Monday, May 31, 2004

Last night I went to a bar. It's nice to get out for a beer and hang out with a few people you know. Just before I left, this guy with a scab on his forehead was wandering around with a crack pipe asking people if they knew who's it was. I probably should have told the bartender, but it was past my bedtime so I just went home.
The fucking vending machine is out of Pepsi. Fucktards.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

How to get a news story ignored...
Put it out the Friday before a holiday.

Former NFL star Pat Tillman, who quit playing ball to join the military, was killed by friendly fire. Oops.
Back on the beating a dead horse category...

Two Watergate lawyers died last Saturday. Two men whose names are not familiar to me but apparently had large roles in the investigations. Sam Dash and Archibald Cox. It’s been a long time since I’ve read All the President’s Men, which is where most of what I know about the scandal comes from. I wonder if the Elder Ones realize exactly how irrelevant Watergate is to anyone born after 1970 or so.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

tor·por (tôrpr) n.
1. A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.
2. Lethargy; apathy. See Synonyms at lethargy.
3. The dormant, inactive state of a hibernating or estivating animal.
Went to Club Monaco with my roommate last night. That place is out of this world. Paintings of Stevie Nicks and other such kitsch line the walls; a lounge act belting out moldy oldies on the dance floor. Scary. It was Friday night and almost no one was there. We need to invade this place.

Friday, May 28, 2004

When working on a 4 year old pc running Windows 95, never ever ever remove the drivers for ANYTHING unless you have the disk containing those drivers in the a drive.
Life's not fair. I should be living in San Francisco. I'd even settle for a cold water 5th floor walkup in the Tenderloin.
Damn I am so fucking tired. I went to Cheers last night for a few beers. I got home early enough for 8 hours' sleep, I don't know why I'm exhausted.
Lugging home groceries sucks ass. I wish I planned far enough in advance to get the stuff delivered more often.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Went to Lake Mead this morning. It's only about a half hour drive. I don't get out much so it was a refreshing change of pace. It was just me and one friend; I brought the CDs and some beer. We just talked and watched the sun come up then came home. I should do that more often.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Wow, got 3 loads of laundry done and hung up, and two more in the washer. I feel good about myself, I don't usually have that kind of energy.
Grr, there's a kitty making really pathetic meows outside my window. I'm not sure if she needs food or if she's in heat. I want to help, but that's a big can of worms right there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Damn, there are way too many summer festivals. Lollapalooza in Ventura is going to have the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and the Flaming Lips. After all the fun of Coachella, I think I’m going to sit this one out.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Watching the Breakfast Club. I thought it would be bad for the depressive angst I've had the past few days, but it's actually cheering me up.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

What the hell is wrong with me? Lack of B12? Alcohol-soaked brain? Malnutrition? Generalized anxiety? Depression? Gender dysphoria? Just a normal reaction to being in a fucked up world? I don’t know, but I’m miserable and I want it to stop. Then again, I’ve always been rather miserable so why do I think I can stop it? With my luck I’d wind up forced into inpatient hell for two weeks if I went in to a doctor. Bleh, “I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax.”
I think it's retarded, people are auctioning Gmail accounts while they're still beta. People try to make a buck off anything.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Smiles of a Summer Night was on last night. It's a wonderful film that I first saw in Riverside about 10 years ago. Just after it ended, I put on some Wild Police Chases show. I think I lost 30 IQ points in about 2 minutes.
Alright, who's idea was it to put Will Smith in the film version of I, Robot?!? That's some jacked up shit right there.
In other news, Crown Prince Felipe recently married a woman who is not only a commoner, but also a divorcee. Letizia Ortiz will most likely become queen of Spain someday, breaking a bloodline that has to go back centuries. Good riddance and god save the queen.
Wow, Fahrenheit 911 won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. I can't wait for some domestic showings.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I spend way too much time on Friendster, Tribe.Net, Orkut, MySpace, and the rest. It's no wonder I don't have many friends, I spend too much time looking at people's pictures and not enough time actually talking to them.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Today is not my day. First off, I woke up due to a piece of shit blasting new country music from his car right outside my window and then my Dali print ("Dream Caused by The Flight of a Bumble Bee Around a Pomegranate One Second Before Waking Up") decided to take a nose dive off the wall and the frame bent. Grr.
Okay, San Francisco.

“Monkey’s Gone to Heaven”

I left off getting dropped off Monday morning and Ian leaving to return the rental car. I just ran for my bedroom and passed out. I was flying out on Wednesday and wanted to be tanned, rested, and ready so to speak, San Francisco, although fun, can be exhausting; especially with who I was going to be with. I rested on Monday and did some laundry on Tuesday. Something about having clean underwear and socks when your pants come off is very important when getting laid, and given the results of our last visit getting laid was a distinct possibility; in fact I was quite looking forward to it. Plus Mel gives some damn good head. My flight out wasn’t too early, but I still woke up earlier than I needed to. My sleep schedule is still fucked after this vacation; I think Coachella was the main cause. Sleeping in a car sucks ass. I walked up to Maryland Parkway and stopped in at Cheers for a beer on the way out. The tall Newcastles are like twice as much during the day! Fascist pigs. Still, I don’t like flying so I tend to get hammered before leaving town. Plus I get bored easily and find that drinking solves that. I had one beer and caught route 109 to the airport. Getting to McCarran Airport is a breeze, there are two different busses going over there and a cab would be about $10. I got in a few hours early, checked my bags and headed for the bar, Cheers again. Strange that there’s a Cheers not in an airport and one in. I think before moving to Vegas I only knew of Cheers in airports. My previous flights, I only had carry on luggage, but I wanted to bring two pairs of shoes and enough clothing to not be a slob. I used the luggage I bought before leaving for Toronto. The three or four times I’ve flown out, I’ve talked to some strange people sitting at this bar. This time it was a couple about my age from Arizona and then some old fat guy. I had a few beers here and headed for the plane. I only had my satchel with me, so boarding was easy. I think I’ll have to remember to just check my gear so I can relax more when I travel. [“Neon on my naked skin / Passing silhouettes of strange illuminated mannequins / Shall I stay here at the zoo / Or shall I go and change my point of view for other ugly scenes.”] The flight from LAS to SFO is short, usually just over an hour. Enough time for a beer and a whiskey. I’d hate to be stuck on a long ass flight and get drunk and not be able to smoke. It was like that going to Toronto. I can handle it, though. I had my friend’s cell phone number, she was supposed to meet me at the airport. She didn’t want to drive there and since BART has expanded all the way down I wasn’t worried. I just had to track her down. It’s a good thing she had her phone with her, we just missed each other as I walked out the gate. She’d been running late so she wound up driving anyway. It was good to see her; it’d been a year and a half since she came down to visit me in Vegas. The arid climate proved too much for her and this time she wanted me to come to her. Fair enough. She spent so much time slathering on lotion and petroleum jelly her first visit I think she might crack in half if she comes again. We make it out to her car, the “turbo tomato” as she calls it. An older Volvo that has faded into 5 different shades of red. Thing still runs okay, so whatever. Beats hoofing it everywhere. I started kissing her as we approached, but she became embarrassed. [“I had no illusions / That I'd ever find a glimpse of summer's heat waves in your eyes.”] I was surprised, I didn’t think that was possible. We headed back to her place, a quaint two bedroom built over its garage in the outer Sunset district, somewhere around the Zoo and the preternatural waters of the Pacific. I don’t mind the drive, even if being in the car for so long with Ian driving almost put me out of my fucking mind. She knows how to drive well. Even an old manual transmission tank like this is no trouble for her to handle. She blasts some 80s compilation that she made, skipping the Madonna and other things I find grating. She thinks it odd I like the Bangles but not Madonna. The house must be worth a half-million; her grandparents abandoned it when they fled for convalescence in an assisted-living facility. Her grandfather has since passed away and her and her sister live rent free in the City. She says she’s not rich, but I don’t buy it. Her family might be cash poor, but they’re sitting on more than I’ll ever see in my life. Two houses, cars, and some nice electronics. The downside is that she actually has to talk to her family, which I couldn’t handle. Well maybe for a pad like this I’d make an exception. We have to be quiet during the night since her sister is easily wakened; spoiled by living in calm houses instead of having neighbors wake her with music so loud that it knocks pictures off your walls. Not rich, my ass. Our first night, we don’t do much, just head out for a few to get some food and hit up some bars. We went to the Pancho Villa Taqueria somewhere in the Mission (I think.) My food tastes are extremely predictable so a taqueria is always a good bet. Plus the Mission-style places here have such huge, cheap burritos. The place is packed; almost no seats. She sits as soon as a table comes up and I continue to wait in the line that stretches the length of the restaurant. There’s a large food line (like when I worked at Taco Bell) behind glass along the right hand side, with a half dozen wets taking people’s orders. It moves quickly enough. I could have eaten a whole burrito, I think, but we share one and drink Negro Modelo. It was $15 for all of it, cheap enough. I haven’t had Mexican beer in a while, but it’s not bad. It’s no Arrogant Bastard, but what is? After, we head to a bar. Now, you can’t smoke in bars in San Francisco. None of them. Bakersfield, San Bernardino, and Santa Cruz all have [at least] some bars that ignore the law, but I guess the City has to be a shining light of morality in the hell pit of California. Or something like that, anyway. We find a place that has a smoking patio, at least. She bores of the place and it’s getting late so we head home. Again, I fall asleep early. So much walking, my calves are killing me. Never before would I think a backrub and a blow job to be so important in the lives of man. Not to mention a few other