Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Anniversary

my wedding day
Originally uploaded by alpharat
I know this is the wedding picture I pull out most often, but it's a fun reminder of the time that 65 clowns crashed our wedding reception - as if one needs to be reminded that something like that happened!

Fact is, a few years ago (eight to be exact), TFN and I were married.

Happy anniversary, baby! Thanks for putting up with me for yet another year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This is my day job...

For any of you who've wondered, this is a description of my 9-5.

I had no idea that Jack and I shared life in the trenches so closely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paul Raven

For people who haven’t been keeping up since the beginning, the world of industrial music is a convoluted, incestuous mess. If you were to look at a list of the lineups of any 10 industrial bands, you’d see that they shared all the same members in some shape or form.

The biggest part of industrial music was spawned out of Chicago, surround Wax Trax and Invisible records. These guys are bunch of like-minded people, all who have become underappreciated music legends.

One of those legends was Paul Raven.

Raven has played in sooooo many of the industrial heavy-hitters, it gets hard to keep track. His big start was with Killing Joke, but he also had a hand in Prong, Ministry, Godflesh, Murder Inc., Pigface… the list goes on.

To be sure, my first exposure to Raven was with Killing Joke's “Money is Not Our God”, which came out when I was in high school.

I got to interview Raven for my Web site a few weeks ago . It was an amazing phone call, we just chatted forever, about all the old great names in industrial music, who was what, etc. He even gave me his cell phone with a promise to connect when he was in Detroit with Ministry next year.

I think you see where this is going.

Shortly after I put the interview up on my site (two days later), I got an email from his PR Agent. Raven died of a heart attack in Geneva, where he was working on recording a project with Mob Research.

It was kind of stupefying news.

I was reminded of one thing we’d talked about in the interview. We had talked about William Tucker. Tucker was another one of the incestuous network of industrial musicians. We saw him in Grand Rapids playing an acoustic show with Chris Connelly, and TFN had hung out with him at Pigface shows. He was a stellar guy, who committed suicide shortly after the Reptile House.

When Tucker died, he and Raven had been working on a project together called Sons of Domination. According to Raven, a few of those songs were completed. I hope they get released someday.

Here’s one with William Tucker (and yes, that’s the same drummer in the striped shirt as was in the first video with Raven – this is the incestuous network I’m talking about).

During the interview, Raven said this about Tucker: “God bless that fucker. That’s all.”

I think that could apply to both of them.

Rest in peace, man. It’s a shame I never got to have that drink with you, but I hope you know I thought you were awesome.

If you’re in the mood, here’s one more with Raven. It’s Murder Inc., which features Chris Connelly, who was the person playing with William Tucker when I saw him, and Martin Atkins, the drummer from both of the previous videos in this post. Small world, made just a little bit smaller...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's All Horribly Wrong! (but not in a horrible way)

I have to say, I had a great past few days. It was a positively stellar weekend, made best by everything that didn’t work out.


As referenced before, we were headed downtown so that TFN could spend some quality time with her boyfriend. With that in mind, we settled in at the Loco Bar for some good food and beer with good friends.

The tickets stated: Doors at seven. Show at eight. Based on my mathematical skills, this meant that, if we head to the club at nine, we’d catch part or all of the Street Dogs (the second band), and then see Tiger Army.

So why was it, at nine, when we walked into St. Andrew’s Hall, Tiger Army was on stage? Not only were they already playing, but they were in their encore?

Apparently, the opener didn’t show up, so they rushed the Street Dogs right on stage.

The next fiasco, despite our being on the guest list and having a photo pass, the bouncer wanted to confiscate TFN’s camera – simply for the sake of getting into a pissing match.

While TFN fought with the bouncer, I managed to call up the tour manager, who came out into the lobby, told the doorstaff to cut the crap (thanks Cash!), and then took TFN down in front and put her behind the barricade to shoot the band.

So, even though she only got 15 minutes of show, she got to spend it five feet from Nick 13. She was happy.

And also, later we both confessed to each other and to the friends we were with that the most fun of the entire night was getting into a screaming match with the bouncer… and winning. We’re horrible like that.


Saturday started with a 17-mile bike ride (those miles fell away so easily, too. I really think I am getting to be ready for Iceman!). Then, plotting our next move, it was decided that TFN, ST and Abi (all recurring characters) as well as KayBee (a new character) would go to a haunted house.

Going to a haunted house is a big production for us. It requires a series of preparations. It requires going home, reading reviews of all the houses, making fun of the bad ones before finally choosing the one we’d like to go. Then we have to go to the 7-11 for large coffees. Then we have to go to the liquor store for a bottle of Bailey’s.

Our designated haunted house was in Pontiac. It was one of those expensive ones ($19 to get in), but supposedly one of the best in the state. It was in a crappy neighborhood, but really, all of Pontiac is a crappy neighborhood.

We got there, and we got in line. This was the line to buy a ticket. After standing in line for 30 minutes, polling people who came out of the place (“It was OK” being the most common report), we ran out of coffee and reached to ticket booth.

Were we to but the tickets, we were looking at a two or three hour wait. Unless we bought the $27 ticket, which would put us in the 15-minute line, away from the plebian unwashed. That’s right kids, for a mere $8 more, you too can become a member of bourgeoisie! We’re against that kind of classicism, so we made the proper choice.


We left.

