Thursday, November 01, 2007

rerun: KINK (you're gonna be dissappointed.)

I have to make a bunch of arrangements for the Playboy of the Western World...he's being released from interim care but he needs a lot of new things because his condition really isn't much better. Anyway I'll be busy. So have a re-run from way, way back!

(Actually I'm busy writing porn. Naked, naked porn.)

(I wish.)

Generally I don't listen to the radio while I drive because if a good song comes on it makes me drive faster, and let's just say that's been a problem for me in the past. But the Yummy Biker was behind the wheel the other day, and so the oldies station was playing and we were singing along and beating on the armrests, punching the dashboard, yelling 'fuck, yeah!' and generally acting like a dignified middle aged couple.

Now it's a good thing there was a nice lineup on or I'd have started whining...the Biker, God love him, does tend to stick with the classics, while I'm up for just about anything musically as long as it doesn't involve yodelling or fake southern accents or taking a popular tagline and whamming it against a fence until it bleeds and then setting it on fire and peeing on it; or as it's more commonly known, Pop.

Well, as fate would have it, later on that evening we were at our favorite eatery, sitting in the bar having dinner and they started in with the inbred cornpone shit. I made my displeasure known verbally, eliciting a noise from the Yummy Biker. Kind of a 'huh' noise.

But damn. This is a place that usually plays ranchera. I like ranchera. It's kind of like a German oompah band, but Spanish, with someone intermittantly cutting loose an 'aaaaaAAA-HAIIiiiii...' or 'ooooooOO-PAA!' which is rad because it sets off everyone in the kitchen to doing it too.

This lead to a conversation about our favorite radio stations when we were kids, back when you had to rub two dinosaurs together to generate fire. His was Armed Forces Radio. Well, he had no choice; he spent a large portion of his childhood in arctic military installations and that's all ya got. Mine was a Portland, Oregon FM station called...
No fucking lie. Is that not cool?
That motherfucker changed my life.

I had a crush on every single one of guys on the daytime lineup. They were all refugees from college radio trying to outdo one another proving that they weren't really selling out, so to say the resulting lineup was eclectic is an understatement. You'd get Tibetan nose chant* followed by an entire side of Disraeli Gears, some Tom Lehrer, a couple boring comments from Alan Watts, some ZZTop, a little Monty Python, Mountain, Firesign Theatre, Nixon speech remixes... And then later in the day it got, the stranger the lineup became.

Around 9:30 p.m. the jazz dogs would take over. They had a running feud, modern vs oldschool, so you heard a lot of Blind Faith and Weather Report-that seemed to be the audio demilitarized zone-while they mustered their forces against each other.

Oho, but at 12:00 midnight my boy came on. I wish I remembered this guys' name. I called him the 'Lude Dude. I don't think his blood pressure even registered on normal instrumentation. His on-air personna was so profoundly laid back and so unself-conscious that he just connected.

Apparently all semblance of management supervision dissappeared around 10 pm at KINK. By midnight, fuggeddaboudit. 'Lude Dude would audibly toke on air. One night he gave a brief tutorial on how to heef coke off a turntable with an empty Bic pen barrel by stopping down the rotation with his thumb, during which the technicians were falling on the floor laughing in the background. You'd hear them taking bong hits and hacking. One night he spilled the bong on the desk and ruined his notes, so he did a call-in show and took requests; had to be titles dealing with altered states and illegal substances. First time I heard Billie Holliday was that night, singing 'You Make Me High' (which isn't about drugs. Oh my, no.)

I discovered this guy by sheer accident, only because I had trouble sleeping when I was younger. To me, it was like discovering a hole in a tree that magically refilled with gold coins or something. I could not believe something this cool existed

'Lude Dude was no brainless wastoid. He was brilliant and interesting. Most importantly, this guy knew his music and loved it. He'd stick to the playlist for a couple of songs, start expounding on the influences and then start picking from the racks to illustrate his points. It was an honest to God free associative education in music, unabridged. He gave me my favorite music in a way I could OWN IT. ZZTop and Neil Young. Janis. Brother Jimi. Led Zeppelin. He did a whole show on the original recordings that the Rolling Stones had re-released and made famous long before 'This Ain't No Tribute' was a gleam in some producers' eye.

Can you believe I had never heard Blues before I found this show? Oh, every now and then you'd catch a couple of sanitized bars in the soundtrack of a movie, or Dinah Shore would warble something from Porgy and Bess in her soulless waspy voice. But 'Lude Dude played Muddy Waters for me. He played Howlin Wolf for me. Eddie Vincent.

