Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Here's a poem I wrote last New Year's Eve. Seeing how I didn't have a blog then, you're getting it now.


Another year down whisked away from contemporary
to history.
Another year on the horizon
approaching rapidly
gaining speed like the five horse on the back stretch.
In less than six hours, we’ll all be that much older
and not much wiser
Who are we to think this date holds any real relevance?
Tomorrow is nothing more than Tuesday to me
Or is it Wednesday? Pretty sure Tuesday
But others see hope, a new path, a clean slate
Like religion, whatever gets someone from point A
to point B – what do I care?
We love to make promises we know we won’t keep
yet we do it anyway
because the idea is more important than the doing.
No, the thought isn’t what counts
In my mind, I think I’m a great writer with an overflow of cash in the bank
and legions of fans worldwide.
Red carpet treatment galore, no waiting in lines or paying full price
The rest of society might take issue with me if I acted like this were true
but I don’t pretend so I don’t disappoint
Tonight’s the night for washing away failure and the realization that
we’re all stuck on the same sinking ship
Nowhere to go but overboard

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Saw Snoop at the Glasshouse in Pomona last night. I thought it was going to be tha Doggfather, Warren G and the Twins, but it turned out to also include the Lady of Rage, tha Dogg Pound and Suga Free. Not bad for free tickets.

I caught the tail end of the Twins. Holy shit did it smell like weed in there. There were people freely smoking pot everywhere for the entire show. In all my years of going to shows, I've never seen such a high percentage of smokers mixed with a venue with such a hands-off approach. Even Daz lit up a doobie on stage.

Well...when in Rome, do as the Romans. So I sparked one during a song by Rage and the DPGC. I was about 10 people deep from the stage. Through the crowd I saw a security guard watch as I smoked. I looked at him, he looked at me. I exhaled and kept smoking. Nice!

Each act used the same deejay, which led me to wonder...remember when the DJ was like the drummer? A couple people know his name and he gets a few minutes to strut his stuff? Not anymore. DJs circa 2008 are glorified karaoke jocks responsible for playing the right backing track. No cutting. No scratching. No hyping. Weak.

The crowd was mixed, mostly young people I'd say. There was a small group of dudes who were yelling something about East LA at Warren G. This was the only tense moment of the night as most of the young white people expected a shootout. But cooler heads prevailed.

Rage was good, better than I expected. Tha Dogg Pound was also really good. Warren G was tight, even if no one seemed to know anything but "Regulate." I have his debut and it's classic. I dug hearing those songs live. I can't say the same for anyone else.

Seeing Snoop up close was killer. I hadn't seen him in a small venue since 1997 and man, can he still rock a mic. I wished for more Doggystyle songs, but that was 15 years ago. The good news was, Snoop's such a good live performer that I was interested in whatever song he was doing, regardless of whether or not I knew it. He didn't take a moment for a small chronic break, but that's ok. He did plug his TV show and C walk a little.

Compared with the Snoop show opening for 311 in June, this was as good a show, but for different reasons. For starters, I didn't have to deal with 311 fans. Snoop was closer, but he didn't use a live band, just a DJ. Apples and oranges, I suppose.

The show was much better than this review. I'd tell you more, but I was high as a kite. The one thing I took away from the show was this...There isn't a more weed friendly crowd than Snoop's.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


As a holiday gift, I am sharing a chapter from my still-incomplete novel that has to do with the season. PLEASE comment on this. Tell me what you think. Even if it's negative. I don't care.

I didn’t know what to expect from the office buffoons regarding my first Christmas season at the Daily Gazette, but as a devout agnostic and overall holiday hater, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I was right.

It didn’t take long for me to understand the nature of the daily newspaper business. Days off were few and far between and those we observed always came with a price. For example, we got off President’s Day, but the Thursday and Friday before and Tuesday and Wednesday after were guaranteed stress days that made even me, a guy who took every opportunity he could not to go to work, say fuck it and come in to avoid four miserable days.

MLK’s birthday? Forget it. I had a dream too. That dream was to get his birthday recognized as a reason to sleep in. No one agreed. But Thanksgiving and especially Christmas were not in the same category as Busch leaguers such as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. I just knew the time off procedure would be different, but the stomachache and hangover I endured behind my desk the day after Thanksgiving proved me wrong.

This wasn’t the first time I went to work with a pounding headache and it wouldn’t be the last. But something was different. Just after my lunch, which consisted of pretzels and a large Gatorade, a singing quartet wearing bonnets and stockings floated into the features department. They came from around a corner that separated the so-called respectable reporters of the city desk and the perceived hacks in my section. They turned to face the string of employees and, to no one in particular, began singing.

“”Tis the season to be jolly…” The night before I drank too much Thanksgiving wine, but I was one hundred percent certain I did not drop any acid. My head shook left, shook right. For the first time since I was hired, the people I worked with looked as confused, upset and embarrassed as I was. Finally, we all shared something in common: A complete lack of comprehension for what the hell was going on.

After their song, the foursome walked in front of me and decided that was the perfect stage to perform another tune.

