Meth has several distinctions. You can make it in the comfort of home from readily available ingredients. It produces spectacular before-and-after photo montages. And for once it seems to be just as bad as the authorities say it is, inasmuch as that's possible. Authorities always couch drug scourges as world-ending pandemics. What they still don't realize is that the kind of person who will do hard drugs is the kind of person who is looking at a kind of personal eschatology anyway.
The current incarnation of meth is doing it all backwards. Instead of starting out in the inner cities and then fucking up the rest of the nation, meth these days seems to have been reborn out in the boons and is making its way back along the two-lane go-nowhere state roads, onto the bypasses through the suburbs and finally back to the alleys. Good job, meth. Finally, rural white libertarians can say they've had an effect on America.
Were Speedy West and/or Jimmy Bryant using meth when they recorded these two albums? Probably not. Some people don't need meth. Some people don't need drugs at all. What the hell is that about?
Sometime between my twelfth life-shattering revelation of the morning, my two hundred and thirteenth lap around my bedroom, and noticing the eighth secret pattern hidden among the other, more obvious patterns in my fractal wall calendar (It was August. It’s always August. Why do they always place the best image in August? August sucks.), I decided to slump down, in an ethereal haze, in front of my laptop and put on Belong’s October Language. She had made a cocoon out of my fuzzy blankets, a chrysalis in a comforter, and was busying herself with the task of completely forgetting that anything existed, so I really carried no qualms about changing the songs up a bit. Besides, I was in some sort of semi-poisoned state and was fervently compelled to find the album for reasons that are still beyond me. I reasoned that if I did not put this album on, I would spend my entire life trapped in some sort of personal Hell, contained forever within the walls of my room, forced to spend every waking moment in intense mental pain and anguish.
Besides, Iron and Wine isn’t really my thing.
The first song began playing, and everything else lost total relevance. The next two hours, thirty-three minutes, and forty-three seconds would be spent in cartoonishly disheveled form on my bed, forgetting any memory of who I ever was, any cognitions of who I am now, and any expectation of who I ever might be. The irony that comes with such dissociation occurring while listening to a group named Belong should be noted (and perhaps laughed at??? Who knows. I don’t. I suck.). Later we went and got pizza and I made a joke about the particular toppings and we both laughed. Anyway, listen to this. Now. Though I’m not sure exactly which genre it belongs (ha!) under, my friend Joshua still defines it divinely.
Fred told me that nearly the entire division is being liquidated today. There's only enough to put one technician on call, he said. I've been working at Williams for 12 years, serviced thousands of machines. Nearly lost my middle finger to a faulty Apollo 13 multiball. There's no way it's going to be me.
Blutarski and the rest of the class of '91 were let go. I don't know if I actually want this. Did some diagnostics on a box of bumpers to take my mind off things. God. Oh god.
12/31/95 7:08 AM
The call was from one of those Funway fuckers. Someone tilted the Flintstones machine and now the Dino Rib ramp is busted. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I've heard the stamping of Fred's feet coming from that machine. I checked my service log in the truck and this makes it the eleventh time I've had to service Flintstones #A334. I'll just send Dave to get it and....No. They were let go yesterday. When did I fall asleep last night? Why did I forget that? The wrench is cold against my skin as I pulled up my belt and shipped out. I'll have to kiss you good morning some other time, Sally.
12/31/95 11:25 AM
How often do you fall in love in front of a Slush Puppie machine? Only the concession counter separates us. Stupid. You're an idiot, Frank. If she even considered you attractive, you'd probably go and
12/31/95 2:45 PM Going to the bar. I have to get this Gilligan's Island jackpot shit out of my head.
12/31/95 7:07 PM Been here for a couple of hours now. The youth have no respect. There's an old Taxi machine in here and they just shake it and kick it endlessly. I can feel its pain. A relic no longer relevant. I'm going to show these kids they can't push us around.
12/31/95 INDETERMINATE hurtsohurt
1/1/96 1:35 AM happy newyear you fuckers. pinball is dead. and no one will ever know.
