Tag Archives: halloween

The Neapolitan Mastiff: On Meditation

On the train home from work I came across an article on the benefits of meditation. I decided there, amidst the breastfeeding children, drug-addled transients and Blackberry-consumed businessmen and women, that I too, would practice meditation and reap its rewards.

In the past I’ve dabbled with meditation: once at the demand of a deeply disturbed and sadistic lover (that’s another story) and another time after climbing to the top of Mount Heliotrope with a pharmacologist named Vince who threatened suicide if I didn’t join him. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience, it’s that one doesn’t hastily jump into a meditation session. It’s important to prepare. Without a disturbed lover or a suicidal mountain climbing pharmacologist, I figured the best way to prepare myself would be with a steam shower.

While the water came to a boil, I prepared a mix. My goal was to meditate for twenty minutes and I didn’t want to hear the miscreant children of the neighborhood playing “Gangbanger” and pretending to curb kick each other. Or worse, sometimes in the early evening my neighbor, in the apartment above me, has long conversations with her cat, Kitty Perry. “Oh Kitty Perry, what am I to do?!?” I don’t know my neighbor’s name because the cat never responds.

I carefully selected my twenty minutes of music. At first I picked sang-froid and cerebral jams a la Beach House and Beirut, but by the time I was out of the “Bs” I decided something prosaic sounding might be better for zoning in/out. Something like Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” or Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R.”

In my steam shower, I inhaled deeply and relaxed as the vapors percolated through my pores. I ran through possible mantras and thought about my wardrobe for the twenty minutes of peace or, which would lead to peace that lay ahead. After I had sufficiently opened my lungs and pores, I picked my wardrobe: breathable spandex shorts that I bought during the time I was training to run the Boston Marathon (never came to fruition, but you can really get a good stretch in those things, it’s almost dangerous), next I tied a bandana around my wet head so as to prevent a wisp of hair or a bead of sweat from distracting me from finding Nirvana, etc. Lastly, I put on the vest of an old suit I purchased for my brother’s high school graduation in 1998. As was the fashion then, it’s a little baggy, very shiny and it hasn’t been worn in over a decade. I’m keeping it because I’m pretty sure baggy, shiny vests will return to vogue before my lifetime ends and this way I’ll be prepared. Plus, I can spare the closet space. Vests aren’t very big, as you know.

Suited up and ready for peace and serenity, I laid a towel on the floor. Next, I carefully lowered myself to my towel-covered, forest green, shag carpeted floor. On my back, I sprawled out, fully extending my limbs. This is going to be glorious, I thought. Just as I was getting ready to sail off into a blissful state of nothingness I heard, “Kitty Perry, why are you the only one in the world who understands me?”

This would not stand. I shot up like an arthritic and beaten boxer to put on some music. Just as I was about to start my “Total mental relaxation and future cognitive dominance 11/3 Mix” I realized that it might not be a bad idea to relieve myself. Meditating, you see, is like going to see a movie. The last thing you want to do is get up in the middle to go to the bathroom.

Slightly discouraged, but still willing to salvage my future meditation, I trotted off to the bathroom. Mid-relief, remarking at what a wonderful job that Filipina woman does every week turning my toilet from something that belongs in a brothel to something belongs in the Vatican Museum, I spotted a brown spider on the top of my toilet.

I took a shallow breath and leaned back. I surveyed both sides of me. There wasn’t a bat in sight; I’d have to settle for a tissue-suffocation murder. I deftly ripped a bit of toilet paper, and then coming from above, careful to not lead with a shadow, I pounced and suffocated that spider to death. Right there on the top of my toilet. I threw his remains in the bowl and was thinking about his slip-n-slide ride to San Bernardino when I spotted another spider, also brown, but this one was larger. He was about twenty-one inches above my head. I looked at my right arm, “It’s just you and me buddy and we might only get one shot at this thing, so you better make it count.” The spider was still there, I couldn’t tell if it was mocking me or blind of the fact that I intended to end its life. I flexed my quadriceps a few times to warm up and then pounced, leading with my right hand.

But I missed! I misjudged! I over-shot my landing and my hand smacked a sticky yet spider-less patch of the wall. I stepped back and quickly assumed the low stance of a sumo wrestler. The impact of my hand had sent the spider falling to the toilet where it scurried down the wall and behind a trashcan. “This is it buddy, moment of truth,” I said to myself. I was just about to attack when I wondered what I sounded like to Kitty Perry’s owner. Was I no better than Kitty Perry’s owner? Is this spider my Kitty Perry? I hoped not because I actually didn’t mind Kitty Perry. She was quiet and here I was screaming like a lunatic, killing God’s creatures and talking to myself. And then its beady little head peeked out. Aha! Had it not, it might have lived, but I was offended by the furry affront.