“You better watch out, you better not cry…” I thought twice about whapping each one of these suckers with the mouthpiece of my phone, but didn’t for fear that I might have to pay for the damages to the equipment.

We clapped politely as they were finished and deep down I knew everyone wanted them to leave as badly as I did. Twice in my life I was so desperate I prayed to God. The first was when I was 17. I fucked a girl and she missed her period, but had one four days later than normal. This was the second. Both times, I got what I wanted, but still I doubted God’s existence.

Behind the singers – literally and figuratively – was Gerald, an old man who worked as the paper’s librarian for thirty seven years. Sometimes I had to make small talk with him, but conversing was more difficult with him than with the other schmucks because Gerald couldn’t breathe thanks to a distended belly that might have come from the personal coffeemaker he kept on his desk. I needed my java as much as the next guy, unless the next guy was Gerald. Mainly I knew this mammoth of a man as the dude you did not want to walk in on when he was taking a shit. All that caffeine really got to him as he’d go into the handicapped stall and huff and puff until he birthed a grandchild. His grunts and groans conjured images of hemorrhoids bursting from his ass. He’d talk to himself during the procedure, which made it hard not to laugh while taking a leak.

Gerald walked slowly behind the singers because Gerald could only walk slowly. He was too fat for anything else. When the group was on to the sports department, Gerald spoke up.

“Hey everybody… these guys are working for free… so let’s show them some appreciation.” I thought that meant clap some more, but then I saw Sally contort her body halfway to reach for her wallet. Fuck that. No way I’m paying for that shit.

The incident left me speechless. It was Friday, November 26 and here we were ushering in Christmas? There were photos to download, emails to print and a feel-good story about a local man who got through chemo by growing tomatoes on his balcony to get to, but I couldn’t do it. For once, I wanted to be working, so that’s what I pretended to do. I opened a new screen and wrote what turned out to be lyrics to a song called “It’s Not December.”
It’s November 26
and I don’t care what they say
It’s just way to early
to celebrate the holidays

It’s not even Decemeber
and maybe I can’t remember
but the last week of November
is not even December

Puzzled looks on faces
all around the office
How did they get in here?
and when are they leaving?

Thankfully, Gerald retired soon after and the carolers never returned.

That was one memory from my first Christmas at the Daily Gazette that I soon wouldn’t forget. But it didn’t stop there. Three weeks before the birth of Christ, Sally informed me that I was volunteered to create a list of every holiday-related event going on within a fifteen-mile range of the Daily Gazette’s downtown Long Beach office. “Call every city and ask them what they are doing for Christmas,” she said, “and make sure you don’t leave anything or anyone out. You’ll get calls if you do.”

I didn’t know where to begin. Luckily, Sally gave me a copy of the previous year’s list and I went off that. Some cities were easy, others were not. I preferred getting information via email so I could cut and paste the text into my story, but nothing at the Daily Gazette was ever that easy. Most I talked to wanted to fax their programs, which meant manually typing all the whos, whats, whens and wheres. Others wanted to recite the info over the phone as if I knew the correct spellings of all the unknown musicians and actors they were using in their plays and concerts. And some wanted to send the info through regular mail, which would have delayed the process by however long it took the Postal Service to deliver the letters. Still, by the end of the day, I had seventy-five percent of the necessary information and the story wasn’t due for four days. Of course, that time was spent calling the cities of South Gate, Paramount, Norwalk, Seal Beach and Wilmington to ask where the hell their info was. The first two had absolute idiots working for them who must have had a parent high up at the city. Norwalk still hadn’t decided on what they were doing for Christmas and the last two were nothing but phone numbers that no one answered. I dialed the Seal Beach City Hall to inquire and the woman who answered told me to call the number I already had. I explained my predicament, but she said the city had nothing to do with those events. Then I tried Wilmington, a port town run by Los Angeles. With all the shit going on in LA, you can imagine how much a priority it was for those officials to return my calls.

South Gate and Paramount came through on the day my story was due. Norwalk emailed me the info three days after the story ran and I’m still waiting to hear from Seal Beach and Wilmington.

I rolled my bike in slightly past 10:30 a.m., took my seat and checked the phone messages. The recorded voice told me I had fourteen new voicemails, which wasn’t out of the ordinary. I was jotting down the info from a woman who wanted to place an ad when the red light lit up, telling me someone was calling. I clicked the receiver and answered.

“Daily Gazette.”

“Yes. Is this Jim Hall?” I was shocked. Almost no one ever asked for me by name.

“Yes it is.”

“Well, I’ve been a subscriber for fifty-two years and never have I been as offended as I was this morning.” This sounded good, so I put down my notepad, leaned back in the chair and actually listened to the old bag.

“Ok. Why?” At previous gigs, I’d written all sorts of offensive things, some intentionally. But my hands were tied so tightly at the Daily Gazette that I couldn’t have pissed off anyone intentionally or not.

“I was reading your Christmas round-up story and you have at least four mentions of cities with ‘holiday’ events. Why can’t you just say ‘Christmas’ like the rest of us?”

