Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tailored Pants

I dreamt last night that I was visiting my mom and her house, in this subconscious world, had two campers parked to the side against tall hedges. I explored them. They were dusty. Small animals skittered off, breaking windows as they went. She had a barn, high up in the rafters hung several canoes. I was very excited about these canoes. I rigged a pulley and climbed up to sit in one of them, just hanging. High up. From the rafters I made my way to a hatch, to the roof, and found myself joining up with a gaggle of young children playing tag on a series of slanted rooftops well into night fall. 

I then found myself in India, staying in an antiquated hotel. A friend talked me into getting tailored pants made in a small shop in the grand, ornate hotel lobby. At one point, the newly stitched pants were on me, and I lay on an ironing board while an East Indian gentleman ironed the fabric, the heat seeping through to my skin. But I was okay with this as I was sipping on legitimate Absinthe & puffing opium from a hookah. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I feel the urge to write a sci-fi-esque novel, just going nuts and writing bullshit and going by a new logic, a new law of physics. Just going nuts and allowing myself the freedom to be preposterous and see what can be sculpted from it. I like space and space blows my mind and I want to fuck my mind up a little bit by writing about myself in space and sucking the cartoon-ish fascination out of it and scare the shit out of myself.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I am kicking myself because of my stolen bike in early September. I had pulled up my old receipt which I was ill informed had the serial number on it, but it didn't, so Johnny Sprockets had to go digging in their archives from 2009 of receipt tickets and it took them several weeks to find. Phil, a Johnny Sprockets company man, was very helpful in this project and got me the serial number. He left a voice mail. I feel bad because I haven't called him back yet to thank him. I've been meaning to do this. I should do it soon. I am going to put it on tomorrow's to do list. I never filled out a police report after I found the bike missing  because I wanted to make sure I had the serial, I felt a report would be ridiculous without it and that the cops would laugh at me. But it took so long to get the serial number that by then, it would look ridiculous with there being such a huge gap in between filing and the date of theft. I also thought I had some pictures of it but I guess I don't. That bike is as good as a belch dissipating in gale force winds. I miss it. I wish I was on the ball. It was a nice bike. I wish I had made it look shitty, with duct tape and yarn and spray paint and newspapers wrapped around its frame. Next bike I get I will put paper machete around it and paint fake vomit on it, maybe glue fake plastic vomit on it. Maybe some neon pom poms in the handles. Some beer cans in the tires. Pink duct tape on the frame. Doll heads hanging from the frame. It will look unique and stupid. No one will want to steal it. That's kind of what you have to do. I really want to go for a bike ride. I want it to snow something crazy and still go for a bike ride.

Today Eliaz Rodriguez and I helped out our friend Joe Avella shoot a scene for his feature length Master of Inventions movie. We shot it in the Mother's bar. I was an extra in a shot. I played drunk and even felt a little drunk. Mind over matter. I would save some money if I did that instead of buying booze. It was dark down there. Our eyes hurt when we left and the Division street farmer's market, an expansive thing was suddenly all packed up and not speck left behind. Eliaz and I went to my corner bar, the Orbit Room after and ran into my landlord who was having a beer after cleaning the shit left behind by my old downstairs neighbors. We found out a glass window had been blown out on our sun porch. My landlord let me know he noticed it. I thought maybe the wind fucked it up because we heard some rattling this week in the gusty howl, but in looking at it when I got home it looks like it was shattered, remains collected on the roof of the building next door, from the inside. Like a dick through something at it. I'm wondering if our ol' foes from downstairs gave us one final fuck you before they moved out. And I'm not surprised. I've kinda been bracing myself for a brick through the window from all of this. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Witching Hour

I've been waking up lately at 3am and wind up entering this partially awake, partially still dreaming hallucinatory state where lying in bed becomes this pseudo game, a complex one that doesn't make any sense and I can't fall asleep until I figure out the game. What's spooky is that this lines up with what is known as the witching hour. So I wonder what ghosts and ghouls are whispering taunts into my ear inducing such head games.

The neighbors below moved out. I wouldn't put it past them to put a curse on us to keep waking us up in the night without music. Will be looking for sage to burn. And Nyquil liquid gels. Sleeeep is a seven letter word.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Tense. I've been messing around with tense in the next round of my novel revisions. I originally wrote it in past tense. A friend gave a draft a read and suggested I play with it in present tense. I was excited at this notion at first and played with it some. But I'm not sure it works with this piece. I generally like present tense writing, the active adrenaline of it. I do however feel this novel works best as a sort of memory play, told through the narrator's jaunty attitude, which transposed into present tense has a weird disconnect, the tone doesn't match the proximity to the intensity of things happening. If I were to make the present tense thing work, I would have to do more than tweak verb-age. The tone would have to be completely re-written. And the tone is one of the elements I'm very proud of. I think it's fleshy and charming. 

