OK< so here we go again.  Some of you, that go all Book of Face, already know that the zombie here had another episode of re-animation.  This, then is my storification of that, my attempt to wrap my soft noggin around the simultaneous notions of mortality and that I am fucking tough to kill.

So, in the middle of the first month of Donald Trump’s second year of trying to kill all of us, we had some snowfall.  I went out to shovel, and got winded easy, but figured, what the hell, I’d take it easy and did it in a couple of goes.  And the next day, we had a little more snow, and when I went out to shovel, I got winded a bit easier.  So again, I took it in a couple of goes and still got the job done.  But with the flu going around, I thought maybe I was getting some lung crud and went to bed early, figuring I was coming down with something.

Oh yes I was.  But it wasn’t a virus, oh no. By the next day, I couldn’t stand for any length of time, and walking across the house required sitting down for a rest.  Even zombies know this is not a good thing….

It starts as what is known as a DVT, Deep Vein Thrombosis, which starts in the deep veins of your legs.  Clots form, then those little fuckers decide to go walkabout.  These decided to camp out in my pulmonary arteries, which are the ones that take oxygenated blood from the old air sacks to the heart and then to the rest of the body. Since these were now clogged up, the old heart was working hard to get air oxygen everywhere, and the upshot was that I was breathing hard and got dizzy really easy. Well, having had my heart try to abdicate in the past, it was time to make the trip again; since Wife Sublime was on a work gig, I made the obvious call:  Uber.  Quicker and cheaper than an ambulance, and I knew I was going to the ER anyway.

So, once again, I walked into the ER under my own power.  After a brief listen to my laboring heart, they put me into an ER room, and the huge numbers of medical professionals took over. They quickly determined that it was not another heart attack, and rolled me into the CT room.  After the scan, no shit, it took a bare 2 minutes before a doctor came back, saying I had a pulmonary embolism.

PULMONARY EMBOLISM.

Fuck me, that is some scary words.

They told me they were going to inject some very dangerous chemicals into my body to melt those little ambulatory fuckers, and that I could get them into an arm IV, or into a jugular IV.  The difference being the jugular would be able to deliver the chemicals more directly at the clots causing the problem, while the arm IV increased the potential for problematic internal bleeding.  I said, Doctor Vampire, please go ahead and spike me in the jugular vein.

YES, I SAID THEY INSERTED IV SHEATHS INTO MY JUGULAR VEIN.  

But the extremely dangerous chemicals did their jobs, and within 12 hours, my lungs were doing the job again, they terminated the chemicals after 20 hours, and within a day, my heart and lungs were providing more than enough oxygen into my system.

Ok, here’s the horror show.  Since the drugs involved make it very possible for bleeding to happen, it is very common to have a urinary catheter installed, to monitor the bladder output.  In the ER, a technician attempted catheterization, and botched it resulting in blood.  Now, I am only a patient, but I figured blood spattering from the penis is not a desirable outcome.  So he aborted; after I screamed at him in pain.    And, since I was on extremely powerful blood thinning agents, for the next day or so, my groin turned into a slasher movie special effect, bleeding all over fuck at random times.  O, and as a bonus, urination was AAAAARGH PAIN PAIN PAIN needles in the dick.  And although the underlying situation was life threatening, this was the part that was painful.  In a mordantly amusing factor, all the medical professionals that ever walked into my room, for like two days, asked me if I was still having chest pains; I never had chest plains.  Please talk to me about my pissing pains.

It took about two weeks all told, before the doctor in charge was able to let me go.  He was slow-walking my process, without telling me, and the blood threshold we needed was subsequently not being met.  When he finally admitted that he was doing that, I was pissed.  Still am; I respect his opinion on that, but to not let me know that he was doing so and why was, to me, bullshit.  When I forced him to let me go, and my normal doctor took over medications, we hit the blood level that is considered therapeutic in a couple of days.

But there are a couple of things I’d like to mention.  First of all, the ER staff are fucking heroes.  And two of them tracked me down in the ICU after I left their care, just to see how I was doing.  That impressed the fuck out of me.  Those are some amazing people.  Second of all;  The doctor in charge of my case during the stay, did not communicate effectively at any level, and did not involve me in his decisions on my treatment.  At one point, I had to snap at him “I am not a fucking idiot”.  It’s not just that he treated me as if I couldn’t participate in the decisions about my treatment, but that he made them without my involvement.

 

Well, since the nastiness is over, here’s some humor.  With the Uber, I got to the ER sometime after 3 in the afternoon, and after some testing, the ER staff asked me if there was someone they should call.  I knew WS was on a work gig, so when I got the chance with my phone, I called and left her a message, knowing she would get back to me or the hospital.  But for the next few hours, the staff kept asking me for her phone number, and they left a series of messages.  You see, WS has two phones, a personal and a work phone and on this particular day, she only had her work phone.  So, after they ensconced me into an ICU room, I texted her with “I am in room xxxx”, figuring she had my VM.  But she didn’t look at her phone until she was going to bed, and saw a bunch of messages.  But she saw the text first, which was just weird.  So eventually, late at night, she called me and asked if she should come in, but not really at that point.  I said that for the most part, the medical team didn’t seem to need her input…

But, at the end of the day, I find a funny aspect to this.  Many people touching base on FaceHell and others, keep asking me if I have been getting exercise, if I’ve been taking my meds,  what other things I’ve been doing wrong.  But here; the doctors have said that I have not had the typical issues that result in these DVTs.  What people want to hear, is that there is someone at fault, there is something that was not or was done that made for this occurrence.  Friends try and couch it in terms of concern, but what they really want to know, is that they are making themselves safe and that whatever health issues you have just had will never apply to them.  They are Safe, because they Act Properly.  But here’s the thing; sometimes bad things will happen and there is no fault.

Sometimes I feel like Fletcher Christian
twisting off the serpents head
for the mutiny I’ll shoot the big one
hot and hungry, far from home

Through the sun and sea my skin is peeling
but it don’t make the pictures fade
those shapes and symbols, I know their meaning
the shameless riches of another world

If I return they’re sure to hang me
so I guess I’ll have to stay
and if I should croak out in the darkness
No-one will know I got away

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Well, it’s been a tough year.  I think a telling pointer to how bad it was, is that the year-end “This was the year that was” mail-it-in contractual obligation pieces have been WAY fewer than I ever remember.  It seems nobody wants to dwell on it, other than the Fast-Food toddler playacting as truck driver/ Elected official.

At the holiday gatherings, I had my right wing brothers-in-law ask me how things were going in business, and when I said I was busy, they smirked and said “Trump is being good to you, huh?”  After I said that the economic activity is due to the Black Guy and nothing Big Diaper Boy has done, I expounded by saying that NOT ONLY has Turdwaffle tried to kneecap the larger historic preservation projects in Madison and Milwaukee by capping single-project credits at $500,000.  which seems like a lot, sure, but see this; the current project I am working on, is only medium sized, and the budget is about 7.5 million; the State tax credit is 20%, so it should result in tax credits of 1.5 million.

AND I went on.  I pointed out that in the Rich Guy giveaway fest just passed, the Federal tax credit went back and forth between the House and Senate, and it never seemed to reach a consensus of a real sort.  I imagine they were much more concerned with protecting the underserved inheritance of spoiled shits like the Trumps.  The Federal historic preservation tax credit is also 20% of eligible construction costs.

now, I will point out several things.  First, that an overwhelming majority of Americans support saving older buildings.  And further, that money expended on historic preservation projects (which is not the same as the tax credits offered, as the tax credits are usually recouped within a few years by the increased tax revenue from a newly re-assessed and active building) returns about $1.60 for every dollar expended, which is one of the best returns showed outside of drug deals.  And finally, that Preservation and restoration of historic buildings are usually in neighborhoods that have been on the downs, and that these projects very often result in the renewal of these areas.

So, between Turdwaffle and Comrade Stupidhair, we stood to lose about a third of the development incentives on this project.  On a 7.5 million dollar project, it amounted to 3 million dollars that the developer could use as part of his financial portfolio and tax planning, which, believe me, this guy would appreciate.  And without it, it was not likely to be a viable project.

They kind of shut up about the Trumps at that point, as I was armed for Russian bears.

But here.

On the occasion of the a new year, I am weirdly optimistic.  On the political side, David Clarke got kicked off of Twitter for being an Internet Tough Guy, threatening the “media”.  Turdwaffle has appalling polls.  Trump is making being a Republican not only as popular as being a pedophile, but actually SYNONYMOUS with it.

In addition to the project above, I have two townhouse developments in planning, one private, one LIHTC.  Several smaller projects for repeat clients, and a fun restaurant project.

It is a hazard, I suspect of being an architect.  It is an inherently optimistic occupation, that dwells on building for the future.  But as those of you have followed the Empire, I have been through darker periods, and longer.

But, in any case, I usually resort to this later in the year, when I am trying to find the strength to make it all the way through.  But this year, it strikes me as a statement of purpose, a rallying cry to keep the eyes up and the focus sharp.

my broken house behind me
and good things ahead
a girl named Cathy
wants a little of my time
six cylinders underneath the hood
crashing and kicking
aha!
listen to the engine whine

There will be feasting and dancing indeed. (LOL.  I was going to post this on FaceHell, but figured the terrorist theme would be taken poorly)

 

Blood And Roses

Posted: December 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

It is becoming kind of depressing that I only write on this decrepit old blog when one of my appreciated artist joins us in the post-breather status.

So, Let’s go Political!  Tonight, the perfect storm of horror at Republican policies, revulsion toward the fat tub of orange goo occupying the White House, and the comically evil Roy Moore combined to afford the Democrats a win in ALABAMA GODDAM, a state that in 2016 was R+24.

Look, if we can maintain a Democratic advantage of 20 points in the midterms, both the House and the Senate will flip.

Eiron, the goddess of Irony, is at her finest; Doug Jones prosecuted white nationalist terrorists who killed young girls, and his opponent enjoyed victimizing young girls.  Roy Moore liked to fantasize about eliminating all the Amendments after 10, and women and blacks swamped him, even in ALABAMA GODDAM.  Doug Jones is a real person, with real accomplishments, while Moore enjoys prancing around on stage with a comically tiny pistol while cosplaying as a cowboy using props from Pee-Wee’s old show.  Who has at LEAST ONE JEWISH LAWYER!

Consider this the part where the zombie does the zombie happy dance.

giphy

In 1986, I was in grad school working toward a Master’ in Architecture (excuse me I have to turn this up).  and I had managed to get into an invitation-only design studio that was supposed to explore the intersection of design and pop culture.  One project was to be a revisitation of Wright’s Midway Gardens, and the other was to be a house for David Byrne (with a potential for a visit from Jerry Harrison).  But that is not of our concern.

At the time, True Stories had just come out.  I was aggressively political, and covered my workspace with political cartoons to the point where someone left an anonymous note telling me to shut the fuck up (since I was a cartoonist in the campus newspaper, this was FUCKING FUNNY).  The others in the room loved the pop stylings of Little Creatures, completely missing all the satire; but I loved the wider, more disparate sounds of the new album. Plus, i played A LOT of punk, ska and reggae, which the white baby architects kind of hated.  And in the midst of that, I found that Especially For You was an acceptable middle ground.

The songs were 3 minute pop nuggets, little platinum nuggets.  They were a bit too fast, and a bit too aggressive but not punk.  Also, this was a fucking amazing album…

I played that cassette, and while I loved Blood and Roses as is proper, the lyrics and song to Behind The Wall Of Sleep nearly destroyed me.  It captured every feeling about loving someone on the stage, and not being able to even meet, and that your dreams are the only recompense.

plus, the music is too perfect. the drum stings, the Rickenbacker;  the punk JUST STOP ending.

Pat DiNizio, singer and songwriter for the Smithereens, passed away at 62 and FUCK YOU WITH LAWNMOWERS, DEATH, YOU BITCH.

As is the way, I confess that I’ve seen them several times, including once at a weird cowboy barn and a couple of Summerfest gigs.  Which allows me to say, once again, that you should go see the musicians you like every chance you get, because they KEEP FUCKING DYING

However, Pat DiNizio and Tom Petty playing together forever makes me happy in a sad kind of way.

 

 

Lucifer, the Orange Leaky Ass Dog from 2008:

IMG_0047Lucifer, the slightly-less leaky ass dog from more recent days:

IMG_2076.JPG

I guess we need some Hair Club for Dogs around here.  I have sympathy.

Went to see some bands tonight, Something to Do and The english Beat.  S2D had a new single to play, dedicated it quit appropriately to the ladies;

We’ve been huge fans of these guys for years, and they are criminally un-appreciated.  But opening for the Beat must have been a thrill.

With regards to the show, I am gonna resurrect a post from the old blooger bloggo from the time I saw them – at a very lowish time  for me.

Searching For A Former Clarity
Mirror in the bathroom
Recompense
For all my crimes
of self defense.
Cures you whisper
make no sense
trajectory into
mental illness.