I had no clue what the old lady was talking about, so I picked up the phone and stretched the chord as far as it could go so I could lean over and pick up a paper sitting at the vacant desk nearby. Combing through my story, I saw what she was talking about, but was confused as to why it bothered her. “Ma’am, can you explain this to me again? I understand what you’re talking about, but I don’t see the problem.”

“Goddamnit, it’s Christmas. Not ‘holiday.’ Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Show him the respect he deserves. He died on the cross for chrissakes.”

Now I got it, but wasn’t sure if it was worth the effort to explain to her that I didn’t name these events, I just reported them. The person, or people, she should have called were the ones who organized these gatherings. Not me. But I didn’t get the chance.

“And another thing…how dare you put Xmas in your article? It’s one thing to say ‘holiday,’ but if you’re going to say ‘Christmas,’ say ‘Christmas.’”

This woman sounded like her decrepit head was about to explode, so I did my best to calm her down.

“Ma’am, I didn’t name those things. The cities did. I just reported it.”

“Well why’d you do that? If you knew they were wrong, you should have corrected them.”

“I never said I thought they were wrong.”

“Oh, so you do think it’s ok to use ‘holiday’ and ‘Xmas?’ What’s wrong with you people? First you switch to ink that runs all over my hands and now this.”

“I didn’t say that either. It’s my job to report the facts, ma’am. I can’t add or subtract information based on personal beliefs or I’d get fired.”

“Maybe you should be fired.” Then she hung up. I wanted to trace the call, track her down and slit her throat while I shit in a copy of my story to shove down her old ass throat. But I didn’t. The holidays already put me in a bad mood and I didn’t need to go to jail for killing someone who was bound to die soon anyway.

A day later the entire office got a message from someone named Erin. It read, “Come see me to sign up for Secret Santa.” I deleted it instantly and thought nothing of it. By Friday, Erin, whom I’d never met before, appeared at my desk.

“Hey Jim, I’m Erin. I noticed you haven’t signed up for Secret Santa yet, so I wanted to make sure you got your name before the weekend.”

“Got my name?”

“Yeah, of the person you’re shopping for. Here, it’s Todd, the night janitor.”

I was caught so off guard that for once in my life I had nothing to say. “You wha?”

“Every year we do Secret Santa here. You know what that is, don’t you?” I nodded yes. “You’re the only person who didn’t sign up and I tried looking for you Wednesday, but Sally said you had already left. And I was gone all yesterday. That’s why it’s taken me so long to get to you. Sorry.”

“But I don’t want to be in Secret Santa.” Erin’s demeanor went from annoyingly bubbly to depressed with a hint of confusion. Her shoulders slumped, her smile turned upside down and her brow was filled with lines that indicated she was trying to process what I had said.

“You don’t want to be in Secret Santa? Why not?”

“I just don’t want to.” It was the truth. I had no real reason other than not giving a fuck.

“No one ever says no. It throws off the balance because somebody has you and now you need to have somebody.”

“No I don’t. What I need is to get back to work. Please remove me.”

“But it doesn’t work that way. You have to.”

“Look, I don’t want to, now please leave me alone.” I was getting upset and it was showing. “I don’t celebrate Christmas with my family or friends and I’m sure as hell not celebrating it here.”

“Fine. I guess that means I have to buy Todd’s present.”

“I guess that’s what you get for being in charge of Secret Santa.”

Monday, December 27. Late afternoon. I was sitting at the communal Mac downloading some pictures for Sally. Her chair and this computer were separated by a makeshift wall that a previous power-tripping editor erected as a form of distancing themselves from the other peasants in the department. They sat about six feet apart, close enough to see and hear what the other person is doing.

The rarest of rare occurred. Dick Thompson, the paper’s editor, number two man at the Daily Gazette, came over to the features department. In my eight months on the job, I’d never seen him in this part of the building. He approached Sally, who had to put on a pleasantly surprised face, and handed her something.

“Hey Sally, workin’ hard? Can you be a doll and do me a favor and give this to Jim Hall? Thanks so much.” Hearing my name, I looked up and saw him leave my boss’ office. Sally looked at the piece of paper she was given, stood up and called me in.

“Hey Jim, can you come here a second?” I thought I was in trouble, for what, I wasn’t sure. Sally reached out her left hand without looking up and said, “this is for you.” I took it back to my desk and opened it. Inside was a Christmas card from the Thompson family. The inscription read: “Thanks for all your work Jim. You really help make the Daily Gazette the best paper in Long Beach.” Hmm, I thought. The Daily Gazette is the only paper in Long Beach.

Then I got to looking at Dick’s two college-age daughters. One was a plumper wearing a Colorado State sweater, but the other was a gorgeous brunette with a UCLA t-shirt. How nice, wearing your college gear for daddy’s Christmas card. I took a mental note and instructed myself to remember her name. Holly. If I ever met a Holly Thompson from UCLA, I’d do my best to not just fuck her, but cum in her hair.

