Last night I had a late drive from the dark depths of San Diego proper to the little town I live in - up in the North county where the highways conglomerate and the people are at rest in the evenings. This is a favorite drive, where I catch up on my library of talk show podcasts like John Roderick talking about Jeffrey Dahmer or the Beatles. Normally by the end of the short, 30 minute trip I’m driving with my knees trying to research the Night of the Long Knives or some other piece of obscure history or culture that I believe I should better recognize in the moment, but last night I was on the phone.
I was a freshman in college when a professor called me into his office. Goes like this:
“So, what’s the plan.” - professor
“Plan is, I’m tired of the hoops, and basically, I’m trying to have fun and the hoops are keeping me from the fun and I’m angsty/nervous.” - very conjugated me, also I remember down-talking fraternaties during this part of my monologue, where he listened, well.
“See, fraternity boys are just like you, coondogging fun and not understanding, being turdwagons, etc…” - Professor didn’t say this, but I’m remembering he said something along these lines, where he compared my inability to see outside the walls of my own skin to the frat-boy party passion that I hated. It could be that his words were calling down the wrong chimney, or maybe the bandanna wrapped around my head was impeding my ability to conjure aligning ideas, but I misunderstood him.
So I retaliate.
“I want to do what I want, being, music.”
Now here is where the conflict began, where my inability to communicate what I actually wanted to say and his wisdom in the arena of videogaming undergrads disconnected; he explains calling, in a different word.
“There’s an eskimo.” - Professor
“He accidentally wins a Porche from a cereal box raffle.”
I’m really exploring the liklihood of accomodating mail, arctic cereal, milk storage etc…
“Kellogs uses helicopter, flys Porche to North Pole.”
I’m remembering some people I knew from North Pole Alaska who would not understand a Porche. Also, cost/benefit in promotion not beneficial to cereal company.
“Eskimo doesn’t understand Porche.”
Back on track.
“Thinks: windshield and radio/heater. Porche is designed for weather monitoring.”
Why would an eskimo monitor weather? Is he a scientist?
“Battery dies. Confusion. Eskimo decides Porche can stretch skins of Caribu and Seal over sleek design.”
19 year old self is really exhausting understanding of Inuit culture to understand what is valid/should be looked down upon.
“See, Porche is for driving it fast. Eskimos waste Porche.”
I write a song called The Professor, criticizing his methods. Lyrically:
Professor Burns/Has been teaching me/about the eskimos/with his PhD/But I’m not ready to admit that my dreams are make believe.
We recorded it for the Plane Ticket Home EP but it didn’t make the cut because it sucked.
I remember feeling as though this well meaning and very wise man was criticizing my desire to play music as a profession, when in actuality he was explaining that in order to fit within the umbrella of greater humanity and understanding, you first have to look beyond the perceived rewards and realize that the human being is most enthousiastic when encountering the depth of meaning in the lives of others.
He told me: “When you drive the Porche, it becomes more fun than fun.”
I called that professor last night and told him, I get it. It’s more fun than fun and I understand and I’m sorry and it woke him up from his sleep and he asked me who I was living with now.
It’s in the same vein, you know - how it feels thanking someone and telling them that they were right even when you both doubted it for a while.
Anonymous asked: How do I download the song that is playing at the top of your blog right now? It is not on your EP and is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.
Thanks for asking, Anonymous. That song was done for a project film a few fine folks I know recently made about flyfishing and a North to South roadtrip from Seattle to Los Angeles. It also features another song I wrote called “I Still Have to Go” that I will post here now. I’m going to release these two songs later this month on noisetrade, so stay tuned.
I suppose that it is a common knowledge - an axiom of all history’s inhabitants - that there are characters in our midst which are at work in some way, unseen - or, maybe seen in the shadows or breezes that flicker across our path as we are in a place that allows for the recognition. My father once told me that he sees shadows when he prays, that dash around the room, forces he perceived to be polarized to the teams of good or evil that were affected by his unspoken pieces. I don’t know whom they were, except that I believe that they were there, and that they influenced the light, and that my father had no fear of them. It’s a comforting knowledge.
I’ve been in the North County of San Diego for less than two weeks after a long absence. Two months in Arizona followed by one in Michigan - which was a stage for the most theatrical thunder storms I have encountered since I was five years old and the heavens seemed to shatter into pieces while I lived in the Caribbean. I have never seen electricity at wild like I saw in Michigan. There is a peacefulness and a stillness there that doesn’t exist in California, or in the South of California - and I was presented with the perceived cost of the change of our country, in that the silence that was polluted in the places of control in our Nation still exists in the corners of America - and those of us who have forgotten it have also forgotten that it is a thing to be protected. I believe that our political turmoil, and the petty lashings of the right should be attributed to a very profound fear of the looming loss of the silence - which carries with it simplicity, hard work and morality - albeit occasionally fortified and horse-winker’d. The fear of loss is the most powerful human response and to look down a nose upon it is unforgivable ignorance.
I spent a few weeks up and down the California coast with some very admirable Southerners, and then again with some surfing musicians who are upon the dawn of their adulthood as husbands, and the talk was similar - dawning between the bachlor’ing that has founded our friendship and the horizon of the men they will become.
In San Diego I sat for a few days, installing shelves with a passion that I believe no man has ever held for the installation of shelves - because when you live between other men’s walls for many months the ability to use a drill to alter a wall is a furious pleasure. I rebuilt the carburetors on the 1971 Honda motorcycle I now own, and rode that motorcycle through the Eucalyptus groves in Rancho Santa Fe, and along the coast in the morning, when the fog is so thick I can’t even bother to check the waves, and maybe I never really wanted to because I spent hundreds of hours in places like Sacramento and Edmonton imagining myself in the October morning driving down the PCH into Cardiff with the wind at my knees and nothing else mattered.
Last night I ran the Jimmy Durante road from my house to the Del Mar rivermouth in the dark and said hello to homeless-Steve who lives by the lagoon, near the city storage and was feeding halibut to his cats and listening to NPR by firelight on an old thrift store radio. When I arrived at the beach the feeling inside of me was a feeling I’d been waiting for a long time - a kind of joy that can only come at night, and is the result of a wide number of uncontrollable factors, one of which was the fishing boats with their lights glimmering on the ocean, and the extreme low tide that reflected the tide wash down the beach for hundreds of normally submerged feet. I walked down to the beach and contemplated my dissatisfaction, as I always do in aligned moments and studied the lights. In the kelp patties at night, during the Yellowtale runs, many of the boats are illuminated with hundreds of halogen light bulbs, but there are others, boats who are waiting their catches, and they are smoking cigarettes on board and watching Friends reruns on 8” monitors while the fish entangle themselves - and these are the sleeping boats - the boats that are in the shadows or breezes that flicker across our path as we are in a place that allows for the recognition, even though the lights aren’t on.
I apologize for the errors. It’s 2am and I’ve been drinking Gin in my underpants.