>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!

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.