It wasn’t until I was rounding up my thermos before heading home that I realized the idiocy of Dick’s card. First, Christmas was two days prior. Second, I was within earshot of him when he handed it to Sally, which meant he was excused for not giving me my card on time because he had absolutely no idea who I was or that I even worked for the paper. To top it all off, the card lacked anything of monetary value. No Christmas bonus, no $10 gift certificate to pay for half of an overpriced CD at Best Buy, no raise, no health insurance, no new car, no nothing. Season’s greetings indeed.


For weeks I convinced my friend to start a blog to detail her life. You see, she lives with her 93-year-old grandmother, her mother, her husband and her daughter. Not to mention the dogs and cats and fish.

Everyday she told me about the wackiness that is her home life. "You gotta document this stuff," I kept telling her. Well, like a smart individual, she took my advice. Here's a link to her site. I hope she continues because I won't get to hear these stories any more and I'm way too deep to not find out how this ends.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I've got a bunch of friends performing at this thing. I'll be there. So should you.

A casual and intimate evening involving a festive gathering of friends, family, and foreigners... All performing in sparser, and mellower ways than you might usually expect from these artists. Featuring...
The Duke Spirit

Dead Meadow

The Entrance Band

Josh Homme (Screaming Trees, Kyuss)

Jeordie 'Twiggy' White (Marilyn Manson)

Sweethead (feat. Troy Van Leeuwen of QOTSA)

Aaron North, Troy 'Boy' Petrey & Fiends (Jubilee, Rob Gnarley)

Alain Johannes (Eleven)

Nick Jago (BRMC)

Xu Xu Fang

Dean Fertita (QOTSA, The Raconteurs)

Alessandro Cortini (NIN, Modwheelmood)

Wires On Fire

Dios Malos

HT Heartache

Sid Brown (feat. Bryan Brown of Bluebird)

Todd Congelliere (The Underground Railroad To Candyland, Toys That Kill, F.Y.P)

Tony Bevilacqua (Spinnerette, The Distillers, The Drips, Darker My Love, Har Mar Superstar)

Birthday Twin (feat. Fred Sablan of Goon Moon)

Brandon Intelligator & The Sheriffs

Tsk Tsk (The Breeders, Work Sucks, Balloon)

Ryan Ritchie (performing short stories, rantings, poetry, etc.)

...And many, many more VERY special guests to be announced soon! There will also be a photo / art exhibition including contributions (which will also be available for purchase) from Nick Jago, Chrissy Piper, Aaron Farley, Sonny Kay, and Travis Keller. Also, a raffle contest giving YOU the chance to win multiple boxes of over 4,000 brand new, useless, old, and shitty Buddyhead cd's! Plus giveaways, and various other underwhelming and anticlimactic surprises!!!

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

@ The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood

1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd., 90028

Doors @ 7pm



Sunday, December 7, 2008


Last night I had a weird dream. It went like this...

I was driving on what I think was the 5 freeway somewhere in the middle of California. Instead of a car, I was behind the wheel of a Radio Flyer, those red thingys kids have. I pulled into one of those towns that just appear on highways in the middle of nowhere. There aren't many of them in the Golden State, but hey, this is a dream, not reality.

For some reason, I needed to make a U-turn. So I did. about fifty yards ahead of me was a cop car waiting for someone to mess up. That's what these towns are for -- speed traps for people who have been driving 90 miles an hour all day to suddenly slow down to 45. Like that's gonna happen.

The pig pulled me over and my dream fast forwarded to me being at the police station. The cop, a female, was asking all sorts of questions in a very condescending way. This obviously was a dream because cops never do that sort of thing. She was pulling out backpacks and luggage from my Radio Flyer and inquiring about the contents. I told her she had free reign to look for whatever she wanted.

At this point I was fairly calm, even though I knew I had a stash of weed and a pipe on me. I just didn't care, probably because I had one of those medicinal cards that seemingly everyone in this state has.

The cop pulled out a bunch of clothes and asked me to unfold them so she could see if anything was inside. I obliged, knowing eventually what she was looking for was in another bag, not hidden at all. The pig took out my clothes, my asthma inhalers, my CDs and journal and started flinging them all over the room. Then I got pissed.

Just then this family from my hometown showed up. I used to play Little League and basketball with the oldest son. I kid you not when I say I have not seen or thought about these people in probably 15 years. But there they were. I recognized them and they me. I never bothered to ask why they were at the station, but somehow their presence combined with the cop making a mess of my stuff turned me into a raging lunatic.

I started yelling at the officer and told her to speed up. I was in a hurry and just could not be bothered. She wasn't amused. Bag after bag, she searched and found nothing. I remember being amazed at how much stuff I had inside a Radio Flyer, but that's what dreams do, or should I say don't do, which by that I mean they don't make sense.

I wanted to just point out my stash so I could get back on the road. But before I could, the pig found it. She turned around and had a big "AHA" look on her face. She asked why I didn't tell her about the pot and I told her I didn't think I had to. Then she went into a long diatribe about how busted I was and all that jazz. Knowing I had a get out of jail free card in my pocket (and a very tiny amount of weed), I let her continue with the song and dance. But I spoke up once she tried to cuff me. I reached in my pocket and showed her my doctor's recommendation and her jaw fell to the floor. I told her I'd own this sorry excuse for a town if she wanted to make a big deal of this situation. I could tell she didn't, so I pressed harder, explaining how much of a big shot I was and went into explicit detail about my pending lawsuit even if she left me off Scott free. And then I left.

Unfortunately, I don't remember anything after this point. My guess is my Radio Flyer and I made it home safely.

OK all you dream interpreters out in cyberspace...tell me what this means because I sure as hell don't have a clue.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Eleven years ago today (ok, maybe not on this date, but you get the point) I gave up eating meat. It was supposed to be a one-day thing, but here I am more than a decade later with no regrets.

I had turned 18 years old a few weeks prior and was the furthest thing any living (or dead) person could have been from a vegetarian. I absolutely despised vegetables and fruit. I ate hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken taquitos all the time and was so far removed from any semblance of healthy eating that I didn't put lettuce or tomatoes on my burgers -- just bun, ketchup and meat.

I don't remember how or why I decided to give up turkey, but I vividly recall the word "protest" being a major force behind my decision. This was very similar to why I never drank or did drugs in high school; if everyone else was doing it, I wanted to be as far away as humanly possible. This motif continues today.

As long as I can remember, animals have always had a soft spot in my heart and the thought of thousands -- if not millions -- of turkeys being slaughtered just for selfish reasons was enough to turn me to the dark side. In fact, one of my earliest memories is going to the LA County Fair in kindergarten. My parents took me out of school (which turned out to be the ONLY time they ever did that) and I had what I remember was a bonding experience with a horse. Before you get your mind in the gutter, I'll explain...My memory of this day is nill except for how much I loved petting the horse's head and talking to it. My parents probably thought I was strange, but you know what? They still do. Anyway, leaving the horse made me very sad. I don't know why, but I felt some sort of connection with the beast, all cramped up with no movement for anything other than his or her head. Somewhere there's a shrink analyzing that thought, but I don't care to do such a thing.

I got to my aunt's cramped Torrance apartment (I have a large family) and shoved everything on my plate except turkey. This meant taking more potatoes and stuffing than normal, but I was fine by that. As far as I could tell, no one noticed and my turkey-free Thanksgiving went off without a hitch.

I woke up the next morning and had challenged myself to see how long I could keep up the no-meat diet. Trust me, it wasn't easy. My family is not veggie-friendly and I had no idea what I was doing. The first month or two was filled with more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grilled cheese than I'd ever consumed before. When mom microwaved a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, I did my best not to eat the chicken, but I enjoyed the noodles and broth. Like I said, I was lost.

I don't have an exact date, but roughly two weeks into my vegetarianism was the last time I purposely ate meat (there have been a few times when someone swore there wasn't meat in something and there was, but I don't count those as I unknowingly ate flesh and threw away the food once I realized that). Mom threw some chicken taquitos in the oven and I put a few on my plate. As I was doing so, I told myself it was ok because the vegetarian experiment was over. "I'm not a vegetarian," I said to no one but me. I thought of my friends giving me shit for it and how, until then, I never told anyone I was a vegetarian because a few days of something is not long enough to start labeling yourself.

Like always, dinner was served in my bedroom. I took one bite and the taste was fine. Then the food hit my stomach and I knew something was wrong. I didn't vomit or have crazy poop, but the best I can describe this moment would be like this: Imagine a balloon expanding in your gut and not stopping. I felt like my belly was about to explode and there was nothing I could do about it. I writhed in pain, tossing and turning on my bedroom floor. This lasted a couple of minutes. Once the pain subsided, I put the extra taquitos back on the tray for someone else to eat.

It's been a pretty fucking awesome ride ever since.

Instantly I dropped 10 pounds. My diet was not what anyone would call healthy, but I was trying. I started buying veggie burgers and they tasted like shit. Just a big onion, which was definitely not what I wanted. But I kept at it. Veggie dogs? Yuck. More shit taste. But I kept at it.

I hate to be a sappy boyfriend, but it wasn't until a year later, when I met my girlfriend, when I was exposed to proper vegetarianism. She was a veggie too, which was a huge reason why we hit it off. I've heard of lots of couples in which one person converts for the other. That's noble, but ours was different. She knew way more about the subject than I did and started cooking me food that I'd never heard of and taking me to the now defunt Papa Jon's on Second Street in Long Beach. Oh how I miss you and your mush and tofu balls, Papa Jon's...

Our first visit, she ordered stir fry broccoli tofu. I looked at the menu and the dreadlocked hippy waiters and wondered where the hell I was. On paper, the food looked very unflattering and I went with an old standard -- a plate of black beans. Her dish came out and I was glad I didn't order it. Too much green for the young me. My beans were bland and dry and I pushed them around the plate more than I ate them. A while later, she cooked me falafel, something I'd never heard of. She promised I'd love it -- and hummus -- but she was wrong. I couldn't finish it and she made no bones about how this upset her. But she had the last laugh as I would inject falafel and hummus into my veins if I could. Her, on the other hand, she's over both of them. More for me!

