Monday, December 31, 2012

Buried Treasure

Went to Crescent the other day with Longhair to grab a brew.

Was feeling decidedly uninspired when this big guy with a beard, sweat stained t-shirt, and trucker's cap walks by.

"Holy sh*t" goes Longhair, "that's Tony Martinez" and proceeds to gush all over the guy about what a great show he put on the other night.

Longhair being a man's man and normally not prone to fits of giddiness, I was initially taken aback.

The thing is, I sh*t you not, the guy looked - and yes I'm gonna get all judgey here if for no other reason than to expose what a dumb ass I am - like he should be flippin' burgers in a truck stop. And maybe a little on the dull side.

Okay - I'm gonna tip my hat here for a moment to anti-elitism and say that I've done my fair share of mundane and lower tier jobs, so who am I to cast stones? Landscaping, roofing, loading trucks - did 'em all - and was even once a pool boy for a pair of eccentric gay millionaires, so whatever. 
Well, not really pool boy, but did work for 'em - along with Longhair in fact - and we did have an open invite to take a dip whenever we liked. 
An offer we did not take advantage of.  
Well, more than once or twice, anyway.  
Hey man! It was Arizona in the summer!? Anyway...

Longhair informed me the band was old school country - not my deal - but, "this guy is f*cking amazing on guitar," so 30 minutes later, we sauntered to the back and bent an ear. Tony was there, with - get this - his dad on bass guitar -and- some middle aged guy in a Coors t-shirt and cowboy hat on drums.

The set began and maybe 2 minutes later, Tony came in with a little flourish, and things got a little...  surreal,** maybe?

I'm not sure if was an old school blues riff, or Mozart, or what, but his fingers flowed down the neck of that guitar like a stream over stone and wherever it came from, Memphis or Marseilles - he made it all his own, bent it to his will, and boy was I in. All the way.

And I could go on about it - hearing him and his dad play - but let's just say my initial impression of a burger flipping dullard? Um yeah... pretty much the opposite of that. It was like a demigod had walked into the room - eyes glowing, fingertips crackling - and pulled back the curtain of reality.

Nothing for us to do but nod our heads - in time and acquiescence - and grin our grins at the truth revealed.

Weeks later we ran into him again at Crescent and took this picture. And no, he doesn't normally look quite so... demonic? (Chuckle) But a primal force, yeah, I think you can see that part shining through.

Let's just hope he uses those powers for good, folks.

Oh, and if you'd like to see the demigod in action? The Tony Martinez Band plays at Crescent Ballroom every Tuesday night this month.

*I should mention that LH is the most picayune mother effer ever when it comes to music - with tastes widely varying, but extremely discerning  - and this line, coming from him, was high praise, indeed. 
**And I do mean "super-real".
***Peeps in the photo, from left to right: Matt Danley, Your Truly, EB, Tony Martinez, and Ax. 


Photo cred to Big Ax

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hal outside Lola's

4 days off in the dead of winter

(or thoughts I have rolling around in my head)

1. There should be a heavy metal song with the line "God is a kid with an ant farm, lady" (as per Keanu Reeves in 'Constantine') repeated in the breaks between power chords, maybe done by System of a Down?

2. Hot coffee drunk from a sherry glass is not as satisfying as one might surmise.

3. Skip bathing three days and you get into a different head space.

4. The problem with being creative is you start to view the world as an art piece, wanting to enhance or alter each experience until eventually, the universe simply becomes a reflection of you.

5. My father called yesterday and left a message whereby he sang "Jesus" over and over again, in a negro spiritual kind of way.

6. After reading the first few pages of David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest', I literally thought, "holy sh*t!", then re-read the foreword to confirm this was exactly what Wally Eggers had said I would say. F*ck.

Obligatory Holiday Photos


Monday, December 24, 2012

Looking into the face of god

Years ago, my father's S.O.* - we'll call her Slim - told me I reminded her of David Foster Wallace.***Or vice versa. She read something of his, something of mine, and saw a similarity.

Funny word, similarity. Just started to write it in the plural, got confused by the spelling, and suddenly it becomes one of those words that rolls around in your head - thumping, galumphing - until it takes on a strange animate life of its own. More sound than word, not unlike 'conundrum'. But yeah, whatever. So anyway...

Didn't think much about it at the time - this posited similarity - other than vaguely, as a compliment to be compared to a published author, and I do remember reading something of his - an excerpt she supplied perhaps from the New Yorker. It was inoffensive, clever and vaguely ADD.

Didn't see it. Didn't not see it - the likeness. Just absorbed the comment, I guess. 

Flash forward to the other night and me at an irish bar x-mas party, with drinks on the house for all invitees. Did I mention irish? Yeah, there was some drinking.

A few hours in and I look over to see this young guy with long blond hair (one of the servers), standing a few feet from the bar with this look on his face... it looked like he was staring into the face of god.

Drunk out of his mind, maybe enhanced in other ways, and nearly to the point of drooling, it was probably the twinkly white christmas lights over the bar that'd caught his eye - but the look on his face was only what I could describe as beatific. Filled with wonder and delight.

