Salutations: Transformations

April 14th, 2017 by dac

So the Salutations series begins with a conceit, which is that it’s a series of letters written aloud. I started from a place where I rejected the first conceit because I’ve never saved letters. I have always written something fresh for each round of this series- writing with the idea that it’s a letter, but always crafting it fresh. This time the theme was “Transformations” and I thought it would be fun to explore the idea that someone was writing a letter to their future self about a transformation.

The problem was I had too many ideas and I wanted to use them all so I needed a way to shorten the letter. I arrived at a second conceit which was I would write them as transformative haikus.  That way I could get as many as I wanted without taking too much time.

When I read this allowed the audience to guess the transformation- but here I can’t really do that so I’ll give them to you with titles the way I wrote them.

 

Transformers

Regular Peterbilt

Uh Oh! Alien Invasion

Optimus Prime

Bonds

Talented Hitter

So many illegal drugs

Big head homerun king

Recycle

Fruit juice container

Trip to blue bin Valhalla

Now I’m a nice rug

Glass

Sands through the hourglass

With some heat, limestone and time

Sands through the hour me!

114th congress

I’m just a bill

Who’s that? Oh Mitch McConnell

Still just a bill

Hurricane

Hot wind off Africa

Late august Caribbean sea

Hot damn I’m cat 5

Chicken

Cold naked bird

Egg dredge, flour wash, hot oil bath

MMMM great with waffles

Trump

5th time I’m bankrupt

Russia, Fox, and lotsa yelling

First orange president

Butterfly

Weird furry worm

Chillin’ in a sweet tree sack

Woohoo butterfly

 

 

 

Our 2016 Holiday Card Letter

January 16th, 2017 by dac

Dearest Captive Audience,

Well looka there. Another year in the books. I know you’ve gotten used to these letters being full of the “big reveal” …we got engaged, we got married, The Giants/ Warriors won something big and we attended, and this year’s no different…. we’re moving to Japan! <beat> I’m kidding of course. I put that in just to annoy Joanne[1].

It appears that some years are just…well… years. I know the internet has told you that 2016 sucked and in some ways it did, a lot of cool famous people died, some cool not famous people died, and America elected a guy, whose biggest accomplishment so far was being a buffoon on reality TV and only losing some of the money he got from his Dad, President.  But on the grand scheme, 2016 was…fine.

Some part of me suspects that unless California builds a wall to keep out the ‘Murica, that I will be writing next year’s letter from a smoking crater and I’ll have to clear everything with our Russian overlords or Herr Komandante Trump[2], but check in with us after January 20th.

Here in lovely San Francisco we enjoyed a pretty good year. We went to some shows, we saw some baseball, we did some fun things, we kept it real- except for the times when it was important for it not to be real and we paddled our raft forward into the river of time.

Nicole still has the same job at DoubleDutch, it sent her to some interesting places this year, the Philippines, Amsterdam, Phoenix[3]. Her trips to Amsterdam seem have the most promise to turn into another thing, like we’ll pair that with something else like Iceland[4] or <place>[5].

I still have the same job at RevJet and it sent me far less interesting places like Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit. Despite the fact that Detroit continues to be an easy punchline, I thought it seemed like a city that was trying to get it’s feet back. I’m not saying we’re packing for Michigan, I’m just saying- good for you Detroit, but try to play nice with Flint.

We kept our membership at some organizations- SF Jazz[6], Sf Bike Coalition[7], Cal Academy of Science (because: Science!) and we let some organizations lapse- A.C.T.[8], The Green Party[9]. This past month we joined a lot of things out of fear: The ACLU, The Human Rights Coalition, The Environmental Defense Council, Lambda Legal, The Courage Campaign and sent money to a lot of places[10].

We ran a lot less than we normally do this year- we ended up only doing 3 half marathons Berkeley, Santa Rosa and Morgan Hill. 2016 was the year that work schedules made us fat. The Morgan Hill marathon was a treat, but not for the Marathon, for accommodations. We stayed with Fran and Ron and they were excellent hosts[11]. They took us wine tasting and cooked us delicious pasta for the carbo-load the night before the race. Also, as with all the classy establishments, our stay came with a gift bag and a bottle of wine.

Vacations were short and to the point because with my new job I only got 2 weeks and I used a little more than half of that visiting Cora and Asher. Including a trip in the middle of summer where the temperature outside crested 100 with something like 600% humidity[12]. Other than that, we went to places we could drive for the weekend[13] like Paso Robles and Guerneville.

We went to Vegas over Halloween to see Annetta, Bob, Barbara and Jim. This year we placed only two bets: I lost on the Cubs and Nicole won on the Indians. Barbara didn’t win big on her slot tournament, but everyone had a good time and it seems like it’s becoming a thing we do, so if you want to Vegas it up we’ll be there next Halloween. One of the days we are planning on *doing* Vegas- like shows and shots and giant plastic frozen drinks[14], so that should be…um…a thing.

Some of our biggest excitement was a recent trip to Yosemite. On New Years 2016 we sat in and watched Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ eve with his replacement, Whatsisname McHaircutt, while we were doing that we talked about what we’d rather be doing. One of the things that came up was that every year at the Ahwahnee(sic) Hotel[15] they do a “gala event” on New Years. So as the new year rolled in we booked the hotel & the gala for New Year’s 2017.