I won't bore anyone with the details, but once I discovered fruits and veggies, there was no turning back. Tofu was and still is an awesome thing and my palette and awareness began cutting out more animal-based foods. Unfortunately, I don't have a vegan anniversary date, but my best estimate is about five years.

Like I said earlier, I gave myself a one-day challenge and upped the ante to see how long I could keep this up. Once I had a few months distance between me and meat, I was still telling people how one of these days I'd eat flesh again. Eleven years later, I say the same thing about dairy. But you know something? I can honestly say I'll never be a carnivore again, and if history tells me anything, I probably won't go back to milk, cheese and milk chocolate either. Not only is it the right thing to do on a compassion level, my body is much happier without all that shit in it. And if they could talk, I'd bet the animals are in favor of my decision as well.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not the type to preach my beliefs. No one forced vegetarianism or veganism on me and I don't wish to do the same. Now, when people ask, I give them honest, blunt answers. But it's not for me to tell others what to do. I came to this on my own and I believe people who make choices for themselves have a greater shot of sticking with things for the long haul. Veganism is right for me. On so many levels, I'd say it's right for you, the Jim Hall Sleeps All Day reader, but that's just my opinion. It's up to you to decide what you put in your body and why you do so.

Just yesterday a college student told me the thought of eating Tofurkey disgusted her. I told her she could think whatever she wanted, but I explained how there is no way she was more grossed out by fake turkey than I am when I think of the blood, guts and flesh of a formerly living creature entering my mouth. No thanks.

I still get crazy looks for non-believers and I don't care. Diets are not pissing matches, but I can always walk away knowing I'm doing what's right for me and for the greater good of humanity. I'm amazed at how many so-called religious people condemn me for my hedonistic ways (and trust me, there are plenty of them), but they still can't comprehend how they are contributing to torture and murder by eating meat. Again, I get the last laugh because religious nuts are destined to live a miserable life anyway.

And now it comes full circle. I am in the (incredibly slow) process of moving to Portland, Oregon, where veganism has taken over. As a vegan, I never thought I'd move somewhere because of food. That just wasn't possible until I went north. I'm not saying that's the only reason I want to live in the PDX, but it's a pretty big part of it. Even greater is knowing that I'm surrounding myself with like-minded people who don't think I'm weird for caring about fuzzy little creatures who can't speak up for themselves. Well don't worry my animal friends -- I'm here for you and I'm not the only one. I don't think we'll win this battle (or the war) but we can't go down without a fight.

Geez...this is one of my longest posts ever and I didn't even get into the raping and pillaging of Native Americans. I'll save that for next year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


perfection lies in the eye of the beholder
but for me,
it’s going to be difficult to beat
an evening alone
free of responsibility
and the ability to do as I please
the Lakers won and I cooked a plate of pasta,
washed it down with vino
sat in my favorite chair with the lights low
listening to the first rainy night in a long, long time

Friday, November 21, 2008


I was going to review this reading, but this asshole beat me to it. So instead, here are some photos.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Day trips are fun. At least that's what I tell myself. So when the opportunity arose to head up north to Berkeley to catch my friends' bands, the Taylor Texas Corrugators and JAMBANG, I said what the hell and made the six-hour trek all by myself.

I'm learning that I need to get out more. It helps keep me sane. Repetition has never been a friend of mine and hitting the open road is a perfect remedy for the Groundhog Day blues. Plus, I hadn't been to Berkeley in years...

I left Long Beach Friday at 11:30. The goal was to leave around 8 or 9 a.m., but we all knew that wasn't happening. I hit no traffic anywhere and was on Telegraph around 6 p.m.

The drive up was fairly uneventful. Highlights include stopping at Taste of India in Buttonwillow for killer samosas and a massive vegetable biryani wrap. Vegetarian food in truckstop towns is the modern day oasis, but this place exists and I make sure to stop there every time I'm on the 5. Sometimes I'm not hungry, but the food is bomb and I like to support them to make sure they're still around for my next trip. The second highlight was the gray skies caused by massive fires in Montecito (Montecito -- isn't that a hotel in Las Vegas?) The first three pictures are of this.

Berkeley was GOING OFF when I arrived. Literally a thousand people walking, talking, having a good time. I found a good parking spot and strolled around, taking in all that the college town has to offer.

It didn't take long before I began to feel strange. Not like I was gonna puke strange, but more like "holy shit, am I old or what?" kinda strange. Kids passing me by talking about the most ridiculous stuff. Two pimple faced punks were singing "I Saw Your Mommy" by Suicidal Tendencies, a group of high-heeled girls were pontificating the merits of Wet Seal, two gay guys were sharing horror stories of their respective hometowns and these three computer nerds were waxing poetic about the good ol' days of the Internet, back when AOL 2.0 was a big deal.

I was invisible to these kids. Maybe that's why I had such a good time. I never thought I'd be 29 years old, but I am and I'm learning to deal with it. It pains me to call college students kids, but for the first time in my life, I see that they are. Stuck between childhood and adulthood, away from mom and dad for the first time and exposed to things they only read about online. What I wouldn't do to be 19 again.

