One of the characteristics of my massive childhood neuroticism was an inflated fear of the supernatural, especially the idea of ghosts, poltergeists, any hauntings in general. I think being raised in a religious household contributed to my being able to suspend disbelief in such a manner. I actually have a profound story to tell in that regard, but that's for another day.
The Fine Young Cannibals song "She Drives Me Crazy" has a line where this dude says "People say that I'm obsessed." When I was 10 years old, I heard "People say that I'm possessed." As in, he's demonically possessed. It made perfect sense to me. I mean, look at him. 😈
I had a dream last night that I was out in a field near a rustic old house, and there was a MAGA hat on its roof. I enlisted the help of some guy with a broom to help me get it down so I could make sure whomever it belonged to wouldn't get it back. When we eventually got it down, it was filthy and covered with ants.
Across the field near a cliff facing an ocean was a pile of MAGA hats on a table. I somehow knew these hats were there as part of a promotional effort. I took the hats and threw them off the cliff and onto a large brush below. I then lit the ant-covered hat from the roof on fire and threw it down onto the brush. The brush burst into flames and a large fire engulfed the hats.
News traveled fast and wide about the MAGA hat bonfire that raged on and on. Donald Trump went on TV and said "Obviously, this was an act committed by blah blah etc." The fire eventually caused a part of the cliff to break off into the ocean, which caused the water to retreat. Thousands of people danced freely where the water once had been. The water eventually came roaring back, but everyone got away from the ocean floor safely and in time.
I then went to a restaurant with Mary Alice and was talking about what I had done. She suggested I not spread that info too far around out of fear of getting caught. "That was you?," a lady at the next table remarked with a smile.
My mom bought me this alarm clock in 1987 to encourage me to try and get up for school on my own. It's seen me through thousands of mornings. That penguin sticker was added by me in 1994. If you look closely to the bottom of the radio dial, there's a tiny blotch that my dad made with white-out so I knew where the put the dial to sports radio, WWWE AM 1100 (now known as WTAM). I would often be scared at night, so I would tune it to WWWE and listen to the quiet murmurs of sports DJs, or maybe the Indians playing a west coast game, while I fell asleep. I listened to the Top 40 station Power 108 in secret (religious upbringing, etc), and then when I would forget to change the channel, I would claim to my mom that it was the daytime programming for one of the sports channels.
This alarm clock freaked me the fuck out once, too. It was the middle of the night, and the radio came on for no reason. I woke up to country music blaring (not sure why it was set to that station), and I could only presume it was a haunting of some sort. (Side note: I told the therapist I was seeing in middle school about this. She wasn't very helpful when it came to reassuring me. She asked me if I had some sort of connection to country music, i.e., that it made sense somehow in the supernatural realm. What an asshole. But I digress).
The clock has two alarm settings there on the right. The bottom one stopped working several years ago, but the top one has kept going. The top one was distinct because the alarm was loud as fuck. No bells and whistles on this alarm to ease you awake, just a loud blast of an offensive ring that could be heard from miles away. When I moved to Hawaii in 1997, the clock came along with me. Once I had to get up at an absurd hour in the morning, and I kept sleeping through the alarm going off for I don't know how long. Eventually, a neighbor in the apartment complex came from several units away, and up a stairway to tell me to turn the fuckin' thing off.
It followed me to Columbus, and then here to DC. I feel like Mary Alice has always had one suspicious eye on it, wondering when it was going to kick off. But on it went, throughout the years, perfect serviceable. That is, until a few days ago. I noticed the buttons becoming non-functional, and the time being way off. I took the time to sit and observe it today, and my fears were confirmed. The numbers there are flashing in and out, and it seems to be changing minutes every 20-30 seconds. It's finally time to say goodbye to the old fella.
I'm not as sentimental about possessions as I used to be, but this one hurts a little. I've had this clock for 30 years by my bedside. Godspeed, lil' trooper.
In my first year of Little League, there was this weird boy named Danny on my team who always got yelled at for swearing by our coach. One day he was sitting next to me on the bench, and for no reason whatsoever he just went "Mmmmmbitch," and my friend told on him, and that was the last straw.
I opened a letter from my mom this morning, which revealed to my surprise that she and my dad had stumbled upon this website a couple of years ago. I've always kept my band and my blog private from my immediate and extended family, as I figured it'd be easier to do so. I found the letter to be mostly understanding, and for the most part lacking the judgment I had been afraid of all this time.
