bring on the fall

well the equinox came and went and the fall is upon us and in portland that means color and rain and the color started about a week ago and the rain started just today(nice timing) and while the color unfortunately only lasts for about 3 weeks the rain hangs around ’til about june which used to be a good enough reason for people to stay the fuck out of our sleepy little town but greed trumps weather which means that when there’s a housing bubble(like there was in california before 2007) people sell because they are able to get way more than their house is actually worth but having done that they still need a place to live and since they don’t want to waste all their hard-earned(?) profit they look elsewhere for cheaper real estate and a whole lot of these folks(ESPECIALLY those from cali) looked at portland and saw that they could get a house here for half of what it would it cost back home so then they buy a house here and what  you get is soaring housing prices, gentrification, destruction of generations-old neighborhoods, the poor and minorities get driven out of the city and into the suburbs, i have to move further east(though not to gresham, thank god), there’s suddenly way too much traffic and way too many upscale boutiques, the rents are way too high, and basically portland has been transformed from a cheap, semi-empty, very liveable city into just another annoying example of how people with money ruin everything. so happy autumn, everyone!

wookie has to go to a conference today for work even though she doesn’t officially have the job yet, nothing stops wookie which is why she’s already started spending money from the budget to hire outside help and that’s money that actually IS in the budget, it just happens to be in a budget that’s only available to employees and at this particular moment wookie isn’t one, i mean she is but she isn’t but she’s on her way to a conference nonetheless, have fun wookie! i have to go to the dentist to get my chompers scraped and lucky for me i like my dentist, he’s a russian fellow who always enters the room with a big “hey!” and shakes my hand before giving me the gas. then he leaves for a bit and when he comes back he says “do you feel the gas?” and i always remember to say “maybe a little” or “not really” which hopefully inspires him to crank up the fun a little bit so that by the time he starts cleaning the chiclets(google it!) i’m at least SORT of floating in space. there’s also a tv with movies about sea creatures and a nice russian staff except for cammy who’s nice but not russian and sits in the receptionist’s chair but seems to wear many hats around the office. anyways the news from the dentist is never great(my teeth are FUCKED) but hopefully today won’t be too bad and afterwards i have to go do some painting for a man who has the exact same name as my dead best friend. it’s a small world, fall or otherwise.

in other news the football season is beginning and the baseball season is coming to an end and hopefully the giants make the playoffs, i personally wouldn’t give a shit one way or the other except that my mom spends a lot of time watching giants baseball throughout the entire season and oftentimes how they go, she goes, and it’s better for everyone when mom goes well. i’ve got 4 new pieces in the queue but need to get them glued down, one of them has 4 arab men on horseback w/rifles looking like american-style cowboys racing past a sign that says “now leaving the american sector” and it’s only a few pieces but is orange and purple and i like it a lot. i like the other ones too and i have to say that when you’re trying to be an artist it really helps a lot if you like the stuff that you’re producing, the more the better. elsewise(made up word) you might as well be working on a factory line assembling chotchkes, or gew-gaws, or thingamajigs, or whatchamacallits, or etc. my computer keeps telling me i need to restart it so some updates i just downloaded can get installed properly and i don’t have to go to the dentist for 5 more hours and all this talk about the changing of the seasons is making me tired so i will run along now, hope your equinox was great and that your town is still as sleepy as it ever was.


aren’t we all?

tomorrow never knows

i always thought you could break people down into 2 camps, people who liked the beatles vs. those who preferred the stones. the idea was that a beatles fan would be oriented more towards pop music(melody, harmony, mass appeal, a pint of lager) while a stones fan was looking for something more dangerous(monster riffs, edgier lyrical content, illicit drugs), something we might call “rock” music. i have always found myself in the stones(or “rock”) camp but have nevertheless come to appreciate what the beatles were as well and at this point am willing to admit that songs like the one above rank easily with the best the rolling stones had to offer and in terms of psychedelic music the beatles win hands down anyways, i mean the stones only attempted the psych thing once(their satanic majesties request) and it pretty much sucked. strawberry fields forever.

