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December 22nd, 2006
12:31 pm


A Christmas poem
The Bite
The wolf's laugh eerie cracks the humid night air
The rabbit freezes the box in his lair
The owl hoots shrilly searching the dark
The moon white fangs through the trees tall and stark
Who would emerge on a night like this
Who would loose his bonds and greet the air with a hiss
The battered Christian bows his head in despair
The crown of sharp thorns revealed 'neath his hair
His scrawny body worn thin by the trial
Stands taut and painful on the pilgrim's last mile
A million fleshy things converge upon the spot
His eyes retort the atmosphere is hot
The wolf sniffs ivory fanged he bristles up his spine
The fox smiles knowingly but dares not step out of line
Through the twisting crashing silence the broken Christian creeps
Each footstep like a thunderclap amongst the trunky deeps
No bird makes sound no creature moves to break the gripping air
And the Christian he raises his hands up to his mouth for a
Whisper he cannot dare

The Christian wakes trembling with sweat
The cell's dark walls stony and wet
Metallic echoes as the bolts are drawn back
The door swings inward dull light through the crack
The jailer looks indifferent to him
A routine morning martyr's death for him
A misty cold sad morning greets the Christian's haggard grin
The rope is slung and the noose is tied and the Christian's neck is thin
The block is raised he stands erect the rope beneath his chin
They pull the block and the Christian drops he hangs above the sin

-Comus (First Utterance)

Current Music: Comus - The Bite

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December 21st, 2006
03:57 pm


My fucking soul
Finally bit the bullet and spent a bunch of money on a new computer. 2,000,000,000 hertz or so of processor, and the thing I would call the processor has two processors in it! 2 gigabytes of RAM, half a fucking worldbyte of storage, and a video card faster than my entire previous computer, with its own god damned fan (I hear that's common nowadays). Plus a DVDR/W. Jesu fucking Cristo!

I even sold my soul and invested in a CDR of Windows XP so I could play a game or two. I haven't used MS Windows since Windows '98. XP is like NT kind of, except with commercials all the fucking time. And there's some sort of snakeoil Gen-U-Wyne thing going on to let you know if you have a pirated copy or not, which strikes me as strange, because for one, who the fuck buys windows? And for another, I god damned well know it's a pirated copy. Who the hell doesn't know when they're installing pirating software? I suspect some sort of sleight of hand going on in Redmond. Yeah, I know, which sleight, which hand?

So I spend all this time borrowing a CDR and putting together this nice new system with some kind of fancypants case made out of body armor that fell out of the back of a truck bound to Iraq or thereabouts, and the thing keeps crapping out on me. During the install. After the install. When I'm running around ruins killing giant antlion things, surrounded by zombies, with just some kind of retarded magnet gun to defend myself. So many times during the install, I decided to flash the system CMOS (which helped). I have a fancy Abit KN9 thingamaboard, and the CMOS was version 1.0. I didn't even know they made version 1.0 nowadays. So that helped. And shutting of ACPIC or APIC, or whatever the fuck it's called, that helped. And I did all sorts of driver reconjiggeration, but still the fucked and dreaded BSOD pops up every 20 minutes or so, and now and then it forgets I have a fucking keyboard, and the middle mouse button (it's a god damned wheel!) all the sudden quit working in my Windows Internet Explorer Firefox Mozilla interbrowser fuckthing.

God, Windows is depressing. The Media Player is the ultimate in depression. I've been using Loonix for so long as a desktop I forgot that using Microsoft products feels like watching network TV back before Tivo. It's like listening to 107.7 the BONE non-stop. It gives me a headache. I'm sitting there, half-buzzed, trying to listen to a radio webcast of a great band (and one thing is for sure - it's easier to do all this multimedia, viral commercial crap on Windows), and being in a half-buzzed state, think it'd be fun to fuck with skins and whatnot, and all the skins on the sites I find are all somehow linked to something you can buy - the Batman Returns skin, the McDonalds Urbanburger Skin, the Britney's Unmentionables skin. Ugh.

Yeah, so I sold my soul and put windows on my system, and thought for a couple minutes it might become my default OS, but I forgot I gave my fucking soul to the devil years ago, back in high school, as a joke, so of course windows won't work for shit, and now I'm going to install Redhate Loonix and see if maybe it works better, or if the kernel panics continue, perhaps at least manages to log a little bit of what happened, since windows has worthless shit logs, and loves expressing everything in fucking hex codes you have to look up on Microsoft's website. And that always creeps me out, because I know they know I yarrred their OS, and they know I know they know.

Current Music: Grandaddy - Chartsengrafs

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December 14th, 2006
04:08 pm


fucking nowadays stuff
Every autumn, as the leaves turn golden and the hot days of summer recede into memory, the fucking spammers think of some new fucking tricks to make my life miserable. Fucking fucks!

And 90% of system administration in nowadaysland seems to involve hitting enter at a prompt something like:
Jizzwarbler::Flickit . conflicts with Christmunch::toenail::speckled 2.5: install anyway? [yes]

because otherwise you just click around at search.cpan.org going crazy and doing exactly the same thing as above, but manually.

And the whole time, that motherfucker who won't shut up about my meat size is out there in internetland, laughing.

Current Mood: AAARGH!
Current Music: Blood Feast - Vampire

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October 6th, 2006
12:10 pm


Lessons learned
My first live set was interesting. I'm not much of a ham, so playing out is kind of stressful, I discovered, as I'd expected. The set felt like a disaster while it was happening, with all sorts of technical difficulties. We never did get decent volume on the guitar amp, which was frustrating as hell, since I felt like I played pretty well. Except where I changed riffs a bar short on two different songs. Time was moving remarkably fast throughout the set, and I don't remember much, specifically, of it, other than the problems. I couldn't let go and just fucking play, unlike practice, which has been getting better and better as we tighten up as a band. We have another show in hopefully about a month, maybe a warmup sooner. I'm thinking the second one will be much smoother and 10 times as fun. Which isn't to say the whole experience wasn't incredible, because it was.

I also learned a lot about the realities of playing a live set. Stuff that's pretty obvious, and that seems easy from the audience, but was hard to recall in the midst of everything. I've included those lessons below the fold.

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September 22nd, 2006
04:59 pm


During the great ARGH crisis of 2005, a woman temporarily moved in to the apartment below us. The emphasis here is on "temporariliy" not "a woman", who would be named if I could remember her name. With her was a cat, purportedly a lynx still in late kittenhood. It was a wild creature, and it didn't get along with the regular occupant of that apartment. I loved that cat, but she didn't like me much. I would reach under the bed where she hid most of the time and (gently) drag her out. She would sit nervously in my arms, and take her skritching. For a wildcat, she was very gentle. But supposedly, she went into raging fits and tore shit up late at night. I can believe that, seeing as she was still a kitten. Those fits got her kicked out of the house regularly (I had nothing to do with the training or care of this cat). Her caretaker ended up moving out suddenly, never to be seen again, during one of these exiles, and never did find the cat.

Several months later, I realized that one of our neighbors had taken the cat in. Basically, she trapped the cat, took her inside, and didn't let her outside again for a couple weeks or so, until she was used to her new home. Now, she's an indoor/outdoor cat, very shy around anybody but Melissa (the neighbor). She lives in the first floor. We are in the second floor of the house across the alley. Melissa gave her cat a nice window seat. You can look down from our couch into Melissa's cat's window seat. Hopey does this a lot. The two cats stare at each other for hours. Sometimes, Hopey growls down at her. I enjoy watching Hopey watching her nemesis/neighbor. The cat never did grow bigger than a housecat. I don't think she's really a lynx.

Current Mood: yerba!
Current Music: post-Fear Toots M(aytal?)

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September 14th, 2006
03:38 pm


Notes from the underground
It's June. The show's in October. We are to open for a band from out of town and a continent or two away. I think it's their first US tour. We're minus a drummer, but we have several leads. I'm the new guitarist, and I've spent the last two months learning the set plus some songs for the new album (the ones that have been written - about half).

Drummers are gold. You find a drummer, you hold on. I recommend taking beloved family members or pets hostage.

Candidate one is young. Full of bad ideas. And a guitarist at heart. Great grasp of music, learns fast, hits the drums a little harder than our gray tabby would. Has all the swing of Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong now, not when he was alive. Yes, you need swing to play primitive black/death with lyrics mostly involving the murder/rape of our lord and savior Jesus H. Christ and the destruction of His followers.

He teaches me a new game - Blame the Guitarist. If you can't get the drums right, the guitarist must be fucking up. Closely related to Blame the Whiteboy, but less fun. Candidate one goes on the backburner. Hopefully something else will come up.

Now it's July 1st.

Candidate two is a friend of a friend. Just moved to town. Been playing 12 years. Gets stuck on the second riff of the first song. See, the first cycle through the riff has an extra beat - it's five total. Subsequent cycles are four beats. You have to either feel the riff or have minor technical skills. Candidate two discovers a fondness for the Blame the Guitarist game. Candidate two goes over his beer limit. That'd be two mild beers, the limit. By the middle of his third beer, he's ranting: "do your fans like that?" (the five beats) "Why would you do that?" He wants to jam on some Metallica or Maiden. The bassist refuses to play anything but this squeaky horn thing that you squeeze. Bassist's response to jamming: "Err-ee! Err-ee!", shaking his head. Candidate two passes out on the floor.

We're coming up on August pretty quickly.

Candidate three is a friend of a friend and a cool guy. Another guitarist at heart. He's got his own band that he digs. He likes us, and wants to help. We practice twice together. He's got an obvious love of Lombardo (who doesn't?), but that second riff catches him up every time. Second practice, we three exit to a nearby bar to discuss privately - should we try to go on with this guy? We don't want to hurt his feelings. He shows up at the bar (everybody shows up there, eventually), tells us not to worry about hurting his feelings - he doesn't know if he can cut it. It's a bittersweet end.

Middle of August, and now we're talking about cancelling the show. Ancient ex-bandmates are called to duty, but they have no duty with that prefix in front of their titles. Should we cancel? What else can we do?

I know another guitarist. He can drum. But I don't think he wants to. I call. He's stoked. It's been a dry summer, playing-wise. Tried to break out of the metal box, started missing it's confines. He'll do his best.

End of August, first practice. That second riff - tries it, fucks up. "Hold on, let's do it again." Hits it. Never misses it again. Whips through the first two, plays the third, one very unpopular with previous drummers for its speed and chaos. Before learning each song, upon listening to a recording: "Oh guys, I don't think I can do this. I'm not (previous drummer). This shit's too much." Puts down the drumsticks. Gamely picks them up to at least try. Nails it.

Middle of September. We've got half the set down. This is starting to feel like a bad reality show. We've got just over a month to get a set down and play it in front of a potentially large audience. We will destroy.

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July 26th, 2006
05:00 pm


Worst Comicon ever?
This year we almost skipped Comicon. It all started when hotel rooms sold out in less than an hour the day they became available through whatever dealie Comicon does. The event grows and grows. Every year a larger crowd, every year more The Industry, every year less comics. At least the number of comics at the convention seems to be shrinking much less rapidly than the number of The Industry Whores is growing. If the speed of the decline of comics at Comicon matched the rise of The Industry, there'd be one lonely small press table left, probably shoved in the back of the main lobby men's room (by far the stinkiest bathroom this side of a packed show at a dive bar, though you could argue alcoholic rocker pee smells better than the excretions of comicon attendees). Five years ago, the Con was, I believe, about 1/3 the size it is now, but it was mostly comics and collectibles (what they used to call toys). When the Sci-Fi Channel got a booth, I didn't mind so much. Same for Cartoon Network. They are both part of nerd culture. Now, there's a Warner Channel booth, and I saw a huge CSI banner, and I dunno, it was hard as hell to walk through the non-comic part of the con, but I'm sure there was an NBC, and an ABC, and a CBN booth packed into all that flash and crap. Yeah, so we almost skipped, because after all the growth-of-dubious-quality of the past few years, the instant hotel sellout seemed a bad omen. And as I gave away in that digression just a minute ago, bad omen it was.

