Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Happy New Year!

I'd like to take this time to say hello, and goodbye, and wish everyone a warm year's ending. Personally, this year, the palindrome of all years: 2002, in many ways has been one of the most successful for me, and in other ways I detested waking up and wanted to hide under my bed for hours and days on end, but alas, we must move forward and embrace out journeys through life. 2002 reflects upon itself, as I looked in the mirror, staring at my reflection, an image I cannot fake to the world. My face has new changes, my hair is a lot less these days (and thinning), my eyes have grown more cynical, my voice has grown stronger, and my focus to live boldly and write truthfully and take risks seems to led me back on track... 2002 reflects itself, as I too reflected upon myself to see many things: good, bad, and ugly. We are who we are, and we're going to go where we're headed, and I wish everyone sanity, peace, joy, happiness on your trip through 2003, and I hope one of you wins the lottery this year so you can lend me $50,000 for a down payment on a farm in Iceland. With that being said, I consider myself a wealthy man, not because of my net worth, but rather the people in my life who love, listen, support and inspire me. My wealth is a result of my friendships, and because of you, I must say... Thanks.

Happy New Year.

Be Sweet!
31 Dec 2002

3 hours.... I'm getting antsy! I talked to Zobo and we're planning on meeting for a Phishy pre-party at Triple Crown on 28th & Seventh Ave, (Stop by if you are in the hood from 6:15 to 7:15). He has a crew of about 8 or so Japanese Phisheads to pre-party with, so it should be phun! Ok... I'm outta here... I'll blog a setlist and thoughts when I get home!
5? 5 hours until PHISH!!!!!!!!! I'm calling Punch You In The Eye to open the show.
Dave Simanoff sent me this e-mail:

Hey Pauly --

Just thirteen hours 'til you enter the New Year with Phish! Are you psyched? If you could be any Phish-loving animal, what animal would you be and why? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Phish Food ice cream bar?

What comes to mind when I write the following: "In 1972, a crack band was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire Phish."

How many fish could a Phish bitch fish if a Phish bitch could fish fish? Do Phish girls just wanna have fun? Would you like to sleep with the Phishes? Did you leave your heart in San Fran-Phish-co?

Which is your favorite snack food:

A. Pepperidge Farm Gold-Phish
B. Swedish Phish
C. Phish and chips
D. Phishfingers

Have you heard the following saying: "Give a man a Phish CD, and he'll listen for a day, but teach a man how to be Phish, and he'll make great music forever"? Have you read Dr. Seuss' classic, "One Phish, Two Phish, Red Phish, Blue Phish"?

Your Phishy pal,

Truckin' December 2002 (Vol.1, Issue 7)

Welcome to Truckin' my monthly E-Zine. This month's issue includes another Subway Story from me, as well as a pants dropping story from Señor. I chose to share another NaNoWriMo novel sample from Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. So sit back, relax, enjoy, and spread the word! Thanks for all your support! Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! Salukis, McG

December Subway Story: Part 1 by Tenzin McGrupp
He sat across from me, with an oversized tattered jacket, and extra bulky pants, probably because he had on at least two pairs of pants, maybe more to keep warm from the bitter December cold. He cradled a ripped, black Glad garbage bag, which apparently contained all his possessions... More

I'm Taking Off My Pants! by Señor
Misadventures from the Philippines, Part I: Upon arrival it seemed they were not gonna let me in and upon departure it seemed they were not gonna let me out! Yet the true adventure lies in between. I ignored all warnings from parents, friends and my government and headed off to the Philippines for vacation... More

A Phishy Proposal by Tenzin McGrupp
"I cannot believe they got engaged during a Phish show in Las Vegas!" Angela exclaimed, with her wide resplendent eyes reflecting the non-stop twinkle of neon lights in the endless Las Vegas night, as we euphorically walked back to our hotel room... More

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog by Tenzin McGrupp
He didn’t know about the engagement. But he knew about Sasha breaking up with Slab after she came home from work early one afternoon and caught Slab having sex with a petite Malaysian girl whom he picked up at the dogrun in Tompkins Square Park... More

Pedro's Window by Tenzin McGrupp
Pedro would get up early each morning, before his mother, and even before his grandmother, who’s daily routine began at 5:30 promptly everyday. Pedro would sneak out of his bedroom, the smallest bedroom in the apartment, which he shared with his oldest brother Marcus, who sometimes was passed out from too much cheap rum... More

Her Last Christmas Present by Tenzin McGrupp
Her daughter calmly sat at the edge of her bed, as her doelful eyes looked at the small box wrapped up in recycled Santa Claus wrapping paper. She had wondered if her ill seven year old child would make it through the holidays... More

Well.... 12 hours.... and counting... getting excited!

Monday, December 30, 2002

"When I say friends, I mean friends. Not anybody and everybody can be your friend. It must be someone as close to you as your skin, someone who imparts color, drama, meaning to your life, however snug and secure it may be." - Henry Miller
21 hours? Wow...
The crispy critters sat in the bent maple tree that cluttered the far end of the salty sidewalk. "Who farted?" shouted the crooked man with the fancy walking stick, his under-sized wife, deaf in one ear, just kept ripping gaseous explosions.
I got a Phishy vibe... and I'm feeling a Harry Hood for tomorrow's show... and I'm hoping for a Mike's Song. That would be nice. Tube also... and I'm always jonesin' to hear MoMA Dance.
28 hours... and counting...
Chinese Artist to Eat Dead Baby on TV Here's a bit: The documentary, Beijing Swings, which looks at the extreme practices of some artists in China, also shows a man drinking wine that has had an amputated penis marinaded in it.

Señor's India Update!

I just got a few e-mails from Señor who is 10 1/2 hours ahead of us in India! Looks like he has more access to the internet from the frequent e-mails he's been sending my way. Anyway, here you go:

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date: 27 Dec 02 @ 10:36 am EST
Subject: Hola, Señor Pee!!

LOL, believe it or not in Thai, Pee is a word of respect that one uses when adressing someone older, like an older brother or an older respected member of society (whatever that means!!!!) it is also used by a wife or female lover when she is talking to her husband/lover!!!!!!

Fuck the Yankess and their fucking cuban pitcher!!!!!!! Fuck the Jets!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe you are seeing Phish in just a few days... WOW!!!!!! Tomorrow I am off to a couple of Hill Station resorts and on Monday I am visiting Nainesh (remember him from work????) he is in Bombay visitng his sister, oh by the way in a few weeks I'm gonna spend a couple of days in Maldives, why not? Its on a $65 flight and collecting new countries is my hobby!!!!!!

(I'm spending) NYE in Bombay, I was gonna go to Goa, but that was delayed for a couple of weeks... NYE is overrated anyway the only real way to spend it is with Phish!!!!! God bless you, man!!!!! Happy New Year!!!!!

With love,

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date: 30 Dec 02 @ 07:31 am EST
Subject: JETS make the playoffs!!

CONGRATS ON THE JETS...YOU OWE US ONE!!!!!! You can make it up to us, by letting the Red Sox win the pennant this year....

Well I am now in Bombay and just got offered all the grass and "Charley" (their name for cocaine) that I want... I told the dude, "Where were you six months ago!!!!" Anyway, McGrupp have an incredible time at Phish and Jay, do me a favor, get drunk enough for both of us... know what is weird, I'll be celebrating NYE 10.5 hours before you guys... SEEYA!!!!

