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.

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