Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bonnie Video

I posted a video of my dog companion that took so long to process that I've already moved past it. Check it out here!

The Mic is Open



Tuesday is open mic night at the Press Room and I've been playing Jackson Brown's "For A Dancer" so much in my room that I figured I just have to get out and play it. I mean, what the fuck am I doing with my life?

So I braved the rain and went to the Jazz jam but was snubbed by the pros. I waited my turn at the open mic and got incredibly nervous even though I've played these songs hundreds of times and there is no one there. Fortunately there was no turning back but as usual I changed my plan at the last second and sang "Nobody Home" by Pink Floyd on the piano. "I've got a little black book with my poems in it..."
Then into "Rosie" by Jackson Brown "For all the lonely guys in the audience." And I really wanted to sing "After The Goldrush" by Neil Young but chickened out because I forgot how the last verse goes. I love those seventies songwriters and I'm told I look like Jackson so here's a comparison of myself and J.B. One guy said I look like Cris Angel, the magician, but I don't see that at all. George Harrison and Cat Stevens and I have some features in common but I think Jackson Browne is the closest celebrity look-alike. Oh, if I could sing like him all would be perfect.So I got up and grabbed the guitar (I haven't practiced the changes on the piano because apparently not one church in Portsmouth wants a free janitor) and started into "For A Dancer". I wanted to video tape the performance but also chickened out because I'd have to ask someone to hold the camera and it seems so intrusive. I heard someone say, "I love this song." as I started singing and I don't blame them. It's great songwriting and easy to play. Not so easy to sing as I sounded like a wounded cat. Fortunately that song is so good you can't fuck it up. Since there were so few people I was able to fit in "Shanty" by Jonathan Edwards which kind of sucks to play alone as it is a blues with no solo. I gotta bring my harmonica next time.

But the cool part was the host was Jerry T. and he sings a song called "Forty Dollars" that has been haunting me for a month because I decided it was the song I want to make a music video for. Now, a music video usually involves a studio recording and then many different takes of the band pretending to play that exact studio recording. They don't actually play on the video. It's dubbed. They lip sync the whole thing. But I don't have a studio recording so I'm just going to get creative with the live footage. I told Jerry I wanted to make a video and he seemed surprised. He's probably 70 years old and who knows how he's survived in the world but he's a good songwriter. His hands were cramping up and last time he had some teeth fall out so it's not like he's got a long career ahead of him. So I got that in the can.
There's another trio of a David Gray-ish cat and two young women harmony singers that are next on the list. Never mind that the girls are cute I feel like they are actually talented and charismatic and should have a video. They also seemed surprised that I wanted to record them. Are we not living in a video age? Is this news? And music videos can be put together in a few hours for no money. Well, they're next on the list. I forget their name...like Gideon Breeze or something like that. Fuck. I didn't get their number either. Fortunately they are there every Tuesday so next week we're filming whether they like it or not. They must have a studio recording. For three kids they were pretty good and I'd love to promote them with a video. Or give them the video to promote themselves with. Maybe they do have a recording of their performance but they don't consider it a video because it had no production value. We'll see.

I was satisfied with Jerry's tale of bus stop heartbreak when a guy stood up to read some poetry. Really?
"You want to make a psychedelic video?" I asked.
"I'd love to."
"Ok. Don't mind me. Just read what you have."

And I crawled all over him with the camera and lay on the ground looking up at him and behind him and everything. I think the footage was too dark and the audio will bleed over with crowd sounds but between that and some pictures of frogs and a walking bass line I'll get something out of it. It was really spoken word although some of it rhymed. Not bad at all with a good delivery.

So that's another video project to work on as the world floods. I've got bananas and Ramen noodles. Why do I need to leave the house? I think videography is a legit career path for the next six months. I need a 3 chip HD camera with wide angle and a 1000 watt lighting and an audio set but that's about it. Oh, and a fast computer. $5-6 grand is all I need. My Sexy Chicken manifesto video will probably make that much in a week! The chicken doc is in standby until me and the chicken man can screen it to decide the next step. The chicken man apparently had a complete meltdown over the last couple days, lost power, lost (ate) his phones, dismantled his truck, etc. The Johnny Walker Wisdom was running high, as Leonard Cohen would say. I still need eggs. But not bad enough to drive to Nottingham on a prayer I won't be shot with a rifle when I walk on the property. I'll have to wave a white flag...or a White Russian in this case.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bonnie Sad Eyes

Bonnie's visit was uneventful compared to her last stay. We went to the dog park and the beach and toured Portsmouth a few times in the rain but there were no hurricane force winds and flooding. I didn't work at the day labor so I took her outside whenever she even looked at the door. I put a dog proof lock on the trash door so there were no banana peels for Bonnie.

The stairs are are too steep for most people so I'm not surprised she had trouble with them. With a treat in front of her she was able to focus and climb but with no treat she just wanted to get back down. To her it was a crazy obstacle course we had to negotiate to get food. And forget about walking back down them since her back legs would be directly above her head and her little front paws would be doing all the work. It would be like a hand stand. So I carried her down every time and she just closed her eyes and prayed. This video is a tribute to her courage in tackling the stairs in spite of her fears.

I thought my desktop computer was slow but this laptop is almost incapable of editing movies. It's the RAM that it uses that causes a latency problem. You need a fast processor and lots of RAM to work with digital video. I'll be shocked if this video plays normally on the internet as it was jumping all over the place on my computer.
Thanks to my cousin for giving me the camera and the dog to complete the project. I'll add it to my reel. The songs are by Robert John and Richard Strauss.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Economy


It used to be called Pic 'N Pay way back when I walked without a limp and thought no more of taking a shit than I did of running as fast as I could run. Brad and I would have foot races for absolutely no reason at all down Union Ave. Just walking down the road, "Race you to that stop sign. Ready....Go!"
That was a long time ago and if I have to cross the street fast now I'm winded for ten minutes.

Anyway, this is one supermarket that I can honestly say I never stole anything from. Unlike the nonexistent A&P market that is now a convention center. I stole a pack of gum once from them. Probably cost a $0.25 more than I had at the time. It really is laughable how magnified those childhood moments are when compared to the crimes adults commit. Don't steal a pack of gum, but later on your country will call on you to bomb a village. It doesn't add up. And I guess it doesn't have to for a society to survive. We try to teach kids to be honest and peaceful. We try. And when we fail they become survivalists like us. I decided that laws are how we punish ourselves for failing as parents.

Pic N Pay changed its name to Hannafords back in the early '90s. I wonder if they sponsor a little league team. Anyone know? Pic 'N Pay is immortalized in my book Memorabilia because they sponsored the team that Mack Wynter played for. Mack's memorial water fountain is over at the little league field as we speak. Pic 'N Pay made that possible. I think the brand name was a sign of the times as smaller stores had to choose loyalties and it was either Shaws or Walmart or Hannafords who would get the title. It's nothing personal. Under any name it does less damage to my wallet.

I've been reading about the nature of the economy in The Wealth of Nations summation by P.J. O'Rourke. On one side it's as simple as this: One guy sharpens a spear, one guy uses the spear to kill a deer, one guy butchers the deer and they all divide the meat up. But it gets pretty complicated after that. I'm told they have whole classes on it in college.

P.J. O'Rourke is, for those who don't know, a thinking man's Dave Barry. He's pure comedy but with language and concepts like Norman Mailer. Dave Barry writes about standing in the check out line and counting how many items the person in front of him has (to see if he's under the limit for the express lane). It's funny but pretty superficial. O'Rourke on the other hand tosses out quips like this, "If Money doesn't mean anything, why was Alan Greenspan such a big cheese all those years? Did he just go to his office and do Sudoku puzzles all day?" I think that's hilarious and I'm not alone as O'Rourke is pretty much THE political comedy writer of the century, surpassing John Stewart and Stephen Colbert (though those guys are hilarious). O'Rourke doesn't lampoon one party or another. He just takes what's given and makes it funny.

In case you're interested the major influences on my comedy writing are as follows:

Erma Bombeck - Hilarious '60s era housewife humor. Probably the most punchlines per paragraph of any writer ever. Could make a joke out of soap scum.