What happens next is a true Halloween moment. Much of Pontiac consists of one-way streets. Making our way to the expressway proved difficult. Despite the fact that we were heading toward the expressway, following signs that said “To I-75”, we managed to drive around in a circle. A big circle. A circle that it took an hour to make. Eventually, we ended up in Troy.

Oh, also, this whole hour circular drive included having all the windows down singing along to the radio at top volume. All the hits. George Harrison, Prince, Rick James… man, when five people who can’t sing are piled into a Scion, singing together at the top of there lungs – screaming actually – it doesn’t sound as bad as you’d think. It sounds bad, yes, but not that bad. Bad in a fun kind of way.

Also apparently bad enough to ward off any carjackers while we ghetto cruised Pontiac.

We ended the evening in the bowling alley across the street from the liquor store and 7-11 where we started. And it was a perfect night.

Also, I bowled better than ST, but in his defense, he left his balls at home that night.


So once you’ve done nothing at all productive all weekend, Sunday is the day to catch up. Run errands, clean house, do laundry, right? That was totally the plan anyway.

At some point after haircuts, the call came in, pointing out that this was quite possibly the last nice day of the year, and if we didn’t end up on the porch at the K&A Faction House, we would be making a dire mistake. One can’t argue logic like that.

It was a perfectly unexpectedly lazy way to end a weekend where nothing had gone as planned…

Friday, October 19, 2007

A boyfriend and some girlfriends...

Let me introduce you to TFN's boyfriend.

This is Nick 13. He's the guitarist and lead singer for Tiger Army.

We're going to see them tonight.

I am pretty stoked, even if TFN has a crush on him.

That's not really fair to do, though, so in the interest of equal time and humiliation, I will present you with some musicians who have, at various times, been my girlfriend.

Amanda "Punk Cabaret Is Freedom" Palmer (Dresden Dolls)

Next up, we have Kathleen "The truth ain't pretty like a pretty little girl like me" Hannah (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre), and Kim "We can still be friends" Gordon (Sonic Youth, Free Kitten). This video is actually Sonic Youth (there's a shortage of quality Bikini Kill videos from that era), and Kathleen is the girl with dark hair and pigtails bouncing around (That's right - we got two for one with this video).

There are a few more, but I made you look at enough video for one day.

Ah well, this was supposed to be a deep and poignant post on the nature of having crushes on celebrities, but I instead spent a lot of time watching videos with these ladies in them...

Who have been your celebrity crushes?

Also, if you are at home tonight, and you're into reality shows (two strikes against me), check out that American Band show. Local band the Muggs is one of the contestants. Very talented musicians, very cool guys.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An Open Letter To The Guy At Holiday Market Last Night

Dear Guy,

Last night at Holiday Market, I saw that you brought in your own canvas tote bag to purchase groceries. On behalf of Mother Nature, I'd like to say thanks! Bringing your own bag to the store helps offset the footprint you're making on the world. You are really pointing out that the best possible choice in the "paper or plastic" debate is "neither".

Plastic grocery bags, when they become litter, can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. As they do, they leave little bits of toxic remnants in the soil and water.

Additionally, plastic bags drift far out into the ocean, where they strangle and poison wildlife. Seabirds and turtles mistake them for jellyfish and eat them, which can kill them in a variety of ways, none of them pleasant.

There is also the fact they are created from petroleum, a resource we are steadily depleting.

Although it's easy to villify plastic bags, we can't let paper get off scott-free. Paper bags are created from a renewable resource, but are not necessarily "greener". The production of paper bags creates more pollution than plastic. It also requires more energy and water, and takes up a lot more space in a landfill (although it will break down quicker).

So, grocery guy, by bringing your own bag to the store, you're doing a small part to reduce environmental stress, and it's something we can learn from. Every little bit helps, and if we all do this, things would be in a much cleaner state. I thank you for pointing this out, and the turtles thank you as well.


The fact that you are enacting and spreading this small bit of environmental awareness does nothing at all to offset the fact that you drove to the grocery store in a 10-mpg Hummer.

Go to hell, you self-righteous yuppie asshole. I hope you break an ankle hopping down from your high horse. People like you are the reason my generation has such a beef with the baby boomers.

Thanks again.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Good News: Michigan is open again. Bad News: Hookers cost more.

So, after a few hours of being closed, the state opened back up. I didn’t notice, although I did stock up on smokes just in case. Really, not many people noticed, aside from the campers thrown out of the state parks on Sunday.

Now, with the new budget plan, we’re dealing with some new taxes. Income tax is going up, and service taxes are being levied on a few things that weren’t taxed before.

Some of the new things make no sense, like vending machines and payphones. First of all, I haven’t used payphones in forever, but I wonder if they are going to have to modify them to accept pennies. “Please insert 38 cents for the next three minutes…”

Fortune telling and astrology services are being taxed now, too. I wonder if they saw that one coming.

The one thing that surprised me the most, however, was hookers. Right there in the list of things Michigan is levying service taxes on… escort services. They are taxing the hookers now!

I wonder how many of these escorts are going to see themselves brought up on tax evasion charges, or on prostitution charges should they honestly report their income? It’s the Al Capone thing all over again. They can’t bust them for what they want, so they get them on tax evasion.

You can see a full list of the new taxed services here. (Apparently somebody still offers baby shoe bronzing, and it’s a big enough industry that the state sees a benefit in taxing it. Who knew?)