Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sadly, i should be much, MUCH drunker than i am right now. oh, and the plane is filled with small children. crystabpee.

Getting picked up in twenty minutes to leave for the airport. this will end in fire.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

This was probably the hardest xmas i've ever had. Minutes after a near-total collapse, this scene brought everything into perspective.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Uncanny X-Mas

Growing up, for years and years and years, my family got pretty into the Christmas spirit. I suppose they still do, but between my scrooginess, lack of children, and intolerance for the 3 month xmas assault, I just stopped feeling it years ago. It's not like I don't still sit down and thank whoever for whatever, and think of my family. my friends. I give money to charities I like and I hold the door open for people even when I don't feel like it. But that's about the extent of it.
Oh, and we always have gone to the hospital, where we sing carols to the patients and give out poinsettias. I know it sounds terribly schmaltzy, and it probably is, but it's something we did as a family forever, and believe it or not it feels great. Since I was 14 or so I'd grumble myself awake at 8 to go down there complaining, or wanting to sleep one off. But it never mattered. Because an hour into it you can't help but thaw out a little bit and see how much this means to some of those people. People in the hospital with cancer, or heart failure, or even in the psych ward. They're lonely and bored out of their minds and to see them light up when you spend 2 hours of your holiday morning to say hello is worth it in every sense possible.
Some of us would go the extra mile. While I would usually busy myself with making sure we had enough plants and whatnot, people like my dad would be going into the rooms and sitting down with these patients.
I feel like I should stop for a second and point out -because as I became aware last year, a lot of people haven't spent much time in hospitals- that when you're in an ICU or a trauma ward, it doesn't look like Scrubs. The staff isn't singing and flirting or being witty. They're overworked and exhausted and generally just want to get their job done. and the patients aren't Betty White clones who walk around rapping or whatever happens on that show. It's usually patients with grey skin and sullen eyes. There's often smells that you don't want to think about, and labored breathing. Lots of time sheets will be stained through with blood and bile.
and I'm not trying to gross you out with this. Often it's not like this at all, but when you're 7 and seeing a man die in a hospital bed right in front of you... well, horror movies stopped scaring me around the same time as when I figured out what was going on in the hospital. Of course I was terrified. I wouldn't even look in the windows of the bad ones, fearing something might be transmittable by sight. It wasn't until a few years later when I worked up the nerve to start peering in the windows or even popping my head in the door, still cringing, but knowing it was something I'd have to do. Because honestly, they're the ones that need picking up.
and every time I did, there would be my dad.
Imagine there's a haunted prison near you. One that for years gives your imagination all the ammunition in the world to make you absolutely terrified. and imagine that one day, on a dare, maybe, you make your way inside of the haunted prison. You get through the gate, and the office, getting a little uneasier as you move. You brush giant spider webs aside and see dark mass in corners, trying not to guess what it might be. You make your way past the cells and lunchroom to the worst place possible, to the electric chair or to the solitary cells, where you're just sure something will lunge out and harm you. A heavy steel door opens into darkness with a creak... and there you see your dad, sitting there with his legs crossed and laughing. That's what it was like. No matter how petrified you were or how bad it smelled or what you think you'd find, he'd be in there, as comfortable as can be, talking with the patient and putting his hand on their shoulder, telling them that however long ago, he was in that exact same spot and he's there to tell them that you can recover with hope.
My father was religious (far more than I've ever been, anyway) and he had been in and out of hospitals for plenty of his adult life. He'd had to wait around hoping that his name would find its way to the top of the liver list. He'd been stuck in the hospital on Christmas eating mashed bananas. More so than anyone he knew the score, and would sit, and talk, and pray with these people, no matter how long it took, and no matter how far gone they seemed. I've mentioned before here how brave I thought he was, and this is no exception.
Later, as we'd finish up, he'd make sure we'd all washed our hands and we'd all pile into the car to head back home and open our presents with a complete understanding of just how lucky we were. and on the drive home -this was always my favorite part- we'd troll the radio stations, trying to find Springsteen singing "Santa Clause is Coming to Town".
You don't really want to listen to Christmas carols on the way home from singing them yourselves. Least of all Perry Como doing "Silver Bells" or something. There was really only two Christmas songs we would look for, the other being "Merry Christmas, Baby"(usually the Darlene Love version, though Elvis and Otis were always welcome). It was the only thing that we would listen for, and I think with maybe one or two exceptions, we would find it every year, and for once we wouldn't complain about my dad's singing voice. We wouldn't whine and get embarrassed. We would all sing along, practically shaking the station wagon with our enthusiasm.
It's hard now for me to remember what that was like, before the internet made any song you could ever think of a mouse click away. I think one of us had half a version dubbed from the radio somewhere, but otherwise we just had the radio for 2 weeks in December to comb for it. After awhile it turned into a game. We'd call my dad whenever it came on, seeing who spotted it first (almost always my sister) and laughing about it later. I was still calling my dad and telling him when I heard it last year. Dutifully, he would change the radio from the sports station in the background.
Well, I hadn't thought about Christmas this year at all, really. We're split off from our families, and in California. It's hard to think about these things when it's not cold enough for a sweater. But of course in doing my daily culling of internet music, I came across this show from Winterland 1978. One I had a few years back and lost. the one that has not only the best version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on it, but also the best intro imaginable. and it hit me like a ball-peen hammer. Suddenly I'm excited for Christmas. I'm excited to go home. I'm going to have a sub and go to the Plumstead. I'm going to sing at the hospital, even in the room where my whole family watched my father die last March. I'm going to freeze my ass off. and for a few days, at least, I will love it. and I wanted to share that with you before I left for home. You might be sick of it, you may not like it. But it's certainly what's in my thoughts at the moment.
Like a lot of people, I think, I have whole memories of things that never happened to me. That never happened to anyone outside of Bruce Springsteen's imagination. I can hear Mary's heels click-clack across the porch as the radio plays. I can picture the Magic Rat's worn, brown leather jacket as he gets out of his car and appears on the scene. I can hear Spanish Johnny's voice.
But this is the rare instance that I feel like Bruce Springsteen knows what it's like to be in my head. Of course he didn't write this song, but when he was putting together his arrangement, it's almost like he had a family of 7 in a grimy station wagon with melted toys and shit scattered all over the third seat. to me, he was thinking of a bunch of kids dressed up to sing to cancer patients and then later for each other. and that's all the gift I could ever want. Thanks Boss.

"Intro" - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
"Santa Clause is Coming to Town" - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

also, if you like the sound of this, the rest of the show is available for download here.

So I'm going to be sort of all over the place for the next week or so. I don't think I'll get a chance for updates, and I definitely won't be able to upload the Economist until Thursday at least, so I might skip it altogether. I'll be home, and if you're near -even if you're not- gimme a call. Same old number. Otherwise, I hope everyone has a great Christmas or holiday or whatever, and don't forget appreciate who you are and who you love and who loves you.

Monday, December 17, 2007

and the gravy train keeps rolling

holy shit a lot to read today for me. First of all, as promised yesterday here's Christmas and New Years, Part 1. Expect the second part of this on Wed. morning or so. And now on the the myriad of bullshit:

Salon has a great article about the CIA black sites that strikes terror into my heart. Seriously, this is abhorrent stuff. I honest recommend checking this out. It should be mandatory reading for every citizen of this country.

The Media Ownership Act of 2007 is back around and It's nice to see that the long hours I spend writing these whiny emails actually gets read. As Michael Copps (who has been desperate to draw some attention to this issue since it began) points out, regardless of which issues are important to you, this affects you and needs to be a priority. and he's pretty much right.

Lieberman endorses McCain. Huh? Well, at least it's not Romney, who is firing on all of his retarded lying-ass cylinders lately.

Also, head over to Paper Thin Walls and download yourself a 2007 mixtape.

I'm a little insulted that nobody's told me that Philly news reporters are punching NYC cops and calling them dykes. What the fuck? Isn't this the same girl that got caught sending racy pictures of herself to Rich Eisen last year? (answer: yes). Holy shit I'm excited to get to see some hilarious news again. Other than the escaped violent criminals and Al Sharpton bribing people.

keep the Eagles winning, though.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Time Enough for a Song
1. "American Dreamin'" - Jay-Z (Cookin' Soul Elvis remix)
2. "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)" - The Ikettes
3. "Dart for my Sweetheart" - Archie Bronson Outfit
4. "Staggolee" - Pacific Gas & Electric
5. "The Owl" - Silver Apples
6. "The First Cut is the Deepest" - Norma Frazer
7. "Subway Theme" - Grand Wizard Theodore
8. "Soon it Will Be Cold enough to Build Fires" - Emancipator
9. "Take a Little Walk with Me" - The Aces
10."I was Born Blue" - Swamp Dogg
11. "Lulu was that You?" - Cal Waymon
12. "At Last" - The Do
13. "Ha Ha" - Ty
14. "As Long As the Grass Shall Grow" - Johnny Cash
15. "I Can't Break Away" - Chuck Jackson
16. "Burning Bridges" - Lalo Schifrin
17. "Brand New Day" - Staple Singers
18. "Northern Girls" - Bellaruche
19. "Shirley Come Back" - Derrick Morgan feat. Hortence Ellis
20. "The Magician" - Jason Isbell
21. "We Are Co-Existors" - Bodies of Water
22. "No Depression in Heaven" - The Carter Family

a mix I've had half-pieced together for months. a lot of old soul and reggae mixed with some new stuff. Which I guess is pretty much all the mixes I make. It's defoid of any clips or snppets or anything of the sort due to lack of time. I'm sure that most of you won't like track 17, so feel free to skip that one when downloading. I'll wait.

Anyway, I'm planning on posting the 2 part Christmas episode of Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour XM show. Theme Time is fast becoming my favorite thing to listen to in the late evening. So keep an eye on that before I fly home on Thursday night.

The Economist 12/15 - 12/21

If you're wondering why I'm using all the megaupload, it's because it's the only site I know that lets me upload files over 100 Mb. So my apologies for any inconveniences/waiting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm going to be home for a pretty short amount of time for the holidays, ending in what I'm almost certain will be my staying awake for a 36 hour period as get home. It's going to be strange to be home for the first time in ages without a place of my own or ready transportation. That's probably one of the reasons why I'm home for such a short period of time. But it'll be nice to root through the stockpile of books, CDs and discarded love letters that I spent most of high school and college building up in my mother's basement. I know that at some point (sooner than later) I'm just going to say fuck it and throw it all out, thereby completely erasing my formative years in the blink of a dusty afternoon. I'll stop and read things I completely forgot about and laugh at some of the dumb shit I've done, and then chuck it and forget about it a few weeksmonthsyears later. I guess I should make more of it now before that happens, right?

But chances are I'll start this process and then get stuck watching the entire Planet of the Apes series and chuck all that shit right back in the box. oh well.

16 year-old in Iceland prank calls Bush's private White House line. huh.

this guy had a beer-filled condom in his stomach. Ummm... WHAT?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Somewhere around 2:01 in the Semi-Pro trailer, I started laughing until it hurt. Then I watched that 2 seconds over and over for the afternoon

Monday, December 10, 2007

I ended up not being Santa. For a good reason, I looked like the meth head that stabbed Santa and store is clothes. I'm so tired right now from that party. Watching the fox news because I was promised videos of animals opening christmas presents, but of course it's gonna be last. It looks like there was a foam explosion in Philly. again. We have snow on nearby Mt. Baldy and it's totally refreshing.

The Economist, December 8

polar bear opening his present

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I just found out that it's been decided: I'm going to be playing Santa Claus at the Christmas party for my work. I volunteered in jest and now it's come to bite me in the ass. hard. I am not feeling jolly. I've been dealing with the actions of a heroin addict all day. I've been fighting with my bank, who mistook $2500 for $25. I've been working my ass off and trying to get my ipod fixed before I fly home.

