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Saturday, June 07, 2003
[ RANDOM BITS ATE ]

An eighth installment chronicling the True Tales of Pete...
-

= Java Journal =

I went to the Willow House coffee hut the other night.

On the front step, there was a young kid strumming his acoustic guitar and croaking out Leonard Cohen's "So Long, Marianne" while surrounded by a small bevy of Birkenstock-wearing twentysomethings in tie-dyed t-shirts.

It was a regular sing along... Giggan it, folk old skool!

Inside, there was an older guy meandering on an acoustic guitar in the small backroom.

In the main room, there was a rocking - well, as much as one can rock on acoustic guitars, anyway - duo doing it up Simon & Garfunkel style.

Yup, evidently, it was "An Acoustic Guitar in Every Corner" Night at ye ole Willow House.

While ordering my cup of joe, a gaggle of youngsters met up and were so excited to see each other, they all started jumping up and down in unison.

Try the Decaf next time, people. Please.
-

= Blog Versus Blog =

I met my first live fellow blogger.

And the honor goes to Tamsen Yi of 'Be the Water Not the Rock' (http://likesunday.blogspot.com/), who showed up with three of her girlfriends at Paisley Violin coffeehouse, so we could all go on the monthly self-guided tour of downtown Phoenix art galleries.

She brought her friends because, as she explained beforehand, when meeting somebody else from the "blog universe" you need "back up".

Me? I don't need no stinking back up.

So there I was with four hot-looking babes.

Yes, my life had suddenly turned into a bad Reality TV show. And, for the record...

1. I'm not REALLY a millionaire.

2. I didn't bring any roses with me.

3. I didn't marry one of the girls at the end of the evening.

So let's move on, shall we?

The highlights of the evening included a neo-pop art exhibit and a performance troupe that danced with, and ate, fire. But, hey, I'm a guy, so anything involving fire is fine by me. My only regret is that they didn't blow stuff up too. That would've rocked even more.

As we headed back to the car, to drive to another cluster of galleries elsewhere, I suggested we end up at the Bikini Lounge - a Tiki-style bar with a definite "dive" atmosphere.

Tamsen's one art-savvy friend, who had been to that area before, told me out of earshot of the others that she thought the place would freak the other three out.

I bet you know where this tale is headed.

So we parted with the art-savvy friend (who had another engagement elsewhere) and headed on over.

At the intersection across the street from our destination, while stopped at a red light, a homeless drunk bobbed and weaved through the crosswalk in front of us.

Both gals in the front seat instinctively locked their doors. They obviously don't spend much time in downtown Phoenix, and the sight apparently shook them up a bit.

There wasn't any parking in front of the building, so we pulled onto the first side street. It was not a clean, well-lit place.

The ladies decided that enough was enough, and they weren't all too keen on visiting these particular galleries - or the lounge - after all.

Why? Well, I think Tamsen said it best when she said she "liked living" too much.

Personally, if push came to shove, I think these girls could've taken any homeless drunk that happened along, but that's just my opinion.

I remember about ten years ago, when I owned (and lived in) a gallery space downtown, and opened my front door one morning to find a dead body a few feet away. That doesn't happen much anymore. They've really cleaned the neighborhood up since then.

But enough with the nostalgic memories.

Back in the present...

I sometimes forget that people, as a rule, become tentative when they perceive a situation as being possibly dangerous - because I'll jump into a situation that I KNOW is dangerous without a second thought.

What's the worse that could happen? I die? Been there, done that. (See "That Time I Died", 5/20/03, in archives)

So, instead, we ended up at a haughty-taughty restaurant a few miles away.

It was definitely a clean, well-lit place.

Two of Tamsen's friends split a salad. It was one big-ass salad. In fact that's what I think it was called on the menu:

"Big-Ass Salad #6"

It contained all manner of flora and fauna. I felt healthier just looking at it.

I had the open-faced tuna melt. At those prices you'd think you'd get the WHOLE sandwich, but what the hell do I know.

It was a non-smoking restaurant. I ended up drinking five glasses of water, mostly because I didn't know what else to do with my hands. Did I mention the no smoking part?

The piano player pounded out jazzy versions of Billy Joel and Neil Diamond standards while we ate.

Yes, nothing helps digestion like hearing "Sweet Caroline" on the piano.

That was the moment it went from a simple "evening out" to "blog-worthy story."

Hell, it's like I don't even have to make stuff up anymore. Life takes enough surreal turns to keep it imaginative for all of us.

So what did I think of the first fellow blogger I met "in the flesh"?

She's a good egg. Sure, she's a left-leaning political gal, but I can't hold that against her because she's also intelligent with a sarcastic wit and - in case I forgot to mention it earlier - is as cute as a button.
-

= Search String Fun =

It's always interesting to see what keywords, or groupings of words, people use thereby inadvertently finding my web log.

The two most popular seem to be:

aurora+snow

and

brande+roderick

But my favorite has to be the person who used...

pissing+all+over+hisself

Obviously, it's not a phrase I use often. Just often enough for my site to show up on a search engine when it's inputted.

To that end, I'd like to throw out a few more pithy phrases to help others find my site in the future:

slap you upside the head

I'm spitting game with those hootchies

Michael Jackson & Bubbles

if the squirrel had nuts he wouldn't need wood

don't be all up in the kool-aid

Where art thou, Romeo?

Girl, you be jawsin - you're jus' selling woof tickets

It's elementary, my dear Watson
-

= Zoo Story =

I ran into Jocelyn and Jim, of the band World Class Thugs, while out and about.

This reminded me of a story Jocelyn told me the second time I met her, after I plopped my ass down in the chair next to hers and said, "Tell me a story."

It went something like this...

When Jocelyn was seven years old, she went to the zoo with her friend and her friend's mom.

While there, they bought a handful of crackers from a vending machine.

As they were walking along, Jocelyn - doing what many seven years olds would do - started eating the crackers.

Her friend's mom started talking to Jocelyn, but - as she freely admits doing from time to time - she "spaced out" and didn't listen.

Then the mom, raising her voice, said, "Jocelyn! Aren't you listening to me? I said 'Don't eat those crackers... those are for the goats!'"

Even today, one has to forgive Jocelyn when she "spaces out" because she has the ability to play every instrument ever created.

Genius comes with a price, and that price will evidently buy you a handful of goat crackers.

In case anybody is interested, the music of World Class Thugs is somewhere in the neighborhood of They Might Be Giants and Yo La Tengo.

http://www.worldclassthugs.com/

If you happen to email the band, please don't mention the crackers. Jocelyn doesn't know I've posted about it here and I don't want her to stop telling me funny stories when I run into her.

Thank you.
-

= When the Smoke Clears... =

Whenever I buy cigarettes at the usual place, they'll see me coming and have a pack waiting by the register by the time I get there.

I don't know if that's a good thing... or just plain sad.

The other day, I bought my pack and the guy at the register then says, "Can I get a couple of cigarettes from you? I'm completely out and don't get paid until Sunday."

So I gave him two smokes.

What could I possibly add to that to make it any more amusing?

Anyway, I've been seriously thinking about quitting. With all the hacking and coughing up of phlegm, smoking is just not as pleasurable as it once was.

Earlier this week, I was hanging out with my friend, The Artist Known as Jake Martinez, when he started asking me for a cigarette.

Please note, he quit smoking about six months ago.

I've heard most relapses occur within the first six months, and he was on the cusp. If only he could've held out for a couple more weeks.

Once you start up again, it's the fast track to lung cancer and a painful death - but let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

The Artist Known as Jake Martinez was alive and, dammit, he wanted a cigarette and wanted it now.

I'm the kind of guy that won't talk others into doing crazy shit but, if they want to get crazy, well, I'm not going to stop them.

So I gave him a smoke.

"Only two a day," he promised me, "and you keep the pack and ration them out to me."

That lasted like a day. He's now up to half-a-pack a day and going strong. Oh, and I no longer have "pack holding" privileges.

I still need to call the tobacco company and let them know I hooked another one, so I can get my free carton.

Yes, that's one of the Unwritten Smokers' Rules. For every new person we hook, us smokers get a carton gratis.
-

= Soup is Good Food =

Every once in a while, I eat at a local family-owned restaurant at which they make their own soup daily.

The other day, it was spicy chicken and rice soup.

It was to die for.

It was like eating a little "bowl of sex."

It was that good.

I even bought a larger container to take home to eat later. Unfortunately, I didn't have anybody to share this "bowl of sex" with, so I ate it alone.

But enough about my masturbatory eating habits.
-

= Runaway Fetus =

The cover story on this week's (9 June '03) cover of 'Newsweek' read: "Should A Fetus Have Rights?"

So, I thought to myself, "Should they?"

I figured I'd first ask a fetus its opinion, but I couldn't... because it's a goddamn fetus!

To quote from 'Newsweek':

"For decades, abortion opponents have offered moral and ethical arguments about protecting the fetus. Now they're building a legal case, defining the fetus - and even the embryo - as an individual entitled to basic human rights...

..."If they are able to make fetuses people in law with the same standing as women and men, then Roe will be moot," says Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt.

... Now 28 states have fetal-homicide laws on the books. In many states, the laws take effect only after a fetus is able to live outside the uterus, around 24 weeks. But 14 states cover a developing child from the moment an embryo is implanted in a woman's uterus - well within the legal time frame for an abortion..." (end quote)

What is this country coming to if, sooner rather than later, a fetus will have as many - or more - rights than the woman carrying it?

Why don't we just give fetuses the right to vote? Or lower the drinking age so fetuses can get liquored up?

No, if fetuses want equal rights, they should have to get them the same way women and blacks did.

Organize and march, baby.

Or maybe that should be "potential baby."

And maybe those last two sentences encapsulate the crux of the issue right there.
-

= Bulb of Pete =

Recently, somebody said to me, "Pete, you're not a 60-watt bulb. You're fluorescent!"

I think it was meant as a compliment.

At least I hope so.

posted by Pete 8:48 AM
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