A minute or two later someone offered him a bottle of water and he poured it down his face, chin and shirt while making drinking motions with his mouth.

I  must've said something out loud because not much later I felt something rubbing up against my hip and looked down to see the butt of yet another server - Heath we'll call him - backing into me.*

"Uh, Heath, what the f*ck are you doing?" I was just about to ask, when he looks over his shoulder all matter-of-fact, but a tell-tale twinkle in his eye, and says:

"That's right. Reverse butt rape." Then in a deep, throaty, Southpark Satan kinda way, continues on with:

"I have looked into the face of god, Adman Jones.
And it. Was not. Pretty!"

Well, f*ck me, look at the time. There's more to say (yes, David Foster Wallace and all that) -but- gotta step out for a bit.

More later.

No seriously.

Meanwhile, Merry Effin' Christmas!

(Longhair, Ax, EB, myself & the aforementioned christmas lights at said irish bar! And yes, the hot chick is with me)

*Significant Other**
**Oh, and I'd write more about her here, but like most people I know, am hesitant to describe out of... respect maybe or fear? Trying to encapsulate someone in so many words is both daunting and foolhardy. Better to let actions speak for themselves. This person did such and such. But then again I'd be writing about her and not about this. Her house, though, is interesting to me in it's sparseness. I was there some years ago, and all I remember of the living room was a bare wood floor, a couch and a floor lamp for reading. No curtains on the windows. Mirror by the staircase. Telling perhaps? Maybe. Though I'm not sure how. Oh, and I probably should mention she's a voracious reader, just for street cred.
***Yes, I realize I sound like a self-aggrandizing dumb ass for bringing up this comparison. Especially leading in with it and then... nothing. But there snake does eventually eat it's own tail. 
****'Heath' is a whole 'nother ball of wax. To say he is quirky would be undersell, and to describe him further would be yet another blog unto itself. Funny, dark, self-deprecating. Reminds me, physically, of the protagonist from Metropia. Kinda/sorta. So there's a snippet at least.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


There's this street not far from where I live - a magic place - that calls to me at dusk and dawn - and I feel it in my bones, all rubbery and electric, as this song plays in my head:

And I know I'm not alone
And I know I'm not alone
And I know I'm not alone...*

*-World Party, "Way Down Now"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reset Button

Ever get lost in time and space?

You're driving along, maybe, lost in thought, and then there's this funny little sensation - like when you hold your nose and pop your inner ears - only this isn't physical, it's mental - and suddenly you realize you don't know where you are or even where you're headed.

I'ts like the circuit feed was interrupted, and what you'd perceived as reality is merely a stream of sensory input.

Now you're driving around, god knows where, and you realize in this moment you don't even know who you are. Not really.

Really, you're just this creature, falling through space and time without a even a safety net and it's actually pretty terrifying but maybe a little liberating and you think about moving forward from this point without the trappings (oh accurate word!) of your so called identity, emerging naked and alone into a newly created universe.

And then you see Lola's coffee.


Oh yeah.



One way to feel comfortable in your own skin, carry a small electronic device - camera, phone, whatever - and whenever you feel bored or uneasy, distance yourself from that feeling with your device.

"Excuse me while I whip this out."

Now you're playing with reality, filtering it - no longer a part of the scene but above it, observing and even directing the action.

Thank you, small electronic device. Thank you.

Note: Results may vary

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Masters of the Universe

Tell enough stories and in the end, you too can become master of the universe.

Thought, word, deed, reality.

These things follow in a chain of causality that is inescapable. Envision something, speak/write of it, enact it and bring into being.

But be careful, lest you become the progenitor of a new reality.

Doubt the principal?

In the beginning was the word.

Sound familiar?

Okay, okay.  Maybe I just stuffed the whole candy bar in my mouth - bit off more than I can chew. Don't want any Jesus freaks breaking down the gates.

Oh, and for the record, I should mention I'm a Jesus freak.


Okay, not really.

But I don't necessarily discriminate against those who do. Jesus, Buddha, do unto others - hey brother if it works, makes a better place for us all - heaven on earth and all that* - I'm in. Religion is the organizing principal and between it and the chaos begat by man's animal nature, we rest delicately balance.

Although, come to think of it, chaos isn't necessarily an animal thing. May need to think on that a bit. But I've totally f*cking digressed and this was headed somewhere. Kinda, sorta.

(end Jesus freak segue)

Rather than create a new universe, let's keep it simple - just start with ourselves this a.m. Self-actualization sounds easy enough, right?

So to recreate yourself, you have to start with your own myth. I say, start with a theme song, or maybe even your own sound track.

(Man, I think I'm really on to something here...)

This morning my mind spit out High Heeled Boys**, which I didn't have on iTunes, so instead I went to "S" on my play list and hit random selection. Sail came on, but that's a little played out, blah blah blah, yada yada yada, ended up surfing around and now I'm listening to Beck.

Beck get's the thought word, deed, reality, thing, btw. And then he f*cks with it. Cobbles words together in seemingly random associations in an absurdist fashion that is both amusing and entertaining.

The question remains, however, whether this is done out of whimsy... or contempt. Maybe a little of both.