The effect hearing this music had on me was like having a question answered that I had no idea I was even asking. Read the first few paragraphs of Dante's 'Nuova Vita' because he expresses the type of transformative experience I'm talking about better than I can. All I know is that I was lying on my bed at 2:00 am, 1973, and that man played 'Bad Like Jesse James' and it blew through me like I did not even exist. Something inside me opened up and my life was different from one moment to the next. It was better.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


My grandson, the Goonybird, stands 3 ft 4 1/2 inches tall. Average for a three-year-old boy. Normal, healthy kid. Presently running around with his shirt tied around his waist yelling "N-Turtle! Pew! Peww peww peww!" and pretending to pee on the dog.

So far today he's had some bacon, a peanut butter sandwich, some yogurt, some granola...pretty typical breakfast at grandma and grandpas' house.
And eventually, as happens in the natural course of things, he had to hit the Ritz.

While there, he dropped a kid off at the pool.

When I say 'dropped a kid off at the pool' what I mean is, this small adorable child perched his small adorable butt up on the rim and passed a horrific primordial monster object which was literally 1 1/2 feet long and as big around as his forearm.

I was there.

I wiped the bottom which perpetrated this prodigy.

Then I called in his grandfather in to see.

He saw.


Up until last week I had a pet garden spider in the bathroom that I used to feed every day. I found her in July, when she wove her first little net up in the corner of the window. From there she moved into the curtains, and did very well while the weather was good and the window was left open. Every morning I saw her in the middle of her egg-sized web munching contentedly on a small fly. Around 1 or 2 in the afternoon she would finish her meal, bundle it up small and neat and cut it loose. I'd pick it off the floor and drop it out into the yard.

I like to have a pet spider every fall, one that I can watch grow and weave. Usually it's a grey garden spider outside my kitchen window, sometimes a black widow (not an aggressive lady in the least, very delicate and very pretty.) Anybody too big, leggedy and hairy gets shown the road because I may be a nut but I'm a nut with limits.

My garden spider moved from the curtain to the corner of the medicine cabinet and threw her web out to connect with the overhead light. By this time she was about the size of a pinky fingernail and the beadwork designs on her back were becoming visible. About the same time the cranefly hatch began. While Chaucers'Bitch was gazing in horror at their glittering multitudes emerging from a cricket pitch across the ocean, I was being annoyed half to death by clouds of these confused things helicoptering around. Many of them blundered into my spiders' net. She nipped them neatly in the shoulder and wrapped a few loops around their wings to keep them from tearing her trap down before they finally went still. Then she'd sink her little teeth into the place where their long, fat abdomens joined their midsection and drain them, making the same motions that a kitten does when all it's whole little being is absorbed in drinking milk.

The spider finally grew to thumbnail size. Big enough for the Biker to notice one morning when hie met it eye to eye hanging in midair in front of the mirror. Because this man knows me, he carefully placed the spider onto the end of the towel rack instead of giving it a burial at sea.

This scared her. She hid in the washcloth and had to be rescued from the sink drain. A day later she turned up in the corner of the ceiling, folded up like praying hands.

The next morning she was once again splayed in the center of a pretty orb web. But the rains had started, so the bathroom window was closed and all the bugs were shut outside. By the end of the day I finally went outside and picked a cranefly off the side of the house and tossed it up to her.

This went on for almost a whole month. Soon she wanted 2 crane flies, and by last week she was big enough to deal with a stunned hornet. Yes, I am a goofturd; yes, I whapped them first and then chucked them into the web. As long as it was still twitching she took it happily.

Last week the first light frost hit and all the bugs went into coming disaster mode. Miss spider was sleeping in the corner when I slipped her into a glass, laid a postcard over the top and put her outside in my rosebush. The rosebush is putting on the last of its' fall trusses, and the small blossoms are full of male spiders of all descriptions, last minute craneflies, confused bluebottles and hornets almost too fat to fly.

I hope she meets someone nice.

So tell me, Nations; why don't you have any screens in your windows?

Fine. You see, for some reason-

All right. Back in the late 60's, the homeowners had custom built windows installed, so they're all weird sizes, right? And so we' d have to get custom screens made and that's just not something I think about for some reason.

Besides, it would be expensive.

Yes I know we just bought a new motorcycle. That's different. That-

...Oh, fine. I get a kick out of having birds fly through the house.
Sue me.

ok fine i have one more damn ghost story.

I tend to think long and hard about things for years. Arriving at a final decision about, say, art or religion-you know, the inconsequential tiny shit that housewives regularly sit around thinking about-after all that means that it's a pretty solid damn decision. I rise rejoicing and move on to something else, like cleaning the lime scale off my toilet bowl. And yet I can't escape one nagging fact....that just because I know with complete certainty that any given conclusion I've arrived at is absolutely right DOES NOT MEAN that I'm not full of shit.

My last 'ghost story' is pretty short and falls squarely onto 'total flake' territory. This is the kind of 'ghost experience' that happens to hormone-poisoned 13-year-olds named Jordan (dEtHdArK666) or Tiffany (69sweetsadangel69) who sneak out at night and hang around in cemeteries scaring the crap out of themselves.


One hot July afternoon about four years ago I'm sitting in the Lone Jack Saloon waiting for my pizza. Now the Lone Jack is a genuine old-west dance hall-saloon, complete with a long bar, a stage and a gallery that runs around the main area, exactly like the saloon in 'Gunsmoke'. I mean it. There really were places like that, and this is one of them.
After having sat unused for decades it was re-opened for dining and gambling during the last big Canadian economic shift. At this time it was only months away from closing down again after a brief six-year run.

I sat in the main area, facing the 'grand staircase' which leads up to the gallery. All I had on my mind was my pizza. The very last thing on my mind at that moment was drainage reorganization during the breakup of Pangea as revealed by in-situ Pb isotopic analysis of detrital K-feldspar. Second to last was 'anything supernatural whatsoever'.

This is when I glanced up at the grand staircase and 'saw' a woman who was not there.

The woman who was not there was wearing a dark green floor length dress with long sleeves. Over this she was wearing a black pinafore. Her hair was up. I couldn't have described her face but she seemed to be Caucasian.

And boom, gone.

Shocked me so bad my heart jumped and my hands and face tingled.

Now I did not actually register a visual, here. What I mean is, imagine the emotional impact of seeing a person unexpectedly, AND THE MEMORY OF THEIR APPEARANCE, but subtract from that experience the actual 'seeing' and that's what happened. It was the goddamnedest sensation.

I asked my husband to look at the stairs and tell me if he saw anyone. Nope. Then I had to tell him what had happened and he kind of sighed. I did too. Who needs this? All I wanted was a damn pizza and a glass of pop. Now here I had this unwanted haunted shit that was going to bug the crap out of me for the rest of the time we're there.

I got up from the table a couple of times and rambled around looking for anyone who fit the description, or even the general description of what I'd thought I'd seen...a tall man in a green shirt, a woman with her hair up, anyone in a dress or an apron....nope. Nada. Nothing. Took in the entire place...the bar, the gallery, the back pantry area, even peeked into the kitchen.

'Well, good. I'm nuts," I said, and ate my pizza.

Nowadays the Lone Jack is 'Ship Happens'...a shipping warehouse open to the public. The interior has been remodelled; once you enter the door you're in a small reception area; the rest of the space is walled off into freight storage. We do business there frequently; they're locally owned so the Yummy Biker throws them all of his large freight shipping.

One day, after ascertaining that I was the only customer in the place, I finally got up the nerve to ask them if anyone had ever seen anything out of the ordinary there.
"Oh yes," the girl replied. "There's a lady in a ball gown up on the second floor. She walks around and opens the safe."
"Lots of people say they see a lady in a long dress walking around," agreed another kid, stacking boxes. "She used to own the place or something."

When I'm very tired I see what I call 'mice' out of the corner of my eye...small moving shadows or hints of motion that when looked at squarely turn out to be an electric cord or the toe of a shoe sticking out from behind something. It's caused by eye fatigue. Your eye muscles tremble and this makes your vision go out of focus for a half-second. That tremble gives dark objects in the periphery of your line of sight the illusion of motion. It's the same effect on a smaller scale as that shitty 'MTV' hand-held cinematography. The objects being filmed aren't in motion; it's just that the camera is being held by someone with a hangover.

This wasn't that.

I wasn't drunk or stoned; all my medications were balanced, I was well fed and rested. Not stressed, having a good day, in good health (for me, anyway.) And then this happens.

Is there perhaps a name for this kind of mental phenomenon? Can something cross-connect randomly in the brain and register a visual impression in context like that? Because remember; this wasn't anything terrifically out of the ordinary that you could conclusively call a hallucination or a seizure artifact, like an angel or an alien or the floating head of Oz the magnificent; this was a woman in a dress standing on the fourth step from the bottom of a staircase.

Except, you know, not.

Never happened before, never happened since.

As an adult, I've been in lots of places that were supposed to be haunted...Colonel Ebeys' house, the Coronation Hotel, The Crystal Ballroom, the Whatcom Museum, Pittock Mansion...the list goes on...and nothing. Nothing at all. Even when I really had my mind on the subject too...nothing. So why, then, would I get struck with some 'phantom impression' while sitting in a sticky chair on an ugly carpet waiting for a goddamn pizza?