I was afraid to tell my mom that while I consider myself to be gentle and kind-hearted, that I also have a rascally and sometimes vulgar sense of humor. It's just who I am. Growing up, I heard many a harsh judgment against people who engaged in such things. It was one of those things that made me keep different parts of my personality to myself. Despite what media teaches us, I was one of those rebellious teens who never wanted to hurt their parents, but just wanted freedom and room to breathe.
I can pinpoint the initial communication breakdown between me and my parents beginning around 3rd grade. I began to have severe anxiety attacks, and nobody knew why.
This frustrated my mom, and she understandably didn't know how to respond when I told her simply, "I'm sick." In 5th grade, my grades began to slip, and depression began to set in. I
found it more difficult to stay motivated, as I really couldn't find a good reason to do well. I was possibly the smallest kid in a school full of giants, and was an easy target for
bullies. I was more concerned with survival. This was very difficult for my mom, as she had never been to college herself, and had high hopes for me that were seemingly being
dashed by my poor scholastic performance. The problem was that college was far off in the distance, and I needed more immediate compassion and understanding in the moment. But my mom
also was struggling with anxiety and depression, and so it was probably hard for her to see much further past her own struggles. I remember a time when my mom was cooking, and she was
scolding me about my poor grades. She turned to face me, and her mood began to elevate from lecturing words into hysterical screaming and crying. I was so upset and afraid, as I
had never seen her act like that. I just sat on the couch crying, and I felt so alone.
If you're wondering where my dad is during all of this, he's much like my sister, in that they keep their emotions to themselves, and to try to keep things settled. During situations like these, his instincts are more to calm and diffuse a situation, rather than explore the root of it. It made for a calmer household at times, but also lead to emotions being buried. It's not really how my mom and I operate.
It wasn't until 6th grade when my parents took me to the "Institution for Motivational Development" that the puzzle began to take shape. There was something a little off about me, and it wasn't just about bad grades. When you're that young, your parents are required to have sessions with your therapist as well, and it was quickly discovered that this situation wasn't one-sided. My parents needed a helping hand too, and my mom needed a name for her condition. I was embarrassed about having make weekly visits to a place like this, and I simply referred to it as "The Place" to a select group of friends.
Ironically, after visiting IMD, my mom began to pull it together, while I began to slide further down. For one, my therapist made me afraid and ashamed to share things with her, I often felt harshly judged to some degree. By my 9th grade year, this particular therapist had moved on from that location, and so the visits stopped. In the end, my mom and I both agreed that she was kind of a weirdo, and that she hadn't helped me all that much in the end.
Around that time, I was misdiagnosed with ADD at a new location - Attention Deficit Disorder was all the rage in the media, and so I was placed first on Ritalin, and then later Adderall. I unnecessarily took this version of legalized speed for several years until I realized I didn't need it, and it was only making me more anxious. When I was 16, I got prescribed what I needed, which was Zoloft, and SSRI/Anti-Depressant that vastly improved my mood. Most of all, I didn't feel so restless and angry all the time. While it didn't improve my school performance, it made me feel more comfortable in my own skin. I didn't cry all the time anymore, I felt a sense of numbing peace. I realized that music was my passion, specifically punk rock. It wasn't all productive though, as I still harbored a lot of anger and resentment that had built up over the years. I made some poor decisions, and got into some trouble. In retrospect, I wish I could have poured all that energy into creative endeavors, but that's not what teenagers do. They're sometimes narcissistic, and aim to try to impress people who didn't need impressing to begin with. It's ironic, because while I was hanging out with the other outsiders/rejects/punks at Solon Dunkin' Donuts, they were basically good kids. They were the people whose friendship I valued most around that time, and I didn't need to impress them like I thought I did, they liked me for who I was, a rascally and sometimes vulgar silly-heart. Despite what my parents might have thought my motivations were around that time, I had great ambition, I just wasn't entirely sure of how to right the ship. I was getting good at playing guitar, and was starting to write songs in my bedroom.
