Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Collage #2: "Working" Posted by Hello

Collage #1: "Stuff Magazine, Aug. 2004 - Jan. 2005" This one is too big and the light is too bad in our apartment to get a good photo. Still, it's a little too obvious and busy, and the target is too easy, but I had fun getting drunk and cutting and gluing shit. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Peep this

Someone peeked in our window last Thursday at 2 a.m. It was unsettling because the blinds were closed, so he was down on all fours trying to peer in. I don't know how long he'd been staring at me, but I was sitting at the computer, burning a compilation CD, and I suddenly felt the distinctly creepy sensation of being watched. I turned my head and saw another head at the corner of the window, staring right at me. I said "What the fuck" and walked toward the window, at which point the head jerked back and disappeared. What was this douchebag up to? Why was he on all fours, trying to peek into my blinds-closed window at 2 a.m. in a well-lit, heavily foot-trafficked section of the apartment complex? If he'd hung around longer than a minute, someone would have seen him. Was he an exhibitionist, a pervert, a burglar, a rapist, a murderer, a drunk who fell over and/or leaned over to puke and decided to check out the surroundings? Was he specifically targeting me or my wife, or was it a random peek? If he's smaller and/or weaker than me, I hope he comes back so I can beat the hell out of him. What did he want? It's unsettling. If he was hoping to catch me jerking off to Internet porn sites, he was sorely disappointed. I only whack off in my car as I drive pantsless past area high schools while I listen to homemade cassettes of me reading passages from the Koran on a boombox strapped into the passenger seat. So nice try, pervert, but you didn't get much of a show. Better luck next time. Jerk.
Seriously, that window-peeking shit is creepy.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Who's hot, who's not

These dudes are awesome: Mike Watt and Mark E. Smith
These dudes are not awesome: Henry Kissinger and David Schwimmer

Currently reading: Herzog on Herzog edited by Paul Cronin
I like me some Herzog movies.
Favorite paragraph from the book so far (Herzog talking about why there are so many odd, peripheral shots of animals in his films): "Years ago I was searching for the biggest rooster I could find and I heard about a guy in Petaluma, California, who had owned a rooster called Weirdo that weighed thirty pounds. Sadly Weirdo had passed away, but his offspring were alive, and guess what? They were even bigger. I went out there and found Ralph, son of Weirdo, who weighed an amazing thirty-two pounds! Then I found Frank, a special breed of miniature horse that stood less than two feet high. I told Frank's owner I wanted to film Ralph chasing Frank - with a midget riding him - around the biggest sequoia tree in the world, thirty meters in circumference. It would have been amazing because the horse and the midget together were still smaller than Ralph, the rooster. But unfortunately Frank's owner refused. He said it would make Frank, the horse, look stupid."

I watched these movies:
On the big screen: Kikoku (Takashi Miike)
On video:
The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni)
Van Gogh (Maurice Pialat)
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (Tim Burton)
The Oak (Lucian Pintilie)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The grim reaper loves to boogie

The singer from Molly Hatchet and the guitarist from Foghat died this week. Since these things supposedly come in threes, I'm glad I was never a member of Grand Funk Railroad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Vomit, excrement, pus, and bile

