Another place willing to publish my inner rumblings. I never thought I’d be a sports writer, but here we go: The church of baseball.Source: http
“Why is everyone at the grocery store so fucking nice to me - is it because they think I’m old?”
“No, Ma, I think it’s because they think you’re cute. You are.”
“What does that even mean, cute? Cute is for babies and puppies and, you know, dwarves.”
Today I smelled your
Perfume on a passerbye
Tonight, I’ll be drunk
I wrote this song when I was 18 and it’s followed me like a ghost ever since. I was in a punk band one summer and during smoke breaks, which were every 10 minutes or so, I started humming the melody and putting the chords together. I never once wrote it down, it just sort of came out. I feel like a bit of a poseur at times, however, seeing how I’ve never actually had gonorrhea. But I guess my life isn’t over yet.
Anyway, I had almost forgot about the song until about a year ago in a backyard in West Oakland. It was so well received that I couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything without having to play it at least once. A nursing student friend even used this video for one of his classes and, from what I hear, it’s popular with the troops in Afghanistan. So I guess I did something right. Still, it gets me to wondering what my legacy will be.
Again, incentive to keep making things.
In San Francisco, I write in a hoodie and sweatpants.
In New Orleans, I write naked.
In San Francisco, I have so many friends who I want to see that I hardly ever write.
In New Orleans, this isn’t a problem. I’ve taken steps.
In San Francisco, there are no seasons per se.
In New Orleans, there’s basically just hot and wet or hot and dry.
In San Francisco, there are no bugs.
In New Orleans, I have to compete with bugs for my glass of bourbon.
In San Francisco, bars close by 2 a.m.
In New Orleans, they close only if they get bored.
In San Francisco, people are friendly and weird.
In New Orleans, people are friendly and weird.
At times I get to feeling like these two cities are long lost cousins. One of them started a lucrative dot com startup and still lives the life of a pseudo bohemian weirdo, only their socks match and the rent is higher. The other plays saxaphone for an all-girl cabaret and plays video poker until dawn. But their sensibilities line up somewhere along the way. It’s almost like San Francisco and West Oakland had a Southern baby that’s somehow older than them both.
I sometimes get to missing Knox Dupree and The Heartbroke Daily. It was a project I worked on with writers Henry Goldman and Shane Kavanaugh when I first moved to San Francisco, three and a half years ago.
It was an ambitious project; writing a story of lost love, whiskey and failure every weekday for about a year. Not that I had to imagine that hard to come up with something, but it was an excellent writing exercise, and the three of us pushed each other enough to write well and write often. We wrote in shifts that alternated each week. We featured music and (bad) love advice, too. And a guy who didn’t even exist, this Knox Dupree character, started getting groupies from all over the country, despite what a maniac and loser he was. I found it encouraging for my own state of affairs. Henry and I would often say a sort of silly mantra, “Knox Dupree lives.”
And there was some truth to that. At one point, in New York City, he was supposed to do a reading in front of 300 people. Being that he’s a made up character and we were trying to protect that illusion, this was problematic. We decided to stage it so Shane would get up on stage as his personal assistant and say, “Sorry, Knox couldn’t make it. He got too wasted last night and missed his flight out of Baltimore.” Some friends in the audience booed and yelled things like, “Knox owes me money!” Then, Shane read a handful of our favorite posts and, being a hell of a showman, he brought the house down. Jumping off the stage and heading straight for the bar, strangers, primarily young women, clamored to get a piece of Shane, thinking he was Knox. And of course he was. By a third, anyway.
As we plugged away, it became more and more popular and we received unsolicited links from high-traffic websites. Some days we would have over 4,000 unique hits, out of nowhere. It was fulfilling to be read and recognized, even if it was under a pen name.
But toward the end, we realized something: we were running out of archetypes. We had fleshed out the character of Knox pretty well throughout the narrative arc - sometimes without planning. Something would come up in a story and we’d ask, “Is this something that Knox would have done?” Or, “Is this something that happened to him?” His mom left when he was young. He was a military brat with an alcoholic father. He had been struck by lightning. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor just before being dishonorably discharged. He didn’t know when his birthday was. He spoke several languages and had a number of remarkable talents and achievements, but he couldn’t keep a job or hold down a relationship. He was perhaps the most remarkable loser alive. We could keep going on with a character like that, as if he was the James Bond franchise, if we wanted to. And we kind of did.
However, each post (usually) featured a woman that passed through his life, and as far as character archetypes go, it started to feel as though we were on track to just repeating ourselves, merely changing locations or names or whatever. Furthermore, Hank started a business and Shane was going to grad school, and I started working really late nights at a bar. So it was a mixture between seeing the writing on the wall and just getting too busy and/or lazy to continue with the project.
But it was a lot of fun while it lasted. And I sometimes read through the old posts late at night, feeling like I’m sitting down with old friends. I suppose that’s something.
Anyway, Knox may be in hiding for now, but I have this creeping suspicion that he may one day reemerge. The crazy fuck is just plain incapable of dying. And if you’re driving up or down the I-5 corridor between LA and SF, you may just find some words scrawled in a rest stop bathroom next to the dirty limericks and “for a good time call…” notes.
“Knox Dupree lives.”
Lovesick for life,
By Sailor Boy
I feel the need to say something that may surprise some people: I don’t actually hate dubstep.
Certainly I don’t like it, but if someone were to ask me if this world would be better off without dubstep, my answer would be, “Hell no.” I support the arts and I create plenty of things that no one else wants to listen to, read or look at (see: “Stop the Dubstep Already!”).
So if it’s your thing, rock on. Or womp womp on. Or whatever. Really, I want you to be happy.
But … here’s the thing. Well, two things.
Thing one: Context.
This will be my 13th year at Burning Man. It’s a big part of my life. But, year by year, BM is more and more overrun by large sound systems playing music I don’t like. It’s to the point where the event is enacting rules regulating sound.
I don’t like rules. They tend to gain traction, though, when someone goes off and acts like a total dick, like when an art car with a stadium sound system pulls up next to The Temple while someone is trying to have a moment with their own pain and loss, free from alarmingly loud, shit music.
It’s not that I think people shouldn’t listen to their music. It’s that I don’t want to listen to it, and I’m unable to avoid it. In the default world, I have absolutely no problem with dubstep because it doesn’t come into my house and sit on my face like some vindictive feline trying to smother a newborn. At BM, this is not the case.
And yes my critique of dubstep was over the top. I’ll readily admit to that. That was the point.
Remember context, dubstep devotees.
BRC Weekly is basically a continuation of the celebrated, snarky, rebel-rousing Piss Clear (edited by Adrian Roberts) that graced and mocked the playa for 13 years. It’s an intentionally scathing and sarcastic publication, a counterpoint to the hippie-dippie, peace-and-love-bullshit stereotypes that some Burners subscribe to. We are a kind of devil’s/burner’s advocate, if you will. We conscientiously get rude and nasty to prevent people from drinking their own Koolaid. There’s an avuncular sort of theatricality to what we do, and most Burners get the joke and even appreciate it. And if they don’t, well, they’re probably taking themselves a little too seriously.
Thing two: Hateful speech diminishes us all.
I found it entertaining (thanks for making it go viral, guys) yet unsettling to receive personal attacks on my point of view. Some people just said that I was an asshole, which is fine, I suppose. People who claim to like me have called me far worse. Besides, I could see myself teasing someone for writing a rant about how much they hate Tom Waits being played at their Rainbow Gathering or whatever.
However, when people start throwing the word “fag” around - or anything else relating to homosexuality - to invalidate someone else’s argument, I take offense, not just for my gay friends, but for everyone.
At first, I kind of chuckled, imagining some stupid frat boy saying, “Whoa, bro, he doesn’t like dubstep - he must be a fag!” But then I found myself genuinely offended, which is incredibly rare of for me. I’m not sure if I’d be more pissed off if I were gay, but that’s beside the point, as there are so many gays who are near and dear to me.
They have the best parties and style and drugs, the most compelling women in tow, and they always encourage me to go ahead and have just one more beer, shot, whatever. They’ve always been the best at telling me to shut the fuck up when I deserved it, and they’re always awake and a friend for a late night phone call. I’m not generalizing all gays here, just my gays, bless their homo friggin’ hearts.
My immediate supposition about one guy’s bigoted comment was, what - is this kid in the sixth grade? Oh, wait, I’m sorry. My mistake. You’re actually a grown man - with a shit-filled-fucking-retarded-homophobic skull.
I would like to take this moment to publicly shame anyone who made such comments that diminish the struggles of homosexuals worldwide, indirectly or otherwise.
Think before you write that kind of hateful garbage.
I especially invite dubstep fans, Burners or not, to speak up regarding this, as it is a small though toxic contingent of your flock who opened this unsavory discourse. You know who you are, and you ought to be paraded through The Castro in a wheelbarrow, as the locals shake their heads in disappointment. Eat shit.
Ahem. Well, it’s late and I’m in need of some bourbon. It’s a beautiful night here in New Orleans and I think I’m going to listen to some Tom Waits. But I promise not to play it so loud that my neighbors are bothered.
At Burning Man they know me as Sailor Boy. Here, my name is David Larson. And in regards to the aforementioned, I reiterate: your radical self-expression still sucks.
(As an aside, I would like to give a shout out to Liquid Stranger for having the sense of humor to post something I wrote that pokes fun on his wall. That shows a lot of class and balls, Sir. I only regret that some people on your page didn’t get the joke.)
(I cobbled this together the year of “The Green Man.” Woof.
Rumors circulating of fraggles taking over the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada were substantiated yesterday when the Fraggles United in Carbon Kneutrality at Burning Man (FUCK BM) posted an ominous webcast, reported BM spokeswoman, Maid Marian.
“We’ve known about [FUCK BM] for years now,” said Marian, “but only recently have they become so difficult to deal with. We had hoped this year’s theme of The Green Man would satisfy them, but apparently it wasn’t up to their standards.”
Said standards were never made clear in the webcast, or anywhere else for that matter, sources say.
According to a group of undergraduate sociologists from University of California at Santa Cruz, FUCK BM is a loosely-affiliated community of poetasters who attend the Burning Man festival, spin poi, champion environmentalism, and exhibit a generally meretricious philosophy on life, the universe and spirituality. Many are predisposed to barnyard interpretations of mystical shamanism, “polyamory,” and pseudo Marxism, they said.
“It’s an odd paradox,” explains Burning Man participant and Sociology Professor Tabitha Aiken. “On one level, they’re very laid back in their interpretations of personal freedoms, drug laws, and so forth. However, when it comes to the environment and the use of certain taboo pejoratives, they can become very unpleasant.
“Some days they want to expand reality; other days, they want to downsize our vernacular. It’s totally based on whim.”
The situation is markedly exacerbated when fraggles are not completely baked, she continued.
Many consider fraggles and hippies to be one in the same, but this isn’t the case, explains Harvard anthropologist Samuel Von Drake, author of Hippies in an Era of Postmodernism: the Fraggle Conundrum.
“It goes without saying that, just as Homosapiens and the famed Cromagnum Man are interrelated, so are fraggles and hippies,” writes Von Drake. “But they originated from different social discourses and there are other obvious differences—even to the naked eye.”
Like hippies, fraggles are interested in alternative lifestyles, “peace,” drugs, rock and roll, drum circles, alchemy, shamanism and sex that fudges the lines of gender identity and basic social mores, Von Drake explains. However, fraggles have been known to shave their body hair, dress like caricatures from Mad Max and weave colored yarn into their dreadlocks. Fraggles are also more predisposed to listen to dub step instead of folk or, say, Phish or The String Cheese Incident.
Furthermore, unlike hippies, most of them did not fall into the role because of liberal or even overbearingly conservative parents, explains Aiken. Rather, they were picked on in public schools because of their affinity for Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. Many fraggles were also afflicted with extended adolescent “awkward phases.”
Subsequently, they developed camaraderie, and styles evolved—based largely off children’s programming that involves bastardized Muppets and Mad Max movies, said FIT Professor Tina Bowman.
“They look like post-apocalyptic warriors who got a little too excited after watching Tank Girl and then stuck their head in a vat of Koolaid,” said Bowman.
“They’re a damned menace,” added Burning Man founder Larry Harvey as he stood atop a Hummer with a brigade of Black Rock Rangers armed with assault rifles. “I swear to Goddess, if any of these fucking yarn heads try and pull anything funny, the event will be called Burning Fraggle! Nobody fucks with my event!”
Harvey then launched into a half hour, mumbling diatribe about something concerning “ridding oneself of the petty, mundane and despicable microcosm that we’ve substituted for reality” and a bunch of other shit we couldn’t quite make out. He used terms like “hegemony,” “community” and “dominant paradigm” a lot though, and I think we got the basic gist of it.
Whatever the case, most Fraggle Studies majors at UCSC are of the persuasion that there is no real threat to the event: “They talk real big, but at the end of the day, fraggles couldn’t get organized enough to pull a stunt like overthrowing Burning Man,” said one dropout student. “There aren’t enough of them, and even if there were, they couldn’t govern their way out of a wet paper bag, much less take on Amazing Larry [Harvey].”
Harvey is indeed loaded to the gills with very powerful weapons and most fraggles can’t even man a blow staff, said Von Drake. But the FUCK BM webcast stated, obtusely, that the manner and form with which the fraggles plan to subvert the event is not going to be easily measurable, thus making it difficult to combat.
“[FUCK BM] isn’t going to hurt anyone or ruin someone’s art or whatever,” said one fraggle who wished not to be identified. “It’s just that, until our [totally unclear] demands are met, we’re just going to subtly strain resources, and ruin everyone’s high.”
And, “If there is one thing that fraggles are really good at,” said Von Drake, “it’s ruining your high.”
The first friend I’ve made after moving here is a bartender, like me. She told me a story the other morning in the gray/blue/I-haven’t-slept-yet light about one of the first guys she met after arriving in New Orleans. Like me, he had showed up with no job and no money. 15 years later, he owns three houses and a business. He explained to her that, though New Orleans is a place where people go to fall, the chosen ones have a way of “falling up.” It made me think of being under water.
I’ve found something about cities after living in a few of them. We don’t pick them, they pick us.
I’ve always been attracted to weird places. New York, as it turned out, wasn’t weird enough - I missed that ship by about 15 years. San Francisco is pretty damn weird at times, but the weirdness is embedded into the social fabric to where it’s somehow normalized and sanitized, much like Amsterdam in that regard. New Orleans, on the other hand, is one of the few viable (to my needs) cities left in the US where things get B-movie weird, and one can really fly under the radar - go without credit checks, work under the table, etc. It has a wild west/final frontier feeling to it that kind of reminds me of Beirut (only way boozier).
In these days of advanced face-recognition technology and global cooperation that pretty much makes it impossible to just run for the border, I find myself attracted to places with missing street signs, 24-hour bars and cops that don’t pull over to help you when you’re stalled on the interstate. It feels as though there’s more opportunity, like San Francisco and New York or even Eugene are saturated, closed systems. But maybe I’m mixing up my etymology here when I say “opportunity.” It may well be that New Orleans is opportunistic and it’s just waiting for me to relax so it can knock me off my guard.
I didn’t think that I came here to fall exactly, but who knows. My intentions have a mind of their own, and I often find the meaning in my actions only through writing about them after the fact. But there definitely was an element of absurdity to moving here, like I wanted to just see how weird it could get. I live with a guy who shares my name and used to date my ex’s best friend after living in a treehouse in my parents’ backyard. The idea of those two Davids - suspended between real adulthood and extended adolescence, living in a bachelor pad in NOLA - is awesome or completely stupid, perhaps both.
Anyway, she told me that if New Orleans chooses you, you don’t just fall. It got me to thinking about what my entire adult life has amounted to. “Falling up” wouldn’t be a bad way to describe it. There has been a lot of falling, to date - falling in love, on my face, and, occasionally, into place. I’ll try to keep the direction upward.