Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Golden Spur I have been writing nothing at all whatsoever and whatever I have been ill I have been sleeping I have been thinking about absolutely nothing, I haven't been dreaming (would I even know if I was? if I have, I have not been remembering) I am still working I am still sick I am still drinking McMenamin's mocoas and getting palpitations everytime I drink them, they are addictions that hotwire my heart I still read when I'm not sleeping I'm wide awake and not reading a lot I am not making sense of what I read I still read because therein lies the beauty of the world that and eating but I am eating very little mostly turkey leftovers from christmas dinner I haven't got around to the spaghetti sauce that Amanda and her husband Wes made me, they asked tonight at work, she is a housekeeper who cans, I called it tomato sauce and wes corrected me, he lashed out actually told me it was spaghetti sauce and I knew that, I guess the reason I called it tomato sauce was because I was considering using it for cannelloni nevertheless it will be messy like the serviette the swedish girl wore after the winter mushroom sloppy joe she had in the restaurant the other night, and this serviette looked like a truly fine example of abstract expressionism, autumnal browns and yellows, I turned to my colleague Kevin and said that dirty piece of linen would make a fortune on ebay, which alarmed Kevin for he saw that I meant what I said with great conviction and was already imagining a frame for it...

She materializes at the front desk at the best moment because it is always the best moment when she appears, she often steps behind the desk to talk to me, does she want to see my boots, I wonder, or does she want to show me hers, they are very nice, I don't compliment her, there are far too many nice things to say, so really where does one begin? She is a lightning rod of fierce originality, she has one outfit, equestrian blazer, scarlet to match her lipstick, cowboy shirt underneath, white with black piping, it is I am certain the outfit that Lee envisaged for suzie Jane in Hey Cowboy, she doesn't wash her hair, only conditions it, how did we even talk about this, perhaps it was I who needed to apologize for the state of my hair the last time she came in, it was lifeless and miserable, having just been washed by products clearly not up to the task, and did she wash her hair I may have asked boldly, I was confident I was having excellent hair on this particular encounter, but no comment from her about mine which was fine I was hardly fishing, our chatter was comically screwball, she wears a coonskin cap, then we talked about her lipstick, again how bold of me, I don't know how it went there so suddenly, she has blue eyes, she's 29, and talks Swedish after a few drinks, she drinks spirits, why she's ebullient, we talked lip balm, chapped lips, it is cold in Portland, Flagstaff had warm afternoons, it's been cold throughout the day and foggy,  she grew up here, it is her mother who is Swedish, everyone is wearing layers, I pressed the button for her cab and she gave me a Christmas present, a tiny pocketknife, an antique tied with a little red ribbon to a stick of sandalwood, it's wonderfully fragrant, we hugged and she repositioned us heart-to-heart and my world was spinning, what was I thinking I couldn't tell her I was leaving for georgia in a week her cab showed up I didn't even have her phone number I blew her a kiss and she was gone, home to her apartment on Christmas Day and then I woke up on boxing day feeling very ill after searching all over the house for Dawn Powell's The Golden Spur absolutely convinced that my sister-in-law had left with it and then managed to call off the search patrol at 8am the next morning when I discovered that it had fallen under my bed behind my brown carry-on.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From Love and Death in the American Novel

If Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man seems, as a novel written by a Negro about the Negro's plight, superior to any of the passionate, incoherent books of Richard Wright, this is because Ellison has bypassed all formulas of protest and self-pity and cast off the restrictions of mere realism. Only James Baldwin's Go Tell it on the Mountain has a comparable freshness and directness, but it lacks finally the madness which gives to Invisible Man, a special kind of conviction. The whole middle of Ellison's book takes on a special quality of the grotesqueness because he begins and ends it with a Surrealist nightmare. The invisible man (invisible because he is black — and being black cannot be seen through a wall of cliches) crouches in a cellar retreat lighted by "exactly 1,369 lights." His electric power he steals from the Monopolated Light and Power, using it not only for illumination but also to keep his record player going. On that player spends endlessly Louis Armstrong's "What did I do to be so black and blue," to which the invisible man listens as he eats his favorite dessert of vanilla ice cream and sloe gin.

