Friday, October 10, 2003

Mmmm... 'm cooking up some pork ribs, all fat, meat, sinew and bone, indirect cooking on the grill. I bought 'em at Gray's IGA on Auburn St. Gotta go to dah hood to get real good ribs. That ain't a racial statement, but fact. The good bruthas and sistahs of da woild knows they ribs. IGA was on the way home from my teaching gig at Auburn High School.

Homecoming assembly today, and I felt old to see the senior class is '04, pumped up students flashing four or five fingers. I never got into homecoming or any of the pomp and circumstance of the high school assembly. More often than not I read a book or skipped out and smoked cigarettes in the back stairwell behind the gym. All that energy, pumping up, seemed so contrived. Too much yelling and screaming. Painted faces, proud banners, cheerleaders dancing, pom pommers jumping. Homecoming court all sashed and crowned, a showcase for the beautiful and socially privileged. When I was attending Harlem High School in the late 80s early 90s the football team was mired in a state record-tying losing streak. They never won a game from 7th-12th grade.

I'm listening to Dave Matthews' Band Everyday album, which brings me back to Show Low, AZ adventures, when this disc was one of the few in my possession. I listened to it ad nauseum and haven't much since. I'm having Grand Canyon flashbacks, hikes after dinner through the red sandy soil Ponderosa pine forest behind our condo, the fireplace fire we lit on a snowy April day, Humphrey's Peak and the Perry's primrose flower I discovered that only grows between 10-12,000 feet and smells like rotting flesh. Who was Perry? Did he die near this flower? Of course I'm ranting. Interesting associations music as memory auditory chemical trigger time capsule.

Another DMB disc, the live Listener Supported, transports me back to the last couple months we lived in Antigo, when in wintertime dreaming I pored over Appalachian Trail maps, sorted through gear and mail drops, getting ready for our adventure of a lifetime. Because my obsession with DMB happened just before we left, I had his songs floating through my head often on the thru. "My head won't leave my head alone, and I don't think it will till I'm dead and gone." "Treading trodden trails for a long. long time." Shizzit like dat.

Yesterday I took a drive to DeKalb, NIU days, another life chapter again, we're working backwards madman memory me. I went there to pick up a copy of my official transcripts. I drove around town. Not much different. My favorite post-tennis Chinese joint, the Mandarin, just near the Goat Palace on Lincoln Highway, closed down, so that was kind of depressing. But the chintzy stupid Hallmark store in the old bank building at Third St. and Lincoln has been transformed into a cool coffee house/cafe/restaurant/jazz joint called The House. Last time Esther and I were down there we visited Ron Heinscher and heard some cool live tunes. I remember it was cold and they had a curtain separating the coffee house from a lounge area you had to pay cover to get into. Since the facility is smoke free, all the smokers coming in and out let arctic drafts and second-hand smoke in upon their return. I'm also impressed by the mosaic tile at the entrance.

(I've rescinded my no last name policy) (those with the initiative to look up their own names and come across this site will maybe read it) (henceforth last name anonymity shall only be granted to nefarious assaholic characters)

I tried to track down Ron yesterday, calling his new cell phone # before I left and when I got down there, each time getting his answering machine after the first ring. And Ron has NEVER returned a phone call. He's kind of a throwback college daze bud, someone I see on the few occasions each year when I go back to the alma mater. He still lives there, delivers pizzas, re-enrolled, pursuing his bachelor's after taking a few years off. Intelligent guy. Politically conservative. Last time together we came to loggerheads over the war in Iraq. That was last April. He was living next door to the Goat Palace, in the place that used to belong to the Magnificent Ambersons, a bohemian group of late 20-something grad students that had a quirky in a Mad Magazine humor kind of folk rock band. I have a couple Amberson tracks on a DeKalb music scene collaboration called "Eat Your Corn." One is a folk ballad about a "junkie named Celine." The other is called "Show me your tits, I'm a fisherman baby." The title says it all.

Well, anyways, Ron has since moved out, and his roommate, Jim, the organist at the Episcopal Church, has also moved on. I don't know where either live. They were my last DeKalb connection to the college days. No, wait. Ted McCarron still lives there, probably still driving his crappy beat-up Volvo and living in his cramped one-room studio with the framed certificate from the John Birch Society hanging on the wall above his bed. I was never tight with Ted, though. We only hung out a couple times. He was TOO weird. Shawn "Goat" Robinson and Todd Stanley still keep in touch with him.

I just picked up my transcripts and skedaddled. Made it home in time to take a nap before going to my parent's for the Yankees-Red Sox ALCS game. The Yankees won, 6-2, thanks to strong pitching by Andy Pettite and a bad decision by Sox manager Grady Little leaving starting pitcher Derrek Lowe in a couple batters too long late in the game.

Tonight is Cubs-Marlins action at Pro Player Stadium. Kerry Wood's on the mound. I got a good feeling after Wednesday's monster 12-3 blowout. If the Cubs win they regain home-field advantage. They lose and it's jeopardy time. For the Cubs to go all the way, Wood and Prior must win all their starts. Zambrano and Clement haven't put together a quality post-season start yet.

Them ribs are just about done. Gotta roll.

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