In early 1995, I dropped out of high school, with plans to try and get diploma in a different setting, likely by taking night classes. I was working at the Burger King in Solon, and I had recently gotten my driver's license. I wasn't staying out of trouble entirely - in fact, I may have been getting more careless in that way. It hurts to think about the times when I got in trouble with the police, because I remember my parents pained expressions through it all. I was just yearning to breathe free, and I never wanted to cause any pain for anyone I loved. Then the accident happened.
On April 1st, 1995, I drove my mother's station wagon head-on into an oncoming SUV on a winding back road within a mile of our house. I don't remember what happened, and probably never will. I was by myself, and was crushed inside, pressed up against a hill. From what I understand, a jogger told someone in a nearby house to call 911, and then disappeared. I've always wondered if this was someone who I swerved to miss, which caused me to end up in the wrong lane, and so they got out of there before the police could arrive. It's just a theory - I was a young, inexperienced driver, and I often found myself making careless mistakes, probably due in part to the medication I was taking. The driver of the SUV was largely protected by his vehicle. He was a man in his 60's, who I believe was just in the hospital overnight. If I recall, he also dd not remember what happened, but the accident on paper was my fault. That's caused me problems over the years, as I've often called myself "stupid," "careless," or "zoned out" for causing the accident. The truth may lie anywhere in between. The bottom line being that after all these years, especially since I got the worst of it, it really doesn't matter.
I was in at MetroHealth hospital in Cleveland for three months. April 1st - June 30th, 1995. At the time it seemed like an eternity, but in retrospect, it was just a blink of an eye considering the gravity of the injuries I'd suffered. On a different, totally random day, I could've easily died on that road. I just happened to be young enough, and they just happened to get to me in time. I'd of missed everything I know now. My family would have had to go on without me. I'd of never fallen in love and spent all these wonderful years with my wife and best friend. I never would have had my own band with her, and written songs that have made others laugh and feel happy. Things would have been left unfinished and incomplete, and my parents would have always wondered what I would've become, and maybe what they could have done differently during my short time. These are the type of thoughts and emotions that I've held, an existential crisis waiting in the wings, that has been always bubbling beneath the surface. But I chose not to face most of it, until I was forced to in 2012.
In some ways, I don't think my mind has ever fully grasped how terrified I probably felt the moment before impact. I theorize that it largely contributes to my exaggerated startle-reflex, a condition of PTSD. I've only been recently diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder - I don't want to get into all of it, you can read about it here. (I also have self-diagnosed myself as specifically having Complex PTSD). I also won't get into the personal details of being forced into having to face all of my past issues at once, or the triggers that caused it, let's just say it was akin to the scene in Ghostbusters where the evil EPA guy (haha) bullies them into flipping the ghost-trap switch, and all the spirits explode at once into the city. Or the the part in Pink Floyd's "The Wall," where it's eerily quiet, and suddenly the wall explodes in fury. And I often pictured myself as the man in the Mars Volta video "The Widow," where he turns to reveal a black substance streaming from his eyes. Let's just say it was bad, and much like my accident, something that would be very difficult to live through again.
It's October 2017, and I've been feeling better than I have in a long time. I was certainly stunned when I opened the letter from my mom this morning. Like I said, I've always been protective of parts of me, lest I be judged. But my mom has come a long way since I was young. I've chosen to face things head on here, rather than run scared and hide, because she is a thoughtful and understanding person, who apparently enjoys my writing very much. She considers herself an Evangelical Christian, and yet she has stood strong in the face of the hypocrisy of the right-wing support of Bush Jr. and (especially) Trump, and I'm very proud of her for that. I'm proud of her for a lot of things, and she is one of the most resilient people I know. Despite our difficulties at times over the years, I feel we have a better understanding between us than we've had in a while. I love you Ma, and I love Dad, and I love Pam, and I'm glad I could be here for all of this.
P.S. Sorry to be vulgar sometimes, I'm just a rascal, and that's always been the case.
So here's the second of the two films we produced to accompany "Cancelled." Aaaaand the director's notes: It's important to note that the show "Cop Force" itself wasn't responsible for "Police Department's" cancellation. That's part of the joke of the cop drama. The Cancelled guy just *blames* "Cop Force" for "Police Department's" demise. I don't recall an instance in TV history where one cop show was cancelled because another one did better. That's part of the point of "Cancelled"--the misplaced anger.
