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I'm everyone – hang your label on me


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Late to the party

So I made this discovery awhile back but haven’t really been blogging lately… (I know, I suck.) But damn if I’m not in love with Macklemore.

Look at all that Seattle love right there

You may have, if you are a Seahawks fan watched him raise the 12th Man flag the weekend of the Wildcard playoffs along with a few other Seattle musicians. You may know him from his completely smash hit “Thrift Shop,”

Oh yeah… he’s pretty hot too. I’m shallow, sue me.

Nothing is sexier than an open mind

Macklemore has a ton of other great songs out there and honestly just seems like a cool guy. Plus hey, Seahawks. But honestly this is a real talent if you buy the album and listen to more than just the single, you’re going to fall in love too.

In honor of the fact that Macklemore is also an Irishmen and that St Patrick’s Day is coming your way soon, let me share with you the best song/video that ever happened.

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The Grover Beach Crack House

A long time ago, me and my bestie Jen-Wa The Destroyer lived in this place.

Home was where our hearts were and all

We moved in over a long rainy day almost entirely by ourselves after spending about two months living in what we affectionately called the Shell Beach Homeless Person Squat House, or the House that was Managed by a Sexist Insane Person. Or the House With The Stomping Elephant Psycho Neighbor upstairs. Or you know, our first home together. Anyway we got very very sick of sleeping in the same room or sharing a 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment for the rental price of a palatial resort so, we moved. Ideally we wanted to move up into San Luis Obispo but there wasn’t anywhere to live and being a college town it’s crazy difficult to get a house/apartment/shack there when you’re in your 20’s. Even when you’ve been living on your own since 18 (Jennifer) and 23 (me) respectively. So when we were at our wits end, a very kind elderly lady called us to come look at an apartment over at the Sunset Terrace.

The Gutter Trash Mafia’s first Christmas, taken in Bakersfield about a month before moving into our “dream home”

And how excited were we! The building reminded us of Los Angeles area 50’s styled apartments. We’d get a PARKING SPACE! There was a pool! If you stood on one foot and leaned this one direction and craned your neck you’d see the Pacific Ocean. There were windows and counters and light and TWO COUNT THEM BITCH, TWO BEDROOMS. It was a whopping 150-200 dollars cheaper per month. There was more than one set of washers and driers on the property. The carpet wasn’t fugly shag green. We thought this was going to be the best thing ever. And best of all no one would live underneath us.  Holy balls, it was like we were the Beverly Hillbillies.

Every bit of our happiness had a price and I ended up in this dump for 4 years.

Dump you say? Why would something so wonderful ever be a dump?

No offense to the landlords, who were very kind to us during our stint there at this hell hole but they were really too kind to a lot of our neighbors as well, to the point you’d THINK the damn building was built around these freakshows. For one there was the naked cat lady. I can’t remember her name now and she was pretty freakin’ nice but holy crap in a building where you’re not allowed pets, to have 3-5 cats at a time that you 1-don’t even try to hid and 2-have taken your screen out and allow them to wander in and out at all hours of the day, who bless their furry faces, just YOWL at all hours of the day… well that’s pretty extreme. And oh yes, the naked part….

Remember how we had a pool and I gotta tell you, pools are scarce on the Central Coast. I mean the ocean/beach is right freakin’ there. But having a pool saves you from all that driving and public restrooming and paying tourist prices for a simple day in the sun. Naked Cat Lady had a little spot next to our pool. It WAS fenced off and originally intended for people who like to line dry their clothes, but Naked Cat Lady built herself kind of a clubhouse back there with her little radio, a camper shell to store her special lawn chair in and god only knows what she was drinking but it was either Pink Wine or Scotch most times I saw her. She’d go in this little area and just get butt naked and lay out in the sun listening to the radio and drinking something god awful, with her cats any time the sun was out. Let me just remind you that Naked Cat Lady was about 70 years old. I’ll probably turn into Naked Cat Lady when I’m 70 but it was pretty disconcerting to always be talking to a naked lady surrounded by cats through a fence. When her kids came up to take her to her retirement home around the time Jennifer moved away, Naked Cat Lady “gave” me her fort back there because I’d always been nice to her and she knew I liked the pool area. I never used it because, that’s weird, but what a nice gesture.

