your phone’s off the hook

i dropped my phone in the toilet, there was some pee in there but in went my hand in full salvage mode, groping blindly as the phone inched further and further away from me(i have big hands). frantically i yelled for wookie who came rushing in expecting who-knows-what(she sensed the edge in my voice) and bravely used her smaller paws to dig the old samsung galaxy out of the slightly befouled water. what a trooper! we got the battery out and dried everything off the best we could and when i put the battery back in the phone seemed to be working until i dropped it on the living room floor. it still worked but couldn’t read the sim card which i didn’t remove(wasn’t aware of it anyways) so i sat down and googled cell phones and holy shit are they expensive to replace. hoping for a miracle i went to the verizon store and told the young lady there what had happened, except i told her it was the sink and not the toilet that had done the damage. she opened the phone from the wrong end(twice) where there was already a crack and screwed it up even more then put a replacement sim card in there. no phone service. so i left but because of the wrong end thing i decided to double check and the sim card was fucking upside-down. i flipped it and thought i was in business but there was no dice there either. outside of the shop a dude who i had seen in the store was vaping his break away so i approached him and asked him about the sim card and he said that it was the right one but had been put in upside-down. the phone and the battery are now sitting in a sealed container full of rice, which is apparently(according to pretty much EVERYONE) the way to go in terms of removing all remnants of moisture. so maybe later it’ll work but i’m not optimistic. and truth be told, sometimes i want to go back to the stone age and resume my previous, anti-technology caveman-ism so i don’t have to worry about wasting time on the computer or busted smart phones. i’ve been roped in, goddammit, and i feel like a sucker.

i’m not going to reveal any plans to resume my semi-daily blog posts like i always seem to do after a substantial break and that’s because i don’t have any plans. it’s starting to look like is now officially a less pressing concern than other shit that has to get done. like doing art or watching the nba playoffs. i have a big show coming up in may and the place is cavernous and it’s gonna take a lot of pieces to fill it which is fine because i have a lot of pieces but getting it all together is going to something of a project. so it goes.

i’m trying to follow the events in baltimore but you really have to completely avoid any mainstream press if you’re looking for a non-racist and at least semi-coherent narrative. as usual all of the scribes and politicians want everyone to focus on the violence and rioting and get all indignant and self-righteous and throw around terms like “thugs” or “animals” or “outside agitators” without even blinking. the 1st 2 terms are totally racist and the 3rd is an old anti-communist canard from the fucking mccarthy era. the lack of understanding of privileged white folk on  just about any topic is indeed astounding and when it comes to race relations and the stark realities that people of color have to deal with every fucking day the staus quo viewpoint lacks any depth, empathy, or understanding at all. what passes for analysis in modern day america is pretty much ALWAYS self serving and also super fucking pathetic, and what that says about the pervasive mentality in this country is distressing to say the least. we had to hear all of this garbage during the L.A. riots in ’92, shit like “they should have pursued means other than violence” or “why are they destroying their own neighborhoods?” when any idiot who has managed to hang on to a few of their grey cells could come to the obvious conclusions about poverty, institutional racism, unemployment, lack of education, and/or the parasitic nature of modern day industrial capitalism. and all of that stuff is still with us today and if it doesn’t get addressed then this is going to keep happening. personally i support the protests and hope and pray that they will prove to be effective. systemic change is the only hope.

wookie’s under the weather and the weather goes back and forth, sunny and 80 and then raining and 50. i kind of like it. summer is definitely coming in fast and it’s probably my least favorite season because when the weather’s nice you no longer have an excuse to stay inside and i like to stay inside but without an excuse i can often feel somewhat guilty and lame too.  i’m like a mole with decent eyesight and a computer. and i gotta run.

from the hippo’s mouth


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when pot entered the picture

the first time i smoked pot it didn’t work. i was with my friend andy and we were in one of our garages and we smoked out of an aluminum can and i kept waiting to feel something but nothing happened. the 2nd time i smoked pot i was with my friend andy again and we were sitting in his corolla listening to rush and again we smoked out of an aluminum can(see what you do is you smash it a little at the end that doesn’t have the hole so that your marijuana will sit on the can without falling off and then you poke tiny holes in the in the now flattened part and put your pot on top and then light it while you’re inhaling from the hole where you usually drink coke or pepsi or orange crush from) and again i thought it wasn’t working but boy was i wrong. we were in the parking lot of baskin robbins and we sat there and listened to the music for while and then andy said “let’s go get some ice cream” and we left the car and i vaguely remember entering the shop but the next thing i was aware of was that andy was dragging me out of there and laughing and when we got outside he gave me the rundown which was that i had apparently walked into the crowded store and gotten super excited about what was on the menu and began yelling out all of the items i wanted to get and everyone was looking at us and so he rushed me out of there. i was surprised to hear about my shenanigans and got really embarrassed and then andy tried to get ME to go back in and get ice cream for us but i refused and finally andy went back in and he ordered us a “fudge brownie royale” and i swear to god it was the best sundae i’ve ever had.

andy was a notorious pot smoker at my high school and we used to do this thing in the summer which was that we’d go play tennis, get a slurpee at 7-eleven, get a sandwich at togo’s, and head for the beach. that summer we mostly listened to the buzzcocks’ “singles going steady” on the tape deck and we were both skim boarding a lot, that’s when you have a very thin piece of wood or fiberglass and you wait until the tide starts going back out and there’s a thin sheen of water on the sand and then you throw that thing hard onto the beach while you’re running to gather up speed and then you jump on it and ride it as far as it will take you. if there’s decent-sized shorebreakers you can hit those things and either cut back or do flips off of the board into the water. i ended up being a skimboarder because the very first time i tried to surf was in mexico when i was 8 years old and i got hit in the mouth with the surfboard and it split my lip open and cracked a tooth in half. there wasn’t really much we could do until we got back to california so i had to sit around ensenada for the next 3 days with a busted tooth and a lip the size of a waffle.

