12 September 2008


picasa gallery test

02 October 2006


Your man about town Hank "Jumbo" Syrah

Dateline: Nautical themed bar with hot wings special

Why are gay guys better waitrons than other people? Here is a delightful young man, our waiter who lets us know he is gay in the first 20 seconds and proceeds to become our best friend in the next three hours. He also tells us how many wings to order. The hot wings arrive delightfully debauched in a frisky batter. Served with both ranch and blue cheese dipping sauces, as is only proper.

Fact: Advances in dipping sauce technology will boost hotwings over pizza as America's most loved food within the next 5 years.

Do you know who is intimidating? A hot Russian female bartender. These cosmologists are not for your average man. Do not try and win their favor unless you are prepared to give it up 'crime and punishment' style.

Dateline: Upscale burger joint

The history of this establishment, tastefully retold on the menu, is one of a Wisconsin German-American woman who knew her way around a hamburger. She went to New York to seek fame and fortune by selling hamburgers in a street cart. Her genius was rewarded and hamburgers like only she can make are now dispensed around the country in eponymous restaurants.

To not get their burger after that heartwarming tale would be a crime. Do you know what? Sometimes the legend and the burger do match, because it is delicious chopped cow with melted butter, raw onions and a squeeze of ketchup.

Our waitress is lovely and trashy, heavy makeup and cold eyes make us shiver with notions of nibbling her in the alley later. Instead we play bar shuffleboard - perhaps the funnest bar game out there.

Dateline: Dollar burger with beer purchase

This is what it says on the large sign affixed to the corner joint. Is it true? Can it be true? A stern South American waitress (but a beauty) assures us, "Yes, eet come with cheeze, onion, tomato, fries."

What a delightful concept, perfectly complimenting this 'deshabille chic' joint. It contains a drunk, a conspiring couple, a hipster couple, a slutty couple, an African-American couple and us. One of them turns red from laughter, one sneaks bits of bread from a brown paper bag, another smokes like you used to remember people smoking. The whole skull, sinuses and lungs imbued with thick grey smoke.

The waitress misunderstands and brings out another dollar burger and fries. She offers to take it back, but no, why waste? And so another plate is consumed, perhaps with deleterious consequences to the entrails, but for right now it feels like serendipity.

Dateline: Starbucks rush hour line

You circle around at 7:53 to 7:56 each morning. Everyone in line tries to get caffeinated, get going and maybe show off their asses on another daily Starbucks shuffle.

Why else have an ass if you cannot whip it out for the idle diversion of others while waiting to get a Venti?

Please do tip your Starbucks people. They work hard for the money and they know how to keep that line moving, god bless.

But what about the freaks who sit in the Starbucks and look at you while you are in line trying to check out somebody's ass except you have to keep worrying about the lunatic with stern haircut speedily pretending not to look at you as if you are the person who is finally visiting from the vintage jump-ropes chat room?

Hold on a minute now, look at the ass that pulled into the back of line. A real 'chitty chitty bang bang' caboose.

But you cannot get a good glimpse. The caffeinated cashier signals the end of the trip. Cash proffered, caffeine bomb sequestered, you retire to the dairy canister and achieve resurrection with the Ethiopian blend.


26 September 2006


Oh the Grand Avenue Bus Humanity

They might as well just let everybody start smoking on the Grand Avenue bus. The humanity moving up this commercial avenue to downtown is resolutely unrepentant. There are the dumb pretty girls dumbly talking in the back. The small foreigner with tucked in shirt. The old man who enters by the industrial railroad tracks, no buildings near here. A foreign couple with big feet cuddle against the pungency. When they get off she has to catch her breath while he comforts her. There is a certain insouciance in this particular run of the "Dirty Six Five." It might have something to do with the pile of tobacco behind a seat in the back (discarded in order to make a blunt.)

The crazy bearded hobo arrives at the edge of downtown. He wants to say hi to everybody. The drifter with the long matted hair looks down. Crazy does not like to deal with crazy.

The pretty dumb girls prattle on. Huge racked hipster chick gets on by the college. Pretty dumb girls get off. We should all light up on the Grand Avenue bus. For at the end of the line we have been through something. Something that is not easy articulated but marks us indelibly with its insights into humanity from which we are normally shielded.

25 September 2006


Hank "Jumbo" Sryah's About Town

Dateline: Eastern European country's cultural pride street festival

People from the homeland do not look like you are me. They are more rugged, more sly, more white-socked and pony-tailed. They enjoy hearty life affirming activities like cigarettes, meaty dumplings and pina coladas made using the whole pineapple as the cup. Needless to say there is dancing of a mating-ritual and amazing-dream-coat nature. Not bad looking youth go through their paces in the Sunday afternoon sun. Dare I say I have found the best place to be at this given moment? Happens so often.

