Monday, September 25, 2006

Déjà vu, Groundhog's Day, and déjà vu.

I don't wanna hear another band whine about how tough it is to play the same songs every night. First of all, if you're lucky enough to have a gig every night, then that alone should prevent you bitching. But I've just spent a few nights in a whole other, non-musical, show-biz world, and let me tell you something; a headlining comedian at a club gig does THREE one hour long sets EACH NIGHT. I don't know how they do it. I have to admit I find it fascinating to hear the subtle differences in each set, but it's still the same material, just different links between each set-piece. Soon, I'm sure I won't find it interesting, and I'll tune it out like I do with bands. But for now, maybe I'll learn something.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The house passed a bill that would require photo ID in order to vote. Never mind that a similar law in Missouri was struck down by the state supreme court as unconstitutional, maybe they'll try to change that part later. Now let's see; I have never had a driver's license, and my passport expires at the end of the year. So that means that in order to vote, I will have to SPEND MONEY! That's right, no money, no vote. Please vote against these assholes while you still can. November 7th. Write it down!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sorry, I've been busy.

Working a bunch in unexpected places.
We'll talk soon.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Each state has it's own basic interstate rest stop design. You keep thinking you've been there before, and I'm constantly reminding myself that last time, we were headed in the other direction, and you can't get there from here. It's fun to try and spot the differences. Like a life-sized version of one of those kid's games where you circle what's different in the two pictures. The last one had the squished penny machine next to the spiraling gumball machine, but it didn't have all these 25 cent novelty-toy-in-a-plastic-bubble rip-offs. I got something that looks like a mini diaphragm, and one of my fellow travelers had to explain how you turn it inside out, put it down on something, and it eventually pops up into the air. There was a small dead insect in my bubble, and I just left it in Josh's van.

As what now seems to be typical for me when I arrive in a new town, I stumble upon a gigantic Salvation Army, and spend seven dollars on five pieces of clothing. The thrift store is a little too full of the suburban chicago high school crowd, and I don't stick around to find out how the football star got injured, or other important gossip. Next door, there was this police/security supply store that looked really fun, but I didn't have the proper security professional ID needed to gain entrance, and the guy at the door looked at me a little funny, and who could blame him as I was carrying a plastic bag bursting with thrift store tagged, used clothing.

We finally made it to day one of the T&G Records 25th anniversary block party too late to see any bands we cared about, and then I got dropped off at Alison's. Her and I don't see too much of each other, so we stayed up late catching up.

The next day got off to a lazy start, and that was fine with me. Alison has a big comfortable house, and a dog to match, and the weather outside wasn't looking too inviting. Eventually, my host dropped me off at day two of the three day festival, and we joked about how it was like mom dropping off a kid at the dance. "Drop me off around the corner so none of the kids see."

It was cold. I was cold. I kept thinking about archiving. Would there be sufficient record of these performances? Should there be? How much can you really save? P W Long sitting there with an acoustic guitar belting out "I'm Hell" while a pack of fans somewhere to my right shouted back the call and response second vocal part, right on cue, without any prompting, was one of those moments maybe better left to memory only. Let it be a passing moment, as its weight is too heavy to capture on any recording medium. There were plenty of other great musical moments through the day, but that one alone was worth the 30 total hours in a van.

The next day, after an excellent Mexican meal in Old Town, Alison and I returned to her place, and started checking out the old projectors and boxes/bags of old slides she rescued from her father the previous week. Some old family shots, but mostly ones from her dad's tour in the Korean War, and time stationed in Japan. We giggled at his captions, and I decided to bring back that one-leg-up-on-something pose that was so popular then. Some of the family ones clearly meant a lot to her. I rhetorically asked if any of these finds would be here for us if dad had a digicam during his time overseas. The Kodachromes looked sharp as the day they were shot. I thought more about recording the present. Maybe it's not for us. Maybe it's for whoever's next.

I only shot a couple rolls of film. None of the shows. Mostly out the van windows before it got dark.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Guns. drugs, and the river.