today they’re having a much ballyhooed mass action in new york city called the “people’s climate march” and in my opinion a lot is riding on the success or failure of this event in terms of any viable future for humanity, i know that sounds dramatic but it’s true. i’ve been listening to independent media(like democracynow! which has live coverage of the march from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM est, you should check it out) for about 14 years and that’s been the only place you could find an educated discussion of climate change/global warming right up to today, i mean the mainstream media still presents climate change denial as if it was a serious thing so fuck them anyways. over the years the science has become better and better and as that has happened the problem has grown more and more dire and as THAT has happened the warnings from scientists have become stronger and stronger until today when the overwhelming consensus seems to be that something needs to be done NOW if global warming is to be at all mitigated and it may well be too late at this point anyways. it’s decades too late for any reasonable response(such as limiting carbon emissions and at least STARTING to transition to more renewable forms of energy) to be considered “proactive” and there is no longer any way to avoid the affects of global warming so any actions taken are at this point defensive, an attempt to limit FURTHER environmental degradation. the action today might actually be the last hope for achieving even this small goal and there’s also a more radical action taking place tomorrow called “flood wall street” which will attempt to disrupt the business of the 1% and  will no doubt be met with heavy-handed police violence so i plan on following all these events and seeing what comes of it. tomorrow never knows.

me and wookie were talking about such topics the other day and she has a hard time fathoming how the people in power who make decisions regarding such threats as climate change could behave in such a way as to endanger not only the population at large but more specifically themselves and their children. knowing what being a parent is all about makes it almost impossible for wookie to square the overwhelming love and concern for one’s child with the insane and destructive actions taken by these people in the public sphere. it really is a kind of mental illness. but the demands of a capitalist economy dictate that the people in charge of making economic decisions do so with regard only for profit, their job is to maximize market share and shareholder wealth and if they don’t do that then they get canned and the board of directors puts someone in their place who WILL do that. you could say that it’s a completely self-destructive system except for the minor point that it destroys everything else too. it’s just complete and absolute insanity.

shit, i was planning on this post being a tad more optimistic so at this point i will now list things that make me feel good: music, family, wookie, guzzy, leni, art, brave acts by humane people, humane acts by brave people, radical leftist politics, the possibility of evolution, the possibility of revolution, ice cream, pizza, animals, good neighbors, kindness, the resiliency of hope, the resiliency of the palestinians, the resiliency of the human body, the expansiveness of the human mind, the strength of the human spirit, intelligent people who speak honestly, honest people who speak clearly, love, sex, naps, a nice pair of slippers, a good baseball game, a good basketball game, a good hockey game, a good football game, coffee in the morning, fixing stuff, creating stuff, the calmness of the early morning, autumn, and knowing that i never have to drink again.



albert hofmann by josh rutski, from the psychedelic society

bridge over troubled everything

revolutionary change is always an interesting phenomena but most of the time people can’t make enough of a leap to get from here to there w/o at least a modicum of assistance and for now i’ll call any and all such assistance a “bridge” and for our purposes here let’s call any change via bridge “evolution”. well X was a good bridge between a and b for me where “a”=rock and “b”= punk meaning it would have been a lot harder to get from zeppelin to black flag without first hearing X; the gap was just too wide(1st use of the semi-colon by me in a blog post). so not only does music often have a bridge within a song which serves to connect the song’s constituent parts but also you can bridge your musical perspective from narrower to broader by finding a sonic path which introduces an element(call it “a.5″) somewhere between here and there. or you can just write a song called the bridge, like this:

(i hope the cosmic age is more sophisticated than this one).
i could’ve used a bridge between my previous experience and the scene i encountered last night at the hollywood theatre. wookie took me and her mom to see a rock-climbing movie that her ex-boyfriend co-directed(i think it was called “valley uprising”) and the crowd there was very homogeneous and very specifically oriented into a culture that was pretty foreign to me; i felt like i was in a movie(2nd semi-colon, watch me go!) in which an audience immersed in rock-climbing culture was watching a movie about rock-climbing culture where people climbed rocks in order to bridge the gap between generations of rock climbers and make some sort of indelible mark in the process. so now we’re back to bridges. i was also inspired to coin a new term, “mandals”, which just means “man sandals”. wookie remarked that there had to be a way of working the word “mandolin” into the equation and we decided that if we went w/a phonetic spelling we could turn “mandolin” into a verb, i.e. “i really needed to bridge the gap between my present conditioning and rock-climbing shape so i decided to go mandalin'”. i know, i know, but it was really funny last night.

portland has a lot of bridges, there’s 11 of them(w/one more on the way). when you drive across the fremont bridge(405) or the marquam bridge(5) you can get a pretty sweet view of all of them and when you do you will understand why they call it “bridge city”. but even if you look long and hard you will NEVER understand why they call it “rip city” because there isn’t any reason at all, the phrase was made up on the spot by long-time trailblazer announcer bill schonley(“the schonz”) during a blazer/laker game in portland’s first season when he spontaneously yelled out “rip city-all right!” after a what would’ve been a 3-pointer(had 3-pointers existed back then). anyways the name stuck and is still used to this day. and the schonz? well he retired a few years ago. he gave a farewell speech at the rose garden(now moda center, goddamit) during half-time of a game(a bridge between the 1st and 2nd halfs, if you will) some years back and i was listening on the radio and i swear to god i almost cried. nice work, schonz.

pittsburgh has WAY more bridges than portland and that’s why they call it “the city of bridges”. i was there twice but should’ve been there 3 times, let me explain. first we played at carnegie-mellon university w/guided by voices and they were DRUNK. the next time we played at some weird space in one of many industrial sections, there was hardly anyone there. both of those shows were put on by a real jerk named manny so when the 3rd time rolled around and we had driven all night trying to get there but were still like 7 hours from pittsburgh we said fuck it and blew it off, the only time we ever missed a show. except one time at a community center in the middle of england somewhere when we were a little late and the assholes in that stupid band cornershop(“brimful of asha”) told the promoters that they didn’t want us to play. they gave us 3 cans of beer and sent us on our way. also i missed a show in austin because of heatstroke but kirk and kevin played with king from butthole surfers filling in while i layed in an emergency room bed drinking the 2 cans of gatorade they gave me for my troubles.

one time on a okcupid date the girl wanted to take me on a drive(?) and we drove to cascade locks and from there crossed the bridge of the gods into washington. also i had my 1st panic attack on the bay bridge and had a semi-attack just recently while stopped on the high part of the astoria bridge(construction). then of course there’s the bridge to terabithia and a bridge over troubled waters and the rainbow bridge and also lloyd bridges(not to mention todd).

i’m gonna be drunk at your wedding

we played shows with smog 3 times that i can remember. the 1st time was in L.A. at the jabberjaw, an all-ages club on pico where i ran into one of my cousins who i hadn’t seen since he was a kid. he was all grown up and had a friend who was really into my band so that was cool. it also gave me an avenue back into my grandma’s heart, she had at that point basically disowned me because she thought i was wasting my life. she loved scotty, though, so when he told her about my band and especially after i was able to introduce him to Beck she softened her stance towards me, which is good because she died a short time after that. the 2nd time we played with smog was at the nightbreak in SF when we were so late for our opening slot that we had to drive the truck up directly behind the stage and load our stuff immediately onto it and set up quick and skip soundcheck and just start playing. the 3rd time we played with smog was in nijmegen, the netherlands, where jason from sebadoh drank a large bottle of chocomel down in one gulp(as described previously in the pages of anyways smog(aka bill callahan) never once at any of the 3 shows said a single word to anyone in my band, not even when we we were all in the dressing room together. the most we got from him was a feeble wave goodbye when we were leaving the jabberjaw. artists are weird people.