- Leslie A. Fielder (1960)

Friday, December 06, 2013

The day after Thanksgiving I had off and set myself a variety of tasks that turned pear-shaped

Thanksgiving was out at my parents, Jack and Jamie. Dad is built like a fullback: 6'2" 224 lbs and mom is 5'6" — 6'8" with a mohawk. She wears her hair Christine McVie's length these days, a length that is hard to deny.

Went to their place from work via light rail, 45 minute jaunt roughly. Arrived (8:30am) and mom heated me a couple frozen waffles and then I went to bed. Awoke up at 1pm and had beers with Dirk's dad. Dirk is my real brother and dad is my real dad to everybody but Dirk. I had a large helping of food by dinner time and helped pass plates around to my aunt Marilyn and uncle Bob, my sister-in-law Pam, my niece Allison, my brother and the rest of my family (Dirk's parents). Played frisbee after lunch and then went back to bed. Got up at 8 and then at 9:15pm my mom took me to the station. Unbelievably cold out.

Since I was getting in to work so early, I figured I would stop at trendy Buffalo Exchange (open til 11pm) and sell my tweed coat that I brought from home. Inexplicably, they were closed. I then decided to go to Everyday Music and pick up the Kanye West CD, they were closed too. I walked down to POwell's Books to get Frank O' Hara's Lunch Poems for school. Also closed. I went back to work a little dejected. It was Thanksgiving I was reminded. Thankfully I was informed of mass portions of food that I could help myself to.

I left my tweed coat at work and picked it up the next day when I went in to get my check. I planned to accomplish a variety of tasks, a series of interesting endeavors that would conclude with live music back at the hotel by Madison, Wisconsin's Freedy Johnston, who I had befriended at the hotel over the week and appreciated his midwestern soul straight out of Ring Lardner, but first I would sell two jackets to Buffalo Exchange. Sadly my fashion sense is out of time and they didn't want these non-sellers. So I left the jackets on a recycling bin outside in a furore, figuring a bum would snag them and walked to Powells to get this book of poetry, which they didn't have, so I walked up to Everyday Music to get the new Kanye West, which was fifteen dollars that I didn't spend. No thanks I thought when I could get it on amazon for eight. I like the idea of supporting local business, but this was stupid.

Went up to Ringlers, half block, to fill an empty 32 oz. mason jar that I carry in my satchel sometimes full of kris kringle yuletide ale to take to watch the Civil war game out at Mike McClellan's, but on my way to the light rail, the beer got agitated, I felt a wet streak on my trouser leg and lo and behold the beer had exploded in my satchel and ruined my life. I sat on the curb and drank the beer which was good. It was unbelievably cold out and my gloves were frozen stiff from beer. Called all my friends to complain, shivering, went and deposited my check, shivering, got my bike from work, shivering, still complaining and rode to Tim's shivering, then showered, had more to drink and finally, sitting on the couch watched the greatest football game of all-time (Auburn vs. Alabama) no longer shivering, feeling toasty, cackled euphorically at the ridiculousness of it all and spared a thought to the life that we are all living now.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Goin' South

Made it to Milledgeville in a zippy, silver Fiat. After going south for some time (story of my life), I stopped at a convenience store and expressed my uncertainty to the indian fellow who sold me two cans of Jamaican beer, a pack of gum and directed me north.
Off I went into the deep south, moonlit night with the Robert Quine tapes torturingly loud.
 Was ultimately relieved to be on the road after a string of delays/debacles. It seemed like only yesterday that I was tying one on at Alberta Street and then missing my flight the next morning when Frontier closed their counter 45 minutes before my flight. Me and two other people stood out there at 5am with angry looks on our faces and bad things coming out of our twisted mouths.
long Georgian porches for a mock unwind

Not traveling too often makes it hard to keep up with all the new ways airlines can fuck ya. What I learned is don't book through a third party or else you'll be reamed if you need to change your ticket. It cost me all kinds of money a number of different ways: $100 for carry-on alone.

What happened to the days when the airlines used to shuttle you to the terminal to get you on that flight. Australia was good like that. One thing I overlooked was how lousy and inefficient PDX security is. Is this because there are more nimrods here trying to blow crap up? I wonder.

Gave me only one day to get my head around Milledgeville, hoping I got a clue and I kind of did. Didn't make it to Flannery's lodgings, which breaks my heart.

The town is tiny, the restaurants gave me a stomachache, but I met some nice people and the writing program is most outstanding.

I got really energetic.

And then I got really really tired.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Whilst home to take my driving test and reading Mark Twain

I had been reading Mark Twain prior to taking my driving test, in which I passed, an occasion marked by the consumption of margaritas and like MT is impressive for all kinds of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it was a dreary day to be driving in the suburbs, but not so dreary to be reading Mr Twain. Nevertheless, I pull Barry Hannah off the shelf and uncover this pearl referencing the Twainster in his fabulous Boomerang:

"Top off the convertible and we're doing just twenty in an old forgotten place where the poplars are hanging over and we go into a tunnel of sudden shade, lost to the world, no horns no sirens no red light. Both of us hungry for a bite and only half a Pepsi left. Out of cigarettes, no stimulants at all. At the end of the tunnel is a decayed barn, faded red and very picturesque. Just for the hell of it and for old mark Twain and whitman and the boys who said themselves so well, I burn up a five dollar bill, while she sucks my person. This is the sort of squalor that Rev wildmon deplores. He is hot on the trail of such scenes as this. Never will it be allowed in our domain, he says, tossing another book into the fire like my last wife liked to do. She'd throw away anything that didn't go with the wallpaper. wildmon is another homegrown idiot from the state of Mississippi. Now he's gone totally nuts as most preachers with a political cause do. He has attacked Mighty Mouse for sniffing cocaine to get his strength. The cartoon Mighty Mouse was a loser anyway like a flying Jimmy Bakker. He just glanced around. My wife beckons me back with her arms to our bed after all these nights away from her. I blame myself for being an artist and how awful it must be to miss me."  

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Destroyer @ Mississippi Studios

Carla T (Jesse's Girl):

So...did Dan take you for a whirl in his machine or what? I need details please, not forgetting that the closest I've been to a Destroyer gig was at "The Magic Sponge" bar in Cambodia where the bartender looked kinda like Dan and played a bunch of Pavement while Anna and I were talking to a Dutch guy who had taken too much acid and couldn't remember what his name was. Actually, that was a pretty great night. Did I fail to mention, there's a sword hanging above you!?

Joy Boy:

Oh, Carla! I remember your Cambodia vacation like I was there eating happy pizza with you! Dan simply destroyed matt and I and beguiled us with a showing of deep lyrical majesty and mouth watering eccentric melody. He came on-stage bearing a red guitar and suddenly I longed for a pair of doc martens with a similar hue. His shirt was unbuttoned far and his hair was very curly. He sang most of the hits, they were all so good, wringing profound emotion out of streethawk, virgin with a memory, downtown, savage night at the opera, european oils, foam hands, my fav year, helena and the one that goes your father is a fucking maniac. I only wish he sang the one that goes, “no man has ever hung from the rafters of a second home.” The times he faltered lyrically a crowd member kindly suggested the lyrics and the great man continued apace. He laughed once when the girl next to me, a scorpio also, I learned this using my detective acumen, purred like a cat. What a night! 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Spooky update

Celebrated Halloween for the last time ever at the age of 40 yesterday. I was never going to be simply 40 and have it be Halloween ever again.

Portland's good I used to dine here regularly in the nineties (photo), by which I mean I think I went here once. I definitely went once. I definitely did not eat there the morning I took this photo. But hey that's life in the gritty city.

 Slept through the trick or treaters, I think. Down in Tim's basement, I never heard the door, if there was a knock by some ghoulishly-attired children, well I was either asleep or I didn't hear them.

In somewhat scary-ass news there was a red beer can downstairs that still felt cold that neither Tim nor I knew who had drunk it. To complicate things, it was a Hawaiian lager that I remembered from his birthday back in August. To further complicate this complex mystery Tim lives in a house with a basement and all basements in america have an air of horrible sex crimes or at the very least, a butt-slapping patois alluding to S&M shenanigans. Needless to say, I slept peacefully and unencumbered by demons in the night.

