Derelict Junction

Providing missile launch codes for foreign cryptographers everywhere.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

This is Ricky Williams.


Now, this isn't all going to be about sports, but this is a good story. Ricky Williams played football. Played it really well. In fact, he still holds the college career rushing record, which is an amazing feat in football. Last weekend, Ricky Williams decided football was too small for him. After 5 short seasons playing professional football, Ricky declared, "I'm finally free." and retired at the ripe old age of 27. He said he bought a one-way ticket to Asia and didn't know when he was coming back. Who can argue with that?

The sports world can. For the last couple of days, people have been frantically scrambling to make sense of the decision, but if you can't understand, you probably never will. Ricky walked away from fame and even more riches than he's already amassed (it's been estimated he's got a cool 10 million to live off), but for many people in the sports world, this is still too confusing. Why wouldn't someone want more fame, more money, more trophies? Where's his competitive spirit? Maybe the answer is in what people are saying about him.

In the last two days I've heard people say he was a strange kid trapped in a football player's body. That he actually hated the game he excelled at. Hated the jock mentality and the macho posturing that came along with it. (In fact, he once got into a fist fight with his high school coach because he refused to take out his tongue stud.) That he was sick of the drug testing he had to endure, because he was known to enjoy marijuana. That he was afraid to end up like former NFL great Earl Campbell, who now looks as frail as a person 30 years his senior. But all of that is just poor speculation.

Personally, if someone feels their health is at risk, I don't need any further excuse. But my favorite explanation was from Ricky himself. Ya see, Ricky's suffered from social anxiety syndrome. For years, he's taken medication for it. He's talked about how he never had the confidence to do anything that wasn't expected of him. He said he could never go dancing because he felt too self-conscious. Playing football was natural, since people expected him to. But his condition improved. So much so, he's gone off medication and, as he put it best last weekend, "I was never strong enough to not play football, I'm strong enough now."

Enjoy Asia, Ricky.

Side note: a friend of mine has a brother who works for the University of Texas, where Ricky played in college. He said Ricky contacted them about a teaching position in the physical education department whenever he returns. Posted by Hello

Cultural Significance


So I bought my nephew a T-Shirt in the Castro of Mr. T and his most famous quote "I Pity the Fool!" Thing is, he's 4, leaving my brother and sister-in-law the awkward task of trying to explain the cultural significance of the mean looking black man on his new favorite shirt. Where does one begin? Back in the Caveman days, they'd similarly pass down oral history, giving the children a sense of who they are and where they came from. -And I'm sure they had their own Mr. T's back then, except instead of boxing thick-headed Italians or living in his van with George Peppard, they were thinking of new, interesting ways to bring down a Woolly Mammoth, or some boring story that predates underappreciated Hollywood writers and their magnificent storytelling formulas.

Donnie (the brother) told me Jack(the nephew) was wearing the shirt at a party recently and a number of people immediately asked him to explain himself, which he did by simply saying, "Jeff gave it to him," and apparently that exempts one from further explanation.

I do hope, someday Jack's path will naturally cross with the Mr. T legacy(probably in history class), and he realizes the merit and magnitude of the random gift that confuses him so much today. As Patton Oswalt explains on his brilliant new CD, it's every parent's duty to be as lame as possible in the eyes of their children, thus ensuring when the child inevitably rebels, they'll be heading in the right direction in regards to music, movies, an in this case T-Shirts. In Patton's own words, the only CD every parent should have is Phil Collins's No Jacket Required. It's sure to send any rebelling child straight to Velvet Underground, The Pixies, and their modern day equivalents (whoever they are). Hell, any kid rebelling against parents with cool taste is on a collision course with a Young Republican convention. -Sends shivers down my spine.

So if it's every parent's duty to be lame, it's just as imperative the screw-up California uncle provide small flashes of what to expect when they decide to move to the big city "to find themselves." So, what might initially seem like a random thoughtless gift, is actually nature's beautiful way of revealing the rich pop culture history waiting for every child. Because, the Children are Our Future, damnit!