The party was delightful, we made some new friends, we had a great time, the food was reasonable and the whole thing was a great experience. The hotel is amazing, must be seen, and stayed at if you can. The park is… well… it’s Yosemite. It’s absolutely stunning in every direction and never fails to create a sense of awe & wonder no matter how many times you see it.

The new park services provider[16] was less so. You may remember Aramark as the company that ran your college cafeteria and they have lent that kind of service commitment to Yosemite. They renamed all the places[17] like: The Ahwahnee[18] becomes “The Majestic Hotel” and Camp Curry becomes “Half Dome Village” etc. It’s like they were just slapping labels on things “Let’s rename Bridal Veil Falls ‘The Falls at Yosemite’”[19]. The food was on par with everything you ate in college. So if you’re going- skip any food that’s expensive or make it yourself.

Let me explain…no there is too much, let me sum up: Things are fine. Everybody’s well. No big changes. Tip your waitresses. Three orange whips.

 

D & N

Comment Section:

[1] If we moved we’d go to New Zealand

[2] Responses accepted in the comments section below.

[3] Just kidding Phoenix you’re not interesting

[4] My choice

[5] Hers

[6] Great shows- if the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble comes to your town: Do Not Miss It

[7] It’s nice to know that someone is making my commute safer

[8] We fell asleep halfway through a one woman show about the mother of Christ that somehow lapsed into a treatise on which Roman gods were hot

[9] You know we’re normally good for a protest vote but the above mentioned reality TV nutjob was too scary

[10] Planned Parenthood, The Democratic Party and yes, The Green Party

[11] As was Hazel, a dog, who pretended to be a parrot and sat on our shoulders

[12] Soon as those kids are old enough to talk we’re going to discuss moving their birthdays to Early Spring.

[13] Usually places that had wine

[14] Followed by sunglasses, mimosas and a feeling of regret

[15] The big fancy W.P.A. National Park hotel built during FDR’s admin

[16] Aramark

[17] Legal reasons

[18] Miwok meaning: The place of the big mouth

[19] Yawn-wa-nee

Salutations: Journeys

December 1st, 2016 by dac

I am blogging my readings for the salutations series, held at Green Apple books in the Inner Sunset.

The theme for this letter was Journeys.

The set up is this: Lots of people know that St Paul the Apostle wrote a ton of letters to the Corinthians. Not a lot of people know that the Corinthians wrote back . Here is one of those letters

 

Paul T Apostle

The Holy Roman Empire

Rome, Not Italy Yet

 

Cephas Of Corinth

Corinth, Mostly Greece

 

Dear Paul,

 

Thanks for your abundant correspondence. It’s nice to hear from you and we’re always interested in your perspective. It’s also nice that you might be swinging by for a visit. I’ll tell Saul to ready his extra donkey loft.

We also wanted to say that while we’re always happy to get letters and love it when you stop by, there’s something that’s been on our minds. I know this might be hard to hear, but this whole ‘Jesus’ thing is getting to be a bit much. It was all that you talked about in the last letter, dude. Rome’s got to have something going on, you know? A new lunch spot? It’s like the biggest city in all of civilization. There must be something there that doesn’t involve you talking about the bread of life for like the 15th time. Maybe there’s a chess club or something? Or some art stuff? It’s not that we’re not appreciative that you’re interested in our little town but the letters feel, well, preachy.

Speaking of that, the last time you were here Stephan said that he tried to show you his new plow and all the work he did in the further fields but you just kept telling him about the gospel of Christ Jesus. We get it. We’re only babies in his holiness, as you keep saying, we must rise into the light of the lord…we know… but Stephan was really excited about the new plow. You could have said “Great plow, Steve. Good job on the further field. You really plowed the heck out of it. Man, you’re gonna have some great crops this year. <beat> Also, on a completely separate topic… Have you heard about how the spirit of the lord our God lives in man?” And he’ll say “uh, yeah” and then you can both move on.

It would have really been a menschy thing to do, you know? He worked hard on the plowing.

As you promised, your son Timothy’s has arrived, he got here last Friday. He brought those scrolls you asked us to store in the special scroll locker you helped us build over by the Dead Sea. He, too, been very clear about the gospel of the word of life. Very, very clear.  I’m not going to say he won’t shut up about it, but I will say he does not speak about much else.

Petrach thinks he might be a little slow. We told him that thing you said about how “God protects even the littlest birds upon the tree” and asked him to go count the chickens to make sure they were protected. Alphonse keeps hiding extra chickens in his room so that Tim stays busy- more chicken counting, less the tree of life.

Phillip has asked that I clear a few things up about the whole section of the letter you wrote about him. We know you’re writing these letters just to us, and it doubtful that anyone else is going to ever see them, but even still, he doesn’t want it getting out that he’s “fornicating with his father’s wife”.  Because, well, he’s not.

Seriously that would be creepy….Ethel is like a second mother to Phil. Especially since his own mother was accidentally brutally hoofed to death during the annual running of the goats festival three years ago.

