another party, but they all went into one room to drop acid and left us in the living room alone, so we stole their beer and left. Ah, nothing like New Brunswick at 4 in the morning..... They are lucky we didn't take the stereo.
Part II: Canvassing Newark's Central Ward (Saturday morning -afternoon)
Such a bad idea. Like, worst idea ever.
So, there's this huge GOTV experiment happening in Jersey right now. The Left (ooh, capital L) wants to figure out how to get low-income minority folks to the polls across the nation, and since Jersey has big elections on the rest of the country's off year, folks have come from Texas and Michigan to guinea pig my state. (That's right, I verbed "guinea pig".) The NJEFers, as professional canvassers, are involved.
Here's part of the plan, from what I understand:
There are 3 groups of canvassers and 2 groups of canvassees (people who vote often, people who don't vote often.
The canvassER groups are:
1) people who actually are FROM the Central Ward (poor black people)
2) people who look like they COULD be from the Central Ward but actually aren't (rich black people)
3) people who are clearly *not* from the Central Ward (the NJEF canvassers)
Eric signed me up (thanks a lot) for a day of volunteer work canvassing people who HAVE voted in the last few elections. We got a list of names and addresses, a map, "Count on Me!" voter pledge cards, and door hangers. But wait, what does it say on the door knockers?
"Raising Up the BLACK Community!" Yes, "BLACK" was the biggest word on the door hanger.
So, I get dropped off, BY MYSELF, with a stack of neon green door hangers proclaiming my solidarity with my fellow black community-members, a sketchy map, a dying cell phone, and a hangover.
Let me be clear here. I grew up on the Newark border. I spent quite a bit of time trailing my dad with the Children's Health Project in Newark. I like Newark. There are some great neighborhoods in Newark. This was NOT one of those neighborhoods.
As I had no juice in my phone and three hours to kill before I got picked up, I decided that knocking on doors was the best way to go. My mission: Find the person on my list in the household. Tell them about the diesel emissions ballot question. Tell them to vote. Find out if they are planing to vote. If yes, ask them to sign a "Count On Me!" pledge. The pledge, by the way, seems enormously insulting considering the people I was talking to were on my list because they were already frequent voters. But, hey, I was already hanging flyers that said "BLACK" in giant letters, so what was one more level of insult?
Almost no one was home. Every other apartment was abandoned and boarded up. When someone did answer the door, it wasn't until they had first shouted at me warily through a closed window because, really, what the FUCK *could* I possibly be doing on their doorstep?
The last 25 names on my list were a few blocks away and in one building. I wandered, admittedly nervously, past a closed industrial building of some type and came upon the scariest building I have ever seen. It was about 8 stories and built in an L-shape. Balconies ran along each floor like a motel. The L faced away from the sun, so the entire complex was in shadow. Smashed glass and graffiti splattered the ground and walls. Count on the Left to send me, alone, to one of Newark's last remaining old school housing towers with a handful of insulting flyers.
Unsure what to do, I paused outside the parking lot for a split second and sized up the men squatting in the balcony corners and leaning by the door.
No. Fucking. Way. I can't afford another broken nose until I get health insurance.
Unfortunately, a couple guys saw me pause, and began calling after me until everyone on the balconies noticed me walking away. It like, rained comments that are not nice to say to young ladies. That's when I decided to use the one phone call's worth of battery I had to call for an early pickup.
After the election, some fancy schmancy staticians are going to tally up who voted and who didn't and see who they talked to at the door (local people, non-local black people, or white canvasser kids) and THEN they will know what type of GOTV works best. Anyone want to bet against what *I* think will be the result? What a dumb afternoon....
Part III: Moving the Fridge (Saturday afternoon)
Do I even need to tell a story here? I moved a fridge with Eric and his dad. Werd.
Well, I mean, I offered moral support. I think I helped a little....
Part IV: World/Inferno Show! (Saturday night)
Awesome show! Only got kicked in the head like, twice!
Lost my hat...... but found it again!
My pants ripped in half!
I got to see the top of the whole crowd!
We took the streets!
Finally, finally, I literally danced my pants off...
Part V: Some bar in Manhattan (early early Sunday morning)
One should not go to a bar in Manhattan when one has slept 4 hours in two days, gotten drunk at Rutgers, canvassed Newark, moved a fridge, danced one's pants literally off, and left a show in Brooklyn...... But we did! It was fun. I started 23, officially, with a bang and a shot. Found 20 bucks. Bought a pizza. Awkwardly shook hands with guys in rubber gloves. Crammed a bazillion (brazillion?) girls into one bathroom stall for girl talk. Good times.
But I was tired. Oh so tired. And ready to go home. Alas, there was a 40 minute subway ride between me and bed.
Part VI: The Two Hour, Forty Minute Subway Ride to Brooklyn (early Sunday morning)
Don't take the L train the wrong way because the G train will fail you. It wants you to go to Queens very badly, you see. From which point, one can only take the E because the V doesn't run on weekends. Which goes back past the PORT AUTHORITY before rejoining the F. On off-peak hours. Motherfucker...
Rode in a haze, fading in and out of awakeness.
Eyes open. Rat runs by. Eyes close.
Eyes open. It's time to switch trains. Eyes close.
Eyes open. A man in drag is sitting with his legs too open. Eyes close.
Eyes open. The sun rises over 16th street. We're home.
Part VII: My Birthday! (Sunday!) (25 hours long!)
Enjoyed a lazy Sunday of NY Times, grilled cheese, and tomato soup. Got up just in time to take a shower and watch the sun set from the roof. Went to dinner with good folks. Watched a horror movie. Enjoyed. =)
In conclusion, it was a weekend of excitement, danger, fun, and pot de creme.
"Get home safely." "I will. I do. I always do."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An Incomplete List of What I Learned At Conference