P.G. Wodehouse - '40s era novella writer from England. The language and conspicuous lack of punchlines is what sets him apart. The humor is all in the subtext. Dry as dust comedy and the plot almost always stays tight. "Can I touch you for a fiver?" Brad and I laughed and laughed at the characters in his books. The famous butler Jeeves comes from Wodehouse. Bertie Wooster is the perennial bachelor who needs Jeeves to save his ass every ten minutes. But Wooster drives while Jeeves drinks tea in the passenger seat. So funny!

Dave Barry - A great tongue for comedy. His voice doesn't whine or push for a joke. He's just naturally and consistently funny about common life anecdotes. His books aren't as funny as his columns in my opinion.

Hunter Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was the funniest book I'd ever read in 1990 and I had never smoked pot, dropped acid, sniffed ether or been to Las Vegas. But I understood immediately that Thompson was making fun of the situation he was taking advantage of. He was making fun of himself and society through the situation. It was performance art and his dry delivery of horrific debauchery blew my mind. The scene with the lawyer puking in his shoes and the cleaning lady opening the door and he grabs a knife and yells, "What do you know?" is priceless. He says to Thompson, "I was just cleaning my shoes when this agent bust in. Let's kill her." Cleaning his shoes?? So absurd. I thought to myself that if this is what I've been missing without acid and pot then I'd better get busy. This was a fearless writer and a fearless man and he taught me that if you want to run with the big dogs then you've got to lay it all on the line. Eventually your ashes will be shot from a cannon. You might as well live like that too.

P.J. O'Rourke - Full of quips and jests and waggish comments O'Rourke is almost always the butt of his own joke. Everyone loves a comedian who doesn't put himself above others and O'Rourke's comedy is the voice of reason. "For those uninterested in the historiography of currency supply [this book] is like reading Modern Maturity in Urdu." Jokes like that can be enjoyed by 100% of humanity and that phrasing can be found all over my writing. See, the funny word is Urdu [not Greek], an Indo-aryan dialect, so the sentence has to end with that. And the loftiness of "For those uninterested..." sets you up for a mature statement instead of the childish though recognizable simile of reading a senior citizen magazine in a language you don't understand. It's good humor and the dude is wildly successful.

Mark Twain - I had a cat named after this guy. The story "Letters From The Earth" is as dark as you will ever see comedy before it becomes ponderous and preachy. The "Letters" are from the devil back to Gabriel about this "irresponsible, hypocritical animal known as Man." Not at all funny, the stories, and also the tale "The Mysterious Stranger", are the works of a funny man who has gone completely over the deep end of despair. I think if you read too much Mark Twain and take him too seriously you end up like George Carlin right before he died, bitter, mean, scathing with all the hate projected outwards at society. Still, I respect him for trying to be funny. Here's a quote from Stranger...

"It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream - a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought - a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!"

Are you laughing yet?

Notable Mentions are David Sedaris and Bill Bryson, both contemporary writers who keep an otherwise dull anecdote alive with comedy. The staff on The Onion is amazing. Gallows humor at its best. I'm so proud that their satire of media saturation/trivia/gossip will be forever linked to my generation. I would write for them but I hear they pay their writers in Starbucks gift certificates. Fuck that.
Also, John Kennedy Toole wrote A Confederacy of Dunces. He loses points with me because he locked himself in a garage with the car running instead of getting a grip and using the talent he had to write more books. This guy had the talent to be a real giant of American humor but he took rejection too seriously. Dunces is funny because of the subtext. A fat, unemployable, self-proclaimed philosopher sets out to (I can't even type it without laughing) create a Neo-medieval monarchy, ruled by geometry and "taste", in 1960s New Orleans. His methods? Masturbate in his bed, eat hot dogs and loudly mock the latest movies. (As crazy as it sounds he's also the only character in the book who has any recognizable game plan to life) Toole crafted a perfect farce without ever letting on that he knew it was a farce. His voice is so refined as he talks about a dirty strip joint floor and a prancing fag that you hardly realize the comedy is there for you to find it, rather than pushed at you. I read this in 1992 and it completely changed the way I wrote post cards to people. Before, I would try to be descriptive and honest like, "Fell asleep in the bus depot, someone stole my shoes...the fuckers." After, I wouldn't be so obvious, "As soon as I get my next pay check I'm going to drive to Guatemala and raise chickens in preparation for the coming apocalypse. Should I pick you up or will you meet me there?"
To the dismay of many, I allowed Toole to influence more than just my writing, but to be fair I was already on my path when I encountered Ignatius Reilly.

There were probably others ( see comment section) but these were the major ones. If I'm not funny then you can blame Jack Kerouac, who, overly influenced by Thomas Wolfe, managed to write a dozen books without one punchline or attempt at humor. What Hunter Thompson makes funny is sad and forlorn in the hands of the poet Kerouac. William T. Vollmann isn't funny either but I'd trade every punchline I will ever write to have his talent. He taught me that if you pick a ridiculous goal and plunge in completely then you will end up with something unusual. Above all, write the story only you could write. That's a more refined way to say "Write what you know."

What was my point? I forget. I think it was a comparison of my two grocery bills. One was from the yuppie place on the hill where the apples are in quaint wicker baskets, and the other was from Hannafords where it's all on a wet, slanted plastic shelf. But shopping at Hannafords I not only saved over $10 but I got like twice the groceries including an impulse buy of some ice cream and cookies. Economy. Thoreau wrote a whole chapter on it but his definition was less currency related and more simplification related. I'm dealing with the currency side of it right now as I have to squeeze the most from every penny.

Tonight I was at a bar, banging my head against the wall and some guys were playing a game called 3 ball pool. You each put a buck in and whoever sinks the three balls in the fewest shots wins the pot. If two people tie then the pot carries over and everyone puts another dollar in. Let me tell you that I've never seen that game played but it's definitely the way to learn to play pool. The fewest shots possible is sinking all three balls on the break. They told the story of seeing that happen once. Sinking two on the break and then the third on your second shot is very very rare. Tonight I saw two people sink all three in three shots. That's one on the break, then one on the next shot and then the next. Both people won $20 pots including my money. I sunk all three in five because I scratched so I really sunk all three in four shots. It makes you think very hard about your shot and where you want the cue ball to stop. And because the table only has three balls and the cue ball on it you can see everything. The guys I played with were all good bar players. They had their own sticks and knew a good shot from a bad shot. I stopped playing because I can not afford $1 or $2 so I can take three shots of pool. That fits in with my sermon on economy. Three ball pool forces you to think about economy. You agonize over every tiny inch the cue ball rolls. It's very hard but you know what the opposite of that is? Sloppy. You play sloppy or you play economically. Why is this an excellent rule for pool but totally ignored once you walk out the door?
Shit, there's probably a better punchline to end this with but I'm too wired on cookie dough and ice cream to think of it. Go read Dave Barry if you want humor. I'm a documentary filmmaker!

5 minutes in Lowes made me suffocate

I pretty much fell to my knees in relief when I left Lowes WITHOUT a job. Only the Epcot center is more artificial than that fucking miserable place. To assemble lawn furniture and barbecue grills all day there would be like jumping into a bin of rusty nails and at the bottom of the bin is a quarter and the only food in the entire world is those stale gumballs and my job would be to impale myself on the nails to get the quarter and then go eat the gumballs. My hands were trembling as I filled out the application. The interviewer could tell I was sweating and just shook his head. I hugged him and fled. I've failed to get hired for more jobs in the past three months than in the last 40 years. It is raining but I huddled in the shelter of the church singing Irish carols for spare change. I thought, by no practical yardstick is this [life] working out. I'm going to Guatemala. Fuck this bullshit.

Local Man’s Work Addiction Getting In The Way Of His Porn Consumption

By Oggy Bleacher

Philadelphia
3/28/10

“I can’t help it,” sobs local bakery manager “Bob”. “I’m only 33 years old. Is it possible I don’t care anymore about legal teen lesbians? God, I hope not.” He hides his face in his hands. “I love my job. I love to bake. Is that so wrong? Is it?”

Bob’s porn consumption has seen a dramatic decrease ever since he was promoted to afternoon manager with the additional responsibilities of hiring and firing afternoon customer service employees.

Bob nearly sobbed as he continued, “Those Viagra email ads that invariably lead to a porn saturated fuck buddy site? You know the ones? Well, lately, I…I’ve just been deleting them without opening them. I used to be so happy when they arrived in my inbox and now I delete five or ten at once. All so I can respond to work related emails faster. Honestly, I need help.”

The owner of the bakery Bob works at is 58 year-old Steven Dullit. “We’re all concerned about Bob’s lack of porn consumption. When I hired him he was probably beating off during his lunch break while watching POV [Point Of View] blowjob videos on his iPhone. The other day, I caught him going over…” Steven shakes his head gravely, “…going over last weeks register receipts during his break. This morning I thought he was looking at Hustler’s Barely Legal until I realized it was a copy of [baking related] Bakers Dozen Magazine. You know, the latest in bagel production. What’s next? Improving the recipe for our Custard Danishes? Christ. We’re all very concerned.”

Several coworkers pitched in and bought Bob a DVD copy of Teen Anal Queens #11 but it remains in the stockroom where he absently placed it on his way to restock the napkin dispenser. Faith, a 19 year old female coworker, noticed the DVD hadn’t been opened. “How does a guy not take this DVD home and stroke his flesh rocket? That seems inconceivable. I thought he was gay but when we bought him a copy of Shaved Twinky Firemen that just ended up in the trash. The fucking trash! I’m telling you that if things don’t change I’m switching jobs. I don’t want to end up a crusty cunt spinster in ten years.”

“Oh, he’s not gay,” assured Bob’s girlfriend Laura Lynn. “In fact, he’s never been more virile in bed. It’s like he’s taken a completely renewed interest in my body and he’s stopped choking me, calling me a filthy slut, and even stopped ejaculating in my face. I can’t say I miss that at all. He even kisses me on the lips. If I didn’t know it better I’d say we were a normal couple, like my parents.”

Laura Lynn brushes her blonde hair away from her face. “I wonder if this is a dream and I’ll wake up one day and he’ll be back to his old habit of asking me to lick his asshole while we watch interracial gangbangs on the living room television, but I don’t see that happening. The other night I asked him to put on an erotic DVD we used to watch that had this sexy bathtub scene, but he couldn’t find it. He had no idea where it was. That’s scary. I swear, lately I feel like my mother.”

Bob admitted that his relationship with Laura Lynn is no longer tainted by the guilt of digital adultery nor the perversions that had crept insidiously into their sex play.

“I ejaculated on her shoes once and made her clean them with her tongue while I violently pulled her hair. That doesn’t sound remotely erotic to me now. It sort of sounds…what’s the word? Demeaning? I don’t know. Something just died in me, I guess. My friends tell me about nubile porn sensations but I’ve got no interest in looking them up. In fact, the other day I deleted all those downloaded video clips that were filling up my hard drive. So I’d have more space for vacation pictures of Laura and me. That’s something I can’t even tell my friends. Then I took Laura Lynn out to dinner. We’re talking about getting a dog. Can you believe it? I feel like I let Jenna Jameson down. If she reads this, I’m sorry. I just can’t pretend anymore. Please forgive me.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Area Dog Happy To Spend Extra Hour With Owner Every Sunday



Rascal, a three year old fixed Spaniel reported feelings of elation this past Sunday.
"On average I get to spend thirty minutes a day with [owner] Ted," said Rascal as he alternately licked his anus and penis sheath. "But on Sunday he takes me to the dog park and when the weather is nice we go to the beach. That can add an extra hour to our time together and I really cherish it."
Resigned to spend the majority of his time on earth sleeping or awaiting a meal or snack, Rascal has few complaints.
"The food issue is always a concern," said Rascal gesturing his muzzle toward an aluminum bowl marked Dog. "For two years I've had basically the exact same portion of the exact same dry, detestable corn and salt flavored pellets. Whoever invented that stuff definitely wasn't a dog. But," continued Rascal, "what are you gonna do? Ted literally and figuratively throws me a bone once in a while but...you know. I was taken from my mother when I was a month old. I never knew my father or my eleven siblings. They could be dead for all I know. Am I gonna bitch all day? Nope. I eat it, keep my mouth shut and wait for Sunday. That one incident with the cat next door has been cleared up. We're all good."
Rascal's owner scratched him behind the ears and Rascal pawed the air in joy.
"That's the stuff," said Rascal. "This is heaven. Sundays are the best!"

Magazine Pitch

I was at the library looking at all these magazines and I thought that between myself and a few other people we have the staff to make an online magazine. I mean, what would be easier than five people having access to one blog and all of us contribute stories based on topical or irrelevant issues. I know everyone expects me to wither away in poverty forever but seriously, I just watched Braveheart and it's time to cave in, to sell out, to trade my convictions for some big mac hamburgers.
So, my plan is to sell advertising space on the site. Hell, we can call it www.portsmouthsellsout.com
For example, go to Moes sandwiches, and get them to pay for our custom ad that we will put on our page. Give them a 75 cent coupon so they know it works. Etc. I've already been giving them free exposure. I know just the person to pose for an ad with a sandwich in his hand. Eddie? You got something better going on?
The content itself will obviously be naked girls and fart jokes, my specialty.
Because, I'll be honest, some of the puff articles I just read in Time magazine were not worth reading. "Football is dangerous...boo hoo...brain injuries....what Obama can learn from Reagan...growing old sucks....etc." really, if you are paying for Time then you are getting ripped off. Those writers must've learned their trade at Disposable University whose motto is: Forget what you're reading as you read it.
Terrible. And who buys ad space? Asthma pharmaceuticals and Cock medicine and something called lipitor and Eukanuba dog food. There's a page long ad (article) about the iPad that might as well be written by Steve Jobs himself he's got his cock so deeply embedded in the writer's ass. "Jobs delivers the goods." Yeah, right up your ass! This is impartial?? No. It's Time Magazine. Their Motto is "It's Time To Buy an iPad."
It wouldn't take much to be more creative. No spoof articles like the onion but things like book reviews. lawn status. Bird watching. little league baseball coverage with analysis and interviews. Like really treat Little League seriously. How funny would that be? The people who really matter in the community, the kids, being taken as seriously as a 30 year old Dominican Republic millionaire athlete. Imagine! When was the last time Big Papi cried when he struck out? Now that's drama. I don't think subversive media has any market so I'd keep all that shit here where no one reads it. But the interesting stuff about local events could actually be marketed.
It's just a thought.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bonnie Part II


Bonnie the dog has returned for another vacation with uncle Oggy. My plans are to take her into Fort Stark for real this time and get some good pics. And now I have the video camera so we're going to do some scenes at the dog park. Of course she's the boss so whatever she wants to do is the law.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

eddie and the cruisers

I don't think I ever watched the whole thing until today. It wasn't the worst movie I've seen but I would be lying if I said I didn't hit the fast forward button over many scenes of cars driving. And I actually jumped out of my chair when I saw Tom Berenger's character (a poet teacher) pull into the driveway of his single wide mobile home AND THE SHOT WAS FILMED FROM A CRANE. Who the fuck authorized that crane rental? For that shot? I thought to myself...this must be where the movie ends, with another crane shot because there is no way they dragged a crane over to this location for a single shot of a trailer...that really has nothing to do with anything. But I was wrong. The final shot is a montage of the Cruisers playing on televisions in a television store. Everyone is watching like a community event (so lame) and in the crowd is a leather jacked guy with a beard who looks.,..could it be...Eddie! Back from the dead and happy his music still lasted even though he was the asshole who drove off a bridge because the company thought his concept album (A Season in Hell, named after a Rimbaud poem) wasn't marketable.
"We paid for rock, and you gave us an opera."
There are many clunkers in this film like Berenger throwing his arm in the air, "Go Get 'em!" It makes me appreciate the method acting I found in Lee Marvin's The Killers. Marvin showed up drunk for his death scene (killing Ronald Reagan's last film role first). He stumbles out of the house and seriously falls off the stairs to the ground. Doesn't flinch. He's been shot...but he's really drunk...and he slams to the ground, no stunt double. He gets up, staggers to his car. The cops arrive and he pretends to have a gun in his hand and then falls dead as the money falls to the lawn.
TRACK CRANE BACK AND UP. SHOT OF LAWN. HOUSE. BODY. ROLL CREDITS
The crane was used in the final shot of Eddie and the Cruisers too, wasted on a night time wet street shot as Eddie walks away up the sidewalk. But it had to be moved from that mobile home. Such a waste of money for that film. Good soundtrack though even if it's all a rip off of Bruce Springsteen. At least they stole from the best.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tale of the tape


I wanted to document why I can not afford to go to the fancy supermarket up on the hill. Beside the fact they didn't want my hippie kind in there I was revolted by the prices. $4 for juice? $6 for a few sausages? I don't want to buy the farm, just a piece of the pig. Give me a break. Almost $50 for a single bag of groceries. $50!! It's not like I'm going for the wine and cheese and baklava either. These were staples like ham and bananas and grain salad and a chicken pot pie and some OJ. I guess it's all relative to what you make and this represents a day of labor. But it just means I have to make that $50 last two weeks. Budgets are the one place I am a strict realist. A banana can not be stretched. So if you have $100 for a month of groceries then the groceries you buy for $100 will last a month one way or another. I like hamburgers and oatmeal. I'm not complaining. What I need to do is learn to cook these grain salads I'm addicted to. Part of this $50 was some raw red quinoa. Raisins. cashews. long grain rice. Farro Mediterranean pasta salad. The ingredients are cheap compared to the $8/lb salad bar.

Videography is Fun

I bit the bullet and bought what I needed to upload this chicken footage to my computer so I can edit it. Firewire, PCI, ect. Of course I only find out too late that my hard drive is EIDE and not SATA. Damn! Same goes for the dvd burner that I didn't even bother opening.
So...the video...my god what were we thinking? The first clip I reviewed found myself and Chicken Man Ken under a bridge...
"Is this the right way?"
"Shut your mouth before I..."
"I'm just saying."
"Wait, this is a good song, la la la la la"
"So, I'm going to get out and while you're talking to the dude I'll take all his silverware."
"DO NOT DO THAT!"
"I'm just kidding. Is that him?"
"Yeah, shouldn't you turn that camera off?"
"No, tell him I'm doing a documentary on the economic status of...
"Put away the bottle. Quick..."
(Sounds of truck doors slamming, stumbling, camera falls to the ground)
"Hey, Mr. R this is Oggy Bleacher. He'll be...uh...he's..."
"Nice to meet you, Oggy."
"I wish I could say the same. I haven't eaten in two days."
"Pardon me?"
"Heh heh, Uh, Oggy is... er...filming a historical collection of river dwellers. Their habits and motivations."
"Yes, so how long have you lived on the side of the river? Do you go swimming nude? May I use your bathroom? Is that dog dangerous? If it attacks me..."

I'll tell you that's nothing less than a miracle we weren't kicked off the property. The camera might have been the only thing that made him trust us because he believed there would be evidence of whatever crime we were about to commit. Awful!

The chicken footage is doubly insane and I look forward to sharing it with you all. We walked up to an old feed store counter that smelled like hay...
"If I came in here and asked if I could buy a chicken, would you sell it to me?"
The lady behind the counter looks confused.
"Yes."
"That's good. That's what I want to hear. Where are they? Where are the chickens?"

Even if I don't edit the video I will at least have everything documented that I want to write about. It makes it so much easier.

If you are going to steal my ideas at least put me on the payroll

Dear Onion Editors,
I like your content, I do, really, but when it comes this close to being a post I wrote two months ago then the laughter evaporates like the beginning of a Kevin Smith comedy. Oh, the injustice! If you publish a story about a guy making a subversive chicken documentary then it's safe to say someone is not earning their money. There are enough people in the world to make fun of...let me make fun of myself please.

http://marcomaninthevan.blogspot.com/2010/03/your-friend-sent-you-story-from-onion.html

Your Loyal Reader, Oggy

you sent yourself a story from The Onion because it is hauntingly familiar to one you wrote two months ago

Is it possible The Onion is snaking my stories? They don't take submissions so I don't send them anything but this makes me want to send them an email saying, What The Fuck? If you guys are going to rewrite my comedy then at least put me on the payroll. In fact, I will send them a link to this page. Thieves!

The recommended Onion page is: Man From Future Can't Stop Living In The Less-Far-Into-The-Future

Once you've checked that one out (it's one paragraph) come back...


Here's my story...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Man Travels Ahead One Day in Time

St. Louis, MO

Mike Getty reported a strange phenomena happened to him last week.

"I went to bed on a Monday and woke up on a Wednesday, but I'd only slept like 8 hours."

Mike is certain he didn't sleep through Tuesday because his coworkers at Starbucks Coffee said,
"I was being really funny on Tuesday, cracking jokes, flirting with girls. I don't remember any of that. So I assume I entered a random worm hole and time traveled."

When asked if he feels privileged to travel through time he said, No.
"To tell you the truth it doesn't feel any different. I mean, if it had been a year or two, that might be weird, but one day turns out to make no recognizable difference in my life. I bet I could skip up to a week before I noticed. Honestly, I don't even like Tuesdays. If I could skip every Tuesday from now on, that would be fine. I'd have no problem with that."

Mike reported that when he went to bed on Wednesday he left a note to himself reminding him to take the trash out on Thursday. When he woke up on Thursday he was disappointed.
"I thought it would be kind of cool to skip Thursday too. You know, no chores. But it was just Thursday again, like normal, and I took out the trash."

Mike said nothing like that had happened before.
"The closest I've ever been to time travel is watching Back to the Future. But I figure, whatever. It probably happens to everyone but they aren't paying attention."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ganja Smoke

Kim finishes mopping the kitchen and squeezes the water out onto the garden of marijuana sprouts.

“Hey,” calls Radiohead Robert from his decrepit lawn chair, “Don’t drown my babies.”

“They’re going to get us all in trouble, Robert.”

Robert is annoyed that Kim would suggest the risks are not worth the benefits. Smoking reefer is a holy act, a sacred tradition that is bigger than the police or the feds or the idiot mayor who is in bed with the prison contractors. Kim is annoyed that Robert would ignore the fact that pot is a powerful drug and to suggest it is suitable for everyone is pure ignorance. Some people benefit from lithium. But if you gave everyone lithium then you would have serious trouble. But no, a hippie tells you that pot is some kind of miracle drug and every deadhead in ten yards thinks it’s a doctor’s prescription. Hardly! More than half of those who smoke pot are completely incapacitated by it and suffer long term mental deterioration because of it. But the nature of the drug makes the deterioration hard to associate with the drug. It disguises itself as awareness of other factors like the police and the government. They’re the problem! One bong follows another and the kid’s ambition and ability to reason fades completely. The drug keeps him in a state of hypersensitive paranoia that he thinks is enlightenment. It’s a drug! Medicinal for some and totally debilitating for others. And Radiohead Robert thinks living in a scrap wood shack and broadcasting political rants authorizes him to prescribe drugs to everyone.

“You know, Robert, some of the kids at the meals need education more than they need to get high. In fact, getting them high is the worst thing you can do for them. They…”

“Relax, Kim. I don’t get anybody high. If they don’t smoke with me then they’ll smoke with someone else who’ll molest them. Is that what you want?”

“That’s not sound reasoning. You’re making a post hoc fallacy by projecting a worse conclusion as a substitute for your bad conclusion. They are equally bad and you can’t…”

“Blah blah blah. Why are we even arguing?”

Robert rubs his neck with his meaty hand. The revolution lost its power when the infighting started. Kim suspects this is what Robert is thinking.

“Because we have to reach consensus. The movement isn’t unified yet because we’re fractured into a thousand little movements. One part wants pot legalized. One part wants homelessness decriminalized. One part wants better housing, better health care, more representation, less money politics, women’s rights, immigrant’s rights, end the police state, more local agriculture, fewer chain stores…”

“I get your point. And that’s what the people want. And you got a magic wand that’s going to unite everyone?”

“Do I? Do I? Yes, Robert, I do.”

“Ok, good. Wave your magic wand.”

Robert traces a circle in the smoke he blows out of his mouth.

“Shazzam! The whole world is dancing to Kim’s tune. Oh, what a load of bullshit! Magic wand! Ha!”

“Bullshit to you, maybe. But I’m serious. Organization is what we lack because everyone is fucking stoned or drunk. Damn LSD killed the counterculture revolution is 1968. Why do you think the government was doing the tests?”

