Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday v. 3

Dragged my sick ass out of bed today for my third annual Black Friday Photo Safari at the State St. Macy's. I don't know exactly why I keep coming back, other than it being a way for me to participate in the debauch without dropping any lucre--it's not as if the scenery changes much from year to year. Although, there did seem to be a few more of these guys--thanks, #Occupy!--hanging around the fringes:
The "BA" on the man's coat, FYI, stands for Bob Avakian. Sigh... Other than that, it was the usual paroxysm of people, products and pretty colors: grownups buying candy--
Piles of unwanted toys--
squirming children--
plenty of bacon--
and some rather photogenic odd-couples--
--the challenge of this type of photography being, of course, that people (with the frequent exception of small children and the elderly) don't much like having their picture taken by strangers while they're trying to shop or whatever, forcing me to shoot-from-the-hip to avoid wrath-incurring. People, get real--yr. phizzogs aren't proprietary product!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sugar Mountain 2011

Aficionados have noticed that it's been quite some time since I last weblogged, and diehard fans may already have intuited why--I've been off-the-grid for most of October, working (once again!) the sugar-beet harvest in eastern North Dakota. In addition to sweetening your breakfast cereal, the beet harvest provides temporary, high-paying employment for a growing number of itinerant freaks (er, punks), who flock to the upper midwest each year to rake in two or three thousand bucks, a relative goldmine in our social stratum.

I described last year's harvest in some detail, and if I'm unable to lavish the same attention on this year's edition it's only because my poor brain is too truly fried. I will say that this year's harvest exceeded all expectations; it got off to a grindingly slow start, and the general forecast was for a piss-poor year--meager crop, crap weather, scant wages--but in the end we worked quite a bit, walked away with a couple of healthy paychecks and had some chart-bustingly debaucherous Good Times in the interim.

I won't go into the laborious nuts-n-bolts of working sugar beets--I did so last year, if you're really curious--but will offer at least some high(low?)lights from the last whirlwind few weeks, in no particular order: endless games of drunken, delirious rummy with heavy-metal soundtrack, as well as an rowdy, epic game of Acey-Deucey, quite possibly the silliest card game ever concocted, in which a growing crowd of broke+bored beet-harvesters gambled away the last of their pocket-change, reduced to wagering with pocketknives and bottles of booze; my trusted tape player, which pulled me through a 132-hour marathon out at the factory with scintillating books-on-tape (Walter Tevis' awesome The Man Who Fell to Earth) and bitchin' music (e.g. Beck's flawless Midnite Vultures, maybe the mostly deeply funky record ever made by a white dude) that fueled mid-shift dance parties, as well as my trusty fellow-taretaker Bill--Northern Californian fireball, humorist and artist-extraordinaire, with whom I had long talks ranging from crude and potty-mouthed to heartfelt and erudite, and with whom I also "decorated" the tare-shack with explosive sharpie graffiti, much to the baffled consternation of the day-shifters, who responded to our intricate witticisms with unvarying fuck u, queers--I'm afraid our more daring pieces ("Fast and Pray for More Butt Sex in North Dakota," Bill's naked lady getting sprayed by a leering skunk, etc., may have contributed to management's unprecedented painting-over (with black paint!) of nearly all tare-shack graffiti at the end of the harvest; and the steady, vigorous substance use which culminated in a small-scale riot and an orgy of bottle-smashing our last Saturday night and a pretty wicked porn shoot on Sunday (for details you'll have to wait for the Full Metal Faggot 2012 wall calendar--I'm certainly not spilling them here). There's just no telling what ~25 world-class fuckups can cook up, in terms of mischief, mayhem and inspired time-killing, over the course of three and a half weeks.

Few of us beet harvesters, it's true, have very worthy or extravagant plans for our two-or-three thousand-dollar payoffs; most talked of buying crummy used cars, or having ample beer + cigarette money for the winter months, and assuredly we'll all be dead broke again by the time we trudge back to Wahpeton in late 2012. But such is the romantic life of the itinerant punk-laborer, all booms + crashes, hilarious ups and equally hilarious downs.