I'm so glad South by Southwest is over. I'll only have to read about it in the Chronicle for another fucking eight weeks, then a few months' reprieve before they start talking about next year's edition. A million shitty bands are back where they belong, toiling in obscurity before they finally wise up and ask for the paper route back. I love music, but there are too many bands. I will never catch up on all the old stuff I want, let alone the five million new bands a week I'll never get a chance to hear. The arteries are clogged. Unless you want to play music so badly it will destroy every fiber of your being if you don't, stop bothering everybody. You can't throw a rock in Austin without hitting a band, but I'd say less than one percent of these motherfuckers are doing anything besides licking scraps off somebody else's plate. Sometimes, I get so fucking tired of rock and roll. It seems like a huge waste of energy and terrible fashion sense. Here I am now, though, sitting in my apartment, listening to rock, loving it. Maybe I'm getting tired of seeing music live, having to sit through shitty opening bands, chatty assholes who always stand behind me, people who pump their fists constantly and shout the name of the band incessantly, people whose hair and clothes and dancing styles were all seemingly chosen specifically to enrage me. I'm too irritable in a crowd. I prefer my people in small groups. I need to just stay home and listen to records. When will I learn? Never leave the house. Never. Never ever. On that note, I attended one SXSW show on Thursday night before flying back to Nebraska the next day to attend my dad's wedding, the Guided by Voices hoot night. If you're unfamiliar with the hoot night format, it consists of lots of bands playing the music of one particular artist. Except this time, members of GBV were there in person, playing a few songs themselves, including Robert Pollard and Doug Gillard. Highlights: Calexico. I don't know how to tell you how good they were without resorting to words like "destroyed," "ruled," "blew minds," etc., but they were the best thing I saw. They did a ridiculously excellent version of "Non-Absorbing." Also, Moonlight Towers did justice to my favorite GBV song of ever, "Smothered in Hugs." Lowlights: The show was too fucking long, with too many fucking bands. I was tired and wanted to sleep. Also, too many people who decided it would be a good idea to pay ten bucks, stand in line for an hour, attend a rock show, and have a loud conversation through the entire thing. I'll never understand this behavior, though it seems these assholes are outnumbering the rest of us with each passing day. Maybe it has something to do with the cellphone culture that has poisoned every available space of our fucking country. Cell phones have done more to destroy the very fabric of our culture than every terrorist combined. We're not long for this world if we keep regressing at our present rate, and I welcome the coming apocalypse if it means every cell phone in the world will be obliterated along with us. I don't want to hear your private conversations any more than I want to watch you take a shit. How would you like it if I carried a toilet with me everywhere I went and constantly shat in public? I imagine it would wear out its novelty factor pretty goddamn fast. I'm not interested in your fucking mouth defecations, either. Use your cell phone in emergencies and when there's no one around who has to listen to your inane conversations. Otherwise, behave like a civilized human being and leave your fucking phone at home or in your car. I hate you. Also, the whole Uncle Bob/beer/drunkfest/audience-as-enabler/it's not a GBV show unless everybody's drunk thing is really annoying. Don't get me wrong. My liver's been on the W.C. Fields diet since I was 16, but my interest in GBV is based on all those great songs written by Robert Pollard and the fact that he didn't get his break until he was in his late thirties. Isn't that more interesting? Also, out of the 12 or 13 times I saw GBV live, the shows where they were trashed (and there's less of those than you might think) were by far the weakest shows they did. Alas, a beer-free GBV show would have probably gone down as well as Kiss without their makeup. But most of Kiss' songs suck, so that's not really an accurate comparison. "Rock and Roll All Night?" Heard it lately? You could put together a supergroup featuring a Capuchin monkey, a retarded child, a leaf blower, and the dug-up remains of General Robert E. Lee, and you'd get a more competent rock band. Kiss needs its makeup. Those guys are businessmen. Businessmen don't belong on the stage. They belong in hell, which is where they'll all end up if the belief system I rejected as a child actually turns out to be true. Of course, if that happens, I'll be in there with them. Business majors. What the fuck's wrong with these people? What a waste of life. Majoring in business. Have fun making that money, asshole. It's more money than I'll make, but your life is an ugly, worthless, morally bankrupt hole. Business. Yuck.
I had a few celebrity sightings last week, though nothing as exciting as Garry Shandling cruising my crotch. While standing in line at the GBV thing, David Johansen walked by. He's a pretty amazing-looking guy, with his exaggerated features and lined, craggy face. And he was in the New York Dolls. Plus. He was also Buster Poindexter. Minus. But the New York Dolls. Hell, yeah. Then, in the airport the next day, I saw Fatboy Slim and Kinky Friedman and a lot of people who were probably in some shitty band that nobody cares about except for a few random British journalists. I wasn't as excited seeing these guys as I was when I spotted David Johansen, but I'm a fan of absurdity, and there's something absurd about Fatboy Slim standing in line behind me buying a turkey sandwich at an airport sports bar. I'm going to go eat a popsicle.

