Thursday, March 3, 2011

Supreme Master Vegan


This fascinating place is found on 9780 Walnut Hill Street, Dallas TX.

But if I didn't know better I would swear that I was in Garland!

This place is a small restaurant at an Asian Bazaar, which in spite of being a vegan restaurant is guarded by an asian butcher chop which had whole pigs on display. This contrast and irony only made my experience more magic(k)al.

The restaurant was a small operation, nothing particularly fancy. Except for the food. Even if you are not a vegan you have to try this place.

They have a pseudo beef stir fry that tasted so much like beef that I suspected fraud.

I interrupted a dishwasher, who was latina, and asked her in spanish what this stuff was. This seemed to make the owner, D, a little nervous and he quickly intervened. Since his English still seems developing I don't think he knew about my inquisition.

The dishwasher thought it was meat!

The owner, D, spent some time explaining the recipe to me and that I could buy it from his grocery options. For someone who is new to vegetarianism, particularly awesome fake meat is almost a religious experience.

All of the food was delicious. I ate there two days in a row, both time enduring the giant fried pigs at the door.

For me the most interesting thing about the restaurant is that they were broadcasting this strange Cult television show which had an Asian lady dressed very fancy and they kept showing subtitles for what she was saying in like a dozen languages. Including both Spanish and English.

I was thrilled by this as I have a dark fascination with cults in general. For example, the local Hare Krishna Temple is supposed to be a decent place to eat.

The preacher lady was named Supreme Master Ching Hai.

I was lost in my strange Dadaist NSK fascination with all things totalitarian and embraced that I must be eating at a place that funds brain washing.

Though further research has revealed that from what I can tell Supreme Master Ching Hai is harmless as a religious leader, though unsurpassibly funny.

She is like a prosperity Buddhist preacher. Though technically she severed all ties with Buddhism, I suspect because they did not share her ideas about enlightenment's ties to fashion and jewelry.

She teaches meditation on color and sound and hardcore vegetarianism. Thats certainly no weirder than I am on any given Sunday, so I give this restaurant a pass as probably not part of a creepy cult.

Though to my opinion creepy cults include: baptists, lutherans, catholics, muslims, etc. Religion is generally absurd, but not always harmful.

As for Supreme Master Ching Hai I say live and let live.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Universal Freethought

I propose a bigger tent, not surrendering the atheist tent, but to make it but one wing of a larger movement: Universal Freethought. Universal Freethought is being radically smart. Its being smart enough to make art or music, smart enough to be well read. Smart enough to have a body of intellectual work under your belt, even if that work is online or self-published. The world is dominated by the stupidity of people’s psychological inertia, largely shaped by commercial marketing. People who are smart enough to think and think hard need to have a common cause.

Universal Freethought is the values of the academy carried beyond the ivory tower and into the general public dialogue. In fact, in many cases intellectuals owe the success of their discoveries as Universal Freethinkers shape these ideas into something that is attractive for a larger audience, who is busy living life and does not have reading the dry academic text of your field anywhere on their “to do” list.

I want all my friends to consider popularizing this concept with me, fanning the flames gently until it roars into a full blown meme. I sincerely hope that this idea does not fall by the wayside in my thoughts.

I care about society, and the tolerance of large populations in academic ignorance is a threat to our advancement.

A Universal Freethinker does not believe that they are intellectually superior by DNA or luck of birth. The Universal Freethinker is a radical educator. Dedicated to manifesting a powerful community of humanity where people actually realize their potential and contribute to the greater good as much as they are capable when they can realize their greatest good.

I have not found any other movement with the exact same aim of Universal Freethought except for the academy, but the effects of the academy are deeply limited by the lack of economic justice in our present civilization.

If you are reading this you are already a Universal Freethinker, more than likely. So what are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Little Fucker

In the last few weeks as the the face of DFW lay covered in ice, with a break here and there to drive around in it, I was driving west bound on the 635. I hate the 635. It terrifies me, I think everyone on that road is on meth and slightly suicidal, and I used to ride it on a highway legal chinese imitation Vespa. This was a little like a glorified bicycle, and my neighbors were tail gaiting Ford F-150s.