Cop Force was meant to be really "now," which is a hard thing to capture since again, none of us really watch cop dramas on the regular. So Derek was smart enough to do some research after I threw out "I dunno, like CSI and stuff" and he watched a few episodes of "Person of Interest" and encouraged me to do the same. "Person of Interest" was a good one because their whole thing is technology and they use a lot of transparent computer screens or something just to do math. It's over-the-top and everything, but I was able to get through two episodes of it without wanting to die or go to sleep so I guess that makes it an above-average cop drama as far as I'm concerned.
Initially, we had planned to cast Paul Tsiaperas and Mason Shelby in the lead roles as the two asshole cops. We were aware that they didn't look alike, but thought there might be humor in hiring best friends show don't look alike to play twin brothers. We were probably wrong, but didn't have a chance to test that theory because when I made a general casting call on Facebook to try and find people to play parts in the larger "Cop Force" cast, Javier Diaz was one of the first to volunteer. So I told him the plot and he was like "wait, you want twins?" I'd forgotten up until that point that he was an actual twin. So Javi contacted Nestor Diaz and convinced him to work with us. I'm so grateful for this because not only did they look great, but my affection for their mannerisms and line delivery is so special. Pete and I are known to throw out portions of their dialog at home (AND STOP THAT JACKED UP MACHINE). They truly are Terry and Barry and we even got some feedback from showing the films on the road that they were right for the parts because they were so hot and sexy. :)
Unlike "Police Department," the casting of which was easy because we were able to get a lot of close friends to do it (close friends for whom it is much easier to get to commit two full weekend days to shoot), "Cop Force" was cast mostly with people we just recently met or in some cases, hadn't met at all. Akosua Johnson played the nurse and actually filled in at the last minute (well, I think they agreed to do it two weeks before we started filming). The nurse's role is a big one because they have a lot of dialog and kind of ties the whole plot together. It's also a role that requires a 3rod or 4th layer of irony that's not so easy to pull off, but Akosua was perfect and looked FANTASTIC on screen. They even brought their own wig!
Winston Psmith showed interest when I made the general casting call and I was thrilled he did because the word "CHIEF" popped immediately into my head and I've actually gotten more feedback on his great performance than anyone else's. I'm also really proud of his costume. He provided the shirt and pants, but I thought he really needed a pair of red suspenders, too. I loved everything about his performance.
Fun fact here. We intentionally did a lot of product placement in "Cop Force" and there was supposed to be more but we couldn't get an angle in the office we were using as Chief Winston's to make the THREE Apple monitors on the desk visible. Part of the gag was supposed to be that although he had three Apple monitors on the desk, he pulled out a Mac laptop for a 4th view of the logo. Oh well.
Winston recommended to me that I approach Kris Ruff (Shortstaxx) for a part in this film and again, my immediate thought was that she play Gabby. Kris has a ton of performancy clothes from her work in burlesque, as a performance artist, for a number of other creative endeavors. On the morning of shooting she tried on a few things for me to the point where I was just like "I don't know! They all look great!" Kris was amazing overall. Great combination of energetic and super professional.
The very last scene we filmed was actually the first one we storyboarded, which featured Eric Randall and Alana McGinty as the "teenage" couple. These two are hard to track down because they go on so many amazing vacations together, but were also delightful as the teenage couple from the cold open. I think it's safe to say that that scene co-starred Eric's hat. WHAT'S THAT LIGHT. It was filmed in a little park near our place in North Cleveland park near a lot of the embassies in that area. Pete and I have enjoyed taking walks there together and it meant a lot to me to film part of the show in such a nice place (despite the mosquitos the night we filmed).
When I first got the script, penned also by Derek Stewart, I said to myself "What the fuck, Derek? What do you think, we have unlimited resources and money?" He had explosions, blood, guts, exotic dancers, a bar scene, robots, and giant computer screens. We were able to pull everything off but the blood and guts, so huge ups to Derek again, for pushing us to make something more complicated than my instincts would have told me to do. And also for creating the Terry and Barry characters and for writing the line "I hate this stupid job." I did a lot of rewriting of "Police Department," but "Cop Force" was able to go practically right out of the box.
That said, it wasn't easy. We had a really hard time finding a bar in which to shoot the "break room" scene, which featured dancers Emily Crovellaand Dana Tannin, again, experienced members of the burlesque community. Thankfully, Akosua also had connections at The Looking Glass Lounge in Petworth, and the bar agreed to let us shoot, which we did on a Sunday shortly after it opened in the late afternoon (everyone in the background of that scene were actual patrons and bartenders). It was super stressful but I think it ended up looking great.