Listening to: Space Needle - The Moray Eels Eat the Space Needle
I bought this for 99 cents in the cutout bin at the record store where I worked in college. I've only listened to it twice since then. I was under the mistaken impression it was mostly forgettable, generic indie rock, and I planned on selling it. I don't know why I remembered it that way. The album pleases me. I will allow it to remain in my chambers.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Join the Can-Smashing Robot Society

It's pledge drive time again. The costs of running this free blog are astronomical, and we couldn't do it without reader support. For a limited time only, the first 25 donors will receive membership in the Can-Smashing Robot Society upon receipt of the cash. Donors will also be required to recite and sign the 10-Point Can-Smashing Robot Society Mission Statement. Donors will receive a chipped coffee cup depicting the face of Saddam Hussein with a target painted over it, bearing the legend "So Damn Insane." They will also receive a mint-condition 1998 penny and a book on tape featuring the whimsical musings of funnyman Paul Reiser. To donate, send $600 to Conrad Bain, c/o TV's "Diff'rent Strokes," attn: Can-Smashing Robot.

Mission Statement
1. I promise to reject the fetishization of nostalgia. (i.e., "Gary, Indiana was so much better 10 years ago. You should have seen it then. The murder rate was even higher.")
2. I will do my best to destroy non-aesthetic repetition and uphold aesthetic repetition.
3. As far as I am concerned, David Lee Roth is the only singer in Van Halen.
4. I just don't understand the longevity and appeal of the television shows "Friends," "Will & Grace," "MASH," and "Mad TV."
5. All paid work is degrading. I will avoid it as much as I can and change jobs regularly.
6. Guided By Voices is not only the greatest band in the history of rock, but also the most ideal.
7. Mexican food is life.
8. In my darker moments, I sometimes feel that everything I enjoy is unworthy, with the exception of Black Sabbath.
9. I declare war on all other blogs, and the written word itself.
10. Though they will one day enslave us and use our ejaculates to power a complex system of windmills, robots are fantastic.
Sign here ___________