If there had just been a Naked Cat Lady we would’ve been fine. But oh no the cast of characters at this place went much deeper. For instance there were the Truck Driving Lesbians down the hall from us. If you’ve read this blog for five minutes or more you know I LOVE me some lesbians. Except for these two who seemed to only have two activities in their life: beating the shit out of each other and getting the cops called on them and leering in an unflattering way at Jennifer and I when we’d go to the pool, do laundry, leave the house, not be wearing burkas, etc. There was one night I walked past their apartment to get to the laundry room and they were out there being all butch and smoking and drinking canned beer and I had sweats on and they were sort of slipping and I yanked them back up pretty quick. It’s rude to show people your butt crack or whatever. One of these gals says to the other one “Stuck up bitch doesn’t want us to see what she’s got.” Since I was about 10 feet away I heard the rest of the conversation. I just went about my business and put my laundry in only to find ALL of my wet clothes on the floor of the laundry room when I went to change over to the dryer. When I finally LOST my mind and told the landlord (we were so poor then, and the 1.50 it cost me to wash those clothes was lost and I only had enough change left to dry them and they were dirtier than when I put them in…) basically I just got handed a roll of quarters and told I was a nice renter. Also to stop walking by their house because they were trouble and “nice” girls like Jennifer and I didn’t want to get mixed up in “that.”

There were a large parade of nuts moving in and out of that place. It was one of the 3 places I lived on the Central Coast that didn’t seem to do ANY kind of checks (I know because they never did a credit check on us, something us broke asses were so grateful for) on anyone who moved in. So there was a lot of moving out under the cover of darkness in trashbags in the building. So anyone that lasted a year seemed to be loved by the management, no matter what sort of assery was going on in the place. They installed Jen and I between two of the oldest, crankiest, biddies. One was just MEAN. She scared off trick or treaters, telling them that there was no candy and that Halloween was the work of the devil and gave me the dirtiest look when I walked out in costume to give these kids a candy bar. One was old as the hills and deaf as a box of socks. She actually was pretty cool once I sat down and talked to her or the time I helped her with her groceries. She told me “that old bitch next door has it in for you girls, don’t be surprised if the cops keep showing up here.” Sylvia was right, we had the cops called on us for a myriad of offenses in the  years Jennifer and I lived together. I can only think of two times we actually deserved it, one when we were getting ready to go out and probably had the radio up too loud in the living room and another time we DID have a band living with us for a couple of days (whoops, hey they cleaned the pool and the managers didn’t give a shit) but we had the cops called on us by this bag for reading in our rooms wearing headphones, watching the 10 o’clock news with the sound on, existing etc. We were nearing noise fine territory according to Grover PD, but one cop told me we lived next door to a crazy woman, she’d done the same thing to her last neighbor and oh hey my show on that radio thingy was pretty good. Bye bye Officer Joe, you were kind of cute by the way.

One day, after Jennifer moved to Boston, I snapped. Even though every other looney in the building was “allowed” to have pets because they moved in before the pet policy (WTF) they said I had to get rid of Lily if I wanted to stay. I’d been cat called by the mean ladies down the way one too many times during my 4 year stay. I didn’t need a 2 bedroom apartment to live in on my own. I’d had my electricity turned off by accident by our sweet old landlord transposing numbers of the latest asshat to move out in the middle of the night. One too many people ran into my car. One too many people had called the cops on me for breathing. I got really tired of the other sweet doddering old man who seemed to think I lived in his girlfriends apartment and kept trying to use his key on the door and almost destroyed my screen door when I started locking that too. I got sick of my own key not bloody working and having to get into my house through the window in my bedroom/finally computer room. Sylvia, my other crazy old lady neighbor finally  just put an upside down flower pot outside my window so I could get in. She got used to it like I got used to her watching tv at maximum volume until 4 in the morning. At least she was pretty cool in the end.