I thought about that last statement and realized I wish I could be in college again, but only because I am older. What I saw was no different than the Berkeley I saw when I was 18. You think I'm angry now? Try me a decade ago. I didn't want the college experience and that's probably why I didn't move away to school. Yes, now I see how this might have changed who I was and who I am, but I wasn't ready to participate in the herd mentality that seems to be ever so popular. The whole thing was a large cliche, the kind that made me feel like I was watching "Felicity" and not living real life.

The homeless punks and hippies are still bumming change. So are all the cleanest crazy people I've ever encountered. And there's the sweet sweet smell of weed EVERYWHERE. In the bookstore -- weed. The vintage store -- weed. The three headshops -- weed. The three guys standing in front of that plot of land that's been empty for 15 years -- weed. Not sure how cool the rest of the town is, but I'm ready to pronounce Telegraph the marijuana capital of the country.

Ate dinner at Blake's on Telegraph, where the show was held downstairs. Got a vegan burger. Usually these are nothing special, but this was really tasty. Highly recommended.

The sound guy was awesome. Not only did he give the obligatory history of the venue speech, he later offered us a bag of weed for sale. He didn't normally sell, he told us, but just this once...Sure dude.

First two bands were what I'd call college bands. Five guys who don't have much in common other than they want to play music. Maybe that's where the expression "the ol' college try" comes from. In any case, these groups had a strong following and girls were screaming for them, so they musta been doing something right.

The Corrugators were first. I've seen them a few times now and this might have been the best show yet. It's heavy, it's mellow, it grooves, it rocks. For a three-piece, they sure sound like a full band to me. Not that three pieces aren't full bands, but you know what I mean.

Luckily for me, the band had fun at some wineries the day before, resulting in drink tickets galore for me. Hooray for other people's hangovers!

JAMBANG closed the night with by far the best performance I've seen from them. I should be better at explaining bands' sets, but I'm not. To me, groups are good or bad. I don't see why anyone would ever go on and on about nuances and minutiate. Just believe me when I say JAMBANG was killer.

After the show I eyeballed this group of girls on the street. They were smoking, so I figured they must have been at least 18. But the more I looked, the tattoos and smokes hid nothing. The man in me knew they were attractive, but I was not interested because they were goddamn children. I wondered what I'd do if one of them approached me and wanted to party (this is assuming I didn't have a girlfriend of course) and I gotta say I think I woulda turned them down. Fuck. I'm old.

Went to bed at 3:30 and got up at 9:30 to head home. I wanted to get some work done and a different set of friends were having a shindig that I wanted to attend. For most of the drive home, I was flying around 90mph. There's no one on the 5 on a Saturday afternoon, which made that incredibly dull trip more tolerable. Then all hell broke lose.

Somewhere near Castaic was one of those neon signs telling me to expect a 75-minute delay due to the 5 being closed. I called home and asked the ol' ball and chain to get online and see what was up. "Fires," she said and it was then I knew I was screwed.

I got within ten minutes of Magic Mountain in Valencia when traffic came to a screeching halt. As in dead. No movement. At all. For two hours. I had one drop of water and two stale vegan donuts which tasted like shit. I rolled up the windows. I rolled down the windows. Changed the radio station. Made more phone calls. Anything to break the monotony.

This guy next to me was playing a mandolin. I thought about busting out my harmonica, but this cat could play and I totally suck. So I took some pictures instead. I was officially in hell.

Traffic was diverted onto the 126, a freeway I'd never heard of. False hope sucks even more than honest hope. Everyone thought this shift would get us moving, but it didn't. More traffic. Two hours more in fact.

I began to curse humanity, cars, people, fires, freeways, the strawberry stands we crept past on the 126, my radio, my phone, the heat, idiots who live in these fire-torn areas, the cars driving 80 mph in the opposite direction and life in general.

The 126 is a five-lane road. Two in each direction and one turn lane in between. I said fuck it and drove down the turn lane, which was pretty dangerous considering how fast traffic on the other side was moving. But I wasn't the only one. Lots of us did it only to get shitty looks whenever we had to merge into the regular lane. Yes, it's a shit move, but it was a shit time. Whaddyagonnado?

I'm amazed I didn't get hungry or have to pee, but that's the frustration kicking in. There was nothing but hate and anger. The animal was unleashed. If ever I could have done real bodily harm to a total stranger, it was yesterday on the 126 freeway. Every person glancing over at me was dead if they looked just five more seconds. Then I realized they were just killing time too and I decided to let them live.

The 126 turned into a town with min-malls and Taco Bells all over the place. I got a bean burrito and fries at Green Burrito, which, by the way, was the shiznit before they were converted into Carl's Jrs. Then I got some gas because I was at a quarter tank and had no idea what to expect.

I coulda ate at CJ, but I got it to go because there was no way I was going to wait any longer than I already did. The fries went first to let the burrito cool. One bite and there's beans all over my shirt. Each chomp was more food on me and less in my mouth. Oh, did I mention I was now driving in total darkness on a windy two-lane road that was supposed to take me to the 23?

