Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Men's Recovery Project ;or "How To Deeply Concern Friends And Alienate People."

It's been awhile and i have much to share.. Firstly, if you're reading this it should be fairly obvious that i am not dead.
You see, about a month ago a had made a very desperate and stupid mistake which; if you've been reading this blog thingy should be very obvious and therefore shall go unexplained. That said, it has set off a chain reaction of events in my life both positive and negative. Some people are concerned for my well being, while those i've alienated in my blind anger and stupidity furrow their brows at mention of my name. Which is Steven. However as I've learned in the last two weeks, I must be accountable for the mistakes that I have made. And there's a lot of them.
No longer able to keep up with a long distance relationship, i left my girlfriend of one year. Too much time spent up in my head has driven me close to the edge. Within no time she immediately picked up what ever she could find. Gee, i didn't see that one coming. Shortly after that, a friend who has recently moved to Athens found me laying on the floor of my room. He woke me up and said; "this is no good. Do you want to come to a meeting?" I knew what he meant. I said yes. After staying a day or so with him and his girlfriend, i knuckled down and went to my first Narcotics Anonymous meeting.
I was a bit scared at first, but finally in a room of 55 other people i said: "hello, my name is Steven and i am an addict." The attendees were warm and receptive, and i realized that i was in a room of fuckups just like myself. And it was far from the bible-thumping rhetoric i had heard horror stories about.
It has given me insight- I've since disavowed drug connections, I've deleted their names from my phone and I even pass on grass. I've stopped drinking whiskey and gone back to beer. But i have to scale myself back gradually- any person who has done this knows that it never happens overnight, but I've found that many of the people who have never had to take this measure with their lives do expect this. Expectations are premeditated resentment. I told my friend it may be a while before I give up drinking. He told me; "I don't expect you to stop. That's up to you when you can do it."
The other day i drank a six pack of beer. That's it. This from a man who can drink almost a liter of bourbon in a night. Today I've had nothing at all and as I sat in a meeting this morning, I shook and gritted my teeth. I can't move too fast, and the only people who understand this are other addicts like me. I'm shaking as i write this and the only thing on my mind is a cold beer, a cigarette and some sunshine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meatloaf And I.

I was nineteen and living in Ashford, Connecticut. There's nothing in Ashford but a gas station and the Ku Klux Klan. Being a young punk rocker with pink hair and spikey wrist bands, i couldn't get a job at the gas station and i sure as shit wanted nothing to do with the Klan so i spent my time in the next town over
Storrs is the home of the University Of Connecticut. It was here where i would drop acid with puppetry majors, hang out with a crazy ex-navy seal at a pizza restaurant watching re-runs of the Simpsons, preen over GG Allin records at the local music store and lurk outside of the Store 24 bumming cigarettes and change.
One spring day i was sitting in front of this terrible collegiate bar called "Husky Blues," reading a few 25 cent comic books and trying to get a smoke off of whoever ventured into the bar. Then he came like a bat out of hell.
A motorcycle roared into the back parking lot, about ten feet where i sat propped against the wall. A largish man dismounted and removed his helmet, politely nodded to me and walked inside. He had an air of charisma about him, but at the time i thought nothing of it. I was some dirty punk on the street and this guy was probably a bartender or a professor. I went back to reading Ninja High School.
After about a beer's worth of time, the bar door opened and our ghost rider steps out into the balmy air and surveys the desolate parking lot before settling his gaze upon me. with a perplexed look, he asked me; "are you in a band that's playing here tonight?"
Tickled that he recognized me as a musician (i was in a band called Projectile Vomit at the time,) i coyly answered "no". Then he gave a disgruntled shrug towards the bar and said, "well that's good, because honestly, the looks they gave me in there i can guarantee they're definitely not going to like your ass in there."
We both laughed, and he asked me what i was reading. I showed this charming man my comic books which he thumbed through while fishing a Marlboro red out of the breast pocket of his leather jacket and i asked him if i could have one, to which he graciously answered; "Of Course."
He light my cigarette and saddled up his pony before saying "have a good day" and taking off. I smoked down to the filter and made my way back to Ashford without really thinking about anything besides getting down with a few puffs of mary jane and drinking some orange juice.
Flash forward one month later. My girlfriend Rachael and i were big fans of VH-1's "Behind The Music" series. We watched it all the time. This time the focus was on Meatloaf. The second the camera showed a current interview with Mr. Loaf, my mind imploded. It was HIM. The man on the motorcycle who leafed through comics with me and graciously bummed me a cigarette before hauling ass into the spring afternoon. Fucking Meatloaf. Adding to this, VH-1 reported that he lived in Hebron, Connecticut and enjoys riding his motorcycle and coaching his daughter's little league team. Hebron is two towns over. He was on a day-ride (a "milk run," as bikers call it) and stopped off for a beer.
Say what you will about the man, but Meatloaf was fucking cool. I wonder if he remembers the skinny dirty kid with pink hair sitting outside the college bar reading comic books and bumming smokes. When/if he dies, i'm going to leave a pack of Marlboros on his grave.
Ride on, brother.

Monday, May 31, 2010

i was a teenage landlord, part two.

so anyway, as i was saying. after our first show (what i lovingly refer to as "the saint swithins day massacre") we began to attract the attention of a small independent label called Micro Earth records. we were offered a contract. we laughed. so on a nice spring day three of us drove out to the office with a gallon of rum in tow.
we reviewed the contract and i slit my finger open with a knife and dipped the tip into my blood and signed on the line. jay beamed at this and followed suit. brett couldn't bring himself to slice his thumb and wanted me to do it. well, i cut him a little too deep and he bled all over the office. but not before signing his name. i believe he may still have a photocopy of the bloodstained contract. kai was not present at the meeting and although he signed, it was not in blood. afterward, we celebrated. i ate a xanax and fell down. i awoke with a terrible hangover and my bedsheet stuck to my elbow, which was crusted with blood from my fall.
it was also at this time that we began to reap the rivalry that we had sown. one day as i was running a delivery up to smith college, john peter's roomate jay ponti literally jumped out of the bushes and punched me in the arm and yelled "what's up?!" in my face. oh yeah. i forgot that i spraypainted "LANDLORDS!" on the wall next to their house. i told him that we are not fucking around, and if he wants to get in my face then he had better do it when i'm not on the clock.
it seems that john peter, in some "i'm an artist" moment had become frustrated during a fucking sparklies practice and spraypainted "CONCENTRATE" above the toilet. the toilet broke and now the landlord would not only see the spraypaint in the loo, but also my modern art masterpiece outside. i guess they painted over the bathroom because i moved into the same house two years later and it was gone. my graffiti is still there. but anyway, ha ha.
after the incident with jay ponti, our band rivalry hit a fork in the road. jay ponti was in a terrible cock rock band called The Holics. they wanted desperately to be The Unband. in fact, they asked my friend matt pierce from The Unband to sing for them. he went to a rehearsal and he told me that they laminate their lyric sheets. because jay and john peter lived together and promoted shows together, he naturally joined rank in john peter's anti-landlord campaign. The Holics had this song called "what the fuck." the chorus was such a rip off of "panama" by van halen that we would laugh about it. they said "what the fuck" instead of "panama." lame. so when we played the northampton music festival, we ridiculed The Holics on stage. we even broke down one of our songs in the middle and did the break in "panama." you know, "i think we're running a little bit hot tonight..." i was wearing a tiny pair of smith college running shorts and nothing else. brett and i did whippets onstage. at one point The Holics were at the front of the stage trying to fuck with us. we didn't let them get a word in edgewise. they tried to take my mic stand and i kicked it over on them, followed with a gob of spit. one of them threw a bottle and it broke on my guitar. a shard of glass cut my thigh and a trickle of blood flowed down to my sock. i kept playing. as we were packing up we looked for The Holics but they were nowhere to be found.
a week later we recorded our one and only EP, "freddy and the landlords pay the fucking rent." i handled the art. the front cover is a photo of the four of us standing next to a dumpster. there was a car accident when our friend courtney was shooting the photos and brett and i are staring at it. the mix sounds dirty tinny and raw but i liked it. we did minimal overdubs. there were 3 songs on the record but we recorded more. i doubt that these will ever see the light.
that summer it felt like the world was ours. a couple of bands around town were covering "pay the rent," and matt pierce wanted to produce our next single. we played huge college parties that would get shut down by the police. jay started hanging out with a groupie. he didn't see it that way. she would eventually work her way through the whole band minus me. i had a girlfriend. then again, so did jay. after a while kai realised that brett was sleeping with her although kai had some notion that he and her were dating. needless to say this shook things up and we were in limbo. limbo turned to decay. although we rarely practiced, now we NEVER practiced. we didn't even hang out together. well, me and kai did because we lived together.
a final show was planned and all of our friends were there. it was videotaped and we made a live recording of it which, due to contractual obligations cannot be released by the band. freddy and the landlords left some memories of great times and a few heavy frustrations but if i could do it all over i wouldn't change a stinking, drugged-out, chewing on a gas station burrito moment of it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

i was a teenage landlord. (or- how i stopped worrying and learned to love Da Bomb.) PART 1

