Monday, December 31, 2007

Graffiti, Minneapolis, 1983

This was spray painted on the wall near my crappy apartment building
off Franklin Street in Minneapolis. It was a rough neighborhood, filled with a weird mix of immigrants, native Americans and low rent artist types like myself and my sweetie at the time.
It reads:
"You must have a flaming moral purpose, so that greed, oppression and exploitation shrivel before the fire within you"
Never has that quote made more sense to me than right now.
This country has moved into ugly, dangerous territory, a time when rich thugs own the news and piss on the idea of truth, when greed has become a virtue, and when ideas like the rule of law and the common good have been made into a joke by the thugs running the country for their own uses.
I think the coming economic and environmental shit storm is going to change the way we deal with authority, and I sure as hell hope we can get some of the things we used to be back.
I don't want things to fall apart, but damn, I'm sure getting nervous waiting for it to happen.

Joyce, 1986

Shot on a 4x5 view camera, natural light in the
Witzel Street studio.
She makes the best apple pie, ever. She grows huge gardens full of flowers, and she's passionate, intense, sometimes cranky and even though we don't talk that much because we moved far apart, my life would be a hell of a lot more boring without her and her kid Emma in it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Father, His Pet Bear, and His Fishing Posse

My father is the guy in the center, with the baseball hat.
I think this was around 1963.
My dad would be considered pretty intense these days, the way he spent his life hunting, fishing, working and laughing harder than anybody around him.
He could yell, argue and give dirty looks pretty well too.
He and his pals would go up into Canada, up to Lake Nippigon with some pals every year to haul home big loads of fish.
One day he and his buddy caught a bear, out there fishing for pike or whatever else would bite. They saw this little bear swimming around in the middle of now where alone, and decided to rescue it.
That's the story they told us, anyway. They smuggled it back across the border, sound asleep in a gunny sack behind the driver's seat of the family Station Wagon, and my dad kept it as a pet in a spare room we had in the basement for about six months.
It made us popular in school that year, We'd say to our schoolmates, Hey, wanna come see our pet bear?
My dad would take it out on walks in the yard on a chain, let it climb around on the scrub trees in our yard, feed it bakery and donuts leftover from the big commercial bakery up in Appleton.
I remember that bear biting at the chain, trying to bite my dad through thick gloves, and I don't doubt he did bite my old man, who would have just shrugged it off with a grin and a band aid.
Eventually my mom decided the bear should go or she would, since it was getting pretty big and was between her and the washing machine, and they gave it to a game farm in Northern Wisconsin.
All that bear did for the rest of it's life is screw other bears, eat candy and live a life of captive leisure. It got huge, fat and older than dirt as far as bears go, and sure seemed content.
I know a lot of guys that would love to just eat, screw and lay around all day, and I think they wouldn't mind the cage either if it had cable and a wide screen TV.

Sometimes people don't believe us when we tell them about the bear in the basement. This photo is from my dad's photo album, a crumbling book filled with only photos of his hunting and fishing exploits. He loved his family, but the only thing that he ever seemed to take photos of was things he killed.

I feel like I grew up in a John Irving novel when I think about how strange my home life was. That's a good thing.

Soo, Marcy's House, 1989

It was cold as hell outside. We shot a bunch of photos early in the morning in Marcy's guesthouse, then went out for breakfast.
I miss Soo, or Sue or whatever she calls herself these days. She was a great model and a good friend.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

This Man Roasts All The Good Coffee I Drink

Mathew at my Solstice Party that I did not blog about.
He roasts almost all the coffee down at EVP, the place that I spend at least three h0urs a week in drinking coffee and yakking at my tribe. We've gotten quite the table full of strange people built up over the last four or five years, a real mix of all sorts of dykes, firefighters, poets, musicians, teeth gnashers and political activists and cranks and loons.
They also make the best damn espresso, anywhere. I know, I lived in Seattle for six years, and the only place that came close was Coffee Messiah or Cafe Vivachi on Capital Hill.
Mathew is also a musican, enjoyable freak and very sweet guy.

Merry Christmas, What's That Burning Smell?

The Charred Remains of my Coffee Maker1997-2007
So, you wake up at home on Christmas morning, just me and sweetie lounging around watching Charlie and The Chocolate factory, waiting for the coffee to be done. Your nose picks up the scent of burning plastic, and, being more awake than you thought you were, you stumble down the stairs at high speed, walk into the kitchen and look to see what's going on.
You look out into the sunroom and see two feet of black smoke above two feet of grey brown smoke, and see that the switch on the ancient coffee maker you've been trying to wear out before buying a new one has decided to short out and melt the whole damn thing, then light fire to the melted remains, the plastic tablecloth it's sitting on, and is about to light fire to the whole house, and you think three things.
Then you spend the rest of the day airing the house out, cleaning the sunporch and thinking about just how much too close to disaster you were.
On the plus side, my firefighter pal did give me a new fire extinguisher this afternoon, and said I did ok.
And I thought this christmas was going to be drama free because I stayed home with sweetie and didn't do blood family stuff. Go figure.
And yes, I know I should have not waited so long to blog again, Tom. What can I say, I'm a bum.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My New Computer Fan Being Humped By A Punk Barbie Clone

My new motherboard and my favorite Barbie Get It On

My computer died last week. After ten years of using the same box and five or so of the same motherboard and chip, it just died. No sparks, no drama, it just refused to get out of bed and be something usefull, dambitt!
It's puritan work ethic died, or maybe the endless hours of my life I spent pissing it away reading blog posts and depressing things made it just stroke out.
So Kori and I have spent the last week froggin' around with building a new one, one with more hard drive space in a new box.
I'm going to sort of miss that big ugly tower box my old roomate gave me in Seattle, all painted up with gold sunbursts like a cheap Japanese electric guitar from the early sixties.
But I'm hoping the new one works as long, and it's sort of sexy in a black gleaming darth vader sort of way.

Monday, November 26, 2007


some days you find the stench
in your mental existential trench
some days are like shoveling dirt
heavy wet dirt until your arms hurt
fall days can be sweet
the cool air makes
pie and coffee
a treat
but these gray skies
make me want
to accept defeat
my body aches
from my arms down to my feet
and it seems like

the cloud filled days
are stuck on repeat
this too shall pass
becomes your mantra

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I sometimes think the human brain is like a giant thrashing machine. We dump loads of stuff into it, be it Jenifer Lopez videos or limericks or old phone numbers and odd little bits of semi-worthless knowledge, and sometime later it shakes out into something that might actually make some sense. Might be turned into art or some form of expression our screwed up human pool of knowledge might find some beauty or use for.
Sometimes I think I've trained myself to think in terms of guitar licks, flavors of coffee and beer, and smells like sawdust and garden dirt and peeled onions and garlic.
It's Thanksgiving day, one of the most hipocritical days we celebrate. I have ten people downstairs waiting for three or four more to show up so we can stuff our faces. I'm happy as a clam in clean mud.
Back to my tribe now. Happy dead turkey and opressive invader society day, everybody.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

William Gibson quote on his writing

You made your name as a science-fiction writer, but in your last two novels you've moved squarely into the present. Have you lost interest in the future?

It has to do with the nature of the present. If one had gone to talk to a publisher in 1977 with a scenario for a science-fiction novel that was in effect the scenario for the year 2007, nobody would buy anything like it. It's too complex, with too many huge sci-fi tropes: global warming; the lethal, sexually transmitted immune-system disease; the United States, attacked by crazy terrorists, invading the wrong country. Any one of these would have been more than adequate for a science-fiction novel. But if you suggested doing them all and presenting that as an imaginary future, they'd not only show you the door, they'd probably call security.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Big Happy Funouse, Sigourney Weavers MP3, Brewing beer

You know, it's bad enough to live in the time of Bush the Younger and his bunch of soul sucking thugs, but day two of this crappy Seattle style weather when it should be crisp and cool and blue skies really is not a happy thing.

Time to warm up the house and brew beer, I think. A trappist ale and a fine Brown Ale, Irish style.

There's something very damn satisfying about brewing. To tap a keg of your own brew on a cool fall night, kick back and crank up the tube amp and telecasterish thing really takes the edge off.

Speakin' of telecaster disaster, here's a link to an MP3 of my loud band doing a little number for your listening pleasure called Crazy Little Pixie. A recording of practice that is far from suck, I'm told.

Click on the link at the top.

I stole the photo from one of my favorite blogs, BigHappyFunhouse, run by a dude who buys and finds old photos and posts them. I love old found photos. He also advertises free pie, although I haven't been able to download it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nice To See Your Back

Soo's Back, 1985
We had a long photographic realtionship. She was a slender young art student who was part of my art mob back in Oshkosh in the mid to late 80's.
For a long time she'd come over to the studio and we'd shoot some nudes, or we'd go off and shoot somewhere on location.
She, like a lot of people liked to drop into the photo studio I worked at, check out the new artwork we did in our off hours when we weren't photographing garbage trucks or Tampon boxes or cop shoe catalogs.
After a while she became a big part of my photographic artwork. She loved to model nude, and she was good at it.
This was one of my first times shooting with a 4x5 view camera. I really had a love/hate relationship with the big camera. It was slow, clunky and awkward, but it taught me to slow the hell down and focus on the images I wanted to make instead of just blasting away with a Nikon with a motor drive and picking the best image.
I also loved the amazing quality of the big negatives.
Ironic that here on the web they're chopped down to tiny and low res images. But when you start with that sort of quality, it still keeps a lot of mojo.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beer Drinkers and Breweries are Lame

I like to brew my own beer, and keep it on tap in recycled soda kegs. I never have to wash bottles or bottle the beer.
But when I run out of homebrew, I like to go to Woodman's or the liquor store down the block and get the old style cases of returnable bottles. I like the idea that bottles get used over and over along with the beer cases.
But now it's getting harder and harder to find, and this trip the only beer I found was Point.
I like Point, it's not bad for a store bought lager. And I really hate the idea of using something once and tossing it. Reduce and reuse are a hell of a lot smarter than recycling.
I imagine mass market distrubution makes all of this much harder and messier, even though in the long run it's much smarter.
And I suspect a lot of consumers are too short sighted or just too lame to deal with returnables. Most people can't even remember to stick a bundle of used grocery bags in the trunk or backseat, and then have to get new bag every trip to the store.
That's fucked up. I'm not sure bitching about it matters though. I think the coming shit storm of environmental and financial problems is going to make a lot of this moot.
But at least I know how to make my own hard cider and beer when I'm totally broke...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dreadlocked Mona Lisa

Today I photographed a dozen roller derby women. I am a sucker for taking photographs of big eyed, tattoed and dread headed roller derby queens.
So I shot these very serious looking photos in between doing some very funny ones for the team.
Love that tattoo.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Motor Primitives at The High Noon

A bunch of dirty hippie peaceniks threw a benefit today at the
High Noon. The kind of people my retuglican brother thinks have "nancy pelosi liberal values".
I call them my tribe.
I think my brother's pretty stupid sometimes. Something about living in the Fox Valley makes a lot of people spiritual thugs and cranky fucks.
I think it's better to have a bleeding heart than none at all. But I'm a dirty hippie and a queer too, so what I say doesn't matter much.
John Lennon said that living is easy with eyes closed, although the clenched assholes of a lot of those same people must get sore from being scared all the time.
But anyway, my pals Pam, Robin, Jeff and Ed rocked out to raise money for the Madison Peace Coaliton, and I went down, drank fine IPA and shot these photos.
They rock, these four. I may be biased, Pam and Robin are in a band with me too.

Kori, 1996

How could you not fall in love with that face and smile?
I did a long time ago.
Shot with a 4x5 view camera using polaroid film.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Too Many Left Feet

Doll legs at Axman Surplus, Oct 2007
Some days I feel like I was made from a box of parts like this
limbs all left feet
a sewed up pile of strange human meat
stitched together like Frankenstein's monster
parts from mom
parts from my dad
all mashed up into somebody who's
less than both
more than they could have been
walked in strange places that didn't exist
in their world
I envy the simplicity of their lives
I wouldn't trade being who I am for anything
but damn, bein' my kind of queer
in this strange world sure comes with a strange
price tag.
Some days I wish I could just pay the fine and go home
find normal
then I remember it's just a setting on an iron
and thank the goddess I don't believe in
I am not simple

Friday, November 09, 2007


I I went to Woodman's today. I saw these pears, thought about how I used
to shoot photos of fruit and nude women and all sorts of stuff on
slow days at my old job at the photo studio.
So I bought these and took some photos. Tomorrow I'm going to eat my models.
It's strange to think that 20 years ago when I bought pears to eat, I never would have
wondered where they were grown, how much toxic crap had been dumped
on them to make them huge and nearly tasteless,
and if they had e-coli all over them.
Now something as simple as buying fruit is both political and possibly toxic.
I think I'm going to plant my own fruit tree in the back yard next year.

Mom's Kitchen at Camp

Mom and my Great Aunt Kell in the Kitchen at Camp
sometime around 1986
Shot with a 4x5 view camera
I grew up at a summer camp, my parents were caretakers. I worked ten summers at camp, running the riding stable, helping out in the kitchen, doing odd jobs and falling off horses and breaking bones.
Mom stayed there for decades, cooking great meals from scratch for the kids who came up, kids from broken homes or real orphans who wound up at the Catholic orphanage who owned the land.
I learned how to cook for small armies of people by watching and helping mom. I find it hard to this day to cook for less than about ten people.
Aunt Kell's been dead for years, and the Catholic Church sold the camps to pay off child sex abuse lawsuits, so this funky old and beautiful kitchen and the two thousand acres or so of land that were mostly wild are now bulldozed over for rich bastard's playgrounds in George BushCo's Amerika, but for thirty plus years, it was an amazing place to find real food.
I really fuckin' hate corporate greed pigs, republicans and religions, they wind up screwing everybody over in their sick need for money, power and control.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Another Good Sandwich

A delicious dead cow sandwich at Kate and Gracie's
in Alma, Wisconsin, October 2007
It had a very nice sauce made from marinated
Figs, Prunes, Apricots, Olives, Red Wine & spices.
I love to cook, we make most of our food from scratch to avoid all the crappy corn syrup and weird additives they put in mass market food.
So when we go out, it's usually for good beer on tap and fries. The best overall burger and fries I've had in a while I had at Mickey's over on the end of Wily St. Their sexy fries kick ass.
But when it comes to good deep fried taters and sauce, I still love the Harmony on Atwood. We go there most nights after band practice, knock down a pitcher or two of Lake Louis or Sphrecher beer, and have the hot pub chips with blue cheese dressing.
Just beware, that Lake Louis beer will fuck your shit up after the second pitcher. Tastes sooo good, and hangovers installed free!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The House on the Rock

Last month when Kori was on vacation, we finally went to The House on the Rock.
It's a freakshow of under lit crap, two and a half miles of walking through a musty house filled with hideous 60's shag carpeting and sensibilities.
I'd been there when I was in High School, we'd skipped school and driven 4 hours to see Yes in concert, then spent the day stoned our of our gourds walking around, but it's grown a lot since 1974 or so.
Whole new buildings devoted to obsessively displaying oddly arranged crap have sprung up since then.
Every room in the house felt like some overweight hipsters had had strange and bland orgies in it, like a mob of paunchy swingers had shed their sansabelt polyester slacks and ugly vinyl leather looking jackets to get down and dirty on some bored housewife.
Once you're through the house they send you on one or two more tours, depending on how strong your ability to absorb dark and chaotic collections of crap is.
Oddly enough, Kori and I and our pal Lisa all have high tolerances for weird.
It was like walking through a museum put together by a mentally diseased hermit who hated light and forgot all the labels.
Pretty cool, in other words, for freaks like us.
The low point for us was the never ending dollhouse that covered the last part of the tour, a low ceiling walk through smelly carpet and two billion really ugly dolls.
The high part was the Carousel pictured above, and the room full of angels hanging from the ceiling.
Hundreds of mannequins with wings all done up in cheesy white robes, and that carousel had hundreds of lurid or freakish carved animals on it.
You can't ride it, but it sure does knock your senses into hammered shit.
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and he wrote one of my favorite books, American Gods. Most of the book takes place in Wisconsin, and he wrote a terrific scene about how the carousel room was a door between worlds.
It sure felt like it he was right standing there in that strange room.
I don't ever need to go back there again. Maybe in another thirty five years if I still walk the earth.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Free Floating Sense of Dread

Kori and Martye walking near Lake Nebagamon, Oct 2007
Today is the second day of the switch to Daylight savings time. That's a fucked up idea, that we could save daylight by pushing clocks around. All it seems to do is push people's moods around.

It's sure pushing mine, and I am not alone, judging by the mood of my tribe.

I'm not sure it's all because today is grey, short and because somebody decided to take an hour away from all of us with a decree. There's more to it than just an hour.

Maybe it's fall, short days making me feel like hunkering down, the cold air changing my mood.

But I have had a low level free floating sense of dread in the back of my mind for a while now, a sense of impending and world wrenching change that fills me with nervous anticipation.

There's now over six billion humans on this world, and more every day. Cranking along sucking the big dick of global capitalism, being shut out or sucked in and feeling things are slowly going to hell.
In our country alone we're in two or three wars, depending on how you look at it, the third being the war being waged against common sense, hope and love being waged by the rethuglicans and BushCo. Corporations.
There's some serious shit coming down at us both economically and ecologically, too.
We're all going to have to learn to join forces, build alternative tribes and learn to live locally and grow more of our own food. I really think we're in for a great depression of our own that's going to make the last one seem like a bumper car ride compared to the roller coaster that is ahead of us as a species.

But I can tell you that I am damn lucky to have my darlin', my tribe, and a sense of place among people who are paying attention and leading through their own actions. In the end, that's what will matter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Breasts in Red and Black

Tiny Alien Humans Babies Everywhere

Everybody's having babies
but Kori and I
it's ok with me
I don't want a little guy
even one as cute
as Lucas or Huxsley
or Winston or Odin
who are far from Ugly
The barf and spit
fart and shit
lay there and gurgle
for the fun of it
lovely to look at
but not to hold
and anyway I think
I'm just too damn old
Seriously, sometimes I wonder why any of my pals let me point a camera at one of their kids, because for some reason they almost always come out looking like aliens.

Me and My clone, Mini E

My roomate Kate came as me to the Halloween Party last weekend.
Well, as half me, since she's about half my weight and half my age.
It's rather odd to look out from the stage and see your MiniMe walking around.
Bitch looks a lot cuter than me too!

Tattoo, with Shadows and Sunshine, August 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Heastock Barbies

Hot glued to the headstock, the shrunken heads wanted to scream, but had no lungs.
All night they bounced up and down, terrified by the loud music and rude people.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alien Babies Will Find You No Matter Where You Hide

You cannot hide from Alien Baby.
Not in your closet
not under your bed
he will find you
he never stops looking
he may pee on you
he may barf on you
but he'll find you
and if you're not mom
and lunch, he's gonna be pissed
and fill your head
with shrieks and howls
from his baby jowls
no, you cannot hide

Rockin' out at Wonder's Pub for Halloween

We played at Wonder's Pub Saturday, the yearly Halloween Party.
VO-5, The Motor Primitives and our band, The Sigourny Weavers.
I had fun. I glued barbie heads all over my guitar, and flashing LED lights and glow sticks.
My ears are still ringing. Shit, then again, they always ring. Old age sucketh mightily, even if I still can rock out rude.

My Peak Experience With a Chili Dog

I love chili dogs and fries and Mountain Dew. While driving through Marquette, Michigan, a crumbling old town slowly being eaten around the edges by garbage fast food joints run by giant corparate greed pigs, we spied The Coney Station.
All gleaming stainless steel and retro bar stool filled, it managed to have a new look with a very old vibe. As we pulled in, they put the open sign up and we had this fine 11 am breakfast, and before devouring this fine lookin' pile of truly American food, I took a few photos.
They really do the classic chili dog and fries about as good as it could ever be. There's a purity to this that is almost never seen in fast food these days.

My new pal big H and his lunch counter

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Driving along the water's edge

She slammed down her blood pressure meds with the last of a huge mug of mud thick coffee and headed down the stairs to the new used truck. It sat there in the driveway waiting patiently, looking ready to roll as far and as long as the money and the gasoline supplies lasted.
It was going to be a long trip, up the far east side of Lake Michigan, through the ugly ruins of Gary, Indiana, the reek of refineries and past crumbling ruins up to Grand Rapids, then along the broken roads of eastern Michigan to the south shore of Lake Superior, along the edge of the world's greatest freshwater body, then down through Duluth to the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi, along the river road until they reached the far corner of Wisconsin, then back to home, garden and the tribe.
Who knew what would happen along the way? They'd packed a bag of various Valiums, painkillers and a bottle of cheap tequila, the big army 45. and a hundred rounds of hollow points, one electric guitar and amp, and a laptop computer filled with strange writings and obscure music that only freaks and mental patients would listen to. They decided to leave the AK-47 home this trip. The .45 made a more rewarding noise. And where were the damn earplugs, she thought?
It was going to be an interesting ten days or so......

Monday, September 24, 2007

Go Read Kunstler, Now

Quote of the day:

"What I advocate is a broad recognition that reality is compelling us to change our behavior. Reality is trying to tell us that we can't run an economy based on nothing more than investment schemes without directing investment into activities that produce things of value. Reality is telling us to be very worried about living arrangements that can only function with copious imports of oil from people who are disgusted with us. Reality is telling us that we can't divert our food crops into making motor fuels without people becoming unable to afford either fuel or food. Reality is telling us to redirect our culture more toward things-we-do-with-other-people and less toward things-we-do-with-new-things. Reality is telling us to shift from avoidance behavior and denial to engaging with reality in order to lead lives that are consistent with reality."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Fifty years ago on the 21st of September, my twin sister and I were pushed into this world by our mother. My sister's long gone, making me wonder if I was the evil twin, but that's another story.
Fifty's a big number. One I'm feeling mixed feelings about.
The older I get, the more ambivalence I have about everything. Time slips by faster, and I think about what the hell to do with this strange gift of sentience and awareness. It's a luxury of sorts, having time to think and reflect and fuck off.
I don't have to make much money these days, being partnered up with a sweetie who mostly likes her job and is in no hurry to push me into something as mind numbing as cleaning houses like I used to do.
There's a line if Fight Club that I think about often. "on a long enough time line, the survival rate of everyone drops to zero". Knowing that fifty of my seventy five or so good years are behind me, it makes a lot of sense.
Like most people, I scurried around and obsessed over getting things done for a long time. Now I wonder if the time I spend goofing off at EVP coffee, the time I spend on my favorite online instrument builder's forum and those times I spend watching movies on the idiot box with dollface aren't the most important.
I'm sure as hell not gonna be choking out my last breath thinking I should have cleaned up my shop more often. I hope I don't.
It's been a rough year since my last birthday, and filled with change for me. It's made me sort of cranky and reflective. It had in it a bad ear infection that left me with one ear ringing most of the time, shoulder problems that mostly got fixed by physical therapy, and what I am pretty sure is the start of arthritis in my back and hands.
It was a year where what I thought was a lifetime friendship went horribly bad, starting with a fucked up recording project with the band I thought I was important to, and ending in a terribly depressing breaking up of a five year musical and personal friendship with an ugly series of toxic vibes via email.
I'm still trying to put that one behind me, being thrown under the bus by somebody who I thought was central to my tribe, who I trusted to be honest with me. Sometimes I think it's stupid to take community and friendship as I seem to.
Then I realize it's what makes me feel grounded, connected to something bigger that means something. Maybe I just need better bozo/bullshit filters.
But it's not all pain and stupid human tricks, this strange year. It was another fine year where Kori and I managed to still not get in a fight, (thirteen years or so now without one), where she showed me again how sweet life can be when you're lucky enough to have a partner like her.
It also had Tim and Bess and Robin and Pam and a ton of other folks in it to make it both sweet and solid, musically and spiritually. It brought me a new camera that has woken up my long sleeping desire to take up photography.
It's also been a year where I started to blossom musically, even if it was and is scary as hell to both record and sing my own stuff. I am incredibly lucky that I have my musical mob, both the rock band and the oddly acoustic trio.
It's been a year where my garden has been throbbingly happy, where I learned to make pickles and can salsa and to grow beets and dahlias.
It's a year where I got my first new used truck in 13 years. A gray 1992 Toyota Extra Cab that replaces the one I lost when my life bumped up against the reset button and split for the west coast back in 1993.
That one was new. This one's old. But I am starting to be a lot like that truck, two thirds used up but still sturdy and ready to roll, even if I'm not sure where I'm rolling to.
So I'm going to drive that new truck out to the movie theater on Friday, and catch a matinee of a really good bad post apocalyptic movie, (my favorite bad genre), get a nice Mexican dinner I don't have to cook, and then have a small party with my posse on Saturday.
That Does Not Suck, and I'm grateful to whatever god it is I don't believe in for all those good things I've gotten. And that I'm not working cleaning toilets, even if I was really good at it for a long time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Going to see the Athens, Ohio mob

I hate Indiana. Most of Ohio too. Every time I drive across either one, I feel like I'm surrounded by idiots and enemies, morons and meatbags.
The freeway rest stops are ugly, nasty places filled with mostly morbidly obese slobs driving listing and smoking old Chrysler minivans, plasterd with yellow ribbons and Jesus bumper stickers, ugly waddling people in cheap imported Wal-Mart clothes, clutching huge bags of Cinnabon rolls or Big Mac value meals and giant sodas, or those horrible bovine milk gland juice grande frappalatechinnowhatever the fuck things they sell at fast coffee joints.
It's a long unbroken stretch of Retughlican ugly from the start of Gary, Indiana all the way over to the Pennsylvania border.
The only parts that don't suck are when you're asleep when somebody else is driving, or when you get to see a nuclear powerplant, and you realize that the winds blow east and it won't hit you when it melts down.
Nothin' but bible thumping morons, giving birth to more moronic NASCAR fans, some of whom think the biggest thing to reach for in life is a massive four wheel drive, a place playing horrible music in a Mega Church band on Sundays between the more than likely Gay Pastor's venting and ranting sermons and his PowerPoint presentation.
Every now and then one of those meatbags snaps, and starts randomly shooting people from overpasses, pushed just a little too far by his bible freak conservative inbred family.
Maybe it's the inbreeding, maybe it's because they drive out everybody who's got a brain, or is queer or odd or interesting. Or those people leave to keep their sanity.
Horrible places, both states. Aside from one good restaurant in South Bend, and Athens, Ohio, you could depopulate most of both states, move the stupids to someplace else and maybe have a chance at reclaiming them. Maybe.
We're going to Athens this weekend. Athens is a college town, a mini-Madison, a shot of Berkley in an otherwise idiot state. It's got all the things I love, a great punk/rock music bar called The Union, a great hot dog joint, a good Mexican restaurant, a good university atmosphere, and my pals who work at Stewart McDonald guitar supply and my demented pal Billy R, who makes the coolest carved sculpture guitars in the whole world.
It's a ten hour drive through that wretched god fearing stretch. I only do it about once a year, but this weekend the party is at my pal Gene's new joint, a guitar repair shop in a small crumbling town about ten miles from Athens. He bought an old Odfellow's hall and renovated it. It's a great funky old space, the kind of place we never build anymore in this country full of garbage disposable pole building big box stores.
And to make it even more fun, we're renting a big car with a killer stereo and air. Whooweee!
But we still have to drive across Indiana and most of Ohio. Pray for us.

Viruses suck unconsenting donkey dicks

I have never gotten a virus or malware on my computer until this week. The other day I got hit by four trojan virues, and now I have wierd pop up pages almost every time I hit a new web page.
I'd like to find the fuckers who write this shit and rip their guts out slowly, a half inch at a time through their noses.
I know, in the global scheme of things there are many worse evils. But to decide to write malware and trojans for fun to fuck other people's time and creative efforts over is a trait that makes you an evil shithead.

Monday, August 20, 2007


SSince I wrote this, I found out that our CSA, Harmony Valley, is about half underwater, and about half the vegetables they were going to supply us acording to our contract, are possibly destroyed by this wierd weather. We can replace them with store bought vegetables, but it just ties into what I posted about being on a knife edge. I had planned on canning a bunch of their stuff for this winter.
It's been raining for days, over a foot fell in the last two. Rivers are reaching flood stage, four people died over in Minnesota, and there's rain in the forecast all week. The farmers must be freaking out, their fields saturated, their crops starting to mold and rot.
I went into the jungle that is my garden yesterday, and picked about 40 or 50 pounds of tomatoes, a milk crate size box of beets, and we harvested dozens of peppers, because I think I'd have a lot of moldy or rotten food going to waste.
Those tomatoes are in the freezer now, peeled and seeded and turning into blocks of icy red raw materials to be salsa in a few weeks. I've taken to canning things like salsa and applesauce, because they're soooooo much better than store bought. And I feel good knowing I have something of a stockpile.
We live on a knife's edge in this world. Most people have no stockpiles of food, few people do home canning or keep dried foods, and most don't think about their food supply other than what they need that week. I've had people who come over joke around about how we have a pantry full of dried beans and noodles, and lots of canned goods, like we're freaks for having a month or so of food around. But then they joke about coming over here when things get bad.
Most people never seem to think about the fact that we're about one bad harvest away from the start of starvation as a world and as a country.
They take for granted that the drive through and the big supermarket filled with low quality food is going to be there to give them corn syrup filled junk food and factory farm meat.
One look at what happened in New Orleans two years ago tells me there's sure a problem with a lack of long term thinking going on in our country.
Now people are talking about ethanol as though it's going to save us from the oil crisis, but all it's really going to do is drive up food prices, (and beer, because barley is being replaced with corn) something that's already started, and destroy the last six inches of top soil and drain the aquifers of the midwest so people can keep up the doomed motoring culture we're addicted to.
I am no great visionary, nor a prophet of doom. I like to write and read dark apocalyptic fiction, but I also love pizza and beer, cool summer nights, being able to buy heartburn drugs and get my teeth fixed by a real dentist.
All of those things are only going to keep going if we figure out how to make other arrangements than the business as usual method we're doing now. Between global climate change, dwindling global oil reserves and the problems of having over six billion people on a planet that could support less than a billion at the current rates of consumption, we're in for some overly interesting times.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Baby Belly in shadows

My coffeeshop pal J. has been modeling for me, and it's the first time in years I've taken nudes of anybody. She's a very good model, very comfortable with herself, even if there's few comfortable ways to move about the earth with a belly this big.
She's going to have that baby in the next few weeks. We're going to shoot more pictures once the wrinkled little diaper filler gets used to this bright and cruel world.
I've often thought it would be fun to be pregnant. For about five seconds of each month of pregnancy. But I like baby back ribs too much to ever make a baby. That Would Be Wrong, even if I am from the same state as Jeffery Dahmer and Ed Gein.

Friday, August 03, 2007

My pal Gail, An Amazing Drummer

I shot this the last night I played with her at the High Noon last winter.
I miss playing with Gail. I miss her amazing timing, her subtle but freakin’ awesome sense of dynamics, the way she and I locked together on some of the songs we used to play before I got shoved out of the band for being too alive.
Or being an asshole, depending on who you talk to. They are almost the same thing.
Her amazing drumming made me feel like I was connected to something really, really huge, and when it was time for a solo, it felt like she was the jet turbines pushing my guitar parts into something more than just a bunch of notes to fill a space. With her behind me, I felt like my wah pedal was connected to god’s own hotline, that my amp and strings and fingers could tear down skyscrapers.
I have no idea if that translated to anybody else, but it felt like there was enough joy and savage glee in those moments to push life out of the safe and bland ordinary mode most people fall into by default.
Touching passion is a scary thing. A lot of people run away from it.
I have a great drummer now, Robin’s his own madman/savant/genius, and the new electric band goes further out into interesting places than I felt the old one ever did, with people in it who want to get out on the edge.
But for that year or two when I got to play with Gail, there was a huge mojo for me.
I have no idea what things are like now in my old band. When the long knives came out, when I was fired after five years of being Bob’s right hand tool, I did my best to move on, putting all the guitars I played in that band away, stripping back to one distortion pedal and playing totally different guitars in standard tuning, things like cheesy Les Paul copies and humbucker guitars, doing lots of feedback and distortion work.
Steering myself into the other side of the musical ditch mostly worked, although the ugly feelings still linger in a few places in my head, more than I wanted to.
I felt oddly empty and sad for months.
It was a strange winter. Starting up the acoustic project with Bess and Tim helped a lot, although I still can’t get used to having to sing and play my own songs. It’s not the role I’m used to, and to have people expect me to bring in my songs and have them actually want to play them hasn’t happened since I started playing with Bob in Tin Ceiling.
The new bands feel more vital, and like I’m no longer chained to one guy’s rather bland, one size fits all rhythm approach, or being stuck in a band where people can’t seem to step up and let things rip, or worse yet, pretend to be playing while hiding behind other members.
I felt like things were going to shit the last few months I was in Bob’s band. If a number of people in the band avoiding conflict had actually talked a few things out, I might have been able to leave on good terms.
Instead, the usual human thing happened. I got ejected from Bob Manor and the Getaway Drivers without ever having a chance to talk things over, got blamed in a series of increasingly strange emails for everything that was wrong with the band, and fired without even getting to talk it over with the band.
At that point, all the tracks I put down for the new CD were done, we did one last High Noon gig that felt like something was badly broken, and I got fired by email the next week.
Fired by email. By a guy I spent a very long time playing music with, who was one of my tribe, and somebody I felt was one of my best friends.
It sort of put the whammy on me. It’s not what I expected, nor what I would have ever thought would happen. It felt like a divorce, both liberating and terribly damaging at the same time.
But for all the ugly weirdness that came with being booted by people who could not actually face me, I am grateful for the time I got to spend playing with Gail.
She’s a fine human, a great drummer and she was honest, direct and didn’t ever bullshit me. That's something to treasure in this world full of self declared saints and sneaky shitheads.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


My garden is making me very afraid.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

They seek the light, but dwell in the dark of space

I love babies, but sometimes I fear them, for they are often not really babies, but aliens hiding among us, seeking to steal our vital bodily juices and to confuse us by imitating real human babies.
I think this one's a real human, though. I hope, but I thought he was cute, so the odds are he's not really human. I have bad luck that way.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Roller Derby Girl with Bruise

At the roller derby practice there are often times when all those adult mammals on wheels rolling madly around collide. Sasafrass was kind enough to show us her most recent use of her body as a canvas. I think the tattoo goes well with the lovely purple blue and yellow and red.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Crouched on the Couch, 1993

She was barely 18. She walked up to me at a group art show I had a few nudes in and asked me if I was ellie. I said yes. She asked me if she could model nude for me.
I love this planet.
This was shot on a warm summer afternoon in my living room. There was a big storm rolling in, and the light had that strange color it gets before the thunder and lighting kicks in. A greenish tint was in the air, and I barely had enough light to catch the photo.
I have no idea where she is now, last I heard anything, she was living in Minneapolis, had a platnium blonde crewcut and was happily tangled up with some cute boy.

Gone To Canada

This weekend Kat and Leah are off, to a new life in Kat's home country. I'll miss them. Leah's finally going to be legally married to her sweetie, but she's also leaving her home country.
Lots to think about, these two have. Bon Voyage, my pretties. I'll be up to see you sooner or later, if only to escape BushCo and the new order.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pine Hill, Stump with Legs

It was a hell of a place, a heavily wooded hill between two lakes, a few miles from anywhere. We used to go camp there when I was a teenager, canoeing across the lake we lived on with marshmallows and vodka and sandwiches stolen from the summer camp kitchen.
It was filled with huge pine trees, big open spaces to sit and look out across the water as the sun set. I kept going back there for a long time, either riding horses or hiking. About 100 yards from where the stump in the photo was my horse once tripped and I broke both wrists and my back, spending the summer with two casts on my arms and one hell of a sore spine from the compression fractures. It bugs me more today than it did in the decade after the accident. Part of the price you pay for having a wild and often too interesting life.
We were out hiking the day I took this, sometime around 1978. I had only been shooting for a year or so, and it was one of those hot summer days where the air smelled of pine needles and swamp water, where the sun baked the horseflies and dragon flies into a happy frenzy of energy. I hated those horse and deer flies. They had a bite that felt like a napalm covered bee sting.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Nice Teeth!

Another coffee shop beauty! I think it's the coffee down at EVP, it tends to make the world look very odd to me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Nude with Coffee, Sunday morning, around 1988

That apartment was huge and ancient, above a glass store, nine rooms for 250 bucks a month. Cheap even for 1988 money. I shared it with a series of people, one a lunatic furniture salesman and fanatic bike rider who screwed as many girls as he could, then an artist pal who did dark and wild paintings and drank heavily.
He got a bad Jesus virus, decided I was damned to hell and moved out, and on the way told two mutual friends they could move in over the weekend while I was gone.
The apartment was next to a door factory where machines hummed 24/7 and sawdust collectors exploded and the fire department would scream up every few days to put them out.
Across the street from a biker bar where drunks would stumble out to scream and puke on the street, or roar around on big loud Harleys and choppers.
The real kind of biker, not the pampered dentists and clean smelling yuppies who came later.
The two new roomies turned out to be new age roommates from Hell. They preached love and bought weird crystals and drank strange overpriced elixirs made from seabed minerals. And they fought like demons late at night, screaming and throwing each other around.
I finally had to move out, ready to kill both of them as they slept just so I could sleep a whole night. I found out later they had some new age guru who had "found a dark spirit in the old apartment".
They did some strange ass ritual/ceremony with a six hundred pound amethyst crystal to exorcise it. I think they were exorcising me. Somewhere, in between roommate madness I shot this.
I had a spare room, with great morning light overlooking the busy street below. I shot this one rare quiet Sunday morning sometime in 1988 or so.
She was my first nude model that I photographed, and we were a couple for a very long time. And she still looks great 20 some years later.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Back Yard

It's taken twenty or so Toyota truckloads of mulch, burned out one rototiller, about a half a truckload of landscape timbers and seven years.

It also grows about two inches an hour after a rain.

Twentyeight tomato plants, six or seven Castorbean plants, too many morning glories, beets, cosmos, marigolds, cukes, and god only knows what else.

I'm happy with it. This is also my commute to work on the way home, all sixty or seventy feet of it. That is far from suck.

"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson