Saturday, July 31, 2004

My goal today was to not stress out about the final hours before tour kick-off. So I decided to go rafting and swimming with my friend Sydney, which was awesome! But now I have come to realize that I really am not prepared at all. It may be an all-nighter for me with at least one trip to Kinko's... I'll sleep in the car.
This poem was sent to me this morning by my mom. I don't know who originally wrote it.


Go quietly amid the noise and haste
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with
all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they, too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others you may become bitter or vain,
for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of our time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery;
but let this not blind you to what virtue there is.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection. neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune,
but do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here,
and whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

The only part I disagree with is "avoid loud and aggressive persons."

Unless, by loud & aggressive the poet means "deceitful & pre-emptive bombing-type."

Friday, July 30, 2004

Today was another busy one. I silk-screened about ninety pillow cases and ran a lot of errands. When I came home I was so hungry, and to my happy surprise my housemate Ann had cooked a dinner for many of her friends. She invited me to join, too. Ann, who is Japanese, cooked somen (wheat noodles w/ ice), shitake, eel, seaweed, egg, and shiso (Japanese basil). Her friend, Charmeela, who is Indian-American, made a stirfry w/ cumin and cayenne to name a few of the spices. Ann also invited my good friend Yuko, who's Japanese, as well. Ann and Yuko let us know that we should slurp the noodles loudly, which I did. We ate outside on our porch until the mosquitoes chased us back inside. It's been a good year for mosquitoes, blackberries, and walnuts. Ann's moving to Boston in two weeks; that's sad. But, that's why I tour all the time! I have two shows in Boston in October. The whole USA and Canada are becoming my backyard. Within five years I want to have friends around the world to visit.

It's a good life I live. But why am I filled with such self-loathing most of the time? My favorite thing to say to myself is, "You're a f*%#ing idiot." I say it about twenty times daily as a sort of anti self-affirmation-- an unnecessary mantra-- a flagellation of the soul. I don't enjoy this habit.
Check out the cover of this week's Pulse of the Twin Cities!!! Can you recognize which one is Slippery Goodstuff?
Today was intense! This morning Andras called me to let me know he wants Pop Ghetto to release a Sandman Live at Folk Alliance cd. He needs to have a thousand copies ready to distribute by Aug. 15th. I spent the first ten hours of today listening to all the tracks, choosing the songs and the song order, making notes about when to fade in and out, figuring out who to thank in the liner notes, etc. Normally this would be a week-long process, but I have too much to do in the next two days to prepare for the Slippery Goodstuff tour; for instance memorizing my lines for the play, silk-screening "Sandman" pillowcases, assembling cds, making new "You Can Do Anything" zines, and a lot more.

Ay Caramba!

Then, this evening Blandow, Zardoz, and myself performed the play in front of an audience! We invited a dozen friends who then gave us feedback. Everybody enjoyed it, but it's extremely evident that we have a long way to go yet. Obviously, memorizing the lines will make everything go smoother. Except for that, I was mostly pleased with our performance. Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle and tweaked my knee, a little, while dancing. I need an osteopath to fix my groin which in turn throws me off balance all the time, and, thus, causes other body parts pain. Mama mia!

Buenos noches.

p.s. Here are the songs for the new Sandman Live at Folk Alliance album--

1. All the Things I Done Wrong
2. Shenanigans *
3. Shell-shocked Man
4. Radio Works Fine *
5. Beer Pressure
6. Revolution Come *

(previously known as "Sand vs. Bush (The Senator Strikes Back)"
7. Laborer *
8. Scapegoat Song *
9. Beauty Myth *

(potentially followed by "Persian Den of Sin")
10. 319 JOE
11. White Line Highway *
12. Gorilla
13. Please, Louise
14. Ghost *
15. Imaginary World *
16. Saddle Bum/Tribute to "Rapper's Delight" *

w/ Garf on drums

Note: most of these selections aren't on any of my previous cds, but many will probably get produced and included on the next one. It's good to have a document of how the "live" set sounds, though.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The fellas and I are right in the middle of learning the Slippery Goodstuff play. Acting is a challenge for me and I like it. We have all the props and costumes. Now we just have to ween ourselves from the scripts, and figure out how the lighting will work. The play's content is going to be good in that it will offend just about everyone equally. My mullet and mutton-chops are in effect. We're spending $200 on primo advertising in the Minneapolis weekly Pulse of the Twin Cities. All systems go. It'll be nonstop "Slippery" for the next four weeks.

Note: Small towns with young viewers will not get to see the complete play, but instead only the selections we deem appropriate.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Collective living follows me wherever I go. Take for instance the house where I've lived for the last two years. My five housemates and I buy our food collectively, pay our bills collectively, and do projects collectively. We just spent $10,000 that we've collectively saved up and, last week, had our house and garage painted green and red. We are now collectively cleaning out the basement so we can have more punk shows and parties. Ann just made a chicken dinner and we ate it under the canopy of our black walnut tree. Lenny made burritos for lunch. Kat is about to show reel-to-reel videos on our front porch and serve strawberry sour cream streusel cake to our guests. It's a shame that I'm always so behind on rent because I don't ever want to have to leave here. Having a community is good for my morale.

Another example is my relationship with Pop Ghetto. Their website is as yet unfinished, but you can get a glimpse of it here. Oops, that's not true... I guess it's not quite hooked up.
I've got one of those super-Summer-slammer headaches-- a mixture of dehydration and insomnia, from it being too hot to sleep.

I'm back in Olympia. The recording sessions with Willie went well, but there's still a lot of work we have to do to have our complete album. When it is done, though, it will be a heavy-hitter and radio friendly, methinks. Willie's got skills, no doubt.

Time for water and dreaming.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Greetings from Portland, Oregon.  I am in a fancy studio about to start recording a new album.  Garf is playing drums and the producer, Willie, and producer's helpers, Tony and Jason, are in the sound room listening to his tones.  I am pondering the idea of making this album something edgier than what I'd planned...  there is a vitality I'm after.  I want this to be the most political album I've released and I want to cut way back on the buffoonery.  My comedic and sex-injected live shows serve a purpose, but they also distract and deprecate.  The political raps that I want to record have elements of humor, but they also have a seriousness about them.  I think juxtaposing them with my acoustic, heart-scarred, working-stiff songs would communicate what I want to say right now.  The songs I'm thinking of will have an array of influences-- from Michael Moore to Eminem to Johnny Cash.  The challenge, for us in this studio, is to let them be their own thing. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Urghhhh... I just somehow erased my last couple of posts!! Blogger switched its internal format this week and messed me up. I think everything's cool now.

I'm too busy to recapture the last three hectic days... but in brief, What-the-Heck-Fest rocked! I only wish I could've been there to watch the Saturday and Sunday performances of so many of my friends. I seriously love the Anacortes community spirit.

I may not get back on here until Monday as I've got my 6th cd to record, starting tomorrow in Portland, with Willie and Garf. Peece.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

If you've ever wondered what it looks like where my parent's live, this website has lots of photos from the surrounding area.  
Zardoz made this downloadable flyer for the Slippery Goodstuff/Moustaches tour.  If you're helping to set up a show for us, this will make your work easier.  Thanks.

Today was a full day. I finished the play this morning and spent the rest of the day going over lines with Zardoz and Blandow. The musical's length is perfect for the Fringe Fest parameters-- fifty minutes. We even had a chance to record it in its entirety. Now we have to start memorizing the lines and coming up with the appropriate costumes, etc.

Before I go pass out in the shack I'll add this link to a Will Roger's website my mom sent me that has a lot of his best quotes. He was the best. His funniest line for today (though it starts to make you really sad if you think about it for too long) is:

"You can't say that civilization don't advance... for in every war they kill you in a new way."

Monday, July 12, 2004

As part of the tour in August (thanks to my fine booker, Andras) I've been invited to take part in a symposium at Harper College in Chicago, called "Peace, Patriotism, and Dissent: Democracy in the Balance." They plan to feature a panel of speakers from the ACLU of IL, IL Chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild, the Iraqi Speakers Bureau, and others, to be moderated by Jerome McDonnell, host of the acclaimed WBEZ (local NPR affiliate) international news analysis show "Worldview." Time tba. I'll play four songs and I've been invited to sit on the panel, too. I'd rather just sit in the stands and listen, though. No one needs my half-baked analysis of any issue I can think of... unless it relates to baseball or, maybe biodiesel.
Here's a synopsis of the big play that I have to finish by tomorrow.