But we didn't skip it. Jen clicked obssessively for days, until we got a hotel room at the Sheraton Suites, with a view overlooking Balboa Park and the airport, so we went. I took our Buick LeSabre, Monstro, to a mechanic who exchanged fluids with the car and told us all was well, and we could (and should) drive the monster all up and down the coast at will, willy nilly even. We declined to fix the air conditioning because we're tough. And, causing one of those rare moments when I furrow my brow and wonder if maybe there is a god, and it's the God I learned about in fundie sunday school, the entire fucking world was hit by a heatwave during San Diego Comicon. But we left for San Diego at 6:00am, fleeing before the wave of heat like a little dog in an action movie jumping out of an exploding high rise. We were in San Diego by 3:00pm, the Central Valley a distant memory of rotting live cowflesh and squeaky LA refugee girls.

I notice the citizens of San Diego have become much enamored with the aesthetics of the characters from the television show "The O.C."

Yeah, so, it was the worst Comicon ever. But you have to remember, even in the midst of a fit of depression because sometimes things change for the worse and don't live up to your vaseline-coated-lense memories, that you're sitting in a booth with a bunch of people you only see at cons, and talking to fans and friends you only see at cons, and even if there are 99,000 idiots milling about the con, there are still 1,000 worth talking to, so of course it was, once again, well worth it.

I didn't find a lot of great new stuff. I bought Lost Girls, all hardcover with dust jackets and lots of smut, written by Alan Moore, painted by Melinda Gebbie. Also picked up the new Renee French book, The Ticking. Lastly, the find of the con, Tony Millionaire's graphic novel(la?), Billy Hazelnuts. Awesome. I love Tony Millionaire. He was signing, but the line was really long and I can never think what to say to artists I dig. I thought of trying to talk like one of his characters to him, because I read him say somewhere once that he was going to punch the next person who did that, but that's the kind of joke that falls flat when it leaves your head. I'm trying to let less of those jokes outside my head. Though it would be cool to be punched by Tony Millionaire.

So I bought four or five books, but I spent $115, because all the books that come out nowadays are hardcover and one even had what someone at Top Shelf insisted was gold leaf on the cover, though I'm pretty sure she was just drunk.

I also picked up a copy of the new compilation by Young American Comics, BIZMAR (which stands for "Bunny Insect Zombie Monkey Alien Robot", and which you can currently pick up here, but I can't find a permanent link). Jen and I are in that, or some art that Jen drew from a script that I wrote is in there, anyway. Our story involves a cage match to the death, a frequent fantasy of Jen's, wherein her and the Cat (the Cat is always Hopey) battle, and which always ends in tragedy. To be sure I'm clear, the frequent fantasy is Jen's, the story I wrote does not involve Jen or Hopey, though it does involve all creatures from the title BIZMAR, plus a cat.

YAC has been around for about five years now, I think. They have been supportive of Jen and I from the start, going so far as to invite us to parties and stuff. We've participated in, I think three compilations - Captain Preposterous, Unseen on TV, and BIZMAR. It's always fun and short - two to four pages - with a simple, usually ludicrous, theme. BIZMAR marks the first super fancy, actual graphic novelesque release of YAC's, and I think it bodes well for their future. They also publish Snakepit, which is a great comic strip diary of a punk rock dude from Austin, TX.