Señor :)
36 hours.... until.... the PHISH!
Monday Rant... Clones

I am peeved at all these sequels that are being released, filmed, and brought to life in hastily thrown together pre-production lunch meetings in Hollyweird. For the budget costs of Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde... a production company could fund 20 smaller indy flicks... and give unknown & struggling writers, directors, and actors a shot of displaying their craft and talents. And where else could the suits in Hollyweird find brilliant ideas to clone, steal, and regurgitate into a mass-produced machine of sequels and lunch boxes and other marketing ploys.

And as far as this cloning business... I must admit that I do not know anything about the medical and scientific stuff relating to how cloning works, so I really can't talk alot of shit that I do not know much about. But as far as the moral implications of cloning people, I do have some ideas and opinions on cloning humans... I am against cloning humans for any reason. I need to do more research and talk to more nerdy doctors to help me understand what exactly a clone is and if the Raeliens are for real, or just freaked out, sexed-out alien followers...

Sunday, December 29, 2002

JETS!! Gang Green Beat the Packers... and make the playoffs!!
48 hours.... and counting... to a Phishy NYE!
Sunday Ramblings...

The war drums beat on, as more troops are being dispatched to the Persian Gulf. The shadow of doom and gloom has been cast over the world since 9.11, yes, I know in many circles this cloud of so-called despair, hatred and ugliness had been festering for years, generations, and centuries... but for a while, in pre-9.11 NYC, things here in my world had calmed down to a dull roar... where as the biggest concerns on my mind used to be trying to figure out where my place in this world begins and ends, and whether or not my voice, my instincts, and my vision are sane, ripe and ready to be harvested. My dire confusion and inner turmoil regarding my artistic vision were on a collision course with real issues in my life... a stubborn and insincere family, shitty low paying jobs, lack of spending money, vile credit card bills, unpaid and defaulted school loans, lingering medical problems, smoldering romantic entanglements... all of which ended up on my plate in 2002. As I shovel the shit off my breakfast table, I make a collective sigh with the rest of the world, as we all hold our breath and wait... and watch (on CNN) what new mind numbing events will shape the New World Order, invade my diminishing personal privacy and alter my lackluster artistic vision. Yep, just another Sunday in the big city...

Señor Update!

I just got another e-mail from Señor! He was answering an e-mail I sent him, regarding my lyrics for Freak being made into a song for the Japanese jamband: Horse...

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date: 26 Dec 02 01:53 AM EST
Subject: Re: my lyrics.... got made into a song!

HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is AWESOME!!!!! So
cool, man!!!!!!! I cannot believe they actually have
real gigs, I might just have to stop off in Japan before
I make it back to the USA... right on, bro, keep writing
and good things will continue to happen!!!!!!!


Señor :)

58.5 hours until.... Phish!
The PAULY BOWL: Lleapin Llamas vs. Changin My Picks

Best of luck! Winner gets a MILES DAVIS bootleg... from Paris 1967. It's the battle of Atlanta as two Emory grads, Dave Simanoff and Brad Singer battle for the first annual Pauly Bowl!

Last Week Results...
Lleapin' Llamas 9, Shakedown Street 8
Changin My Picks 10, Free Beer & Chicken 9
NYC Sports... So the NY Giants won yesterday in OT, and yes, they got lucky... Jim Fassel will keep his job, and the Giants make the playoffs. And then the Knicks got whooped by the Dallas Mavericks, one night after they beat up on Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets... and of course in about seven plus hours the JETS will take the field against the Green Bay Packers... and we'll know sometime tonight if the JETS make the playoffs, or if my NYC sports season is over until the 2003 Baseball Season begins...

Saturday, December 28, 2002

To my friends and family:

Please do not clone me! (In case of a tragic event) I think all of you would agree that one of me is too much to handle. If you have clone something... please make copies of all my ramblings and sent them out to the four corners of the globe. I would rather achieve immortality in that manner, than to live forever via a cloning...

Required Reading.... from The Nation: The Al Qaeda Connection... Try Riyadh, Not Baghdad written by Peter Bergen
84 hours.... until PHISH!

Friday, December 27, 2002

100 Hours to go... until Phish!

Top 10 Random Phishy memories...

10. My 100th show at Deer Creek (7.12.00)... the boys opened with a rare MY FRIEND MY FRIEND.

9. Zobo pulling out his ticket stub and holding it up during Golgi Apparatus at the Osaka, Japan show  (6.16.00).

8. Beano making fun of the half naked, passed out, fat guy at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta 4.23.94).

7. Gil eating ice cream during Mellow Mood opener, Pepsi Arena (Albany 9.8.00).

6. Following Mike Gordon to the venue in Fukuoka, Japan after I got Señor, Beano & myself lost.

5. Jay Sheer eating Chicken Strips and fries in the middle of the Vegas Halloween show (10.31.98)... while Senor and I are completely dosed out.

4. Going to a show with Heather and her parents at the Woodlands, Texas (9.25.99) and having to drive her parents home because they "had too much fun" at the show.

3. Señor jumping up and down with the happiest smile I had ever seen on his face, during the middle of First Tube at Osaka, Japan (6.16.00).

2. Boogie's glowstick hitting Page's Piano during Harry Hood (Nassau 10.8.99).

and #1.... random Phishy memory...

1. The Phishy Proposal... Las Vegas (9.29.00)... during Mellow Mood a guy proposed to his girlfriend... read all about it in this month's issue of Truckin!

P.S. Sorry for the cheap plug... :) and I'm sorry if one of our moments did not make the TOP 10... I did this off the top of my head and I can think of a half o dozen memories that I missed... like Heather locking the her car keys in her trunk at the Gorge, and the best piss of our lives that KK and I took before the PNC show in the parking lot, and Spider wearing the full cowboy ensemble: black hat and the "Don't put your dick in my friends" t-shirt at Oswego... lol... and the Pauly Mobile running out of gas with Señor & Modeski after a NJ show... and how could I forget Phil Lesh playing with the boys at Shoreline in 1999... so many memories... so little time... to blog and to email you... I guess thats why you have to buy the book!
Revised Top 10 Clone List....

1. Jerry Garcia
2. Jimi Hendrix
3. Charlie Parker
4. John Lennon
5. Mikey Houser (Guitar player from Widespread Panic)
7. Keith Moon
8. Duane Allman
9. Elvis
10. Janis Joplin
I'm making my list of Top 10 People that I want cloned...

1. Chris Farley
2. Jerry Garcia
3. JFK
4. Elvis
5. John Candy
6. Jim Belushi
7. Van Gogh
8. Duane Allman
9. John Wayne
10. Ted Williams
My buddy Tom from Seattle sent me this e-mail:


Silly boy, Santa keeps all the naughty girls for himself. I been trying
for years to get Santa to divulge this treasured secret and all I get
in return is a lump of coal, stale fruitcake, and a $5 gift certificate to
JC Penny. Besides, after seeing the latest Lord of the Rings (The
Two Towers) its the naughty elves that I'm after -- if you know what
I mean ; ) I hope this email finds you well. I miss you bro.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Take Care, TC

Thursday, December 26, 2002

I'm watching The Wonder Boys on cable...
Christmas Story Comments

On Auggie Wren's Christmas Story:

Dave Simanoff writes: "That's a really cool story. I usually don't like these e-mail missives ... the mushy stuff ... but this one is really honest and touching. Thanks."

On Her Last Christmas Present:

Jessica comments: "The Christmas Story you wrote almost made me cry. Something about it was just so...real. I loved it."
Is my math correct? 117 hours until Phish??

