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Something that's been bothering me.
[ Apr 17, 2009 ]
boylepage.jpg Then I put it together. Enough said.

Top Chef
[ Feb 26, 2009 ]
carlamotivator.jpg This lady scares me a little.

Top 10 Bono quotes from the TA Guest Book
[ Dec 17, 2008 ]
eggtree.jpg 5. "Its about bloody time Ryan SeaChrist and Hymon Cowell got with the act and came along to feedin the starvin and the sufferin with the Eggtree. There's just a little place on yer bloody globes known as 'Africa' that ye may not ave heard of, what with your Ninetendos and Station Playin and such."

4. "Yah, go ahead and have yourself a snicker while millions of starvin folks languish in hunger and depravation. Even the hated English knew better than to go a'blowin up a potato factory when there is so much suffrin in the world. What a great way to tell the Earth to go f&^k itself. Even Larry Mullin Jr isnt so blackhearted... and evry fiber of me being wants to stomp his stupid face with an English jackboot just to show him what a'stompin and oppressin is all about. But instead me and The Edge are a'workin on a knew project known as The Egg-Tree which, god willin, will feed all the starvin hordes out there that cant even afford to buy Zooropa (and what a peice of shite that was, we cant."

3. "With all the suffrin in the world a little more cant hurt- so i'll let you three in on a little secret. I am U2 and if it werent fer me yad all be flippin sherpherds pies by in back in Dublin. Except for you Adam Clayton. I hate your English face and wish i could stomp it with the same iron boot thats been astompin and oppressin around the globe causin so much suffrin. But you'll probably drop dead anyway you old c*&t."

2. "Never compare me to Larry Mullin Jr. Its all i can do every day not to smash his English face with a mic stand. Hey, The Edge, lets go have an egg."

1. "What's with all the matchmaking when there is so much suffering in the world today? I didn't write all these classic songs so you could fingerbang your girlfriend in the back of yer mothers Buick ya know. And stay away from me pot of gold!"

My Vision for a Robot Free America
[ Apr 17, 2008 ]
prof.jpg Robots are not to be trusted. Everyone knows that, from Ben Franklin to Sarah Connors. When our Founding Fathers laid down the roots of this great nation, never in their wildest dreams did they conceive that their progeny would be unwise enough to entrust our very lives and liberties to the scourge of mechanical men. So stolid was their faith in this obvious article of self-preservation that they failed to even bother to enumerate the right of the people to be free from death by grabby little bracketts or concussion laser blasts.

That faith was clearly misplaced, and here we stand staring into the abyss that is the robo-holocaust. Robots help drive our cars, clean our houses, even (god help us) build our tanks and planes. Perhaps we would each be wise and cut to the chase, simply march into the business end of a wheat thrasher and end the suspense. For mark my words, sooner or later they will come for us.

So for the sake of our Founders (and Colonials knew something about being chased by crazed robots), vote NO on president this November.

Thank you, now where is my check?


[ Dec 22, 2007 ]
Alison Krauss is amazing. Go burn all your cds and start over. Wow.

Strange Changes
[ Oct 24, 2007 ]
robut.jpg I've taken on a robot butler. So far all he does is chase me around and eat cheetos. Also he tried to eat some speaker wires.

Now i know what you're thinking- Buehn, arent you the guy that has been warning us for years about the impending robot uprising? Have you gone over? Have they gotten to you?

Not likely. Im still firmly convinced that there is a 63.7% chance that the robotic uprising will coincide with the also imminent zombie apocalypse, and it will be a nasty hammer and anvil for humanity. I still havent figured out if i will prefer to have my brains devoured while i writhe in the grasp of a dozen zombies while slowly transforming into the walking dead myself- or spend an eternity jacked into the neural net as the nerves in my spinal column are used by the Master Control Unit (a giant spinning rainbow around a big red head as i understand it) to play dig-dug. There are really no wrong answers here.

Anyways. This robot seems small and harmless, plus i didnt get the version that plugs itself back in because that is way too spooky. The way i figure it this guy has a couple of good hours to trip me and suck my face off before he runs out of batteries. I like those odds. This is obviously a case where my wreckless laziness outweighs my crippling fear of technology (also the undead, carnies, clowns (happy and sad), gingers, and Eastern European prostitutes).

I will keep you posted on if he actually cleans anything or if i can train him to mix a decent jack and jack.

Current Song List
[ Aug 17, 2007 ]
This list is not by choice. These songs are on the radio station im stuck listening to about 8 times a day. Astonishingly, the station that claims they 'play anything' apparently is under the impression that there are only 15 songs in the entire history of music.

Bubbly Colbie Caillat- Actually the only reason this song stuck out to me is because at the start of the song she says "Count me in" and then starts singing on the next beat, which for anyone familiar with recording is kind of hilarious. Either a pro-tools hack or a pathetic attempt to sound cool.
UPDATE: There is another version of this song out with an instrumental measure before she comes in. Which makes sense. So the first version was 'tightened up' for some reason making her look like an idiot and making me angry. Song still sucks though.

How Far We've Come Matchbox 20- wow, good tune. I think the message is that Rob Thomas has finally overcome his Fear of everything.

Hey There Delilah Plain White T's- Come on, is there really anybody left on the planet that doesnt want to put a screwdriver through their eye when they hear this song? Fred informs me they are from Villa Park. But Fred says a lot of things.

[ Aug 8, 2007 ]
engagement.jpg The Great Ruzicko amazed a capacity audience at The Allstate Horizon by CUTTING GINA IN HALF! He then proceeded to make a bouqet of flowers appear from his nose and made Gardner disapear. Command performance! Bravo!

This is the kind of crap that keeps me up at night
[ Jul 6, 2007 ]
octasquid.jpg Octasquid.

Important News:
[ Jun 14, 2007 ]
Future of the Band

There are a lot of rumors floating around, most of them having been floated by band members (usually in a highly suggestable state, legally known as 'shit faced'). I'm going to put an end to the speculation and let everyone know exactly what the facts are before people get too panicky and/or despondant.

Ok, elephant in the room- the answer is YES, the rumors are true.
Then Again is adding an Umlaut.

So why the Umlaut? Ok, yeah, i'm laughing at that question too. Obviously it speaks for itself. Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, lets review the rich history of the Metal Umlaut.

Think I'm kidding? This is some kind of joke? Well fuck you, because in fact TA is so metal that they have decided to kick it up yet another notch! One Umlaut is totally metal, we all know that. But what about TWO Ümläuts? Ok, thats huge. Only the truly awesome Mötley Crüe have dared to rock the Double Umlaut. But guess what?

But it doesnt end there. I told you people this was big news, and its freaking groundbreaking. No band, be they nary so Metal, has ever dared come up with this idea. Its so simple, its brilliant, and yet did Einstëin think it up? Hell no. Because he's dead. Im talking about, the uncharter, untested, unebelieveable, Sätan inspired TRIPLE UMLAUT.

Beginning immediately, this band will only respond to posts, inquiries, offers, and cash checks under the name Thën Ägäïn. Because only 3 Umlauts is for real pussies. 4 UMLAUTS! There, I said it. Cats out of the bag. Now go about your business. Beat it.

"It's like a pair of eyes. You're looking at the umlaut, and it's looking at you."
David St Hubbins
Spinal Tap

Thën Ägäïn. is hereby copywrited by Thën Ägäïn and may only be used with express written, verbal, implied, suggested, or assumed permission of Thën Ägäïn. All Metal-Inspired rights expressly reserved by Thën Ägäïn.

Thën Ägäïn.

Where I Have Been Hiding
[ Feb 20, 2007 ]
magnifico2.jpg Hi everyone. For those who have noted the marked improvement in the professionalism and quality of TAs production over the last couple weeks- its probably because i've been out of town and my duties have been taken over by random bar patrons who mistakenly believe they are playing Guitar Hero. After all, the top 3 questions sound men get when people bother to talk to them (which is rare in itself) are 1)Do you know what all those buttons do? 2)Is that hard? and 3)Play the Thong Song. I understand the last one is not a question. Nevertheless, all the answers are an emphatic 'NO'.

Anyway, Mr Dayjob took me away from a couple of shows, but this last one was due to the fact that i cant read a damned calendar and managed to sign up for a pond hockey tournament in far Northern Wisconsin the same weekend as a Joe's show. Missing the show was bad enough, but agreeing to play pond hockey in February in Eagle River Wisconsin is plainly idiotic. But I agreed to it and im fairly glad i did (after counting all my toes upon getting home anyway).