“Because they all out to get us,” mocks Robert as his eyes dart to the overgrown edges of the lawn where DEA agents could easily disguise themselves as bushes or hide in the overflowing trashcans.

“They don’t have to get us, Robert. They merely need to plant the poisons will keep us disorganized and quarrelling. This is how it’s always worked: The ruling class protects power by allowing the working class just enough freedom to destroy themselves with. In our case it’s freedom to argue about a fucking weed!”

“That weed brings people together. It unifies the counterculture revolution like…like the magic wand you think you have.” Robert holds up the joint he’s smoking like a torch to the heavens. “This makes family.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Of course you don’t. You’ve got your counter culture revolution. And I’m talking about mental liberation.”

Kim sighs and grinds her teeth when she feels she isn’t communicating. Robert notices this and is immensely satisfied that he has irritated her. He deliberately picks something out of his teeth with a yellowed fingernail to demonstrate his disdain.

Kim’s neck tendons bulge as her blood pressure reaches maximum velocity. “Ok. I’m getting angry and I can’t continue this conversation. You need to get your facts straight. This isn’t my revolution. I’m taking part in something that you only see from the outside. You aren’t being helpful. I mean, I feel neglected and ignored. It’s important that when I have meetings with other people they aren’t daydreaming or fixating on the sound of a retractable pen. Why isn’t that clear?”

”Whatever. Just don’t destroy my plants. Please. I work on them all winter in the greenhouse and you dump your dishwater on them. Be considerate.”

“Considerate? When have I ever not been considerate?”
”Just now when you tossed your dirty water on my smoke. I know you’re doing it on purpose to fuck with me but I’m not playing your games. I’m not passive. I’ll fight back.”

“See, these are the disagreements we can’t afford.”

Kim turns around and stomps back into the house.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dos Amigos

This is where a video of me and Chicken Man eating burritos would be if I had real internet service. The chicken man seemed to have a hard time with his fire hot burrito as it blew him out of his chair and led me to call the fire dept. with this old timey telephone mounted fire box that was before cell phones made us all so high tech. This works by pulling down that white door and waking up a mouse with a bell on his neck. The mouse runs up the wire and down to the fire station (it's trained) and wakes up the firemen. The firemen check and see that this was mouse #33 and so they know where to go. That's how it worked before cell phones ruined everything.
This is also where the video of me losing horribly to a Virginia rigging expert based at the shipyard would be.
"Haven't had no ass in 54 days. Haven't banged nothing but my fucking fist," he said as he lined the 8 ball up.
"Mama's waiting."
He slammed the winner into the corner pocket and sent me packing.

Step back in time with me as yet another anachronism can be found on the east side of the old mystery spot on State Street. Yes, a kind of emergency homeless shelter known as the Richardson's Launderette. This old fashioned name brings back memories of colonial times of nearby Strawberry Banke. I also want to relate an anecdote ol' Brad told me once of sitting on a curb across the street from the launderette on a hot summer day and a woman coming up out of this sunken, crooked building carrying a plastic basket full of laundry. She wiped sweat from her brow and shuffled off in flip flops.
"That's Portsmouth, to me," admitted Brad and I completely understand. Some images are too perfectly formed to be forgotten. They represent more than the moment and when I walk past the launderette I don't think of the laundry, I think of Brad's anecdote of the iconic Woman doing Laundry on a Summer Day. It's like a Winslow Homer Painting in my mind and Brad is sitting watching the woman walk out of the launderette.

Now, the laundry exists but Richardson's Market has changed hands into some brand name coffee slinging place with no character or spirituality. So the sign remains of a ruined empire. I once worked at the market but I never did my laundry here. Now I see it's cheaper than the place by Pic 'N Pay so I'll be back. Of course you can't leave your laundry unattended or you will be replacing it. I saw vomit on the floor when I went and checked the prices. There are like 3 parking spaces but everything is pay parking down this way now (I just paid my ticket at the city hall and took some food bank bread as a consolation prize) so they do have to guard their turf.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leave it to a therapist to make you want to see a therapist

My father called and was worried I'd become an alcoholic in the last week. His scare tactics fell on deaf ears as I have little in common with the drunks who were probably bipolar with post traumatic stress disorder and other problems when they were his clients in the therapy obsessed '70s.
"Oh, you've got one very important thing in common." 'ol dad chortles, because he's so cleverly set the trap and sprung it on me. I've walked right into the devious psychological pit he has so diabolically dug!
"Wha? I do? What do you mean?"
I'm flabbergasted as he lurches into his routine like a tired old stripper on a worn stage, gripping a greasy pole, completely ignoring that I'm more interested in the broke hobo crying in his drink next to me than the worn and saggy flesh under the threadbare nylon nighty.
"You're drinking...and they're drinking."

Wow, I'm just blown away at how perceptive this man is. What an analogy! They were drunk, divorced, suicidal and weeping on his leather couch, and I amuse myself with a post about drinking that may or may not be true. Boy, that framed diploma on the wall is like a key to my very soul. Made a living getting people to talk about themselves? Really? Could read people like an open book, I'll bet. Sure. My worries just tumble away every time he calls. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated! And I specifically wrote that these tales are for entertainment purposes only...not as a way to accumulate third hand anecdotes to compare me with the fucking mentally ill. Christ, I'll eat my hat if every one of his patients isn't a raging drunk right now...or dead by self-inflicted gunshot wound to the skull. Why don't you buy me a pack of gum and show me how to chew it? Every time I bury the hatchet he digs it up and stabs me in the back saying it's for my own good. God, I hope someone laughs about this one day.

I gotta have a stiff drink.

$1 a day

Woke up and the birds were singing like a Nat King Cole song. I'm going downtown and make a million dollars, I thought. I'll play guitar on Market Square. So I dressed up like a '70s pimp and was almost out the door when the phone rings. At this point it could be anyone from the phone company stopping service to the board of humane treatment of chickens. It turned out to be Tiffany, the Labor Ready minx who lured me into one of the worst tickets ever during last week's storm. But it's beautiful out and I had my guitar on my back.
"We need you. Can you get here?"
"Ah, baby, I got plans."
"This is good work. Servpro needs you back. Come on."
I almost cracked again because I do need guaranteed money and playing guitar on Market Square is a guaranteed disturbing the peace ticket. But then I remembered the crossroads guys, the tales of jail and methadone, the mixed martial artist guy who I pissed off with my philosophical treatise of Hannah Montana. And mostly I remembered that FUCKING $40 check that I got after 6 straight hours on my knees digging at soaking wet carpet pads in a stinking basement full of wet clothes. $40 that vanished into vodka and quinoa wraps. It's an absolute insult and at least I could drag my feet...maybe if she offered me a minimum $50 or $10 an hour.
"I don't know..."
"Come on, Oggy."
"I'm sort of busy...."
"We need you."
She wasn't going to offer me shit so I said no.
"I've got plans."
She hung up. I felt a bit guilty because turning down a job, even on a Saturday, means I become dirt to them. I'm no longer reliable. I'm not the go to guy. When you get calls from Labor Ready that means you are in the upper class. And when you reject a job from Labor Ready that means you are worst than scum to them. It forces them to call people on parole. It also means my chance of getting Tiffany to agree to a date just plummeted.

So I went downtown and played on the sidewalk for three hours and made $1. I played all the Mexico songs I learned but I didn't have a place to put the money. It was practice mostly and I saw one of my fans down there so it wasn't wasted time. I did see a servpro truck pass me with miserable faces staring out. Maybe on Monday I'll go in and take a job washing cars. Or not.

Then it was time for 7 brides for 7 brothers, that musical tale of kidnapping and true love in the Oregon wilderness. The barn dancing scene is spectacular. One of the brothers is a ballet dancer who does vaults on two beams while spinning a girl in circles. I'm so jealous.