Wednesday, December 25, 2002


Written by Paul Auster

I heard this story from Auggie Wren. Since Auggie doesn't come off too well in it, at least not as well as he'd like to, he's asked me not to use his real name. Other than that, the whole business about the lost wallet and the blind woman and the Christmas dinner is just as he told it to me.

Auggie and I have known each other for close to 11 years now. He works behind the counter of a cigar store on Court Street in downtown Brooklyn, and since it's the only store that carries the little Dutch cigars I like to smoke, I go in there fairly often. For a long time, I didn't give much thought to Auggie Wren. He was the strange little man who wore a hooded blue sweatshirt and sold me cigars and magazines, the impish, wisecracking character who always had something funny to say about the weather or the Mets or the politicians in Washington, and that was the extent of it.

But then one day several years ago he happened to be looking through a magazine in the store, and he stumbled across a review of one of my books. He knew it was me because a photograph accompagnied the review, and after that things changed between us. I was no longer just another customer to Auggie, I had become a distinguished person. Most people couldn't care less about books and writers, but it turned out that Auggie considered himself an artist. Now that he had cracked the secret of who I was, he embraced me as an ally, a confidant, a brother-in-arms. To tell the truth, I found it rather embarrassing. Then almost inevitably, a moment came when he asked if I would he willing to look at his photographs. Given his enthusiasm and good will, there didn't seem to be any way I could turn him down.

God knows what I was expecting. At the very least, it wasn't what Auggie showed me the next day. In a small, windowless room at the back of the store, he opened a cardboard box and pulled out 12 identical black photo albums. This was his life's work, he said, and it didn't take him more than five minutes a day to do it. Every morning for the past 12 years, he had stood at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street at precisely 7 O'clock and had taken a single color photograph of precisely the same view. The project now ran to more than 4 000 photographs. Each album represented a different year, and all the pictures were laid out in sequence, from January I to December 31, with the dates carefully recorded under each one.

As I flipped through the albums and began to study Auggie's work, I didn't know what to think. My first impression was that it was the oddest, most bewildering thing I had ever seen. All the pictures were the same. The whole Project was a numbing onslaught of repetition, the same street and the same buildings over and over again, an unrelenting delirium of redundant images. I couldn't think of anything to say to Auggie, so I continued turning pages, nodding my head in feigned appreciation. Auggie himself seemed unperturbed, watching me with a broad smile on his face, but after I’d been at it for several minutes, he suddenly interrupted me and said, "You're going too fast. You'll never get it if you don't slow down.

He was right, of course. If you don't take the time to look, you'll never manage to see anything. I picked up another album and forced myself to go more deliberately. I paid closer attention to details, took note of shifts in the weather, watched for the changing angles of light as the seasons advances. Eventually, I was able to detect subtle differences in the traffic flow, to anticipate the rhythm of the different days (the commotion of workday mornings, the relative stillness of weekends, the contrast between Saturdays and Sundays). And then, little by little, I began to recognize the faces of the people in the background, the passers-by on their way to work, the same people in the same spot every morning, living an instant of their lives in the field of Auggie's camera.

Once I got to know them, I began to study their postures, the way they carried themselves from one morning to the next, trying to discover their moods from these surface indications, as if I could imagine stories for them, as if I could penetrate the invisible dramas locked inside their bodies. I picked up another album. I was no longer bored, no longer puzzled as I had been at first. Auggie was photographing time, I realized, both natural time and human time, and he was doing it by planting himself in one tiny corner of the world and willing it to be his own, by standing guard in the space he had chosen for himself. As he watched me pore over his work, Auggie continued to smile with pleasure. Then, almost as if he had been reading my thoughts, he began to recite a line from Shakespeare. "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow", he muttered under his breath, "time creeps on its petty pace". I understood then that he knew exactly what he was doing.

That was more than two thousand pictures ago. Since that day, Auggie and I have discussed his work many times, but it was only last week that I learned how he acquired his camera and started taking pictures in the first place. That was the subject of the story he told me, and I'm still struggling to make sense of it.

Earlier that same week, a man from The New York Times called me and asked if I would be willing to write a short story that would appear in the paper on Christmas morning. My first impulse was to say no, but the man was very charming and persistent, and by the end of the conversation I told him I would give it a try. The moment I hung up the phone, however, I fell into a deep panic. What did I know about Christmas ? I asked myself. What did I know about writing short stories on commission ?

I spent the next several days in despair, warring with the ghosts of Dickens, 0. Henry and other masters of the Yuletide spirit. The very phrase "Christmas story" had unpleasant associations for me, evoking dreadful outpourings of hypocritical mush and treacle. Even at their best, Christmas stories were no more than wish-fulfillment dreams, fairy tales for adults, and I'd be damned if I'd ever allowed myself to write an unsentimental Christmas story ? It was a contradiction in terms, an impossibility, an out-and-out conundrum. One might just as well try to imagine a racehorse without legs, or a sparrow without wings.

I got nowhere. On Thursday I went out for a long walk, hoping the air would clear my head. Just past noon, I stopped in at the cigar store to replenish my supply, and there was Auggie, standing behind the counter as always. He asked me how I was. Without really meaning to, I found myself unburdening my troubles to him. "A Christmas story ?" he said after I had finished. "Is that all ? If you buy me lunch, my friend, I'll tell you the best Christmas story you ever heard. And I guarantee that every word of it is true".

We walked down the block to Jack's, a cramped and boisterous delicatessen with good pastrami sandwiches and photographs of old Dodger teams hanging on the walls. We found a table at the back, ordered our food, and then Auggie launched into his story.

"It was the summer of '72", he said. "A kid came in one morning and started stealing things from the store. He must have been about 19 or 20, and I don't think I've ever seen a more pathetic shoplifter in my life. He's standing by the rack of paperbacks along the far wall and stuffing books into the pockets of his raincoat. It was crowded around the counter just then so I didn't see him at first. But once I noticed what he was up to, I started to shout. He took off like a jackrabbit, and by the time I managed to get out from behind the counter, he was already tearing down Atlantic Avenue. I chased after him for about half a block, and then I gave up. He'd dropped something along the way, and since I didn't feel like running anymore, I bent down to see what it was.

"It turned out to be his wallet. There wasn't any money inside, but his driver's license was there along with three or four snapshots. I suppose I could have called the cops and had him arrested. I had his name and address from the license, but I felt kind of sorry for him. He was just a measly little punk, and once I looked at those pictures in his wallet, I couldn't bring myself to feel very angry at him. Robert Goodwin. That was his name. In one of the pictures, I remember, he was standing with his arm around his mother or grand-mother. In another one, he was sitting there at age nine or ten dressed in a baseball uniform with a big smile on his face. I just didn't have the heart. He was probably on dope now, I figured. A poor kid from Brooklyn without much going for him, and who cared about a couple of trashy paperbacks anyway ?

"So I held onto the wallet. Every once in a while I'd get a little urge to send it back to him, but I kept delaying and never did anything about it. Then Christmas rolls around and I'm stuck with nothing to do. The boss usually invites me over to his house to spend the day, but that year he and his family were down in Florida visiting relatives. So I'm sitting in my apartment that morning feeling a little sorry for myself, and then I see Robert Goodwin's wallet lying on a shelf in the kitchen. I figure what the hell, why not do something nice for once, and I put on my coat and go out to return the wallet in person.