perversions we indulged in as quietly as possible so as to not disturb her sister. We put M*A*S*H* on in the background. It seems the only thing that’s changed since we left Porter is the color of her comforter and the quality of her television (daddy got her a nice flat screen.) I’m so exhausted from my trip through the desert that I sleep early. I wanted to stay up till 4 or 5 but I think I was out by 2. It’s strange to sleep next to someone again. I’ve spent most of my adult life sleeping next to someone. I must smell awful to her now; like old man smell but with cloves instead of cigars or pipes. In the dorms, everyone drank and smoked way too much so we all smelled bad. A few years later, I’m sure I’m the only one left that’s still beating my body this hard. She smells like normal girl smell, heavily perfumed shampoo and lotion. I think she may have lost weight, at least in her belly. My memory is faded; I could be wrong. We don’t fuck much on this trip, instead we spend most of our time like lesbians (as she says) and take turns getting each other off. Mouths and hands can be just as sensuous and erotic as being “in the middle of her favours” as Hamlet calls it. She's already sung my praises elsewhere, so maybe I should pause to say something about her skills in bed. Some women think that oral sex is only foreplay. I think that sex can be too narrowly defined. As long as both people are getting off then it’s sex, right? After a long dry spell, a good blow job can solve all of life’s problems. Apparently, I made chewing sounds as I slept. I’m not sure if I was grinding my teeth or what, but it seemed slightly creepy to my companion. When we woke, it was time to decide what we were going to do. We snacked on bread and humus and watched the first Daria movie. The last time she came to visit me, we watched Daria for hours. Almost two full seasons worth. This time, we finish two episodes and “Is it Fall Yet” before inviting over a friend we knew from Porter (now relocated to the City) to watch the second DVD, “Is it College Yet”. I haven’t seen much of my college friends since leaving, so it’s a surprise to see her. She’s lost a lot of weight. All the walking and not eating well that comes with just moving to San Francisco has done wonders for her figure, at least. She’s grateful for the bread and humus. I give her a few bottles of the Spaten we’d procured earlier in the afternoon; we’d taken the “turbo tomato” down to Daly City to a supermarket that looks like it should be nestled in the suburbia of Aptos or something. Our friend leaves after the DVD finishes, she has stuff to do (this being such a busy city and all.) It was good to see her and we promised to meet before the Neubauten show. With social obligations out of the way, she wanted to show me a view of the City. I’ve been to San Francisco dozens of times, but really know very little of it’s neighborhoods. Of course I know Haight, Mission, and Hayes Valley (where a friend used to live) and I’ve seen the Presidio, and North Beach. There’s a lot more going on here. We took MUNI toward Twin Peaks. We got off the train and asked a hippie which bus we could take to the top of the hill; the stupid flea bait said no bus went up there. Of course we were passed by that non-existent bus halfway to our destination. I think we were on Portola or something like that. When we got to the top, it seemed like the world was underneath us. Looking out north-east you can see everything that’s good about San Francisco. We stood and admired it for a time, then took the street down to Market so we could have some drinks. Exhausting. Friday, she had to practice for a show; a benefit for gay marriage. Before she left for that, we went to Golden Gate Park. I wanted to see the carousel, but we didn’t look at a map until we’d already used most of our time there. There are trees and stuff there. Strange to see after so long in the desert. After getting back, we played some chess. Of course I brought my clock and board, but she took out a much nicer set for us to play on. I have one of the standard tournament sets with the nylon placemat style board and cheap, unweighted plastic pieces. Her set is real wood, with weighted pieces. Cost over $100. I’m sure she’s told me where she got it, but I don’t remember now. I prefer portability in my sets, but hers is pretty. I set the clock 30 to 60 (that means she got 60 minutes for every 30 that I got) and we played a few games. Of course I win. I don’t know why she wins so often when we play online but not face to face. It’s time for her to leave for rehearsal. I wished she hadn’t taken on this damn benefit (not like she was getting paid for it) but she wants to make as many connections in the theater scene as she can. I can understand that. I don’t know when the next time we’ll see each other will be and want as much time as possible together. I understand she’s nervous about us getting along; about maybe getting sick of each other or something. Neither happened. I was going to go to the Neubauten show with another friend anyway. I wish we could have gone together, but she would have probably hated me for dragging her to something like that. I was supposed to meet another friend at 9, but I got lost. I was supposed to take the L train to route 22 or something, but couldn’t find the transfer point. I wandered around for a bit, then just got a cab. The cabby heard where I was headed and punched the gas. I thought we were going to fly off like when the valet gets Cameron’s fathers car [cue the Main Title theme from Star Wars.] I was still late getting to the show. I thought the doors opened at 9, but the show started at 9. I didn’t see my friend waiting anywhere. She’ll forever think I’d flaked on her. Oh well, I went inside anyway. I wouldn’t miss a chance to see this show for much of anything. I first saw Neubauten way back in 1998 during the Ende Neu tour. I saw them at the Hollywood Palace, if I recall correctly. People go to the Palace every week, no matter who’s playing. It’s just a club. The hipsters are mostly indifferent to what they see there. I was with my girlfriend (at the time) and the singer of the band I was in. In fact, the first time I rode in Eric’s truck I was surprised to find a copy of Ende Neu (before I knew it’d even come out) sitting on his seat. Did I