Real traveling carnival carneys are at the helm of a frankly terrifying whirlybird ride that takes you 360 degrees in all directions. The carneys look authentically felonious. The screams reach out over the apartment buildings. This festival has had some bad luck the last few days due to rain, so it is nice that the street is swarming with ticket buyers. I see the priest, collar unbuttoned ebullient drinking a caffeinated beverage. So I think the situation has been saved for this Eastern European country's cultural pride festival and local church fundraiser.

But how many tickets for that bewitching bescarved lass who dances in medieval costume? Forthwith to squire her behind the diesel generator for what diversions we may find. I fear it will take a large roll of tickets to win the heart of that enchanted becheeked embodiment of all that is good in this world.

But we must go. The fair ends abruptly at a sleepy Sunday side street.

Dateline: Baby teen whispers under a pine tree.

I sit at a high window enjoying a filament filled sunset, electric lips of clouds. A pine tree between me and the porch next door. These kids are horsing around down below. It winnows to three girls and a guy. They are around 12, 13 years old. I can hear them flirt and banter and see through the obscuring pine boughs that they are unable to sit still. It is funny to remember when stupidity, sex and screaming were all mixed up into that ferocious state called innocence.

The girls did take pictures of their underwear for a cell phone camera while the guy watched. Parents - Tell your kids not to undress for cell phone camera phones. You never know where those things end up.

Dateline: Greek luncheonette run by Mexicans on that busy corner.

What can a well-run lunch cafe do for the soul? Enlighten it. Ennoble it. Nourish it along with stomach. What must go in a turkey, ham, bacon and cheese club panini? The answer is bacon - a firm (but not overwhelming) layer of crispy bacon. Then add ham, turkey and cheese on grilled sour dough with ramikans of barbecue and mayo on the side. Fries come with a spray starch coating that tastes like you just made love to a foreigner for the first time - dirty yet liberated for the first time in your life.

Overtip lunch waiters who are good. An extra couple buck to you does not make much difference but to him they can make his day, both emotionally and romantically because think about it, he wants to go squire his lady about the town and later insert his hot refried beans into her supple tortilla refulgence, and that requires some dinero, no senor?

Dateline: Family owned Italian joint in a rainstorm.

Drink blue martinis during a deluge. As the tropical low has made us a bit unformed. Sit with the smokers by the front window. The skylight overhead rumbles with sheets of rain. Here you can sometimes make a rash decision that ends up with sour cream wedges and bemeated meat based sandwiches. Because your ass will wake up in the middle of the night going, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing and drank that blue martini, not to mention bread and hot marinara sauce before the meal."

Can you once take something home you filthy animal?

23 September 2006


About Town With Hank "Jumbo" Syrah

Dateline: Dirty drunkard Sunday

In a most frightful Irish establishment at a six way intersection. Bartender nice guy, about to go to a party celebrating his sister's acceptance into the police academy. Large girls drink tall beers. A most motley assortment wearing football jerseys yells at a standup table.

A guy walks in, says he just beat up his friend. He has a bloody hand to prove it. He is most offputting, as are all those who have recently scuffled. He shakes and quivers and text messages insults to his friend. Then he eats a shepard's pie and calms down. This place is quite frisky this wet afternoon.

A lurking lurcher sits nearby, guy in a cap. He wastes no time but rather flings himself upon the large girls. He goes from "how are you" to "yeah right there" faster than seemingly humanly possible. More people in football uniforms arrive and are soaked. A drenched Michigan apple comes over for a chat. She cannot stay alas because she is "chafing."

Bluejeans, no underwear and getting drenched can result in painful itching and burning.

Dateline: Rib shack next to movie theater.

Beef briscuit sandwiches and a well built bloody mary go together like a cock and a comb. The secret is a good sauce on the briscuit and brined vegetables in the bloody. Remember when good hearted waitresses made you think just maybe "everything's going to be alright?" The waitress here makes one feel nourished spiritually as well as calorically with the massive cow sandwich she delivers to our faces.

"Talladega Nights" is the movie. It is no "Ron Burgundy" but provides mild divertisement on $5 ghetto Tuesdays which yes, include movie, small popcorn and parking for five dollah to make you hollah. Is America at the "cusp of heretofore unknown glory" or falling into a "puddle of its own sick?" "Talladega Nights" seems to offer evidence for both scenarios.

Dateline: Backyard barbecue with artists.

Skinny types insert encased meat into lubricated mouths. There are two grills, so sickly vegans do not have to touch meat. Strange characters introduce themselves near the ravaged homemade "margarita bar." Critically requiring: a quality shaker, homemade ice cubes and kosher salt. Artists are always a dizzying assortment of pouting and conspiring but occasionally they pull out the good stuff late at night – like an old handwritten young magician's notebook. Obsession it is said is the mark of a future great magician. And this drawing filled notebook displays it in spades.

One strange character turns out later to have an art show with lots of white teddy bears that weeks later still has the power to frighten just by thinking about those god forsaken bears piled face down in the middle of the floor.

Dateline: TV sodden sports bar

Always bring a gay guy to a sports bar – something to shake away the clodden dumbassery eating chicken wings and staring at screens. This bar though is different in that a magician comes up to us. A big guy but smooth, he asks us politely to do some tricks and turns out to be real good. Cards, coins, even a little chemical explosion in his palm. Magic goes by many names - sometimes even "John for Events and Parties."

How much do you tip your tableside magician? Our table overtips. The magician moves on. Our group leaves the barrage of TVs and walks into a quiet treelit night.

To fight, fornicate or get enlightened we know not whither or whether we stagger.

21 September 2006


VIP Only Insider's Update

I took a tumbler on the bike the other day. Drunk of course, I blame it on Jamison's. Now I sport an encapsulating yellow bruise on my left shoulder. I should get it sponsored by that fine Irish whisky. It was wet out when I spilled, so at least I got that going for me, excuse-wise.

Stress finally swamped me this week. To the point where I was bobbing in rage, could not help wading in it if I wanted. That is life for you on the dirty city streets whilst chasing after that paper. People be nickel and diming the crap out of you in the asphalt jungle. I wish I could stick a fork in this one client's head. Skinny little dickweed, possesses the power to nauseate. Alas, I heard an instructive song in my head, the gist of which - let it go.

I wander forlornly in search of eldorado. Or at least a moment of repose, even a lurching bemusement. Not finding it, I find a friend who takes me out and lets me babble. Misery is such a bore. A chore not worth accomplishing but of course there is no choice.

In my dreams enter frightening and ferocious characters, demanding and entrancing. I wake up gasping, elated or terrified. One dream in particular in which the original 'dream wanderer' appeared, or he advertised himself as such. He bent reality in the most unbelievable way; promised he would show me things.

I drive a lot lately. I went from "Let it be" to "Toss my salad bitch" in 5 days. Now I know how to intimidate. Because otherwise you get your ass run over on these streets. There is so much godawful traffic that not one smiling scrap of humanity remains. I mean, I still let people go in front of me occasionally. But only when they rush ahead to a traffic jam 100 feet in front of us.

Do I also mention the sex dream so consuming I woke up sweating? My dreams are knocking me silly lately.

I listen to Rhymefest's new CD and seethe. "Blue Collar" is the name. Quite good. I cannot read anymore so I watch bad network TV and rest because stress knocks my ass out. I watch old sitcoms, sports and the first Chucky movie in Espanol. I also watch a serial killer show, sadly because there should be better things to do with my life.

I walked around a nice park yesterday. A bright afternoon wind blew on moms, kids, high school soccer players, sexy Ukrainian nannies, loners on benches and overweight people waddling laps. There was no nostalgia, no enlightenment, no feelings really other than an immediate sensory perception. I was too tired for anything conceptual. I walked 4 times around, stiffly, because I still am injured from my drunken wipeout. And it was good still, life. Even beat up, burnt out, mumbling to myself - I was happy to be alive in the park

Magic and mundanity simultaneously torture me. I wander lonely as a cloud. Stars explode above me while hungry worms squiggle below. I create life with a ferocity I have not much control over and try to find places where life grows. Then spew love on it and hope for the best. Oddly it feels like a strange position to be in, but I suppose that feeling is natural.

08 September 2006


I am 14

I am 14, it is a miserable year. I am depressed. I am filled with anxiety. I masturbate daily and enjoy playing violent sports. Girls will not give me much in the way of sex. It is the suburbs of Chicago after all. Nice midwestern girls and all that. A couple guys I know are getting it all the time. I enjoy immensely listening to lengthy and surely embellished tales of doing local sluts at our school. Oh if only the lord would see fit to deliver upon me, your pockmarked servant, a nice piece of love in tight blue jeans.

The parents are fighting again. The parents are drinking again. The parents are encountering their own turbulence in our little shack in the suburbs of Chicago. God bless them I say, but they are a bit dull. Sunday dinners are predictably on a spring loaded timer. Who will detonate it and hoist the whole table by its petard across the living room toward the nearest TV? Mother, typically. But father too. Sometimes a kid gets in the act. My big brother or little sister or even myself (but like a diplomatic middle child rarely) exhibits such a petulance that 'Sunday Family' dinner is wrapped up in under ten minutes.

"You children," Mother says and lights a cigarette. She is a smart woman, a creative woman, but her generation all became suburban housewives. Father puts his head into his hand and with the other finishes a last bite before fleeing to the basement. He is a smart man, a creative man, but his generation all became executives, in his case advertising.

