7488 miles traveled – writing from eastern Oregon
Another show was cancelled. I suppose i should be disappointed, but i'll take the downtime.
We’re crossing Oregon (OREGON! Woo Hoo!) after a couple of chill shows on the eastern edge of the state, we’re looking forward to the downtime. We’re going to spend some of it in Vancouver helping J’s folks set up their new house.
We just passed the “Trees from Hell.” Three hours east of Portland are these tree farms where they’ve planted perfect grids of trees, for miles. It’s like a virtual reality forest. It’s hard to say why, but it just feels wrong. The ground is perfectly clean, leaving ten miles of imposed monoculture, giant squares of trees, all the exact same height, all the exact same shape. Creepy.
J and I have been snipping at each other quite a bit lately. I think each of us could use some alone time, or at least some anyone-but-you time. I can’t think of a single other person that I would rather be with for 24 hours a day for 2 months. And yet, there is not a single person in the world that I want to spend 24 hours a day with for 2 months.
Being on the road so long definitely makes me a little curmudgeonly. I have a little grumpy dark cloud following me around everywhere, and I think it’s effecting my perceptions a little bit. Here, I’ve written down the last 4 things to come out of my mouth;
“You’re driving on bumps on purpose. You don’t want me to finish this journal, do you?”
“See, that’s the problem with nice people, their too nice, it grates on me.”
“Stupid cows, I bet their saying mean things about us right now.”
“Look at that annoyingly pretty landscape, I bet it thinks it’s better than me.”
It’s not that I’m grumpy really, it’s just that everyone and everything around me has gotten really stupid.
Actually there is one other reason that I’m in such a bad mood.
I have a curse on me. Actually I should say that I have a new curse on me. I thought I had grown out of my old curse, but apparently I just traded out. My old curse was entirely related to movies. It went like this: Any time I sat down in a theater to watch a movie, within five minutes of the start of the film the most obnoxious loud movie-hating person in the world would sit near me and talk throughout the entire film. This happened for most of my movie watching life. I’m not entirely proud to report that in my younger days I’ve been thrown out of more than one theater for instances where I made inappropriate use of theater food and drink to communicate my displeasure with talking.
So, when that curse disappeared I thought I had paid my karmic bill and was ready to live the rest of my life in peace. It took me awhile to discover that my movie curse had turned into a laptop computer curse. Every laptop I have owned has been either a lemon or possessed by the devil. My first laptop died abruptly, taking with it the only copy of the screenplay I had spent the last year writing. My next two developed exciting surreal symptoms that I thought were the exclusive domain of genetically altered meat animals.
Ah, then we get to The Laptop Kings. They are a lovely web based company in California that, for a mere $700, will send you a refurbished IBM computer that will die dramatically within weeks. They will then effectively disappear and avoid contact despite the best efforts of the better business bureau and lawyers. They are honestly very talented at this and I cannot recommend them enough if you are in possession of too much money and not enough paperweights.
And now we come to present day. Tired of my past laptop adventures, and ready to settle down into the clich? mundane life of someone with a constantly working computer, I bought a computer off of a friend of mine that was relatively new and [gasp] still under warranty. As many of you know I compose electronic music, and the laptop is my only way of performing live or writing music on the road. My new laptop was a Dell, which has had a good reputation for years, so I felt doubly secure.
Literally within a month of my warranty running out, the problems started. I could almost hear distant thunder and maniacal cackling. First it was with wireless cards. It stopped recognizing the internet, declining to the point where it couldn’t log on with anything, including DSL or dial-up service. Then the sound died. The computer just suddenly decided that it didn’t do sound.
“Oh, no, that isn’t a headphone jack, it’s a, uh, toothpick holder.”
This was inconvenient, but wasn’t as debilitating as you might imagine, because I use an external soundcard to DJ my music. But eventually the external soundcard stopped working too, which killed my ability to write music on it. Finally, with a sad final gasp, it just stopped turning on. After saying a few words over its corpse, I softly hummed “Taps” and wrapped it in a shroud. Gently fitting it into it’s case, I put it to rest…' in the back of the truck.
I’m trying to make a joke out of this, but the fact of the matter is that I’m screwed. I lost a number of tracks I was working on, as well as some writing. I’m a war-tax resister. I purposely live below the poverty line so none of my income goes towards the Iraq war. Since I live on so little money, I spent the last two years saving up towards this computer, and now it’s gone. My burgeoning career as a rock star has come to an abrupt end.
Whew! Hard to write something funny after that. Heh heh heh. Um, so, ahem…'
Why did the elephant cross the road?
It was the chicken’s day off.