Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I've arrived at the Doe Bay Resort. Orcas Island is windy tonight.

Spent last night in Anacortes, WA, with the the Lunsfords, who have adopted me. We played board games 'til late.

My back is feeling slightly better, thanks to a two-hour cranial sacral session earlier today.

They treat me like a king on this island. I love it.

Off to my warm cabin now.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Moses Lake, WA, is a disaster zone. Trucks and cars are in every ditch. I-90 is pure sketch. Dollar-sized snowflakes are descending.

Two other unfortunate items of the day: Pearl Drop's headlights are fading. And I pinched a nerve in my lower back this morning and can't move.

That said, I am in good spirits! Both shows yesterday were great. Emilie, in Spokane, also baked a birthday cake. She used dried blueberries to write "38" on the white frosting.

I forgot to mention that I became friends with Sanjaya's grandmother in Hot Springs just before leaving town yesterday morning.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Coeur d'Alene, ID, which is having its snowiest December in 100 years, is a slushy mess. My boots and socks are wet from walking through thrift store parking lots. Today is my 38th birthday. I'll play two shows today. The first at Long Ear Records, where I'm typing this. Then I'll drive to Spokane for a house concert at friend Emilie's. Last night I stayed at another Emily's house. She made a white-frosted carrot cake for my birthday. : )

Friday, December 26, 2008

Super fun tour kick-off show at Symes Hotel in Hot Springs, MT! Time to soak.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve from Montana's Flathead Reservation, where I grew up! Just had supper with Grandma at the nursing home. They served us giant oysters in hot butter-water.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hello from Earl and Susan's.

Earl with his stuffed beaver.

The roads are slightly nasty. Not sure how far I'll drive tomorrow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Survived the frigid 54-hour round-trip Calgary-via-Renville trucker journey. Now I'm packin' for my 12,000-mile Florida-via-Montana station wagon odyssey. The car won't start, though.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Off to Renville, MN, to pick up a load of tilapia (photo). Then back through North Dakota and Montana and up to Calgary, Alberta, to unload.

Until Sunday . . .


"Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care. It's like a tangible thing that you can point to and say, 'Hey man, I love you....this many dollars."

--Michael Scott, The Office

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The cool thing about having ethnic--in my case, Norwegian--grandparents is the unique food they bring to the table. Farmor and Farfar invited me and the folks over tonight for kumla (potato dumplings) and lefse (potato flatbread).

On Christmas I'll be in Montana with my dear Irish Grandma Julia Viola (Sullivan) Herak. Irish and Norwegians have a mutual love of spuds and redheads. In fact, it was probably the Irish who gave potatoes to Norse explorers, and it was probably Norse explorers (Viking raiders) who gave the Irish red hair.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For Release:

Hobo filmmaker Bill Daniel and rappin' cowboy Chris Sand are back on the road this winter, taking their show to every southern honky tonk, art space, punk house, and Elks Lodge they can find. "Authentic" and "underground" are good words to describe these two American artists.

Sand, aka "Sandman," performs a unique mix of Western ballads, cowboy poetry, and rap. Sand grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, where he learned to rap and rhyme to the pulse of baling machines and irrigation pumps. A veteran of the Olympia, WA, music scene, Sand's current base is western North Dakota, where he drives semi nine months of the year and tours the U.S. and Canada the other three.

Itinerant documentarian Bill Daniel got his start photographing and touring with Texas punk bands in the '80s. In the '90s Daniel and his Bolex movie camera rode freight trains across the West, searching for the source of mysterious boxcar graffiti. His film, "Who is Bozo Texino?" chronicles his adventures uncovering the history of this mostly unknown folk art.

Sand and Daniel are both veterans of the road--each has done hundreds of shows across the US. Their tour van for this trip is a diesel modified to run on waste vegetable oil, so they are asking locals for hook ups to local grease dumpsters along the way.

[Photo by Emily Nash]

We're lookin' for shows in the South from mid-February to mid-March. Any ideas? Leave a comment.
Purchased the new Erykah Badu CD: NEW AMERYKAH.


Here's some Jill Scott.


Raphael Saadiq.

Nothing soothes me like R&B.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wind chill is currently -55 Fahrenheit outside.

I spent the afternoon at McFadden's playing Wii, then supper and video. I love the McFadden family--six kids and two excellent parents. Miss Sarah cooked pot roast.

Boss called to say we leave for Calgary Thursday. One last fish haul before I, Frostbite Fred, trade prairie fever for three months of tramping. Florida, I can almost taste your oranges.

The Obama comedy catalogue can only mushroom. Brace yrselves.

This silly, short Obama video made me laugh out loud, mostly because of the lyrics.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last night, for the sixth time this week, I watched the National Finals Rodeo at Grandma and Grandpa's.

I'm taking a break from rodeo insanity tonight, however. The wood stove's a-blazing, and I'm whittling away at winter tour prep.

Two hours ago, I was invited to perform at the 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, in Elko, Nevada. The Western Folklife Center would fly me in for a night, buy supper, and pay $250. If I accept, it'll be a midnight show with Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A former girlfriend of mine, Sarah Alexander, just sent this picture of her first paid modeling job.

Congrats, Sarah!

Speaking of models, Bettie Page caught the westbound earlier today, at age 85. RIP.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pops.

I'd be scowling too, if I were as old as you. ; )

Happy birthday, also, to Mom's youngest brothers--the Herak triplets:

Tom, Tommy, & Thomas! They were a handful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cousin Jenny just sent Thanksgiving pics.

In brief:

Uncle Josh turned sixty on Thanksgiving Day.

Sledding with Hannah and Lilijiana.

Mom and Dad pose next to wigloo.

Kurz family get comfy inside the igwam.
Shaggy-haired horses and cattle have frost on their backs. Wild turkeys swap gossip with deer next to hay stacks. The oil derricks are lit up across the prairie like Christmas trees.

'Tis the season.

Dad and I brought Grandpa's red one-horse sleigh down from the Mountain today.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Both trucking runs we had planned this week were canceled. Hopefully I'll get one more good haul in before heading to Montana for Christmas.

I may start working for Dunn County Historical Society again in limited fashion. They want me to edit their "Tales & Trails" newsletter in 2009. It was only eighteen months ago that I was the full-time Dunn County Museum curator. Seems longer.
My thousand-dollar red house is cozy this December: warm, peaceful, aromatic, quaintly trimmed, well-stocked. I sleep alone, except for a hot water bottle. It's a bachelor's life for Sandy Claus. And snow-covered Dunn Center does look like the North Pole. I put up holiday decorations today.

You, too, could move to North Dakota and escape the rat race, recession, and tyranny of rent. You could buy a shack like mine and raise chickens, learn to cook, and travel south for the winter. It's possible.

Here's a house on eBay for--last I checked--$810. It has two bedrooms, a garage, and huge yard.

Tonight was Shawn Goodall's birthday party. He rented the pay-per-view Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao fight and invited friends and relatives over. Legendary De La Hoya got KO'd in eight. Perhaps Oscar will retire now.

Perhaps he'll move to NoDak.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Portland, Oregon, is in the midst of a TV advertising campaign to promote the downtown. They've made five thirty-second vids that highlight different angles of downtown commerce and entertainment. Each one is augmented by a song.

To promote the Portland Outdoor Store, they used a clip from "Roll Out, Cowboy," which you can view here:


My friend Khaela, of The Blow fame, also had a song featured. It's the first one, about chocolates. We're both lucky to have our mutual friend Forrest Martin working for the advertising firm. We both were paid $500.

They used a part that doesn't feature my voice except at the very end where I'm goin' "yeeeeehehaaawwwww!" The first voice is an old Harry Jackson sample, and then Camo comes in and says, "he's got class, he's got style, he's got some fuuunk to him." Carl Dexter produced the song.
Watched a bit of National Finals Rodeo with Grandma and Grandpa tonight. They recently acquired an electric machine that shakes you up for good health.

To use it, you lay on your back on the floor and place your ankles on cushioned saddles. You press a speed control button and the machine jiggles side to side. The process is supposed to be good for arthritis, headaches, insomnia, depression, and whatever else ails you.

I jiggled for twenty minutes during the barrel racing and bull riding. Then Grandma served vanilla ice cream on jello.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Sandman ringtone:
thirty-second clip from "Roll Out, Cowboy."

It's flippin' sweet.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Awoke at six a.m. Pink sunrise! Meditated on God (briefly). Tea of marshmallow root. Jogged through field. Bran flakes. Five letters to post office. Tour work. Bagel, cottage cheese, and pineapple. Tour work. Clothes washed. Sleepy. Clothes dried. Stained cedar porch steps red. Asparagus, hamburger, and rice. Loneliness.

Alas, a friend is dying.