I was having a terrible time. I felt distinctly unwell. I went to see my doctor. He is a good man. He shone a light in my eyes. He looked in my left ear, then my right. I was told to breathe in a specific way. He looked at me sternly, but not without kindness. I felt re-assured and appropriately worried. The stern but kind look told me that I hadn't wasted his time.
"Well, I'm glad you came in. This certainly isn't a waste of my time." My heart leapt. "From the cursory inspection I gave you (and thank you for breathing in that certain way, it really helps me pin down my diagnsis), I would say you have the following problems: Aspergillosis, Blastomycosis, Candidiasis, Coccidioidomycosis, Cryptococcosis, Dermatomycoses, Fungemia, Geotrichosis, Histoplasmosis, Microsporidiosis, Paracoccidioidomycosis, Piedra, Pneumocystis, Zygomycosis, Cerebral Toxoplasmosis, Spirochaetales Infections, Brain Abscess, Empyema, Epidural Abscess, Lyme Neuroborreliosis, IRAK4 DEFICIENCY, LEUKOCYTE ADHESION DEFICIENCY, TYPE I ("Sounds worse than it is but the capital letters are necessary," he said, and I was comforted), Bacterial Meningitis, Escherichia coli (Meningitis), Meningitis, Haemophilus, Meningitis, Listeria, Meningococcal Meningitis, Pneumococcal Meningitis, Meningeal Tuberculosis, Neurosyphilis, Pneumonia of Calves, (Enzootic), Pneumonia of Swine (Mycoplasmal), Pneumonia (Mycoplasma), Pneumonia, (Pneumococcal), Pneumonia, (Rickettsial), Pneumonia, (Staphylococcal), Norrie Disease, Choroid Hemorrhage, Lecithin Retinol Acyltransferase, Fundus Albipunctatus, Duane Retraction Syndrome, Donnai-Barrow Syndrome, Reiger Syndrome (types 1 and 2), Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease, Oculoauricular Syndrome, Cerebrooculofacioskeletal Syndrome (type 2 yes, I don't believe type 4), Warburg Micro Syndrome, Aleutian Mink Disease, Ephemeral Fever, African Horse Sickness, Rinderpest and Chronic Wasting Disease."
"That sounds serious, Doctor," I said.
"It is, son," he said. "But modern science is quite up to the challenge."
"asked for a smoke from an automata. he said "you are trying to quit." i said yeah. but i want a cigarette. he said "you are trying to quit." i said yeah, i know, c'mon man, i know what i'm doing. he said "you are trying to quit."
goddammit, sometimes i hate the automata."
got on the bus. three automata were in the back seat. i was reading my book so i was distracted and pulled the bell to stop one stop earlier. the busdriver slowed down, i looked up and realized my mistake. "sorry man, next stop please?" i called out. the busdriver shrugged. i looked back at the automata.
one said "he made a mistake."
another said "why did he make that mistake."
the third said "mistakes are made when one is not ready."
the first said "what are mistakes?"
the third said "lack of preparation."
the second said "we make our own luck."
where did the automata come from. why is it that there are so many?
what do automata say during sex? many do not speak. some say "the inscrutable psycho-physic nexus is identical in all innervation and lies outside the sphere of the will." some say that sex between automata is akin to the sense of dizziness in deaf-mutes. others say it is more like auditory hallucinations in deaf schizophrenics. automata are not helpful in such speculations. "i would rather not speak of that" they will say.
when the automata dance, it is serious. their eyes are on the middle distance. they are seeing a more perfect, more efficient world. the dancing of automata contains no wasted movement. it is beautiful and cold and brittle, like porcelain, like a secret glance, like an orchid dipped in liquid nitrogen.
