Sunday, August 31, 2008


People give me all kinds of hatred when they discover that I don't vote. Not only do I not vote, I highly encourage others to do the same. As if you didn't know why, let's look at this presidential race. Or more specifically, the vice presidential candidates.

So Obama picks this Joe Biden guy. Obama's the future, the great half-white hope, down with the kids, hip. And what's he do to ruin that? He picks a boring ass white guy to "balance" the ticket. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. People don't want more of the same. Agree or disagree with her, we can all admit that picking Hillary would have meant difference for two reasons. But no, he picks a guy who looks like every other politician in the history of United States politics (except Taft, that fat motherfucker). Either Obama and his people are completely stupid or they are the exact same group that they claim they aren't -- politicians. If Obama's not playing the game, then why's he picking such a lame ass? Shit, Bill Richardson from New Mexico would have been the same old shit but wrapped in a Hispanic body. Friends, that's called two birds with one stone. But no, he does the same thing everyone before him has done. What he fails to realize or is afraid to devote himself 100 percent to is the fact that his supporters and a great deal of undecided voters like the idea of him as Commander in Chief because he offers an alternative. Why not push that even further and pick a running mate who isn't safe, isn't ordinary, isn't the same old song and dance? Why? Because that's taking a leap no politician wants to face. Guys like Obama want to get elected. Nothing more. Nothing less.

As if that wasn't bad enough, McCain selects a woman with zero experience. I mean, like at all. Two years ago she was the mayor of an Alaskan town with a population smaller than the street I live on and now she's supposed to be the second most powerful person in the world? Even a blind person can see how degrading this is to anyone with any level of intelligence. No wait, that's offensive to blind people (believe you me -- this blog's HUGE with the blind). Even someone from Oklahoma can see how degrading this is to anyone with any level of intelligence. I'd explain, but luckily, I don't have to. I was at the meeting between McCain and the tape was rolling.

McCain: "So he didn't pick Hillary?"
Some white guy: "No, sir. He picked Joe Biden."
McCain: "The white guy?"
Same white guy: "Yes, sir. That Joe Biden."
McCain pauses a second before rubbing his hands together and grinning: "So all those Hilary supporters are still out there?"
Different white guy, very eager: "Yes, sir. They are."
McCain: "Hillary wouldn't say yes, would she?"
Third white guy: "Probably not, sir."
McCain: "Can we get another female?"
First white guy: "Yes, we can, sir. There's a woman from Alaska named Sar..."
McCain: "Get her on the phone, pronto."

I'm a guy, so I can't speak for the female mentality, but if I had boobs and a vagina, I'd feel like McCain's choice of running mate was the most sexist (what's wrong with being sexy?), insulting, 1950s mentality thing he could have done. What better way to show voters how in touch with females you are than to pick one for vice president? Even one no one's ever heard of because there's never been a reason for the rest of the country to know anything about her? There goes that whole "Obama's got no experience" argument because anytime the Republicans bring that up, every journalist in the world will ask about Palin.

I don't believe in God, but if there is one, please God, I'm BEGGING you, pretty pretty please let this rumor about Palin's fifth kid really being her grandchild true. That would SO rule.

Gun to my head, I'm going with Obama. In fact, I agree with some of the things he says. Problem is, I don't trust politicians. Maybe it's childish of me to harbor insecure thoughts about a man I've never met based on the history of those who held his job title, but when you've being in existence for as long as politicians have been around and you've got that sort of track record, I can't be anything but skeptical.


The Long Beach Blues Festival was this weekend. It's always on Labor Day, which sucks because I want to go out of town and I want to go to the shows. What's a boy to do?

Well, free tickets change everything. So I went. This year's big attraction was none other than Chuck Berry. Anyone who knows me knows about my Elvis infatuation. But let's face it -- Elvis didn't invent rock 'n' roll. Chuck Berry did.

We got there way too early and walked around a bunch. The move from the athletic field at Cal State Long Beach to Rainbow Lagoon was a good idea. But I'm not here to review the show, so take my word. It's better.

Anyway, John Mayall played a good set. Then Berry came on after the quickest downtime between sets in the history of music festivals.

It's well known that Berry (or whoever manages him) hires back-up bands every show he plays. Supposedly, this results in either great shows or total nightmares. Luckily for us, we got the total nightmare.

Chuck comes out wearing his sailor hat and a sparkly blue sequined shirt. He opened with "Roll Over Beethoven" and it was a bit rocky to say the least. When white rock bands go overboard (I'm looking at you Rolling Stones, Guns n Roses, Sting, etc...), they hire back-up singers. A studio engineer I recorded wtih once called this "the black chick version." Well, Berry's black, so I guess he was playing the white frat dude version.

After the song, he introduced himself not to the crowd, but to his band, which consisted of a bassist, keyboardist and drummer. They followed along as best they could and I hoped things would pick up once they found Chuck's groove.

They didn't.

May God strike me dead right now if this isn't the truth: Last night Chuck Berry's performance was the absolute worst thing I've ever seen in the 14 years I've been going to shows. Worse than teenage garage bands. Worse than bands too drunk or high too play. Worse than anything.

Because they had no practice, Berry began each show with his voice and guitar, but couldn't sing and play at the same time. He's the inventor of rock 'n' roll, but at his age (he's reported to be 81), he slows down his songs to make them sound like traditional blues. Or maybe he did that because this was at a blues festival. I don't know.

In an ironic twist, ya remember that scene in "Back to the Future" when Chuck's supposed cousin Marvin calls him from backstage after Marty McFly instructs the band to follow him on a blues riff in B ("watch me for the changes and try to keep up")? Yeah, that's basically what Chuck did to his band.

He ran through "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Reelin' and Rockin'," "Nadide (Is It You?)" and "My Ding-a-Ling," which no one say along to. He'd start songs, then change the words to other songs. The bass got turned WAY down once it was determined that there was no way in hell to follow Berry's playing.

He didn't say much to the audience and started taking requests. He said something about how people were trying to kill him by asking for the fast songs. Well, you're goddamn Chuck Berry. Of course we want the fast songs. But he's got plenty of slow songs (my all-time favorite CB song is a slow one, "Memphis." He didn't do it).

Of course someone yelled "Johnny B. Goode" and he said he'd play it if girls got on stage to dance because it was a rocker. One by one the old ladies came and the band jammed for about 20 minutes. The festival let the VIP barrier down, so we got about 10 feet away to see him up close. A word to the wise: Don't.

In fact, don't go see Chuck Berry. It pains me to say that because I freakin' love his music. Or, I love what he did 50 years ago. It's not only a total debacle on stage, last night he showed ZERO respect for the thousands of people who paid at least $50 and sat in the heat all day to see him. His set was a total joke and lots of people left early.

The highlight was one of the 40-something women on stage who kept dancing next to him, acting like she was going to fuck him after the show. It was embarrassing to watch her as he did his best to stay away from her.

Seriously, I am a writer and I am speechless as to how to properly describe how bad this show was. I wish there was a way to inflict the sort of uncomfortable vibes from the performance through these computer keys and onto your screen. It's best for you that I can't.

God, I'm really searching for something good to say, but I can't. Even for free, it was a complete waste of my time. There were moments when Berry's playing sounded like the voice of Jesus, but those were few and far between. He couldn't keep up with the lyrics and his band sounded timid and confused. I felt for them because it wasn't their fault, although I wondered where they came from. A few tunes they seemed to be oblivious to, but maybe it wasn't that. Here was their 15 minutes: A headlining festival set with Chuck Berry and it sucked.

Check the video above, but don't believe what the person who posted it on Youtube said. The show was a joke.

On the way home, my girlfriend had a good idea. She loves CB as much as I do. She suggested people bring iPods to his shows, turn them on and then watch him. That's the best idea I've heard in a looooooooooong time.

Just to make myself feel better about this posting, I HIGHLY recommend getting his Chess Records greatest hits volumes 1 and 2. There are a ton of amazing songs -- Maybellene, Thirty Days, You Can't Catch Me, Downbound Train, Too Much Monkey Business, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Havana Moon, Oh Baby Doll, Little Queenie, Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller, Back in the USA, Promised Land, No Particular Place to Go, I Want to Be Your Driver -- all incredible songs that he did not play.

Old people don't do the Internets, so I doubt Chuck will read this. But if he does: Chuck. I'm sorry for the things I said. I love your music and wanted more than what I was given. Please ditch the hired guns and give us your A-game. You deserve it. We deserve it. The music deserves it.

