Monday, November 16, 2009

Dark Dreams on Repeat

Some dreams stick around all day. Some of them make you question reality. You wake up and think, "where did I bury that body?" or "somebody's gonna find them and think I killed them".

Your whole day turns into one of those creepy fugue states where you start to question reality, wondering if you're another one of those creepy rural serial killers/grave robbers until about five o'clock in the afternoon before you come back to what you're pretty sure is your reality.

I used to live in a big, ugly ranch house on Highway 45 up in northern Wisconsin, and for a few months when my two house mates were gone off to rehab, it got creepy at night, the rumble of cars and trucks keeping my brain stirred up enough that I'd drift in and out of a deep dream state, often waking up just enough to start the same dream cycle over again, the creepifying and morbid dreams picking up all over again.

Sometimes I'd get up and move around the house, read a while and try and shake off the dreams, but too often they'd start right up again, my brain rebooting the near nightmare until I let it run all the way through.

I'm pretty sure that's why the dreams were so vivid, and why they made the day seem so disjointed. I still sometimes get anxious dreams that I have to let run out to the end, but they're not about hiding bodies anymore.

I think it's because it's so much easier being different these days than it was back in the ugly 1980's. I think hiding a part of yourself to a lot of the world makes you feel like you are hiding a body, one's own.It's just easier being one's queer self now, in spite of all the frothing right wingers screaming about how dangerous us queers are.

Oddly enough, me and Sweetie are dangerous in a sort of a "don't fuck with us, because we're a combined 400 pounds of strong and easily angered mammals". We're the sort of pacifist who shoots back, the kind of folks who don't start a fight but usually make sure that it's finished one way or another.

Now I write songs about hiding bodies, getting pushed down wells or junkyard lovers instead of dreaming about them. It's more fun than dreaming about it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More Cyclops Head Carvings

Got a show coming up at EVP coffee soon. Here's some of what's going up later this week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pain in Maine

It seems the majority of Maine voters are much like the majority of Wisconsin voters, thick minded homophobes who talk about freedom and how great we are as a country, but can't stand the idea of icky folks like Kori and I having equal rights.

To that 52 percent of Maine voters, I say, in the words of Dick Cheney, Go Fuck Yourself. But I'd add, please do it with a shovel handle wrapped in barb wire.
To the folks who actually believe everybody deserves to be equal and who got out and voted, thanks, and sooner or later the pig headed creeps who voted against us will lose, die off or give up.
I read somewhere on the web that the college age voters on Maine's biggest campus voted over 80 percent in favor of us queers being equal. It's just a matter of time until the American Taliban, the Mormons and the professional soul suckers and child abusers known as The Catholic church become a tiny, shrieking minority that give up and die off.
I never expected we'd be as far as we are in this country with LBGT rights. Thirty or forty years ago they still would have locked up folks for being queer in a mental institute. Now we're arguing over gay marriage.
That's an amazing amount of progress in just my lifetime, considering that most of humanity seems obtuse, dumb or distracted, or in the case of the 30 percent of this country that has teabagger/hard right rethuglican brain pans, many of whom are barking mad, violent jerks.
Things are getting better in some ways, for sure. I know I've gone from having an uneasy and creepy feeling about most of humanity to feeling like only about half of the earthlings around me are dumb as a box of hammers and just plain mean spirited.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

HyVee Vs. Woodman's

This is not a photo of the meat department at Woodman's.
I went to the new HyVee grocery store today. I was out to shave some big monkeys at Menard's, the home of obnoxious ads, cheap crappy lumber and odd semi-worthless crap and decided to hang a right into the giant parking lot in front of the new store that used to be K-Mart.
It's impressive. But sort of the way a beached whale is the first few days it's on the beach. In a year or so, if the economy keeps going the way it has been, it's going to be more like a whale that's been on the beach in the hot sun for a few weeks.
The store has giant aisles, huge bright lights everywhere, incredibly tall ceilings, the joint reminds me of an over lit NFL stadium with grocery aisles in it.
It's jammed with premade everything, from chopped up fresh fruit to a deli counter that wraps around half the store along the outside wall. All of it pretty spendy compared to Costco or Woodman's.

Four bucks for a chicken salad sandwich, though? I know they were two for one today, but damn, it wasn't a four dollar sandwich, and it looked a lot better than it tasted.
Everybody there was big smiles, helpful to the point of irritating. I didn't even make eye contact, because after the third or fourth person gave me a big smile and a "may I help you", I wanted to run screaming from the store. I think they were pumping aerosol Prozac into the joint, or maybe spiking the staff coffee with meth and lorazapam.
Or maybe everybody there was grimly happy to have a job. Not a lot of them going around in this jobless recovery.
And it was jammed packed, sort of like opening day at an amusement park, full of people shuffling around like freshly dead zombies, picking up 8 dollar a pound cheese, scarfing up samples of stuff like hungry dogs.
I hated it. It was pretentious, too big, and too full of crap. Since when to Kettle Chips belong in the freakin' health food section? And damn, I don't know many folks who can afford the high priced deli and salad bar. At 6 bucks a pound, no less.
In short, it was the kind of joint that makes my low rent, cook from scratch/eat less processed food mentality weep for the future. Who the hell buys pre-popped popcorn? Not my income bracket.
I prefer Woodman's dingy, crowded under lit mosh pit. They sell weirder brands of food, offer stuff in bulk, everybody on staff but the deli and checkout folks ignore you, a plus when you're not in the mood for happy face clerks, and the whole vibe makes me feel like I'm in the first Resident Evil movie, the one where it's filmed in the basement of Raccoon City and you have to fight off hordes of angry fast zombies. It's a giant freak show with low ceilings, a multi ethnic crew working the joint, and a much cheaper bill at the end of it. And nobody beats Woodman's liquor store for sheer entertainment and cheap prices.

In the long run, both Woodman's and HyVee are still stores selling tons of crap, unsustainable stores that would be 1/4 the size they are if people actually started cooking most of their food instead of eating processed food products. I bet if you took the corn syrup and corn products and salt and additives from the food in either joint and piled them up, you'd have about two thirds of the contents of both places. There's something to be said for cool ranch Doritos and a bottle of Jolt, but the levels of sheer junk in both places are a stupidly high, and it's no wonder we have a fucked up society when you look at the garbage we shove down out gullets that didn't even exist in my grandparent's diets.

Monday, November 02, 2009

52 Vs. 32

Random Thought of the day:

The difference between reading apocalyptic fiction when you're fifty two and when you're 32 is that you realize that you've gotten old enough to be one of those geezers who croaks off from some unexpected stroke or heart attack, or you're just too old and physically worn out to do as much work as it would take to survive.
But I think I'd want to stick around as long as it was a societal collapse and not an asteroid/nuke war/nanotech accident, at least as long as the booze, bullets, beans,bong hits and ibuprofen lasted.
Do we get to choose what messy end we get? I vote for something less messy than a zombie war or mushroom clouds if we do.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Elly with Flower

If I wasn't already grown up, I'd want to be this amazing when I grew up.
Ellyn with flower, on her parent's land near Sparta in September.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Isn't Family A Wonderful Thing?

Not my actual family. But pretty close.

My mother's oldest child somehow got the impression he's an only child. He's a prickly curmudgeon with an undercurrent of contempt and disdain for the rest of us. A 62 year old little boy who drinks, smokes, rides his fancy Harley Davidson around with an aging boomer crowd of contractors and other middle class creeps up in the Fox Valley.
There's something in the water up there that makes people homophobic-Jesus loving-John Birch Society-Racists. Not all of them, but a lot of them. He's soaked in it, a republican thug who sneers like Dick Cheney, sputters out buzz words like "Chappaquiddick" or "Nancy Pelosi Liberal Values" like they mean something. When the subject of how fucked up Iraq is comes up,, he sputters out "Saddam was a Bad Man!" like it's supposed to justify mass murder and destruction.

He's a thug. He's been one his whole life. And for the last 40 years, on some level, I craved a connection with him, mostly because I grew up with the mistaken concept that blood family means something. It does for my Mother. She's got an amazing connection to her siblings to this day. They see each other all the time, laugh, have dinner, hang out all the time. It's what I saw growing up and thought was the norm.
But it's not the norm. And it's taken me years to realize that I will never be connected to my brother. Mom used to tell me to stop in and see him on the way to see her further north. When I did, he'd spit coffee on my shoes, insult me and I wrote it off to the family penchant for being smart asses. I remember when I was in my late teens, something I said pissed him off and he wound up slamming me against a wall. I should have known then there was something broken in him. But you're supposed to love your family and forgive, I was told.

But today I decided to stop that cycle of bullshit, to stop being a part of it, although I suspect Mom will be very hurt that I didn't go to my sister's 60th birthday party. I told them I was sick. And I did feel sick. Not just the tail end of this flu bug I've had, though. Sick to my stomach that I felt like one more thing out of big brother's mouth and I'd smash him in the head and kick him off the 19th story balcony at my sister's condo.
Our family would never admit it, but we have a lot of rage and anger and a history of violence. I suspect we're not uncommon, but denying the existence of a violent streak is a truly human habit. My long dead father got in a fistfight with my Uncle Richard who I never met before I was born and they didn't talk again for another 40 or so years.
My dad was a screamer and a laughter and lived large, mixing intensity with a sense of humor. But my eldest sibling somehow lost a lot of the old man's laughing side. Or maybe he's not a thoughtless and subtle homophobic creep, and among his pals and the "normal" folks he's a charming sweet guy.
Yeah, right. Never mind.
I have noticed that Sweetie and I do push a lot of buttons in folks with our brand of queer, although making other people comfortable by not being yourself is a way to madness, illness and an early death.
But I feel like there are some lakes of shit you have to stop swimming in if you want to be happy, or at least want to overcome feeling the family rage and anger.
It's never easy walking away from family, but it's harder to cling to the idea that after a lifetime of having coffee spit on your shoes, being dismissed for being weird, and just being around the angry spite filled bozo radiation that comes from old white baby boomer guys that anything is going to change.
I will never understand why my dead cousin, my dead uncles and my brother are so mad. They got it all, power, money, control over their lives and the right to marry who they want, and to not be given the beat down for being queer or of color. In a lot of ways, they own the world, but still they hate, spit on and hold nothing but anger and disgust for folks not like them. Why so often I feel like they just wait to pick a fight with somebody, often me.
And guess what, fucking Thanksgiving is just three weeks down the road!
I get to go to my nephew's house and guess who's going to be there?
Big Brother!
I am for sure leaving axe handles and my very large pistol at home. And I'm sort of glad that my nephew only has a two story house without a balcony, because I doubt I'll be full of warm fuzzy feelings. For Mom's sake I'll try and be civil. But I still carry around the same family anger issues. And I will fucking stomp any more bullshit like a roach, or leave.
Holidays are such piles of expectation, but with family they're more often steaming piles of shit.
Sometimes so much shit the happier family members feel compelled to dig through the pile to find the pony.
Good times ahead!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Late October

There's something about a grey late October day filled with rain and mud that really tweaks my moods. The way the daylight shrinks, that blizzard of leaves and the rustling wind blowing the last skeletons of my garden around, the sound of the tarp covering our nightmare motor home project flapping in the wind, (and I swear, I can hear that pile of shit yearning to start rotting again where I've repaired it...) all of it brings up a sense of bleak frustration and a low grade numbing of the soul.

It starts to remind me of my seven winters in Seattle cleaning toilets and watching mold grow on everything, pampering the egos of rich old ladies and cleaning toilets for lawyers and Microsoft geeks. Feeling like my brain was about to jump out of my skull and start scampering around the walls leaving streaks of blood and grey matter.
Living in a city still sometimes feels weird. Growing up in the north woods with a caretaker family meant that fall was a time of closing down the summer camp, tending to the herd of horses we kept of trail rides, stacking wood and the yearly ritual of butchering deer and all the bustling of deer hunters, taking out the piers and propping the roofs up to keep the snow from caving in the old buildings like the chapel and dining hall.
These days, living in Madison, getting ready for winter just means putting plastic over the windows and buying a few tubes of salt. No rituals, no hard outdoor work besides raking leaves, nothing to make you feel connected to the place you live.

I miss those fall rituals, although in all the years I went hunting with the family, I never put bullets in the Winchester after I had one misfire while unloading it. I realized that I had no interest in actually killing a deer, just in being outdoors and connected.
The world's changed a lot since my youth. We push buttons to warm up the house, buy meat from the grocery store that tastes like shrink wrapped misery and chemicals, and even in these times of financial disaster dine on stuff flown from the other side of the world.
We stopped making clothes, fixing our cars, buy most things premade and traded a connection with where we were for a facebook account where we post pointless shit to stay connected to people who we left behind long ago, usually ignoring the fact that things in the past were left there for a reason.

It bugs me, although there's a shitload of things about life now that are a hell of a lot better, and I have no desire to go back or spend time bitching about how everything's no damn good these days.

Everybody works too hard at things that leave them exhausted, stressed out and too often, worn out from sitting in front of glowing boxes. I feel like we lost our sense of balance, that we've been sold a bill of goods that says it's more important to own a house than have a home, to have a nuclear family than a tribe, and that we've lost something when everybody's more worried about having a job than a life. Things weren't as crazy that way 30 years ago. Somewhere along the line it seems most folks started reacting instead of acting on their lives, and we started letting corporations and marketing do our thinking for us.

Our society sure seems bent into something weird to me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sick Bitch

I got the swine flu. It sucks. It takes three weeks to get over the worst of it, and it leaves you feeling like you ran a marathon for six months while living on canned corn and speed while a fat man sits on your chest and a tiny midget has taken up residence in your skull, used a heat gun to cook your eyes into hard boiled eggs, then plants both feet on the back of your eyes as he shits two gallons of snot a day into your sinuses.
It ate my October. And my September was so unremarkable I can't remember a thing we did during it worth mentioning. And Kori's work was so busy that we didn't get to go camping, although we were both sick enough that it just seemed like too much work to go anywhere.
It's been a depressing few months, that's for sure. August was insane, barking mad morons marching and complaining all over the country without a clue, bad news leaking out all over the place like a septic tank vent, and our nice articulate President turns out to be a hack in bed with big Pharma and the financial industry, who has no intention of changing anything about what the hell went wrong with our country the last ten years.
Two wars goin' on? Yup. Bailing out bankers without regulating? Check! Acting like the advocate for gay rights like he said he would? Nope. Pushing for active enforcement of regulations by government agencies? Nope.
Too much suck all around. And I keep having this feeling that it's all going to turn for the worse, the economy, the climate and the culture, a sense of dread that tells me we're headed for a bigger crash.
But hey, if you hang out on Facebook, you'd never know we were headed for a world of shit. To them, it's all good. I wish I could be that myopic. Maybe I just need a lobotomy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Carved Heads

Tired of working on the motorhome, I returned to carving heads and did my first head with a torso included.
Many people ask me why I like to carve cyclops and pinhead figures.
Some surmise it's a deep internal weirdness, others think because my twin sister had multiple birth defects, I am obsessed.
Others offer conjecture that that traumatic childhood event with the Jehovah's Witness Circus clown with one eye and 12 toes warped me for life.
But they're wrong. It's because I have a four inch disc grinder, and it's hard to make two eyeballs fit when you can only carve a four inch eye on a six inch wide slab of wood.
Plus, a pinhead cyclops can be dead sexy. Oooo la la!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cabbage, Savoy, Rocks.

I picked this a week and a half ago, and it was damn tasty.
My cabbages are really, really happy this year.
My tomatoes are too, although they're coming on slow.
My potato towers look great too, I hope they work out. You're supposed to be able to grow 30 to 40 pounds in one three foot round by three foot tall wire tower, and it sure looks like it's working.
Might be a record year for hops and grapes, too. And last weekend, Kori and I picked a five gallon bucket full of cherries at our lovely pal Shannon's house, pitted them all and froze them. All but the gallon or so we gave away at EVP after picking them.
Next up, kale, garlic ramps and grapes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Baby Photo of Gollum

A rare baby photo of the young Gollum, before he went on to infamy, shame, wretched despair and death.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Summer with a hole in it

For the first time in a long time, this summer seems boring, hot and sort of empty.
Maybe I need a new crop of musician pals, a lot of the old ones are moving on. But it seems like a lot of work and I think it might be time to take a break from it. We ended the MF7 on a high note at least, although I suspect we'd have had a good long run if Michael wasn't being pulled west.
Fry and I might work something up, but for the first time in a long time I don't feel like there's any heartbeat left in my musical mojo. And I miss Bess's fiddle playing, a lot. She's taken up gutiar playing and pretty much stopped playing fiddle. I miss the energy she pumped out of that violin when we were on. I'm happy she's found a new interest, but wish it hadn't pushed out so much of what we were doing I grooved on.
Everything else is marching onward, my two gardens are going great, the motorhome is about half done, and even though it's been hellish hot for a while, I still have AC in the bedroom and the workshop, and Kori's still got a regular paycheck, and we might even get a month this fall to hit the road if it works out for her work schedule. We're both healthy and got no major issues.
But I sure am missing our usual crew and the music we did, and Sunday dinners and my art /music mob. They're all much busier or loaded down with kids who take an insane amount of energy and time. Or they've drifted away as friends do. One thing you learn after fifty years or so is that nobody stays where you found them or is where you left them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Burn Notice, TV that doesn't suck

I want to be Fiona when I grow up. Really.

I tend to find most TV pretty stupefying. I never loved Raymond, no matter how much they said everybody did, and never found much to connect with with Sienfield, and missed whole decades of pop culture references after I ditched my cable and started wasting huge chunks of my time on the internet or playing sloppy music on my noisy guitar.
But I tried out an episode of Burn Notice a few months ago from Netflix, and it's a fun ride. Good writing, a lot of sexy as hell adult actors over thirty, and clever writing make it worth checking out. They're doing good things with the story arcs the actors are gliding through, and I am a sucker for anything with Bruce Campbell in it.
I just hovered down most of season two in a week, and it's worth watching. I even love the minor characters like Barry the money launderer, Seymore the arms dealer and the regulars playing the long suffering FBI agents. And I want to be Fiona, the trigger happy ex girlfriend when I grow up, even if I'm feeling like I'm old enough to be the Sharon Gless, the former Cagney and Lacey actress who plays Michael Weston's mom.
It's worth checking out if just for the McGyver style action and the whip smart voice overs.
Think Travis McGee meets James Bond meets Jason Bourne with some B movie chins and you've got the picture.
I've been sort of lost since Deadwood, Battlestar Glactica and Carnivale when off the air when it comes to having my brain riveted down and sucked out by the boob tube. This one's fun.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What to do while waiting for the collapse, Via Club Orlov

Things are getting weird. Anybody paying attention sees it. There are a lot of people out there in the media blowing smoke up our collective asses, saying the green shoots of a new growth in the old economy are on the way.
But record numbers of people are losing their jobs each month, the auto manufacturer's wave of shit has yet to really hit, and California's about to go bankrupt, yet still we bail out the IMF and Europe's banks and all the crooks in our own banking system.

So here's a bit of wisdom to consider from kollapsnik at Club Orlov, go read the rest if you want a new perspective.

So what are we to do in the meantime, while we wait for collapse, followed by good things? It's no use wasting your energy, running yourself ragged and ageing prematurely, so get plenty of rest, and try to live a slow and measured life.
One of the ways industrial society dominates us is through the use of the factory whistle: few of us work in factories, but we are still expected to work a shift. If you can avoid doing that, you will be ahead.
Maintain your freedom to decide what to do at each moment, so that you can do each thing at the most opportune time. Specifically try to give yourself as many options as you can, so that if any one thing doesn't seem to be working out, you can switch to another. The future is unpredictable, so try to plan so as to be able to change your plans at any time. Learn to ignore all the people who earn their money by telling you lies.
Thanks to them, the world is full of very bad ideas that are accepted as conventional wisdom, so watch out for them and come to your own conclusions.

Lastly, people who lack a sense of humour are going to be in for a very hard time, and can drag down those around them. Plus, they are just not that funny. So avoid people who aren't funny, and look for those who can laugh at the world no matter what happens

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Last MF7 Gig

We really did tear the roof off and burn it down to the waterline.
The club is sort of lame, a former Mexican Restaurant made into a generic lounge, bad acoustics and an indifferent crowd of regulars, but I got 22 of my pals to show up for our last blowout.
Mikey hit it hard right out of the first song, his amp and his head cranked up. We didn't slow down until the third set, and even that set, played to a rapidly emptying bar was pretty wild.
There were lots of vocals shouted through megaphones, plenty of his stylish manic preacher rants and half the time the songs didn't end where they usually do, instead oozing into another song or rap pulled from his monkeybrain.
Fry and Jonathan were pretty damn solid and more than a little on fire, too. It was sad thinking this might be the last time we all played together, and I don't think anybody held back anything all night.
I love Jonathan's drumming, he's got a great ability to morph one song into another seamlessly, and Fry's right there on his throb, solid as hell and fun as hell to watch, the pole we all do our dance on.
I blew myself out, wrecked for two days afterward. Michael hurt his knee, and I still haven't heard from Fry since we kicked him out of the house at four am on Sunday morning.
At one point in the evening I found myself jumping around and tripping over my guitar cord, disconnecting Michael's amp and nearly falling head first into the wall.
Thanks to everybody who bought me beers, shots and came out to The lazy oaf. It meant a lot to me to see you guys, and that bar is in one ugly ass stretch of nothing, across eight lanes of busy road, both East Washington and Hwy 151. Not an easy place to bike to, but a lot of you guys did. You all rock, my pretties.

Fourteen Years Ago Today I Fell In Love

Me n' Sweetie riding the Ferry to Bremerton a few months after we met. Some days I miss Seattle. In that photo I look like a cross between Janis Joplin, Ozzy Osborne and a demented elf. Kori looks like a red haired goddess with a dash of Joni Mitchell thrown in.
She walked into a room full of people, sat down behind me and that was all she wrote. Quiet, long red hair, strong and with a low voice, she really struck me as a wild creature and sucked me right in.
After the meeting was over, I asked her if she wanted to go get a burger, she said yes. We walked over to a Kidd Valley burger joint, and I talked at her for three hours in that plastic seated, brightly lit fast food joint.
I walked her back to her car, got her number, gave her a hug and headed home. About five miles in the wrong direction later I realized I'd hit the edge of the Puget Sound and headed back east towards my shithole basement room north of Green Lake.
We went on two more dates, on the second of those I jumped her bones, and we've never spent another night apart since unless we were in different towns.
And we've never gotten in a fight in 14 years.
How damn lucky can one get?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sick, a short film by my Michael my bandmate

Mikey showed me this the other day. He's a sick fucker, in the best sort of way one can be twisted. Watch it, my pretties.
And come to our gig this Saturday, or I'll never make you another sandwich again, or fix your piece of crap guitar for free again, as I will tear out my Mr.Nice Girl roots and pour salt and cesium on them and become a full time curmudgeon capitalist money grubbing every body's gotta pay and the world owes me sort of creep instead of the gruff yet nurturing asshole I am.
Note: Living in Canada, being off in California, being pregnant or having some other lame ass party plan is not an acceptable excuse. Show up, or nice girl gets two in the chest and one in the head, old school Soprano gangster style.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Self Portrait, because it's my blog and I can

Not bad for a fifty one year old.
Yesterday whilst buying parts for the RV project at Menards, a cute little girl of about eight with her dad looked at me and said, "Daddy, she's strong".
I found this amusing, and almost accurate.
Speaking of the motorhome, I need to stop muckin' about here and get back to it.
'nuff said for now.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tips on how to be an asshole

Some fine tips here on how to be a creep and a jerk.
While I don't pretend to be a first rate asshole, I do enjoy someone who is good at it. Until they're better at it than me, anyway.

Be prepared to face the consequences. Someone might punch you or you might have to go looking for another job. Always be ready. The life of an asshole is always interesting with higher highs and lower lows than the life of the wuss.
Practice your laugh. You need to be able to both smirk and cackle obnoxiously without coming off like a B-movie villain or the fat kid from the Simpsons. This is very important. You don't want to be a gloomy miserable asshole who never smiles, but a happy asshole who loves being better than everyone else.
Pick your targets. Don't be an asshole to your grandmother or to small children. Don't be too much of an asshole to people you have actual power over. The best people to use your full range of asshole skills on are your bosses and attractive young women.
Have standard go-to lines. Here an example of a great line with a good story behind it: If you're going to be a dog, be a Rottweiler. If you're going to be a bitch, wear a skirt. Don't necessarily steal that one, but have a few like that which can be called upon in a variety of situations.
Be proactive. If someone denies you a favor, reacting with insults just makes you look like resentful loser. Be an asshole before you ask them for the favor, and if they deny it continue acting the same way you did before.
Be confident. You want people to know that you're an asshole because you're so great that you can get away with it. Confidence is key. Without confidence you look like an angry basement-dwelling loser who might as well be an asshole because no one ever liked you in the first place anyway.
Confuse and confound. Directly and openly state extreme things to get people off-balance. If asked who you voted for in an election, say you did not vote because you oppose democracy. People are used to supporters of other parties and know how to react to them; they are not used to those who despise all political parties.
Escalate. Many people are comfortable trading barbs, especially indirect and subtle ones, but will be cowed by anything direct and blunt.
Practice, practice, practice. Take every opportunity to say inappropriate things for little reason - tell dirty jokes around women, mock short people etc. That will make it far easier when you need to tell your boss something he really doesn't want to hear.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Our Last MF7 Gig This Weekend

Too soon our musical freakshow is ending, with our combo's gristly beating musical heart motoring off to San Diego next month. But we have one more gig this Saturday at The Lazy Oaf up on Stoughton Road near East Washington.
Michael, Fry, Jonathan and I have had a short but insane and throbbing time, making a four backed musical beast that has left me amazed at what can happen when four people who listen to each other get into a monster creative groove.
There will be blood, sweat and tears as we bash out our last set with all four of us. That's our body fluids I'm talking about, not the moldy oldies band, by the way.

I'd love it if a lot of you showed up to give our band a good send off, since I suspect we'll be pulling out all the stops (and the megaphone and all the oddly stylish hats)for the last show.
And I doubt I'll ever have such an amazingly good bunch of folks with this much energy to play with again any time soon. I hope we can be what Michael tells me every time I ask him what he wants me to play on any of his songs we do:
"be brilliant"
We're playing three full sets, starting around nine thirty as far as I know right now, and there's no cover.
Here's a link with a map.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pregnant Women Are Smug

Pregnant Women are Smug from Erika Lindhome on Vimeo.

Somebody else thinks almost the same thing as I do.

But babies are wonderful!

So is composted manure, though.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Peaches - F*ck the Pain Away, sung by Miss Piggy

Somehow I don't think this is what Jim Henson thought his muppets would be doing.
I like Peaches. She's rude.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My favorite nephew's lovely baby girl

Isn't she a lovely little baby?
Finley is her name. I actually like her, she's a hoot.
And with eyes that stunning, she's going to go far as an actress. I bet she gets a lot of roles in Science Fiction and space operas like the Star Wars movies or the next Star Trek Movie.
That is all, now needs must I drift into the arms of Morpheous, or the sandman or whatever creepy deity/horror our brains makes up.
I want to dream about a snake wearing a vest rolling a donut around the inside of a bowling ball. It's all part of the grand trolling motor of life and the thrill of being both truculent and effusive.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Nearly Indestructable Mother is Home

My mom's fine, and pretty amazingly tough. She called 911 on Monday morning, pretty much collapsed from passing blood due to a tiny ulcer, went into the hospital in Rhinelander and by Wednesday was home and looking pretty good.
They did an endoscopy and found the ulcer, then put her on prilosec and pumped her full of fluids with an IV for a few days.
By yesterday morning she was working with me in her yard, telling me what to do and helping me plant vegetables and flowers in her raised beds.
If the second doctor says it's OK, she's going on a trip to Ireland next week.
She's got some pretty amazing healing abilities, even more so considering she's 82. In the last ten years I've seen her bounce back from rotator cuff surgery, the first set of bleeding ulcers and a whole bunch of setbacks like my sister having a series of strokes.
She must have good genes, I hope I got some of them.
She chased me out yesterday, told me I could go home about a half dozen times, I think after three days of having an IV and blood drawn every four hours and being in a beeping, nurse filled sleep deprivation inducing hospital she wanted some alone time. I can understand that. I hate hospitals. But folks in Catholic hospitals like little old ladies better than big scary queers like me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TED Talk: Ten things you didn't know about Orgasams

Via Boing Boing:

Mary Roach's TED Talk, "10 things you didn't know about orgasm," will have you scratching your, um, head, in amazement as you learn the particulars of pig-wanking, the delicate matter of explaining foreplay to royalty, and the business of measuring the human penis's muzzle-velocity.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Mother's Ulcer

Has made a repeat performance, landing her in the hospital after a long spell of being not a problem. So I'm off to the Rhinelander hospital to check in on her, hopefully to take her home and take care of her for a few days.
For being 82 years old, she's in damn good shape, so I hope this one is quick and simple to fix. But she's going to be really bummed out if she doesn't get to go on her tour of Ireland next week. I think she bought trip insurance. I hope so.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Up Mt. Everest 19 Times

A Nepalese Sherpa guide has once again broken his own record, scaling Mount Everest for the 19th time, mountaineering officials said Thursday.
Apa, who like most Sherpas goes by one name, reached the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) peak early Thursday, guiding foreign clients and accompanied by several other fellow guides, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Tshering said Apa and members of the team are safe and returning to lower camps after spending a few minutes on top of the world.
Apa, 48, first climbed Everest in 1989 and has done so almost every year since. His closest rival is fellow Sherpa guide Chhewang Nima, who has made 15 trips.

Wow, 19 times. That's pretty amazing. I'd love to breathe sea level air with lungs like that. You'd feel like you could kick Superman's ass.

One thing about Mt. Everest that I find funny is that almost never do you hear about a party of white guys doing it without a Sherpa crew.

White folks climb it with a shitload of help from locals, who carry huge loads up the mountain for them. Then, after they reach the summit and get back down, they brag about it, write about it and act like they're some kind of super powered human. But this guy's been there 19 times now, and he's finally getting noticed?Of course, Sherpas more than likely don't fuck up and lose fingers or walk of cliffs or die on the mountain like the rich weirdos who hire them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

No Surprise

Via Digby at Hullabaloo.
Speaks volumes about rich folks, doesn't it?
Money is a lubricant, a way to keep or get things moving. A paper promise that sooner or later reverts to the value of what it's printed on once enough rich people start pulling the levers of government.
Somewhere in the last thirty years the money cult become it's own mega religion, and the current banking crisis is the best example.
Trillions for bankers, but little for the folks who could use a bit of a hand climbing up and out of the bottom.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quote of the Day:Talking Snakes, Cosmic Jewish Zombies

“(Christianity) …the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree…”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Middle Eastern Supreme Court Judge?

Bess's Cat Does Research, Their Dog Is Nervous

The lovely and Talented Bess sent me this.
Her roommates are going to Vet school.
Her roommate's dog seems nervous these days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wrong Tool for the Job!

Via RiotClitShave's fine photo page. Her page is in my links. I have no idea who took the photo.

Folks, never, ever use a microwave to cook something this large.

I prefer a large grill for something this big and tender.

Slow roast it, and be sure to remove any flammable objects first, because you don't want to be eating fireproof clothing residue. That would be wrong.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quote of the Day:
"Whole nations depends on technology. Stop the wheels for two days and you'd have riots. No place is more than two meals from a revolution. Think of Los Angeles or New York with no electricity. Or a longer view, fertilizer plants stop. Or a longer view yet, no new technology for ten years. What happens to our standard of living?... Yet the damned fools won't pay ten minutes' attention a day to science and technology. How many people know what they're doing? Where do these carpets come from? The clothes you're wearing? What do carburetors do? Where do sesame seeds come from? Do you know? Does one voter out of thirty? They won't spend ten minutes a day thinking about the technology that keeps them alive." - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle,
Lucifer's Hammer

The new garden space at Lisa's house

I'm gonna be busy as hell.
Lisa offered up her backyard, which was trashed by trucks this spring, so we decided to till it into a garden plot.
Then a pal of hers on a mission showed up and tilled the whole damn thing.
I'm gonna plant a ton of flowers, a ton of veggies and share the booty with Lisa.
And I'm doubling the number of tomatoes. I'm puttin' in fifty five!
Gonna make so much salsa and tomato sauce I'll be giving it away.
Oh, wait. I already do that. Never mind.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quote of the day: Lincoln, Abraham

Photo by the amazing Dorthea Lange from the WPA projects of the great depression.

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and cause me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed."
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gutted and Smelly

The rebuilding effort just goes deeper and deeper into a complete gutting.
We ripped out the seats and carpet, then the cabover sleeping area, now I'm finding myself rebuilding the walls and part of the cieling.
One thing I have noticed, it doesn't smell as baaaaad as it was, all smoke and musty 1987 vintage carpet.
I'm regluing the panels, some in situ, some like this side piece out in the shop.
I think if we don't road trip in this thing when it's done I'm just going to move into it in the driveway.
I can't decide if I should paint it all stripey like Eddie Van Halen's guitar, or paint it up like a stucco looking tropical color scheme, or do it in leopard skin. Then again, I may skip the "search me at the border" paint job and just go with bland light colors.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

False Advertising!

This is not made from baby humans. Imagine my disappointment.

My Band's Rock Video

So, I'm 51 years old, and finally, I get to be in a rock video.
They say the camera adds five to ten pounds, but I swear I look a lot more glam and skinny here.
Must be the lovely Mr. MikeF-7'd camera work.
He really busted buttocks to finish and film this one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rotten Teeth, Rotting Motorhome

One of the drawbacks of being nearsighted is that when you take your glasses off, things that are very close to your eyes become very, very sharply focused.
Like that dentist in the mask with the needle leaning over you. You know, the one who's giving you your fifth or sixth crown.
Today I realized how skinny my dentist is, and how many wrinkles are in his neck.
He's a handsome dude, though, for a sixty something guy. I just hate that feeling you get when he jabs you with a needle full of a mix of Novocaine and epinephrine.
You do know that a shot from your dentist gives you a jolt of speedy drugs, right? The epinephrine makes the area around the shot squeeze up and stop bleeding, but it's for me, it's like taking a hit off a crack pipe.
My heart races and I want go into fight or flight mode.
I'm just glad he's got nitrous oxide pumping into my nose, although he could crank that stuff up higher. The gas and the LOUD headphones (if you want them that way) it takes a lot of the fear factor out of dentistry.
Of course, it also helps to do a shot of everclear tincture of herb before you go in for pain, too.
I still got all my crappy Northern European teeth. Barely. Better than my dad's. He lost all of his before he was forty.
I been busy. My garden and my rotting motor home have absorbed my brain.
And my handsome pal Lisa just rototilled her back yard, and I have to plant the whole damn thing. That seems daunting and really fuckin' fun.
nuff' said. Garden pictures to come, and more ugly RV fun all week. One of these days I'm actually going to build a guitar again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why Open Mics Turn Me Into A Creep

We just got back from the open mic at Brocach downtown. It was packed. Mikey broke two strings, Fry played with his usual subtle weird grace, and I gnarled and twanged the crap out of that hacked cheap Les Paul copy my old band mate Doug left here when he split for the west coast of England.
Open mics are weird. They turn me into more of an asshole than I usually am. I get bored and restless and a little bit fascist watching the performers.
It's hard to be patient and forgiving when you know what dynamics and tone could be. More often than not it's people playing too many chords and not leaving any air in the music. I got spoiled playing with Bess and with Michael, both of them understand music and that the spaces you don't fill are as important as the ones you fill up with your playing.
It's not a cheap bar to drink in. Tap beers go for five bucks or more, but they do give you one free beer if you play. It could be worse.
And sometime in the last year downtown Madison filled up with homeless people, a lot of them with brain parts missing or damaged. Tonight I saw people sleeping in front of office buildings on cardboard
All those empty buildings and houses foreclosed and we still can't find a place for the botched, bungled or just plain down and out.
So much for the myth that we're the greatest and best country in the world.

Reiki Evil! Dead Guy On A Stick God Good!

"A declaration by the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine that Reiki is based on superstition and incompatible with Christian faith could force scores of U.S. congregations of women religious who run Catholic retreat centers to reevaluate programs that teach or use Reiki therapy.
It says that “a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man’s-land that is neither faith nor science.”
The statement says that on the medical level, Reiki is “a technique that has no scientific support — or even plausibility.”
Many women in Catholic religious orders have become Reiki masters or practitioners and regularly teach or practice Reiki therapy at their orders’ retreat facilities or spiritual centers around the country. A Web search showed scores of such U.S. centers as well as several retreat centers run by women religious in Canada offering similar programs. (National Catholic Reporter)
Shorter Version:
Your spiritual practice- evil and suspect!
Our woman hating, young -boy loving -closeted -control freak -dead guy on a stick worshiping mumbo-jumbo- is the same as science!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Black Swan Proofing The World

Nassim Taleb suggests ways to make economic life closer to our biological environment: smaller companies, richer ecology, no leverage. The risk takers of the economy should be entrepreneurs, not bankers; Companies shouls be born and die every day, without making the news.
Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world
1. What is fragile should break early while it is still small. Nothing should ever become too big to fail.
2. No socialisation of losses and privatisation of gains. Whatever may need to be bailed out should be nationalised; whatever does not need a bail-out should be free, small and risk-bearing. We have managed to combine the worst of capitalism and socialism.
3. People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus. The economics establishment (universities, regulators, central bankers, government officials, various organisations staffed with economists) lost its legitimacy with the failure of the system.
4. Do not let someone making an “incentive” bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks. Odds are he would cut every corner on safety to show “profits” while claiming to be “conservative”.
5. Counter-balance complexity with simplicity. The complex economy is already a form of leverage: the leverage of efficiency.
6. Do not give children sticks of dynamite, even if they come with a warning.
7. Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to “restore confidence”. Be robust in the face of them.
8. Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains. Using leverage to cure the problems of too much leverage is denial.
9. Economic life should be definancialised. Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible “expert” advice for their retirement.
10. Make an omelette with the broken eggs. We need to rebuild the hull with new (stronger) materials; we will have to remake the system before it does so itself.
Stolen from The Big Picture blog. Go there. Read him if you want a more realistic view of our meltdown.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blast from the Past: Old Band Poster

My old bandmate, transformed a few years back.
We had dinner the other night at Dexter's, a place on the corner of North and Johnson streets you should check out. Their beer selection rocks.
He even picked up the tab for Kori and I. And we didn't even get in fight like we used to.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not so different from us. Me, anyway

Shot in india by RedEyeRex , via BoingBoing
Slouched over, contemplative, naked, funny how much I feel like this folicle free primate sometimes.
Today I made another downpayment on the future. I planted lettuce, spinach, chard, marigolds, four kinds of sunflowers, cosmos, nastursuims and mesclun lettuce, whatever the hell that is. One row of the garden done, a whole hell of a lot more to do.
And I played music with Michael and had the first gin and tonic of the season on the deck with Ellyn.
A fine day, all in all.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

In the wind

There's some big set of changes in the wind, I can feel it coming. Not huge changes like TEOTWAWKI, otherwise known as The End Of The World As We Know It, but this really feels like one of those years where the cosmos decides to rearrange my life.
I've had a few like that. 1975, when I went off to college, leaving that tiny little township where I grew up a mile off the road, when I gave up smoking dope and went to school to learn upholstery.
In 1983 the same thing happened, my dad died and I moved to Oshkosh with an old sweetheart and got a few photography jobs.
Things stayed pretty stable for another ten years, then in one year I found myself getting the boot from my whole damn life, losing my job, partner, house, band and a bunch of friends and even my sense of who I was, and I wound up a few thousand miles away in Seattle, where I found myself cleaning houses.
I met Kori there, we had a fine first five years, but in 1999 everything changed again and we wound up moving here to Madison after another big change year.
I'm not sure what is in the wind this time, although the oncoming economic and ecological storm does color it.
I know that Micheal leaving is part of it, and last night the other trio I'm in shifted around with Tim bowing out leaves me wondering where to go.
But I also feel like there's other stuff coming, although only my monkey brain seems to have a clue what or where things are going, and it's not being too verbal.
I do know I feel like going for a long trip into the woods or out east to visit folks I haven't seen in a long time. I feel adrift and unsure for the first time in a long time about what to do or chase after. I'm never sure what to do with that feeling. Doubt and indecision are not usually something I have to deal with. I've been lucky that way in my life.

Quote of the Day: Confucius

“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember.
Involve me and I will understand.”-Confucius

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Iowa Gets It Right

Me and sweetie, not long after we met. We're the kind of people this law makes almost equal in Iowa.
This is not an abstract concept. It's our lives, and at least some folks in Iowa have the sense to realize us being married is no threat to hetero marriage.
And to my brother who claimed that the anti gay marriage amendment wouldn't effect Kori and I when it passed, I have to offer the immortal words of the guy he voted for, Dick Cheney:
You, the entire Fox Valley who votes for thugs, and all those good Christian folks who want us either back in the closet or worse, dead or in jail.
And now, a fine quote via my pal Bill:
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, from his speech, declining to attempt to reverse the Iowa Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage:
"One of my daughters was in the workplace one day, and her particular workplace at that moment in time, there were a whole bunch of conservative, older men. And those guys were talking about gay marriage. They were talking about discussions going on across the country.

And my daughter Kate, after listening for about 20 minutes, said to them: 'You guys don't understand. You've already lost. My generation doesn't care.' I think I learned something from my daughter that day, when she said that.
And I've talked with other people about it and that's what I see, Senator McKinley. I see a bunch of people that merely want to profess their love for each other, and want state law to recognize that. Is that so wrong? I don't think that's so wrong. As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife.
You know I've been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other. No, Senator McKinley, I will not co-sponsor a leadership bill with you

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Grandpa and Grandma

Grandma's fat
grandpa's drunk
probably got bodies
in his trunk
grandma cheats at soltiare
gramps says nothing
stares into the air
smoke drifts up
through his silver grey hair
looking out at things
that just aren't there

gramps drove his car
into the lake
grandma was home bakin' a cake
skeeter and woodtick
pulled gramps out
he didn't say nothing
as he drove away

Grandma sits in the kitchen
all afternoon
drinking pabst blue ribbon
cheatin' at cards
playing solitare
won't admit her life was hard

Gramps is so distant
never says much
but he'll
burn you with a ciggarette
just a touch
never been the same
since world war one
always grumpy as hell
likes a mean sort of fun

Grandma's fat
grandpa's drunk
probably got bodies in his trunk
grandma cheats at soltiare
says nothing
stares into the air
smoke drifts up
through his silver grey hair
looking at things
that just aren't there....
Got to thinking about my grandparents tonight while playing the banjo. These lyrics popped out. And every word is true.
My grandmother loved to play Solitare. And she did it while drinking most of a six pack alot of the afternoons of the last decade of her life, often swearing at the cards and cheating while baking a pineapple upside down cake.
Gramps was a very quiet guy who really would burn you with one of the Camel unfiltered smokes he had in his hand. He'd say things like "watch me blow smoke through my eyes", then when he had your complete 9 year old attention, he'd touch his smoke to your hand. I remember going and telling mom he burned me. She said something like "you leave him alone, quit bothering him.
He was a quiet drunk, although he did now and again pick on Grandma for being too fat. He died of stroke in the early 70's. I never once missed his company.
Grandma Gert lasted till about 1974, and I still think of her often. She and I had breakfast or lunch almost every day the last few years, she lived across from the High School and Grade School I and my mother went to, and was the cook there for over 20 years. I still miss her, although I wonder how she'd feel about me being a big old dyke if she was alive today. I hope she'd be cool with it.
It wouldn't matter to Grandpa. He never seemed to notice me unless I was bothering him.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Quote of the Day: Ian Welsh

Ian's a great writer with whip smart observations. He blogs at Firedoglake and there's a link at the bottom to his own site.
He's one of the folks I wish I could write like. He rocks, go read his stuff.
"Short of the Soviet Union I wonder if there has ever been a population as saturated with propaganda and lies as the American one. Wonder how long it’ll be before such things happen in the US. Wonder if it does happen, if the SWAT teams will go in and start killing people.
Bankers lost trillions of dollars over the last 8 years due in large part to outright fraud, paying themselves billions in bonuses. Under both Bush and Obama, the response to their theft has been to give them trillions of dollars worth of money. Trillions have not been spent on helping people destroyed by the bankers greed, corruption, incompetence and theft.
If Americans continue to put up with this, they aren’t just sheep, they’re serfs."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Our Rotting Rolling Nightmare Party Barge

Here's some photos of our midlife crisis chariot.
We bought it from a nice guy who chain smoked over on the south west side of Madison for a couple thousand bucks.
It's a1987 Toyota based Seabreeze RV. It's only got 60 thousand miles on it, not much for a Toyota, but damn, I pulled at one soft spot and found an ogry of rot.
The Bob we bought it from also had imbued it with a giant ashtray atmosphere. So I started tearing out everything that seemed rotten or that I didn't like, including all the hideous particle board cabinets and the carpet where ever I could.
We left the bathroom intact, but almost everything from the windows down to the floor was delaminated.
The floor was fine, but we tore out the AC and everything but the hot water heater and are going to rebuild, put in new paneling and some hardwood flooring and very thin pine wainscotting.
We also tore out part of the cieling where the AC unit had leaked, and after a few weeks of venting it almost doesn't smell like smoke.
Now I'm mostly waiting for warmer weather to start rebuilding it.
I'll need temperatures above 50 for the adhesives to set up in the rebuilt walls.
These things are supposed to get 16 miles to the gallon, and have quite a cult following, with even a Toyota Motorhomes Forum.
Then again, in the age of the internet a lot of funky things have a cult following. After all, you're reading my lame but oddly compelling blog.

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