March 14, 2003

>March 2003 (Vol.2, Issue 3)

Welcome to Truckin' my monthly E-Zine. This month's issue includes... 7 (that's right seven!) McG stories: another Subway Story, a classic McGrupp & Señor story called Shooting Pool, a three part series called Phishin' Tales, my monthly indie film review, and The Girl Next Door: Epsiode 2. Also in this issue is current Cambodia love triangle by Señor entitled Sisters. And Armando Huerta returns with a hilarious bit on cheap souvenirs. So sit back, relax, enjoy, and spread the word! Thanks for all your support! Be Sweet, McG

1. Subway Story: Ides of March by Tenzin McGrupp
As the train raced downtown I noticed that Molly was staring at the other passengers that sat on the semi-crowded subway. “You know, it’s not even a politeness thing, it’s just a New York thing. You don’t look at other people in NYC, especially on the subways. That’s how’ll you’ll get shot,” I warned... More

2. Sisters by Señor
Chetra is pure innocence. She is a sweet, loving, caring, 18 year old virgin, and having a tight little body is a great added bonus... Soghin is a seductress. She has supermodel looks and a great personality to boot! Not only do I like her as a person but I also lust after her like I've never lusted before... Chetra and Soghin are SISTERS! ... More

3. Shooting Pool by Tenzin McGrupp
I was kicked out of the Holland Casino for a dress code violation... and there I stood at the entrance trying to get in, decked out in Birkenstocks, ripped jeans, and a NY Knicks T-shirt. It didn’t help that I had been tripping on mushrooms for most of the night... More

4. Kitty Kat Crap by Armando Huerta
Every city that has even an inkling of tourism inevitably has a section of town that houses nothing but store after store pandering this godforsaken crap on pea brained tourists walking around with Bermuda shorts and sunburned knees... More

5. New Jersey Blues: Phishin' Tales Part 1 by Tenzin McGrupp
He dug into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out a joint. He handed it to me. “I wanted to give it to someone who had a smiling face. And you seem to be that guy.” ... More

6. Mollydelphia: Phishin' Tales Part 2 by Tenzin McGrupp
I was running late and the last thing I needed was to get into a fender bender in the parking lot of the liquor store. For a few minutes, I really felt the sharp pains of having to come to grips with the worst-case scenario: I am not going to see Phish in Philadelphia... More

7. Strong Island Unbound: Phishin' Tales Part 3 by Tenzin McGrupp
We met up with Spider and Gil at Penn Station and took the LIRR to the Island. Molly was shocked to see people drinking single cans of beer in brown paper bags on the commuter train. “It’s routine, in many ways ritualistic for the male suburban commuter,” I explained, “in the morning it’s coffee, in the evening it’s a Bud tallboy.” ... More

8. Indie Film Review: March by Tenzin McGrupp
Reviews of the films: American Movie: The Making of Northwestern, Interiors, Gray's Anatomy, Chelsea Walls, and Storytelling... More

9. The Girl Next Door: Epsiode 2 by Tenzin McGrupp
I sat on the edge of my couch and turned on the TV, as she paced back and forth shouting obscenities and holding back tears, trying her hardest not to cry, while I tired my best efforts to pretend not to be listening in on her drama. In the middle of her Sunday morning tirade she managed to help herself to a beer in my fridge and lit of a cigarette.... More

Subway Story: Ides of March

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

As the No. 1 train raced downtown I noticed that Molly was staring at the other passengers that sat on the semi-crowded subway.

“You know, it’s not even a politeness thing, it’s just a New York thing. You don’t look at other people in NYC, especially on the subways. That’s how’ll you’ll get shot,” I warned.

She smiled, “I know. But I’m not really looking at them; I’m just looking at their scarves. I see that people tie their scarves differently. No one really does it the same.”

I took a quick glance and survey, and she was right. An hour earlier, I taught Molly how to officially tie a scarf, something I didn’t have to think about, because it was something I just did, one of those routines that become second nature by living in a cold and snowy climate. I never used to wear a scarf, but this past winter had become unusually bitterly cold and extra snowy. And because Molly lives in a desert climate, she became fascinated with scarves and people’s winter garments. Different sized scarves, different shapes, different colors and styles, and how people wear them for warmth, and how others wear it to accessorize and match their outfits, and how others have no clue what to do with a scarf, and they just let it dangle off them, not caring what it does, like a piece of rotting flesh, about to slide off the repulsive finger from a leper.

“I’m just worried I’m not doing it the right way,” she said with a slightly concerned look in her eyes.

“If you are warm, you did a good job. That’s the bottom line.”

She smiled as the subway slowly pulled into Times Square and a large group of about twelve to fifteen German tourists walked on the train. They were all talking to one another, some louder than others, and they spread out among the empty seats, while some stood in the middle of the car. A smaller, swarthy, chubby man sat in the middle of the subway, and he looked just like George Costanza from Seinfeld, except that he was the Uber-version. By the reactions to the things he said (my German is very weak) from his fellow tourists, I gathered that he was the lowest common denominator in the group… he’s the guy everyone made fun of, and bore the brunt of most of their jokes. And we all know Germans have twisted senses of humor.

The subway was being held in Times Square to make a connection with a downtown express train. The doors to our subway remained open for a couple of minutes and I watched how the tourists interacted with Herr Costanza. It was sincerely humorous. I mean, I don’t speak good German, but I knew this guy was a fool and that he was being tooled on.

The doors abruptly closed and the train jerked forward. Most of the tourists were not holding onto a rail or pole, or something that would prevent them from falling forwards. A loud round of laughter made it’s way through the wave of tourists as some of them stumbled and almost tripped, and some of them banged into each other. That’s when the car erupted in a hearty laughter and a slew of German jokes flew around and about after Costanza had fallen off his seat! The short, chubby, balding German clown had taken a dive off the seat in the car and fell to the middle of the dirty, filthy, subway floor. His fellow travelers laughed, pointed and took pictures. As he slowly got up, ignoring the taunts, a look of sheer embarrassment blanketed his already taught face and he shook his head, scratched his red nose, and sighed.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.


By Señor © 2003

Chetra is pure innocence. She is a sweet, loving, caring, 18 year old virgin, and having a tight little body is a great added bonus. During my last visit to Cambodia, Chetra shared my bed every night. True, she is still a virgin, but I must admit cuddling up with such a beautiful women, inside and out, was thrilling and wonderful. Chetra loves me with all her heart and desperately wishes to marry me. You know what? I love her too and could do a lot worse when it comes to choosing a bride. There is just one small problem. Soghin.

Soghin is a seductress. She has supermodel looks and a great personality to boot! Not only do I like her as a person but I also lust after her like I've never lusted before. Soghin also loves me and would marry me in a heartbeat. You know what? I love her too and could do a lot worse!

Chetra and Soghin are SISTERS! Sisters that I will be moving in with in less than a week. Well, this is a precarious situation at best. I know that Chetra will expect to share my bed. Soghin does not know anything about this, nor do I know how she will handle it. I decided to be upfront with Soghin and tell her everything before we move in together.

I was in Thailand and flew Soghin into Bangkok to meet her for a couple of days of hardcore heart to heart conversations. As honesty is the best policy, I believed my plan was flawless.

Well not flawless exactly. First of all, getting only one hotel room for the two of us probably wasn't the smartest idea and thinking I could control my lust for her was just plain stupid. I picked Soghin up at the airport and when I hugged her hello she gently brushed her crotch area against mine. We were soon holding hands, then caressing one another and then, well, let’s just say separate beds were not necessary. Soghin and I are enjoying each other and having a wonderful time. Normally fulfilling one's sexual fantasy's is a good thing, but what the hell is gonna happen when I move in with both sisters! I have now shared my bed with both lovely young sisters and neither knows the truth about the other.

The moment of truth came after I confessed everything to Soghin. I told her that I was quite sure that Chetra planned to sleep with me every night once we move in together. Fist Soghin was shocked. The she calmly told me that Chetra is 18 now, no longer a child, and she could do as she pleased. Now it was my turn to be in shock. Her answer both excited and angered me. Instead of accepting the fact that Soghin was OK with me hooking up with her sister I yelled out, "What about us? Don't I mean anything to you?"

Boy the fucking ego can really get in the way! But this was one time I was glad I pushed. Soghin then told me that if Chetra wanted me to herself at nighttime that was OK with her because Chetra works from 1:00pm to 10:00pm and that time will be Soghin time!

Señor, a pants dropper, was last seen living in Cambodia.

Shooting Pool

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

Amsterdam, 7 Aug 96

I was kicked out of the Holland Casino for a dress code violation. The Euro-trash uppercrust take their casinos seriously. My attire failed to meet the minimum specifications: clean dress shoes, pants, collared shirt, and a jacket and tie! After a quick glance at the patrons inside I realized that most of the men were well groomed and they were all wearing tuxedos! It was scene right out of a James Bond movie and there I stood at the entrance trying to get in, decked out in Birkenstocks, ripped jeans, and a NY Knicks T-shirt. It didn’t help that I had been tripping on mushrooms for most of the night, and I decided the best thing to do before I came down was to play a few hands of blackjack, and maybe even find a poker game to sit in on… but I couldn’t even get in the front door.

Defeated, I walked slowly back to the Flying Pig hostel across the street from Vondel Park, with random thoughts blindsiding me from all directions. It was my first trip to Europe and I was still processing everything and observing all at the same time. Before I got to the hostel, I saw Señor standing in front smoking a cigarette.

“What happened?” he asked.

I told him my sad story and he told me that it was probably a good thing I wasn’t dressed to gamble, because I most likely would have lost all my money anyway. I agreed as he finished his cigarette.

“I couldn’t sleep. You wanna take a walk?”

We walked back towards the Holland Casino and over to Dam Square. We sat down for a few minutes and smoked a joint and watched the late, late nightlife of Amsterdam unfold. I spotted two girls from our hostel as they were walking down a side street. We decided to follow them, even though we didn’t know them, nor where they were headed. We never even spoke to them, but they were staying in the same room as us. They occupied the bunkbeds right across from me, just a couple of the dozen or so people that we were sharing sleeping space with in the largest, and cheapest room at the hostel. And from the bits of conversation I overheard them speak to one another, I figured out they were French. After wandering down two, long and winding cobble stone blocks, they ducked into a large steel doorway, which led to a stairway down, and we continued to follow them into a cellar club.

