Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sassy's Deathrock Garden

So I'm in Vegas right now, to pick up Kristina's car. Ms. Honey Bunny is taking a power-nap, which looks like it's going to turn into an all-nighter, and the jury's out as to whether Kwadwo and I have the heart (or lack thereof) to wake her up. We were supposed to go shooting today, but we took a little too long at the Bellagio buffet, and fucking about in the casino. I tried my hand at playing War, which is basically gambling for special bus types who think Blackjack is too math-heavy. Hey, I took trig in college, bee-otch! But Lisa told me she made $3000 playing it whe we stopped by her house in B-town. (That's Bakersfield for you city slickers.) So I tried my hand. I only put in $30, unlike the guy who sidled up next to me and cashed in a grand on chips. I think I could've made a go if I'd have invested more, but I lasted about ten minutes, including the $10 that Honey B fronted me. Just long enough to get my palms sweaty and feel like the guy in that Twiliight Zone: "It's inhuman! It let's you win a little, then it takes it all back!" Kwadwo and Honey had to pull me off the table.

We've been using our "street names." Kwadwo's is Cheeseburger, because that's all he ingests. We had to substitute "Meatball" for it at the Bellagio buffet, though, since they don't have cheeseburgers and he had to fuck up a couple plates of Swedish meatballs. Mine is "Tinkler Sprinkler" for the piss I took in Honey Bunny's backyard. We got here before she did, and my bladder was full to bursting, so I had to call HB and ask if I could pee in her yard. I climbed the fence and started peeing, then Kwadwo started after me. I was still peeing when he was done. Hence the name. Honey got stuck with "Vagistat," since K and I walked by a box of it in Walgreen's, and like all immature males, the "vag" part made us giggle. She wasn't really down with having a yeast-infection-related street name, but we told her you didn't get to choose. Sorry, sweety.

Well, I'd love to regale you with more bullshit, but I've come to realize that Vagistat's wireless keyboard is an utter piece of shit. You have to hit everything three times. So I will just leave you with this photo of the Deathrock Garden which Sassy made for me for Christmas. How rad is she? She's made a Glamrock Garden too...the idea is, for you slow-on-the-uptake types, that it's a cooler version of the desktop Zen rock gardens that drive you batty when you're waiting for the results of your HIV test and you're too stressed out and nervous to make anything good. Don't act like it hasn't happened to you.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Pillow Fights, Not Boogie Rock

Went to the Thrasher Skater of the Year throwdown at the Great American, featuring Turbonegro. My friend S. works there, and he was a little shaded about getting Heather and I in, since it was all invite-only and strictly for the glamorous types. I was supposed to pretend I didn’t know him when I got there…just in case. We ended up getting parking right around the corner, and walking past this big clusterfuck of a line to the “V.I.P.” line…not because we were V.I.P.s, but because it’s better to be rejected sooner than later. The security guy asked the guy in front of me for his ticket, and I thought, “Ah shit, the jig’s up.” But he didn’t ask either of us for tickets, and everything was golden…

Except for Eagles of Death Metal. So ironic, it’s even dripping from their name! Not only are they not death metal, they don’t rock as hard as the Eagles. Yeah, no shit—a forty-five minute version of “Hotel California” would’ve been better. Whatever hype is getting them booked to open for bands like Social Distortion and Turbonegro has apparently not died down—i.e. people are still giving them clout because of the Queens of the Stone Age connection. When all the hipsters realize that the emperor has no clothes, and that mustaches are no longer ironic (were moustaches ever ironic?), they’re going to be pointing the finger at each other saying, “Wait, you’re the one who said these guys were cool, right? Hey, you have a mullet.” Speaking of mullets, the drummer’s pretty boy shag was the best thing about EoDM—but only because it frames a face so singularly ugly he gets sympathy cards from the Phantom of the Opera. I guess I’m not immune to irony. Really, though—what the fuck is this shit? You’ve got a guy with a Telecaster, too tight jeans, a pompadour and a wishfully ironic Reno 911 moustache doing the Achey Breaky shuffle, an ugly pretty boy, and a clapped out old dude with a flying V, looking every bit like a geriatric Richie Stotts from the Plasmatics, sans tutu, and they’re playing fucking washed out feel-good dance rock that wouldn’t fill a Humboldt State bar to half-capacity. This is the next thing? This is what the kids are crying for—the return of Boogie Rock?

You really can’t get more gimmicky than Turbonegro. I mean, c’mon—a fat Norse made up like King Diamond in a fur cape, a pudgy Baby Huey in a sailor outfit, a tranny in a SS officer’s hat and Marilyn Manson make-up, the Mad Hatter, a jailhouse rock drummer in Elvis shades, and a manic homo who forgot to take his Ritalin fronting to play the keyboards, singing songs like “Wipe It ‘Til It Bleeds.” Fucking ridiculous—a Viking Village People. However, they bring the fucking rock. They’re entertaining, and oh yeah—once again—they bring the fucking rock. If they didn’t have all the silly ass costumes and anal sex references, they’d still be worth paying to see. EoDM’s J. Devil (ooh, fake names, how punk…) can say “We’re in it for the ladies” as much as he wants, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that anyone under 50 shouldn’t be listening to the goddamned Doobie Brothers, let alone playing that shit. Take your lightweight, ironic ass to the parking lot, smoke the ass end of a joint from a feathered roach clip, and get the fuck off the stage, because that shit isn’t funny enough to laugh at or good enough to rock to. You rock like Carrot Top tells jokes, man. Your moustache says it all: prop rock.

So the famous Ted Shred was the DJ. I know this because Heather is an undercover scenester. And while it’s interesting to hear someone mix beats into Johnny Cash and 80’s butt-rock, and it’s good to hear a DJ who actually does something creative instead of change records, the guy is the epitome of self-indulgent. Maybe it’d be more enjoyable to just hear “Ring Of Fire” all the way through—the man is one of the most powerful, understated vocalists since the dawn of recorded music. I’m not so sure he needs your spastic Eric B. on bathtub speed scratch attack over every fucking line. I will say this was the first time I saw people breakdancing to Slayer. I’m all for the one love, brothers of different mothers, Hands Across America thing, but I’m not sure this type of cross-pollination is entirely good.

Turbonegro. All right! That’s really all I have to say. Much better than the only other time I saw them, at Slim’s. During the encore I got smashed into by two guys doing some kind of Greco-Roman wrestling thing…being a peaceful, lover not a fighter type, I decided to break it up. Somebody grabbed one guy, I grabbed the other. He was lanky fellow and squirmin’ like an eel, so I relived my club-workin’ days and locked him up in the legendary Full Nelson while delicately screaming into his ear to mellow the fuck out. He screamed back “I fuckin’ work here!” over and over. That’s when I saw the laminate hanging from his hip. Oops—my bad. I think he was the sound guy or something. The Good Samaritan is always the last to know.

So Heather and I went to the Grubstake, since I was Somalia-style dying of hungervation. I wanted to get to the show early, get in, get stamped, and go get Indian food…little did I realize that there were no ins and outs. Oops. And we were too late to fuck up the Thrasher deli tray. So we went to Grubstake after, wherein my hunger and crankiness and Heather’s hastily pounded Rockstar lead to a strange miscommunication and awkward stare-down of sorts. I like to think I’m a communicative type, but when I feel that someone is fucking with me, or a situation is past the point of no return, I’m big on the disconnect. I was right about to throw down some cash, get up, and get in a cab… It all worked out in the end, however… if you want the play by play on that, you’ll have to wait until I become a foxy camgirl, showing the world my private boudoir moments. As of now, I don’t kiss and tell—much.

Speaking of camgirls, I was guest star on Sassy and Sedusa’s Crafty Cam last night. It was all under control until an hour long, no-holds-barred, Superfly-Snooka-from-the-top-rope, pillow fight broke out. This was no joke. I mean, serious commando-style, Green Beret, hand to hand pillow-fighting. Sassy’s nose got elbowed, my wrist mala blew apart, and socks were stuffed into mouths. Needless to say, at the end of an hour, I was bashing the ladies at will, screaming “Capitulate!” but they put up a valiant fight and refused to surrender. In the end, the sweaty specter of Exhaustion ruled the day. It was positively cathartic; I recommend pillow fights as a cure for what ails you. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun sweating on a couch with two hot chicks with my clothes on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The B-58 Hustler Was a Gorgeous Killing Machine

Got the new Luna album, "Rendezvous" in the mail today. It came out in October, so it goes to show you how much I've been paying attention. It has Chas Krider photos on the front, which is great. For the two people who are reading this and like me enough to maybe go in on a Christmas present, Chas Krider's photo book of hot women in retro lingerie peeing in dingy motel rooms, "Motel Fetish," will do just fine. Just remember: if Luna used his photos on their album, they are sensitive and romantic, and not cheap porn.