Basically my team The Fighting Hellfish rolled out of town Friday morning at 6am. I drove one of the vehicles, and when i opened my garage door that morning it was 25 degrees below zero wind chill. 350 miles South of where we were about to play hockey on an open sheet of ice. The odds of surviving without a Tauntaun were slim. A flask of Jack would have to do. The crew was me, Zippy, Golden, Lars, Lisa, and Kevin. Yeh, i realize that sounds more like a speed metal band than a hockey team, but we did alright, as far as bronze division hockey goes.

Although it seemed suicidal, we persevered and made the 6 hour trek through cheddar country without incedent. Insanely, it ended up being 20 degrees warmer in Eagle River than it was in Chicago. Go figure. Anway, we got up there, dropped our crap off, and strapped on our equipment for a 2pm game. Oh, and slammed about 20 beers before venturing outside. This was purely medicinal.

Anyway, the games I vaguely remember (although they were very fun, and i did indeed wear my Mexican Wrestling Mask at all times) but the partying was top notch. Basically as soon as the games ended, we would rush into a warming tent and they would shove a 12 pack of Labatts at us to warm us up. Then we' d head back to our rooms for a quick clean-up, slam another case of beer, and jump on to the buses that took us to the bars. Pub crawling with 500 hockey players in a town of 200 is pretty intense. Remarkably there was apparently 1 bar in town for every 6 residents, because they just kept taking us to different places.

Anyway, long story short, you can play pond hockey completely blind drunk and I do recommend it. And as long as shuttle buses and vans keep picking you up and telling you where to go, you can also have a pretty sweet bender in Northern Wisconsin. You can also do the robot alone on the dance floor in front of a hundred strangers. So thats my excuse. Bad soundman.

The Egg-Tree goes to Congress
[ Dec 18, 2006 ]
display_photo.jpg Teach a man to scramble, feed him for a day. But plant an egg, and feed the world.

If I could be serious for a minute
[ Dec 7, 2006 ]
Im not in a jokey mood but i feel like writing something- so now is a good opportunity to cover something i've always wanted to write about.

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug is a man you've never heard of. He has saved more lives than any human being in the history of the world. Yesterday he received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest prize a US civilian can be awarded. It will find a nice home beside his Nobel Peace Prize. If you are looking for a real life American hero, this man is it.

Borlaug grew up in a tiny farming town in Iowa and attended a one room school house. He went to the University of Minnesota on a wrestling scholarship and ended up with a degree in forestry, worked for the park service, and eventually got his Ph.D. in genetics.

Instead of remaining in the classroom or the laboratory, in 1944 Dr. Borlaug went to Mexico to help in a study of their wheat harvest. Despite ample space for farming, Mexico at that point had to import large amounts of wheat to keep their population from starving to death. He spent the next 16 years living in rural Mexico, breeding wheat plants to resist disease as well as inventing innovative farming techniques. By 1963, 95% of Mexican wheat had been developed by Borlaug. And they were producing 6 times more than they were in 1944, becoming a major wheat exporter.

Dr. Borlaug took his innovations to India and Pakistan in the 60s, living in even worse third world conditions and surviving disease and war and famine. At this time all the intellectuals of the world were on the latest disaster kick- The Population Bomb hypothesis, the assumption that the world was about to starve to death by the billions due to overpopulation. By the time Borlaug was done, Indian and Pakistan also became net wheat exporters. The 'Green Revolution' also spread to Latin America, and indeed all parts of the world.

Borlaug is conservatively estimated to have saved the lives of 1 BILLION people from starvation. Take that Mother Teresa.

But Norman Borlaug is public enemy number 1 in some circles. The environmental movement and the organic food advocates consider his techniques near blasphemy, despite their inarguable results. I may respect him more for his enemies than anything else. Nobody in the world can put his counterargument better than Borlaug himself:

Borlaug has dismissed most claims of critics, but does take certain concerns seriously. He states that his work has been "a change in the right direction, but it has not transformed the world into a Utopia". Of environmental lobbyists he has stated, "some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things".

God bless the man most of us have never heard of. You won't hear about him on CNN or Fox or in the New York Times, but Normal Borlaug is one of the most important people that have ever lived. Thanks for indulging my little tribute to a true hero.

Unseen Movie Review- Mel Gibson's Apocalypto
[ Dec 1, 2006 ]
200px_Apocalypto_teaser.jpg I like to review movies after seeing the trailer. But without actually sitting through the stupid thing. There are a couple of reasons for this- first, motion pictures are like 10 bucks, and dont get me started on popped corns. That chaps my ass. Secondly, the films never end up being as cool as their trailers make them seem. Especially when Mr MovieVoice yaps over the trailer. Anytime you hear Mr MovieVoice booming "COMING THIS SUMMER, THE FEEL GOOD BLAH BLAH BLAH" avoid that movie like the plague. Think about it, if the trailer cant sell you on the plot by itself and has to have some bass laden, omniscent voice from the heavens assuring you the movie wont suck, the movie is going to suck. Robots break free of human servitude and go on multistate killing rampage- sure as hell dont need help explaining that one.

The third reason i don't go to the theater very often is that i might not ever see Bill and Bud chillin in the lobby again, ready to sell me an autographed sword that i can moon over during Snakes on a Plane. And believe me, that is a depressing thought.

But on to Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, which opens sometime soon I guess. The movie opens deep in the jungles of Central or South America. Our hero is some sort of Mayan warrior type named Jaguar Man. His wife is a Mayan victim type named Jaguar Girl, and they have a newborn named Jaguar Snack. It is a time of strife in the Mayan Empire, which pretty much makes it any time. Thats what happens when you are godless heathens praying to the moon and jungle cats and what not.

Anyway, pretty much everyone in the movie is a bad guy, up until the very end (as we shall see). Basically a lot of people get their heads chopped off fighting over worthless tracks of malarial jungle completely identical to the unoccupied patches right next to them. Sometimes a deadly jungle beast will pop out and maul someone instead, just to break up the monotony. Jaguar Man is the closest thing we have to a leading man, but his ridiculous tatoos and refusal to speak English leave us feeling only vaguely sympathetic to the fact that the neighboring Mayan tribes are chasing him and his family around the jungle trying to cut their hearts out to use in some crazy blasphamous cult ritual. Basically this entire movie is a retread of the Temple of Doom, but without the deeper philosophical undertexts.

The baddest of the bad guys is named Zero Wolf. Ironic considering there are no wolves in that part of the world. But i digress. Zero Wolf is obsessed with hunting down Jaguar Man and ripping out his heart. Why? Who cares, we're talking about heart ripping outting, and thats a good enough plot device for me. Whats your motivation?! You wanna rip that guys freaking heart out, thats what! Any more questions or should i hire some other nameless local no-ones ever heard of to spout jiberish and play this role? Zero Wolf works for a shadowy group of evil doers who just happen to have hooked noses and are mysteriously referred to only as the 13th Tribe. It is their job to start all the wars and pick the pockets of the dead. For some reason they have a real hard-on to catch Jaguar Man and torture him to death.

Anyway, there is a lot of torture and killing and mayhem as you would expect from a Mel Gibson movie. Thats the upside. The downside is that nobody talks English so you don't care if they live or die. Here is where the movie most faithfully mirrors real life.

SPOILERS: After about 204 minutes of chasing Jaguar Man through the jungle that looks the same no matter where he goes, Zero Wolf and his posse have finally cornered the Jag on some beach. They are about to bake his babys blood into some sort of snack cake when they are all shocked to see a beautiful vision over the waves- it is the Spanish Galleon named Deus Ex Machina coming ashore. The great hero Hernando Cortez wades in from the surf (you know he is a good guy because finally someone is speaking English) and quickly dispatches like 500 indians with a swipe of his sword. Within literally 2 minutes Cortez and his Conquistadors have totally cleaned house, and sometimes bad indians try charging at them but just collapse of disease right before they can land a blow. Jaguar Man is scared but Cortez is just here to baptize him and save the day. After this is done, Jaguar Man is happy again and the Spaniards go off to save the rest of the continent. The End.

I liked this movie, mostly because of the flying and the magic.

My Shuffle
[ Nov 21, 2006 ]
Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (out today! Go get it!!)

dont miss tracks:
Archers with Broken Bows
You Won't Know

Welcome to the Black Parade - My Chemical Romance

Starlight - Muse (this whole album fucking owns)

Just Like I Remember It - Ivory Wire (Chicago's own)

Sulk - Radiohead

(and Gratis Julie:)

Get Miles - Gomez

Daft Punk is Playing in My House - LCD Soundsytem

Uhhhh boy
[ Nov 14, 2006 ]
tankbb.jpg This picture has all the earmarks of impending disaster. Tank was never a big fan of beer until he discovered an express delivery method.

