Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Unit Is Faulty: Fatal Exception Thrown

Probably around 100 photos in this post. Like Jello Biafra, it's an attempt to "blow minds for a living," though it'll probably just overwhelm you into extreme boredom. Living? What living? I'm just another bored zombie.

Actual text message exchange (the names have been removed to protect the drunken and annoyed):

Female, 2:21 AM: Sorry, I didn't know you were such an asshole.

Female [again], 2:34 AM: Sorry, I didn't know you were such an asshole.

Male, 2:36 AM: Sorry to disappoint you.

Female, 2:40 AM: Right... Thanks for confirming the very little respect I had for men... I thought better of you... my mistake... see you at the door next week... door man...

Male, 2:43 AM: I feel duly and rightfully insulted. Well played.

I guess I didn't know I was such an asshole either, though I had a sneaking suspicion. When I read it twice, though, right there graven in pixels on a cell phone screen, what could I do but nod in grave assent over my Jameson shot and half empty bottle of Anchor Steam? I especially like the "see you at the door next week... door man..." Was she implying I have hopelessly underapplied myself? Again, what choice do I have but to agree? As the Brainiac song goes, "I am a cracked machine." This unit is faulty, though hopefully not doomed to throw a "fatal exception." But as my fortune from Minerva, the automated fortune teller at Ed and Linda's Gifts in Clearlake told me: "There is many a good man to be found under a shabby hat."
But what to do with this immensely powerful knowledge? If I could somehow convert it into an electrical pulse, I could run a 40 watt light bulb for 3 milliseconds. The world cares, trust me. I'm just wondering how the UN Security Council, let alone the International Atomic Energy Agency, are going to react to the breaking news. Where is Hans Blix now that we need a hero?

Everyone's heard about the weed cop, Dearborn Michigan's Edward Sanchez, by now. But check this awesome animation I just came across:

I also came across this most excellent drawing of the Weed Cop, on Flickr somewheres...though I couldn't find my way back to it so I could credit whoever did it. Sorry, awesome drawing guy (or girl):
Speaking of stuff that makes you feel weird, who's been to Super Tokio? Laura and I went there after brunch at Q on Saturday. Japanese snacks are an acid trip:

What's up with the tumor on this kid's head:
Who knew there was such a market for gender-specific snacks?
Yorkie wants you to know that this shit is way too heavy for the chicks:

Here, Laura takes her life into her own hands by fucking with what is clearly labeled as Men's Pocky:

So does Super Tokio have anything target-marketed toward girls? I mean, if Men's Pocky is too bitter and macho for them, what can they enjoy?

Well, how about miniature frilly undergarments, Girly Style?

Or, perhaps, a toy figurine appealing to the ever-increasing allure of absolute sluttishness (though I suspect these are more for grown-ass Japanese men than young girls who are afraid of dark chocolate):
After Laura bought some yum-yum-delish grape chewy things at ST, we hit the 540 for what's become a Saturday tradition, Bloody Marys. Who should be behind the bar but motherfuckin' Philo, Fist Fam member and bartender extraordinaire:
Needless to say, Mr. Philo was on one Saturday.
He kept quoting Point Break: "We only live to get radical!"
Finally, after brunch, gender-specific snack browsing, and booze, the lady and I packed it up for a couple days in Clearlake. Fuck, I wish I was still there. For those of you who don't know, Clearlake is the largest lake in California (Tahoe doesn't count since some of its shoreline is in Nevada), a prime bass fishery, and a Whiskey Tango (code for "white trash") wonderland. I started going to the lake in high school, or soon after, with my homey Ben, whose family has a cabin up there. From the '60s through the '80s, the city of Clearlake (there are several cities around the lake) was a vacation wonderland. Over the years, though, the resorts shuttered, the meth labs multiplied, and things got a wee bit shady. It's rare to see a girl over the age of 15 who isn't pregnant or towing a kid along, and a quarter til two AM at the Flyers gas station mini mart bears a striking resemblance to every episode of COPS ever. It still has flashes of its former, bustling glory over Labor Day weekend, but for the most part, to love Clearlake is to love it warts and all.

And I do, I do. My friends and I used to spend a solid week up there every spring, timed to coincide with the largemouth bass spawn. We all had white trash Clearlake aliases: I was Ricky Grimes, Ben was Troy Waters, Bob was Danny Espinoza, Trent was Lyle Peterson, Biney was Derek Riggs, and Gratos, whose mythical alter ego was from Lakeport, on the "fancy" west side of the lake, was Kenwood Blaupunkt.

When I went to pick Laura up at her place on 8th Ave, this woman was busily weeding the cracks between the curb and the roadway, then "raking" everything up with her brushed aluminum orthopedic cane:
She doesn't live there. She just randomly stopped and started weeding for 20 minutes. Batshit crazy. Perfect precursor to the glorious vistas and speed-addled mutants of Clearlake.

Lake Hennessey from the window, on the way to CL:
As fate would have it, there was a bass tournament that weekend. We almost didn't get a spot at the Travel Lodge ("No room at the inn...sorry") because the women who took my reservation didn't bother to write it down. To quote Laura: "No one does their fuckin' job anymore. You've got to do it for them." But we lucked out on the last room, and the next day packed up and went to the super plush, newly remodeled Jules Resort, where we made fast friends with the owner Kim. She hooked us up with a deal on the Honeymoon Suite, right on the lake:
Here's Laura on the porch:

Of course, Clearlake never disappoints, and the first night at the notorious "Docks," I caught a few nice bass under the light:

The next day at Manakee we hooked into a bunch. There were two locals fishing on the neighboring peer. They had no less than seven poles in the water and weren't catching anything. We rolled up and were on bass in five minutes. I hate to say this, but this shit happens all the time. Like Ben says, "I've got fish pheromones."

The dude at the next dock decided to jump into his fuckin' rowboat and come fish pretty much exactly in the middle off where we were casting, crossing our lines and everything. He was a likable, down home type of fella, but I have to say I wanted to shit in his boat.

Laura caught her first bass:

Dead carp make for interesting photos:

Monday morning we went to the aforementioned Ed and Linda's Gifts. If your shopping list includes life-sized wizard statues, porcelain fairies, or all manner of bongs, this is where you want to buy your gifts. Or, perhaps a nice trucker hat and psychedelic wolf montage:

I think my favorite part of the trip was going into the old Jules mini golf course, which has been closed, neglected, and overgrown for years. I took a million photos, the best of which are below. I probably should've culled them more extensively, but such is an installment of Freak Magnet: where more, actually, is more.

Jules holds a special place in my heart. When we were going up to the lake regularly, whoever won at Jules was basically the king for that trip and until the next time we drove up. The course was always in rough shape--some of the obstacles were missing the grass carpeting, making them almost impossible to complete in under 5 strokes. The scrubbiness added a higher dimension of skill: if you could win at Jules, you could win anywhere. The building housed an arcade full of retro video games and pinball machines that were there before they were retro, as well as a huge collection of iron-on transfers of dayglo motocrossers on Hodokas and flying V guitars saying stuff like "ROCK AND ROLL NEVER DIES."

Even in the broad daylight, walking through the course was kind of eerie, as all abandoned fun spots are destined to be. The giant bear had long since been torn down and carted away, but the castle, the church, and the creepy butterfly were still there. Pringles cans and vines grew out of cups. While I was taking pictures, a hobo walked up to the fence and asked Laura if the place was going to reopen, which, of course, it is not.

"Hundreds of kids had a lot of fun here," he said. So true. I'm one of them, even though I was technically an adult when I first went to Jules. At least the cabins are up and running again.Only in Clearlake is it necessary to tell people they can't drink beer while mini-golfing.
I think these seats might've come from Clearlake's long closed bowling alley.
I got a wild hair up my ass to ride some of the obstacles. Here's Laura with my bike.
Nice concrete berm. Not much run up, though. The next two photos by Laura:
Well, there is the church. And there is the steeple. Open it up, but where are the people?My lady.
Fuck it. The paint ain't worth it.
Closed forever.No Replay.

We stopped by a pond I used to fish on the way home. Laura smoked, I shot a couple photos. We used to call it the Welcome Pond. Doesn't look so welcoming anymore, though we always had to jump the fence to fish here.