don't you see that

(no subject)

A video the New York Times produced this month got me to thinking about what’s real. The title read, “If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be.” Now, I’ve actually been thinking about this for a while. I’m already scared.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” said Franklin Roosevelt—and that’s a man who knew what he was talking about. Take a look around. We’ve got fear everywhere. People are afraid their jobs are going to be taken away. They fear they’re not going to be able to feed their families. They fear that they’re going to be on the streets.

I’ve had that fear my whole life. I’ve always felt like I didn’t have my shit together. I was afraid of what was going to happen to me when the people who DID have their shit together went away. What was ever gonna happen?

You know what happened? A lot of shit happened. Sad, regrettable shit. Shit that would take books and books to write, and yeah, I know, I need to write them. Alcoholism, bouts of insanity, suicide attempt, the whole bit.

You know what else happened? People helped me. People in my family helped me. People in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings whom I didn’t even see eye to eye with about the whole God thing helped me. And somehow, I’m still here.

People helping each other: that’s when we’re at our best. They teach it to you in kindergarten: share. Remember the kid who didn’t want to share his Skittles? He was an asshole. Don’t be that kid. And you’re being that kid if your whole attitude is “keep your hands off my shit.”

So: sharing is good. Helping each other is good. You with me?

Let’s expand that to the whole country--the whole world, really, but let’s restrict the discussion to the United States. Sounds like socialism! And that’s a bad word, right? Well, yeah, if you look at Communist Russia, it’s a bad deal because the power was with the state. But in the United States, the power resides with the PEOPLE. You can say the people don’t have real power, but that’s bullshit. That’s all any of this is. It’s people.

In the U.S., you can go out and vote. It’s free. You may have to stand in line, but it’s not bad. You get to see your neighbors. The volunteers are nice. And it makes you feel good.

Some of you reading this may know that I’m a George Carlin fan. He shaped my worldview in a lot of ways. But he was wrong about some stuff. He was wrong about voting. It matters.

Vote. And I guess I shouldn’t tell you how to vote, but here’s some advice: don’t vote for the kid who doesn’t want to share his Skittles.
don martin

(no subject)

Well, my idea of being a LiveJournal regular a year or so ago obviously didn't happen. Oh well.

I'm in the midst of Carnivirium: Carnival-induced delirium. We're in the wee hours of Fat Tuesday, with the Houmas parade beginning in a few hours. It's been a great Mardi Gras season so far--no rain to speak of, at least not for me, and I'm getting some fantastic shots. Shots that, combined with other stuff that I've done in my 5+ years in Houma, could probably make up a portfolio that could get me a good job at a bigger, better paper. I think I've come into my own as a photographer. But the thing is . . . I kinda don't want to leave. 

I like it here. Houma (sounds like home) . . . feels like home. Which is a weird feeling. I'm still a damn old hermit, but I know people here. I have friends, even if I only see them when I'm working. People know me, are glad to see me, and appreciate me. And I could see myself staying here, settling, buying a house (which I got cold feet on a year or so, but I'm starting to look around a bit again), actually spending time with these people when I'm NOT working.

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don martin

albums thing xposted from FB

Ten (give or take) formative albums from my teenage (give or take) years.