i got really drunk at my sister’s wedding. it was on my 20th birthday and since my dad was dead me and my brother walked her down the aisle. i was happy for her, she had found a good man to get married to after a very questionable dating life, there were a couple of bad apples in the mix and also at least one abusive boyfriend named mike who everyone in my family hated. one time he gave me an atomic wedgie in albertson’s(a grocery store) and made me cry out in pain and my sister read him the riot act right there in the store. i used to hang out w/my sister and her friends a lot even though(or maybe because) i was quite a bit younger than them. anyways her wedding was a daytime affair at a nice place in san juan capistrano(home of the swallows) and i remember that her friend janette sang that horrible song from beaches, “the wind beneath my wings”. i also remember that it was an open bar and i drank good beer all day until there was only me and a couple of my friends left at which point they stopped serving us and we drank a few half-empties that were lying around. i fell asleep that night with the light on and a beer(bass ale) in my hand and everyone was surprised that i was able to brave my hangover and make it to breakfast the next morning.

i got even drunker at my brother’s wedding, it was at his house in long beach and i don’t remember much about the wedding itself or if i was in it or anything but i guess i must have been because i was the best man and as such was also called upon to give the toast. there was a lot of people there and i don’t like speaking in front of a lot of people so i hit the sauce pretty hard and at some point started thinking i wouldn’t have to give the toast because it was getting pretty late but right when i was drunkenly breathing a sigh of relief they called me out and i had to do it anyways. i remember i had a beer in my hand and there were all those eyes on me and i don’t recall everything i said except that i remember talking about the time i almost ran over my brother when he was standing on a ladder. he was trying to fix the basketball hoop on the roof over the garage and for some reason i tried to back my mom’s cutlass out into the driveway and even though i saw the ladder and knew my brother was on it i was quite inexperienced behind the wheel and ran into the thing anyways. he managed to scream and i hit the breaks and the ladder wobbled a lot but didn’t come down. my brother was extremely pissed off but the story did end up making pretty good toast fodder and generated some chuckles and even a couple of guffaws.

i never got married and have no plans to and i don’t drink anymore so there’s no way i’m gonna be drunk at my wedding or anybody else’s from here on out. my friend cary was supposed to get married shortly after i got sober and i was dreading it because i didn’t think there was any way i could get through such a thing sober, especially since i might’ve been the best man for that one too and as such would have had to give a toast in front of even MORE people(cary has a lot of friends). anyways that wedding got called off so it’s possible i’ll never have to give another toast again which would be just fine with me, even though not drinking has become 2nd nature for me at this point(he says w/possibly misplaced confidence) so i wouldn’t have to worry about that.

and speaking about affairs of the heart me and wookie and her mom are going to see a rock climbing movie tonight that was made by wookie’s old boyfriend who is now a pretty famous rock climbing film maker. wookie used to be a rock climber herself and is annoyed with that free climber alex something-or-other who climbs things like half-dome in yosemite without any gear at all, she thinks it’s suicidal and sets a bad example for other climbers. wookie got married once but i was not at her wedding and at this point she’s waiting for her divorce to get signed off on, and nobody’s getting drunk anytime soon. love is nice but it can sure be complicated.