And now I've just come up against and obstacle to my theory. I'm now talking about Beck, instead creating my own myth.

I'll get back to you on this.

No, really.

*Ironically, I've just realized, this is a principal neither the big J or B espoused. The big bowl of milk, as my father puts it, comes after we go under the dirt.
**And no, this isn't a veiled reference to my own sexual preferences. The songs been floating on the periphery of my thoughts since I talked started talking about downtown boys, which sounds vaguely similar, but is really about myself and my middle-aged friends playing out our well prolonged adolescence through drinking and posturing.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The myth of us, continued...

And in deference to blog stalker and parental unit, Popi, Part 2:

So the song that spurred my previous rumination, Way Down Now, is an interesting juxtaposition of upbeat music and downtrodden lyrics*.  A cheery little dirge of sorts:

Inside my TV I
Never stop to wonder why

I'm way down now
Way down now
She took me by the hand
Hell was the promise land

I'm way down now
Way down now**

Meanwhile, you've got this underlying happy party vibe with a bachusinian chorus of who-who's going on in the background (think Sympathy for the Devil by the Stones) with a charming but fatalist flavor, and I found myself humming the goddam thing, ad nausem, until finally...

Actually, hold on. Let's back up a sec and put this in context. Maybe get a little continuity?

So my first point (from a previous blog) was, we are the story we tell ourselves. There's more of course, but that's the crux of it. We either self-create, or self-describe*** - or both - ourselves and our world.  I'm going to assume that's self-evident and move on. If not, post me and we'll debate. Dumb*ss.

Second - my friends and the backdrop of downtown Phoenix are definitely a part of my own myth, but more specifically, that song, though appropriated, is now a part of my own particular tale.

And third - uh yeah, there's a third element yet to be added, which truthfully serves as framework for this whole diatribe, rant, blather. Whatever. And is needed to put everything else into context.

But I'll have to get back to you on that.

Life intrudes.

*Similar in town to Social Distortion's Ball and Chain or maybe even that song from the 90's about addiction, Semi-charmed Kind of Life. Something like that anyway.

**Lyrics are in no particular order, by the way, but as parsed by memory.

***And yes, these are two entirely concepts, but it's sorta chicken/egg. It's either this or it's that****

****Not to be confused with "this is that", which is so two years ago. And yes, this is a footnote to a footnote. What?

Through the window

I sleep at night
with the window wide
open, naked and cocooned
within warm folds
of fuzzy blue

and the cold comes in

like fog, perhaps,
(not on cat feet)

envelopes me,

in my mouth
I cannot taste
the cold
and yet...


Saturday, December 08, 2012

The myth of us

We are the stories we tell ourselves.

Example: Saw World Party the other night with the boys. They had a hit in he 90's called Way Down Now and seemed to hover somewhere between stardom and journeyman band for a while, then slipped off the radar. At least mine. Anyway...

Matt Danley*, mi compadre in crime**, is a big fan, and with them playing at the Crescent Moon, practically in the back yard, we made our plans.

Long Hair and Ax,* coincidentally, had just hung Christmas lights at Crescent, so our tickets were comped and it seemed as if all was right in the world, synchronistically*** speaking.

Oh, and is this a story I'm telling you? Yes and no.

Its more like thought fragments cobbled together, than something with a beginning, middle and end, but yeah, it's a story of sorts. A true story.  At least my version thereof. Call it the myth of me and the downtown boys.

And at this point I'm tempted to wax descriptive about each of us, just a hint, but I'm also afraid of:

1. Caricaturing each -and-
2. Heavy-handedly guiding your own interpretation of reality.

Can't be helped I guess, and at this point, I should probably stop stepping on my own dick and get on with it. So...

My father visited recently and said my friends were teenage boys. Psychologically speaking, of course. And there's something to that, as the roots of our friendship were formed either in teen years, or in adolescent-seeming contest, or both.  Meeting over beers, especially, we tend to celebrate our mutually arrested development.

But their are complexities to each, fragmented dualisms that cannot be easily encompassed, and part of why we are friends.

None of us are entirely what we seem.


So here's where I should write a hook, keep your attention, because I need to go out and interact with the daylight.

However, f*ck that. F*ck the hook. You've come this far after all.

Just know this is my story.
And it's true.
And it's complete bullsh*t.
And there's more to follow...****

*Names, as always, changed to protect the innocent. Or not so innocent. Anyway...

**Okay, we've never committed a crime together that I'm aware. Misdemeanor perhaps? 

***Not a word, but my father uses it all the time, with compunction. Call it an homage. Or the evolution of language.  Whatever.

****Still a hook?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Japanese Zen Garden

 Went strolling through the garden in downtown Phoenix yesterday with a friend and these pics are the result.

My take?

Not sure.

Wasn't all that impressed and yet... like many subtle things, may require further examination.

That and the fact I was all hopped up on caffeine, which may've obstructed my zen-ninnity.

Photo notes:

1. First pic was actually taken in China via iPhone and forwarded by my companion, EB. Translates to "only kindness brings happiness"
2. Coy pond pic taken via blackberry on site.