A Year In the Life of Slippery Goodstuff

This punk-rock-country-hip-hopera follows the trail of an average "Joe" named George who loses his memory. Due to random, perhaps mystical, circumstances he recreates himself into a Western-themed rapping porn star named "Slippery Goodstuff." At the end of a year, and after many sexual adventures, he starts a highly profitable network marketing company called Supersperm, Inc. He distributes his own semen to the masses and becomes a bona fide sperm baron.

Though, successful at his career, he continues his womanizing until he hits a wall during an encounter with a rap outlaw named Cindy Wonderful... and her girlfriend, Sarah Adorable. Together they give "Slippery" an unforgettable reaming.

Shocked and awed by Cindy and Sarah's fierce sexuality, a reawakened George Small has a revelation about the meaning of true sexiness and in a stunning turn-of-events stops lying about his wealth, stamina, and exaggerated penis-size. He also remembers the painful experience which triggered his amnesia in the first place.

George's vivid recollection prompts him to end his ultimately unprofitable quest to screw the planet.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I'm a little embarrassed by this next image. It's the official Minnesota Fringe Fest posting for the "Slippery Goodstuff" play. Ummm... let's just say that the picture I sent them looks more gay than I realized. If you read the warnings (Queer content, Nudity, etc.) the play starts looking even more gay. It's misleading, though, because first of all nobody will be getting naked, I don't think. Secondly, the only real "queer" content about it is the scene where Scream Club, the lesbian rap duo, threatens to "tag-team" me. Shawn and Jonah will take Cindy and Sarah's place for this song due to the fact that they can't be there. I'm not scared of drawing a big, gay male crowd. It's more like I don't want to let them down when they realize the theme is heterosexual. I also don't want to scare away a "straight" crowd. My roommates think that the contradictions I speak of will ultimately be what excites those who came with more stereotypical preconceptions. Word of mouth will likely draw both men, women, gays, and hets they tell me. I'm not as confident... but, perhaps I should be. "Artistic tensions" and "polar perspectives" do seem to be my specialty.

On to other gay, er, I mean merry news... this from the Lazy E-4 ranch in Killdeer, ND, sent to me this morning:

You should have seen the sight yesterday. From the upstairs balcony I saw 87-year-old Uncle Chris chasing the horses with his 4-wheeler. He was wearing only his tighty-whities. For a while the horses were circling a clump of buffalo berry bushes and he was going round and round after them. At the time I thought it was a hoot. Turns out they had gotten into sacks of feed in his garage and scattered things good. He was not too happy.

Love ya Son, Dad

(Ed. note: See, what I'm trying to say is that naked-man-in-cowboy-hat doesn't always have to equal that-one-dude-from-the-Village-People/Rock Hudson.)

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Yolanda Cruz, whom I wrote about a couple days ago, sent me this link to a funny video spoof of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land".

Today I had an intensive meeting with Andras concerning Summer and Fall touring and recording. My plate is sooooo full. Gratefully, we scheduled me a three-week "vacation" in late-September where I can go to Montana and then North Dakota and pick up some carpentry work. I'm the worst carpenter there ever was, but for some reason people like to pay me good money to build things. I can't explain it. My next vacation after that will hopefully come in December, not that I'm complaining. I like my ragged career so far. It's a vacation unto itself... sort of. My slow progress can be compared to the cautious mountain goat with it's one-hoof-in-front-of-the-other method. Eat some grass, poop, sleep, butt heads, cry, continue.
I'm up late working on the Slippery Goodstuff play. I just checked email and got this letter from my mom-- she's a night owl, too.

Hi, Son,

Peanut was in Dvirnak's field. He'd jumped over the cattle guard. . .! Your dad is brainstorming on a contraption with waving ropes, to be hung above the cattle guard. He hopes it will inhibit cattle-guard hopping in the future.

I'm up late baking banana bread, because I bought some very ripe bananas today. The kitchen smells good!

Much love, Mom

I'm not sure why these two paragraphs strike my fancy, but they do. I guess they capture the idealized essence of my gracefully aging parents: Rob and Mary Sand (from Killdeer, North Dakota).

Friday, July 09, 2004

I finally figured out a way to post journal entries from my home computer. This means I won't have to go to Evergreen all the time.

Another pleasant development in my small, quixotic 2004 world is that I'm working with a credit union. Hopefully, some day I'll be free of Bank of America and Capitol One. They've both got their tentacles around my ankles, but not for long I hope...