I did watch part of Paranormal Activity a time before so the sudden beer can emergence was like a scene straight out of their surveillance footage that would give one pause. Not a great series, but effective in establishing a mood.

 A slightly nightmarish upbringing involving my sister peddling slasher movie storylines is documented in this essay here:

 Good Night!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Edmund Wilson's Memoirs of Hecate County and the aforementioned bacon apple sandwich

What follows is a funny correspondence between Wilson and Nabokov. Apparently there's over 2,000 pages of it collected. Might have a look in Powell's for it sometime. I am absolutely obsessed with wilson. His Memoirs of Hecate County from 47 is a sensation, the sordid suburban underbelly that paves the way for Yates, Updike, Cheever, et al. Exley wrote an entire book (pages from a cold island) hilariously obsessing over it. It's laugh-loud funny too. I spent a delirious bus ride home the other morning in a fit of reverberating chuckles.  


 I detest Plato, I loathe Lacedaemon and all Perfect States. I weigh 195 pounds. February 1, 1946 . . . Dear Bunny, . . . I was wrong in saying that there were no Russians in Sherlock. It is queer that I should have forgotten the lady nihilist [NEE-hilist] who lost her, or the lovely sentence: "He was an elderly man, thin, demure, and commonplace, by no means the conception one forms of a Russian nobleman." In reviewing various details of my very pleasant stay, I notice with horror that when speaking to Auden I confused him with Aiken and said flattering things about the latter’s verse, in the second person. I understand now the wild look that passed in his eyes. Stupid, but this has happened to me before. I have read your book Memoirs of Hecate County in one swallow. There are lots of wonderful things in it. You have given your narrator’s copulation mates such formidable defenses (leather and steel, gonorrhea, horse-gums) that the reader--or at least one reader, for I would have been absolutely impotent in your singular little harem--derives no kick from the hero’s love-making. I should have as soon tried to open a sardine can with my penis. The result is chaste, despite the frankness. I am really looking forward to seeing you. Your book is causing quite a "sensation" among my literary friends here! 


Dear Volodya: Nihilist [NI-hilist] is pronounced the way I pronounce it--not NEE-hilist. See any dictionary. Thanks for your letter. But you sound as if I had made an unsuccessful attempt to write something like Fanny Hill. The frozen and unsatisfactory character of the sexual relations is a very important part of the central theme of the book, indicated by the title, which I’m not sure that you have grasped.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some entirely horseshit photos from the profoundly moving Chromatics/Glass Candy show witnessed the other evening

Night's on the up and up

Had a great night. They arrested a man on Stark, took several police, a fire truck. The man was completely nude.

Must remember not to leave the front desk to get pure can sugar for strangers. Last time I did that the tape dispenser went missing.

Do find my job pretty jazzy. When I sit down at 1030pm just prior to clocking in and the chords of an overly-familiar song, soporific in any other setting, say the Clash's Train in Vain (true story), washes over me, I'm good, best I've been in weeks, maybe months. Still my life is only as good as the occasional text I send: "Aborted V on page 250. Yet how did I get through Vineland? Cleansing myself with Life on the Mississip..." (contents of an actual text msg).

Then I think how, I've clocked in by this point and been doing my thing for several hours, how good the atmosphere is, how secure I feel amongst the volatile city streets. The music is great company sure and at a perfect pitch. There is heard some screaming outside, commotion. The hotel sits opposite the Georgia, which is actually quite ghoulish. Police cars swarm in, produce low-frequency buzz zaps as if cornering a giant mosquito. But no, it's not a mosquito. I go through the cafe for a better look. It's 3am. I'm the only one there. It's a naked man with his hands up yelling. I go back to my pleasant front desk area and the bacon apple sandwich that I am loving so much. Hills Farm bacon, granny smith apple, roasted red onion aioli and white cheddar on focaccia. I get a meal credit.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My hotel, a good movie, a near sighting of Fred Armisen

Checked in a couple to the hotel. Gracious people, he had a hat. She was blond and Jerry Hall to a certain degree (height, cheekbones). He donned a raincoat and a goatee. What was the hubbub next door at Crystal Ballroom, they asked.

