03.28.11

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The experience of looking for an apartment in New York City was on par with such recent tasks as discovering that I had cancer and discovering that I am not going to graduate college before moving across the country. I have endured all three of these indignities in the last six months, so I hope I am due for a string of good luck, but those of you who follow me from time to time will be glad to know that I am moving into a nice apartment in Sunset Park in Brooklyn at the end of the month.

We left for NYC expecting to spend a few days there looking for apartments. A few days turned into 10 days. I don’t even have much good writing to show for it as I went without my computer thinking I could survive. During a brief meet up with Mr. Chen and an excellent comics show at CUNY, I was inspired and Mr. Chen said he was open to working on Cramhole #4 with me. It inspired me to try to take some handwritten notes, but the strain of my thoughts and my unwillingness to document this dark time in my life caused me to just black out the last ten days. 

New York City can be especially cold place when you have nowhere to go. Killing time in the city looks easy in a Woody Allen movie, but when you have days worth of clothes in a plastic bag and you are sweating because you didn’t fully comprehend how long the Williamsburg Bridge is, it can mess with your self-esteem. Evidently I look like an unseemly hipster as well. Just because my jacket is from the Archie Bunker collection does not mean that I don’t work for a living. Landlords practically gagged at the sight of me. My worth is back up now as I am back in Virginia: clean and prepared for the coming months.  

NYC posted in: Writing | Comments (0)

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This has been one of my favorite books of late. Here is a link to an interview I did with Destroy All Movies!!! editor Zack Carlson for Razorcake Magazine.

Zack Carlson

03.16.11

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 Walking and drinking and visiting more than one bar a night for a couple of nights has recharged me a bit. I occasionally felt as if I were hibernating in Tucson. I was able to temporarily forget that I am homeless, jobless, and all my things are bouncing around in a box that I have no control over. George Carlin was onto something when he said that everyone needs a place for their stuff. It can become unnerving. After a night of what at my age would be called debauchery, we got around to some of the Virginia record stores. I was glad to see that so many stores are thriving around DC. Crooked Beat, Red Onion, and, of course, Smash are all still going. We also hit some of the elusive Virginia stores.

Record and Tape Exchange in Fairfax is still going. Besides some nice records, they also got a load of $1 albums and I noticed some killer cheap oldies in the Rock and Roll section. RTX has been there forever: I’m glad to see it’s still there. RTX

I didn’t make it to CD Cellar in Falls Church, but the one in Arlington is killer. I feel as if I am back in the land of record stores when I am in there. CD Cellar  They have great stuff, including a couple of $3 sections that contain some quality records.

This weekend we will cross the line into New York City.  I am cutting myself off from shopping while I am there.  Driving around talking about records is pretty much my favorite thing, but the reality that I am homeless and jobless is starting to sink in. I hope we find an apartment, or at least the hope of an apartment.

03.14.11

We spent some time with family in Mississippi and then moved on to a friend’s house in Athens, Georgia. Athens distinguishes itself as another liberal stronghold in a conservative state similar to Austin. It is nice to  spend an entire afternoon shopping for records and still feel as if you have not seen everything. I love Tucson, but it doesn’t take long before you feel as if you have seen every record available for sale. I did not find the elusive Pylon record I was hoping to find, but i guess it is presumptuous to assume you could find that in Athens.  On one hand, you don’t expect people will be selling their Athens related albums in Athens. On the other hand, you can appreciate being from DC and always seeing a Minor Threat album in the record stores there.

Wuxtry was a good place to shop. There was a massive selection and the store was well organized.  I found many slabs there.

The Schoolkids Records in Athens was a little sparse, but I found a Serge Gainsborg record and this

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The commercial for this record came on over and over again when they were selling it on TV, but I have never seen the album in person. Do you remember this? “No my brother… You’re gonna have to buy your own.”

We made it to The Grit, a well known veg restaurant that wins not only for the food, but also for having a painting of Shirley Hemphill on the wall.

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We have arrived in Virginia relatively unscathed. Not much interesting to write about huh? As a testament to how uneventful things have been, I am watching The Howing on cable right now. I have never herd of FEAR.NET before, but I am pretty happy about it.

New York City has been my white whale for many years. Ahab did not have a realtor, so I hope the next step is going to go smoothly.

03.06.11

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I fell in love with Austin for the two days I was there. I also fell in love with Pittsburgh a few years ago after a two or three day stay.  If you have the right tour guide, I guess any city can be enchanting. Our friend in Austin really knew her way around. I never felt like I learned enough about Tucson, or had anyone I could drag around show up there enough to really get into showing people the city. I knew where to get good Mexican food: Pretty much anywhere. It was not a hard thing to master. Austin for me involved light canoeing and record shopping. It is a wonder to me that nobody has ever though to shoot a rap video from a canoe. There were a lot of people in bikinis floating around out there. I guess the phrase “canoeing like a pimp” is not likely to find its way into popular culture. The only down side to canoeing is that nobody was interested in my extended diatribe about how breadfruit is good sailing food because it can sustain the body for a long time. I reflected a lot about how the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty related to breadfruit and how, if you have enough breadfruit, you can survive a long time on the water. Pacific Islanders used to fill canoes with dried breadfruit and sail away when thier islands became too crowded. Can you imagine sailing off with no more knowledge than there might be another island around like the one you are standing on?

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My view of some bridges or something.

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Captain Bligh, who did not have any breadfruit with him when he survived his marooning and perilous sea journey.

This is exactly the conversation that my fellow canoe-ees were not interested in. Fortunately, I know the island of Manhattan is there, so I don’t have to rely on amassing breadfruit. However, the food on the New Jersey Turnpike is not entirely up to speed.

03.03.11

March 3, 2011

Our friend in Austin has shown herself to be a particularly open person as she helped us to give the cat a bath yesterday in her clean and refurbished bathroom. It took three of us holding Serge underwater in a Home Depot brand paint bucket, but he smells much better. I wish we had a picture, but took all of us to hold him down. Here is a recent photo as a point of reference. Just imagine him soaking wet.

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To tell the truth, he took it pretty well. None of us got scratched.

I feel pretty relaxed as we spent the better part of yesterday walking the streets and record shopping. Austin lived up to its reputation as a city of good record stores. Here are some of the better finds I had around town.

I have been through Austin before, but never been to End of an Ear Records. Awesome selection.

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Waterloo Records is a huge store with new and used vinyl.

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You know you are in a good record city when you find good stuff in a frame store.

I also walked away with a handful of comps. I didn’t bring a record player on the trip, so I won’t get to listen for a while.

03.02.11

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I got to include a review of the Found Footage Festival’s recent appearance at The Loft to the Tucson Weekly. Since I saw it, I have grown a fondness for trying to say “dasketdall” without moving my lips.  Here is a link to the review.

Found Footage Festival 

March 2, 2011 Morning

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We made it all the way to the liberal stronghold of Austin, Texas last night. Many people have complained to me about how Texas never seems to end when navigating the country. I actually found the drive from El Paso to Austin fairly relaxing. The car has cruise control and generally you can set it and just aim the car east. After all the stress over school and moving, freeway flying has actually been kind of relaxing. Everything has gone smoothly except for two factors.

            The first is, after living in Arizona for six years, I have become fairly accustomed to lawlessness. Being from a state where guns, drugs, and driving like an asshole comes second nature, the first leg of the trip was a bit of a no brainer as far as keeping my foot to the floor in our loaded down Volkswagen. I do not really fear any reprisal in New Mexico because I am fairly certain no one lives there. I didn’t see anyone there anyway. And I have never heard a story that begins, “I was in New Mexico…” It was strange to pass from the relative anarchy of the Southwest into the Orwellian eyes of Texas. It one of those places where I feel as if I am being constantly monitored. As soon as we crossed the border, there was a place to buy an 8.99 steak and a multitude of speed limit signs. The importance of diligence while riving through Texas is easy to get a feel for on the highway because they change the speed limit every 200-300 yards. 80mph day/65 night. 55mph. 45 mph. Then 35 through the towns. Then 70mph/65 night. The “night” thing is vexing. I don’t know what a Texas state trooper considers to be “night” ad I don’t want to test the boundaries. I do wish I had stock in the company that has to make the speed limit signs.

            The second thing that made the trip unpleasant is that the cat finally pissed all over himself. He would not go in the portable litter box that we provided in the Motel 6 hotel room, so I feel as if we had it coming somehow. I was aware that this was a possibility that many presented as an eventuality, but it did not help my reaction. I got him out on a leash and we dumped out the carrier which included some urine soaked feline AIDS pamphlets and we used about a hundred Clorox Bleach wipes on the carrier and baby wipes on the cat. The frenzy culminated into the most littering I have done in a long time. I felt bad about that, but that stuff was not coming back into the car with us. I am not going to say which exit I stopped at in case the Texas State Police are investigating, but one of the words did rhyme with ‘turd.’ In case you are concerned, the cat is fine. We are spending a day in Austin with a friend, who was thrilled that we arrived with a urine soaked cat. Still, he has finally figured out the portable litter box thing. As I write this, he is taking a whiz in the cardboard box. I am getting a lot of satisfaction out of that.

            I have been through Austin a few times, but never for an entire day, so I am looking forward to doing some record shopping.  Austin is on the list of places I imagine have tons of great record stores. You would think after moving records, which filled up 33+ boxes during this move, that I would not want to ever buy another record again. I felt that way at the time. However, it only takes a couple of nights sleep away from the madness of moving to get back into the hoarding mentality. Somewhere in the USA is a PODS brand storage container with a lifetime of records in it. I am sure I will arrive in New York with more stuffed in the car.

February 28, 2011

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I am writing from a Motel 6 in El Paso, Texas. I know I will be posting this at a later time because the sign on the hotel states that there is “Wi-Fi here.” It doesn’t say it is free. But as the computer searches for the signal that takes you to a page to give you the option to pay, it seems it is not actually “here.” It doesn’t matter; I wasn’t going to pay for it anyway.

            Sleazy motels are one of those factors that, when revisited, becomes a barometer for how much soul I feel I have left in me. For some reason, being disgusted by a trashy motel makes me feel like I have become soft. There are too many people here standing around smoking for this to be a travel lodge. There are also loads of cats around. That is never a good sign in terms of cleanliness, but it is a pretty adorable infestation.

            Plans to leave Tucson early and make it somewhere close to Austin were thwarted as there was nothing close to the organization needed to get our stuff packed on time. I never actually thought the semantics of the move would go smoothly. Not for any solid reason except I just don’t seem to be wired in a way that is conducive to efficiency. I know I am like that. Amy thinks she is organized, but she isn’t. I don’t know which is worse.

            We were cleaning and throwing things into the PODS brand storage container as the truck pulled up to retrieve it at around 8:00 yesterday morning. The POD being retrieved was supposed to be the beacon of being finished and relieved. But the house was a mess and I kept turning up things that either had to be donated, trashed, or abandoned on Travis Spillers doorstep. I also hid a weird looking laser disc of a live Go Go’s concert in the old house. I don’t remember where that came from. Maybe I thought I was going to have it transferred to DVD. I am an overly sentimental person, but the last few moves I have tried to disassociate myself from certain sloppy ideas of hanging on to things. Still, I got sad when Amy said goodbye to her crutches. I can’t explain why except that there are those items that you spend a lot of time with that seem so important. I still have way too many books. When I learn something from a book, I feel like I have to hold on to it or I lose the knowledge. Somehow I felt we were abandoning Amy’s crutches. I also felt bad about leaving my couch, where I had spent too much of my time in Tucson. As I write this, it occurs to me I also left a testicle in Arizona. I guess I should get my priorities straight. I haven’t slept much. I think I am going a little crazy.                         

            Another item that did not make it on the POD was the Shoutbus bass, which I honestly thought had been entombed in a case in the back of the closet. I pulled that thing out a while ago to have the intonation looked at by the people at Rainbow music during a time when I was flush with cash. Rainbow is such a great guitar shop that I ended up taking all my basses in to have them worked on and set straight. I took that thing in finally and the guy could not understand why I wanted to have it fixed except that he had a vague understanding of people like me who have sentimental attachments to certain instruments. He understood that that sentimentally existed, but still did not give me much hope. But as it is known around Tucson, those guys are geniuses and got that old shit working properly. As I was cleaning up, that fucking thing appeared like a specter in the corner of the room. Amy was pissed because she thought I left it out on purpose so I didn’t have to pack it. The truth is, I didn’t want that thing in the car any more that she did. I really specifically remember buying a case for that thing and loading my modest guitar collection into the POD. I thought perhaps the guitar was asking to be buried in the desert, but it didn’t have much to do with any of the music that was being made in Tucson, so I shoved it in the car. Now it is lying across everything in the hatchback with the dog occasionally trotting upon it. Maybe it just doesn’t want to stay fixed. It is a weird guitar. I imagine I’ll be buried with it.             

            I assumed that I was going to want to take some time and ruminate on Tucson. Consider why I was there and ponder the things that I am going to miss about it. Yet as we pulled into and out of the TTT Truckstop, a place that is unnecessarily difficult to navigate, Tucson disappeared into the rear view and all I could think about was if or not one of the “T”s stood for “truckstop.” I was struck how it seems like only yesterday that I pulled into town. I was just short of six years. It all seems like some sort of dream now. I wanted to get away from doing music for a while and ended up making two demos I am pretty proud of and doing a radio show. I wanted to finish my degree and ended up one class short. Since this feels as if it is denigrating into whining a bit, I will summarize with a short packing list useful for getting out of motels in a hurry without thinking.

* One dog.

* One cat.

* One testicle.

* Two demos.

* A bag full of materials having to do with a German language correspondence course through the University of Arizona.

* The fucking Shoutbus bass.

* An Irish walking stick and a flick knife that is barely legal in some states.

* A toolbox full of tattoo equipment.

* Plastic grocery bags full of clothes.

* A suitcase full of clothes buried too deep in the bottom of the car to be practical.


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HOME : BIO : WRITING : BOOKS : SHORT STORIES : MUSIC : POEMS : MOVIES : LINKS :cramholethecomic(at)hotmail.com
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