Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Archive for June, 2012

One-twenty-nine

Posted by ilbebe on June 21, 2012

As you judge this life, consider the nature of judging.

Whatever yr notion of judging is, consider the flattening fact that if yr reading the words I’m writing, yr thinking in English.

Yr thinking with somebody else’s words. Do you mean that now?

What I aim to say is that life as I have known it is best gauged in a light that acknowledges the primacy of YR vision. The essence of he etymology of the term homo sapien sapiens is that we are not only aware; we are aware that we are aware.

This is to say that we must learn that the way we see things are very, very similar to the way other people see things. However, they are literally entirely unique, and we are of a specie that has the capacity to acknowledge that we can realize that however much we have in common, we can never be certain that we truly know what the other person thinks. Further, it is damn near impossible to know what somebody means when they say something; anything whatsoever.

This is my plea for peace. May God damn what we say. We strive for brilliance, we walk in the ruts of what is to come. When we come to realize that what we are, and what we could, some Goddamn day, do together, is why there will be no end of tomorrow unless we collectively will it. i, me, would like not to will that. i hate uncapiailized personal i’s, but i have enough faith to realize that if i start intentionally missing the shift key, i doubt it will affect the world much.

i hope one day to meet you. For what it’s worth, i wrote this in hopes of using language to influence a greater of love and peace in yr heart, but if y’ get me, then y’ know what I’m saying here is that I’ll never know you-

Yet I still want to meet you!

Let’s start with a hug, before words get in the way.

Luv,

Landon

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One-twenty-seven

Posted by ilbebe on June 14, 2012

It seems to me now that the primary underlying struggle in the transition from childhood to adolesence is the sheer horror of yr first mature perception of the world around you. Some of us are lucky enough to be living lives of fine sand at that point, but I think it’s safe to say that most people’s reality at the dawn of adolescence doesn’t entirely measure up with their childhood dreams.

My hypothesis is this: When we are very young, nothing makes too much sense. We learn to rely to certain things that are more-or-less predictable; our parents’ presence, hunger and satiation, the daily path of darkness to light to darkness. Then we age a bit.

It does not matter what culture on Earth you are from, or how extensive your ‘formal’ education is. At a certain age in childhood, you start to understand a little bit about how the world works, on a strictly practical and experiential level. Based on this, and perhaps with a the aid of some subconscious underpinnings that know the dread that awaits, you form the ability to dream of things you have never seen. These things are of all nature, and some are bad, some evil, even, but mostly there are good- they are about a world better than the one you are in. A Fantastic world. This, with any luck, is a period of maximal joy. At the dawn of conscious imagination, we are all cartographers. We map out our dreams to the smallest detail, because we have no idea that it not always productive to dream.

This bliss ends. Half as fast or twice as slowly, we become aware that our lives do not sync with our dreams. This house is OK, but it sure ain’t no palace. I do like playing in the creek, but this Central Valley dirt town isn’t Paris. I don’t have as many friends as I thought I would by now. I’m hungry. I’m not hungry any more.

Seemingly overnight, a worldview of possibility and grace mutates into “I’ve had enough”. Ennui is the place where the ghost of you thinking you could be the President mopes. This ghost rolls around in the basement of yr brain and moans once a day, right when you were just about to fall asleep…

The linear confusion of having yr world turned inside out by yourself, for reasons you don’t understand, leads you to feel alien in yr own body, and the first apearence of the staggering notion of feeling alone on a crowded planet. Nostalgia creeps in at some point. Yr visiting yr youngest sibling’s elementary school, and you walk in thinking “Pfff, this place.” But now yr looking at a dinosaur poster, and thinking When I was my brother’s age, and I went here, I loved that poster. It made me happy. I wanted to be a dinosaur. Now that sounds stupid. I know that’s stupid.

But I’m not happy.

Some people go their entire lives without ever thinking about being a dinsoaur ever again. There’s a lot of people who think about it every now and again, and a good amount of people who think about it on a fairly regular basis- often enough to be sane, and cool, and content. Then there are the people who forget about being a dinosaur for a while, then remember, and really go for it.

I’m a triceratops. I am not kidding.

12:11AM, 6/14/12, Mom’s house. Cut the lawn today, cleaned the garage. Now it’s Flag Day. How do you celebrate that? How do you celebrate that?

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One-twenty-six

Posted by ilbebe on June 11, 2012

It was a drunken night in Arcata, circa 2002 or maybe 2003. Josh and I had moseyed back to my place, where we were going to watch the Royal Tenenbaums. En route, we had started talking about In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, my favorite album.

“You know it’s about Helen Keller,” he stated.

“Huh?”

He nodded sagely. “Yeah, you know ‘Holland, 1945’?”

“Uh, yeah, but wasn’t Helen Keller American?”

“Nope. Killed by the Nazis.”

We both fell asleep on the living room floor with the Royal Tenenbaums DVD stuck in an infinite loop on the title menu screen. I woke up in the middle of the night, turned off the TV, and fell asleep back on the floor where I was. Josh was asleep sitting up in a chair. In the morning he was gone. Arcata times. The next time I saw Josh, he said “Hey, you know what I was saying the other night about Neutral Milk Hotel and Helen Keller? I meant Anne Frank.” I told him Yeah, That Makes A Lot More Sense.

If you feel the reckless amounts of pain this world dishes out to both the deserving and the un- is too much, so much that yr life would be better lived outside your own body and observed from afar (…a star/that’s right above from where you are…), feel it, feel the fuck out of that feeling. There you are.

Do stars look better from Earth than the Earth does from the heavens? Doesn’t matter. Few of us will ever get the chance to see our world from outer space, so I think our time is better spent appreciating the view from down here, the view from within ourselves. The view that allows in our friends, and the amusing misstatements they sometimes make, and the love we share. Fuck a star, dead space shit. Earth is where it’s at. Yr heart is of this Earth.