Driving in my car on this cold day, on the devil's highway I saw him! About the size of a small house I saw the Liitle Fucker. Not the picture you see above, because that was taken by another person in a different sighting of this powerful graffiti meme making its little dance with the metroplex. I wish I had a photograph of the Little Fucker as I saw him, the whole thing was a little like a prehistoric religious experience. The Little Fucker found me first online, and then appeared to me in the real world.

This image was found in Austin, showing the juju is indeed far reaching.

I first learned of this little creature, usually referred to as "bomb walking", or "walking bomb guy smoking cigar." But I have rechristened him: Little Fucker.

I found all of this rich information on a website known as reddit, its users as redditors, in a sub-reddit called /r/dallas.

This website, specifically /r/dallas , is much like the Little Fucker. It is locals marking their territory. It is people who are outgoing, intelligent, usually in the know, talking about where they live. DFW.

The "threads" which follow the Little Fucker are here and can give you a good taste.

UPDATE: Pic of walking bomb guy smoking cigar

Seen around DFW, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Irving, Coppell, Carl's Corner

Walking Cigar Bomb Guy Graffiti (this one is my favorite because the redditor didn't have a picture, but his itch to find this meme was so strong he drew it on his computer

If you can vibe my need to feel this kind of connection with the place you live then you are perfect for r/dallas.

The redditors on r/dallas post about good places to eat, bands, places to get coffee, local news you need to know about, and has been one of my top sources along with the Dallas Observer and Lit Monthly for whats going on. I totally recommend it.

But even if you are not interested in another geek meme drinking hole for DFW, if you see the Little Fucker, smile. You have just been chased by a meme from a powerful 21st century cave painter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mac Store on Knox: Fuck You Smokers!

Today my wife and I went to the Mac Store on Knox, in an area known as Knox Park. Knox Park is a bourgeois as the day is long. It was the first part of DFW that I was shown by some locals as a real taste of the town. It was so disappointing to me that I became a shut-in for nearly a year.

Its not that its not nice. Its beautiful. There is a cute little hot-dog place there where they have a wooden carved hot-dog man outside thats very nice. The Mexican restaurant Chuy's is awesome, and has vegetarian Mexican food.

They have Starbucks, and Crate and Barrel, and fancy restaurants that my Dad likes to go to with his prestigious scientist friends from UT Southwestern when he's in town. Its very nice, very fancy, and very bourgeois. So what you mostly have in there, like other Dallas uptown parts, is the DFW nouveau riche enthralled with themselves, SMU frat boys getting their margaritas at the On the Border corporate mexican restaurant, and Dallasites hoping to soak up some of the nouveau riche e vibes for their own perverse reasons. The latter is definitely the category I fit in.

But they do have a Mac store, and this includes a Genius Bar. The Genius bar is part of the Mac store which services computers. They have notoriously good costumer service, which was immortalized for me in an erotica story in Violet Blue's pro-sex podcast.

My wife and I have very few instances of brand loyalty. We are cheapskates. In spite of all our anti-establishment beliefs and rock and roll rebellion we watch financial advice shows, clip coupons, look for sales, etc. But we love our Mac computers. I use my Mac for so many recreational creative projects that I would feel injured without it.

Her computer stopped booting up the operating system several months ago. We don't know why, but it would just taunt us with a blue screen and nothing else. I knew I needed to do something, and I sure as hell didn't want to spend $1000 on a new computer.

My wife is a French femme fatale and when her computer quit working my Mac became communal property. I would have refused her at my own peril. My wife and I are also both occasionally unkempt. My mac is held together in some places by scotch tape and is grotesquely stained by food, cigarettes, and two keys have literally been burned. It doesn't help that the old mac books are a white which shows stains in such a prominent way.

This set up a cycle of resentment where I was taking a backseat to my wife's constant use of the one working Mac: mine! She put John Bonham from Led Zeppelin as the wallpaper picture. I retaliated by replacing the dead drummer with Stalin.

