Thursday, August 17, 2017


The last several years we've been heading to our favorite place in the world, Jedediah Smith State Park in Hiouchi, California. 2016 and 2017 we coordinated with some friends who also had kids to come down and camp as well and it's been a blast. This year we arrived on a cool day - maybe 70 degrees f - and set up our campsite. We had the luck of having a giant sideways redwood log running along one side of our campground which was a nice way for our kids to meet other kids, since every kid we saw took a shortcut through the forest on the giant tree highway. The water of the Smith river is glorious and the closest thing to home my body knows. We made sure to be swimming every chance we had. One day, I tortured my feet by walking across the slippery rocks through a shallow section of rapids in order to reach my kids and another kid who were piloting a raft through some rough waters. After dragging the raft back upstream, we went down a nice, medium-speed, medium-deep rapid area that ran as a separate channel along the main river. Whee!~ It was glorious. We bounced off the rocks and spun several times. The kids loved it. After the rapids, the boys dropped me off on the opposite shore and I waddled up the get my flip-flops and shirt when a pair of egrets flew over my head. As I uttered, "wow!", one of the egrets answered me with a duck like -"erk!" sound.

I also had an encounter with some floppy red-tufted ducks who were kicking it on a cool rock along the shore when suddenly, the wind blew my raft into their proximity. They hung tight for the longest time but when I got too close they ambled off the rock and swam away, still looking rather flashy. We walked with our friends through Stout Grove, the famous stand of tall trees that stand, cathedral-like, in quiet formation like an army of  ancient giants. This is pretty much the closest thing I have to a church and I was happy to see the pack of kids running through, around and over the logs with the confidence of knowing the place from years-past. Pictures were taken, shoes were wet and sandy, food was consumed and the kids spent a lot of time playing on their push-scooters with the other kids they met at the campground. I still can smell the smoke of the campfire on our various clothes and belongings. I feel refreshed and now ready myself for returning to my job from my annual summer vacation.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Escape From Portland 2017

So now something's happened. After being a resident of Oregon for the past 25 years, I am now a Washingtonian. Ed Cole & Family have picked up and moved to the lesser-known and overlooked neighbor of Portland, Vancouver. Tina thought it would be good for the kids, as the schools are purported to be gooder than some other places and the 'hoods safe and full of cheap entertainment. So far I feel like the strip malls have a newer sheen of paint and the locals offer a sense of normalcy and neighborhoodliness that was missing from our last Portland locale. I feel edgy and anxious, not yet having a new routine and being in a new place where I really don't know the rules yet. I like that there is a pool and a guitar store within walking distance. Vancouver feels like the antidote to overly-cool PDX, where everything is overly-unique and costs too much. Here in my new place, things are homogeneous but not without charm and we can do all of our main business on foot... I'll have to let you know over time what I think of my new town. I hope Vancouver slithers up and bites me on the ass with a dose of 'Couv love, then I'll know that they can accept my kind of normalcy... the weird kind.

I've had a few people from my long-distance past come back into my life lately. Meeting and talking with people that you knew 35 years ago feels like a time warp. People who were in your life during a crucial stage of development are now back as a reminder of the years that you yourself forgot. I forgot, am still forgetting and now remembering is tough, like trying to extract bad data from an archaic source file. I will continue meeting and re-meeting my friends. We've only a short time left on this plane of existence.
I love that I have my albums and drums set up.

I've been listening to all of my records including this one:

ok later!


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: