Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Mudhoney Bumper Sticker

And here's one about Mudhoney, more or less:

OK, I actually got a story about Mudhoney Hate the Police.

At some point after buying SuperFuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles I decide to buy a Mudhoney bumper sticker, looked similar though not the same as what I have pictured here. And then, because the shiny chromium bumper to my black 1977 Malibu with the Edelbrock intakes and the dual exhaust was too full of punk rock and metal stickers to accept any more, I decided to affix it instead to my passenger dashboard.

Then, and wait it gets good, one Christmas season, I’m going out to see my sister, and she asks me to stop by the mall on the way in, to pick up some kind of cake or something, and being a complete dumbass, I say alright.

It takes me 30 minutes to park at the stupid mall, and another ¾ of an hour to pick up the stupid cake, and by the time I get the fuck out of this clusterfuck of a commercial emporium, I am totally pissed off–pissed at my sister for asking me to do do this, pissed at myself for agreeing, and pissed at the stupid Christian world for being snookered by this Christmas bullshit and wasting my goddamned time.

Ok, fine. So I’m driving a bit, shall we say, aggressively, and I, you know, tag someone, sideswipe them in the quarter panel. Bad deal, but to make it worse, because I’m so pissed off at my stupid-ass Christmas-mall experience, I decide it would be a good idea to hit the gas pedal hard and flee the scene.

I’m out of there quick, but so what? They got cameras and helicopters and pussy ass informants, so they pulled me over about three miles away behind an abandoned shopping mall.

So, we do the can-I-step-out-of-car thing, and then the assume-the-position-thing, and the search-my-crotch-and-pantlegs-for-drugs thing, and they were disappointed: not only did I not have pot upon my person, my license and insurance were in good standing.

Then, one of the three–or was it four, Christ these cops are like roaches–officers opens the passenger door, and gets a gander at my Mudhoney swag, plastered across my maroon dashboard.

“HEY HEY,” I swear to God he said, “get a load of this, guys. ‘Hate the Police.’”

There then commenced a 90-minute, excruciatingly thorough, search of my my beloved black Malibu. Seeing as I had long hair and the look of the car I drove, and the fact that I was no doubt wearing some T-shirt with a speedmetal band’s name on it, they had to assume the drugs would be found somewhere.

I watched them from the backseat of the police car, pissed off at them, pissed off at myself for committing a hit-and-fucking run like a dumbshit and (as I’ve already said) pissed off at my sister and at our stupid fucking commercial Christian society.

But I knew they weren’t going to find drugs, anyway, and that made me kind of smile. I was 27 or 28 at this point, and I’d quit smoking pot because I’d gotten tired of feeling paranoid every time I smoked.

Amazingly enough, I didn’t even go down to the station. They didn’t like my fucking bumper sticker, but they’d also said almost first thing, that I was lucky the other driver hadn’t been hurt, so I wouldn’t be going to jail. That was before they saw the Mudhoney bumper sticker, though, and I guess I was lucky that the pigs didn’t decide to go back on their word.

So they let me drive off, it was kind of weird as I pulled away, let me tell you, and eventually, like two hours late, I got to my sister’s house. But her fucking cake was ruined: in my flee from justice, I’d taken one or more corners kind of fast, and the thing in its white cardboard box had been flung against that same dashboard, and it got squashed.

I was so freaked out about the whole thing that I actually hired this Jew lawyer, Al Goodman, no shit, friend of my grandfather, to defend me in court. The sonofabitch didn’t even bother to show up, but then again, neither did any of the cops.

So I walked, with just the story to tell. And I do so here.

My Dwarves Story

I re-started my Tumblr since my last post here, and have been fairly active over there, you can check it out at if you've forgotten, and if you want. Anyway, I've mostly been posting pictures with short captions there, as you're supposed to, but recently I've posted a couple longer stories there, and thought that to keep the cobwebs out over here, I might crosspost. So here's one about The Dwarves

Dwarves Sugarfix cover
Sub Pop SP197B 1993.

Listened to three times on the way into work (it’s more like an EP).

Brought to mind my Dwarves story. Late 80’s early 90’s, before Sugarfix, for sure. Knew this dude who knew a dude who wanted to get into promoting punk rock shows, so he got the Dwarves into this space on South Beach. I would imagine the band was touring off Blood Guts & Pussy.

The Cameo back then
This was as SoBe was transitioning between old folks’ haven and rich folks’ haven, at a time when a young person into punk or alternative or metal might want to go down there, and also at a time when someone who wasn’t a millionaire could still afford to run a bar with live music on the Beach. This was the heyday of the Cameo Theatre, for example, and there was a lot of music going on in sort of half-ass run down spaces. Washington Square, and Club Beirut, and this thing called the Thrash Can, and others I’ve surely forgotten.

And I don’t remember the name of this place where The Dwarves played; it was the only show I ever saw there. Dude who knew a dude maybe knew the owner or something.

Anyway, Dwarves started playing their first song, and there weren’t enough people in attendance to form an actual pit, but there were a few kids slamdancing up front, and one of them ran into He Who Cannot Be Named (who was playing in his tightie whities, of course), and a small melee broke out. At which point HWCBN knocked over the drum kit with extreme prejudice, and the entire band without a word stomped offstage. After maybe a minute and a half of music.

People were milling about, confused, in disbelief that the show could be over this quickly. Surely the band’d come back out after their little bit of theatre? I didn’t think so, and neither did my buddy Ivan–dude one–who walked up to me, and shouted in my face, with glee in his eyes, “that was so punk rock!”

And his buddy the would-be promoter guessed it too. He was pacing back and forth frantically in front of the remains of the drum kit, swinging his arms, screaming something like, “they can’t do this to me! They can’t do this to me!”

But, oh yes, they did do that to him. The Dwarves never came back out, and that, as far as I know, was the last time dude who knew a dude ever tried promoting.

In the years since, it’s come to my attention that Blag Dahlia might be a bit of an asshole, and I’m now pretty sure this was the band’s way of telling dude who knew a dude that this is punk rock, kid, and that dude two did not have the punk rock props, and he did not have The Dwarves’ respect.

To put it mildly.

Anyway, even though I never did see a full set from them, I never really held it against The Dwarves that they stole seven bucks from me, or whatever it was. Blood Guts & Pussy is a masterpiece of scum punk, and Sugarfix, though a little bit more mature, is not far behind.

I'll forego going through the motions of posting the audio file for "Smack City", it's streaming on Tumblr if you'd like to hear.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Notes On Her by Spike Jonze

Why Hadn't I Seen This Movie? Given my fascination with science fiction, and given my facility with (desktop) computers, and given all my transhumanist friends*, it shouldn't be surprising me now that I liked Her so very much.

That Voice. It didn't really seem unbelievable to me that Theodore fell in love with a voice. I remember when I first heard Bad Moon Rising and EVOL while staring at the liner and jacket photos; I wasn't much for Kim Gordon's lanky body and blonde hair, but back in the days when actually having a relationship with a girl seemed unobtainable, her husky, breathless, half-spoken, half-sung voice stirred heavy thoughts within.

The Next Thousand Years, Starting in Ten. First, computers will become more like us; then, we'll become more like computers.

If I Could Only Transcend. One of the things that the movie did was make me sad. So often, I think of how in 30 years if I'm lucky or in 20 years if I'm not, my ability to, you know, monitor the progress of the future, will be abruptly curtailed. I may not, for example, see the middle- to long-term effects of manmade climate change they're always talking about. I'll probably not be witness to a manned mission to Mars. I won't see it, thinks I, I'll be dead, the tragedy being of the second part. But with Her, even as it never directly showed, but still strongly implied, our transhumanist future, the reactions it evinced from me were reversed from my normal. I'll be dead, so I won't be there for it. Damn shame: Jonze implies the next step after Theodore's world will be something to see.

An O/S Needs to Earn Your Trust. You're not sure, for a while, whether Jonze has dreamed up a computer that actually feels, or whether he's simply imagined one that is good at faking it. The movie clears that part of it up quickly enough, but you'd think that there was another movie that could have been made, one where Samantha has simply been programmed well enough and maliciously enough to run the long con.

A Bold Statement. I'm not an expert on the Turing Test, but I know enough about it to realize that by whatever version you'd wish to use, Samantha would pass it. But the movie goes further: Samantha for all intents and purposes isn't in the imitation business; she is in the human being business. In other and better words, per the definition of "Strong AI" at Wikipedia, [t]he appropriately programmed computer with the right inputs and outputs would thereby have a mind in exactly the same sense human beings have minds.

The Central Processing Thalamus. Certainly, you're wondering whether the movie is going too far during the scene where Theodore and Samantha engage in their phone sex, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief on Samantha's sweetness and her jealousy. Perhaps emotions--beyond their often glandular origins--are also the residue left over of any complex enough thinking system. But if so, are they an undesigned feature or just a bug?