30 days ’til lift-off

i gave my 30-day notice to the landlords yesterday. i’ve been in this place almost 10 years and haven’t been a real clean-freak so there’s a lot of shit that’s looking pretty shabby, the floors need to be redone and the tub looks like hell and the ceiling paint is peeling and a few things are missing, like the bathroom sink stopper(?) and most of the blinds. looking back over a decade of questionable behavior is like a sociology experiment, or would it be anthropology? everytime i hit a milestone and look back i see a fair amount of carnage and mis-management of time and effort and then i vow that the next stretch is going to be a different story but apart from minor improvements here and there the trends all seem to converge on the same path and that path points directly to the conclusion that i’m simply unorganized and sloppy and tend to ignore certain issues until they can no longer be avoided at which point it’s often too late for quick fixes or easy solutions. like i have no idea when the toilet got so stained or the finish in the bathtub got so fucked up or where that huge scratch(gouge?) in the hardwood floor came from or how the fridge got so thrashed or why i painted half of the quarter-round baseboard trim on one wall but not the other half and where in the hell does all of this hair come from? these are the questions that are popping up this morning as i take stock of where i’m at as a human being and how pissed the landlords are going to be, they’re a lesbian couple who have a kind of good cop/bad cop approach to apartment management and they want to come over tomorrow(already!) and do a “walkthrough”. my sense is that their expectations are unrealistic at this point and that their usual passive/aggressive tendencies are soon going to be streamlined into acts of straight-up aggression directed at your humble narrator. i’ll be at a rock-climbing film(long story) while they are taking stock of my house-sitting abilities and i’ll be expecting a nasty voice-mail or an eviction notice upon my return, or maybe both.

but this is my main concern:


you see what i mean? she’s obviously an angel but her whole life she’s been an indoor/outdoor creature and now that i’m moving into a second floor apartment(as opposed to a one-story duplex apartment w/a yard) she will be confined to an interior existence with the exception of a small balcony that i’m worried she might jump off. look at that face, would you want to be the one responsible for telling her that she no longer has the option of running through the grass or climbing the douglass fir? i don’t think so. she’s 10 years old and not used to being cooped up and if she gets out of the apartment and down the stairs somehow then she’s dead meat, the apartment is right there on division and there’s cars flying by 24/7 and if she gets spooked and bolts she’s a goner and if that ever happened i would never in a million years forgive myself. take me, lord, for it is i who bear the stain of original sin(or some such mumbo jumbo), i have taken thy name in vain(often) strictly for (melo-)dramatic impact, i remain unconvinced that you were able to flop right out of your grave in order to perform parlor-tricks for a gullible audience and i’m frankly very skeptical about both pearly gates and eternal damnation. so crush me like a bug, lord god king oh mighty one, but leave my little butterball guzzy out of your maniacal plans for revenge. sincerely, etc. etc.

anyways wookie came by yesterday w/cleaning supplies and i remain non-optimistic about the state of my apartment’s condition. my 1st half-assed foray into long-overdue cleansing resulted in a slightly less-gross toilet and the realization that the tub is in way worse shape than i might have hoped. maybe i’ll buy some white rustoleum spray-paint and “touch it up”. but i just remembered that i never signed another lease after the 1st year so maybe i’ll just spend the day planning my next decade, there’s another apartment to be lived in and i hear there’s still lots of damage that needs to be done, and although i don’t like to toot my own horn i feel like my skills are peculiarly tailored to this particular endeavor. see you in another 10 years.



bob dylan, isis, and the one that got away

for some reason i was thinking about this song on my way home, i wonder why? how come out of the blue i have this overwhelming urge to hear “isis” by bob dylan? what might’ve sparked my interest in listening to “isis” at 5:23 on a monday morning?( it’s a real mystery). i hadn’t thought about “isis” in a long time and all of a sudden lately the song has been on my mind a lot. what could it be? what might account for my preoccupation w/”isis” these days? (it’s a real puzzler). any ideas?(send responses to infinitytrigger etc.etc.)