mention we were a rockabilly band? Seeing them this second time is priceless. They played more visceral stuff. I was confused as to why they got a synth and a real drum kit after so many years, but whatever. We all grow and learn. The Fillmore is a great old venue, but I think attracts a somewhat different crowd than the Palace. I think the San Francisco equivalent might be the Warfield (where I saw Ministry, back in the day) but I don’t even know enough to speculate. The crowd is different here; still hipsters but I think more in tune to what Neubauten has to say. As the show lets out, I call to try to get a ride home. I’d gotten so lost trying to get here I didn’t know what the hell to do. She wasn’t quite home from rehearsal yet but said she’d come get me. I said to let me call back in a few minutes so I could try to find route 22 going in the right direction. Well I found that but got lost again trying to transfer back to the L train. I tried calling her cell, but her service is just spotty for some reason. I wasted like $5 on payphones. I stopped into a store for some more beer to at least save her a little more frustration when she found me. I finally got through on her phone and she was mad as hell. She has a bit of media induced paranoia about some neighborhoods (although she's not worried about this neighborhood, it's harmless. Nothing like the piss stained ghettos.) She’d been in front of the Fillmore for about 20 minutes before I got through to her. She came and got me, angry and raising her voice at me. 10 years ago, I might have started crying or yelling, but I just tried to explain my side of the story and saying I understood why she was mad. I think I matured some that night. It takes a lot of strength to not blame someone for being mad, to realize that sometimes people blow off steam. Even if it’s the last way I’d ever deal with a situation, I’m not everyone. It makes no sense to escalate the situation with more anger, just hear her out and state your peace. She had to work hard that night, staying up hours past me trying to get the show organized. She’s a hard worker. She apologized the next morning, before leaving for rehearsal. She had to leave early on Saturday so I’d be alone for a few hours. I slept late, then had a few beers, played solitaire on her laptop, and watched M*A*S*H*. [It’s okay to ask yourself, “God, doesn’t this deadbeat do anything else?” right now.] Her sister came home early with a cold. She normally volunteers at the hospital on Saturdays. Jesus, a 9-5 Monday through Friday, dance lessons in Oakland, and a candy striper. No way I could pull that off. She came in the room and asked if I was a vegetarian. Of course I am and she knows it; it was just her way of telling me that she’s cooking food and she can make it vegetarian if I want some. I think it nice of her, and since I haven’t eaten much the past week, think that food might be a good idea. I sit in the kitchen with her as she cooks. She spent a lot longer at this than I would for most dishes; just beans and rice but she did so much to the beans. It provided an excuse for friendly conversation. I wasn’t sure she’d like me, since she was her sister’s main confidant about how heart broken she was when I left Santa Cruz for Las Vegas. The situation could have been tense, but thanks to some small talk we got through it just fine. We were supposed to meet after Mel’s rehearsal and before the show, so I hopped back on the L train and out towards the venue. We wisely agreed to meet at the transfer point so I wouldn’t get fucking lost again. She wanted to stop for a coffee and I wanted to stop for a beer (well mostly I just needed to piss since I’d drank like 6 beers and some Jager that afternoon.) We managed to find both near the theater, despite it being in some weird district that doesn’t have much in the way of bars and all the cafes seem to be closed on the weekend. We come up on the theater, which apparently is a converted Masonic Lodge. Mel goes in and I stand in the stairwell smoking and passing my flask between some of the actors. It’s fitting, Mel gave me that flask for graduation. I can’t believe how well I fit in with them, like they can smell their own or something. Maybe it was just the Jager and the cloves. Or the beret and trench coat. One of the actors looked at my flask and said “Oh, a 7, I have an 8 but my 6 is much nicer.” I giggled for a second till I realized he was talking about the volume of each flask. Mine is plain, unadorned, but still precious to me. A graduation present. My only graduation present, in fact. I headed in to the VIP reception (I got VIP comp tickets) and expected the worst. Rich fags can be annoying. I managed to find some not so annoying people, the wife of one of the band members even invited me to sit at their table so I wouldn’t feel so alone with a random group. We sat right next to Jason West, the Green Party mayor of New Paltz, NY who’s facing criminal charges for performing gay marriages, and two or three of the California Green Party’s big wigs. Talk about me being out of place. I just worked on my beer and let it go. At least they weren’t Democrats; or even worse Libertarians. The show wasn’t really my thing, a couple of transgender singers doing jazz and blues numbers with a few drag bits thrown in here and there. Given the amount of preparation the show had, it came off well enough. I spent more time watching the bass player than I did the singers, but that’s normal for me. Not a total waste, I got to see how the other half lives. I’ve spent more on concerts than my VIP ticket was worth, but not much more. And certainly not one with seats. We headed home after everything was tended to. We had to kiss our good-byes that night since the sisters were compelled to attended a family diner in honor of Mother’s Day (imagine, living your life around Hallmark holidays. Fuck that shit, if you love your mother then tell her. If you don’t love the stupid cunt, then let her rot living out by the railroad tracks. You don’t need someone else to tell you how to live your life.) I was sad that this would be our last night together, but I managed to not tear up as I have in the past. The next morning, we went to the beach. It’s about 10 blocks away, so we walked. The ocean sounds are always soothing like a mother’s heart beat.