Oh, werd?
This weekend was "fake" conference in Ohio. About 40 canvassers gathered at an absolutely bizarre campground littered with seemingly abandoned RVs and staffed solely by stray cats and great danes to do a volunteer canvass and have a great party.
Here is a BRIEF list of what I learned:
1) The 'burb gets way better mileage when David is driving than when Eric is driving.
2) It takes 6 hours to get TO Ohio. But it takes 8 hours to get back. Weird...
3) You can see the Pleidies at night now.
4) You should vote YES to ballot issues 2-5 in Ohio.
5) Frozen chicken patties take a long time to grill.
6) It takes 7 canvassers to hang a tarp. It takes 4 to give directions to foreign turf. It takes 40 to finish three kegs.
7) There are no nuclear power plants in Indiana.
8) Great danes are scary when they are stray in the woods at night.
9) An 8 piece bucket of KFC costs 10.99. A 10 piece costs 8.99.
10) You *can* drink too much at conference.

Inspirational scene: So, we did a volunteer canvass in Ohio (see #4). It was drizzly when we crawled out of our tents in the morning. Everyone was a tad bleary-eyed as several of the offices had arrived only a few hours earlier and set up tents in the dark. Several canvassers huddled, trading jokes, around a sputtering fire and chewed on toasted bagels. Gradually, everyone trickled onto the covered pavillion on one side of the campground to receive instructions for the day's work. Some pulled on rain pants. Others adjusted bootlaces and wool hats. One sat with rain drops slowly growing and falling from the brim of his saturated trucker hat. No one complained. Everyone was ready to go. And, that, was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. 40 young people sitting in a cold drizzle, waiting for directions on how to canvass for an obscure off-year election ballot issue, for a state most of the us were not from, with no promise of compensation other than three kegs of good beer at the end of the night and a good party. That's democracy...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tandy VGM-441!!!!

