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Day 454 - Aug 21th - At War with Wires and Greed

So during the near six week break, I finally got the chance to feel truly home for the first time in fifteen or so months. I started getting up early everyday, doing some running down to the beach for short dive and swim. Healthy food rather than the crap shoot between wonderful Wayno cuisine and the slop that is available to roadies in between. Detoxing from jet lag and drinking with friends evolves into clear thoughts and energy excitement to return back to my more nerdy roots of technology and wires and new soundie designs.

My laptop has finally re reached a state of usefulness as I install the last missing program, (Corel Draw) with which I do all my designing. But alas computers as they are and do, fail. None are immune and down drops another. This time it is a full size machine that one of my daughters uses.

Notice my workbench and the poor defunct mother board with all of her children sprawled out on the bed. Can you believe it? A complete computer melt down and $ 39 and a trip to Fry's electronics buys a new mama!

Bing, pow, boom and she is up and running better than new. 1 gig ethernet, hifi sound, firewire, USB2, high speed video and SATA drive compatible. Old by new standards yet more than enough. I have never attempted a mother board swap before and was amazed how easy it was. So many choices and everything fit, plugged right in, fired it up, a cross compatibility dream as I smile that the e-waste will be just a single card rather than yet another whole computer headed to the dump. Hmmm, I wonder if I would have had the same luck and cash outlay if it was a Mac? Perhaps the $ 39 Mac motherboard were just around the corner or more likely they cost a wee bit more, perhaps 10 times as much? Oh that's right, the dead Mac laptop I have in my closet cost more to fix than buying two new PC machines. Now don't get me wrong, I have no lost love for Microsoft either and I really can't stand the extortion of intentually building in incompatibilities to something we purchase.

Oh, and speaking of making things incompatible, check out this guy, he rules! A 17 year old in New Jersey has successfully figured out a way to bypass the Mac/ATT collusion orchestrated to sap max money from those jumping on the iPhone status symbol bandwagon.

Unfortunately the modification is beyond the scope of normal humans including myself but headway is being made toward freedom of choice, not that I would buy an iPhone anyway. Oh, have I mentioned that I am all about the concept of fair and cool competition and companies making products that people want without sneaky strings attached? What I am against is crap like "hey, if you want to buy an iPhone, you will have to sacrifice your freedom to choose your cell phone carrier company." "Hey, buy the cool stuff we make and then after you own it, we will do all in our power to milk you for as much money as possible to keep whatever you bought from us running." Printer companies selling their $ 80 ink cartridges for their $ 79 printers is a perfect example. Aargh, greedy sneaky humans annoy me.

Anyway, on a more enjoyable note, I bought a BBQ and it came with a rotisserie so I thought I would take a stab at making my first spinning chicken.

I put melted butter, some olive oil, fresh garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a food processor and blended it up to a paste and rolled the chicken in it then took unchopped versions of the same and what was left over and stuffed it inside. Who would have knew it would be so good so easy? Who would have knew dinner could take so damn long to cook. I have never cooked a meal before that took more than 30 min's. To complete the two course meal, a salad with tomatos, feta, olive oil I brought home from Italy and some crazy thick balsamic vinegar I found in France. I got the lettuce locally though.

I really don't want to leave home, right now.


Day 453 - Aug 20th - Surviving Sinking Ships

I just finished reading "Enter Naomi," a book sent to me by the author, Joe Carducci, and long ago comrade in the legends and confusion of the Black Flag against world collection of memories. I am forgetful by nature so immersing myself in the hauntingly familiar chain of events of the decade 80's LA punk world is both depressing and yet feels empowering to have survived with manageable amounts of mind splatter. I remember meeting the razor thin girl at my High School, Mira Costa (which believe it or not, actually was the Rock and Roll high school in the Ramones movie) with a blades on chains around around her neck sealed inside tight clothes with random zippers and spikes, later to be roommate and then to become Michelle Flipside. We are 16 and she tells me about the "The Church" in Hermosa Beach, just three blocks from where I live with my dad. Half full of hippies and the rest full of punks in a virtual war like stand off The Descendants, Red Cross (Redd Kross), Black Flag and The Last rehearsed there in virtual anarchy. When I could muster up some cash, I could usually persuade Ron to make a beer run with the " I buy, you fly" negotiation tactic. Over time my after school hangout welcomed me in and I became a bit of a punk rock repair technician and began recording the bands at shows and helping out in exchange for getting me in to the gig and something to do. Especially and most of all I remember that I don't remember except for a few impactful highlights, that was until I start to dive into a refresher course.

So I dig up a few pics and the girl on the left was my short lived girlfriend at the time, I think her name was Julie but everyone called her Phoenix after she corrected them that she was not Julie anymore. Next over, Bart, then me, Bart's friend, and Mike Livingston. Maybe 1979 or so.

Rolling over in my mind a way to describe my recollections, the best I can muster is I feel like I was part of an expedition. Not one where people set out all organized for a goal but rather a haphazard conglomeration of humans who find themselves all headed a similar direction for various reasons that leads them on precarious journey that ends up being littered with self inflicted and coincidental tragedies. The goal, if there was one, was a loosely knit propagation of musical lifestyle anarchy, to actually succeed was to also fail which can be debatably envisioned in the hypocritical concept of "successful punker."