My wife's computer sat unused for months, and her treatment of her computer was a lot like mine. Constant use in the presence of an unorthodox life style.

I mean my mac is not some sterile device to be kept in a lab. I have taken it all over the U.S. and to South America. I write on it. I do art on it. Its more like Kerouac's type writer than some sterile protestant business machine. My mac has a nickname, I call it excalibur, and thats not done lightly. I see my mac as my weapon I use to take on the world. About a month ago my Mac stopped recharging.

To make matters worse our kitten who we call Dumb-Dumb, went through a pissing phase where he regularly coated our computer bag. This is the computer bag we took to the Mac store.

So we show up at the Mac Store, which looks like a utopia in a Star Trek future where everyone looks like they sing in a band and program computers. We are kindly attended to, as we have appointments. Even though we look as out of place as beggars from Calcutta in the Ritz.

We go look around and yearn for the Mac products that tease us beyond our price range.

Then we are met by Bryan. Bryan is the computer repair guy, his title according to the Apple corporation lead by Steve Jobs is "Genius."

I pull my computer out of my piss-bag. In an act of great slacker heroism I tried to coat the piss-coated computer bag in a new layer of upholstery cleaning spray. The combination was not an improvement.

I open up my computer. Disgusting. It was as if I was revealing my underwear had a giant skidmark on it in front of everyone.

Bryan was so kind as to wash my computer for me. It looked a hundred times better, and took him about 15 minutes.

He runs a diagnostic, tells me I need a new battery. Price : $120, I bitch about the price he brings it down to $100. I still say I can't afford it.

Then my wife's computer is opened. He has already cleaned mine, it took him 15 minutes. Her's is worse.

He asks if these are nicotine stains, if we smoke. My wife smokes over two cartons a month. She smokes like a french fatale, while pounding hours away at the keyboard in her own weird internet life.

If my computer was white underwear with a skidmark, her's had a turd crowned by dingle-berries.

I imagine Bryan was irritated because he had already cleaned my disgusting computer. He was not going to take any shit from us, we were clearly not Knox Park material, neither of us had our skinny jeans on after all.

We confessed to smoking, like two children revealing their dirty underwear and being asked if we even wipe.

Though for future reference if you smoke and you are at the mac store, the correct answer is "no you do not smoke, you are an anti-smoking activist, and you are offended that he would even suggest that. This must be some dirt from the Dallas pollution problem. "

Because according to Bryan Mac has a company policy against servicing computers that have been "contaminated" by tobacco products. My wife's computer was now banned from any hardware repairs by the Steve Jobs nanny state.

I was livid. He said that this much nicotine on the computer was as hazardous to his health as if it had "pee and poo on it."

Of course I was taking big wiffs of my cat pissed soaked computer bag while being told this.

My computer was also nicotine stained, and probably stained with other byproducts. My wife had been using my mac for months with a cigarette in hand. Two keys were actually burned, with melted plastic and everything. But he cleaned that one. I think Bryan was (perhaps rightfully so) enforcing this rule mostly because he was pissed off about having to deal with two nasty dead beats, clearly out of place on the starbase I mean the Mac Store.

I started bitching about how this was $2000 worth of computers. I started listing off mac products I bought. I talked about how this amounted to de facto discrimination by mac of all the computer users who smoke, because I don't know any cigarette smokers who would abstain from smoking while farting around on the computer.

He said if he didn't have to fix any hardware he could still fix it, but that her computer was still banned because it was "contaminated" and this hazardous waste was banned as "company policy."

Bryan did fix the computer, for free. We were definitely not in a presentable state, and our computers were very filthy. So if the reader wants to walk away from this thinking that we are just a couple of nasty-asses who got better than we deserved, fair enough.

I bought the battery because I felt like an asshole for our computers being so nasty. I hope he got a commission for it. He did fix my wife's computer for free.

But I suspect if the reader has a cigarette in hand, this post might affect their opinion of Mac.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

60 Days

It has been approximately 60 days since I have written a post.

I feel like a traitor.

I have had good metroplexian experiences since my last post.

I have seen the Assassination City Roller Derby team play in Mesquite, I have experienced great local food, I have had funny DFW experiences.