On the last day of the con, we happened to see Ira at a hostel. I hadn't been able to find his booth, so I thought Champions of Hell was missing from this year's con, but fortunately, I was wrong. I picked up a Zombie Jesus shirt, a DVD of zombie shorts, and the latest comics from Ira and Robin.

So, what else happened in San Diego? We ate tacos. I bought new shoes because my old tennis shoes (sneakers, whatever) were causing my foot to grow strange nodules. Jen bought a pair of non-denim pants because the heat was driving her to homicidal rage. We drank mexican mochas at Pannikin every morning. We ate slices from Ciero's most days. We slept in a very comfie bed, and I got about two hours more sleep every night than usual.

We decided to stay for Sunday, cutting out at 1:00. See, even the worst Comicon ever is still fun. Hell, we'd probably even go back to the Las Vegas Extrosioncon. Managed to leave San Diego around 2:00, stopped at Juanitas in Encinitas for carnitas, then started making our way up the coast. Around LAX on 405, the heat started getting to me. I'd checked weather.com at the hotel before we left, so I knew it was going to be around 110F in Central Valley, and I wasn't stoked. LA was kind of hot, but on the way up into the Grapevine, shit got really bad. Another car every mile or two, stopped at the side of the road, overheated. All the way up the Grapevine. Fortunately, the sun went behind a huge, pink cloud about half way to the valley. Then, as we're starting down into the valley, I realize the cloud is a cloud of smoke, and the slopes of one of the hills/mountains is on fire. Apocalyptic. We stop along with everyone else at the first rest stop past the Grapevine. Jen gets a cappucino at Starbucks (hot coffee for a hot day), and gets me a cold drink. The gas station is full of grumpy folk, semi-panicked from the heat. Or maybe I was projecting. A flashing sign just before the rest stop warned that the highway was closed 143 miles down the road. Exactly at Cowschwitz, it turns out. So now I know that Cowschwits is 143 miles north of the Grapevine. Hurray. Somehow, there was no smell. Usually I have to roll up the windows and turn off the vents while we drive past that hellhole, but there's no way, no matter how strong the stench, we're sitting with the windows up and the vents off in 100 degree heat. We can almost touch the cows. Jen hears them mooing sadly. But no smell. A moment when I know that fundie god doesn't exist or died long ago. Long, hot, sweaty story short, we stopped at Anderson Pea Soup, which was closed, and ate in a nearby truck stop, mainly for the air conditioning. I sipped syrupy Jarritos to stay awake as we turned the corner onto 580, into the flowery, herbal smell of the outer east bay hills. We hit 13, less than 10 miles from home, and rolled down our windows. The inner bay air feels like air conditioning, if air conditioning was fresh and piney. Home at 12:30am, the cats regaled us with meowy tails of life without Mommy and Daddy.

Current Music: Masacre - Mas Alla Del Dolor...

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July 10th, 2006
11:21 pm


morboso y alcoholico
During practice, I fuck up some time between the end of my second beer and the beginning of my third. I am happy to continue playing one riff, maybe five or six times instead of four, or maybe three times instead of four. Depends on how much I like the riff. Or sometimes I play with great feeling until the second riff, when my mind blanks and I stare stupidly at the bass, hoping to pick up the next riff, but too stupid to translate left to right.

This is not good. I can be sure that if I ever play in front of people, it will take more than two beers to get me on stage. Our bassist, his first show (three or four years ago) had enough beers that he played the entire set not realizing his bass was not plugged into his amp. I intend to make a less hilarious story of my first gig. So tonight I attempted an experiment, with demon rum. Without the distraction of ban-dmates/ter, I played each song I must learn, observing where and why I fucked up, and played again until I could go through each song in its entirety. Besides, for tomorrow's practice I have a tough audience to impress, at least to the point where they say "eh, he'll do."

