Lately my mind keeps returning to this Lambchop performance of "Give It" during the 2009 XX Merge event at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina.
Each individual player soloing and spazzing out in his own way, and yet all of one mind, one sound, one purpose. Like lava spitting from a volcano and funneling downstream. Like a cloud of sparrows erupting from a chimney en masse. Like the planets circling around the sun. An implausible and imperfect form of perfection.
It really is just such a beautiful thing to behold.
Anyway, Phil...that's what I was trying to say earlier today while we were stuffing our faces with burgers and tuna melts at Russell's in Pasadena.
Ceiling fans, stained glass, grey short-shorts, fourball fanzine t-shirt, hair in a bun, fine china, blue-backed fold-out chairs and three six-foot tables plopped end-to-end (thanks Caitlin), linen napkins, silverware and candelabras... check.
Throughout the two and a half years we've lived in this lil' carriage house we've often spoken of wanting to have an improptu 'sit down' dinner with our pals. Nothing fancy. No special occasion necessary. Just a whole lotta people sitting around the living room/makeshift banquet hall stuffing their faces and shooting the breeze while crappy little dogs skip around begging for scraps. Some real ye olde tyme quality time.
These past few months have been an uncertain time for us. If the Immigration Dept. chooses not to renew Tammy's visa... her life here in the US will be thrown into chaos. Suddenly an illegal alien, she'll be allowed back into the US for a short duration to gather her things before being heave-ho'd back to England.
No more bad puppies, no more weird art & video projects, no more damp fall walks through Elysian Park and Angelino Heights. No more SFV junk shops. No more exploding garage. No more armory of Kit Kat bars in the fridge. No more driving in flippy-floppies or getting lost on the freeways. No more random road trips to nowhere wherever...
So about five weeks ago we abruptly decided to rustle a Sunday dinner just as Tammy was gearing up to return to the UK for her visa interview at the US Embassy in London. Why? To take the edge off.
Gathering our pals around was nice. Like, real nice. Seventeen heavy bros all just ploppin' by to pick up forks and blab their faces off into the wee hours of the night.
Butchy, back from back-to-back tours of Japan and Eastern Europe. Sweet hat.
Monick checkin' his future-phone. Glow of the LCD bouncing off his glasses. Classic.
Hi Ashley. It was great to see you outside of NYC for once in ten years.
The following night we had Round #2. A veritable heap of leftovers and new additions. Sarah, Tammy and Shellzbot, thanks for helping to prepare and eat it all. (You each look very nice/psychotic in this photo, fyi).
Hi Luis, nice sweater.
Two days later Tammy returned to London to wait for word from the embassy. She's been gone five weeks. Arrives home this afternoon. Happy to report her visa has been renewed for three years. In the scheme of things this is what's known as "very good news". :)
Essentially the point of this brrrog post is this: There are sure to be hard times and happiness ahead. Given the human condition this will always be so. Life is a ceaseless series of ups and down, ins and outs, good times and bad... that is, until it finally ceases. So make new memories worth having. Tell your people you love them. Make it actionable. Gathering our friends together for dinner that night was an effort to let them know we appreciate them and love the life and community we share together.
Perhaps saying this is too obvious or redundant. But oh well. I type these words now as much to remind myself.
Tammy, you are in the air right now flying over the ocean. I pick you up in three hours. Pizza Party and Mia are very bored, smell bad, and want to be fed and walked. My love/hate for these bubbas is at an all-time high.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Monick just called and says he's having dinner at his house with lots of pies, a turkey, and "Ben Hur" and "Sparticus" playing in rotation on the TV all day and night. You've arrived home just in time!
Happy Holiday Everybody!
*PS. Apologies if I sound like a robot jerk-beast in this post. I just realized I haven't had any coffee or food yet today. All this talk of life and photos of food is making me feel so hungry and weird.
I just came across the above-short Notre Dame article. Kooky as it sounds upon first glance, it actually marks a fascinating discovery. Definitely well worth the three-minute read. That said, however, I really have no clear idea what it means, (which is exactly what's so exciting about it!).
If we can figure out how to harness the mental change of state/event horizon that occurs as we pass through doorways... we may eventually be able to collapse all space and time with our minds. Which is to say worms-holes and time-machines are perhaps not just the far-off pipe dreams of stoners and dystopian sci-fi writers.
The universe is made of atoms. We're made of atoms. From the biggest to the smallest things that ever were, are, or will ever be... we're all made of the same basic stuff. So I see no reason why we can't some day travel across all space and time as fast as any atom. It is less about figuring out how to get 'from here to there,' and more about being 'everywhere at once'.
Think about life. Not just for what it is, but for what it can be going forward. The practical application of string theory is potentially already within us.
Last year multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson, (longstanding member of the Ghost Wars eternal), joined the Fleet Foxes. Hi Morgan. That bass clarinet solo was fantasy-tastic. See you soon!
Dear Baked Salmon, you were delicious. Tammy, thank you.
Making a mess in preparation for organizing the sounds in our heads.
Hi Greg, thanks. You were right about that 24" kick.
Out late on a School Night. Wakka wakka wakka... Races... Zzzzz....
Hi Tammy, thanks for the harmonica work on "Golden Shivers". You're a natural!
All thumbs up to that jacket.
Christopher Newmyr. Legendary ranconteur, ladies man, cad, itinerant gambler, con man, swashbuckler, rambler, record label owner, concert promoter, booking agent, tour manager, bag man, 90s "dot-com" entrepeneur, comedian, online "gamer," beardo, tall person... and friend.
Will, I haven't seen you in at least seven years. Actor-turned-Internet mogul... Sounds about half right.