We walked into the dark, smoky, stench pit without paying a cover charge. This polluted place was not like some of the chic clubs and discos around Amsterdam and in Europe. They still played the same awful music, a combo of techno-crap and deep house-electric noise which pumped out of the sound system, but the crowd seemed to be less glamorous and a lot more, shall we say… addicted. The French girls picked the seediest shit hole on the block, which was fine by us.

The carpet next to the bar was soaked with what I hoped was just spilled beer and drinks. The strung out, pink-haired bartender looked like she just gang banged a dozen or so tweaked up Hell’s Angels. With mascara running down her eyes and face, and welts and burn marks dotting her arms and neck, she hobbled back and forth behind the bar, nearly falling over several times in the few minutes I stood there watching her, holding my nose, desperately trying to convince myself that I was not standing in urine. She eventually gave us the wrong beers and spilled another drink all over the bar. She was fucked up for sure and I lost sight of the French girls.

Señor walked over to a pool table near the back of the club and nobody was playing. Against the graffiti splattered walls were seven or eight couches, nearly all occupied by different collectives of weirdos, freaks, and other miscreants. The backroom was poorly lit, save for a few candles and one single green light bulb that lit up the pool table. A Goth couple was making out on one couch, and I couldn’t figure out who was the male or female. Next to them were about three or four American college kids, with their baseball hats and blue jeans, possibly frat boys from the East Coast, but we avoided them, and walked past a group of three passed out people wearing purple suits. I wanted to walk up to each couch and start talking to everyone, but Señor called me over to the pool table.

“How much do you think it is?”

“Good question.”

We walked around the table and looked for a money slot, thinking it was just like a pool table in any NYC bar, one that you had to pay up to $1.00 to play one game. We couldn’t find one, so I walked back over to the bar and tried to get the burnt out, pink-haired, biker chick bartender’s attention. She looked like she was nodding out at the end of the bar, but she was actually smoking a cigarette.

“How much for the pool table?” I asked her, peering into her vacant gray eyes, side stepping a puddle of warm piss.

“There’s no swimming here,” she shouted in almost perfect English.

“No. I don’t want to swim. I want to shoot pool.”

“You can’t shoot up in here either. Go next-door,” she pointed, taking a long drag on her cigarette.

“Billiards!” I shouted as I pointed back at the table, where Señor now stood talking to the French girls, “How much does it cost to play?”

Irritated, she whispered, “It’s free.”

She dropped the cueball on the wet and sticky bar, which started to roll off, but I caught it just in time before it splashed down into the small lake of yesterday’s piss. I walked back over to Señor and he was trying his best to make nice with the French girls.

“Bro, I need you to translate,” he smiled.

“Sure, after I tell you what the bartender said.”

As we stood in the shadows of the eerie green light, I told Señor and the young ladies the odd story about the hagged out, pink-haired mixologist, and they told us that they were only there at that club to score some cocaine and they didn’t want to shoot up either. I guess the “shooting pool” expression means something different in other languages. I invited them to play billiards with us, and they agreed to, after they went to the bathroom to test out their new product.

I began to rack the pool balls and set up the table when one of the girls shouted to me, “Venez-vous avec nous?”

“What did she say?” asked Señor.

“She wanted to know if we were coming with them,” I answered.

“To the girl’s bathroom?”

“Yeah I guess we should. How many times do we get offered to do lines of blow in a bathroom in the back of a shitty-ass club in Amsterdam, with sixteen year old French girls?”

Señor’s smile said exactly what I was thinking.

“Not often enough.”

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

Kitty Cat Crap

By Armando Huerta © 2003

Travel, unfortunately, isn’t always about glamorous locations, fine bone china in First Class and porters in hotels whisking your bags up to a penthouse suite. It also has a very unpleasant side, and one that I feel is worth exploring in this issue. Thus, without further ado, here is a brief grievance I have when traveling: CHEAP SOUVENIRS.

I don’t know whom I despise more, the people that manufacture this shit or the ones who buy it, then carry it home to display on the particle board shelves with faux walnut finish gracing the double wide they sought to escape in the first place. Now don’t get me wrong, some souvenirs can be very nice items to keep for future enjoyment or reflection such as a well crafted original vase, unique regional gourmet delicacies or locally produced wine, but they are unfortunately the exception and not the norm. Every city that has even an inkling of tourism inevitably has a section of town that houses nothing but store after store pandering this godforsaken crap on pea brained tourists walking around with Bermuda shorts and sunburned knees.

Even the most gracious and elegant of cities falls prey to this commerce, from the ancient capitals of Europe to the dusty towns of rural Mexico. I often want to stop the people buying this crud and deliver a couple of well placed bitch slaps to their bovine faces. You know the kind of things I’m talking about, sea shell encrusted beverage coasters, fake ancient statues and t-shirts with the destination spelled out in rhinestones.