Current Music: Ulver - Hymne II: Wolf and the Devil

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June 29th, 2006
10:53 pm


Luck of the Devil
Second night this week with no obligations, and the second night of fun cut short due to wacky server hard drive antics.

Bought a bottle of Texan vodka at Trader Joe's tonight. Prescient, that was. Tomorrow will be sloshy.

Current Mood: Yar
Current Music: Possessed - Satan's Curse

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June 26th, 2006
10:35 am



We've managed to take on the care of two sets of cats (two cats per set) and one set of plants. One set of cats for four days, one for two weeks, and the plants for a month. But the plants only need watering twice, so I'm more concerned about forgetting them than working the watering into my schedule. I may make a cron job to remind me about the plants.

Two of the cats we've watched several times before. Our friends are often in Germany or some other degenerate country outside the US border, usually it seems for about two weeks at a time. Their cats (Ming and Thing) no longer seem too bummed when they are gone. And they've got a great back yard to hang out and drink beer in on a sunny day. Lots of shade, and the cats love getting out. Both of them are about five pounds heavier than our cats, so they are giants to us. Not that they are particularly fat. They're just big. For one thing, they're male and our cats are female. For another, Jen picked out our cats, and she has a thing for runts (whatever you're thinking, it's not funny, buddy).

Thing is almost doglike in his loviness. Except for the occasional excited love bite. He's an orange tabby. Ming is aloof. He's jet black. He often sits under the dining room table, under a particular chair. Sometimes he runs out of the room when I try to pet him. Sometimes he allows it, happily. Sometimes he allows it, but only for my sake, and will start biting if I don't lay off soon. He doesn't hold back a whole lot in that case. I've learned to judge his moods over the years.

Yesterday afternoon, jenscrowl and I went over to Ming and Thing's place to drink (coffee for Jen, beer for me) in the back yard. After about 10 minutes of good catedness, Ming climbed the fence and jumped into the neighboring haunted house's yard, disappearing amongst the two foot tall blades of grass. He didn't come back. Eventually, Jen went from worry to near-panic. We decided to leave and come back later. Twenty minutes later, Ming was sitting next to the garden, looking smug. Nothing worked to lure him in, not even the mysterious wet food that we don't think we are supposed to feed them. I carried his enormous catty self into the house, improperly (I hold him under the forelegs, away from my body, like something toxic, gross, or liable to turn around and scratch half your face off in a fit of pique). Usually he hisses violently without moving his body. When I set him down, he stands in front of me for the make-up petting. Yesterday, maybe to disappoint Jen's morbid curiousity, he complacently (smugly?) let me carry him in. Still got the make-up petting, though.

The other cats in our care are newer to us. They were rescued as kittens by our friends. Our cats (Hopey and Chi) were rescued, as well, but I think Jack and Possum had it worse. Jack's only got one eye, and Possum is pretty much scared of everyone. We've become better friends slowly, but all that means is Jack will flop around just out of reach, occasionally allowing a quick pet or two, but no head skritching, and Possum will stand firmly in front of an escape route, watching us intently. They are not used to their buds being gone, and I get the feeling they'd be harrassing 911 with missing person reports if they could figure out the phones.

We've been watching "Strangers with Candy" episodes while hanging out with Jack and Possum. Jack flops around on the floor, eating the treats we give him but refusing to sit between us on the couch, despite repeated invitations. He is strangely reckless for having one eye. He likes to flop next to the coffee table, then jump up. Often, he hits his head, hard, against a leg of the coffee table when he jumps up. You'd think he'd have the whole area mapped out in his head, and maybe remember that he doesn't see so well from the left side of his head, but nope. Bam! He doesn't seem to notice too much. Cats have tiny heads, but they are very hard.

After an hour or so (three episodes), Jack leaves the room, Possum is nowhere to be seen, and we start to feel we've overstayed our welcome, so we pack up and go home.

One of these days, Possum's going to sit on my lap.

Current Music: Dylan

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