13 June, 2013

It seems like I've been writing everywhere but here, lately.

I had a pretty decent stretch of record reviews there for a minute (and by "decent stretch", I mean I did two), and M. and I have this plan to review the entire Harvey Milk discography starting sometime before 2014 but I haven't really written anything here in a few weeks. Stories About Prince is still going strong and I'll import the latest ones later today, and you can see in the right hand column that I've been tweeting pretty decently because all I need to do anymore is get one little dinky thought out here and there, and I just wrapped up the first draft of my third (technically my fifth but the first two sucked so don't count) novel the night before last and began editing last night and then I started a tumblr which I'm really using only as a second twitter but I'm not really writing here as much as I used to. (And, hey, I did warn you about that nearly a year ago.)
But as far as some leisurely writing goes, I've been over at the EA Forums and, lately, in the dream thread, I've been recounting some of my finer, more surreal, more star-studded moments. Let's enjoy them together...
I swear I'm not making any of this shit up, but I am editing a few things for the context of SD&A readers as opposed to EA forum members.
26 December, 2009 (I do not remember this.)
Last night I dreamt that I got the deluxe edition of the new Jesus Lizard record. After Lance Reddick (The Wire, Fringe) gave me an application to the Burger King he managed (replete with a psych-eval wherein I was described as "subject prefers two drinks"), I ran home to play it. Track one was a "making of" featurette where David Yow explained to John Lennon (played by John Cusack) how this record was recorded. It was recorded in one take with the band in the back of a box truck parked in the warehouse next to the Wikipedia building. The rest of the record sounded like Rage Against the Machine. I was indifferent to it.
5 November, 2012 (I have a vague recollection of half of this.)
Night before last, I dreamed that I was on a woman's volleyball team, only I wasn't a woman, I was that guy with Down Syndrome who wrote that open letter to Ann Coulter. And instead of volleyballs, we were using light bulbs. It was weird.
Last night, I had a dream that I was watching the special features on the Pig Pile DVD. Apparently, according to my subconscious, there's footage of Steve [Albini] working in a White Castle, slowly and clumsily putting together ten sliders for Lori Barbero from Babes in Toyland.
14 January, 2013 (I don't like remembering this one.)
An elderly Korean lady was trying to seduce me in the basement of the house I grew up in. While this was going on, there was a torrential down pour outside and I figured that I'd rather not go to work.
5 February, 2013 (This one was just weird.)
Last night, I had a dream that [forum member] Mandroid made me a ginormous double cheeseburger at my grandfather's house, which is odd because I have never met her in the flesh. Also, when I picked it up, it turned into a slider. That whole thing was weird.
20 March, 2013 (I actually had a pretty good time right up until I was mortified.)
It was the 90s and I was working on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Last night, two bands played, Breeders and Deftones. I ran sound for the Breeders and they were pretty good. They wrap up playing "Cannonball" and we cut to commercial and we start setting up Deftones' gear. I'm under the impression that I'll be joining them on stage playing guitar so I go up to Stephen Carpenter and ask him, "Hey, Chino, what are we tuning to, tonight?"
He gives me a shitty look and I say, "You know, in case you need to use my guitar... or... pedals... or anything you need." He continues to give me a shitty look until I slink off stage.
It wasn't until maybe five minutes ago that I realized that it was probably because I called him by the singer's name.
18 April, 2013 (You want a fun ride, man? Eat a Vietnamese sandwich before bed.)
I had a few different dreams last night, a lot were weird, probably due to the bánh mì I ate before bed. The first I can remember was that I was in Barter Town, waiting to go into Thunderdome against Baron Harkonnen. Then it was determined that my punishment - for whatever crime I'd committed - was that I was to have to watch the entire series run of "the most boring sitcom in New Zealand", about a wolfman and his roommate, while playing a board game with arbitrary rules and pieces that changed from chess pieces to checkers to key tags. I actually wound up getting pretty good at it.
Then there was some shit with my old boss and the girl from the liquor store going through a box of my old shit, nothing personal, just some old guitar tab books and the driver's manual for my old Ford.
I then wound up bunking for the night with a prematurely balding hippie girl and her talking dog. She disappeared and I got stuck with the talking dog who would not shut the fuck up and go to sleep; he just kept rambling about how he was a shitty sleeper and how he was probably going to be up all night, chewing on things. I put my shoes on the night stand.
Then there's some shit I can't remember.
Anyway, I had to go to the supermarket to put in an application, got shot right down. I got out side and it had blizzarded while I was inside, my bike got covered in snow. I brush off my bike and walk out to the street to assess the situation and determine that it's going to be a lot easier / safer if I call a cab. So, I go back over to the grocery store to get the building number off the building so I can give it to the cab company I'm about to call. Well, other people are calling cabs, too, and nobody can find the goddamned building number, everybody's spazzing. In the fracas, a mailman bumped into my bike right after I spotted the building number. I mean, I have the phone in my hand and I'm about ready to dial the cab company. This mailman, though, starts yelling at me, "Wipe that mud off my boot!" "Wipe that mud off my boot!" His friends are holding him back telling him to calm down, it's just mud, just an accident, this mailman yells back, "I don't ever let another man scuff my boots!" He points at his boot and tells me to wipe it off.
Me? I try to diffuse the situation and say, "OK, OK, let me get a napkin or something."
He yells back, "I don't want you to use a napkin!"
I ask him what he wants then.
"Use your hand!"
Now, two things happened at that point. The first was that I recognized the mailman as Matt Dillon. The second was that I made up my mind to tell him to fuck off.
I was just about to do that when I woke up.
But I am curious, now, as to what is the most boring sitcom in New Zealand.
27 April, 2013 (I'd like to know what these records were.)
I have no idea what the fuck my subconscious was on last night. I know I had more than a few scotches before bed in anticipation of my day off today.
WARNING, this one is pretty star-studded.
ANYhoo...
So, my brother landed a gig as Bette Midler's unpaid assistant, which, as I witnessed while visiting him and Ms. Midler at my grandfather's house in NYC (y'know, instead of Waterville, OH), is a thankless series of chores and tests from a verbally abusive sociopath. Note that that sociopath is not Ms. Midler but the young, white, suburban, gangsta rapper wannabe she keeps around; Ms. Midler herself is usually pilled the fuck up, like Judy Garland.
So after the last test, something about fetching a magazine from the kitchen table and then having the magazine constantly be the wrong one, I say fuck this and tell my brother he's quitting and we're going back to Chicago (where neither of us are from) and he needs to grab his stuff and go to the bathroom because we have a long drive, I'll handle Steven Tyler.
Yeah. Steven Aerosmith Tyler. Apparently, that's who I need to talk to about my brother quitting working for Bette Midler.
Steven Tyler looks positively emotionless as I list the various offenses against my brother on behalf of the suburban rap-dude and, by extension, Ms. Midler.
My brother tells me he's ready and I tell him to wait up while I grab my vinyl records. There was a green one with red writing on it one top of the stack, and a black one with fire on the cover on the bottom. I don't remember what the middle one was.
So my brother and I take off from NYC, there's this big, sweeping crane shot on my car crossing the bridge. (Is the Brooklyn Bridge still a thing? I think that's the one we were crossing.) My car, in this instance, is a leopard print low-rider Caprice with 22s. Riding along with us, for some reason, is the dad from The Wonder Years as portrayed by Peter Stomare.
As we drive along, I begin telling my grandmother (who is not with us, by the way) that we'll have to get a place to stay because there's no way we can make it from NYC to Chicago in a day. And then, no, wait... Chicago's only six hours from Toledo and I had some friends in high school that made it from Bowling Green (half hour south of Toledo) to NYC in twelve hours (that actually did happen), so, no, grandma, I take that back, I think we can pull this off in one shot.
The only problem? Well, aside from not looking at a goddamned road map before getting in the car, I'm now driving from the backseat and this fat kid's head keeps flopping in my line of sight every time I look around him at the highway interchange. I keep pushing his fat head out of my way and I have to make a choice soon between the R20, some other one, and US65. Well, between dealing with his fat head and traffic, I wind up on the R20.
The R20 immediately brings us into a travel plaza with a bunch of Empire Records and TGI Fridays and shit where I grab the fat kid by the head and throw him out the window and park the car.
I see his brother run up and then just stand there. Doesn't do anything as the fat kid starts crying. I get out of the car and the fat kid comes running up to me and asks who's on my t-shirt. I tell him, "Black Sabbath," as I walk inside the travel plaza to check a road map.
Well, I'll be a fucked duck.
The bad news is that the R20 runs south to Philadelphia. The good news is that we have our options: We can pick up St Rte 16 in Philadelphia and head west from there or, you know, if we want an option that makes some kind of goddamned sense, we can still turn around and pick up US65.
So, my brother comes in and I explain to him what's going on. When I turn around, I find I'm in one of my high school class rooms with all the lights turned off and there are some aging hair metal guys and Tawny Kitaen - hood-of-a-car-Whitesnake-video era Tawny Kitaen, not whooping-motherfuckers-with-a-shoe era Tawny Kitaen, mind you - are having this fancy roast beef dinner. Both of these hair metal guys look like a cross between Howard Stern and Geddy Lee. They're laughing and I tell them about how, when I threw the fat kid out of the car by his head, that Ratt's "Round and Round" was on the stereo.
This instantly ingratiates me into their company and the one Geddy Stern comes over and extends to me a spoon, on the end of which is a blue balloon covered in mashed potatoes sitting atop a Salisbury steak. I take the balloon and begin slurping the potatoes off and this Geddy Stern says to the other Geddy Stern in a horrible fake cockney accent, "Just like a tit!"
Then we all smiled.
Then I woke up.

Compare that to the simplicity from the night before when all I dreamed was that [forum member] Erawk was my high school bus driver. Me and some of the guys made plans to ask her exactly what bus drivers do between the time they drive kids to school and drive them back. That riddle was never solved.
5 May, 2013 (For all of the hullabaloo surrounding it, I never did get into Arrested Development. I'm a 30 Rock man.)
I hope you're a fan of Arrested Development-esque sitcoms, because one of those debuted in my subconscious last night. It's called This is the Son of a Bitch that Killed my Sister.
The premise is this: I'm new in town and the pesky girl scout from down the block takes a shine to me, nothing untoward. Think Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson. Well, one day, after I shoo her away, she gets smacked by a bus.
Racked with remorse, I go to the family to seek forgiveness, turning the tables on myself. Now I'm the annoying neighbor and the girl's father is the "Mr. Wilson", if you will. Each episode, replete with laugh track, features my repeated and nearly successful attempts at gaining forgiveness from the girl's father until her brother walks in, introducing some new member of the community - his football teammates, the PTA, the priest - indicating me with the show's catchphrase, "This is the son of a bitch that killed my sister," causing the father to snap to and remember that he hates me as well as stirring ire in the heart of whichever new community member is featured this week. A Benny Hill style chase ensues until I am eventually caught and beset upon by the angry mob.
It's a little one-note but I think the pilot will really sell it.
6 May, 2013 (I ate four classic roast beef whatever fuckoff whatchamacall'ems that night. Some nights, I have neither a sense of shame or dignity.)
You know those big ass buildings that you see at county swap meets? I was in one of those, last night, except this was the size of an acre and all the doors were open, revealing vast prairies. Part of the building was a cage, large enough to hold several elephants, with a concrete floor. Inside the cage was a man, smoking a cigarette, and outside of the cage, with me, was a rancher.
A pickup truck pulls into the building and four men get out, three are Hispanic, one of them being exceptionally short (though not a midget). The fourth man, the white man, is lead over to the cage door, which I am unlocking. I guide the man in and close the door behind him, turning to ask the rancher if he wants me to lock it. He says it won't make no difference.
The first man inside the cage stamps his cigarette out on the floor and taps the white man on the shoulder and says, "Hey, man," as they both walk over to where the three Hispanic men are standing. The first man blindfolds himself and the white man is looking confused. The first man produces a dagger and says, "Here, man," tossing the dagger to the white man. As the white man goes to catch it, the first man pulls a gun out of his pants and shoots the white man in the face, once. He then takes his blindfold off.
The first man, the rancher, and the two tall Hispanic men look at the short Hispanic man who wipes a tear from his eye and nods. The three Hispanic men left in the pickup truck.
Don't eat Arby's right before going to bed.
10 May 2013 (Nonagon John uses his real name as his online handle so while I'm pretty sure that he doesn't mind his identity being public, I'm still going to err on the side of caution.)
Last night, I invited forum member John [redacted] to a barbecue. Then I remembered he's a vegetarian. My attempt at making veggie burger patties from scratch involved a lot of carrots and a lot of pulsing the blender. It was seriously close to something like twenty minutes (in dream time) of peeling, chopping, and blending these damned carrots.
14 May, 2013 ("Jumbo Danzig" was coined by Steve Albini in reference to Type O Negative's Peter Steele.)
What do you get when you put a teen comedy in the underground dome from Vic & Blood, replete with crazed, cultish Earth repopulation scheme? You get the perfect setting for my new Danzig cover band where I, as Zach Galifinakis on vocals*, am joined by forum members RSMurphy on keytar and Mason on triangle during our rendition of "Cantspeak" where I needlessly sex things up with a sassy little strip tease. Then, when a bunch of jocks from the high school show up (remember, this is a teen comedy after all) to make fun of us, the joke. Is on. Them when the club's capacity audience rallies around us as we perform "Mother", with [RSMurphy] now on bass and Mason on guitar and, I can't be sure, but I think Ty Webb was on drums.
It was actually pretty awesome.

* Would that count as Jumbo Danzig?
28 May, 2013 (Nobody here gets to use the title Soft Taffy. I'm keeping that.)
Last night, I was the company rep for a trashbag manufacturer and I faced off against 30 Rock character Devon Banks in a trash-bag triathalon. Round one was seeing who could use a plunger to extract the most crushed beer cans from the pile of french fries and chicken nuggets sitting under a heat lamp. I won. Round two was folding garbage bags in the manner specified by the committee; nine times over, all length-wise. Well, I blew that shit. Round three was an obstacle course for taking out trash and I would have loved to have run it but the next thing I knew, I was dressed in a kimono and in a sequel to some cheesy 80s teen-sex-romp, the title of which I never hear. Like the fifth in the series or some shit.
Apparently, the box office returns for this franchise were pretty low and the producers, whoever they were, were desperate to try anything to avoid another flop. How do I know this? Enter my cousin, 1980s Anthony Michael Hall with a pompadour who passed by me with a Don LaFontaine voice over - "You loved him as Rufus in..." Anthony Michael Hall walks by dressed like Ducky from Pretty In Pink - "Then Rufus came back in..." Anthony Michael Hall's character has become more defined, now; the pompadour's bigger and he's been given a pimp cane - "You had to have more Rufus so..." Anthony Michael Hall apparently went Hawaiian in the third one, still looking like Ducky or Buster Poindexter or something but now in a Hawaiian shirt - "Rufus sent shivers up your spine in..." Anthony Michael Hall, still with the pompadour and the round sunglasses and pimp-cane, but now wrapped in gauze like a mummy, the fourth installment in this series was either something along the lines of Scooby-Doo or a bad slasher flick - "And now, Rufus returns as your cousin."
I was in a Xmas flick with whoever the fuck this Rufus character was, who was supposed to be my cousin. Rufus is wearing a kimono similar to mine, has bling all over his fingers, the cubic-zirconia tipped pimp cane, the round sun-glasses, and has a Santa cap on his ginormous pompadour while a black bikini clad woman sits on his lap.
I can't remember what he asked me to get, but it was in - wait for it - a trash bag. So now I'm wondering, "Is this the obstacle course? I have to be in a bad Xmas movie dressed in kimonos with Anthony Michael Hall as fucking Rufus?" But anyway, I go digging for whatever Rufus wants out of the trash but I get distracted by a fully in tact, brand new, glossy Asian porn mag titled Soft Taffy. So I say, what the hey, and decide that I'm going to peruse the pages of Soft Taffy. That's when my aunt Pam (and she's a real person) storms in and demands to know what I'm doing.
I tell her, uh, I'm reading Soft Taffy.
That's when aunt Pam starts slapping me with her purse like Ruth Buzzi and demands to know where I got my hands on Soft Taffy. I tell her that its Rufus's. So she storms off to Rufus's room and proceeds to beat the shit out of him, calling him a smut monger.
Meanwhile, I go to the kitchen, still in my kimono, and explain to my parents what just happened. My father laughs and my mother shrugs and then I woke up.
13 June, 2013 (There's just something about Carrie Brownstein dressed as an Indian chief...)
Last night started off as a Portlandia sketch - you know, quirky, smart, but not laugh out loud funny - about Little Big Horn. In the sketch, an extra and I, as Indians, were dueling on a log over a pond as Carrie Brownstein, our chief, was prepping us for the arrival of the 7th Calvary. It was then that a tornado siren went off, ruining the sketch - or maybe that was the point, to make it a sketch within a sketch - and all the extras had to stop what they were doing until the siren stopped.
But then the sky grew dark and we could hear a faint rumbling* and, out of nowhere, this huge gang of sparrows, pheasants, pigeons, and peahens just encircled the pond and the surrounding trees and we realized, oh, shit, there's an actual tornado coming.
So all of the cast start looking for cover and all we can do is duck down around these trees, there's nothing but open prairie surrounding us, this pond, these few trees on one side of the pond, and all these fucking birds. I'm running back and forth looking for cover but none of the birds are letting me near the trees and bushes they're sitting in.
For some reason, a giant white cinder block building with maroon and navy accents appears in the near distance and I shout to my castmates over the rising wind that we should take cover in that building.
So we run over to it and, as we come up to a large, open bay door, there's a parade of navy and maroon clad baseball players and cheerleaders coming out, laughing, yelling, spraying champagne on each other, just having a good old time.
My recall here gets a little hazy but the gist is that I'm Clint Eastwood, a retired NYC cop moving into this small town that, unbeknownst to me, is run by this retail magnate played by Powers Boothe. Like I said, shit gets fuzzy around this point. I think my former partner got murdered in the middle of it and there was Ruth Wilson (aka the hot red head from Luther) and I think I had a daughter and I'm not sure that those all weren't the same person.
ANYhoo, in the end, the sheriff's department and I are held hostage in one of Powers Boothe's WalMarts, trying to get out, and Powers Boothe's brother / lackey takes a handful of over the counter pain meds and starts dousing the store in gasoline before covering himself, forcing Powers Boothe to run away in fear, thus allowing for us to escape before he lights himself ablaze.
As the sheriff's deputy - played by Gary Cole - and I are walking to my place, he asks me what I'm thinking of doing now, I mutter some cheeseball action movie line about moving back to New York City where it's safer. Gary Cole and I laugh and get in my super tiny roadster - it's so small that I have to stick my head out of the roof and I have to reach around Gary Cole to put the key in the ignition, and hightail it out of town as it burns behind us. Ahead of us is a pickup truck containing the aforementioned Ruth Wilson and immolated brother / lackey, now without even a scratch on him.
Right about where there would have been end credits was where I woke up.

* I just remembered, one of my fellow extras noted that a tornado really does sound like a train coming through. Then he smiled and made some smart ass remark about, "Do you think it will whistle too, Charlie?"
I told him to shut the fuck up and look for cover.
So, if you've ever wondered what goes on in my brain, that's what it does when it gets to run riot.
 
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