Oh werd?
Who had fun at the party last weekend? (chorus of yays!)
Who could forget the conversation, the guitar playing, or how Pete/Mike came over? (Okay, I have no idea how Pete/Mike came over...)
Everyone will be happy to know that the damage report is quite small. No unfortunate stains. No feet marks on the wall from Amanda doing drunk cartwheels in the hallway. Oh, wait, there was one casualty of the weekend..... My monitor's screen got smashed.
Now wait wait.... this story has, if not a happy ending, a sort of entertaining one.
It seems Eric had an extra monitor lying around his parents' house: TANDY the Monitor!
TANDY comes with:
!) VGM441 POWER.
!) It features patented *Curved Screen Action*!
!) It can handle resolutions as high as 800 by 600!!!!
!) Almost 14 inches of viewing capability!
!) Eye-strengthening blurriness! (Woo! Trippy!)
Also, Tandy is a *vintage* monitor, thus increasing my Brooklyn-hipster street cred.
I called my Uncle Larry, certified computer expert and Star Trek fan, to find out just how much of a collectible Tandy really is.
KPd.: Hi Uncle Larry. My laptop screen got smashed.
UL: Ooh.... good party eh?
KPd.: Right, like no one else has said that.... Anyhoo, I got a replacement monitor.
UL: What type?
KPd.: a Tandy!
UL: :::erupts with laughter:::
KPd.: Is it really old do you think? Like, frm 1995 maybe?
UL: Try 1992. If that. Where on earth did you find that?

Some people, like my dad, ask: Kerry, how did you get Tandy from NJ to Brooklyn?
I'm glad you asked. Tandy features awesome "rotating base" technology, which allows you to get a great grip for easy portability. With Tandy, me and my laptop are still free to roam the wireless hot spots of Brooklyn, as long as there are places to rest Tandy on every 20 feet or so... oh.. and as long as the coffee shop has, like, a really solid surge protector. Don't ask....
Also, unlike 1991-era monitors, Tandy only ways like 72 pounds. Think of how much technological wonder you can pack into 72 pounds!
Ooh, and when you and your vintage monitor travel, don't expect to avoid attention. Everyone wants to hear about how you found such a cool computer screen.

Dude on subway: Is that for an art project?

Other random dude: What's a little lady like you doing with a monitor like that?

That's right. Tandy is a "random dude" magnet!
You may be wondering at this point: Kerry, Tandy is super cool and a great conversation piece, but shouldn't you maybe get a less-cool monitor for your day to day business? Ya know... so Tandy's coolness doesn't distract you too much?
To that I have three replies:
1) Radioshack is staffed by morons.
Radioshack guy: Werd, I can't find the SKU number for flat screen monitors. I'll just go through all the SKUs until I find it.
KPd.: Why not look it up on the Radioshack website....?
RG: Aw shit, that's a good idea, werd.
2) I don't want to hurt Tandy's feelings.
3) I'm unemployed. I only have enough money for one cheap-as-free hipster monitor at a time.

So, in conclusion, I hope everyone had fun at the party. I am currently accepting donations for the "Kerry's Day to Day Monitor Fund". If anyone has another cool vintage monitor... maybe a 1994 model.... let me know.....

Monday, October 10, 2005

Phoenix Phall Phunfest II

Oh, werd?
So, a year ago, (see: October 2004 post - "Unbridled Enthusiasm") Ben and I attended PPP, a roller coaster festival (phestival) in Elysburg, Pennsylvania (Fennsylvania) where the weather was crisp, the coasters were smooth, the air time was big, and the pickles came on a stick. After having concentrated good-clean-fun, we decided we should go again this year and bring some more pholks. Eight sturdy souls signed on for an evening of awesomeness.
Unphortunately, the weather did not sign on. The forecast called for a monsoon with a hint of gross. Four of the sturdy souls decided that camping in the rain was not a good plan. That's when the other phour souls booked a hotel room.
The day dawned dark and gloomy. Ben and Aerob called early (11) to confirm with me and E-Rok while Team Jersey attempted to come up with a Saturday plan that did not involve getting soaked. (Pumpkin picking? Getting drunk outside the Rutgers football game?) As all of Team Jersey's ideas were also outdoors ideas, we were easily canvassed into coming to PA. The car ride was uneventful if you discount me and Aerob sending text messages between the phront seat and the back seat. =)
If rain could be "on a stick," then it was definitely on a stick Saturday night. The canvassers pulled on rain pants and coats. The normal people remembered to bring boots... or any type of footwear that did not have holes in the soles. The rides were slick. The high fives on the lift hill were enthusiastic. (Except when Eric was in the "high five" side of the train. Aw, sorry.) The fliers were stupendous. The windy rain stinging your eye balls gave an extra element of danger to an already sketchy ride. The bonfire was warm and toasty. The pizza was SARS-y and oozy.
If you are waiting for this story to have an arc, it doesn't. And all the good montage moments are only phunny to one person at a time. So, you'll just have to assume that the weekend was hilariously funny and great and wonderful and wet. Really really wet.
I'll leave you with a joyous snapshot of Aerob and Ben ducking, arms up, mouths open in astonishment, as E-Rok landed, two feet squarely planted, in an adjacent, giant, mud puddle.
Aerob: "You *KNEW* he was going to do that!"
Why do you think I was walking behind y'all? =D

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Party Like a Rockstar in October!

