Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We All Die Young

Posted: October 8, 2018 in Fridge Note, Uncategorized

OK, this is weird and I am not certain.

There is a local neighborhood that I worked hard to design new residential and commercial design.  I became friends with the director of the district, and had much respect for him.  He died a little while ago.

I have talked about my participation in planning efforts in the past, and I worked on several projects in the area.  And some of them moved forward, in various forms, without me.  Whatever, you know.

But there are two really cool projects being opened up this week, and I have received invitations from several participants.

But here’s the thing(s).  one of the architects on the projects was my former partner.  And one of the developers on the project are ones that I have worked with much in the past.  And one of the architects is one that I worked with on a prior project, and another one whose principals I know from college….

But I called one of the developers the other day, and he was amazingly forthcoming in how he felt that those architects were unsatisfactory.  In fact, he said they had to discharge the firm that my former partner now heads up (and since I am a bitter zombie, I will  mention that she still uses the name I came up with) and that the other firm, whose principals I know from college, were difficult to work with.  It was weird for me to hear these comments, because that is not how I know these people, even though our other history is different.  I was politically silent and thanked him for his compliments he made toward me.

So here is where I am unclear and unable to make a firm decision.  I have been invited, by two different participants in the projects, to the grand opening on Tuesday.  (they threaten attendance by Scott Walker, but since this is Bronzeville, a predominantly African-American neighborhood, I think we are safe in figuring that he will not feel safe enough to show.)

These are projects I helped to move forward through participation in the amazing charrette efforts, not to mention my prior projects in the neighborhood, that were spearheaded by Welford, who became a good friend.

So, what I am struggling with, is do I show up?  Is that the best approach? I have no doubt that I can treat my former partners and colleagues in appropriate ways.  but Should I care?

Well, after writing this out, I recognize that being an adult and being able to leave all kinds of shit behind, also in recognition of the (un-prompted) badmouthing of my former colleagues and otherwise respected professionals, is that being there, and being gracious and professional, is going to be a best approach.

But this is my blog, so I get to work out my issues right here…..

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That quote, of course, is from the estimable Big Bad Bald Bastard, Fellow hardcore libtard and martial artist, in the long-ago time when we all bloggered.

Wife Sublime likes to travel, and coordinates with the basic school schedule; before, because of Young Zombie and now because she is working on here second Master’s degree.  YZ has shambled off on his own,  which frees us up to go places with better food and wider range of experiences.  but this fall, we went to…of all places… Nashville.  I KNOW!  And we did a day trip to Huntsville.  I KNOW!

So what I learned about Nashville is that this is, essentially, where the music industry discovered how to be an industry, based on the radio broadcasts of country music and what became the Grand Ole Opry.  This is where the pattern of sucking talent in, churning it in, making them play the songs selected by the labels, and doing it over and over again, became the pattern.  Sun Records; Sam Phillips took in people like Elvis, Cash, Roy Orbison and figured out where there talents were best focused;  This became what is known as A&R.  Then these folk went to Nashville and cranked out hits on an assembly line at RCA Studio B.

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Yeah, that’s me at Elvis’ favorite Steinway in the studio.  I used to be able to play a ninth interval cuz HUGE hands, but I broke my little finger shoveling snow and now I suck.

 

But here’s the thing.  There have been so many people for so long, coming to Nashville, and not just for country music, that this is a place that revolves around music, that exists for and because of music.  Jimi Hendrix said that he learned how to really play guitar in Nashville, and the Musician’s Hall of Fame had video of him playing in a standard R&B band, but you could see him starting to play.

We spent over two hours in the Cash Museum, which is small, but man how many times can you watch him sing Hurt?  Well, for me, I can always watch Johnny sing Hurt.  Trent Reznor admits that that is no longer his song.  I got a t-shirt which I will likely wear to bed until it falls apart, and a magnetic “Million Dollar Quartet” bottle opener on our fridge.

We have visited many places, and even New Orleans and Ireland did not have the high music content that we did in Nashville.  One of my sisters-in-law said she was surprised to hear country music at the party, and the thing is; much of  the music I love is at least country-adjacent, if not proper country.  Listen to Robbie Fulks and tell me that’s not country, and we have tickets for him later in fall.

We went to the country Music Hall Of Fame, of course.  Also the Musicians Hall of Fame, which is WAY less country oriented.  And a fair number of the service people we met, they were in punk or noise or other kind of bands. Everyone we met, they were musicians….

Based on recommendations of our friends, we went to a place called the Station Inn.  It is noted as the local musicians’ place to see other musicians, and once was a hangout for Bob Monroe.  We saw Jon Byrd, and he admitted that he learned everything he knew about playing guitar and writing songs in Nashville;  because there is no choice and the competition is fierce and stupendous.  And, of course, he was one of the best shows I have ever paid 12 bucks for.

Because we know history is history, we knew we needed to see a show at the Ryman Auditorium, the original location of the Grand Ole Opry (you go see a show at the overdone theme park version, there is a circle of contrast wood that was stolen from the Ryman when they figured it was going to be torn down).  Our choice was fish, as Rollins once said, so we went to see Lucero with Langhorne Slim opening up.  It was good and for my part, I felt the resonance of the structure with the spirits of the past.  They rocked kind of hard, and I felt the ghosts resonate with us….

 

But look at this; we had bunches of music in various forms, and while most were country, not all of them were.  And being a music fed zombie, I took them all; in the museums, I saw guitars that were worn and played and part of the continuum.  They all still vibrated with the energy of their players, fuck me if they didn’t.  walking through the Musicians Hall of Fame was thick with remembrance….

And so there you have it it, we spent no end of time in country music bullshit one thing or another.  Including  RCA Studio B, which was instrumental in making artists…. but even with that , the musicians in the city still work their asses off to get to one or the other levels.  Everyone in this goddam city plays or sings, and they all are working to be better or get another opening or chance….

