Archive for May, 2010

fucking Dennis Hopper

fucking DIED the stupid FUCK, Dennis Hopper DEAD at 74, fucking shit, he fucking DIED before I got a chance to meet him, offer him a hit off my spliff and shake his hand. I don’t even smoke pot. Fucking asshole, Dennis Hopper, went and fucking died on me, how fucking rude of him, fuck him, fucking fuck, asswipe, asshat fuckhole Dennis Hopper DEAD at 74, fuck.

Mammoth Erection – sneak preview

artist Joe Holliday w/ Mammoth

2010.06.01 – CANCELLED DUE TO I HAVE NO IDEA – original post below…


East Jesus is growing. Come help us saw our own legs off, lest we continue to grow. Or help us grow, and gnaw your own limbs off in envy.

The gyst of the matter is this: two large sculptures are being drawn by mule to the muddy banks of East Jesus, to be displayed in all their glory for the two or three “eccentric,” wayward visitors we receive every season. And, of course, for you. One is a full-scale replica of the now-extinct Mammuthus primigenius, or wolly mammoth to you Philistines. What’s a Philistine? Ask Iggy Pop. If he’s wearing a bonnet and stirring up a slow-cooked pot of beans with possum and spices in it. The other is Cosmic Steel’s magnum opus, Cosmos. Gosh darn, that almost rhymes. Or what do they call that… alliteration? Anyway, they will be erected here for your viewing and worshiping pleasure, until they are sold to the highest bidder. And when they’re gone, you’ll have the memories of having seen them, possibly even touched them, to share with your grandkids when we’re all driving Buicks to the moon.

Looks like there’ll be some other surprises of the artistic kind. Shhhhhh!

Cosmos, by Royce Carlson / Cosmic Steel

Um, and I think a couple of up-and-coming legends in their own time will be crooning their dulcet tones ‘neath the voodoo moon (in alphabetical order:)

Delta the Troubadour
DreadCrew of Oddwood
Fancy Space People
Grapes and Nuts

Insects Versus Robots
Last Round Down
Riz Orkestra
The Funderstorm
The Tleilaxu Music Machine

Weasels Exist

Like you, I had never heard of any of them until I spent a moment cruising the Great Information Superhighway and found that not only does each act boast its own lame MyFace or SpaceBook page, they are all *actually pretty good.* And today, that’s saying an awful lot. My personal favorite is Grapes and Nuts, who have the stupidest name for a band I’ve ever heard, but are surprisingly sophisticated in a prog-rock-jazz-self-asphyxiation kind of way. Last Round Down list themselves as hard-drinkin’ skunk country-bluegrass on Sterno, but forget to mention they sound an awful lot like the better UK drunkard ensembles like The Pogues and the Whiskey Priests. [As an aside, I’ve served as FOH mixer for both. The Whiskey Priests were total assholes.] I’d have expected DreadCrew of Oddwood to be an embarrassing hippy-RenFaire dilution of pirate bandoneon, but I just couldn’t navigate away from their webstream. Last on the list are the estimable Weasels Exist, another somewhat stupid name for a really amazing group. Honest. I could probably come up with something clever for every last one of these acts, but I’m running out of steam. The lineups at NIMBY (1.0) back in the day were rarely this good (unless the Extra Action Marching Band was involved.) And, of course, I will be exercising my rights as mayor and founder of East Jesus (Pop 1, Elev 75) and premier number one musical act no matter how much I may suck, and do the traditional Leonard Cohen gig: closing the show, playing depressing and beautiful acoustic songs long after all the druqks are gone, you’ve finished rioting and have long since gone to bed. The piano will be in tune, and when all the live musical talent has headed back home to Illinois, we will extend the pains and pleasures of listening with a Jandek marathon. Rumor has it Tom Waits will show up out of the blue, play a few songs, and disappear. Honestly, I have no idea if any or all of these acts will be performing during Mammoth Erection, but the list was passed on to me in good faith by someone who Knows Such Things and Who Shall Remain Nameless.

You may come and enjoy this godawful mess with us. But you must be prepared for very warm weather, as in three-digits-Fahrenheit and only as much shade as you bring yourself. We will have “sanitary facilities” for your convenience (and ours.) Bring everything else you think you might need or want, and take all your garbage out with you. FREE overnight camping available. Behave yourself. If you are an asshole, you will be asked to leave at gunpoint. I’ll be cooking up a survival guide of sorts that explains how to check your panties for scorpions before lifting them to crotch level, and such. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 18: pre-party music, heavy drinking, sunburned orgy
Saturday, June 19: The Real Deal. Worship the Mammoth, gaze upon Cosmos with awe and wonder, enjoy live musical performances, dwarf tossing, projections, UFO sightings / abductions, etc.
Sunday, June 20: Jandek marathon and warm beer for the survivors. Pack it in, pack it out.