A lot of those interior shots, including Gabby's flashback scene, the hospital waiting room scene, and the chief's office scene were filmed at Mason's work on the Mount Vernon campus. I have NO idea what we would have done without his connections and know-how. He again also coordinated the amazing camera work of Eric Randall and did all the editing himself. There were a ton of times when we question Mason's motivation for putting so much work in and he would just tell us "I don't want it to suck." Thanks for not letting it suck. <3
"Cop Force" was literally the first film I ever worked on. The days were long and we were all kind of angry, but in retrospect it was SO fun and so awesome and I'll never forget those days. Especially the day we did the outdoor scenes, were all ready to film the scene where Paul Tsiaperas's nameless "hipster" character gets thrown out of a bar when a band started practicing upstairs from the bar and we couldn't hear ourselves over the bad jam-band stylings of whomever-they-were. So we relocated from Adams Morgan to Petworth. It was the right move. In any case, I have a deep appreciation for everyone who worked on "Cop Force" and remind you again not to be mad at it because "Police Department" was cancelled.
Here's the first of two short films we produced to accompany our "Cancelled" album. It was a lot of hard work but producing and directing both of them was also one of the funnest and most rewarding things I've ever done. We're planning to do another film or two for our next album and I'm really looking forward to it.
Here's the director's commentary for anyone who wants it.
This is the movie that depicts the show that the Cancelled Guy fell in love with and stars Francesca Valente and Frank J. Gómez as two squeaky-clean, Andy Taylor/Barney Fife-style cops in love. We wanted a real-life couple and their chemistry is natural, which I think also adds to the cute-as-hell performance. They also look fucking adorable in their little cop uniforms, which I cobbled together from various sources on the internet (with Fran's help, who sewed my cheap-o badge patches on to the arms of the blue uni shirts). There was no real template for this show or these characters but we drew inspiration from the aforementioned Andy Griffith Show and visual cues from Who's the Boss to make it an uniquely EGesque cop drama.
It also stars Paul Tsiaperas as the bumbling, 3rd wheely Officer (Paul) Denny, who is kind of supposed to call back to the Cancelled Guy himself a little bit because he was written intentionally kind of out of step with the world, stuck in the 90s to the extent that his therapist is Frasier Crane. I don't know why I named him Denny except that Paul does a great impression of the Denny character from the Room and the Police Department Denny is just as whiny as the Room's Denny so it fit in my mind. The voice of Dr. Crane, Denny's therapist and the corpse was played magically by Johnny Fantastic, who endured a 100+ degree day, spending most of the opening scene under the sheet, pulling double duty.
Sadie, of course, is plays the representation of the Troubled Youth trope from cop dramas and is played magnificently by Renée Regan. Renéehad said that she'd never acted before but her performance art demonstrated a near-identical skill set, plus I thought she very much looked the part and it was a really great decision, as it turned out. She killed it. <3 She also put together her own costume, which I thought was just perfect.
A lot of people have asked us why we decided on cop dramas. There are a couple of reasons for this that are entirely apolitical because in our minds, this was about TV and not about police officers. For me personally, the cop/crime drama is something I never really enjoyed or even sat through an entire episode of (excluding "Cop Rock" and "Night Court"), but I thought a cop drama would be ideal for this project because of their ubiquity and the lowness of the cultural significance. I think of cop dramas as being "dad shows," my dad, who watches cop dramas without specific interest or emotional investment. I guess to me cop dramas are shows to fall asleep to, so I thought the idea of the Cancelled Guy losing his mind because of the loss of any cop drama was funny and would downplay the significance of the show itself because that's not really what "Cancelled" is about.
The script was written by Derek Stewart, who was as unfamiliar with the genre as I was to start with but took it on anyway (despite a gazillion other commitments more profitable financially and experience-wise) and he did an amazing job. He also leant a ton of invaluable advice to our woefully inexperienced production team.
(I will have to take writing credit for "it's like baseball," though, because that's my favorite thing ever and I'm really proud of that)
HUGE shout out to my partner in production and direction, Mason Shelby for all of his work on this. He edited it all single-handedly, which I think was actually more work than any other single job. He taught me how to story-board and also taught me how to critically look at a shot and do more creative striking because that's not really my strength. He also coordinated the camera work of Ethan Guralnick, who walked down a very steep hill into a ravine in order to get that shot of Tanner and Miller on the bridge. It ended up beautiful.
