Archive for January, 2010

used cars

now i wanna be your dog

this is the first in a coming series of homebrewed music videos, just documenting the songs i’ve been kicking around recently.

Charlie’s dead

An old friend and musical co-conspirator, Th. Metzger (not to be confused with the bloodsucking white supremacist douchenozzle named Tom Metzger,) got in touch with me via email for the first time in nearly a decade. I was delighted. Thom’s mind works in scary and intriguing and inspiring and depraved and scholarly and sharply analytical ways, and he was an important part of my social milieu back in the days of Health & Beauty, Screaming Vinyl, and the other spinoff musical performance art projects that loomed like an ominous gray cloud over Rochester, NY in the mid-80′s.

He told me that a lot of my friends in Rochester thought I was dead. I found this highly amusing, but kind of sad. I’m having a kind of Sixth Sense moment now, questioning my own belief that I am alive. What if I am just a wayward hungry ghost who died years ago in Oakland?

yes, this is a real .45 revolver. no, it isn't loaded. no, this is not a cry for help.

Any Rochesterians who know me are encouraged to comment here. Thanks.

rainy day blues

when a child is born in the Slabs, it’s not a cause for celebration. two ambulances (one for the mother and one for the baby, who is being taken away) and three police cars. sometimes it’s hard to keep my faith in humanity when so many of those surrounding me are setting each other’s camps on fire, losing their teeth and their organs to methamphetamine, alcohol and bad hygiene. one day a guy in a van with AZ plates starts putting together a nice little camp nearby; next day there are two ambulances out there responding to reports of a stabbing, and the sheriff and an investigator come around asking me questions. there’s a beautiful, noble young woman dying of cancer. an old man who’s been dumped here by his family. the hot spring is being converted by tourists into a creepy, free-for-all hangout. my best friends are, at best, hopeless alcoholics or living with some sort of psychosociological dysfunction. many come out here to die. but i’m here to live, and to thrive; i have drawn my line in the sand, i have pushed all my chips into the middle. there is more entropy and sabi here than is generally considered wholesome. sometimes it gets to me. like today. and they wonder why i keep to myself and keep the guns clean. Slab City is a slippery slope, and at times i feel myself losing my balance.

container two

Thanks to Joe & Lilly of Esparza Storage Containers, Bakersfield. Highly recommended!

Container Two drop-off from chasterus on Vimeo.

background noise

HE was 44 when he first heard the voices. They could be heard, in his mind’s ear anyway, hovering in the background noise whenever an engine was running. He would turn his head to face the perceived source, and soon realize it could not possibly have come from there. Understanding the cognitive nature of this auditory “aliasing” illusion, he nevertheless decided to investigate the matter further. In other words, he asked himself what parts of his mind were generating these creepy, internal voices of Rorschachian ghosts.

THE voices sounded, for the most part, like song fragments on a transistor radio near a noisy fan – they would emerge and disappear, like odd, darting specimens in an aquarium. At times he was sure he recognized them; one was Patti Smith, another a friend from high school. There were many others that he did not recognize or never heard for long enough to foxhunt through his memory. In a dark corner, various 8-ohm loudspeakers from different technological epochs known as decades danced to the buzzing shimmy of filtered radio signals, his hallucinations dancing with them, seducing them, chiding them, turning his head this way and that, and always leaving him to his preferred silence when the last tarry fragments were evacuated from his lungs, and his metabolism had made short work of the toxins therein.

ON this particular evening, they had receded. He contemplated his [tape ends here]

East Jesus 2.0

…slowly, sometimes painfully so, but gradually, progress is made…

a new (to me) 40′ high-top Tex container with an added roll-up door should be here in a few days. the shack, tronix lab, office and recording studio are moving into it, then the Monster Battery array will take its place in the fiberglass container, the heart of East Jesus 1.0. not like i really wanted to take on yet another huge pile of work (it’ll be weeks of building workspaces, storage shelves, adding doors, windows, insulation, A/C etc.) but the batteries would prefer to be pampered at temperatures cooler – much cooler – than the 120 degrees F we experience out in this here desert, and the fiberglass container is ready to go with its superior insulation and A/C already built in, and is the perfect size for the batteries

the long, grinding drive to LA is always a drag, but once i was there in the middle of a vast valley of 1000s of shipping containers, i was overcome with the feeling of swimming in the heavy water of the truly surreal. it was an unusually clear day; i wish i had taken a few photos.

rumor has it the copper connecting bars were found in the powertainer housed at NIMBY and have made their way to the Shipyard, where they may actually fall into someone’s hands who will kindly send them my way. today i began researching desulfators and ordered two Solar Converter BD-2′s to play with on the 12V arrays. it’s cool to be able to glean so much about a battery’s internal health by letting a desulfator pulse away and looking at the waveform on an oscilloscope. at maximum i can connect 4 of them to the final 48V array, and i’m still not sure that’s going to be enough. perhaps i’ll have to homebrew something more powerful.

in any event, the next few months are going to be characterized by pantloads of work, and a lot of heavy moving. at this point it’s looking very much like i’m going to need a box truck or a large pickup with a trailer. over half the items on my shopping list won’t fit in my Honda Civic. i think in the USA this is one of those mysterious, ancient rites of passage for a man: his first truck. i guess i’m a late bloomer.

anyway, everything’s been growing and expanding here so rapidly it really feels like a new world. East Jesus 2.0.

unforseen consequences

someone i have never met sends me useful, unsolicited information about setting wellpoints. someone else i barely know has pledged to create an enormous scrap steel sculpture in my back yard. another someone, a good friend, is bringing me a piano tomorrow. one day i am lonesome; the next i am overrun with visitors. i am treated like royalty by high-tech transients camping out under the stars nearby. wildlife populations are thriving. i still have no idea what i’m doing, but i keep doing it anyway. and it seems to be subtly influencing the textures and geometries of the world around me, odd objects drawn to an aethereal magnet, unreadable, intangible. i dream of disasters, union with strange and beautiful women, the stars fading out one by one, mastering Debussy.

last night i read commentary by JG Ballard on the psychological impact of space exploration, not just on the astronauts but on the public, as being sinister and debasing. today Bruce Sterling tweeted his prediction of first contact with extraterrestrials in 2010 as something to jolt us out of our slump. i am laying in the tense, ionized liquid dichotomy of these two ideas, like a hobo in a boxcar full of warm, radioactive treasure.

Return top