On the other side of a roll of dark photos is my sister, enjoying the last time that I saw her. A set of images underexposed and dark taken from a $5.95 disposable camera that was taking priceless pictures we thought at the time were disposable too. They’re almost all pictures of me and Ro, or me and Mom, or me and Nugget and Ted, or me and Rex… or just me. On the other end of the camera was my sister. And one would think she came all that way just to take some pictures of me.
It seems so selfish now of the last time we had together to have a handful of barely legible photos of everyone but her. Mom sent me all these pictures of us… and I have too few pictures of her. On my mantle in the living room is the few we have together, almost all when I was either just waking up or just going to bed; when she was a bundle of energy and I was the uncool older bro.
For her birthday all Vickie ever wanted was picture frames. But, she never had a picture of her that didn’t have her with one of her friends. Her room was a collage of her life and the lives she touched. Smiling faces holding up bottles of beer, making obscene gestures, standing next to the geographic center of the United States. I keep my pictures in a pair of shoeboxes in a closet.
I wonder if now I should go buy some frames.
Hearty congratulations to our friends in Sasquatch and the Sickabillys for winning the WBRU Rock Hunt. Both performances were stellar and between their professional show and unbelievable work ethic, the better band most definitely won.
After catching their winning performance, the boys and I headed out to the Cape to begin recording a little demo for you cats and kittens. I have to admit a certain amount of elitism when I so casually say, “head out to the Cape” almost as though I am joining the Lowes and Hassenfoofers (of the textile Hassenfoofers) for a fine bit of yachting. Though the locale is high class, our weekend started out anything but with an hour and a half attempt to actually gain access to Ted’s parents’ summer home, frustrated by the small detail of a missing key. While I worked on breaking in through a side door that was missing its deadlock with a pair of visegrips and baling wire, the boys searched around for the missing key with Nugget earning the MVP by finding it precisely where it was supposed to be.
Nugget said as he held up the key, “I know you don’t believe in God, but there is a reason why you met me.”
And here I was thinking it was divine punishment.
Once we gained entry to the still half-finished house, we were missing a couple key elements like running water and heat. After a while we got at least half of that problem solved, and we were ready to rock with our respective setups.
We were soon humiliated by the self-esteem crushing task of playing to a *gasp* metronome which only a third of us could play with any reliability (I’ll give you a hint… it’s the third that’s a real musician). Wallowing in my ineptitude, we banged out some scratch tracks and got our alpha mic setup for Nugget in place.
Being at the Cape in February proved to be an enormous boon with virtually no one around to recognize our horribleness.
Have you ever woken up early to head into work for a special project, hurriedly stumble around in the dark for your clothing in a desperate effort to not wake the missus, and head in at the crack of dawn all the way knowing, dreading, *feeling* that something was wrong. Not horribly wrong mind you, but a distinctly incorrect sensation that not all was balanced or right in the world. And then, on the first potty break of the day mid morning, you unzip to discover that you put your underroos on backwards?
Neither have I. I was just asking.
This morning I had to make a a horrible decision. The kind of decision that would give any man pause; a short, brief moment to decide between harsh reality and one’s principles. The decision, indeed, between bad and worse. These are the times that try men’s souls, and my time was no different: 7:02am on a Tuesday.
I reached for my Mach 3 Turbonitrothunderfuck razor and pulled it from its overpriced holster out of our shabby New England medicine cabinet. In my clumsy motion, I struck the release button for the top, disposable razor at such a unique angle that it shot off the stick like a cannon. Firing a shot through my very soul, I saw a perfect arch and 720 degree rotation through the air as it plopped dead center into the toilet. That I had just used.
And that I had not flushed.
Frantically, I threw back open the medicine cabinet door and grabbed the holster only to discover my greatest fear was indeed here as the razor that was now in a pooper half-filled with my own pee was the last I had in the house. The drugstore next door opens at 8am, and I had an interview at 10am.
The sacrifices one makes in times of crises speak a lot of a person. I can only hope my decision speaks well of me. That and that my memory of one’s own urine being sterile to oneself was based on scientific fact, and not locker room fancy.
Like a medical experiment chimp reaching for the cigarette with the full knowledge of the imminent electric shock I tuned into the Grammys tonight, and promptly got shocked into a neutral, passive state most capable of consuming quality goods and services from well-marketed companies. After celebrating and shooting some emails off to friends about Green Day’s victory of Best Rock Album, I returned to catch the tail end of J.Lo and Marc Anthony deplorable duet. With the New Orleans Skynyrd hangover still ringing in my ears, the dude from A Time To Kill introduces three pop country shitnecks to play, of all things, of all unspeakable, unholy, and thoroughly *un*rocking things, “Freebird.”
This is the year that all the publicists for the RIAA said that it was cleaning up its image. No more Monday morning discussions about the “Grannies” and their complete cluelessness to the truly innovative work happening in rock and roll. No more hokey jokes and hip-hop ignorance. No more ridiculously contrived on-the-spot collaborations. No more pathetic pleas to stop all the downloading. It was when I returned to the living room to find Ro had changed the channel to watch Family Guy while adding that I shouldn’t change it back to the Grammys that the spin hit the shitfan. One click away I caught three horrible, terrible seconds of Tim McGraw and Gretchen Wilson singing “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Then we were off to the bedroom to the other TV as I fucking broke the power button trying to shut that trainwreck off. A few moments later I was delighted to find that Maroon 5 won Best New Artist… except for the fact that Howie and I were listening to the same record 4 fucking years ago in my dorm room. As ever, the corporate machine that calls themselves American Music rings hollow and empty, like the recording of a child screaming through a bullhorn into a discarded Pepsi can. When “overnight successes” with careers 15 years old take the stage to introduce another the latest pre-packed R&B star from the presses, it takes a band like Green Day giving the performance they did to wake America up to the fact that, as Armstrong says, rock and roll can be fun and dangerous at the same time.