Apples (honorary I Hate Me)

George "the Animal" Steele

George "the Animal" Steele

Curly Joe Derita

Curly Joe Derita

There’s a farm market called Delicious Orchards near where I live. They have good produce but it’s expensive and shopping there is annoying. Every now and again I’ll go and pick up a bunch of good fruit and vegetables, more than we would normally eat. It’s a weird theory based on osmosis that through the very act of buying the good food I’ll get the benefits of it, even if I don’t eat it.
I got there in the afternoon and it was rotten with people. I was picking out some apples when this big goon who looked like a cross between George “the animal” Steele and Curly Joe Derita (the last Curly) pushed my cart out of the way and spit out a pit or a core of whatever piece of fruit he just stole and ate. I gave him my best “Whatthefuck” look and he stared at me like a retarded child and stumbled off. A minute later I saw him at the free sample apple cider table and he filled up the tiny paper cup about 10 times and drank like a man at an oasis. I picked out the rest of my food and navigated through doddering oldsters and annoying children with parents. I got to a register that looked like it had the shortest line. Well, the line was short but the annoyance was long. The only customer in front of me was checking each item for accuracy, “Did you get that, they’re Gala apples, a dollar forty nine a pound.” She was a hippie-ish earth mother type with an older woman who had a wheel chair but preferred to stand and they were arguing over pretty much everything, “Where are the pears? I don’t see the pears.” “We have pears at home.” “Those pears are mealy and not fit to eat.” Add to this a toddler who was going through the already packed groceries, throwing them around and a teenage girl who was useless in controlling the baby “…stop,…stop…don’t go through the bag…stop…”. As I was waiting and trying not to lose my mind I saw this guy standing at the front of the store. A tall slack jawed type, the kind of guy who would always need a shave. He was staring off into space chewing on a toothpick and he had a bright red shirt that had two pictures. The first said “scratch” and was a picture of a monkey scratching his ass, the second said “sniff” and had the monkey smelling his finger. Then I noticed he was smelling his finger. I finally got out of there and as I was heading back to my car I almost got hit by a speeding car going the wrong way through the parking lot. As I was cursing the old people in the car I noticed they were serene and oblivious like the car knew where they were going and they were just along for the ride.

I Like Records 5

Wheelchair Guy
I got a call from somebody selling records, “Yeah, I got 10, no 12, no no 20 crates of records. All good stuff, well not all great but some great, pretty great, yeah great. Do you want ‘em, do you wanna check ’em out?”
“Sure bring them down, I’ll look at them.” Now about half the time these people don’t come down to the store, I was guessing this was one of them. It was not.
About an hour later while I was outside talking to my wife on the phone this old, smallish, crazy looking crippled guy whizzed by on a motorized wheelchair. I told Carrie I was glad he wasn’t going into Jacks. About ten minutes later, the guy whizzes into the store and asks for me. “yeah, I called about the records.” I don’t see 20 crates of records, I don’t see any records. All I see is a crazy nightmare in a wheelchair. “Alright there young rocker, where are these records you called about. Are they in a van or something?” “Look in the bag behind my seat. “O.K. what am I looking for.” “You’ll see it.” I don’t see anything except a couple of raggedy LP’s , a Moody Blues, Meatloaf, and Jimi Hendrix-Smash Hits. “These beat up records? I thought you had 12 crates” “You see that Hendrix, I bet you never seen that.”  “Yeah, I see it kind of a lot and it’s usually in better shape.” “That record? That Hendrix record? You never seen that one, that’s worth, umm… five thousand dollars.”  I look closer at it, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It was scratchy and the cover was split. “Yeah, it’s not worth five grand.” “I want four thousand dollars for it, it’s worth five thousand.” “I’ll give you a dollar for it.” “I’ll take two thousand dollars.” “Look man, I’m wanted back on planet earth so good luck with the Hendrix record.” The “I’m wanted back on planet earth” line is from Annie Hall and I try to work it into any applicable situations. Wheelchair guy stayed by the front counter and kept saying to anyone who would listen, “They offered me a buck for a five thousand dollar record, FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.” It was a dicey situation. I didn’t want to throw a crazy wheelchair guy out of the store but the customers were giving him a wide berth and he was completely in the way. I had to do something, I was hoping he would vanish or explode or go elsewhere, anywhere as long as it was far, far away. As I was hiding in the back being gutless, he bought a copy of John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges on CD, “You never see this anywhere.” And he was off.

Notes From Das Boot 2

12/4/03 London

A short two show, six day (including flight days) trek to England. A lot of tension. For me it’ll be over when the show starts Sunday night and hopefully all my shit will work. The band although playing well hasn’t gelled into an actual band yet, right now it’s just five guys playing songs instead of one band. Oh well, so far so good (I’m knocking on wood).

I found a candy today by Nestle and it’s called “Drifter” which is a somewhat dark name for a candy bar. What’s next? “Stalker!, the snack that stays with you all day…even if you don’t want it to.”

6/20/04 Weisbaden

Drunk german guy ogling Phil’s girlfriend, Tara. Ed told the german that she was dating someone from the band. His reply, “Oh well, she is cute but she belongs to the team”

4/19/01 Springfield (home of the Simpsons)

We’ve been on tour for a little more than a week and the bus has become a plague ship.  A few days ago Arnold (aka: Goggles Piasano) got deathly ill, some kind of cold augmented with some horrible swollen gland thing.  He was appropriately treated like a leper and everyone was scared they’d be next, even though we were assured that is was viral in nature and no-one would catch it.  Three days ago Jon and Dave both got the cold.  Jon has been coughing on everyone on purpose and Dave his face red and puffy is communicating in a series of grunts.  This morning I woke up coughing as did Ian or as Dan calls him E-Dog or Ian Pee’n (Ian’s childhood taunting name). We’re all doomed.

I Like Records 4

humble1Steely Don
Steely Don is a lanky middle aged rock guy with long hair and a serious mustache. We first became aware of him when we caught him on our security camera playing insane air guitar to another guy looking at records. It was great, a lot of leaping and crouching were involved. The whole thing lasted about 3 minutes and we replayed it a lot for a few weeks. It was one of the high points of working there. A few weeks after that he came in looking for a CD and announced, “The year, 1973…The band, Humble Pie…The album, Thunder Box. It didn’t have any hits on it but it real good songs. Do you have it? ‘cause even the Japanese haven’t put it out yet on CD.” “No, sorry man it’s not even listed.” And with barely a whisper, “yeah…I know.”

Movie Chat

lucas2This month Movie Lab (PBS network) digs up a seldom seen oddity, George Lucas’s Attack of the 60 Foot Woman.
In 1967 while attending film school and making short films, Lucas was approached by a representative from Dr. Scholl’s foot products. The late sixties were a hard time for Dr. Scholl’s. The hippie movement besides espousing free love and anarchy also went barefoot. Less shoes meant less foot care products and business was down substantially. Dr. Scholl’s wanted Lucas to make an hour long movie/commercial in which foot care products more specifically Dr. Scholl’s foot care products were prominently featured and shown to be “cool”. The movie was to be screened at high schools, vocational schools and junior colleges. Lucas seeing an opportunity to further his craft signed on immediately.
Six months later “The Attack of the 60 Foot Woman” was finished. The movie featured a young Linda Purl as Diane a free spirited “hippie”. While dancing barefoot during a protest at a chemical factory Diane gets caught in a thunderstorm and finds shelter in an empty chemical drum. The next day she wakes up to find she’s been transformed into a giant centipede. Mayhem ensues when Diane trundles about the countryside looking for help while being pursued by the army. Enter Dr. Professor “Click” Davis (James Franciscus) who is working with the army and is a trained podiatrist. Davis finds the distraught centipede woman and using nothing but Dr. Scholl’s foot products calms her down by soothing and healing all sixty of her feet. The final scene finds Diane now human again waking up in a field and realizing it was all a dream. She vows to take better care of her feet using only Dr. Scholl’s foot products.
The Attack of the 60 Foot Woman was a failure as a movie and as a Dr. Scholl’s commercial. It was only shown in a few school districts in the Midwest and was protested against by both hippies and church groups. The only thing successful was a soundtrack album by The Lovin’ Shoehorn which now fetches high prices on the internet.
In his book “Out of the Film Can, Into the Trash Can” Leonard Maltin describes 60 foot Woman as an early watershed moment in Lucas’s career and compares it favorably to the early Spielberg failure “Dik-Bot: Adventures of a lustful robot”. Lucas for his part refuses to talk about the movie and it appears nowhere on his film biography.

Movie Lab (PBS): Check local listings for time and date

I Like Records 3

Matt and I were just hanging out at the back counter one morning shooting the shit when Danny came up. One of Danny’s superpowers is the power of interruption. He’ll interrupt anybody at anytime for anything. He doesn’t really have conversations, he just makes statements. “I did something last night I never did before.” The responses could have been endless but I settled on “Did you have sex with a goat?” “I went to Go and bought a domain name for the internet, and I’m gonna auction it off.” Seconds tick off and neither Matt nor I wanted to ask what the name was and we went back to talking.  Danny got fidgety and, “Eat My Jello.”   “Eat My Jello?, why the hell would you pick that?” “It’s a cool thing, ya know…Eat My Jello. You could use it for anything.” “I guess, it’s kind of dumb though.” “You could use it for anything, Eat..My..Jello.” A few hours later Danny steams up to the back counter, looks me in the eye and says “Sexy Midget” and another domain name is born.

Notes From Das Boot 1

I have been doing concert lighting and touring on and off for about twenty years, I’ve kept journals for a bunch of it. I hope these make sense. The context doesn’t really matter.
3/18/04 Berlin
I’m fucking hating this. This tour feels like I’m falling down a flight of stairs in slow motion. Gluecifer* got their bus back today which meant they got their bus driver Theo back as well. He’s kind of psychotic and looks like A) he’s waiting for Ghengis Khan and his Mongol Hordes or B) he could be a futuristic villain from the original Star Trek series. He’s always awake and the only interaction I’ve had with him was during a shitty load-in in Glasgow. I was dragging a particularly heavy case and Theo looked at me (he was standing idly by) and said “I almost helped you, hahahahaha.” Just like a Star Trek Villain would.

*A great band from Norway

I Like Records 2

I Hate Hippies
Mark is a middle aged hippie who embodies none of the original hippie ethic except liking shitty music and looking homeless. He’s like a hippie robot programmed by Fox News and he has a sense of entitlement that would choke a horse (if horses ate such things). He spouts off in a laconic folksy way, which is usually offensive and always annoying. “Ya know man, most of the Mexicans are criminals. I’m all for sending them back, ya know.” “It’s no secret ya know that jews control everything ya know. Who do you think controls all the money? Jews.” He’s some kind of lawncare guy and comes in on rainy days, rarely buys anything and complains about our prices. “yeah, I was looking for the new Bob CD, I know you guys don’t got it. He’s just selling it online, Bob’s selling it himself ya know ‘cause stores take too much money and Bob got ripped off man.” The “Bob” in question is Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Mark’s on a first name basis with all the artists he likes; Dave (Matthews), Gregg (Allman), and Derek (Trucks). He also won’t suffer sub par stereo equipment, “yeah, I won’t listen to shit ya know, I got MacIntosh Amps and a Cambridge CD player.” “Why listen to shit, man? Ya know my ears are tuned, tuned man. I can tell a shitty stereo just by listening.” He’s a gift that just keeps giving.

The Bob

It’s already established that I’m middle aged and fairly boring. So it’ll be no surprise that I’m a fan of Bob Ross. Not so much the paintings as the man and the show itself. Bob is a human narcotic and the show is a warm bath (to slit your wrists in), from the opening with him and baby woodland creatures to the joy he takes cleaning his brushes “beating the devil out of them”. When I was in high school there was a rumor going around that he was a marine in Viet Nam and did a lot of killing, something snapped and he became what you see on T.V. I don’t know if that’s true but I kind of hope it is. Anyhow, we’ll watch it every so often and when we do we’ll imbue it with a drama that isn’t there.
“It’s done, the painting is done. Stop it.” “he better stop, it’s gonna be too crowded.” “Not another goddamn happy tree, stop it already.” “Is that a stream? What the hell is that?” “Christ, it’s mess, how many goddamn tree’s is he gonna put in.” “Well, that actually works, well done.” “Why did we ever doubt him.” “The Bob is good, the Bob is great.”     


mr. coughee

I was getting my car serviced at the dealer and I’m in the waiting room. Giant wide screen TV tuned to Regis and Kelly, shitty coffee, and an old Sports Illustrated. A salesman is there trying to chat up the cashier. He’s middle aged, surly, slumpy, with a head full of suspect “hair”. All he’s doing is coughing. Coughing like a lung is gonna fly out of his mouth. Coughing as if it’s a language, “cough couuuugh, cough COUGHCOUGH!!” (silence) “koff koff,coughcoughcoughcough.” This went on for fifteen minutes, it was horrible, go the fuck home already. Then he wipes his nose with his hand which he wipes on his ill fitting suit, glares at the people in the waiting room and walks off. If he can act like that and sell a car, he’s the greatest salesman ever.