expressway to my skull

the song of the day is sonic youth’s “expressway to yr skull” because i woke up with ornette coleman’s “lonely woman” in my head but didn’t want to post it because i might have already done so. how i stumbled into a sonic youth song i haven’t listened to in about 5 years is one of those “unknowns”, either serendipitous or tragic depending on your point of view. now that i think about it sonic youth and ornette coleman DO have something of a common thread in that both sort of extended the range of “useable” notes, playing seemingly counterintuitive harmonies to the point where a lot of people just thought they were out of tune. in this way both made an important contribution to the musical landscape, freeing up a lot of other musicians to investigate sounds that got progressively further and further afield. so if you’re someone who enjoys listening to stuff that leans toward the dissonant end of the musical spectrum, ornette coleman and sonic youth are 2 entities that have managed to make something of an difference in your life. which is very generous of them.

they’ve got something else in common too which is that i used to have a lot of records made by each of them and now have quite a bit fewer. in sonic youth’s case i’m not that bummed, i no longer really listen to them and anyways i managed to hang on to the 3 records of theirs that i actually WOULD put on if i found myself in the mood. the loss of ornette records is just one more in a long line of events that i hate looking back on. selling off pieces of a collection you’re been working on for 20 years may seem/be necessary at the time but with a little foresight i could have avoided it easily enough. i got rid of scores of good records but the ones that really chap my hide are all the good jazz records i sold back. with a lot of the rock stuff i had heard the songs so many times that not having them in album form is not going to ruin me and while i guess losing the jazz ones won’t either it’s nonetheless different with them because the jazz tunes always sound new, there’s always stuff to hear that you hadn’t caught before. here’s the example i’ve already mentioned, it’s not 15 minutes long which is how i like them but it’s pretty superb for sure:

well there you have it. i’m cutting this one short because i don’t trust this new wordpress “new post” page too much(i’ve lost at least 2 blogs to it already) and you used to be able to use the old “new post” page but apparently that option has been dropped. wookie and leni are attempting to figure out their day and i guess i am too, hope yours is good.

one of these days

today just started with less a whimper than a groan, me and wookie both grappling with sort of obtuse semi-nightmares that created comfort issues early this A.M. and resulted in(at the very least) vague annoyance/unease upon waking. i had pre-decided not to write or do much else today except watch march madness(go aztecs! fuck duke!) and read but after getting me and wookie coffee and trying(briefly) to comfort her some i sat down and ended up (via a facebook post) really needing to hear the song “here come the warm jets” after which i decided to move on to the entire album and here i am halfway through it and hoping that maybe you are too.
sunday is a day of the week that has a definite feel but the funny thing is that now that wookie is working sunday-thursday saturday is starting to have that very same feel so that now i’m basically getting 2 sundays a week. even weirder is that even though i don’t have a “regular” job(meaning no particular place to go at no particular time) i’m nonetheless, via wookie and leni, still feeling the “feel” of those days that have them in the first place. which are…tuesday, wednesday, friday, sunday, and saturday(which now feels like sunday). and now that i’m thinking about it i’m wondering if for wookie sunday still feels at all like sunday USED to feel or if it just feels like monday now, and if so then what the hell does monday actually FEEL like?(and having avoided any M-F 9-5 jobs except a couple of part-time summer things over the course of my life this is a legitimate question). anyways here’s my “day-feelings” rundown:
TUES: sad, empty, and slightly menacing
WEDS: similar to tuesday, only fuzzier and less distressing
FRI: more of an affected feel to it; people seem lighter and traffic seems heavier and that rubs off on the day in some nebulous manner
SUN: wistful, somewhat melancholy, and deep in a weird way.
BUT CHECK THIS OUT! right as i was ending the list above the “warm jets” record finished and for whatever reason youtube is now doing this thing where as soon as your previous selection ends it automatically picks something related and plays that next. usually i don’t let it(capitalism is all about consumer choice, right?) but today i was otherwise engaged in writing this post and didn’t get to it in time so youtube went ahead and picked something else and the something else was also by brian eno and guess what it was? guess what it fucking was(you’re not going to believe this)? what youtube picked was another full album by brian eno and the name of that album is…”thursday afternoon”. i mean here not only have i been rambling on about the days of the week and how they “feel” but i also(by omission) insinuated that perhaps THURSDAY doesn’t actually have a “feel” and right as i finish up my thursday-less list AN ENTIRE ALBUM ABOUT HOW THURSDAY FEELS STARTS. i’ve never heard it before and in case you haven’t either here it is:

