>Hey, You Know What Sucks?

>This sucks:

That’s the right rear tire on my rental car. It has a slow leak. As in, flat in about 8 hours slow. It’s about flat in that picture but you can’t really tell. It was flat when I went out to go to the customer site this morning. It took three service stations to find a working air compressor. And it was friggin’ cold outside too. As in, 15 degrees and stiff wind cold. It irked me.

So I got it aired up, but by the end of the day it was pretty low again. I took that picture around 8:30 tonight. I took the car back to that service station after dinner to air it up; hopefully it won’t be totally flat again by morning. What a pain in the ass. It will probably totally blow out on the way back to St. Louis to fly home tomorrow evening. So I am in a quandary as to whether I should just put the stupid mini spare on tomorrow before I leave, or just pump up the tire and hope for the best. I’m thinking to lean on the hope. It seems to be working for Obama, right? Spout enough horseshit about hope and this and that and people fall all over themselves.

Speaking of dinner, here is a surreptitious shot of the fine dining establishment that is the Farmer’s Family Restaurant:

I bet you wish you could live like I do. Oh, and that isn’t a koala bear on the table, it’s my arm.

Before I went to eat I tracked down a gym in town. Look at this fancy place:

I worked out pretty hard. Too hard. I stopped at a convenience store on the way home and bought a couple packages of advil. I’d actually planned to expense a whole bottle to keep in my bag, but they only had those little packages that come two-tablets-to-a-pack. The clerk offered to open them up for me, but I declined. I said I was getting them in anticipation of the morning. She laughed and said, “I wish I still had mornings like that!”

The dumbbells are the reason, not whatever the clerk was referring to (booze? fornication? who knows). I can feel the gimpness coming on. I’ve been working mostly machine weights at home, but thought I’d work over the dumbbells tonight. I’ll be paralyzed by 5 AM, guaranteed. After the weights I rode the exercise bike for 30 minutes (and listened to Monster Magnet, in case you were wondering). I couldn’t hear the audio, but just seeing the images on the TV screens just made me more aware that America is doomed. I don’t know what is worse: the shows, the shitheels in the shows, or the birdbrains engulfed in watching them.

Though this thing, from Britain’s version of American Idol, is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen — this dude literally brought tears to my eyes (thanks to Joe Nickell for bringing it to my attention):

I challenge anyone to watch that and not be moved. That dude, as we say in LAZERWOLFS, dropped the friggin’ hammer. In case you are wondering, he did win the entire competition. That clip blows me away every time. So much so that I am not overcome with vomiting from that gawdawful Aerosmith song at the end.

In closing, I’ll leave another picture for the ladies. Enjoy!

Highland, Illinois

Spent a day in airports and on jets to get to Highland, IL (about 25 miles or so from St. Louis, MO). Not an illustrious place to travel to, from what I’ve seen so far. I guess it can’t always be San Diego. I wish I’d had my camera in hand taking off from Missoula this morning, as the climb out, and across Montana, was stunning. Clear and sunny, and the snow on all the mountains . . . it was magnificent. I haven’t quite gotten this part down yet about always having the camera ready. As a taker of pictures (I’d never refer to myself as a photographer) I’m kinda lame. If I get good ones, it’s pure luck.

I fly Northwest more often than not, and given how much I travel I always get bumped to first class. That is pretty damn sweet. I haven’t slept much the last couple nights, and it felt great to stretch out and luxuriate a little bit. The only bummer is I finished The Freedom Manifesto, which was one of those books I wished would go on forever. It’s nice to read someone who, for the most part, thinks like I do. Thanks to kitcarson (whoever that is, though I think I could guess who she is) for tipping me off to it. Those people over at S&Co are like crack dealers.