We have all just survived an election that leaves our beautiful city an ornament in Rick Perry's nightmare of douchebaggery. To really fulfill the potential of this blog I should have been muckraking local candidates.

I should have been writing quite a bit.

There are restaurants and bars you need to know about. There are little nooks, crannies and anecdotes in this fair area which we inhabit.

I have been going through a slow and intimate investigation of this area's history, especially Dallas. It has been insightful and beautiful and given me great pride to live here. In this process I have met some local giants who need to be properly admired on this blog.

But the last 60 days have been at their most metroplexian because I have been way too fucking busy.

DFW grows so rapidly, and weathered the financial crisis as much as it did because people move here to make money. That was what brought me here.

As much as I love the locals, I really want to speak now for the new breed of Metroplexian: those of us who moved here because so much of the country is financially stagnant.

Those of us who may have thought the local bar scene only consisted of corporate bars like Chilli's or Applebee's.

Those of us who have spent a year or two thinking the local art scene consisted of the bourgeois art museums and thats it!

Those of us who read the Observer looking for insights and are given lower Greenville and confusing prophecies of a resurrection of Deep Ellum. Those of us who have never experienced the early 90's and late 80's glory days of Deep Ellum.

We are working our asses off. And driving. Driving over coil and coil of the vast serpentine expanse only to get closer to the being swallowed by the serpent.

It is painfully hard to find time to enjoy the finer things. It is a challenge that persists for those of us who are trying to take our piece of the Metroplexian pie.

Proximity is a bitch here. Everything is far away. And I have a strong suspicion that those of us who migrate here and probably the workaholic types, a breed of carpetbaggers trying to fatten up on a swell we barely understand.

Its a spartan thing to try to make a life in a city you didn't grow up in.

And as I try to put an end to my hiatus I salute you in mutual recoil.

Thats not to say the natives aren't hard working.

It is my prejudice that the DFW native works over 60 hours a week and then manages the vast labyrinth with enough energy to get drunk and build most of the cool things that I go sniffing around for.

They built this place after all, and by default the ripe soil we are all trying to reap from.

Time has a unique sense in these parts. We move in 30 mile strides, where I grew up that put you across farmland and in a separate city.

We work like aspiring robber barons, this definitely carries its own cosmic clock.

Time is crueler in DFW, kind of like summers.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eat Mediterranean or the Terrorists Win!

I have some evil tales to tell about the enemies of freedom. But I have decided that I would be a true asshole to write more bad news after the last post: DART article.

The metroplex has too many good things, positive things, that I can write about.

One of those things is the Kasbah Grill, located right next to the Irving Islamic Center and the Irving Fire department. And I don't think its a coincidence that the finest Mediterranean food in the Metroplex is right next to the house of Allah: the compassionate and merciful.

One dare not produce shitty food in the presence of the divine.

The Kasbah Grill has three great virtues. One is its ambiance. Two is the actual quality of food and refreshment. Three: is the price.

In the Kasbah Grill one feels that they have left the surrounding cesspool which is Irving and entered a better land. Or at least a classier land. One corner of the Kasbah is decorated in a way that would be fit for a Sultan, and I still do not know the riddle of how one gets to sit in the pimp seat at the Kasbah Grill.

The patronage is often obviously the local Muslim community and even though I am surely the worst of all infidels, one who is purely Satanic and opposed to all good, I am still treated with great kindness and respect at the Kasbah Grill.

Go often enough, and the staff remembers what you like.

Then there is the tea. Oh Christ, the tea! I mean, Oh Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), the tea!

This tea is such a powerful stimulant that I could fulfill all my domestic repairman duties within an hour of returning home. This tea cannot be legal. In this house of virtue there is some secret ingredient being served to their unsuspecting neighbors that transforms them into strange hyperblasting creatures of productivity. This tea is the mint tea.

Mint my ass!

The food is definitely good. If you have never eaten mediterranean this may not be the best first try. This place is very, very authentic. Though I have taken the uninitiated and seen them converted, Alhamdulillah!