Oh, werd?
So, some of you may know that my birthday is arriving shortly. Mischief night!
Some of you may also know that I have been trying to find a good time to celebrate it.
The finalists are: Saturday October 15th
Saturday October 29th
I, personally, have a preference for the 29th. One 'lil sticking point.... I have tickets to see the World/Inferno Friendship Society in Brooklyn that night (they play at 11:15pm).
Sooo........ I was thinking of pre/post partying the concert.
Anyone who wants to attend this concert with me, can go to the following website:
www.worldinferno.com to find a link to buy tickets. They are $15.
If you want to skip the concert, feel free to
a) chill at my apt while I dance my pants off -or-
b) hang out somewhere else in the city and plan to arrive at 16th st around 1am-ish.
What do folks think? Let me know asap for proper party planning.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Medley of Sketch

Oh, werd?So, this was a weekend of parties. Always a good thing... but there were definitely more than a few sketchily intoxicated people in my vicinity this weekend who provided some hilarity. So, without further ado...
Favorite lines overheard / moments witnessed this weekend:

Some dude: Are you really a Republican?
KPd.: It's a come as you aren't party.
Some dude: Oh.... but it's a come as you AREN'T party.
KPd.: Yeah.... I know.... So I came as a Republican.
Some dude: So, you ARE a Republican.
KPd.: No, it's a come as you are NOT party.
Some dude: Ohhh..... So.... then.... are you a Republican?

Some sketchy dude: So where are you from originally?
KPd.: North Jersey.
Some sketchy dude: Oh yeah..... Haaaa.... that is such a good state....

Sing-along: Wherever you go, there's always someone Jewish!
So if you feel alone and you're somewhere kinda.... ...newish...

Sketchy girl: So, do you smoke?
Sketchy dude: Smoke whaaaaaaat....?
Sketchy girl: Ciggarettes.
Sketchy guy: What about you Tara?
Tara: No.
Sketchy guy: Want to come on the balcony with us anyway?
Tara: No.
Sketchy guy: I'll get you my coat..... Haaaaa.....
Tara: No.

KPd: So then Bush says, "How many people IS three brazillions?!"
Some guy: Ya know what else is funny? Three brazillion blow jobs.

Some guy: So, if this is a come as you aren't party, did that guy mean to dress up like a 40 year old real estate agent nobody knows, or is that what he IS?
Some other guy: He came straight from work.

KPd.: Hey, can you toss me a pretzel?
Random Kid: ::::chucks high velocity pretzels at my head:::
KPd. and Tara: Ow!

TDK: I need my coat.
Tara: I'll get it for you. What does it look like?
TDK: It's flannel... And plaid... And it's like Winnie the Pooh.

Random girl: Okay, I got a five.
Random guy: Five, five, hands in the sky!
Other random guy: Wait, wasn't it high fives before?
TDK: I'm high.

Sketchy dude: You aren't drinking enough Kerry. I'm going to get you.
KPd.: Oh really?
Sketchy dude: Ha! Categories! (notes he's sitting 5 away from me) The category is: 6 of cards.
Random guy 1: Six of clubs.
Random guy 2: Six of spades.
Random guy 3: Six of hearts.
TDK: Wait, what's the category?
Sketchy dude: Just say a suit of cards. Any suit of cards.
TDK: My balls.
KPd.: ...And I was getting worried there...

Some guy: So, you three ladies all live *together*, eh?

TDK: It's really hard to roll this when you're drunk.

KPd.: Aw, I'm so glad he found somewhere safe to sleep.
Random guys: Hey! Dude! Wake up! We bought more beer!

TDK: Want to hear something funny?
KPd.: Okay, what?
TDK: ...What?

There were lots of good, fun, less sketchy moments at this party as well... but they were definitely less hilarious. Happy work week everyone!