in the spring thaw of 2002 i had established myself in the pioneer valley town of northampton, massachusetts and on one drunken evening laid in the wet grass of smith college's athletic field getting stoned with my roomate and talked about starting a rock and roll band to lay waste to the sub-indie pop shitcrust that was known as "The Fucking Sparklies."
"we should play five songs in a row that all sound like johnny b. goode," i laughed through a THC haze. brett and i chuckled. we had been henchmen for a show promoter in northampton named john peter. at the time we were desperate and out of work, having been fired from a yuppie pasta restaurant due to being "loose cannons." the guy we worked for hardly paid us in beer despite the fact that we had made a maximum effort of advertising his functions by walking down the street in sandwich boards and vigorously flyering for his poorly attended gigs at the eagle's nest. he treated us like his slaves, getting wasted and tackling us to the ground attempting to beat us up at after parties for his shitty cock rock shows.
when i first moved to massachusetts i wanted nothing more to do with playing music. it frustrated me. i had dabbled with everything, lastly on suicide-style synth noise. i was done. until i saw abel ferrara's 1979 punk slasher flick; "driller killer." the story of an artist living with his two girlfriends struggling to make it. a punk rock band called Tony Coca Cola and The Roosters moves downstairs driving the painter insane. then he kills homeless people with a drill. the roosters inspired me and i wanted to start a trashy rock group.
maybe two weeks later while acting as street crew for The Fucking Sparklies, we ended up at what i could only describe as a drug party that they were playing. it was at a known junkie's house, everyone was smoking pot and doing coke and The Fucking Sparklies were busy sucking in the basement. brett and i sat across from a guy we knew from the cigarette shop and a guy from a record store talking about the new york dolls and passing a joint. one of those cheap ones with the wire in the paper for those who don't know how to roll.
Kai expounded on his life philosophy; "SLEAZE is the only way to LIVE!" brett and i silently nodded our heads. a philosophy that would soon drag us by the neck from a pickup truck.
a week or so afterwards, brett and i were serious about starting frankie and the landlords (which through some drunken slobber had now become freddy and the landlords.) we accosted kai to sing for us. kai is what happens when you put tom metzger, marc bolan, and ray liota into one body. a totally pompous ass but you have to like him even if he doesn't shut the fuck up. and he is a very generous and kind person when his mouth does shut. he told us that the fella he was hanging out with was a drummer. score.
we rehearsed in kai's basement but were reasonably evicted. there was a practice space behind a shopping center. you would pay 15 dollars an hour and they already had most of the drums, amplifiers and cables on hand. one night after drinking about two cases of black label, we brought another two to the space and set up. i had some ideas from previous practices and in half an hour we had three songs.
before we had ever played a note, we had gone to great lengths to advertise our band by spray painting "LANDLORDS!" everywhere (including the back stairwell of our own apartment) after doing whippets on the train tracks and shotgunning pissy beer behind our hideout above a chinese restaurant. in fact; the fellow john peter was supposedly a little freaked out that i had started a god's-honest-rival band. a month previous he had played with the idea of a rival group to The Fucking Sparklies and now it had reared it's ugly head. we spread rumors that we would open the first gig with our "secret weapon lead singer" cutting through a large blowup of john peter's face and starting the show. an idea i had stolen from Rocket From The Tombs.
we gained a bit of respect from day one when we claimed that we would destroy bullshit northampton bands. and although we did not entirely succeed, i think that we had certainly made a dent in our brief career.
hype in place, we played our first show at a bar called harry's. watch for that name because it's going to come up a lot. freddy and the landlords played with some shitty boston street punk band who called john peter out, on stage. he was standing at the bar looking nervous. we had already won. the band took the stage. this was in my glam days and i was wearing a tight leopard print shirt, a pink feather boa and a gas mask. we ripped through our set about nazi strippers, lesbians, truck stop trannies, callous sex, kai's dick and stopped to a screeching halt that moved the party to our apartment. before the cops came.
the next day we felt like gods. our next show was scheduled at a chinese restaurant the next town over with a few local acts. i had just got out of work and i was hanging out with our 65 year old manager, bart, who had just handed me a fist full of speed. i was wearing a replica of a west german army jacket and he was giving me shit for it as i chased my amphetamines with barley wine. time to go to the show. by the time we had arrived i was fucking plastered. i sat at the bar with a cocktail in my hand; yelling "where the fuck is my nazi jacket?!" our manager was a french jew. somehow i plugged in and "tuned up" and we went into our set. during lulls i would tell terrible dirty jokes. in fact i'm told we played the same song a few times in a row. i fell backwards onto the high hat. i still have a scar and it is on silent film that i will never see.
suddenly we had a deal with a minor label. a contractual affair. (to be continued..)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chasing The Dragon

okay, i've never chased the dragon but i've done my share of heroin in my life. my first exposure to it was at an early age when my mother locked my stepfather out of the house for a week because he was injecting smack into his arms. even at nine i knew what this was. i lived in willimantic, connecticut. the third largest location for heroin in the northeast.
you see, i grew up in the cocaine-fueled 80's and my parents were riding the wave. i sat at the kitchen table drawing pictures in a marijuana fog-bank as grownups snorted rails as long as my pinky. i hated it. as a result, i never touched drugs until i was 18, when i took my first dose of mushrooms. of course i experimented with everything from then on, but i adamantly swore off the spike. it just seemed too creepy.
then one day when i was 23 a couple of old friends appeared in the copy shop that i worked at in northampton, massachusetts. a pair of sisters. we had gone to school together all of our lives. we were the only punks in our school and we got hassled by the same rednecks. when we were younger we would make fake spy movies and play with their pet hedgehog. erica seemed healthy but hannah seemed a little off. i took a smoke break and talked with them outside. after a while, hannah told me that she was a junkie. her boyfriend was her dealer and he beats her up. erica just stared at the ground. hannah was wearing sleeves because she had been shooting in the same location and her arm was turning black from infection. later, a doctor said that if she had gone to the hospital a day later the arm would have to be amputated. after a while we said some parting words and decided to stay in touch.
a month later my girlfriend of 9 months left me and i was on a serious bender. it was bad. it was also at this time that hannah called me and asked if i wanted to come down to connecticut and hang out. i said yes. understand that this was not in any way some kind of rebound move- hannah is the closest thing to being my sister that i may ever know.
she left her boyfriend and was staying at her parents' house. they knew what was going on with her. she never had a good relationship with her mother so i had to endure several screaming matches throughout my stay over. the night i crashed there i slept on a couch that the family dog had recently christened with piss and the mosquitos ate me alive. the next morning sitting on the floor of hannah's room, she asked me; "do you wanna get high?" i immediately knew what she meant. i thought for a minute. and then i said; "maybe." she picked up the phone and began to dial. through a shark's grin she said; "i like the sound of that maybe."
we had to go to new london to get it. this girl that we had gone to high school with was the driver. i vaguely remembered her. kinda one of those hippie/preppy types. she put in a live cd of The Band as we headed towards the highway.
driving through a slum, hannah flagged down a crew of puertoricans sitting on a stoop. she went behind the building with the dealer to get a taste and bought ten bags. i'd never seen a bag of dope before. it was like a small chinese food bag but it had this little "great job!" star on it, like they'd give you in special ed. inside was a browninsh powder. as we drove away, hannah laid out my first line of dope on a cd case and i sniffed it. "cripple creek" was easing out of the speakers when i tasted the drip. kind of musty and bitter. and then the first wave came over me as hannah continued to snort more of my dope. what a feeling. i was euphoric. my body felt great. i was at ease. i was nauseous. we pulled over to a taco bell so hannah could shoot up. i ordered a water and a seven layer burrito. preppy girl stayed in the car sniffing her bag.
when she came out of the bathroom, hannah's eyes were glazed and her arm was flushed below the area that she had tied off. we hopped into the car and headed back to storrs. preppy girl is talking about how she would love to shoot but she's afraid of it but "just look at my veins! they're perfect!" we came to a stop sign and she opened the door and threw up. we pulled over in the country and walked out to a river bank to stand around and do more dope. people talked but i couldn't hear them. i just stared at the water rushing over the rocks. i was sweating.
they dropped me off at a gas station where my mother worked but she wasn't working. stranded in the middle of nowhere, at roughly 4 in the afternoon i bought two 24 ounce coronas and crossed the street to the industrial park to soak up some summer. i stopped in the bushes and did another bump. i was high. i made my way to a picnic table and opened a beer. college kids were playing frisbee, real bro types. they gave me a "what's up" and walked up the path to buy beer, which was fine by me because the second i took a drag of my newly light cigarette i puked my guts up in the bushes. i'd seen sid and nancy. i knew heroin will make you sick. i had never puked so hard in my life. i finished my beer and walked back to the gas station and called my aunt in hope of getting a ride to my mother's house. when she picked me up i was on the nod. i tried to stay awake and maintain conversation but i kept fading out. i made it back to massachusetts with a bag and a half in my pocket.
months later on a cold and snowy winter morning, a notorious northampton junkie approached me and asked if i was looking for dope. i seized the opportunity and when i got out of work i introduced my roomate to the joys of smack. we continued to use for a while, only sniffing it at the time. i got bad. when i would walk down the street my head would be constantly turning, looking to find a dealer or a junkie. i would duck out the back at work to go score off the street. i had a habit of about two bags a day. a drop in the bucket for most, but i certainly felt hooked. the first time i shot up was in my dark bedroom before going upstairs to my friend's birthday party. i fucked it up and missed my vein and i "skin-popped." i got high but i got a huge red rash around the injection site so i wore long sleeves. also, i once had a bum who i scored with over at these towers offer to suck my dick for a bag. i declined. on my 24th birthday i sat on a wall and snorted heroin while i watched children run around on a playground across the street.
not long after this began to bubble to the surface, my friends started chasing dealers and junkies away from my front door and i was clean for awhile. a year later i received a strange gift from god: a co worker and i were hosting a fake spring break party where everyone dressed like fraternity and sorority losers. i was leaving work dead broke and headed home to get ready for the evening. with only enough money for a 40 and a pack of cigarettes, i walked into the 7-11 and headed for the beer cooler. as i walked down the aisle, i spied something very familiar on the floor. i picked it up quickly and put it in my pocket. my mind raced as i pulled a bottle of old english off of the rack. as i stood in line, my hand figeted in my pocket. rubber band. glassine envelopes. is this what i think it is? i paid for my beer and smokes and quickly walked home.
back at the corner of church and state, i raced up the stairs and in to my room. i pulled the mystery item out of my pocket. someone had dropped three bags of heroin bound together with a purple rubber band on the floor of the 7-11. and not small bags, either. these were huge. i took the rolling stones mirror off of my wall and dished out a line. it was strong. . i did all of it in two days,
i started shooting with this electrician i knew around town. he got the worst dope, and furthermore he used to burn dealers in lowell by grabbing the drugs out of their hands and tearing off in his car. i heard there was great dope in boston so i called up a friend who was quite on the level and headed up to party. they don't sell bags in boston, they sell pieces. like a 20 piece or a 40 piece. my friend hit my arm because i'm bad at it and i have small veins. what a fucking rush. someone once asked me what it feels like to shoot up and my best sum of it was this: do you know that moment when the drums come in on t-rex's "cosmic dancer?" close your eyes.
i got caught in a blizzard while i was in boston. nothing to do but drink and get high. when i made it back to northampton, my arms looked like swiss cheese. i was dirty and had bags under my eyes and i went back to work wearing sleeves until my tracks cleared up. that was the last i'd seen of heroin for a while- i was getting married in the summer and moving to athens, georgia. i took pills and drank but aside from that i played it cool for about four years.
flash forward- i started shooting up with a co-worker who could get decent shit from a white dealer in atlanta. on my first date with my girlfriend i got so high that i was puking on my front lawn ten minutes before she showed up. i stopped again. for a while.
i'm walking home from work in the rain when my friend marc pulls up on my side. he was a recovering addict and we had previously swapped stories. "hey, wanna do some boy?" yes. we stood around in my room while he fixed up. i snorted mine. next time i got a clean rig and he hit me. again, the rush. he'd drive out to alabama to pick up, and i'd throw in.
when we were getting high in my room i would say to him; "don't overdose in my house. watch yourself." well, he was on probation because he nodded out on a golf course with a gram on him in birmingham and had to go there for regular hearings. his last hearing was coming up and we were going to party. the night before he left he had a bunch of methadone and xanax. i warned him not to take them together, to be careful. the next morning i was naively informed that he had an o.d. by someone who didn't know that we were friends.
the two people who were driving him out to birmingham said that he was trying to smoke a cigarette and kept nodding. he'd try to text message and he'd nod. and then he started turning blue and stopped breathing. they drew on his body and face with magic markers. they took pictures of it. and they dumped his body in front of the hospital. he's been gone for a year now. my friend who lived in boston lives in florida and has been clean for three years, subsisting on cigarettes and coffee and making great art. i haven't done dope in a year.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shot From Both Sides.

i was about eighteen. my friends mark, erin and bombo (R.I.P.) are hanging out in a dorm room in willimantic connecticut and they're talking about going out to the old train trestle that rears thirty feet above the willimantic river to take some arty photos. i'd been there a few times- in my politico days i went to the same spot with my friend shannon to snap photos of AGWAY's illegal dumping of fertilizer in the river. not that the willimantic river isn't already filthy. there are two tracks- one in use, and the other had not been used since american thread was closed in the seventies.
a footnote- i am both acrophobic and i cannot swim. methinks these are closely related.
we walked across the trestle while i tried not to look down. i get really bad vertigo. one by one we climbed down to the cement base embedded in the floor of the river. they had hidden a TOBACCO SMOKING DEVICE there previously and proceeded to get interesting. i at the time did not dabble in these things and stared into the cold water of the spring thaw as erin took some arty black and white photos.
once the art was over it was time to get on back to campus and as everyone climbed up to the top of the tracks, vertigo overtook me. i couldn't do it. i hunched down on the pylon and panicked. i couldn't jump into the river and swim across- for one, the water was freezing and the current would pull me out (aside from the fact that i still CANNOT SWIM) and also i was panicking because i am still quite terrified of heights.
what to do? my friends were already standing on the river bank, stoned and making fun of me. creeps. what i decided to do was this, and i wish i had never done it ever.
the inside ledge of the trestle was about seven inches wide, with crossbeams every eight feet. i was about forty feet from shore. i slowly pressed my back against the steel wall, with the river roaring below. my heart was pounding as though i was going to have an overdose of methamphetamine. i was sweating buckets in thirty five degree weather. keeping my eyes on my feet and moving VERY SLOWLY i crept, step after step along the rail. most of my feet overlapped the overhang as my ratty mohawk flapped in the wind. i was shaking and i tried not to look down. to say that i was scared would be an understatement. i was almost crying. i made it to the first crossbeam as my compatriots sang "just like heaven" by the cure. i could smell the waste in the water and it nauseated me. the rail was slick and i could feel the lack of friction between my combat boots and the steel. next crossbeam. hold on for dear life and brace myself against the wall. i'm staring at greatful dead graffiti. who the fuck would come this far out above death for fun? the dirty water raced over jagged rocks below. i felt sick. i unzipped my leather jacket and sweated a little more. i was jeered from the shore but i ignored it. i was literally the snail crawling across the razorblade, as said in apocalypse now. if i fell, i died. painfully, i could see the bank just about ten feet away but i crawled about twelve inches a minute. sweat rolled down my brow and stung my eyes and i had to stop as i wavered on the precipice. within five feet of shore i jumped about ten feet down, bowing my legs as i hit dry land to the applause of my comrades and noticed a few dirty needles not too far away. never again.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Of Spiders.

having recently shown my girlfriend the classic lon cheney flick; "spiderbaby," the other night i noticed that a daddy long legs spider had set up shop in a corner of my room. i know a lot of people are freaked out by spiders and as a matter of fact, my mother used to scold me for killing spiders. it was not until much later on that i realized their importance.
anyway, daddy long legs eat other spiders, mosquitoes and other general insect pests so the spider stays.

but this does remind me of an interesting story....

the year is 2001 and i am blazing on acid. me and adam bothomley are running around the campus in storrs connecticut and i'm about to walk a mile home. it's dark and swirls of color dance in front of my face as i make my way to the apartment that i share with my girlfriend and her hippie rock climbing roomate. i silently slip through the door, as it is 3 in the morning and creep into the kitchen to maybe get into some of the indian food that i had cooked earlier, and i flick on the light. as i unwittingly open the refrigerator and spoon some vegetable jal frazee into a bowl, eight eyes are watching me.
as i press play on the microwave and turn around, i'm startled to see a wolf spider larger than a silver dollar just standing in front of me on the floor. not moving. in my lsd-induced state i still had the common sense to think; "gee, that spider is way too big to be in the house." as the microwave went "ding," i grabbed a newspaper and went for the fucker. it ran underneath the kitchen table. i swatted and it disappeared.
i should have heeded the words of my mama, because a second later it CHARGED AT ME. and i was TRIPPING.
i stifled a scream and literally jumped on a chair as the spider reared it's front legs towards me. my drug-addled mind raced as i tried to think what to do- it could easily climb up here, and it was in an ass kicking mood! i tried to drop the newspaper on it. it ran back under the table. as i cautiously climbed down from my perch, i looked everywhere for the intruder but could not find him. i forgot about my late night snack and made my way to my bed, but i swear i slept with my third eye open the whole night. well, morning. the next day i opened the back door to find the largest funneled web i'd ever seen. i left it alone.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Alchemical Romance.

