Facebook Post: 2019-05-30T13:52:06

Things I learned in life:

Conservatives: Spend a lot of time hating the left.

Liberals: Spend a lot of time hating the left.

Independents: Spend a lot of time apologizing for the right and hating the left.

People Genuinely On The Left: Uhm, me and a few of my friends who are terrified about how much hate is in the world.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-28T08:04:24

Is anyone who can see this message a Republican? Or do you consider yourself Right Wing? Or, even further: support Right Wing ideology? Maybe you voted for him?

Or are you merely a troll?

Is there anyone I’m remotely friends with who isn’t left of center?

Are you friends with someone on the Right? How far to the right are they? Do you agree with their politics? Or, are you the kind of person that “doesn’t talk politics” with your friends? Are you even able to be friends with someone with different politics?

And: why not?

I’m beginning to believe I don’t know anyone who is actually Right Wing, but instead, like to sound tough. I think, at best, I know some Internet Trolls, and some moderates.

I’m starting to believe that those who repeat Right Wing thought in public actually don’t believe it, but like being argumentative assholes. I find no evidence to prove otherwise.

At least: no one when pressed seems to actually believe the rhetoric, but it certainly makes you sound like a hard-ass when you say that you align with such ideas.

Am I wrong? Are there genuinely sympathetic and considerate republicans that want things like community and prosperity for everyone? Because I don’t hear anyone on the right say that they want to see our world improve.

And when they do, pretty soon they start to reveal that they aren’t as Right Wing as they once thought.

Do you know people who are proud of their right wing beliefs?

Facebook Post: 2019-05-26T19:15:05

The Brownsmith rides again. It’s been a while, but as a younger man, I quickly settled on brown as a color that worked for me, with a tie of some kind for accent. This outfit is typical of what I was wearing starting in my 20s. Some people started saying that I was The Brownsmith, and the name stuck.

But tonight… what can brown do for you?

Facebook Post: 2019-05-21T07:51:29

Every moment of every day I feel an acute sense of time passing extremely rapidly. I can feel the seconds actually pass; it’s like a pulse in my body. My life, slowly draining out of me, one minute, one hour, one day at a time. I sense this feeling constantly; I wake up in the middle of the night feeling late, I stare down the clock trying to slow it while I’m furiously trying to get art finished, I look at the people in my life and all I can see are clocks moving quickly to the end, where the doors close, where we part ways, and have to count the moments until we can briefly see each other again, if we ever do.

Even when I was a kid I felt a distinct urgency about the world. Everyone was so slow paced about everything, while I seemed to understand that there were precious few hours after school, that TV shows would end and not be on again, that the weekends were five days too short, that Christmas break was almost over already, and why are all of us wasting this time sitting around doing nothing?

This sense of time slipping away feels like the motivation for nearly everything in my life: trying to talk to girls, drinking and drugs, making ‘zines, playing in bands, going to shows, trying to desperately find a party on a Friday night after work, traveling and wanting to experience something, anything other than the boring everyday tediousness of eating and sleeping and going to work. Every part of me feels motivated by this impending sense that there is so little time left, that it will all be gone soon and that I wasted it, somehow, by doing nothing.

So, what have I done with all this time that I felt was so quickly slipping away? I guess I made a bunch of ‘zines, played in a handful of bands, broadcast about a zillion hours of radio, and have tried to combat this sense of time passing quickly by filling that time with… stuff.

But, when I pause to reflect, I wonder about the time spent. I have all this stuff I made, but when I look at 26 years of ‘zines and radio, I have to face the very real possibility that these aren’t treasured art pieces that are in-demand and say something meaningful – and therefore is an overall contribution to the world at large – but much more likely, are self-indulgences that say more about ego and solipsism than anything of value. Even worse, how much time did I NOT spend with my wife?

How many friendships were not cultivated because I was writing, or wrapping up my degree, or recording some band? How much of my life was lost to this “career” I’ve been trying to carve out, only to find that I’m a middle aged man with few close friends that I rarely get to see?

How do we measure the time we spend doing the things we do? How do we make time for the people we love and the world around us without feeling like we’re wasting time? How do we embrace “now” when we can see the horrible future advancing so rapidly, and that soon enough, everything we’ve done will be forgotten?

And: how do I shake this sense that I’m running out of time, all the time, no matter what I do?

Facebook Post: 2019-05-19T20:29:35

I found “Shade, The Changing Man” in High School. I started seeing ads for it, then hearing rumors at the comic book store, then in July of 1990 the first issue came out, and I bought it. I immediately bonded with the story and the characters; the paranoia and philosophical oddness of the Steve Ditko’s ‘70s version is quite fun, but Peter Milligan’s new run was breathtaking, weird, and beautiful to look at. And, subsequently, I devoured anything with either version of the character in it, leading to a long-term love affair with Suicide Squad, which seems uncharacteristic of me, given my usual taste, but Shade was in it for a while, so I was hooked.