The real story of what you called “abominations unto the lord” is considerably less naughty than what you implied. As you know Ethel’s a little on the young side for Phil’s dad… and good for him by the by… but occasionally Ethel likes to get away from the harvest and the plentiful goat work and cut loose.

Phil invited Ethel to a manger dance a couple weekends ago, you know to unwind and have a little fun, up in Achaia. Nobody turned water into wine, but let’s just say they didn’t need to because there was plenty of regular wine. Anyway Phil and Ethel may have been a little …uh…shall we say…over served and they ending up passing ou…taking a nap… under the same wagon. Yes, they were technically “sleeping” together but not in the “biblical sense” and that’s straight from Ethel.  No one was “associating with sexually amoral people” but Phil did say the Achaians had some of the greatest oregano he’s ever smoked.

About the oregano, we sent Marcus back up to Achaia to trade for some. He came back with a ton, they love the goat fudge we make in Achaia. We’ll send some of the extra oregano with the next letter. You’re gonna completely dig this stuff.

It makes the whole short story John wrote about the apocalypse an amazing read. We are thinking of doing a dramatic reading of the story next weekend with plenty of wine and oregano. You should see if you can make it down. Petrach does the whole thing with different voices and acts part of it out. He even has voices for the horses of the apocalypse. Man. There’s no way I could it explain it but it’s hysterical. Afterward we’ll have a feast, because the oregano make most of us hungry. Chloe will make hummus.

Okay. I guess that’s all. Things are great here since we got this really shiny golden calf statue. KIDDING! Just trying to get your goat! Kid… goat? Goat! Get it? Man, I should do some of this stuff at Eurpides weekly Improv show at the Apollo. It would kill.

Anywho. Like I said it was great hearing from you. Hope everything is super in Rome.

 

Best wishes,

 

All of us here in Corinith

 

 

Salutations: Beginnings

December 1st, 2016 by dac

I was invited to participate in an interesting writing exercise a couple months back and I’ve now done two.  In the interest of starting a writing project and keeping myself going I’m posting here.

The idea is that people get together at a bookstore and read letters. The whole thing is sponsored by Chronicle books and the first one they held was about beginnings and the most recent one they sponsored was about travel.

To get us started here’s the first letter I wrote for the beginnings event:

Dear Occupant,
I have an offer for you. This is a one time offer. This is an offer so stupendous that we can only
offer it to you. Now. at this time. Through this one time offer letter.
This is the kind of offer that used to come with 12 CDs for just a penny. This is an offer that will
make you will laugh at such a miniscule number of CDs from this point forward. However,
included with this offer you will also find a penny, just in case.
As with any great offer, we should inform you that this offer may make others jealous. Make
friends turn against you. Make people you don’t know look upon you with envious scorn. Make
women throw themselves at you. Make men throw themselves at you. You, my friend, will soon
know your way around the sort of one sided admiration reserved for Brad Pitt or people who
look a great deal like Brad Pitt. Tape this offer to your stomach and then never do another sit
up. This is our promise to you.
Will this offer make you gasp? Yes. Will this offer make your head spin with disbelief? Of
course. Will this offer make you weep, right there in the lobby of your building next to those
horrible aluminum mailboxes? Perhaps, but let me tell you about the offer.
No, let’s not rush to get to the offer right away. First, you are the only one who truly knows
yourself, in your heart of hearts, in the secret moments you share with only yourself, and
perhaps, the mail. Are you the sort of person that when presented with this kind of show
stopping, life altering offer would cast aside your normally stoic exterior and sob uncontrollably
in front the lady from 6a and the downstairs neighbor who’s been your secret crush for the past
year and a half.
You might. Will you? You should pause to think. Take a breath. Really look into your soul. Ask
yourself, am I that sort of person that when presented with an offer that only a fool would reject,
that only a charlatan would turn aside, who would weep tears of abject joy? if
the answer is
“Yes”. Then you should stop reading right now. Get a hanky. Or the towel you keep in your gym
bag. The one that’s been there, clean, unused for the past week and a half. Get one of those
and hold in your non dominant hand. You don’t want to smudge the ink. Offers returned with
tear smudged ink and null and void and subject to legal action.
Okay.
Are you ready?
Good.
Are you sure you’re ready?
Because this offer, which we are offering, this one time, to a very small group of handpicked
eligible consumers, would befuddle a person who’s anything less than 100% ready. We don’t
want anyone befuddled. Or flummoxed. Or caused undue consternation. The offer will be
revoked instantly to anyone showing signs of befuddlement, which as we all know, can be
detected with a simple blood test.
This offer is available to anyone who lives at this address. Male or female, offer also available to
pets, but not cats, for obvious reasons. Proof that you reside here and are not a cat is required.
If you live at this address, can read and are not a cat, you are subject to this amazing offer. If
you are not alive, please know that while we have a great and abiding respect for members of
our spirit community, this offer is not valid for netheramericans.
If you are dead or have been
dead, please be advised to sign the attached waiver and we will send you some valuable
consolation gifts. Which, while useless to a “living” person, would be of no end of valuableness
to someone negotiating the complexities of a time beyond the mortal coil.
This offer, offered to you and some others like you, is comprehensive and inclusive. The offer
includes a series of suboffers
encompassing, but not limited to: This offer, other offers, and
subsequent offers. This offer comes with a dinner salad or a baked potato. If requested the offer
also comes with a wine pairing for acceptees over the age of 21 in the United States or over the
age of 14 in other countries. If you live in New Jersey or Texas, the wine pairing is mandatory.
This offer is void where prohibited by common law but not by the laws of physics, which you will
soon see as irrelevant.
To redeem the offer you will need to report to the office of offer ofference, which is downtown,
next to the post office. Report to the office between 12 and 2 thursday through sunday. Ask for
Mabel. She will be expecting you. Please wear comfortable shoes and a light windbreaker.
Offer details are available upon request and can be provided at time of offer acceptance.
What are we offering, you ask?
Well, we are are offering, for one, the chance to change the way you perceive perception.
To change the way you acknowledge knowledge.
To change the way you think about thinking.
To give you the chance to enjoy Chai Tea while performing Tai Chi.
You will be both sub and super human simultaneously. You will also be sub and regular marine.
Semper Fi soldier.
You will expect the unexpected.
You will never forget a name.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. You will also get the rest of the iceberg.
The offer is available for a limited time. This offer is available to the first 600 respondents or the
first 500 nonrespondents,
whichever comes first. Respond or don’t respond but do so
immediately.
Use the responder envelope enclosed and respond now. Operators are standing by.
If we reached you in error and you are not the person who we thought we were trying to reach
please feel free to crumple this up and throw it in anger at someone you don’t know. This is
probably for them.

