Entries in USDA Prime (Non-Fiction) (115)
Most of the planet has written off Detroit and it really pisses me off. I’m tired of only seeing people post about the neglect like some abandoned eastern bloc factory. They have those in Europe. Dicks.
There is so much beauty and fun in Detroit. Yes, the city is fucked up. In Detroit, 200% more people are below the poverty line than the national average. Household income is 50% of the national average. Detroit is also the only major city in the nation that still has some dirt roads. All of that being said, I love my hometown. The people, food, arts, and especially the music will always bring me back.
So you’ve decided that yes, indeed, you do want to jump into the hype surrounding mobile app development, because damn it, you want to make sure you get a piece of this new gold rush that’s going on. You like money after all. You read tech blogs a lot and you’ve learned that the right thing to do is to “disrupt” things. You have a couple of ideas for apps that, damn it, should revolutionize the platform and disrupt shit and make you an assload of ca$h.
So my best piece of advice for those who want to write an iOS app: fucking don’t.
Seriously. Keep your job in marketing or keep writing websites for a living.
Conveying the Chemical Process of Combustion which You See is Just a Metaphor which is Like Something Used as a Stand-In for a More Nebulous Something Else
Cormac is easily one of my favorite writers. The Road was one of those beautifully soul-destroying novels that coveys so much fear, grotesquerie, love, hope, and darkness that it was kind of hard to read at times.
There’s a point early on in the book that kicked me in the groin, good. After traveling with the Man and his son for a while through the ashen landscape, we get to this quick exchange:
He woke in the night and lay listening. He couldnt remember where he was. The thought made him smile. Where are we? he said.
What is it, Papa?
Nothing. We’re okay. Go to sleep.
We’re going to be okay, arent we Papa?
Yes. We are.
And nothing bad is going to happen to us.
Because we’re carrying the fire.
Yes. Because we’re carrying the fire.
I had to put the book down for a moment after reading that; it was a moment so precious and beautiful that it knocked me on my ass. The “carrying the fire” theme took so much weight — it came out of nowhere to hurt your heart, and it became something to hang onto through the gathering darkness. The Man’s inevitable end and the son’s uncertain future kickstarts off with him carrying the fire to another family. It helps you in your fall. The fall becomes your journey because of it’s grace.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh God. Yes.
Tonight we see Iggy Pop.
Now this is how I want to spend my birthday. The anticipation has been building for years. I have listened to Henry Rollins for over ten years go on about his goal to out-perform Iggy on stage (only Rollins thinks it’s a competition by the way). The show we are going to tonight is a rebooked one. The original show was postponed in July due to Iggy breaking his foot at the first show on the tour. Fucking awesome.
The Warfield is at 6th and Market streets. This is my least favorite corner in San Francisco. The crackheads, meth addics, and newly released from jail schizo-crack/meth-addict-hooker-zombies all vomit downhill from the Tenderloin using Taylor and Mason streets like a winter Olympic slalom. The slalom flags are swapped out for shiny objects, drugs, and tourists (victims) to harass for money. There are people passed out in the streets and alleys during daylight hours in summer. I haven’t seen that since I was last in Detroit. Luckily for us the show is now on the cusp of winter and only the die hard zombies who can battle the elements are roving about. Fun.
I never thought I’d get to see this band. When I first heard them I thought it was a sketch on SNL or SCTV. Is this real? More than I could of imagined; not just the band existing as real people making real music, but their point was succinct: Devolution is happening. It’s hard to disagree after the last decade. Over twenty years later, I’m finishing a long festival day at Coachella and willing myself to walk and stand and walk for an hour of Devo; Who knew when or if I would get another chance to see fucking Devo live, so with my wife and DMZ in tow, we head to the Mojave stage, stopping at the back, no energy left to fight closer.
“What’s with the fence?” asked DMZ, referring to the twenty five by fifteen foot black, see though, chainlink-like screen hovering behind the stage. The surrounding Palm Trees could be seen through the screen, an atmosphere creating feature of Coachella stages I’ve not seen elsewhere.
“Hopefully we’ll find out soon, my feet are not happy.” I whine weakly.
“Suck it up fat boy,” quips the wife in good humor. She’s excited, having listen to some pre-festival Devo and found they made her happy like few other bands.
With that the black ‘fence’ came to life, sprawled with brilliant colors and fast paced clips of the bands early years interspersed with animated Energy Domes. Devo took the stage, dark silhouettes in front of the now opaque screen, and launched into a song off their new, at the time unreleased, album Something For Everyone. It’s quickly clear Devo has been upgraded. No longer handcuffed by the limited audio technology in the 80’s (which they used to brilliant effect) they sounded better than ever. The new song was catchy, the late-night crowd was moving, we were all slowly compressing as the song and screen drew us in closer and closer.
“Don’t Shoot” they shout in precise unison, “I’m a M-A-A-A-A-A-A-N” belts Mark Mothersbaugh. It was Devo in the modern world. The screen, beautifully sleek and simple, turned the show into an instant party.