By far the most offending item I have seen is the Kitty Cat calendar which unfortunately is available in several cities throughout Europe. If you have ever seen these calendars you know the sensation of having your face turn to ash and total loss of bowel control. It involves a calendar in which every month there is a picture of a pussy perched on some typical piece of architecture or in the foreground of a famous landmark. Hideous. For the life of me I cannot comprehend why, with all the pictures, memories, treasures one can take home from a visit to a faraway land a calendar with a succession of mangy cats posing with vacuous looks would be a top choice.

Armando Huerta is a writer living in Athens, Greece.


By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

25 Feb 03

I was running late and the last thing I needed was to get into a fender bender in the parking lot of the liquor store. For a few minutes, I really felt the sharp pains of having to come to grips with the worst-case scenario: I am not going to see Phish in Philadelphia.

By the look on Molly’s troubled face I knew that we were in a bind. No one was physically hurt, but I did not want to cancel the trip. Molly flew all the way to NYC for these shows. She invested a lot of money and time to go see them, and I was determined not to cancel. Somehow, someway, my quick thinking got me out of the situation and I did what I had to do to get the vehicle in suitable shape to make the two-hour drive to Philly and back, without notifying the proper authority figures. The car was able to make the journey. And onward we went.

Thanks to Modeski’s kick ass directions to the Philly Spectrum, we got there in twenty less minutes than I expected. That was time we desperately needed to make up. But we didn’t have enough time to get an authentic Cheesesteak. During Molly’s last trip to NYC, we ventured to Philly to see the String Cheese Incident play, and met up with Senor, who was in rare form that night, for sure. But we never got to sample the local cuisine, and I had been craving a kick ass Cheesesteak for some time, but that had to be sacrificed in order to get to the show on time. It was worth it. As we walked from the parking lot to the venue, I asked the food vendors for a Vegan Cheesesteak. I got several blank stares, obviously my NYC sense of humor was a little too sophisticated for the Philly Phishkids.

The seating at the Spectrum is very tight, which added to the intimacy of the event. The crowd was a lot more pumped, with a noticeable higher energy level than the New Jersey crowd. And I sensed all this before the show even started. I told Molly that the Philly crowd is more friendlier, but a little more rowdier, which should make for a kick ass show. We were amused by the conversation from three kids in our section that happened to be talking about Avril LaVigne. Amazing. Two Avril LaVigne references in less than 24 hours at two different Phish shows. Stuff like that makes me scratch my balls twice as fast.

Phish opened with Julius, a song that they hadn’t played since their return. From the beginning, it seemed as though Trey picked up right at the spot he walked away from. He was on, first song, first set. No need to warm his ass up. I was hoping to hear 46 Days, a new song, and they did not let me down. Three songs into the show, I decided the stress from the accident didn’t matter anymore, because I am where I want to be, and the show is already a notch above the one from the previous night. The jam out of Taste was the most intense version Phish I saw since their return. And the crowd was enjoying every minute of it.

Taste featured Page during the high points of the song, and they boys peaking a couple of times, which got the crowd going. I had one of the oddest moments at 116 plus shows during Taste. Half way through the song, I looked over to the adjacent section and saw an old lady wearing a green Phish t-shirt. She was staring at me. She looked at least 60 years old, and she was watching me. I gave her a "What’s up?" nod, and pumped my fist in the air twice during a wicked Trey solo. She waved back at me, and then smiled. A minute later, I looked back to see if she was still there and I couldn’t find her. I had a relatively sober show. I didn’t drink any alcohol (I was driving to and from Philly) and I certainly was not on any chemically manufactured drugs. I had all my wits about me, and I swear I saw and old lady in a green Phish shirt jamming out during Taste.

Molly called Frankie Says. It’s a rare song, but we were listening to it in my studio before we left for the show and she said, "Maybe they’ll play this tonight."

I smugly brushed her suggestion off, “Nah, it’s too obscure.”

And that is why Phish is always full of surprises. And when they bust out Slave to the Traffic Light, I was dumbfounded. Slave is my favorite Phish song, and they never play it in the first set! I was not even expecting to hear it at all this tour!! Some of the best shows I ever went to all included Slave at some point in the show… at the Sunday night Charlotte show in 1994, at the Gorge in 1997 with Senor and Jay Sheer, with Heather at the sweltering July 4th show in Atlanta, or for a well received encore at the Albany show with Gil in 1999, and most definitely in Japan with Beano, Zobo, Senor at the infamous Osaka show… all highlights personally and Phishy. And to top off the first set, they closed with a kick ass Walls of the Cave. With one set complete I was completely satisfied and I could have gone home right then and been OK with that. But Phish had one more set to play!

In homage to the Samui Pants Dropper, set two opened with AC/DC Bag, an old school Senor & Pauly Phish song. I always think of Senor during this song, and that night was no different. And then they broke out Cities, which after he once e-mailed me several years ago, Zobo wrote, “When they play Cities, think of me.” Well, Zobo got his wish. Next up was a heavy, delicious, high energy, mind blowing sixteen plus minute version of Theme from the Bottom. Without a doubt, that was the highlight of set two.

During Thunderhead, the kids behind us were singing the song “Spill the Wine” over Phish’s instrumentals. It was funny, and made us laugh, and I had that song stuck in my head the rest of the time Molly was in NYC.