Now I’m at that point when I travel where I feel gross. The first day out I always eat horribly, and it sucks. I even broke one of my primary rules of travel: Always Avoid Restaurants That Bill Themselves as Family Restaurants. They almost always suck. Here is tonight’s example, as viewed from my window:

This one actually wasn’t that bad, but not great either. This is one of those towns that on first glance doesn’t seem to offer a whole lot — Pizza Hut, DQ, Ponderosa, etc. — so I just held my nose and walked over there. I’ve always thought to make these trips interesting I should road-ready my acoustic and find hole-in-the-wall bars to busk in. I should seriously pursue that one of these days. I know I’m not the first guy in the world who would follow up a butchering of a Hank Williams tune with a decent rendition of a Sex Pistols tune, but I bet there hasn’t been a lot of that done in a place like Highland, IL. I have these fantasies of both being able to make some extra cash on the side on these trips, or coming back with a story about how I had to fight my way out of some hostile roadhouse with a rusty Pabst Blue Ribbon sign out front (listen to me, the tough guy: I’ve never been in a fight (though Jimmy and I did square off and find victory against about 50 guys one time) in my life!)

Speaking of PBR — has the demographic for that beer changed or what? You drive through rural Wisconsin as I have done frequently over the past few years, and most places have battered old PBR signs hanging over the doors, or Old Milwaukee, or some other swill like that. These are blue collar beers, the kind that guys with bellies hanging over their work pants would throw back after a day out in the fields. Nowadays, PBR is the hipster/indie rocker beer of choice. I remember it from the Jay’s Upstairs days, when bands essentially drank for free, and it was always PBR on tap. Blue collar guys would hate the people their beer is being marketed to. If a crew of the modern PBR generation swaggered into one of those Wisconsin small town bars, they’d get laughed at our beaten out of the place. Only nowadays, instead of getting harassed about having long hair they’d get urged to “Pull your fucking pants up!”

That’s another part of the problem with rock these days. Hardcore rockers are supposed to be anti-establishment, sticking it to the man, right? That isn’t something you get from Hot Topic in the mall, you get it by performing deeds that could potentially run you afoul of the law. How the hell are you going to run from the cops with your pants falling down around your knees? I tell you, this world is made up of half-ass amateurs. . . .

Two paragraphs ago I was reminded of Jay’s Upstairs, and how I get a tumbler’s worth of bile crawling up my throat at the thought of what that space has become. Even now my rage is beginning to spike, which ain’t pretty. Julia and I attended this birthday party/preview opening thing for what is going to be a dance studio in Missoula, that occupies the space where Jay’s Downstairs used to be. I can’t remember the woman’s name who is doing it (she is a friend of Julia’s), but she’s the one who does the salsa dance lesson things at The Badlander (update: Heather Adams is her name). Anyway, it was weird to be in there, see where the staircase up the back used to be where we had to haul gear, etc. But having that ritzy club overhead . . . I wanted to tear the old washing machine from downstairs (which is still there) and throw it through the window overhead. Argh, I hate that stuff!

In closing this rambling post that no one has probably made it this far on, I’d like to pose this question: What is it about NASCAR that seems to make its fans unaware that their garish-tshirt-of-choice is only flying about half mast, so that a good six inches of triumphant belly (aka gut) is displayed for all to ogle? Maybe the guy I saw today intended to cover his gut with the NASCAR jacket he was wearing, only it didn’t appear that thing has been closeable for at least 5 or 6 years (which is about the same time frame that had seemingly elapsed since its last washing as well).

Think this lovely lass is a NASCAR fan? I wouldn’t bet against it. Note that the PBR is what she’s drinking, and is merely . . . cooling herself . . . with the High Life.

Realization: After viewing this post, I realized that most of the people who read this blog are female, if you measure it by the comments I’ve gotten. So, odds are, you women may not realize that the person I am referring to is the woman in the middle of the shot, not that delicious hunk of manflesh grinning in an “I will be toothless someday” fashion to her immediate right. That dude is one barbed-wire armband tattoo away from godhood, isn’t he? I’m guessing the armband is probably on the arm outside of the frame.

>It Was a Throw Down

>If you were one of the lucky ones at The Other Side last night, you witnessed a display of awesome power the likes of which won’t be seen again . . . until March 6th, that is. LAZERWOLFS came out on top of our preliminary round, with Black Velvet Elvis also advancing to the finals. Apparently we were #1 in judges voting, and #2 in ballot voting (despite not a single representative of my witty email beseeching folks to come out in support showing up, or replying to it, for that matter; god knows I won’t debase myself to do that again).

It was a long night. Got there at 8:00 in the event the friends we invited early would show up. None did, but there were plenty of our friends from other bands around town there. The free keg dried up in a hurry. After that, it seemed someone was putting a beer in my hand every time it was empty. It was reasonably crowded; Jimmy turned to me in irritation at one point and said, “The next time some little 5’2” European-looking guy bumps my elbow, I am going to freak out!” That was the quote of the night, because in context it was hilarious; you’d have to know Jimmy, I guess. My friend Marcus from Mahamawaldi was there as well. He kept pulling PBR tall ones he had stashed in his jacket (replenished from his car); he handed one to me and said, “Keg’s empty, and I can’t let a brother pay $3.00 for a beer.” What a guy. Here’s a shot of him rocking out courtesy of Chris Lombardi. If it looks like he is shredding with only one arm, it is because he is:

It was hard to wait until 11:50 to go on, but we did. And we unloaded a punishing 30 minutes of rock that went over great. It was a blast. What more can I say about it? We go back on the 6th of March for the finals. We won’t win, but we’ll rock.

Today we had to be at The Trail for an interview. Jimmy and I made it, and Bubba was supposed to too, but he never showed. I videotaped it and will upload it after I find some kind of utility that will let iMovie edit a .mpg file. For now, here’s a shot of Jimmy looking weary as a guy who had been coaxing thunder out of a Gibson Les Paul Elegant a mere 12 hours earlier:

It was fun. But I’m tired tonight. An evening of rock followed by 3 hours of sleep will do that to a guy. Some guy was taking pictures and said he’d have copies to us within 48 hours. I hope he comes through.

>A Little Randomness

>Don’t Hate Us Because We’re Beautiful

LAZERWOLFS are featured in an Independent article courtesy of my friend, Bob Wire. It’s pretty cool. The print edition photo takes up like a 3rd of the page. I guarantee that’s the first time Witchfinder General has ever entered into the Indy as well, even if it was courtesy only of the patch on my bitchin’ rock vest. We’re pretty stoked about it.

Fritos Smell Makes We Want to Vomit

Ever have a bad experience with a type of food that, down the road, even the smell of it will make you want to hurl? My personal one is corn nuts. I ate too many one time when I was just a little punk and hurled, and now I can’t abide them. Same with candy corn. God, just thinking of the smell of candy corn makes me want to upchuck.

Well, Sid was just in here looming over me, munching on and talking through a mouthful of fritos. The smell is lingering, and it’s making me nauseous.

Speaking of Sid. . . .

Last week ended with me raving over some Parental Indignation. I’ve been asked about it, and no, I have not accosted his teacher with vengeful tongue or heavy brick. Sid turned in his original poster intact, with all the blood blocked by little tags he made that said, “Censored.” No word yet on the outcome; the teacher displayed all the posters to the class today, clicking through each one, but did not have a comment re: his before moving on. We’ll see how this little drama plays out.

ClintoBama

Great post over at Guerrilla News Network (one of my favorite sites out there — more to come on that via my next New West piece) re: the whole battle between Clinton and Obama. I read an article somewhere that summed up how “x”percentage of white men won’t vote for Hillary because she’s a woman, and “y” percentage of white men won’t vote for Barack because he’s a black man. Makes a guy really happy to be a white man, eh?I wish I looked as Ojibwa as I actually am; “white male” is a demographic I ain’t proud of when I read crap like that. I encounter a ton of racism and misogyny all the time, but based on my experiences I think misogyny remains far more rampant. The attacks on Hillary, and the way she is treated and portrayed in the media, are sickening (not that Obama is getting a free ride either, but attacks on Hillary just seem more vicious to me; maybe it’s because people feel more free to attack women than they do to attack a black man). However, I can’t bring myself to vote for her. I mean, I would if it came down to her vs. McBush, but I just don’t trust her. This entire election is really bumming me out. And Chris Mathews is a dick.

There Was One More Thing

. . . but now I don’t remember what it was. Be nice to each other.