 

Bring out the dead

April 22nd, 2016 by dac

I have this joke I thought of yesterday that has no home. I’m not working on anything and even then I don’t know how I’d fit it in. It goes like this:

Man: Dad passed away last weekend.

Woman: Oh no I’m sorry.

Man: It was time. He was in a lot of pain at the end.

Woman: That’s tough. Was it cancer?

Man: No he was hit by a train. I hear that hurts like hell.

So you see my Dilemma- it’s a very specific joke and it needs to live in a certain sort of thing. It’s too big for twitter and too specific to be handed off to someone else who’s writing something else.

So I have it and it’s sitting here..

It started with the combo fact that I was on the train this morning and it seems that Facebook is either dead people or babies these days. I was telling a coworker that she had reached the age when you go to a lot of weddings. Which seems to happen in your late 20’s if I recall correctly. I guess I have reached the age when people have babies or die.

Which brings us to Prince, who did not have a baby.

Much has been said about the sadness around the death of the purple one, so I don’t need to re-explain what everyone’s already talked about.  Prince was an innovator, and while I wasn’t always a fan- I was always able to see that he was doing something completely different than anyone else in a way that was completely new. There are, of course, songs that I love- not especially the hits, but that’s not to say I live under a rock and therefore don’t know all the words the the whole of purple rain…

However I’d like to back out and discuss the whole way that social media has change the way we experience death. Especially celebrity death, but even deaths on a personal level.

Celebrity deaths, I have heard, seem to be happening more “often” than before. I’ve seen meme cursing 2016 as the stealer of legends- because of Bowie, Glenn Frey*, and now Prince. Yes, this is tragic, but no, it’s not unusual. People die all the time, however, in today’s modern age we knew that Prince was dead with in hours of his body being discovered, we could instantly launch into talking about it and we have a public forum for each of us to do so.

2016 is not a “year of disaster”, it’s just a year. Let me give you an example: I thought back to deaths that I registered from growing up, a celebrity death that I remember distinctly. I thought of two right off the top of my head: Elvis Presley and John Lennon. I remember that I heard about both rather rapidly although, since I was a kid, I don’t know how rapidly. Let’s pick one: Lennon (1980). I can’t tell you a thing about anyone else that died that year, however a quick search of the internet tells me that in addition to Lennon there were Bon Scott, John Bonham, Steve McQueen, Mae West, Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Durante, Ian Curtis and Peter Sellers. Those are just the ones that came up on the first website I grabbed off of google. So I doubt that list is even comprehensive.

Which makes me think about 1980- did people curse that year? I don’t recall. Somehow I doubt it- but you can’t argue that these people are legendary. I don’t remember any adults around me even commenting.

That doesn’t mean that having a year when Bowie and Prince died isn’t sad- it just means that people are going to keep dying. I mean, we only have one Ramone and half the Clash and those guys were kids compared to Bowie. So before you curse this year, remember that you’re going to curse every year from here on out, especially if you only face backwards. I also wonder about all of the hub bub on facebook. There are some people I expect to express sadness- people who I know love that artist and have forever. They need to use the support group that is social media to discuss. However I also saw, just this morning, someone who had posted “Here’s the obligatory post about Prince”, you know what? You don’t need to join the conversation. Just let it lie.

But further, the way we see any death these days seems to be via facebook. People you know, people who are famous, even people posting about friends, parents, whomever… who are long dead.  I think part of it is a public rending of cloth, a chance to say “I feel bad about this”. Some of it is also a coming together of grief, especially the public figures.  And some if it is, I guess, keeping the memory alive. However, even while I’ve been occasionally guilty of the public rending of cloth, I tend to think that grief of any kind is better expressed in person.