whatever the explanation might be the fact is that  i’m listening to “isis” right now and it’s  got me thinking about another “isis” who was not a song but was in fact a girl. she lived on my street, down at the end near halsey, and drove a red car. i mention the car because that’s usually where i saw her, driving by  my place  or passing her while i was in MY car(which is also red). i never knew her name was “isis” until the very end of my story but i saw her fairly often and seeing her was pretty interesting right off the bat because one of the very first times we passed each other she smiled a big smile and waved at me, which struck me as being odd. the 1st thing i noticed about her was her teeth, they were big and white. she had teeth that other teeth aspire to be. also she was pretty. and she waved. i guess i didn’t think too much about it until it happened again, and then again. every time we saw each other (which was always when she was in her car) she either smiled or waved or both and although looking back it seems rather straightforward at the time it just struck me as weird. that might’ve been because of MY car, which wasn’t a car at all but was a truck, a (very faded) red ’80-something toyota with a giant wood rack on it and lots of rust holes and just sorta beat-to-shit in general. my old boss bill had given me the truck in lieu of wages after he drove our housepainting business into the ground either by gambling away all the money or by gross mismanagement of funds or both. he kept putting me off and putting me off and eventually had to admit that he didn’t have the money to pay me and that really sucked, we were good friends by that point and in fact almost family(i dated his daughter allison for 5 years and was very good friends with his son geoff too) so there was a real sense of betrayal involved, i remember going to lunch w/him to discuss the situation and saying “look bill, you just can’t do this, you owe me over a thousand dollars and you have to figure something out” to which he responded “you can’t get blood out of a turnip”. i always thought that was a weird phrase.

anyways he never paid me but at some point geoff gave him the toyota for free which was appropriate because of familial ties and also because someone had given GEOFF the car for free and since bill already had a car he decided to give me the truck and call it even which was annoying because a) the truck wasn’t worth that much and  b) i didn’t really feel that him giving me a truck he had gotten for free really settled anything. add to that the fact that the truck blew a head gasket not long after i got it and you’ve got me on the short end of that deal. but the main thing about the truck was that the wooden rack and general fucked-up condition of it gave the appearance of a real hayseed vehicle, it made me feel like a hick. also the cops used to stop me in it all the time but that’s probably because my tags were expired, i yelled at a cop once because i thought(i told him) that i was being targeted because i was driving such a jalopy but he simply said “i stopped you because your tags were expired”. shit, maybe he was telling the truth, but the fact remains that i felt like a real hobo in that thing. which is why i couldn’t figure out why isis kept waving. not only that but this one day i was standing outside by the truck and she drove past and screeched to a halt in front of the neighbor’s house and just sat there. i waited but nothing happened for several minutes and then she drove off. that move still confuses me to this day but i guess i figure she wanted me to approach her except that  i felt self-conscious because of my hick-mobile and didn’t. what an idiot.

it all came to a head one night when i had been drinking and was out of beer and decided to put on my sunday’s finest and stroll over to her place and introduce myself on my way to the store, which i did. i mustered up some nerve(i wonder if anyone has ever said “hey look i’ve just mustered up some mustard” because that would be funny) and marched over to her house and knocked on her door and when she opened the door i said “hi, my name is kevin and i live down the street and i wanted to come over and introduce myself”. but the fucked up thing is that after introducing myself i looked inside her place and noticed that all of the furniture was gone and she was in the middle of cleaning up and that she was obviously just then moving out of her house. i used to have terrible timing which is weird because i’m a drummer. so then isis introduces herself and i say “oh like the bob dylan song” and she says “so are you out in the neighborhood introducing yourself to everyone?” and i say “no, just you” and she doesn’t say much else and i suddenly get really thirsty so i take my rejected(and stupid)-feeling leave of her and go get more beer and she moves out of there soon after that and i never see her again and i kick myself many times for blowing that whole scenario and blowing it badly.

so that’s my “isis” story and i still think about her sometimes but i’m certain that she is not the reason that i’ve been obsessed w/ isis lately, there must be another explanation but i’m tired and don’t feel like thinking about it anymore. wookie has a job interview today and she’s anxious about it but she can’t tell if she’s nervous about NOT getting the job or GETTING the job, it’s a quandary. but it’s monday and we all have a clean slate of sorts,  i personally have to give my 30-day notice to the landlords because i’m moving and that makes ME anxious so i’m gonna try to do some art and forget about it, every feeling has it’s release and god bless bob dylan for addressing so many of them and isis, too.


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