i was either fourteen or fifteen. i lived on a commercial chicken farm. after a squabble with this retarded stoner ska fan named robby my punk rock ass vandalized the drum set that he played in band class, turning one of the rack toms into a huge crass symbol, and scrawling "SKA SUCKS" on the snare. this ended up getting me suspended from school for a day.
as i kicked around the house, i turned on the local college radio station and went about the tasks assigned to me by my parents for punishment for my juvenile misdeeds. perilous cheryl was playing some old stiff records groups adding bounce to my step as i swept and mopped the kitchen floor. it was then that she interrupted my rocking and announced that she was giving away a pair of tickets to see the ramones' last gig in providence, rhode island. the broom dropped and i was franticly dialing 91.7, WHUS. i was the first, if maybe only caller and scored my pass to see what will always live in my mind as the greatest show i will ever see in my whole life.
i meekly stepped up the hill to the main building and approached my stepfather, then 27 years old; a look-a-like for willie nelson and kind of a "rocker." i told him that i had won a free pair of tickets to see a rock group and shyly added that i was terribly sorry for my misbehaviour and would he find it in his heart to forgive me and maybe drive jeremiah, the guitarist for my band at the time, and myself to providence so that i might see the band that i had been blaring from my room for the last two years. surprisingly, he grinned and agreed. my mother on the other hand, was far bitchier and couldn't believe that i was going to see a punk rock band for free on a monday night when i was suspended from school for vandalism. as anyone knows, sometimes a parent will curry the favor of a child when there's a marital dispute. jeremiah showed up at seven and my stepfather, mother and two juvenile punkers were headed to The Strand to see the ramones.
jeremiah and i were so excited. as we rolled into coventry, rhode island to pick up weed from my uncle, my parents puffed on a bomber joint as my cohort and i cackled on at the terrible music playing on the radio. if i remember properly, the collective soul song that had that video where the speaker cone turns inside out and the nursery rhyme song by korn played back to back.
when we arrived i was practically shaking: my first concert! as we made our way in, there was a sign outside advertising a 311/cypress hill concert the next night. i felt almost crushed against the ground due to the sheer size of the place. i guess it used to be a theater: there was a balcony and the ceiling was elaborately painted. the ground sloped downward towards the stage. jeremiah and i made our way to the front. i had freshly magic markered a germs logo on the back of my denim jacket and was wearing a spiked dog collar. i wasn't scared of the older crowd but it was certainly a world i had never dreamed of. people with crazy facial piercings. green hair. leather leather and leather. unapproachably beautiful punk rock girls and their scary boyfriends. stoners. pillheads. drunks. fortysomethings who had probably seen the ramones one hundred times before.
jeremiah and i were snotty juvenile punks at that time respecting only ourselves and pretty much only listening to PUNK FUCKING ROCK and ridiculing most of what was not (although we secretly loved the dumb classic rock that we grew up on) so once the terrible hardcore metal started coming out of the monitors, our tongues were flapping as we watched this weird leprechaun-like dude up front gyrate and flick his tongue to the music. he seemed to disappear as the opening act began to set up. i was standing next to a man of about 35 who was already "in his altitudes" who was clutching a half full pint glass and cheered as "sonic reducer" by the dead boys hissed out of the monitor and swirled around my pubescent mind. the club grew dark and one of the worst bands i have ever seen-"gren"-began to play. they were reminiscent of bush with died green dreadlocks and terrible stage banter about drugs and forgettible licks. as i remember, they were boring, tragic and i feel bad for anyone else who wasn't so bombed that they were amused for maybe a second. four years later i would see their cd in the cutout bin. whouldathunkit. i later heard that joey ramone actually asked them to go on tour with them. poor, poor idealistic joey. old punks fall out of touch, too.
after the gawdawful racket of "gren," everything was still besides the growing drunken revelry of our older peers. my hair seemed to stand on end (not in a GBH sort of way) and again, the club grew dark as the first strains of ennio morricone's theme to "the good the bad and the ugly" began to pound through the monitors. the ramones were about to take the stage and if i died at that moment i could have cared less. the crowd surged forward and my bandmate and i stayed close together while my parents sipped beer in the back.
the lights kicked on and there stood the four gods of my teenage mind, banging out "durango 95" before ripping straight into blitzkrieg bop at a speed nowhere near the record and not stopping until six songs had been dusted off and the audience was already covered in a sweat. it was the first time i had ever slammed and i felt exhillerated (sp?) the older punks were doing a dance that i had read about and still to this day have never seen since: you would run across the room to the opposite side, someone would catch you and propel you towards the opposite bank like a human pinball, but you just kept bouncing around due to the inertia of the dance. there were no elbows or feet. just bouncing back and fourth occasionally knocking someone or your self over. everyone picked up anyone who fell over and you just kept shooting around. i wish people still danced like this, it was some of the most fun i'd ever had, and all the while the ramones blared away. i swear they must have played the entirety of their first three records. joey was an animated stick on stage. it was shortly after jerry garcia died, and johnny was wearing a shirt that said "i'm greatful jerry's dead." dee dee was a solid rock of 1-2-3-4's and the drummer... played drums.
they were and will most likely be the loudest band i have ever seen live, ever. after my ears calibrated the wall of distorted static i began to recognize the songs a little easier and i was in heaven. my stepfather approached me and yelled into my shredded ear that my mom was being a raincloud and wanted to go home. IT WAS THE FUCKING RAMONES!! he was completely cool and took the full brunt by telling her that we were not leaving until the fruit of her womb was thoroughly rocked by his favorite band. go dad. a punk girl grabbed me by the throat and we did the grapple. i screamed "swallow my pride" as it shattered my eardrums. there were some rather douchey skinheads getting macho in the pit and jeremiah later told me that he produced a pencil from his jacket and stuck one of the skins with it, later inspiring a trilogy of oi! songs in our band.
as the ramones finished their third encore, jeremiah and i made our way, bruised and jubilant, to find my parents and head home. my ears rang like they never will again and our bodies were sore but we had just seen the most fantastic concert of our entire lives. my ma bitched and moaned on the way home but my stepfather gleamed at my rock and roll rite of passage.
upon arriving home, jeremiah's dad was waiting. we laughed and exchanged fake nazi salutes saying; "oi skins. gren rules." for the next four days i would have to turn my stereo up to 8 to hear anything out of the speakers due to my ringing ears. my parents had the same problem, so it made for an interesting household.
i will never forget that night or the impact it made upon my life.
rest in peace, fellas.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a portrait of the artist as a young gingerbread man.