PS No duck walking! Bummer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


if writing is a motherfucker
then what’s that make me?
a goddamn crazy fool,
that’s what
the weight of the world on my shoulders
is not something I asked for
nor would I wish it on anyone else,
no matter how much I despised them

I wear glasses because of this stupid obsession
I can’t think straight
my concentration is nil unless I’m behind a keyboard
and I don’t care all that much about the real world,
only the one that exists inside my head

I’m shut off and shut down
with no consideration for anyone but me
everything in life –including the good shit –
is nothing more than a hurdle
me and my words

the pressure drips like a leaky kitchen faucet
I’ve taken out the proper tools
but nothing fixes it
not booze or sex or drugs
but sometimes a good book buys me some time
before my mind begins to regain control of my body
I become limp, paralyzed to the demands

I am a shitty human being for a myriad of reasons
and the only way to make myself feel like I’m worth
half a damn
is to keep going
regardless of how much I’d rather be anyone
and anything
than a writer

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I'm at work and for the first time in my life, I have a headache caused by boredom. Two days in a row of not doing a single thing. Why can't I go home?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Local whining blog the Stess-Telegram (aka the most disappointing site on the Internet) posted this info about a new initiative called the MoJo Mode. I'd explain it to you, but here it is.

"We've heard chatter about a MediaNews “mobile journalist” program called the MoJo Initivative.

The idea isn't new: other news organizations, Gannett being among the first, have undertaken programs that provide mobile kits (laptops, audio recorders, video and/or digital cameras, cell phones and Internet access) to people willing to work out of their home or cars.

With journalists working from the field instead of the newsroom, media companies can significantly cut overhead, needing only a small office to house assignment,news and web editors with maybe a few additional desks reporters can share. For example, The Record in Hackensack, N.J reported recently that it was moving out of Hackensack (savings: $2.4 milion), that most of the news staff would become mobile journalists, working from the field, while others would also relocate to one of the paper's eight weekly newspaper sites. “They will share desks as they are rarely in the office. The office/work concept is called ‘hoteling’. Employees actually reserve desk time to cut down on the number of desks and square footage needed.”

There are up-sides for reporters and photographers doing mobile journalism: most want the training and the equipment to hone their skills so as to be all-platform. Almost all understand that “technology has made people more mobile, and journalism has to react.” Journalism from Inside a Car

But the down-side may be that with more and more journalists expected to work remotely, employers may eventually seek to cut the umbilical chord (but not editorial oversight, hopefully) and sever the employer-employee relationship entirely. The line between a staff journalist and a freelance journalist that works from home is virtually nonexistent - except for the compensation and benefits paid to the staffer. The working conditions, the work itself, and all the rest of the traditional differences are essentially erased once you separate the journalist from the newsroom. Or so it would seem. What do you think?

Are you already operating in the mojo mode? How is it working for you?"

Well, they asked, so here's my answer.

Any person who turns their back on the opportunity to work from home is a goddamned fool. As someone who worked at the PT and now works from my apartment, let me tell you the world is a much better place from the friendly confines of my couch (where I type this lovely post).

Pajamas are better than suits. Frizzy hair is better than combed. Sleeping in is better than being somewhere at 10 a.m. Being in control of my destiny is better than listening to codgers tell me what to do, where to be and what time I can go home. Lunch tastes better, my visits to the gym are longer and I have more personal time to do whatever the hell it is I want. A few days ago I packed myself a picnic and had lunch by myself at the park. Try doing that in an office environment.

A good journalist suffers when they sit behind a desk answering phones all day. Believe you me, this happens A LOT at the PT. The public wants, no NEEDS, the best stories they can get. The only way to do this is for reporters to get out in the field and see what's going on. Too much time in an office is what kills journalism, not technology or the Internet or cell phones or blogs or whatever excuse the dinosaurs in the industry want to come up with. The reason newspapers are suffering is because they operate using old techniques. We don't use horse-drawn buggies to get around town -- we have cars. People don't hop on boats to get to Europe -- we fly. Times change. Maybe this MoJo mode is the remedy.

Perhaps I'm in the minority. The older I get the more I think people are sheep who need others to dictate their daily routine. I don't. I hated every second I had to be inside that office (or any office for that matter) and regardless of how difficult it can be to provide for myself without a paycheck every other Friday, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I'm in control. I'm in charge. I am the boss, the employee, the secretary and the human resources department. When things go well, I get the credit, not some company masthead that don't give two shits about me. When things go poorly, the finger is pointed at me. When I fuck up, I don't mind the blame. It fuels the fire.