so this is why it’s always good to TRY something even if you don’t really feel like it, you never know what’s going to happen. today could easily have been a total wash but now i’ve got myself a little story to tell and i can keep it in my arsenal and pull it out whenever necessary from here until tuesday. and you know now i’m wondering about where that band ‘TIL TUESDAY got their name, so i’m going to google it and what i found is…not very interesting. apparently when they first started they always practiced on tuesdays and so whenever they bid each other adieu they would always say “til tuesday”. you see what happens when you’re dealing with a crappy new wave band and not brian eno? you don’t get that great of a story.
and did you know where the phrase “a month of sundays” came from? well apparently it was first used in 1832 and basically means a long dreary time since games and other amusements used to be banned on sundays. there’s also that movie “on any given sunday” where al pacino says this:


scarface! say hello to my little friend!
right here is where i would usually put that awesome clip for the VU’s “sunday morning” but i think i’ve already posted that a couple of times and there’s also that johnny cash song “sunday morning coming down” but i’m starting to feel wistful and heavy so i’m just gonna stop and start watching some basketball. bring on the madness.

get a grip

“the worst crime that i ever did was playing rock and roll”, that’d be a nice epitaph and if anyone remembers when i punch my ticket go ahead and put it right there on the stone. i’m not 100% convinced that it’s true but it’s important to remember that in most cases you have to give the newly departed the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to their own epitaphs. i mean that IS their last opportunity to get a parting shot in and you wouldn’t want to rain on a dead guy’s parade, would you? because those sorts of shenanigans can get your ass haunted, and i mean quick.
saturday is a good day for yard sales in most parts of the world but here in portland it’s tricky because of the enormous-and-growing “hipster” influx that’s been fucking everything up for the previously dominant “low-rent” contingent in the rose city since about the turn of the century. apart from driving the rents precipitously skyward these bearded ingenues have also destroyed a once-thriving cheap-as-shit garage sale paradise and turned the entire scene into a sick panoply of ‘roided-up estate sales slinging overpriced so-called-“vintage” ephemera in a manner more akin to melrose than rose city. and don’t even get me started on the thrift stores except to say that when you find yourself driving for an hour in order to visit the 2nd hand shops of underwhelming cornelius, oregon you know your town has officially gone bonkers.

it’s been 3 and 1/2 years since i smoked a cigarette and although i do get cravings no matter how hard they might hit they don’t last for more than 5 or so seconds so as long as i don’t lose my shit while somehow already holding a lit cigarette in my hand i think i’m safe. i was thinking about what my ashtrays used to look/smell like the other day and felt my 1st twinge of revulsion about a habit i devoted over 20 years of my life to. having habits like that really sort of entrenches you in that when you smoke close to 2 packs a day you know that your apartment is going to smell, your breath is going to smell, your car is going to smell, your clothes are going to smell, ad infinitum. in other words there is no hiding the situation and since the situation is bound to bring down a certain amount of heat you’re going to have to defend yourself and to do it you really have to become a sort of poster boy for the wonderful world of nicotine addiction. the way i did it was to sort of align myself mentally with a genre of smoker i could really inhabit as a recurring role in my own little stinky melodrama. the whole thing was fairly hackneyed but i was able to invest enough truth into the proceedings to first convert myself and then make a believer out of everyone else(because remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it). it was the old standard “starving artist” approach that was supposed to explain away all the chronic behaviors even though i was hardly an artist and rarely starving. i must be a decent enough actor though, the part lasted 2 decades but instead of an oscar(or a golden globe) i ended up with bad teeth and severe withdrawal symptoms for my troubles.
wookie’s day yesterday was one long, pointless struggle with the horrors of modern bureaucracy in which reams of paperwork and hours wasted standing in lines got her exactly nowhere. she’s in the middle of a name change and trying to acquire a passport for leni and herself to go to france and nobody’s making anything easy. the social security office and the office of records and the passport agencies and the courts and etc are for reasons unbeknownst to anyone set up in such a way that they are interreliant on each other while having very little contact or cross-referencing capacities. after 10 hours out and about wookie returned home with a huge scrape on the front end of her car and just about nothing else. i’m going to let her sleep all day.
anyways the coffee got cold and i need the coffee so i’m off to the microwave. in an hour or so i’ll probably be back asleep with with cat and girl and that’s about as good a way to spend a saturday as i can think of.

