Monday, September 18, 2006

Speaking of celebrity yoga students, there was a brief pulse in time when I was impressed if a yoga teacher had, at one time, taught Madonna.

Not that I'm now expertly jaded, it's just that over the years I've met at least 10 people who have taught her yoga.


Sort of takes the gilding off the lily.

I mean, Christ, who hasn't taught Madonna yoga?

But you don't care about that. Your immediate thought at the mention of "Madonna" and "yoga" was "Yes, but how was her practice?"

Apparently it was very focused and intense, as one would imagine.

Although the few people I've met who've taught her private lessons have all mentioned that she demands an enormous amount of energy and attention from her teacher, so much so that one guy remarked that when the session was finished, he felt like he'd just done the two-hour yoga class.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sherrie was teaching a class at an Orange County gym; her glance kept catching on this light-skinned black guy who'd dropped in to practice with his cookie-cutter blonde bombshell girlfriend and/or wife. There was something very familiar about him, but she was teaching and didn't have time to think about it. The class ended and she approached the guy.

"Say," she asked, "you look very familiar." Then recognition dawned. "Are you Tiger Woods?"

Sure enough, it was Tiger Woods himself. The Wood-man had just hacked out half primary. "That was a great class—thanks a lot!" he said.

Sherrie related the story over sushi on Friday night. It doesn't matter who the celebrity is—Madonna, Mike D, Willem Dafoe, Gwyneth Paltrow, Parker Posey—because the who isn't as important as the answer to the question that is unfailingly asked the instant after someone reports a celebrity yoga sighting. That question: How was their practice?

Apparently Tiger wasn't flashy, but he held his own.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Screw yoga—is anyone following the Vuelta de Espana?

We're in week three, and I've had to strap on the Depends for the last two days of mountain stages, lest I once again wet myself in excitement. And there's another mountain stage to go!

Hello? Anyone? Anyone?

Just the chirping of crickets.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Speaking of pre-practice bong-snaps, I probably should write a post about that one kid who used to come to the shala at 5 in the a.m. banging Guns 'n' Roses at max volume on his iPod—one could hear Axl howling "Welcome to the jungle—you're gonna die-yeeeee!" right through his headphones—and after stowing his gear, he would then hammer out a full and rather spectacular physical practice, all this while riding two or three tabs of the lysergic acid diethylamide.

The mind positively melts at the thought.

Thoughts of Axl also taking me back to a bike ride I went on three weeks ago with a buddy—we chugged north up the 101 through Malibu, and passed Latigo Canyon Road, which, as all die-hard G 'n' R fans know, is the street on which one Axl Rose, neĆ© William Bailey, resides.

I hear what you're saying—given my profound hatred of Guns 'N' Roses, how am I privy to such an obscure G 'n' R factoid?

This is itself another interesting story, which took place several years prior, and began when I piled into a rented limo with 10 friends to journey from San Diego to Los Angeles.

The limo's max capacity? Six. I should have known the journey was cursed from the get-go.

An acquaintance was due at a skateboard video premiere, as he had a starring part in said video. HIs sponsor footed the bill for the limo. I'm not sure who paid for all the goddamn Jack Daniels that was consumed on the north-bound journey, but that was definitely the drink and food of choice for the night.

When I say Jack was the drink of choice, I don't mean that it was the featured mixer, because I don't remember any Coca-Cola anywhere in the car—just crazy motherfuckers skulling amber-colored fire straight from the bottle.

For some reason, the wanton consumption of Jack brought to full intensity my friends' recent obssession with Guns 'n' Roses, so much so that all other music was officially banned for the duration of the evening, and the volume of the G 'n' R in the limo was set to an ear-bleeding level.

This evening was also, interestingly enough, the genesis of my blood feud with Guns 'N' Roses. I should also note that the limo driver and I were the only sober people on board.

We made it to the premiere. As is usually the case when people are drinking copious amounts of Jack Daniels, several predictable Jack-Daniels-inspired happenings occurred at the club where the premiere was held. These are the exact same events that take place wherever Jack is skulled straight from the bottle.

In no particular order: whlie waiting in line for the bathroom, a grown man pissed in his pants; a guy passed out in a booth and was forcibly ejected from the club by the bouncers; a guy threatened to smash a bartender in the face for not serving drinks after last call; the same guy had to be forcibly restrained from fighting said bartender, and was then ejected from the club by the bouncers; last but not least, a different guy knocked out a kid (with one punch!) out front of the club.

The one-punch knockout, for those who've never had the privilege to see a fistfight, was comprised of the sound of a fist striking a jaw and an unconscious head striking the pavement. Contrapunto: girls screaming and crying. My stomach flip-flops just thinking about those sounds.