Number of words written for my Santa Cruz novel: 0

Saturday, March 20, 2010

For the Doctor of Swing

There was much discussion of Gyspy Jazz and if I had paid half as much attention to painting as I did to the bookshelf I would've earned the money the Chicken Man paid me. Django and I have a long history because he obviously swings his fucking ass off and did it with two fingers and the entire musical world against him. These are unpredictable lines...unexpected and he is not afraid to muff a note once in a while. This is a guy who played with a cigarette in his mouth before Keith Richard made that look cool. I have tried for years to play these lines and can't do it. But trying made my own playing unpredictable, like a rebirth every time I pick the guitar up. I seriously have no idea what's going to come out. I actually have the sheet music for this tune and still can't play it on the violin. Grappelli (pronounced Grafelli) has the instincts of a songbird savant.


Friday, March 19, 2010

spontaneous prose



I mentioned that when Chicken man Ken and I were barred from entering The Press Room we held a mini protest and read a poem on the street. The bouncer was not amused or entertained.
"We're with the band." I moaned.
"The band is already playing."
"I don't hear anything. Let me in."
"No."
"I'm going to have your job!"
blah blah blah...

But now two days later I'm wondering, what did I read? Because my Portsmouth Poem II for Ken's enjoyment and pianistic talent was still in my apartment...I never took it with me though I printed it out intending to practice our performance. So...what was I reading? This was in the back of my mind for two days and I seriously thought I was loosing it. Maybe I recited the Portsmouth Poem from memory. Or maybe I improvised something...that's possible. or maybe...wait...what is this crumpled piece of paper stuffed into my leather jacket? It's a street map of Laconia, NH and...on the back...oh, my. Is this what I read? Yes, it is. Written by two different hands I see this ragged poem was composed on the street or in a truck with a bottle between our legs, or maybe at a bar where we would be soon evicted from. I'll scan it in one day so you can see what we produced...but since that won't help you read it I will now translate.

First, you must imagine the scene of Daniel Street, me and Ken holding each other up as the bouncer bars our way, revelers in green walking by, pushing past into the bar ("Why are you letting them in?" "They aren't plastered." "Bullshit!) and so we read this out loud, yelling, stumbling over words, asking to get arrested. Have I painted the picture? I will remind everyone that I have had far more days that were nothing like this one so don't get all Woodrow Wilson on me.
Now for the text by me and Ken:

Here I sit in the hands of company that may
have or not destroyed the next job I am scheduled to paint.
"Do you have an acoustic piano?" he asked (With a camcorder in the client's face) as we took the check from the bloated bloke.
We anxiously sped off to the bank in which the check was drawn.

We reached the cashier + made the trade and broke the system of red headed sluts and cunts and the other jailed men we forgot in our time. The check was not canceled and so we are now obligated to do the work. And so we will, in torn jeans and on borrowed time. We walk the brick sidewalk and take down the wall-eyed common man. Flags wave but the station house is empty except for forced laughter and tears.

But yet for the grace of my lack of better judgment my ego swells with the thought of bringing down the press room as I pulled out my verbal shank and stab your ears with my beckoning voice that will tatter your broken soul, rendering it useless. Forgone opportunities has me not for my own good.

The bridge is up and the water is high. The lions are in town.

Painting by numbers

Number of times my boss looked at what I was doing and threw up his hands and said, "Whoa, whoa, wait...": 5
Number of goofs: countless.
Rude remarks to client: 0
Rude remarks while client wasn't listening: 43
Times I painted the wrong color on the wall: 2
Times I tried to pour one color of paint into a bucket full of another paint: 1
Times I felt like I was getting in the way: 10
Years of experience I have painting: 5+
Years of experience my boss would estimate I have: 0
Number of times I thought, "What does it matter, a bookshelf is going in front of this wall anyway." 15
Times I used the word "sabotage": 2

I am a useless painter. I don't know why I don't get it but I end up using too much paint or too little paint. It's frustrating because I know I'm actually messing up the job. It's simple, you put the paint where there is no paint. But there are all these lines and when I go over the lines I start to see new lines and so on. It never ends. And soon the paint is so thin I see the paint underneath...and what was the name of that song I was listening to the other day, was it Footsteps or Horizontal or...
"Whoa, whoa, what are you doing?"
"What?"
"Oggy, you're painting the curtain."
"But you said the whole wall."
"But that's the curtain."
"It's connected to the wall."
"Just...go stand over there...be careful the paint tray...ok quick go get a rag...quick...watch the wet brush!"
I'm hopeless. When it comes to painting I am illiterate. A menace.

Fort Stark

Moments after I took this I fell into the ocean...




We're all familiar with that Rose Lane military establishment, that Gettysburg of my youth, Fort Stark. Well, this is what happens if you try to go home. The best thing to do is let it be subducted into the pages of history. Let someone else find the Titanic. Because although you will keep these places on cerebral life support, they will eventually drag you down also and all that will comfort you are the sharp rays of light from the banks of the other world, blinding you, forcing you to your knees.


OR you can stand tall against the elements and pray the wind is at your back when the waves breach the bulwarks. The light you see may be another ship burning, or it may be the direction home. Either way you must be bold.


Here's the monster's cave...

The weight of the world is on Ken's shoulders. He looks like a plumber checking out the diameter of the pipe he needs to pick up to put Fort Stark back together. But really he is saying a prayer for those who went before us. By the way, those tiles are pure asbestos.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ti Jean 1922-1969

Against all odds, waking up with sockless Chicken Man Ken vomiting in my bathroom (some guys get girls underwear on their floor, I get Ken's filthy socks) and nearly fainting on I-95, napping in a rest area mid trip, navigating the 85mph Haverhill traffic, I made it to Lowell (Where everyone apparently doesn't know that the white figure on the walk sign means walk)... to summon Kerouac's spirit and was even driven to the Edson Cemetery by the lovely Claire...who read a poem left by Amy on the stone. Claire and I dined at Life Alive, a raw food eatery in Lowell that had damn good wraps and soups and grain salads. Any place that prepares quinoa is worth a visit...although Claire is probably thinking that answering personal ads that have the word "lunatic" in the title probably isn't a great idea. I think my whole chicken farming documentary should be a secret until it is actually completed. I've got the majority of the footage of chickens and goats in the can but the way I described it today was like a terrorist plot. The Kerouac plot is at Lincoln and 7th in the Edson Cemetery on Gorham rd going south out of Lowell downtown. Bring a pen and a poem.

St. Patricks Day Called and it wants its vodka back

The goal was to get kicked out of the Press Room but they did me one better by barring me from entering at all...so I read my poem in the street until the police came.
Then I got boomed out of Booma Post.
And in a dirt bag bar like the Daniel Street Tavern I somehow made enemies...like I'm the asshole all of a sudden.
"That's it. You need to go." Said the bartender as I reached for the zippers on her tartan skirt.
"You so want to kiss me right now, don't you," were my last words in that establishment.
This lass was not flirting in any way, shape or form. This was a picture I took as I was dragged away.
Note:
The best back up plan I've ever heard for a man shot down is, "I thought I saw a green light." Saying that on St. Patrick's day is even more clever. The woman will think you were either too dumb to see she loathed you from the start (which is flattering to her) or she will be flattered that you saw the green light she allowed for an instant but your methods were clumsy and not worthy of her. There are one liners for offense and defense. The modern man should be familiar with both. All bets are off if you've had too much to drink.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Welcome to my Tuesday night

Hmmmm, First a bit of reading, I'm totally going to that Pink Floyd laser show tribute concert, make a delicious cheeseburger a la George (Burger in sliced bread served on a napkin), a chef's salad (manager's special...saved $1.32) and some Portsmouth community radio playing Richard Thompson and Ben Harper. Oggy is content...at rest...though a taste of vodka won't hurt anyone.


A taste, and then down to the Press Room to play some Ray Charles Songs. I've spent two weeks learning all the words to that Tom Waits song (HAd me a girl from Chula vista, I was in love with her sister) so I might as well...just one more taste of Vodka...hehe...I can hardly taste the liquor...it must've gone bad...stale...put some more in...



What's better than the guitar, the way these diminished 7th chords can go anywhere? Nothing, that's what. Damn, I'm good. I sound like Django Reinhardt. My fingers are speaking another language. It doesn't get any better than this...these cheeseburgers are damn good. I make excellent cheeseburgers. Ritz crackers and salad and...vodka. IS that all there is left? What the fuck? HAs someone been drinking me vodka? I don't understand? I had this...oh, fuck it// I'ldd just poor a bit more and have andotkner. here's to you, Elena. Hey, you treated me like dirt...you think I'm gonna wait around for you to know a godddamn good thing when int comes knocking? I ain't one of them gringos who sniffs the dirt and runs your errands. You had your chance, amor. Damn ornage juice is gone. ah well...one more glass and that's what it means to sing the blues. I'm writing blues lyrics that haven't been sung since Howlin' Wolf broken his nose on a bullet microphone. If I could only find a pen...where the fuck did I put it...I'm all fired up. Whenre's that damn guitar when I need it/ I don't need. it/. ah, who are you? what did you say. what did you say to me? Elena, I'm sorry. so fucking sorry! Please forgive me. my arms feel like fire hoses. so tired. Vodka is tasteless. It's like sitting in a warm bathtub. I can't tell the difference between vodka being in my mouth and it being in the glass.


uh, wha? wha? I'm awake/ is it time to go to school, I mean work. so tired. forty motherfucking dollars from servpro cutting carpets and moving fucking donald duck telephones. bullshiet let me sleep. go away. I'll go next week. I'll get my shit together next week. You heard me! it's this damn weather. can't find work. I can';t. I don't need u or anyonhen I;m goood. I'm doin good all by myslef nad one e getm an e, x boot vdka. ahhhh/ jus tur th lit out. i'm ok. ok. ooooooooooooooooooooo g g g.......

Maybe not.

A trip into modern America today as my $0 budget videography business gets off the ground. I need a few items for my computer. Such as a 6 pin female to 4 pin male firewire adapter. And a firewire pci card to install on my computer. And what else? A hard drive enclosure for these old hard drives I have lying around.
So I went to Best Buy to get some idea what these things look like and ended up in the music dept. listening to stories about chili recipes and getting my fingers on the pianos in there. Not bad at all. Weighted keys. I might buy one if I can get a real job.
What else? Oh, I'd forgotten I was supposed to be looking at real items for the business. It's corporate America, the camcorder associate knew less about camcorders than I do. The computer accessories guys were well informed but the products were at least 75% more expensive than online. An adapter that's $6 online was $33 there. But I see what I need to order to get video of Ken's chickens on my computer and edited. The lesson of the day is that while computers are changing the way we communicate I don't know anyone who voted in favor of this change. It just seeped into our lifestyles like water into the basement of those apartments on Lafayette. Resistance is futile, I see, but has it always been this way? Have social conventions changed so rapidly before this? I know it is old fashioned and cliche to say that things are changing too fast, but this time I think it's true. Things are changing way too fast. A kid goes to school with a cell phone and comes home with a computer virus.
I feel that my encounter with the Gislaine family in Quebec was not random. God really might have brought me (a space journalist) into the home of a completely old fashioned family whose dynamics would never have been popularized...had we never met. It's my responsibility to immortalize them because they won't do it themselves and they have the secret humanity will eventually need. I guess they are the fundamental family, like a seed of an extinct plant. There should be tours of their junk yard...how hard they worked to salvage every scrap...the difference between them and the sloths stumbling around Best Buy IS UNBELIEVABLE. I'm pretty sure one or the other path is doomed. Can I write a record of the Gislaine family? I mean, it's possible, but I'm in another universe from theirs right now. I may go back and live with them as a cultural/spiritual exchange. Ha! They're like 200 miles away but on a different planet. I'm telling you that when the Best Buys of the world have decayed the only people living will be descendants of the Gislaine family. They were timeless and were lords of their castle. The words, "Honey, do you know where the firewire adapter is?" will never be spoken in that house. Self sufficient is how I would describe it and I don't use that term lightly.

In other news, the press room reading has been postponed due to liquor deficiency. Soon!

Tonight! Live at the Press Room

Fucking Kenny, you better get your ass over to the Press Room tonight. I can not play piano like you and I can't even play piano like me and still read the poem. I know we didn't get a chance to rehearse and I haven't printed out the poem yet and we are both barely dragging our corpses through the world but when are we going to do this performance. I've got my whole computer system figured out so I can upload video and stuff. I really think I can do it now. How can I go on? And we still haven't gotten the chicken footage! Shit, are we going to blame a hurricane? I won't do it. Please call me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Howard the Duck goes for a swim

You know something has gone wrong in your life when you encounter a Howard the Duck telephone. Rain makes the rats come out of the cellar, that's for sure. In the case of my gig today it forced me into the cave of someone who doesn't get out too much. I didn't intend to go to work this morning but Tiffany from Labor Ready called and I've got a crush on her so she could talk me into anything at this point. Her cheerful voice, "You ready to go to work, Oggy?" So, hopeful and pleasant.
"Yes, mom."
"Well, get down here. We need you."
See, only a hopeless asshole like me would be swayed by that language, like we're all part of a team at Labor Ready and I'm the missing piece. What bullshit. Tiffany is just getting her cut out of the money I make cutting carpet. But I don't want to let her down.
"I'll be there in ten minutes."
I'm naked and sneezing in the attic, haven't eaten because I've been sick for two days, and my neck hurts from reading the last of Rabbit is Rich (excellent, simply excellent). The first thing I do is sit down and put my shoes on, without putting any socks or underwear or pants on. Oh boy, this day is gonna go good. When I finally dress myself I inhale a bowl of granola, chug some juice and vodka out of the bottle, and am out the door into a damn hurricane. I knew it was bad because I could hear the wind throw lawn furniture around the neighborhood, but it is very bad. I want to turn around but Tiffany is waiting for me...and I haven't been out in three days.

I get down there and she treats me like any other guy, hands me my ticket, gives me some cloth gloves, and I don't even get a chance to look at her cleavage before I'm out the door on the way to Dover as part of the "Large Loss Response Team"
Get to Dover only to be handed a t shirt (that I wore under a sweater all day) and directions to a place in Hampton.
"You're going to Portsmouth," a lady tells me as she hands me the directions. Does she know the difference between Portsmouth and Hampton, I wonder? You know Dover people...all on Crystal Meth or Morphine pain pills.
So I go to Hampton to the exact destination on the map...a tiny house...high on a hill...no possibility it is flooded....I call...blah blah blah...Oh, in Portsmouth? Oh, 12 R... road...Portsmouth, not Hampton. Ah, easy mistake to make...for a fucking ignorant #$#(!!
Another car shows up driven by a guy with no teeth..."Cost me a dollah fifty in gas goin' tah thah wrong house. Ah it's bullshit!"
Let me tell you that $1.50 meant a lot to that man. He bitched about it for 5 hours. I bitched about it for one hour "I go from portsmouth to dover to be told to go to hampton ...so I go to hampton and find out I'm supposed to stay in fucking portsmouth!!!"
I say I'm going to bitch out Tiffany but already I'm thinking I want to ask her out for a drink.

So 10 basement units had been flooded. and when I say flooded I mean a few inches of water everywhere. And these units are all occupied. And when I say occupied, I mean these caves are the apartments of people you would never ever in a million years be invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner with. Ever.
The very first door I opened revealed a rabid, skittish, dog, ready to lunge at me. A hulking man whose only contact with the outside world is definitely via internet forums picks up a dripping wet bean bag chair and wanders through a maze of chaotic decaying furniture and memorabilia. I ask, what's the dog's name and he mumbles something. The dog looks completely tweaked. "Jade?" Is that what he said? Who knows? The dog eyes me as I hold my breath and look around. It would take ten people at least 6 hours to properly move this man's possessions but there is only me and a man we'll call Bipolar Stu. (in the hall, Stu had looked at his equipment ticket, wrote his first name over the last name line and then said, "What day is it?") It isn't like he planned to be flooded out. Nothing is packed. Debris is everywhere and it is all wet.

So me and Stu edge around the perimeter of the soaking carpet because I am certain this dog is going to attack me. I trip over a broken foosball table half under water. The lights are flickering as water flows near a power strip connected to several large televisions with Tommy the Train videos showing.
The boss comes the rescue and fortunately tells me step by step exactly what to do because, folks, I am completely paralyzed by what has to happen here. There are some men made for these crisis situations, who can ignore the stained Marilyn Monroe posters and the piles of Harry Potter paraphernalia and then there are people like me...who devour this one view into this person's life. I'm telling you that no one was ever meant to visit this apartment and this rain and Tiffany all conspired to let me into the sanctuary that includes a Howard the Duck telephone.