statistically speaking

sometimes it’s best not to check on your stats because according to MY stats page this blog right here(the very one that you’re most likely not reading) has had a grand total of ZERO visitors since the 17th of march. now it’s true that there IS something fishy going on in that during the same period i’ve had several “likes” and picked up a few followers(i still haven’t figured out how wordpress calculates all this stuff) but i’m still not going to pretend that the glaring goose eggs in both the “visitors” and “views” categories over the past few days isn’t at least a tad disheartening. as a result i’ve been reduced to trying to come up with a song to post that might have a somewhat larger appeal(springsteen? zeppelin?) than the usual semi-obscure fare offered up by the folks at i’ve not yet settled on one but the entire pathetic process has put a real damper on my friday morning mojo. pandering in any form is a real shit-show that benefits exactly nobody but if some piece-of-crap middle-of-the-road radio-friendly ditty is the ticket to a more impressive stat-sheet then you can call me dick clark(or at least casey kasem), bring on the hits!

alright so it’s hardly james taylor(or taylor swift for that matter) but you know where i’m coming from.
wookie used to make fun of my daily stats-checking(on wordpress and elsewhere) but ironically the tables have somewhat turned, she’s become stats-centric and i’ve started to drift a bit into other, equally marginal concerns(like march madness). wookie’s new-found concern with “the numbers” have to do with an etsy shop she set up to sell off some of the vintage scores she’s accumulated over the years and continues to acquire at an impressive rate(she’s got an eye for fashion, that wookie). anyways we had to take a bunch of pictures of her modelling the stuff and then she had to sort of design her shop and get everything up and running and her stats spiked markedly and then dropped off and i could see the semi-dejection in her eyes like the goddamned mirror-into-my-soul that it was. we’re all just looking for a little love in this world and those zeros can really weigh a person down. although i’m pretty sure she hasn’t yet hit rock-bottom w/the litany of null-sets i’ve been racking up as of late, not to mention the fact that she’s actually trying to sell stuff and not just crying into her non-beer version of a beer like your humble(or rather “humbled”) narrator.
anyways this is of course the danger when you make even a half-assed attempt at “putting yourself out there”, not so much the rejection as the near-universal INDIFFERENCE which greets the vast bulk of whatever it is that one has to offer. there is an adage that says that some people will like what you do, some will hate it, and most won’t give a fuck one way or the other. and while that might seem sensible enough, when what you do doesn’t even provoke a response it ain’t easy to return to the proverbial drawing board day after day. i mean even a negative response is preferable, particularly one that you can write off as being misguided or ill-informed or which at least allows you to puff out your chest and bemoan the sad fact that your “art” is so far ahead of its time that your fame and recognition will most likely have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up by which time you’ll most likely be long dead in your soon-to-be newly-enshrined eternal resting place, most likely somewhere in paris.
a moment’s reflection might reveal how sort of silly all of this statistical nonsense is but a moment’s reflection will also reveal how silly pretty much EVERYTHING is, so who’s to say where to put the emphasis and how to best use the time? perhaps one day human beings will live in societies that encourage the development of their creative capacities but at the moment it’s a pretty all-consuming struggle just to stay semi-afloat in an economic system that consumes everything and offers nothing except certain(tainted) benefits to certain(corrupt) individuals while the rest of us waste our time and energy to profit the very few. meanwhile the same system offers us toxic food from a polluted environment to eat while watching mindless diversions created by cynical minds to keep us all isolated and afraid. that’s what you might call “culture” if people were actually fooled by it all but as far as i can tell while the average person is often distracted they’re hardly stupid and rarely hopeless. 144 years ago(almost to the day) the paris commune, a revolutionary socialist government, came to power and for the first time it was the workers who were running the show. their idea was to create a society that served the interests of the many and it is an idea that is still with us today and will exist as long as human beings exist. and there’s no reason to think it will necessarily lie dormant forever. as has been said many times before by many different people, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.

existentialism revisited


decided to listen to all 4 sides of “trout mask replica” by captain beefheart this morning because i seemed to have slipped into a semi-catatonic state as of late and my psyche could use some jostling. halfway through side 2 at the moment and decided to use any momentum i might gather from beefheart’s epic jaggedness by doing something i have been remiss about, namely writing this goddamned blog. there’s been a sort of spiritual stagnation that has either caused or been caused BY a deviation from a fairly functional routine of early to bed, early to rise, write/work on art all morning, then nap, clean up around the house, and either go pick up leni or read or otherwise pass the time until wookie’s return late in the afternoon. and without that semi-consistency i’m finding myself having a hard time finishing a piece or beginning a blog which quite frankly totally fucks with my head. i didn’t even leave the house from friday afternoon to tuesday morning and if you ask me what i was doing all that time i will respond i don’t know, i don’t know. and this is a real problem. working inside of a void is hard enough as it is, when you start to factor in declining productivity and a newly-developed aversion to doing the things that are going to add some much-needed meaning to these otherwise blank days you’re in dangerous territory. any signs of increasing laziness are red flags on the horizon and can also cause creative bottle-necks in the here and now, allowing self-doubt and second-guessing to creep into the equation like the parasitic soul-sucks that they are. and there’s already more than enough of that shit in the far-too-common lack of cosmic energy found in much of modern life’s day-to-day business-as-usual.
i have to interject here because i just took a break to get some coffee and water and reflecting on what i’ve written so far i’ve come to the conclusion that it’s main attribute is a rather large lack of perspective. i’ve allowed myself to become embroiled in what one might call an “existential dilemma” or some such shit and the thing about “existential” problems is that by their very definition they are not genuine crises in any sort of common-sense actuality. nobody is at risk in any life-and-limb sense, bombs aren’t falling, mortal danger is absent. in other words the only ones with the luxury to have an existential crisis are the ones with the least reason to, as a quick look around the world will reveal large numbers of unfortunate human beings who are in actual imminent danger of starvation, disease, and even total destruction. and i doubt very much that they’re sitting around in a comfortable apartment with a full-enough fridge and central heating feeling bad because a cushy-to-begin-with routine has been temporarily thrown slightly out of whack. so i’ll just move on to something else.
the first thing i’m going to attempt to do is insert a song into this post and see if it actually shows up where i want it to or instead heads straight to the very beginning of today’s entry and nudges the photo i started with down a notch like it used to. if you’re reading this after the fact and there is no song below then you will know how this little experiment worked against my sincere wishes. either way you should listen to “orange clawhammer” wherever you find it, it really is an interesting piece of “music”.

from the sounds of it there’s some construction going on in the building which would be good because this place is literally falling down, at least our little section. someone built a reinforcement wall right outside our door a while back and then disappeared and has not returned even though the walkway outside continues to develop a steeper and steeper pitch, causing cracks in the concrete to become ever-more visible. as far as i can tell noone in the entire building has any clue what’s going on and since we’re just renters here we’re pretty much out of the loop altogether.
i’ve been trying to figure out how to make prints at home and my fumbling and bumbling trial-and-error approach is no substitute for any actual acquisition of knowledge regarding such matters. in trying to avoid wasting money i instead waste time and it’s time that produces no strategy for avoiding eventually having to spend the money anyways.
wookie says my posts have been harder to process as of late because i’m either incapable of or unwilling to sort of wrap things up in a cohesive manner at the end like i used to and i’m afraid that today’s will be no different. existentially yours, infinitytrigger.