I want to tell you guys about at least a dozen other easter eggs sprinkled throughout this and its sister show "Cop Force" but this is long enough as it is and I should spell everything out for you either.
I reiterate, though, this was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again.
When I was a kid and would hear "Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer on the radio, the line where he says "She's so fine, there's no telling where the money went," I would think "She's so fine, there's no telling where Mahoney went," as in Mahoney from Police Academy, because he disappeared after the 4th movie.
5th and 9th grade were both difficult years for me. I was entering middle school and high school respectively, and I was the smallest person the kids in higher grades had ever seen. A lot of times you hear stories of people going from school to school, going from oldest to youngest, and lamenting the fact that they were "no longer cool." That wasn't even the case for me. Being an older kid in 4th and 8th grade just made things more manageable. It went from "below average" to "hell on Earth."
5th grade was tough, but 9th grade fucking sucked, because all the raging hormones were now circulating throughout the boys. Older guys who I previously knew as "Okay" were now vicious monsters. On my first day, this boy who I used to sit next to and talk with on the bus shoved me and called me a faggot as he charged like a bull through the cafeteria. I was already emotionally exhausted by my middle school years, and now it was becoming plainly obvious that I had leapt out of the frying pan into the fire. Meanwhile, my parents were wondering why I just couldn't perform better in school, because I was such a smart boy.
One 9th grade afternoon while waiting in the foyer for the school bus, this older boy (oh, let's call him "Gertrude,") squeezed my neck in a faux-massage, but did it with such force as to obviously hurt me, and I swung back with my hand and hit his face. He then grabbed my neck and drove me to the ground, and slammed my head into the wall. Moments later, he seemed to calm down and he apologized, much to my bewilderment. After getting on the bus, a helpful friend remarked that my neck had two huge red marks on it.
Later that year in the lunchroom, a boy I knew asked me to get him a plate of pickle slices to eat while I was up walking around. As I gathered up and plated a big pile of pickles, a lunchroom attendant remarked to me, "Those pickles better not end up on the floor." I then dropped the plate in front of the boy, and some of the pickle juice splashed up and hit Gertrude, who was sitting next to him, in the face. Gertrude then stood up and grabbed the plate, told me "come here for a second," approached me and then proceeded to dump the pickles over my head in front of the entire lunchroom. The attendant witnessed it all and ordered him to pick up the pickles, and Gertrude readily complied, as if it was most certainly worth the effort.
So who were my friends? Shitty 9th grade boys. They weren't going to jump to my defense. They were going to smirk and make jokes later. I remember one of them immediately suggesting they nickname me "pickle juice." The other helpful friend from the bus noted to me that it would have been much worse, had I not partially blocked the plate of pickles in self-defense.
After lunch, I went upstairs and saw Gertrude getting a half-lecture from a bewildered contemporary. "He just dumped pickles on a kid half his size!" he remarked to someone nearby, as Gertrude proceeded to (inaudibly to me) defend himself. I realize in retrospect that Gertrude was a total loser, and dumping pickles on a little kid's head is something that any girls watching probably wouldn't dig. I did my best to avoid Gertrude from then on, but he was just one example of the type of person I would endure throughout my freshman year. By my sophomore year I started to grow, so then I grew my hair, and became a Kurt Cobain clone. I failed my sophomore year, and dropped out of school at 17. These things happen.
I suppose in Trump's America, I'd be equally to blame for Picklegate, what with the splashing pickle juice and all. That makes me sad for the kids. Hope you parents look out for them. They must have it really fucking tough nowadays. And Christ, we didn't have guns back then. Lucky for Gertrude.
Many years ago, a mime ridiculed me at Sea World. In front of a large audience for the sea lion show, he followed closely behind me while I was walking to my seat, and did a "I'm a sourpuss teenager" impression.
You always have ideas for how you'd react when a mime makes fun of you, but when it actually happens, you freeze up. I hate that son of a bitch.