PB&J. They've ditched the whistling.
After 2.5-years of R&D... these have finally come out. Surprised and somewhat chuffed to say they genuinely sound great and are rather comfy, (especially on long flights). Good job industrial designer dudes.
I just came across Cara's repost of a current.com news item regarding activist Dorli Rainey's beat down in Seattle. Please give it a read, for Dorli's advanced age is truly the least interesting aspect of the piece.
Rather, what IS interesting is that the Seattle Police Department would find it necessary to pepper-spray an 84-year old woman for exercising her constitutionally-protected First Amendment Rights, (which include: the right to peaceably assemble, freedom of speech, and the right to petition for a governmental redress of grievances).
Basically folks, Wall Street and the White House are working in tandem to squash our Bill of Rights. Furthermore, they're using local law enforcement agencies, State Supreme Courts, and the United States Department of Justice to get it done.
Ultimately, whether the whole 'Occupy' movement resonates with you or not isn't the point. More importantly, whether these events erode or reinvigorate the Bill of Rights is the real marrow of the matter.
Today I randomly came across my friend Embry Rucker on Linkedin. Though he only lives down in San Diego we haven't seen one another in at least 5 or 6 years. He's married with kids and hustles as a travel photographer. As for me... well, I don't have any excuse for not keeping in touch. I'm just overworked and broverwhelmed. So I absent-mindedly requested his "friendship" and figured we'd eventually get around to catching up, if not soon then at an uber-harsh German trade show or atop a snowy mountain somewhere.
However, much to my happy surprise, Embry immediately accepted my "friendship" and within five minutes sent an email asking how I've been. WOW—THE INTERNET!
Anyway, while catching up in this very 21st Century way I learned he's moved on from photography to additionally working as a commercial director. So I sent him the link to our Room 205 project and suggested we try to do an episode together in 2012. In response, he then sent a link to some of his work, namely the above-piece he recently directed for The Greatest Generations Foundation in honor of the 67th Anniversary of D-Day, (which happens to be today).
Whether you love, hate, or simpy "don't care" about war... well, Embry's piece doesn't really leave any room for feelings of ambivalence. When the old guy starts crying and talking as he's looking around the beaches of Normandy... Man, my head just about caved in. It also caused me to ponder pretty damn hard all that Veteran's Day does and does not express.
If there's one thing any of us can do for our soldiers currently in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is this— bring those folks home. Ribbons, handshakes and medals just don't cut it. Annual praise and empty talk of 'sacrifice' just doesn't cut it, especially when the motivations of the wars in question are so terribly questionable. Our men and women in uniform are straight up killing and dying for the bullshit doctrine established by full-blown ding-dongs George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz. Oil fields. Natural Gas pipelines. Last remaining 'Superpower'. The 1,000-year Global Hegemony... Blah blah blah... Ridiculous.
To all of you veterans out there (including all three of my uncles; Gary, Burke, and Dwayne), I send you my sincerest and most genuine thanks. Each and every one of you will carry a lifelong burden that regular folks can't possibly get their heads around without going through it themselves. To anyone thinking of joining the US Military at this current moment in our nation's history— just don't do it. Instead, maybe join Doctors Without Borders or an NGO. Join a nudist colony. Join the CIA. Join an organic farm producing food for refugee camps in Africa. Join what-the-fuck-ever is not the US Military.
All anti-terrorism smoke-screens and weepy 9/11 nostalgia aside, after nine years of this bullshit it should be pretty clear to everyone that losing your life & limbs as canon-fodder for Dick Cheney and Exxon Mobile just isn't worth it.
Brah-rak BrObama, bring our folks home. That's why we elected you. Forget about the economy. Forget about Occupy Wall Street. Forget about the Banks and Foreclosures. Press pause on all that noise, we'll figure it out. First things first, just bring those soldiers home and rapidly wind down those idiotic wars of adventure. It is killing our collective spirit and bankrupting our nation. So let's start there. A nation cannot heal itself and restore its hopes and dreams while actively killing those of its fellow nations.
Embry, it is great to be in touch with you again. Thanks again for providing so much food for thought on this very special and deeply complicated day.
Sure, I know you're saying to yourself, "Man, what's all this FYF stuff?"
Fair enough. FYF Fest happened way back on Saturday, Sept. 3rd. Nobody wants to know anything about 'Fuck Yeah Fest' six weeks after it happened. Agreed. That said, it was a better-run event than any of Sean's previous FYF incarnations. By a long shot. Patrons had basic things like shade and water this time around, which was awfully kind of him. Thanks Goldenvoice.
Generally-speaking, I'm just trying to catch up on all the summer bullshit & shenaniganery before it gets so old that not even I remember what the hell happened when. This brrrog tends to run six weeks to as much as six months behind schedule. All apologies. As much as these photos and words fairly accurately document what goes on from week-to-week, sometimes actual life has a way of getting in the way. Lately more so than usual perhaps.
Without exaggeration, it has been a long, hard, fast, exhausting, fun, productive, and deeply troubling six months. The world is in a hell of a fix. Does that sound doomy and dramatic? Maybe it does. But fuck it, that's the reality of the times. Everywhere I look I see friends, family, and total strangers alike taking hard knocks.
Let your people know you need them and let them need you. Make dinner for somebody or half-a-dozen somebodies. Take a pal on a lazy bike ride down by the river. Find a river, any river will do. Just slowly pedaling and shooting the breeze. Try it, it'll do you a world of good. Be kind to strangers, even if it's just to convey a simple 'hello' and offer a genuine smile. Each one of us really has no idea what anyone is going through right now.