Phase IV?: Hey I’m in Memphis where Elvis lived and died

Hello Universe!

Greetings from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m here burning money on food and drink, stalling before I go out West. In typical fashion I have downgraded all my amazing adventure plans and now the biggest feat I see upon my immediate horizon is somehow waking up in time to get to the Memphis airport by six O’clock Sunday morning. As obviously challenging as that sounds, it still isn’t even exciting because I am enough of a grown-up by now to believe that I am capable of waking up before the sun rises when 160 dollars and a one-way trip to Seattle is on the line.

Since there really are no other things to do other than wake up eventually, I am forced to create arbitrary tasks for myself, like trying to sleep with my sister’s friends, or meet as many girls on the internet that don’t care (or notice) that I am leaving town in, like, four days. I plan to take a long walk through Memphis looking for used condoms, needles, and antebellum Southern architecture in the near future, though. The houses and occasional filth of Memphis really are quite grand. Continue reading

North of Tampa; Deeper South

Welcome back to another update, reading folk.

I’m sitting in Martin, TN at my parent’s house, listening to my niece eat cereal with her Dada (my dad) wondering why I’m not better with children. Probably because I insist on sticking my face in technology more than my little niece insists on watching Yoyo Gabba.

In the last week I finally vanquished my foe; possessions. That, of course, is a flat out lie. I did give away 80% of my books, and another 25% of my clothes. I threw away my last nice sheet and left my Calvin Klein pillow behind in Tampa. However I’m still typing this on my laptop, and I’m still checking dating websites and Facebook and emails on my iPhone. I still have five pairs of shoes, four of which are the exact same shoe in different color combinations. I still have something like 15 pairs of sweet ass J Crew socks, too. I did part with my Xbox, my very last set of tools, and all of my DVDs (they were good ones too, like Fargo and The Best of Chris Farley). I now own exactly what I can bring on an airplane in two checked bags and two carry on bags, plus one solitary box of books I mailed ahead of myself to Washington.

What I’m trying to say is that while I have, at the age of 33, succeeded in unfettering myself from a vast majority of my physical possessions, I have by no means cured myself of this human disease called materialism. Continue reading

Cigars, Strippers and Nautical Rapists: A Farewell to Tampa

Tampa! Oh Tampa! Home of Ybor city, once a nest of Cuban revolutionaries and their cigar factories, now a nest of friendly tattoo artists and high-as-shit teenagers. Home of famous beaches, like Clearwater all full of Scientologists and retirees, or St. Pete, home of something less interesting than the Cult of Scientology (like pasty tourists), but still pretty fantastic. Home of so many damn strip clubs you can go to two a day for a week and still miss out on hundreds of strippers. Home of a month long celebration of pirates, or nautical rapists as I affectionately refer to them, called Gasparilla. Tampa knows how to party. I will miss her.

The smell of tobacco leaves drying, and coffee beans roasting, and beer brewing, wafts through Ybor every morning. Cleaning crews mop up the blood and the vomit from the night before, the sex shop closes its doors and the families come out with the sun to buy knick knacks up and down 7th Avenue. I worked there five nights a week for 104 weeks. I will miss those smells, and those frothy mops, and those innocent tourists.

At night throngs of young adults flow up and down Ybor’s streets, tripping balls on Molly, sneaking the occasional drink, dancing in rainbow bright costumes, laughing, fighting, crying, puking. I hated their naiveté, and I loved it too. Goodbye wild children of the night. Continue reading

Repost: Kill or be Killed

Welcome readers!

I posted this on a dead blog back in September 2012 but it’s been getting more attention recently so I thought I’d repost it here. It falls under the previous post’s “not glamorous” category. I was living in glorious Ybor City in Tampa at the time:

The rats live in our oven. We see them at night. We hear them; eating underneath our beds, climbing inside of our walls, dragging our dirty laundry about with the intention of building nests, and, ever so rarely, we hear them spring one of our rat traps.

Normally the rat trap snaps violently shut and squeezes the life from its victim before I can get out of bed and run into the kitchen. Normally I am mildly disturbed by the small, lifeless body caught viciously in the paralysis of death. I am also mildly hopeful that it was the last rat in my oven; that I will not hear the gnawing sounds and the clacking footfalls of another rat beneath my bed. This morning, I heard the snap of the trap and then a long and desperate series of squeaks and rat shrieks. The trap only caught his front leg. My trap. Continue reading