Over the weekend my girlfriend and I got out of town for an evening. One of her favorite beers is Wild Onion Pumpkin Ale. The brewery is just outside of Chicago, in Barrington, IL. We've been wanting to do a little getaway there. Get a cheap motel and go drink it up at the brew pub, not have to worry about driving back into the city. Unfortunately they were out of pumpkin ale, but we had a wide array of other brews; the Hop Slayer Double IPA, Jack Stout, Nut Brown Ale. Some others. We drank and ate until she got a gassy stomach ache, then we cabbed it back to the motel. She passed out and I switched between War of the Worlds and The Shining.  In the morning we ate some stale food in the continental breakfast room. Then went to Dunkin Donuts.

I finished reading It by Stephen King this weekend. I had been working on it on and off since April. I did really like. He delved into a deep sprawl on the town history, character histories within the 1100 page novel. And I liked the heavy detail, you really got a deep sense of the characters and the town scape. And the finale had a psychotropic tinge which I liked. One of the things about Stephen King novels I find, is that I don't find myself scared while reading them, but a subtle paranoia lingers with me during the revolving span of working on one of them. And I attract creepy happenings. For instance, several years ago, I read The Shining.  I was reading it on the Red Line one night and some one fell violently on me. He was bleeding from the mouth, bleeding on me. At first, startled up from the page, I thought he was attacking me. I pushed him. Realized he was hurt and offered to help him. To buy him ice or something. He ran off at the next stop. I was left with a blood smear on my copy of the book and my work shirt. Later that night I woke to pee and for a split second thought I saw drops of blood all over my arm. In the hotel room Saturday night I awoke to pee, and in washing my hands in the sink (hotel style, the counter was in a separate space than the toilet and tub), looking at my vague black outline of a reflection in the dark, I jumped at what I thought for a second was the black outline of another body next to me. In the end it was only my eyes adjusting to the dark,  or so I think. I like books that fuck with me head. One of the things I like about books versus movies or plays is that they are like a subtle drug. Working off the imagination, causing it to fire, it puts you in the author's head at the same time as the author is getting inside your head. It alters your consciousness whether you like it or not. 

As part of the Occupy Wall Street movement a lot of people are closing their accounts with major banks. While I stand with and support the movement, and agree with the notion of closing one's account with a bank they don't agree with, I watched some videos of people doing so and they kind of annoyed me. In one video two girls went to close out their accounts and had big protest signs with them, and of course the videographer. They were asked to leave and were so surprised and angered by it. Now, the real objective of closing one's account, I think, is the build up of it on a massive scale. If enough people close their accounts and withdraw their money, that could hurt the capital and revenue of that bank. That's where the objective should be, running into a bank with a protest sign expecting to just go about one's business is obnoxious. It comes across a disturbance, antagonistic, and the protester loses power. Just go in, close your account, exercise your right as a consumer to stop doing business with an institution you're not happy with it. Sucking the blood out of the bank will go a lot further than waving the proverbial pirate flag inside a place of business. The bank tellers are not the fat cats, making them feel shitty about doing their job so they can collect their hourly and pay their rent is not the best use of energy, I think. Block traffic, shut down the city. I support that. But something about these girls' aghast and offended reactions being asked to leave with their high held protest signs annoyed me. Other than that I support the 99%. I'm certainly one of them. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Raw Men

Ramen noodles have been fine cuisine to me lately. I get excited about eating them. Not only for budgetary reasons. I've discovered some grocery stores in my neighborhood that carry a wide variety of flavors, beyond the regular Oriental, Beef, Shrimp and Chicken. I remember there being a wide array when I was a teenager but have seen the myriad of options wane over the years until our recent discovery. In fact I had been thinking of them not long ago, wondering what had happened to those flavors of old. I even tried looking them up online. Perhaps the "law of attraction" really works and I willed them back into existence. But I'm so glad that once again I get to enjoy
Roast Pork
Roast Beef
Roast Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom
Creamy Chicken
Picante Chicken
Picante Beef
flavors again. I think we have some others in the mix.
Ramen was a staple of my lunch diet as a lad. I had a friend who called it Raw Men and I thought that was funny. I think Ramen made it's entry into my life when I was 9. Before that I loved the fuck out of Campbell's Chicken Noodle. Chicken and Stars. I had a Vietnamese friend and we'd have homemade ramen for lunch when I was over at his house. This was when I was 8. Then when I was 9 and my mom brought Oodles of  Noodles home from the grocery store and I tasted them and realized I actually had them before, I was ecstatic.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bringing Home Small Pumpkins