Yr heart is this Earth. Desolation Row is a state of mind necessary to fill out the spectrum of emotion which allows for joy, and while that doesn’t mean you should revel in unpleasant experiences and pain, hopefully they hels remind you to see things for what they are-

of this life, this Earth-

of yr heart.

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One-twenty-five

Posted by ilbebe on June 10, 2012

Personal choice- what a concept. Personal responsibility- what’s that?

In February 2007, I was at my wit’s end. I was being overworked at my job, had been since someone left before Thanksgiving and wasn’t replaced. One night my Dad took me out to dinner at a pub and we got drunk. I was trying to make conversation about a linguistics article I’d recently read, but he was more interested in throwing stupid double entendres at the bartender. After he ungraciously excused himself  (“I guess if I’m embarrassing you”) and declined my offer of a goodbye hug, I switched to gin. Gin? the bartender asked. Yeah, I said, My Dad Fucking Pisses Me Off Sometimes. I Don’t Talk To My Dad Anymore, the bartender told me. I don’t remember going home, but I must have.

I woke up in bed the next morning, showered and dressed, and walked to the train. I’d been getting this awful nauseous feeling for weeks as the train pulled in, thinking that rather than getting on, I’d be happier falling in front of it. But I didn’t, and when I got to my work, I had the scheduled meeting with my boss I’d arranged the day before to address my workload. I told her that I was being overworked and that it was driving me bonkers. Is There Anything Else? she asked. I broke down crying. I’m Not Okay, I said. She told me to take off as much time as I needed, and to go get some help.

I went back t0 my desk and called Kaiser to request a same-day psych appointment. This was deemed impossible based on my lack of an existing psych relationship with Kaiser. So What Should I Do? I’m Feeling Suicidal, I asked. I was instructed to go to the ER if I wanted attention. Did I Need An Ambulance. No Thanks, I said, I’ll Get Down There On My Own.

I thought it might be more pleasant to go to the ER in Walnut Creek versus Oakland, so I left work, got back on BART and rode out to Walnut Creek. En route, I called my friend Garrett to leave him a voicemail wishing him a Happy Birthday. I was walking down South Broadway in Walnut Creek towards Kaiser feeling like wet chalk and trying to will myself out of existence when I decided I wanted a pack of cigarettes. I went to a 7-11 and bought a pack of Natural American Spirit yellows. Not Camels, which my girlfriend at the time smoked, but yellows, which my ex-girlfriend K smoked. I smoked one and got dizzy, then continued on the ER.

Several hours later I’d been 5150’d and was being given an ambulance ride to Fremont. When we pulled up in front of the hospital, the ambulance man said Hey, If You Wanna Smoke, Now’s Yr Last Chance. They Won’t Let You Smoke In There. He seemed pretty solemn about this minor breach of protocol, which I thought was sort of funny since I didn’t really smoke. I had bought the cigs because I needed calming down, and it crossed my mind that cigs calmed people down. What I didn’t grasp is that cigs only calm down people who smoke and are craving a cig. For the non-smoking population, they have a negligible-at-best effect. But I figured I shouldn’t dismiss the ambulance man’s generosity, so I lit one up. I asked if he or the driver wanted one. They both got pained looks on their faces, and he explained that they had quit, together, the week before. Oh, Okay, I said. Inwardly I chuckled at their struggle.

I’m so glad I feigned my way through smoking that cigarette. The whole night through hell in the psych ward, I could smell my fingertips, and K was there to give me comfort. You Shouldn’t Be Here. You Need Some Sleep. I Believe In You. All the reassurance I needed was in the air around the first two fingers and thumb of my right hand, and that’s a feeling I’ll never forget. Thank God for K, and for that particular scent.

I got out of the hospital after a night, and still had eighteen smokes. So I smoked them. Oddly enough, what I’d heard proved to be true: smoking is habit-forming.

Five years later, I went on a pretty good bender after the latest in a series of pointlessly severe break-ups, and started having persistent chest pain. I thought about dying, and how I wanted to do it. I think, after twenty years of consideration, I’m successfully over any notions towards suicide. But alleviating the tightness in my chest, was it worth walking away from my best friends over? Smoking had become my constant companion; a treat to look forward to after a long flight, a reason to stand outside in the cold, something to put in my mouth to staunch the flow of uncarefully considered words out of it. But again, I thought of K, who doesn’t talk to me any more. I thought about how she used to believe in me. I guess in her absence, I’ll have to believe in myself.

I’ll probably go back to smoking one of these days, I have a historically poor will. The only thing I’m good at is keeping secrets. Here’s that weak will in action: I’ll share a secret with you. I don’t want to die like my Grandparents did, from smoking cancers. That’s no tribute. Better to live, even if it means walking past people smoking on the street and going Damn, That Could Be Me.

I guess that’s what I have to look forward to after long flights now- going to the curb to wait for a ride or the bus knowing that I care at least enough about myself to not court a heart attack at thirty-one. That should suffice, and if nothing else, it’s cheaper than smokes. Which I guess cuts closer to the core of me…being cheap…ahh.

There’s something that might help me replace smoking-thinking about how happy being cheap makes me. A cheap life ain’t worth nothing- It’s worth taking every last breath out of. Deeply.

Peace.

-Sunday, 6/10/12, Noon, front steps of my place. Sunny and warm. If it were done, better it were done with anxiety!

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One-twenty-four: Tour Diary volume nine

Posted by ilbebe on June 8, 2012

Friday, January 12, 2001. Awake at 9:15, eat remains of pasta, hit the road at 10:15. Stop at Safeway on our way out of town for my daily French bread, we are informed that it’s the only Safeway without a bakery. White bread it is. On the road out of WA by 10:30.

Stop at the amazing GeeCee’s truck stop again, I purchase the reflective nut cover I’d foolishly passed on the first visit. [lug nut cover, that is] G discovers that they sell fried, battered chicken gizzards. Later we stop at a rest stop that has free coffee provided by a Lutheran Sisterhood. R and I make a donation in Canadian money, mwah-ah-ah. We make up an absurd number of variations on “sidewheeler” while listening to TASOH ad nauseam, without the nauseum.  [I guess what I mean here is that we somehow could not get sick of this thirty-minute tape. Lifesaver does not begin to describe.]