They'll be lucky if Santa isn't crying blood.
They'll be really lucky if Santa is sober.

I was in the laundromat the other night, halfway through the dryer cycle as well as my second beer. In addition to the homeless guy who yelled at me for drinking in a laundromat and then later asked me for my empties, there were four young guys in the parking lot, wearing sleeveless t-shirts and listening to the Steve Miller Band. They were gathered around a truck that had a paintjob reminiscent of a half-finished gobstopper. There were at least 3 visible layers of paint. Did I mention that at least 2 of them were air-guitaring? to Steve Miller?
I try to ignore scenes like this, no matter how much like 1974 they might feel, but I figured sitting around listening to the xmas muzak spilling into the laundromat and reading a book about fables would be less riveting. So I watched as these guys, who were doing laundry after all, pulled a single blanket from the dryer. It was clearly not dry yet, but appeared clean enough for their standards. So they took it, dripping and all, and threw it in the back of the pickup before driving off.

So now I'm pretty convinced that they killed someone and were trying to bleach out the evidence.

Santa the testifying witness.


$1 billion dollars missing. That's not even the fun part. I've been following the comments all evening.

Ride the Green Line in Boston? Watch the fuck out for THIS GUY

the 25 greatest fictional weapons of all time

What do cops know by checking you in their database? Sadly, this is old news.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

That's true. The Congress has signed on essentially to a new war. And I'm talking now not of people like Dennis Kucinich or any members of the Out of Iraq Caucus. But the majority of Democrats, and particularly the Democratic leadership, I believe, have accepted privately at least the secret goal of many people in the administration. And that is an indefinite occupation of Iraq, preferably of reduced scale in forces. A more politically sustainable and less costly environment, with hopefully fewer U.S. casualties.

But the maintenance of U.S. bases in the middle of the oil-rich sphere of the Middle East, and specifically in Iraq -- indefinitely. I don't mean the ten-year war that Nancy Pelosi has accused the President of having in mind, and which General Petraeus talks about. I'm talking fifty years, the way the President talks, when he mentions Korea or other places. We've been in Korea, of course, over fifty years. I think that not only President Bush and Cheney foresee a stay that long, and indeed much longer -- basically until the oil is gone in the Middle East. But I think that the Democratic leadership and the major Democratic candidates have essentially accepted that idea and that project. Hillary Clinton revealed as early as March 13 in The New York Times that if she were president, she would not remove all troops from Iraq. She wasn't specific as to just how many she would reduce, but the same article gave estimates of cutting the troops in half, taking out most of the so-called combat troops, which is a rather elastic definition actually, and getting down to between 50,000 and 100,000 troops to remain indefinitely. She mentioned a number of goals which could actually easily justify leaving a much larger force there indefinitely.

The other candidates essentially have not disagreed with that, as you've probably noticed. Even when they were asked the simple, concrete question: Do you foresee our American troops being out at the end of your first term if you were elected -- that is, by 2013, the start of a new term -- not one of them was willing to say yes. And that's five years away.

I really don't think they were just allowing a little flexibility as to whether it would be five years or six years. I've seen no indication that the Democratic leadership in Congress, or the Republican leaders, or the candidates, envision the Americans being out of those bases any time in their lifetime or our children's lifetime. And that means that Americans will be killing Iraqis and dying, and killing Iraqi civilians -- committing atrocities, among other things -- as long as they're there. And that, as I say, is another half-century or more. -Daniel Ellsberg, Vietnam Veteran, Pentagon Papers Leaker, Activist, and Author

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Billy King is expected to get fired today. I have waiting -no, begging- for this for so long now I almost don't even know what to do. Champagne jam?

also an interesting article in the LA Times on these CNN/Youtube debates.

well, alllllright.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

We went to the Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library in Pasadena today. We got to look at a Gutenberg Bible. 7 different handwritten manuscripts of Walden. Walt Whitman's letter to Santa Fe, on its 333rd anniversary:

Dear Sirs:

Your kind invitation to visit you and deliver a poem for the 333d Anniversary of founding Santa Fe has reach'd me so late that I have to decline, with sincere regret. But I will say a few words off hand.

We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them. They will be found ampler than has been supposed, and in widely different sources. Thus far, impress'd by New England writers and schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States have been fashion'd from the British Islands only, and essentially form a second England only—which is a very great mistake. Many leading traits for our future national personality, and some of the best ones, will certainly prove to have originated from other than British stock. As it is, the British and German, valuable, as they are in the concrete, already threaten excess. Or rather, I should say, they have certainly reach'd that excess. To-day, something outside of them, and to counterbalance them, is seriously needed.

The seething materialistic and business vortices of the United States, in their present devouring relations, controlling and belittling everything else, are, in my opinion, but a vast and indispensable stage in the new world's development, and are certainly to be follow'd by something entirely different— least by immense modifications. Character, literature, a society worth the name, are yet to be establish'd, through a nationality of noblest spiritual, heroic and democratic attributes— one of which at present definitely exists— different from the past, though unerringly founded on it, and to justify it.

To that composite American identity of the future, Spanish character will supply some of the most needed parts. No stock shows a grander historic retrospect— in religiousness and loyalty, or for patriotism, courage, decorum, gravity and honor. (It is time to dismiss utterly the illusion-compound, half raw-head-and-bloody-bones and half Mysteries-of-Udolpho, inherited from the English writers of the past two hundred years. It is time to realize— it is certainly true— there will not be found any more cruelty, tyranny, superstition, &c., in the resume of past Spanish history than in the corresponding resume of Anglo-Norman history. Nay, I think there will not be found so much.)

Then another point, relating to American ethnology, past and to come, I will here touch upon at a venture. As to our aboriginal or Indian population— Aztec in the South, and many a tribe in the North and West— know it seems to be agreed that they must gradually dwindle as time rolls on, and in a few generations more leave only a reminiscence, a blank. But I am not at all clear about that. As America, from its many far-back sources and current supplies, develops, adapts, entwines, faithfully identifies its own— we to see it cheerfully accepting and using all the contributions of foreign lands from the whole outside globe— then rejecting the only ones distinctively its own— autochthonic ones?

As to the Spanish stock of our Southwest, it is certain to me that we do not begin to appreciate the splendor and sterling value of its race element. Who knows but that element, like the course of some subterranean river, dipping invisibly for a hundred or two years, is now to emerge in broadest flow and permanent action?

If I might assume to do so, I would like to send you the most cordial, heartfelt congratulations of your American fellow-country-men here. You have more friends in the Northern and Atlantic regions than you suppose, and they are deeply interested in the development of the great Southwestern interior, and in what your festival would arouse to public attention.

Very respectfully, &c.,

Walt Whitman
It was incredible. Then we walked around the gardens, which were also incredible, as evidenced above.

then I sat around in Pasadena during the USC/UCLA game while Carrie shopped. So I bought myselv some new kicks. They are like underoos for my feet and I love them.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel R.I.P.

One of the most roundly entertaining men that ever lived.

The Many Faces of Felix Leiter

the ipod is possibly destroyed for good. I need to think about replacing it with something I don't grow to loathe. Seriously, this is the last time I'm falling for those shenanigans.

Unfortunately, this means for the fifth or sixth time in as many weeks, I've lost a mix I was getting ready to post on here. The sad part is almost all of them were completely different and I don't remember what was on most of them. Hooray. I'm gonna try to send this thing off to that link that was kindly posted here not too long ago and hopefully I can save myself some money.

Anyway, because I've been such a turd, here are the two tracks I was the most excited about posting yesterday:

"The Itch" - Belleruche

This is a trio (guitar, turntables, female singer) from London whose album I was falling in love with before it was ripped from my ipod's cold, dead hands.

"Baby Don't You Know" - Vicki Anderson

Vicki Anderson (a/k/a Myra Barnes, Bobby Byrd's wife) was a backup singer for James Brown that ended up recording response songs for almost all of the Godfather's hits with his band, the JBs. She has a fantastic voice and the band (I'm not certain exactly when, but you can definitely hear Maceo Parker on this). This is about as good as early-mid 70s soul can get.

On a completely unrelated note, a quick word about the cat that lives in the nursery at my work. From what I can tell, nobody knows how old Cowboy is. He sort of stumbled into the garden about 10 years ago, and has had a nasty limp since he got here. He had been living on the properties (which is much more dangerous than it sounds. Coyotes and bobcats are plentiful here, as well as owls) for quite a while, which is downright amazing considering how mobility issues.
They weren't sure what to do with him, so they took him to a vet, who told them that someone had been using the cat as target practicve with a BB gun for a couple of years, and that he had pulled 9 BBs out of him. Since then, he's lived in the nursery as our mascot.
By the time I got here 3 months ago, Cowboy had aged considerable and his limp was a lot more evident. He looks like he's having a seizure when he walks, an ailment that only accupuncture (I know, I know) seems to relieve. He has bladder issues, and is pretty much filthy from the shoulders down. Not many people touch him.
I'm told that at least 3 times in the past 5 years they've made the decision to put him down. and that every time they walk in there the morning of, he's made incredible recovery at the last minute and escaped his fate. They decided that on Tuesday they're going to have to put him down, as it's apparent that he's in a lot of pain.
I really don't like cats. I grew up with dogs and to me they've always been a lot more lovable. But I've got a soft spot for pathetic (especially injured) animals. So I go down there once a day or so to pet him for a couple of minutes and make sure he has food/water, etc... He may or may not be going blind, and he smells like flaming hair that was put out with a wet fart and is one of the saddest looking animals you've ever seen, but he meows a lot and tries to follow me around, so I set next to him and pet him while I catch up with everyone that works down there.
Anyway, it's a bit harder to visit him now, knowing full well that he probably won't be here on wednesday. It's like he's on death row and all his appeals have run out. He's got an execution date and he doesn't even know it. Poor little guy. Everyone is pretty upset about it here, but as I've been saying, considering what we know he's been through, from getting shot at, presumably by his owners, and then fending for himself alone in a very dangerous place, he's had a pretty good life since. He's pet and fed and gets to go out and hunt chipmunks when he's up to it. He's beloved and that's pretty much what all domesticated animals crave, so we should be happy he didn't get eaten by a coyote years ago.

Sorry, that's sort of not useful and rather depressing, but I was just thinking about it and figured I might as well bring it up here since I've been absent all week.

In more depressing news, Youtube is fucking retarded.

Sponsored cop cars?

Chinese horsefighting!

I'll try to find something that's a lot funnier/not soul-crushing a bit later.

Monday, November 26, 2007

BoingBoing just totally convinced me to buy a book. an AWESOME book.

What's your favorite diving helmet? I'm really partial to #10, but I think that might be because it reminds me of those helmets that workers in victorian-era sanitariums used to wear.

Little else going on that I care to talk about. Made reservations to head home for the holiday. I think I might still be grouchy from too much turkey. That and I had a sudden urge last night to re-read Brian Lumley's Necroscope series, despite the considerable trouble I'd encounter tracking them all down on top of the suspicion that I'd probably lose interest about halfway through.

moral of the "story": Save every book you've ever owned.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Got to the doctor this morning. She still has no idea what bit me, but surmised that I "must be really allergic to it, whatever it is". Great. So I can "dog" off my list.

Later, as the nurse is giving me my benadryl shot:
Nurse: "You're gonna get it in the butt"
Me: "Yeah, it's pretty much how this week is going"

A few hours later, though, the swelling has gone down, and my back is starting to resemble a humanoid shape again, which is pretty effin' sweet, to be sure. Hopefully by the time I stuff my face I'll be able to sleep again.

I probably won't get the chance to make any sort of salient post between now and Thanksgiving (not that I'm counting this as one. I've been dragging here as of late and I know it), but i wanted to wish everyone a happy one if I don't get the chance to later. If only for a minute, I ask you just to think of a moment of how lucky you truly are. Stop wishing bodily harm on your family long enough to remember why you love them. Stop stuffing your face (this is for me more than anyone else) long enough to appreciate that you are not hungry. Stop downing wine long enough to remember that you have people to enjoy it with. These are the important things, and don't forget to remind you how lucky all of us are to have them. Enough sappy bullshit, I'm gonna duck out of work early and go listen to some Mavis Staples at an embarrassingly loud level, and try not to think about anything at all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just skip it. Trust me.

Today at work, I have been battered, exhausted, bruised, stabbed and poisoned.

Well, it's not nearly as dramatic as it sounds, but it should paint a pretty solid picture of exactly how bad today was, which was the capper for an extraordinarily shitty week. My great uncle died. Some bullshit Apple update wiped my ipod after I'd set everything up perfectly and had something like 2.65 GB of new music to listen to. and for once it wasn't even my fault! We found out that a Black Widow lives on our back stoop, where I (used to) sit in the dark every couple of nights to smoke a cigarette. and I woke up this morning looking like a family of scorpions had a street brawl on my back. I have no idea what bit me, I can't even see the bites. But I'm told that if it was the Black widow I'd be hallucinating by now. So I got that going for me.

Is it wrong to try to capture this thing to sell to high schoolers?

also, I'm working on Sunday. This should be great!

A few days ago someone mentioned New Years Eve, and it depressed me to no speakable degree to realize that not only do we not have any plans for NYE, but that there's no chance of us coming up with any between now and then. For my entire life I've had a pretty great fallback plan. One that I used for some 15 years or so. Thinking of it, While I'm not sure I ever had a party, I've hosted probably 20 new years' celebrations. This year I'm going to set our garbage on fire and drink beer until I can sleep through everyone else's fun.

Yeah, so I apologize for the unnecessarily whiny post but I had a spare minute and thought I'd mention that I'm feeling like crap. I'm hoping the worst is past.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've been laughing at this for about ten minutes now.

I have a meeting in ten minutes that I'm dreading and possibly very under prepared for. So I thought I'd put up a link to this post on one of my new favorite blogs (this is still a word I cannot stand, and short of creating my new vernacular for it, I can't think of any way around it. Weblog? That almost seems worse) about girl-friendly tasers. I love that little blowfish guy, and following this link to look closer at it pointed me towards the bondage kewpie doll. There's something to be said here about the fetishization of mainstream sexuality*, but I don't have the time to make it right now because I'm late for the aforementioned meeting. Hopefully I'll get back to it later. Needless to say, I don't think it's a bad thing, but it's certainly going to get a lot weirder.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


English Russia has one of the most interesting stories I've read in quite some time. Basically, some construction workers in Russia discovered either a new or a previously thought extinct species of fish on a job site. Before smashing it to death with their tools. Check out the link though because the pictures are pretty amazing and you can only wonder how bitey these things might get. Remember that crazy Snakehead fish that everyone freaked out about a few years ago? Imagine if this thing was flapping around our suburbs...

I think I've figured out this Economist thing. I hope so anyway, because I've spend a whole day trying to figure out how and where to host this thing. I'm hoping to find somewhere else, because I don't like megaupload's software and the file is too big to use mediafire or rapidshare. So yeah, suggestions are welcome on that. Anyway, here's the audio podcast for the upcoming week's Economist. Please let me know if that link doesn't work, and I'll work out some sort of resolve. With fire. I usually skip about a quarter of it because, well, money bores me. But it's still an amazing source of information and perspective that I can't recommend highly enough.

I've been reading up on the cryptozoology again, specifically about yeti scalps and the Alma, Russia's counterpart to the Abominable Snowman. Someday, I swear, I will actually try to maintain some knowledge about something that is actually useful. Something that could prevent someone from getting sick or provide a nice little tax break or some damned thing.
But it won't be today. Because I'm currently about to sit down and spend a couple hours reading the compiled oral history of a fictional zombie war.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen returns on Wednesday with The Black Dossier, which I'm all too fucking excited for. Even with the knowledge that I've gleaned from the web, I still have no idea what sort of story it will tell and I can't wait to put my life on hold while I read through it.

off to read. enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Christopher Lee: Greatest IMDB trivia page of all time?

other great ones: Paul Newman, Yul Brynner, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Eli Wallach, Burt Lancaster, Jimmy Cagney, Peter Lorre, and of course, Vincent Price

of course, there's interesting pages for some of today's actors, but I always find these infinitely more entertaining. You really don't want to know how much time I spend over there...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Worthless Post #311

my god it's been a pretty crazy week. and now, with some sort of walrus flu going around my workplace, I'm just trying to hold things down and take 5000 mg of vitamin C a day. I'll let you know how that works out. My wife is camped out across the street from death, so I don't have much hope.
I was reading some Doug Coupland earlier and it got me thinking how much of his earlier works convey a lot of the same anxieties, fears, joys, and general tones that I (and much of my generation, I would suspect) have felt at various stages in my life. Lately, not so much, but one of his most dominant themes, namely that our brains get filled with mush and leftover cereal ads and higher math and old Seinfeld episodes or whatever and after awhile we fail to capture new emotions or register new memories. That our brains get clogged up like an old hard drive and we're screwed with it.
I really do not want that to happen to me. Last night as I was doing laundry it occurred to me that I'm old enough to be casually drinking a beer in a laundromat as I fold laundry without anyone calling the cops. I'm pretty happy with that, and it's certainly a new feeling.

There's a Worthington, PA? huh...

Pat Robertson endorsed Rudy Giuliani. Are you fucking kidding me? I don't know what the hell is going on here, but there's no way any good can come of it. Giuliani!

Japanese whiskey commercials are GREAT (via BoingBoing)

oh, and I'm gonna start putting that thing up here. I'm not sure when I'll get it, hopefully tonight, but expect it sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I know I haven't updated this in awhile, and I wanted to actually wanted to talk about the presidential debates last week and a slew of other stupid things I noticed online. But My mother and grandmother have been out here and between them and work I'm pretty much a wreck. Tonight I decompress, tomorrow it's laundry, and then I might actually start finishing up this mix. Anyway in the meantime go here and get yourself a shitload of James Brown. Because seriously, you can never have too much.

Question: if I posted the weekly economist podcast here would anyone want it?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

For the fifth year or so in a row, I've stumbled completely by accident into a Halloween parade. I'm pretty sure I've had the same tired squint splashed across my face every time I've done it, too. This morning wasn't much different, other than the allergy attack I was having (in addition to spreading the rign of fire across southern California, the Santa Ana winds also bear spores pregnant with allergens, making the Santa Anas the perfect weapon.

Overheard a conversation in the bar the other night supposing that maybe terrorists lit the fires. ugh.

Fell asleep on the couch watching Battlestar Galactica (SHUT UP) last night, and I woke up this morning with a head like a mucus-filled piƱata. It's just how my day shouldn't have started.
Anyway, I'm off to work with literally hundreds of children and senior citizens for eleven hours. Hear me now and believe me later, I will be needing a drink late tonight. Consider mailing one to me.

Go here and download a fucking great Halloween mix compiled by a man who knows.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A U.S. MGR-1 "Honest John" missile with cutaway portion of warhead revealing M139 Sarin Gas bomblets, circa 1960.

Yes, that Sarin.

The fires are fucking out of control, and plumes of smoke trail upwards from nearby towns. The sky is backlit at night and hazy during the day. I'm told that the power might be going in and out as the fires get closer and closer. Fuckin' fantastic, that is. It's starting to look like end of the world poems, and I can only sit and enjoy the light as entire towns nearby go up in smoke.

"Rick Santorum has been the most courageous and outspoken public figure in
America alerting all of us to the true nature of the enemy we face," said
David Horowitz, founder of the Freedom Center, and organizer of
"Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," which includes events at over 100 schools
across America.

All the burning bridges that have fallen after me

The theme song to "Kelly's Heroes" is stuck in my head and I can't get it out. It's driving me nuts. But it's a really good song in that weird 70s feelgoodery sort of way. Did I put that on a mix? I remember finding it at some point, but haven't heard it in some time. I will find it tonight and it will go on a mix I aim to complete by friday. Then we shall all rejoice, and drink from wooden bowls the life of the earth.

I just wrote a letter to Jay Rockefeller calling him a whore and now I'm going to listen to Spacemen 3 as loud as I can to cleanse my aural palate and grant me fury.

New word of the day: Frass. Means insect poop. Right now there is a lot of it in the office next door to mine.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

in 1995 I saw a movie with my best friend and another guy after eating some mushrooms. As usual, we hadn't anticipated the effects of what we'd taken, and we certainly hadn't anticipated the effect this movie would have on the three of us. I remember leaving the theater and trying to convince Sean to drive his car off a cliff because nothing mattered anymore. I remember driving home through a rainstorm and seeing waves creep up over the hood of the car. I remember thinking we wouldn't survive the night.
Now, 12 years later I'm sitting here watching 12 Monkeys, a movie I've owned for years but haven't had the courage to watch until now. I'd be lying if I felt completely at ease, or comfortable with this movie. I can't tell you for sure if this is some weird, lingering psychic aftermath from that night. But this feels as ominous and Cassandriatic as it did when I first saw it. I've had the chance to think this over and over again, and it should be kid's stuff to me, especially considering the state of mind I've been in lately. But I still feel the same dread I'd always imagined. Time still messes up for me.
Reading now and recalling it (along with 7even, another terrifying flick) was filmed in Philly and that I know intimately the places it was filmed doesn't help a goddamned thing. ugh. It is amazing to see the Brad Pitt role again, though. I forgot how dedicated he was here.

The Go! Team was incredible. I was trying to think of a reference point earlier for a guy at the bar, and instead of using the term "cheerleader rock" (a term which I've previously applied and now see as futile) I realized that they are the Peanuts of rock. Completely sincere and excited. I danced my ass off tonight. I'm still trying to figure out a way to force them into everyone's daily lives. It may take awhile. I apologize for the lack of jungle tales, though. I am all too curious to talk to Ricky about the new Cat Power show in the meantime. Love all 4 of you.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Slept in today after a late night of reading and Fido. It's a nice day, so I went for a walk, and made nice with the teenagers posturing on the corner with clove cigarettes. They liked my t-shirt, which has a Japanese ad for Kidsbeer. Last weekend, one of these very kids called me a faggot from a moving SUV window.
In the record store, there were about 20 copies of Radiohead's In Rainbows in the used section. I'm not even remotely sure how that's legal. I guess selling used mp3s is just the same as used CDs.
Anyway, I picked up some milk and albums and came back home to make myself two eggs, over easy, a pot of coffee, and some toast. Miller's Crossing is on. So I'm gonna watch this, eat my breakfast, and go for another walk before heading to Pomona to see the Go! Team tonight. I've barely listened to the new record since it came out, and I'm hoping that will make tonight even more pleasant.
Then, tonight, in the vacant glow of early morning, I will drink many beers and regale you with jungle tales.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How fucking adorable is this? It's painful. It hurts me, the cuteness of this picture.
If this doesn't excite you then you are a terrible person.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Schlubba Ho-Tep

I know how easy it is to write off the fat Elvis. I mean, the whole era remains a caricature of a caricature that leaves a taste in your mouth not unlike fair food. Funnel Cake and buttered popcorn. Hot sausage. and sure, the whole production comes across about as greasy as the aforementioned heart-destroyers. It's hard not to picture Elvis, half-exhausted on the edge of the stage, a chicken leg in one hand and his flying eagle jumpsuit unbuttoned far below even the decency laws of Vegas should be allowing. The one time sex symbol and idol to millions reduced to crooning Neil diamond songs. and of course the Memphis Mafia. Redneck enforcers of the King's will, or at least his reputation. Slamming methamphetamines into their bodies and laying meaty paws all over the already-pawed ladies of Vegas*
Well, first of all fuck you, I happen to enjoy some of Mr. Diamond's repertoire. Second, don't be so quick to dismiss the fat bastard. It's not like this happened overnight. People seem quicker to dismiss late-era Elvis than the movie star Elvis, which is fucking preposterous. Elvis starred in 31 motion pictures, and with a few exceptions, they're not even fit for Mystery Science Theatre standards (though that would be entertaining). Jesus, have you ever seen Double Trouble? or Kissin' Cousins? blech. The movies are what ruined Elvis. And though the '68 comeback special is what is generally seen as his glorious return to the stage, and that's true. He was terrified and convinced that his audience had given up seeing Elvis apply himself to anything ever again.
But it was here, in Vegas, that he really had to prove himself. It's easy to suck in your gut and put on a show for 90 minutes. But twice a night? for several years? Karate kickin'? Bloated, drug-addled, schlubby. These all apply. But to say he wasn't working hard, or to say that his band wasn't among the greatest working at the time is just stupid.
James Burton. D.J. Fontana. shit, even Scotty Moore pops up on disc 4. Anyways, yeah, it's cheesy and over-the-top. Yes, it's ridiculous and spangled and decadent and the precursor to pretty much everything there is to hate about Las Vegas. But that doesn't mean it's not a great show. So make yourself a corn dog. Dip it in powdered sugar, and enjoy the spectacle for what it's worth.

Download 4 discs of it here.

yeah, you just wasted this time reading what is essentially a link to someone else's website and upload. You see what I did there? But it is worth listening to I promise. I suggest downloading Discs 1 and 3 in the very least.

*with apologies to guys like Red West, who I still think were true friends to Elvis and standup guys in spite of it all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In a van...

I’ve been listening to this song on repeat since I woke up this morning, and it’s one of those songs that I grew up loving, put on the first 20 mixes that I ever made, got burnt out on, and then sort of forced myself to forget about for the better part of a decade. I was brushing my teeth at 1 this morning and this came on my headphones and though I was exhausted, I had to stay up and listen to this at a skull-crushing volume. And I pretty much have been since.

It’s so easy to forget how versatile Neil can be, even over the course of the same song. Up until I was 13 or so I though Neil Young only played predominantly acoustic folk rock. Then I stumbled across the second side of Live Rust (recorded 3 months after I was born) and had my mind just blown out of my asshole. Because I’m not sure I’d ever heard a guitar like that, except for maybe my brother’s punk records.

I think I learned then and there that there’s a difference between playing a guitar loud or fast and playing a guitar hard. And this was definitely the latter. It sounded like he was playing it with a fist, fer chrissakes. I don’t know how he wasn’t stopping to change strings every 15 seconds because it sounds sometimes like he is raining blows down on that thing.

And “Down By the River” was always my favorite example of that. It’s not often that Neil is credited with being a great guitarist, and that’s understandable, considering his playing style is hardly flashy or nimble. But then neither is most of Pete Townsend’s, and he seems to do alright. But that isn’t to take away from what he can do with it.

Lots of hack music rags love to describe how people like Clapton or Hendrix “wield” their guitars. They fuckin’ love it. And I never understood that. Because it just didn’t seem right to me. Those guys massaged and coaxed their instruments. It’s people like Phelps Collins or even Greg Ginn that wield their guitars, that use them like a tool and not a precision instrument. Neil Young fucking wields his guitar. Over the course of this song he uses it to the same effect that one would use a rusted putty knife, a rubber mallet, and a chainsaw. And unlike many others that have tried, it works in a way that that sounds completely natural. Those solos don’t require the most talent, but that never meant they were easy to play. If played loud enough, they can be even exhausting to listen to. And just picturing Neil stamping his foot on that weird way that he does makes it even more tiring. Goddamn, it’s great. That’s all I really got today, but I just felt like sharing since I’ll never be able to find a place for something like this on a mix again. It just doesn’t fit with anyone else’s music.

“Down By the River” – Neil Young

Live in Massachusetts, 1986

and since I've been listening to the new Steve Earle a bit lately (which has a verson of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" which will serve as the theme song for season 5 of The Wire), here's my favorite song off that.

"Steve's Hammer" (for Pete)
buy Washington Square Serenade here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

You're number 37, have a look

It's a turdish fall day here. It's actually the closest I think I'll get to having a fall out here, since the skies are gray, it's a little chilly, and the sycamore outside my office window is one of the only trees in the area that I've seen changing colors. I'm trying to make the most of it (hellooo Arab Strap, Microphones) and keep a gloomy demeanor. So yeah, there's that.

It's strange, thinking about it, but I only have one friend within 900 miles of here. Who I happened to live with, work in the same building as, and am married to. It serves as sort of an insulation from everything else around here, and I'm wondering if after awhile this hinders both of us from making new friends or even being able to tolerate a lot of people we normally would. Have I always been this picky about the people I hung around with? Probably not, judging by some of the acquaintances I've made in my lifetime. Is Southern California (or at least this town) actually that loathsome that likeable, interesting people are that hard to come by? Doubtful.

I don't remember knowing so many overly dramatic people than I've met here, though. This probably isn't true. Most of the discussions I encounter outside our home seem to be about failed relationships (both platonic and romantic), inter-office politics, smug dissections of other lifestyles/beliefs, and in-depth talks about botanic nomenclature.

I can't tell you how sick I am of all of these things. And it's not that I feel like I have anything much more interesting to talk about, but there's gotta be more than that. No wonder a guy can get to feeling dejected.

Anyways I shouldn't complain here, it's not your fault. It's not theirs, or ours. It's not mine. Blame the patch of Autumn I just stumbled across this morning.

Mata Hari was executed 90 years ago today. Huh.

Racism in Switzerland?

Things I currently want to disappear, at least for a little while:
Ambient music
Democratic Party Leadership
Bullshit non-binding resolutions
Dane Cook
Baseball in general

Friday, October 12, 2007

Now Listening:

Rebetika is essentially the outsider music from the early 1920s to the late 1950s in Greece. It's the music of drug addicts and prisoners and lovers. Not surprisingly, then, it gets a lot of comparisons to American blues. It was actually banished by the far-right and censorship-happy Metaxas regime. However, also much like American blues, the genre was cleaned up sold to the upper class and eventually nationalized.
I can't speak a word of Greek. I can barely spell most of the Greek foods I like. But this music is really interesting and in some cases heartbreaking. I'm sure I'll sneak some on the next mix I throw together, whenever that might be.

I'm also reading some stuff on the breaking of tradition in the practices of Zoroastrianism. It's... a lot more interesting than it sounds.

Also, Trader Joe's sells scotch here. Someone help me wrap my head around this.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I've been looking through these pictures of suddenly abandoned homes I came across on English Russia. They're amazing. It's too easy to imagine a context in which someone would rush out the door of their apartment, leaving for good with their highly personal belongings strewn out across their floor. I imagine fear of toxic gas, of nuclear holocaust. Fear of mob reprisal and torch-wielding mobs. Fear of secret police and instant death. I imagine crying children leaving behind filthy, beloved stuffed animals and prized television sets left in haste.
But the sad reality of it is that these places were probably left in fine order with everything where it was supposed to be. The apparent havoc left by scavengers and drug addicts, looking for expired medicine and Nazi gold.
When I was a sophomore in high school there was an abandoned house that some friends of mine had found. There were newspapers dating back to 1986 stacked up just inside the front door. The closets still had sweaters, the pantry still had dry goods.
There was also a fully stocked bar in the basement. I remember we found some sort of board game that basically consisted of a vinyl football field and a stack of cards that we somehow had turned into a drinking game. We would line up four shots of whatever we'd come across (this was the first and only time that I ever would drink banana schnapps) and somehow counted them as downs and field progression.
I went outside to smoke a cigarette (I still am filled with a small pride that I respected the abandoned home enough not to fill it with smoke) and walked smack into a police officer. I was 16 and pretty drunk. It was the second time I was ever arrested.
This is how I live now. It's 11:30 on a Saturday night and I'm looking at crap on the internet and telling high school stories to nobody in particular. We went to a nearby shopping center today and came very close to dying in a car crash on the way home. Fucking California drivers.

Watching: The Science of Sleep. It's so filled with whimsy that I just want to blink myself out of existence.

Reading: The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman. I'm pain in-the-ass late on this, but it's the most impressive graphic novel I've read in a very long time. It's put together from a graphic design standpoint and can at times be an utterly exhaustive read. In a good way. I can't recommend this enough.
I got Warren Ellis' book in the mail on friday, and expect to read it in one giant sitting. Perhaps I'll write something on it late.r

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I hate all Iranians, US aide tells MPs

Are you fucking kidding me? Is this really the sort of person that is representing all of us to our allies? Anybody who is stupid enough to say things like this should be cleaning up after farm animals. Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

In related news, Sy Hersh pointed out just how bad of an idea it is to bomb Iran right now, though it seems increasingly unavoidable with the swheer amount of fatheaded sabre-rattling that is happening right now. Prepare to be fighting 3 wars. Prepare for more death. Prepare for an entire region of the world to pray for our own deaths because we were prodded as a country into fear and hysteria by a group of insanely rich white men who want to make even more money and perpetuate this completely backwards and aggressive state of being. How many times can we learn the same lesson before we actually remember it?

I just erased a multi-page rant about how sick of this shit i'm getting, but honestly, there's no need to go through that again. I just don't know how anyone can actually be ready for more war at this point. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Useless Mountain Rant

So, as I've stated before, the move from Pennsylvania with a moderate amount of friends to California with no friends but many healthy acquaintances, I find myself being slightly more assertive with my time, which includes going hiking and eating risotto-and-kale dinners. and I find myself in at 11 PM on a saturday night, which I cound not have been convinced as recently as one year ago that I would ever stand for.
If I had a brain I'd be going to bed (my lovely wife is snoring next to me as I type this) or at least try to get another few scenes written for this Big Worthless Project. but instead I know I'll stay up and read the rest of these comics and have a Fat Tire or two. I rented the DVD copy of Rude Boy, and I'm wondering if the extras will be as great as I'm hoping (a recent interview with Johnny Green!). As a completely random aside, I want to know who the production designer for Stranger Than Fiction was and how I can con them into designing living space for me. This week I need to think about picking up tickets to go home for the holidays and what the hell I'm going to do with myself when I'm there. I'm just realizing that I don't even know where I'll stay. not even what state. bah.

I just watched SNL and for the umpteenth consecutive time I've felt completely ripped off and pissed that I actually wasted my time on this fucking show. I really like Lebron AND Kanye West, and this was still massively disappointed (other than the awesome skit about Kanye's Awards Show behavior and the Lebron guidance counselor bit, both buried in the last half hour). And I get the feeling that in the very least that I'll at least tape the Seth Rogen/Spoon show next week. What a sucker.

My TiVo is convinced that I'm an elderly black man. I shit you not, I've got more Matlock and Sherman Helmsley than one would ever want lined up on this bitch. What the hell am I supposed to do with that?

"If I hear this "If You Want it )Here it is" Saturn ad one more time I'm going to burn down Paul McCartney's America-loving ass.

Is it a coincidence that with Fred Thmompson's political flameout that the Fox Movie Channel has been airing Die Hard 2 lately? Just a thought. Go patriotism.