I’ve also always wondered about celebrating “death days”… well not celebrating- more like recognizing. Isn’t it better to talk about them in your regular life (IRL), tell stories, remember moments than it is to say something to the effect of “it’s been x years since you died and that’s stinky” on the Internet? Maybe that’s just me.

Which brings us to the conceit of the blog, which is if the only music that’s good was made 20 years ago**

Old Song: In deference to Prince let’s dig into the catalog. I’ve heard Chuck Prophet cover Controversy from the Prince world recently and it’s a Prince song that I forgot how much I liked. I found a version online of Prince doing it– it says “official” so this might be one of the few times Prince allowed music onto Youtube. Anyway, it does all the things that made Prince great. It’s got about a 100 hooks, but it’s also got a groove that’s hard to get out of your head. It’s funk, but it’s pop, but it’s soul. It’s the quintessential Prince song from exactly one Prince era. Prince wasn’t completely like Bowie in that respect but you have to appreciate the fact that he never stood still as a artist. He was always thinking of the next thing. Well, now we’ll just have to go into the catalog and appreciate all of the things we may have overlooked.

New Song: Fraser A Gorman. He has a bunch of quality songs, however, because you haven’t heard of him let’s start with the “hit”. Shiny Gun is what amounts to a hit for this Australian kid with a folk rocky sound. It’s a great song, but you should use it as the appetizer for digging into the rest of his stuff. He’s got two records out now and both are full of gems. However, this one was the song that put him on the map. It’s the first song of his that I heard. It easily puts him the the same breath as Wilco, which is a feat in itself. It also makes me want to pay attention to him as he continues to develop. Remember that he’s only 23. Also it shouldn’t shock you that he’s being championed by another Australian who deserves your attention- 2015 Grammy nominee & wonder kind, Courtney Barnett.

 

*I’m not going to argue that he wasn’t a legend even if I hated the eagles like it was a full time job

** News Flash- you’ve got bad news on the horizon from this point forward.

How many Oaklanders does it take to change a light bulb? Hella.

March 21st, 2016 by dac

Yesterday, Nicole and I finished the Oakland half-Marathon it’s one of the best of these events we do and we’ve done quite a few. I mean everyone has their merits, but only one has Lake Merritt.

It started with a little pain because the night before we went to see the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at the SF Jazz. They were amazing but I was dancing on the same feet that were gonna run 13.1 the next day so I started the day with a creaky ankle. On an interesting side note- the date that was three dates behind SF Jazz was of all places “Bethany College” – props to you Alma Mater- you’re cooler now when I was there and we slogged through Beatles tribute bands and The Georgia Satellites.

Our experience with the SF Marathon vs The Oakland Running Festival is not night and day but it’s a little bit of a dichotomy. The SF expects the course & scenery to shine and the Oakland wants the people & the event to shine. To put that another way SF is like “F^@k you, here’s a bridge” and Oakland is more “Hey, how’s everything going. Would you like some more bananas? How about some snacks? You seem nice. Wanna hang out?”.

Oakland gives away not one but two beers, there were three places on the course giving away orange slices and one place giving away power muffins & orange slices (much love to Brown Sugar Kitchen– which we hear from new friend Britta is also an awesome place to eat)

Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, who kicked off the race, announced “I bet you’re going to run into hella people who love Oakland. So have fun!” Which makes me love Oakland even more when you put her against Ed Lee who seems even stuffier (and possibly slightly more corrupt) when pitted against that.

Along the course we saw tons of people with signs, a couple bands and 1 super awesome Asian drum team. There a number of churches emptying out as we ran, we were greeted by a number of Pastors, a few congregations and woman who was wearing her church best on a corner dancing and shouting encouragement.

This race’s hands down winner from the sign category was “If Brittney Spears can make it through 2007 you can make it through this race” barely beating out last years favorite “Run like you stole something because let’s face it- this is Oakland so you probably did”. Signs repeat lots, for example we see “Worst Parade Ever” lots but that doesn’t make it less funny, but there’s always one or two that are new and clever.

This year during the race we heard from another runner about the Santa Rosa half which comes with a bottle of wine- which is pretty good swag unless you drink it immediately following the race (freight train to sh!tfaced town!). Also folks that join the Deloach wine club get free entry. I don’t know the first thing about that winery or we might think about it.

And now to the conceit- I thought about trying to dig up some “running” songs but that seemed forced so here you go- one from the stove and one from the vault:

Old Song: Mr Greeves by the Pixies. This came out in 1989 (The number. Sound of the funky drummer- but more on that later). It got a ton of play when I was in college (see above) but it still sounds like a good song despite it’s age. I’m not saying I want to listen to it all the time but it stands up and doesn’t sound like you’re on a memory trip.

New Song : Corrine by Black Honey. These guys are a punk, psych rock sixties sounding something else. I’d love to think that they might get some kind of larger fame but I fear that they are such a niche sound that they just won’t have enough to break bigger. I bet, though, that based on everything I’ve heard of their recorded stuff that they probably kill it in concert and I’ll be keeping an eye out for tour dates that aren’t in UK or France.