"This is all we can say at present of the hypnotic subject's mental state,—a topic whose investigation will tax the wit, but certainly reward the industry, of the most ingenious psychologist who may devote himself to its elucidation." - from the journal of intelligence, a popular automata magazine.
much on the minds of the automata is the concept of the phantom limb, the feeling in amputees of the physical presence of their lost limbs. they ask, does it grasp? does it reach out to touch the face of the beloved? monographs are published and ignored by the rest of us. a page of such a monograph blew down my street and was pinned against a tree by the wind. i picked up and read it. it said, anger and love and sadness and joy and rapture. then it repeated those nine words in a different font; lucida sans, if i recall. that is all that was on the page.
automata flying airplanes. automata flying airplanes on the great circle routes. automata piloting the great ocean liners. automata in the trains beneath our cities. automata in motion, in progress.
I asked the automata, "why am i here? why is my life like this?" The automata replied, "all calculations show that your life is wonderful". I smirked and said, "yeah, in theory." The automata became dark, metallic red and began spinning. Faster, faster and faster still, the automata spun and began to lift off the ground. I had been knocked on the floor by the extreme shift in pressure in the room due to the intense spinning of the automatia. Thats when a piece of debris, being sucked in from outdoors amongst other debris due to the pull by the spinning automata, flew in and stuck right on my chest. I grabbed it and looked. It was a Pamphlet for the Save A Child Foundation. I picked up the phone and called immediately.
the automata will not use the word 'appears.' the automata will always use the word 'is.' this is widely seen to be one of the distinguishing characteristics of the automata.
10) (by Sprinx)
The automata built for the human hospital had to be taken out of the urgent care and into the recovery ward due to her inability to decipher which human to care for first. Her outdated commands and machinery gave her incomplete data on pain level and probability of survival. The chief felt that rather than take her apart or melt her away, he'd rather have her complete monotonous tasks, like changing the sheets. It's not that he was concerned about the machine's feelings, rather he was more concerned about losing a piece of himself along with it. Although humans know that automatas don't feel or have souls, they become attached knowing that getting rid of an automaton is to get rid of memories that go along with it. A selfish act.
1. Your name, age, and address. 2. Date of amputation, and part lost. 3. Do you still feel the lost part? If you do not feel it now, for how long did you feel it after the amputation? 4. Are you in love? How would you describe this feeling? 5. How much of the limb can you feel, and how does the feeling differ from what it would be if the member were present? 6. If the apparent position changes of its own accord, can you assign any cause for such change? 7. Do you ever feel as if you had two imaginary legs in addition to a real one? 8. Can you, by consciously directing your attention to the lost part, change the intensity or quality of the feeling there? 9. How does love end, in your experience. 10. Can you, by making an effort of the will, succeed in making it seem to move into a different position? (Do you recognize as two distinct cases, imagining the change, and willing it?
a current bestseller: Are We Automata? the photo of the author on the dust jacket shows her in serious thought, yet with a playful twinkle in her eye. is she smug or is she genuinely amused?
the automata regard the concept of faith as being analogous to the concept of the phantom limb. in walter reed hospital, drifts of well-dressed automata blow down the halls, opening doors. they bring letters from loved ones. "honey, i wish i could be there," is a common opening in these letters. "i can't believe you would write that," is another. the automata read these letters to wounded soldiers in calming voices.
the automata have a second table of the elements. some assume it is how they map us. some assume otherwise. neither is fully correct.
the automata sing. the automata perform works of bach. the audience is confused. serialism, then post-serialism. the noted critic Anton M. writes in his journal upon returning home: "the voices of the automata are individually sweet but when massed in unison i found it almost unbearable... i would die to hear only their technique in full voice; but i would kill rather than to have to hear their perfect diction. never before have i heard the words, kyrie eleison christe eleison, spoken with such awful clarity." he takes to the bottle and dies some years later a worthless scoundrel.
i was approached by an automata on crutches on the Rue Guillaume James. his eyes were fever-bright. "i love you!" he shrieked. taking a step backward, i saw that his foot was badly mangled, blood blooming through his bandages. he screamed "i love you!" and fell forward in the gutter. he reached for me. "au secours!" i called! "m'aidez! gendarmes! gendarmes!"
corporal, what we have here is several ducks. we have an eider duck. we got a canvasback. a mallard. and many others. these ducks are not going to fuck themselves. are you implying they will fuck themselves, corporal.
