Friday, February 29, 2008

Here We Hoe Again

As I was browsing through "party pics" recently I came across one which made me wish I had been a fly on the wall during the decision-making process to purchase the dress on the right. And wouldn't you love it if for once everyone really said what they were thinking when shopping? For example:

"Hey are you going to buy something not on sale today, preferably more than one item so I can make a decent commission? Or will helping you be a complete waste of my time?" the salesperson asks.

"Well, I tend to spend money I don't have - and my parents pay for most of what I spend even though I'm 25, so I'm going to pretend to look at all of the stuff not on sale to look like I can afford it, but then "conveniently" find just what I'm looking for on the sale rack. Then I'll tell you how much great stuff you have on sale, and you will pretend to agree, while silently resenting me even entering your store to begin with." the shopper says.

"Okay awesome. Well I'm going to look for a customer with more money than you, but I'll pretend to look your way every now and then. If you really need something, though, please don't ask me. It annoys the shit out of me when I have to go to the back to get a different size, and if you seriously ask me to call another store to see if they have something, I will mentally be giving you the finger while smiling and saying 'Of course,'" says the salesperson.

"That's fine. I'm looking for something to go out in - so it needs to be fairly skanky, make my boobs look a great deal better than they would with me naked, and just barely cover my ass. Part of me is embarrassed to be shopping for something like that, so I'd prefer you not help me anyways. I typically find most of my personal validation in degrading comments and/or looks made to me by men at bars/clubs, so I need an outfit that will get me the most attention in that regard so that my night out will have been worth the effort. Your judging comments while I check out will be plenty to make me feel like an idiot on my way out the door without you having to pretend to comment on how the red in this dress really contrasts well with my dark hair," says the shopper.

The salesperson looks up from the magazine she is flipping through and says, "Did you say something? I'm not sorry I wasn't listening, but I was busy thinking about how my parents paid six figures for a college degree and I'm making $13.50/hour selling ugly dresses to people like you. If you were asking me for help, please remember how I said it annoys the shit out of me, mmkay?"

And thanks to it being Friday, my guess is that there is a many a dress being shimmied into whose level of risque' could make that one pale in comparison. Sheesh. Since when did wearing a legwarmer as a dress become fashionable? I must have been home sick for longer than I thought.

Happy Friday.

The Truth.

For a few short moments, all the world was right. As I snapped the photo of him standing there, as I had also done 12 years prior, just in a different location where legroom came free with your moderately-expensive game ticket, when logos weren't chosen based on what will sell the most jerseys, and when team owners didn't have entourages whose existence was defined by yelling at refs in unison while wearing coordinating outfits. It was a very different era... and certainly a simpler time.

I had to imagine what was going through his head... Kidd, that is... as he stood at the top of the key, watching Jason "JET" Terry prepare to shoot free throws, and actually heard the announcer say "JET Terry, approaching the runway, for two shots."

The Dallas this Jason Kidd left many years ago was a simple one, and terrible team or not, basketball was still the focus. Now he was standing in a world full of grandiose, money-making fluff with a team known across the league for its ridiculous attempts at constant, annoying and expensive entertainment that our ticket prices alert us we are paying for in the most undiscreet manner possible. Kidd's only reminder that he really had gotten on the right plane to return to Dallas was likely the flash of the cowboy hat on the sideline as Don Carter would stand to cheer on the return of a player he had hand-selected so many years ago.

What he won't recognize is all the entitlement this town seems to feel with regard to an NBA championship. And before he even gets out of a hotel and into a real home, the assumption that "If it doesn't happen this year, the trade was a failure" will have permeated every radio station and local sportscaster's evening chat just as over-priced, unimpressive restaurants have saturated Victory Park for the past two years.

And just as we saw last night and today, in a culture engrossed with blame in a city even more engrossed with problem admiration, aka whining, someone always has to be to blame when things don't go our way. Currently, it is Avery. Next week it will be whoever is the next easiest person to blame. And because of that endearing entitled personality, we will cut every single one of our fingers and toes off to cure the arthritis until we can no longer walk or feed ourselves. Par for this city's course, I'd say.

I mean this in the most loving way possible... but get over yourself, Dallas. Just because you can become a local celebrity by lip-syncing the words to a song at a Mavs game, or get ladies in bed by saying you work for Cuban - or by being him - doesn't mean that anyone in this town knows what it means to truly be a basketball fan. Football? Yes sir. We have seen the highs and lows. Committed Cowboys fans exist all over this town... good or bad... exciting or boring. They are there every game, sweating it out each year in a crappy stadium that often houses a crappy team. And fans those certainly are.