we drove to the N line and parked near the bus stop. We took that to the Civic Center terminal and I had to transfer to BART. I was somewhat worried that I’d get lost again, but it was easier than I thought it would be. I got to SFO early enough, but I’d about run out of cash so I couldn’t start drinking. I was a little angsty about that, but I made it through. Getting back on the Maryland Parkway bus in Las Vegas, I didn’t realize that they had expanded the route. It used to end at the airport, but now goes to the new transfer center out on Sunset and Las Vegas Blvd. So I got lost again! In Las Vegas! I made it back home eventually, and thankfully there was booze in the refrigerator. I passed out before 2am. So that’s it, my big vacation. If I think of anything else, I make some revisions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I'm almost done editing the San Francisco trip blog-post-thingie-of-DOOM. I'll try to have it up tonight. Um, uh huh huh, yeah.
Woot! The Invader Zim DVD is out! Gonna get my copy tomorrow!

Monday, May 17, 2004

I hate 4am. It's early enough for bed, but I'm not really ready for it. Plus I know if I'm still hanging out I won't get to bed till after it's too late. Maybe I need to start drinking something more powerful.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Starting my first week back at work. I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be in Vegas. Moving anywhere else would be difficult at best. My credit sucks and I don’t have the energy it takes to do much of anything. Talking with friends about moving to the Bay Area; where I’ve wanted to live since I was a teenager. I get my hopes up, but I’ve done that before. I just want to make sure I don’t fall as hard as my parents have. It’s not like I have much to lose materially but the world to lose from self esteem.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

To absent friends.

I just called a friend I haven't seen in 8 years. Flashbacks are so strange; he said I used to be as charming as a coffin with his grandmother in it. I wonder why anyone likes me.