 "you know, when i drink alone i prefer to be by myself." -joan of arc, saint

  sitting ominously atop a grassy hill, and sprawling across the street stood the northampton lunatic asylum. this building was designed brick by brick upon the model of the infamous bedlam asylum, from where we derive the term "sheer bedlam." it had opened sometime in the mid 1800's and closed sometime around the early 1990's, when the last remaining inmates (about 30) were ejected out into the world to become the insane street people dotting every corner of the quaint pioneer valley town. 
  in the heyday of "modern psychology" people were sent to this place for everything from schizophrenia to masturbation. here they experienced abysmal conditions, green walls, electro-corrective therapy and shock baths. i once saw a photograph taken in the basement of a dungeonlike door, about four inches thick. the window looking into the cell was cut into the shape of a heart, and bars set inside of it separating captor and captive. 
  when i moved to town it seemed like just about everyone i'd met had broken into the now-defunct nuthouse, and frankly i was a little jealous. 
  a friend of mine had broken into this place so many times since it's closing that he had mapped the entire place out, and was more than happy to take a few people for a little day trip. i was psyched and at the same time a little scared. i could feel my adrenaline pumping through my veins as he regaled me with stories of what waited inside. a basketball court. a morgue. an amphitheater. a network of tunnels underneath the complex. cells. double locking gates. rubber rooms. 
  it did not take too long (a few minutes) to get two more interested individuals in on the excursion. on a cold and icy winter day, i filled a backpack with supplies: flashlights, extra batteries, water, handkerchiefs for our faces, trash bags to tie around our feet, a screwdriver, a hammer, a crowbar, a knife and some gloves. the four of us met in front of a popular burrito restaurant around four and walked up the street past the campus and across the athletic field where a small path into the woods appeared. my friend warned us about security guards and the possibility of getting arrested. we rolled the dice. 
 we made our way up the path, towards the central building. it was here that the most volatile patients were kept. the criminally insane. shit-throwers. hair-pullers. night-screamers. high-risk types. suicide watch. we waited in the brush for a security car. it was as dead calm as the sargasso sea. when it seemed that the coast was clear we dashed between two buildings and found what seemed to be a blind corner. i opened my bag and got to work on the thick piece of wood bolted over an entrance. after a few genuinely strenuous efforts with the crowbar, the bolts whined as the barrier began to pull away revealing an open door just out of our reach. 
  and then we heard the car. i threw my bag against the building and laid flat on my back in the grass. the rest of the gang began to walk away from me, distracting the attention of the security guard who was just rolling up in her patrol car. i could hear her mumbling something to the other three. they nodded and began to walk back in the direction we had come. she told them to leave. once the guard drove off, i grabbed my pack and slipped back between the two buildings, hoping to rejoin my friends. they were walking about thirty feet in front of me. as i stepped out into the opening, the security guard came around the corner, spotted me and swung the front end of her car directly in front of me. she rolled down her window and said the stupidest thing that, to this day anyone has ever said to me. 
she said; "stay right here, i'm calling the police."