Ah, sensitive and romantic. Yes, Luna. This is quite possibly the best make-out album ever. Though I've yet to put it to the test. This is a romantic, blissful make-out soundtrack--lots of eyelid kisses and earlobe nibbling, lots of staring into each other's eyes and feeling like you've come home, like this moment could really be elongated in the space-time continuum--the subjective feeling of forever in the midst of a heartless vacuum wherein time marches on (until it folds in upon itself). I suppose, that in its way, it's like every Luna album.

I guess Jetset sent me this CD two months after the fact because Luna is playing at the Fillmore soon. I think I'll talk to Kimberly and see if I can do a piece on them before the show. I need to make some amends on that front--I was amazingly lackadaisical and lame with my mclusky article. I was in Miami, partying with garbagemen for my day job, and I sort of dropped the ball on the edit. (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the brand manager from Glad, who is gay, stick his face in the ass of your drunken co-worker as she gyrates from a stripper pole in South Beach.) Actually, I really dropped the ball--as in dropping a 100 pound medicine ball on my foot. Don't let anyone tell you Kimberly Chun is a bad sort--she is a good egg with infinite patience to deal with the likes of me.

I am a moody, depressive sort, and hypersensitive to boot. I look tough (I'm told), but I'm all weepy on the inside. I feel one of those "always on the edge of crying" periods looming ahead...the Clash were "overpowered by funk," which resulted in one of their worst records--certainly the worst side B to any of their albums. (Of course, there were the 3 good songs on the SIX SIDES of "Sandinista!"...to all the Clash apologists out there...fuck you, dearly...that three record set could've easily been an EP.) Anyhow, I'm "overpowered by weltschemerz." I get into a serious funk—overpowered by it, no less—wherein I find it hard to believe anyone’s happy. I can smile, but they’re sad smiles, like you smile at your father when he has Alzheimer’s disease and you finally get over the annoyance that he’s said, “You do nice work” nine times as you put the lights on the Christmas tree, and you realize on the tenth time that it’s really the first time for him, and that his mind is running the same circles on the Habitrail, round and round, with maybe a sneaking suspicion that he’s annoying his impatient son. This is the man who put himself through Stanford Law by working in an ice factory, by riveting the sheet metal to make the B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber.

What a sexy, well-named machine, the B-58 Hustler. It’s a little known fact, but Jimmy Stewart flew them, toward the end of his time in the Air Force. It’s a goddamned shame that the B-58 Hustler was never used in combat, spreading her sleek, sexy legs to rain death upon some unfortunate, poor bastard in a steel helmet, with some canned cabbage and a stamped-metal Kalashnikov clenched between his legs as he pissed his pants. Actually, he would have never heard the plane until he’d been blown apart by the bombs, so he wouldn’t have had the warm, yellow comfort of losing bladder control. That’s the beauty and the humanity of a supersonic bomber—silent death. The sonic boom is for the trees to enjoy—everyone else is dead. Actually, the B-58 flew at twice the speed of sound and carried nukes, so the chances are relatively few of the people destroyed by it would’ve been soldiers. It became outmoded by ICBMs. There’s something about global, thermonuclear destruction delivered by a real live air crew that has a personal touch, really tells the Russkies, “Hey, we care.” Ah, the Cold War, doesn’t it seem quaint? But do you remember when the Russian Air Force shot down the Korean Airlines jet? Those were some scary fucking days, man…”I’d like to protest, but I’m not sure what it’s for/ I guess I got no control, over the threat of nuclear war”—Hüsker Dü. I drew skulls and mushroom clouds all over my Pee-Chee folders. It was almost a let-down when the Soviet Union collapsed like a sick dog as I graduated high school. What to do? What to do? Where will all the amorphous paranoia and ambiguous malaise come from? Kids these days don’t understand what we went through—we weren’t afraid of war; we were afraid of being vaporized in our sleep. I really thought Kruschev would end up right when he said “We will bury you.” Of course, I thought we’d bury him too. But not in Levi’s and McDonald’s franchises.

Instead of the B-58, the world has been saddled with the blunt, abject ugliness, the Jimmy Durante aesthetics of the B-52 for over half a century. They don’t call it the BUFF--“Big Ugly Fat Fucker”--for nothing. If the Air Force would’ve de-virginized the Hustler, there’d be some dead people with my father to thank, at least for the rivets. “So long, and thanks for all the rivets.”

I just looked up Mr. Stewart on Wikipedia. Apparently, he flew over 50 bombing missions over Europe in a B-24 Liberator, and retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General. No fucking shit. His final mission, at his request, was over Vietnam. Mr. Smith goes to Hanoi. It’s time for a Heroine Sheiks quote: “And there’s some Viet cats, who got their asses waxed, if there’s one word they know, it’s G.I. Joe, Joe, Joe.” It’s a wonderful life, eh Jimmy? As my tour guide at the Cu Chi tunnels—underneath a free-fire zone called the Iron Triangle by the U.S. because it just couldn’t be destroyed, just outside of Saigon—said, “the U.S. soldiers had a hard time getting through the tunnels—too many cheeseburgers. Too much Tiger beer.”

My dad trained to fly a B-25 Mitchell. But he flunked out of twin-engine, and then the war ended. He retired from the Air Force Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel without ever dropping an explosive in the middle of someone’s day.

Anyhow, yeah. So. Know what I mean? I look at everyone, and I feel sadness. I feel the first noble truth: Life is suffering. It’s unsatisfactory. Off-kilter. That’s the original Hebrew meaning of sin—off-cenetered. When people look happy, I think they’re faking it. Or, I think of the saying “this too, shall pass.” Everything is ephemeral, grasshopper. Those moments of bliss are just road signs on the Superhighway of Despair.

And everything is cyclical, of course. That paragraph above? I’ll leave it to the Duncan Scott Davidson critics of the future to find the five other times I’ve written the exact same thing.

Interviewed Jay Munly or Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots (and of his own solo works) earlier tonight. He is an interesting, kind-hearted individual with a degree in English from Columbia University who isn’t above admitting he finds hockey violence entertaining, and that there is some degree of fear in his Catholicism. If you don’t have any of his records, please get some. I’m wearing this one out, but I’ll say it again: Tennessee Ernie Ford meets Nick Cave. So good. I’m supposed to be doing an article for Skyscraper, but the editor is still planning the winter issue. Of late, things are imploding, so I won’t count on it.

Did I mention tomorrow is my last day at Plan B? I will be getting a weeks work of freelance work a month, which is good. Now I need to find the other 3/4 of a job. Dear Understanding Individual Who Isn’t Reading This: why don’t you read this? Why don’t you look beyond your nose and beyond the tattoos on my hands and have the wherewithal to realize that though I may be moody, I am paper-trained and at least nominally brilliant, aside from being marginally self-obsessed. Like the retarded man on the bus-stop poster, “I can help your business.”

Did I tell you I got hit by a car? They cancelled the races at San Ramon last Saturday. Once again, the track was too wet. I love and respect Shane for being the track operator at two BMX tracks despite having a real job, so I will refrain from being snippy about that particular let-down. So Scott and I hit the trails in Golden Gate Park, along with the few jumps that are hidden on them. I popped out of a trail onto the sidewalk on Fulton, saw the light for the crosswalk was green, and hit it. There was a lady poised to make a right turn, and I imagine she’d already looked my way. When I wasn’t there. So she started going, and there was a little car/bike friction. I didn’t even get knocked over, and I was much more worried about my bike than myself. She was very concerned and apologetic. I thought my bike was cool, but it’s emitting a strange noise, which I think is my pedal. My bike is my baby, and I can’t countenance loud pedals. What is it with me and pedals? I paid $100 for a pair of magnesium pedals from Specialized, and I broke the spindle trying to tighten the play out of them. They’re sending me a new pair, though—in time to replace my car-christened DK magnesiums.

Is magnesium really better? Probably not. But it’s fun to have magnesium and titanium parts on my race bike. It’s so exotic—makes me feel like Howard Hughes.

Oh, and sorry to let the air out of the bag, but I just did some digging around online, and it seems that B. Gen. James Stewart flew “in” a B-58 Hustler—meaning he took a Mach 2 ride in one, but was never assigned to the aircraft. Also, piecing the dates together, I think my dad riveted something else…I think he was a little early for the Hustler. Oh well. She still was a beautiful plane.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Soul Check

I'm in the car with Miss Dolly, listening to Hank Williams "Lovesick Blues": "I'm so lo-ooh-o-ooh-onesome, I've got the lovesick blues." Dolly's kind of nodding her head, and she says, "You know who this sounds like?"

"Who, sweetheart?"


And you know, she's right. Spongebob takes a lot of his mournful stylings on "I Ripped My Pants" from Hank Sr. With a healthy dash of the less obnoxious Beach Boys tunes. I know it's a cover, but I have to say I get a little choked up every time I hear "Sloop John B."