This time I came down fast and hard on the tile floor and this time I did not miss! I tossed the swine of a spider into my toilet and sent him the best way I knew to El Segundo. “Ha!” I cackled. I washed my hands and walked into my living room. I stared at the meditation towel. Now, I couldn’t very well just sit down and meditate. After all, I had just killed and although I am a murder, I am certainly not a hypocrite. Instead of meditating, I said something in French to myself, which I did not understand and went out for a bloody steak.

-The Neapolitan Mastiff

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Halloween: To Compromise or Not to Compromise Your Clothing and/or Morals

Two types of nubiles will be going out this Halloween: the glorified stripper and the disgruntled anti-glorified stripper. One will be wearing a proper and thought out costume, something clever, maybe even funny. The other will be wearing a bit of Saran wrap and a pound of make-up.

One type breaks male and female necks garnering attention that isn’t always positive. The other bickers to anyone who will listen about how they’re either: too mature, high-brow, gluten-free or sober to dress like the recession stripped them of everything, but an evening’s worth of MAC make-up and a push-up bra… oh yeah and a pair of angel wings. Or Hermione’s wand.

While the glorified stripper parades around the party like a free piece of day-old U.S.D.A. choice flank steak, the girl who dressed up like an Oompa Loompa, orange face paint and everything, is secretly wishing she could pull a Tonya Harding. Alas, the anti-slut, because she’s mature, cultured, hip to the point of suffocation etc., will instead snidely roll her eyes and tweet/status update about Halloween’s misogynistic roots.

Age usually plays a factor. Anyone who has ever been on a college campus during Halloween knows that there’s only one type of girl in the freshmen class that really thrives. From Isla Vista to Tempe to Indianola Avenue, she’s got her face in front of an ice loge, she’s wearing an obscene amount of make-up and just enough body paint/stickers to not get arrested for public indecency. Granted, there are plenty of girls over the age of eighteen or twenty-one that still wish to be the most objectified belle of the ball.

There’s an art to wearing nothing, while still getting recognized as someone in costume. The shrewdest of this, not particularly shrewd group, knows what makes or breaks a costume without a costume happens above the décolletage. i.e. Pippi Longstalking

  1. Penciled freckles
  2. Pigtails
  3. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what Pippi wore because Pippi never wrestled another girl in an inflatable bed of K.Y. Jelly in front of an entire frat house, ya dig?

And that’s where anti-glorified strippers are born: in the K.Y. ring.

Sure there are exceptions. Not every anti-glorified stripper has a video or two floating around of them flashing Spring Breakers when they were eighteen. There are exceptions. Maybe they were fat when they were freshmen or they were in committed relationships. But dealing strictly with the facts, fat girls don’t really get applauded for wearing nothing, but wings and half of a green corset as a Tinkerbell costume. It just doesn’t fly. (Somebody hit a cymbal.)

Back at your local pumpkin-carving soiree, the anti-glorified stripper is having a horrible time, watching the “slutty mermaid/blowfish/astronaut/water balloon/ladybug”/ whatever she is, get all this libido-driven attention. Meanwhile anti-glorified stripper and discerning reader of Roberto Bolano novels, is becoming more disenchanted by the minute, and may eventually turn into a pickled radish — sexually. Forever.

This isn’t good for anyone. This isn’t good for her self-esteem. It sucks for the guy who’s driving her home, and it generally kills the morale of the party. In fact, the only person who doesn’t get sprayed with this shrapnel of negativity is the glorified stripper who is at this very moment slamming vintage 4Lokos in the kitchen while getting fawned upon by half the party’s male population. While the other half look on  a.) Wishing their date looked like that or b.) Convincing their date that they hate it when girls don’t wear clothes or c.) Thinking they would give a limb to engage the glorified stripper who hath cast a net of pheromones over the party.

In summation, don’t hate the glorified stripper. It doesn’t do anyone any good. And anti-glorified strippers: Shhh…

Happy Halloween!