because you are not fucking them. are you fucking them currently corporal.
what is the status of that duck corporal
that duck is standing there
that duck is standing there what corporal
that duck is standing there sir
that duck is standing there sir is right. is that duck fucking itself or is that duck standing there.
that duck is standing there sir and does not appear to be engaged in any sort of coitus whatsoever. sir
how do propose we are going to rectify this situation
how i propose i am going to ... rectum, sir, i don't understand sir
you really are a silly sack of shit corporal.
i am updating you as requested sir.
that's real nice, corporal.
i fucked a duck sir.
you fucked a duck.
i fucked a duck sir.
which duck did you fuck.
which duck did you fuck, are you deef as well as gay son.
no sir neither sir.
because they was all man ducks corporal.
all those ducks is man ducks corporal.
you are deef as well as a capering catamite corporal.
you passed the test son.
son, you passed the test. you fucked you a gook duck.
it was gook vc scrunt duck and you fucked the shit out of it. from the look of yer dick.
sir yes sir, that did happen.
i know it happened. that did happen and in this way do we win hearts and minds and ducks. we fucked that duck, ain't no gook vc gonna fuck that duck now.
was that a tunnel duck corporal.
was that a gook vc tunnel duck.
i cannot say sir, i did not procure the duck.
bet it was. did you hold that duck afterward.
did you hold that duck afterward.
are you gonna call that duck back corporal or are you johnny fuckandrun.
no sir what.
no sir i'm no johnny fuckandrun.
you might be a daddy corporal. you might be a gook duck daddy.
sir i have a wife at home.
you got two wives now, you better start making some decisions.
we are americans and we don't do no bigamy. you want two wives corporal? you want two wives giving you the honey-do?
sir i got a wife back home name eileen.
we are marrying into the gook duck society and that is how we are gonna win this war. hearts and minds. son are you saying you don't wanna win this war against gooks and ducks.
i got a wife sir.
then you got a lot of thinking to do. i suggest you think about while whitewashing that hill there. you got two hours.
So, I've decided to start singing with a Sacred Harp group, and I'll take questions about it here in this blog! I expect several fabricated questions from my audience of eight.
Doodle doodle dee. Bum bum bum BAAAAA no honey don't yank that. No honey don't yank that. No honey don't yank that. Dum deedle no honey don't
"Hey Smilin' Tyler, what's Sacred Harp singing?"
JESUS FUCK don't do that. What's Sacred Harp music? Well, I describe it as "an American folk tradition featuring starkly modal shouting unto the Lord" but I don't know what "starkly modal" or even "modal" means, so look at the wikipedia.
"Smilin' Tyler, can I get a link to the wikipedia for Sacred Harp?"
You realize that you expended more energy typing that request than typing 'wikipedia.org,' you realize this do you not.
Shouldn't you start shaving before you ask questions like that?
"Religious music is for pussies."
I'm not a pussy.
"Smilin' Tyler, I've heard you're a pussy."
I'm not a pussy no honey don't yank that. Well if you yank that the cat will do that. No honey don't yank that.
OK, how much religious music have you actually heard that isn't sung by Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith? The classical liturgical tradition is FULL of absolute asskickers, some of which have appeared in this very blog. The blog you are reading. The blog you love to read. Sacred Harp music is the most asskicking of all asskicking god music for the following reasons one through five inclusive.
1) Everyone in Sacred Harp songs is about to die alone. 2) It sounds like it. 3) Sacred Harp music is more about the Old Testament God who liked to set orphanages on fire rather than the New Testament Goodtime Jesus who loves his donkey. 4) Sacred Harp conventions sound like a bunch of Appalachian pagans getting geared up to skin Indiana Jones. 5) There is always one toothless maniac who sings whatever the hell he or she wants in a screeching voice and no-one will stop him or her b/c a) she's older than them and Respect Yer Elders and b) he or she probably is the moonshine supplier and don't piss of The Man. I want to befriend this toothless maniac and ideally become him or her sooner rather than later.