We somehow avoided the squad cars, SWAT van, fire engines, paramedics and roving ghetto birds that converged on the club after said one-punch knockout, and regrouped in the limo. The Rainbow Room on Sunset Boulevard was the next destination, chosen because the Crue (as in Motley) either sang about the joint and/or used to party there.

True to the place's apparently legendary reputation (I say "apparently" because it was legendary to my friends, while I had no idea what was going on), we ended up hanging out with Lemmy from Motorhead, who is, you will be pleased to know, as ugly as everyone has ever said.

As the bartenders called last call, someone suggested going out to Malibu to "fuckin' ring Axl's doorbell!" Displaying a rather Holmesian feat of intellect, one of my friends had deduced the location of Axl Rose's house based on a few scant scraps of information and a fair bit of mindless and insane leg-work. The clues: Axl had bought the house so prominently featured in the video for "November Rain;" said house was located in Malibu; said house was located somewhere on Latigo Canyon Road. The leg-work: my friend had driven, ever so slowly, up and down Latigo Canyon Road, until he recognized the backyard from the video.

Did I mention I was sober the whole night?

The drive to Malibu from Sunset Boulevard was long, and it was the time of night when the booze began to wear off, and people became weary, cranky, and mean-drunk. We were, it should also be note, riding 10 or so people in a 6-person limo, which meant for 5 or 6 hours we had been sitting in each other's laps and at each other's feet on the limo floor.

At this point, too, due to the shenanigans at the club and the ear-splitting volume of G 'n' R piping at all times from the cabin, the poor limo driver was staging an open revolt, and repeatedly threatened to dump us all by the side of the road.

The idea began to sound increasingly appealing to me.

By the time someone sighted Axl's house the party was over and the hangovers had begun.

As an aside, and an example of my own particular obsession, I was beginning to worry about making it to practice the next morning.

A group of us assembled around Axl's buzzer, but no one had the stones to ring the bell. It was, after all, 5 in the morning, and anyway, what the fuck was I going to say to Axl Rose? At that point I not only disliked his music, but would have gladly strangled him for making it in the first place.

We all piled back into the limo, heads hung low. My friend Rich, God love 'im, was the last guy aboard. But before he climbed in, he shouted "Fuck it!" and ran to the doorbell. He jammed down the button for 30 seconds, long enough for all of us in the car to begin panicking, then ran back to the limo, dove in, and shouted, "Hit it!"

In hindsight, pulling a ring-and-run on Axl Rose from a limo is pretty fucking funny, although I imagine Axl himself would not, and did not, find it funny, in part because I bet that during the last 15 years, scores of drunken heshers have pulled ring-and-runs on his house. I imagine groups of tipsy and stoned teenagers, the gawky and rawboned guys in their tuxes, the lumpen unformed girls in their dresses, all of them laughing and giggling, the craziest among them holding down Axl's buzzer before dashing back to the open doors of the limo, which had been rented to take them to and from their senior prom.

After the ring-and-run, the mood went from hungover to downright maudlin; an exhausted, weepy feeling permeated the car as we drove back to San Diego. This feeling was only heightened by the fact that G 'n' R was still playing at an ear-splitting volume. We listened to "November Rain" on repeat during the 3-hour ride back to San Diego.

It was the longest fucking ride of my life. I got home as the sun rose, and I probably did make it to practice that morning, although I don't remember.

While we had huddled around Axl's doorbell, unbeknownst to us all, my friend Rich had opened Axl's mailbox and stolen several pieces of mail. The next day he proudly showed us a postcard from the San Diego Zoo. It was addressed to one W. Axl Rose.

Friday, September 8, 2006

On a less vitriolic note, apparently I flipped some switch on my Blogger control console that turned on a moderator control function. I just clicked "Moderate comments" and discovered a ton of backlogged comments. If you're trying to get your name up so you can go all-city with your tag, don't worry, I'll be publishing all feedback for future posts.

Here're some random thoughts based on your feedback:

1. I love Mark Millar---sure Ultimate X-Men is filled with teen angst. After all, Millar is consciously attempting to engage teen readers. G-Mor is my all-time fave, though, although Joss Whedon is up there. Chris Clarement wrote a General Hospital/space opera melodrama crap-fest and I don't care for his run. That's right, I said it---The "Dark Phoenix" saga was crap. And you know what? I don't like Wolfman and Perez's Teen Titans, either.

2. 9-and-a-half inches.