Into the Bush part II
[ Oct 3, 2006 ]
AgentOrange2.jpg So i spend some time surveying my options. I sought out the advice of Julie, who though well motivated, honestly didn't seem to grasp the gravity of my situation. "Capture" them?! What was I, an NVA death squad? Take them to the "Animal Hospital"?! Sure, where more of the beasts lurked. I've seen the Rats of NIMH afterall, first comes the jailbreak, next thing I know a giant brick breaks lose from the contraption moving Mrs. Frisbys house and crushes me into paste. No thanks.

My other animal expert was Joe. He's practically a doctor. But i didnt even attempt to call him. Why? Because I pity Gina, and dont want to see her living with 7 new cats, which is what would happen. Joe is already 1 cat away from full blown Crazy Old Lady status. And 3 cats past Questionable Heterosexuality status. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So I came up with a few options of my own devising:

1. Move. I gave this one serious consideration. I dont really love the house, per say. But how can i show the house when it has a courtyard infested with jungle and a jungle infested with jungle cats? Check and mate.

2. Attract some sort of Bird of Prey Look, its not that I want to kill the kittens. As such. I dont intend on, say, wrapping them in a sock and throwing them in the pond for instance. No indeed! But I always say Let Nature Take Its Course. But this is about as far as I got on this promising idea, because i have no idea how to go about producing much less training a hawk. Or eagle. Perhaps an owl? See I have no idea.

3. Call in an expert Simple enough in theory, but whom? Animal Control? What the hell is that anyway? I've heard the name, and maybe seen the truck, but i dont know crap about why you are allowed to call them. Clearly being ridiculed for needing guys with tranq rifles and snake poles to handle a clutch of cats was strongly in the offing. Pass.

So at this point, i had an epiphany. This wasnt just some simple act of zoology, this was 4th generation, low intensity, jungle warfare. This was something i know about! This is something I can handle! So my next batch of ideas:

4. Conventional Warfare The cats natural enemy- the Dog. Now many regular readers may find it ironic that back when i had my little 'mouse problem' i gave serious consideration to bringing a cat into to handle it. Hypocracy? Quite the opposite friends. It is nature at its naturalist-> mouse->cat->dog. After all, I figured if at some later date I am accosted by IT, i can always call upon a T-Rex.

5. Chemical Warfare Poison. NO I DIDNT POISON THE STUPID KITTENS. But im not going to say it didnt cross my mind. Briefly.

6. Infiltration Its simple, i produce a little saucer of milk, or cream, or whatever the fuck these things go on about, I make little cooing noises and crap, and when they get close i yank a pillowcase over their heads, drive them out into the middle of nowhere, and leave them for dead. Tempting, but there is no way in hell i am touching these things.

7. Agent Orange Finally, the one I actually settled on as my first least undesireable option. I went commando on the folliage. Julie pointed out that without the lush canopy, the critters probably wouldnt feel so at home, and might move on. This appealed to my 'i dont want to get arrested for animal cruelty' soft spot for the kittens. So I grabbed my John Locke hunting knife and did the most horrific hour of horticulture this block has even seen. I seriously went to town.

So that's where its at now. Once They heard the sound of me becoming a human weed wacker the cats bolted for safety, allowing me to mow down their home the old fashioned way. So that has worked so far, but i dont think for a moment this is anything more than a temporary respite. At some point they will lose their fear of crazy jungle man and return to their habitat. But i have another plan already formulated.

The essense of warfare:always be one step ahead of the cat.

Into the Bush part I
[ Oct 3, 2006 ]
vietnam_16.jpg I have an infestation. Julie detected it first- some manner of animal noise eminating from out the window of my house. So I looked, but i never saw much but an occasional streak of white or perhaps an ungodly call that no man ever uttered. But slowly I narrowed my field of search, and isolated the location to my courtyard. And so one night (well, day), I hitched up my hiking boots, put on my cowhide gloves, and ventured into the beasts ill-gotten lair. And there is was. Kitten.

So i beat a hasty retreat into the house, flipped off all the lights, sealed the doors and windows, poured all the dairy down the drain. For a few days I hunkered down, hoping against hope that the creature would decide to leave of its own accord.

But fate had other ideas.

And so that leads us to today. I was standing in my kitchen, sporting my castaway shorts and coconut bra t-shirt and listening to the Cisco cd, when i heard the sound. Only this time, it seemed amplified- like it was coming from all directions. If i closed my eyes i could almost hear voices in that infernal racket. And i dont think they liked me.

So after about 20 minutes of cowering in the corner, desperately hoping the neighbors didnt think less of me, I decided to have a peak. So I crept to the window, threw back the sash, and lo- Kittens. The first beast had brought back reinforcements to finish the job, that much was clear. And there to was what i can only assume was the mother. They swarmed about her, kinda like the Aliens around the Alien in Aliens. The slithered and slunk, some slipping away under the fence, other sliding back into my yard.

I should take a moment to explain my courtyard. I live in a single family house in what I like to consider the South South West West West side of Chicago, known as Romeoville. I have a little courtyard of my own, contained by a plastic fence about 8 feet high. There is also a gap of perhaps 8 inches between the ground and the bottom of the fence. This will come strongly into play later. A lot of people plant grass in their courtyards, or have patios, even hot tubs. I have 1/10th of an acre of out of control jungle rot. Think Platoon. Its probably a miracle i ever found the cats. At least before they sank their claws into me.

My iPod
[ Aug 20, 2006 ]
snakes.jpg 1. Snakes on a Plane (Bring It) - The Academy Is..., Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, , The Sounds
2. Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage [Tommie - Panic! at the Disco,
3. Black Mamba [Teddybears Remix] [Mix] - The Academy Is...
4. Ophidiophobia - Cee-Lo Green, Organized Noize,
5. Can't Take It [El Camino Prom Wagon Mix][Mix] - The All-American Rejects,
6. Queen of Apology [Patrick Stump Remix] [Mix] - The Sounds
7. Of All the Gin Joints in All the World [Tommie Sunshine's Brooklyn Fire - Fall Out Boy
8. New Friend Request [Hi-Tek Remix] [Mix] - Gym Class Heroes
9. Around the Horn [Louis XIV Remix] [Mix] - The Bronx
10. Remember to Feel Real [Machine Shop Remix] [Mix] - Armor for Sleep
11. Wine Red [Tommie Sunshine's Brooklyn Fire Retouch] [Mix] - The Hush Sound
12. Bruised [Remix] - Jack's Mannequin
13. Wake Up [Acoustic] - Coheed & Cambria,
14. Lovely Day - Donavon Frankenreiter
15. Hey Now Now - Michael Franti, Spearhead
16. Snakes on a Plane - The Theme - Trevor Rabin

I Predict a Riot- Kaiser Chiefs
Super Fire- Girls against Boys
Halo- The Cure (thx Julie)
This Modern Love- Bloc Party (Julie)
God's gonna cut you down- Johnny Cash (God)
Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
Red Dust- Calexico & Iron & Wine (Julie)

And most importantly be sure to check out:
Noodles with Teeth - Jenny's Midnight Screamatorium

[ Jul 19, 2006 ]
flaminghead.jpg Lots to cover, so i must be brief.

-We played a show at Castaways last Thursday for a tiny Johnny Cash and a lobster. Also for a birthday party that was regailed by Jay rewriting the birthday song in the form of experimental punk/jazz/brail fusion. Then I drank 10 Mai-tais and passed out in car on the way home.

-Show at Joe's on Saturday. Note to self- Christmas in July is not fun when it is 109 degrees. And thats in the air-conditioned bar. Crowd was O.O.C., but not amused with the Santa antics. Then I drank 10 jack and diets and passed out.

-Former TA keyboardist and always TA family member Steve Schmitty Schmister Schmit was married on Sunday on a mountain with lutes playing and flowers. Actually it was a really impressive wedding. Very very fun, particularly with Suge Knight on the lead vocals of the orchestra. Gine sat in for a lovely song and then Then Again played a quick one with 88 fingers himself tickling the ivorys. The most memorable part was Tank tuning the guys guitar and then the guy disgustedly trying to get it back out of tune to his satisfaction for another 20 minutes while his band played on. Strange night, a former professor of mine was the orchestras keyboardist. Weird. My lovely date Julie could barely keep her cloths on it was so off the fridge. Then I drank 10 whatever i could find sitting on the table that probably belonged to Joe and passed out.