"The address was over in Boerum Hill, somewhere in the projects. It was freezing out that day, and I remember getting lost a few times trying to find the right building. Everything looks the same in that place, and you keep going over the same ground thinking you're somewhere else. Anyway, I finally get to the apartment I'm looking for and ring the bell. Nothing happens. I assume no one's there, but I try again just to make sure. I wait a little longer, and just when I'm about to give up, I hear someone shuffling to the door. An old woman's voice asks who's there, and I say I'm looking for Robert Goodwin. 'Is that you, Robert ?' the old woman says, and then she undoes about 15 locks and opens the door.

"She has to be at least 80, maybe 90 years old, and the first thing I notice about her is that she's blind. 'I knew you'd come, Robert,' she says. 'I knew you wouldn't forget your Granny Ethel on Christmas'. And then she opens her arms as if she's about to hug me.

"I didn't have much time to think, you understand. I had to say something real fast, and before I knew what was happening, I could hear the words coming out of my mouth. 'That's right, Granny Ethel', I said. 'I came back to see you on Christmas'. Don't ask me why I did it. I don't have any idea. Maybe I didn't want to disappoint her or something. I don't know. It just came out that way, and then this old woman was suddenly hugging me there in front of the door, and I was hugging her back.

"I didn't exactly say that I was her grandson. Not in so many words, at least, but that was the implication. I wasn't trying to trick her, though. It was like a game we'd both decided to play without having to discuss the rules. I mean, that woman knew I wasn't her grandson Robert. She was old and dotty, but she wasn't so far gone that she couldn't tell the difference between a stranger and her own flesh and blood. But it made her happy to pretend, and since I had nothing better to do anyway, I was happy to go along with her.

"So we went into the apartment and spent the day together. The place was a real dump, I might add, but what else can you expect from a blind woman who does her own housekeeping ? Every time she asked me a question about how I was, I would lie to her. I told her I'd found a good job working in a cigar store, I told her I was about to get married, I told her a hundred pretty stories, and she made like she believed every one of then. "that's fine, Robert " , she would say nodding her head and smiling. "I always knew things would work out for you.".

"After a while, I started getting pretty hungry. There didn't seem to be much food in the house, so I went out to a store in the neighborhood and brought back a mess of stuff. A precooked chicken, vegetable soup, a bucket of potato salad, a chocolate cake, all kinds of things. Ether had a couple of bottles of wine stashed in her bedroom, and so between us we managed to put together a fairly decent Christmas dinner. We both got a little tipsy from the wine, I remember, and after the meal was over we went out to sit in the living room, where the chairs were more comfortable. I had to take a pee, so I excused myself and went to the bathroom down the hall. That's where things took yet another tum. I was ditsy enough doing my little jig as Ethel's grandson, but what I did next was positively crazy, and I've never forgiven myself for it. I go into the bathroom, and stacked up against the wall next to the shower, I see a pile of six or seven cameras. Brand-new 35 millimeter cameras, still in their boxes, top-quality merchandise. I figure this is the work of the real Robert, a storageplace for one of his recent hauls. I've never taken a picture in my life, and I've certainly never stolen anything, but the moment I see those cameras sitting in the bathroom, I decide I want one of them for myself. Just like that. And without even stopping to think about it, I tuck one of the boxes under my arm and go back to the living room.

"I couldn't have been gone for more than three minutes, but in that time Granny Ethel had fallen asleep in her chair. Too much Chianti, I suppose. I went into the kitchen to wash the dishes, and she slept on through the whole racket, snoring like a baby. There didn't seem to be any point in disturbing her, so I decided to leave. I couldn't even write a note to say goodbye, seeing that she was blind and all, and so I just left. I put her grandson's wallet on the table, picked up the camera again, and walked out of the apartment. And that's the end of the story".

"Did you ever go back to see her ?" I asked.

"Once", he said. "About three of four months later. I felt so bad about stealing the camera, I hadn't even used it yet. I finally made up my mind to return it, but Ethel wasn't there anyrnore. I don't know what happened to her, but someone else had moved into the apartment, and he couldn't tell me where she was".

"She probably died".

"Yeah, probably".

"Which means that she spent her last Christmas with you".

"1 guess so. I never thought of it that way".

"It was a good deed, Auggie. it was a nice thing you did for her".

"I lied to her, and then I stole from her. I don't see how you can call that a good deed".

"You made her happy. And the camera was stolen anyway. It's not as if the person you took it from really owned it".

"Anything for art, eh Paul ?"

"I wouldn't say that. But at least you've put the camera to good use".

"And now you've got your Christmas story, don't you ?"

"Yes", I said. "I suppose I do".

I paused for a moment, studying Auggie as a wicked grin spread across his face. I couldn't be sure, but the look in his eyes at that moment was so mysterious, so fraught with the glow of some inner delight, that it suddenly occured to me that he had made the whole thing up. I was about to ask him if he'd been putting me on, but then I realized he would never tell. I had been tricked into believing him, and that was the only thing that mattered. As long as there's one person to believe it, there's no story that can't be true.

"You're an ace, Auggie", I said. "Thanks for being so helpful".

"Any time", he answered, still looking at me with that maniacal light in his eyes. "After all, if you can't share your secrets with your friends, what kind of a friend are you ?"

"I guess I owe you one"

"No you don't. Just put it down the way I told it to you, and you don't owe me a thing".

"Except the lunch".

"That's right. Except the lunch".

I returned Auggie's smile with a smile of my own, and then I called out to the waiter and asked for the check.

This story was originally a NY Times piece and also appeared in the film Smoke staring Harvey Kietel and William Hurt.
A TAO Christmas Story...

Her Last Christmas Present By Tenzin McGrupp

Her daughter calmly sat at the edge of her bed, as her doelful eyes looked at the small box wrapped up in recycled Santa Claus wrapping paper. She had wondered if her ill seven year old child would make it through the holidays, heck, she wondered if she, a single mom working three shitty jobs, had the strength to make it through another horrible holiday season, as she took a swig of her breakfast beverage, orange juice and cheap vodka. Her lonely and dismal thoughts settled down to a slow roar, as her hands trembled as she watched her daughter slowly peel the wrapping paper off of her only gift. Her eyes swelled to tears as her daughter's angelic face changed from distant ambivalence to a cheerful surprise, as she opened the small box and pulled out the necklace.

When I woke up to go to work, it was snowing... lightly, but there was snow for sure. It's now changed to freezing rain.
Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum...
Merry Christmas to all... and Happy B-day to the big guy... Jesus.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002


I came home to a nice Christmas Eve surprise from Jun, a Japhan from Tokyo that I met while following Phish. Anyway, Jun is a guitar player for Horse, and sent me a letter and two CDs... one recording of Majestic Circus (formally members of Big Frog) and another recording of his band, Horse, live from club Yukotopia in Tokyo on 12.6.02. The best part of this gift was lyrics for a song that I wrote, Freak were made into a song, and played at that show, and Jun sent me a copy!! I was shocked to hear my words with their music! When Jun and Yuh and I were following Phish on there last tour in October of 2000, I would spend some time writing lyrics with Jun in hotel rooms before and after Phish shows in Las Vegas and all over California. I never expected anything to come out of it, and sure enough Jun returned to Tokyo and two years later, my lyrics have sprung to life!

So, I guess I'm a successful songwriter in Japan. :)

Here's some of Jun's letter to me:

Pauly -

How are you doing? :) I'm so sorry to be late sending CD-R.
Here Japan is so cold now and soon come New Year!!
Congraturation!! Happy Christmas and New Year!! You can
also listen to your lyrics on FREAK!! We made song for
you!! Please say hello to Senor and Mike, Derek and Mary Bear.


The bootleg he sent me was:


12.6.02 Club Yukotopia
Tokyo, Japan

1. Intro >
2. Green Like Blue
4. Walkin'
6. Summer Dress
7. Sittin' on Top of the World
8. Counterclockwise Blues
9. Monk Stone
10. Encore: Funky Bitch

If you'd like to hear my lyrics on Freak, let me know and I'll burn you a copy of their show.

I spent another sleepless night and I got sucked into two films on cable: Celebrity by Woody Allen and Bully by Lenny Clark.

Celebrity (1998) starred Kenneth Branagh in an American accent, a studdering Woody Allen-esque accent to be specific. This is one of the few films that Woody did not cast himslef in, rather electing to go with Branagh, who did a nice job. He plays Lee Simon, unsuccessful journalist and wanna-be novelist, tries to get a foot into the door with celebrities. After divorcing his wife Robin (Judy Davis), Lee gets to meet the rich and/or beautiful partly because he has a script to offer. He is caught in the middle of his relationships between his girlfriend (Famke Janssen) and his friend's girlfriend, an actress (Winona Ryder) whom he develops a crush on. Meanwhile Robin meets a very desirable TV-producer (Joe Mantegna) and takes the first steps in the world of celebrities herself. Woody Allen did a good job about poking fun of the celebrity lifestyle and those trying to break in, or escape.

Celebrity was shot in black and white and also starred: Hank Azaria, Leonardo DiCaprio, Melanie Griffith, Bebe Neuwirth, Charlize Theron and cameos from: Donald Trump and Mary Jo Buttafuoco.

Bully (2001) is a film from Lenny Clark, the director of Kids. This dark film was based on a true story in Florida. After finding himself at the constant abuse of his best friend Bobby (Nick Stahl), Marty (Brad Renfro) has become fed up with his friend's twisted ways. His girlfriend (Rachel Minor), a victim of Bobby's often cruel ways, couldn't agree more and they strategize murdering Bobby, with a group of willing and unwilling participants in a small Florida town. In the midst of their plotting, they find themselves contemplating with the possible aftermath of what could happen. Bijoux Philips is also in this flick.

I'd recommend both these films. Check them out.

It's 1:39 AM... and I am unable to sleep... insomnia... again.

Monday, December 23, 2002

I just cut a deal with Santa Claus, I gave him stock tips if he'd tell me where all the naughty girls lived...
The CLASH drummer Dead... Joe Strummer, one of the pioneers of punk, as leader of legendary band The Clash, died at age 50.

Señor Update!

I just got another e-mail from Señor! He was answering an e-mail I sent him, regarding my latest Phishy Trade for NYE tix.

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date: 23 Dec 02 03:21 AM EST
Subject: Re: I'm going to Phishy New Years....

As soon as Phish announced a New Year's show, I knew
somehow you would be there!!!!! I'm soooo psyched!!!!!
Have a Merry X-mas man....SEEYA!!!!!!!

Señor :)

P.S. I have a date with an Indian chick on Friday!!!!! :)

And here's another e-mail I got from Señor... one of his Thai girlfriends is worried about him!!!

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date: 23 Dec 02 03:21 AM EST
Subject: FWD: From my girlfriend...

LOL, this is from girlfriend Number 2 after after she didn't hear
from me for a while, I thought you would get a kick out of it!!!!!
Hope all is well man....SEEYA!!!!!!

Señor :)

P.S. I'm totally psyched to be in India!!!!!!! Oh by the way, feel
free to post this letter if its blogworthy!!!!!

Note: forwarded message attached.

To: Señor
From: Noi
Subject: How are you?

Hi, How are you? I don't know where you are now still in Thailand
or not? last time that I hear any thing about you is from Phaen she
told me that you went to Health Oasis to say good bay to her, about
08/12/02 Na told me that you call me and asked me to call back then
I tried to call you back so many time but doesn't work I don't know what
wrong on your phone, I was worry about you I called to my friend in
Nathorn and asked them to check at Police station because I was
worry about you, then 5 days later AJ told me that you went to Phuket
with Angkana, it's make me don't worry about you any more because I
know where you are, but one thing I want to ask your favour is if you are
busy don't want me to call or you go some where with some body just
let me know I will not make a trouble to you, if you don't tell me I don't
know where you are or you are sick or fine I will worry about that, if you
don't know how I feel because you never care me you just think when you
worry about Angkana when you can't call her.

By the way Phaen say hello to you and she missed you so much.

Love Noi

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Read a Phishy interview from Billboard.com: The Page & Mike Interview.
Check out: Phish's Round Room Debate from a couple of pholks at Jambase.com.

Phishy New Years: I'm Going!!!

I am happy to announce that I scored a ticket to the MSG show on New Year's Eve. Thanks to Phil from Reading, PA who took the time to drive up to the city and trade tickets with me! Hooooo!

Señor Update!

There was a deadly train crash in India this wekeend, and I emailed our buddy to see if he was alright....

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date: 20 Dec 02 10:43 AM EST
Subject: Are you OK?

Thanks for the love!!!! I am fine. I have actually moved into the
Ashram here, which means I have no phone or TV and I
have decided not to buy any newspapers. My only connection
to the world will be e-mail, I won't even surf the net, not even to
find out the Jet/Pats score!!!! For the next week I'll be secluded
from the world. Should be pretty cool.

They have a concert here every night and the band JAMS!!!!!!!!
But they play the same shit, its part of a meditation!!!!! Anyway,
lots of dancing and meditating here, its definitely an experience
like I've never had before!!!!!!!

Oh, by the way, fuck Hampton, go to the NYE Phish show!!!!!!!

Love you, man,
Señor :)

Derek suggested I check out this link: Bill Parcells Meets with Cowboy's Jones.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

This is from an e-mail I just wrote...

I woke up this morning and I realized that Truckin' is doomed.

Although I feel its a perfect vehicle for me, I find that it didn't make the impact that I hoped it did... instead of getting the positive feedback and thought provoking responses that I had hoped to get, instead I get MINIMAL to ZERO feedback, and when I get responses from people, its the same 2 or 3.

I do not think even my own friends take the time to read it. I often ask, "Hey have you checked out my Truckin' stories?" And the answer is: "I haven't gotten around to reading them."

I often find that my solicitation emails for stories go unanswered and ignored.

This is not a self loathing email, or an email for you to tell me how great I am, and how great the site is, etc.... I KNOW all that.

I'm trying to be realistic... why should I spend time (which I don't have) and energy on a site that nobody reads?

I disappointed in the lack of impact that it has made... and I am afraid that the monthly reminders that say A NEW ISSUE of TRUCKIN' has been released gets ignored and deleted like everyone's SPAM.

I guess I'm hurt because some of the best stuff I have written to date is up on Truckin', for everyone to see, and I get no acknowledgment for my efforts, risks, and hard work. I am trying to promote fellow writers and such, but I feel insulted when I am told that my stories haven't been read. Sometimes I think (especially these days) what's the point?

I also thrive on feedback, mostly bad stuff... it shows me where I stand as a writer, and when the same 2 or 3 people say the same good things about me & the site... as much as it feels good, its not helpful because its like I'm preaching to the choir, I'm not even getting BAD responses... because I'm getting no responses how can I improve and get to the place that I want to be as a writer, if I am not getting any feedback?

Part of me wants to just finish this DEC issue and hang it up. Because this is a lot of work and energy that I feel I am wasting. I mean, I feel like shit, I sacrificed hours of sleep this week so I can write stories and make sure I meet a deadline that no one seems to care about.

I try to take a professional approach to this, but I am afraid that not everyone shares in my vision.

Part of me wants to keep going, and doing my own thing, but the other part of me is telling me that I am wasting my time, and my creative energies are needed elsewhere. I have dozens of screenplays and novels that I want to write, but I don't have the time to do that... and the thought of so much of me that needs to be expressed -- that can't, is what depresses me at a time where I feel my talent is as strong as its ever been.

What do you think?

Maybe I'm just too sick and tired, right now. Or maybe I'm just overdramatizing the fact that I risk my personal health to write and that goes overlooked...


Friday, December 20, 2002

Thursday, December 19, 2002

I'm feeling very ill... I decided that I will leave as soon as the market closes at 4 PM.

Señor Update!

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Re: Greetings from India!

So I arrived in India about 4AM this morning and headed straight
for the Meditation Ashram... dude everyone is required to
wear maroon robes... whats up with that???? I'll stay here for a
week or so and give this place a chance, but I think it is seriously
infringing about my individuality...but regardless its cool to be in
India and I'm psyched to see this country.... SEEEYYAAAA!!!!!!

Blair for President is written by Thomas Friedman. Here's a bit:

With Al Gore now out of the presidential race, everyone is giving the Democrats advice on who their candidate should be. All I know is that whoever the Democrats choose needs to keep in mind a few basic rules that Democrats have forgotten in recent years.

Rule #1: People listen through their stomachs.

Rule #2: Never put yourself in a position where you succeed only if your country fails.

Rule #3: Get a candidate people like.

Rule #4: Get a candidate who can give a fireside chat.

Right now there is only one Democrat who could live up to all these rules: the British prime minister, Tony Blair. Maybe the Democrats should give him a green card. He's tough on national security, he has an alternative global vision, people like him and he is a beautiful, reassuring speaker. He's Bill Clinton without baggage. I'd say he's a natural.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Today is Katie Holmes (from Dawson's Creek) 24th b-day... in homage to Ms. Holmes, I watched some of my favorite film: The Wonder Boys.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Al Gore & Phish Score Top Ratings

Gore Scores with Best 'SNL' Season Ratings
Mon December 16, 2002 08:59 PM ET
By Michael Schneider

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - First he won the popular vote; now Al Gore has won the Nielsen race as well.

NBC's Dec. 14 edition of "Saturday Night Live," hosted by the former vice president, scored the sketch show's best household ratings of the season in the top "metered" markets, and ranked as its best performance since last February (an episode hosted by Britney Spears).
Read Hunter S. Thompson's ESPN article from 12.3: Grantland Rice Haunts Honolulu Marathon

Here's a bit: "Wow! That really was the good old days, eh? That kind of behavior today, in 2002 America, would get you locked up by some quasi-legal Military Tribunal in a cage at Guantanamo Bay ... and it was not that long ago, either -- barely 20 years since the days when people could speak openly to each other without fear of the police and wander around freely, wherever they wanted to, as long as they weren't hurting anyone else, when a nationwide panic like the one we have today was inconceivable, when some hideous bogeyman like "War on Terrorism" would have seemed more like a vengeful Communist Plot than something that could ever happen in the good old U.S.A."
No strike! Damn! I was hoping that the MTA would have walked out today so I could have had a well needed day off, and a great excuse NOT to go to work.
Blogger had been giving me problems all day yesterday, that's the reason for lack of blogs...
Check it out: SNL Pictures (Al Gore & Phish)

Sunday, December 15, 2002

I noticed that Trey was standing in the middle... switching places with Mike who returned to stage right (my right). At the begining of summer tour in 1999, Trey who had always stood in the middle, moved to stage right, while Mike took the center spot.
A heady surprise... Phish played a little bit of You Enjoy Myself during the cartoon segment of TV Funhouse where the Peanuts gang was characterized in a mock Christmas Special... they had gotten these special powers where they were able to make things look better by waving thier arms. They gave Charlie Brown hair, and changed Linus and the smelly kid into Phish and they all danced around while one kid was humpingthe leg of two lesbians in bikinis dancing in a kiddie pool..

They are currently performing Chalkdust Torture.
The Phish just played... 46 Days. Just like I figured. What's up next?
SNL Update

Phish performed a little bit of Contact on the skit Jarret's Webcam. Goby (Horatio Sans) made fun of Trey with a few Chuck Norris jokes. Al Gore made fun of Phish calling them "dirty hippies that need to get jobs."

Saturday, December 14, 2002

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." - Henry Miller

OK, I got tickets to see Phish in: NJ, Philly & Nassau... still looking for Las Vegas!! I'm excited. Molly just bought her plane ticket today and is coming up to visit from Texas for a week to see the shows! An extra bonus to a well anticipated ending week of February 2003.
I think that Phish will play: 46 Days and Chalkdust Torture. Why? Cause 46 Days is one of the shorter tunes from the new album and Chalkdust Torture because it's Trey's favorite song to play. Time will tell...
I got Phish tickets to Philly today!
I am anxiously awaitng for the online sale of Phish tickets thru Ticketbastard... I already have tickets to a couple of shows, but I'm looking for more shows and I always like having a few extras around... more to come. While I await, I'll be listening to the new Phish album Round Room. I already have one or two favorites: 46 Days which I think they will be playing on SNL tonight.

Friday, December 13, 2002

I had a late night dinner with Boogie last night at Pete's Tavern. We finally exchanged belated birthday gifts, and I was happy to have gotten a cool book called: The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews with National Book Award Winners and Finalists. Among the authors interviewed are: E.L. Doctorow, Charles Johnson, Philip Levine, David McCullough, Alice McDermott, Grace Paley and Robert Stone.

Last night on the subway, I got to read the interview with Robert Stone (Merry Prankster and author of: A Hall of Mirrors, Dog Soldiers and A Flag for Sunrise) and here's one of the best passages:

"We live well through insight, we do well through insight, we behave well through insight. By the same token, as a writer you have to serve art truly; you oght never go for the cheap shot. You always have to do the best possible work you can, to make work as honest and free of cant as you can make it. You have to be the best artist you possibly can be."
Spider sent me this joke:

Q: Why do Canadians fuck doggie style?
A: So they can both watch the hockey game, eh?

Thursday, December 12, 2002

ER Billing Saga...

Wow... I am good. Four phone calls later = $731 discount.

How did a $1131 bill get reduced to $400?

Talent, I suppose. My Wall Street-Jedi negotiating skills and mind tricks have finally paid off when applied to a real world situation. After all, I wiggled my way out of paying $731! I am sooooooooo much happier now about the situation. Of course I will continue to negotiate the $400 bill down to nothing, but at least I have breathing room. Wow, I am still in shock... I got $731 knocked off in three plus hours since my first call to the billing department to complain, just before 9 AM this morning. I was relentless and would not give up. Three hours later... I am $731 less in debt than when I started.

Personally I feel that I already paid $1000 and $400 more is excessive... for a dislocated pinky. After all I wasn't shot or anything like that. I am consdering not paying at all on principle... and standing up to the evil medical-insurance complex which over charges and over bills patients and insurance carriers.
ER Billing Saga...

I just got off the phone and I made contact with someone at the hospital who explained to me that I was not double billed, instead that the physican sends out a bill for his services and that I had only gotten bills from the actual hospital and X-ray techs, but not from the doctor who treated me. And that's what the $1131 bill was for. She agreed that the bill was excessive for a simple dislocated finger and would "talk to her superior about reducing the charges, then she'll get back to me..." Sounds like I am getting the run-around.
When it rains... it pours

As if this week was hellish enough... I opened up a bill from Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital reagrding my June 16th visit to the ER. I do not have health insurance and I already paid a $1000 ER bill (including X-rays) and now the individual doctor who treated me is charging me $1131 for putting my dislocated finger back into place, in addition to special ER charges. This is utter bullshit, and I refuse to pay. As soon as their billing office opens, they'll get an earful from me. Regardless if they are trying to bill me personally or my insurance... it was just a dislocated finger. And no way should that cost in excess of $2200. Fuck 'em, they will just have to line up behind the long line of other creditors whom I owe money too.

But yeah, I am definitely bummed out about this.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

"Perhaps I'm being unfair to you," he said, still not sounding like himself." My feeling must be of the species they call passion. . . One thing I know for sure: without you it's the end of me, and with you it's also the end. It makes no difference where you are: far or near, you're always present. I also know that I could hate you a good deal more than I could love you. . . I'm sorry that I had to fall in love with someone like you." - Versilov to Katerina Akhmakov from the Adolescent by Dostoevesky, 1874

NYC MTA Transit Strike Comments:

This one is from Spider: "Get some rollerskates, mittens and earmuffs..."
I've been having alot of problems at work the last couple of weeks, and this week has been awful!! Ugh.... I hope there's a transit strike so I'll have an excuse to stay home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Courtney Love's Doctor Drug Dealer Yeah, Courtney Love doesn't want you to read these documents! So read them!

From the SmokingGun.com website:
Courtney Love doesn't want you to read these documents.

Lawyers for the rock star yesterday (12/10) sent TSG a four-page letter threatening legal action if the site did not immediately remove excerpts from an explosive investigative report by the California Medical Board. "My client, who is not shy about asserting her legal rights, has authorized the commencement of all necessary litigation if the Story is not immediately removed from your website," wrote attorney Paul Karl Lukacs. "You have been warned. This is a matter of the utmost seriousness. Govern yourself accordingly."

After consulting with TSG's legal counsel, the documents will stay in place.

"How therapeutic it is to surround yourself with people stranger than yourself..." - Spalding Gray

Monday, December 09, 2002

Phish Is Happily Reunited to Go Against the Grain is an article that appeared in yesterday's NY Times.

Here's a bit:

If there was ever a possibility of Phish disbanding, making "Round Room" apparently put it to rest. "We won't beat it to death in the future," Mr. Fishman said. "And I know I will never ever be in a situation like Phish again. Not in terms of success or making money, but the productivity, the discipline, the inter-band relationships, the considerateness, the way it fits into all our lives. Everything must end, but if it ends when my life does, so be it, and if it ends before that, it'll really be a sad day." 
Phish Tickets... I am awaiting to hear from the lottery Gods... so far my brother and Spider got shafted, but Gil scored Meadowlands tix!
If you never did,
you should.
These things are fun,
and fun is good.

- Dr Suess
Gil sent out this sweet e-mail:

I wanted to thank you all for making my birthday so great.
It was certainly a surprise and the gifts were even more of
a surprise. I hope you all enjoyed each other's company
and the food at Long Tan as well. I promise next time,
when you're in Park Slope, the walk to the restaurant will
not be that long....cause I'll be doing the cooking :)

Really, I'm lucky to have such great friends and family.
Thank you all.


PS - I want to thank my parents as well for relinquishing
the night of my birthday (normally reserved for a family
dinner) for the festivities.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

4 Charged in Drug Sales at Burger King

The Associated Press
Sunday, December 8, 2002; 1:02 PM

MUNDELEIN, Ill. –– At one Illinois Burger King, authorities say, you could order a Whopper, fries and some coke.

Not a soft drink but cocaine.

Four people have been jailed on charges they sold cocaine from the drive-thru window at a Burger King in Mundelein.
Spider sent me this link: Art Gartfunkel Library
"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." - Henry Miller
Soprano's Update

Tony drove up to his house and Layla was playing on the radio in his vehicle. I thought that was interesting because that was song that was played in Goodfellas when Jimmy had everyone whacked... Anyway, Tony's wife was flipped out when one of his girlfriend's called his house, she was throwing all his shit around... and then tried to kick him out of the house.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

2 Van Gogh's Stolen! Theives got away with paintings from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam: View of the Sea at Scheveningen and Leaving the Church at Nuenen

Friday, December 06, 2002

TAKEN... I have gotten sucked into the epic mini series by Steven Spielberg on the Sci-Fi Network. Take a peek for local showtimes. Here is what Taken is all about:

"Taken is an epic saga that weaves together the stories of three families over multiple generations‚ and their crucial roles in the history of alien abductions. Set against the backdrop of actual historical events, Taken creates a powerfully emotional and evocative tale of mankind's encounters with extraterrestrials."

And if you get the chance, take a look at: Coalition for Freedom of Information Web site where you will find The Evidence about UFOs.

Here's a bit of their Mission Statement:

Many believe that the UFO phenomenon has not received the high level of attention it deserves in the scientific community, in Congress, and in the national media. Therefore, the Coalition for Freedom of Information has been created to support a new research effort into this issue, along with increased government disclosure. This independent alliance seeks to bring together people who have both studied and been exposed to the UFO phenomenon and who believe it to be worthy of further investigation.

Moreover, public interest in these phenomena remains high. A 2002 Roper poll found that one out of eight Americans claims that they or someone they know have had one or more experiences with UFOs. In addition, the poll discovered that 72 percent of Americans think the federal government is not telling everything it knows about UFOs...

Señor Update!

Our favorite pants dropper is off to India... among other things!

To: McGrupp
From: Señor
Date Sent: Friday, December 6, 2002 03:36 AM EST

Re: I'm going to see Phish in Hampton!

SWEEEEEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dude thats fantastic!!!!!!

I'm so psyched for you!!!!!!!! Well, I am off to India on December 18.
I truly love Thailand especially the Thai women. Yesterday I went to
a National Park by myself and the place was packed because it was
a national hoilday (the King's birthday) I swear at least a dozen chicks
(all young and hot) came up to me and asked if they could take their
picture with me, too funny!!!!! Then on the train back to Bangkok this
hottie picked me up, I'm chillin with her tomorrow!!!!! But anyway, if I
don't go to India now, I'm afraid I'll never make it there and that would
be something I would regret. As I try to live life to the fullest to avoid
regrets, off to India I go. I only bought a one way ticket so who knows
when I'll return, but one thing is for sure, I will be back in Thailand, oh
yes I will!!!!!!!!!

Whats up with Glavine on the Mets?

Congrats again about Phish, send special love to Jessica from Señor...


The snow has stopped, and the streets are all messy... I have been at work for 2 hours already and I cannot wait to leave. I bought an used Spalding Gray book online for $1.19... that's a great deal. The shipping costs are twice as much as the book... so full price is almost $4... which I think is a bargain.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

NYC is having it's first real snow storm this Winter season... it looks nice now, the rambunctious city blanketed in a white dusting of fresh snow... it has a very soothing and calming effect.
I have discovered that one week after I finished my novel Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, I began a cycle of severe insomnia... I find myself staring at my walls around 2 AM every night... unable to sleep, caught in the middle of being extremely tired, but too tired to sleep... I have done a little late night cleaning, but that doesn't seem to help. I considered writing, but that will just keep my mind more active and wired and I definitely won't sleep. I tried reading last night, but that didn't help either... I was up well past 4 AM unable to drift away into dreamland.
Jessica sent me this quote: "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin - it's the triumphant twang of a bedspring." -- S.J. Perelman
I called in sick today: Mental Health Day... and I feel better already... like when you play hooky from school...

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Dark Star Orchestra

I never blogged the review. I actually never wrote the review, but I will be blogging this mini-review.

I have seen DSO almost twenty times, and they are the best Grateful Dead cover band I have ever seen. Ambitious and foolish at the same time, the musicians in DSO are top notch and they get the entire sound of the Dead form whatever year's concert they happen to be playing. On Saturday it was 1976.

Sat, Nov 30, 2002 at The WWF World Theatre, New York, NY
Performing 7/1/1976 Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA (Donna Show)

Set 1: Might As Well, Mama Tried, Dire Wolf, Jack Straw, Deal, El Paso, Loser, BIODTL, Friend of the Devil, Dancin> Wharf Rat> Dancin

The World is a cool venue, located in the heart of Times Square. It's also the home of the WWF and I expected actual wrestlers to be doing door security... I figured why not right? The venue had high quality sound and lights and video.

The first set was tight.... with Jack Straw being the highlight for me. El Paso and Loser are favorites of mine so I was happy to hear them. The crowd was freaking out during Dancin in the Streets and was the highest part of the first set energy wise.

I went with Bruce Cohen, who's only complaint was: "I wish they turned the bass player up..."

Set 2: Let It Grow, Mission in the Rain, Playin> Drums> Space> Wheel> Playin Jam> Other One> Comes A Time> Playin Reprise> Sugar Magnolia

Encore: Johnny B. Goode

Fillers: China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider

Just before the set started a group of high school kids got busted by security for smoking a bowl. Overall the security was more tighter than I expected, and although I saw three people busted during the first five minutes of the set, not one of them was kicked out... the security told them to put it out. I got slightly paranoid because I know the WWF World Theatre also hosts a segment of the weekly WWF TV events. So there must be a control room and cameras all over the place! It made me think twice about puffing down...

Bruce Cohen has been to many Dead shows, but he had never seen Mission in the Rain... and judging by the reaction of the crowd, neither had they... when the song ended, the crowd ripped into an almost five minute applause which surprised the band... so I guess a lot of Deadheads there that night rarely heard that song, so it was a treat indeed.

Wheel > Playin was cooking and high energy... and once again Bruce Cohen got a special treat: Comes a Time, a song which he never heard played either. Got that Jerry vibe during that tune for sure. Sugar Magnolia to close the almost 4 hour show was sweet. Again it was high energy and not cheesed out like Bob Weir always loved doing. The fillers: China > Rider was well welcomed by me, one of my favorite combos to hear at a Dead show... and they did a great job of letting me go home satisfied with nearly four hours of kick ass music from the Grateful Dead.

Simanoff wrote me this funny e-mail:

"You know what? I love Natalie Portman but she was fucking awful in Attack of the Clones. A comatose Liza Minnelli would have been more interesting."

Last night I was wide awake thinking about my trip to Virginia in a month to see Phish... and thoughts drifted to my last Phish show at Shoreline in Mountain View, CA. The last few nights have been sleepless for me... and I admit that I have taken a well deserved break from writing after NaNoWriMo and November Truckin'... so I had alot of nervous energy and with no projects to work on, I decided to clean up the studio... first it began with my bathroom, which hasn't really been cleaned since the summer, and I did a half-assed job the last time I cleaned it. I gave it a good work over for an hour, and put up a brand new shower curtain. I also cleaned my kitchen, rotated a couple of paintings on the walls in the studio, then I framed a 1J picture that Gil made for me and our crew. I cleaned up my bedroom, putting away alot of clean clothes and doing laundry. I also organized my workspace and filed away old Truckin' stories, Charlie's Goldfish stuff, and notes from JTSMD. Then I tackled my orphaned CDs... which cluttered my space... stacks and stacks of CDs on top of each other... and I slowly made my way through and filed most of them away. Nearly all of them bootlegs of sort and I separated them into 4 piles: 1. Phish bootlegs, 2. Grateful Dead bootlegs, 3. Other bootlegs, and 4. actual CDs... then I began the ridiculous task of organizing all my Grateful Dead bootlegs chronologically... which I did not finish doing. SO... I guess I have been productive late nights and resisted the temptation to turn on the TV and channel surf to the wee hours...

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I'm Goin' Phishin'!!!

No shit, folks... Jessica told me she had a surprise for me after our Writer's Group meeting, something that had come in the mail yesterday. And I had assumed it was a book, or possibly Knicks tickets... but I was shocked to find out that she had scored both of us Phish tickets... in Hampton, Virginia on January 4th. So that's it.... I was worried I was going to get shut out of shows during this reunion run... but I guess I got lucky, so... I'm fuckin' there! Thanks to the Jessmeister.
"Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly." - Henry Miller
Gysana... I finished reading Jessica's NaNoWriMo novel for a second time, this time getting to read the majority of it in one sitting. It's really good, and funny, and the characters are well developed and I want to know more about all of them. I won't give away vital plot elements (otherwise you won't buy the book) but the novel centers around a girl named Gysana and the people in her life... her dead mother, her estranged grandmother, her lesbian aunt, and her deformed father... I was very impressed with Jessica's novel which she wrote in three weeks! If you would like to read an excerpt, you can find one published in this month's issue of Truckin': Gysana.
Message from BLOGGER: Sorry, publishing is temporarily unavailable. D'oh!

Monday, December 02, 2002

By the way, I have to blog this: the Sopranos SUCK ASS this season!

I cannot believe I actually fork over $10.95 a month for HBO... just for shitty episodes of the Sopranos. I mean I sometimes watch Inside the NFL but I am really getting fucked over by my cable company Cablevision... they are ruining the Knicks & Rangers and at first no YES network, and then overpriced cable channels... but I think I might be getting Fox News Channel & IFC (finally!). Too little too late if you ask me.

This is what my brother, Derek had to say about last night's epsiode of the Sopranos:

"The episode was still kind of lame. Paulie Walnuts is an animal though. You kow what I liked about last night's episode . . . how Paulie finds out that Johnny Sacks has been lying to him all this time about Carmine liking Paulie and what not and being on his side . . . Paulie changes his attitude real quick towards them and is like, 'Fuck Johnny Sacks!' the next time he hears Tony mention his name . . . of course, that's after Paulie gives Tony that fat envelope of cash (with the old lady's savings in it) . . . that shit was so hilarious. He just beat that lady and suffocated her to death. Typical Paulie Walnuts! "
Dark Star Orchestra

Sat, Nov 30, 2002 at The World Theatre, New York, NY
Performing 7/1/1976 Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA (Donna Show)

Set 1: Might As Well, Mama Tried, Dire Wolf, Jack Straw, Deal, El Paso, Loser, BIODTL, Friend of the Devil, Dancin> Wharf Rat> Dancin

Set 2: Let It Grow, Mission in the Rain, Playin> Drums> Space> Wheel> Playin Jam> Other One> Comes A Time> Playin Reprise> Sugar Magnolia

Encore: Johnny B. Goode

Fillers: China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider

A 4 hour show!!! A review to come later, for sure!

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Happy Birthday Woody!

Today is Woody Allen's b-day. And here's one of my favorite Woody Allen quotes:
"I don't want to become immortal through my work, I want to become immortal through not dying."

And the best of the rest:
• "More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

• "My one regret in life is that I am not someone else."

• "In Beverly Hills... they don't throw their garbage away. They make it into television shows."

• "I failed to make the chess team because of my height."

• "Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go it's one of the best"

• "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

• "If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

• "Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies."

• "You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred."