bleed for me

just had my 3rd bad blood draw, the shrink asked me to get labs done to check med levels and i went to the same place i went to last time which is when i had my 2nd bad blood draw and you might be wondering why i went to the same place after having a bad experience last time? well that’s a good question and the answer is this: i went to portland adventist again because i’m already in their system and because i can’t go to providence because i still owe them money from the last time i got labs done there which was right after my FIRST bad blood draw, a draw which was so bad that the doctor couldn’t even get any blood outta me so i had to go straight from her office to providence and never paid them. that was many, many years ago.
but it’s a good story so here it is. i was in the middle of starting the last leg of my drinking career(the leg which almost killed me and forced me to get sober) and was not feeling well but did not yet grasp that my alcoholism was the cause so i went to see a naturopath. i remember that i wore my slippers and took a cab(drunk) to the office over on hawthorne but had no idea how i was going to get back home(i was having trouble planning ahead at that point). when i got in to see the doctor she asked me a bunch of questions and i began to notice most of them were about my drinking and not about the supposed ailment i was seeing her for. she asked if i had ever gotten treatment for it and i told her that i had ended up in detox once where they had told me that i was pre-cirrhotic and had also told me that if i quit drinking for 9 weeks my liver cells would regenerate and so that’s what i had done and after 9 weeks(is that even true?) i had started drinking again. about the pre-cirrhosis thing the naturopath said(in what seemed to me a rather offhanded manner) that at this point i probably actually HAD cirrhosis and she wanted to do a blood draw to check my liver and my pancreas. she had these disposable hypodermic needles and tried to draw blood 3 times but could not hit a vein and apparently that’s the limit, you can only try a blood draw 3 times and then someone else has to do it. she was pissed and wrote me a prescription for blood labs and sent me off to providence. her only advice was to start going to AA every day(thanks a lot, doc).
anyways i had to hoof it all the way to providence on glisan in my slippers to get my blood drawn and before i got in to see the phlebotomist i had to do all this paperwork and the nice lady told me that i didn’t have to pay right away and that they would instead send me a bill. the phlebotomist there was a nice russian woman and i told her about what had happened at the naturopath and she said “i don’t know what the other doctor was talking about, you have beautiful veins” and hit one on the 1st try. about a week later i got a call from the naturopath who had gotten the results from the lab and she said to me, “i can’t really believe it but amazingly your liver and your pancreas are fine”. she almost sounded pissed.
anyways that was 6 years ago and after that i started going to a pcp at the bridge city clinic and they had a lab on-site so i just got my labs done there. the phlebotomist there never had any trouble finding a vein but i stopped going to that place about a year ago because there was a super high turnover rate and everytime i went i had a different doctor, i started going to a place called la clinica where i’m seemingly the only gringo and i have a great doctor but there’s no lab there. so last year when the shrink needed me to do labs i had to find a new place and since i couldn’t go to providence i settled on portland adventist and that’s where i got my 2nd bad blood draw. the person in the lab there seemed a little hungover and when she tried the left arm she couldn’t hit a vein at which point she started moving the needle around while it was in my arm. that was unpleasant. she tried again but no dice and then we switched to the right arm and she finally managed to draw blood but i walked around with a bruise covering my entire arm for 3 days. that was also quite unpleasant and it also kind of pissed me off.
but today when i had to go get my labs done AGAIN i still didn’t want to go to providence so i went to portland adventist thinking there was no way they were gonna screw up a 2nd time, right? getting admitted took 3 different people and too much time and then even though there was noone else in the waiting room i had to sit there for like 15 minutes. when i got called in it was a different phlebotomist who was also russian(is phlebotomy big in that country or what?) and she sat me down and started feeling around for a vein. she said something like “have you had problems before?” and couldn’t seem to locate one and i told her about my last visit and she said “you have very small veins and they’re moving around like fish(?)” and finally decided on a vein that noone had ever tapped before on the OUTSIDE of my arm. it took her a couple tries and even once the blood started flowing it was like a dribble and she kept having to fuck with the plunger and it took forever and started making me feel queasy. she tried to distract me w/small talk and when it was finally finished she said my expression had worried her. we’ll see how the bruising goes in the days ahead.
i was going to write about pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving(i’ve been knee-deep in pumpkins lately which makes sense because it’s coming up on halloween and wookie loves pumpkins regardless) but that’ll have to wait until another time, i finished 4 pieces yesterday and am going to continue getting my shit organized for the big move and the world series starts tomorrow and the giants are in it, october is probably my favorite month by far.

a brief(though major) catastrophe

i’m fairly uninterested in material possessions with a couple of exceptions and the main one is records, i’ve been collecting vinyl since i was very young and have amassed a pretty good collection and you could easily say w/o too much exaggeration that it’s an important thing in my life, one of the only “things” that really matters to me one way or the other. now one of my favorite records in the world is the minutemen’s “double nickels on the dime”(see above), it’s got this song on it called “history lesson pt. 2″ that has a line where d boon sings “punk rock changed our lives” and that’s how i feel about “double nickels”, it changed my life and there’s not a lot of things i could say that about(though there ARE more than i had previously thought).
anyways i’m in this facebook group called “now playing” where people post pictures of whatever record they happen to be listening to and usually a comment or 2 as well. it’s sort of fun and gets me to listen to stuff that i might not otherwise listen to and lots of stuff i haven’t heard in many years(i do have a LOT of records). so today i decided to spin double nickels on the dime and i posted a picture on now playing along w/the comment “along w/trout mask the greatest record of all time”(“trout mask” being the captain beefheart record “trout mask replica”) and i meant it, i can be real wishy-washy about lots of stuff but with music and politics i’m STRIDENT friend, and i mean stand-on-your-soapbox-and-belt-it-out-to-the-back-rows style strident. not something i’m always super proud of there you have it. so the minutemen comment wasn’t out of character at all. and everything was moving along fine until the first 2 sides were done and i put on record #2(it’s a double) and instead of the 3rd side starting i got side A all over again which apparently meant that i had 2 1st records and no 2nd records on my hands which meant i actually only possessed half of the greatest record of all time. how could this happen?
well i’ll tell you how it could happen. for various reasons(including many personal shortcomings) i’ve often found myself in dire need of money and in such instances have often resorted to selling whatever i had to sell and the only things i have of any real value are my records. so many, many times in my life i’ve picked through my collection and grabbed a stack of records that were worth something and taken them to the local record store and sold them, often for pennies on the dollar. over the years my record collection has been whittled down and although at 1st i was able to sell records that were valuable but not super important to me i’ve reached the point where any further dings to my stacks are gonna HURT. now i was aware that i had had 2 copies of double nickels at some point but was pretty sure i had sold one of them back so when i pulled out that copy today and found 2 1st records and no 2nd ones my heart literally dropped. this was a real tragedy and i ain’t lying. the obvious conclusion was that i had sold back a copy of double nickels containing 2 SECOND records and left myself a copy with 2 FIRST records. and on top of the lack of necessary tuneage i was staring in the face there was also a well of self-loathing i had successfully quashed since my last visit to the record store which was now welling up inside me like a river of puke come to ruin my day/life. that loathing being there because of what dostoevsky might call the “self-lacerations” inflicted whenever i thought about the fact that instead of either simply WORKING more to generate more income or(better yet) not to waste so much fucking money in the 1st place i had resorted to selling off the only real “things” that mattered to me. which seemed to point to all sorts of inadequacies i preferred not think about.
well like the title says this horrible catastrophe was unexpectedly cut short because when on a long shot i went out to the garage to check i found the other copy of the album which i apparently hadn’t sold, and although it only had ONE record in it guess which one it was? well it was sides C & D, it was the missing 2nd record. and although all of the issues kicked up by all of this confusion are still lingering they have been reduced to smaller, more manageable chunks. so my day is back on track.
giants won again on more cardinal errors and they’re now only one win away from the world series. my cat is being is extra cute this morning but it’s back to wookie’s tonight for game 5 and some food and visiting, too. the sun is out which is a rare thing this time of year and now if you’ll excuse me i’m going to finish listening to the greatest record of all time. you should too.

time’s up

not much time this morning so this’ll be something of an experiment, gotta play mr. mom cos wookie’s going to work and leni has a late start at school so i have to hang out w/her for 2 hours and then drop her off, looks like i’ll be meeting people like teachers and parents and maybe principals and crossing guards, i mean who knows? this is all new to me. i’ll even have a booster chair in my truck from now on which means i’m gonna be one of THOSE guys which quite frankly makes me a little bit squirrelly but you know, the things you do for love and all that stuff. wookie thinks i should have a blog all about being a new “parent”, she thinks people might actually read it which would be an odd change but there’s just no way i’m going there anytime soon. i prefer keeping it loose and open and not knowing what i’m going to write about although i do have at least one topic picked out that i’ll probably get to soon and that’ll be about all the fun i had in the detox ward, 3 different times and 2 different places. that was a while ago but there’s plenty of ground to cover when you’re writing about those places so there’ll be plenty of grist for the mill. unlike today, i mean i’m just treading water at this point.

i started going through my stuff in the garage to see what i’m up against and ran into a situation right off the bat cos when i opened up one of my trunks it was filled w/way more sports cards than i remember and man is it HEAVY. i used to collect those things but they’ve been in storage for several years and there’s just no way i can go through them before the move so that’s just another thing i probably don’t need that’s gonna get dragged into another storage space at another apartment and like most people i have a fair amount of that sorta stuff, like old papers and books i’ll never read again and clothes i don’t wear and whatnot, shit i’ve been carting around for years. but after you’ve moved something around a few times it seems weird to just toss it, there’s a certain amount of psychic dissonance to contend with when you start to realize that there’s a whole lot of extraneous debris taking up mental/physical space in your life and unless you’re prepared to jettison a few loads of tenacious psychic baggage it’s best not to think too much about it.

so i’ll move briefly onto sports, where the giants went up 2-1 on the cardinals in the NLCS strictly as a result of the cards’ inability to get through 9 innings w/o making at least one costly, boneheaded error. last night they scored on a great bunt that facilitated a lousy throw that sailed past the 2nd baseman(who was covering first) and into the outfield and allowed brandon crawford(who was only on base in the 1st place because the same pitcher responsible for the wild throw had walked him to lead off the inning) to score from 2nd. game to san francisco and boy is mom happy. she’s all done with jury duty now and can really focus on the playoffs.

so that’s about it, i’ve got a collage mostly glued down and it looks good and i’ve got a booster chair in my truck so look out world, i’ve got a train to catch.

time’s up.


days of whine and doses

yesterday was one of those days where the more you try to push yourself into doing something the less likely it becomes that you’re going to do it and yet if you don’t do anything it’s going to be worse, worse because regardless of what happens most of us humans are gifted w/the curse of memory and hindsight and although it’s debatable whether hindsight is indeed 20/20 or not the fact remains that looking back on a lousy day where you did nothing is much worse than looking back on a lousy day where you managed to at least get something(anything) done. i was unable to goad or guilt myself into action yesterday and it was basically a wash-out by around noon. to avoid this happening 2 days in a row i promised myself i would bash out a post when i got up today and so here we are, brought together by a combination of my own selfish need to look back on today with less disdain and whatever circumstances caused you to end up reading this entry about how i’m forcing myself to write it. (now i feel a bit like george costanza(seinfeld) when his girlfriend breaks up w/him by saying “it’s not you, it’s me” at which point he says “You’re giving me the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ routine? I invented ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. Nobody tells me it’s them not me, if it’s anybody it’s me.” although i actually feel more like the girlfriend, i guess). meaning as usual the writing of the blog is itself the blog’s topic which ends up creating a sort of feedback loop that looks like one of escher’s tesselations(word for the day), and we all know how i feel about escher, at least according to the resident art critics at “visionary artists on facebook”.
and speaking of those critics i’m pretty sure that at this point i’m pretty much out of images to post on the facebook page and that means it’s time to finish some new pieces and that was another thing i avoided doing yesterday, gluing down the 4 collages that are good to go. i also avoided getting my affairs in order so that i can make the move out and into the new apartment as smooth as possible. i’m going from a small apartment w/a large storage space into a large apartment w/a small storage space and the logistics are confusing and involve going through all my shit and making decisions about what to bring and what to toss and then where to put whatever i decide to hold onto. moving’s a pain in the ass but putting it off will only make things worse just like it did yesterday. song break…

this self-referenced shit has gotta go.
me and wookie went to a play on saturday night and we sat in the 1st row in a small theater(the imago) and saw something written by harold pinter called “the homecoming” and i had heard of him before but had no idea what to expect and ended up being pleasantly surprised, it was super long but really rather engaging and so you didn’t notice the time which i guess is a pretty big compliment. i’ve always considered myself a sort of low-culture adherent and haven’t been to much theater in my life and one thing i found surprising about the play was how little space(physical and otherwise) existed between the audience and the performers and how sort of raw the whole thing seemed. some bands can be like that where the performers(usually the singer) ends up seeming so exposed and/or vulnerable that you feel like you’re privy to some sort of interior landscape(like in the case of say iggy pop or jim morrison or patti smith) and it almost feels like you’re trespassing. the play was kind of like that except everyone was obviously in character but in a way that made it more remarkable, that the actors(most of them anyways) were able to inhabit the characters fully enough to make you feel like even though the whole thing is fictional you’re still put in the position of being a voyeur. it almost felt uncomfortable.
anyways i’m starting to think about the move and am going to try to force myself to do some organizing out in the garage where all my shit is stored. the giants lost on a walk-off dinger in the 9th and that was annoying because even though the cardinals have become wookie’s de facto team i’m still starting to dislike them a great deal. rooting against each other is a bit odd because me and wookie are pretty much on the same team the rest of the time but we’ll see how it goes, and now that i’ve put in some time and gotten past 800 words we’ll see how i go, i only know where at this point but all will be revealed.

the weight

i just did one of those things where you do something you’ve been meaning to do because you know that it will benefit you in one way or another but you’ve put it off for so long that unless something goads you into finally doing it there’s a strong possibility that you never will. i have a lot of records and more importantly i have a lot of GOOD records but i haven’t had a turntable for a long time  which means i haven’t been listening to those records AT ALL for many years except very recently i bought a shitty all-in-one stereo at a garage sale for 4 bucks and i’ve spun some wax on that hunk of junk a few times but there’s a short somewhere so the speakers cut out until you mess with them and who wants to get up over and over again to mess w/a crummy stereo in the hopes that you might get through one or 2 songs before the sound cuts out again? well that’s been the set-up.
now there’s turntables all over the place and you can pick a good one up for around $50 used and although i’m pretty broke generally there’s been plenty of times when i had that much cash laying around and could have parted with it and got me a turntable and lickety-split that problem would’ve been solved and i could’ve gotten down to the business of spinning sides for reals. that’s what i COULD’VE done. instead i (apparently)chose to let that turntable-void gnaw away at my very soul and carry on with a life which was worse than it needed to be. in other words having a record player was an easy and obvious way to improve my circumstances and general well-being and that option has been open to me for years and i refused to take that option and that decision has really actually weighed on me for a long time. and how do i know all of this? because my friend chris gave me a turntable a few weeks ago and i actually bought a needle for it and then had to buy a pre-amp(i have a newer receiver that lacks a phono input) which i did and for $48 total i now have a quality, functioning turntable, and i can’t tell you how good it feels.
it’s like that time i was having trouble sleeping because i had a crappy pillow and instead of buying a new pillow i chose to have insomnia every night for a year or so. or that time i drove around on a spent clutch for OVER a year and instead of getting a new one put in i just adjusted my driving technique to compensate for the loss of a gear every few months, i drove around without 4th or 5th for a long time which means i couldn’t even get on the fucking freeway and toward the end i was losing 3rd too. or walking around for several winters w/soggy feet and the sniffles because i refused to buy a decent pair of shoes. or sleeping on horrible beds my whole life because i never took the time to find a serviceable mattress. i mean the list goes on and on. one time i told a counsellor that i had switched to shitty coffee because it was cheaper and he said “don’t you think you deserve to drink decent coffee?” and even though i still find that statement somewhat ridiculous he might actually have a point there somewhere, the need to avoid any kind of comfort has dogged me for years and has probably diminished my quality of life in more ways than one. and i guess maybe i should start to think about changing that.

me and wookie had 2 visitors to her apartment last night and one was jeff who stopped in to watch a little bit of the ALCS and say goodbye before he goes back to japan and the other was chris who came over to give me some cash he owed me and say goodbye before he leaves for california where he will be doing some underground work at an above-ground operation. people are always coming and going and doing funny things like being hard on themselves and avoiding the obvious solutions and although those last 2 things are pretty silly and counterproductive they’re also sweet in some weird way, humility is one of the better human qualities in a lot of ways and it’s nice in animals too. almost everything about animals is nice and we can learn a lot from them, human beings are by far the most confused species around.

thelonious monk, police violence, and the cholesterol buzz-kill

thelonious sphere monk was born on this day in 1917 and without him american music would not be the same at all. he is the 2nd most recorded jazz composer of all time(which is weird because he only wrote about 70 pieces) and figures prominently in any serious discussion of jazz in particular or music in general, particularly on the topic of influence. i find this fact to be fairly remarkable because his stuff is so oddly off-kilter and stretched out that it could easily have ended up being slotted into the “avant-garde” section of your neighborhood record store and thus doomed to being spun by late night DJ’s and small armies(platoons?) of the friendless. how such an idiosyncratic approach to rhythm and melody was able to find such a wide audience would be befuddling if the weirdness wasn’t welded to such a natural sort of innocent insistence on the right to be endearingly screwball. plus the whole shebang is so percussively powerful that it swings in an angular lights-out fashion. i mean shit, monk was one of only 5 jazz musicians to ever make the cover of time magazine, and we all know how square time magazine is:


like his friend bud powell monk was beaten up badly by cops and they both ended up with mental issues probably as a result. why cops are always beating up black people is no mystery(they’re racist) and on that topic another black man(kid, really, he was still in high school) named vonderrit myers jr. got gunned down by a white cop in st. louis and that should add fuel to the fire when folks(hopefully a whole lot of them)descend on ferguson, MO this weekend to protest the shooting of michael brown a while back. they shot brown 6 times and they shot myers 7 times and the cops continue to lie about the circumstances in both shootings because that’s what they do, they lie, and it would be great to see some accountability introduced into every police department in the country but not only is that a pipe dream at this point, i doubt that even one of the officers that killed these 2 kids will be prosecuted. which would be the same old story all over again except that it looks that this time people aren’t going to let this shit slide so good for them, good for all of us really(and bravery really is good for all of us).
i woke up this morning at around 5:30 and i was planning on going to get a blood panel done around 8 because it’s a fasting lab and the last time i ate was 8 PM last night so that would’ve given me the necessary 12 hours but i got too hungry around 6 and said fuck it, actually it was the lack of coffee that got to me but once that had cracked the door open a large bowl of granola busted it right off the hinges, so the blood draw will have to wait at least another day. i’m extra hungry and tired this morning because i had a long and physical day of work yesterday yanking blackberry vines and pulling up grass and laying down topsoil so my psyche wouldn’t shut up about food and coffee and on top of that my will power is not at a high ebb these days, it’s all or nothing w/me which means if i’m eating ice cream i’m eating a LOT of ice cream and if i’m eating a lot of ice cream who gives a fuck what else i do? which is another reason i didn’t want to go get my blood labs done, the results in terms of cholesterol and other important health measures are destined to be sub-par because of my laissez-faire attitude towards fat and sugar at this point and who wants to get any bad news on a friday, especially when i’ve got a solid weekend of baseball ahead of me?
on saturday night wookie is taking me to a play at a place called the imago theatre here in portland which i guess is sort of a cultural landmark in our sleepy little town, it sounds somewhat avant-garde itself(like t. monk) and rather interesting so i’m looking forward to it. i flaked somewhat on my my friend karen’s birthday for reasons i won’t bore you with but it’s one of those situations where the more time that passes between her birthday and my acknowledgement of it the harder it is to acknowledge it at all. so now i’m in the middle of making here a nice little arty-farty(like the imago theatre) birthday card and hoping i can get it done soon enough so that i won’t have to save it for next year and also hoping that it’s cool enough to dampen any disappointment she might be feeling about the lateness of my gesture. friends and neighbors are important in these wacky and fucked-up days we’re living through at the moment and since karen is both friend AND neighbor i better get off my ass and finish the damn card, it’s never too late to care.

funky dollar bill

capitalism explained in 3 funky minutes

yesterday’s numbers

i saw my friend jeff yesterday, it had been about 10 years since i saw him and he looked pretty much the same. he lives in japan now and is married w/2 kids and works as a higher-up at an english language school. he went to japan with the intention of staying one year and he’s now been there about 14 and has no intention of coming back and i don’t blame him.
i know him because my band played with his band(irving klaw trio) a lot in the ’90’s when the music scene in portland was still pretty nascent and the city itself was rather empty, there wasn’t all that much going on(compared to now anyways) so you got to know most of the other musicians in town pretty organically, you’d end up on the same bills and see each other at other shows and get to talking and there were a number of fringe bands like us and them and smegma and the planet the and of course dead moon, you could always count on dead moon when the chips were down and my chips were often down but as long you got to see a dead moon show every few months you knew you were gonna be ok.

i ended up living w/2 of jeff’s bandmates and became close friends with one of them, his name was ryan and he was a funny little guy who played sax and keyboards and drank too much. we all drank too much but especially me and ryan. jeff also started a tape-only label called union pole(check it out!) and helped me and my friend mike w/our magazine(osmotic tongue pressure) and i remember when mike died he came over w/a couple of friends and i was lying on the floor w/my head in my girlfriend’s lap and we were spinning records that reminded me of mike and i was really very sad and jeff knew that and wanted to help so he showed up and hung around for a while while i talked and he listened and he didn’t say much and that in fact DID help, him just being there and being quiet. that stuff does help.
anyways yesterday we took a stroll down memory lane and ate tacos that ended up making me nauseous later on but which were good at the time and he had a beer w/lunch and i of course did not and we talked about ryan dying from mixing a pre-existing medical condition of some sort(they thought maybe it was reye’s syndrome) with a lot of alcohol and probably drugs too and having a seizure one day and then going into cardiac arrest and dying in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. jeff still seemed pretty raw on that topic and it is a bad one, losing 2 friends from avoidable circumstances before either one turned 30.
but me and jeff talked mostly about happier topics like our love lives and kids and music and portland back in the day and after lunch we went across the street to exiled records which is a great shop and we each bought something (which is very rare for me) and jeff ended up knowing the owner of the store from the same music scene where so many of us met and then THEY took a stroll down memory lane and i listened and the guy knew me and my band too but i couldn’t quite place him although he seemed somehow familiar. jeff drove me home and we exchanged information and talked about baseball and it was the best time we had ever had together which was pretty nice. i might see him again before he goes back but we’ll see.
yesterday’s numbers in terms of baseball were 3-2 and 3-1, the giants beat the nationals 3-2 in game 4 and won a series they weren’t even supposed to BE in by 3 games to 1. and after spending so many hours following the series it was good to see my team win and especially because they’re my mom’s team too and she follows the giants all season long(and it is a long season) and now gets to see them take on the cardinals in the american league championship series. she is going to visit soon with my sister and maybe even my brother because she wants to meet wookie and leni and see the new place and all that sort of family stuff. wookie is super busy and is even doing work AFTER work(at home) and i’m not too busy but will maybe go hunt down a nice clerodendrum tree for kamins, he is quite smitten with them and wants one planted in his yard somewhere. tomorrow i work w/chris shovelling 3 yards of topsoil and i have a feeling it’s going to be more fun than it sounds.
today’s number is going to be 200 because this happens to be my 200th post and if i never do another one that’s a nice round figure to end on.

escher, brown derby, and the case of the copycat collage


this one’s called “brown derby” and the title ended up being a serendipitous example of happenstance(when did i become bridget jones? this is not quite a diary) in that i got the title from the color of the piece which is brown which made me think of brown derby which is 2 things, actually 3 things, the first being a diner in LA shaped like a man’s derby hat(a brown one of course) which is now defunct. a funny thing about the brown derby restaurant is that until i just now looked it up i was under the impression that it was a bar/cocktail lounge and a one-of-a-kind one at that, but boy is my face red.  it was actually a chain of  4 restaurants in los angeles(one on wilshire, one in hollywood, one in beverly hills, and one on los feliz blvd) and later a few opened in ohio(!) too. you learn something new everyday, which is good because i’ve got a lot to learn. less interestingly there was a chain of brown derby liquor stores in and around springfield, missouri, the 3rd largest city in that state and the site of the infamous wild bill hickok-davis tutt shootout which was one of the few recorded instances of a one-on-one pistol quick-draw duel in a public place, kinda like the one in High Noon(i never saw that movie). the 3rd brown derby definition(if we can call it that) and the only important one for our purposes here is the brown derby brand of cheap beer that you used to be able to find in most supermarkets in the greater los angeles metropolitan region(and which may or not be related to the liquor store chain). that was the main thing i was thinking of when i came up w/the title because brown derby was my grandpa dave’s favorite kind of beer, or at least the brand he always drank. whenever we visited my grandfolks in san gabriel you were greeted 1st by 2 enormous standard poodles(one was named coco and lived a long and fruitful life, the other one died young and its name forgotten), then my grandma christina(we always called her chris) who generally had a cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth, and then that was it until you went out the glass slider and into the detached garage where grandpa dave sat drinking brown derby, smoking, and reading the racing form. grandpa dave had moved the family out to san gabriel because it was close to the santa anita racetrack(horses) in arcadia and grandpa loved to play the horses, so much so that when he died my uncle chris hopped the fence at santa anita one night and spread his ashes across the finish line. i love that story.

anyways i’m a member of this facebook page called “visionary artists on facebook” or something like that and yesterday i posted my “brown derby” piece to share w/the group and most people liked it except one asshole(actually i think it was 2 assholes) who not only didn’t like it but felt compelled to write a snarky comment which said this: “very nice work, but aren’t you just glomming onto Escher….you know, his style with different items in it? gosh, I know this sounds insulting and I don’t mean for it to be….it’s just that an artist needs their own style….so I would ask someone, hey doesn’t that look like a Cascell?” my retort was a little bitchy also(artists are such sensitive pricks) but basically said that i’ve done a lot of pieces over the years and a lot of people have seen them and i’ve only heard the escher comparison come up MAYBE twice and in those instances it was more descriptive and less accusatory. in other words the asshole in question was either seeing something that isn’t really there(for the rest of humankind at least) or the team of “philandcheri”(i’ll leave out the last name) are so in tune with my artistic what-have-you that they were the first critics to ever notice that i was basically an escher copycat and needed to be hauled out and called on the carpet for it. now there are 3 kinds of people in the world: some of them like you, some of them hate you, and the vast majority of them don’t give a fuck one way or the other. i can live with that. but frankly in my humble opinion “philandcheri” are simply wrong. i mean obviously an artist gets inspiration from all kinds of stuff but there doesn’t seem to be any more escher in brown derby than there is anything else, and accusing someone of plagiarism(or whatever you want to call it) is kind of a big deal in that there’s really nothing worse than a copycat, and unoriginality is the original sin of an artist or anyone else for that matter. one other thing about “brown derby”: i didn’t notice that there actually WAS a brown derby IN it(bottom right corner) until after i had settled on the name.

also yesterday i stumbled upon an artist i had never seen or heard of before and his stuff is pretty mindblowing so i thought i’d share the good news and the artist’s name is Wifredo Óscar de la Concepción Lam y Castilla(nice) and the piece i’m going to share is this one:


and i would tell you the name of this piece except that i do not know it and doing a little research into it will allow you to look through a bunch of his stuff and it’s literally all not only good, but excellent.

wookie’s still sleeping which is good because the new job is creating all kinds of problems of for her and the main one is that nobody in the office seems to know what they’re doing so they’re looking to wookie to save the day and she’s only been there for 5 days. i mean it took 7 days to create the world didn’t it? also the giants lost to the nationals so there’s another game on tonight and i’m going to be seeing a friend of mine who lives in japan and who i haven’t seen in many many years and he wants to go get a drink and i haven’t told him i’m sober yet and i think he’s gonna be surprised. a close mutual friend of ours named ryan was my drinking partner for many years and ended up dying from it and so i’m sure jeff will understand. the ryan story is kind of an interesting one but it will have to wait for another time. bottom’s up.

repeat after me

now i know for a fact that i’ve posted this one before and also that i post stuff by the fall not infrequently but what the hell, it fits the topic at hand. i was just starting a pot of coffee when for some reason it hit me that although many of my favorite artists tend to repeat themselves pretty often in one way or another this fact does not mean their artistry is diminished in any way and you could even say that their transcendence of somehow limited forms(and boundaries, self-imposed or not) is a good analogy for what art actually tries to do which is to take whatever tools are available and utilise them to create some sort of concrete representation of a person’s vision. it’s like with language where we have a finite set of parameters(so it doesn’t sound like gibberish) but at the same time are able to use these principles to generate a seemingly limitless array of combinations of words and sentences to at least semi-accurately relate what’s on the inside to what’s on the outside. it seems to me that whatever structure you use the fact remains that human creativity knows no bounds.
i like to watch movies over and over again sometimes and also re-read books and then there’s of course music where it’s possible to hear the same song over and over and still not get tired of it and here i’m not only talking about the same parameters but also the same exact result so just think about what’s possible when you use the principles(or materials or process or whatever) in the service of creating something new? in that case the similarities are harder to detect and why would you want to think hard enough about these things when you could  just be enjoying it? i mean who cares if every ramones song sounds pretty much the same if those songs still manage to move you? movement is what makes the world go round and art is what makes the world bearable so why not combine the two and really start to get somewhere?

and while we’re on the subject here’s a short list of transcending repeaters:

1)charles bukowski…tons of drinking, lots of sex and other bodily functions, poverty, poetry. so called “low” culture has never reached such heights.
2)philip k dick…reality vs illusion, breaks in the time-space continuum, drugs, relationships, mental illness in on form or another and power politics. these things were dick’s bread and butter and most of his stories utilise barely-disparate plots to address these concerns. he also shot a pretty high future-prediction percentage.
3)the fall…very consciously use repetition as a sort of hypnotic hammer to lull you into a trance before scraping out your brain like a cantaloupe.
4)raymond chandler…used the same archetypes(the tough dick, the femme fatale, and los angeles as a wasteland) over and over along with pretty simple and similar plots but wrote transcendently ass-kicking scenes and chippy dialogue.
5)the velvet underground…every song was pretty much in 4/4 time, lou reed’s voice was generally monochromatic, themes were urban and characters were fringe, and elements of feedback and drone were often used for color.

you can’t call jazz repetitive because even though a lot of structures and motifs are simple and/or standard those are just the framework and in jazz the important thing is what happens between the lines, like AFTER take off. and i won’t even start with country or blues or any sort of old-time music because i’m not up to snuff on such things even though the repetitiveness seems pretty blatant to me.
wookie took leni to work with her yesterday and apparently leni was a big hit w/the old folks there even if the place seems to be held together by water-damaged scotch tape. and while we’re talking about repetition let’s not forget what a job usually is which is the act of showing up at the same time at the same place and doing the same thing for eight hours over and over again and into the distant future and in that kind of job the openings for creative input into the process are small if not non-existent and for that reason such jobs should be abolished and instead of machines that print assault rifles(how the fuck do those 3D printers work, anyways?) we should use technology in the service of reducing(if not eliminating) all the shitty work that needs to be done in any society so that its citizens have enough time to use whatever materials are around to generate rewarding and important creative output which can then be added to the discussion we should all be having about jobs and bosses and repetition of the worst kind. happy monday


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