I have two favorite dishes at the Kasbah Grill. One is anything with lamb or goat. I know, I know, eating meat is barbaric and lambs once belonged to little Mary. But there is a perfect perverted beef flavor to this poor animal and mediterranean rice and chickpeas make it a taste of pure wisdom.

The other dish I really, really, really like is the falafel. Now this baby is vegetarian. And if memory serves me right, its under $5. Thats right, you can dine in the classiest joint in Irving (not false Las Colinas) for under $7.

I think my fancy meat dishes are about $7. I know my wife and I eat there, drink the crack, ahem, I mean tea, and tip for about $20.

You should definitely check it out before my need to defend the citizens of the metroplex strikes again.

I have some depressing shit in store.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DART: The Loser Cruiser

Wow. Long time no see.

I apologize for my long hiatus. My day job resumed in the last few weeks, after a wonderful summer vacation. This, along with some of my other projects has consumed much of my time.

So this summer I lost my car. It was totaled in a flash flood in Lubbock, TX.
This has put me back in my beloved metroplex without a car.

It is said that one can't really live in the Dallas area without a car. At least one blogger at Walkable Dallas has devoted a blog to this discussion. I like this blog. And I hope all the recommendations of the author (Patrick Kennedy) be fulfilled. It tends to lean heavily towards urban planning and can sometimes waxes academic. Which is alright, I think all of us need to wax academic a little more. Even IF ignorance is bliss.

My only real criticism of Mr. Kennedy's blog is that he lives in downtown. He works in downtown. He can bike to Deep Ellum for chrissakes! If he has to use public transportation, like to get to the Bishop Arts District or Lower Greenville, his bus/train ride is going to be 30 minutes at its worst.

Most of us can't swing living and working in downtown Dallas. We have to live where most of the Metroplex lives, in the goddamn suburbs!

I live in Irving.

But I have also lived in Richardson, and Lewisville, and have been carless in all these places at one time or another. And in these situations I have had to ride DART, Dallas Area Rapid Transit. They should be required to take the R out of it, because its about as Rapid as a legless turtle going uphill.

I am riding DART again.

I am riding it to work, I am riding it with my wife to go to recreational activities, and all I can think is that I need to hurry the hell up and get another car.

I once read an article in Lit Monthly once proclaiming the virtues of riding DART, the author talked about how wonderful it was to ride DART, and how green it was and whatever. This person probably rode the damn thing once, to write his article, and like everything else in Lit Monthly its always a positive review. IF Lit Monthly reviewed shit it would pontificate about its marvelous texture, its spiritual smell, and its great power to provide warmth.

Let me tell you about DART, and it aint going to be pretty.

First of all, let me just say that I support a strong DART system. I do. I want there to be more trains, more bus routes, and therefore more funding. The reason I want this is because I want DFW to be able to be green. Realistically.

I also want to commend DART for finally putting bike racks on the buses, and bike hooks on the trains, a lot of the inefficiencies of using DART can be circumvented by riding a bus or a train within biking distance of your destination. Though the coexistence of DART and biking still needs to be improved upon.

Let me just shoot this out in a list. Lets call it, reasons why DART sucks.

1.) Security. My number one beef with DART is security. Now not all routes are created equal. If you take the Red line from the Arapaho station in Richardson to any of the stops north into Plano you are going to have a pleasant ride. You really will. The buses are also not as bad as the trains, my personal experiences tend to be primarily with the Red Line and the TRE. But I am told that the Blue line is even worse than what I will now describe.

I have nicknamed the Redline between downtown and the Spring Valley station the Race War. I know this is going to be sensitive commentary, but I don't want to soften the facts.

When riding this route I have often been treated rudely by young men, had my personal space deliberately invaded when there was plenty of space around, I have had young men get in my face like they wanted to fight and start rapping along with their MP3 Players. When riding this route I have had young men approach me in groups and ask me what I would do if they stabbed me. When I have had friends riding this route they have been the target of small impromptu hate rallies against "The White Man" when they were alone and surrounded by a group of antagonists. I have had friends violently assaulted for being white. The aggressors are always young African American men. It seems that hostility towards whites is the motive, which is utterly depressing.