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Eavesdrop It Like It’s Hot


“He buys tofurkey and thinks Tilda Swinton’s a babe. He’s into dudes, bro.” Brew Co., Brentwood

“I don’t mind looking like a Scientologist every once and a while.” Home Restaurant, Los Feliz

“Man, all these blogs are ripping the shit out of the new Belle & Sebastian album!” Book Soup, West Hollywood

“In moderation, cocaine is no worse for you than a salami sandwich.” Brite Spot, Echo Park

“Bitches come back to me like rental cars!” Vice, Hollywood


-The Neapolitan Mastiff


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Nouvelle Adage Via Mexico D.F.

Pagar cover y no poder chupar es tan de hueva como ir a misa y no rezar.

The Neapolitan Mastiff (courtesy of @Coast2C)

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Skid Row Skewer By The Neapolitan Mastiff

Chapter 1: Los Angeles – Wallow In The Mire

Three minutes ago Walker was doing key bumps on the side of a rented, classic Hollywood estate, in Laurel Canyon. It’s just after four a.m. and he’s standing in the middle of a dance party in Somebody Famous’ living room. Everyone is wearing bowties or formal gowns and masks. Mardi Gras masks, Halloween masks, one twenty-something male wears an astronauts helmet and a scarf around his neck for support. Another guest, whose age is unknown, but sex is certain, wears a neon ski masks, but no pants as he dances under flickering fluorescent light. To Walker, it feels like that movie Eyes Wide Shut. Only tonight, or this morning really, the crowd isn’t quite as polished, there aren’t any Australian actresses and the drugs aren’t nearly as rampant, excluding him, of course.

The DJ on the second floor stares into a computer and comes up every couple minutes to throw his hands up in the air. Before Walker’s first line that night he joked with a couple friends about his fear of coming down. Walker and company sat around in the apartment’s only heated room delaying the inevitable. It was a half an hour or so until midnight. All three had woken up within the hour for this party and convened at Walker’s. It was his idea.

It’s not that Los Angeles is cold; it’s not, not even in late February, but blood thins faster than it thickens. Everyone in the room is intimately familiar with thinning blood: alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, prolonged desert stints, the lists goes on. Not to mention the three months of stagnate, hundred-plus degree days of sitting around, waiting to get off work to cool down. To swim to the bottom of a shallow swimming pool and wait for summer to end. Anyway, no one knows, at least not in this threesome how to thicken blood, so on this sixty-one degree night, they sat a few feet a way from a wall heater and waited for it to kick in.

Walker stares up at the DJ wondering what drives someone to want to jockey Serrato on a MacBook. Music is white noise at most, behind all the watching, staring, posing and smiling when you’ve finally been caught. But first there’s watching. The way lips moved, the way bodies hung or slouched or pulsated. The way people waited for bodies to come towards them touch them, kiss them and left them to refresh their noses, lips or lungs.

Walker feels a hand on his chest and looks down at it. He follows the vascular extremity to a thin wrist that led to an arm, which connects to the heart of an androgynous dancer. Walker becomes quietly upset. Or rather concerned she or he could tell how fast his heart is beating and how dire, physically, he actually is. Inherently, Walker feels if he or she felt what he feels, he probably looks like that war vet with no legs who he sees everyday at the last stoplight before he gets to work.

The vet is always waiting, smiling, without any fucking legs and all he wants is one of the eleven quarters that is sitting in Walker’s center console and Walker feels so bad that he can’t even bring himself to look at the guy, let alone give him a quarter because Walker knows that he’ll start crying if he gets any closer than where the vet is and where Walker sits with his window up. But he always drives past and a hundred meters later, traveling at thirty-five miles per hour he’s already completely forgotten the Vet existed. And he won’t think of him again, not once, until the next day when he has to see him again.

The hand, which belonged to a rather androgynous creature, pulls Walker’s shirt, nearly yanking him from where he stood. His legs were already wobbly, to the point where he was scared to move them for fear of exerting too much, but also afraid to not move them enough to keep time with an impossibly fast beat and also to prevent cramping.

The voice, which belongs to the androgynous hand, breathes hot, caustic air into Walker’s ear. “You should dance with us. We dance platonically.” She or he, talks like a robot, Walker thinks. The hand, then the body of the androgynous dancer retreats in what Walker feels is just in time. Walker looks down and thinks he can see his heart protruding past his ribcage.  He wonders if other people have noticed.

