Staring at the Sun.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

It’s so clear to few, yet enigmatic to so many.

The plethora of frustrated males

trudging blindly through life,

knowing only what they have been taught

by their parents, by their schools

by movies, by television.

The ones they are so enchanted by,

the ones they fear to speak to

face to face,

are just as lost .

They do a dance of mockery and supplication.

Both obsessed with false idol worship.

One side fully aware of their perturbation,

the other side  in full denial,

for it won’t catch up to them until it’s too late.

If you listen closely,

you can hear it in the songs they love,

that are eaten up, like so much fast food.

Deep down, them gals just want a strong lover

who will take them,

protect them,

lead them.

But what those dudes don’t see,

is exactly that.

Because, all their lives they’ve been told

to set their visceral desires

on the shelf, like an old toy forgotten.

To keep their mouths shut.

The problem being, their eyes are shut

and their brain is offline,

blind to the future.

See the blame can be placed so easily.

I don’t shirk my path, it is the one I have walked.

But the difference is,

instead of continuing,

staring at the sun,

the few that can see,

have opened both their eyes, ears,

and hopefully their hearts.

What some people on this side of the spectrum

are screaming,

like an 80’s hardcore prophet,

HR of Bad Brains,

Keith Morris and Henry Rollins of Black Flag,

Kevin of 7-Seconds,

is

“GET OFF YOUR FUCKING ASS AND LIVE YOUR FUCKING LIFE BEFORE YOUR LIFE LIVES ITSELF.*”

All the rest is noise.

This poem was inspired by many things, including this little tidbit, written in 2002.

From a long time ago

From a long time ago

Not a Resolution Post

It’s that time of year, you know, the one where stores get stormed to buy gifts for ungrateful children.  It’s the time to let your hair down, eat and drink a little extra in the name of holiday cheer.  It’s time to reflect on the past year, and it’s ups and downs, rights wrongs, wins and losses, success and failures.  It’s time to make that list of resolutions that will last until mid January, until falling off the end of the Earth.

I’ve never been one to make a list of new year resolutions.  In my world, goals are set at any place and time, as relying on a time of year to bring inspiration denies the spontaneity of inspiration.  As far as reflection, sure, I’ll take a minute to look back at the events of the year and cherish them for a minute.  However, I’m an introspective man so revisiting that stuff is not an extensive process.  Be that as it may, over the entirety of 2013, there was one major theme that keeps rearing it’s head:  self acceptance.

From the beginning, I’ve always been pushed to be a certain way.  Of course, I don’t take kindly to that sort of thing, but it becomes an epidemic when seeking validation of oneself from external sources.  That sort of thing, I believe stems from being the identified patient in a family that cares as best they can.  See, I was always the ‘crazy’ one, stuck in therapy starting in the seventh grade, and continuing late into my teens.  It didn’t help.  I wasn’t honest with the therapists nor myself.  The reason behind that?  I was unable to accept myself during that time.  See, self acceptance isn’t being apathetic to ones place in life and just accepting it.  It’s more about being able accept oneself for all ones faults, talents, dislikes and desires, and keep ones eye on the prize.

One example I can provide from this year is the entire debacle with my former employer.  It was blatantly obvious I was unhappy and stagnate.  I wanted to learn more, and made efforts in my spare time to do so, but opportunities for advancement were given to other people instead of me.  The reasons behind this were, more than likely, personal, as I think my former friend / supervisor / bandmate, didn’t want to be seen as playing favorites.  Instead of accepting the way I felt and the reasons behind it, I decided to get angry and vindictive.  I shut down, stopped talking to him, and others.  I was bummed the fuck out, but channeled that to anger directed both externally and internally.  Then I was terminated and during the period prior to my unemployment being approved, I was really fucking down on myself.  Instead, I faked it, but for a cat like me, so adept at self destruction, that combination is a dangerous one.  Had I focused on self acceptance, acknowledging my depression and tendencies, I think that those 2.5 months would have been a lot more productive.