While this might be a little on the nose for the title, as a reader the first thing you notice is that the stories change and evolve over time, adopting different styles and genres (and character personalities) as the series goes on. Shade himself evolves like a person living 70 years in 70 issues of a comic, beginning as a moody poet, then a care-free mod, then a heartless and emotionless 20-something, and everything in between, mirroring the way people are “different” at different phases of their lives. There’s even a story where he’s a woman. But not only does he change, but the style and narrative of the comic change too, to drive the point home even more. Sometimes, our lives are a horror movie. Other times, a comedy of real-life problems. This comic literalizes the way that our lives change too.

It was dark, strange narrative arcs, and genius writing / art that sold me immediately, and has made it something worth returning to again and again.

Which was intentional. Like The Invisibles, Shade reads differently each time I look at it. I’m a different age, and I see different elements, connect with different characters, find new elegance in plot connections, and different forms of Shade make more sense to me. Milligan is an incredible writer, and he finds ways to cram in so much in each arc that it rewards re-reading in that way. Shade is the lead, but Kathy is incredible to follow, and is, in many ways, the real center of the story. (The first issue is from her POV, entirely, but as the series continues, it begins to.. well, change.)

It is a pity that the series isn’t better regarded. The end of the series is a truly ‘Lost’ turn of events, a circular story in one way and not the strongest tale in many others. But it actually works, for those who know the mythology and followed the series from the start, and it’s a narrative achievement that I’ve never seen in any other form before. The “mature readers” banner probably cut into sales a bit, and considering the glut of big titles in those years, Shade sort of slipped through the cracks. 1990 to 1996 was an epic period in comics, and I can’t fault anyone for not picking it up in floppies. In 2004 a collection was issued of the first story arc. Outside that, it hasn’t been collected in an easily accessible form, and as time goes on, there’s fewer reasons to reissue them, too. The time-and-place phenomenon of the series is gone, and while it has a quality that doesn’t exactly root it only in the ‘90s, it certainly reads like a comic from 20 years ago.

If I could change one thing, I would make this comic better known. I think it has so much to offer, and it should be much better read.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-16T18:05:38

While I have always considered myself a fan of the Star Trek TV show from the ’60s, last night I accomplished something I’d never done before: I finished watching every episode from all three seasons.

I grew up with this show, but the weirdness of broadcast TV meant that I didn’t actually get to see all of them. But now we live in the future, so I sat down to finally right this wrong.

It took several weeks, as I would watch one to three episodes a week. And I occasionally compared the remastered FX to the original, to get a sense of what was changed.

It’s hard to say something new, or insightful, about the show that hasn’t already been said, but this felt fairly important for such a fan.

The things that do stick out to me that are worth mentioning feel very obvious in some ways: sexism, racism, and slow pacing are certainly working against it as a show that feels relevant now. A lack of continuity is sometimes frustrating, and the ’60s acting is uneven and, in many ways, simple. Subtlety is rarely deployed. And the overall set design and costuming is undeniably old timey. It is hard not to be painfully aware that you are watching a 60+ year old show.

But, what Trek did wonderfully was heady Sci-Fi. In spite of heavy-handed metaphors, their concepts and presentations are wonderfully imaginative. The work DC Fontana did in fleshing out the alien races and the technology of the future is captivating, and even a poor episode has great sound design and interesting characters.

Sadly, there’s only a handful of those characters that get major screen time, and the others only get occasional moments now and then. (There’s painfully fewer scenes with Nichelle Nichols than there should be, and I can think of one episode where she gets any character time; mostly she’s just on the bridge.) But the primary trio of characters are interesting, and they contrast against each other in wonderful ways.

The new FX are great. They change the theme song for some reason, but it sounds pretty close. Presumably this was because the original song couldn’t be mixed in High def. But I got used to it quickly. I do miss the matte paintings, but on the whole the new FX merely accomplish a more consistent and stable looking show, and they blend in well with the rest of the footage. The best part is: you can watch a high def version of the show with the original FX, so I can see my precious matte paintings if I really fucking need to. But the new FX are fine. They are not intrusive, and they don’t change anything (that I noticed).

As something that is foundational to my sensibilities, it is fun to have seen episodes that were new to me. In the old days, the throw of the dice really would give you a random episode, and local programming tendencies would favor certain episodes over others. It is a bummer that most of the ones I hadn’t seen were not the best episodes.

Still, there were almost always good Spock moments, which is always nice, and the sound design is so good that it is hard to feel too bad, even about a clunker episode.

My only question now is: what to watch next?

Facebook Post: 2019-05-15T11:01:17

With this last show now available, I believe the backlog from the tour is, more or less, wrapped up. And what a great thing to close on: this appearance by klowd (John Frank) on Mid-Valley Mutations. It’s hard to describe klowd without immediately delving into history, but let me say that his performances are meditative, his collaborations are epic, and he’s been at it for much longer than you would imagine. This show includes a live performance, interviews interspersed throughout, and a klowd / Mini-Mutations collaboration, which was incredibly excellent, in my mind. Click through to see the videos. This was a fantastic show, and I and very excited to finally get it to you. Enjoy!

Facebook Post: 2019-05-13T18:25:43

I found this album by World of Pooh in my collection, sealed. Never played once. This happens; I’m slow to get to my new acquisitions, sometimes very, very slow. So I just put it on.

It’s great. Somewhere between The Feelies and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. I highly recommend this for anyone who likes the sound of the mid-to-late ‘90’s weirdness.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-12T19:52:35

In the space hippies episode of the original Star Trek TV show, the leader is an anti-vaxer who refuses to treat a disease he carries, even if it means killing the population of an entire planet. Spock says that he can absolutely diagnose, without McCoy’s expertise, that the leader is insane.

This episode should be Science Fiction, and not eerily relevant now. Also: Spock fuckin’ rules.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-12T19:11:07

It is not fondly remembered these days, but just after the first wave of the ‘Macarena’ craze, there was a brief dance sensation known to some as ‘the subjunctive’ that was popularized by Buster Borges’ eponymous hit. But when the movie Hairspray came to theaters and real 50’s nostalgia returned, modern dance crazes sort of disappeared, and only hipster DJs seem to pretend to remember it.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-12T18:45:25

I am looking for a local Salem part time job. Making art and childcare is not quite enough, and ideally it would be working for some friend or a small business, rather than some other dumb thing.

Ideally something flexible, to accommodate other fluctuations in life and whatnot. Maybe I could cover shifts or fill in? Who knows what you need? Maybe a job I can’t even imagine?

Previous Employment:
Retail (largely bookstores and record stores)
Food Service (fast through regular restaurant experience)
Childcare / caregiver (ages 1 to 90)
Radio / Music / Writing / Design (long shot, but have 25 years of experience and would love to get paid somehow)
Student? Dishes / Housecleaning? Yard work? I’ve done all of those things for years on end.

I would love to find something that would scratch the back of a friend. Maybe you?

Facebook Post: 2019-05-10T16:21:13

I’m starting to circle the drain on all of the stuff related to my recent tour. I have a few more things to edit, some more catch-up I need to play, and I’m still re-thinking everything I did wrong, but I’m almost done, and it feels very weird.

Mostly, it’s weird to not have a big thing to work on actively. I will certainly start working on a new thing soon, so that’s not the problem. But it’s the emptiness of completion. I need to recoup, get new creative energy, and plan. And that takes time. And: there’s other work to do.

I love touring. I love playing shows and traveling. I miss the friends I get to see when I travel. But it is so good to be home. I wish my home could travel with me. But so it goes.

As my emotions even out and me sleep cycle sorts itself out, I want to get back to seeing you and hanging out. I miss you. I wanna see you. Sometimes I feel like time is just flushing away, and I wanna make sure I don’t waste it.

Let’s make plans!

Facebook Post: 2019-05-09T06:03:53

There was a period in the mid-‘90s where I would religiously tune in for Animaniacs, then keep watching until the Power Rangers theme song was over. (Because the guitars are bitchin’.)

Anyway, I woke up with The Power Rangers theme in my head, and had this line stuck, too. I googled it, and found this as the second result.

Hokey smoke! Good morning.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-07T17:09:54

Today’s project: hanging the planets. One of my favorite books as a kid – up through High School – was this book. To help aid with the childcare, I gave it to the four year old, on the way-off long-shot that she would actually dig it.

And: she did. Quite a bit. It is now a daily routine that we need to flip through the book with “the planets!” So, for her birthday, Marla got her this set of planets, so we could hang it from the ceiling.

She was as excited as I had hoped. But on the first day we opened it, she wanted to play with them. Or, perhaps I misread her? It’s so hard to know. But she seemed to like playing with them. My mistake; three of them are now missing, after leaving them with her for the weekend. Perhaps they will turn up? Hopefully.

Anyway, today we hung them in her room. They theoretically glow in the dark, and I hope they deliver on that promise. But she seemed excited about them, and I just hope this isn’t me living vicariously. It did feel nice to put these up. It was nice to do something and finish it.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-07T08:26:36

Let’s go away for a while
You and I
To a strange and distant land
Where they speak no word of truth
But we don’t understand anyway

Don’t bother to pack your bags
or your map
We won’t need them where we’re going
We’re going where the wind is blowing
Not knowing where we’re gonna stay

We’ll write a postcard
To our friends and family
In free verse

On the road with Kerouac
Sheltered in his bivouac
On this road, we’ll never die

Far away, to stay
On a holiday
Far away, to stay
Let’s go away

In a heartbeat.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-06T11:30:51

We had a huge issue with the last plumber, and as I look at the sewer scope footage of what we found, I realize we need to act on this. I’m looking for recommendations for people who could repair our broken line, and do it with a company that isn’t going to give us the run-around. Any thoughts? Personal experience with a big plumbing job that went well? Just in research mode right now. Trying to get a bigger idea of what people do in these situations.

Facebook Post: 2019-05-06T08:27:05

While choosing between my precious-angel-children-performances for my favorite is always hard, in some ways, it is also quite easy when one of them is with Das & Nina. This guest appearance on UB RADIO SALON was just too much goddamn fun, and I didn’t want to leave. I’m already concocting plans as to how I can return, and their kindness and generosity was something to reflect upon, if you’re ever feeling down. Thanks again for a great Easter. You two are just great.