One last thing, and prepare for true shock and awe, check out this link Andrew sent for "Vintage" T-Shirts:
http://www.vintagevantage.com/productcats.php?productcat_id=1&view_all=true
I swear to Buddha, I must have had at least three of these, but threw them out. The prices are real, no joke.  Posted by Hello



Sunday, July 25, 2004

Sox/Yanks


Here we go...

First off, Jason Varitek lived every New England baseball fan's dream when he slugged Alex Rodriguez in the face last night (New England, parts of Seattle, Texas, and the US proper). Bravo, Jason! Initially, he was only walking out in front of A-Rod to keep him from charging his pitcher. While A-Rod launched multiple explitives towards the mound, Varitek remained calm and told him to shut up and take his base. In respose, A-Rod tried to re-direct his words to a target substantially closer, which he soon found out has more immediate consequenses than someone standing 45 feet away. Immediately after he suggested to Varitek, "Fuck you too!", he was met with a double-fisted blow to the face. Now, there's a lot of advantages to having truck-fulls of money, but obviously that won't exempt you from a beating you might deserve. Although he probably didn't realize it, that one extra-curricural maneuver all but assured that the Sox will re-sign Varitek at the end of the year when his contract is up. Everyone wins.

More thoughts on the rivalry:
Before tonight's game, ESPN interviewed fans entering into Fenway Park and a couple of the Yankee fans complained the Sox fans are obnoxious. No Doubt, but if there's one group of fans that make the Sox fans seem civilized, it's ego-centric Yankee fans. Compared to the rest of the country, both Fenway and Yankee Stadium are cave-man conventions, but for a Yankee fan to complain about Sox fans, would be the same as complaining that the Sox have an over-sized payroll (second highest in the league, but still 60 million less than the Yankees).

While watching Friday's game, I once again playfully referred to Yankee Japanese left-fielder Hideki Matsui as "Jackie Chan", to which I was imediately told how racist and inappropriate that was. Tonight I'm reminded that Matsui's official nick-name is "Godzilla". So how the hell is "Jackie Chan" inappropriate, but the Japanese fire-breathing product of nuclear-phobia fine?

Aye, how come Yankee right-fielder, Gary Sheffield gets to defy the Yankee rule prohibiting facial hair? Even though it's one of those weak, 14-year old Metal-head pube-staches, it's still officially a mustache. Is there a discipline problem in the Bronx?

Jason Giambi. Initially, it was reported he caught an infection from Sheffield. No big deal. Then, it was reported he had some mysterious parasite. They managed to curb it's effect with medication, but it still hasn't gone away and they're yet to know exactly what it is. I fully expect, and hope, whenever he returns to the line-up he collapses while playing first base, only to have a small alien burst out from his abdomen, surprising everyone except John Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. Seriously, though, I do hope Giambi returns to perfect health. It would be horrible if he has some deadly new disease. I mean, there's already one disease named after a dead Yankee, how horrible would it be if we had to recognize "Jason Giambi's Disease" as well as Lou Gehrig's Disease? To this day, there are still some confused residents in the Bronx who refer to airplane crashes as a "Thurmond Munson Event".

Investigative Journalism at it's Best


My company has decided to move from San Francisco to Las Vegas. FROM San Francisco, TO Las Vegas. While it might sound absurd, there actually are sound reasons behind the decision, mostly financial. It appears there'd be an annual savings of a million dollars because of the lack of tax laws in Nevada. Also, since the company intends to hire 300 more people in the customer service department, there would also be a substantial savings with regards to new hires, since the starting salary for the average employee in Vegas is much less than in SF. (Although, managment insists that has nothing to do with the decision, which is about as believable as Jerry Buss saying trading Shaquille O'Neal had nothig to do with Kobe Bryant. Sure, that's the official position, but I'm not buying it. We'll see if they cop the same reasoning when all those jobs get sent to India.)