later on i got into more into music and andy got more into pot and we didn’t hang out quite so much but we still went to the same high school(he was a year ahead of me) and he drove an old piece of shit station wagon his parents gave him(the very same on that used to cart us off to the beach when we were kids) and one day he was coming back from lunch with a car full of his stoner friends and they were high as kites and andy decided to hit the little ramp that went into the top parking lot(there were 2) at high speed and apparently they attained lift-off but when they landed they wrapped the car around a light pole and nobody got killed but andy and his friend john got busted up pretty good and were found wandering onto campus super out of it with rivers of blood running down their faces where their heads had hit the dashboard. shortly after that andy’s sister jennie died in a car crash when her drunk boyfriend was behind the wheel and he ran full speed into a concrete divider while trying to get onto the freeway and they both died instantly. my dad was best friends with andy and jennie’s dad mory who was out of town at a sales convention so my dad had to drive out to the place where the convention was and tell him. i was upstairs when he got the call giving him the news and i remember him saying “goddamn it, goddamn it” over and over.

andy quit smoking pot shortly after that and my dad died a little while later and at his funeral mory gave the eulogy or whatever and he was really good, he was funny and tender and it was about as nice as it could be. my dad was in the hospital when i turned 18 and when i graduated high school and then died of brain hemmorhage after having a stroke. shortly after i that i got my acceptance letter from berkeley and almost didn’t go because i didn’t want to leave my grieving mother but she kind of insisted and by that point i was completely done with suburban life and all of the pot and drunk driving and white people and dead people and no culture and no edge and no nothing.

down in the flood

confusion is good when you’re talking about music because it means that your preconceptions about whatever it is you’re listening to were off and that often points to a situation where you’re actually hearing something “new” in one fashion or another and who doesn’t like “new”? especially because in musical terms “new” not only offers the opportunity of specific discovery but also the possibility of expanding your sonic universe in general because once you open up to something there’s often no way to close the door and then you’ve got a bum’s rush of new musical ideas on your hands and that’s where the magic happens. i mean it would be easy to rest on one’s laurels and just listen to the same sort of stuff over and over again for factors of familiarity and comfort but you know what they say, familiarity breeds contempt and the only people who need comfort are the afflicted so if you want to avoid both or either situation then you’d better get to expanding.

i bought the first public image record when i was 13 or 14 and was hoping to get a very sex pistols-ish sound from it but ended up getting something else and it sort of threw me and i’m still sort of thrown. i’ve come to decide that i don’t necessarily LIKE it all that much but i do appreciate the fact that PIL was trying something new and to me that’s almost more important because when you like a band that’s an isolated thing but when that band broadens the range of what can be done you might literally reap YEARS of listening challenges and enjoyments from other quarters.

another band i sort of skipped on “getting” the 1st time around is the fall, and they sound something like this:

but with the fall it was a little different because i didn’t know what to expect. i heard “bingo masters break out” on a punk comp i got when i was a tyke and i liked it but it was over my head at the time and it took me ’til i was in my 30’s to really come around. which is good but too goddamned late in a certain way. because it’s never to early to get your mind cracked open.

enough about music though, i’ve been in a funk, sort of a bad one, and par for the course there’s not a lot of specific culprits but instead a vague kind of all-consuming dread. i guess that’s what they call “depression” and as usual it’s a draining experience, motivation fades and you start the day with a crappy outlook that makes too much effort seem ultimately kind of pointless. this is why i haven’t been writing lately, this sense of incoming and inescapable doom. and it’s fucked because i know exactly what it is(even though the causes remain nebulous) but can’t do anything but pop a few meds and hope for the best. and let me just say that when you’re taking meds for depression and you still get depressed you really start to question the effectiveness and long-term outlook of this approach. not to mention the fact that i feel like something of a guinea pig taking all of this shit with little knowledge of possible side effects because the literature on this stuff usually lists everything from sleepiness to insomnia and from dizziness to diarrhea. spell check tells me that last word is spelled wrong but i think it’s spell-check that’s off the mark on this one.

wookie is also depressed and we were hoping that our depressions would generally get staggered so that at least one of us is functional at all times but it doesn’t seem to work like that, goddamn it. i’m hoping that getting up at 4:30 this morning and sitting down to write bodes better for the day effort-wise and hopefully even outcome-wise. i’ve been reading every dennis lehane book i can get my hands on, he’s the guy that wrote mystic river(which i will recommend) and he has a series of these sort of hardboiled mysteries/thrillers with these 2 private dicks that are really pretty good, funny and dark and psychological and violent. i’ve been shredding through a lot of the stuff wookie recommended that i read(i’ve been out of the literary loop for years) and it’s been fun, that 5-year reading hiatus really came to a crashing halt when i picked up pelecanos. unfortunately i’m a lot less adventurous with fiction than with music and have been sticking with gritty sort of detective stories but it’s been fun. i remember kamins told me once when i was considering moving in here that the only arena i was adventurous in was music and that the rest of my life was spent well within the boundaries of my comfort zone. as usual he’s probably right but his taste in music still sucks, so there.


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