Heck if I knew. Portlandia only films in the rain. But wait...

It was a Portlandia episode in the rain. 

So on my break, I walked up the rain-slicked street and nearly fell on my ass to see if I could get a part...

Carrie and Fred weren't there. A co-worker had seen Fred in an orange vest on the street earlier and a guest told an amusing anecdote about being in the same elevator with Demetri Martin.

Joe Swanberg's Drinking Buddies is swell. Unfiltered indie like the style of brew the brewers brew to give that dark beer high and the greasy food that provides its crusty aftermath. Solid acting from the laconic, mildly-depressed bourgeoisie (Ron Livingston) to the Rabbit Angstrom-ish, highly-metabolic narcissist (Olivia Wilde). A bearded fellow by the name of Jake Johnson brings your heart. Anna Kendrick, loved her in Pitch Perfect, is worth rooting for here. Go Anna!

Truly, American cinema has an uncertain relationship with raw emotion, aside from Cassavetes, but this is subtler, Bergmanesque. I'm so grateful that movies such as this are getting made full stop. My niece would like to add: Anna Kendrick is a bad ass! Go Anna!

Friday, September 13, 2013

From the rock journalism cutting-room floor, circa 2005:

Mariner's Revenge is an accordion-driving (sic) tale from the belly of a whale that lasts over nine minutes. There are some supreme, sea-driven moments where revenge is the only way out.  

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Easter Parade

Richard Yates's The Easter Parade is so grim and unrelenting that I defy anyone to recommend it to someone in real life.  Seriously, aside from Margo Tenenbaum — a severely depressed character from a neat-looking (stylistically), but wholly sterile film — who do you recommend it too?

I have a first edition. It looks like this (see left).

The prose is cutting (i.e. razor-sharp, hurtful).

Actually, I think my friend Ralberto, who I went to college with would like it. And probably Gavin Butler (Guthugga Pipeline, Happier Hunting Ground, Coburg, et. al).

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Behind every dirty fighter is a clean pair of underwear

An essay of mine was published on page 46 of the dying goose recently.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The despondent dishwasher

Jeff worked too hard washing dishes to come to the museum and see a substandard Frank Stella. The milk crate appeared under his bottom as his body slumped to the floor.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Driving on the rim is good

Thomas McGuane's tenth novel, Driving on the Rim, is in the vein of Twain; surefooted sentence-making concealing what is otherwise a disoriented Oldsmobile 88 rambling through eccentric farm land.

But wait!” you can almost hear McGuane cry. “I'm not even driving this Olds!” And this would be true insofar as it's one of his characters driving it, Berl Pickett, a country doctor. 

Can you defer artistic responsibility upon your first-person protagonist? I'm saying that you can by saying it here first.

The ride is jarring; Berl has a form of topographical narrative disorder. We like where he is taking us, but never sure of the conditions, or if this is the best route.

The author hasn't used first person since 1978's Panama — not everyone's favorite. In fact, critics gave him hell for Panama, a little unfairly, I reckon because I loved the sad, funny story about the price of fame starring a burnt-out case with a brain fried so dearly on cocaine that he can't remember his dog's name. Panama was loosely autobiographical, while the new one isn't. In fact, B. Pickett, is about as far from T. McGuane as H. Humbert is from V. Nabokov. 

For much of the novel, Berl's practice is the door and window into this ailing community. But do we need the hangnails? Lot of people coming and going and Berl seems to record them all. I don't recall The Wire having this many characters. Over the long haul, the complaints seem to bury the plot.

Though McGuane never divulges Berl's age at present, we know he's socially immature (old men are often this way), and we can assume he's old enough to know the proper advanced age to write a memoir regardless of circumstances (I considered it at 28 but I was pretentious). Berl's not so old that he requires a testosterone deodorant as a precursor to amorous pursuits because that would be horribly tasteless, yet in McGuane's hands probably really funny.

Berl's story is a doozy, but the memoir could use some oil. What never is in doubt is McGuane's masterful control of language and his laconic aphorisms.