The westward movement of early America comes to mind. Each wagon train being a punker band and it's entourage. The meek, content, fearful and lazily rich stayed home with the status quo and waited for Hot Topic to sell fashionable outfits of the excursion while a kludge of the outcast, impoverished and explorers types who are never content, seek a new domain beyond the boundaries of safe and acceptable. An exodus into lawlessness.

I don't remember who sent me this pic but it is me, Dave Markey, Mitch Bury, Vic, Davo and C'el

Many have died over the years to follow and even more have disappeared into the non-musical frameworks of society. Bright lights burn out quickly, any lampi can tell you that. The Donner Party ate itself and perhaps so did Black Flag as the stress of relentless touring upstream took it's toll. Not too dissimilar from that westward movement, Punk Rock did relatively little directly, other than make a big mess and piss a bunch of people off enough to send the police out with billy clubs to attack their own children. The original bands and people that carved that path or long gone or obscure from a global perspective except as a name on a shirt to look cool for those that wish they were there. What is not gone is the stage they set for the future waves to build upon. What were the names of those that died in wagon trains long forgotten? Perhaps heroes of great accomplishment or criminals for ruthless Indian killing. Regardless, once carved the results remain forever etched as those crazy punker bands that stood up against the odds, were beat down by police riots and spiraled out of control, they drug us out of disco and 80's hair metal and have changed music forever yet as usual the glory goes to those that follow, not for a second that it is undeserved and each fulfills their purpose in the chain.

Oh, and speaking of hair metal band's of the 80's, for all you back East'ers and the curious, check out Girls Girls Girls, an all girl Motley Cru cover band, fun! Though I was not a Motley Cru fan, ever, there is something twistedly cool about the recycled version presented by hotties that rock!

Ok, that is enough for today. Oh, by the way, I am on my way to Scotland, for surprise surprise! Yep, some Peppers' shows for a change.

Dave Rat


Day 451 - Where did I go?

My computer crashed, the worldwide rocket ship I was riding while blasting through cities has come to a near screeching halt as I find myself road-rash skidding - POOM. Here is me. No longer a motion full roadie, merely another of many humans that stands in lines and alternates between being annoyed at lead foot drivers and resisting the desire to honk at red lights.

Without motion I no longer can describe the blur from a first hand perspective leaving me only with the remnants of enlightenment or damage caused by the journey. I spend my friday night wavering between solitude appreciation and debating winding myself up into taking a stab at finding an enjoyable interaction and decide to make a solo dinner of habenero turkey burgers in a cast iron skillet. One pound lean ground turkey, one slice of diced onion, 1/4 diced bell pepper (yellow), some garlic powder, salt, pepper, one whole minced habenero pepper and a handful of granulated feta cheese. Mash, burger-ize and pan fry in a tiny amount of olive oil. It is all about knowing when to stop and done right, all good. Listening to the sounds of heat and watching the textures evolve, I try to time when to flip, too soon and she will break apart captain, too late and the burger will hermetically bond itself to the non-non-stick pan.

Then suddenly I stumble upon the thought "The world is dirty, and we poison ourselves in our efforts to to create the 'clean' illusion." For a flash, it all fits, landfills overflowing and smoggy skies from manufacturing and transporting millions of plastic "clean" water carrying bottles. Priests attempting to be so clean and pure they end up in jail as child molesters and the hydrogenated, modified whatever that is in all our food so it stays as "fresh" as possible even though it becomes the opposite of healthy. "Yuck, dirty insects, quick, put poison on our food." There are many debates about good and bad and various things and for the moment at least, it appears so simple. If you have a box gray sand and pull out all the light or dark bits, all that will be left is the other. It is that polarization, the acceleration towards dividing our infinitely gray world into the much more palatable black and white of "This is clean, this is dirty. This is good, this is bad." But perhaps the reality is that it is similar to Newton's conservation of energy law, "good" and "clean" are not created, they are only temporarily separated from "bad" and "dirty" counterparts. I ponder as I wash the raw turkey remnants from a bowl now clean while soapy turkey water flows down a drain to an unknown destiny.

Long ago a friend named Davo said something that I never forgot. "Many things in this world are like air conditioners, the cooler it gets on the inside, the hotter it gets for everyone else." He was referring at the time to the United States versus the rest of the world, mid Reagan era. Except it even seems bigger than that and impacts us on all levels as we all seem to eventually leave the air conditioning at the end of the day and sit there fighting that irresistible desire to honk at red lights.

From the inside out I view, as we all do and I often wonder if everyone feels as disconnected as I. And if so, how they are so good at masking it? Perhaps I should watch more TV

but I keep forgetting, in the mean time I will sift through the pile of things that I want to remember to do, so I don't regret later.

And oh, where did I go? I guess, everywhere but here. "One more, one more!" Oh ok, last one, these roller coaster's are fun, one last ride before the park closes.

On another note, as one curtain closes another opens. How excited am I? I have signed on as a consultant/designer for a large sound manufacturer and looks like we are going to be building some Ratty designs! A dream come true and cool stuff too! Secretly in my other life I have been designing cool soundie stuff between being transported and bloggery posts and now if all goes as I dream it to be, the thoughts will become real tangible entities. I will post more soon with details once the company releases the info publicly. As I slip away from pondering into personally following those same humanly ways of sorting through the sand box reforming the bits of the world around into things for a differing purpose.

Dave Rat