So the banner up above me as I write this is for Neighborhoodies, and it keeps going from this girls face to her "jezebel" t-shirt, stretched pleasingly over a really nice set of tits. (I wrote this on MySpace.) And, like Ann Magnusson in the Bongwater song "Nick Cave Dolls," I'm thinking "I want some." (Actually, she says "I want one," referring to the mythical Nick Cave doll, but if I said "I want one," what would that mean? One girl, sure, but since I referred to her breasts, one breast wouldn't make much sense, especially sans girl. Tell you what, though--someone ought to make Nick Cave dolls. You could have different years--like the "From Her to Eternity" Nick could have poofy hair and dirty syringes, and modern Nick could have tailored suits and children.)

Okay, enough of that. I just wanted to check in and let everyone know how much I love Hank. If listening to him doesn't stir your soul and make you feel that eternal lonliness and isolation of being an individual on the lost highway, just moanin' the blues, well--I guess you're dead. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but country is the soul music for the poor peckerwood. It speaks from the heart, and nobody yodels or croons like Hank. (Except maybe Spongebob--but, like Hank, he knows suffering...)

It's really a shame what happened to country music, though the whole Americana get-down holds a ray of hope. It's like country got so fucked over, they had to rename it. However, I still kind of hold to "country" as a name--I mean, they didn't rename Rock and Roll "Granite and Locomotion" after all bands like Korn nailed the coffin....because it rose again! ...and again...it ain't noise pollution and it'll never die...though they really ought to consider renaming Punk. It's been punked out a little too much since Legs McNeil coined that one. I was subjected to a A Simple Plan video while waiting for the Spongebob Movie to begin with Dolly and Kristina the other day. (See--everything comes full circle.) My lord, what an awful load of shit that band is. It's really supposed to be about more than haircuts--I mean, can you put spiked belts and flouncy mohawks on 'N Sync and make a punk band? Is that all there is to it? I guess so: some record executive just did. And to think Good Charlotte went as far as getting tattooed...that million dollar nest egg's going to be eaten away by the laser. The video was all about "I'm young and disaffected and you just don't understand me, man." Which, to be honest, is what 95% of all punk songs are about, but "All the kids wanna sniff some glue, all the kids want something to do" gets across the disaffected youth part a little more vigorously and imaginatively.

Jesus Fuck: 3/4 of the Ramones are DEAD! When Tommy dies, we'll see the four horsemen of the Apocalypse on the horizon and know it's really all over. Then what are you going to say? How are you going to account for yourself when the goats are seperated from the sheep and your name isn't in the Book of Life: "Oh, I'm sorry, I was just too busy that day when I had a perfectly decent chance at blowing up A Simple Plan's tour bus. I had to do my laundry." Yeah--there'll be a reckoning.

Okay, this chick's tits are somewhat enervating at this point. I get the selling point, fellas. "Direct from Brooklyn...Neigborhoodies Spread the Love." Well, what fucking good does that do me here and now, jack? The camera pan in your banner is making me Blair Witch dizzy, and those beauteous breasts are on the wrong side of the country. Digital tits...what good are they?

Anyhow, this mullet-headed Achy Breaky shit is to country what A Simple Plan is to The Ramones, or what the "baby-ooh-ooh-ooh, you look so fine but you broke my heart, ooh-ooh baby, let's drink Remy and get romantic" shit that's called R&B nowadays is to a guy like Otis Redding. I'll tell you what--it might be a good thing Otis died young, because he was a big man, and he'd be knocking some goddamned sense into some of these young weepy-eyed brothers. "I've been loving you, far too long, to stop now..." Otis was a loving motherfucker, but he was nobody's "baby ooh-ooh-ooh" bitch, he was a fucking man. To quote Chuck D: "Your general subject love is minimal--it's sex for profit." You got the rhythm but you go no soul.

Self-reflexive moment: Man, it sure feels good for a whitey college boy to quote Chuck D, even at this late a date.

I know it's a fart in a hurricane, but what the fuck good is it when a song that's all about love, about the deepest part of the heart, is just a fabrication to sell product? When Hank said "I went down to the river, so lonesome I wanted to die" do you think he didn't feel it? Was he thinking about a possible cross-polination with the fast food market on the new Burger King compilation CD? Listen to a song like the Vibrators "Baby Baby" or the Ramones "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" or The Saints "Messin' With the Kid" and you can feel the desire and yearing and heartache. Tell me whitey ain't got no soul, motherfucker.

Oh fuck, who am I kidding? I'm banging my head against a wall trying to figure out how to get the young, artful nonconformist to drink Red Stripe. Really--it's like, such a free-thinking beer. My boss is all about being true to the "everyday hero" and the common man, but he wouldn't know the comman man if a common man bit him on the ass.

Soul check: Hank, Brian Wilson (at times), Ann Magnusson, Nick Cave, Otis, Chuck, Vibrators, Saints, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Tommy, and Spongebob. Me (at times).

Gas Face: Korn, A Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, 'N Sync, Billy Ray, Brian Wilson (at times), me (at times), Billy Ray's mullet, the whole fucking retro glam-rock 80's electroclash, ironic post-modern rehash flounce-mullet, 21 year-old über cool cocaine scene. I saw the art director of a supposedly very cool lowbrow art rag wearing motherfucking acid wash jeans at Social Distortion. Are you fucking kidding me? Sweetie, you can't polish a turd, you'll just get your hands dirty. Recontextualizing only goes so far: wearing the same retarded pants and slouch boots the cheerleader cunts wore in high school twenty years down the line does not make you a forward-thinking cultural iconoclast. It makes you a victim. What next, the return of those godawful VISION STREET WEAR shirts? (I know--slow moving cows with a shotgun.)

And Nike owns Converse--even Chuck Taylor's are fucked now. To think there was a time when Hank Williams was popular culture. And Otis, and Sly Stone, and Al Green. There are still good things out there--it can't be bad that Social D sold out the Warfield two nights in a row. But the shit is starting to come over the top of my waders.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Lead Into Gold Into Lead

So Thanksgiving weekend. Mostly, I was thankful for getting the fuck out of the miasmic pit of bad feelings that I call my office. Some bright boy, as Hemingway would say, got the idea that a windowless room in the basement would be much more pleasant if painted pale yellow. With bright orange doors. Throw in a cranky, petulant German with the manners of a spoiled five year old and the human feeling of a Vulcan, and you’ve got a recipe for GOOD TIMES! So while the braintrust of the firm were in high level meetings with clients and toasting the good times ahead, the four of us in the cheap seats who getting shitcanned ten days before Christmas were sitting in the outside room, being resolutely ignored and feeling a bit chafed about the chaps. God bless YOU, Tiny Tim, you precocious little cripple.

So, to cheer myself up, I did what the rest of America did, aside from the vegans and other assorted weirdos and haters of Freedom: I ate my way to happiness. Or at least into a stupor.

I was supposed to race at San Ramon on Saturday, but it rained the night before and the track was “too wet,” even though it wasn’t raining at race time. WTF? It’s a fucking BMX track, what’s going to happen? We get muddy?

Saturday night was supposed to be Captured By Robots at Bottom of the Hill, but I was really not feeling being out and about amongst humanity. Though robots would’ve been nice. I long for an Isaac Asimov future, devoid of fleshly weaklings like myself.

Sunday morning was the Run to the Far Side 10 K. Up until then, I was pretty much of the opinion that 10 Ks were the province of old people and fat asses, which I guess is true—and I’m one of them, because that run kicked my ass. After all, I thought I was Bobby Badass Marathoner—and a marathon is over 40 K, but that marathon was over a year ago, Jack. My thighs feel like someone’s stuck about 8 or 9 icepicks in them, and I’ve got some sweet shin splints. Anyone want to run this week?

When I got back, I stepped on the scale I’ve been assiduously avoiding. How bad could it be, right? I just ran a 10 K. Well, weight-wise, I’m not all that much heavier—about 20 lbs. over where I want to be—but my scale has a body fat percentage feature. I gained three percent body fat over the holidays! And if the weight didn’t go up, I guess some of my muscles must’ve congealed into Parkay over the weekend.

I know—I’m a bitch. I’m going to turn into one of those “I’ll just have a salad with dressing on the side” twats. What I need to do is get a new set of New Balance distance shoes and start putting on some fucking miles on the weekend.

All right, so. This was mostly about nothing, huh? I’ll promise to be more interesting next time.

“If I had to give you something then I think I’d give you nothin’
If I had to give you something then I think I’d go to hell.”