piss or get off the pot

i’m reading neil young’s autobio from a few years ago(“waging heavy peace”) and neil’s no writer(text, no music) which is odd because neil’s actually a great writer(lyrics + music) but i guess i need to refrain from conflating the 2 “writing”s. especially because i sort of like the book anyways, although i do skip a lot of it to get to the interesting stuff which is not his cars or trains or the ins and outs of equipment and/or sonics but is instead the more basic stuff, stories of tours and musicians and recording shit and especially crazy horse. i like neil young quite a bit but i LOVE neil young and crazy horse, they’ve got a real sort of dense crunchines. a cathartic whomp. a bong-rattling ear-piercingness. an unconstrained, lumbering boogie. can you tell i used to write for and edit a music ‘zine?(i didn’t say it was GOOD)(but it was). here’s a fun example…

neil young is like bob dylan and lou reed except he’s not quite as good as those other 2 but that’s just me being really fucking petty, and TOM petty is not even close to being anywhere near the same league. in fact outside of jazz it’s hard for me to think of an INDIVIDUAL-type musician who would be on this short list except mark e smith but that’s kind of another category because even though he’s been the only consistent member of the fall and it’s definitely HIS band it still is a band of sorts and he’s never done anything outside of it.
also neil young and bob dylan and lou reed(and i guess mark e smith too if he’s still hovering around the periphery of this discussion) are similar in that they’re all capable of being rather difficult people in terms of their relationships with other musicians and the public but i let that stuff slide because i think i understand why it’s like that and even if i didn’t the fact that they, through their music, have done so much good in the world(at least in my world) that i’m not going to be petty(that word again!) and hold them to some sort of arbitrary standard of civility. people contribute in all sorts of ways and these fellas contribute PLENTY. and i’ll mention nick cave real quick partially because he’s another one of those individual/band singer-songwriter types who merits a shout out and also because i really like his version of the song that started this whole post a’rollin’, so check it out:

really beautiful but there’s a funny thing about this one too which is that at one point many years ago this was the only upload of this song on youtube(there’s about 5 now) so if you wanted to post it you had to include the goofy “world of warcraft” video stuff and at the time i had no idea what it was and when my friend larry saw that i had posted it on facebook he was cracking up because he thought i was somehow into “wow” which was even funnier because when he mentioned it in a comment on my post i had no idea what “wow” even stood for. but you live and you learn.
anyways now that i’m thinking about it i’m starting to see how i ended up with this post this morning. it all started yesterday when i wanted to post the nick cave version. now as i’ve mentioned i’ve been reading “waging heavy peace” but i’m pretty sure i left out the fact that i keep the book in the bathroom and only read it when i’m on the toilet. although now that i think about THAT i don’t think there’s much of a correlation except for the fact that in reading the book i was probably led into thinking about “helpless” and i really like the nick cave version so was going to start with that yesterday and see where it got me. i ended up writing about something else(nothing, if i remember correctly) so maybe it was still in the back of my mind this morning? regardless right when i woke up i had the lou reed song “strawman” in my head and so i posted it on facebook after which i had to poop and during THAT activity i was reading the neil young book and i now remember specifically that there’s a picture of a set list for a massey hall(canada) show taped to neil’s guitar and the first song on it that jumped out at me was “helpless” and that must have got the ball rolling. see what a little (self-)investigative work can do at 6 in the morning? anyways since there’s no limit on how many songs you can fit into one post here’s another gem(recently mentioned):

last night me and wookie had leni’s dad and his girlfriend and THEIR new baby over to eat pizza and watch harry potter(“chamber of secrets”) and it was perfectly pleasant except that we weren’t able to finish the movie because the baby got tired and started fussing. before that she pooped all over molly(the girlfriend) and the floor, right in the middle of a diaper change! what a mess! baby poop has a smell all it’s own.
how’d i get onto this whole “toilet” theme?
happy sunday!