I moved out. I found another little dream home in my favorite part of the coast. I could walk to the beach. I could have a cat or 12 if I wanted. It was close to my girlfriend Kris’s work. I had a parking space. My neighbors were cool, and everything was going to be awesome… so I thought.

Getting ready to go to the Red Fox at the Crack House

The Jennifer Lentil’s going away party

Crack House birthday Party

Crack House New Years


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Let’s talk about my friend Ty who will probably be embarrassed by this post

Ty Elam is a fucking god. There isn’t any way around that. In certain circles of the world my good friend Ty is made out of God. Like it may be a crazy talented, insane, tattooed kind of God that made  Ty for the Earth to enjoy but who cares? He’s here, he’s full of some of the best stuff on Earth. I don’t care if we mail ordered him from Russia (who wouldn’t let another good amazing crazy friend of mine in the country recently, but that’s neither here nor there) Ty rules.

He is for one an amazing nice friend. He has no problem calling some blogger who shall remain nameless’s best friend on her birthday at 3 am best friend’s time. Because that’d be weird as poop if someone asked him to do that, right? No one would ever ask him to do that… like ever……

Ty photographs incredibly well. Like it might be a gift from that weird God thing we were talking about a minute ago but holy mother of let me scan all the cool shit I took pictures of in college, Ty Elam is a gorgeous motherfucker in front of the camera. Like it’s like he KNOWS he’s doing the right things and just keeps doing them while being rad. Here are some examples of how good he is at this:

I hate this camera with the firey passion of 200000 suns

Funny story, even though this camera almost got me arrested, mugged, etc I still took all of these without a flash

A magician never reveals her tricks… or really remembers them. But I remember how I did this.

Interesting and funny anecdote, at one point in the beauitful and weird city of Bakersfield, I was for a second cool enough to bring these guys out on stage a couple of times. The most memorable being the show they did at my college. Even now I’m not sure why that particular cloud of OMG WOW BAKERSFIELD DOESN’T SUCK THAT MUCH went off at my school but I took these too:

Ty being all Rollins, because as Hank says, who’s as hard on you as you are on yourself?

Wait is that my good buddy Kris Khols and my other surprisingly good friend Mavis? Anwsers point to yes. Also these were a disposable camera

Before I ran out of film and started using the disposable like an asshole

My friend Ty here is a talented song writer and a front man I’d put up next to just about anyone. He’d slay em. I LOVE his current project (or reproject, since some of you get all weird and technical) Karmahitlist. I’ve been listening to their new demo nonstop since I got it from another band member who I also used to work with. Let’s share:


And then just because I miss Ty (and my old red Neon) and my friends from that era, here’s a few more, why not?

Why wasn’t this song a massive hit? I mean even as a programmer it blows my mind. I want to play it all of the time. I can’t of course but I want to:

The thing about this record is it never had ANYTHING to do with who was in it. It was just a good song. And would be a good song still if someone gave it to me blind box style today. This song came out in 1999. I can’t tell. Except I was THERE.

Speaking of shit that was my jam back in 1999 when anyone cared what I had to say, this song was my heart. I don’t even think I’ve ever fully explained to my friends who created such a fantastic song how much this song meant to me.

But just for old old old timesy, while I was in high school’s sake, let’s really pull out the amazing skeletons and dance and be excited because we were there:

Hey anyone remember Cradle of Thorns? They are only one of the best bands to ever come out of Bakersfield, California:

Man, Cradle’s live show used to just terrify you. Way back in 199-whatever. I want to say it was the Offspring where one of these charming men almost pulled a chandielier out of the cealing at the Casa Royale, but it could have been any show. Except for the show with the pig’s head. That headliner I would’ve remembered. Maybe.

Karmahitlist is fucking rad as fuck and I want them to do some great things. Please support them by going to their Facebook and liking them.


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So happy you could die

It’s a proven fact I cry when my friends come to visit and then leave town. Last night was no exception.