However, I’m not going to kick my own ass about that because it’s clear to me that I need to accept my actions during that period and move on.  A little while back,  Ace tweeted a link to a cracked article about three types of regret that can destroy you.  He pointed at #2 “Regret for what you didn’t do.”  It seems that “regret for what you did” and “regret for what you didn’t do” run parallel to each other, as one beget’s the other in many instances.  Regret is fine when used a tool to move forward.  I even mentioned it in this comment a while ago.  That said, without self acceptance, it can turn into a weapon of mass self destruction.

Another way I’ve come to recognize this process during the past year has been with people in my life.  To step out of my comfort zone, and try to counteract my introverted nature, I’ve forced myself to try to expand my social circle outside of my close friends.  This entails putting myself out there, dealing with small talk, and all around uncomfortable shit.  What I found is, as I got to know these new folks, I realized we didn’t see eye to eye, on hardly anything.  My first thought was, “what can I do to be more like-able to this dude?” That fleeting thought was quickly replaced by “no fuck that.”  By accepting myself, who I am, my convictions, I knew that this person wasn’t going be on my “best of” list.  I’m doing my shit, why do I need to try to get anyone to like me?  If they don’t, their loss.

It’s always been clear to me that self acceptance is essential to a healthy self, but I don’t think, even now, I’ve realized all of it’s applications.  The one thing that has been burned directly into my brain, is it is a daily practice.  No one will be able to do it for me, but it does help to have supportive friends.  Just like the other day, I was riffing with an old friend of mine, and I was expounding on my frustrations of trying to get other musicians to play my material and ideas the way I think best.  My buddy said “Don’t let that shit bug you, you just keep playing what you think we need to hear.”

He’s goddamn right.

Rojo’s Album of the Year: Man Man – On Oni Pond

This is my first album review.  I listen to enough music to write on ton of groups, but there are few new works that inspire any of that.  However, I plan on writing more on music in the future as it is my major passion and I am quite opinionated about it.  That said, this is my pick for album of the year.  The band is a group from Philidelphia, named Man Man.  The album, which was released at the end of summer is called On Oni Pond.  Until two years ago, I had never heard of the group.  Shortly after I moved to Sacramento, my good friend said he was rolling through to see a band and wanted to crash at my pad.  Of course he could, though he did leave his girls monstrous bra on my couch.  Bastard.

At any rate, I youtubed up some of their songs and agreed to go.  Thank goodness to betsy I did.  These cats were wild.  Their stage setup was unique as I am used to seeing the 2-3 guitar players in front and the drummer in back.  Instead their ivory player and lead singer, Honus Honus, sits perpendicular to the audience.  The drummer, Pow Pow, faces Honus directly.  They sit at the front of the stage, while the other three band members stand behind them.  They use a wide range of instrumentation, many switching up instruments mid song.  You have to see it to believe it.  I was blown away by their live show.  They came on stage and rocked the house without saying anything to the crowd.  For having two seated musicians, the show was incredibly engergetic and one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed.  They were as tight as Donald Trumps butt hole and had obtained a fan for life.

On Oni Pond was released in September on Anti Records.  The album starts out with a short gloomy instrumental named “Oni Swan” which sets the theme of the album.  “Oni Swan” ramps up and leads directly into the upbeat jam “Pink Wonton.”

“And our hearts are cunning
(Like a lizard in the sun)
When they want something
(Like poison, pink wonton)”

“End Boss”, the third track on the album, is a laid back funky groove with a supported by a group of horns and what sounds to me as a marimba.

“if you won’t reinvent yourself
you can’t circumvent your hell”

There is no easy way to describe the bands style other than eclectic, as exemplified on their fourth track “Head On.”  You can view the video on the top of this post.  The jam is a catchy, doo wop feeling jam.  Once it gets in your head, you can’t help but sing it the rest of the day.

“And I need new skin for this old skeleton of mine
Cause this one that I’m in has let me down once again over time”

After that, the band takes you in a totally different direction with their dub styled groove “King Shiv.”  This is a jam that just makes you want to nod your head.  Even the dubstep styled breakdown is done with tact and precision.  I’m not a fan of dubstep whatsoever, but I feel like the utilization of certain elements can really add to a song and “King Shiv” is a great example.