“Day of the Deadringers”

Friday, November 26, 2004

War All the Time

It's 11:23, the day after Thanksgiving, and my roommate is still in his room, playing war games. The sound of automatic weapons fire, death grunts, and radio communications with commands like "Kill him now!" are coming through his doorway. Good times. I wanted to ask him to go to my folks for Thanksgiving, but that kind of thing is always a little weird. My dad has Alzheimer's and my mom forgets a lot as well...it's a matter of gauging how resilient people will be to answering the same question over and over. I don't know...I suppose I was more concerned about my own discomfort. Selfish, to the last tiny bone in my eardrum. But who's to say he hasn't had a satisfying time killing in his room? He's been doing it all week.

The Avengers are playing at the Du Nord tonight. Didn't really feel up for a show--I've got to wake up at 7 tomorrow for the races. I missed the Dicks, Crime, and now the Avengers. Struck out on the legendary SF punk thing.

Feeling spaced and alone. Got laid off a couple weeks ago...come Dec. 15, no job. Not looking forward to finding another, not stoked on the idea that it may be back to clubs and cabs... Not feeling it. I see the abyss coming, and I'm not feeling too comfortable about it. I don't want to go there, but I'm standing on one of those moving sidewalks at the airport. Or a glacier. A river of ice, slow flowing into the sea. What I'd normally do in this situation is try to find the nearest wet-eyed girl to fall in love with. Someone told me the other day: "Interested is interesting." If someone shows interest, you're drawn to that. Hey, maybe I am okay. Here's someone I can tell all my old crash and burn stories to, and she can tell me hers, and we can lick each other's wounds by the fireside until we come. Then we'll scrub our brains out with dreams and go eat waffles. "This must be love, love, love. Nothing more, nothing less--love is the best."

K's grandmother died today, while I was in meditation class.

Like everything, this mood is a song. Let's try "Coney Island Baby" by Mr. Lou Reed, without the part about playing football for the coach:

When you’re all alone and lonely
In your midnight hour
And you find that your soul
It’s been up for sale
And you begin to think ’bout
All the things that you’ve done
And you begin to hate
Just ’bout everything

But remember the princess who lived on the hill
Who loved you even though she knew you was wrong
And right now she just might come shining through
And the--
glory of love, glory of love
Glory of love, just might come through

And all your two-bit friends
Have gone and ripped you off
They’re talking behind your back saying, man
You’re never going to be no human being
And you start thinking again
’bout all those things that you’ve done
And who it was and what it was
And all the different things you made every different scene

Ahhh, but remember that the city is a funny place
Something like a circus or a sewer
And just remember different people have peculiar tastes
And the--
glory of love, the glory of love
The glory of love, might see you through

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Like the Trumpet of Gabriel

When I blow my nose, I don’t fuck around. It makes a loud, trumpet sound which used to make the other kids laugh. I don’t know…maybe my characteristic nasal trumpet is responsible for all those years of anti-social behavior. Maybe a I have my nose to thank for my rugged individualism and counter-cultural iconoclast status. (Full clout, y’all!) Point is, when I’ve got action up there, it’s got to go. No namby-pamby, polite noseblowing for this boy.

Anyway, it’s no secret that the sinuses connect up the nasal passages to the eyes. It’s one big system. Some years ago, I noticed if my honking was extra Gillespie-esque and intense, I could feel air coming out of my eyes. No shit.

So last night, I’m riding home on my bike around 10 PM. It’s cold, I’m tired, I want to get home, and I’m rocking “Liar” by The Jesus Lizard, so I’m putting on some speed. My eyes are watering from the cold air and I’m sniffling like crazy. Finally, a block from my house, I stop to do the farmer snot get-down. I gently lay my index finger aside my right nostril and blow. I didn’t mean to do it all that hard, but I guess I did. Not only did I clear out my nostril, but I blew a bunch of mucous out my eye socket. I don’t know—maybe it was just tears, since my eyes were watering. Kind of stung though.

Though I’d share that

What Your Beard Says About You In Court

I found this in a Mississippi State Court document. Why was I looking there? Google search for "individualist" + "nonconformist"--a little research to sell you beer, my pretty. Anyhow, considering my nickname used to be "weird beard" I thought this court transcript was at least as humorous as the Ray Charles song "The Man with the Weird Beard."

Challenge S-9, 8-10, Davis. He is a friend of Thurman, who was previously challenged by the state, S-2, Panel 7, Juror 7, and visited with him during the entire two days that they were here, and stated on the record that they were friends. Thurman, as stated previously, has been convicted of ABC and drug violations. He also had a weird beard, which indicated to the state that he was a strong individualist and non-conformist and dissenter. He left his employment blank on the jury questionnaire form. He voted for a defense verdict in a civil action on a close issue. He said that it was a hard decision for the jury to reach, which indicated that it was a close issue, and in the close issue, he went for the defense.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Stay Metal

The kids love the metal, whether they're rocking to Ozzy at the latest Ozzfest, or blowing up a police station in Iraq--the devil horns rule the day.

It's No Game, Pt. 2

Silhouettes and shadows watch the revolution
No more free steps to heaven
Just walky-talky--heaven or hearth
Just big heads and drums--full speed and pagan
Well it's no game

I am barred from the event
I really don't understand the situation
So where's the moral
People have their fingers broken
To be insulted by these fascists--it's so degrading
It's no game

Documentaries on refuges
Couples 'gainst the target
Throw the rock upon the road and
It breaks into pieces
Draw the blinds on yesterday
And it's all so much scarier
Put a bullet in my brain
And it makes all the papers

It's no game

Children 'round the world
Put camel shit on the wall
Making carpets on treadmills
Or garbage sorting

And it's no game

(David Bowie)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Air Supply's Greatest Hits

So I finally get out of the house to take a run--it's 11:51 PM. I'm about to play some punk rock or Slayer or something to get in the workin' out mood, and I decide to play "The Decline of British Sea Power" by British Sea Power. Fuck, that album is all-time, as Mike Lawyer would say.

The guitars on that record rock so hard, and yet, it's such a damned romantic album. It makes me want to make out; it makes me want to say stupid things; it makes me want to fall in love--and not many things do that nowadays.

I run about 20 blocks to maybe 27th Ave, and I decide, fuck it, I'm going to run to the beach. I've measured it out in a car before--it's 3.2 miles from my house to the beach, making about a 6 1/2 mile run. But I am down for anything--I've got the iPod full blast and I'm air guitaring and shit. And the damned thing craps out on me! Ain't that a bitch? Freezes at 38 seconds into "The Lonely":

"Since I find out that all of this
Is nothing more than emptiness
Filled with impermanence"

No iPod lasts forever. Actually, I looked up troubleshooting on the Apple site, and the "freezing up" thing doesn't seem too hard to fix, except that I left my firewire cables at work.

Anyhow, BSP makes me want to be madly in love, and have one of those madly in love slow fucks. Not a soft-focus, Hallmark card, sillhouetted lovers holding hands on the beach, Air Supply fuck, but one of those slow, intense fucks where it seems like you don't have enough skin, like you just want to touch everywhere at once and do the Vulcan mind meld at the same time. The transcendent power fuck.

Which reminds me of this time in high school. My friend Bret and I were in his beat down Scirroco listening to Iggy Pop, and this guy Tony Anselmi was in the back seat. We were all supposed to be in Journalism class, but Ms. Wilson didn't give much of a damn if we were there everyday, so we were out driving around. We were listening to "Instinct," which is a pretty mediocre Iggy album, but that song "Strong Girl" was on, which is a cool enough tune. Bret and I were saying that it'd be a great song to fuck to, and Tony chimes in: "You know what's the best album to fuck to?"

"No, what?"

"Air Supply's greatest hits."

Tony actually ran for Class Clown. You know, campaigned for it. Of course he didn't get it. There's more to being a clown than being clueless.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Thank You, Mr. Cave

So I downloaded the new Nick Cave albums yesterday--“Abattoir Blues” and “The Lyre of Orpheus.” I’ve only listened to “Abattoir Blues” as yet--on my bicycle on the way to work this morning. Mein Gott—from the pounding drums that set off the opening track, “Get Ready for Love,” it’s clear Nick isn’t fucking around on this one. He’s not here to sing melancholy ballads--at least not right away--he’s here to rock in a way that he hasn’t since the Birthday Party. The guitar is just fucking vicious, “six strings that drew blood,” all the while Nick sings cynical and psychotic, looking for some kind of sign--Jesus in his reflection, the image from the Shroud of Turin (a fake) rising out of the coaster underneath his sweaty bourbon glass--and the gospel gals belt “Praise Him!” like Patti Labelle on speed, sounding like a stadium full of Pentacostals on the eve of the Apocalypse. “Until we find ourselves at our most distracted,” St. Nick sings, “And the miracle that was promised creeps quietly by.”

