>Home Sweet Home

>Made it home last night, finally. It was snowing in Minneapolis, so air traffic in and out of there was all messed up. I ended up 4 hours delayed and didn’t get home until 3:30 AM. That sucked. Consequently today I am tired and cranky. I did get to do something cool yesterday before I flew out — I drove down to Galveston, TX, with my goal being to see the Gulf of Mexico. I pulled it off too:

Looking at my self portrait, I’ve decided I look like shit — all pasty-faced and flushed looking. I blame it on the lingering crud (of course I chose the picture to post where my affliction is least obvious):

Betty’s Blog!

The fine people down at Betty’s Divine have a blog now, and I added it to my list of friends over on the right. You can check it out here as well. I wonder if they can find me a bitchin’ fringed jacket? Hmmmm.

Here’s a shot of a mad game of hokey pokey that broke out down there; I wish I’d witnessed it:

I love the All American tights they’re sporting, especially with the boots. If I could turn the LAZERWOLFS into a Big Show band, I’d go with that pattern in a catsuit thing ala the look the singer for The Darkness used to do:

I would totally rock that. I’d even blow the kisses too. Looking twice, though, I’d probably more go Paul Stanley style, because at least his chest has a proper man-pelt:

The world would never be the same.

>Stranger in a Strange Land

>Woke up this morning feeling much, much better than I have for several days, thanks for asking. Plus it was sunny and warm out, though the weather reports on the local NPR station were describing it as “continued cool throughout the day, with highs of only 65 degrees, so make sure and bring a jacket!” Only 65 degrees? Bring a jacket?! And Texans think they are tough?! I guess “Don’t Mess With Texas” leaves off the second lines that reads, “Or We’ll Cry All Over Ourselves!” Damn, I love a good jolt of feeling superior to everyone around me before 9 AM. That, and the warm sun felt sooooooo good!

So I get to the customer site and the weirdness set in in a hurry. I meet my contact, he takes me to the conference room where we will discuss stuff, do some training, blah blah blah. When we enter the conference room, there is a guy in there doing some online computer training thing. I note he has a tshirt on that says something to the effect of “Words to live by: John 3:16” or whatever that reference is. I chuckle a little in my brain, and somewhere in my imagination I hop nude over a fire while flashing the guy my middle finger — you know, the usual childish methods I use to amuse myself while at customer sites. The training guy gets up and leaves, and the guy I am with also leaves to go get a couple more people. Looking around, there is a little side table with some refreshments . . . and a stack of books. Dig this:

That’s right, people, bibles. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that’s kinda weird.” Later, as we are out and about in their manufacturing plant, I see these little signs on the break room door, over the time clock, by a coffee machine in the warehouse, etc. that say, “Bible Study Every Monday, 4 PM, Conf. Room #2.” I never got a chance to sneak a photo of one of them, but trust me, they were there. Then, while heading to lunch, I was looking at the cars in the parking lot, and of the 15 – 20 I saw, I counted at least 7 that had some kind of Jesus thing on them, whether it was a bumper sticker, one of those little fish thing, etc. 2 of them also had Huckabee for President stickers on them. I shit you not.

Is it just me, or is this weird? I think it is downright creepy. Maybe it is just because that vibe is so different from Missoula, which is the total opposite of that whole hardcore Christian thing. It’s bad enough I have to fly in and out of George Bush International Airport, but Jesus H, this was ridiculous. Texas is freakin’ weird. I should point out that all the people I dealt with today were very nice, though.

The area I am staying in looks like so many other places. Check this out:

That’s about half a mile from where I’m staying, one of various stretches of big box hell. That is what I hate the most about the landscape of sprawl; besides the economic horseshit brought on by big box stores, the way they homogenize the country is just awful. If not for this little Twilight Zone Christian weirdness, there would be nothing about the trip so far to make it different from another trip to the Midwest. Office Supply/PetSmart/Pier 1/whatever stores? Check. Morbidly obese inbred looking locals? Check. Here’s the view out my window; the palm trees are something a little different, but from here I can see a Burlington Coat Factory, a Jack in the Box, and a Sports Authority (though the picture doesn’t show all those places):

At least Jack in the Box has one advantage: greasy, delicious tacos that I am not too health-conscious to fail to resist once in a while. Like last night.