It was the Summer of 1994, and I was working as a dishwasher at Mama Rosa's restaurant at Sea World. I had gotten to know my co-workers pretty well, and had even gotten high for the first time with my supervisor's younger brother. I had also gotten drunk for the first time at a party thrown by one of my co-workers, and that was not counting the time I got buzzed in the back of the dishwashing area on the beers I stole from the restaurant fridge. My hair was dyed a purplish-red, and I was picking up where the recently deceased Kurt Cobain had left off fashion-wise. I was finally getting the taste of freedom away from my oppressive home-life, and my family was fighting it tooth and nail.
One night my parents were going to be out of town, and my co-workers had wanted to gather someplace to play basketball at night. My parents had predictably said "no" for whatever reason; I don't recall whether I had already been in trouble with the police yet that Summer, but my trust with them was beginning to wear thin. My older sister, who I do love, was a total NARC back then, so I couldn't sway her favor either. Out of frustration, I decided to go walk around the neighborhood and smoke cigarettes after my sister was asleep.
I had ventured from my house in Aurora over to the nearby city of Twinsburg. I was walking and smoking with a soured expression on my face, when I heard a girl's voice call out "Hey kid!," or something to that effect. I walked over to an open garage, and it was this girl I knew from Twinsburg named Becky, along with this hippie girl who I had never met. "Oh hey, it's Pete," Becky said as I entered into the garage light. Becky was this blonde cutie with a nose-ring who I had met through this girl from their neighborhood named Desiree, whom I fancied.
The first time I met Desiree was at the marina down my street that essentially acted as the dividing line between Aurora and Twinsburg. She was with her friends in the back of a pickup truck drinking beers. I was with my friend Kenny when we met, and they gave us beers which we both delicately sipped. The neighborhood kids from Twinsburg seemed to grow up a little faster than us. They were more urbane, and the boys were generally larger than guys like myself and Kenny were. I got to know Desiree a little bit from there, we would occasionally see each other at the marina. I would talk to her on the phone, and hang out in her backyard. Despite my cool facade, I was still and awkward kid, and so I'm not really sure how she saw me.
One day we were hanging out in a group at the marina, and this guy from my school named Doug was there. I was no match for Doug. He was a tough guy, and had recently transitioned from a metalhead to a Jim Morrison wannabe. He was much bigger and a year older, probably better looking than me at the time, and had all the confidence I lacked. If we had been on the beach at the marina, he'd of kicked sand in my face. He was sitting on a bench with Desiree, grabbing at her fingers and laughing. And then he started kissing her. I was crushed. I casually asked her later if she liked him, and she said "I don't know." I think I might have kept trying for a little while thereafter, but resigned myself eventually.
Back in the garage, the ladies and I were hanging out and having a nice time chatting. They complained how they were "Jonesing" for drugs, a word a figured out using context clues to mean "craving." The hippie gal (whose name has long escaped me) spoke in a wistful manner about wanting to do "line after line" of cocaine, and they were both digging around Becky's purse trying to find specks of marijuana that might be floating around at the bottom of the bag. They eventually founds some tiny little bits, and Becky put them in a bowl and took a lame hit that produced a tiny amount of smoke. The hippie gal was playfully incensed.
At about 1:30 AM, they asked me if I wanted to go to the Dunkin' Donuts in Solon with them. I knew if my sister woke up and found me missing it'd be my ass, but I decided I ultimately didn't care, and so I hopped in a car and took off with them. On the way to Dunkin' we listened to Green Day, and I was instantly smitten. "Dookie" had come out a few months before, but I was only familiar with the singles at that point. I had taped "Longview" off the radio, and listened to it incessantly. I remember hearing the song "Pulling Teeth," and I thought it was the best thing I'd ever heard.
I had been to Dunkin' Donuts before with some of my friends from Aurora, but I wasn't quite the regular there that I'd eventually become. They ordered coffees, and encouraged me to do the same. I was hesitant, but they told me to load it with cream and sugar, and it totally worked for me. We hung out and talked until about 5 AM, and then they drove me back to my house. They wished me luck with not getting in trouble, and I think the hippie gal called me "sweetie." I snuck back to the house, successfully undetected.
Later on when I saw Desiree, I told her about hanging out with Becky and the hippie girl. "Yeah, they were both really 'Jonesing'," I said, brimming with confidence.
Religion should be taught to children at a young age, because there's nothing more beneficial to a person than telling them "You're going to live forever" during the early stages of their cognitive development.