Us children watch television. We can usually agree on a program. Sit-coms, dramedies, cop shows, monster movies – we are a very receptive and generous television audience. The kids' TV is upstairs. It is old, heavy. The cat comes in and out through the window in the TV room. It seeks to subdue birds and bring them into the house. Father has put a bell on it, but it has not had much effect on how many birds father must capture with the net specially purchased for the task.

Of course there is a dog. A fat dachshund with a German name. Liebschen sometimes comes upstairs with the kids, but most times she waits for a handout in the kitchen then sleeps by the exhaust vent of the refrigerator. My first memory is when I am a baby and Liebschen came up and we French kissed each other. A huge uproar ensued thereafter, which is why I think it is my first memory.

I am 14 now. Not little anymore. Brother has gone to college and I have assumed his room. Sister has moved to my room, which when we were little was the kids' TV room. Now we each have our own TVs. I do not watch much TV anymore. I am into music and listen a lot to the high school radio station. I am a freshman at this high school. You know the one, the one in that John Hughes movie with the hot girl with big lips. Music and girls are my obsession. Violence and getting wasted close behind.

The music I am into: punk, funk, metal, rock from when I was little, rap and when nobody is around, pop. When I was little I listened to the pop station but now I do only in the shower before school. I put in an old clock radio that turns on whenever you turn on the bathroom light switch. Very convenient.

I smoke about three cigarettes a day and have a recurring rape fantasy I find worrisome. I should not be having masturbation fantasies about raping neighbors right? But that does not stop me from doing it. I feel sick afterwards. I am depressed. Like I said, I am miserable.

When I was little I could pretend to be happy. When I am little I am like 7 and if you have TV and your friends and the weather is good and maybe your friend has gotten ahold of some incendiary devices and you can explode them in dirt mounds as a part of a military action figure scenario. Outside is most important. You have to be able to go outside.

But I am in high school now. I have pubic hair, zits and desire to cum every three hours. Only guilt that I might get addicted keep me from beating the meat 5 times a day. I have been touching myself since I was 8 or so. When I was 12 I tried to stop myself because I felt it was dirty. Now at 14 I now that is hopeless and try to keep the fantasies to nonrape ones.

I wet my bed too. I have done this also since I was little. Now I only do it once in awhile. Especially if I drink too many beers the night before. I guess I am frontloading the bad stuff about me, get that out of the way, then maybe you will feel sorry for me and be generous in your judgement.

High school sucks. I hate it. I cannot get any girls to do stuff with me and I hate every single class I am in. Almost. I like art a little bit, english sometimes, P.E. is not bad because you might get to hit somebody with a stick. Why not go through a typical school day real fast, get you up to speed.

Homeroom: I had to fight my way in to sit with the football players. One of the boys ran away. Our adviser has tepid interest in our futures at best. Tits and where the hell did Muntz go are the hot topics in the beginning of the year.

1st Period: Art. The teacher hates me. I suck at art. I hang out with this guy who is this amazing artist. I am in constant amazement at what he can do with paper and pencil. He also brings in booze occasionally that he steals from his parents. This we drink out of small Tupperware containers in the kiln room.

2nd Period: Radio Communications. A woman teacher and the class is all boys because girls have no interest. The teacher yells at us everday.

3rd Period: Algebra. Christ do I hate math. The teacher hates the whole class. I stare out the window sometimes and get real nostalgic for when I was little.

4th Period: English. Alright sometimes when Shakespeare tells dick jokes.

5th Period: P.E. Thank god. I love going outside and running around.

6th Period: Lunch. A cesspool of social hierarchy. But I am trying to social climb from my geek table to the cool kids because there go all the hot girls.

7th Period: History. Old teacher who is not bad. Fun to learn about Sumeria and human sacrifice.

8th Period: German. Do not fuck around with German teachers. They are some of the toughest people on the planet.

9th Period: Study Hall. Here is where the wags have figure out how to smoke weed in the library and get away with it.

After School: This first semester it is soccer. I am the goalie on the Freshman team. Goalie is a good position because you get to punch, kick and knee people and balls and if you time it right people in the balls. On the downside you do get balls kicked at you from extremely short distances and occasionally you get elbowed or kicked in the head.

There is my fall semester curriculum. School has been going on about a month now. How am I doing in my classes? Badly. I hate school. I hate it. It is so frigging boring. I am not trying to be one of those whiny bitches who complain all the time because they can. I am trying to explain my circumstances. I am not cut out for school. I need to be outside more, or shooting guns or groping a hot girl all night long.

Instead I come home from soccer practice and pretend to do my homework. I hate homework as you might guess. I go down into the basement after dinner, turn on our high school radio station and think about girls.

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