What I found sad during lunch is the people I was with were talking mostly about places to eat in their neighborhoods, and all the discussion revolved around various chains. Boston Market, Applebee’s, Longhorn Steak House, etc. What about local joints? I don’t think they exist out here in sprawlville. What a sad state of affairs.

Friggin’ Texas. Friggin’ America, for that matter. Maybe I’m just cranky because of the book I just wrapped up on this trip, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill). I recommended it to my mom because I heard the author on NPR and it seemed very interesting. So she bought it, read it, and loaned it to me. And now I’m pissed off. And I can’t even blame her, because it’s really kind of my fault in the first place for ever mentioning it!

One plus is that I wrapped up this project in one day, but I’m here through tomorrow and the only earlier flight merely gets me to Minneapolis for a 4-hour layover so I can get home as late as initially planned, so screw it, I’m going to stay here where it is supposed to be 70+ tomorrow and soak up some sun and hopefully see something cool. How was that for a run-on sentence?

In closing, I need to look in one of my writing books when I get home and figure out the proper use of hyphens. I never know when I should use them, though I’m quite certain I’m getting them all wrong most the time. It’s making me angry. There was a two paragraph (two-paragraph?) stretch in my reading today that had several, but also didn’t have them in places where I thought they should be. Not that I care so much in this stupid blog, but in writing I do that is more “serious” (which hasn’t been happening as often lately as it needs to) I don’t want to screw it up.

>I Can’t Believe My Old Man is a Lung-er

>That’s what Julia said as I was coughing my chest up through my throat at one point this past weekend. If you don’t get it, you probably didn’t watch Deadwood; that’s what they called people suffering from the tuberculosis. Somewhere between Missouri and Missoula last week I managed to catch the lung crud. Hell, the entire house was sick with something, so it wasn’t a particularly fun weekend. Today I had to get up early and catch a flight to Houston. Hopefully my voice will be back in action by tomorrow morning. Here’s a shot out the window of the plane:

I guess I was overdue to get sick, because it had been a while. If it’s going to happen, I’m glad it happened now rather than in a week or so, since we have some shows coming up. I probably could have spared myself some pain by skipping band practice Sunday night and my soccer game Monday night, but it felt good to get out and do something rather than sit around the house choking and sweating. Practice was productive and we won our soccer game, so both were well worth the extra pain.

Speaking of shows, Missoula photographer Charles Martin sent me a few shots from the PBR gig at The Other Side on Valentine’s Day. Dig this:

This shot proudly displays the Rock Vest. Those are all patches of bands you’ve probably never heard of. The very first show we did with Jimmy as our guitar player was opening for the band Spirit Caravan, which was the band the legendary Scott “Wino” Weinrich was in at the time. The patch just above it, The Obsessed, was his first band. He also did some time as the singer in Saint Vitus. Wino is from the DC/Maryland scene, which has spawned more great underground acts than you would realize, and still has just some mindblowing bands playing out there. Clutch (who are playing in Missoula the same night as the finals of the PBR thing next week) is from that area as well, and Wino has played on a couple of their albums. In fact, he has a solo record coming out that features Clutch’s drummer, Jean Paul Gaster, on the skins. I can’t wait to hear that project.

Wino has become a friend of mine, and I admire him a ton. He is also the greatest guitar player I’ve actually witnessed play. Here are a couple pretty cool shots of him:

This last one is a band photo of the last band he had, The Hidden Hand. I post it because I would like to point out the awesome fringed jacket he has on. My life’s goal is to own a fringed jacket some day. I’ve wanted one forever. Not a black leather fringed jacket, I mean like a full-on, Wild Bill Hickok-style fringed jacket.

Since I’m posting pictures like a wild man, here’s another one Charles sent me. This one captures the Power Stance nicely. You won’t get any hopping up and down at a LAZERWOLFS show, just anchored power, baby:

I should wrap up this ramble that has taken me in directions I never expected to go. In fact, I can’t even remember what I was going to say in the first place. In closing, I should point out I revisited this album from Seattle’s grunge days a couple times this weekend, and was reminded just how friggin’ good it is:

>Proof That Karaoke Really Sucks

>Dig this abomination:

Now this singer probably thinks she’s really going for it. But this is just awful. This video also proves that Hillary Clinton really is a warm-hearted person. If she didn’t have a heart of gold, there is no doubt that she would have this woman killed and make this video disappear. This can’t be good for her campaign.

>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!