Eugene at 2:45, we stop at Kinko’s so G can check email. The D Blues sticker we placed on a lightpost earlier in the week is doing well. Over to Emily’s for a tad, we listen to our CD. [I think R was trying to show off for Emily. Just a guess.] Within a half-hour of us showing up, both Emily’s Dad and her roommate’s Dad show up to visit. As a rock band, we decide there are too many parental authority figures in the room and blow town around 4.

I speculate what a Family Circus-esque map of our voyage would look like. Ryan speeds like nobody’s biz. The tamboura on my/G’s alternating laps begins to disappear from consciousness, having become such a fixture. [Oh right, the tamboura. Yeah, whoever had shotgun had to put this huge stupid thing on his lap which made it almost impossible to turn one’s head without getting an eyeful of one of the tamboura’s bazillion tuning pegs. Made that day’s drive EXTRA special.]

Grant’s Pass at 5:45, Crescent City at 8:15 after a race with our Oregonian arch-nemesis all the way down 199. [Our arch-nemesis was a small pick-up with Oregon plates that passed us slightly outside of Grant’s Pass and invoked R’s ire. We then raced with him practically the entire hundred miles of 199, through the driving rain and occasional fog and the numerous twists and turns of 199. Stupid, but we made good time and lived to tell about it.] Silence reigns during the stretch from CC down 101. Oregon shore turn-off? Put in TASOH for victory lap around Orick, tape ends as we pull up to stop sign at Alliance and Foster [in Arcata]. We hit 2,000 miles for voyage shortly before Trinidad. Drop Garrett off, then me. Inaugural D Blues “tour” comes to an end at 9:45.

Final analysis:

Miles traveled: 2,000+

$ spent (me): 135 [holy shit, that’s all I spent? I forgot just how cheap I was back in the day…]

T-shirts and CDs sold: 0

Trips to Beaverton: 0 [Beaverton is a suburb of Portland. We decided a “trip to Beaverton” was adequate slang for getting some action. The zero here represents how R, G, and I were all talk, no rock in this department.]

Shows played: 3

Shows aborted: 3

Variations of “sidewheeler” proposed: numerous

Indians/babies murdered: 0 [hahaha, I spent a lot of time “joking” about murdering K2. No one appreciated this. Dunno why I mentioned Indian killing…]

Foreign countries impressed with: 0

Marriages performed: 1

Original members of Alvin George met: 3 [That would be Tig, Chuck, and…I don’t remember who else falls into this category. Thoren and Nathan were friends from Arcata, and besides, Thoren was and still is a figment of my imagination, since we never even saw the dude.]

Crippled Canadians: 3

Strange bathrooms encountered: also numerous

Really nice people in Mt. Vernon: at least 2

Number of people who like K2: 0 [“No one likes K2!” was a running joke that even her parents shared in, which is what pissed me off about not being able to joke about suffocating her, drowning her, chopping her up, nothing. Not even SIDS.]

“Dave Mustaine”s performed: 0, surprisingly

“Quimby”s peformed: decline to state

“IHOP and life to go”

Peace.

[This is the end of the diary. If I didn’t explain it before, “quimby” was a term we picked up from Tig in Eugene. It’s what you call to call the middle-backseat when approaching a car, and is based on the term for the guy in the middle in 3-person gay sex. I’ll leave it on that.]

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One-twenty-three: Tour Diary volume eight

Posted by ilbebe on June 7, 2012

Thursday, January 11, 2001. I woke up sometime early and tossed and turned- perhaps my body was unsettled by sleeping in a bed for the first time in a week. Official wake-up time for our bunch was 10:30ish. We argue aboot [Ha! I use Canadian vernacular to stunning comic effect.] plans for the day, O/K being in favor of Victoria, R leaning that way, me wanting to explore Vancouver, and G indifferent. We decide to eat and talk it over.

We go to The White Spot, we all get butterscotch martinis. [How Capote of us.] I have a shrimp sandwich, and start making lots of obnoxious comments about Canada as the martini takes effect. We find out that the ferry does not run from Victoria to Port Angeles at this time of year, so Victoria plan is nixed.  [If I recall, the reason we wanted to get to Port Angeles was to visit someone’s Grandparents, off of whom we could mooch for a little while before maybe going back to Seattle and trying to score a show. I guess I don’t remember exactly what our intent was because it doesn’t matter, as you’ll soon find out.] After eating we hit the “Dollar Surprise”, O is entranced by a logbook entitled “My Trip”. R gets shot glasses, Me: a postcard, St. Paddy’s green plastic hat, and a Canada back scratcher w/made in China sticker intact.

The group decides to appease my half-wasted-off-one-martini ass by heading to Gastown, ye olde part of Vancouver. As has been the case, getting there is a bitch, due to bad directions and ill-calculated “I’ll follow you” schemes. I am reminded of how funny the Canuck crosswalk guy is. We park in Gastown, O, R and K go wandering about. [For reasons I don’t recall, G and I stayed with the car. This, as you may have noticed was an ongoing theme of the trip.] I encounter a guy in a Raiders parka who rides up on a bike and talks my ear off about weed and hypercube theory. The rest of the gang returns to find me talking to this maniac and are unimpressed. Having seen nothing in Gastown, we leave, bound for Burnaby and Simon Fraser University. [Simon Fraser U was a school that played HSU in basketball. The standard taunt when they came to play in Arcata was “Cah-na-dah. Caaaaaaah-na-dah.” We were heading there solely to cause some ruckus on the campus of our semi-hated rival.] Loooong drive across town to get to Burnaby. Passing through Chinatown, we see a sign on a building: “Hangovers $9”. ???? Many yellow light fiascoes. [i.e. K blasting through yellow lights, forcing R to blow a red in order to stay together. It may be hard to remember, but in the pre-cell phone era, following someone in traffic when you had no set destination required the lead car to remember to not fucking run yellow lights,  as it was of paramount importance to stay within sight of each other. Sheez.]