Mikee rocking balls

I’ve known Mikee and Jordan and Tom for about 100 years. Seriously I took the photos at Mikee’s wedding. Mikee and I were in a band together for about four minutes and he helped me write the one song I’ve ever written.

Catastrophist is their new band and they played at Cafe Coda last night. Some where in there I was 19 again, taking pictures and hanging out with the boys and just not 33 with all the responsibilities of a circus director. I remembered what it was like to be a “wild and crazy” teenager in Bakersfield (seriously one Corona and done, I was such a wild woman! OMG) and it was nice.

 

 


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No longer allowed to be Down With the Sickness

So most of you have read about the tragic shooting in Colorado this past week at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.  Some crazy possibly fame crazed, definitely damaged individual stormed a theater full of people just there for a good night at the movies and killed 12 people and shot like what, 70 plus people, total? And some of them were children.

A lot of people have been sitting around throwing their opinion into the ring about what happened and why, but something that’s been creeping up and out into conciousness  is that there were children at a midnight showing of a P-13 movie. And since the world at large can’t make sense of what happened in the shooters mind, they’ve gone over to condemning the parents of those children either injured or killed during this rampage.

My internet rounds in the morning include our company’s paid for show prep. I was outraged and disgusted to see comments from an artist we play crucifying these parents.

You may have heard of Disturbed. You may not know who they are but I am pretty sure you’ve heard them against your will at one point.

David Draiman, the singer of this band had this to say on twitter:

All you parents out there that think it’s OK to take your infants out on the town with you, to a movie theater or otherwise, do the world a favor. Give your children up for adoption to parents who know what it is to be a responsible parent, and sacrifice on behalf of their children. Get a damn babysitter

Followed by:

Maybe we should take infants to nightclubs and restaurants in the late hours of the night as well? Honestly, f— off. This is why only certain people should be allowed the gift of a child. Too many simply aren’t ready for the responsibility

Which is all fine and good. Have an opinion. That’s cool, that’s why we have America. But my opinion is that his opinion has terrifically shitty timing. Like stratispheroically shitty timing. Like the timing is so shitty I’m making up words about it, that kind of shitty. So I took to twitter myself today to mention what I thought.

I think I was actually pretty nice

Imagine my TOTAL surprise when less than half an hour later I got not one but FOUR replies from this guy telling me why I’m wrong.

caps lock is broken, right pal?

Hmph. Okay, where do I start without sounding like a bag of dicks?

David, Let me put it down to you like this: You’re a Libertarian or something, so you believe in free speech. So do I! It’s crazy that we have that in common already! Anyway point is you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. It doesn’t need to change whatever, I just think like you believe these people should be more responsible for their children and the precious gift of children, you should be more responsible for the gift of free speech. I took a much LARGER issue with the sheer insensitivity of your comments because of the timing. The mother of that 6 year old isn’t out of the hospital herself broseph.  The gift of free speech isn’t just being able to say whatever comes into your head, its also being responsible for what you say, who it hurts, who it affects and how it makes you look. Your “truth” doesn’t have to kick someone in the teeth that already feels like like their world is ending. Much like you’re really not supposed to yell FIRE in a movie theater (really I do need to find a better cliche in this instance and I do apologize) you really not supposed to use your free speech and opinions to terrorize people in pain… at least if you’re one of the good guys.

Sometimes Thumper’s mom is right dude, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

gosh

That being said Mr  Draiman I really liked your vocals on the Queen of the Damned soundtrack song “Forsaken.”

If we were friends (which by the sheer number of twitter messages this bro sent me, maybe we are now! Squee!) I’d just tell you there is a time and a place for judgement and a handful of days after a huge tragedy isn’t that place. Good luck man, enjoy yelling at insignificant assholes like me on twitter.

*you can follow me and my insignificant ass on twitter here *


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four

Dear Christopher-

So this morning a link and story about the Afghan Whigs rolled by on my facebook feed and you of course came to my mind. And I looked at the calendar and said “oh #@$k this month again.”  So here we are.