Sometimes you can recognize meaningful change through small details.
My office is downtown, located shouting distance from several entertainment venues including the huge Bradley Center and more intimate places like the PAC and Turner Hall. So it’s not unusual to see touring buses and trucks driving around or parking.
Sunday was a work day, as was Saturday. By midafternoon, while taking a short break to just gaze out the window, I watched a pair of generic touring buses pull into designated spaces alongside the street. In ones and twos, the occupants stepped off, stretching and looking around, and then each one of them did the same thing: pulled out their cell phone to take advantage of the signal and call – friends, family, some kind of home base. Modern technology has helped to soften the disorientation of touring, letting the crew and artists maintain connections and some level of sanity.
In this case, it was
The English Beat and their techs, here to play Turner and we were going to see them later that night. I turned back to the desk; I had to finish what I had in front of me in order to make the show on time.
buy a beach before next summer?
how do you feel in the morning?
if the light’s an awful bother
i could always close the curtains.
just close your eyes and count to ten
see if you still remember when
your life seemed easy, you had friends
but that was different than that was then
you’re drowning, you’re drowning

In 1980 I made my first presidential vote against a candidate, and then watched dumbfounded as America elected a suit that went on to stumble and lie his way through 8 years of deceit and corporate malfeasance. Against this backdrop, punk music was going through a mainstreaming into New Wave, wrapping the energy into a more commercial package; but the music industry had nearly dozed into irrelevance, and the DIY aesthetic released a restless generation of kids, seemingly thousands of new bands exploding into clubs and bars every month.
The English Beat rode this wave, but had a bit different agenda. Wrapping a positivist and multi racial message in propulsive danceable songs built on Jamaican ska and accelerated into a new decade, they were lumped in with the ‘Two-Tone” movement. Their first album was a relentless ska dance party, and many of my friends played it incessantly; but my real introduction was Special Beat Service, their third album, a much more pop-oriented album that Also served as their swan song. They disintegrated into
Fine Young Cannibals and General Public.
No it’s not a joke it’s cards on the table time
Yes I could have phoned
I could have spoke
But how to break the news without beaking your heart
Being dead don’t hurt,
No only dieing
Cards on the table time,
Sometimes it’s right to say goodnight.

But the band wore their hearts on their sleeve, and the combination of Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling on vocals, as well as the multiracial makeup of the band and their fans demonstrated that tolerance and unity not only worked, but you could dance to it.
The warmongering of the Right was decried in their actions and lyrics, one of the few New Wave bands that maintained the political outspokenness of the punk bands, without apology.
you tell me how can it work in this all white law
want a short sharp lesson,
want a third world war
i sometimes wonder if i’ll ever get the chance
just to sit with my children in a holiday jam
our lives seem petty in your gold grey hands
would you give a second thought
would you ever give a damn, i doubt it
stand down Margaret

we played that 3rd album nearly nonstop. During the early days of MTV, “Save It For Later” was a (short-lived) staple and we danced to the TV like kids in earlier days had danced to American Bandstand. Inevitably on Mondays, as we cleaned up the debris from the weekend, shelving one or two Beat albums was part of the process.
They never made it to Milwaukee, although Wisconsin appeared in their lyrics. Local bands covered Beat songs, and we made do.
And, as inevitably happens, we all got older….and lives shifted, as they will.
buy a beach before next summer?
how do you feel in the morning?
if the light’s an awful bother
i could always close the curtains.
just close your eyes and count to ten
see if you still remember when
your life seemed easy, you had friends
but that was different than that was then
you’re drowning, you’re drowning

I guess a few people noticed that I’ve been kind of AWOL of late, closing the old bloggo and generally making myself scarce. [Incidentally, I’d like to extend thanks to the folks who chased me down anyways. It’s weird, and a bit moving, to have someone you’ve never met express concern.]
One morning I looked at the New Post button, and realized I just didn’t have the energy, inclination, or temperament to throw anything out there; moreover, I dreaded the commenting if I just left a post without anything for some time. Commenting anywhere, in fact, seemed like more than a chore; with the prevailing mood, the likelihood of saying something appalling seemed like a near-certainty. In the end, I had no tolerance or patience, and the Internet is not kind to those without tolerance or patience.

So I pulled the plug and tried to concentrate on MeatSpace.