Went apple picking today in Indiana but didn't find too many apples in the orchard, all picked over and some scattered on the ground, got to stump on a few and at least enjoy the pseudo outdoors and the sunshine. I ate 3 pumpkin donuts too many in a short amount of time and had a sugar crash. The Hen House Prowlers were playing bluegrass for the family folk, I know these guys, I know them as Sexfist, their other name from some Chicago shows. They were nice enough to let us record some live tracks awhile back for our Wood Sugars Inside the Barrel podcast.

We bought a tiny pumpkin for our cat Gus. I get a kick out of cutesy things like that.

Wicked tired today from a late night of chicken wings and sour beer, then hoppy beer with a good friend last night.

Was wicked tired last Sunday too, I failed to mention here about our Wood Sugars 4 shows in 24 hours last weekend. We of course had our Jokesmith Juggernauts on Fri Sept. 30th which was a good turn out but the comedy didn't seem to hit. It's okay, it happens. I hope the people were at least entertained and enjoyed their Friday night out. Saturday, Oct 1st we performed at the Ravenswood Art Walk at two different times, different places. At 11:45am we performed for 15min at their Main Stage. We had to substitute out the cuss words and ultimately performed for the beer booth guys, the sound guys, and a mom with two toddlers bopping around. I rehearsed my bits all the way there without the usual cussing. I was intensely nervous I'd let some f bombs slip like usual, but I was proud in the end to be a controlled performer. Then at 2pm we were under the impression we'd be performing in a theatre space but it was actually a wood shop. Wood Sugars in a wood shop, very fitting I do believe. It was actually the most fun I've had performing in a long time. We got about 5 or 6 random viewers, and were supposed to fill an hour. We're used to 15 min time slots, so we threw in some old sketches and did some improv to stretch it out. We popped some genuine chuckles out of our crowd.

Then we were asked to perform at a friend's house party, which we agreed to tentatively but an e-mail blast went out from the hostess that we'd be performing and we didn't want to be the dicks who backed out, even though Donny was hurting from what he thought was a cracked rib after a bike accident. It was actually pretty rad performing along with some other comedy folk in an apartment. It was cozy, almost salon style. I heard about a ghostly encounter from earlier that day in that very apartment. I dig hearing such things. Some people shotgunned their beers. I cheered them on and just drank my beer really fast, not chugging, not sipping. I got drunk and stayed out late. I don't do that enough anymore, but was reminded why it's not a usual thing for me when my wee hour AM bus route through Wrigleyville delayed me from catching the Belmont bus, within only a few seconds. And it was a 30 min wait for the next one. So I just walked, which I usually don't mind but I've been doing that a lot lately and my feet were tired. I thought about the novel I've been revising.  About to dive into another pass at it, and I'm feeling a slight nervousness. The piece I feel is getting close to being something swell, yet I feel like a blacksmith about to work on a bunch of small metals. A slight cabin fever type thing echoes around in me like the sensation of trying to put thread through the eye of a needle. Sometimes I get a kick out of digging into such tight focus on a task, yet sometimes I just want to work sloppily and spill my guts all over the place and not have to reshape it all into neat little piles.

I'm a slob with OCD.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finance Blizzards

It's hard to avoid thinking about the financial crisis and it's perpetuation. I mean the economy still sucks. Frustration is visible. I feel it. You feel it. Certainly if the powers that be wanted to fix it, it would be fixed by now. We feel hopeless The new american dream has become a lazy one. It aims for financial reaping, money making more money. Sit back and collect. Money has become a commodity which outweighs the merit of practical goods and services. Energy production, transportation, auto, technology, food, health, and many other industries takes a back seat to the work of the financial institutions. If the financial workings of the world; stocks, currencies, hedge funds, futures, etc all become sluggish so does industry. Yet needs remain, and resources can still be tapped. I've said before that the function of money perhaps needs to be revised. But we're a world addicted to money. I'm not naive, this won't change for another thousand years perhaps.