On an uncivilized associate he meets for dinner: He must have been proud of his Panama hat because he wore it all through the meal.” By the way, I wore mine to a bbq recently and then forgot to take it off indoors while we were boogying and the next morning found it an irrevocable, misshapen heap, which made me think that I should have better manners when it comes to wearing silly hats indoors if I want to keep them together.

At 306 pages, Driving on the Rim is beefy for a comic novel, but impressively there is only one misfire: a bit of whimsy involving an uncertain breakdance to a favorite band in front of a lover's house singing “Too Much Pork for Just One Fork.”

There's not a whole lot of driving, but there is drive. Perhaps the title refers to McGuane's navigational control? Maybe his narrative could use some testosterone stick? 

Look now Bird thinks it's funny.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Henry Explains Everything

Been a crazy kooky time in the pastoral west burbs of Portland. Whilst eliminating useless files last night found a blog from months ago, I forgot to post:

Closed the book on The Ambassadors last night at the Holiday Inn Express (E Flagstaff) this despite a printer that sounded like a prairie dog was trapped in it and a customer that looked like a supporting character on an 80s TV show such as Benson. (He probably wondered the same thing about myself).

Feel that I improved my comprehension by a 1,000 per cent, even though I followed about 7 per cent of it. Still it's very compelling. A perspective like this I have not seen! What a weirdo! I could barely even follow a lot of the conversation. The words that came out of a character's mouth in reply to a fairly straightforward question simply wasn't the kind of thing you would say in reply if you wanted the questioner to make heads of tails of what you were saying.


Apparently two chapters were for years out of sequence confirming my suspicions that no one knows what the heck is going on here. Then again there is non-linear unfolding through time and space that serves the novel's purpose. Blah-blah. Still I am curious if people talked like this and acted like this in 1903. If so I wouldn't have lasted a minute.    

Friday, August 02, 2013

Excuse me son of gunga din or whatever you are choosing to call yourself this week

For last night's entertainment we watched Brian DePalma's Body Double as a family unit. The neighbor boy came over (I can't remember why) and had to avert his eyes when the protagonist watched the lady he was following change her underpants inside the shopping mall. Bloody good film! Then it got dark and the airshow put on a fireworks display.

"The parents were glad to have him home. But when he started getting blamed for eating all the nuts out of the Chex-mix he knew it was time for him to go."

I have plumped up or blimped out since arriving here. The scale says I am fifteen pounds overweight from what I was in Flagstaff. It is a battle of wills. Mom senses my anxiety and is baking harder and more cleverly than ever these pastries from my youth that she knows I cannot deny. I throw on a few more pounds faster than you can say cinnamon swirl, baby.

What else?

Mom tells me to keep my wardrobe closet closed to keep the moths out. I tell her okay and then I remember that there are mothballs in there to keep the moths out and decide that she just wants to keep the closet closed because she likes it closed. Stuff like that.

Listening to music and dancing a lot, dancing mainly to ZZ Top. There we go. Tres Hombres nachos from the Gales Creek Tavern.

I hurt my knee! Not sure how! Will done a neoprene knee sleeve at the Sebadoh show tonight and hike it up at the appropriate time. Otherwise, playing tunes and taking notes such as "I sometimes can't believe a band like The Clean exists."

Try and guess who said what (answers at the bottom):

1) Noses do get longer
2) I'm in love and you're in trouble!

4.44am. I like short novels. Reading a long book about a man who wrote short ones, Nathanael West. It's called a biography and it was scrupulously attended to by Jay Martin.

Tonight watched Our Nixon, a doco about Nixon's unheard tapes. I appreciated listening to these yahoos' mundanity. They were quite the cards apparently. Prompted an embarrassing recollection of the order of presidents. I guessed Eisenhower before Truman. Wrong. Dad guessed Eisenhower after Nixon. His excuse was he had had a few scotches, while I had only had a coke with my yakisoba noodles. Mom rolled her eyes. Nobody knows nothing. "Carter then Kennedy?" dad queried, pleasantly.

I showed my brother this photo from the Gaston One Horse Tavern and he lost it. "What?" He couldn't believe that there was a sign that said No chow in urinal please.

