Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay

More than a few of you (well, OK, that isn’t true) have noticed that the content on this site has been pretty pitiful lately, and I don’t have much to say in my defense except that, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I have actually been busy enough to forget to blog. New city, new job…but more on that later. The important thing is, I’m back in action. As Mo’Nique put it in the underappreciated Snoop Dogg vehicle Soul Plane, “It’s time to get straight down with the get-down!” But where to start?

I. Well, this one is easy enough: The annual Thanksgiving Mud Football Classic will be this Friday, 2 PM, at Carmel Middle School. I am predicting one of the best games in the history of the league, and I can tell you right now that we can look forward to a stunning comeback from one of the sport’s all-time greats. Who could it be? There’s only one way to find out. Names have been named. Shit has been talked. Brother has looked into the face of brother and discovered the reflection of his own searing hatred. Nothing else remains to be done until kickoff.

II. Over the past few weeks, I have begun an exciting new chapter in the ever-expanding account of my dirty life and times. After months of flirtation and intrigue, I turned headhunter, signing with Goodwyn/Powell LLC of San Francisco – or, as I like to call us, the Pirates of 208 Utah St. The job is simple enough, to describe it: we get retained to find the perfect executive for a new company, and then we make a concerted effort to steal that person away from his or her unwitting and hapless current employer. We are the Samuels of Silicon Valley, anointing the kings of the age – or, at the very least, directors of business development. If any of this sounds shallow, ruthless, or like a waste of my talents, don’t worry, it probably is. I’m not naïve enough to think this will be my life’s calling, but, in the meantime I don’t mind admitting that it’s pretty damn sweet.

The reasons for this are numerous. One of them, of course, is being able to share an office with Shams, an Australian shepherd known for drinking beer, noticing hot moms at Starbucks, and terrifying a certain no-good cat out of its life. Whenever things get too stuffy, I begin prancing through the suite with an elongated gait, and Shams hops to attention. After all, there’s a big world out there to conquer. Another major plus is my “boss”, Brother Peterson Conway VIII, who in the course of my first day on the job set up a number of secret email accounts for me with obscene user names, ordered us quadruple Laphroaigs at the Big Four, and compelled me to indulge in an ocean swim at around 9:00 PM. I haven’t swum that fast since May of 2000. I haven’t felt that small coming out of the water since, oh, about 1988. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I get a vindictive pleasure from the fact that I am now in a position to capriciously select and dismiss people from companies like McKinsey, where I couldn’t get a job last year. Not to mention doing it all while wearing jeans.

III. Random reflections from life in the big city:

The menus at the Indian fast food joints that grace San Francisco (Pakwan, Shalimar, and of course Naan & Curry are three perennial favorites) include some fabulous uses of the English language. Viz. “Lamb curry with dominant taste of tomato”. Amen, brother. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

One slight drawback to the cozy feel that makes San Francisco special: 795,000 people, 4 empty parking spaces. I suppose I’m not the first one to notice this.

I work not too far away from a mural honoring O.J. Simpson, who grew up in Potrero Hill and starred at San Francisco City College before taking his talents to USC. The neighborhood is no longer the uniformly rough place it was then, having attracted its share of startups, home furnishings, and import showplaces. Nevertheless, there is still a local strongman who maintains order in the streets surrounding our building, and used needles can be found by the pallets of junkies who sleep in the stretch of parking spaces under the freeway.

Even after all these years and the iconoclasm that has characterized most of them, nothing seems to epitomize northern California quite like the Golden Gate. Beautiful, vast – and expensive as hell.

A stampede of cockroaches across a restaurant floor isn’t necessarily a bad sign, especially to someone like me who sets so much store by authenticity. However, it isn’t necessarily a good one, either.

IV. Contents of my latest hand-burned mix CD, “Headhunting Music”.

1. Geto Boys, “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta”
2. Dr. John, “Qualified”
3. Glen Campbell, “Rhinestone Cowboy”
4. Gogol Bordello, “Occurrence on the Border (Hopping On A Pogo Gypsy Stick)”
5. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “Constipation Blues”
6. Tenacious D, “Fuck her Gently”
7. Warren Zevon, “Gorilla, You’re A Desperado”
8. Loudon Wainwright III, “The Swimming Song”
9. Johnny Cash, “Wanted Man”
10. Big Tymers, “No No”
11. Terror Squad, “Rude Boy Salute”
12. Crosby, Stills, & Nash, “Southern Cross”
13. Phil Collins, “Jesus, He Knows Me”
14. Randy Newman, “Short People” (Got No Reason To Live)
15. David Lindley & El Rayo-X, “Tiki Torches At Twilight”



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