Friday, July 24, 2009

An Excerpt from my Unauthorized Autobiography

Whether you know it or not, VE will be offering up a lot of humor in the future. Not just this blog, but a lot more. Seeing as how I do not work; I am actually working on turning the Fantastical Nonsense into a full-blown brand: Books, cards, T-Shirts, games, other blogs and even location-based entertainment centers full of my own unique ideas of fun things to do.

One thing at a time though.

I've been working on writing my own "unauthorized autobiography." It has morphed into a collection of short stories centered around the amusing and crazy things that have happened in my life; some small, some epic. I've shared snippets of these things in the blog in the past, but by-and-large these stories are written wholy new so that the good majority of it is fresh material never before presented here on the blog.

Here's one of minor short stories from the book, tell me if you think I'm on the right track or not:

Visiting Oakland Neighborhoods that Shouldn’t be Visited!

The first long trip I ever took on my own involved driving down from Portland, OR to Alameda, CA in the San Francisco Bay area. Like any overzealous teen in the 70s I had my stud vehicle. Ok, and like most teenagers it was all a delusion. For me that meant an orange 1971 VW Beetle that I “tricked out” because it was all I could afford. De-chromed, tinted one piece windows, extra wide fenders, Centerline mag wheels, man, I thought I was one slick dude.

Now the 700 or so miles were essentially uneventful. I made it to the Bay area without incidence. Arriving into such a big metropolitan area I proceeded to get lost. The freeways were maddening; overcrowded and continually 80mph one moment and clogged up to a stop the next. It was impossible to try and read my map with those kinds of driving conditions so I took a random exit ramp in hopes of finding a place I actually could read my damn map.

The only problem with taking an exit was finding another on ramp to get back onto the freeway without getting further lost. Or so I thought. What I didn’t realize was that I had just gone into the heart of Oakland and had wandered into a neighborhood that shouldn’t be visited…ever.

I parked in some semi-industrial area in a driveway. I was wedged in between the brick building on my left and a parked semi-truck on my right. Perfect! Finally I was able to read my map without somebody hovering behind me pissed off that I’ve stopped in his or her way.

As I start to unfold my map and it begins to overtake then entire car I happened to glance into the rear view mirror and noticed a fairly large gang of kids coming down the street. Concerned for my safety, I watched them closely but they cut left about a block before reaching the street where I had found the driveway I happened to be parked in.

A sensible person would probably have been concerned enough about the neighborhood at this point to move on. But not me! No, the litter all around, the graffiti and even the gang hadn’t been all assembled in my little brain factory to tell me to move on. I proceeded to plaster the map up against the windshield and figure out where I was and where I needed to go.

Just as I found my path and proceeded to unfold the map from the windshield I was shocked into reality as about 15 gang member kids were rounding the corner of the building and running towards me. I couln’t believe it; they were going to try and car jack me!

But I was young and my reflexes were quite amazing back then. I had that car started, shifted into reverse and flying out of that driveway before you could say “James Bond” or “Holy Shit.” Well, I was probably mumbling that as I was going through this process and didn’t realize it.

It was a wonder that I even got out from the driveway without hitting the semi truck or the brick wall. Arriving in the street I did one of those movie stunt tricks of whipping the car around and putting it in a forward gear and taking off. All of this was happening while the gang members were pawing my car in an attempt to stop me. Yes; they were that close!

I sped off toward my destination and made it safely. I spent several years in the Bay area and never went into Oakland again.

There you go...one of many, many stories to be featured in it. Was it interesting? Funny? Boring? Give me some feedback...thanks.

48 comments:

Hit 40 said...

Funny and interesting. I liked how you talked about your teen delusion of a pimped up orange vw? I didn't know that an orange beetle could be pimping. You didn't mention a rocking sound system. All the cool boys had a loud specialized tape deck radio.

lifeshighway said...

not tape deck radio, an 8 track after factory install will a couple of screws drilled under the dash...

My first date was with someone who said they drove a sports car. It was a yellow VW Beetle with a racing stripe.

gab said...

lol I could just picture you sitting there in your car trying to figure out the map....so to me yes it is good,interesting and funny. Thats all good. My mom told me that when you read a book you should be able to picture your self walking in their shoes and see what they are describing and then you know its all good. She told me you can visit all kinds of different places when a book is that good. I was doing that so you did it! Oh and speaking of VW bugs check out my blog for an interesting car.