3. No, no, Warren Ellis the author; although I do love some Dirty Three.

4. Response #2 is a bald-faced lie.

5. You know what else goes good in a yoga teacher's backpack? That Himalayan pain balm, the stuff that is, upon first application, cool and innocuous to the skin, but that, as a practice progresses and the body heats up, turns into molten lava/napalm.

I used it a few times in India and had to interrupt practice to jump into an ice-dip at the shala, screaming "I'm burning! I'm burning! God help me, I'm burning!" Tara swears by the stuff, though, and bought out the entire supply from the Himalaya vendor next to Green Leaf.

(We would pull up to Green Leaf on our motorcycle and I would sing "When I first met you, didn't realize,
I can't forget you, or your surprise---I love you Green Leaf! Dee dee dee!" to the tune of Sabbath's "Sweat Leaf." The last bit---the "dee dee dee"---simulating Iommi's thunderous chords.)

6. Perhaps one day I will publish my list of musicians who should have gone down in that plane with Skynrd. I try to take the long view of Paul's and the Rolling Stones' careers, which is that the great stuff is only great in relation to the sketchy early formative work and the hollow later-years work.

But it still stings a little, doesn't it?

It stings to remember them young and beautiful and spilling forth genius, especially now that so many artists are in their Vegas years.

Bowie, I'm talking to you.

Here's some advice, Aging Pop Stars: You've had the spotlight for so goddamned long. It's time to let it go. Take your money and head for the fringes---that's where the interesting shit is being done, c.f. David Byrne, Leonard Cohen. It's not like you'll ever go hungry again, nahmsayin'?

7. Also for the record, Ian Svevonius (of Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up) prefers Paul to John.

8. Although I do recommend merlot and roboflaxin, I do not personally practice this form of post-practice relief. Chiefly because I lack the roboflaxin.

9. Thanks for the suggestion, but I can't smoke pot to save my life. Or ingest it for the matter. It turns me into a monosyllabic vegetable with a hankering for buttered Stouffer's croutons (from the box!) and root beer.

So someone else should blog about the effects of a pre-practice bong snap combined with a powerful double-shot of fine light-blend espresso.

10. That bit about your Supreme/Prana one-off mat bag wasn't a diss on all you yogis out there with the Lululemon Wallies and the Yohji Yamamoto tiffin boxes. Hell, I've been vibed in Supreme, too, but then, that's the point of the store---it's a little container of vibe with some real expensive and cool t-shirts for sale.

(Among my favorites: the ones that just said "Knowledge Reigns" and "Clientele." Ouch, hurtin' 'em.)

11. Finally, and I do mean this, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Duty Now for the Future

I figure that because Warren Ellis and Billy Gibson (William to you, punk) are all up on this blogging/Feedburner shit, I gotta be up on it, too.

So now the readers of "Leaping Lanka" (which I think are pretty much just my lady-friend and my Mom, god love 'em) have the option to subscribe to my shit so they can instantly cop the latest posting before it hits the streets!

Now the Pilates/power yoga housewives in Des Moines practicing to their Rodney Yee videos can get "Leaping Lanka" at the same time as those Lafayette Street yoga hipsters, with their one-off Supreme/Prana mat bags and their limited-edition woven banana-leaf-and-dosa Dunks.

This Internet shit is true equality for all, I tell you.

Click on the orange icon in the sidebar, and/or bookmark that shit. Truth be told, I'm a little hazy as to what happens after that.

Anyone else think the orange Feedburner logo looks a lot like a mutated Limpies logo? What're Limpies, you say? Christ.

Just to keep it crispy, I suppose I ought to fire out a post, at least to keep my editors, publishers, and throngs of fans (some from as far away as Leucadia!) happy, so here goes. And today, just for a treat, how about an asana-related posting?

"Practice was totally awesome today, although I had a re-cock-ulous time lumbering forth from bed after downing that entire fifth of Old Crow last night! I managed to insert my heel into my cochlea with minimal effort, although afterwards my gracilis was slightly itchy and I experienced a burning sensation when urinating.

On a positive note, I finally managed to palpate my sigmoid colon by wedging my wrist past my rectal shelf! At least, that's what the doc at the emergency room said.

My teacher—who, for the purposes of this blog, I'll henceforth refer to using the clever pseudonym 'Frank W. Arbuthnot, 525 Seabluff Lane, Oceanview, CA, 92404, phone: (760) 613-3067'—is wizened and inscrutable, and never fails to lavish upon his students profound spiritual chestnuts, some of which have the dense imponderability of a Zen koan. Today was no exception! As the EMTs carried me from the studio, he leaned over me and said, 'Sweet Christ, you're bleeding from the ass!'

I wonder what he meant?"