"Spill wine, dig that girl…"

Pebbles and Marbles, another new song closed the stellar set. The encore began with Squirming Coil, and Molly turned to me and giggled, “You HATE this song!”

I do not hate Coil. I think parts of it, especially Page’s piano solo, are marvelous. Yes, I get disappointed and will gripe if I hear Coil as an encore song… a solo encore song. And I expected to walk away with a very familiar Phishy experience: a kick ass night, with a weak encore. A Big Bang but with a sub par exit. Without the encore the night was sensational. But then Phish saved me, they played one more song, Character Zero, a solid, ripping version, so I walked away extremely satisfied, and that made the ride home to NYC much more fun. I just saw the best Phish show I had seen since Las Vegas in September of 2000.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

New Jersey Blues

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

24 Feb 03

It was cold and I realized that we wandered through the parking lot, right next to the security line to get in the show and decided that since that’s where we have to eventually be, we’d might as well just wait there. I made small talk with two guys behind us who drove down from upstate New York. One of them was a Deadhead and he ventured to many of the Dead shows I saw in the Southeast in 1994.

“Hey man, do you have stuff to smoke for the show?”

I thought he wanted to buy some from me. “I have just enough,” I answered.

“Well, then I have something for you.”

He dug into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out a joint. He handed it to me.

“I wanted to give it to someone who had a smiling face. And you seem to be that guy.”

Surprised, I quickly thanked him. I took the joint, sniffed it, and handed it to Molly for inspection. I later found out that he sprinkled some hash in the joint.

Our seats were decent, right in the middle of the venue and in the middle of the upper section on the Continental Airlines Arena. The first set had some good moments, the jams in Wolfman’s Brother and Limb by Limb were the strongest moments of Phish in the set. The added bonus of almost an hour of B.B. King sitting in with the band, the unexpected appearance shifted the focus of the show. The first song was sloppy, the second was kick ass, and the third jam session tired out the restless crowd. But Phish didn’t care, they were having a blast, and that’s all that mattered to them.

At setbreak, Molly bought cheese nachos and was especially surprised to find out they had jalapenos in New Jersey. While I waited the standard twenty minutes to take a piss, I looked at the setlist. Phish played four songs, then had three jams with B.B. King, for a set that lasted well over ninety minutes. On my way to the men’s room, I slowly waited in line with the rest of the fucked up people. Some of the funniest things I ever overheard happened while I was waiting to take a piss at a Phish show. Just two hours before, in the same bathroom, I saw the Mike Gordon look-a-like that I met in Japan. I see him at every show, and we chatted while we pissed. But this time, some drunk guy was the source of amusement.

“Hey man, I hear Avril LaVigne is coming out to play the entire second set.”

The line burst into laughter.

His buddy offered up, in the most fucked up, faded voice, “Duuuuuuude, I am sooooooooo looking forward to that, ehhhhhh!”

That’s when I lost it. Canuck urinal humor at a Phish show. Nothing quite like it.

I found the rest of my friends, and wandered over to their section. The gang was in slight disarray after losing their smoking utensil. Gil was a little disappointed with the first set, but I assured him that he had three more sets of Phish (including Friday’s show) to make it up to him.

The second set began with two heavy hitters, a not so frequent Halley’s Comet, then a crowd pleasing Harry Hood. The highlight of the second set was during one of their new songs Waves, which I got hooked on at the New Year’s show. The jam out of the chorus kept building and building with more layered energy, and it’s just flat out fantastic Phish letting loose, which is why I became enraptured with their new song. The set closed with two old standards, Sample in a Jar and Chalkdust Torture, and it occurred to me that the second half of the set was all Trey. First set was B.B. King and his backup band, Phish, but set two was Trey and Phish.

Molly was utterly disappointed with the encore. Before they got out three seconds of the song, I knew she disliked Farmhouse. But I consider it one of my favorites, and I hadn’t heard them play it in a long time. The return of Phish was sloppy at times, tight as hell during other moments, and refreshing and soothing most of the time. But their vocals, which have always been weak, were the last thing to come around, and they still haven’t shaken the rust off of that. But, they nailed Farmhouse vocally. No mistakes, which made it sound even better.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

Strong Island Unbound

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

28 Feb 03

We met up with Spider and Gil at Penn Station and took the LIRR to the Island. Molly was shocked to see people drinking single cans of beer in brown paper bags on the commuter train. “It’s routine, in many ways ritualistic for the male suburban commuter,” I explained, “in the morning it’s coffee, in the evening it’s a Bud tallboy.”

While we waited for Spider to get his car, Gil took us on a short walk through historic Port Washington, and over to Long Island Sound. We got to the venue very quickly, and we were greeted at the entrance to the parking lot by dozens of kids looking for tickets for the show. Our seats were the best for all three shows, right next to the side of the stage, where Page plays. The bad part was the nazi, arrogant, yet ineffective old man security guard in our section. Crowd control was a problem at a couple of points before the show and during the first set, with everyone trying to sneak down to the floor, but it eased off after a while. I ran into several Japhamily at this show… Previn and Chris walked by us as we sat in our seats. I also got called Dave Grohl by some dosed out guy. And I was an asshole to two guys standing behind me who didn’t have tickets in the section. They were yapping during Horn, and I turned around and asked one guy what his name was.