1) Orson Welles
2) Paul Westerberg

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Discussion of Purdy's Malcolm (via Facebook msging)

I am reading Purdy's exquisite Malcolm!

Which ones dat? 

If only more men where like purdy.

I know! It's a short novel about a sartorially-splendid young bastard who sits on a bench and meets an astrologer who is worried about the benched young orphan and sends him to his sartorially splendid friend who at the moment is assessing him bemusedly. It is great!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hello, it's me

Tim, of Lone Sausage fame (infamy?), fellow Spartan alum (eeeep) took umbrage at my dismissal of Thom Yorke's vocal stylings yesterday. We were listening to a PJ Harvey album in his expansive garden and I said ewww the guest singer whines like a girl. Tim called me sexist. My rejoinder was to tell him that I like it when girls do it (I was unable to pick an example off-hand). Guys who whine, it is their attempt at exquisite operatic pain, I argued and that is rarely achieved interestingly. Yorke, to my ears, comes off as a pretentious toad. I think it is Kirsty Steggers who said that a singing voice shouldn't be completely alien to your talking voice. Obviously there are exceptions. Pavoratti and things like that, but we're talking about rock. What Tim said next really taked the cake. PJ Harvey sings like a man! A nice juxtaposition, we agreed. Still there was rancor. We cut our losses and bbq'ed sausages. The light of the evening recalled Portland summers of year's past: H and I sunbathing in his mother's backyard drinking Ernest & Julio Gallo spo-dee-ooo-dee, stealing pints from the $1 beer night at the cheesesteak place and finally being launched by Mitch like a discus across the parking lot where I slid across my face several feet. This summer feeling, aside from the injuries, felt a lot like this one already. We then listened to Blur inexplicably.

We were certainly spoiled by all the great beer we drank. On top of that I had a delicious bowl of salmon chowder earlier in the day. What to say of the time in Seaside, Oregon - five days of salt-kissed debauchery and a 3-day course of U-haulery across four states, except to say that they are over and they were classic events of wicked randomness. Perhaps more to come on that for posterior's

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old fruit news

Mango usurped pear as my favorite fruit in 2011.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ruminations flying the Delta to Baltimore recently

Flying feels like my brain has been kicked down the street and now we're going to collect it at high speeds.

It's funny I run into the same struggle getting this gin and tonic the right consistency as Henry Miller does attempting to illustrate a horse in his engaging memoir Black Spring.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Spleens-a-go-go by Montgomery Barry

Barry and Timtam earlier this year in the snow
Barry's in the band Caravanette with Stew and Jen, drumming like Mo Tucker. He's gonna miss me when I go, but not as much as I'll miss him! He sends me hilarious emails (perhaps he will continue to do so after I vamoose). His latest one is entitled spleens-a-go-go. Down the track we'll probably learn that we live right down the road from one another in a different town while in the front row of a distinctively different Roky Erickson gig. Damn...

Hey, if you ever become a private detective, you HAVE to change your name to Shanus Verlaine. Shanus crossbreeds your own distinctive moniker with shamus, which people are always using as slang for private eye in Raymond Chandler novels; Verlaine because of the lanky, angular detective he played in "Prove It (It's a Fact)." Plus he wrote all that great French poetry a hundred years before that.

But seriously, the purpose of this (sh)email is to convey my new phone number:


Yrs in perpetuity,
Hammy in the Holy  

Caravanette play Mia's Lounge on June 15.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Excerpt from "an afternoon on Chesapeake Bay"

Hey, when we gonna drink these beers?

I don't know but I am getting awful thirsty.


Allison's got a beer.

I guess we can't have a beer until we get a fish.


Who said that!

Allison already broke that rule.

She drinks gluten-free doesn't count unless we drink hers.


Is it okay to eat guacamole while we wait for the fish to bite?

No you should wait.

Your wife is eating guacamole.

I see.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Liqueur is spelled with two u's, ouzo with two o's

I am an awful sport.

