Sunday, December 30, 2007


The unhinged peculiarity of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure was staggering(!) upon recent viewing. How long had it been? Five years? Ten years since I'd seen it last? Unlike certain movies associated with childhood that would yield disastrous viewings (I'm looking at you Garbage Pail Kids), Big Adventure held its own. The breadth of the Adventure is wild and I'd most certainly argue its merits to any disbeliever. Although it doesn't exactly strike me as a kids movie, I should thank my folks for letting me watch it in the 1980s. Shortly after becoming reacquainted with the film, BTH purchased the entire Pee-Wee's Playhouse series on DVD, which I should perhaps thank God for. Worth at least its weight in gold if distributed across a dozen or so VHS tapes, Pee-Wee & Ms. Yvonne's Puppet Dance, along with Gary Panter's brilliant set design, was the cinch.

Admittedly, I'm pretty far removed from parenting and, well, children, but if the continuing homogenization of culture is any indicator, I would assume there's not a show quite like Pee-Wee's on television now. What I do come into contact with -- mostly clothing commercials and neighborhood kids -- leaves me with a feeling of deep disappointment and detachment from my own childhood. Please, parents: stop buying Starter jackets for your nerdy kids. Don't force your children to become tiny adults with credit cards and cell phones. If I have kids, I hope to teach them focus and discipline, but I want their imaginations to run wild. They should know, deeply, that anything is possible and anyone who disagrees is very sadly mistaken.

2008 will be the year I begin subscribing to Esquire. My last entry was to be about drawing a line from my ideals as a teenager to the person I am now. It proved difficult and while I may return to that idea at some point, it's in the distance. My late teens and early 20s were characterized by a loosening of persona and the self. When I started to reel myself back in, I was very much the same person I've always been (the one who got confused in the "looseness") and someone a little different. In a very small way, subscribing to Esquire represents the latter. [Maybe using the phrase "a magazine like Esquire" is a bad way of saying that I was ignorant in youth as to the difference between Maxim and Playboy and Esquire. For the record, Maxim is really dumb plus half-naked women, Playboy is less dumb and has a kind of "cursory intelligence" -- that is, it feigns an air of sophistication -- plus naked women, and Esquire is intelligent plus mostly clothed women.] Why subscribing to a magazine means anything, I don't know. I suppose it's because I based a lot of my personality on my friends in certain ways and I can't picture any of my longtime friends reading Esquire. But then, this is becoming a continuation of something I started on a few posts back.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


In 1997, at a VFW show in Port Huron Township, an exuberant crowd of underage drinkers gave my "No Alcohol" show policy a complete 180. This crowd was not the same indifferent crowd that came to see my band. No, these kids belonged to Neighborhood Funk Posse, an ill-named
local band that achieved legendary status despite being absolutely terrible.

I'd mistakenly thought all the excitement was indicative of a loyal fanbase and not the excessive consumption of PBR and Labatt Blue (from the can, of course!). With the prohibition lifted, a change was expected but never occurred. Somehow, in the ten years since, it's only recently occurred to me that my band sucked.

My bandmates didn't like our band. Not wanting to practice, record, or own anything we released, they politely humored me as if I were the autistic leader of a Butthole Surfers cover band. Thanks, fellas! Butcouldn't you have sent me a memo?

At a Labor Day party on some swank estate a few years back, during the middle of a conversation about something else entirely, a grown man said, "I was too weird for my punk band. I was always trying to throw in an extra little beat on each riff -- an extra little AH! -- and they kicked me out." I wanted to say, 'No, they kicked out because you have a personality disorder.' Instead, I held my tongue because no one told me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Perhaps I mentioned my shrinking brain. The fade will erode my short term memory, speech, and mood if I'm not careful but a few weeks away is usually enough for my brain to recuperate. Just as I decided to abstain, the Soul Club anniversary popped up along with the Heavy Manners debut, both of which provided numerous opportunities for the fade. The Soul Club on Friday was tops -- 230+ people -- and Fine Wine's r&b set was the whip. Around midnight, Aaron, myself and a few others went out back to smoke when an attendee from the E-Sham show earlier in the night found us and wanted to partake. I said, "Great -- the undercover cop is here." I knew I was mistaken when he asked if any of us were into punk rock and started pumping his fists in the air. Back inside, Robert was dancing with a honey and looking very happy. That was the affirmation I was looking for -- that this was indeed a celebration, his success, and the acme of the night. By 2am, I was anxious to crawl into bed with Erin.

Saturday started off with a very necessary salmon purchase, was detoured by a 2 hour nap, and capped by the inaugural Heavy Manners -- A2's first ongoing benefit dance party. There wasn't much advance word so it was sparsely attended but very relaxed. Robert and I met up beforehand and spent the majority of the night chatting with folks until Aaron showed, at which point we started dancing. Back at my house, Brian's friends had their own little party going and we joined in. Eventually, it was 4am, we'd watched 45 minutes of Night of the Bloody Apes, and Sunday morning was going to be rough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


In a May 2001 interview, artist Dan Clowes mentioned Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire. Of everything said in the 24-page conversation, this little passage stuck out:

"I thought that was such a great thing in Pale Fire how this unreliable critic who's sort of mis-analyzing this whole epic poem that John Shade has written, is actually creating this whole new work of art that's possibly even superior to this great poem itself."

The concept seemed fantastic but I never picked up the novel or read much else about it (I guess I had better things to do at the time like get divorced). Over time, I forgot about this "John Shade" character and developed the idea that the book was comprised of a poem by Nabokov and a wild analysis written by his neighbor. Pale Fire came up in conversation with RSW, who often recommends the book to people and said he'd lend me his copy. On the back, John Updike dishes praise saying Nabokov writes prose "the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." With my misconstrued idea and Updike's quote, I began to read the book as if it were a serious and impassioned analysis by Nabokov's neighbor. It made no sense so I researched the book a bit. Re-reading the forward, it was apparent how badly I mis-read it and how fucking funny the book might be.

I've been desperate for a book to dive into as I was getting faded just about every day for a spell there and my brain was starting to shrink