  i stood looking dumbfounded and said; "okay." as she pulled out and headed in the opposite direction to the security kiosk, it was at this point that two things happened, one after the other: the 20 milligrams of speed that i had taken kicked into roaring life, and then i began to run like hell. i slipped over the ice and crashed through the snow, i ran through briars and brush, barrelling past my friends shouting to them; "she's calling the cops on me! i'll meet you back in town!" i can think of other times that i've had to run as though my ass depended on it, but i induct this into the hall of fame. i was BOOKING, not looking over my shoulder, treading sheer ice.
  and then suddenly i heard the sound of a speeding car behind me. she was chasing me down. later, friends would tell me that she was flying after me like a bat out of hell.  there was a direct right angle in the service road ahead. if she kept speeding after me, she'd crash into the woods. she'd have to brake, because there was no way that she could take such a sharp turn at the speed she was going. i decided i'd run into the woods ahead and try to escape into the underbrush. i was close to the athletic field from where we came in. my adrenaline buzzed in my ears and my heart felt like it was ready to explode. at the last second, i jumped into the woods to realize that i had, in fact, just jumped down a very steep embankment. i had no time to gasp, as i had to focus on how i was going to land. i hit the slope with the balls of my feet and went head over heels, landing on my back and rolling towards the bottom on my side. i swear i must have rolled through six briar patches before finally hitting a tree. i used this painfully sudden stop of momentum to gasp for air and try to get back on my feet. i was scratched up, and knew that the warm drip coming from my nose was blood. i could hear the patrol car at the top of the embankment. i took the two liter bottle of water out of my bag and tossed the knapsack, tools included, into the woods. i heard the car door slam. she was getting out to look for me. i tried to stop gasping, and laid flat on my stomach against the leaves and snow, the hood of my dirty army jacket pulled up over my head. for about ten minutes, she paced. and i waited, too. eventually she got back in her car and drove away, but i didn't trust the path when this woman was looking for me. i stayed close to the bottom of the embankment, always looking up as i trod the edge of a frozen pond. once i reached the field i collapsed on a bench and drank about two thirds of the water and lit a cigarette. my muscles felt like they were on fire, speed was rocketing through my system thanks to an overworked circulation and i was covered in snow, dirt and scratches. as i stumbled back into town, mild amphetamine psychosis set in and i was looking everywhere for cops. they never came. i met up with the other three and we laughed about it all, smoking pot and drinking black label. about a year or so after all of this, i did finally succeed in two explorations of the state hospital, but that's another story. catch me if you can.


welcome to my life.

  my name is steve. i'm new to the blog thing, so don't expect literary dynamite. i usually laugh over how utterly mundane a lot of personal internet posts are; "i just toasted a bagel," and such thus i'll try to be some semblance of interesting in my entries.
  i guess i should write something about myself as an introduction. i was born in willimantic, connecticut and went to school in lebanon. i was raised poor white trash, and will most likely die that way. in my formative years, i was surrounded by 70's muscle cars and spent my time riding my bicycle, harassing girl scouts, dabbling in vandalism, playing in the woods, and listening to death metal. i was kind of a social pariah in school until around thirteen i got into punk rock. and i'm not ashamed to admit that it was nirvana that showed me the way to black flag, MDC, and flipper. and i still listen to nirvana. one cannot deny their cultural relevance, and unfortunately the bullshit wasteland of music that they ultimately inspired. 
  so, i started going to punk rock shows after a while and found my niche. people actually treated me like a human being for once, and i felt a sense of community. this is how i met many of my friends who i'm still in contact with to this day, and met my first girlfriend at sixteen. 
  my love of music led me to play in a lot of stupid teenage bands that were fun at the time. at eighteen, i took my first hit of LSD and it turned my brain upside down. i can't remember how many times i'd tripped between then and the age of 2o, but it was a lot. i moved to boston for a while and took a bummer. i moved back to the woods in connecticut for a spell to get my head together, when my friend brett called me and told me that he shattered his pelvis skateboarding. he lived in northampton massachusetts. a lot more exiting than ashford, connecticut. i assure you. so i moved up to mass to take care of him and find a job. we were poor. we got drunk and raised hell. we would take speed and talk about breakdancing. we ate out of dumpsters and stole pumpkins off of people's porches to make soup. i worked as a dishwasher in a tyrannical yuppie pasta restaurant before getting an awesome job at a copy shop. after seeing the movie "driller killer" (watch it) i wanted to start a band, and stumbling upon two other miscreants at a drug party freddy and the landlords were born. a minor label signed the dumbest band in the world and looked on in horror as everyone (exept the singer) slit their fingers open and signed the contract in blood. we made a racket, fucked shit up, did whippets on the train tracks and disappeared leaving a wake of graffiti and alienation. 
  these were the days of ALLSCUM, our apartment of iniquity located above a chinese restaurant which aside from the 7-11, provided our meals. my roomate bill and i formed a two man band called "druz" with me on guitar and bill drumming on a padded chair. we wrote over two hundred songs in about a year. we only played parties and called ourselves "apartment rock." i developed a budding heroin problem that would plague me sporadically for years. i played in a few other bands; to name a few- the bourgois heroes, the cheater's club, true grit and the dirty needles. i fell in love, or so i thought and was married. we moved to athens, georgia and were together for three years before a divorce. in that span, i travelled through beautiful southeast asia where i saw shit that blew my mind, ate food you probably would not, and attended cooking class in cambodia (i'm told i make some pretty bitchin' asian food) and briefly owned a house, acting as a landlord. i also started a fast thrash band with some georgians called AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER, which is very fun. 
  to sum it up, i'm a broke-ass cook living in a basement apartment on a quiet street scraping change to buy cigarettes and fix broken equipment, obsessing over the occult, movies, shooting guns and an unabashed nerdiness towards finding obscure records. go figure. welcome to my life.