My car seat was littered with beans and my steering wheel was sticky from all the food dropped on my hands. But I did not care. Like a commando trooper longing for peace, I pushed forward until I hit the 101. Finally, something I recognize.

An hour later and I was home. I dropped my shit at the door, took a shower and was done. Normally I unpack first thing, but my day and night were over. No friends' party. No nothing. Just my bed.

If I had a piece of paper and a pen, I woulda wrote the best shit ever while this was happening, but a day later and I'm afraid to really tap into the details because I am finally in a good mood and don't want to ruin that. So I'll say this: When people ask why I want to leave Southern California for Portland, I'll have one more reason to give them: the fires, terrible asthma conditions and chapped lips caused by a goddamn motherfucking shit ass piss bitch whore cunt called the Santa Ana winds. And you thought Santa Ana was just a terrible place to live and socialize...

Friday, November 7, 2008


I cannot feel it
I cannot see it

the gun must be there

why else would I voluntarily put one foot in front of the other,
head toward the bathroom for a shower
and walk out the door
through the driveway
and down the street
to get to my car
turn the key and
to the freeway, on the freeway, change freeways?


it’s all too much
my mind is screaming “NOOOOO”
but my feet keep moving
the screams get feet move faster
there is no stopping this avalanche
something takes control of my body
and it is then when I am no longer me

I belong to them,
the gun-toting invisible criminals
threatening my life
all for pity wages and mercy raises

I thought I was smarter than this
I am starting to think I was wrong

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I could write for days about this election. But I won't. Let's leave it at this...

Whether you're for Obama or McCain or voting yes or no on Prop 8, we can all agree that it's time for this election to be OVER.


Sorry, no pictures or video this time...

Saturday I caught Jubilee's second American show, which was also their first Los Angeles performance. The crowd was much larger than the Chino show and, in a very obvious statement, the sound was 100 times better. The band played nearly an identical set, which was fine because I didn't have any complaints about the first time I saw them.

Jubilee's strength lies in its ability to shy away from repetition. They play fast songs, slow songs, heavy songs, mellow songs and songs that have a bit of everything. Right when I think they are the best power-pop band in the land, they break into a feedback-laden jam that rocks.

Usually, bands have more than one lead singer because one guy just won't shut up about how he HAS to sing his songs. Well, Jubilee isn't like that. The combination of singer/guitarist Aaron North and singer/bassist Michael Shuman gives the quartet options that don't leave audiences waiting for the other guy to reclaim the mic.

Mid-set, North told the crowd that they didn't like playing LA because Angelenos suck at behaving properly. I couldn't agree more, but in this case, I had to give the shoegazers and arms-crossed crowd some slack because it ain't easy spending an hour of your time listening to a band you've never heard before. Hell, I can't do it. There was an apparent contingency of those who came out to see not necessarily the band, but the band members and that's fine too. I think that's called having fans, but judging by the lack of comments I get on this page, I have no idea what that concept means. By the time they were finished, Jubilee got the naysayers and the too-cool-for-school crowd on their side. At least I think so. Who the hell knows with those LA types?

I've decided Jubilee should sign to Sub Pop because they really are the culmination of what that label produced (and maybe still does, I don't know). But my guess is they'll stick to releasing their own stuff, which I can't argue with either. Sometimes it's nice to be the boss.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Let's face it...Christmas sucks, Thanksgiving's nothing more than a turkey slaughter and your birthday is a reminder that you're getting old. But Halloween, that's something different.

Halloween rules. We get to dress up like fools, pig out on candy and party like New Year's Eve. What's not to love?

I won't pretend that I listen to the Misfits all that often anymore, but there's no better Halloween band than the four guys from Jersey. So pop it in your CD player or iTunes or whatever the fuck you have and rock out.

Hail Satan!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I've been swamped with more work than I know what to do with, hence the lack of updates. Well, some of that business (that's busy-ness, not business) is over and you are the winners! Yeah!

Here are some pics from my recent trip to Portland. I'd write more, but photos are what people want, not words.

Powell's on Hawthorne. Much easier to navigate than the downtown one. Notice the overcast sky. I can't wait to make that a daily occurrence.

Hawthorne...I love you.

Mt. Tabor Park is the most amazing thing in a city full of amazing things.

People ask if I really want to move to Portland. This picture says it all. I mean, come on, I'm already parking my car on the wrong side. What's more Portland than that?

Karaoke at Chopsticks Express II was GOING OFF! I've retired from taking the mic at home, but I had to show Portland how Long Beach do it...what? what? Also, the guy with his back to my camera in the striped shirt was sitting next to me all night. We made very small talk for about an hour. Then, out of nowhere, he leans over, and above the killer rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama", he asks, "do you smoke weed?" I said I did and he said, "you look like you do. Wanna go outside and get high?" How did he know?

This girl was WAY-STED. She was talking to me outside the karaoke bar about something. I don't remember what it was, but she was definitely into whatever she was saying. Her arms her flailing and she kept pointing her fingers in my face. I totally coulda practiced making babies with her, but I have a girlfriend and an unreasonable fear of a girl vomiting on me while we're sharing a moment.