Lost in my main choice of Late-70’s NYC as my number one choice for “Music/Art/Cultural time and place where I’d most want to live and I’m probably not thinking this whole thing through” fantasy, is Los Angeles, 1980. But I want to see it through X’s eyes, before Darby died, and before the punk rock gangs and beach skinheads invaded the scene. I want to hang out with my wife in X’s apartment, writing, playing with their toys, smoking and drinking cheap liquor.
Man, that’s a small window of time.
Jesus, why hasn't anyone in DC opened a hardcore punk-themed vegan restaurant called "The Straight Vege?" I swear, I'm the only one with any goddamn sense around here.
I had a dream last night that I was standing in front of large crowd, verbally addressing them on a number of things, while holding my wife's hand. I only remember the last thing I told them, which was "And from this day forward, whenever someone asks me 'What time is it?,' I will as often as possible reply with 'Time to get a watch.'" We then both walked away hand in hand, as the crowd erupted in a voracious applause.
I think it's going to be a good day.
The upcoming Electric Grandmother album "Cancelled" will be 17 tracks, clocking in at just under 43 minutes, set for a September release. We scoured the globe looking for someone with all the goods, the guts, and the technology to master the album, and we found it in Benjamin Schurr, so blast all your invisible thoughts and prayers to him as he undertakes this mission, over and out for now, panda 🐼
While we all know that TV preachers are con-artists, I thought there were different levels of con-artistry. For example, I always thought someone like Pat Robertson at least believed his own bullshit. But when flipping through the channels the other day, I saw him saying that we must "pray for God to intervene and save Trump from all of this," so now I presume that after work he goes home and has sex with any number of things.
This movie takes place in the 50's, before there were the type of restaurants you'd go to. There was a man who knew about a great restaurant, where two brothers were making food in a way that he'd never know. He decided that he didn't want to sell metal shake parts anymore, and so he moved and became The Hamburger Man.
The brothers didn't like him, because he was making too much money, and they wanted him to leave. He decided that he was going to do it anyway, and so he opened a lot of restaurants. Then they got mad, because he wanted to do different milkshakes. He met the woman that told him to do it, and they got married. She was married to someone else.
In conclusion, the brothers eventually got money from The Hamburger Man, because he knew he had to do it. They were mad at him, because he took their name and made his, and then he didn't care. There were a lot of things that he did different that they didn't like.
In conclusion, The Hamburger Man made a lot of money that was never his, and then told them they couldn't have any more money, and the man almost died. The man came to see him with flowers, but then they were mad, because they didn't like it. The end of the movie said that he was rich.
On this day, which is our one year new album conceptionaversary, we'd are pleased to announce the impending arrival of The Electric Grandmother's "Cancelled," the harrowing story of man who descends into madness following the cancellation of his favorite cop-drama series. We conceived the idea on the way home from what we deemed a sub-standard performance by us in Philadelphia, deciding that we both needed some new direction and inspiration. It's one of those things where you usually wake up the next morning and say, "We're not going to REALLY going to do that, it's stupid," but we instead said "We're really going to do this BECAUSE it's stupid."
So here we are, one year later, and our monstrous creation is coming to fruition. We're filming some accompanying short films to coincide with the release, I'll let Donna Jo decide when she wants to explain all that. It's a bit of a 90-degree turn for us, both in theme and soon with performance, and we're both really excited about it. We hope you'll dig it, and if you don't, you can go to hell fuck.
One slight change of plans - we were originally going to unveil this for Columbus on August 5th at the Tree Bar as part of Weird Paul Appreciation Night, but we've ditched that idea, as we need more time to finish, and besides, it's Weird Paul Petroskey's night. Us and Catscan! are still planning to come up and do some WP covers at that gig, but the official Columbus album release show will be on Saturday, September 23rd at the Big Room Bar, with Catscan! and others TBA. And we made a point to:
a) Not schedule the same weekend as Riot Fest/Jawbreaker
b) Not schedule during what would potentially be a night game for OSU
So we don't want to hear your shit. More dates and cities TBA, love me and DJ, and all of us at Electric Grandmother International Corporation.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of watching the Muppet Show while putting tape on my eyes.
My first thought after waking up from my dream this morning: "It's too bad that when Godzilla suplexed King Kong onto the pile of explosives, it only blew up the front of the White House lawn."