Steve Edlestien? Good, Steve, cause when I write up the review of this show and post it on the net, I want to make sure I spell your name right, since you’re the ass face who talked about your boring personal life during the entire first set and ruined my show.”

He gave me a dirty look, but took the hint. I stood my ground and he took off as soon as the song ended.

Phish opened the show with a heady Birds of a Feather, and followed with a truly rare Destiny Unbound! This show was going to be all Mike, and that was a way to get it off right. A crusty Phishkid, who’d been to every show since Vegas, was twirling in the aisle next to me and said, “Brah, they haven’t played this song all this tour.”

“This tour?” I exclaimed, “They haven’t played this since you were in the third grade!”

The last time Phish performed Destiny Unbound was in November of 1991 in Virginia.

Molly was stuck in the bathroom for Horn and the beginning of Bathtub Gin, but she got back just as they were about to peak for the set, that is until the boys blew me away with Back on the Train. It was by far the best version I heard to date, and was the best Phish I heard since their return. It was Trey bluesy, Mike funky, Fish groovy, and Page mellow all rolled into one savory twelve minute song.

I bolted for the bathroom during Bouncin’ Around the Room, which was dubbed the Pauly Takes a Piss Song for the night. I also had enough time to buy a pretzel and a beer before the song ended.

Walls of the Cave closed the first set, and was the first repeat we heard this run. This Walls was a more solid version than at the Philly show, if it was hard to better that version. It was cool to be fairly up close to see Page’s piano intro.

“Listen to the silent trees…”

At setbreak this Guido looking Long Island guy walked up to me and asked me if I like vodka.

“Hey tough guy, yous like vodka?” he spouted.

“Why of course,” I muttered, as he handed me an airport bottle of Smirnoff.

Now we had booze to make vodka tonics, and Molly observed, “Do people always give you things at Phish shows?”

Counting the joint at the NJ show, the free hugs from the rolling girl at the Philly show, and now the vodka, I guess she was right. Random people give me cool shit all the time.

Second set opened with a 26 plus minute heavy ass Tweezer. In the beginning during the down parts of the jam, Chris Kuroda turned down the lights, and a couple of mini glow wars erupted on the floor during each down moment. Alas, Tweezer was long and dark, and all Mike.

Next up was Reggae Phish. I thought they were going to play two or three different songs before they bust into Bob Marley's Soul Shakedown Party. It was the first time they played it since Milan, Italy in 1997. Soul Shakedown Party is a rare song, only performed three times prior. The groove was there, the vocals were spotty, but it didn’t matter.

Phish had a spacey three-minute intro to David Bowie where I had hoped they would break out into 2001, but they didn’t just teased it once or twice before a solid Bowie, and of course Trey smoked the shit out of the end.

Harry Hood was the second repeat for us this tour, and again this night’s version was more solid than the one we saw in New Jersey. The last time I saw Phish at Nassau Coliseum, it was back in 1999, during the infamous Boogie glowstick show, when our favorite Buffalo blonde hurled a glowstick from our seats behind the stage, and it came crashing down onto Page’s piano. A large clacking thud, which forever immortalized Boogie onto bootlegs worldwide, was spinning in my ears the entire song, as my thoughts drifted to Boogie and that epic night. At one point during the glow war, I looked over at Page precisely at the moment a kid in the fifth row threw a glowstick at him. Page ducked to the side, not stopping his piano playing, and kept on jamming out. A small safety hazard, that I guess comes with the job.

Finally the pharmies kicked in. I traded a couple of nugs for pharmies with some kid in our row from Boulder during setbreak, and I eventually started to feel that nice, warm, faded feeling. The boys treated us to a three song encore: Contact, Mexican Cousin, and Tweezer Reprise. I became enamored with Mexican Cousin.

“I’m awful sorry you got pissed…”

At first I liked it as a joke song, but after hearing it live, I was hooked.

“And Tequila’s where that start’s and where it ends!”

The yellow lights on the crowd, and the way they reacted to the song translated to me as a special moment.

“Mexican Cousin again…
I wanna, wanna kiss your oooooooooooooh!”

I walked out of Nassau satisfied with the short three show run. I got to see my favorite song, Slave in Philly, and hear the boys play some solid new stuff. I saw two kick ass solid back-to-back shows, something I hadn’t experienced since Las Vegas or in Albany on the 2000 Fall tour, and got to share these shows with Molly, who almost never gets to see her favorite band.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

Indie Film Review: March Edition

Indie Film Review: March Edition

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

Here's the March Review of several indie flicks I watched the last month.

American Movie

American Movie: The Making of Northwestern (1999) is a documentary film by Chris Smith about a filmmaker named Mark Borchardt from Milwaukee. He is trying to live his dream of making a film, and slowly finishes his film “Covan”. Taking more than three years to complete, and working a day job in a cemetery, Borchardt, the writer and director struggled through his own personal problems, including trying to support three kids, gambling, alcohol abuse, and a dysfunctional family. He sacrificed time, credit cards and money to make his vision become a film. We follow him through the tedious, painstaking process and discover colorful characters along the way, from the local theatre group, to his family members, including his Uncle Bill, a shut in who forked over $3,000 to help produce the film, and lastly Borchardt’s best friend, a burnt out, drugged out, near comatose, tag along, slacker guitar player. I identified with Borchardt’s agony and perseverance, and some of the more touching moments involved his personal reflection on his pursuits and his failures along the way. Parts of this documentary were hysterically funny, while other bits were disturbingly honest and bleak. But in the end, you can’t help but pull for Borchardt.


Interiors (1978) is the only film that I fell asleep in that I will recommend. (I do not count films I passed out in, that’s a whole other story). I watch most of these films late at night, trying to fall asleep, and this one worked. But it was so good, I started it from the beginning and watched it again. This is Woody Allen’s most serious film and got him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. I did not catch one sincere joke, or any comedic trademarks of Allen’s sarcastic wit and neurotic brilliance, yet the writing was still outstanding, and his characters are layered and intricate, but not overbearing. Although this film lacks all comedic elements, it stands out as a haunting, yet pristine drama. It reminded me of Igmar Bergman films and some of the odd Scandinavian flicks I have seen. The sets are not overwhelming but mature, and the photography and cinematography is precise. Very few scenes take place outdoors or in public, rather concentrating on internal elements and characters acting one on one, which gave certain parts of it a strong theatrical flavor. The bland clothes the characters wear also set the somber, yet serious mood. The film is about three sisters (Diane Keaton, Mary Beth Hurt, and Kristen Griffith) and them dealing with their parents break up, specifically their mother, Eve’s mental breakdown. Eve is an interior designer and decorator whom desperately tries to have her family and external life match the one she has created in her own mind. At closer look, we realize that the break up between the sister’s parents (E.G. Marshall and Geraldine Page) is just the backdrop to some serious problems in each of their lives. Renata (Keaton), a writer an intellectual is overtly jealous of the attention her sisters got from their father, and from the lack of love she got from her mother, and is consistently clashing with her husband, a washed up alcoholic writer. Joey (Hurt) is the middle child, and bears the burden of caring for her mother’s serious emotional needs. The strain affects her relationship with her boyfriend (Sam Waterson), whom she acts often belligerent and cold towards, and as a result, she finds herself consistently indecisive in the remainder of her life. Flyn (Griffith) is a B-film actress in L.A. and harbors a hefty cocaine problem, which she hides from her family. Maureen Stapleton excitably plays their father’s second wife, but Geraldine Page stole the show with her stunning performance, and her breakdown in the church has got to be one of the more dramatic scenes in cinematic history. Did I just sound like James Lipton?

Gray’s Anatomy

Gray’s Anatomy (1996) was directed by Steven Soderberg, and centers around the life of monologist, actor, performance artist, and writer Spalding Gray’s bout with losing the vision in one of his eyes. While writing one of his novels, Spalding Gray freaks out and wanders into the alternative medicine field in an attempt to correct his eye problem. Gray, one of the best story tellers I have ever come across, humorously recants his neurotic stories about a wacky New Jersey doctor, then sitting through Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremony in frigid Minnesota, and eventually traveling to the Philippines to be performed on by the Elvis of all Surgeons. It was funny for sure, but not as good, nor dramatic as his other filmed monologues: Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box, which you should probably see first.

Chelsea Walls

Chelsea Walls (2001) was directed by Ethan Hawke and written by Nicole Burdette, which weaves five separate stories set in a single day at the infamous Chelsea Hotel in NYC, built by a Frenchman from New Orleans with the sole intention of having it’s inhabitants artists and artisans of some sorts. Featuring an ensemble cast of over thirty actors, Chelsea Walls was made on a minimal budget, rumored to be under $180,000, and shot on location, digitally, over 18 days, by Ethan Hawke in his directorial debut. Hawke delves deep into the mysterious eclectic energy of the Chelsea Hotel, which once housed famous residents the likes of: Dylan Thomas, O. Henry, William S. Burroughs, Sandra Bernhardt, Bob Dylan, Willem De Kooning, Arthur Miller, Mark Twain, Janis Joplin, and Sid Vicious. Nicole Burdette wrote the screenplay, based on her stage play “Chelsea Walls”, which was inspired by the Dylan Thomas play “Under Milk Wood”. Thomas is commemorated on one of the many plaques surrounding the hotel entrance: "Dylan Thomas lived and laboured here...and from here sailed out to die." The film tells five unrelated stories, all taking place within the Chelsea hotel, about an intense painter (Vincent D’Onofrio), a shy waitress/writer (Uma Thurman), a hopeful poet (Rosario Dawson) and her boyfriend (Mark Weber), a couple of struggling young musicians from Minnesota (Robert Sean Leonard & Steve Zahn), an aging novelist (Kris Kristofferson) and a wacked out jazz singer all trying to sort out their artistic and personal lives. The most outstanding story was magnificently acted by Kris Kristofferson, as the once famous writer, riding off into to the twilight of his career, trying to sort through his writing, his lover (Natasha Richardson) and his wife (Tuesday Weld). The scene with Tuesday Weld is the highlight of the film. The dialogue is spacious and poetic, and the rest of the acting throughout the film is better than average. But the dynamic script keeps the story and ideas flowing. Director Richard Linklater makes an uncredited cameo.


