Thursday, January 30, 2014

My 21st Birthday

It is late and I have work tomorrow so this is going to be a short post.

But I think I may have had a perfect 21st birthday, so perfect I am on the verge of tears.

I did so many of my favorite things. I will attempt to list them.

  • At midnight, I bought my ticket for a bartending class in San Francisco. 
  • My mother got me a ream of paper as a gift, and I loved it because I needed it badly. 
  • I spiked my hair and took the bus to work. 
  • I worked a slow day at Tachikawa and talked about everything that mattered with my good friend Chris. 
  • I WENT TO THE DENTIST 
  • I got a tall, regular coffee at Starbucks. Everyone yelled "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" when I walked in, so loud it was embarrassing. 
  • I ate dinner at Tachikawa, and for the first time I tried hot sake. Every time I prepare hot sake at Tachikawa it smells amazing, and today I finally got to taste it for myself. ALSO SUSHI AT TACHIKAWA IS MY FAVORITE THING ESPECIALLY WHEN I GET A 20% DISCOUNT BECAUSE I WORK THERE. 
  • Went to the Berkeley Poetry Slam, got a beer, watched the FINAL competition of female slam poets and was floored. Excellent poetry. 
  • My friend Katherine got me a mystery book as a gift and I love it. There is no blurb written on the cover. The contents is a unknown. This makes me more excited than anything. 
  • I WENT TO A BAR IN OAKLAND, DRANK ANOTHER BEER, AND SAW LIVE MUSIC. "Go rap," said my cousin Yung Jess. "What?" "It's an open mic, go, anyone can just do it." I watched for a bit, then went onstage and spat a verse. AT A BAR. IN OAKLAND. My life became complete. Once I was done I sat down to finish my beer, a random person gave me props. "Was that you spitting up there? Good job." DAY MADE. 
I came home exhausted. And then I saw that there was a small package on my floor. 


Inside was THIS APRON: 


Per usual, my sister gets me the best gifts. For those of you who have never seen "My Drunk Kitchen", I suggest you start now. This was by far the best way to end my day. Erin Miller, you are an amazing sister and I dare to say you know me more than any other person on planet Earth. You are a star, and this apron is my favorite thing. 

A lot of my friends sent me text messages and Facebook messages and wall posts, and I was really happy to receive all of them. The ones that made me the saddest were the ones that said "Connor, we miss you." I want to cry. I miss you too. I miss all of the friends I have at Sarah Lawrence. 

However, the best gift is being home. It's very difficult to explain. I don't know if I am weird or sensitive or what, but when I was walking down the streets of Pinole today in the fog, I knew I was in the right place, and I felt happiness well up in my chest and I wanted to cry. I didn't, because I had a hot coffee in my hand and I was about to go to the dentist. But it was a beautiful moment. Spiritually, I wept with happiness. 

On our way back from the bar in Oakland, my cousin and I talked about our plans. 
"I'm tryna get a grill," she said. "I have gold fangs, but I want six gold bottom teeth." 
"That's twenty dollars a tooth," I said. 
"I know," she said, tapping the steering wheel. "Gotta save up."
"I wanted to get a grill hella bad," I said, "but I told my friends at SLC about it and they told me, verbatim, 'that is disgusting, why would you do that, I find that to be the most unattractive thing you could ever do'." 
My cousin made a face. 
"That shoulda been a sign that you were in the wrong place, kid. Grills are raw. It's in your blood." 

It's a small, silly, stupid thing. I am sure I could've found Sarah Lawrence kids who were into getting gold plating for their teeth, but the small, silly things click more snugly into place here at home; my music taste, my clothes, my hobbies. Everything seems to mesh very well with me here. And it makes sense, because I grew up here, I was shaped by Pinole, California, and now I've adapted to function in it. 

I am very thankful for everything I learned at SLC. There is too much to count. I don't know, go read my evaluations or my previous blog posts. Psychology, writing, biology, etc. etc., but maybe the most important lesson was learning how to appreciate the hometown I had left so hurriedly.