And it truly mangled my soul to see that Kasey's team lost in 4 overtimes to North Carolina last night in the championship. The ouzo at the greek tavern didn't help me commiserate either.  I was following the match on the Twitter and donning my Maryland visor with avuncular pride. It's really hard for me to be a supporter of a team because the emotional investment makes me die a little each time, win or lose. For eleven years in Australia I was completely ambivalent to a fan's life of sport. Ironically I read both A Fan's Life and A Sport and a Pastime while there and even though the sport in the latter is sex, well I forgot what my point was. H emailed me to say he was reading it the other night. I don't love the book. He had been drinking whisky.

I don't know if it was the greek liqueur, my horrendous sleep schedule from the holiday inn, street-facing placement of my new bedroom (Johnny Boy is moving in and I am giving him my bedroom because it's bigger and he wants to set up his drum kit) or the lacrosse match or or the pacers game, or or or all of the above, but I awoke in the middle of the night paralyzed by the world and darned if I could exit the bed to relieve myself of the water and the terror of my own existence!

Anyways, I am so glad that I flew back east to see her play.

I sent a text

Im too destroyed for mias 2nite. Gonna chill instead and I would suggest u all do the same.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Maryland, Home of the Battle of 1812

Visited family in Maryland for the first time in twenty years, which means my next visit will be when I'm sixty. Stayed long enough for my phone to die and my camera and my iPOD to die also. A little power is all that is needed to revive them however. My phone battery is in my carry-on, but I am not too fussed about that. It died in the middle of a text to tim-tam. I do wonder if it sent. Took some snaps of Baltimore. Had a great time. Saw my niece play lacrosse. Kasey tends goal. This is really quite significant. Those ladies are undefeated and number one, watching them is a blur of speed and power. They have very good traction and only slip when they are tripped. 

Here's a photo of me with their star Katie, who looks a lot like my high school girlfriend, a celebrated Olympian with unreal thighs. 
They're currently in the Final Four at Villanova atop Syracuse at half 7-4. We ate crab claws dipped in spicy green chile sauce before the game. We drank beer in the rain before, during and after the game. Also vodka tonics (That was when the sun was out). It was rather muggy. There was a huge tailgate party afterwards, then we went and saw some of my sister's boyfriend's brother's world-class taxidermy.

Me and my other niece, I have two, they are twins, spent my last day at the Baltimore Museum of Art. We witnessed a great many things. I fell in love with the Matisse. 

We stared monumentally hard at Rodin's monumental thinker. 

The classical art and the children were like seraphs with beautiful perfect skin, yet their hands were strangely misshapen. Matisse's women hilariously reminded me of my brassy grandma. Afterwards, I had a telltale ale to make up for missing E.A.'s grave.

Don't understand why the Mona Lisa is such an attraction when Picasso's such as this exist 

Not to be outdone dad caught a rockfish.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On eloquence

Russel Westbrook, on his season-ending knee injury (never to be mistaken for Gore Vidal):

I want to play in every game as long I'm able to walk, but this time I wasn't able to walk around like I'm supposed to

Friday, May 10, 2013

Found this inscrutable note to H scribbled on the back of an old worksheet

Thomas Bernhard's The Loser is like if Oregonian sportswriter Dwight Jaynes tried to shoot a music video from the free throw line.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Good evening

Foxygen are a badly named bad band with a really good single called No Destruction. The rest of the album is a stinker. I wanted to text timtam and tell her that the album gave me an aural stomachache because for 16 hours my tummy hurt. It was my ears this time that were hurting. I had downloaded it and went on a bike ride that was cut short from the peppering of wind and rain that I got peppered with. I expected the album to be better , it is awful and then I went and sold it back from where I bought it for half of what I paid and bought another record, Nite Jewel's debut album, which compared to Foxygen is literally the greatest album of all-time and I mean that Nite Jewel's Good Evening is that amazing, in so many ways. 

Those are her shoes on the right and her getting sandwiched by Alex and me above. She didn't love the idea of getting her picture taken with us back in Austin in 2012, but who would? It was nice. We were cool.

I gambled and I lost today on music which almost never or rarely happens, but it sure feels like a win in how Nite Jewel redeemed my faith in music again. The reason it took me so long to get this album is because her last album was good, but I kind of need things to be remarkable these days. Did I mention that on my bike ride I have never seen so many prairie dogs running their little asses off to get to their hole?