I walked around a little bit, taking a picture here and there, with the intention of meeting Becca. I came across a staircase leading down to a basement, chandeliers hanging, lighting the way. I wanted to surprise Becca by actually showing up somewhere, but it didn't seem like a place I wanted to be, and the looks of the folks getting out of cabs and heading down helped me make up my mind. I walked back up to work, a different route to take different pictures, and ended up in a cab to a bar to meet up with everyone else.

The next part of the evening consisted of both interesting and awkward conversations, often at the same time, while watching friends and acquaintances head to the bathroom in twos and threes. Sean convinced me not to go home after Megan kicked us out to close, and a "buy beer and go drink it by the river" plan was enacted. Beer was bought, while I got myself a yogurt, and a container of oatmeal, still considering sneaking away. But on to the river, or so we thought. Karina somehow leads us to her friend's apartment instead.

"I know he looks like a white supremist, but he's actually Puerto Rican."
"Actually I'm Dominican."

She lived upstairs with her passed-out-drunk boyfriend, but we could hang out in the ground floor apartment where she was dogsitting. This was an apartment that just shouldn't exist on Ave C, but the theme of the evening seemed to be about how things change, and how quickly and unexpectedly those changes can sneak up on you. There was a kitchen, diningroom, livingroom, and small deck out in the back yard garden. I saw a staircase leading down from the livingroom, and figured that's where the bedrooms were. I didn't check.

Four of us were in the kitchen, dealing with beer and telling stories, and in comes the no longer passed out boyfriend. He's clearly pissed, and in spite of Sean's attempts to reach for a handshake, and loudly introduce all of us and himself, the boyfriend just wanted to fight with his lady. Seems it was their two year anniversary, and they had been fighting a lot. No, I don't know what the two have to do with each other. We leave them alone to sort it out, but he's getting a little too physical, and those of us not worried about being found by the police stand up and watch a little closer. Karina, their friend, goes in to mediate, but that just results in him throwing his gal to the diningroom floor. This crosses a line in my opinion, but we show restraint when he come toward us taking off his fashionable sportcoat like he's getting ready to fight. The happy couple disappears upstairs. She comes down to the deck where we're freezing, and suggests we all leave, herself included. From above, I clearly hear the movie-quallity sound effect of a revolver being cocked, and I stand up to wholeheartedly agree that we should get the fuck out.

I don't think anyone else heard it, and keep it to myself so as not to cause a panic. She's shaken, and eventually mentions the gun in a casual manor. She opens the door first and he's at the top of the stairs. "Are you normal now?" she asks toward the second floor landing. I'm sure we have very different definitions of normal, and not wanting to wait for his answer, potentially in the form of bullets, I lead the line past our hostess to the outside door. She's suddenly not coming with us, and Sean accurately informs them that they're both stupid, then closes the door.

"Yeah, moving to Mexico is real fucking stressful!"

I'm trying to get Sheena to just get in a cab and go home, but I end up dragging her with us to 18th street, and the river. I'd never been to this spot. It's a wide open view of the East River, and the sunrise has just begun. It's beautiful, and smells like the sea. Sean walks off out of sight to confirm his fears of more change. Sheena gets some much needed rest, and the others continue their party activities while the city exercisers slowly wake. We talk of changes, and why it even matters. Looking over to see three of our group openly snorting cocaine on a park bench while joggers nearly fall over the railing from shock, Sean inadvertently breaks a bottle, waking Sheena, and signaling our departure. I get labeled a "trouper" for being able to stay out with everyone while being totally sober. I have no response. I don't even understand the premiss of this statement.

Slowly, we separate into smaller groups, and I'm hand-fed McD's hash brown in a cab before finally heading upstairs. It's all worth it if you learn something.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm listening to noise.

It's a radio show of noise. That's the show. I listen to it every friday night. Late. If I'm here. And up. The DJ might not consider it noise. Noise has an undeserving negative conotation.

The new landlord is failing in it's first week. (When a company is your landlord, your landlord is an "it.") Still no hot water. When I called today, the nice lady who answered the phone told me the super was here, and working on the problem. He clearly failed. Remember famed prison poet Tyrone Green?

Friday, September 01, 2006


The world produces more transistors than grains of rice.
And at a cheaper price.