“Loot My Body” is another upbeat catchy jam.  It’s also hilarious.

“Feel free loot my body
Just take whatever you want
But please don’t start a band”

The following jam throws yet another turn in the stylistic approach to the album with an acoustic song named “Deep Cover.”

“Deep cover
Is not a place it’s a state of mind
To have your heart go incognito
And hide away for a while”

“Pyramids” is another funky groove with heavy marimba.

“I know just what you are
It’s not a Burmese pony
It’s not a dying death wish
Or a child that’s raised by Kony”

Although difficult to choose just one song, “Sparks” would be my favorite groove on the album.  It’s another jam that touches on a doo wop style.  I was listening to it last night and it made me think of Ace at 80proofOinomancy.  In particular, I thought of this post.

“Paul’s Grotesque” is a slinky jam with Honus throwing his bedroom voice, or “I’m going to lock on you my basement voice” into the mix.

“She squeeze the honey bottle
On an over-ripe tomato
Don’t care when all the ants go
Right up her skirt”

“Fang’s” is another favorite of mine. Pow Pow lays down a mean drum riff that has a latin flavor to it.  Yet another catchy groove on an album that already caught me red handed in admiration.

“When she was young she held a fantasy
Of being the female Steve McQueen
Careening an ancient motorcycle
Through the throngs of those she hates”

The twelfth track on the album features solely Honus singing and playing keys.  It’s feel is reminiscent of the piano riff on their jam “Piranhas” from their album Life Fantastic and reminds me of “Doo Right” off Rabit Habits.  However, “Curtains” makes me feel like it should be sung by someone tap dancing across stage with wild gestures.

“You might somehow be redeemed
Even though your heathen days are long gone
And the need to be redeemed is such a boring thing to want
Caved in, hibernating, waiting for the sun
To come along and dry you out and hang you from a cloud”

“Curtains” seems to lead perfectly into the final track on the album, “Born tight.”  The lyrics make me think of the sphere, and of emotional disconnect that seems rampant in a lot of it’s writing.

“Build a fortress up on a hill
Find a love that fits the bill
Sometimes it never will
So you burn it down and you notch the kill”

The final verse in “Born Tight”  goes

“Girls just wanna have fun, be brave.”

My skills in describing this album are lacking so I hope the music can speak for itself.  The unique style of sound is a giant burst of fresh air in a time where most music is either tepid or terrible or both.  The entire album is an ear worm and worth a play through of it’s entirety every time.  That’s a rarity these days.  Lyrically, this album is enthralling due to the familiarity of emotion in each song.  The tragic desperation with a hint of hope in each song is something that resonates deeply with me.  Honus can convey strong romantic sentimentality and still sound like a man doing so, instead of channeling some waif like emo knob.  All the men in Man Man are fantastic multi-instrumentalists.  I can’t recommend this band and this album enough to do it justice.  If they are coming through your town, do yourself a favor and catch them live.  You will not regret it.  If you dig it or don’t let me know in the comments.

~Rojo

You can pick the album up through this link and help buy me a drink.

The Fap and Nap

I have a problem.  Well, it seems like a problem and in the scheme of keeping my job, it’s  a problem, but otherwise it’s nothing. It’s fairly insignificant to the average person walking down the street.  It means nothing to the girls in short skirts and UGGs with high pitched voices.  I would even wager it means nothing to my dog, though he is the number one partner of mine.  If as a person, I am the the average of the five people I hang out with the most, then I am half dog.  In fact, I miss my dog whenever I leave the house.  I feel bad when I warm up on the treadmill because that is time I could be running him senseless.  Or taking him to the dog park so he can sniff around and growl at other dogs.

He’s not misbehaved.  He’s a good ol chap.  The spry little fucker comes with a knee jerk reaction to other canines where he growls at them if they try to sniff his ass.  Of course after they back off, he runs right up to them to sniff their ass.  I guess he’s playing hard to get.  Can you see how delusional I am?  I started this with I have a fucking problem, and now I am talking about my dog.  My dog is good people.   I get out of bed for the little fellow.     He’s actually not all that small, in fact, for his breed he is rather large.