The Mavs? I'm not sure most of this city knew we even had a basketball team until the AA Center opened. And just for the record, you used to not be able to buy a margarita at a Mavs game. Shocking, ladies... I know. Freshen's Yogurt and beer were the two most exciting things on the menu. But these days your social status is defined by how many ushers you have to show your ticket to reach your seat, and whether or not your name is actually the one on the ticket owning the bonds.

Just as much as the next guy, I want to see this team win a championship. Believe me. There is nothing I want more. But as soon as it happens - I hope Dirk & Kidd both retire and this team takes a nose dive. I hope it becomes UNtrendy to love the Mavs, and I hope we can all once again be reminded of the pureness of this sport and why any of us were willing to sit through that first decade of the Mavs existence and bite the bullet.

Until then, though, I couldn't be more content watching the new #2 make everyone in attendance regret the 2.5 years they had this phenom in their backyard for about 25% of what they pay today for a ticket, and they never even knew it.

And no matter what happens this spring or summer, all I know is that I'm glad I saved my old Kidd jerseys. I'm sure they will be the new hot fashion item to wear to the Mavs games for quite awhile, and personally I don't think there is anything wrong with capitalizing on the vanity of this city... and I'm sure as soon as he gets over the shock of it all, neither will Jason Kidd.

Monday, February 25, 2008

An Open Letter to the City of Dallas, Part Two

A few more things.
Sweetie... Cutie pie... Baby cakes... There's no need for us to fight. I can tell that lately, well, lately you have been upset with me. The potholes seem much deeper and the asphalt-mended parts of the road much more aggressively bumpy. You know I'm trying to stop dropping F-bombs on such a regular basis, and those darn bumps that bottom my car out get me every time. I know you obviously aren't happy with what I said in my last letter... and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you.

The abruptly violent weather changes? I know those haven't been accidents... and the evil strain of the flu that your crazy weather patterns have been fostering? Baby, you certainly didn't fall off the tip of the topographer's pencil yesterday. I know it's a cry for help. And I'm here. I'm listening. I know you have needs too, and it's not all your fault.

You've gotten the shaft for way too long 'round these parts. From the beautiful old homes that keep being ripped out of your ground and replaced with the definition of "hideously unoriginal," to the blame that is placed on you for cursing good sports teams that just can't seem to finish... I know the beating you have taken is awful. Worse even than the one I felt after paying a huge tab @ Nove on Saturday riddled with memories of horrible service and a $12 dessert way too small for its own good. You just don't deserve it.

It's time to make it right, Dallas. I want to do right by you. I feel your face, like the Little Engine that Could pasted on the front of the Chase Tower, looking down over all of this nonsense with a tear streaming down your face. Baby, I'd tattoo one on my own in your honor if my vanity wasn't so important. I would. I really would.

Maybe I could take you out for a night on the... well... "you" sometime soon. Maybe we could even take a little jaunt over to Fort Worth, to get away from it all... to remember what a real downtown used to feel like. To remember how it used to be in the good 'ole days when the streets didn't stink of hobo pee and where the potholes don't remind you of a Harry Hines hooker's vagina. To reminisce about the days when life was much simpler, when greasy hair gel was in much greater supply at the local store, when SMU kids knew what Greenville was... and stayed over there, when Uptown snobbery didn't exist and Turtle Creek was a rare, unspoiled nugget to be cherished. I know you miss it... I do too.

I want to help you get your identity back... I know it's been lost for awhile. Maybe some new clothes would help... J Lindeberg has one of those understated logos that screams "Please casually recognize this logo and validate my existence in doing so because I spent way too much on this ugly shirt." I think you would find yourself getting lots of attention from the ladies with that attire... but maybe not the kind of attention you want. Or if you want to stay on the cutting edge, you might do even better at Matthew Giese's new place, Centre. I saw a beanie there by We Are the Superlative Conspiracy and immediately thought of you.

Then again, I know you are on a tight budget. And I wouldn't want you redefining yourself by doing exactly what everyone in this town has done that has turned you in to what you are today... and is the reason the "D" in Big D now stands for debt.

It's time to start fresh... time to ask for help when you need it and to take a stand when you think something isn't right. Time to change your bad habits and to make a new life for yourself. Time to undo what has been done... to start saving instead of spending... to start exercising instead of ruining your immune system... to start giving back instead of just consuming.

