Monthly archives: April 2010

business in the front, party in the back

When I cut off my dreads, there were pieces of black fuzz still stuck to the tips. Things I had been carrying around with me for the last year.
I picked it out with oily fingers, bit by bit, and washed it hard, marveling at the way the back of my head feels, now that I can really grab a hold of it. I am lighter.
Now I find myself with the exact same haircut I had last year at this time, just before the short hair and the pink lion’s mane. (“Business in the front, party in the [...]

people of westerwald!

This week I brought a copy of the (almost mastered) Black Diamond Express Train to Hell demo CD along for the driver with whom I get to and from work twice a week.
He slid it into the car stereo and slide guitar and banjo and cajon started coming out of the speakers. (On car radios the bass just completely disappears on this mix.) Then the singing starts, and Driver Man says, “Is that your voice?” He sounds astonished.
“Yeah, that’s me,” I tell him.
“Wow, I never would have guessed it,” he tells me back.
“Why is that exactly?” I [...]

all hail ye, mighty eyjafjallajokull

I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you: for the last week Eyjafjallajokull the Friendly Icelandic Volcano has been spewing 14-kilometer columns of ash into the air. The ash created clouds that in turn smoked all of Europe’s airplanes right out of the sky.
The skies were blue, not tic-tac-toed with plane-exhaust lines, they were empty, and they were quiet. And I secretly wished it would go on forever, despite the fun and exciting plans it would displace, wished that it would smoke on and on and on until the entire airline industry went out of business.
Imagine wars [...]

building project number three: stairs

Oh, how the spring air and the change of place has motivated me!
building a mini-porch and stairs (picture one)
I started with a heavy wooden bit (already assembled) that the guys at the plumbing company at the front of our property had put out with the trash.
Problem number one: only one angle bracket left from the bag full I’d found in the trash last summer, but need at least four. Solution number one: take apart some metal bits meant to use to hang long narrow flower pots from apartment balcony windows (those are the green things visible at the bottom [...]

victory is (briefly) mine

Some little steps in the building process seem so huge that they catapult me into motion for days, sometimes weeks afterward.
Yesterday we took one of those steps. I finished securing that last pesky corner beam, and we moved my wagon.
It didn’t have far to go, but the amount of effort that it took to move the fucking thing certainly made it feel like it because I had to be difficult and insist that we turn the wagon around so that my door would be facing pretty green bushes (instead of a wood shed and the scrap metal heap) once [...]

dumpster find of the season

As last fall was on its way out, the bulbs that bore these tulips were on their way into the grocery store dumpster. And I wonder, had they made it to the dump, would they have sprouted there among the garbage? I like to imagine they would have, although the reality is probably that the winter’s trash would have encased them deep in a humid, plastic tomb.

fame, glory, etc

Yesterday there was an article about me in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on the first page of the Rhein-Main section. Probably already available in your neighbor’s trash, should you like to take a look.
I don’t think I would like being famous very much. I can barely handle the disturbingly enormous picture of me that accompanies the article. Goodbye any very small chance at anonymity I still had left. Whoops.

people of cologne! people of mühlheim (am ruhr)!

We are coming to your city to play for you! Lalalalalalala!
Black Diamond Express Train to Hell
Pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong at the last minute did. Our dobro player is at home in bed with his face rotting off because of an infection that could blind him if he doesn’t take care of it. The CD artwork came back fucked and needed to be reinvented with stuff we already had around late last night. And the master still isn’t finished.
But we are coming to sing for you all the same! We have new [...]

the gorilla garden

My friend’s mother is an avid gardener and my patron saint of seeds. She filled bags with willow tree branches (put them in water and they will grow roots, she said), three kinds of mint, tarragon, loveage (in German liebstöckel or Maggikraut), strawberries, and garlic.
“This line of garden is 23 years old,” she told me as she shoveled plants into plastic bags. “I started planting it just before my son was born, and have saved a few cloves for replanting every year since.”
Then she started pulling out envelopes and old baby food jars filled with seeds, filling an [...]

john hoffman on dumpster diving and the underground economy

I don’t know that Hoffman’s economic analysis would hold up in a court of law, but I’d rather we dissembled those anyway. So here is a very long quote from The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving:
“It’s a great feeling to have somebody hand you CASH MONEY for an item you found in the trash. I rarely become as excited about my paycheck as I become over a few bucks from dumpster loot. It’s like a created that handful of cash.
“Best of all, when I receive cash it is untaxed. The underground economy triumphs again. [...]