I can not just "tune out" the insanity that normal people tune out. I go the opposite way and try to absorb every possible detail including the lampshades, the sheets, the dirty clothes in a puddle. It's almost like the owner has been killed and I'm cleaning up the mess. Who was this person? What the fuck was so important about an Empire the Strikes Back Darth Vader mask? Ah, the debris we collect. We're all so fucked.

So we go from one apartment to the next tearing at carpet and moving furniture stacked with clothes, kids toys and electronics. Just imagine flooding a goodwill store and then trying to save everything. It's the worst possible scenario because if it were all junk we would just bag it and toss it. But the owner is right there and it's all getting soaked as we stand around wondering what to move first since it is our job to get the carpet up and to put blow driers in there.

My hands are too hurt to type much but the day was awful. Hardly worth the $40 I made. We got no break, no water, my clothes were completely drenched, a freezing wind made me shiver, and we had to GO BACK to Dover to unload the truck...bunch of bullshit and then back to Portsmouth to drop some workers off at the homeless shelter where they had been recruited from in the morning.
All three of them shared stories of jail ("I waited for him to come in the cell and I pounded the shit out of him. His head hit the cement like a watermelon"). to drugs "Everyone in Maine is doing morphine. Everyone!" to hunting "When I was a kid I killed 22 bucks in that field. 11 with a gun and 11 with a bow."

And I soaked it all in like the carpet padding we had just dumped. That's my payment...but the price I'm paying is almost not worth it. Still, I met two people from my play...one was Bipolar Stu and the other was a guy a bit older than me who literally acted out a scene from my play when he clutched his heart and looked dazed and said, "I just gotta catch my breath." Yeah, you mean you just gotta have heart bypass surgery.

The world ain't easy but I'm telling you that our society is failing to produce men of character. I know I'm to blame for my own faults and no one forced these guys to snort coke, but when a whole underclass working force is so debauched and degenerate I'm pretty sure that's a sign of systemic problems. The men I worked with are not dumb people, they all had the same potential as stock brokers or lawyers or doctors, but something tragic happened on the way to law school and we've got to find out what it is. I should compare research of men in the depression. maybe I'm being too alarmist. Maybe this is what you'll find during any time period if you scrape the bottom of the barrel. I just feel like if I can find the problem then I'll know how to solve it. Right now I'm seeing almost lawless people running loose. If these guys were in jail at some point then I'll tell you right now that time served didn't do shit for anybody. You got the money to put them in jail for five years but you don't have money to teach them some skills during the 12 years they CHOOSE to go to school?? That's a paradigm that needs to change completely. I'm taking any comments on solutions.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Home by the sea


This $20,000 mobile home is still available in Hampton, right near the military sub contractor electronics shop that I applied at. Here is the shed where I would keep my motorcycle. I've imagined building a ramp so I can park a motorcycle inside the house since there is no garage. I'll just convert a room in the house into a garage. Get some double wide doors and drive in and out of the house on a ramp. Is that ghetto enough? The bike would have to be a Harley but I prefer Hondas. I don't know if this dream will come true but I wanted to share it.


I'd love to fill the place with instruments and even rent out a bedroom. But without a steady income I can't really pay for it. sigh $21,000 2 Beds 1 Baths 840 Sq.Ft.
142 Codfish Corner
But the 840 square feet don't include the shed and the yard and the rooftop balcony I'll build.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Anachronisms of Portsmouth

Who let these guys loose?
I'm rediscovering Portsmouth...

There is an Alf doll frozen in clear epoxy outside of the old Mystery spot junk store on State Street. I wonder if my boy Hobo slim in S.F. is responsible for that? You know, this is a public street and vandalism is not looked on kindly, even if it is done with mini aliens from Planet '80s. actually, I love it and will include it on my Trivial Walking Tours of Portsmouth this summer. "To your right you will see the park bench where Amy Pattington lost her virginity to Bobby Dolittle. Step along, ladies, we've lots to see..." Here is the "shipyahd."

Took a long walk around pierce island this morning, (again, waking up early to make sure the car I had abandoned during last night's pub crawl was not towed). No, I was not there to have a quickie with my gay lover. "Flash your lights twice and I'll come out of the bushes..."
I had never seen the remains of something called Fort Washington. The cannons are gone but in 1776 the sons of liberty decided to push some dirt into an embankment and fire at the British ships. It really came in useful during the 1812 skirmish. anyone want to write a few words about that war? I had a revelation that history is one long pile of dirt that later gets a plaque next to it so people know what happened there. Here's my plaque.

That walk led to Graves Point, where some mighty old bones rest in peace that we will all know eventually. There were many pretty graves but I took a picture of one that was blank except for an upside down R.M. I hope the stone was right side up when the family put the person in the ground. The revelation there is that after the people who know you are gone then your name on a stone really doesn't mean much more than an upside down letter. The one behind it is completely blank, having been worn down by 200+ winters. This is a fancy one for a guy named Lear who died in 1781 AE 45. it's getting to the point where the only thing made in America are fancy gravestones. this one says that "An honest man is the noblest work of God." I want a gravestone with the van carved on it. "Econoline or Death"

speaking of gravestones... a store that I've written countless words about, a store where you could buy a puppy, a grilled cheese sandwich and a frappe...J.J. Newberry. In direct competition with Gillies but they both managed to survive the 80s. It even had a small arcade in 1983 when every public store had an arcade. The white ceramic tile was skuffed by many sneakers. Someone said there was a J.C. Newberry in Laconia back in the day and I wanted to post proof that ours was J.J. Newberry's. It closed in the '90s chain retail surge, swallowed up by The Gap...fitting because there was a huge gap between my childhood and the future of chinese domination in the plastic crap market. Now, The Gap has actually closed due to lack of yuppies in Portsmouth or maybe an overabundance of multicolored scarves. HAHA. I actually wrote about the gap too in my book Memorabilia and it's a little weird because there is absolutely no trace of The Gap now except for my book and in the book I talk shit about the gap and now I will have to summon some kind of nostalgia for the time I was nostalgic. Maybe I'm nostalgic about hating The Gap as much as I am nostalgic for the times I loved J.J. Newberry.
This is not a picture from 1988, it's from last night.
Though the years have stripped us of our youthful glow, dear buddy, we make up for it in loyalty earned with scars and glorious artifacts of history written on Gillies napkins.

Happy birthday Kerouac!

Ash street in march, you hit the pavement with sneakers and scuffed soles and books overdue at the library. Don't look back at the churches and the mills and the lawns and the brick warehouses. these are arms you have to hold on to now and no metaphors in their paper sleeves. grab tight and don't let go. the river will soon breach the levee and take your memories down stream to Chelmsford or Woburn or Billerica. Your child is one fuck away. the p.j. mini mart with packaged cakes and newspapers with safety cages around the scratch tickets. The river is frothy in March and the benches at your memorial are used as skateboard ramps. This is the future my friend and I want you to embrace it. there is a store called Dharma Buns that sells soup baked inside rolls on market or Prescott street and a Brazilian pastry place where cute Latina girls sell chocolate covered custard, their hair in a bun under a brown cap. We're all there, Jack, we all trod that brick sidewalk and pid those laundry bills and bar tabs at the black raven and the broadway bar and grill and the streets to Lowell high school where you played football are worn now and I got lost in the new development and the maps to downtown include your memorial. I know you would appreciate the mandala and catholic mystic cross layout of the memorial and even the two skateboarders who met up with the two girls in skinny jeans at your bench and asked, "where you been."
" You been gone. you disappeared."
"Naw, I was just under cover."
Well, that's gone."
and all this happening under, Visions of Cody, and Travels to mexico, and town and the city, and on the road, and doctor sax, and tristesse, and Dharma Bums the book that made me think of the top of the mountain as the bottom.
Jack, jack, jack, I've heard your song sung from one coast to the other. it won't die if I can help it and if I can help it it will grow.
Happy birthday, Jack.

Thought it was tomorrow, but it was friday and I was there, without knowing. I thank Claire and her friendly emails that drew me to the area along with the promise of work in Dracut or Salisbury. It was you, Jack, that brought me to the granite. Of all days in the last 6 years, I was there today. No idea. And the streets sang your name at last call.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.