I think this MoJo mode is a good idea. Cut the ties and let the cream rise to the top. Those afraid of not having a tight relationship with their job are those who would drown in the freelance ocean and are the same people who turn in lackluster stories. Newspapers are cutting back left and right. I'm not in favor of people losing their jobs, but a solid argument can be made that those who are good at what they do have nothing to worry about. It's those who aren't A-list material who should worry. And in journalism, the public should demand nothing but A-list material.

One of the biggest problems with freelancing is having the funds to get decent equipment. Once you have that, the largest hurdle (sorry -- I got Olympic fever) is selling stories. Here is where the adults are separated from the kids. I'd jump at the opportunity if a news organization wanted to give me the tools I needed and assured me that I had a strong chance of publishing my work on a consistent basis.

So Stress-Telegram, keep complaining about your shitty union that hasn't gotten a single thing done for you in the past five years. Keep linking to sites from other parts of the country while you fail to realize that they few supporters you might have in Long Beach couldn't care less about negotiations in the Bay Area or Minnesota or Colorado or Bumfuck Egypt. You're outsourcing your info, which ironically is the same issue you rail against at the PT. Take it from me -- you've got plenty of in-house stories to tell. Why don't you try focusing on those?

Friday, August 22, 2008


From MSNBC...

An actress who appeared on the HBO series "The Wire" has been arrested on minor drug charges.

Court records show Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, who played a killer of the same name on the television series, was charged after police went to her home in Northeast Baltimore to pick her up for refusing to cooperate as a witness in a murder trial.

She was arrested Wednesday after police served a warrant that would allow them to detain her, if needed, until the Sept. 16 trial of Steven Lashley. Court documents say Pearson is accused of having two cigars containing suspected marijuana in a bedroom and loose plant material. She was charged with one count of drug possession.

Authorities say Pearson witnessed Lashley stab three men, killing one, during an argument in 2005.

I've never heard of this person or the show she is on, but her nickname is Snoop and she grows weed. Two for two if ya ask me!

By the way, when is our law enforcement going to stop wasting our time and money with marijuana?


I keep hearing the word "elitist" get tossed around when blowhards start talking about John McCain and Barack Obama. Each side uses the term as a negative, a description no sound candidate would want to be associated with.

Before I begin my diatribe, let me remind you that anyone running for president is the furthest thing from a regular person, which makes them an elitist. The working man doesn't do politics because he's too busy busting his ass to cover his rent. The fact that these political machines want to fool the rest of us into thinking they aren't elitist is, ironically enough, a form of elitism. They act like we don't know, as if we don't see the smoke and mirrors.

Now that we've agreed that politicians are creeps with low-self esteem, let me make a larger point.

Who in the fuck doesn't want to be elite? You seen some of the scum on this planet? Pardon me and my elite ways of thinking, but my life be would a whole fuck of a lot better if my only concerns were fine art, fancy dining, dressing like a stud and five-hundred dollar dog collars.

OK, so maybe in the first time in this here blog's history, I'm going to admit that the above paragraph should be read with a large dose of sarcasm. Or should it?

Friday, August 15, 2008


can it be?
another stoned Friday night
Snoop on the speakers
weed in the veins
yuppy neighbors with yet another
backyard party
but it’s ok
I’m over here with what I got
they’re over there with what they got

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I bet if you search long enough, you'll find my post about drinking grappa in Venice. If you don't have all day, peep this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


There's no quicker route to getting me incredibly pissed off than going to the doctor. I've had this weird blister thingy on the top of my left ear for about two months. It hurts when I lay on it, but other than that, it's not been a problem.

I've got this friend who's had skin cancer a few times. Friend came over and told me I HAD to get it checked out. I don't know why, but I took Friend's advice and now I'm down $229.50.

On a positive note, I was in the waiting room for less than ten minutes, a new record. Once I got into the room, it was just another few minutes before the doctor looked me over. He suggested we deal with my ear right then, but failed to mention how the price would increase.

The male nurse moved me into the operating room or whatever the fuck it's called. I sat there for at least twenty minutes. Thankfully I brought a book. Finally the doctor arrives. He had me lay on my side with my left ear sticking up. He pokes with some numbing shit that worked and then bailed for three minutes. He returned, did what he had to do and it was over.