Strength is not the same as anger
Put the taste back into hunger
Searching the box?,
looking for what?
Pushing the gear back into top?
Put the first back into class
Lose your bottle break the glass
You’ll wind up high and dry with just this slow cold comfort.
For several weeks now, the Real World has been coming down like rain; like shit from an incontinent Moose (doncha love my Way with Words?). Professional life has rubbed me raw; old clients have refused to pay, new clients have refused to agree to reasonable fees and existing clients have been demanding full time attention far in excess of contractual and reasonable standards.
Rotating head, keeps on the right side
Colied up and tense remains on the lookout
Expects to be shot or get given the bullet.
Rotating head tries to look on the bright side of things.
For a normal business owner, or even at normal times, a bit of extra work doesn’t come as a surprise and can even be energizing. But the demands in construction season are critical and time intensive; construction schedules hinge upon the work and millions of dollars hang in the balance. Simple mistakes cost tens of thousands of dollars and Owners demand that culpability be assessed and compensated; one particular recent project is costing me a minimum of five figures, and that’s just my liability deductible. Larger firms carry errors and Omissions insurance in hundreds of million-dollar amounts, and one of the bigger firms in town may have $1,000,000 in claims in a given year.
Against this backdrop, we try to run a business, make a living, and maybe – just once in a while- achieve …. well, maybe not Art, but aesthetic satisfaction? Too much to ask?


Sugar ‘n’ stress,
Do everything at least twice
Catch your fingers in your private vices
Sugar ‘n’ stress
With a heart like ice
Hope heaven comes in a number of sizes.
In the middle of this, a Construction Inspector decides that I’m incompetent, and immediately sets out to disrupt my projects to the greatest extent possible to prove that I’ve screwed something up. Clients have no way of discerning whether his allegations have any validity, and meanwhile construction schedules are disrupted by Mr. Bureaucracy; everyone’s looking at me to resolve this and get things back on schedule, without affecting the budget, while my new friend smirks.
When two swords slashing at each other
Only sharpen one another
And in the long run even he’s your brudda’
Even though that kid’s a nazi

Of course, the internal flow of my office is further disrupted by the demands on my time. As we try to complete projects on time and keep the cash flow alive, I have little or no time to direct my younger associates or check their work. Inferior or inaccurate work is released into the real world, with predictable results; further confusion and errors in construction, needing more and more effort on my part ot keep things righted. It’s all supremely frustrating, and of course it bleeds over into the personal life; I had no time for family, friends, or exercising.
And perhaps inevitably, it seemed like I was losing my ability to cope.
one in thirty five is saying sorry through a bottle
say it’s your job to scrape a living up, that’s all it does
well think it back over it, hurts twice as much as living
itchy finger, finger, trigger, trigger
faster faster faster faster

I couldn’t even bring myself to care much about politics, during one of the most intriguing elections I’ve ever seen, and one of the most crucial. Not to mention one of the few that it seemed the Democrats couldn’t screw up.
Just like in the 80’s, we have been living through a greedy, self-centered Administration that is hostile to anybody without a lobbyist or a trust fund. The only foreign policy we seem to have is one of submission to American Empire, and the tragedy of September 11th distressingly gave the political powers the strength and support to force many of their priorities into reality. Wealthy Americans and corporations reaped profits and tax breaks unseen since the advent of the twentieth century, while the economy was starved and wages stagnated.


These thought are so unfair
“If somethings there then it’s worth taking.”
We know where our hearts are-right behind our wallets,
Yes and that’s where they’re staying
Grow up together but we grow apart
Always climbing up is our downfall.
A change of blood or a change of heart?
Another change of address will do no good.
Neo-conservative idealogues destabilized the Middle East through fear-mongering and deceit. Ronald Reagan was deified, and the new Presidnet lied to an extent that was inconceivable twenty years previously. Dissent was demonized as treason, as were liberals. Political dialogue narrowed and veered sharply rightward; torture became codified and sanctioned as offical American policy, while widespread surveillance of Americans got authorized at the highest levels in admitted violation of American laws in place since Watergate.
Hatred and bigotry are enshrined permanently into Republican policy, more explicit than anytime during my life.  The Southern Strategy writ large and driving nearly everything they do.  Fear of others – different races, gays, Muslims-  is the wedge they use to divide America into segments that they can dominate, while religious intolerance becomes the norm.  Civil rights are becoming eroded, while autocratic powermongers dice and degrade the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
our correspondent made to wait in the lobby
torn to pieces by three have a go bobbies
young swimmers in these sun dialling times
sweeping the nation with a dance called the breadline
it’s in our water, and our education
we are oppressed into association
cheated cheated
it’s a joke, but it’s not that funny
cheated cheated
change the truth until it’s worth
money
All of it has seemed like it didn’t even matter to me anymore. The abandonment of my practice appeared a reasonable response, even as the construction industry lurched into one of the worst years in decades and subseqent employment seemed like a long shot, attractive as it would be to just cash a paycheck again.
there’s a training camp when
you come from from saving nations
get a new job and a new leg
social rehabilitation
every time you thing of leaving
you get caught between the lines
it’s the training for the funfair
you get taken for a ride
you!
just get-a-job, get-a-job

Finally though, we made it to Turner Hall that Sunday night. Several friends were due to show up to, and I confess that I was pretty eager to see some friendly faces.