T-Mobile, or, Why I Secretly Wish I Were Amish

if you’re not in the mood for a hate rant, go read another blog…

the only family-friendly thing I can say about T-Mobile is they copulate with swine. in no particular order: bogus international call charges, failure to inform me that my broken G1 phone was still under warranty while I desperately combed all of southern CA for a new one (finally a friend doing some scouting for me in the San Diego area met up with an honest dealer who clued us in,) days upon days of non-contactability (as reported by many parties trying to reach me) despite good connectivity; an infuriatingly stoopid customer service phone labyrinth. the only way i’ve found to get through asap to a human is to speak as if i had cerebral palsy. which the system sometimes recognizes as Ebonics with consonants radically omitted.

sometimes I really wish I lived in an Amish community. they are not Luddites per se, as many people mistakenly think – rather, they take a good, long, in-depth, analytical view of any technology offered to them, weighing the pros and cons, impact on their lifestyle, etc. – and reject most of it. they turned down internal combustion engines, power lines, cell phones and television. right on! but some communities were quick to embrace solar power. plus, they make the best junk food in the world.

why ham radio is not dead (part three) – Amateur Extra, MARS, mobile operation and digital modes

Did you know that you can send and receive email to anyone anywhere in the world using just radio equipment? Even if all other global communication networks – including the Wide Web Interworld – are down for the count? I’ll get to that later.

Back to the books…. and the scientific calculator.

As usual, radio silence in the blogosphere has indicated extreme radioactivity in meatspace. I have been busy. The fruits of my labors have culminated thus: upgraded to Amateur Extra (the highest amateur radio license class, with privileges on all frequencies,) became a full MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) member (Department of Defense meets amateur radio for whatever emergency or disaster comms may be necessary – not only do they train you in military-style radio operation, you get a nifty glow-in-the-dark decoder ring,) conducted my usual radio business for three days from my car out in the middle of nowhere and finally, today, after weeks of trying and failing and troubleshooting and tweaking and adjusting, began operating in digital modes. MT63 and WINMOR, to be precise, both of which are used in MARS. There are about a dozen others I’m dying to get my hands dirty with – RTTY, PSK31, Olivia, etc. – but these two, being the ones I need to be able to use on a daily basis, were what I chose to start with.


One day I found these in my P.O. box…

WINMOR is a protocol under development primarily for use with Winlink2K, that radio-only email system I mentioned in the beginning. Needless to say, complex systems under development are not the most user-friendly. I am pretty sure that if I hadn’t given up alcohol for the coming hot summer, I wouldn’t have had the patience or sharpness of mind to get it all working properly. In fact, my attention span has expanded immensely since I put down the whiskey. Never fear, dear reader, you’ll hear none of this “sobriety” gibberish from me – I hate that word and I don’t care for 12-Step programs (one step is all I need, thank you) and I will someday return to my infamous and invariably amusing, hard-drinking ways, but first I need to lose about 40 lbs and survive a long summer in the Slabs without dying of dehydration. In the mean time, I reasonably expect to get about ten times as much done as usual.

MT63 is another digital mode which performs quite well under poor band conditions by dividing its content into 64 tones stretched over time. In fact, it’s so immune to noise that you can use it without any fancy interface between your radio and your computer. Assuming your ‘puter has a built-in microphone, you can just let the audio from the radio’s loudspeaker get into the mic and under normal conditions this should work fine. For some reason, though, I had trouble receiving through a MacBook Pro’s internal sound card (which I understand is actually par for the course,) so eventually I just decided to put a dedicated computer in place and use a ham-radio-friendly sound card for interfacing. Since $300 buys an awful lot of computer these days, it wasn’t too big a deal. The robustness of MT63 still amazes me – my first trial reception with the new setup yielded 100% copy under just about the worst, noisiest HF band conditions possible.

HF/VHF/UHF mobile installation… in an art car.

Now, all this began around the time I was wrapping up my training for MARS and eyeballing an upgrade to the Amateur Extra license class. I had ARRL’s study guide for the latter collecting dust somewhere and one day grabbed it and started studying. It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but by no means the toughest, and after about ten days of dedicating three to four hours per day (sometimes a little more) to working through the question pool and filling in the gaps in my knowledge, I was passing practice exams in my sleep and figured it was time to take the plunge, scrape up $14 and go for the real thing. Not too surprisingly, I passed, though when I returned from the rest room as my answer sheet was being graded signed, some of the examiners were muttering things like, “It’s OK, he can take it again on the 24th….” within earshot, just to yank my chain.

Of course, I haven’t had a lot of time to go play radio on all the new elitist real estate within the ham bands that is the exclusive domain of the Amateur Extra – nope, I’ve been potty-training computers and sound cards, building a chicken coop and moving some actual poultry into it, moving trailers and art cars around to make room for new, and finally getting those disgustingly heavy and huge Pb/Ca batteries into their permanent home:

700lbs of lead-acid love….*each*… and 24 of them.

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