Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Last week I posted a mix and said I'd have another one up this week. Truth be told, it's all but done, I just need to work out the seques and clips that I'm using. But I also noticed that the last one has been listened to once since I put it up. Once.

So I'm not exactly in a huge rush to get the new one up. Especially since I checked the last mix to make sure it was playing correctly. Once.

So it'll be up when it's up.

I'm working between 10 - 14 hours a day all through this week and next, so don't expect a ton of content to be put in that time period. I have some writing ideas that I want to work on, but they're still in nascent stages. There are a few more Adventures with an Idiot thingys I've got ready, so expect those sooner than later. Whether you want them or not.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hot Dog Social Hour, vol. 1

try this?

or here?

"Sundor Tum Goa" - Amit Kumar
"Soul Shake" - Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson
"Give Me Your Love" - A.C. Jones & the Atomic Aces
"I'm doomed?"
"Je Bent Niet Hip" - The Pattie Sisters with Enteng Tanamal & his Comets
"Viva, Femme Africaine" - Danialou Sagbohan
"Funky Bijou Anthem" - Funky Bijou
"What do you think about, Sean?"
"Harlan County" - Jim Ford
"Don't Believe Nothing" - Ike & Tina Turner
"There's this huge man..."
"The Feeling Kind" - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
"Dope on Plastic" - Uptown
"I think it's in Canada..."
"Panzer" - The Dirty Nil
"Shrinking Violet" - Swearin'
"They tell me cake is bad for me..."
"Birthdays" - The Mouthbreathers
"Light Up Gold II" - Parquet Courts
"Have You Seen My Son?" - Benjamin Booker
"Sad but true..."
"Black Egg" - Snake & Jet's Amazing Bullit Band
"Open Letter to the President" - Roy-C
"My story amused him all the same..."

I'm trying to figure a download option, but that may take awhile. In the meantime, email me or something.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

okay, Soundcloud is being a dick and I'm late to go to the desert.

download it here.

I'll fix this up later.

Friday, March 15, 2013

So here's a thing...

I'll have a mix up in a few hours. It's all done, I'm just working on a new delivery system and I need greater bandwidth before I can upload it.

It hit me pretty recently that I hadn't made a mix in well over a year. It's not through lack of effort, either. A few months ago I had one all but ready, but then my hard drive crapped out and that was a pretty massive setback. I'm still trying to find some of those songs. It's also because I don't listen to as much music, with my listening augmented by podcasts, audiobooks etc...

So I had this folder of songs and clips that I wanted to use for a mix just keep growing and growing and growing until the idea of getting back to making a mix was daunting indeed. So I decided to make it a bunch of mixes. Then it turned into a (hopefully) ongoing project, the Hot Dog Social Hour. I know if you've seen this site in the past few years, you're already rolling your eyes, but I'm gonna make an effort both to revive this dusty virtual space and to release at least a couple volumes of HDSH, so check back sometime soon if you'd like.

Usually, the bulk of the work I put into my mixes is the tagging and editing. I know that sounds crazy but it's true. So I'm gonna try to do something new, where I'll put out a mix as a single track. This allows me to avoid getting sued for sharing music, and it also makes the back end a lot easier for me. If you don't like it, or if you want a particular track without all of its neighbors... email me. or something.

This way, it should be a lot easier for me to put one of these out every other week or so. I have most of the next show already taken care of, as well.

Check back here in a few hours for more details on the first volume of Hot Dog Social Hour.

Coming soon...

Though long abandoned, the machines lurched for a moment before sputtering to life. Giant gears creaked and groaned as they gained the momentum that possessed so many years ago. Rust flaked and descended through errant beams of life, giving the workshop the appearance of a copper snowstorm. The scent of wear filled the room.

Across town, the butterflies were back.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Adventures of an Idiot

There was no moon visible the night I met the wizard. It was cold and wet and I had been waiting at a bar on 17th all night for a friend who never showed. I was thinking about whether I’d been stood up or if I’d just forgotten to inform my friend that we were going out when I noticed a weird pink mist emanating from the subway station at Harrison. At the time, I just assumed it was an effect of the rain or alcohol or whatnot, but in retrospect I should’ve known something was going on.
After descending the steps and reaching the platform, it was evident that the mist had nothing to do with the rain. In fact, the station was crawling with it. At first I thought something might be burning, so I glanced around for a burning cotton candy machine or something, but there was nothing.  Besides, there was no smell.

Then, I just assumed that there was probably a bank of smoke machines or something hidden and that any minute now some annoying improve group would jump out of the fog to scare me. I decided right there and then that that would not happen. Despite the fact that I was starting to freak out, I didn’t want to end up on some prank-based reality show. So I decided to just keep my eyes fixed on the wall across from the subway tracks until my train arrived. The joke was gonna be on them when they couldn’t even get my attention, let alone prank me! I stood there pleased with myself for a few minutes, listening to some Tuvan throat singing on my headphones to help keep me calm. Before long a train showed up and I got on it.

It only went a few stops before slowing to a halt at some station I’d never been to before. It’s funny how many subway stops you pass through a million times and never really look at, right? Anyway, this is where stuff started getting weird. The pink smoke was at this station as well. Also, the station appeared to just be a tunnel carved into solid rock. Some neighborhoods, right? Anyway, seeing how the car clearly wasn’t going to budge, I walked into the tunnel so that I could make my way to the surface. A few minutes later, though, I was standing in front of an old man. He was short and tubby, and was practically nude except for a beat up pair of cargo shorts.

“The transit authority is gonna shit a brick when they see what you did to their station” I yelled. The man didn’t look up.

“Hey, did you do this?” I yelled once more, but again was ignored. I was starting to think that he was deranged. Or maybe listening to headphones of his own.

“Are you listening to Tuvan throat singing, too?” I yelled even louder. Again, no response. Was this guy dead or something?

Apparently not. Because as I got within ten or so feet of him, he did look up. He straightened to a height of what felt like ten feet and pointed his finger at me.

“Thou mustn’t confuse me with a mere mortal, lest you find thyself on the wrong end of my wrath” he boomed, angrily.

“What are you, Thor?” the man stopped for a second. His pointing finger withered slightly and he had an expression of confusion on his face.

“Why are you talking like that?

“I have walked the earth for millennia. I will speak how I wish” He said.

“Well, you sound like a crazy person to me.” I said, trying to get around him. “Can you tell me how to get back to the F Line?”

He looked at me with an expression of disdain.

“You have been summoned to a higher calling” he said, before adding “for some reason” under his breath. I checked my phone. There were no messages.

“Ew, no way am I gonna be a priest.” He looked annoyed for a second.

“I have summoned thee here to the Rock of Eternity to-”

“We’re on the West Side. Is that some sort of club?” I looked around and noticed that there were number of lit braziers and totems of the deadly sins. The one closest to me (“Sloth”) looked a lot like Andrew McCarthy.

“Hey, was this stuff here the whole time?”

“They have been here for time immemorial. The sins are a grievous reminder of the horrors that might occur if man’s wickedness is left unchecked”

“That one looks a lot like Andrew McCarthy.” I pointed at the totem.

“I am not familiar with with that sin.”

“Um, Weekend at Bernies much?” He looked lost. Poor guy. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has daytime cable.

“I have summoned you here because my champion has fallen, and you have been deemed worthy of his mantle.”

“What do I win?”


“You have to win something to become a champion, don’t you?”

“It... is a title. There are no rewards. You will be called upon to defend those in need, and to oppose wickedness in all its forms”

“Wait. Who are you?”

“I am burdened with the task of carrying out the will of the cosmos”

“And... you want me to become a social worker? An unpaid social worker?”

“I want for-” He stopped himself. “I will thee to become my champion, to right the wrongs in this wicked world”.


“Thou hast no voice in this decision. The great powers I bestow upon thee”

“Great powers? Why didn’t you say that earlier? I love great powers! What are we talking about here? Flight? Nigh-invulnerability? Holy shit am I getting a power ring!?”

“This was a bad idea” He seemed to melt into the darkness. I tried to follow him, but my legs felt paralyzed.

“So, you’ll mail me my power ring?” I yelled, hearing only my echo in response.

It’s been two damn weeks and I still haven’t gotten anything in the mail.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Goodbye Fergus

   My friend Fergus died on Monday night.  I hesitate to use the term “cat” or pet”, since I haven’t really thought of him as either in years, but I also want to make it abundantly clear that I’m talking about a cat here. There is pain and injustice in this world that baffle the heart and mind and, even though it’s sad, I cannot count a librarian’s eulogy for his elderly cat among them. And that’s exactly what this is. Requiem for a feline.  If it doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t read it. I’ll understand. Besides, I’m writing this more as a process than anything else.

   Shortly after we moved to California, Carrie decided that she wanted a cat. Not just any cat, mind you, but a Scottish Fold. For those of you not up on your cat breeds or too lazy to follow a Wikipedia link, Scottish Folds are stubby, round-headed cats known primarily for the way their ears “fold” over. One of the most internet’s famous cats is a Scottish Fold, although Maru does not have the distinctive folded ears. Anyway, Carrie decided that she wanted to adopt one. Being a dog person my entire life, I wasn’t thrilled at the idea, but was willing to go along with it. So we started keeping an eye on various sites and Scottish Fold Rescues.

   After a few near misses, we had found an available Fold that looked we couldn’t stop looking at. His profile photo was that of a gruff, pissed-off-looking cat. The description was coded in a way to suggest that he might not be the most outgoing or lovable cat. He’d had his hips replaced as a kitten. And he was 9, which was older than we were hoping for. Nonetheless, we trekked out to North Hollywood one day to the pet store where he was being kept.

   When we got there, it was the typical chaos of a large pet store during an adoption event on a Saturday. I had identified Fergus as soon as we walked in, and I knew that he would be going home with us. It wasn’t that he was particularly adorable (though he was) or outgoing. In fact, he just sat in his cage like a hardened veteran of events like those. He surveyed what was going on around, but he looked disinterested and tired more than anything else. Fortunately for him, disinterested and tired are great hobbies of ours.

   Carrie soon picked him out and she knew right away, too. When the adoption people figured out who we were looking at, they brightened up. Fergus had been with them for years, living in the pet store. He wasn’t the greatest with other cats, and he was too old for most people to want. They also told us he’d originally been named Winky, but that they’d renamed him Fergus in hopes that it might help find him a new home. It did. We were on our way home with him (and our new cat supplies) in 30 minutes.

   It took him a long time to warm up to us.  The first thing he did when we brought him in our home was throw up. He was far from hostile, but he spent most of his time in crawl spaces or warily surveying our apartment. After some phone calls, we got a better idea of what was happening. It turns out that living in a pet store for a few years was just part of Fergus’s life. Before that, he had been living in an outside cage at a cattery for some time. Apparently he had been pampered by someone, since his hips had been replaced as a kitten, but from what we could gather he’d been living in bad conditions or foster care for most of his life.
So we had a cat that, after years of neglect, had stopped trusting anyone. He was defensive and ornery at times, but usually just wanted to be left alone. After taking him to a vet, we were told that he had kidney disease and other health problems. Our concerns mounted.

   But something happened. He started to enjoy himself. He started soliciting pets from us. He grew to trust us, and then much later, to love us. He became a member of our family. His jail mentality disappeared and he began to act like the entitled cat that he’d surely been at some point in his life.

   It took over three years, but he even starting meowing. W we returned from a five-day trip to Big Sur, and he was sitting on our bed. He meowed in such a “where the hell were you?” way that we didn’t even believe it had happened. It was only when he repeated himself that we realize that he was talking to us. After that, we couldn’t shut him up. He had a hungry meow, and a “wake up” one, and a “leave me alone” one. He started hanging out in the bathroom, meowing to himself over and over just to hear his own echo like he was admiring his singing voice.

   His health, while stable, continued to decline in the last few years. He developed an abscess in his right paw, making it swollen and uncomfortable. Still, he hobbled around on his big paw without much pain. In October, we started having to give him electrolyte injections at home to keep renal failure at bay. We were criticized by friends and colleagues when we started doing this, and it was suggested that we were keeping him alive for our own sakes and ignoring his decrepitude.

   Of course, we knew better. Those people would see him for 15 minutes a month and assume he sat and stared all day. True, that was his primary occupation and he’d do that for some 20 hours a day. But he always did that. What nobody else saw was the way he would sprint around the house (a sound made unmistakable by his big paw), or chase after errant insects. He developed an unprecedented penchant for table begging.

   In all honesty, he was a pretty lousy pet. He would spite-poop all the time. I once awoke to see him sitting on my pillow next to our bed, taking a shit because his litterbox was full. I didn’t know whether to throttle him for ruining my pillow or respect him for keeping it all off the floor. There was one instance where he let loose a torrent of diarrhea upon a former-roommate’s mattress that rendered it unsalvageable. He begged at the table and refused to do anything but glower at 90% of our guests. He whined a bit and kneaded our feet when we were sleeping. He was insanely finicky about his food, especially when he was supposed to only be eating his special kidney food. One of the few things he got right about being a cat was the constant self-cleaning.

   He wasn’t the best at being a pet, but he had parts of it nailed down. For one thing, he was freakishly photogenic. As people who generally dislike having our photo taken, it really helps to have a pet that openly mugged for the camera.

   There were other things, too. He started being this weird comforting force in our lives. When I broke Carrie’s heart, he noticed. He would lie next to her (unusual for him) and lick her hands. When unemployment and depression threatened to ruin me, he would sit next to me and pick me back up. I know how that sounds, I really do. You can roll your eyes or think to yourself how I’m rambling that a cat saved my life or something, and I completely understand why. But I was there, and I remember how bad things seemed. Depression is screwy. Sometimes it’s difficult to address. Sometimes, because of fear or shame or anxiety, you can’t talk about it with anyone, not even your closest friends. I stopped communicating with most people. Important personal relationships were neglected, as was this weblog. While Carrie and I spoke constantly about what was happening, they were terse conversations, pregnant with frustration and dread. I spent my days volunteering and filling out applications while my spirits grew dimmer and dimmer. But each day, I’d sit with him for a bit and pet him while I thought. Carrie did the same. I know that the idea of therapy animals is hardly new, but I guess I never expected firsthand experience.

   That never really stopped. When I started getting up before dawn to go to work, he would be the only thing awake in the universe, staring back at me while we waited for the water to boil for coffee. It became my morning ritual to sit for a minute with him and read the paper. A little later, Carrie would sit in the yard with him while she had her own coffee and he wandered around the garden.

   He’s not there anymore in the mornings to greet me. There is no thumping as he runs around the house in the middle of the night, and the house is a lot quieter without the sound of him eating. The object in our peripheral vision is no longer a grey cat, but a bag on the floor, or a pile of books in the shadows. Because he died in our arms the other night.

   I’m not going to bemoan his death or act like he was taken from us too soon. Fergus was a cat, and he outlived all expectations. We used to joke that he was part cyborg because he was constantly proving to us that he was stronger and more agile than we thought. But he was still a living being, and as with all living beings, at some point they cease to live. His death was a painful reminder of the hardest part of having a pet. His exit was sad, but we’d been telling ourselves that it would happen for months, and I feel incredibly fortunate for the time we had with him.

   I know he was a cat. I also know that most of you have children and that it probably seems a little absurd, the amount of fixation we poured into this fleabag. But he was still a member of our family. It breaks the heart not to feel the ones you love there anymore. It still hurts not to hear the voice of a loved one, regardless of whether they could lick their own genitalia or not.

   There’s a saying that rescue animals are actually the ones doing the rescuing, and I can’t disagree. I’ve never been happier to take a chance, and I’ve never been rewarded as handsomely. There will be other pets and (I hope) other friends, but none who would ever replace him. Like I said, he wasn’t great at being a cat. But he was a damn good friend and neither of us will ever forget him.