i got a write

i haven’t been writing much lately and i’d like to think it’s because i’ve been doing too much other creative stuff like doing art or taking 2-hour naps(gotta rest up for all that creative stuff) but like with most things i think it’s a pretty mixed bag. i HAVE been trying to finish up a bunch of pieces and have also been taking down/hanging shows and trying to figure out how make prints/have them made and also tying up all the loose ends regarding the tape release for union pole and taking care of leni but to say this takes up more than about 30% of my time might be a stretch. the fact of the matter is that if i had more discipline i could be doing what i’ve been doing PLUS writing most days PLUS doing some research on things i need to know like how to sell art and why the bathtub won’t drain, or figuring out a better approach/method for scanning/printing than the sort of half-assed and semi-cognizant trial-and-error attempts that i’m famous for, i could be doing all of this shit and have time left for watching the 3rd season of the wire and picking up a goddamned book from time to time(where’d my pelecanos-inspired momentum go fer chrissakes?) and visiting people i should visit(or at least WANT to visit) and etc. there’s a lotta minutes in a day and i could most definitely using more of them productively, so let’s try not to kid ourselves too much here.
probably the main thing about the writing stuff is that i’ve lost a certain amount of not-giving-a-shit off-the-cuff-ness and once that’s gone you’d better have a PLAN bub, cos you’ve got to generate a lot of words before you can even CALL the process of doing so “writing”, and i am(famously, yet not so) in general the plan-less type. now what i used to do was just pick a song i wanted to hear and post it up top and start writing and see where it went, it often started being about the song itself but then went on t0 bigger and better(or smaller and worse, but regardless DIFFERENT) things. but just like with this morning, lately i’ve been overthinking the song selection by trying to predict what i would be(or could be) writing about it and anything else and so i haven’t even gotten past the opening salvo and into the meat of whatever matter might crop up. finally today i just said fuck it and put the devo song on because i wanted to hear it and i obviously didn’t have any preconceived notions of what i might write about because i’m 440 words into this thing and still haven’t said anything at all, which is why it’s a good thing that i’ve thus far refrained from any boasting about my knack for “concision”, at least as far as this blog is concerned.
as far as actual CONTENT goes i guess i should mention a couple of things, like the fact that the president of the united states has declared that venezuela is a “national security threat”. VENEZUELA. somehow that got reported in the press without anyone commenting about how LAME and INACCURATE that statement actually is. apart from thwarting the US-backed coup attempt in 2002 and trying to keep their now-nationalized oil industry safe from the grubby hands of foreign investors(or US oil companies), venezuela has seemingly been focused as of late on practicing a sort of hybrid socialism and eating a shitload(in metric tonnage) of breakfast cereal. and let’s face it, even if they were dead-set on fucking with “that-little-country-up- north” for all that we’re worth(and how do you put a dollar value on that?) they’d be obliterated with heavy weaponry by the time they reached the costa rica-nicaragua border.
then there’s the wacky letter signed by 47 kooks who happen to serve as republican senators which attempts to somehow preemptively scuttle the ongoing nuclear talks that our government is having with the leaders of iran at the moment. the fact that we live in a society where our elected “statesmen” spend their time and energy engaged in such blatant acts of buffoonery and stupidity is not a fun one to have to cop to. at least they’re actually being called to the carpet for it, i mean most of the tomfoolery perpetrated by jack-ass politicians in this country goes largely unnoticed and/or unremarked on. the only fun thing about the whole spectacle is getting to watch iran’s foreign minister school the “senators” on not only international law but also the U.S. constitution and hearing same country’s Ayatollah Khamenei call netanyahu a “zionist clown”. you gotta take the mirth where you can find it these days.
wookie now has her etsy clothes shop up and running and the first thing she sold was a COPY of a collage she made out of the blue one day so i guess from now on i’ll be referring to HER as the “artist-in-residence”. which means i’ve lost my title to the contender and either need to take it back in a rematch or think of another goddamn name to use. any ideas?


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