Joe, Gine, Lady J and I are heading for Mexico tomorrow. Only this time, not one step ahead of the law (that i know of). I mention this only because it leads to another stupid story, a tie in, and a link.

So it may be difficult to believe, but i tend to burn up in the hot Mexican sun pretty easy. The sun is not my friend, mainly because im a nerdy little white guy that gets most of his Vitamin C from computer screens. So in the interest of me not laying on my stomach in the hotel room for days on end in sunburned agony, I came up with The Plan. The Plan consists of absolutely refusing to get any sort of base tan via laying out or going to a tan bed (also working out or dieting, but thats neither here nor there). Then, and here is the clever part, I simpy give up on a tan altogether and sop on the highest level SPF Infinity i can find, thwarting the sun's even plot to get me. This plan is surefire, but there is one needling problem- you ever see one of those transparent, jelly-like squids oozing around a beach chair poolside while you're trying to choke down a daquiri? I have not, basically because in my natural state, I am that squid. Its not appealing, and the glare can be dangerous to low flying planes toting signs that are telling me what to do. I am easily impressionable poolside.

This is when The Plan evolved, showing further the brilliance of the plan in its flexibility. Julie, being astonishly patient with me, decided we could go spray tanning so I could skip all the mysterious 'UV' radiation intent on bacofying me. Orange is better than transparent, and since my further plan (Plan B) involved trading up my drinking recepticle from a coconut to a pumpkin, this could work out nicely. So Julie went a day before me (i was scared having witnessed the episode of Friends where Ross kept getting blasted in the face- and he's a dinosaur guy which makes him smarter than me. but whinier) and told me The Process, which shall here-to-for be referred to as The Process subsidiary to The Plan (Plan A). Or just The Process.

So i went to the tanning place, and this is where reading HTTP:// came in handy. I thought i was mentally prepared for The Process, but in fact the girl at the desk immediately threw me off my game asking about Exfoliating , and Tan Extenders, Moisturizers, etc. It instantly hit me, i had unwittedly gotten myself into something Really Gay (not that there is anything wrong with that!). Now I bring him up because DMutt just got married, so he knows how to roll when your conversation suddenly veers into linens, napkins, complimentary hand lotion, etc. I, on the other hand, was taken completely aback and just had to wing it. Basically I pleaded ignorance and tried to follow the instructions even though i had no idea what she was talking about. If there had been (and there probably was now that i think about it) a camera in The Preparation Room, you basically would have seen my rubbing and scraping things and putting lotion on some parts but not others, oh, and mostly coming within inches of cracking my head open because like an idiot i put the white stuff on the bottom of my feet first and proceeded to go ice skating for a while.

Finally, I got to a point where I ran out of mysterious linaments to play with and decided it was time to enter The Chamber. This turned out to be a small booth with some dangerous looking nozzles and one bright green button. I fervantly prayed the same company that made the spray booth wasnt also making suicide booths, because this is the sort of thing i think about when im confronted with anything outside my comfort zone. Now part of The Process involves assuming various Kung Fu stances between blasts of The Fluid. Finally I worked up the nerve and pressed The Button and closed my eyes. There was a slight pause and then a click, and suddenly i was awash in a sea of sticky wet stuff (very funny) blasting me. Ok, I wont lie, it felt pretty good. This lasted for maybe 15 seconds, and then it was time to do a box step in the dark and assume the Eagles Beak Defense. And it blasted me for another 15 seconds. I had assumed the defensive postures were the operatives way of telling me i was going to be struck when my eyes were closed, not that i would once again almost crack my head open flailing around The Chamber blinded by The Mist. The Mist was another surprise, and it was everywhere. It was accompanied by a dull throbbing hum that led me to believe my time traveling adventures were about to begin, but alas when i opened the door back into The Preperation Room, The Mist did indeed roll out dramatically, but i was no further forward in time than I expected. The towelling off part of The Process was equally intricate, but ultimately anti-climactic.

The good news is, im now pretty orange and ready to go to Mexico. The bad news is I just told the world i went spray tanning.

Do these look like people who would do something wrong?
[ Jul 11, 2006 ]
meandjulie2.jpg I have to say, i'm getting a little nervous. Joe has disappeared, ostensively on a trip to Vegas with Frank the Hammer, the Monsignor, and Gardner and meeting up with WarHero88. I keep getting phone calls at all hours consisting of mocking laughter and incomprehensible jiberish I take to be some kind of imaginary code. Oh, and a message asking if there was a way to photo-shop Gardner out of all the pictures- that was all too real. Such a thing would make anyone uneasy, particularly someone as suspicious as myself. After all, just because you're paranoid doesnt mean everyone isnt against you.

Tank is either in hiding or protective custody . I take this to mean he is being sweated out under the lights by some shadowy government entity as i write this. No question he has flipped by now. Tank has never been one for not selling completely out under the slightest pressure. There's probably more skeletons coming to light than you'll see in that Keith Richards pirate documentary everyone is talking about.

Now that I think about it, everything is adding up. Aside from gigs, Jay never leaves his remote rural compound (which is right next to Art Bell's place). Jim lives a double life with multiple secret identities, Fred avoids being in the country as much as possible as a tax dodge, and Dario is homeless. These mother fuckers have bolted like rats from a sinking ship and left me holding the bag. Not this guy! Time to start burnin stuff.

The real problem is figuring out what not to admit to.

Back to the Blog, Part II
[ Jun 20, 2006 ]
zod_4_prez.jpg Then a lot of things didnt happen for a long time. Or at least they are all part of what I call 'black-out time', which can last for days and weeks.

Joe's: Saturday was Joes on Weed again. Now Joe's is our bread and butter, home away from home, favorite place in the world, but summer times are a little bit rough. The problem is there are a lot of street fests and baseball games and crap like that that tend to syphon off the less zealous TAiacs. This creates worry that the dream is finally dead, nobody loves TA anymore, and the only solution to that is to get even stupider than usual.

Many, many strange things happened on Saturday. Lets put it this way, the Jack-O-Meter was empty well before the encore. Thats disturbing on many... actually just one level. For those that witnessed Purple Rain, you dont need to be told how cool of a moment it was. Lets just say Jay offered the crowd waffles after thorougly trouncing them. Our boy Dave Mutnick was in attendence pimping his blog HTTP://www.STRAIGHTFROMTHEMUT.COM which basically details his own personal drinking problem. I highly recommend it. He asked the band to help pass out pink wrist bands with his website emblazoned on them. The fact that this basically ripped off Breast Cancer Awareness' campaign does not faze the Mut- but trust me, that man cares deeply about breasts and would never do anything to hurt them. I wore several dozen of the bands to show my solidarity and awesome fashion sense. Then the blood got cut off to my hand and i almost passed out.

After the show, the usual drunken antics ensued including trying to herd the TA cats to load the equipment lest David Allen Coe show up for his concert and decide to take shotgun practice on the gear. To little avail, I might add. A few drinks later, and I didnt care as much- let that hillbilly bring it on, I intended to battle him with my pink wristbands. Relics of androgeny are like kryptonite to crackers, or so I reasoned. I also vaguely recall watching my boys visiting from Vegas, Jimmy P, Hot Carl, and Woody, shamble about the bar like they owned the place. Carl somehow found a purple ice pop and was force feeding it to a questionably consenting Joes employee who shall remain nameless. I also recall giving really bad advice to any number of people ("Hey, dont worry about it, it's just a starter marriage") and I distinctly recall Tank, Gina, and I loading the trailer while Joe valiently held on to the ground.

Anyway, that pretty much sums things up for the moment. Tonight is Radiohead! Yes!

Back to the Blog, Part I
[ Jun 20, 2006 ]
meat.jpg Ok, i've finally been goaded by enough Then Againiacs (Then Againians? TAers? Total Alcoholics?) to post an update. Much has happened, believe you me, and much of it should never be spoken of for the good of everyone involved and civilization in general. But that has never stopped me before. There is much to cover, so lets get down to business.

Wedding in Indianapolis: I can't imagine showing up to a reception and spotting half a dozen guys in black pants and white dress shirts... all with their sleeves in various stages of ripped offedness. Oh and also one of them wearing multiple ties. There is probably a "Wedding Band for Dummies" book out there with all sorts of rules about 'decorum' and 'manners' and 'not getting way drunker than any of the guests', but apparenly nobody in TA reads anything besides legal briefs and barely legals. The reception was rapacious, devouring all manner of good taste and converting it into drunken hedonism at a rate that was frankly startling. I have no idea what that last sentence meant, but it had a lot of pretty words.

Regardless, fun was had by all but what developed next was even weirder. You see the hotel where everyone was staying had a piano in the lobby. Now, i'm not sure if the 'management' intended said piano to be used as the nexus of a 3am drunken after party/accoustic jam session, but if so they succeeded brilliantly. This all developed in careful stages:
Stage 1- determining if the folks at the desk not 20 feet away and in direct line of site were 'cool' with us hanging out in the lobby at 3am. They apparently were, or at least not so miffed as to actually call guards/cops/Homeland Security.
Stage 2- determining if hanging out in the lobby could be slightly enhanced with a case of beer. It worked.
Stage 3- determining if tinking on the piano while sucking down RBVs would provoke reaction. No problem.
Stage 4- Now comes the critical moment. Up to this point, cautious boundary testing was advised, but continuing in such a way would invite an attempt to set limits to our god given lobby blowout. Now was the time to go for broke, pull out accoustic guitars, invite as many staggling drunks returning to the hotel into our party as possible, and set up a little bar consisting soley of RBV and straight Jack. Amazingly, this flew.

The rest of the night consisted of blowing away wedding guests and various other hotel guests by apparently opening a cabaret in the lobby of a nice hotel in the part of the night where the only things that happen are very good or very bad. I swear to god at some point an Al Qaeda member cornered me and told me his life story in stunted English, including plans for 'a mission'. But no-one believes me. At some point we arrived in a situation where legitimate morning commerce was starting up (the sun clued us in) and it was silently decided to shut down the party. 3 hours of quality sleep and Joe and I were back up, fresh as a daisy, shooting the rest of the bottle of jack and pondering Zepelinizing the hotel room to thank them for their understanding. Something known as Buddy Bathtime may or may not have been pondered. And inacted. What? Why am i writing this? Nothing happened. Instead Tank, Fred, Joe, and I scuttled down to the restaurant and ordered up bloody marys. Now you must understand that Sundays in Indiana hold some religious significance, and at first we had trouble getting served. But with our guitars in tow and GPFCH perched firmly on my head, the hotel employees soon recognized us as the 'guys from the lobby last night' and decided to fuck the law and open the bar for us. They apparently heard good reviews from the night shift! I suspect the dozen or so fellow restaurant patrons fresh from church enjoying Sunday brunch were less impressed with our antics, particularly Tank loudly threatening to puke over the buffet. Well, you cant please everyone I guess.

Ars Moriendi
[ May 24, 2006 ]
empty.jpg April is the cruelist month? No, May is the cruelest month. Abounding with dashed hopes and broken dreams. Saturday began calmly enough, with the band arriving early to Joe's to get a good soundcheck in before the Carlos Mencia clones grabbed the stage for comedy night. First sign of trouble- no Kyle. Kyle for those who don't know is the stage manager and a good friend. Somehow he finally managed to work time off into his schedule without the club crashing down... I'm not kidding, Kyle is the man, he keeps the show on the road. One of his jobs is keeping the band's libations at the prescribed levels. This is akin to being an anesthesiologist. Too much and Tank is puking in the alley and Joe loses a fistfight with a barstool. Too little the patient wakes up during surgery... ie TA becomes the proverbial cartoon characters who are running in mid-air and inadviseably look down. Thats not pretty either. Kyle was replaced by a new guy who's name may or may not have been Eric (well, if it was Eric it likely still is, I grant you that). He did a fine job, but thats not the point. Change was in the air. Not too mention that WarHero 88/Glory Daze the ultimate roadie was present to add to the impending mayhem.

Second check, Tank has a new ridiculously rare and expensive amp made by Nazi refugees living in Argentina I believe. I was under the impression that all it could play was Flight of the Valkyrees but that may have been a misconception. Now if there is anything I know about a new piece of Tank's equipment, its that it will A. Be heavier and B.Be louder. These two concepts seem to be connected somehow. Modern Public Address was invented by the Nazis, so I suppose its to be expected that the new rig faithfully reproduced a Messerschmitt Me-262 taking off. Tank combatted this with the questionable logic of sticking tiny loudspeakers centimeters from his eardrums and connecting them to 'R2'.

Third hurdle of the day was me having to go lose a hockey game at 7pm because only 9 skaters showed up and one of them let his wrist get slit open by a skate in the first period and had to be rushed to the emergency room. The nerve. For anyone that hasnt double shifted a whole hockey game, its not much fun. If you're 18 or a marathon runner, its no big deal. If your an out of shape 30 year old who sweats jack daniels and takes 3 shifts just to cough all the second hand smoke out of his lungs, its not a great idea.

Fortunately things turned around come about show time. Janice (from Joe's) was totally lit which was a sight to behold, and Emily just graduated (also totally lit it turns out). Lots of drunken antics. Show went fine and afterwards I managed to get some drinks into an oddly relunctant Tank and explain to him it was my self imposed roll in life to hold an RBV over his head and whisper 'memento mori', and there is nothing he can do about it. I then vaguely recall Tank screaming at Yurgi. That pretty much wrapped up the night, aside from a quick jaunt to the grocery store before bed to buy ice cream bars and prophylactics, which also seems to surprise the 70 year old women working there at 7 in the morning (no maam, im not on my way to church).

Definitions (IE, how to be 'cool' like Then Again)
[ Apr 4, 2006 ]
cowboys.jpg Glossary of Terms:

Amytron: Joe's robot girlfriend he built from spare parts of other robot ladies and an industrial vacuum cleaner. She chews tires like licorice.

Airplane Bottle: A 5th of Jack Daniels, only appropriate for short flights.

Alley Bar: Where you left your 3rd and 4th credit cards.

Asian Assassin: Lyrical poet from Northern Illinois University. Arguably the greatest rapper in the history of the world. Hits such as 'Alcohol Time' and 'Shady Women'.

Battle Axe: The correct size of Jack Daniels- as opposed to Airplane Bottle.

The Big Bite: This is the finest dish on the Joe's menu. Well, not on the menu. 26,450 calories and 900 grams of fat. But lots of carbs.

Buddies and Jokes: Buddies are for fun havin and jokes. Jokes are for buddies and havin laughs and good times. I love jokes.

Burrito Place: Some joint inordinately far away that Tank insists on going to even though it means passing 10 other burrito places and waiting in line. Bullshit.

Captain S.N.A.C.K.: Major super-hero worshipped by TA. Has the power to battle hunger. Sidekick: Napboy. Arch-Enemy: Old Salty.

Cases: The things you put equipment in. But no matter the cost or quality, they are total crap if they arent built by two hillbillies from Southern Illinois who incorporate reinforced steel beams, military strength rebar, and thermal reentry tiles. Revis.

The Cat's Meow: Joe's custom designed bass which incorporates some 37 strings and a chicken bone.

Cement Factory: An ideal place to Start Over. Demand the lowest entry level position available. Deny being overqualified. Rent a room above the local greasy spoon.

Circle Bar: Where you left your second credit card.

Crazy: Man, you all's crazy.

Dead to Me: You have somehow angered the Tank. This quote comes to mind "Fredo, you're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, you're not a friend. I don't want to know you or what you do. I don't want to see you at the hotels, I don't want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won't be there. You understand?" If the Tank says this to you, and then asks you to go fishing, avoid at all costs.

Desert, the: Mainly a state of mind. Very important for several reasons: 1. easy place to dispose of 'accidents' 2. where The Snake resides 3. where Las Vegas is located. And Old Mexico.

Dumpster: Another good place to Start Over. Try to find several in a row to house your friends. Many of the best ones are occupied, so excercise caution.

Dusty Russle: A treat made by Fred with the help of Betty Crocker and a coke mule.

DWF, the: The Drunken Wrestling Federation.

El Fantastico: Infamous Mexican wrestler. Translated to English: The Fantastico.

Egg Tree, The: U2's new project dedicated to growing enough eggtrees to feed the world and selling enough new albums to buy it.

Falco's: Last stop on the TA train. Via con pizza.

Farmhouse Massacre: This occurs the night that the decision is made to 'start over' and get jobs at the cement factory. Allegedly.

Fetch 'Chete: You look dirty. Maybe you need a Nicaraguan Shower?

Fridge: Tank's ridiculously overpriced rack-mounted guitar effects that never work properly.

Front Bar: Where you left your first credit card.

Funnin: Jokes, buddies, all about fun havin.

Gig: That which pays for booze.

Green Room: Imaginations run wild about all the shananigans and goings on in bands Green Rooms. Maybe Hairbangers or M&J have a constant Studio 54 rockin in their Green Rooms, but T.A. almost uniformly consists of a bunch of dudes fighting over chicken strips, sleeping, butchering Over the Hills and Far Away on an accoustic, and/or watching really Important Sports on the tv. The dream is dead.

GPFCH: Giant Pink Foam Cowboy Hat. Speaks for itself.

Helmut Gold: The most precious substance in the universe. Its atomic number is infinity, that's how rare it is. Now if you can record to it you're on to something.

Hightower: Very, very large individual who is perplexed by cracker ass crackers who elect to move his vehicle by picking it up and moving it by brute force. This situation involves Tank running away in fear squeeling like a little girl. War Hero 88 stands his ground.

Hippies: You know what a fucking hippy is. Dirty treehugging stinkers. See Side Street Saloon.

Hockey Bar: Hang out here whether or not you have just played hockey.

Horse Apple: Eat here when the sun is coming up and you havent slithered home yet. Order the most expensive dish. Eat nothing, but destroy your food. Try to order the waitresses teeth. Do not engage the local WW2 vets in conversation about catching syphalis at Palermo.

Insane Llama: Famous Luchador that occasionally sits in on bass.

Intervention: A surprise party where all your friends and family try to ruin your life. Has to be done while you are sober so try not to let that happen. See: Rehab.

Jager Bombs: Combines well with RBV. This is usually the point where things get hazy and awesome.

Joe's Dad's Basement: A land of mystery, history, and yellow.

Joe's on Weed: Home.

Mr. Tan: Another major super-hero. Since being exposed to mysterious "U.V." radiation, Mr Tan has the power of a neverending tan. His alter identity doesnt wear sunglasses, the perfect disguise. Arch-Nemesis: SPF Infinity.

Nicaraguan Shower: Similar to the Columbian Necktie- the victim is made to "fetch 'Chete", after which his hand is hacked off and he must hold the arterial blood squirting out over himself and wash with the remaining hand.

Pot of Gold: That which comes out when you kick a leprichaun in the ass. Also Bono's greatest obsession outside of feeding the oppressed with the Eggtree.

Old Salty: The S.N.A.C.K. Crusader's mortal enemy. He was once a pirate but got kicked off because everytime he touches water he soaks it up. Thats what happened to the other Atlantic Ocean, OS fell in. Now he is bitter because he cant be a pirate and takes it by oversalting delicious munchables. And murder.

Ponies: Beers shrunken down to novelty size.

Rehab: A vacation. But a vacation in Harvard Illinois. In other words, one of the circles of hell.

Redrunkening: That feeling where you wake up woozy and have one sip of alcohol, suddenly you are wasted again.

Rider: The list of unreasonable demands submitted by a band to a venue. Most bands' riders consist of things like bottled water, towels, fruit, a brandy glass of brown m&m's, etc. To my knowledge T.A.s rider has never in its history contained anything but booze.

Ride the Snake: A binge of drunken hedonism lasting for days, months, or years. Ideally carried out in the desert or anywhere else.

Ridin' The Wind:Is what I do. Buddy.

RBV: Red Bull and Vodka. Ketle One being the vodka of choice. Make friends with it.

Road, The: Out there man. Doin it, living it, layin it all on the line. Life on The Road is known to be Tough.

R2: Heavy, rectangular peice of gear never having been known to accomplish any useful function.

Side Street Saloon: We used to hang out there until it was infested with hippies. High probability of a Level V Drum Circle breaking out.

The Snake: The noncorporal entity that must be both appeased and angered by riding him in a drunken and irresponsible manner. Warning: The Snake is long. 7 miles.

Sports: Really important Sports are happening all the time. It doesnt matter who wins, because just the good natured spirit of competition means we're all winners just for having played/watched/not watched but thought briefly about. Go Sports!

Song: That which is created by Tube.

Starting Over: Sell the house, sell the cars, sell the kids. Never go home. Basically stopping wherever you happen to be and aquiring the most mundane job possible. See: Cement Factory

The Teapot Dome Scandal:Political scandal circa 1922 involving oil wells, bribery, conspiracy, and a stone cool groove.

Tube: That which creates Song.

Wake and Bake: Thought you had me, didnt you hippy? Stay off the grass kid. And get a haircut.

VIP Bar: Where you complain loudly someone stole all your credit cards.

VIPS:Soveriegn nation located adjacent to Joe's on Weed. Population: 184. Native currency- The Stripperbuck. Major exports: %$#^&.

Yellow:Its wet, its yellow, and its almost ready for shot time.

Cost of eternal Glory $160 + tax Part II
[ Mar 27, 2006 ]
towyard.jpg -continued

We decided to leave the hockey bar shortly after we were tossed out. Being a responsible citizen i decided to leave my car at Johnies. This would have serious repurcussions later on. By some strange chance everyone ended up at Joe's (on Weed for those who havent been paying attention).

Drinks flowed, bands played, fun was had. Thanks again to all our friends from Joes for babysitting us: Kyle, Janice, Bob, everyone else. Tank was busy lighting 6 cigarettes similtaneously when a stranger approached and asked for one. Tank replied he had none to spare. Later Tank poured a candle full of wax over the pizza he had ordered. Joe was trying to close out his tab with Bob and couldnt manage to perform simple math, so he tipped him with a drawing of some eyeballs. Classy. Gina talked to her cousin while Julie and I made lovey-dovey faces at each other and rocked out to the frat band in the front room, which i dubbed Then Again c. 1998.

Eventually everyone faded off into their respective dumpsters to pass out. Joe and Gina agreed to meet Julie and I for breakfast (i enjoyed the greek omelette) which took about 4 hours between Joe not being able to find parking and our waiter not being able to find our table. Joe then drove us back to Johnnys to retrieve my jeep and Gina's truck. Aha! They were gone. Towed away by the forces of evil.

Further investigation led us to locate some tiny posters plastered to the local folliage announcing no parking on Madison for the next couple days due to snow removal. The fact that it was 50 degrees and sunny tickled something in the back of my head vaguely akin to skepticism. A short (not that short actually) time later we managed to prise the location of the tow yard from a progression of government buearocrats. Few seemed concerned with our plite.

Eventually we made our way to a grim looking yard on the West Side where the howls of coyotes and lost lost souls echoed through the wasteland of broken cars and broken dreams. Steel gates greeted our arrival and we were ushered uncerimoniously down a wooden gang plank to a door that i could only assume contained the killing floor. Just then a familiar silloutte appeared on the other side of the fence. Mocking laughter rang out and my heart leapt as panic gripped me. What manner of creature dwelt amongst the rust heaps and tire fires that could possibly recognize me, clueless surburban white boy that i am? But it was just Tank, come to reclaim his vehicle unjustly confiscated by The Man.

The mindnumbing beaurocratic processing that came next is hardly necessary to describe. My only saving grace was that everything i was forced to go through including the cavity search was nothing compared to what Gina and Tank were forced to deal with, respectively.

Let me break this down for you in case you ever find yourself 'on the other side'. Tank didnt have a city sticker (plus he's Canadian raised Jewish), Gina's drivers license was locked in her car (and she's a woman), and I didnt know what my licence plate number was (white American male). I paid my 160 and skipped out of the processing facility relatively painlessly assuring the 'operatives' that i knew my car and it knew me, everything would be fine. Tank was forced by some incomprehensible ritual to pay a tow truck driver 50 bucks to drag his car 30 feet in order to be in compliance with something or other. Im not kidding. I witnessed Gina's ordeal. Being unable to prove her identity, the Patriot Act apparently rendered her persona non grata and bereft of any rights under the Constitution, UN charter, or any Geneva Convention. She was forced to wait in 'the yard' until a scuffy operative clad in overalls and dejection and driving a barely mobile Grand Marque circa 1988 drove her and a few other unfortunates in a circuit of the less savory areas of The Yard. The post-apocalyptic landscape was highly reminiscent of any Mad Max movie, and i could only hope the Marque wasnt to be ambushed by mutants during its travels and forced into some sort of Deathrace and/or nomadic caravan carrying off the women to repopulate the tow yard. Why you ask? Because those without Papers cant be trusted alone in The Yard. Apparently unless they drive the Marquee, are a mutant, or can produce a drivers license, none are allowed in The Yard. Crack security indeed.

I turned my attention back to my own ordeal (it occured to me i might not be the lucky one when i found myself halfway through The Yard alone). Only a quick trigger finger, a crazy look in my eyes (see part 1, paragraph 1), and a gift for bartering with mutants (sorry sis!) allowed me to survive to reach my vehicle. My jeep appeared in working condition, and once i made it roar to life the locals scattered in awe. I made my escape with an air of glee, knowing full well the tables had turned and that these government thugs and rejects from Day of the Dead had no way to cope with a thousand pounds of 6 cylender fury. I spun my wheels kicking up a dust storm and raced by the Grand Marque, giving a calous wave to Gina and the other unfortunates and a steely challenge to the scruffy driver. The gates shuddered open under protest but clearly wanted nothing to do with me, revelling in my glory.

I escaped The Yard, though some peice of me i think never will. Julie met me on the other side, her eyes bright with relief and awe. Joe was there as well, his hands gripping the outside of the bars as he stood on his tip toes peering futily between the heeps of derelict vehicles. I could only offer him an indifferent shrug as Julie and I motored off into the sunset, twin jeeps racing through the streets with the wind whipping through our hair. Fortune smiled on me that day. Better, perhaps, had the ordeal never occurred, but a small price to pay for eternal C2 West glory.


The price of eternal glory: 160$ plus tax. Part I
[ Mar 27, 2006 ]
hellfish_team2.jpg Saturday was a big day. My hockey team was in the Championship Game saturday night, and Joe and Tank's team was in their Championship immediately before. Why am i on a different team you ask? That will become readilly apparent.

Some nights have trouble written all over them, and this one foot the bill. The first ill omen was the fact that i had to cancel out of a work related function to play hockey. This is always difficult to explain, but happily when you look a coworker in the eye and tell them you can't do something because you're going to be playing in a championship ice hockey game there just isnt much they can say. The trick is not to blink- that makes people deeply uneasy on some primordial level.

Strike two was the fact that Tank at the last possible moment got the governors call and was reprieved from spousal obligations for the evening. This was unexpected in the same sense that it is unexpected when you are cruising along to work without a care in the world and suddenly it occurs to you that you are still a bit drunk and havent been home much less showered from the previous night (at least). These concepts are actually intertwined more often than i care to admit.

Long story short, Tank and Joe got humiliated while my team delivered. C2 West championship gold and another mug for the mantlepeice. Quick shower and up to the bar to find Tank already wasted and decrying the state of todays hockey, Joe drawing tatoos of beasts that never were for anyone that wanted them (or not), Gina sucking down vodka like the Stoley mines had run dry, and Julie with a stunned look of incomprehension at the scope of it all. In other words, the usual hockey bar.

At this point, responsible friends would have made made their way over to Club's to celebrate his birthday. We apparently are not such. My team insisted on me drinking a dozen RBVs out of my newly minted championship mug (i believe this to be true) while Tank fed me jagar bombs that technically belonged to Joe because he won them in a bet, the stakes of which are almost certainly illegal but unquestionably hot. It really didnt matter as i had been putting all my drinks on Tanks tab anyway. It was the least he could do.

-continued in Part II

Top 5 Reasons:
[ Mar 9, 2006 ]
Pleasing Betty's Debut album cost $1.6 million dollars to record:

5.Jack Daniels budget projections exceeded by 834%.
4.Fred demanding hermetically sealed, hypoallergenic control room and 26 cats wandering live room. For ambiance.
3.Tank only allows vintage microphones built by Nazi rocket designers near his rig. But only Nazis that were later captured by Soviets. The ones the Americans got were shit.
2.Apparenly you are supposed to write the songs before you are paying 500 dollars an hour for studio time.
1.Helmet Gold.

More to come
[ Mar 6, 2006 ]
My 30th B-day party was Saturday night. Much fun was had. I will divulge more details later.
Here is a quote from severly drunken Joe futiley trying to hook up a DVD player:

Gina, you have to understand that I will destroy this thing.

[ Feb 28, 2006 ]
I found this website designed to help 'crackers' like myself and Then Again... well mostly like Then Again... translate rap lyrics. Here are a few examples:

Artist: Notorious B.I.G.
Album: Ready to Die
Song: One more chance (remix)


And my jam knock in the Mitsubishi
Girls pee pee when they see me, Nava-hoes creep me in they tee pee
As I lay down laws like I lay carpet
Stop it - if you think your gonna make a profit


I enjoy playing my music loudly on my car stereo. Apparently, women enjoy this also because they become sexually aroused when they see me driving. Oddly enough, when I visit the Native American reservations, some of the more sexually promiscuous Indian women attempt to seduce me in their homes. Their intent is to divest me of my earnings. Such actions are unacceptable.


High fashion - flyin’ into all states.
Sexin’ me while your man masturbates.
Isn’t this great? Your flight leaves at eight.
Her flight lands at nine, my game just rewinds.
Lyrically I’m supposed to represent.
I’m not only the client, I’m the player president


You will be dressed in finest clothes on the runways of Paris. I will fly you to every state to shop for fine clothes and jewelry. You will enjoy sexual intercourse with me and your man will be forced to pleasure himself through manual stimulation. What a life! I’ll return you to LaGuardia in time to catch your 8 o’clock flight. The timing is perfect because I have scheduled a date with a second woman who arrives at the same gate at 9 o’clock. I’ll seduce her in the same way that I seduced you. I rap well and I am a positive reflection of my home town. Not only am I a sexually deviant, misogynistic, immoral, wealthy, male prostitute, but I also sit on the board of directors of the organization that governs others of my kind.

Thats no doll
[ Feb 24, 2006 ]
180px_Razor_Ramon.jpg That happens to be an official Scott Hall Action Figure. It also doubles as the angel on my Christmas tree, commemorating Razor Ramon's victory in the classic ladder match against Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinetal Championship at WrestleMania X.


Nobody likes Geoff
[ Feb 23, 2006 ]
geoff.jpg I just had a disturbing suspicion that Geoff has been secretly billing me for his time.

*i also have the feeling he's been editing my blog for his own twisted ends.

I wore the mask
[ Feb 14, 2006 ]
Saturday: Masked Ball was out of control. Thats all i have to say about that. Afterwards I vaguely remember being at Joe's on Weed too drunk to speak (after a long Joe's hiatus. Apologies. Apologies, all around.) I also remember carrying Joe out (again) and luckily we had Dario to take us to our hotel. Then i remember waking up and seeing Joe on the floor. Apparently he either made it that far on his own (and no farther) or i dropped him there. Agree to disagree. Anyway, i woke up with a huge headache feeling like hell warmed over. Joe, ironically, was in much better shape and managed to shepherd me down to the omelette/bloody mary bar downstairs which probably saved my life. Slowly we revived ourselves with bloodies and breakfast (Joe went with Denver, I opted for Greek)(very funny, i meant the omelette). Apprently all the alcohol wasnt out of our systems because we managed to redrunken ourselves accidently before we went to load the gear out of the venue. The good news is we ran into our friend Jenna (co-chair of the Masked Ball) at the bloody mary bar doing the same thing. So it must have been a good idea after all.

No idea what happened to the rest of the band.*
A mega-crossover with multiple variant covers will likely be required to find them again.

*actually Fred came and helped us the next morning.

Cats and dogs living together
[ Feb 10, 2006 ]
Ever see that Twilight Zone episode where the guy goes to sleep on a plane and he wakes up the world is all different and scary? Actually you havent because i made that one up. Much like 60 minutes reporting, the premise may be entirely false but the implications are too important to ignore.

But I digress.

Anyway, I just got back from a 'business trip' to Orlando (dwarf punching, it turns out, is not tax deductable) and although at first glance everything seems the same, there is an insideous undertone of change in everything around me. Disturbing change.
I feel it in the air. I taste it in the water.

Exhibit A: Once upon a time the Blogs/guest book could expect a good story of Tank/Tiger/EB debauchery at least once a week, generally involving good natured harrassment of Joes employees and/or hippy wompings. I come back from my trip, and what do i find? Pictures of puppies and kitties. You've got to be f'ing me. Something is dangerously amiss.

Exhibit B: Very occasionally, Then Again will come together in Joe's Dad's basement for a rare and arcane ceremony wherein band members will stand near their respective instruments (usually) and argue for 3 hours before polishing off whatever fermented liquid is in the vicinity and going home.
[another digression: after WW2, a certain tribe of natives on a remote Pacific island used as a US airbase decided they wanted the big planes to come back, delivering all sorts of goodies the islanders had no other access to. Logically they cleared the runway, built a control tower out of bamboo, and put a little man inside with headphones made of twigs. They completed the ritual flawlessly, just as the Americans had done it, yet the planes never returned. This sort of almost logical yet inherently flawed response was nicknamed 'Cult Cargo Science'. Ie, repeating an unproven practice expecting different results]
Ahem. Anyway, when i checked my email this morning, what do I find but a glowing recap of band practice. New songs learned (no i wont tell you what they are), parts worked out, everybody happy. Disgusting. And worrisome.

The problem is, its only 10:00 am. Could be a long day.

More on the Impaler
[ Feb 3, 2006 ]
Jonathon_Face.jpg Having set Then Again's crack research team is search of more information on Governatorial candidate and vampire, Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey, I can now report back with some specific beliefs and initiatives of the candidate. Lyrics for the weeks show will have to wait.

Quotes from The Impaler regarding his platform:

-"I despise and hate the Christian God the Father. He is my enemy."

-"I co-own two Covens: Kat's UnderWorld Coven and J & J's UnderWorld Coven of Minnesota, along with a Luciferian Church: The Church of the Followers of Lucifer. The members of the Covens are: Vampires, Witches, Pagans, Wi cans, Satanists, Demons and Other Kin. I preach about unity and protecting the US Constitution, and all the beliefs our Founding Fathers fought and died for."

-"Any Terrorist who is caught in Minnesota while I am Governor, will find out what the true meaning of my nickname 'The Impaler' means. Right in front of our State Capital. Then Fed’s can take the terrorist’s body from the impaling stake. "

-"I will not deny or try to cover the fact that in 2008, I am running for the presidency."

Some personal history from The Impaler

-Born April 2nd, 1964.

-"My mother was a practicing Hecate Witch, and my father's bloodline is from Transylvanian Vampyres."

-Married 1985, first child born June 1986.

-"On 26 Oct 86, when my grandmother died, I developed a deep hatred towards God The Father. 3-weeks after I threw my first wife and son out."

-Married a different woman 9 days later.

-"So, 4-months after marrying her, I chose Matthew over her, and threw her out."

-Appears to believe the song War, What is it Good For? was written by Bruce Springsteen. Weird.

Support this candidate
[ Feb 1, 2006 ]
Jonathon_Swords_A.jpg Normally I dont endorse political candidates publically, but today I have to make an exception.

Jonathan 'The Impaler' Sharkey is running for governor of the great state of Minnesota, looking to fill the lofty shoes of such luminaries as Jessie 'The Mind' Ventura... and a lot of other guys i've never heard of. If elected, Sharkey would become Minnesota's first vampire governor. As far as we know.
Carrying the banner of the Vampires, Witches and Pagans Party, Sharkey's platform is simple: crime prevention through just punishment, specifically a proposal to "use impalement to execute murderers, rapists and terrorists".

"As governor," Sharkey said, "terrorists and criminals will live in fear of me, while the people of this state will be able to live fear free."
(emphasis mine)

Bravo sir. I encourage everyone to vote in the Minnesota Governors Race. And dont forget to vote 'Impaler'.

Public Notice
[ Jan 30, 2006 ]
Im off the market. That is all.

In Memorium
[ Jan 23, 2006 ]
Emperor_norton_grave.jpg Let us all take a moment to remember the life, death, and glorious reign of America's first, last, and only Monarch, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico. A visionary, a gentleman, and a most just and righteous soveriegn, Emperor Norton I lives on in the hearts of all true Americans (and Mexicans).

Noteable achievements:
-September 17, 1859: Summarily proclaimed himself "Emperor of These United States" in a letter to local newspapers:
At the pre-emptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last nine years and ten months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself the Emperor of These United States.

-Oct 12, 1859: Ordered the Congress of the United States dissolved.

-Oct 1, 1860: Barred Congress from meeting in Washington DC.

-January 1860: Ordered the US army to disperse Congress.

-January 21, 1867: An overzealous Patrol Special Officer, Armand Barbier, arrested His Majesty Norton I for involuntary treatment of a mental disorder and thereby created a major civic uproar. Police Chief Patrick Crowley apologized to His Majesty and ordered him released. Several scathing newspaper editorials followed the arrest. All police officers began to salute His Majesty when he passed them on the street.

-August 1, 1870 – Norton I was listed by the Census taker with the occupation of “emperor,” living at 624 Commercial St.

-Sept 17, 1872: Issued instructions for a suspension bridge to span San Francisco Bay, completed in 1936. Also ordered the arrest of the Board of Supervisors for ignoring his decrees.

-January 10, 1880: Norton I buried at Masonic Cemetery. The funeral cortege was two miles long. 10,000 people turned out for the funeral.

Why ima shoot Fred
[ Jan 18, 2006 ]
2246286.jpg I be tossin, enforcin, my style is awesome
I'm causin more Family Feud's than Richard Dawson
And the survey said -- ya dead
Fatal Flying Guillotine chops off your fuckin head

And if you want beef, then bring the ruckus
Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuttin ta fuck with
Straight from the motherfucking slums that's busted
Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuttin ta fuck with

Standard Monday Disclaimer
[ Jan 9, 2006 ]
jackthro.jpg Saturday night was a little drunky. Thanks to everyone that treated Tank and I so nicely at Joe's despite the fact we were a little woobly after our post-hockey game bout with a bottle of ketle and case of red bull. The truth is we had spent hours searching for the Identity Theft show in Villa Park and wandered into a likely place for directions, turns out it was Joe's on Weed. Then Gine left me a nasty voice mail attacking my hair. That hurt.

NYE recap
[ Jan 3, 2006 ]
tmhiggins1.jpg Wow. Once again New Years Eve defies conventional wisdom and actually lives up to expectations. And then some. Well, since my memory is completely disjointed and full of gaps, let me just list the things i do remember vividly.

-Starting the show before 10pm. That in itself is just odd. My biological clock still hasnt recovered. But it is still ticking.

-Giant pink foam cowboy hat made its triumphant return.

-Jay got angry at Joe-, murderously jealous of his rad bass playing chops, and decided to punch him as hard as possible. Joe, using the cat-like reflexes he is famous for, made the ultimate sacrifice by flinging his bass guitar in the way- thereby risking the show to save himself potential discomfort. This managed to knock the bass a step and a half out of tune, ruining the song but saving Joe from a nasty bruise. It also made Jay's hand bleed like a stuffed pig, which he deftly wrapped in a dirty bar rag to staunch the bloodflow. In his light headed condition he decided against hurling the rag into rabid the crowd, cruely denying some lucky fan a one of a kind souvenir.

- Fred (Frank) gutted out the night despite 3 crushed vertebre. He refused muscle relaxants that would have made drumming preposterous but would have led to wacky hijinks as he stumbled about the stage and crashed into his own kit. Selfish.

- Janice the bartendress took pity and kissed me at midnight. On the lips. Yeh, thats right.

- Everything gets real fuzzy for the next 2 hours or so, probably due to having 30 shots shoved at me in a 5 minute period. Apparently the show finished but i cant swear to it.

- Many RBVs and YBs post show. I recall watching Tank leaving with his wife, then turning back to the bar and finding him standing next to me. I believe there may be a cyborg impersonator involved.

- Left at some point, checked into hotel wearing Giant Pink Foam Cowboy Hat (GPFCH). Joe tried to order a movie and was denied. Called desk and argued that "ACDC looks pretty good, lets get that going". Recall this is 2 minutes after checking into hotel at 5 in the morning wearing GPFCH and toting champaign. Rubber sheets never arrived.

- Returned to bar about 11am to pack up equipment. Oh yeh, we forgot to do that. Bartendress Erin apparently decided to get us drunk again. Bloody Marys and Pilsners, it didnt take much. /12 hour drinking binge.

- Found out Jay pimped me out for a Tom Selleck poster. Fair enough.

Im out.
[ Dec 22, 2005 ]
I actually quit 6 months ago but nobody could tell the difference.

New Bass Player
[ Dec 21, 2005 ]
gardner.jpg You know how they say 'You Dont Know What Ya Got, Till Its Gone? (and as always, when I say 'they' i mean Cinderella)? Well in this case its doubly true. I had actually forgotten Joe was in the band. Its ironic, Tank and I were at the Hockey Bar last night discussing how f'ing sweet our lives are, when a well wisher asked where 'Joe' was. This took us much aback as we had to spend precious brain power figuring out who they were talking about. Tank was little help. He just kept lifting his head off the bar and saying "WHAT?! Dead to me." But it turns out we used to know him.

Well, the good news is Gardner is in and Joe is pursuing a lifestyle devoted to... well, whatever the hell it is he does. Probably something in gun repair or hotel management. This actually makes my life easier. I've worked with Gardner before, and managing his bass sound is actually pretty straightforward. After much experimentation, i found that the most pleasant results were achieved by activating the Mute button. Piece of cake, no need to EQ. So i've got that going for me. Which is nice.

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