“Life Geos On” by Per Englund // Book Review

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“Life Geos On” is a photo diary by photographer Per Englund. He has spent much time in Cape Town, South Africa and the outlying cities. In South Africa apartheid lingered at one level or another until 1994. The effects of apartheid, on the people and surroundings, permeate the photos vividly. A couple pictures portray Per Englund (white) being treated almost as if royalty, with presumably his slippers waiting for him in his hotel room in one photo to his greeting card and complimentary wine glass and tray in what looks like his hotel or place of residence. Other photos showed black South African residents who are in probable daily socio-economic struggle. The juxtaposition of showing this in the array of photos was brilliant. Then, some photos show unity, with a white male and black female in an embrace in a club setting. The unity of races after apartheid is obviously an ongoing effort in Cape Town and South Africa, but as the name of the book implies, life goes on. The name of the book is intentionally spelled G-E-O-S, not “Goes” which I didn’t notice until after looking at the book several times. I believe that the name of the book comes from graffiti that was scrawled in a particular photo that had misspelled the title in that way. This, the second work by Per Englund is superb. Only 1000 were printed, pick one up from Dokument Press while you still can.

Read more: http://www.viceland.com/blogs/en/2009/10/26/per-englunds-life-geos-on/

Buy:   http://www.dokument.org/renderViewProduct.asp?p=shop&product=2449

Tycho, Sister Crayon, Cell Phone Thiefs

So I had a great night at the last day of the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival (SEMF) at The Townhouse in Sacramento. Sister Crayon played great as usual, except they didn’t have the volume up high enough on the lead singers’ voice. Since her presence and voice transcends sound barriers it made up for the issue.

I talked to a few old friends about the old Capitol Garage location, reminiscing on punk rock shows. I am fairly sick with a cold, and was trying to keep my distance from a lot of my friends and may have seemed unfairly rude. If I seemed distant to you, it wasn’t you. I promise!

At some point after 1 AM, someone decided to rifle through my pockets and jack my cell phone. No big deal right? 90% of all probability it was a rich suburban kid having fun; you need to know that you are lame. If you are a ghetto kid trying to make ends, much love. No problem, I don’t even care, I understand how life can be. But kids who have touch screen cell phones who feel the need to take a MetroPCS, 21 dollar piece of crap phone, it is (was) my only means of communication! Just know that you are a soulless piece of fuckola.

Anyways, sorry friends, this may end up meaning that ONCE again I will have a new phone number. And if you get any calls from “me”, please plead for said caller to return my phone.

About the show; Sister Crayon was fun to watch and Tycho was good. Thank you for dancing downstairs with me, Jenny and Dani. Love you all.

Update: My cellphone was not stolen. I had someone hold it, and i forgot.  I already bought a new one. Lesson learned: Slow down.

Trainwreck Then Mochi Pet

Some of you may not like my opinion, and about that: I don’t care. This article is mostly about a band that I went out with intention to review, Trainwreck, A side project of Jack Blacks Family of bands and side projects Tenacious D. As rumors ran rampant that Jack Black and Tenacious D were going to be in town I unfortunately helped propagate the false rumors that Tenacious D (full crew) was indeed going to play. After further investigation did I find out it would in fact be Trainwreck performing.

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After a talented but slightly predictable band opened for Trainwreck, Front man Jason Reed tooted his wooden play train horn and began their set. Other front man, Kyle Gass wasn’t as theatric as Reed but did quite an astonishing job on the guitar. I am pretty sure almost all the band members donned some gnarly 70s mullet wigs. Reed was very fun to watch, he had a very piercing stare. A couple times he looked at me and it took me aback to the point I had to look away. Maybe it was because I popped too many pills and was trying not to nod off, and he was mad at me. The Bass player was wearing an all white outfit and had a small frame. About the fourth or fifth song in the bass player took over the mic and sung a song about love. An especially memorable song was about milking a cobra. Reed was making suggestive hand signs signaling a cobra presumably later to be milked. By who, I don’t know. At some point every band member highlighted their unique skills in one form or another.  One song that was entertaining stopped and started methodically. Overall it was an excellent show; I would like to see them again.