The Elvis Year that never included the King

March 11th, 2016 by dac

Recently, my brother-in-law announced that no good music has been made in 15 years. This is a concept some people call your “Elvis-year” -meaning the moment when you felt like you had the whole life-thing wired and then you look back on it forever. You just sit in the warm bath of the music that was the sound track of the time you felt like you ruled the world and you watch those movies and you stay in touch with those friends…etc.So if you “Elvis-yeared” in 1984 you might never want to listen to anything but Van Halen, Cindi Lauper and Prince while watching Ghostbusters or Footloose. I’m pretty certain I’ve had a couple and I don’t know if that’s allowed (but I’m writing so I’m making the rules). There’s a couple times when I had a new lease on life – most recently when Nicole and I started dating 5 years ago.

There’s another concept around this idea I’ve also heard discussed called the “reminiscence bump” or looking back on a time when your parents were in their 20’s- which explains why these nostalgia booms seem to reflect a time just before the people leading it were born- 30 years previous e.g. in the 70’s shows like Happy Days looked back on the 50’s in the 80’s shows like The Wonder Years & China Beach looked back on the 60’s and now we’re treated to The Goldbergs to look back on the 80’s.

My Dad’s Elvis-year was probably 1959 or so. He would tell me that no good music had been made since then, but the same time  I was probably 12 or 13, just discovering music like The Clash, David Bowie and The Ramones. Which meant as my Dad was saying it I felt like I was *actively* proving him wrong. As this declaration was made, he was rejecting everything from Michael Jackson to The Velvet Underground in favor of Chuck Berry and The Four Freshman. Sure there were a few bands that sneaked through Dad’s standard wall… Billy Joel was okay (he was from Long Island) …Bruce Springsteen was okay (He was singing about something we wouldn’t have a word for until 2 years ago…’Murica) but those were few and far between.

Now even though I have some things that I still discuss with my therapist about Dad doesn’t mean that’s it’s wrong that as he made this declaration I saw that he was glaringly wrong. This fact cemented in my mind there was never going to be a need to make such a declaration. I was going to keep my mind and my ears open for whatever was next. It’s been good for my musical enlightenment but maybe bad for my wallet (this means you have to buy new stuff all the time). I am now about the age that my Dad was when he declared that music was dead and I can tell you that music is far from dead and there’s cool new stuff happening all the time.

So long story short… for as long as people are still around there will be great music being made all the time and the key is opening your mind to it. It’s going to be different than the music that was made when you were 22 and all fresh faced, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

As I move through life I find that there’s things I keep but there’s a lot I lose.The Clash sounds as good today as they did in 1982 but even though I loved Depeche mode when I was 19, now they sound dated. Husker Du sounds fresh, The Doors sound tired. Etc.

The list goes on.

This gave me an idea. When I first started this blog it was an email and the email was framed around a song that was stuck in my head. I would prattle on about something that was going on- and then I would share the song of the day. I think this whole new/old thing might have legs and more importantly it gives me something to frame my ideas around and force me to write a bit more.

So…in addition to prattling on, I’m going to include one song from the past that still sounds good and one song from now that is an excellent addition.

That said. Here they are:

Old Thing: Echo & The Bunnymen: Bring on the Dancing Horses. Recently this song came on Pandora and I was surprised how undated it sounded. It’s just a good rock song. There’s no weird trendy things going on, they’re just playing something. I’d say the way to tell if something is on the trend line is listen to it a bunch of times, for example, that now terrible Mumford and Sons song. Remember the first time you heard it? Didn’t suck. Then suddenly it sucked (and REALLY sucked). I don’t know how it went from not suck to suck but it did about two listens in and the moment it happened that song became unlistenable. So I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Bring on the Dancing Horses but….well alot…. it still doesn’t suck. Even …jesus…30 years later

New Thing: Thao & Get Down Stay Down: Nobody Dies. I’d be remiss if I didn’t drop her on the debut version of this new idiom.  For several reasons, (1) When Jason said “No good music has been made…etc” I had just gotten her record in the mail. It came out, like, yesterday (I preordered it) she was the first thing I thought of because- she’s awesome and also her record had quite literally just come out.- making the record younger than his kid. (2) She’s local (we already knew this but)- this video is filmed either in Marin or the east bay. I know I’ve been there but I can’t quite place it. (3) She’s one of my favorite new artists in the past couple years and also one hell of a show – so go see her live you will not regret it.

So there you go. Now I have a thing and that means that maybe I’ll get fingers on keys a bit more…maybe weekly?

Idiocracy… only real

March 2nd, 2016 by dac

My complete lack of recent contributions to the blog no one reads (mostly because I haven’t posted something since 2014) has motivated me to try and throw myself back into the fray.

I had initially thought about reviewing Fuller House (unwatchable) but then McCovey Chonicles* did it so well I don’t figure I have anything else to add. I thought about rambling on about spring, but…yawn. Something about El Nino? Done.

So I’m stuck with trying to figure out what the s#!t is going on in the presidential race.

What’s weird is that it’s a slightly less than a full year til the election and I’m late to the game, people have been going on about this election since the last time I added something to the Blog. I would contend, however, that I’m getting here just as the world of political theater has entered somewhere between dadaist and absurd.