My dog is not my problem. My problem is two fold.  As I mentioned before, I have obstructive sleep apnea.  Basically I’m choking the life out of myself one night at a time.  I thought that losing weight would make a difference, but the doctor says differently.  He says it will help, but might not eliminate the problem.  Apparently there are 4 types of mouth / throats depending on the amount of tissue involved.  I’m a 4.  They want me to wear a chinstrap and put things in my nose in order to take the choke hold off my sleep schedule.  Fuck that shit.  I sleep in a chair when I really need it.

Hey baby want to spoon?

This inability to breathe while I sleep has lead to some issues.  Fewer wet dreams, snores like the foghorn on the coast, day time zombie like drowsiness, no energy when I get home, nodding off at work without the help of some opoids, and sleeping through my alarm.  I hate sleeping through my alarm with an extreme passion.  I don’t even think I sleep through it.  In a half conscious stupor, I swipe it off, and cancel the snooze.  Lights out.  On a plus side, this condition has given me the super-hero-like ability to fall asleep ANYWHERE.

On top of that, I have been blessed with a god like ability to drink alcohol.  I can drink like a motherfucking fish.  It doesn’t matter what it is, I can grab the devil by the horn, align all the booze with my gullet, and let the good times roll without waking up with a disastrous hangover.  I actually remember the last time I had a hang over, and that was over 6 years ago after a particularly savage night in San Francisco:  waking up in the morning dry as the Sahara, brain pounding like some retarded dub-step concert, driving my red truck to the Wing Lee bakery on Clement, then driving another two hours back to my solitary station in the boonies.

This ability to drink and not suffer repercussions is peculiar and is not all good times and good drinks.  Basically, I can put them away for hours on end.  However, there is a threshold that is reached once a certain amount of libations have been imbibed.  After which, there are diminishing returns on what I’m putting into the system.  My friend Cindy says it happens around 4am. That’s where the belligerence starts coming into play.  Can you blame me?  By then I’ve probably consumed about a 5th of Bourbon and 2-6 beers, possibly more.

I’m fine with that, and even though I have shit for self control, I take after my father in that I am a jovial drunk.  Much like him, I also have a tendency towards in-coherency by the end of the night.  But I love that feel of cold liquid entering the stomach.  Instantaneous rewards in a rocks glass.  Fuck yes.  However, this gets in my way when compounded with the sleep apnea, and multiplied by the fact that I have to be at work in the morning.  Since I am able to imbibe such hazardous amounts and I am in a cage match with death each time I sleep, I tend to drink into the wee hours of the next morning before passing out.  Guess what happens then?

I don’t fucking wake up in time.

This isn’t an everyday thing, but it happens often enough.  I don’t drink after I work out because that would be detrimental to the agonizing efforts I am going through at the gym.  However, even on sober ass gym days, I am still sleeping past the time the leash gets put on and I head to the kennel.

TL:DR:  All star drinker, wheel chair sleeper.

Some fucking guy said “with great power comes great responsibility,”.

This post had nothing to do with fapping.

Burning Man Concentration Camp

It was a typical small town Friday night.  In my normal fashion, I was going to stay in the room I rented with my dog, read, play some video games, and otherwise be the anti-social cat I was used to being.  Then I remembered that there was this event going on, the flyer looked cool and two chicks I knew had said they were going.  After letting the dog out, I shambled to the bus stop.  I was early so stopped in to grab a pack of smokes, and while paying for the smokes the bus drove by.  Shit.  I sprinted to the next stop and caught the bus. Arriving at the venue, neon colored lights, blinked, sputtered and threw patterns all over the parking lot.  A huge rumbling bass and fuzzy modem sounds came from inside.  I paid the door, and went in.  There were people, dressed like something out of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, dancing awkwardly to cacophony of aural atrocities.  A DJ reminiscent of a dreadlocked Jabba the Hut manned the stage.  He was to blame for this full on act of retardation.  I tried to dance, but felt like I was emulating the motions of having a seizure.  How can people tolerate this?

This was my first exposure to the burning man syndrome that so consumes people.  I ran in to a guy I knew that night and ended up playing keys in his band.  The drummer of said group was obsessed with BM.  He was a burner.