We arrive at SFU 45 mins later, decide its an Aryan-producing labratory/factory. [Everyone we saw was blonde.] 3-way stop sign tickles G’s fancy. [Further evidence that road mania/sexual frustration was beginning to really skewer our thought processes. Also, G was still hitting the Nyquil pretty hard.] Throw the hazards on at an exceedingly bad place to take pictures in front of the SFU sign. We’re politely admonished by campus security. We then attempt to leave the country.

Canada has grown fond of us and does not wish to let go. We drive endlessly in the wrong direction, stop at Mohawk gas station, keep blundering along. R”s car dies again, is resurrected. I suggest group suicide as tension rises. Rush hour envelopes us along CA-1. After regrouping and getting a map, O and the Ks ditch us in a very pro move. I call “Let’s head west” and all of a sudden they’re gone. R is pissed. I devise a route and we start to traverse it, ever so slowly. [This is really the apex of everything that could go wrong going wrong: losing half of crew while in Canada, and having no way to contact them. Basically we’d been lost in rush-hour traffic for more than an hour and, perhaps subconsciously, I forced Ryan to look at the map with me while we were stopped, and when we looked up, the other car was gone. I was greatly relieved for the newfound autonomy this schism granted us, while R was pissed and worried and G was just exasperated and wanted more Nyquil.]

G screams to be released from this lame-ass, hockey-obsessed land while R stews and I pepper the air with asinine comments. Canadian pedestrians are consistently reminded they’re Canadian by me yelling, and I start counting cripples. “Where’s John Candy when you need him?” We finally pick up CA-99 south, head outta Vancouver, stop for duty-free beer, denied, try to change our currency, denied, I punch a machine. G admonishes me. [There was no discrimination at play here, it was just past closing time for the duty-free and casa de Canuck cambiar.]

“Let’s get the hell back to the US.”

US Customs lady is mean, but brief. Any idiot can get into our country, we had more problems entering Canada. Stop in Bellingham for victory cigarettes and phone calls. Thoren’s new place is too small, but Nathan’s well of generosity is seemingly never-ending. Destination: Olympia. We listen to TASOH and, inexplicably, spirits rise. Hit a tire, take a wrong turn in the middle of Seattle, nothing can faze us. [The wrong turn in the middle of Seattle was actually a pretty dramatic, multi-tiered detour which found us practically fucking crossing Lake Washington before we got righted.] We’re still carrying a buttload [now there’s a word I don’t use any more] of Canadian currency. Maybe we can make it to Portland…

Hit Oly at 9:45, less than 3 hours from Bellingham. [It just occurred to me that one of the strangest things about this day was being that far north shortly after New Year’s and having the sun set at like four o’clock. By the time we got to Oly it felt like waaaay past midnight because the sun had been down for so long, but apparently it wasn’t.] Nathan sez hello, we head into town for $ and phone calls. Chuck’s not home, we’ll stay in Oly. Back to Nathan’s, R buys his tamboura and receives a lesson. [Yes, our fearless and ostensibly broke leader overdrew his bank account so he could buy a fucking tamboura, which is a droning, stringed, gourd-based Indian instrument that’s about four feet tall. How we were going to fit this fucking thing into the Maxima was not of R’s delusional concern.] We cook pasta, I talk w/roommate Justin about the art of songwriting and Japanese folk music. Many intelligent questions and pretentious statements are spoken. Mmm Mmm pasta. [Yes, this was the pasta that R grabbed from his parents on our way out of Arcata. I guess I have to admit, I was gald to have on this strange, strange day eight.] Nathan returns from his homework cave to share pot and hilarious pot stories. That guy is great. Plus, his floor is carpeted! And he keeps the heat on at night! USA! USA! USA! [Keep in mind that this all happened a few months after the 2000 election, which is to say my patriotic sentiment here miiiiiight have been a little sarcastic.]

Notes from bottom of page:

-“That guy’s fat and Canadian, but he’s no John Candy.”

-New name for the tour: “Bad directions and stifled erections”

-G: “Are you sure this is the road to America?”

Me: “If it’s not, you can jack me off.”

-“California” pick-up line did not work at all. Punch Casey in face at next contact.

-This tour has also been one of weird bathrooms

-Coldplay/gestalt (word)/Kraftwerk/Cat Power

[Apparently these are notes on things to check out. holy shit, I had never heard of Coldplay when I left on this tour. Ah, innocence…]

-As of yet, none of us has gone to Beaverton to make dream catchers

-More “sidewheelers”: double teamer, anal reamer, orgasm screamer, unemployed beaner, parking meter, rodeo arena, window cleaner, Jewish Christina, fold-away sleeper, rave scener, overweight teamster, math teacher, puke heaver, basket weaver, horse stealer, girlfriend’s beaver, drunk preacher, Wally Cleaver, jungle fever, carabiner, tarot reader, amp’s reverb, Quimby seeker, cock teaser, clit pleaser

[Note the ever-increasing percentage of these that are crude and sexual, and draw yr own conclusions.]

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One-twenty-two: Tour Diary volume seven

Posted by ilbebe on June 6, 2012

Wednesday, January 10, 2001. Wedding Time! Me, R and G slept well. O and the K’s did not. We trudge out of Motel Six at noon and head to Snoqualmie Falls to revel in Twin Peaks fan nerdiness. G and I are to remain relatively clueless and underwhelmed for most of the day. [For those unaware, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks was filmed almost entirely on location in North Bend, WA. Snoqualmie Falls is not a town, but a falls on the Snoqualmie River nearby, where the lodge known in the show as The Great Northern sits. Beautiful waterfall, but shit, for someone who was at the time completely unfamiliar with Twin Peaks, I could not for the life of me fathom why we spent a whole fucking afternoon driving in circles around a little town of like 5,00o people, when the day’s later agenda involved visiting a foreign country that would sell my nineteen-year-old ass beer. Harrumph]

First stop: The “Great Northern”. The falls are cool, but soda at the gift store is two bucks. Bunk. Go to the observation point for O and K’s marriage! R=priest [R had become an internet minister just for the occasion], G=best man, K2=maid of honor, me=ringbearer/photographer. Ceremony is short, peppered with “uh”s and nonchalance. G reads from Gideon’s bible about subjugation of women. Kiss and move on.