Megan said...

Ah, O-Town.

But maybe they just wanted to give you directions?

Roy Scribner said...

Oak-town FTW! I think it's mellowing out - nobody got shot at a Raiders game last year.

Mrsupole said...

You mean Oakland isn't safe. I thought it was one of the safest places to visit in CA. Now Portland, that is a scarey place to visit. Some guy name VE lives there and he is real scarey. But you know Jerry Brown used to be the mayor of Oakland and I would see him walk down the streets and be totally safe. Although the fact that swat was surrounding him each time might have helped.

I was worried for you, just a tad, but I knew you would figure it out just in time, cause you are Bond, VE Bond. And you always get out of these predicaments just in time. But yes funny. And scarey. But you know we need cliff hangers here. Some of us are getting pretty good at cliff hangers. Did they scratch your car, gangs are scarey, I live around them I know they are scarey. But yes it was good.

God bless.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Isn't blogging work?

One of these days I'll beat Mrsupole to the comments.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Yikes! Suspenseful!

Quirkyloon said...

Are you sure you didn't accidentally stumble onto the music video set of Michael Jackson's Beat It? Maybe that "pawing" was just part of the dance routine!

hee hee

Funny story VE. Me likey.

The Incredible Woody said...

I have a hard time picturing a VW Beetle 'whipping' anywhere!!

ReformingGeek said...

I liked it, VE. I was right there with you in the car about to be attacked by the gang.

You might add something about the music you were listening to in the paragraph about the 700 miles.

Good Luck!

Jacki said...

So are you going to create a "VE Land" such as Disney World or Neverland Ranch?

You have a good story going there, you just need to add more details. I suspect you write a lot like I do...I am technical so I just give you the details. In writing you have to embellish it a bit...did any of the gravel hit the gangsters? Did your fender fall off your Beetle? That sort of thing.

And hey...with most memoirs nowadays, it doesn't even have to be true! As long as it is entertaining.

subtorp77 said...

VE, the curiousity factor alone is a great hook. And good thing you did pull over; I've seen people DRIVING with the maps spread across the windscreen!

And maybe that wasn't a gang after all...maybe they were from Macco and just wanted to "add" to your car( I mean, orange? Talk about your homing beacons )-LOL!

Kurt said...

I know those guys! They patrol the area near the freeway giving directions to lost motorists.

Gladys said...

Loved it. Like I asked on my blog this morning, what is Holy Shit? Does it look like Swiss Cheese? Is it divine shit?

Ronda Laveen said...

First car was a 60 VW. The gear ratio is so short. I could really see yo starting it and getting outta there.

I agree eith Jacki-you have good bones you just need to flesh it out.

Baino said...

You don't work? Shit now I'm envious! Yep go for it. Talk about being bleedin' obvious in a strange place. It's as bad as wearing a T shirt with "I Love USA" in Sydney . .might as well wear a target saying "shoot here"

Janna said...

This is a scary situation, fraught with uncertainty and danger. Just imagine what could have happened if they'd managed to stop the car, open your door and drag you out...
Hey; that kind of thing happens a lot. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

Because of that, I have to admit that I didn't laugh when I read it, but I DID find the story compelling. For me, at least, it had more of a "suspense" effect than a "humor" effect.

Here's the thing, though... if the entire book's theme is all about your travels and how you've managed to survive one harrowing experience after the other, then this COULD, in context, end up feeling humorous. We'd be thinking "Oh, ha ha ha, that wacky VE; what crazy stuff will he be doing next?" (And that would definitely make a great book! Be sure to include the story about how you wiped with poison ivy.)

I've spent an awful lot of time rattling on and on here. Sorry about that. I hope this is what you wanted when you asked for feedback.

Keep writing! This will be great!

Quickroute said...

Where do I buy this? I know I shouldn't but I feel the urge

VE said...

I had a long comment with individual replies and blogger ate it. I hate retyping. I'm gonna reply one at a time. Damn blogger.

VE said...

hit40 - I had nice cassette tape system in it. I was happening!

VE said...

lifeshighway - You know, I never had 8-track. My friends did and I certainly had a few 8-tracks because I had a huge 8-track boom box! It was ridiculous. It was white and the speakers can off of it so you could set them up however. Boy I wish I had a photo of that dumb thing...