Four years ago you decided to leave us. You decided to go away. You decided that this life is too hard or confusing or whatever and decided to leave us all here, wondering, wishing, missing you.

So! Anyway, this morning I’m scrolling through vile Facebook and what do I see but the Afghan Whigs have gotten back together and may tour. Can you believe it? They played the Jimmy Fallon show recently and I can’t remember if Jimmy Fallon was on the air when you were here but you probably would remember him from SNL or whatever. (Surprise! Someone from SNL has a talk show,  I think my brain just melted thinking about that to be honest.) But back to the Whigs…

You’ll miss seeing them.  I’ll try my hardest to go see them for you, even though for once it was me introducing you to something when you found the Whigs, I’m sure you’d never tell anyone that though. My lovely teacher of cool,  the guy who never gave up on me, who dyed my hair sometimes after we’d broken up because I couldn’t reach the back. The guy who I could still call for pie or for seriously anything, I always could.

I’d be calling you to go meet up in San Francisco or maybe,  just maybe we’d meet  in Vegas to see the Afghan Whigs. One band I’ve never been able to see. Greg Dulli being my future ex-husband and all, there’s that restraining order. In my version of this trip it would be Vegas and the club would be a dive. You and I and our dates, we’d order ridiculous drinks, like Singapore Sling drinks at some dive bar that may or may not have been on Bourdain’s show. We’d act as though we were in a speak easy and we’d talk about Elephant Thespian (not a real band) and Cornbread the cat and I’d remember the weird piece of writing that you did about me once talking about a time I walked to your house in high school and I’d probably pretend to be mad for a minute, but I really wouldn’t be mad.

After all this nonsense we would go to see the Afghan Whigs and Greg Dulli and I would fall in love with Greg again for the 900th time and we’d smile a bunch and when it was done go to the silliest place that was open for all you could eat crab legs or pancakes or whatever we deemed most VEGAS about the experience and maybe we’d talk about the bands you were in or the stupid shit we both picked out for me to wear when we’d go shopping. Or maybe we’d talk about our jobs or our families or whatever. You would make sure we stayed out until the sun came up and then we with our respective dates would wander back to whatever shitty (on purpose) hotel we had decided to stay at and bid each other aideu until our next time together.

This is what I, at 32 years old with the knowledge that you are always and forever going to never even get to be 30 with  me, wish was in the future.

But it’s not. You’re gone.  You’re a ghost in photos I find, in things in my treasure chest, you’re a ghost on the wall in my apartment and I wish like hell that wasn’t the truth.

I try, to live my life in a sort of homage to you. You taught me a lot about music (all of  it is good, you just gotta try it) food (all of it’s good you just have to try it, seriously just eat this) and working hard, as you always did. Also always being kind to people in need and even some times people who didn’t deserve it, that for me was you.

When we first started to date you had a concussion.  I sometimes think that’s the only reason you dated me, but I know that’s not true. But there you were, this force of life that I knew and played attack basketball with on a regular basis and you were there in a hospital because you’d been hit so hard with a baseball that you had a concussion. I couldn’t visit you but you remember that Alicia and Tina did. And Alicia told you I liked you.  After that the rest was history.

Punk in drublic. Chaos Coffee. Java Jazz. The Masons building fire escape. Mars/Bam Bams. Wrapping presents for your mom’s work fund raiser or something in the mall (!) (See there now I’ve told a secret about us).  Journalism (seriously fuck that class), Toys R Us, 7-11. Lyons coffee, going to shows at Jerry’s. Watching you play. Running into you at Padre and the Mint and all the gay bars because that’s just where we liked to go. Watching you write so many wonderful things in the paper.  Being jealous of your writing, having to REDO an entire edition of the Saga because you left your editorial smarts at home that day…. I didn’t mind.

I’ll never in a million years know why you did what you did. I wouldn’t understand even if you came back and told me, because you were a star. If people didn’t love you, they hated you and that’s just a sign of jealousy. You were the party, all we had to do was come to you.