I could give advice, like "go to college for the right reasons" but if my readers are anything like me they're not going to believe it until they do it themselves. 

Blah blah blah I got all sentimental. (Oh no... maybe it's the beer GASP). 

I'll end on a lighter note. 

My parents warned me that tonight was going to be dangerous. 
"Don't worry," I told them, "I'm not going to buy a lot of drinks, I don't have that much money." 
"IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY, everyone is going to buy you drinks and you are going to get SICK." 
I heard horror stories from my friends, who went to bars on their birthdays and ended up drinking obscene amounts of alcohol. 
"Don't do it. You aren't a man yet, you'll see," said my friend from Texas. 
The funny thing was, no one noticed at any of the venues. Only my close friends knew it was my birthday. No bartenders, hosts, strangers made a fuss, and I was thankful. 
Until Oakland. 
We walked up to the bar and a bouncer scanned our IDs before we entered. 
My friends went first, then he swiped my ID, looked at me and softly said, "Happy Birthday, dude." 
Three people had checked my ID today, and he was the only one who noticed. Go Oakland bouncer, you are observant and awesome. 

Ooof. This was longer thank I thought. And it's almost 3am. 

I love all of you. I am thankful for everything. 

Here is a song about gold teeth: 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Life Away From SLC

I've been home for about a month now. Here are some highlights.

I am a barista at Starbucks, a waiter at Tachikawa (a sushi restaurant in my home town), and a "cable equipment operator" for Pinole Community Television. I'm bringing home money, not nearly enough, but enough to have a good time about once a week and enough to save up for a car in the near future.

Since I don't have a car, I've been biking to work every day. It's about 20 minutes to each job, and I am more or less fit. I carry everything I need in an intense outdoorsy backpack, and if I do say so myself, I look like a badass when I'm biking everywhere. That or homeless.

Working at Starbucks is wonderful and interesting. I am being trained and I am somewhat more competent at making drinks (although yesterday I was working drive-thru and I think I sold two mochas without coffee in them. Essentially, I handed out two hot chocolates). I am getting better. If you order a Frappe I will panic. But I will make your drink correctly. After asking a lot of questions from more experienced baristas.

Working at Tachikawa is also great. Tips are good, the lunch shift is manageable, and I get free sushi every day I work. There is very little to complain about. I have noticed when I am overwhelmed with customers I will sing to myself, which is soothing, but as I become more competent I am singing less out of stress and more out of pleasure. Also, a high point of my day is hearing a jazzy version of Rihanna's "Take a Bow" play in my restaurant (below). Every time this song comes on my mood improves by 10%.



Lastly, two videos I orchestrated came out since my last blog post. You can check them out below. I put together the "Happy" music video after my sister, Erin (http://syriouslyerin.wordpress.com/) put up her own music video at her school. The second video is something my friend Karloz and I did with my Grandmother. We tried learning how to cook dinuguan, a traditional Filipino dish consisting of pork cooked in its own blood. Delicious. I am told that my grandmother is the real star of the video, and personally I think the best moment is at 2:20 but you can watch the full clip below.



MOVIES SEEN RECENTLY (Rated on a scale of 1-10, 1 being poor and 10 being the best fucking thing I have seen in recent times):