VE said...

gab - I was out all day yesterday on a hike. It was an epic worthy of the book. Had the pleasant fortune of getting stung by a wasp too. I'll catch up on your post today. Thanks for the writing feedback.

VE said...

megan - Yeah...directions to the morgue...

VE said...

roy - It's finally mellowing? It certainly wasn't mellow in 1979. That was Berkely or what we called Beserkly...

VE said...

mrsupole - Portland IS a scary place with me here. You get too near me and you never know what might happen! Thanks for the feedback on the writing. Coming from a definite writer that helps.

VE said...

perpetual - I hadn't considered the suspence factor. I guess I'm a bit numb to suspense given that so many things have happened to me. I'll definitely have to tune into that.

VE said...

quirky - Ha! That would have been story worthy in its own way. Alas, Michael was only doing his "Off the Wall" album at that time. I know; I was listening to it then.

VE said...

incredible woody - It does sound funny, doesn't it? I had a bit of Herbie the love bug in mine. It actually moved pretty fast; it wasn't a stock engine at all.

VE said...

reforminggeek - Good tip on music. That would have been Alan Parsons Project, the Cars, Michael Jackson's first solo album "Off the Wall", some Moody Blues, Boston, Led Zeppelin among others.

VE said...

jacki - I don't think I'll be creating a "neverland" ranch. Not even a Disney. However, if you're familiar with Buster and Daves or something like that. Basically; another place to go and have fun. But full of unique stuff you can't find anywhere else; not the same old stuff you see wherever you go. And not on a huge scale like Disney. Thanks for the tips on the writing. I might contact you through email for more. I've got some questions and blog comments isn't the easiest way to do that.

VE said...

subtorp77 - I've seen those people with maps out too. Ridiculous. My orange bug was a huge target out there. I once got pulled over for "weaving" during a storm off the Oregon Coast. Try driving a bug in high wind without weaving!

VE said...

kurt - You live in fantasy land, my friend...

VE said...

gladys - Holy shit? Well, my opinion is that everyone poops... even in heaven. Holy shit is them dumping down on us!

VE said...

ronda - Hey, you know all about the gear ratio then! Thanks for the tips on fleshing it out. I was worried that if I've got dozens and dozens of these misc campfire like stories, how much detail should I throw into any given one of them? Or, should I keep them fairly lean and to the point?

VE said...

baino - Don't be envious. Somebody needs to be forever goofing around! I'll do it. And yes, that wouldn't be a good T-shirt to wear there. Sort of like wearing a "I love Bin Laden" T-shirt in NYC!

VE said...

janna - Thanks for the details. That helped. I hadn't considered the fact that not every one else experiences these kinds of things. I've grown sort of dump to the reality of it. I actually hadn't considered the suspense aspect of that story. Weird. But what you suggested was the sort of overall theme I had going on.

lime said...

i think this story would be an interesting introduction to an escalating series of boneheaded moves detailing the manners in which you've risked your life. ;)

subtorp77 said...

VE, I have. Your right...it's not possible! And Alan Parsons Project is a definite!( but so were all the others )....

VE said...

lime - I'm hoping it doesn't escalate much more; I'm tired!

subtorp77 - Yeah, those were a lot of the usual suspects back then.

Jaime said...

as long as the shirts are gnome free, i'll take one. i'm still not sure they've forgiven me...

VE said...

jaime - There will be gnome free shirts...

Roy Scribner said...

I demand individual responses from now on - lol

VE said...

roy - There are not too many things more irritating than doing a long reply and having it just disappear and then having to redo it! I figure with individual replies at least it only will eat one at a time...

Maureen said...

Good story... but I felt it was suspense rather than humour as well. I could definitely picture the situation, so you described it well. Agreed that you'll have to decide, I think, which direction you want to take; suspense or humour?

VE said...

maureen - Yes...I've come to realize that now. That's pretty much why I wanted to through out something and get opinions first. I'll rework it...

Elizabeth said...

The story made me a little anxious for you too, but I did laugh out loud at the "before you could say 'James Bond' or 'Holy Shit'" line.

VE said...

elizabeth - It's an optional choice which one you use. I believe I said the latter...