Naturally, most of them didn’t show.
Sooner or later your legs give way, you hit the ground
Save it for later, don’t run away and let me down.
Sooner or later you’ll hit the deck you’ll get found out
Save it for later don’t runaway and let me down, you let me down.

The Beat opened with a measured version of Whine and Grine/Stand Down Margaret, one of the classics from their debut. Dave Wakeling is the Sole Surviving member of the band and it was quickly apparent that the new (still multi-racial, of course) band was smoother and more skilled than the Beat was during their active years, adding a layer of American soul to the ska underpinnings. I sipped my beer, and looked forward to hearing some new twists on some old songs.
Until, that is, they played their second song.
So cross your fingers say you’re on high
Pretend you’re in den and see what life brings.
But always taking things as they come
Tends to make you forget to put anything in.
The longer you dwell the more it’s like hell
You sit by the well just making a wish.
To make it plain I’ll say it again
We’re all the same
It’s only a game.
With no interval between songs, they launched into “I Confess” the opening song from that album we loved so much. No new twists on this one, the piano charged directly into a straight-up version.
And much to my surprise, I discovered myself tearing up. Okay, hell, not tearing up; call it weeping.
the little you can expect to get
to get from anyone else
makes you look after number one
the only helping hand
you’ll ever be offered
is the one at the end of your own arm
draw in like a breath
it goes tight like a wire
you’re trying to shout
but your lungs are on fire
The memories of the feelings from all those years ago kept running through my mind. Every next song brought back the feelings of youth; idealism, energy. I remembered those years of dawning political awareness and maturing emotional outlook; I recalled the vibrancy of everyday life when another new day was a gift and nothing stopped us from reaching out to each other.
What then?
Do it right, do it now!
Here there, everywhere
Shouting out “I’m mad as hell”
He pushes his legs against the bed
And feels the triumph flooding through his head
He could conquer,
He could win,
Now that dying only means you’re not in next week’s programme
Stop being a baby
I would have expected a much noisier show to be responsible for….well, readjusting some internal relief valves, I guess. By the end of the night, we were dancing to the English Beat again, and the band was as good as anyone could have asked. Going to sleep that night, tired and sweaty and a mild ringing in the ears as “Save It For Later” played me to sleep on the iPod, I felt…. like I had some measure of control, again.
The next morning promised to be just as difficult as any preceding. But it seemed at least manageable, somehow.

And…. the past still keeps bumping into my consciousness. The potential of young years, and thinking there may have been something I missed.
I know I’m being overly dramatic here, and it can probably be dismissed as the onset of mid-life crisis; but when it’s quiet, I wonder if, all those years ago, I made the best decision when I sold my guitar to make my tuition payment.
Someone just smiled for no special reason,
It looks liken the smile’s come back into season
It’s so easy.
It doesn’t have to be a nice day,
Just the only one you’ve got
And it’s coming ready or not!

It’s very affecting to read those words from nearly a decade ago.  Although I can be grateful that things have changed since then, this post makes it so, so easy to re-live those feelings, that desperation.  And in some ways, the hands have just gone around again:  like the 80s, we watched a debacle of an election install a goon, a child, supported by idiots, fascists and staffed with greed heads and warmongers; while the meager economic improvements managed by That Black Man are being rolled back and a new massive recession is engineered; we watch actual Nazis marching in our country and being supported by political actors; while the rightwing insists that pedophiles and criminals should be elevated to high office, and immigrants of good will and good hearts are criminalized and sent back to war zones.

And against the horror and tragedy of that backdrop, these bands blew the shit out of Turner Hall, again Commanding us To Dance, and that the new dance, the Tolerance, can be our Soul Salvation.  And regardless of the foregoing, we see a continuing expansion of acceptance of gender and orientation diversity, a remarkable surge in women Not Taking This Shit From Anyone, anymore, and running for office.  Against this, the retrograde right wing and fascist whites are kicking, but like a chicken fresh from the chopping block, they are merely not recognizing that their time is done.  Yes, they are able to spray blood around before they lie quietly, and we have to be on our guard for fuckery at any level.  But they know; they know.  Even after managing to use every last ounce of influence to take over the government, they can’t get anything done, and they realize, it deep down.  It’s why they keep buying guns, shooting up schools, listening to Alex Jones and shooting themselves in rockets to prove that the Earth  is flat.