Storytelling (2001) was written and directed by Todd Solodonz. He split this film up into two different unrelated films about angst, frustration, and celebrity: Fiction and Non-Fiction. Fiction starred Selma Blair as Vi, a troubled writer that has an affair with her professor. She’s a confused young woman with very little self-esteem who degrades herself morally and sexually just to find inspiration to write her stories. This was the better of the two parts of the film. Non-Fiction starred Paul Giamatti and although he did a great job, it really bored me. Giamatti plays Toby Oxman, a deadbeat shoe salesman longing to become a documentary filmmaker. He selects a dysfunctional suburban family as his subject matter, and the main focus of his project shifts to the oldest son Scooby, the stereotypical outsider: an alienated loner, soon-to-be-a-ticking-time-bomb, a shy, bisexual, high school student with his own twisted dreams of being famous. I would not recommend this film. But there was a nasty sex scene in the first part of Fiction that was worth me mentioning.

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

The Girl Next Door: Episode 2

By Tenzin McGrupp © 2003

Cindy knocked on my door for nearly ten minutes before I got up to answer. I was in the middle of a dream, talking to my high school baseball coach about the essence of hitting, when I abruptly awoke to the shrill pounding on the door.

“What?” I snapped as I opened the door.

She flew past me muttering something about needing to use my phone, and before I could close the door and turn around, she had my phone in her hand and she was screaming at the top of her lungs.

“Bobby, you fucking asshole!”

I sat on the edge of my couch and turned on the TV, as she paced back and forth shouting obscenities and holding back tears, trying her hardest not to cry, while I tired my best efforts to pretend not to be listening in on her drama. In the middle of her Sunday morning tirade she managed to help herself to a beer in my fridge and lit of a cigarette.

She hung up the phone six minutes later and launched into a rant about her previous 24 hours. She and her friend Janet went to look for a rug for her apartment, and they got stuck in an elevator in a revolting building near the Flat Iron District for two hours on their way to an appointment to see a Persian rug importer.

“It was awful. We only had a half a pack of cigarettes between the two of us.”

She continued her story about her awful Saturday, and after they got out of the elevator, they went to a bar around the corner.

“Janet got so drunk that she passed out in the bathroom and some bitch stole her wallet and Metrocard.”

“Shit, what happened?”

She lit up another cigarette and in a pissy voice said, “The bartender, a cute guy named Big Pete, realized that it was probably one of his regulars, this Russian bitch named Marina, Marcia or Marissa or something like that. Of course that didn’t help me any. We put Janet in a cab and I had to take her home. Of course she decided to puke in the backseat, and the fuckin’ cab driver, this Al-Qaeda wanna be, who smelled a lot worse than Janet’s puke, stopped the cab, and demanded $20 plus the fare on the meter.”

“Actually, she did puke in his cab, and he’s gotta clean it up, you know. That’s standard,” I told her.

She didn’t like my answer and continued, “So we’re like ten blocks from her apartment and I’m like fuck it! Fuck that elevator. Fuck the Al-Qaeda cab driver. Fuck that Russian bitch of a thief. Fuck that bartender Pete. And fuck fucking Janet. I’ll drag the bitch if I have to. So I did. For ten fucking blocks! And when I get there, her boyfriend Gregory was such an asshole to me. He didn’t even bother to help me get her cleaned up and into bed. I wanted to fucking stab his eyeballs right out of that dumb head of his.”

I still hadn’t woken up yet, and I realized the entire time she was telling me her story, I was sitting in on the couch, in my boxers, with a huge morning woodie. Yep, she was too self involved in her own drama to notice I had a hard on. I excused myself and asked her a question.

“Who the fuck is Bobby?”


“When you ran into my apartment this morning the first thing I heard you yell was, ‘Bobby, you fucking asshole!’ or something like that.”

She paused, then sighed. “He’s this guy I had been dating for a few weeks. I never told him what I did for a living. But he found out someway and flipped out. He started calling me all these names and then went to Kinko’s and photocopied my picture, wrote down my cell phone number, and the caption: ‘My ex-girlfriend is a hooker. For a great blow job call 917-267-9278’ and he hung them up all over the Upper West Side.”

“Wow that’s fucked up. He is an asshole.”

She shrugged her shoulders, took another slow drag on her cigarette and blankly stared at my ceiling for a few seconds before she responded.

“But it was free advertising. I got three new clients.”

Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from NYC.

What a Long Strange Trip it's Been...

From the Editor's Laptop:

Hey, it's the 10th issue of Truckin'! Just yesterday I had this idea in my head, to have my friends share their wild and wacky stories. And it's reality has inspired me. I was considering ending the run for this e-zine this month, but after careful reconsideration, I will definitely keep it going for a few more issues! Thanks to Cali Jen for the pep talk and two hour conversation on the impact of Truckin' worldwide.

Again, thanks to the writers who spilled their blood and guts this issue, and worked hard to meet deadlines to make each Truckin' what it is... I am humbled and proud of all of your efforts!

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Be Sweet,

"Whatever talents I possess may suddenly diminish or suddenly increase. I can with ease become an ordinary fool. I may be one now. But it doesn't do to upset one's own vanity." - Dylan Thomas