And, exultant, we’re led into “Cannibals Hymn,” and some piano, some organ, and a guitar that sounds more like a percussive instrument. And it all goes to show why I love Nick Cave so much. For someone so bruised and battered, someone who can be so sardonic and spiteful in one song, in one lyric, in one twist of tonality on one simple word, he’s still a pie-eyed romantic, and a believer. Every Nick Cave song, from the first Birthday Party album until this latest release, is a struggle with faith, a struggle to believe: in God, in Love, in the idea that believing is still possible. And for all his self-styled, sometimes ham-handed, crucifixion complex, as an artist really does seem to be searching for the light, wading through the abyss with a candle. Like the rest of us, he’s mired in this mortal coil, but not to the point where he gives up seeking transcendence. And there’s something infinitely more satisfying in the tension between feeling born to sin but destined for glory, than in mere musical nihilism. (Mr. Cave paints in a decidedly Christian idiom—but you could just as easily substitute “suffer” for “sin” and “enlightenment” for “glory” and you’ll get the same struggle, in Buddhist terms….) In saving himself again and again, record after record, he makes it salvation--a tiny moment of grace, as sweet as a song--seem possible for the rest of us

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Three Point Plan for World Domination

So I'm walking back to the office, and I walk past a guy with this great hat. It says, “WINE 'EM, DINE 'EM, 69 'EM.” Man, I thought to myself. Now there's a guy that must get a ton of play. He must beat 'em off with a stick. [When he's not wining, dining, or 69-ing 'em.] A bold, and apparently effective--if mutually delivered oral gratification is your goal--dating strategy like that deserves a closer look.

Clearly the first step in any amorous activities is plying your date with copious amounts of mind-altering chemicals. In this case, alcohol is the chosen drug, specifically wine, which has a “classy” air about it, even when poured out of a box. However, I'd like to suggest that this might be a symbolic placeholder for any drug which lowers the inhibitions, for the sake of a catchy pneumonic device. “Roofie 'em, Dine 'em, and 69 'em” just doesn't have the same ring to it, ne-c'est pas?

Step two is a little more revolutionary. To my mind, this step has more to do with impressing your date with your cultural savoir faire than the effect that the dining experience will have on your dates booze-debilitated body. Why kill the buzz by dumping a bunch of food on top of it? Certainly projectile vomiting would be a bumpy side-road to get lost on whilst heading up the onramp to Rte. 69, the Superhighway of Suck. While I don't purport to understand the full theory behind this paradigm-shifting headgear, I will suggest that the Dine 'Em step be handled with the greatest care. Perhaps a fancy fine dining place where miniscule, yet aesthetically pleasing portions are offered, and an underfed and ill-tempered Frenchman will happily check your “WINE 'EM, DINE 'EM, 69 'EM” hat while your date smiles broadly enough to cause the retainer to drop out of her mouth while she exclaims, “Gosh [Your Name Here], you sure are classy!”

Also keep in mind that introducing a turgid, fleshy probe into the aforementioned oral entryway which is connected via esophagus to a full stomach, but not before passing a little-known organ called the uvula, well…it could be risky. Then again, so could booze on an empty stomach. Maybe the “Dine 'Em” edict is simply to suggest a temporal gap between the fast and furious quest for inebriation that initiates the encounter, and the tongues akimbo fellatio fandango that, God willing, brings the evening to fruition. By all means, if it seems to be merely a case of settling the sloshing, head to the nearest 24 hour doughnut emporium and throw some doughnut holes down her gullet.

[I say “her,” but please, don't let the sad sexism of English pronouns bring you down. I would be more than happy to accommodate any ladies willing to place me on the receiving end of such a visionary courtship plan. I don't drink, however, so we may have to use near beer for the first part. I promise to act drunk.]

69 'EM
Is this as foreplay to the flagrante delicto? The “beast with two backs” as Shakespeare called it? Or, for those of you inclined to the modern idiom, “the hobby horse,” as Judd Hirsch says in the John Hughes coming of age opus, The Breakfast Club. (Not to be confused with every other John Hughes coming of age opus. He sure did milk us for our allowance when we were teens, huh?) Or am I just hopelessly animalistic, regressive, reptile-brained, yang-oriented, and thoroughly, shamelessly male to think that penile/vaginal penetration is the ultimate destination of the Love Bus? Fucking is so fin de siecle (“end of the century,” for you Ramones fans/ non-French speakers). Making out replaced it in 2000 and had a good run, but, if our friend's prophetic hat bodes anything for our collective romantic proclivities, the new millennium will henceforth be dedicated to oral.

As an HIV test counselor, I can tell you that oral sex (“oral not sex” if you're President Clinton) ranks relatively low on the risk continuum. At least in terms of contracting HIV. May I suggest no vigorous tooth brushing or flossing beforehand-you don't want to make your gums bleed. In terms of other maladies of Venus, however-you can still get just about anything else through oral sex. Warts, hepatitis, black hairy tongue, herpes, who knows what all. Herpes, Jesus. What is this, 1981? No one worries about anything that won't kill them anymore. Dive in there, Sparky! This is the moment you've been waiting for, there's no time to be finicky.

I can't tell you who's the bigger visionary: the cloistered philosopher who came up with that saying/stratagem, the intrepid designer who followed his heart and had it screened in puff ink on a mesh hat cobbled together by a preteen Malaysian, or the Sidewalk Superstar who had the foresight to pick a winner, and the cojones to turn his dreams into reality.

Hats off to you, good gentlefolk.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"Don't Be Consoled..."

Okay, so I figured it out. My boss is highly disagreeable: he treats people without a ghost of respect, berates his employees in front of their coworkers, doesn't give them the opportunity to save face, and generally acts like a petulant, ill-bred five-year-old. And when I'm going through it with him, I now think this: this isn't as bad as the Bataan Death March. So my boss thinks human beings don't deserve dignity simply because they're human beings. So what? I'm not being forced to dig my own grave, I'm not going to get bayoneted, he's not going ot come running out of his office with a samurai sword and behead me.

Of course, it's not entirely a good sign that I equate work with war atrocities, but we can't all be jetsetting international playboys, you know? Plenty of worthy human beings with just as much of a right to pursue their dreams have been annhilated for amusement--why should I bitch about a jerky boss? History is rife with small pox infected blankets, beheading competitions, tubercular candy, incindiery bombs, tiger traps, and free fire zones. Gas chambers masquerading as showers. Genghis Khan made a man eat his own flesh until he died. You think you've got problems? Do you know what it means to be "drawn and quartered"? Look, there are your intestines, being wound up on a spit. Horses hitched to each limb, headed in different directions... All the torture these days is psychological.

I'm talking to myself, of course--literally and figuratively. Buck up, Sparky, it's mental anguish, sure, but not quite "The Manchurian Candidate."

All this reminds me, in a roundabout way, of a Stiff Little Fingers song:


They tell you not to worry, they say they're terribly sorry
But that's the way it has to be, for the likes of you and me
Just be good and know your station
Always look on the bright side
Keep you faith and keep your patience
Your reward is after you've died

So don't be told, don't be consoled
Things are so bad, you can never make do
And there's always someone better off than you

They tell you that's your future, it's all down to human nature
Simply settle for what you got, that's destiny and that's your lot
All of us cannot come first, yes what you have is second best
But it might be a good deal worse
Third world peasants get even less

Do you care that it's not fair?
Is this the way we have to live?
I know I care, and I want an equal share
Even if it means I have to give

The people who are on top
Say that you should keep your chin up and
They are keen to show you, the unhappy ones below you
But I want to more of that stuff, that's looking at it upside down
And the world has got money enough for us to make it go around so

Don't be told, don't be consoled
Don't be ruled and don't be fooled
Because things are so bad you can never make do
And there's always someone better off than you.

A Moment of Rancorous Bitterness

I wrote this a couple months ago, probably. I just ran across it, and figured, why not. Discretion is the better part of valor, but he who hesitates is lost. (Probably not as lost as he who spouts empty platitudes, however.) So here it is. No condolences, I'm in a happier place now.

Duncan hasn't written any blogs. Why? Because blogs are retarded, expulsive effluvium that people don't read. The information explosion is not a good thing. Emily Dickinson did not write blogs. Every word counts, and all these things are about is word count. Oh, crap--here I am, writing a blog. (It's no coincidence that the genre rhymes with "log.") So that makes me self-reflexive, post-modern and ironic. Barf.

I'd like to dedicate this blog o' fun to Maria, who told me she gets "hella play" on Myspace. So here I am, it's 2:00 AM Friday night, and I'm not even motivated enough to play with myself. I took a nap when I came home from work, and now I'm awake and bored off of my ass...hence, this blog. How is it treating you, dear reader? Oh, that's right--no one reads these things.

Look at me! Look at me! I'm angry and disaffected.

So I'm getting up at six A.M. to go race my bike in Livermore, which is also known as the anteroom to hell. The windows are always shut in Livermore, though, so it's a few degrees hotter.

I got a hilarious email from my ex-girlfriend yesterday. I told her that maybe she might be possibly partying a little too much, since I'm a judgmental bastard and the last time I saw her said she'd been up on coke the whole weekend. And mushrooms, she has such "spiritual breakthroughs" or some such shit while on hallucinogens. Yeah, mmm-hmmm. All that William Blake "the path of excess leads to the Tower of Wisdom" shite. (Not that she'd quote Blake on the subject...maybe a sage like E-40.) Anyhow, she replied that now, as opposed to times of using too much in the past, at least "all the drugs I want to do I can get for free." Wuh? You thought I was worried that you were paying too much? Well, so long as being a cokehead and going to the End Up at 6:00 AM are free, well, you go girl! Snort like you're possessed by the spirit of David Lee Roth...don't come crying to me six months later when you're all tapped out and you look like him, though. Speaking of Diamond Dave:

"You know you're semi-good lookin'
And on the streets again
Yeah, you think you're really cookin' baby
You'd better find yourself a friend.

Ain't talkin' 'bout love--
My love is rotten to the core."

This is a girl that I thought I was going to marry...and vice versa. And she writes and tells me, three months after we broke up, that some guy ripped her heart to bits and pissed on it. "I really thought I was going to marry this guy." So, that's two guys you were going to marry in a year? And I thought I had a problem with falling in love too much. How 'bout some Positively 4th St. here, perhaps the greatest dis song ever written:

"No, I do not feel that good
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I'd rob them

And now I know you're dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don't you understand
It's not my problem"

She left a message on my machine after the dismemberment of her heart (it's made out of Legos--you can break it apart and build a new one in minutes), apologizing for breaking my heart in the past. And I will admit, it was not all happy times and pass the soda crackers when we broke up. But, ultimately, it was like a veil of frustration lifting... And there I was, wondering just how I get myself so worked up all the time. What am I looking for when I fall in love? Someone to tell me that I'm not as fucked up as I think I am, "hey--I like you. You're okay." I want my soul validated like a parking receipt. I'm done with that shallow shit.

So, anyway, back to the email--finally, she tells me she had a vision while on mushrooms that she and I were going to be really good friends. What, I ask of you, is the dividing line between revelation and delusion? What was that? Did I hear a bell? Oh, you mean high school is over?

Okay, as far as the Noble Eight-Fold Path is concerned, this is not right speech. This is talking shit, and I will incur many karmic demerits. Do not get caught wandering the bardos without a hall pass.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Autographs Are Available, But I Only Sign Body Parts

Here I am, killin' it at San Ramon last Sunday. By "killin' it," I mean wasting a bunch of other old men trying to be kids again. But this is the first race I've won since I was a 12 expert, so if that doesn't deserve a groupie grope, at least a mercy fuck is in order.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sip and Stir

Okay, I'm all for people getting their coffee on, and I'm all for freedom. Coffee is my life. And if a man (or woman) is deprived of coffee, well, I can't think of anything more Stalinist and fucked up than that. So let's be clear: 1) Viva coffee. 2) Viva freedom.

So have you're coffee your way, the world is your Burger King, champ. I'll even stand in line behind you with a good-natured smile on my face while you order some liquid paradox like a double decaf nonfat latte.

But what pisses me off is this: The Sip and Stirs. I'm in Brainwash for lunch about ten minutes ago. The area for setting up your brew is big enough for one person. So I'm standing there with a cup of black coffee burning my hand, trying to dump some cream in it and get back to work, and the guy in front of me is playing Julia Child meets Juan Valdez with this pinch here, dash there bullshit. Sugar. Stir. Blow. Sip. Cream. Stir. Blow. Sip. Sugar…

This might be why I drink my coffee with cream and no sugar. I just fill the empty space with half and half, throw the lid on, and I'm on my way. I don't even stir--I don't need to. The coffee instantly becomes cool enough to drink, and the leche kills a little of the acid, making for a smooth cup. No sugar residue in the mouth, and no sugar crash.

If you're a coffee rookie, step aside and let the pros to the plate. Go warm the bench a little, T-ball, until you're ready for the big leagues. Watch and learn. Grown folks should have their motherfuckin' mixtures down by the time they're old enough to button their own britches and buy their own bean. If you have coffee at least once a day, you should be able to get it the way you like it in 15 to 30 seconds, tops. If you're sipping and stirring, you've clearly got deeper issues of sexual ambivalence, guilt, and separation anxiety that you need to work out with your therapist, who gets paid to wait on your ass.

And if you're not drinking at least a cup a day, you're not doing your part for the war effort, and you should just switch to chai full time, Commie. You're probably trying to “cut down” or you don't really dig that coffee taste. You're probably a fucking vegetarian. In the words of the great Rapeman song, “Steak and Black Onions”: “Why don't you snuff it, man? Plant-eating pussy.”

Friday, October 08, 2004


Fucked up dream last night. Started with me at the house I used to live in when I was a kid, but I was my current age. I have a lot of dreams like that--some kind of Freudian regression thing. My dad is sitting in his leather Lazy-Boy, as he was during much of my youth, and I'm asking him for legal advice. My dad is a judge (in real life, too--only he's retired), and I've got to go to court later that afternoon, because I've sued all of my ex-girlfriends. For emotional distress, I guess. But, as I talk strategy with pops, I can't remember why I brought the suit, so I decided to drop it.

My ex-girlfriend, [Name Withheld], shows up with her new boyfriend, who, like I was, is older than her and also named Duncan. We chit chat for a bit, then she tells me that they've adopted a baby. Well, more like they've found a baby. She produces a bundle (or, if you've read Edward Albee's “American Dream,” a bumble), that is completely swathed--not even a face showing. I'm taking her word that there's a baby inside there. Apparently, it's got some kind of birth defect and/or Down's Syndrome, and was unwanted, so she and Duncan II have taken it for their own, like a stray kitty. It's all very Eraserhead.

“Well, we're going clubbing,” she announces. I try to be the voice of reason, telling her that having a child is a huge responsibility, and you can't run to the nightclub every time the mood strikes you. She says, “quit judging me” and tells me she's plenty responsible and she loves her baby.

All this talk about the anonymous baby leads me to ask: “Just what is its name anyhow?”

“Monster,” she says.

So we get into an argument about the propriety of naming your kid--deformed, retarded, and over-swaddled--“Monster.”

The dream ends by transmogrifying into a classic dream of mine, wherein someone is coming to get me--in this case some kind of police SWAT team--and I've got plenty of guns to choose from to “defend myself,” but I can't seem to find the right bullets. I decide on the .45, and finally find seven rounds to put in the magazine. I'm nervous and shaky and have a hard time getting them in, but by the time I wake up, I'm standing behind a closed door, waiting to shoot through it at the first sound of footsteps

Saturday, October 02, 2004


Autopilot on:

We ride naked in climate-controlled
seclusion. The car: the family

The load-bearing stress of threaded titanium.

A man dreams of dropping bombs
on France. From Spain.
An errant pilot erases
the center span over the Missouri,
from KC, MO
to KC, KC.

What will become of our climate-controlled dreams?

A body in motion
stays in motion. Newton
is dead. Bombs
are rays in this nuclear
age. Post-nuclear
age. And men no longer fly
in the sky.

You can't tell
your cells when to divide.
You can't tell them
how. A body divided against itself
will not stand. Electron micro-
scopes are quaint,
even hokey. Eternity-
still subdivided into ghettos
of the Now.

We come bearing gifts
to find the Messiah
already dead.

Things just disappear.
A plane is a child's plaything.
What will become of our child's
What will become of our climate

I ask my daughter,
“Where is your toy?”

She says, “Nowhere.”
And laughs.

Autopilot off

If You Call It a Kid's Bike I'll Scoop Your Eyes Out with a Spoon

Just built my 20" race bike--got one of the Mongoose Pro Craig Reynolds CRX frames that are going around eBay--SM race bars, Profile stem like the Kappa, Flight cranks, Vuelta aero rims. So I cruise down to the bar with my roommate last night, and some wall-eyed hipster in a flannel shirt starts fucking with me about the "kid's bike."

"What is this?" he says. "Rad the Movie? Your bike should evolve with you," he says, "Or de-evolve as the case may be." This coming from a guy who looks like he's been doing the back stroke in the shallow end of the gene pool. I diligently ignore him, and he starts spouting about how he's got a 26" made by the guys in Austin who welded the original SE bikes.

"Oh, you mean a Fireman's Cruiser?" I ask.

He's all shocked that I know his super-secret, very evolved and adult ride. "Yeah," I say. "I've got a Kappa 26." (Even though it's in the mail...)

"I saw their 24...I didn't know they made a 26" blah blah. He starts telling me about how he always wanted to be sponsored by SE but couldn't cut the mustard. Now, who hasn't evolved in this picture? Cruisers are fine and they're a great way to get around San Francisco, but I just built a 20" so I can race along with my cruiser. Mr. Grunge Look circa 1988 has too much beer belly and not enough skills or balls to ride a "little bike" so he starts busting a stranger's nuts...

Whatever. It rubbed me the wrong way because I'd spent the last three hours building the bike--which kicks ass, by the way--I'll always have a soft spot for Mongooses, even if this one's made in Taiwan. I didn't want to hear some armchair Pabst Blue Ribbon sermon on "evolution."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Before You See the Light, You Need to Find the Socket

When I saw The Pixies at the Greek last Sunday afternoon, I thought there'd be more young people there. People in their 20's. I don't know why-maybe I expected the same crowd as when I first saw the Pixies, on July 24, 1989, at the Fillmore. I was 18. Somehow I thought that audience would be transported across the bay and through fifteen years. It wasn't something I thought about consciously; otherwise I would've realized what a stupid idea it was. I wasn't even aware I thought that way until I walked in with my date-gorgeous, 36, and like me, a parent-and my mind surveyed the scene and said, “What are all these old people doing here?”

Maybe it was because the only person I'd talked to about going to the show was a 24-year-old friend of mine, a friend I'd been crazy stupid enamored of a few years back, as I cut the ribbon on my 30's, jamming the shovel into the permafrost at the groundbreaking ceremony of my impending old age. Obviously, I was clinging to my twenties, when being crazy stupid in love still sounded like an option, not an affliction. At the same time, I employed clever euphemisms like “enamored” as a sign of my imminent 30-year-old maturity.

But she'd bailed on her PIxies tickets to fly to Kansas after a boy, another Dorothy caught up in a cyclone of love. Scratch one person in her twenties.

Maybe I thought the new generation of kids would be there to pay homage to a band so joyfully deranged, to scream along with Black Francis (once again): “You are the son of a motherfucker.” To get that melty feeling when Kim sings, her voice so sweet after all the years, the bouts with drugs and bands that just weren't as important. But if there's one thing “the kids” don't necessarily appreciate, it's music that's important. Or great. I left my office the Wednesday before the big Pixies weekend to see kids lined up in front of the Concourse Exhibition Center at 7th and Brannan for Franz fuckin' Ferdinand. How lame is that? The Pixies birthed mclusky; Franz Ferdinand will give us what? More insipid eurodisco to wipe off the soles of our shoes, if anything. I guess there are people my age who'll admit to buying The Wonder Stuff tickets, but to my way of thinking there hasn't been a decent band out of Scotland since the Rezillos. It's like seeing kids shooting smack: you want to take them by their shoulders and shake them: there's something real, you don't need to indulge in that shit.

Which left the rest of us, the thirtysomethings. We'd bloomed into our thirties like flowers on a windy hillside, all the more beautiful for having been battered, stronger for having to cling to thin, rocky soil. We'd stopped moving across country to find love or escape; we were Zen by default. We'd long since realized wherever we go, there we are. And look, there's our baggage. We had to pay extra for it, because it was over the weight limit, but it made the trip.

We'd been transported through time, all right, but the old-fashioned way. The hard way. We had the scars and blown-out tattoos to prove it, our bald spots shining gloriously in the sun. But we had new tattoos with our kids names on them, tattoos that weren't done in our friend's bathrooms while we were drunk; tattoos we paid good money from good jobs for. We were a little thicker around the middle, sure. We had gym memberships-and we needed them-but we also had better things to do than go to the gym. As Francis said to Joey while admiring his shirt: “Do they make that in a husky size?” Three out of four Pixies had their heads shaved, no longer content to stand idly by and watch their hairlines run away like wild horses over the hills. No more denial for them, or for us. No more us, no more them, for that matter. The band, the crowd, we were one, and we were in fine form, I'm telling you. We had better friends, even some lesbians; when we got bored, we moved to California-but not chasing love. We were fucking glorious; the Pixies made us feel young again, without going through all the torment of being young.

This was our show, our time in the sun. We'd become the balanced, level-headed, ponchy punkers we hated a decade back. And we had this to say to our former selves: Fuck you. What the hell do you know? Our twenties selves didn't know their assholes from light sockets until they plugged in the clock radio-and even then it was a toss up. They hadn't been through what we'd been through. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

A reminder: we should be gentle with our past selves. Take our reckless, feckless, drunk-driving, heartsick, naturally scrawny selves under into our sagging wingspans, give ourselves a hug, pat our own backs like Dee Dee Ramone at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and whisper, “it'll be okay.” That girl-don't be so upset. Maybe you don't need to buy her that skateboard for her birthday-in three months you'll be broken up, and in four there'll be someone else. And hey, stay on the meds-the prescription kind. Maybe even up the dose, and half the dose of that “other” kind.

We might've sat for the show, not being as young as yesterday, but we had no problem standing for the ovation. Some of my friends didn't make it: Alan shot himself in the bathroom with a forty-five at twenty-five. Justin nodded on smack for the final time; his band, Lithium Milkshake should've been as important as the Pixies. I'm sure there were others, too, whose maps got burned up while passing through the fire. They stood with us as we reminded our former selves: Follow what's good. The Pixies, like that girl, will be break your heart, but unlike her, they'll be back.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Refraining From Sexual Misconduct

So the ex just left. I was really too tired to deal, and I was trying my best to not answer her phone calls, but today was shite at work (see last entry), so I gave in, went out for a cup of coffee. I wanted to be mindful, you know, observe the fourth precept: "refrain from sexual misconduct," but I knew I wouldn't be. And what would the misconduct be? Knowing that I didn't feel that way for her, but that a warm body would be nice. Comforting. To quote the Soul Asylum song, "All the Kings Friends":

"Remarkably incredible, incredibly forgettable
I know this might sound strange, don't ever change
Amazingly unfaceable, entirely replaceable
There's nothing I would rearrange, don't ever change"

I guess that's not so bad, just wanting to get down with someone, but I just don't want to cloud my head like that. I don't want to return to a place when I'm convinced I'm in love again, when really I just got on the wrong bus. Oh, sorry--don't know the town very well. Where am I?

She's trying to buddy up to me because she's found her incessant partying and her fast friends of the past few months kind of hollow. But it's like my friend Jen said: "I don't need another project." I want to meet someone I don't have to hip to my favorite bands or tell crazy stories of my crazy jobs, or whatever. I really don't want to put in the work, nor do I just want to use someone to get off. Because when the haze has cleared, there you are, buck ass naked trying to fucking relate. How 'bout them Giants? I'd rather just rub one out and go to bed: I'm the ultimate cheap date.

So we had coffee, and hung out a bit, and we were in my bedroom, and I don't know. I just didn't feel the need. Ultimately, I knew I'd done the right thing by not tying our shoelaces together again. ("Look--we can't walk! How charmingly debilitating! We're codependent and in American culture, that spells L-O-V-E!") Of course, it felt the opposite--felt like I'd blown it by not getting down with that hot body again.

This too shall pass. I'll feel better in the morning

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Value of a Handshake

You know, I was going to start banging my head against this fucking social commentary I'm writing again, which apparently I can't get fucking right. But you know, “the pressure's off,” which is a euphemism for “we're fucking you out of 25% your paycheck.” So I'm just going to sit here and listen to Motörhead and front like I'm doing work. You know, when [boss] finally hands me a contract with [monetary amount] written on it, I'm not going to sign the fucking thing. When it works its way back up to [larger monetary amount], which is what we shook on, I'll sign it. What is a contract worth from someone who welches on a handshake? Despite the ethics chapter in his book, which equivocates anyway, and his big stand on tag lines, going back on a handshake sure is a spineless cunt move.

“Stay Clean” is on right now. How fucking apropos:

“So you see, the only proof,
Of what you are is in the way you see the truth,
Don't be scared, live to win,
Although they're always gonna tell you it's a sin,
In the end, you're on your own,
And there is no-one that can stop you being alone, Stay Clean.”

There it is, Mr. Kilmeister--you said it. I thought this was an ideal job when I took it a couple months ago, and I'm sticking with it… for the money. Who's the spineless cunt now? (That ultimate Sonic Youth quote: “Fuck you. Are you for sale? Does 'fuck you' sound simple enough?”) I know I'll work my way back up, but I've got to promise myself not to forget this. And in the meantime, I've got to commit to my own personal writing-getting my articles done, widening my freelance work, and writing fiction. No one gets any recognition--let alone self fulfillment--as the asshole who wrote the really bitchin' trash bag ad.

He told me: “We made a deal, and I'll stick with that…” but asked me to voluntarily drop down in pay while I learned the ad game. Yeah, it's a game all right, as opposed to reality, and I'm learning it from having the sharp end of the situational ethics stick rammed up my ass. He held to a handshake for a month, then had a personal friend of mine break the news that it's the pay cut or the door. Man, this is so fucked. I've cut down a lot on my incessant use of the f-word since Dolly learned how to talk and pick up phrases, but I really am too pissed off to come up with anything but “fucked.”

I've been thinking a lot about advertising as an industry. Does it do any good for anyone? Does it let people in on the relative merits of products so they can be informed consumers instead of rampant spenders? You tell me-is there a corporation out there who wants consumers to spend wisely, or less? The first week I had this job, I went to Thee Hemlock to review a show for The Guardian. I walked in and the opening band, Fastpass, was on stage. Between sincere, if a bit naïve, songs about heartbreak, Tracy, the singer, swigged back some [brand of beer]--cheap and free to the bands performing. An anti-brand brand. Then I remembered the “marketing deck” for that very company back at the office.

You may be drinking it because it's anti-establishment, because it's cheap and there's no one from Anheuser-Busch ramrodding glamour girls in bikinis down your throat, to the tune of “drink this and it'll make you something other than a broke, out of work punk rocker,” but let me tell you what, Jack: They've got you sussed. Your bike messenger ass is delineated and deconstructed in a document in my fucking office. You can't step out of the stream of product placement, the ad men are in your fucking head, and deciding to choose against something doesn't mean you're not making a choice. (That's Sartre, fuckstick, not a Rush song.) Somewhere in an air-conditioned boardroom, some tool in a pinstriped suit is hiring some other slightly less out-of-touch tool to run your ass down. They're tiptoeing through your subculture trying not to fart too loud or step on any sticks. They're going to market your poverty and sincerity back to you as “cool,” then they're going to price it up 200 percent and sell it to the Marina crowd.

And then? When you've turned away from your old standby in disgust, they'll sell you the next thing you think hasn't been fucked over by corporate culture. Sucker.

What's the value of a handshake? Ask me the next time you see me. I'll be able to give you an exact dollar amount. I can also tell you, the value can be reduced by 25 percent at will.

Never shake hands without gloves on. You'll get shit under your fingernails

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Local Live

Hey, this came out in today's Guardian. It's kind of narcissistic to post it here, but whatever. In the words of Al Pacino as Scarface: "Fuck you. How's that?" Thing is, I hated writing this. It was a real struggle, because I couldn't write what I thought I was supposed to write, so I just sent my editor this (plus about 300 words). She liked it, and now I guess I kind of do too. Has our hero come to the end of his rope as a "music journalist"? Dunno. As Elvis Costello said, "writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

And if anyone is actually wasting his or her life reading a fucking blog, how do I get formatting on these fucking things? It says "to use the advanced editor click here" and the link sends me to the same frame, with a link sending me back to the original frame. Is this some sort of anti-Mac trip? Chuck D.: "This is what I mean, an anti-nigger machine." Is it presumptuous to say Mac users are technology's niggers? After all, no one got their panties in a bunch when Sylvia Plath compared her Daddy to

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

Of course, Daddy trips are more important than computers. Without further detraction:

Local Live

Enemy You
12 Galaxies, Sept. 9

TOO MUCH INFORMATION : having a case of the Kaopectate blues, I arrived at the 12 Galaxies benefit for Meditate and Destroy, a documentary about Dharma Punx author Noah Levine, toward the end of Ghosts of Glory's set. The part I caught was crushing: taut, unrelenting hardcore with almost death metal vocals (not of the Cookie Monster-Napalm Death variety, but a little crunchier than your average punk band).

I was in time, however, to catch a surprise performance by the Poontang Wranglers, who ripped shit up on washboard, acoustic guitar, washtub bass, fiddle, banjo, and ukulele, all the while rocking matching red long johns. A fucking jug band! And a jug band without a jug! How punk rock is that! The crowd – rife with Buddhist punkers, the dharma-drunk, and the old-timey alcohol drunk – was baffled. "All the bands were good," one guy told me. "Except for the cult. What's with the red pajamas? Was that guy playing a broomstick? "

I found a seat at a table of hot women with two-tone hair and waited for Enemy You to come on. Once a week I meditate at Urban Dharma, the group Levine started and led until he moved to New York, and I'll tell you, the amount of good-looking women in that room makes meditation a real feat. No desire, no aversion – this is where the practice meets the road.

"You know a place is rad when they've got O.G. Spider-Man on TV and Phoenix and Tempest," Enemy You vocalist David Jones said as the band got onstage, scoring immediate nerd points for using the word rad and referencing '80s video games. His shirt read, "The Prequels Suck," in an Empire Strikes Back typeface. Sure, they suck, David, but be honest: did you camp out in front of the Coronet for three days dressed like Yoda?

The band launched into "The Only One," which Jones called "a song about S.F." It's a solid hardcore number, and when I say hardcore, I'm thinking early-'80s SoCal (where it started), not New York. It took me a couple songs to come up with early, pre-suck Bad Religion and old Social D. as reference points.

OK, look, I'm having a crisis. At the Urban Dharma sittings, we talk quite a bit about being too judgmental, about clinging too much to our personalities and opinions. To quote the Buddha, "People who have opinions just go around bothering one another."

Were Enemy You good? Yeah, they were. Did they rock my boat? I don't know, man – I've been rockin' in this boat for so long, and I've seen so many bands, I can't discern the horizon line anymore. Which leads me to the question Is it "right speech," in a "Noble Eightfold Path" sense, to spout my opinions? Does it help?

I can set the scene. I can tell you Frank Chu, once named "Protester of the Year" by the Bay Guardian, was present at 12 Galaxies, which, I gather, was named after the top line of his sign. Not to be outdone in terms of sheer ubiquity, Fat Wreck Chords Floyd was up front for Enemy You's set. What does it mean when Floyd is at your show? It probably just means you have a guitar and you're within 100 miles of San Francisco. Does Floyd go to a show every night?

I can talk about women, which I usually do. They sort of inspire my "Horny Eye for the Lonely Guy" moments. About four songs into the show, I started scoping a porcelain-doll brunette in a slip dress with a flower in her hair, only to have Levine squeeze in next to her and get cuddly. Reminds me of the time I saw Bomb at the old new DNA, back in the days when someone as culturally irrelevant as Rob Schneider could be a social kingpin. I was staring at this women for the whole set only to have the show end and realize she was drummer Tony Fag's girlfriend.

But can I really impart what the band was like? I mean, you missed it. You can catch their next set and then tell me if it was worth your five or seven bucks. What am I supposed to say? Workmanlike? They were better than that. At times I wished there was a pit I could have thrown my sickly, dehydrated, rapidly-approaching-middle-age body into, something I currently reserve for yearly Motörhead shows, where I'm guaranteed not to be the only gray-haired fogy slamming about with a walker. But people are way too cool nowadays to start a pit at a nightclub, with the exception of Brianna, who was cooler than too-cool, pogoing about with her orange Mohawk, her shirt Sharpied with "COME HOME NOAH WE MISS YOU." (Duncan Scott Davidson

Monday, September 13, 2004

I'm Never Falling In Love Again

Meeting up with all these ex-girlfriends. I really can't shut the door, you know? One's moving to New York for a boy--having moved to Portland for a boy before that. I was going to marry that one, about fourteen years ago. Another's thinking of moving to Kansas for a boy. Kansas! Never move to a place people don't write songs about. (Wait…didn't Wolfgang Press write a song called “Kansas”? Oh shit, there was that whole 70's classic rock debacle. “Dust in the Wind.” Dust in the crack of your ass, farm boy!)

The last one--I was going to marry her too-recently told me she “gets her best ideas while on mushrooms.” This was as she was telling me about her idea for a line of designer toilet seats.

It's like revisiting graves--a little easier each time, and a little harder. You start to miss the fact that you don't miss them. You miss your memories as they fade. There were good times--weren't there?--and now you're denied access. And the bad times no longer hurt, the scars have faded--if you got a tattoo, maybe you got your money's worth. Otherwise, you've been robbed.

Was it really so special? Did you really “click” on “that other level?” Truth is, you could've fallen in love with anyone. Anyone who'd take the time to tell you you're special. All these interchangeable faces, assuring each other they're unique. Really--it could've only been you.

“In a Station of the Metro”

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

--Ezra Pound

I'm not unique, and neither are you. We're not even separate from each other. Why waste energy perpetuating a lie. I'm never falling in love again.

Famous last words. Then I hear the Velvets, “Over You”:

Here I go again
Just gonna play it like a fool again
Here I go again
Over you

There's the comfort: I'll go through this dance infinitely, over you and _over you_, you know? Going through it, and through with it, simultaneously. “This too shall pass.” There's no avoiding that fact. What changes is, as you get older, you take comfort in it during the ecstasy as well as the agon