1. Twisted Sister/Stay Hungry: Impossible to resist for a 12-year-old looking for something to rebel against. Started me on the dangerous path of heavy metal, and it's been downhill ever since. Or uphill, maybe. Something.
2. Metallica/Master of Puppets: All mourn the death of Scuzzy Cliff Burton, who was always a homebody. Band hasn't been the same since.
3. Led Zeppelin IV: Not my favorite Zep album (Physical Graffiti usually takes that honor), but the one that got me started. It actually took me quite a while to get Zeppelin--I think I bought and ditched this album a couple of times before it took. I dunno what was so objectionable to begin with--maybe that it wasn't all heavy all the time. Important for that reason.
4. Jane's Addiction/Nothing's Shocking: My desert-island album. Heavy, ethereal, transcendent, and deliciously sleazy--sometimes all at once. Blew my mind and still does.
5. Slayer/South of Heaven: I couldn't get into Reign in Blood at first. It scared the shit out of me. South of Heaven was much more accessible. Reign is my favorite Slayer now, but South of Heaven got me in the door.
6. Ministry/A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste: Still defines industrial music for me. Wonderfully sick--seething but precise.
7. Neil Young/Harvest Moon: I was actually 21 when this came out, but I was immature, so I'll count it. Proto-grunger blows metalhead's mind with acoustic album. Still one of my favorite albums, but not one I listen to often. Kinda makes me verklempt, yanno.
8. Rick James/Street Songs: I dunno what a nine-year-old white kid was doing singing along to lyrics like "Playing tag with winos/The only way to have some fun," but holy crap, did I love this album. So sleazy, and I just knew Rick really WAS a super freak, way more so than any of the kinky girls he sang about. Total bad-ass.
9. Ozzy Osbourne/Speak of the Devil: This live album of all Black Sabbath tunes made me go back and seek out the whole catalog of the band that became one of my top five of all time. It also introduced me to "the old film Maurice."
10. Crispin Glover/The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let it Be: Sometimes I wonder how I got so weird. I blame this album.

Damn, I didn't even get to the Misfits. Add the whole catalog of the One True Misfits (the Danzig era). My first album of theirs was Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood. It sounded like it was recorded in hell. I remember my friend Wes told me when I first played it for him, "Man, I hope you don't start getting into this"--which, of course, I took as a challenge. (He soon joined me.)
don martin

year in review ganked from trillian42

Haven't taken time to write while on vacation, but will try to do that in the next couple of days. In the meantime:

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
--buried a parent (burned him up, actually)
--did a hoarding cleanup

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
--didn’t make any, and won’t again

for 2017, my goals are:
--write, write, write
--compile photo book(s) and get published
--help two other folks get published
--get out of current apartment

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
no

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My pop.

5. What countries did you visit?
None, although being back in the Northeast on vacation feels like it

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
sex

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
1/14 – dad died
11/8 – ugh
11/10 – Black Sabbath show

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not losing my shit

9. What was your biggest failure?
Can’t say I really had one. The work year wasn’t my greatest, but I ended with a bang.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fucked up both knees somehow and was really having trouble for a while, but I got back to 100%

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Les Paul Standard. BUTTER


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom, as always. Wouldn’t have made it through Dad’s death and the cleanup without her. Stepdad John was also a big help. And they both have been soldiers dealing with his cancer treatments.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A very great number of voters.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Everyfuckingwhere

15. What made you really really really excited?
Lots of great live music, from Black Sabbath to Ghost to Kraftwerk to Mia X.

16. What song will forever remind you of 2016?
"Porcelain Monkey” by Warren Zevon

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. But not thin.
c) richer or poorer? richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. Seeing friends.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Ass-sitting.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I went to Mom’s. Next year? Maybe hosting.

21. How will you be spending New Year's?
Saw Gov’t Mule in NYC. Next year? No clue.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Nope.

23. How many one-night stands?
None

24. What were your favorite TV programs?
Rectify, Shameless

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I think I’ve crossed the line from revulsion to hate with our shitbag-elect. But nobody in my personal life.

26. What was the best book you read?
Shit, I can’t remember. Haven’t been reading many. :(

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Myself.

28. What did you want and get?
Peace with my dad’s life and death.

29. What did you want and not get?
Can’t think of anything.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Bad Santa 2? I haven’t watched many this year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
45. I went to see Slayer and Anthrax and visited my grandmother’s grave the day before, then went over to Starkville to deal with some stuff at my dad’s house. Also got to meet my longtime LJ friend Jennifer and grab some grub.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Wish my dad were still here.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
I continued my strategy of not becoming a fashion victim by ignoring it totally.

34. What kept you sane?
Staying in contact with family and close friends during trying times. Work, oddly enough. It has a way of keeping me centered and actually recharging my batteries with fun and challenging stuff.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Phoebe Cates, as ever.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Shitbags and the people who support them.

37. Who did you miss?
Dad. Grandmother.

38. Who was the best new person(s) you met?
Lonnie. Wait, not Lonnie. Moe. No, it couldn’t be Moe. . . . Shit, I dunno. Yo mama.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
Pay attention. It’s all valuable.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
First thing that comes to mind is “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” But it’s OK.
booth dog

(no subject)

Bedded down in Hattiesburg, MS, for the night. It's only about 150 miles from Houma, but it sure cuts down the drive to Mom's tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing Mom and my stepdad John, who's been having radiation treatments for basal cell carcinoma. Also very much looking forward to seeing my stepbrother Grimmett. Haven't seen him in like 17 years or something. What the fuck. :( I hate how spread out my family is, but we all kinda had to find our place, I guess. Right now it's me in south Louisiana, Mom and John in the Chattanooga area, Grimmett (Kevin) in Austin, and John II in freakin' Philadelphia. Our shit's fucked up, but it's kinda oddly OK.

From there the plan is to head north around the 28th or 29th and see friends in Virginia, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and who the hell knows where else. All told, I'll be away from home until about January 9. Haven't had a vacation that long since I was a kid, I don't guess. Still doesn't quite feel real that it's gonna happen. But it's gonna kick ass.
mr. nose

(no subject)

Busy, busy day. Busy month. Busy year. I've been running around town shooting photos for the paper and going to look at houses in between. Yes, I've just about decided to settle down here in Houma, Louisiana. I have some money to work with that I inherited from my dad, and I'm tired of paying rent and never feeling settled and having to give up pets because landlords are assholes and all that. Never have gotten over having to give Lonzie Jesus away, and goddammit it's time to have a home. I love it down here on the bayou. The people are crazy conservative, but somehow they're not assholes. Quite the contrary. They're the most welcoming people I've ever run across, and I've lived a few places. And I love the weather. Some people say it doesn't feel like Christmas when it's 70, but I ain't one of 'em. I've never had more Christmas spirit than I have this year.

Which is weird. And I see it in others, too. Even though we're on the verge of the King-Hell Bad Craziness of a Lifetime, I see people coming together. Imagine that. Don't get me wrong, I see a lot of schism, too, but somehow I think we're gonna be OK.

Ah, that's enough for now. Trying to get back in the habit of writing every day. I don't think it'll be a problem, actually--I'm super-unusually creative and productive these days. It's like I got the fuckin holy ghost or something.

Icons, man! I got icons I can choose from! And I got italics! How the fuck did we lose this stuff when we "moved on" from Web 1.0?
don martin

a day of bountiful culture in New Orleans

My day started with a quick jaunt from my hotel in the Garden District of New Orleans so I could visit the camera department of Best Buy for some supplies. After some comedic errors, I finally found the correct Veterans Blvd. location that had the Real (the first barely had a camera dept.), purchased my goods, and headed over to Magazine St., where I tried Nirvana’s Indian buffet, which friends had raved about. I’ve been lamenting my lack of access to good Indian food since I left New Haven ten years ago. There were at least three Indian buffets I frequented that were an easy walk from my job at Yale Press. I wished that my old compatriot, erstwhile part-time boss, later merely co-worker, and always friend Peter Sims were here with me in New Orleans today so we could savage a buffet (pronounced buff-it, in Peter’s inimitable way) together, as we did countless times during my few years in CT. But alas, we lost Peter earlier this year to cancer, which was a great shock to me. We had sort of lost touch in the decade since my departure from Yale, and I was much the poorer for his absence. All who knew him are poorer still for his departure from this coil. But you are remembered, sir, and spoken well of by all who knew you. I say that without reservation, and that's the finest testimony to a life well lived that I can think of.

(You can learn a bit more about Peter, if you didn't have the chance to know him, hereand at another former Yale co-worker Robert Pranzatelli's blog. I suggest you do.)



From there, I returned to my hotel to watch my beloved Bulldogs trounce the hated Rebels of Ole Miss (How could you root for a university called that or for a team with that mascot? I don't know, but it is done, even by some folks I greatly respect and love. One never knows, do one?) in the Egg Bowl and edit a video I took yesterday at a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Thibodaux Massacre. The video came out quite well, as did the photos. You can see the video at https://www.facebook.com/dailycomet (look for it; I'll be dogged if I can figure how to link to the post itself right now), view the photos at http://www.dailycomet.com/photogallery/DA/20161125/NEWS/112509992/PH/1, and read my colleague Kevinisha Walker's nice story at http://www.houmatoday.com/news/20161125/relatives-of-thibodaux-massacre-victim-gather-in-memory.

After I was done with the video, I spoke with my friend Michelle at some length about the curious political situation we all find ourselves in these days, and then it was time to hop across the street for sushi. I won't bore you with what I had, but I definitely recommend Sushi Brothers on St. Charles if you should find yourself in the area. And by the way, I also highly recommend the accommodations at the Prytania Park Hotel. Very affordable, clean, amenable, quiet and convenient.

Before long, it was time to head to the French Quarter for a show I had tickets for at Preservation Hall. The streetcar I took seemed to have an odd electrical-ish smell happening, and sure enough, about halfway to Canal St., the driver stopped it and had us go across the street to take a bus a bit further toward Canal, but it stopped short enough that I still had a few blocks to walk.

Upon crossing Canal, I found an absolute mob scene. Bourbon Street was wall-to-wall with throngs of people. The interesting thing to me was that they were 99% black. I've never seen that in the Quarter. I have noticed that recently I see far greater numbers of black people than I did when I was careening around Bourbon St. in my early twenties, but it seems normally still to be dominated by hordes of drunken white frat dudes and sorority chicks. Which is why I don't do late night on Bourbon St. anymore, particularly since I haven't drunk in years. It was nice to avoid all that honky bullshit.



It took me probably half an hour to get from Bourbon and Canal to Preservation Hall (a walk that should take maybe 5-10 minutes), but I did make it. The crowd, while elbow-to-elbow filling the streets, was collegial and oddly sober-seeming. I did smell a lot of the stickiest of the icky, but I didn't get puked on, which was nice.

While waiting in line, I was sandwiched between a couple from London and several folks from Japan. I struck up a conversation with the Brits, and it turned out that she is a documentary filmmaker touring sites in the U.S. for a documentary on music. She plans to visit Jackson next and, I think, check out blues sites in the Delta. (I don't know how you'd survey heavy-duty musical sites without the MS Delta.) So that was cool. I gave her my card and asked her to email me so I can hear more about her project.



Preservation Hall, man. My dad loved that place. The last time we went there was in 1988, just before the Republican National Convention started in New Orleans. I remember seeing all these honky motherfuckers in fancy shirts checking out the local culture, and even then, before I'd developed much in the way of political awareness, I held them in contempt. But looking back, I had no reason to--at least not because of their having enough on the ball to check out Preservation Hall. I do, however, retain my belief that Republicans should never gather.

The show itself was one of the best I've ever attended. I had little idea what to expect, but I knew it sounded good. Local rapper/singer Mia X performed with a brass band, and they blew my doors off. I'm running out of gas here, but there's video of it, so check it out.





I did an end-around to avoid Bourbon on my way out of the Quarter, but as soon as I got to Canal, I found mayhem of a different sort: police line, mounted police telling everyone to get the hell off Canal St., etc. One man told me that there'd been a shooting, and lamented that folks just can't act right. I agreed, and said it was a shame that the mood had been ruined.

.

Canal Street's being shut down took the St. Charles streetcar out of commission all the way to Lee Circle, so I ended up having to walk all the way there before I could pick one up. I got blisters on me feeters, and that kept me from even thinking to look over at the controversial Confederate monuments that are causing outraged New Orleanians to leave comments on every. single. NOLA.com article in creation regarding their hatred for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Culture all up in it. It'll take me a little while to work out my thoughts on all that. But now I have to sleep, for I have a Saints game to shoot at noon tomorrow.