Thanksgiving is hell for a butcher. Everyone needs their fucking turkey, NOW. I pulled a ten hour shift on my day off. When I was finally off, I walked down Haight street for the hell of it. It’s usually calm, with the same old shitbag bums that don’t want to work asking for some change for a beer, and I always just walk down with my headphones on, ignoring them.
Tonight wasn’t really any different, so I walked into the lower height until I got to Molotov’s. I decided to have a beer to unwind, and right after I ordered, the bartender put Slayer on the jukebox. That was exactly what I needed, and I was content. I bullshitted with a hardcore punk chick for a few minutes while I had my beer, then headed home.
I cut over on Fillmore, to try and catch one of the last trains towards my house, over by Duboce Park and the Midtown Safeway. I’ve walked through here before, and it’s a boring part of town.
I started down the street with my hood up, headphones, listening to South Of Heaven, but without the volume all the way up. I inherited my father’s paranoia, and sometimes it shows. I saw a typical San Francisco street denizen up ahead of me, flailing his arms and ranting about some bullshit at a wall. While that it isn’t typical of the neighborhood, it is fairly common in this town, so I kept my eyes sharp, and maintained my pace.
(I see you had your mind all made up you group of
pitiful liars. before i woke to face the day, your master
As I got to the point where I needed to pass him, he saw me coming and asked for a cigarette. I continued to walk as if I hadn’t heard him; looking at the next intersection. He blocked my path, forcing me to stutter-step to try to get past. He repeated his question and I told him to fuck off. It was at this point that I saw another bum standing up in the shadow of the doorway he had been ranting at.
(Something told me…)
They were both twenty-something drop outs. It was clear that they weren’t yet broken by the street life, but still had been there for a while. I managed to get around the guy, and stepped up my pace a little. They both had that slightly emaciated look that all these bums get after enough time of living on drugs and crumbs. I have a job, a house; I eat well, and still play sports. Those differences between us was about to become very helpful.
My most emotional year was probably when I was Twenty-five. It was for so many reasons, but the events of the year before really created that. I didn’t know how to deal with life much for the previous decade or more; I just kept riding highs and running away from lows. I’d been through so many drugs and moves and chaos and disasters, of which I created about half of, and finally was starting to put it together. I thought I had it down the year before. I had girls, I had music, I had work, I had school, I had a place to live… but by the end of that year it was all falling apart again. It’s probably my own fault, but I know it also all revolves around a single girl, and well, honestly, that was always my problem…
I met this girl online. We had similar music tastes, and were both writers. We were both looking for something else in life. We didn’t know what, we just knew that we’d both been dealt a shit hand, and we wanted something different. The American dream doesn’t work for dreamers, so we kept chasing something new…
She was a Russian model, a disaster of a human being who had only been out of jail for a few weeks when I met her, still bearing the scars of when the police shot her, and I was infatuated before I laid eyes on her. She was enthralled by me, the chaotic poet, before we met in person too. She had a boyfriend at the time, but we still fucked in my car the first night we met.
She had called me while I was gone, when I was on a week long lake trip with my friends, with no phone service, and she left me a message.
They don’t mean a thing to you
They move right through you
Just like your breath)
I called her on the way back.
The first night we met was on campus at the school I was attending at the time. She was an out of work veterinarian, living with the engineer who had fucked her over, but still paid all her bills. We spent the night driving around, listening to music, smoking cigarettes, and trying to deny the connection between us.
As I was driving her home, that first night, we pulled up to the corner of her building, and I said “Fuck it.”
We had been listening to the Bravery’s “Honest Mistake” which was brand new at the time, and was a song we both loved. She told me she liked the way I sang along, and I pulled the car to the curb and kissed her.
I still think of you
And I just wanted to
Just wanted you to know
My old friend…
I swear I never meant for this
I never meant…)
I drove to the nearest parking garage. I dropped the seat, and fucked her in her skirt. I couldn’t resist her. I let her go that night, knowing there was so much more to come.
Charlie, I wish I could say that I have long sought to introduce my friends to this album, but the reality is, that like you, I came about it much later than I should have. My introduction to Patti Smith was at her Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performance in San Francisco, last year. An uber-feminist friend of mine insisted on seeing her, and since I knew her reputation, I stuck around to check it out. I learned then why she is one of the god-parents of punk.
I grew up a classic rock fan, as my parents raised me on Floyd and Zeppelin and the Stones and The Beatles, and most of the rest of that Rolling Stone list, but as a child I got interested in metal. I started listening to Sabbath and Maiden, Slayer and Metallica. I held that out until my teenage years in California, when people started to introduce me to bands like Tool, Dead Kennedys, Skinny Puppy, Tori Amos, Bjork, Bad Religion, and Primus.
My musical journey continued, much like yours, checking out what was out there; what was relevant; what was respected; and what was important, while at the same time, listening to the new and coming acts.
I went through a lull a few years ago though. I had been exploring country, and finding that there are great artists out there, beyond Johnny Cash (whom I adore) and Willy Nelson. I not only realized that my punk and metal years meant that I should love David Allan Coe, but that there are a ton on contemporary country musicians who are labeled Alt, or Indie, who deserve the respect from Nashville that a lot of current garbage gets. Bands like Lucero, Murder By Death, and Devil Makes Three are perfect examples.
So, aside from my history of listening to way too much Slayer, Tool, Pennywise, NOFX, and The Cranberries, I have always tried to keep my ears open. So when my friend said she wasn’t going anywhere until after Patti played, I stuck around.
Wednesday is my day of leisure—work and home life have dictated it so. It is kind of like all the other ones that have preceded it. The only factors that set it apart from the other Wednesdays are that it’s starting to feel like autumn and the City of San José is already in the process of decorating the Plaza de César Chávez with Christmas décor. The air is brisk and the days are getting shorter. With the evening starting earlier, the lunatic brigade is out in full force. My dogs are tired from walking. My mind is tired from thinking. I find the café that I frequent in the afternoons and early evenings. I go in and I get a coffee. I unshackle myself from the doldrums of television and the internet; in exchange, I sit at the same table, at the same café, drinking the same coffee, smoking the same cigarettes. I crack open the same book (well, I do have to finish it.) The darkness of the night sky compels me to put my book down (my eyes are not what they used to be), put on my headphones, put my iPod into shuffle mode, and zone-out. Three songs into my music-appreciation session, “Suedehead” by Morrissey starts to play.
I decided to do some more walking, to see what the mid-week city life has to offer me, nothing more than the same old sea of strangers ebbing and flowing past me. Their banter (both idle and banal) drifts past me. I make my way to the bar. A beer is in order to counterbalance the caffeine that is fraying my already-frayed nerves. As I walk in, “Panic” by the Smiths comes on. I nod my head as I swirl my pint of Guinness, nodding in approval, occasionally lip-syncing to it. Of course, there are some patrons who listen to the song and immediately begin to snort and mouth-breath some profane words of disapproval. C’est la vie. Life goes on, and so does my appreciation.
I don’t remember when or where I first heard Morrissey’s music - or whether it was his solo work or his oeuvre with The Smiths - but I do recall that I was a teenager, and I remember feeling a sort of primal connection to his particular strain of pining and angst-ridden music. Up to that point, I listened to a variety of music (and still do), never committing to a single genre, or mutation of said genre. Though to be honest, I have always been partial to música norteña, baladas and rock music (some subsets more than others.) Then, from some horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing ether, his brand of music with witty, erudite lyrics came into my consciousness. My musical revelation was met with derision of others. Being laughed at by friends, by strangers, by the folks that ask for spare change; comes with the territory. For a good portion of the world at large, Morrissey’s music is as antiquated as the British Empire. As for those who were into him since day one, his music is either on the shelf collecting dust, or they are staunch classicalists (any music that he made after 1995 is deemed blasphemous by them.) Then all of a sudden, in the midst of his irrelevancy, a Moz renaissance began (a resurreción if you will.)
How the fuck can anyone think that what our country needs is more Republican leadership? Who’s whispering in our ears, or blaring, with aggressive patriotic graphics, throughout our home and work, proven falsehoods, and malevolent innuendo. Karl Rat Fucking Rove that’s who. Go check out Crossroads GPS and what they’ve been up to here and here (and this is how you respond); repeatedly spreading openly false and debunked claims all over the country. This is just par for the course for the Rat Fuck King, and should be expected. We’ve heard it for decades now: the dirty, violent, wealth-distributing, lazy, Democrat supporting commie hippies are protesting against allowing baby births, blue collar jobs, guns, and the right to never think about gay anal sex (again).
Why the hell does anyone still fall for this; it’s not like Rove is the first, nor the last, grifter peddling this bullshit. What fucking world are you living in where you think the Obama administration has been worse with the economy than what the last thirty years of mostly Republican economic policies have wrought. The United States economy took the biggest hit in the history of the country outside the Great Depression THREE fucking years ago. I know in our fast-paced, technology driven culture that’s an eternity, but not in recovery-from-a-major-economic-crash time. It took over a decade to recover from the Great Depression, with a major assist from war manufacturing (aka government stimulus). We all would love for our economy to get better faster, but these things take time. That’s why it’s kind important to not get into this situation in the first fucking place.
Remember our last President, George W. Bush? Who was in his administration peddling the same lies and bullshit; Karl Rat Fucking Rove that’s who. And he’s just one malignant bug in a swarm funded by a small group if super-rich skin suits. The same group of billionaires that fund Crossroads GPS, drove us off the cliff three years ago with a decade of all out class warfare from the top, waving flags and cheering ignorance all the way down to the rocky ground where they rode our broken and bloody corpses to safety. These are the same group of greedy sociopaths with the primary objective of making Obama a failure, the country be damned: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Here we are, slowly recovering from the second worst economic crash is the history of the country, created by rich Republicans, who then made it their mission to block any and all attempts by the government to aid the recovery, and there are people in this country, real living breathing human beings, who think the solution is more fucking Republican policy?