The word innovation is tossed around yet our nation and major businesses are run by people who are not innovators. There is general malaise and dip in creative energy that is all encompassing. How do we boost this without the promised reward of money? How do we boost this motivated only by providing utilitarian benefit, joy, entertainment? Not only is our economic system bogged in bullshit, we as people are in a rut, the jacked up feeling of accomplishment diffused by money worries. If we continue to pin advancement's potential on the work of the financial sector then we will continue to decline. Money itself has no creative nor innovative potential. It is merely a tool for transactions and the trading of real commodities that have useful value in our lives. Money has become a shield, a blinder. Certainly I'm not knocking profit. I'm okay with profit. It's why we do business, to fund our lives. But with the immense focus that world economics has placed on money itself as a good, real thought is pulled away from real production. Money powers stress and stress becomes God.

It's exciting to see Occupy Wall Street gain momentum. Frustration should be voiced visibly when there are widespread issues, financial crises at hand. Occupy Wall Street has been dished its share of criticism for not laying out any clear demands. But I agree with those who remind us it's not just about clear demands. This isn't a hostage situation. It's a wake up call, shaking us from an apathetic trance, a cry for help. A cry for help because we're all entrenched in a global financial hole that is not being addressed by our leaders with any true resolve. Certainly if the powers that be wanted to fix it, it would be fixed by now. Policy makers are too addicted by party favors and a weird, dick-ish form of high school spirit towards their "side."

Just for fun, or for the good of mankind, I did some thinking about what my demands would be if I was asked to solve this shit. Here are my ideas to get things moving again:

1) Repeal the Gramm-Leach-Liley Act which repealed provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act separating investment banks and commercial banks. This came along in 1999 and shit hit the fan not even a decade later. Banks are tools for business. When business becomes just a tool for the banks, business becomes a bummer and so do the banks.

2) Make credit default swaps illegal. Gambling on failure wins the prize of failure.

3) Set in motion a plan to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, all drone warfare. All troops from overseas. Cut defense spending. Focus defense on defense, not offense.

4) Reinvest the funds cut in step 3 to put into energy infrastructure and energy independence. Develop renewable energies (solar, tidal, thermal, wind) and begin oil drilling on U.S. soil with smart adherence to safety regulations to avoids spills and deadly thrills. Rebuild a failing and inefficient power grid. This step alone will create a shit ton of jobs.

5) Re-structure the tax code with a surcharge on millionaires. Close loopholes. Taxes are necessary to fund government. Think of them like dues. You wouldn't expect you country club to keep the grounds trimmed without your contribution. Maybe create a special privilege for millionaires so they can feel an extra perk for paying higher dues.

6) Legalize marijuana for people aged 21 and older and tax it. No matter what your moral stance on this topic is, perhaps the war on this drug is a drain on government resources. And the laws in place don't actually stop it or stop its presence in movies and entertainment. It exists, its a buzz like cigarettes and alcohol. If you're morally against it than its up to you as a parent to talk to your kids about it. It may not stop your teen from trying it, but the laws in place don't either. In all reality if you let your kids eat Burger King or White Castle than you are probably not fighting the right health battle with them. There lies an opportunity to regulate this drug and tax it, creating revenue to fill in government budget deficits.

7) Reinvest the extra funds from steps 5 and 6 for energy efficient transportation systems. High speed rail. Airplanes burn a shit load of fuel and airports are a pain in the ass delaying people from work hours.

8) Create tax incentives for companies with 90% or more of their workforce and property in the U.S. Bring jobs home. We have an idle workforce.

9) Create an annual "innovator prize" which awards for merited innovation in industry in the form of a 3 year hiatus from capital gains and payroll tax. Innovation needs a spark. Let's do something really neat with the space program and get America excited again about progress and exploration.

10) Life time pensions for all members of congress are bullshit. If I worked two years at a company I wouldn't expect a life long pension. Reward those for longer term service. One should serve 12 plus years in congress to get these pensions, either 2 Senate terms or 6 House terms. Republicans keep asking for cuts in spending. This is an easy one. My taxes should not pay someone for life for serving one term and doing a bad job at it.

11) Create debt forgiveness in exchange for community service. Perhaps 40 documented hours can shave off $1K in debt? I'm sure some formula can be created that would get a shit load of people out of their houses, both employed and un, to do some good.

12) Financial education as part of high school curriculum. Not everyone is privileged to have parents teach them about savings, credit cards, loans, debt, 401Ks, budgeting, etc. Everyone should pass at least a semester of financial education in order to graduate high school. Who can blame the children of low income families with little educational background for taking on predatory loans? Part of democracy's responsibility should be in equiping future generations with the educational tools to make educated financial decisions, to compete with the privileged. Financial awareness is an important thing.

These are some ideas that are certainly not perfected, yet I feel highly confident that if some resolution were to be put in motion in each of these items, the economy would blossom and people would be paying their bills all around and having a great time. A playful attitude would spread, popping new innovative ideas to take back into industry and keep the wheel spinning ever so vigorously. Optimism would be in the air again.