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Afterward I moseyed on over to The Townhouse and luckily the wrist bands they were using happened to be the same color as the ones from the Trainwreck show, BONUS, free show! I went upstairs and watched Mochi Pet play. I would describe their music as Beastie Boys meets dubstep meets pop hits of present and recent past. Albeit the music sounded cool at first the novelty wore off very fast. I stayed and watched them for about an hour. I decided that Mochi Pet is for gown up ravers, which I am not, so I left. They are good at what they do, and if you like that type of music, well check them out.

Photo credit:  Poppy Watson

My Boat

By Dustin Millhollen

My Boat:

I want you to imagine that I have a boat. I talk about this boat quite
often. I say things like, “I went out for a sail on my boat today” and
“my boat is 25 feet long.” In all these mentionings of my boat you
have an image of what a boat is. Among its characteristics you think
its first and foremost a physical thing. A thing made of materials
that exist in the real world. A thing that may be touched and felt and
looked upon, and most people would agree with you that this thing that
we call ‘boat’ is a physical thing. That when I point at ‘my boat’ I
am pointing at a physical thing in the physical world. Therefore, ‘my
boat’ denotes one thing and one thing only, namely my boat.

OK. So imagine we’re friends for many years and since you’ve known me
I have had my boat. And over the years some parts on the boat wear out
and I tend to replace these parts. So over a long time I replace the
sail, and the rudder, and the mast, and all the other parts that have
gotten old with time. I take all the old parts to the junk yard and
throw them away because I have no use for old boat parts. But,
unbeknownst to me, each time I throw a part of my boat away someone
else comes along and collects that part. For you see, this someone
(lets call her Mary) is building her own boat out of the old discarded
parts of my boat. I have no idea this is happening and if I did I
wouldn’t care because they’re just old parts that I don’t need anyway.
So time goes by and I replace old parts and Mary collects the old
parts and puts them together until one day I have replaced all the
parts on my boat and as it so happens, Mary can complete her boat too.
So now I have my boat and Mary has her boat…Or does she? Wait, does
Mary have my boat? This is the question: Which boat is mine?

For you see, all this time I’ve been talking about this physical thing
that is my boat. Every time I use the expression ‘my boat’ I think I’m
referring to the physical thing that I sail on and point at and look
at and feel and touch. But if that’s truly the case, then Mary has ‘my
boat.’ And, whose boat do I have? It would seem I actually have two
boats right? Or it would seem that Mary tricked me and has stolen my
boat and replaced it with a newer one. But, why would she do that?
What happened here? It all seemed so simple. I was just replacing the
old pats of that object which I have always referred to as ‘my boat’
and all of a sudden that thing I called ‘my boat’ is no longer mine,
but rather is Mary’s. So what is this other boat, which I have
mistakenly been referring to as ‘my boat?’

‘These are the Hobos in my Neighborhood, in my Neighborhood…”

L.A. has something like 50,000 homeless people roaming the streets.  I can only assume that a combination of Vietnam, Ronald Reagan and a warm climate make it this way, but regardless they often make for some interesting people watching.  Here on the strip of Santa Monica Blvd. that runs through West Hollywood there are a few local bums that have earned a special place in my heart.  In no particular order, I introduce you to the hobos in my neighborhood:

  • Harriet the Snake Woman.  She usually sits on the sidewalk with a crumpled paper cup asking for change.  On a particularly off day, when I almost burned my place down by accident (shorted out the oven while trying to bake asparagus) I decided to go for a walk to let off some steam after the fire department cleared out.  Rounding a corner, Harriet hissed at me through her missing front teeth for change while taking a piss on some guy’s BMW.  Suddenly I felt better.  Thank you!
  • Isaac Hayes.  What can I say?  It looks like Isaac Hayes isn’t dead.  Tall, bald, bearded, rocking skin-tight pants and with a penchant for vests, Isaac wanders the streets alone.  He always looks pretty clean, but he sleeps on benches and mutters to himself.  In case you’re wondering, yes he does rock sweet jewelry and even sweeter sunglasses.  Unfortunately I have yet to hear him bust out in that trademark baritone; almost like he’s lost the will to jam.  Just further proof that Scientology is the worst thing ever.
  • Donald Dump(ster diver).  A sinewy, bearded long hair who rides around on a ten speed with huge bags of recyclables strapped to it.  Once I made the mistake of getting stuck in a conversation with him whilst walking my dog.  He informed me that he had built all the mansions in the Hollywood hills during the seventies and throughout his real estate career has paid over 5 million in taxes.  He told me that his wife died of brain cancer years back.  She had been suffering for some time, and one night he prayed for the Lord to take her and the next morning she was gone.  Immediately after his wife died he travelled to Vietnam and “fucked the best damn pussy [he] ever had for months straight.”  He went on: “I mean this little girl was educated!   I asked her to come back with me but she said no way.  America is too corrupt.”  Almost in the same breath he told me to sell real estate because I have an honest face.  Ha.
  • Thelonius Funk.  This guy smells like pure shit and has what looks like elephantitis on his left foot which he picks at and then flicks the detritus onto the sidewalk. He often goes shirtless and is the ashiest man I have ever seen.  He usually has a guitar with him, but I never see him play it.  He just sits by the bus stop outside CVS and tries to sneak on the bus every now and then, always cussing the driver out when he/she closes the door on him.  Sometimes he sings.  Sorta sounds like jazz with a dash of schizophrenia.
  • John (Hazma) Walker Lindh.  He’s not really in the custody of the U.S. government; he actually lives behind a bush in WeHo.  Once feared as an Al-Qaeda trained enemy combatant, he now just tries to spare enough change to buy a bag of chips at Subway.  Sometimes he walks with a staff, a possible nod to his mentor: Osama Bin Laden.  True to his roots, he still rejects capitalism and western culture in general.  Doesn’t talk much.
  • Party Monster.  I’ve only seen this guy a couple of times.  He’s a whigger/raver that seldom wears a shirt, really likes blue lipstick and draws “tattoos” on himself with a sharpie.  Unlike most of the other hobos, this one is actually kind of violent and always tries to start fights with people while high on what appears to be PCP.  Once he was a foot or so behind me for about two blocks, which was disconcerting to say the least.  I’m not trying to get shit-knifed or stabbed with an AIDS needle.  Not yet anyway.
  • Stealth ( http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/28c15e2118/hobo-ops-from-wondershowzenfan ) .  The link pretty much explains it all.  He looks a bit like Thelonius Funk but is a lot more mobile.  On a hot day you can smell him from almost half a block.  One of the more talkative bums, unfortunately he only speaks gibberish so there is no way to really communicate with him.
  • Daddy’s Little Girl.  She looks like a twenty-something hippy chick who just goes up and down Santa Monica at a steady clip, where she goes, nobody knows!  At first I wasn’t even sure she was a bum since she appears to have a few changes of clothing (even though she is covered with the standard coat of grime) and she’s never out at night.  She likes to have spirited conversations with herself and freaked out a group of Asian tourists once, which was pretty key.  In the bum hierarchy, she would be “the hot one.”  For those of you familiar with the Fair Oaks/Orangevale area she’s kinda like the blond hobo chick that would hang out by Raley’s.
  • And lastly, Farnsworth Bentley. One night on the way home from the Rainbow Room with some friends we stopped by Seven Eleven to get a snack.  Once I got my nachos I went outside and I saw a black hobo on a bicycle talking to a hipster while pouring little bottles of booze into a steaming cup.  The hobo was carrying on about how one never can tell how much money anyone has in L.A. by just looking at them.  The hipster then asked Farnsworth what the concoction he was mixing was.  “This?  It’s a mothafucking HOT TODDY!  Shit…” when I heard the matter-of-fact way he dropped that gem I almost spit  nachos all over the damn place I was laughing so hard.  Come to think of it, maybe he wasn’t a hobo at all.  He could have been waxing poetic about himself…

And there you have a brief rundown of the hobos that make life here just a little bit more special every day.  Who knows?  If I can’t find work soon I might just be joining their ranks and some day an asshole will write about me.  I guess if you’re going to be homeless somewhere, at least you won’t freeze down here!

Har Mar Superstar // Nice Surprise

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photo: harmarsuperstar.com

I walked to Sacramento lesbian bar turned hipster funhouse, Townhouse, by my lonely. A girl invited me to see The Storytellas, a great local ska band that were playing at a venue nearby. She said she would be outside when I walked by. I walked by and didn’t see her curls so I kept on going to do what was  originally planned at The Townhouse. As I was approaching my good friend Josh called me and said, “It’s bullshit man, its 7 bucks to get in tonight” I replied, “There is no way I am going to pay 7 bucks to get in there. I am sick of being such a liquor consuming regular and having to pay that bullshit entrance fee!” I instructed him to meet me down stairs and finagle a way for me to get in for free. Josh runs a website, PhotoFixx.com that takes rad dance photos at local hotspots. He convinced the door gal that I was working for him. He took his flash off the camera and we took a shit photo, she rolled her eyes and stamped me. It worked. Sorry door lady, I was broke (literally 3 bucks in my pocket).

So I head upstairs inside the club where this band is supposed to be performing. I saw them on the stage and some DJ was playing music, at first I mistook them standing up there in conjunction with that DJ playing as their act. I leaned to a friend and said “god damn, this is what hipster-crap-music has come to?” He said, “You have never heard of Har Mar Superstar?” I said, “No, why?” Right after our short conversation, I looked up and they were starting to actually play. Har Mar Superstar looks like a Ron Jeremy at age 35 – Exactly! I could not believe the lovely voice that came from his mouth, I was surprisingly shocked. I have been to hundreds of shows over the span of almost decades now and was totally caught off guard. The music was very catchy and poppy with an R&B twist. Some songs really reminded me of Jamiroquai, but a little less serious. “DUI”, Dialing Under the Influence, really got the dance floor moving, especially when he disrobed to just his colorful undies. Normally not too much of a dancer, I did through ought the set. Har Mar Superstar is the man but the band was great as well, and a few songs featured a lady, with very long legs that I could not take my eyes off, btw holla at me if you read this girl, wink wink! After the show was over I walked back to the merch desk, I really wanted to buy the 12” but didn’t have the cash on me, though I will be ordering it on the internet with my next paycheck. I was going to buy a few buttons but they wouldn’t take my money and graciously gave me a handful.

Later on I was downstairs dancing and noticed young Ron Jeremy and some of the band dancing; I danced over to them and congratulated him on a job well done. He smiled and said, “thank you, it was a lot of fun, Sacramento has been nice.” The bass took a sharp turn and I couldn’t hear a couple other words that were said after that. I smiled and kept on dancing.

Buy Har Mar Superstar, he will make you laugh and dance. In my personal opinion I think he might be on the verge of something really big.

Check out these links:

http://harmarsuperstar.com/

http://www.myspace.com/harmarsuperstar

http://www.amazon.com/Har-Mar-Superstar/dp/B00004TE2B

I need my medicine , *cough* bro!

Living in Los Angeles, you can’t spit without hitting a “medical” marijuana clinic, which are now more common that Starbuck’s.  It has been interesting to see these so-called clinics sprouting up like weeds (pun intended), and not being a pot smoker myself I kinda wanted to know more.  Particularly why I have never seen anybody that looks like a terminal cancer or glaucoma patient hanging around out front.  Are the clinics good/bad?  Is there any crime involved?  Why do they exist?

  Medically speaking, marijuana has moderate analgesic properties; it neither prevents nor cures anything, so people take it to, big shocker, GET HIGH!  Like medicinal alcohol, medicinal cocaine, and medicinal heroin before it, medical marijuana is administered to help manage pain by getting the patient fucked up enough to not care that they have rolled their ankle.  This has been the case for thousands of years and medical marijuana is no different.  That is of course, providing that a majority of people that visit these clinics have any legitimate claim to any medication whatsoever. 

Looking to get some first hand info on this I walked about a quarter block down the street and asked the first “patient” I saw standing out in front of the clinic, some guy named Jose, what he was here for. Well, at first glance Jose did indeed look pretty damn ill; designer jeans, Air Force One’s, baggy Crooks & Castles shirt, and the ubiquitous flat-brimmed L.A. Dodgers hat, all indicative of a man with one foot in the grave.  Jose was here for his asthma.  Yep.  Cedars Sinai is doling out a carcinogen worse than cigarettes to help this poor bastard deal with his fucking asthma.  This seemed ridiculous.  Another guy said he was here for his back.  Hmmmmm, ok.  Well where are the cancer patients? The geriatrics?  

A few days later the subject of medical marijuana clinics came up in a conversation I was having with a friend of mine on the LAPD.  What she told me was that these clinics are just hotspots for robberies and nothing more.  They get shut down almost as quickly as the sprout up and they are getting robbed constantly.  As with drug dealing, it’s not necessarily the product that causes the harm, but the crime and violence that surrounds it.  She also had never seen what seemed to be a legitimate patient at any of these clinics; the crowd always looked more like a Phish concert than a waiting room at a hospital.

But I was a bit confused. Why would there be crime at these clinics?  I thought they were legal?  Well, the clinics are legal, but the product is not.  Through sketchy legislation there is now semi-legit drug dealing going on on almost every street corner in every major city California with all the attendant crime that the war on drugs was supposed to be squashing.  Now the government gets to benefit on both ends!  The government can tax the clinics, then pay their employees (who are paid by the tax payers, and hence “justify” the raising of taxes) to deal with the crimes surrounding them.  Clinic goes up, clinic gets shut down and the money keeps on flowing.  But what about the patients?!  Who’s looking out for them?  Well, of course, no one is because these clinics are a load of crap.  People seeking legitimate medication need to go to the hospital, not a head shop.

While I certainly have no love for stoners (I consider them the Jimmy Fallon of loadies: giggly, half-assed and boring) I do believe that every free adult living in the United States has the right to do whatever the hell he/she wants as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.  As I mentioned earlier, alcohol, cocaine and heroin were all used as medicine, and derivatives of each still are to this day.  American bureaucracy it would seem, is oblivious to the obvious, which would be to decriminalize all drugs and sell and tax them just like booze.  The money can still be made, but now no one need get hurt.  Why the charade people?  The fact of the matter is that people have and will always use drugs, either medicinally or recreationally to some extent so waging a “war” on them is never going to work.  If you’re going to go to one of these clinics you may as well go to a drug dealer on the street. 

Seeming concessions on the part of the government like medical marijuana clinics are just exploiting the ignorant into thinking they are involved in a legitimate business exchange while giving criminals a venue to practice their trade.  This isn’t progress on the part of the government.  What on the surface seems to be a move towards a more permissive, socially liberal establishment is just another way to turn a buck.  Jose isn’t sick, he’s a pothead.  Let him do his thing and pay his share via taxation.  As for actual patients: again, go to the hospital and get your medication there!  Legitimate medicine doesn’t come with a tie-died label of a caterpillar smoking a hookah and pharmacists don’t have graffix shirts and glass beads woven into their hair.  These clinics are just another gold plated turd.  Might look enticing on the outside, but just under the surface it’s pure shit.

Credit Card Debt: The Next Bubble to Pop?

There is no denying that the recent housing bubble that popped devastated the American economy. So lets examine what happened; At some point mortgage companies decided that if they could refinance houses that they could make copious sums of money. So they did just that and half of America got 20K loans, bought a “Tits” car or flat panel TVs and a jacuzzi, but now owed a ton more on their house loan. These loans had ridiculous rates and a ton of trickery written in the fine print. Many people entered ARMS, adjustable rate mortgages. After a few months of payments their payment could jump from 500 dollars to 2000 dollars a month. It was a con job perpetuated by mortgage companies and greedy execs who lined their pockets, fucked the country and ran.

My examination of credit card holders shows that the average American is in about 10-20+ thousand dollars debt, paying minimum payments on their credit cards. As Obama moved to crack down on the insane rates and trick tactics that these credit card companies had been using to keep you maxed out and paying your minimum payments, they scurried to change their fine print. If you own a credit card I guarantee you got a few random letters from your credit card companies. You probably just threw them away. Those were disclaimers explaining the new tactics they will use to try and screw you.

Bottom line here, as the economy is reeling and struggling to get out of this housing crisis, this credit card gloom lingers. Many Americans are at their breaking points and are thinking about such options as bankruptcy. If credit card companies don’t start treating their clients fairly. IE, lowering rates, cutting the ridiculous fees and such then I have a feeling we are going to have a new round of bankruptcy and ultimately another crippling blow to the economy.

 Lets get out the pin and pop the credit card bubble. Have a happy fucking day.

Short Song

Note: I came across this poem I quickly scribbled on the back of a piece of notepaper from when I was going to UC Davis in 2003 or 2004 and I kind of liked it, so here it is:

Am I depressed

Or are my emotions repressed

Maybe my anger is on recess

The more I look I see less

America is about being best

Spread your wings and leave nest

Join a religion to pass a test

But your guess is as good as my guess

Be submissive don’t ask questions

Don’t think too much or give suggestion

The lies conjure indigestion

I want to shit out all that’s wrong

Do what I want and fit it in a song