And that, fellows and guinea pigs, is what I always say and shout out to you on an unrelenting basis.  There is an unrelenting amount of music being produced by amazing bands at any different directions you ever have seen.

At the end of the day, and tomorrow too.  There is a place for music.

But I bleed music.  And I discovered that there is a City that, while they may not bleed music when cut, they certainly ooze  music when squeezed.

And damnitall, and against all odds, I felt at home there……..

One of the most difficult bargains we, as human persons, ever make is when we take small fuzzbuckets into our lives for care and comfort.  Knowing that their span of days is much less than ours; it is at one strike both lovely and amazingly blind to the eventual end, when a beloved friend has to go on to the find their place in the heart of the sun.

In our own damn house, we have been entitled to share and enjoy the companionship of three cats, one guinea pig, and one Big Hairy Dog, and this does not count my own personal track record with dogs, cats, and guinea pigs.  Not to mention the current roster of two cats and one Big Orange dog.

And whenever any one of them leaves us, we still feel the pangs of loss and sorrow.

I have been disdainful about the Orange, leaky-ass dog, but after the Event (I guess I may have to start referring to it as different timelines, like the New Star Trek universe.  Initial Timeline, Mekons timeline, how does that work?)  We were walking buddies.  I made her walk more briskly, as that was what my Watch said I needed, when she wanted to do sniffing and peeing….

And man;  I have to salute her ability to control her bladder and dispense it in small bits on all the best doggy places in the neighborhood.  I wish.

The New Timeline Event, where brisk walks are not the issue and I came out of the hospital with foot issues, I still like to take the Aging Buddy Walks.  But she gets tired, usually before  I do, and I am considerate to let her sniff and pee and take her time.

Because she starts to limp noticeably pretty early on a walk, and if we go too far she limps for a while after.  In fact, she is having problems with the stairs.

And here’s the thing.

Lucy and I were never the best of friends in the early days.  It was when I coined the “Lucy, the orange, leaky-assed dog” moniker, when she would sit on the couch and fart at me.

But when we both suddenly realized we were old, we came to terms.  Walking is a pack activity, and we did it.  For our own reasons, but there’s nothing wrong with that, you know?

And so tonight, I watched Lucy limp to her sleeping pad in the kitchen and not going upstairs because that entails a bunch of stairs, and it became plain that this is not going to be going on much longer.  And I remember back when our previous love, Mieshka, woke up in the morning with no ability to control her back half, and we knew there was no alternative but to schedule the Final Trip.  I carried her out to the yard for any pee or poop, and then carried her into the car and into the vet’s

Lucy’s nose has gone just as white as my own damn hair.  And our joints are similarly stiff, and we both need to walk more.  After a rough beginning in our relationship, we are suddenly congruent….

But here’s the thing.

 

When walking by her in the Kitchen, on my way to get a new drink, I recognize that she is struggling.  She limps from visits to the dog park or from long walks, but dammit she insists on these activities, because DOG.

But I know she is fading.

And the thing is, after all this weird history, I can now see that this is going to hit.  Hard.  HARD. Orange and I have been through so much in the past few years, and I now recognize she supported me during the heart attack and the Pulmonary Embolism, looking up to me and being so loving and willing to go for a walk at any given moment.

But the clock is ticking on that, and that is part of the fucking contract we enter into with fuzzbuckets when we take them into our lives and our hearts.

And this goddam stupid orange asshole has become part of our hearts, yeh, part of my stupid heart, and I know that when she can no longer be a big farting part of the world, I will carry her to whatever destinations, even if I am crying while I do so.

So here’s some before and after for the Beloved Orange:

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Dammit, You big stupid orange dog, I love you.

Well, this has laid here barely twitching for about long enough, don’t you think?

Do not, however, think I am suddenly going to go all foul mouthed and rant-fueled.  I am somewhere else right now, and it probably has to do with my SECOND near miss involving my traitorous heart.

But I am currently on my third watch-through of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and enjoying it as much as the first time, if not more.

It is a period piece from the 50s, about a woman who spent her entire life working toward the expectations of the time:  college for an MRS degree, jobs from the parents, kids, and apartments in the best parts of Manhattan.  BUT; her husband, having a stupid hobby of doing comedy in basement clubs, leaves her because she is funnier than he is (he relies on stealing from Bob Newhart records).

The night he leaves, she gets drunk and takes the train (for the first time) downtown to the grungy basement club and stumbles onto stage, where she free associates her frustrations and anger about being left, and then exposed her tits. Resulting in arrest, and which she managed to get bailed out at the same time as Lenny Bruce.

She doesn’t remember the thing about the boobs, but the scene where she completely misunderstands the legal process of courts is fucking adorable.

And during a terribly awry family get-together, she drinks up and then goes to the club, and the bartender says “here we go” for another great free-association rant.  And she is AMAZING at quashing anyone who tries to interrupt her or heckle/.

From there, it gets better, trust me. it is awash in period details,  and it is admittedly kind of a fantasy in the way it shows women at a time they were hardly allowed any agency outside of shopping for groceries.

So it’s kind of a fantasy.  But it has the rapid fire attitude of old school farces like Bringing Up Baby, but with an attitude and language that is contemporary.

And it visits the ideas of free speech and women’s rights in a way that is clever and humorous. AND it includes a cameo from Jane Jacobs, which very nearly dropped me to the floor laughing, because I realized I was one of the few that recognized her….

In any case, it is so well done, and so fucking funny and so fucking intense, I watched it once by myself, once with my wife, and once more by myself after I listened to the star, Rachel Brosnahan, on Marc Maron’s podcast.

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

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.

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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.

 

 

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?