Sunday, March 27, 2011

bikram yoga

Sorry about the last post of utmost boringness. The short version of the story is that Matt of the $7000 was a drug dealing loser probably with erectile dysfunction issues. NEXT!!!

Bikram yoga. That is the copyrighted/patented/trade secret nickname of hot sweaty yoga, where a carpeted room - important detail! more on this later - is heated to the temperature of a nice cool bag of testicles and then filled with sixty foolish yupsters with income to spare. They are led in a 90-minute cartilage ripping routine by a glistening, sadistic hipster Adonis whose religion is apparent through the very, very thin fabric of his tiny shorts. Some pass out! Some lay on their towels in immobile protest! Others open and close their mouths slowly, like dying fish, awaiting the end.

I blame fucking GROUPON. This shit needs a warning label. The first few days after you sign on DON'T BUY SHIT. Because you're like, "Oh! $14 of meat for only $7. Great deal!" And all it takes is a little *click* sound and you are down seven dollars in real cash form and up fourteen dollars in meat form. What the fuck? How many of you fools bought $6 tickets to see Meathew Meatconaughey's new meatvie last week? STUPID!!

So the Groupon for San Francisco posted a sale at a Bikram yoga studio on Polk Street, $39 for two months of unlimited classes. Which would be a great deal if it were anything other than armpit donkey heat yoga! Unlucky for K. I convinced her to buy one also, so we could share these experiences together:

  • A room the size of my bedroom for forty women to change in. I put my buttocks right on somebody.

  • I'm going to write that again in case you missed it. I put my ass. On a person's shoulder. By accident. I was bending over to swap business casual for shorts. She was bending over to do the same. There was no room to maneuver. Like ships passing in the night, I sat right on her. My apology was very awkward. "Oh my God, I sat on you. I'm so sorry. [Namaste!!]"

  • A carpeted room that hundreds of people sweat into day after day. It smelled like a family of wild dogs. No wait . . . just picture - really try to imagine the visual - 40,000 disembodied, unwiped anuses. From dudes who watch hentai eighteen hours a day. For sale at the butcher counter. In a heap with a "$7 for $14 of meat!" flag stuck into the topmost anus. That's what the studio smelled like. I saw the cleaning people dry vacuuming the carpet after my class - hmmm how is a dry vac going to suck your sweaty anus smell out of a carpet??

  • The actual yoga would not have been terribly difficult if not for the balls-like temperature. That was enough to send my heart rate skyrocketing even for moderately engaged poses. At times I simply lay on my borrowed towel and panted. This must be very good for the skin.

  • Body anxiety. The regulars are lithe, ropey creatures with tight bunz. Proper attire is as little attire as possible. And there are mirrors on all walls, so you see everything from all angles, including the flaccid body of the tubby Chinese miser who can't pass up a good deal! Some poses gave my rolls rolls.

But lucky for me, there's no better person than K. to do this with. K. has an uncontrollable giggling problem, triggered by things like a David Koresh figure announcing pavana mukta asana ("Everybody get into wind-releasing pose!"). After the class, K. told me a story about how she could not stop laughing at a trial when she saw that the stenographer had accidentally ascribed to the judge the words "Now is a good time to take a dump" rather than "Now is a good time to take a break."

I felt full body torpor for about twelve hours after the class.

I'm going back tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

139th Street

One spring afternoon, when I was living in the fourth floor apartment on 139th Street, I heard a man on the street shouting up at our windows.

This was not unusual. Our buzzer didn't work, so whenever friends came over, they would shout from the street to be let in. We kept a roll of socks next to the windowsill, which we would tuck a set of keys into and drop to the visitors below.

What was unusual was the tone. The shouting from the street was agitated and urgent. The man's voice grew hoarse as he shouted, "Anna! Nerdy! Are you there? Let me in!"

Anna was the master tenant. Nerdy was her younger sister. That was Lo's anarchist nickname. That was not what I called her.

Lo and I were home together that afternoon. We went to the window together and looked out. The man gesticulating from below appeared white, standard height, normal build, middling face, average intellect, late 20s, wire glasses, unshaven, with black leather jacket, with motorcycle helmet in hand. The left side of his clothing was torn and embedded with gravel. The motorcycle was not there.

It took a second for me to parse the visual details and then focus on his face: angry, hurt, demanding, but not wild, just impatient.

This was Matt.

He saw us looking at him. "Nerdy! Bananarchist! You gotta let me in!"

We delivered the keys by sock. Then we stood at the apartment door, listening to him come up the stairs. He limped.

Matt had been in an accident. Half a mile away, on the on-ramp to the Major Deegan Expressway. He saw the gravel on the road too late to steer around it. He slipped and skidded out on his left side. He left the bike on the shoulder and walked.

"Why didn't you stay by the bike and wait for the cops?" I asked.

He didn't answer and instead handed me his leather jacket. It was very heavy. There was a thick protrusion in the left breast pocket. I set it on a chair.