  • Wolf of Wall Street, 10 
  • Her, 7 
  • Justin Bieber's "Believe", 10 - Ya'll need to calm down about Jbiebs getting arrested. People get arrested, it happens, one of my good friends was arrested for a DUI, I don't care if Jbiebs is going on a "downfall" I am still a fan of his music and his performance skills. Don't try to pick a fight with me about this kid because we all deserve to be treated with respect. John 8:7. Google it.) 
  • Frozen, 10 - Asher Roth once asked this question and after seeing this move, I now have an answer. 
  • Frances Ha, 1 - My sister recommended this movie to me and I am sorry I didn't like it. 
  • Inside Llewyn Davis, 10 - Great film, exceptional Cohen Brothers form, added some of the music from the movie to my Spotify 2014 playlist (which can be found in the sidebar). 
  • Blue Jasmine, 10 
BOOKS READ RECENTLY (rated on the same scale as above) 
  • The Ask, by Sam Lipsyte - 5 
  • Taipei, by Tao Lin - 10 (I know I rated this a 3 out of 5 in my Goodreads, but that's because rating something out of 5 stars is an entirely different game than rating something on a scale of one to ten. Also stars and points are different. Deal with it). 
KICKASS MUSIC I'VE HEARD RECENTLY 
  • "Forever" by Cap1 feat. Acehood - I was riding in the car with one of my cousins recently and she was playing some bumpin' jams from her CD player from a CD she had burned herself. I asked her where she found her music, and she said she just listens to stuff from "datpiff.com" and picks what she likes. I tried it and came up with "Forever" by Cap1 feat. AceHood which is a good song, not great, but is something I hum to myself when I am riding my bike to work. 
  • "r - Cali" by A$AP Rocky - Found this while browsing A$AP Rocky's Spotify page, and realized that it was from an album of original music from "Grand Theft Auto V". WHAT? I checked out the rest of the album, it's kind of lame, but this song is bumpin' and I dig it.
  • "Matches by Mac Miller feat. Ab-Soul  - A song that is fun to listen to and also way too relevant. 
Blah blah blah. Turning twenty-one this week. Should be interesting. My friends, family, and co-workers are worried for me. I hopefully will not get smashed. I do not plan on getting smashed. For the love of God, please, I don't want to get smashed. I just want to go to a bar and have a good time and be able to work the next day. Maybe I shouldn't go to a bar. This is the first time I've even entertained that option. Nope. It's my birthday. Gotta do it. 

Cheers and thank you. Here's a picture of me with my Monet calendar: 

Facing the wrong way. 

Facing the right way. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 STUFF

blah blah blah blah
bro
I wrote a little chapbook called "Pain Parade". The only reason it is not in your tiny little hands is because it costs a buttload to mail it across the country, so I've been printing a bunch of copies and handing them out to people who might like it. It's fun, I'll try and get you a copy, if you want one come visit me and honestly give me $5 for it because that would be sweet. 

MY LIFE CURRENTLY: 
  • 9:00am Wake up in a sleeping bag because my house is super cold and my parents don't believe in heat. "It doesn't exist, why should we pay for it?"
  • 10:00am Bike to work because I don't own a car. I put portable speakers in my little bike-basket and blast hip hop to make it feel more like a car. 
  • 11:00am-3:00pm Work at Tachikawa Japanese Restaurant. 
  • 3:00pm Eat sushi in front of Subway because that's the only outdoor seating for miles. 
  • 3:30pm Bike home. 
  • 4:00pm Arrive home, banter with father. This hour of comedic back-and-forth could be televised. It should be. It might be in the near future. 
  • 5:30pm Dinner
  • 6:00pm-12:00am Hiding out in my room, drinking tea, writing, browsing the internet, being moderately creative and productive and eventually watching Parks and Rec after my muse has left me. (It took me five minutes to write the phrase "when my muse has left me" because I couldn't decide if it was fitting or pretentious. I'm a douche either way so I'm gonna roll with it). 
  • 12:00am SLEEP

I attended a rap battle on Thursday. I made it to the second round and lost. I was mad about it. Not because I deserved to win, but because I deserved to lose. Next month, however, I am going to blow that shit out of the water. Since I am at home, I am going to practice freestyle rap during my free moments, and when I am biking to and from work. 

Also, my friend Karloz and I are going to be cooking weekly. This week, we made Cheesy Mushroom Pappardellle, -> (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/cheesy-mushroom-pappardelle-recipe/index.html). We tried making a cooking show but it ended up like this. 


Next week I'm actually going to borrow a camera and we'll do this right. So buckle your seatbelts, Connor and Karloz are going to be cooking. 

Also my friends and I wrote a script for a play but it ended up being a short film. We "wrote" this in about four days, filmed it in one, and lo... Bitch Moth was born. 



That's it. I will be doing a bunch of cool stuff so stay tuned.