Saturday, March 22, 2008

I want a minty fresh new spine

Yes, I wore stupid hats even back in the 1970's.
This was my buckskin quarterhorse, my third favorite horse and favorite saddle. Sometime around 1975.
A long time ago, when Ronald Reagan was in office and I was a brash young creature of immortal sensibilities and bold momentum, I was riding a Very Fast Middle aged Race Horse. In a very stupid way, very fast, with a stupid large hangover.
This very large mammal and I parted ways, suddenly. I wound up with two broken arms and two compression fractures in my back and a mangled knee.
I forgot all about it for a few decades. Just some interesting scars from the pins in my wrists, a knee that creaked and popped and hurt if I hiked more than six or seven miles when backpacking.

But today I think I know why my old man moved around like a busted up bag of worn down and poorly patched bone breaks now.
My spine, on any given day, feels like somebody pulled out all the nice lubricated parts and poured salt filled sand into those two vertebrae.
But it compliments the way the knuckles in my fingers hurt when I try to play guitar, and there's something to be said for symmetry.
But man, it sure feels nasty the last few days. It could be that nine inches of snow we got. I hate shoveling.
I even hate winter, mostly because cold weather makes all 18 bones I've broken ache somthin' terrible.
Ce la vie, baby.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Angry Baby resisting Mind Meld, March 2008

Here, this baby's older brother attempts to control him with
a mind meld/control method.
By taking control of his younger brother, he can force him to eat the brussel sprouts and lima beans when they're both older, and also cause him to give up his lunch money and smokes without a struggle when, later in life, they wind up in reform school after going on a multi state car theft/bank robbery spree.
Family is such a wonderful thing. I should go visit mom in prison, if just to see her smiling face once more before she gets that lethal injection.

Handsome Fish Child, March 19, 2008

If I could have a bundle of joy baby, I'd hope they would be as lovely as this one pushed out by my pal J.
Just makes me all squirmy jealous to think of how cute he is!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why Your Band Sucks

1: You have little or no connection with the audience. You don't talk to them, or if you do, you're not funny, compelling or even very good at making sentences.
What you don't seem to know is that you're not enigmatic enough to be like Bob Dylan, who, even in his suck ass old age-give me the money -I'm only phoning this concert in and I can't sing half as well as Tom Waits after throat surgery phase, can still manage to be compelling. You wanna be a rock star, learn how to at least act like one.

2: Clutter! Your band has too damn many people in it. Six or seven? Please, motherfucker, all you're doing is confusing a wall of bland mushy noise for a full tone.
Get rid of the string section. All they do is goo things up, filling the corners of every song with bland and toothless crap, You're just pumping the audio equivalent of corn syrup into the mix, and it's covering up what little you have to offer. If they can't get in, play something moving and then back the hell out, they're just musical wood ticks. Parasites along for the ride, pull them off and smash them so they don't suck on anybody else and move on.

4: That Harmonica! Dude, learn how to play it with some feeling. My dead beloved grandmother's corpse made more interesting noises out gassing than that thing around your neck.
And the only thing worse is sampling it, or getting somebody else to play it on the keyboards, or playing it on some other lame instrument like the melodica. It's a tool, not a fucking safety net to make you feel less naked. And besides, you're on stage singing your guts out about things you cared enough to turn into songs, so you should be naked, dangling on a rope of burning conviction and mad energy.

5: Plug a big old vibrating egg into that bass player's ass with the remote connected to your drummer's kick drum. Maybe then he'd do something more than take up space and push out passionless bottom end. He's never on the edge of anything interesting.
He is like some heavily sedated mental patient, drugged out on Thorazine. On second thought, maybe he's not like a heavily sedated mental patient. I think maybe he's been lobotomized, had his ability to feel anything strongly severed with an ice pick. Either way, he's committed to making your band a nice, safe place where Nothing Is Ever Interesting Or On The Edge.
God forbid somebody should actually be on fire, to want to rock out. It would harsh the mellow.
Music should be seriously high energy stuff, even when it's a dark acoustic number. It's about touching the cosmic throb and screaming out to the universe, hey, dambitt, I got something to say.

6: Kill the keyboard madness! For Christ sake, how many people do you need playing keys? And how goddamn many fingers have to be pounding away at any one time when there's already a small mob of bland middle aged wanna be rockers up there on stage?
Go listen to some Talking Heads. Those freaks did more with one hand and four or five notes than all those busy things I'm hearing from your midlife crisis masquerading as a band.

7: Turn that Drummer loose. You have one of the best drummers in the damn state, but when do you let things rip and let the drummer get some good rhythm freak on? The rhythm method you use is about as exciting as the one the Pope recommends, and your music is all bland missionary style crap and no doggie style goodness

8: Play your instruments less. A lot less. You got enough people up there to be a goddamn wedding party and the band, too, but you all play all the time, and nobody's playing half a chord, or a simple melodic line. You're all just up there sawing away, nobody listening to anybody else's mojo, and even if they had stumbled upon some chewy nut of musical goodness, that bunch of busy fingered squirrels wouldn't hear it.
Then again, if they did hear somebody doing something interesting, they'd more than likely plot to get rid of them. Gotta keep control, make sure nobody goes off script or does something loud and fun. Never mind.

9: Just say Fuck You to Yes men and women. Maybe if your leadership skills didn't suck, and you actually had an interest in being an real artist instead of a rock star, you could speak up, but no, you'll just go along to get along, and all that nicey nice crap your social club masquerading as a band tells you isn't going to make you any better as a singer or a performer. It's just passionless masturbation without somebody to push you, prod you and light it up. Might as well be in a fucking bridge club or book club, because as an artist, all you're doing is circling the toilet.

10: Knock off the prima donna crap. Don't go into the green room before hand and sit around like you're Eric Clapton snorting blow off your pole greaser's belly waiting for the chant of the crowd to pull you out. You have people out there, and talking to folks who come to see you play connects you to them.
And don't vanish while the other bands are playing, then sweep back in right before your show starts. It's rude and ego centric for somebody who plays out as little as you do. Maybe if you were on tour and were burned out, but the odds of you ever leaving your safe day job and being serious about this make that as likely as me losing 40 pounds tonight and waking up looking like Kate Hudson.
And for god's sake, don't assume that retreating to the green room means you're going to get an encore. It's really pathetic, even more so when your whole set had about as much energy as a road killed possum frozen in the ditch.

Not that my writing any of this matters. I didn't put your name in it, so you won't find it when you're googling yourself and your band of middle aged wannabes. But seriously dude, your band really does suck.

At The Donkey, Athens Ohio, 2005

Kori, drinking coffee and watching the parade of attractive young humans at The Donkey, in very cool downtown Athens, Ohio.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Big Shitpile Avalance Begins

Today, Bear Stearns was bought up by JP Morgan. For about two bucks a share, a sale price of 236 million dollars.
Less than a year ago, their stock was selling at ten times that price.
And to get JP Morgan to buy it, the feds put up 30 BILLION of tax payers money. And to back that 30 billion dollard Fed loan, they're taking the worthless loans as colateral. So the executives at Bear Stearns will walk away rich, and the rest of the working stiffs get to bail out their criminal mistakes.

That's just one bank of many on the edge of colapse.
And we haven't even hit the hard times yet in the commercial real estate market. Those strip malls and big box developements overbuilt on the edge of every town are next up in the default line.
Fasten your seatbelts, kids. We're about to hit very bad times when this run hits. And as it weakens the dollar, it's going to make all those people selling us oil and gas not want our ever more worthless dollar, and they'll switch to the euro, or some other currency from nations that still have regulations and protections.
It's going to cause huge problems with our stupidly built auto centric suburban lifestyle when the increasingly worthless dollar can't buy gasoline and food.
Add in global climate change, food shortages and the madness of our blind stupidity and stubborn electorate, and things start to look pretty crazy.
Over half of this nation voted for the opportunist scum who got us here. Maybe being poor, homeless and hungry will finally turn some Rethuglican heads around. Or make them explode. But that's too much to hope for.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Live shots from The Crystal Corner Gig

Last night, we rocked out. Not much more could be asked for, I had a very pretty girl tell me "you rock", that made me smile, considering I am fifty damn years old.
Kori took these pictures. I was a wimp, I stuck around till about midnight, then the very loud but earnest and competent Goat Radio's guitar barrage blew my ears out, and the four or five Fat Squirrel ales got on top of me and I took my middle aged ass home. I made Kori drive. She hates that.
I'll catch the Motor Primitives next gig when they aren't playing so late
I was pretty happy with our set, we showed just enough chaos and competence to make things interesting and loose, and the energy rush that happens when you put it all up on a bouncy stage made me smile.
I know it's good when I find myself jumping up and down during a solo.
I really liked singing with Pam last night too, sqeaking out backing vocals on Pixie and Mere Lies. She sing purty!
So thanks, Tim, Pam and Robin, for flogging that musical beast, and to all of you who came out to see us and the Motor Primitives and Goat Radio.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Batboy Drummer Does Not Work For Satan

This is my drummer Robin, although many do not see him this way.
He is not the eggman.
Nor is he the walrus.
Coo coo caa chew, baby.
Come see us at the Crystal Corner on Saturday.
We, the Sigourney Weavers start at ten pm!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Year without Bob

One year ago yesterday, I got fired from my old band. In that time I've gotten two bands going, both of them really fun. I've learned how to sing a lot better, how to be a kick ass rythym guitar player on the acoustic instead of just a good one, and I've come to embrace the filthy evil grunge beauty that is the Les Paul style guitar, playing leads with damn dirty distortion and grabbing onto the beauty of one amp and one electric guitar in a rock band.
I've figured out how to write and record songs in a short time, and how to record two or three acoustic instruments with one good mic and get some fine music on tape, and I've come to embrace the dark beauty of the banjo.
I've gone a whole year without feeling like I've had to push for what I want, a whole year without a fight with a bandmate, and come to a point where I often find myself jumping up and down while playing with the LOUD band with a gigantic grin, a grin so big it makes me feel like my head's going to split in half from ear to ear, just like Rachel Ray's gigantic mouth smile.
A whole year of people asking me to do things instead of seeing me as a threat or an out of control, over the top freak.
Then again, maybe that's why some of my bandmates like me?
Ce la vie, baby. Either way, things are clicking right along. And as convicted felon Martha Stewart says, "that's a good thing"
So thanks, Bob and The Getaway drivers! I had no idea that I had all that in me, and your sneaky backstabbing ejection of me has turned out to be exactly what I needed!

New Word of the Day: Geezering

In honor of the whiny ass titty baby pals I have who have to go to bed at the crack of nine, I am officially coining a new verb:

To whine, complain, moan or otherwise make noises that resemble a whiny goat baby when discussing staying up late for an event/show/sexy time.
Most common in people over the age of 40, usually after the onset of haemroids or grey hair.
Often in conjuntion with constant whines about how things are "too loud".

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mother and Child, August 2007

It's not just babies I find to be lovely. Sometimes kids can be, too.
Imagine the joy of having a child like this one!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My Band's Feet, Summer 2007

Can you guess which feet are mine?

I Hate Madison Drivers and The Foul Cars they Drive

1: You Stink. Really, really stink, like nasty partly burnt hydrocarbons and dirty diesel smoke, or rotten eggs. If you actually got out of your rolling cocoon and had to walk down the sidewalk, you'd maybe realize how hard it is to breathe the shit that comes out of your tailpipe. It's a fossil fuel sewer you're pumping out into my lungs. And you're killing everybody not in your car with it, with diseases caused by the microscopic soot, with asthma and heart disease.
2: You're mentally vacant. Not Paying Attention. You're wrapped up in a rolling living room, a plush pod of carpet, sound proofing with an isolating stereo system.
So you don't seem to realize that you're not the only thing in the world, and have no connection to where you're at and where you've been. Everything becomes about getting somewhere in a hurry, or ignoring everything between your ugly suburban house and your even uglier office downtown.
3: ME ME ME ME ME ME! You're a self absorbed bozo, and you seem to think you're the only one that matters. You get mad when somebody actually has the nerve to walk or bike on YOUR ROAD. So when you realize you're about to run over some poor fucker who's only crime is to not burn fossil fuel and have to slam on the brakes because they're crossing YOUR street when the walk sign is flashing, you become enraged, honk your horn or speed up to scare them out of the way of your Very Important Drive.
4: You Have No Sense of Timing. You stomp on the gas at every light so you can rush to the next one and wait for it to turn green, having no clue that you can drive almost all the way from one side of town to the other if go a steady two or three miles over the limit. So you wear out your brakes, piss away your gas and pump even more crap into the air. It's part of the next problem, number five:
5: You're an idiot. You are totally sans clue about the fact that you're driving something that weighs thousands of pounds, and takes a lot of time to stop when driven at the mentally lame speeds you drive at in town. And when you drive those huge pointless SUV's, your brain seems to vacate that lump of bone on top of your head, because being able to go faster on ice does not mean you can stop faster.
6: Your Ability To Multi Task Sucks Diseased Unconsenting Donkey Dicks!
Really, quit fucking with your stereo. Stop talking on your cell phone, don't be trying to choke down that giant 2000 calorie mocha while fiddling with your ipod while checking your hair in the mirror wondering if you wore enough aftershave while thinking about jumping the bones of that new girl in the office and making the beast with two backs. It endangers the rest of us, and that forty two seconds of pleasure you are fantasising about just endanger my life.
7: You're a Smug Prick With a Sense Of Entitlement. You bitch about bike riders being a pain in your ass because you have to share the road with them, you complain about the cost of gasoline, but you drive a gas hog you owe more money on than you could sell if for, and you seem to think you have a god given right to all that oil those dirty brown people have under their soil, without ever stopping to think about how much death and damage is done for you to have that fuel. You're also pretty resistant to the idea that you're an active part of changing the climate, making sure to drive your spawn everywhere in a big car so they're safe, not that it matters, you'll be dead before the big shit hits the fan and your children have to scrounge for food in the burned out grocery stores of their doomed, dry future.

I own a small truck, it's an ancient Toyota pickup. It gets 28 miles to the gallon, and I've arranged my life so I drive it once a week to the grocery store and a few times a month to the haul things like band equipment and lumber.
But the rest of the time, I bike or walk, or share rides if somebody's going my way.
And I am a Madison driver, and have done some of the moron-like things I've ranted about here, more than once.
But the last two years have really opened my eyes to the level of stupid and disconnected people in cars around here, and this winter has been the worst by far for vehicular mayhem and raging stupid.
I don't see much changing until we have six dollar a gallon gas. Maybe then, when everybody's out of a job we'll see change. But damn, it's too bad we're such morons about cars.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Handy Info When Bush Lets Your Town Rot after a Disaster

When BushCo makes a choice to let you rot, let your town suffer in the heat after a disaster and turn your formerly mostly Democratic city into a Red State, here are two things you might find useful to know.
Of course, even if BushCo does decide to do something, unlike what they did in New Orleans, they'll have their buddies do it at five times the price, and you still will be frelled. But here's two handy survival tips.
I love semi-usefull information like this, you never know when the shit's going to hit the fan, disaster wise.
Now I am going to shovel slush, again. Bleeeech. I want to ride my bike.

In Tanzania, villagers have been placing plastic water bottles full of dirty spring water in the sun on their black tar rooftops. After eight hours (or less in very hot areas), UV rays and heat have killed off the bacteria that cause cholera, dysentary, and typhoid.

Many people believe that you have to boil water to make it safe to drink. In fact, if you heat water to 65° C (149° F), all of the germs that can cause disease in humans are killed. It takes much more fuel to boil water than to heat it to 65° C.

Halloween, 2007

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Why it's Stupid to build a Death Star

I'd like to take a moment to point out something very obvious to all those Hollywood screenwriters, producers and directors and science fiction writers who are reading my blog.
I know it's tempting to build a death star. I know that blowing up a whole planet with a rogue wormhole sounds like fun. I know that planet smashers, giant death rays and multi trillion mega giga maxiton warheads that smash planets to bits are both attractive ideas and fun ways to consider getting your blowing up shit freak on, things that make you hard and squirmy and make your pants tight and your palms warm from being rubbed together.
But please, for a moment, just consider throwing a rock. Or even dropping it, or nudging it. A really, really big rock. That's all it takes.
It's simple, elegant, and while it may harsh out the current planetary ecology, it leaves you with a nice livable planet in a few thousand to hundred years, doesn't take much energy, and usually there's plenty of big rocks to be found in most planetary systems.
You could even make a giant global sauna by picking an asteroid that is mostly water and skimming it in so most of it breaks up on the way, or have some fun sitting back and watching volcanoes and tsunamis by dropping various size rocks that are mostly iron. Drop one on the Yellowstone Super Caldera and watch it blow most of the central USA into two feet of ash!
But I think blowing up a wh0le planet just seems dumb, a waste of rare and handy biosphere and usable space. Not only that, you have to outrun the big chunks, and risk taking a chunk of San Francisco up your tailpipe.
So instead of building huge death stars, making giant fusion bombs, building whole giant motherships that take a whole small sun's worth of energy to use, just swing by a nice big asteroid on the way through a solar system, push it at the planet of your choice, then go have a nice lunch on some pleasure pit/space station in another quadrant, then come back. Whoosh, boom, done!
Might not be as much fun or as lucrative as having contractor buddies build you a mega death star or weapon, but it's a lot like what you'd see when human children are beating frogs with rocks and sticks.
You could even just go park on the moon and set up a rail gun/linear accelerator and fling smaller rocks, and watch human cities go poof!
But really, this whole blowing up planets thing is getting old, and it's a big waste of time and energy. Try kinetic weapons, mass drivers, rock dropping. I think you'll like it!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Another Handsome Baby Photo

I'm thinking of doing an all beautiful baby blog, because they're so damn wonderful to look at.

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