On to North Bend, about five miles away. See some Twin Peaks locales, including the Double R, then go to Safeway for bread. Mmm bread. [The financial woes we were facing due to incompetent planning/bad luck had me eating primarily bread and soda, so as to eat for two bucks a day. Depressing, and when you consider I still hadn’t showered, slept in a bed, or jerked off in a week, you are only beginning to understand my mental state. I really wanted to get Canada.] Track down a gift shop where the over-zealous proprietors hook it up with a map of Twin Peaks places and grossly overpriced coffee mugs. More confusion ensues when we cruise around town trying to find the locales specified on the map, such as the Sheriff’s station, which is actually the HQ of a lumber company. Underwhelming to a TP non-believer like me.

Finally hit the fucking road to the frozen North at 4:15. Rush hour aggravation is downplayed by some deft use of carpool lanes. K proves she truly is from LA with super aggro driving. We get off the freeway in Mt. Vernon, WA for food. Our experience is analogous to earlier Leggett/Maxwell ventures. [These are two towns in CA that do not have gas stations where I had wasted precious fuel in the fruitless pursuit of more in the past. However, it turns out that Mt. Vernon is one of those towns where the first exit is at the far south end of town, where there is nothing, you just have to keep the faith and find the middle of town to find services.] We pull over at a food mart where K explains the sitch and her crucial need to pee, and christens the town East Buttfuck, WA, a name we will soon come to regret. It’s non-violence week at the high school. [According to the marquee out in front of it.]

Then Ryan’s car won’t start. A lady loans us cables almost immediately, and we return the favor w/a Datura Blues sticker. She is tickled pink. Get back on the freeway only to get off at the next exit, which is still Mt. Vernon, only a more developed and bathroom-having part. Food at Taco Time. Mt. Vernon is actually full of freakishly nice people. Graffiti in Taco Time bathroom: “Hi” “How’s it going?” “Life is good.” The cashier gives us free food when the food takes longer than three minutes, even though we weren’t at all complaining. I use an ATM for a $1 charge. Marx was right. [This may have been the first time I ever paid a service fee at an ATM. I was fucking pissed.]

Hit the border and spirits are high. Our border check lady is harsh, and sends us over to the main border office for more questioning. O and K have no papers for K2, we all look and smell like ne’er-do-wells, and when R’s ID is run, an uncleared DUI from Arcata pops up. An elderly agent jokes lightheartedly about us “gun-totin’ Americans” on the other side, and tells O and K to get some documents for their kid while R is questioned about his DUI. He explains it was dismissed, and in fact, he recently got a job at an elementary school. [Both of these facts are true, but to have seen our crew, you wouldn’t have believed a word.] All is cool. We enter Surrey, BC, Canada, w/o further mishap. We stop at a Chevron for a logistics meeting, and the first Canadian we meet is American. [That would be the dude working at the Chevron.] I tell him I plan on littering in Vancouver, he is indifferent to this information.

We tune into 550AM, Christian radio. “It’s hard to baptize a man when he’s got a lit cigarette in his mouth and a flask of bourbon in his baptismal robe!” [Quote from the radio] We begin “raging” Vancouver around 9. [We had been use the term “rage/raging” sarcastically the entire trip after encountering a dude on our last night before leaving who was wasted on a whole host of hallucinogens and couldn’t stop using the word. Another key quote of his was “Direct the movie of your life,” which turned to be a String Cheese Incident lyric.] The pedestrian crossing are weird. Christian radio tells a tale that occurs in Imaginaryland. We do the drive around aimlessly routine we have been quite accustomed to over the past few days. Stop at a Travelodge to get a quote, and we try to comprehend the exchange rate. I litter. U-S-A!!

We eventually check into Bowman’s Motor Lodge, where I impersonate a duffel bag in order to get a good deal. [In other words, unlike the Motel 6 the night before, the clerk here was counting heads, so G got in the trunk and I was buried under baggage and clothes in the back seat.] O is irked that R, G, and I feel the need to shower [It had been a fucking week!], but we do so in quick succession. O/G head to the lounge downstairs to get the ball rolling. R and I catch up, admire, the velvet portrait of Monica Lewinsky hanging behind the bar, then we split. We roll through the gay district in search of a casa de cambio, G and I dropping “California”s liberally. [A friend of ours had just been to Canada for the first time over New Year’s, and came back reporting that “Chicks there love Californians. Just mention you’re from California, and you’re in. Spoiler: this did not work for us.] Exchange rate is approximately 1:1.5. We get some funny money and point our radar towards the Yale, a “dirty blues club” recommended to us by a homeless guy. Along the way, we hit our first slice of bargain pizza, 2$ Canadian. Pesto. Not bad.

The Yale is not dirty at all. Yale Ale: $4.75, pretty good beer, though I’m not thrilled about the price. [This was the first time I had ever been in a bar, not counting drinking a poolside beer with my Dad in Mexico when I was 15. I had no idea that drinking at a bar was more expensive than drinking at home. I was a damn idiot, and in many ways, I still am.] Shoot some pool, R spanks me. Molson’s is not any cheaper than Yale, goddammit, I’m on a budget here. The band starts up, I deem them blues for the corporate executive, i.e. completely soulless. We bounce. Stop at a porno shop- not too interesting. I find some coins on the street, one is of indeterminate Nordic origin. Strange. Back to hotel after playing  the split-up game. I read a gay newspaper on the street for fifteen minutes. [This was all because G and I were not registered to our room, so we didn’t all want to walk in together.]

Sleepytime – we resolve that tomorrow will be an orgy of booze, porn, and dollar pizza. Yee-haw.

**Notes from end of preceding day’s entry:

Mt. Vernon: Bony Pony Western Wear/Chuckanut Drive/Gay 90’s barber shop w sign in window: “Kids in the back seat cause accidents. Accidents in the back seat cause kids”

Contents of my pockets upon arriving at Bowman’s Motor Hotel: cassette tape, pen, copper bracelet, 4 packets sugar, two picks, one washer, earplugs, delusional dream diatribe from evening of 1/9, paper w/phone #s, K records keychain, my dorm keys, take-out menu from Indian restaurant, Ahisma magnet, mini application for Fife Taco Bell, yellow papers spray-painted blue (these were intended to become album covers for the copies of our new demo we never duplicated). And a healthy dose of rock and roll attitude. [This last line makes me cringe.]

**Notes at the end of 1/10’s entry:

– K’s remark to R right before starting the wedding ceremony: “Do you think it’s weird that you’ve made out with both of us?”

-G, on Canada: “Where do they get these stupid names?”

-R, to me, while checking in: “Shut up, duffel bag.”

-Drunk guy from the Vista, oft-quoted: “Woooooooo!” [This was the same dude I described earlier as having added “rage/raging” to our vocabulary for the week. We met him outside the Vista in Eureka.]

-North Bend had big mysterious building w/Nintendo logo on it [This is Nintendo USA’s main manufacturing facility, but at the time we wanted to think there was something far stranger going on there.]

-G sez I’m a walking Mad Lib

-Three best musical moments of tour so far: TASOH, Residual, D Blues show in Oly that I didn’t play in

-Fingers of the Sound [This was the beginning of a poem I was writing based on my first night in Oly. Couldn’t tell ya if I ever finished it.]

-New “Sidewheelers”: Boy Scout leader, porn theatre, Wal-Mart greeter, hummingbird feeder, first Marxist reader, handlebar streamer, non-dairy creamer, pipe dreamer, broken femur, Mary, Paul and Peter, misdemeanor, flaccid weiner, Charlie Sheener, chicken caesar, cake eater, pant pleater, vodka litre

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One-twenty-one: Tour Diary volume six

Posted by ilbebe on June 5, 2012

Tuesday, January 9, 2001. I woke up on the carpeted floor [After sleeping the first four northwest winter nights on wooden floor with drafty floor vents, staying on a carpeted floor in a house that was heated, centrally! was very, very nice.] having to piss out a few gallons of PBR. I did, and that made me feel good. Then I went back to the front room to hear R and G’s snoring symphony, that made me feel bad. [Here I was trying to contrast the joy of pissing with the agony of returning to the room where I should have had a great night’s sleep but for the arrhythmic snoring duel my bandmates were conducting. God that was awful, but hey, at least the joint was heated.] I put in my earplugs and went back to sleep.

K came back from having spent the night in a motel around 11, and after a truly spectacular amount of lagging partly involving the taking of some arty B&W photos of the band in Nathan’s driveway, we were off to downtown Oly. [Nathan has this great house on an inlet of Puget Sound that was only maybe three miles outside of downtown, but totally felt nice and remote like a little New England village. Sweet place, but I was excited to check out the town, and hopefully, the chicks.] R pulled the touristy move of stopping at a light to take a picture of the capital dome. Went to a pawnshop to peruse their guitars, and almost bought piece o’ junk w/a Kenny [from South Park] sticker on it, but no. Walked down the street to a music store and found a guitar identical to my old one, save one less fret and a bizarro-huge headstock. Sounded good through a gorgeous Ampeg amp, I bought it for $125. Got a bass gig bag w/it too! [The reason this was great was that I still had the case from the guitar I had destroyed, and G did not have a case for his bass. The man, at that had been playing bass for three years, and owned three different bases, but never an instrument case.  This led to all manner of unnecessary damage to his belongings, an easily alleviated problem that he completely disregarded in behavioral parallel with his refusal, until his late 20’s, to carry a wallet. The way he would pull money haphazardly out of his pockets was an endless source of irritation. God I love that guy, and getting that free case was one of the few strokes of what could even remotely be considered “good” luck visited upon us during our journey.]

O and R went to a brewery, and while G and I waited outside, I noticed that we were across the street from what appeared to be K Records HQ. Went inside and got Some Velvet Sidewalk posters, K catalog, and logo keychains. Very nice dude there. [This was a sorta magical experience. At first, G and I were kinda chuffed, because O and R said “Hey, we’re going to a brewery “, and when my nineteen-year-old ass said “So what am I supposed to do?”, they said “Doesn’t matter to us.” Then I saw a building with the K shield on it, and when O and R got back from the brewery they were hella jealous of our score. Instant Karma.]

Went to Evergreen State College next, campus is hidden in the woods. Walked around, picked up admissions info and ‘The Ovarian’, a campus feminist newspaper. Ran into a disproportionate number of people who were at the party the night before, and used a flushless urinal. TESC has a clock tower bigger than HSU’s. A sign of deep-seeded insecurity, I’m sure. Garrett sez I’m like Rain Man. [There are any number of reasons he might have said this, but DAMN I wish I wrote down the exact context.]

Cruising out of Oly, we see the “real” town, i.e. corporate chain stores, strip malls, expensive gas. I knew there had to be a reason for all those office supply/furniture stores downtown. Cruise up 5 through Tacoma, stop in Fife. We spend more time in Fife than I ever thought I would, about an hour and a half. Upon exiting the car outside a McDonalds where O, R and the K’s went, I shove both hands down my pants for a transcendental ball-scratching while a girl inside watches, mouth agape. G and I dine at Taco Bell, where the workers make fun of the Spanish-speakers in the drive-thru. Not liking the vibe, we meet the rest of the gang back at the McDonald’s and the conversation involves 15-year-old leather girls, penis monsters, and inappropriate uses of ketchup. When we leave, the conversation turns to endless variations on “Sidewheeler” [Remember this game, which started a few days earlier? It got worse and worse. The less we wanted to talk to each other as the trip unfolded, the more we listened to the TASOH demo and made up new words for “Sidewheeler”. We musta listened to that seven-song demo like fifty times. So good.]  So far: Drug dealer, faith healer, wife beater, braille reader, breast feeler.

We call Thoren [the friend of O and R’s who had set up the Seattle and Bellingham shows] who sez to meet him at a bar in “downtown” Seattle called the Irish Immigrant. [This bar is actually in the U-District, about five fucking miles away from downtown Seattle. Goddammit.] Lo and behold, his directions actually work on the first try, but this time the catch is that Thoren never shows up. I tell G old Boy Scout stories as we wait in the car in the rain. Seattle. [As it was later discovered, Thoren was waiting on the second floor of the bar for hours and thought we flaked on him. To find out later that we once again got completely screwed because O and R didn’t fucking fully explore the bar they were supposed to meet the guy at was almost too much to take, and that moment may be the closest I have ever come to aneurysm.]

So, we head east to Issaquah, and check in at the most expensive Motel 6 on the planet, $56 for “one”. [This really was pretty expensive for Motel 6 in 2001, the average rates were more like $25-40. Luckily, the clerk allowed us to stay as “one” occupant instead of five adults and a baby, which would have been significantly more expensive. However, all of us were pretty consumed with the misfortune of not being able to connect with their friend Thoren in Seattle. I was looking forward to spending my first night ever in Seattle, and we wound up in fucking Issaquah.] We marvel at the beds, and O and R make the beer run. They return with Schmidt’s Ice, Old E, and Nyquil for G, who was coming down with a gnarly head cold. I take a divine shit.

We drink and watch an episode of Dateline about an obese baby-shaker. O and R polish off the contraband [i.e. weed] G takes an ample dose of Nyquil and enters Happyland. After Dateline is Oz, which we endlessly lambast yet cannot take our eyes off of. We eventually turn off the TV, and O and K teach us contract rummy. [Though I am a card-playing enthusiast, and am always happy to learn a new game, I was not amused by the use of ten out of twenty dollars in the evening’s beer fund to purchase three goddamn decks of playing cards, so that we could play contract rummy, which needs three damn decks. I had a deck of playing cards with me, but no, there was no way we could have just played a single deck game and gotten me more beer.] We drink beer through red vines, and the gang repeatedly threatens to Dave Mustaine me. [Getting Dave Mustained: Getting unceremoniously kicked out of a band and abandoned while on tour far away from home with nothing. Based on what Metallica did to Dave Mustaine ca. 1983] K sez we all play cards really slowly, which is partly attributed to being beginners to the game, but mainly due to intoxication. Then K2 starts crying, bringing the evening to a hectic end. I put in my earplugs and drift off to a drunken utopia, waking briefly to put to paper a drunken diatribe of daydreaming. Aces. [I don’t know what this means. I guess I wrote down a dream? If so, it doesn’t appear in the diary. Also, what a lame stab at alliteration. Bush-league.]

[Note that nowhere in the day’s journal entry do I mention that when we did finally get in touch with Thoren, he said “Sorry dudes, I just moved out of my place, so I don’t have anywhere for you to stay. Oh, and the shows I booked you fell through.” What this meant was that we had no more shows, and the friend we were counting on in Seattle had nothing for us. Why he couldn’t have told us this when R called him in the morning I don’t know. I think the reason I didn’t put any of this in the diary is because I didn’t want to believe it was true that we now had no more shows lined up. Denial, a constant companion of the young traveling musician…]

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One-twenty: Tour Diary volume five

Posted by ilbebe on June 2, 2012

Monday, January 8, 2001. We stopped at the most amazing place- GeeCee’s Truck Plaza, exit 57, Vader, WA. Haircuts, showers, reflective [lug] nut covers, pickle in a pouch, fried battered chicken gizzards, free tiny calendars. [I have made many return visits to GeeCee’s, and it never fails to amaze. A favorite was buying a Sparks there late at night on a Thursday in 2004, and the cashier saying “What’s the deal with this? Everybody just used to drink Red Bull and Budweiser and be okay with that.”] Made Olympia by 5, our host Nathan lives in a supremely idyllic house between the woods and Puget Sound. Owen catches up an hour later and we head downtown for Indian food.

Sweet lord. Indian food is really good. [This was the first time I’d ever had Indian food.] I have a cheese/vegetable/curry deal with rice. Everyone is pretty enchanted with Oly. We proceed back to Nathan’s house, where I start killing the good taste in my mouth with PBR. Band sets up, with Ryan using my amp for his desired clean sound. [If I had name a favorite day on the “tour”, it would be this one, and sadly that has everything to do with having broken my guitar the day before which alleviated the obligation of being in the band.] A few people come and the rock commences.

The band has never sounded better. I really enjoy their set as my self-esteem plummets. People seem to enjoy it, or perhaps the humongous amounts of herb smoked is accountable for their good spirits. Tides were high, and so were the people, and more instruments came out to play: clarinet, bari sax, maraca, cowbell, tin foil [?], telephone [??], congos, djembe drum. The jam is awesome, and continues the whole night. I play the cowbell and the maracas for a while. [I actually played the cowbell with the maracas, that is, I hit them against each other. At the end of the night, one of Nathan’s roommates picked up the maracas and looked hella sad as he wondered who fucked up his maracas. IT WAS ME!!! evil laugh DIE HIPPIE DIE!!] We eventually wander out into the sound and stand on a dock that was out in the water when we first arrived. Tidal motions! Moss-induced slip ‘n’ slide action. Telescoping asshole! Go back to the house, mo’ drumming. We sleep on a carpeted floor! Sleep goooooood….

[Notes at bottom of page]

*Poo-yallup= Pyew-allup. Two Burger Kings in Puyallup. [This was info given to me by a partygoer.]

Point Defiance. Nick Cave – Stagger Lee.

Yummy food- Navrattan Korma

Boring, OR

If lemurs should eat me

You’ve got me writing songs again

The emptiness of writing love songs for people that don’t exist

Tom Waits – Step Right Up

The Cure – Elise

Dike Acess Road – between PDX and Oly

– Did you hear the news? No one likes K2! [This is how we were teasing the baby.]

Go fish cheater, trick-or-treater. [These were alternate lyrics to “Sidewheeler”, a great song by Try And Step On Her, whose tape more or less saved us from killing each other. We came up with probably a hundred different words or phrases that could be sung during the chorus of “Sidewheeler”, the actual lyric of which was “You’re my new sidewheeler.” We were super goddamn bored and crazy. Touring life! Stay tuned, tomorrow I buy a new guitar and rejoin the band!]

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One-nineteen: Tour Diary volume four

Posted by ilbebe on June 1, 2012

Sunday, January 7, 2001. Elvis’ birthday! This must portend well for a rockin’ show tonight…

Got back to Eugene at 12:45. [Yes, the brilliant routing of our tour schedule had us going from Portland back south to Eugene before continuing north to Washington and British Columbia. The aforementioned fact that for some ridiculous reason (were we worried about over-saturating the Eugene market?) we couldn’t get a show in Eugene on Friday and also that gas costs money made me very pissed about our return to Eugene. At least it was nice having one night in PDX without K and K2 around, though this did not result in me getting laid, as I’d hoped for. I think it may have been the phonebook reading that may have sunk my ship…] Hung around, I changed clothes for the first time-still no shower however. [This may also have contributed to my inability to shake any action. Big maybe, though, Portland chicks dig dirty…] Went to Guitar Center w/O and Tig, Tig and I make mood music on a keyboard and get turned down by sales clerks twice. Heard a tape of Tig’s band Ahisma on the way back- ferocious. [Tig had an amazing way with words, and he reserved the term ‘ferocious’ for only the most intensely amazing things, such as “taking a crap on acid”. That is an actual Tig quote- “Taking a crap on acid- ferocious.” He doled out at least two dozen of highly quotable pearls of wisdom such as this per day. His band was supposed to be named Ahimsa, after the ancient Indian notion and practice of doing no harm, but a simple misspelling made their name Ahisma. How metal is that? God I miss Tig.

Frantically attempted to make CDs from the tape we recorded at Tig’s house, wound up burning exactly one. [It’s comical to think back to this afternoon and how we spent like two fucking hours trying to figure out how to hook up a four-track to a computer for transfer. Ah, primates in action…] Although we did make quite a few covers… Got to the show exactly on time for once, which should have told us something was amiss. [We also didn’t get lost- double ominous whammy] Basement ceiling height was 6’4″, making things pretty cozy for O and I. [O was like two inches taller than me, and I’m 6’4″]

I couldn’t find O’s tom apparatus [piece of drum hardware], which sucked. Battery in R’s tuner died, which left the tuning scene sketchy. We started at 6:45, show was ‘asposedta start at six. First song was okay, but R broke his high E. Asked audience for Beaverton jokes during string change break. Crickets, except for O groaning at my “juvenille” sense of humor. [Look man, you just had a fucking kid with yr ex. Bravo, grown-up.*] I fell out of tune during this time. Two minutes into Vendetta Rhyde [second song of the set, ten minutes long], G loses his A string. Fuck. Turns out okay, just a little weak. Another string change break, I fall out of tune again. Skip Jenny. [The third song of the set was called “Dark Side of the Jenny”, in reference to our friend JB. Shout out!] Distant Son [fourth and last song] turns out pretty well, but I feel like crap and throw guitar to ground. Three minutes later, I decide the evening’s poor performance is all the guitar’s fault, and it needs to die. [ELVIS!] I throw it across the basement, then take it outside and throw it up in the air a few times. It winds up in four pieces, not bad.

Much complaining and philosophizing occurs, I contemplate murder/suicide. R disappears. O and Tig go for beer, G and I watch the next band, the Residuals. They’re really good; low-fi, quiet, slow, impassioned. I wish I was the Residuals. They’re also pretty damn nice guys. I want to marry the Residuals.

O and Tig return, we decide to smash a TV in the alley.

O: “We need a bat.”

Tig: “No, no bat. Uh, but there’s dog shit on the side or- battery acid!”

Tig takes off running. The TV is not smashed. Another, earlier exchange:

O: “I’ve been having problems, you know, I’ve just been a dickhead.”

Tig: “Yeah, but you’ve always had that problem.”

G and I go for Thai food as O and Tig go out in search of R. Fried ice cream. Talked to a girl about monster trucks. Eventually wind up back at Tig’s around 10:30. Stoning occurs, and Tig gives a lecture on the virtues of pot smoking:

“It’s– marijuana.”

That was his statement after a pause of almost a minute, wherein he was trying to surmise his feelings on the topic. [Tig for President 2016!] Tig also recalls how he and O used to stick their fingers up each other’s butts. “The five o’clock goose” His view on Portland: “That city has really nice lighting- I just like the way its lit.” Two-minute knee-drum solo. Sleep.

I do not sleep well. Awake at 11, go back to O’s parents house for lunch. K2 is awesome. [See? I’m not a monster.] Lunch is tasty, we hit the road to Olympia at 12:30. O’s Mom, Sally, has these words in farewell: “Take care of my Landon!” [Ah, always the charmer of the middle-aged, that’s me.] I am such a quimby. I’m in the grass seed capital of the world again. Owen denies the finger in the asshole story.

Warm rain on train tracks.

[Notes at bottom of page]

Skamania County, Wa/Dike Access Road/La Push, Wa/Humptulip, WA/Headquarters Road/Vader, WA/Tumwater, WA/Budd’s Cove on Puget Sound, west of Oly

Elysium Street in Eugene

 

*It really should be noted that O and I are on great terms nowadays, and now that I’ve grown up a bit I can tell you that I’m happy that K2 is around. O has turned out to be a great Dad, and I couldn’t be happier for him. However, the circumstances of this trip had me really upset about K2’s existence…flash forward to Issaquah Motel 6 babycide jokes…heh…I’m going to hell.

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