I myself have no desire to go camp in the desert with 500,000 other people.  Smaller sized adventures are more of my thing.  What strikes me odd, and incredibly laughable is the metamorphosis these people go through and the personas they embody after having that going to said event.

There are a few attention whoring chicks on my facebook that are these people.  The other night I was trolling through some newly uploaded photo and I saw a comment with some absurd name.  Which prompted me to click the profile.  Alas, another BM victim.  I went to that victims friends list and what did I find?  A list of about 1000 people with retarded made up names.

Now I’ve done my share of illicit psychedelics and I do cherish me a boundary dissolving experience, however, after I fried balls for a week, I didn’t come out of and say, “my name is Rainhoof Jackylflower”.  Sure I had some out there thoughts and was tripped out pretty hard, but I was who I was, and am who I am.  Apparently though, a week in the desert doing high amounts of cokestacy and whatever else you can get your hands on turns a person into some one way minded patchouli pirate with a name that could have come from Frank Zappa, though way more lame.

Examples:

  • Harmonyeris
  • Huta Huta Snow
  • Starmonik Rosepetal
  • Kanyon Walker
  • Little Galactic
  • Conundrummer
  • Luna Breeze
  • Sunkist Love
  • Peachy Poi Walsh
  • Stephinity Meta
  • Sunflower Child
  • Teresita Nomadica
  • Bassignani
  • Violet Aura

They used to test nukes in the Nevada desert, perhaps it’s time to do that again.

Hardcore is dead

I grew up going to shows that embraced the ideal of HxC ideology. You didn’t have to be straight edge, or some political activist, all you had to do was believe there was a better way of being a person through community and togetherness.  Looking out for your brethren.  Of course, the activism and directional politic-ism came when one became later entrenched in the scene, the values instilled by the bands, the participants and the feeling of community, always led one down a path of optimal trajectory.

I’ve never been an SxE cat.  Never will be.  But I love the feeling at those shows.  It’s like a pair of shoes you put on that feels fucking fantastic and feeds the good part of your ego.  I remember asking Eric Ozene, hey man you straight edge now?  “nah man, I still got these stoch’s (cigs)”.

There’s something real that’s built in a community with conviction.  I believe it’s the same in the military, or in a specific racial group.

I went and saw a couple bands tonight.  The one I will talk about though, is Strife.  Strife was one of the hardest, most cut your throat mutherfucker, hardcore bands of the late 90’s.  They were the shit.  Rick Rodney was a mutherfucker who would eat your babies he was so hardcore.  They played tonight.  Their performance was … alright.  Rodney was spectacularly crazy.   He still has the voice of a male siren screaming through a blow horn of angst and anger, however, the music has lost that sense of community.  He’s a little fucking crazy now.  He broke open his head, banging the microphone against his forhead, and bled the entire show.  He didn’t sing his SxE songs.  The rhythm section was on point, but lackluster, the flare of ’97 was gone.  I went off, because I was never able to see them when I was younger, and well, one must take his balls under his command to run around in a pit with bro’s 2-3x the muscle mass of oneself.

It was exhilarating and fun, and tumultuous, but I am also disappointed.  No longer is the fight for truth on the forefront of this scene.  It’s not even a scene now.  It’s a melting pot of every cat who enjoys some thrash.  There’s nothing to embrace.  I was picking up a shirt for a buddy of mine who couldn’t make the show and the guitar player was just uncharacteristic of a member of hardcore band selling merch.  Pretty much an epic knob. Not a douche, or an asshole, just an apathetic player in something that is making him money.  Perhaps I am asking for too much, our society plays off of over-stimulation, and how can one un-focus from oneself in order to be a more apt disciple of a fallen gospel whilst in the throws of sensory suffocation? I have not the answer to this, for I am seeking equilibrium myself.

Hardcore is dead.  At least here.  I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but I am pretty sure I have an accurate hit on this.  I know what makes a scene feel right, and it was all wrong tonight.  Entertained, but disapointed, you mutherfuckers didn’t play ‘blistered‘.  Ears ringing.. I’m out.