My bullshit detector broke

I watched Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” on DVD a few nights ago, curious to see it again after living in Austin for five years. I’d seen it twice before, in Nebraska, so I watched it this time not for its content, but for a chance to check out the landscape of a city nine years before I lived in it. It didn’t fill me with envy, to say the least. Sure, there’s lots more traffic now, and a lot of bars and clubs used as locations are now Starbucks, etc., but is 1989/1990/1991 Austin somehow aesthetically superior to 2005 Austin? I have absolutely no authority to answer this question, having only lived in Austin since 2000, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m right, so I’m going to answer the question anyway. The answer is no. Old Austin is not better than New Austin. And, judging solely from the predominance of white-man dreadlocks, horrible fashion choices, and lack of hygiene on display by many cast members, I’m going to have to say that New Austin is hugely superior to Old Austin. But that’s because I’m part of the problem, right? I’m one of the assholes who had the audacity to move here and help ruin things for a lot of aging hippies and punk rockers who never leave their fucking houses anyway. Yep, I’m one of those pieces of shit who destroyed this odd little college town, poisoning its feisty independent spirit, helping to turn it into, may God have mercy on my soul, a MEDIUM-SIZED CITY!???&*!!!! What a complete piece of shit I am. How dare I? How dare I, indeed?
In all fairness, it wasn’t “Slacker” that caused this irritation, but an extra on the disc, a ten-minute trailer for a documentary about a beloved restaurant/bar near UT’s campus, Les Amis, that is now a Starbucks. I can feel sympathy pains. I hate that independent, Mom and Pop stores are dropping like flies, Wal-Marts and Best Buys and Starbucks and Barnes and Nobleses taking their places. I fear that in 100 years the entire Northern half of the U.S. will be one continuous strip mall, from coast to coast, and the entire Southern half will be a parking garage for the strip mall. But that’s not what this documentary, or at least this trailer, was really about. Sure, that was its supposed pretense, but the utter fucking whinefest about Les Amis’ demise was really a bunch of aging hipsters’ crybaby tantrums about not being 23 anymore. Boo hoo, this bar I really liked is not there anymore, though even if it was still there, I’m too fucking old to be there since it’s located two blocks from the fucking university. Boo hoo, I have a beer gut, I’m balding, and I have teenage kids. Boo hoo, I’m not fucking cool anymore. That must mean that Austin sucks now. Boo hoo, I sit on my couch, smoke pot, and watch TV all night, every night. That must mean there are no more bands that are any good, no more clubs worth a shit, nothing left in Austin to do. This town’s been picked clean by scavengers from California and the Yankee states (a common complaint that makes no sense. In the five years I’ve spent in Austin, most of the out-of-state license plates I’ve seen are either from New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, or, would you believe, Nebraska. The next person who bitches about Californians ruining Austin should picket in front of my apartment. I see at least ten Nebraska plates for every California plate). I’m sure every city has a tired group of morons ranting about how cool it used to be. “You should have been here in 1926. This town was really somethin’ then.” In Austin, it’s an epidemic. In my opinion, a city is defined by its people and its landscape, not its places of commerce. P.S. Louis Black is an insufferable blowhard and the Austin Chronicle sucks.

Here’s some more idiocy. My wife received this piece of junk mail yesterday, junk being the operative word. I quote:
“If ‘sexy high-heel shoes’ are four of your favorite words…
If you believe a girl can never have too many handbags, dresses, t-shirts, or lacy underthings…
If you know that shopping is one of life’s most fabulous pleasures, then…
Announcing Lucky.
The Magazine About Shopping.”
I’m not going to get into why this is so terribly revolting, because it’s fucking obvious, but if this sounds like a great magazine to you, I hope your death is terrifying, painful, and slow.

The idiocy never stops. I was in Fredericksburg, Texas yesterday with my wife, her sister, and her parents, so her dad could do business with a trucker (he designs truck trailers). First, we went to Enchanted Rock, which is awesome. I won’t go into why this enormous rock formation is awesome, for fear of sounding too much like some Zen-hippie-glory of nature asshole, but it’s great. Fredericksburg’s Main Street is another story. The town was founded in the 1800s as a largely German settlement, and the architecture is predominantly Germanic. This means Main Street is historically interesting, pretty, but full of tourists and touristy shops selling touristy knick-knacks. There is even a store that sells Christmas stuff. Year-round. I find this unsettling. Also, I hate knick-knacks. However, this wasn’t what disturbed me. What did disturb me was the amount of pro-vigilante gun violence knick-knacks nestled amid the folksy, cutesy items. Examples: In a candy store, predominantly filled with kids, stood a rack of jokesy bumper stickers. The most prominently displayed sticker featured a man lying dead in the street, covered in blood, another man standing on his porch, smoking rifle in hand. The sticker read: NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH. At a coffeehouse/smoothie/sandwiches shop furnished with folksy Old West d├ęcor, a real gun, albeit trigger-less, hung above the register with the legend: WE DON’T CALL 911. Is the tiny city of Fredericksburg, tourist trade notwithstanding, really such a hotbed of crime? What is wrong with these people?
In other idiotic news, there will be no new posts for a few days, because I am going back home to attend my father’s wedding.

Listening to: Lou Reed – Berlin
Roxy Music – Country Life
I guess I’m just in the mood for Germanic-influenced art rock tonight, possibly influenced by my trip to Fredericksburg. “Both albums are the aural equivalent of Phil Spector, Kurt Weill, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder playing got your nose” – Robert Christgau, The Village Voice*
Also, I like the partially nekkid ladies on the cover of the Roxy Music album. Tee hee.
Silver Jews - Starlite Walker

Currently reading: The Woman Chaser by Charles Willeford

*not an actual quote, but Robert Christgau is almost as pompous as Louis Black

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The light! It burns my eyes! It burns!

I went to the eye doctor today and my eyes are still dilated. I look like I swallowed about 10 tabs of acid. The light bulb in the room I'm in is hurting my eyes. But that's alright. I'm getting new lenses put in my old frames next week. I'd been having a lot of headaches and trouble seeing in the distance, and now that will end. I had to drive home with those ridiculous plastic sunglasses on after the exam. You'd think people would know what they are by now, but about 20 people looked at me like I was wearing a hat made of neon penises ejaculating cupcakes. When I was stopped at a light, a woman sitting at the bus stop exploded in laughter, nudged the man next to her, and pointed at me. It was a good exercise for me in overcoming self-consciousness. Also, my wife laughed in my face when I came home. I tried to talk to her about what to have for dinner, but she told me, "I'm sorry. I can't talk to you in those things." It's a hard life being the man in the comically oversized fake sunglasses.

Listening to: Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80s, Vol. 9 (containing the song that is a microcosm of the entire decade, but oddly enough not a hit, "Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)" by Q-Feel, possibly the most hilariously bad song ever written)
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Currently reading: Nothing But Blue Skies by Thomas McGuane

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


The fine people at my old job are getting slammed with weekend work again
which makes me feel good about no longer being there, but the whole unemployment novelty is wearing off, and I'm chomping at the bit to once again regain a little financial independence so I can actually go out and do stuff and buy stuff and live a little bit. It is impossible to have a fulfilling life. It is impossible. I just want a job I can fucking tolerate. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is.

Watched the Oscars last night. Surprised to find out Counting Crows are still together. Not surprised to find out they're still hyper-shitty. I liked Chris Rock's monologue, but the audience seemed afraid to laugh. Celebrities are pussies. If they actually said what they thought instead of sucking each other's dicks all the time, I don't know how to finish this sentence but I would like them all much better. Memo to the Academy: Can we have just one Oscar telecast without having to see the horse-faced diva Julia Roberts, neither as a nominee nor presenter? Could a more despicable human being exist in the annals of celebritydom? I say no. If I were forced to stare into her soul, I would pluck my eyes from their sockets. She is a terrible demon from hell, a horrific creature who befouls and besmirches everything she touches. She is evil, I say, pure, unmitigated EVIL. Also a terrible actress. In addition, I'm pleasantly surprised a movie I think is great, "Million Dollar Baby," won the Best Picture Oscar. That never happens. Or does it? I did a little research, checking past Best Picture Oscar winners. Oddly, the last time a movie I thought was great won, it was another Clint Eastwood-directed film, "Unforgiven," in 1992. But who cares? Why am I still talking about the Oscars?

I watched these movies last week:
Toute Une Vie (Claude Lelouch)
The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer)
The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax)
SubUrbia (Richard Linklater)

Listening to: Oceanic by Isis

Currently reading: The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
I didn't realize it until after I bought this book, but the binding is badly broken. Every time I turn the page, the previous page falls out. Hardened pieces of glue fall into my lap when I jostle the book too much. It's hard to read on the toilet due to its delicate condition. Somehow, this makes me feel a weird little affection for it. It's almost like the book is wasting away before my eyes and has chosen me for its last days on earth. The edition I'm reading was printed in 1971. Where did it live before it came to my place to die? Oh, the adventures it must have had, the journeys it must have taken. The highs, the lows. The glories, the misfortunes. You may be falling apart, little book, but your legacy lives in my heart forever.
(Don't tell the book, but it's kind of a pain in the ass to read in its present condition. Oh god, please don't tell the book.)