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Why There Aren’t Any Wolves In the Chinese Zodiac: Part 1

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I guess I should start off by saying Happy New Year! I should follow that up by saying that I’m sorry I haven’t updated the blog. There are a few reasons for the lack of commitment- lack of time, other priorities, and laziness. Believe me, I try and update- I write drafts, but then delete them because they feel silly or not worthy. Yet, if I worry about what I think is silly or not worthy, I’m not going to say anything, which is even sillier. I can promise that this blog will be updated more consistently in the future- despite the amount of work and play I’ll undergo this year. Don’t forget to check out the other sites I have now too: hypeart.wordpress.com and centreleftofhell.wordpress.com. With that said, here’s the first part of a recount of the first few days of 2012.


December 31st, around 5pm: I park my car at Cup-A-Joe and walk inside. I go over to the wall and look at my paintings one last time and smile. I start pulling them down. “Oh damn, that was my favorite one,” a guy sitting at a table close by says. “You wanna buy it? Then you can have it all the time,” I tell him. We laugh at the mutual exchange and I continue moving paintings out back to my car, which is stuffed with clean clothes and chocolates (both courtesy of my mom.) Although I didn’t make any sales, I don’t care. The fact someone liked my artwork enough to fit me into a tight schedule at their store was payment enough. I would have never imagined this would have happened anyways- any of the art stuff. From Cup-A-Joe to the HYPE Collective- it was never intended. My painting started out as something to pass the time when I was at home feeling sort of bored and unmotivated the other summer. I figured why not do painting again? I did that as a kid and seemed pretty good at it. And what started out as one painting soon became ten, then more than twenty. What was once a bunch of paintings and hanging out with other artsy friends soon became an art collective, which grew from a website to a party and now an actual showcase downtown. Ideas aren’t always hard work and planning. Sometimes they’re like sea monkeys- drop them off and forget about it- a month later you’ve got a whole civilization of five cent brine shrimp. Even when they die, you still remember the good times- that goes for both brine shrimp and people.

I found out through my roommate that Raleigh does an “Acorn Drop” every New Year’s, since it’s the City of Oaks. I figured this was sort of an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. My roomie (Chase) and Calloway are on board, so we load up in his pickup truck and head towards downtown. Now, in my naivety, I think this thing will be big, but not too big. No one seemed to want to go, so perhaps only a few hundred old people and families will be there. I was seriously mistaken. As we approach downtown, we see a giant Ferris wheel dominating the skyline. I imagine this is how a Godzilla attack or space invasion would be- one giant entity dominating the skyline, standing out in an eerie sort of way. Traffic is at a stand still. I’m cramped in the back seat, those pickup truck back seats that face out the side window and fold up when not in use. I feel like I’m in a confessional. “Forgive me father, for I am using a case of Miller High Life to rest my feet on and I’ve got a bottle of cheap tequila in between my legs.” Neither Chase nor Calloway knows downtown very well, so I navigate them to a parking deck at 11:30pm exactly.

We get out and head towards the plaza where the acorn is. It’s suspended from a crane and is maybe ten feet in diameter and made out of some kind of steel. We manage a spot on the steps of Jimmy John’s where, if we look in between two light posts, we can see it clearly. There are all sorts of people here- plenty of high school kids, families, and young professionals. Even after high school, society is stratified a lot based on cliques- how you dress and how your hair looks. I don’t know where I fall in exactly- I’m wearing neon orange pants I found at an antique store, an Oxford button up, some ratty skate shoes, and a sea captain’s hat. I got five distinct compliments on that hat too. We wait around and the acorn drops. Fireworks go off, couples make out, Calloway lights up his tenth cigarette of the night. No sooner do I think about turning around to beat the crowd than an opening in the crowd forms and begins shifting my way. From years of going to punk shows, I assume this to be a mosh pit- but who the fuck starts a mosh pit during “Auld Lang Syne?” It becomes apparent when the opening envelopes me that this isn’t a friendly mosh pit- this is a full on drunken brawl- a full on drunken brawl between two women. I hold my ground cautiously, then, when there’s a lull, we all grab a combatant and separate them. One girl had a pint glass smashed over the back of her head and was bleeding. The other chick seemed fine and decided to flee the scene with her posse of girlfriends. I think I just witnessed a “Mean Girls” version of a drive by shooting. Before I can really connect the dots on what happened, Calloway and Chase come back to where I’m at. We decide now is probably a good time to leave and get back to the truck. We decide to have some fun and hop in the back while Chase drives. Lily’s party is the next stop. There’s some traffic leaving the parking deck, so we wait. And wait. And wait. Thirty minutes in, we realize the truck hasn’t moved a foot. We’re on the fourth floor too. Chase turns the truck off and comes back with us. I’m playing Toni Basil and Bon Jovi off my iPhone to lighten everyone’s spirits. No sooner does “We’re Not Gonna Take It” come on that we get moving. We’ve been in here exactly an hour and fifteen minutes now. We’re not out of the woods yet though. We still have to get to Lily’s. We make some serious circles around downtown until we get moving on the right path. The cold is bitter, and it rips around Calloway and I in the flatbed of the truck. As we pass the prison, I stuff my hands in my tight orange cords to get them warm.

Long story short: Lily’s is a fun time with a few old homies. Also, I have amazing accuracy with a ping pong ball.


Like the U2 song says- “nothing changes on New Year’s Day.” That’s true. Change is usually a thing that comes from within and radiates outward. According to lots of people, this is the last year of time as we know it. I don’t really believe that, but, then again, I’m proved wrong all the time. If it is the end of the world, I’ll be pretty bummed though- there’s lots of stuff I have yet to do. I’m always disappointed whenever the zombie apocalypse doesn’t come though. I get so excited planning my survival strategy. “Nothing changes on Doomsday.”

One thing I wanted to do New Year’s Day was get some incense. I don’t know why exactly, but I really wanted to get a whole bunch of incense. For some reason, I found it imperative to buy it immediately too- particularly the “Fizzy Pop” scent. Maybe it’s something I crave from my Catholic childhood, or all the Hindu stuff I’m looking at on Wikipedia, or the fact it’s the only think that I can get for pocket change. I think I just like the idea of having something old and traditional around me. I load up on fifteen cent incense, then head to the grocery store. Crab legs were on sale, so I decided to take advantage of that. The meat section lady is packing mine up, then paused- “You want some of the broken legs? I won’t charge you for them. We just throw them away anyways.” Sure, I tell her- that’s such a waste! Karma has smiled upon me, at the end of aisle 3. I boil this crab later in the week and give some to my roomie Chase, who’s never had it before. He could taste the good vibes too, and a lot of butter. The key to good crab is a little melted butter for dipping.

Next post is only going to get gnarlier: female assassins, throwing knives, vegan hot chocolate, and risque photos. Check back in the next couple of days. I’m starting back a bit slow, but soon this blog will be kicking and screaming.

Listen to This: Spotify, “Moving to New York”- the Wombats, “Money”- the Drums, “Short Fuse Burning”- Less Than Jake


Written by dstclaire

January 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm

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