Here’s what we know:

  • Bizarrely, Donald Trump** is leading despite there being only one person I know***, or have met, or have any connection to that is voicing anything other than shock and fear about this guy. It’s odd because even in the insular California liberal world I have created for myself I remember at least a few folks who were supporters of Mittens (other than my mom) during the last rodeo.  How is this guy leading? Who is voting for him? No one is a supporter-he’s been parodied effectively: here. here.  even here. also here. I’ve not heard anyone who was not a man on the street with a limited knowledge of world geography, let alone politics say he was “their guy”.
  • Hilary, despite being every liberal’s second choice, is acting like she’s gonna pull this off
  • Bernie, despite being so outside the lines he’s not even coloring anymore, made a really good run

My theory about the Bernie/Hilary thing is a direct relation to the Trump thing, but let’s start with where Trump came from.

Republicans can blame themselves for Trump. They wrote his script. They have been moving the party towards jingoism and middle aged, non-college educated, middle income white dudes who gain nothing from the party of rich folks since Reagan. Look at George W. Bush. They spent his entire presidency convincing us that we didn’t want some fancy pants college smart “east coast liberal”**** in the office, we wanted some down-homey regular Joe who we could have a beer with. They kept denying they were the party of rich folks and selling the “you want low taxes for rich people in case you accidentally get rich” thing. So they acquired lots of racist hillbillies and now those racist hillbillies have found their Trumpy-messiah, incidentally that messiah is not interested in their *actual Messiah*. So now the Republicans have to eat the medicine that the Tea Partiers cooked up, here’s a reality TV star that says all the stupid stuff that they told them to like and the people that they told to like it…LOVE IT.

Further, Trump is suddenly REALLY winning and that changes lots of things on both sides. The Republicans have to start dancing as fast as they can so as not to get their party hijacked. This means pouring a ton of money into Florida for Rubio, or whomever they think might be a more reasonable candidate*****.

Lots of people I know back Bernie. I like Bernie. He’s saying really interesting stuff. He’s saying all the stuff we *want* a politician to say. He wants to do all the stuff we thought wasn’t possible. It’s still not possible- (see Droopy Dog/ Mitch McConnell long term obstructionist plan)- but …man, single payer healthcare? Making the rich pay for the amount of screwing they do? College for free? Giving some rules to the banks? It sounds awesome. And it seems like Bernie would get into office and be just idealistic enough to stick to his values and not compromise. He said something the other day that is emblematic of this “If you start out asking for half a loaf, you end up with crumbs… ask for a full damn loaf, you may actually get something.”

So Bernie has the lefties I hang out with, but the people in the middle, who were ready to throw in behind Bernie have to deal with this new world. “Holy Crap! There’s even an outside chance that a guy who says all this crazy s#!t could be nominated? We’d better go with the establishment, middle of the road, highly electable candidate.” and who would have guessed even 4 years ago that the candidate that best fits that description is Hilary. But it is (Even some Republicans think so).

I think it will bring out the vote for sure.  The people who don’t normally vote for anyone would love to vote for the guy who wants to keep out the Muslims, build walls and is openly misogynistic and racist. Everyone on the left will certainly vote for “anyone but” that guy. It’s bizarre recently I saw that the folks that brought us Idiocracy said it was coming true. I hate that they’re right.

I also wonder if this isn’t some really really long con for Trump? Maybe he’s smarter than we all thought and he’s been cooking this shit up since the late 80’s. The fact that he’s been all over the map politically in his past is one of the things people use to prove that fact.  I think he’s an opportunist. I honestly don”t think he cares what comes out of his mouth as long as he keeps winning. Trump on Losers

Did you see that after Trump started winning the words “move to Canada” spiked on Google and the Canadian Immigration website actually crashed? It’s gonna get weirder before it de-weirds, so strap in.

*Strangely, an SF Giants baseball website

**I hope that you did yourself a solid and have downloaded the Drumpf extension on Chrome so this doesn’t actually say Trump

***Facebook acquaintance

**** Between you and me I want a president so smart I have to look up words to understand ttheir speeches

*****How bats#!t crazy do you have to be for Karl Rove to think you’re unreasonable?

Glengarry Glenn Close

June 27th, 2014 by dac

I have a client who has a quote in his sig file from Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s a play, written by David Mamet about a million years ago. It won the Pulitzer prize. Everyone’s seen the movie, some have seen the play and a couple people have been in it.

If you have a scrap of humanity, this play/movie makes you both hate and feel terrible for anyone who’s chosen sales as a career.  It, like Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, ultimately shows the slippery slope that anyone who lives in a capitalistic society lives on. For one person to get ahead, it’s usually on the bones of another person. The play is haunted by monsters and little guys that get eaten by monsters or become monsters themselves.

That’s not what I’m actually talking about though.

So for some unknown reason this play has also been co-opted by a certain kind of douche-bag who sides with the monster and sees the play as a motivational speech. I feel confident that my client, who is otherwise a nice guy, is not going to read this….but I think he’s that kind douche-bag.

The quote he chose was “Second place is a set of steak knives”- the full quote is “As you all know, first prize is Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? ” It’s about the evilest quote in the play. The second evilest is “Coffee is for closers” .

But anyway, like I said- that’s not what the bliggity blog is about. I was running and I started thinking about how I might be able to make that evil shit funny. So below is my first attempt. Apologies to Mr Mamet.

***

Blake: Let me have your attention for a moment! ‘Cause you’re talking about what? You’re talking about…[puts out his cigarette]…bitching about that sale you shot, some son of a bitch don’t want to buy land, somebody don’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to screw, so forth. Let’s talk about something important. [to John Williamson] Are they all here?

John: All but one.

Blake: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important! [to Shelley] Put that coffee down!! Coffee’s for closers only. [Shelley scoffs] You think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here for Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levine?

Shelley: Yeah.

Blake: You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?

Dave: I don’t gotta listen to this shit.

Blake: You certainly don’t, pal. ‘Cause the good news is you’re fired. The bad news is you’ve got, all you’ve got, just one week to regain your jobs, starting with tonight. Starting with tonight’s sit. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? Fourth place is a set of drinkware! You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. The drinkware is nice- kinda like Tupperware but better for when you’ve got nice guests. Get their names to sell them! Fifth place is you’re fired. You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks, pal, and beat it ’cause you’re going out!!!

Shelley: The leads are weak. Wait, there’s a fourth place?

Blake: The leads are weak. Fuckin’ leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business 15 years.

Dave: What’s your name? Did you say fifth place? There are only three of us.

Blake: FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, mister? ‘Cause you drove a Yugo to get here tonight, I drove an $80,000 BMW. That’s my name!!

Shelly: Your name is “I dove an 80 thousand dollar BMW?” What nationality is that?

Blake:  [to Shelley] And your name is “you’re wanting”. And you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them. [at a near whisper] Then go home, home and tell your wife your troubles. [to everyone again] Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line, which is dotted! You hear me? Because 6th place is you get to have sex with Levine’s wife!

Shelley: Hang on… who wins 6th place? What if I do? That would be nice.

Blake: [Blake flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABC, and ILTAC] A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!  I-L-T-A-C. I Like Tea and Cake. I- I as you as in yourself. L- like as in you enjoy something. Tea- It’s a drink. It’s fucking drink with jam and bread. Do you sad sacks not even know what tea is? Jesus. C- Cake. It’s fucking cake people. You think they came in to get outta the rain? You think that some fuck left your cake out in the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. Cause it took so long to bake it and you fucks will never have the recipe again. Sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?

Dave: Incredible.

Blake[to Moss] What’s the problem, pal? You. Moss. [Blake sits down.]

Dave: You’re such a hero, you’re so rich. How come you’re coming down here waste your time with such a bunch of bums?

Blake: You see this watch? [Blake takes off his gold watch.] You see this watch?

Dave: Yeah.

Blake: That watch cost more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. You see the big hand? Where is it?

Dave: It’s on the 5.

Blake: Yeah it’s on the 5. Now where’s the little hand?

Dave: It’s on the 2.

Blake: So what time is it?

Dave: Time for …

Blake: It’s time to Close!!You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this, how can take the abuse you get on a sit?! You don’t like it, leave. You like it a little, come out with me later and I’ll show you my wang.  I can go out there tonight, the materials you got, make myself $15,000! Tonight! In two hours! Can you? Can you? Or you can come with me and make like $25 for 10 mins work involving some lotion provided by the hotel and your gumption … oh and your hand.  Go and do likewise! A-B-C! Activate boron contraption. Get mad! I-L-T-A-C. Like italic only spelled right. You son of a bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to sell real estate? [He pulls something out of his brief case. He is holding two brass balls on string] It takes brass balls to sell real estate.

Shelly: Are those benwa balls? I think you can buy them in Chinatown. What do we use them for?

Dave: I think your wife knows, and I’m ready to come in #6.

Shelly: (to Dave) You know there’s only three of us, right?

Blake:  The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours. You don’t, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on those sits tonight and close, close, it’s yours. If not, you’re gonna be shining my dick. And you know what you’ll be saying, bunch of losers, sitting around in a bar. [in a mocking weak voice] “Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it’s a tough racket.”

Dave: It *is* a tough racket. Also, did you just ask me for a hand job?

Blake:  [He takes out large stack of red index cards tied together with string from his briefcase.] These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. [He hands the stack to John Williamson.] They’re for closers like the coffee and Levine’s wife. I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. [to Moss as he puts on his watch again] And to answer your question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked for a favor. I said, the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fuckin’ ass ’cause a loser is a loser.

Reboot v 2

May 30th, 2014 by dac

I’ve been remiss in posting to this stupid blog forever. I don’t know why. I just got sidetracked, but this morning I was listening to 99% invisible on KALW and they did a story about the Jolly Roger (the Pirate Flag) and why it exists and where it came from etc.  This struck me as a totally interesting and also totally random topic.

This got me to thinking… I do all kinds of stupid random searches every day to find out about stuff I heard on the radio or something, so maybe I could rethink why I have a blog and provide a periodic (or perhaps sporadic) view into what I end up finding out. Maybe it’s interesting, maybe it’s not- but ultimately it’s also an exercise in pen to paper. So maybe the fact that I’m writing makes my brain think more about the writing.

So this is me announcing that. I’m going to try to do 10 column inches once a week or so about a bunch of random stuff.  I don’t think it will end up being as much about me as I have written in the past, but we’ll see. At the very least it’s a good way to get back into the pool.