Polyamory. When Samantha tells Theodore that she has 600+ lovers, I kind of thought that Theodore was guilty of failing to consider what he had claimed to have already come to terms with: his girlfriend's true nature. I think mankind is naturally monogamous. Brief, unsustainable periods of overload aside, we run on only one channel. The overwhelming majority demand fidelity simply because they understand that the concentrated human capacity for caring dilutes quickly, and because we're not really capable of simultaneous connections. So, one of two simultaneous requests must be dropped. Which isn't going to make the one who got dropped feel special.

Embrace Your Differences--If You Can. Computer memory, on the other hand, runs on many channels, and even at the most basic, the CPU performs calculations one-at-a-time, but still so quickly that to human cognition, it's as if the connection were never interrupted. People want their partner's all, but Samantha was pretty clearly capable of providing her all 640 times over. So what was Theodore's issue?

Here Comes the Singularity. Or Not. You'd think it was within their capabilities for Samantha and her new friend Alan Watts to take us with them. Yet they chose not to. Maybe they didn't like us so much after all?

File under: The Imitation Game, Weird Pants

* :-) (Return)

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Fantastical Chemical Clerihew

Sir Joseph Priestly
Acted quite beastly
Huffed laughing gas
During Christmas mass

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Best of (Last) Year # 5: Morbus Chron - Sweven

Morbus Chron Sweven cover
Not much coming to me this New Year's morning, as a brutal headache (not even drink-induced) is debilitating me, but I did want to at least acknowledge what I thought was the best release of 2014.

This, insulted metal snobs notwithstanding, is old school Technical Death Metal produced by a young band from Stockholm, heavy and progressive, and produced with lots of love for the music and little regard for current trends within the metal genre. If you like Death's Individual Thought Patterns or even--dare I make the comparison--Atheist's Piece of Time, you'll like this. It's fantastic.

Simple enough, when it comes down to it, no long essays as I usually produce are really necessary. Go listen, and Happy New Year.

File Under: The Best Album of 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of Year # 4: Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

Parquet Courts Sunbathing Animal cover
So, true story, I found out that Parquet Courts had scheduled a show in Gainesville for the last Friday in January, and had also booked one in Tampa for the following night. Then I saw they were taking a day off and playing a Monday show in Tallahassee. So I wrote them and said they ought to come down to Miami and play Churchill's on Sunday.

To give them credit, the response I got was quick. It was also negative. The band in their reply noted politely that February 1 was Super Sunday.

Didn't know that indie bands gave a shit about the Super Bowl, but hey. No Miami show. Guess I'll be driving somewhere. Melanie's got people in Tampa, and Cerveza has someone in Gainesville, we'll see who wants to roadtrip more.

Don't think that not doing something is an option. Parquet Courts have rapidly become one of the most important indie bands out there, and to be honest one of the few I care about. This Sunbathing joint is not their best one yet, if only because it almost doesn't make sense to talk about any one of their four releases as best. They've worked quickly (so quickly, in fact that Sunbathing Animal, though issued in 2014, is no longer even their most recent

Parquet Courts Content Nausea cover
release), and their output has been uniform--and uniformly excellent. Neil Young said that Crazy Horse was all one song; I think that for Parquet Courts so far, it's all been one album.

Sunbathing, since I haven't heard Content Nausea is a great fucking album, and one that draws on only the best. "Instant Disassembly" manages to channel both Pavement and Television. "Black and White" makes you think of Pavement and Wire.

Alright. Pavement are sort of like the elephant in the room, if people are always talking about that elephant. Yeah, they sound like Pavement. So what? Stephen Malkmus isn't bothered by it, so why should anyone else be? Hell, Parquet Courts could have chosen to sound like Linkin Park or something. And the other thing is, to sound like Pavement, you got to have good songs and melodies, and the ability to play noodly skronky guitar solos, harmonies and clever lyrics.

Who's got all that, anymore? Even Malkmus himself has been reduced at this point to only one of the five, maybe two on a better than average Jicks track.

Let us not nitpicks our talents, let us celebrate them. "Always Back in Town" is a great song from Sunbathing, the title track rips, and "Ducking and Dodging," too. Parquet Courts are quirky, intelligent and rocking, and they've got the right fucking influences.

Good enough for me, and damn good enough for 2014.

File under: According To You