His heart, it’s not palpitating with any consistent rhythm. It feels like a drum solo in the height of the Post-Punk, Hardcore Movement that once ruled South L.A. It’s at some house party in a neighborhood that used to be white and suburban in 1981, but thirty years later is a low-income, largely Hispanic barrio. Back in 1981, the drum solo could last thirty more seconds or thirty more minutes depending on the crowd, the drummer’s health (was he straight-edge or hopped up on homemade speed?) and whether he actually had the will to keep going or just wants to say fuck it. Walker prays his heart doesn’t say fuck it, all other elements on his side. The party has yet to crescendo, he’s the most lethargic thing in the room and the room is most definitely not a minority-stricken slum, in fact everyone keeps talking about Connecticut.

This is a good thing. What’s not a good thing is Walker’s eyes have glassed over. Colors and shapes sliver in front and around him. He knows what would happen if he collapses. Everyone knows, it’s a story as old as Damascus or Aleppo, it’s as old as time. Collapsing between masked Connecticutians high on electronica and aesthetics somewhere in the Hollywood Hills, Walker knows could only mean one thing. He would probably convulse on the floor, getting stomped in time with the beat by Christian Louboutin pumps until he was within an inch of death.

Finally, when the dancing did stop, Somebody Famous or whoever is in charge of taking out Somebody Famous’ trash would discover him, a bloodied mess curled in the fetal position on the floor. A goon would be called by somebody on Somebody Famous’ payroll and given simple instructions: Take the body and dump it outside of a Kaiser Permanente hospital. The goon, being a subcontracted and not prescreened by Somebody Famous wouldn’t have any idea where said hospital was and would instead drive Walker’s barely breathing and bloodied corpse to Los Angeles’ Skid Row. On Skid Row, which needs no introduction to anyone with a penchant for afterhours and warehouse parties, can be slightly intimidating to say the least. On the Nickel, as it’s colloquially known, Walker would be bludgeoned, raped, and generally defiled until finally, his tormenters, having worked up an appetite, would spit-roast and eat him with never refrigerated tartar sauce. Rotten fucking tartar sauce.

Walker couldn’t let that happen. He takes a deep breath. Somehow his body has been moving this whole time and it has taken a toll. Across the room, he spots a velvet-upholstered chair. Between masks, dresses, Dixie cups and bottles of wine, Walker is locked-in on the shimmering, velvet chair. He feels a sudden burst of energy — he knows it can’t last. Walker decides what he has to do is take this energy and walk out of the house, then the gated yard, then on to the street where he will hail a cab. That is, assuming that cabs are roaming the Hills at four-thirty in the morning on a Monday or was it Tuesday? Anyway, once he got in the cab Walker would sit with his head up, paying close attention, focused, watching the meter run up to stay awake. Then he would arrive at his home, crawl into bed and vow never to do anything after dark, ever again.

The chair, velvet and solitary, hasn’t moved, which was a good thing, but neither has Walker. The chair showed itself first so it was Walker’s turn. One foot in front of the other wouldn’t do. The crowd is hovered, amalgamated, and impenetrable.  Walker shuffled along the outskirts of the room. It took fourteen individual shuffles. He squeezed and narrowly missed sports coats with patched elbows and chemically treated tuxedo shoulders. Well-moisturized hair brushed against him. He was almost there. Pallid, bare and probably Connecticutian skin, the softest he had ever felt or at least seen and not felt, tried to lure him and failed. He never took his eyes off the chair. When he arrives, Walker puts his hand on the arm of the chair. It’s well structured, comfortable and reliable. Walker realizes that his body, in its coke-deprived state, might recognize the chair with all its comfort and support for a safe haven, as place to crash. If he gives in and sits down, his body might collapse and be unreachable for hours. Walker’s hand has climbed up his body and touched his chin; his fingers catch a bead of sweat from his brow, then another.

Walker didn’t sit down because he couldn’t. He now knows full well the potential consequences: Skid Row Skewer. Another possibility occurred to him, he could fight back. Yes, he had been retreating since the second he took his last bump, but that didn’t mean he had to give in and just quit. He didn’t have to go out that way. He could buy another twenty bag. He could walk upstairs, and get another twenty bag from the guy upstairs who’s not wearing a mask that keeps talking at the DJ. He could take the bag, patiently wait in line to use the closest bathroom then in maybe four or six dense lines he could give himself the necessary edge to not be a victim. That’s what life is all about, right? Not being a victim. Being proactive. Fighting for your best interest. In one brief bathroom stint, Walker could do all that cocaine and fight back. He wouldn’t even stay at the party. He would just run home,  rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen here. Walker could do it on his own terms, in his own apartment with his own music.  All he has to do is get upstairs.



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