Plagiarism to the Flag

Notes on my short, unproductive autumn vacation:

I HATE Los Altos Hills, both the actual hills of Los Altos and the city of the same name. I don't know why anybody would want to live in the bourgeoisie boondocks of Northern California. For one thing, I like my roads to be easy to navigate, not the bastard children of San Vicente Boulevard. Plus, you'd think that the rich white hill inhabitants could at least buy some streetlamps. At night, it's like driving around in a constipated intestine up there. Howard made me do it.

NorCal (I know, I think it sounds like a phrase you'd find on a salad dressing bottle too) hippies who blast Los Angeles for its air quality should take a look at their skyline. The Bay Area isn't Rhode Island either.

Somebody built an In-N-Out Burger off El Camino Real. For those of you not from the west, In-N-Out Burger is a fast food restaurant chain best known for its drive-thru, hence the name "In-N-Out Burger." So, some genius decided to build an In-N-Out Burger off one of the busiest streets in Mountain View. Brilliant. You might as well build a movieplex off Highway 5 while you're at it.

I wanted to do a run-in at my high school, but apparently, it's an education code offense to disrupt school activity, and I don't need to be breaking any more education codes, especially high school ones. Thus, I had to coitus interruptus the brilliant three-step plan I had worked out. Oh well. 1) stumble into morning marching band practice and yell, "Hey! Could you turn it down a little? Some of us are trying to sleep here!" 2) return during afternoon marching band practice, run into the saxophone section, release a bunch of caged doves, and run away. 3) the following day, hire some actors to dress up as cops and stage a police chase on foot with me as the criminal, douse myself in fake blood, run into my old journalism stomping ground, loudly declare, "Oh, fuck me!" with eye contact emphasis on a particular adviser's face, create a panicky ruckus, have the fake cops enter the classroom and drag me away kicking and screaming, continue the act outside, letting the fake cops beat me with nightsticks and saying, "Detroit what?" repeatedly.

"Palo Alto residents are donating American flags to the city government after city officials said that they didn't put flags up downtown because they didn't have any." God, I love dispatches from the Palo Alto Daily News.

"An art teacher has been suspended for allowing second graders to express their feelings about last week's terrorist attacks through drawings and answering their questions about hijacking someone at knifepoint." Damn, this newspaper is quality.

"A Blockbuster Video clerk was stabbed to death in a robbery at 1040 Grant Road in Mountain View. The robbery took place in the same south Mountain View shopping center where a 13-year-old girl escaped an attempted kidnapping on Sept. 5." Okay, this story is not so funny. I used to frequent that shopping center! I used to be a preferred customer of that Blockbuster! What went wrong? When did my hometown become a suburban ghetto?

I finally got my hands on a rare documentary that I've wanted to see since I heard about it in 1997. It's called Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist. Despite what you may infer from the title, Sick is a really fascinating story about a self-lacerating performance artist who suffered from cystic fibrosis and martyred his flesh in order to master his pain (and also because it turned him on). Granted, the movie is extremely graphic and borders on hardcore pornography at times, but if you can stomach scenes like the "hammer of love" and some totally un-homo penis mutilation shots, then this is some good shit right here. It's not often that you can witness the life AND DEATH of a person on film. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might throw up. Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist is my movie pick of the week. Want a copy? No problem. Just let me know.

"Perturbed" is the word.

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