This is the treatment you can expect when paying to ride DART.

I have lived in West Harlem, where black supremacists preach openly. BUT ... I have never been treated as badly, rudely, or felt as concerned for my safety under racial provocation as I have on the Red line between Downtown and the Spring Valley station.

There are also DART bus stops that are unbelievably unsafe. For example the bus stops in front of the Parkland hospital is little better than a homeless camp, and not with the kinds of homeless people you find on a Lifetime movie. Real homeless people, the type who prefer crack or meth to a roof over their heads. Now the scary homeless folks in front of Parkland came in a rainbow of colors, and themselves did not seem to discriminate in their constant panhandling, and other sketchy behavior. Including one I saw threaten to kill a gas station attendant for asking the guy to quit standing around watching the football game.

DART has its own police station, its own police department. Yet the only time I see them is when they are checking for passes on the trains. Maybe the emphasis needs to be on keeping the peace. I believe if the DART PD made it a priority they could really clean up these concerns, but the priorities are off.

If I felt safe on DART I would want to ride it a whole lot more.

2.) DART is too fucking slow. For me to drive from Irving to Downtown Dallas is about 20 minutes. For me to take DART from my place in Irving to Downtown Dallas is about an hour and a half. That means a 3 hour round trip. Unacceptable.

To take DART to Plano or Richardson is 2 hours one way. Thats a four hour roundtrip, there are people who could probably do Austin and back in 4 hours.

This means that if you want to have an active social life, and you want to take advantage of the variety of cool groups and activities in the Metroplex, you are likely to spend more time on DART then where you are trying to go.

3.) DART stops running at midnight on most routes.

DART has the potential to drastically reduce drunk driving, but not if you are looking at a long ride and the rides quit at midnight. You are going to have to leave the bar by midnight in the best case scenarios. For my favorite bars I would have to leave at ten or earlier.

DART should run all night, and there should be an active campaign to reduce drunk driving by increasing DART use.

4.) DART drastically reduces its routes on the weekends.

This is when I go out. Sucks to be me. Once recently I took the DART to Wal Mart on a Sunday evening at 6 pm, to run a simple errand. I didn't double check the schedule but it turns out that I missed the last bus, which came before 7 pm. This was followed by a 7 mile 3 hour walk home.

This is the reality of DART in DFW. There is no sugar coating it.

There are good things about DART. And I am riding it almost every day right now due to my loss of car. My whole complaints about the trains are for the most part not true on the buses or the TRE. I also meet nice people on the bus, and often have good conversation. After my stay in New York I can say that our trains are competitive with the legendary New York system for travel time to comparable distances. Though in New York I was never afraid for my safety. And I rode in Harlem and the Bronx.

Yet that does not outweigh the negatives. Especially being concerned for my safety, and worse yet the safety of my wife. I am far more comfortable with something bad happening to me than her. I ride the trains with a powerful stun baton in my backpack now.

I have regularly visited LA, which is a city that is laid out in similar way to DFW. They have buses that focus on main streets. I think DFW could benefit from this. We need a Beltline route and a loop 12 route that just rides these circles in both directions 24/7. A route like this for any streets that bisect Dallas would be good too.

We need more trains. I am very happy about the Green Line. I am looking forward to finally riding it. I also think we need a train that follows the 635.

The T in Ft. Worth needs to become part of DART and all of the surrounding communities that have heavy commuting as well. I used to have to get from Lewisville to Garland every day without a car. It was a nightmare. I had to get the Carrolton transit station every day, 8 miles from my house to enter the DART system. To use the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) I would have had to pay almost as much as a car payment to use both systems, and thats with a month pass. Arlington should have to pay a million dollar fine for not having a transportation system every year they stubbornly screw up. This city has UTA for chrissakes! If you have a big university you need a bus system!

If we did these things, along with my other suggestions, then we could realistically ask metroplexians to reduce the use of their cars. Until then the DART vehicles will continue to deserve the nickname Dallasites gave them a long time ago "The Loser Cruiser."