I got off the table and saw a bandage covered with my blood. I don't like the sight of blood, particularly my own. Now there's a band-aid on my ear and it stings like a motherfucker. All this for what I'm guessing is going to be a complete non-issue, one that costed me precious sleep time (I had to be there at 11:15) and the money I was planning to use on a trip this week.

There's got to be a better way.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I look forward to the day when I can write about butterflies
because when that happens
I’ll know I’m in a better spot than the one I’m in now

Friday, August 8, 2008


Sooner than later I will call Portland home. Until then, here are some pics from my recent trip to the great Pacific Northwest.

Before hitting Portland, I stopped in Sacramento for all of twenty minutes. I've lived in California my entire life and had never visited, so I figured what the hell. I got there around 7 p.m. on a Wednesday and the city was dead. Later I found out the city is always dead after 5.

This is a portion of a seal in the ground at the capitol building. Silly if you ask me.

Another seal. This one had all sorts of California stuff, like waves and 49ers and the like.

The capitol building.

Some sort of courthouse thingy.

More capitol.

Seriously, this is the best drink of all time. It's a Thai basil mojito sold at a place on Alberta Street called Thai Noon. I went there last year and it was the first place I went this year.

There are many vegan-friendly resturants in Portland, but the Vita Cafe is atop my list.

I was walking down Alberta after the mojito and dinner when I noticed a large amount of artists hanging out on the street. Then my friend said we lucked out and caught the last Thursday art walk. Long Beach, your art walk ain't got shit compared to this. There were people everywhere for about a mile. The street was not officially blocked off, but it could have been. People walking, bikes, dogs. It was crazy. Even the cops were looking at the goods for sale. This sort of thing could happen only in Portland.

In Long Beach, we feel special when there are neighborhoods full of cool old homes. In Portland, it's the norm.

I thought the Rose Garden was where the Trailblazers played. Turns out there's an actual rose garden with an amazing park attached to it. Who knew?

I was pretty freaked out when I found out we had to cross a bridge to get downtown. Something to do with the bus route being closed forced us to hoof it. Imagine my fear when a distorted voice came over the intercom to announce the bridge was opening up to let a sailboat pass. I kept my composure thanks to the knowledge that I wasn't high up enough to die. I said that to my friends and then realized you are never supposed to talk about suicide. So I had to qualify my statement by explaining how I was afraid of heights and just needed to calm myself down. They understood.

Seriously, you can say whatever you want about Portland. All I know is Voodoo Donuts makes vegan donuts. Any city cool enough to do that is alright by me. We chowed these down so quickly I had to go back and buy a dozen to take home. Those didn't last long either. I dare any non-vegan to eat these and tell me you can taste the difference. You can't.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


As some of you know, I am in Portland, Oregon. Have been since Thursday. I'll be here until Tuesday or Wednesday.

I know I have legions of devoted fans who want to know everything and I apologize for the lack of minute-by-minute updates. There was more downtime in Europe, which afforded me plenty of opportunities to blog on almost a daily basis. Not in Portland. Truth is I've been so busy going off that there hasn't been time for blogging. Can you imagine? No time for blogging?

I don't have nearly enough time to get into details, but let's say I love this city. I came here last year for the first time and said I wanted to move here. Now I am serious. Long Beach, I love ya, but it's time to move on.

In a nutshell...Lots of walking. Vegan food up the ying yang. Beautiful weather. Friendly people. No traffic. No sales tax. And an amazing group of people who let us crash with them for a few days. (If you are one of the four people who let us stay with you -- you rule.)

My stomach has never been happier. Vegan donuts. Vegan Philly cheesesteak. Vegan bbq chicken. Vegan fish sandwich. Vegan strawberry chocolate slice of cake. Soy milk everywhere. Vegan french toast. Vegan pancakes. Stumptown coffee. Two-dollar PBR. This is food heaven.

Taking lots of pics and will post those once I am at home, along with a more precise description of each day's events. Or something like that.

Oh, I almost forgot. Someone paid me real money to sell my zine at Powell's (the one on Hawthorn, not downtown). What's this about a zine, you ask? I have one and I think it rules. I've been leaving them for free, but Powell's actually bought them. I am a paid writer!

Yesterday we went all over town, including a store that sells nothing but zines. Amazing. I bought two. Next to this store is a freakin' zine library called the IPRC ( where, for free, people can check out zines. They had what appeared to be hundreds, if not thousands.

Portland is the most vegan and artist friendly city I've ever been to. And the best part is, I'm both of those. I can't get up here soon enough.