Also-- my friend/drummer/uncle Garf and his girlfriend, Talcott, have given me their 1981 VW pick-up! The best part about it is that it's a bio-diesel/greasel-- it runs on used vegetable oil!!! Just like that and I'm practically out of the gas game. The $2 per gallon for biodiesel is less than a tank of gas in Olympia. Plus I'll get at least 50 miles per gallon. Apparently Willie Nelson is also a big fan and runs his Mercedes Benz on biodiesel. The only drawback that I can see is that my clothes might start smelling like McDonald's french fries on long road-trips. I guess it also throws my long-term relationship with 319 JOE into question. "Joe" is my 1984 Subaru station-wagon that needs a new clutch, (plus a lot of other tender loving care). He rattles and sputters and stalls at most stop-signs. He leaks oil. His driver's side window won't roll down. But, to his credit, he never breaks down, no matter how hard and long I push him. He's been around the USA a couple times and has visited many of the major cities without ever being the cause of a traffic jam or accident. And I made him a promise in my 1999 song "319 JOE" that, "I'll love (him) forever and protect (him) from the wreckin' yard." But, you know, I think he'll understand if I can sell him to the right person. To be fair, he's not worth more than $600 even with his new tires... but with a new clutch I think he could outlast a lot of cars 1/2 his age.

Anyone interested in owning this legendary miracle-car named "Joe"?

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I came across this website of a very dear friend of mine who moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to follow her dream of film-making. It's so great to see that she's doing it so excellently! I met Ms. Yolanda Cruz in 1994 when she was twenty-yrs-old. She and her two sisters organized a convoy of five or six trucks which were packed with aid (sewing machines, food, medical equipment, etc.) to help support the Zapatista struggle in Mexico and I was talked into going as their representative troubador. We raised money along the way by playing benefits but we were eventually stopped at the Juarez border and not allowed to pass without paying exorbitant taxes on the goods we were carrying. After three weeks of smuggling everything across on the foot-bridge, piece by piece, we drove as far as Mexico City just in time for the big 1994 presidential election. I was invited to play in front of a group of thousands of Zapatistas and their supporters. It was a huge honor that I'll never forget. The real point of this journal entry, though, is that Yolanda rocks-- Viva Oaxaca!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Sorry for the absence of words of late. I've been taking care of house business. I live in a 'collective' called the ABC house which is owned by an organization called the Black Walnut Association. For the last year, people within the ranks have been lobbying to turn my house into a youth hostel. My housemates and I have diligently fought against this and as of two nights ago it appears that we have won! Our morale immediately sky-rocketed and I have been doing lots of various chores like mowing, mopping, fixing cabinets, etc. The BWA also gave us $10,000.00 to paint our house's exterior!!! It's time for a victory party real soon; maybe next weekend.

I've also been busy being a playwright-- a dramatist! I appear to have a spark for it. At least Nerviz thinks so; he'll be the narrator in it. He's a trucker named Don Smucker who helps my George Small character metamorphose into the infamous rapping porn star known as Slippery Goodstuff.

And speaking of porn stars! Saturday night I drove to Seattle with Goose to watch the Lucky Devil Girly Show. Have I not told you about them yet?! They are a Skagit Valley burlesque troupe who somehow acquired my song "Persian Den of Sin" and do a fantastic dance-piece around it. They plan to work out dances to a few other numbers now that they've heard A Year in the Life of Slippery Goodstuff. After the show they all had me sign their boobs with an orange sharpie. I awkwardly tried to write cheerful messages which ultimately ended up inking up all sides of their bodacious breasts and chests with indecipherable scribblings. Three gay guys lined up after them and had me sign their t-shirts! Life is stranger than fiction, true. Anyhow, the evening was enjoyable and Goose helped me think about the Slippery Goodstuff play on the drive home which helped immensely.

I spent a couple hours with my former girlfriend Jen Grady yesterday. She graciously helped me record some rough demos for my new album, which will be officially recorded in Portland in two weeks by the great L.A. producer/rock star Willie Wisely. Andras will fly him up for three days of intense studio work with Chad and me at Mississippi Studios.

Yesterday I played a short birthday party set for Nerviz's son, Hollis, who turned four. Scream Club were there. Their new album is finished and will be released in August.

I'd better get back to work now.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Here's a flyer which I hadn't seen yet, from the WSUM show. Here's some more stuff from that show: pictures.

Then there's this: photo at K building.

This one's not really related: horse.