Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Does it mean anything to interpret your dreams? I go through phases where I don't dream much at all - probably due to my use of Mary Jane, the wonder sleep drug. Whenever I stop smoking ganj, my head is flooded with the wildest imagery and scenarios. Last week, I dreamed I was cuddling in a bed with GG Allin. He had a big, bushy, salt-and-pepper beard and looked like a skeletal Charles Manson and had a greasy patina all over his body. Where had he been hiding all these years? Why was he back now, and why in the hell was I cuddling this disgusting King of Filth? A mixture of terror and intrigue washed over me in my subliminal thoughts. Somehow, it was decided that my band was to open for him at a concert in a park. I was stoked and ran off to tell everyone, only to come back and find that all trace of GG and the concert had disappeared.
Again, last night, my mind was full of meaningless scenarios and questionable characters: the rain had flooded our rural hillside house. A stranger was about while we were preparing for a banquet or wedding. The house was a ramshackle, multi-room cabin in the woods. The trees were skraggy with all foliage blown away from the winter rains. Through the mud, my friend Bar and I tracked the lurking stranger. He was one of my produce accounts, a guy who was a bit surly and clueless. He was in another cabin. We asked him what he was doing there and the answer seemed vague. He seemed to be in a tortured state, so we took pity on him. Flash forward to driving on Highway 199 north of Gasquet, California. It's only me and the kids in the car. We decide to take a turn up a twisty side-road, up to a secret woods community of off-the-grid neighbors, salt-of-the-earth river folk. An extra kid, who is a friend, is with us. He somehow either takes LSD or administers it to the group. The Manson-esque hippies are not pleased and beat the children. I am afraid but I let the beatings continue. We hurriedly assemble ourselves and get back in the car to get the hell off the mountain and start to drive back home to Portland.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

World of hurt 2017

Lately I've been on the same 25 hour news cycle that everyone else has been on. Even when I tune out of the news for a few days, eventually I end up looping back and checking the typical sites again and again. News Blues - who wants to wear those shoes? What have I gained? A fucking headache. It's all bullshit. I've been wary of the impending enviro-societal collapse since forever and now it looks like we'll be getting exactly what 14-year-old me was so excited about - stupid societal breakdown and increasingly shittier government run as a subsidiary to energy and oil industry. Just an opinion. Hi mom.

I'm up in Seattle on a work trip with my friends and colleagues today and tomorrow. I have to travel for my job now, something that I've had to work to adapt to (as weird and small as that sounds.) I realize I've become a curmudgeon in my mid-age, preferring to grind it out 5 days a week, compartmentalizing my home and work lives so that they stay steady and consistent. Travel, even a little bit, helps me break out of my day-to-day rut and at least see some new sights, have some good conversations and see a lot of produce departments. I have to say, Seattle has a lot of competition and therefore several beautifully done produce departments. Support produce, eaters of the world! Especially with all the extreme rains going on in California right now, we may see a disruption in supply for things like citrus, salad items, row crop vegetables and various lettuces, which are all drowning under muddy water as I write this. Eat healthy - the end is nigh!

I love this story and this band. They are really funny on social media too, they are a few years older than this now. Unlocking the Truth! love it:

Unlocking The Truth - Malcolm Brickhouse & Jarad Dawkins from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trumptonion TImes...Gloopy Globs 2017

SO far 2017 has been a bit exhausting for me. The Holidays always take a large amount of energy (and money) and of course my work is busiest during that time and the weather has been shit; combine that with too many calories and too much imbibing... Happy New Year. I need a nap.
Tina and I decided to stop drinking for the month of January...right before the biggest snowstorm and cold snap Portland had seen in a long time. With booze on the shelf sitting neglected, I drank tea, shoveled the walkway and used our cooped up blizzard days as an excuse to write and record 11 pretty silly songs: Gloopy Globs... A lot of times I just like to bash out song ideas just to see where they go. Some of these songs go somewhere and some of them go nowhere - I hope you enjoy the unedited, lo-fi goodness. Refelecting on the Trumpian times we are in... I feel like I am just now coming out of the stunned trance I've been in since the election. Am I so predictable as the middle-of-the-road liberal who is blindsided by the flyover-state revolt against coastal elitism? It hit me hard. I half expected and feared that Trump would come to pass due to the extreme insider-ness of Hillary. She was a bad choice and the DNC shit the bed. My main mantra through this whole episode - "Things change; get used to it." We don't have the luxury to go back in time to a more stable era that we all remember. We're opening our eyes to the blinding realization that reality is less like we ever thought it was and more like the dystopian sci-fi wet dream of Phillip K Dick merged with an evil Mel Brooks plot. Even our tried and true liberal heroes are far and few between - I like our senators, they always hit the right talking points for me - but sometimes I just feel pacified when what I really want is action. And climate change? Suddenly I'm a whining liberal with a hopelessness complex. Whoops, I'm on the treadmill of life too - it's hard to take anytime to think about protesting when you're working, doing the family things, slumping over at the end of each night and then resting and repeating indefinitely. The woman's march against Trump was a beautiful thing, I'm glad it happened. I felt so disheartened up until that point. I feel better now on some level since apparently, from the huge numbers of people out marching, I am not so alone in my inner panic about having to deal with what I consider a harsh, unpredictable political change. Take nothing for granted, we're in for a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 - What Gives?

2016 is at the three-quarter mark, so I may as well do an update:

I wake up every day and I am still alive - bravo! Also, I have not shat myself in a long time, so I maintain a high head and virtuous overall demeanor. Most of the the time I have been going to work steadily, selling the organics to the grocery stores of the NW. I try not to talk about work too much lest  I jinx it, but I've been enjoying the grind despite it taking up most of my time. I think the fact that I don't currently work with any psyco/sociopaths could play a role in my contentedness in the workplace. When I get bored or need a break, I can walk out in the cooler aisles and commune with the cabbages and parsleys or if I'm feeling indulgent maybe an avocado or a mango. When I start to feel ill I rub myself with garlic and chew on a pungent piece of ginger which really helps to drive away any visitors I might have at my desk. People take note - it is sometimes okay to be repulsive as an efficiency tactic.
My musical life plonders on. TROUBLE CUTS has been soldiering (and soldering) ourselves along through the rugged, rocky AND SOMETIMES coastal gigs that we were required to play because of our middle-aged sense of responsibility and false hope of glory. Memorable was the time we went to Yachats to play at the 10-Mile mountain jam, a gig that will live in infamy. The lights in our faces in the hidden, tye-died cave of a patio in front of an invisible crowd of hippies in their tents and in the shadows, a few bouncing kids and ragged warriors of the rock scene, the soundman's hut doubling as a corn dog dispensary - the gig was marvelous and parts were even documented. We also played at Luckeys in Eugene and kicked some serious asses with our collective sound-boot. Many lives were saved and friendships ended but the night was beautiful and another celebration of bar-band music, drunken debauchery, bro hugs and return to ultra-obscurity. We shared a bagel in the morning and a coffee and we returned to our home-like city to the north, another job done.
My camping-with-family life has been in an upswing. We - Tina, Louis, Henry, mom Cathie and myself tracked down to the Redwoods of Northern California tm and stayed at Jed Smith campground, a favorite of ours. A few - quite a few - friends came along and stayed in adjacent sites. A blast, it was! We ate food, drank beer, let the kids tend the fire (safely of course) and went swimming in the marvelous Smith river a whole bunch. Louis and myself both did some filming with our Nabi square camera:

It was fun. Our super-BFFs Brian and Jen and Bryant and Sarah and all our respective kids did a nice hike through Stout Grove, one of the most beautiful and sacred places in my world. There was a small problem when we realized that the footbridge that normally crossed from the campground side to the South side of the bank where the big trees were was gone, removed only a day before our arrival. With our 3-man raft, Bryant's boy Sammy did a valiant job of shuttling over the other members of our group - 12 or so in total - to the other side. A fun little time to be sure. The redwoods are still there, still alive, still huge and still gorgeous. There is a quiet quality one experiences when walking around the giant trees. I highly recommend it, it's theraputic.
Now this has become my "what did you do this summer essay" but now I am tired and need to finish this beer, you'll have to stay tuned and maybe find out something about our shared world in the process if I ever follow this up.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Preparing for the End Times

Man, I love Eugene Chadbourne. He is one of the most free improvisers of all time. Dig this crazy French documentary from the 1980s:

Sunday, November 02, 2014

the twilight of humanity looms ever near

I've been enjoying my random life lately. Portland has been my home for 2.5 years at this point and the whole time I've been here I have been uber-focused on work, food and day-to-day survival. Nothing that anyone else doesn't have to deal with, but damn, I have a hard time maximizing my social and band lives vs my work and overall family prosperity. Music is lurching into the forefront again: at least I have a few things going on forthcoming: Thundering Asteroids! have a CD coming out with a fun release show this Friday November 7th at teh Tonic in Portland with several of our best friend bands: the Decliners, the Googins and the Vacillators.I'm working on my own CD, which is entitled "Interim" and will be pressed as soon as I can get the funds for the replication. (I'm debating trying a pre-sale fundraiser thing...) BUT... enough about me. Today I rode my bike to work and back in the misty rain, I was cold and drippy and made me grumpy and then after a spell I got over it.  I picked up the boys and their respective bikes over at a friends and rode home from there, again through the misty cloudy drippage and was again grumpy and then again was over it. Back to nice cozy house, heat was turned on, dinner was soon made - beef/mushroom with noodles - kids were brushed and inserted into beds after reading a few books. Really digging the ghostly vibe of the kids' choices in literature these days, very in-tune with the season. Happy November 2nd! Tomorrow marks 39 years since my dad died in Crescent City, I always think of him on November 3d. Peace and goodnight,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Dogs

The Dogs was the first band I had that actually practiced on a regular basis. Formed out of the ashes of a heavy metal trio of Dungeons and Dragon types at my high school, the dogs were Loren Wallen on lead guitar, Matt Ashcraft on bass, myself on guitar and a guy named Robert on drums. Matt and I had been jamming in his trailer for a couple months ahead of time, so I had already learned most of the songs on our heavy-metal playlist - Rock and Roll by Led Zepplin, Rip it Out by Ace Frehley/Kiss, Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Sweet Emotion by Areosmith and Living after Midnight by Judas Priest. That was it - I think those were the only songs we played for 4 or 5 months straight. Maybe there was a foray into some original riff at some point but it was overshadowed by playing Paranoid 5 times in a row to get the solo section correct. The only snippet of a recording that I have left somewhere is about 15 sections of us playing paranoid - a brutal, distorted, teen-aged recording on some dysfunctional 4-track. Anyway, Robert was kind of key to the band because he A.) had a drumset and B.) had an actual, sound-proofed, shag-carpeted jam room in his parent's house. It was awesome! Every saturday at 12, our mom's would drop us off for 2 hours while we worked out our rudimentary chops on our big 5 tunes.One day, we even set up outside on a rare, non-rainy day in Crescent City. We got through 3 songs before a police cruiser rolled up. We finished the song were playing - probably Rip it out - and then we stopped. The officer politely intoned, "I came over to tell you guys to stop, but you sounded so good, you might as well play one more and then quit." I was like a scene out of Happy Days or Andy Griffith. We packed up our gear and went back upstairs, to our carpeted practice room, and finished out the day. probably debating the merits of post-Ozzy Sabbath and post-David Lee Roth Van Halen. Dude, I think my mom's here - I gotta go.