Yes, BBBB, I am bleeding music yet again.  Still.  Yet.  I am still not dead, and I’v been as close as dammit.  But this is the music I like, and it still speaks to me, even if it qualifies for oldies status.  And so:

Reflections on Seattle

Posted: September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

My other post title was “Sick Of Seattle”, a Smithereens song, but that seemed wrong because I am not.

 

We took a post-summer/pre-school (my wife is a hot co-ed) trip to the PNW to see what was up.  And it was Bumbershoot!

OK.  Tickets to Bumbershoot.  at least $150 per day.  Tickets to Summerfest:  AT MOST, $18 dollars per day, many days free with admission promotions.

Bands:  Bumbershoot has a very narrow array of bands, from a supposedly alternative point of view.  15 or so bands over 3 days.  Summerfest?  800 bands over 11 days, encompassing every genre known to man, and some we made up on the spot, like non-ironic polka hip-hop.

Grounds:  Summerfest is on a dedicated, permanent built facility with actual real toilets.  Bumbershoot is kind of haphazard with many ports-potties.  Also, Summerfest sports decent food from local vendors.

But we were staying north of downtown, across Lake Union near the college area, and we were able to avoid most of the idiocy.  Although I ripped the hell out of my shorts getting into an Uber on the way downtown, and came THIS CLOSE to purchasing a Utilikilt to cover my shame.

We had an amazing stretch of wonderful weather.  warm and sunny, very little rain to speak of.  Even some hot.  Almost all shorts weather, and we took advantage.  We took a boot tour around the bay, we went to Mount Rainier to see the asphalt trucks going up the mountain to deliver their spawn and return to their wintering grounds.

We took a tour of the underground aspects of the old parts of Seattle, which involve poop and prostitution and look much like the underground parts of Milwaukee, except with more headroom.  We did TWO comedy shows at the Underground comedy club, which were much fun, and observed Mental Illnesses on Parade in the Pioneer Square area.  We also mocked the Seahawks fans for the upcoming loss at Lambeau.

The food was great.  Seafood is the choice, but it is all so good.  Our first stop was a cafe called CITIZEN which gave me coffee and my wife a Bloody (not even close to a Milawaukee Bloody, but we allow).  I had some squid.

We saw many great things of art and commerce.  We toured the Boeing plant.  We saw the AMAZING museum of Flight, which had a newly redone Apollo display, and I could have happily spent a whole day there -Space stuff, a Blackbird, a P-38, a Mustang, a Concorde….

We also saw amazing art.  I love the Space Needle, fuck you if you think it is cheesy.  It is as cheesy as the St. Louis arch, and both are expressions of hope and ambition when this country gave two shits about the future.

The Experience Music Project has been re-purposed as the Museum of Pop Culture- MoPOP- and it is valid.  It is the second Frank Gehry I have been in; the first was the Toronto museum that I feel is a wonderful and sublime alteration and this one is the first crumpled paper model building of his I have been in.  And, as an architect, it is… underwhelming.  The outside is something you can’t see from any vantage point, not even from the Space Needle,  From the interior it is functional enough, but a museum is easy:  a series of sizable spaces with lighting and some circulation to the next series of sizable spaces.  The structure was sprayed with an orange-red color that only made sense in the Star Trek exhibit.  At least Frank did some color on the exterior for once.

So, the exhibits in this museum were actually, pretty great.  The guitar history exhibit was amazing, although I cared less about the ‘famous guy played this guitar’ section than the section that showed how electric guitars evolved.  The David Bowie section was great.  The Sci-Fi  section was also great, and the Star Trek display was seventeen kinds of awesome.  Regrettably, we were too tired at this point to do the add-on for the Jim Henson exhibit.

We also saw a permanent exhibit for the glass artist Chihuly.  How work is evocative and amazing and I can’t imagine how he hasn’t sued Frank Gehry for stealing all his early forms.  But I was especially taken by his charcoal sketches that made his early works, it reminded me of my discussions with former Friend of Zombie Jennifer about smudgies.  But I love his vitality in those sketches;  and later the he had physical disabilities that did not allow him to do the glass sculptures, he did multi-media descriptions of the work he wanted to do.  Look at this:21151446_10210030486699025_1808713031272769571_n

We had much coffee, and much beer.  And I will tell you this: the beer and coffee in the PNW are not, in any conceivable way, better than the beer and coffee in Milwaukee.

I will say that seattle has a different focus from us white assholes.  Seattle has many more Asian folks walking around.  far fewer African Americans.  did it bother us? not a bit.  We are liberals, and hearing someone speaking another language in our earshot is hardly anything we give a shit about.

We were white folks in a culture that say white is the default. How hard is that?

Milwaukee Music summer continued tonight with a YOOGE bill at the BEEMO Pavilion, which looks like this and seats about 5,000 with standing room for 5,000 more:

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It’s about the middle of a tour called “From Boston to Berkeley”

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A tour between two longtime friends and collaborators, Rancid and Dropkick Murphys; with additional acts Jake Burns (from Stiff Little Fingers) and the Bouncing Souls.

Tim Armstrong from Rancid started a record label called Hellcat back in the 90s, and the first band he signed was the Dropkick Murphys.  These guys go way back, and it showed; for the encore, both bands came out and played four covers:  Cretin Hop, Folsom Prison Blues, Take ’em All, and I Fought The Law.  But I get ahead of myself.

We started the night with a miscommunication and missed most of Jake Burns set; a shame, because he closed with Suspect Device.  Oh well, SLF is returning to a 300 person club in fall, I’ll catch up then.

The Bouncing Souls are an energetic, three chords punk band from the East Coast and plenty fun.  The stage crew look really awesome; they managed the stage changes with no fuss and minimal downtime.  There’s a lot of music to get through!

I was a bit surprised that Rancid was not the top of the bill.  I guess to me, Rancid always seemed like the more established, more prominent band with a classic album under its belt – the stellar “…and out come the wolves”.  But no matter, no matter.  Because here’s the thing; both bands play with all their hearts and all their blood, thundering punk music inflected by ska in the case of Rancid, or Irish music in the case of the Murphys.  They charge through their sets with abandon, spit and fire and devil take the hindmost.

Rancid stormed the stage, and played an excellent mix of new and old.  My buddy Rory wanted them to play Timebomb as a closer, to bookend the Old 97s who close with their song of the same name, and he was only close.  He insisted I tell him what it would be, and hated me when I told him.  Spoilers suck, even for punks, I guess.

He also mocked me when he saw me working my phone in the middle of the Dropkick Murphys show:  “are you blogging?”  “no, just downloading the new album”  “yes, modern technology is wonderful”

Our seats were in the bleacher seats sections, which are still not bad in this venue, and because I am an idiot we went into the wrong section but nobody ever showed up to make us move so we had decent seats.  AND we were directly behind a man and his 9 year old son, who rocked out through the show until he was ready to stop rocking and go to sleep.  I have been there, believe me.  We took a photo for them with the band in the backdrop and asked them whether the Youngling was a drummer or a guitarist; Dad grinned and said “we go back and forth”.  Parenting Level:  Platinum.

Dropkick Murphys had an extensive musical intro, and maybe cut that back, guys?  But then hit the stage and fucking EXPLODED.  There was a bit of usual time for the sound guys to boil it down, but man, they were good for a forty-seven person show.  Well, it seemed like 47 people.  SO MANY.  Playing guitars, and basses, and pipe, and chest-piano, and bagpipes, and more guitars, and loud voices….

Of course they played Barroom Heroes, of course they played Shipping Up To Boston.  But the new songs were EXCELLENT as well, especially Blood.

My good friend Rory, who has seen EVERYBODY, has never seen any of these bands and kept thanking me for getting him a ticket.  Although he admitted that he was having some difficulties acclimating to his medical regimens and was a bit more than goofy, especially when walking (I will testify that he was not drinking).  I reminded him that in a short while, he bought us tickets to see Luna on my birthday, so it is even as fuck.

I spoiled it up above, but the bands did a gathered full stage encore of everybody available.  To me, the most amusing thing was that the wings of the stage were filled with people watching the shows, dancing along, and shouting on the choruses.  Friends and family and other bands they know who want to be part of an amazing show.

Local Zombie favorites Whiskey of the Damned have opened for the Dropkick Murphys, and if they weren’t in the midst of their own work tour, they would have been here and maybe on this stage….A stage where the band brought up almost anyone from the pit for the final song.  It took longer to clear the stage than it did for the song….

And then everyone was in for the encore.  The stage was filled, and it was cover songs that meant great things to everyone.

It reminds me of the time in Ireland.  the Refusal to allow badness to stop your willingness to enjoy life.  A few years back, I had some very bad times on my own behalf, and much darkness.  And one point, I wondered if I could ever find a place I could find joy in music ever again.  And then, in the midst of one of the worst oppression in modern time, everyone found life in drinking and  music to help them find expressions of life…

Like I said I wondered,  But I recovered, I went to Summerfest, I found the Mekons, and it is such that punk makes me feel alive again.

HERE I AM.