Please, bounce some ideas here. Call me out on shit. I would enjoy a dialogue on this.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Liquid Dreamy

One could say I had a wet dream last night. Not the pervy kind, no. I was boarded up in a cabin with a wailing hurricane outside. Couldn't run to the outside, so I had to pee in a metal pale. Unfortunately it splashed up and out onto the floor and I had to do some serious cleaning. Luckily I actually didn't pee in my sleep. Which is wonderful. When I was young kid I would sometimes have a "bedtime issue" and wet the bed here and there up until 7 or 8 years old. I'm not usually forthcoming with such personal history, as it's certainly embarrassing. Around the age of 7 my parents tried out a "wet alarm" in my bedding to alert me to any liquid setting it off. I would usually sleep through it. Which was most likely the problem. I was such a heavy sleeper in my younger days that my body wouldn't awake when it had to pee. The shame I would feel from this eventually turned me into a light sleeper, and ever since those early days my body isn't shy about pulling me from my slumber when piss calls. Yet every now and then I can feel myself peeing in my dreams, and I freak for a moment when I awake later and remember such a dream fragment. I feel around the bed spreading for any dampness yet am relieved at the dry touch. And I find this strange. Doesn't urban legend say that if you pee in your sleep it tells your mind to pee in reality? I ain't complaining. I'm okay with peeing in my dream world as long as this physical disconnect is maintained. 

There was such a weird shame that I totally forgot about until I pondered this now. I can recall a sleep-over at friend's where I wound up wetting my sleeping bag. The next morning his dad took it upon himself to roll up my sleeping bag and he called me out on the fact that it was wet. I clammed up. He must have sensed but covered up any accusations of pissing and asked me if I had spilled anything. I said I got up for a glass of water and bumped it later in the night. One time my brother's friend Mike was in my bedroom and curiosity poked him to peel the masking tape I had over the label of my "wet alarm" to cover up what it was to any visitors. So it could appear as some weird alarm clock without time reading on it. He asked me what was up with this wet alarm. I told him it was in place because I had a spilling problem with knocking water onto my bed and it was to alert me when I did this. Ha! Spilling problem. What bullshit I had spouted. Turns out later in high school I did have a spilling problem for a short time and spilled beverages by pure accident on friends 3 times within a week. Turns out I don't have very good control over my body. 

My most embarrassing moment of bed wetting was playing house with a neighbor girl and we crawled into my bed together to play husband and wife at nighttime. I had forgot to tell my mom about my little bladder mishap, so we hadn't changed the sheets yet, and it was very wet. This neighbor girl was grossed out and asked, more less shrieked, why was it so wet! I told her I sweated a lot the night before. I think I got away with that cover up. This was after all in the thick of summer. 

For shame, for shame. I remember feeling such shame at this and tried confessing to a friend through a joke about wetting the bed. He took it as a joke, and joked further, making me feel even more fearful of coming clean and clarifying the truth behind the joke. 

The good news is I haven't wet the bed in 20 some years. And because of this I feel okay mentioning in a blog about this little soggy past of mine. I'm sure the suppressed embarrassment has affected my confidence in subconscious ways. It is time I come forth and acknowledge this dirty gem of personal history, let go of it, laugh it off, and grow up/gear up from the coming of my 30s in 2013. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Harsh Words

If you read my post about "Noise Complacency" you'll remember it seems I've made enemies with my downstairs neighbor by being reasonable. Looks like the dude is moving out. When I arrived home yesterday he and a buddy were carrying a couch down the front stoop. He glared at me with red, burning, murderous eyes and called me a "nazi ass mother fucker." I started to speak, to defend myself some, and he continued "yeah, you and your bitch ass wife." Referring to my girlfriend.

It was exciting to later in the evening see them drive off in his U-haul. Never have a felt such wrath for asking a person politely to turn down the music some. I'm such a party pooper, how do I live with myself? How do I sleep at night being a nazi ass mother fucker? So why would loud bass affect my slumber?

At least I have a bitch ass wife to console me.

I have a paranoia this bald headed, red eyed, bearded rager will sneak back some night to murder me. If that ever happens my ghost will really ruin his party. Part of life is making enemies. I've finally become successful in one of life's endeavors. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dub Step Father

If you're familiar with dubstep you may find yourself amused, and even cracking a giggle or two. Yet another adapted stage sketch by us Wood Sugars to video. We've been having a ball with Eliaz's new camera.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011