Meet me at MiCo West Vil @ 6 for a few Mambos and we can discuss it more in-depth.

All my love Big D,
Jackie O

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Welcome Home.

Minus stinky old Reunion Arena and practice facilities in God-awful Farmers Branch. And plus the biggest bunch of trend-following, fairweather fans, 99.8% of whom never had a clue you played in Dallas to begin with... or drove a silver Mercedes... or dated Spinderella... or had a stalker named Jackie O...

Now, let's go win a championship.

Friday, February 15, 2008

In the Words of Tim Gunn, Cuban...

Make it work.

And below is yet another example of how people in this city have way too much time on their hands... thank God for low cost of living indices.

And nothing says I love the Mavs & Jason Kidd like a song in the background proclaiming "Shut up, bitch, swallow."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Love You. Here's A Folded Piece of Paper to Show It.

Just a few of the things that went through my head while I was shopping for a card this Valentine’s Day @ the Cityplace Target:

1) The guy standing next to me is inappropriately close.

2) It is incredibly awkward to pick out a card for someone you care about, whether it's your mom, your niece or your significant other, while standing in a cattle herd-like crowd of people who also chose to wait until the last minute to pick out a frickin’ card to express their innermost thoughts written, of course, by someone else.

3) Why are all of these cards so completely (pick as many as apply)
a. Cheesy
b. Awkward
c. Not even remotely funny
d. Fucking gay
e. All of the above

4) Did I really just watch some disinterested lady grab whatever card she saw first, shrug her shoulders, and walk to the register? That guy definitely isn’t getting laid tonight.

5) Why do I keep looking at cards twice thinking they will seem less ridiculous the second time?

6) I give up. Where the hell is the blank card section?

All I know, is thank God for They always know just what I want to say:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I’m Sick. Feel Sorry for Me.

Screw Dallas and its “I can’t make up my mind” weather patterns. Screw all of the healthy people on Katy Trail on Sunday. And screw you and your uncongested sinuses that taunt me from your mimosa-sipping perch at Taverna, while I struggle to remember again why exactly it’s a bad idea to drink while on antibiotics.

For weeks now, I have been the awkward one who people step away from as I cough involuntarily on the elevator, sneeze out of desperation in my tiny little cube and blow my nose every hour in the bathroom like clockwork.

Yeah. It’s gross. I know. Believe me, I’m more tired of it than you are. But more than any of these disgusting occurrences, the thing that chaps my hide the most is the fact that I can’t taste my frickin’ food. At first I thought to myself, this was sure to only last a day or two. Eight days later, here I sit, still unable to taste food and pretty much pissed at the world because of it.

I’m certainly not the skinniest beanpole of the bunch, but also nowhere near the same category as a mind-blowing size 32 True Religion. And food is one thing I love.
From my fabulous bone-in steak at Nick & Sam’s to my Potbelly Wreck, hold the oil… from my Mambo Taxi @ MiCo to my Kenny’s Woodfire Grill lemondrop martini with sugar on the rim, I heart food & drink.

As some friends and I made our way to dinner last Friday night, I was oddly apathetic about where we were headed, simply because deciding between crunchy or mushy wasn’t quite doing it for me. We settled upon the random selection of Cremona, the shadiest of shady Italian restaurants in our beloved city, where the declaration on the menu of being around since 1977 was likely another way of reiterating just how long it had been competing with Campisi’s for the best place to hide a Tommy Gun in a restaurant.

As we made our way back to the Uptown-mobile, we noticed a building much shadier than Cremona could have aspired to be on even its best day. The words “Jet Set” were lit up in red, surrounded by stars as though we had just stumbled upon the coolest Star Wars bar in the city. Excitement filled our group as we wondered if we had finally found a true “hole in the wall” bar that hadn’t already received five stars through Guidelive, or been named “Best Hole in the Wall” by the Observer. One of our friends decided to Christen this new hopeful hallowed of halloweds, crossing his fingers he didn’t die in the process.

He returned not thirty seconds later, eyes wide open and mouth slightly gaping, letting us know it wasn’t what he was expecting – yet we still had stumbled upon greatness.

“She told me to come back on Thursdays,” he said. “Who told you?” we all asked, perplexed.

“Umm, the madam?”

The madam. Thursdays, apparently, were gay night.

“Buuuttt… you aren’t gay, Andrew.” I said.

“I know. But I was alone, so gay was my best option.” he said.

As we all stared at him, confused, we realized just what we had stumbled upon. A swinger’s club, to be sure, and the Madam’s rule was “twos only” on Friday and Saturday nights. Our people-watching options on the weekends will forever be changed by this soon-to-be classic discovery.

And while no, Jackie O is not a swinger, or married for that matter, finding a swinger’s club in the middle of Uptown for some reason gave me the same kind of giddy excitement I experience when I get a table on free sushi night at Steel,
or when I take my first bite of a Mooyah Special and don’t have to imagine how good it tastes, and, soon enough, when I have a front row view of my unassuming friends’ faces when they meet me and my runny nose at the newest little hotspot in Uptown on Friday.

It’s the little things that get you through the rough times. The little things.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Puppet Show

A week or so ago, I had the unfortunate opportunity to sign a new lease committing me to burning just that much more cashover the next year while I continue to rent and not buy. Small price to pay to be in Uptown, right? This unoriginal nugget of our town we cherish so much, where the rent is high and the number of SMU co-signed leases even higher.

Every once in awhile, I get a glimpse of why I suck it up and pay the astronomical rent - on those beautiful days like yesterday when walking down the street to whatever bar might currently occupy what is now BlackFriar feels like a luxury and not a chore. Or when I remember that I have no choice but to live in this topographically-challenged city, and that $1500/month would be cheap in Manhattan or LA. I get to enjoy a tight-knit, ever-growing, downright fun area of a city I love for a fraction of what I could anywhere else. That alone just happens to be something to be thankful for.

Unfortunately, as I was signing away my life recently, I realized how commercial this Uptown haven has become. I know that's quite the Captain Obvious statement on its own, and obviously, from Victory Park all the way to Knox/Henderson there is a plethora of manufactured "originality" that benefits daily any one of the hundreds of corporations that have grasped the opportunity to commercially develop in this part of town.

One of those just happens to be an apartment developer we have all gotten to know very well over the past few years, as it has continued to build McMansion apartments all over town, while charging rent rates you couldn't possibly imagine anyone would be dense enough to pay. Yet, there I sat. Dense. Writing a check I would have thrown up at the idea of writing, much less signing, just a few years ago.

As my first week of the new year progressed, I soon realized that my Friday move-in date would cause quite an issue for me logistically, so I made a phone call. I expected that with the insane amount of rent I would be paying this complex over the next twelve months, making a small adjustment for me would be no problem at all.

I was wrong.

Picking up my keys the evening before I was to move in was apparently an issue. "Seriously?" I asked. "You guys can't be flexible with me by one day?"

I was then succinctly read what had to have been a script with some line about corporate policy, and if I wanted to change my move-in date, they would be happy to do that for the additional-day fee.

"Okay...?" I said, in my sarcastically-questioning tone.

"So, if I keep my move-in date on Friday, then will my keys be couriered to me at midnight that evening, since I am paying for that entire day, yet won't have access to my apartment? Or will you simply be prorating my rent for the 9 hours I won't be able to access my keys?"

I quickly realized my sarcastic tendencies had just pissed off the leasing office of the place I would call home for the next year, which was probably not the smartest move I could have made - squibbling over about $30 in total.

But it's the principal, damnit. The principal. I'd have to bet that many a dumbass move has been made on principal throughout history, and I was simply adding my name to the list.

But more eye-opening than that little event in itself was the heartless, service-last mentality that has been infused into this little place we call Uptown. We are all, like it or not, bending over and grabbing our ankles on a daily basis - and not caring one bit. And because there is an eighteen year-old backed by a couple of cash cows waiting in the wings to take my place, negotiation suddenly loses its weight or even appeal.

This city started as an SMU co-ed with a fake ID and a parent's credit card with no regard for price or consequence, and has turned into an aging, tanning bed-wrinkled, late-twenties adult surrounded with bright lights, expensive stores, unlimited $10 drinks and a mailbox full of credit card bills. Dallas, where have you gone?

I know I could make a statement. I know I could move north, or east or west. But as your rent prices so boldly declare, that would not be nearly as much fun.

So, here I am. Getting raped. Which, aside from snakes, is quite possibly my biggest fear. And I'm letting it happen. Asking for it, really.

Those monthly Saturday brunches better be fucking good... or else, or else... I'll keep paying my rent on time and continue to contribute to all that is wrong with this city. Soo... so, there.