Matt inspected himself. He pulled his shirt up, and he pulled his pants halfway down his thigh. "Ugh!" he said. "Jesus Christ!"

It appeared as if a craftsman of model airplanes had lightly applied the finest grain sandpaper to a hand-sized patch of Matt's mid-section. His skin was slightly abraided - here and there I could see pinpricks of blood, maybe burst capillaries - and reddish. It looked as if a bruise might form on his hip. But otherwise his damage was mostly dignitary. His helmet and heavy jacket had protected him from harm.

"Fucken gravel," Matt said. He winced dramatically at every movement.

Anna at the time was exploring eco-alternatives for feminine hygiene. She had taken an old flannel sheet and cut it into rags. She stuffed rags into her underpants to collect the flow of her period. I tried this for a while. I spent a lot of time washing my pants.

Anna saved her rags, and at the end of the month, she stewed them in a pot of boiling water and poured the runoff onto the base of the ficus tree, the Wandering Jew, the pothos, the jade, the spider plant, the cyclamen, the ferns, the violets, the lilies, and the succulents.

"Iron encourages plant growth," Anna said.

So I was not impressed by a little blood from a bike spill.

"You just gave up your bike? Why didn't you stay there and wait for the cops?" I asked again.

Matt glared. "Why don't you check my jacket?"

I went to the jacket and patted it down. That thick protrusion again. I opened the pocket. Inside was a three-inch stack of bills. Seven thousand dollars. Cash.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Rainy Sunday afternoon copyright law study at Borderlands Cafe, Valencia between 19th and 20th. No music, no wifi, brightly lit, big windows, clean couches, recliners, blue-shade bankers' lights on wooden tables, resonating hardwood floors. Like studying with thirty other people at your shared kitchen table. Believer and Foreign Affairs and Yoga Today and coffee and pastries for sale.

Things observed:
  • South Asian man, late-20s, with a Facebook logo backpack and thumbs on a smartphone and a periodical called Game Developers.
  • Two white women, mid-20s, one typing on a computer with a sticker of a fist clutching a radish on it. Both are reading reproductive rights manuals. A third woman joins and says, "Huge conference this week on contraceptive technology." She is reading a book called Tel Aviv Stories. I make eye contact. I smile.
  • Man and woman on couch talking about the design on the copy of the Great Gatsby she just bought next door: "I'm glad the publisher didn't succumb to the modern cover."
  • Four skinny-necked white men, early to mid-twenties, sitting at one table silently, hunched over paperbacks; the bookstore adjacent to the cafe exclusively sells science fiction.
  • Five foot tall transman with tufted goatee enters, leaves door open. Woman in knee-length felted sweater rises to shut it.
  • Nose-pierced 45 year-old baristo calls "Decaf!" and I rise to fetch a cup.
  • Leather fedora enters, surveys seating situation, leaves. Woman asleep on armchair with mouth open, book in lap.
  • White man with Asian woman enter. Asian man with white woman and hapa baby in colorful stroller walk past the window. White man with Asian man sit next to me, reading matching his and his New Yorkers. I make eye contact. I smile.
  • Heavyset man with unkempt hair has the word "haircut" written on his hand.
  • A couple at a window table peck.
  • Asian girl, mostly eyelash, rifles through gold crepe Shiseido tote bag for a battered copy of a psychology textbook.
  • Piece of conversation: "I moved here in 1996, at the height of the boom, to work on text-based paging services."
  • Seventy year old white man with footlong beard and stoned affect says to me, when his conversation partner leaves for the bathroom, "These chairs are so comfortable!" I make eye contact. I smile, then return very quickly to Perfect 10 v. Google.
When the man with the footlong beard's conversation partner returns, they have this exchange:
Her: The body has a system for restocking the flow of cranialsacral fluids.

Him: Oh yes. Once I was dancing with this woman. She put her arm around my body. And I can't describe the feeling of her arm except to say - her arm was my tongue. When we were dancing, whatever we were touching and tasting and sensing with our tongues was strong. Our whole bodies connected - as tongues. It's just a name for an area. But what I mean to say is, our bodies were . . . enormous . . . tongues. It's the best way I can think about it.

Her: It's very sensitive. If you are one with your body, it is very sensitive. That's why we feel such pain.

Him: Attend to the pain.

Her: Attend to the hurt.
I put my nose in Perfect 10 v. Google (9th Cir. 2003). Google image search pulls up thumbnail images of porn site's copyrighted photographs, and inline linked full-size images of the same. Porn site sells thumbnail images of porn to mobile users, so Google's images presumptively carve into market for theirs. Still, this is fair use, not copyright infringement, which is why you can still look at thumbnails of perfect ten vulvas using a humble Google search.

But I took notes on conversations as much as I took notes on cases. I missed my stupid fucking girlfriend and I wanted her to see all of this. I thumbed my Blackberry every ten minutes looking for signs of life. Nothing. I left after three hours.