Monday, May 10, 2004

My vacation, part 1.

Okay, Coachella. Let's see how much I can remember now. I managed to wake up at about 11am. I was expecting the rental car to be here and all the short trips (Danielle needed to go to the store and to her father's) to be taken care of. I'd packed everything I needed the night before, so I was ready to go. Ian showed up sometime later and of course started dragging his feet. He said getting the car took 2 hours. Okay, fair enough, but we need to hit the fucking road. Ian and Danielle have no clue about planning or keeping to a schedule. I had this problem with them when we moved. We had to drive to Danielle's father's house, then to a health food store. I picked up some beer and soda, Danielle got stuff for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, water, and a few other things to keep us fed. She is really broke at the moment, but offered to pay for food for us. Of course neither Ian nor myself mind vegan grub. It was like 3 by the time we made it out. I was kind of pissed. I wanted to leave early enough to get a campground. We’d be stuck in San Bernardino for the night at this rate. Whatever, we'd all be kind of cranky at some point on this trip. They had this bright idea that taking I15 to I10 was going to be too busy so we went south towards I40 along some small state highway. I got to see Hoover Dam, at least. Not much of it is visible from the road, but we saw some wonderful sculptures around the entrance. Rural Nevada and Arizona are creepy, like abandoned cars and empty trailers everywhere. I started to get nauseous from being in the car. They understood and we stopped every hour or two for me to rest my fragile equilibrium. We stopped at a small store somewhere in Arizona. The woman working had a noticeable southern accent and a trailer park face. She looked at me as I was buying some gum and said "nice shirt". I'd forgotten that I was wearing the Pet Shop Boys shirt I got when I went to see them with Spuds. It has "closet homosexual" printed on the front. With the black bandanna on my head and my purple nails I could only guess what she thought of me. We passed through some cities that I’ll never see again. Bullhead? I don’t even remember now. We got into San Bernardino around 9pm or so. We were stopping to visit my friend Mat. We were supposed to have made it to Joshua Tree that night to find a camping spot. I haven't been in this city since I left for Santa Cruz in 1995. I haven't seen Mat in about 2 years. He's come to see me twice in Vegas, but I haven't managed the strength to return to the cesspool of San Bernardino. We took the Highland exit off of the 215, but we were still in Rialto, a bit off of our target. We stopped after wandering for a few and called Mat. He wasn't home yet; his mother answered the phone. The apartment used to be hers, more than a decade ago. Mat slept on the couch in the living room of this small one bedroom. She left to go to Carson City for a job, and Mat took it over. She became unemployed and moved back in, setting up a bed in the dining room. She asked who it was; I answered "Jim". She responded "Oh, Jim the Obscure?" I haven't gone by that nom de plume since I was emceeing a poetry reading in '92. She gave us directions to get to the apartment from where we were. Driving down Highland, I saw where Vance used to have his used bookstore, now abandoned. Waves of memories are difficult to bear. I remember at the bus stop across the street, the guy who ran a comic store accosted me; he was psycho and always yelling at Vance for some imaginary offence. For some reason, I got the brunt of his heat that day. We pass houses made into stores next to boarding houses; I think this town has no planning commission. It's dirty and smells bad. I got us lost again by making a wrong turn. We’re just a block or two away, but still can’t find anything. We walk around for a few moments before calling again. We find Mat’s apartment around 9pm, just after he got home from work. His complex is small, almost dorm-like, except surrounded by a very tall security gate and paved with dirty concrete. There is a group of porch monkeys howling in the center veranda. Well, it’s not so much a veranda as a small pool that’s been cemented over. I’m thinking of how a realtor would sell this; “intimate”, “Old World charm”, “starter”. We worry about parking the rental car here. Mat speaks with the complex’s manager to get us permission to park around back. Gathering our gear, we make the final approach Mat’s. Opening the door, I notice an extremely strong cat smell. I’m not allergic or anything, but I think he needs to change the cat box. Maybe it’s due to him living there for more than a decade. At any rate, we settled in with a few beers and started chatting. Ian and Danielle seemed more or less at home with him. Mat and I started where we’d left off last time I’d seen him. After a bit, Ian and Danielle needed to sleep some so I went on a car ride with Mat. We drove by my old high school and the house I used to live in. We went by the Copasetic Cafe, where I used to do poetry readings. It was rather depressing. We drove for a time, then went back to his place to crash. I don’t remember what time we got up, but it was again too late to find camping. We headed for Indio and Coachella. The route there seemed simple enough, but somehow I managed to forget the maps I’d printed out and wound up getting us lost again. We stopped for a bit for a rest and I hopped into a document/shipping type place that has internet terminals and got the directions again (of course stopping in the grocery store for beer while we were there.) I don’t know how many cars were going to the venue, but with 50,000 people paying to get in plus bands and support staff, there were a lot. It took some time to get in. Fortunately, We didn’t really miss much. We first caught Erase Errata in one of the tents. It was so fucking hot in there, I didn’t want to stay for the whole gig, and after all there was the beer garden to get to. We wandered some and got some beer in us before trying to catch Beck. He was a last minute addition and was playing in the smallest tent in the venue. There were more people trying to get in than could. Ian and Danielle decided to opt out and returned to the beer garden. I stayed and pushed myself forward. I figured I could sneak in through the side. When Beck started to play, the crowd ripped off part of the side of the tent so I got much closer than I thought I would without much effort. Well, it took a lot of effort to not pass out from dehydration and heat exhaustion. He didn’t play long, which was good for my dire condition but unfortunate since he’s such a good performer. We sat in the beer garden for much of the rest of the night. The main stage was mostly inoffensive. We tried to listen to Trail of the Dead but they blew. I missed the Evens (an Ian McKay project, apparently Flea played sax for one song.) I pushed forward for the Pixies, getting within a dozen or so feet of the stage. The Pixies are my main reason for going and nothing is going to get in my way for this one. They put on a mean set, clocking in at about an hour. I’d love to see them do 90 to 120 minutes. Who knows, maybe if they keep talking to one another. They didn’t have much time to talk to the audience, which is fine. They had to fit in as many of their popular songs as possible. One good surprise was Kim singing the “Lady in the Radiator” song; normally Frank does it. You could tell that the audience was nothing but love for the band, even those that were just pushing forward to get closer to Radiohead. We’d agreed to meet at the beer tent after the Pixies’ set to watch Radiohead from farther away. We listened to a few songs and I decided to leave so we could get as close to Kraftwerk as possible. Someone named Mark Farina was playing the tent when we got there. This guy is an ego case from hell. He was bumping his head up and down with the beat rather vigorously with his name superimposed over pictures of himself playing over and over again on the monitors flanking the stage. Whatever the shit he was spinning was nauseating; not to mention the white boys trying to dance to it. I hope at least some of them were on MDMA and wound up dehydrating and dropping before Kraftwerk came on. It was easy to push by this crowd, nothing but doped up ravers (isn’t that redundant?) I got in close enough to Kraftwerk, about as close as when I’d seen them the first time in LA. The crowd here was very different from the LA one, however. In LA, I was surrounded by cold hipsters, not the fuzzy hippies of the festival circuit. I was surrounded by more Germans and Japanese than Americans that first time. Here, people didn’t hold Kraftwerk on quite that same cold, distant pedestal. The band looked the same as always (their stage set hasn’t changed much in the past 30 years) with the same costumes as before and that eternal starship bridge setup the four take on. One (large) difference was the background. All the synths and equipment they had in LA was gone, replaced by a keyboard (synth) and a laptop. They played some new tracks for us; the new version of Tour de France and Aerodynamic are the first ones I remember. Ian and Danielle said after that the way I described the show was almost dead on to what they saw. There are three huge screens behind the band when they play. They project basically a music video for each song as they go along. I think “the Model” is my favorite, but they didn’t have time for it. They should have played that instead of the shortened version of “Autobahn” I think. When I’d described the previous show to my companions, I think I’d stopped at “Robots” but of course the band stops with “Music Non Stop”. They’d started to leave a little too soon. I’d gone outside (but still had a view) during “Robots”. It was just too hot and I was worried about where we were going to sleep that night; a thought that had been nagging me since Friday afternoon. We headed to the car (after a brief rest) as soon as Kraftwerk’s set ended. Normally, they let the ending to “Music Non Stop” linger for over a half hour, but they didn’t have that luxury here. I thought that if we drove back past Palm Springs we might be able to find a hotel. Ian was our only driver, however, and he was somewhat tired. After reading other people’s reports, we should have slept in the car for a few hours before heading out. I was worried about security, however. We headed out, and of course got lost again. We tried a few hotels along I10 to no avail. I saw a limo with some high school age kids in it. Must have been prom night for some schools. We’d have no chance in hell of finding some place to sleep. We pulled over somewhere before Yucaipa (Banning? I can’t remember.) I was nervous about sleeping in the car, but my friends said they’d done it before. I was getting sober and upset, but I had no choice. We tried a parking lot in front of a Stater Brothers (the local grocery store) but it was closed and the employees were staring at us. I think I pissed Ian off by making him drive more, but we headed down the road a mile or so and parked behind a very small one room library. I think my living room is larger than this thing. I managed to fall asleep for a few hours, but woke up before 9am. It was murder trying to sleep there, I was suffocating in the stuffy car. I sat down outside and smoked for a bit before trying to wake my companions. We had the bright idea to visit Danielle’s grandparents not far away in 1000 Palms. Air conditioning and a shower sounded great. We didn’t really want to see any of the early bands on Sunday so being late wasn’t a worry. Her grandparents are cool; they live in a prefab on a golf course! Such a cute place. We got showers and ate some before they invited us to spend the night instead of going through the nightmare of the night before again. We of course consented. We got back to the venue later than we’d hoped and missed Muse, oh well. I made my way to the beer garden for refreshments and to wait for the Flaming Lips and the Cure. I would up talking to a real estate agent just a few years older than I am. She seemed 20 years older to me. Still, she had a nice rack. Too bad about the kids and the cop husband. She bummed some of my cloves. There’s still hope there, I think. Thursday came on and sucked ass, so we wandered the venue some. There was an art exhibit near the center with these “refurbished” bikes. Some were welded together in and ersatz carousel. Ian and I jousted with PVC pipes tipped in padding and duct tape. It was exhausting and fun. I stopped for some food, hitting up an Indian stand. I got a nanwhich, some flat bread with some orange shit and peas on it. It wasn’t too bad. I think as I become more exposed to Indian food I’ll be able to tolerate it more. We headed back to the main stage for the Flaming Lips’ set. They seemed to have some difficulty setting up; some tech had to climb to the top of the lighting setup (very high up, I hope he got hazard pay for that one.) After quite a delay, Wayne, the singer, came out in a big plastic bubble (he told us to say that he descended from space in it!) and walked across the audience. After he’d made his way back to the stage, they started playing. They’re so much fun live. Good music and good performers. The Cure came on last that night, also delayed. They were worth the wait. I’d seen them twice before, and it’s always a good show. I think this night beat the previous encounters I’d had with them. They played a good mix of old and new, and went over their allotted time by a bit. We laid back on the grass, admiring the dozen huge spotlights meeting somewhere in space over the grounds. I don’t think we left until after one in the morning. We made it to the Grandparents’ house fairly early in the morning and got to sleep in. They put us in a back bedroom since they have a loud bird (it says “time for drinks” every day at 4pm!!!) and get up early themselves. We hung out for a few hours, since we’d planned to meet Mat again in San Bernardino and he didn’t get out of work until 9 or so. I had a few beers and we played some old board game (Sorry! Of all things!) We ate a little, repacked the car, and headed out. We got to Mat’s and headed out on the nights journey. He wanted to stop by a friend’s house to smoke out and pick her up. We had to be so secretive going in, we had to go around the back of the house. Why live someplace where your friends aren’t welcome? Or maybe they were just worried about the pot. The three of us weren’t in the mood to smoke so he shared it with the girls we were visiting. We took one of them to this sweet dive bar a few miles away. It came complete with ash trays, something I’d have a problem with in San Francisco. We thought we’d stay till 10 or 11, of course it was 2 by the time we made it out. It was karaoke night too, of all things. Of course I got roped into singing. I did “Fortunate Son”. Ian and Mat also sang some songs. Mat’s Jim Morrison impression is quite accurate. We drank a few pitchers and shot the shit for a few hours until it was finally last call. Along the road back, the three of us got tense again, but fortunately Danielle and I went to sleep fairly quickly. I think we rolled into town around dawn. I just wanted to sleep, but we still had to unpack the car and Ian had to get it back to the rental place. Lucky him. His efforts toward the trip far outstripped any reason I could have for being angry. Well, that about sums up the first part of my vacation. I’ll work on the SF leg later.
Back in Vegas. I'll have the whole vacation written up for you soon. Now I have to go to work.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Back from Coachella, vacation half over. I'll tell you the whole story later.

Insert bad joke here.