So now you're up to speed. Therefore, Vegas is on everyone's minds, or as Mick Jones put it, "Should I stay, or should I go?" Thankfully, we have the good "news" people at Time/Warner to let us know what a great place Vegas has turned into since they abandoned the "family-friendly" themes and focused back on the art of silicon implants. As nice and fluffy as Time portrays it, it's in stark contrast to the recent five-part New York Times piece, exposing Vegas as a place of broken dreams and hard living ("Seekers, Drawn to Las Vegas, Find a Broken Promised Land"). In fact, while the Times articles are full of comprehensive profiles and boring statistics, the Time piece revolves around the writer's own quest for a good time, and (surprise!) finding it in the best place to spend your vacation this year, if you're asking him, because you're such good friends. Seriously, it's not like he's been commissioned by the Las Vegas Tourism Bureau, or anything, just in case you're wondering, buddy. After all, such a reputable organization as Time/Warner would never succumb to special interests that they might accidentally benefit from. It's just as a matter of conversation, dude. Vegas is great, understand? (Lots of big tits there, you like that?)

My favorite part of the article is where they attribute the increase in tourism to the re-Sexing Up of Vegas. That's exactly what it has to be. A hugely significant act of international terrorism certainly couldn't be responsible for the decline of American tourism abroad, right? Get real, hippy! Sarcasm aside, the writer really should be embarrassed that he left out the effect of 9/11 on US tourism. Then again, selective non-analysis is par for the Time Magazine course, especially when it works to their advantage.

The last time I was there, and I'm not making this up (not this time), the lady who checked me into the hotel found out I was thinking of moving there and said, "Sure the weather's better in San Francisco, but think of this: If you want to go to France, you just go downtown! You want to go to Egypt, you just go downtown!" To which I wish I said, "Yeah, where do they ever come up with those ideas? Those designers are so damn creative, aren't they?" Now, maybe that attitude has something to do with classic American lethargy, but how can it not be influenced by the new 9/11-inspired suspicion of foreign lands?

On a side note, a friend of mine went to the Paris casino for Bastille Day, and they didn't have anything special going on! -Absolutely no indication of Bastille Day whatsoever! -In a supposedly French-themed casino! What, the, fuck?! I guess that's what happens when you let toothless rednecks pretend they're French in public.

More on Vegas to come...

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Dereliction

I thought long and hard on a title and am still not completely happy with this one, but I think the word dereliction fits best. Not, derelict as in the social misfit definition. Rather dereliction, as in "dereliction of duty", an intentional abandonment. Like if you fail to show up for your military physicals because you're too busy blowing lines of coke off a hooker, as our president did. Or if you fail to show up for your life for the very same reasons, like I have. Dereliction.

I was going to call it the Daily Derelict, but that would imply I was going to write it every day, which isn't likely. Then again, Derelict would make it clear I'd be intentionally abandoning it from time to time, regardless of the "Daily" part, so it would make perfect sense, in a ridiculous way.

Anyway, here we go. Went to the bar Anu last night at 6th and Mission. Damn that neighborhood has changed! I used to tell people it was the worst corner in San Francisco, and while it definitely still has sketch wandering about, it's no where near as bad as it was 6 years ago. I guess it's just a matter of time before the hipsters invade every bad neighborhood. So get used to black-rimmed glasses, Hunter's Point.

Entertainment was provided by reknowned British superstar-slacker DJ, James Lavelle, who is (or was) the resident DJ of Fabric in London when I went there 3 years ago. The music was great, and the crowd was really friendly. The first guy I met while waiting for Andrew to show turned out to be the opening DJ. It's nice to be talking to a complete stranger and have them say, "Hey, gotta go now," only to see them behind the turntables 15 minutes later. Met another dude who just moved here from Manhattan and he couldn't stop talking about how much he likes SF so far. He kept saying how friendly and nice people out here are. He was definitely a New Yorker, but not of the Meathead fashion. I told him that, while I still love the Northeast, all the people I really liked from back there have made their way through the Bay Area at one point or another. It seems it's only the loud obnoxious Yankee and Sox fans who don't like SF, which is great for us. While I'll always be a Sox fan, just one night in Fenway with all those brutish assholes, waiting for their delusional Corrs Light fantasies to come true, never fails to make me proud to be a Californian.