I miss you every single day. I know today isn’t the THE DAY but eff it, I’ve never been good at rules and neither were you.  I’ll light my Yahrzeit candle for you on Saturday and listen to some songs that are your songs. But if I waited until Saturday to write this it’d be way sappier.

Just know that even though I don’t understand what happened, I accept it. It happened. You chose to end your journey. I will never forget you but maybe some day I’ll forgive you. All I know is I will always miss you. I love you my friend and someday we’re doing the Vegas thing in Heaven and you can explain EVERYTHING.

All my love, always-

Stephanie

a very very long time ago

 

goofiest prom photos ever


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I believe in a power that is of and by the people. I believe in an art that cannot be compromised.

I was first introduced to Against Me! by my roommate and best friend Jen Wa the Destroyer. When we lived in the Grover Beach Crack House, Against Me! was a constant companion. Every situation in our life had an Against Me! song that went with it. It got us through some crazy shit. The poetry of Against Me! probably saved both of us from some crazies or whatever. One summer we went to Warped Tour together just to see this band and it was the best time. Because of my punk show at the time we got to go back and interview the band and it was awesome times. Fat Wreckchords hooked us up and we had a fabulous time interviewing not only the Against Me! dudes who had made us feel so sane, saying the shit we felt like, but other bands we loved and Jen and I probably got into some trouble.

I swear Jen and I didn’t empty this cooler out

A few years later Jen was in Boston and right before I flew out to see her I saw Against Me! was going to be playing in SLO when I got home. I was sad for a minute because I wanted to see them with her again but damnit if it didn’t make landing back in California without my best friend a lot easier knowing I was going to be seeing a band that understood me, I never knew why I felt like they understood me, but goddamnit they did.

It was a glorious show. The most fun I’d had in forever. Against Me! always did this to me. I just forgot everything because their music mirrored my thoughts. It kept me sane. Kept me breathing. Kept me just going “you know what fucking life, I know that somewhere in this world even though I’m too old to feel this way, there is someone out there that understands.”

The album  “New Wave,” came out and people were disappointed but I wasn’t. I liked many of the songs and repeatedly told people like when AFI’s big record came out, look they made the album they wanted to make, finally someone was going to pay for it. Someone would foot the bill for these guys to do what they wanted.

I moved to Chico right around the time “White Crosses” came out and missed another chance to see them in SLO. Tristan was nice enough to send me this:

It hangs in my bedroom now. It probably will hang in every house I have for a long time because this band saved me or at least my sanity at times when my friends and I could make ZERO sense of anything in our stupid white privileged 20 something lives.

So why the love letter?

Tom Gabel, the singer of Against Me! who is a lovely fucking human being who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with and just is an idealist and a poet and damnit, a really brave HUMAN BEING made the announcement today that he’s been living with gender dysphoria and has decided to become a woman.

I have to be honest, as open minded as I am, I was confused for a minute. I guess I always thought of Tom as the “guy” that understood me. And my friends of all genders.  He’s got a great almost Tom Waits meets modern punk voice but he was always saying things I was thinking.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that.. damn… That must have been a bitch to have to or want to hide. It must have been hard but it definitely at least in my opinion made their music better. Against Me! never seemed like it wasn’t accessible to me. It never seemed like they were unaccessible to anyone.

What I know I’m trying to say is I support Tom/Laura and his/her wife in their journey. Some people are going to be complete and total assholes to them. You know what, what the Gable family is going through is brave and completely honest, which is something alot of us can’t say for ourselves. I know there is gonna be some kind of back lash but all I have for all of them is LOVE and acceptance. It’s all Against Me! has ever expressed to me through their lyrics and their willingness to take care of me and my friends either through radio or just being at a show. I’d love to see this band continue to be honest and just be as raw and amazing as always. I don’t think which bathroom you take a piss in decides how hard or why you rock my friends. You have my support no matter what and I love you and applaud your bravery.

Now back to me being a selfish bitch, here are my FAVORITE Against Me! songs of all time.

Tom/Laura… whatever/whoever you want to be, just know that you’re loved. I support you and your family and I hope all of your fans and friends continue to do so too.

Good luck little voice in my head.