"Smilin' Tyler, you're a pussy for completely different reasons that were not addressed in the above conversation."
M... Mother?? I THOUGHT YOU WERE... DEAD!!!!
Postscript: They were a bunch of really nice people, there was a 12-year old who led one song, when it came to my turn to pick a song I asked to sing "Cuba (401)," and we even sang "The Christian Warfare (179)," which is my favorite song on the "Band" disc. Put it this way: this is the only way you're ever going to get me in a Unitarian church.
What's hot in Christian Rock this week? We ask our original, Simon Magus!
What's the story, Comes in Glory? We've got the real rock from The Rock for you this month. Let it never be said that we deny the awful pagan pleasures of mindless four-on-the-floor sexual abandon concommitant with modern "dance" music. We just deny the pleasure part. And comin' round the bend is 120bpms of sanctified beats played only on instruments mentioned in the Book of Judges by DJ Jubal. Strap down! Get ready! To be redeemed! "It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son!" Well, of course not! There's only ONE fortunate Son, and that's the Son of God, and those hairy folk in CCR may have been unshorn, but THAT'S where comparisons to Jesus end. But that doesn't mean you can't choogle for the Lord! Make sure you check out "Boggin with Jesus" by Swamp King. I guarantee that bog is damp with nothing but the holiest water. Hey, Stryper seemed pretty neat, but it turns out they were faking it. On the other hand, Insane Clown Posse were working for God all along! Who knew. You know, sometimes it can be pretty lonely being poor wayfaring strangers far from home. There are times when we are angry at Them. All those people who are fighting against us, conniving and conspiring. Sometimes they manifest in bosses who don't understand that we need time off for extra worship; other times they are unsaved parents who won't let us get Thirteenth Tribal tattoos on the small of our backs. For those times when we want to "rage against the" secular "machine," Liverswitch's new album "MY Stigmata" will remind everyone pounding on the other side of the door yelling at you to please turn that down that WE suffer too. And don't forget Apokalyptika Johannes, the Seventh-Day Adventist Goths from Florida. Finally, I don't know what to say about Soul-Junk and God is My Co-Pilot. Is this some kind of a joke? Learn to play an instrument or something!
There's the obvious route to take with these folks, so I'll get it out of the way first off. The drummer is Fred Armistead. Yes, that Fred Armistead, the SNL guy who looks like a really happy Gilbert Gottfried. He is a very good drummer. He used to be part of this band called Trenchmouth. It really be something to be a smart punk, one who doesn't drink the McLarenoid Kool Aid, to look ahead and see absolutely nothing but yourself in the way. It's scary, I bet. But one punxnotdead's trackless waste is another man's endless playground. Trenchmouth took Fugazi's omnivorous approach to music but, lacking the baggage MacKaye and the boys irrefutably had, went further faster. And since they didn't have to be standard bearers for a generation of DIYers (and don't think I'm not grateful), Trenchmouth wasted little time in signing to Elektra and using every tool offered to them. Boy, for a return to those heady post-grunge boom days, huh? Everything was much better back then, before they changed the water, lemme tell ya kid. Hence, "Vs. The Light of the Sun," which marries the dub sensibility so beloved by MacKaye (and countless British post-punk bands) to a careening rhythm section which can turn on a dime and guitar that switches between brute power and nimble treble. All of which is topped off by one of rock and roll's great declaimers, Damon Lock. This man was born for politics if politics was more about rap battles. Or better ones, in any case. He. Has. Perfect. Diction. He doesn't sing, he tells you in terms clear and manner precise. It would have been very easy to just gibber and whoop over top of the tight orchestration and that would have been fine. More difficult still is to use the voice in counterpoint as a rhythm instrument. He barks, swoops up into a strangely child-like falsetto. He is an MC. He's telling you the news. The news is, as usual, stranger than fiction, placed in an odd present situated between yesterday's future (in which "you can even eat the dishes," as they said in an earlier album) and a noir Chicago past: "Here Come the Automata," "Doing the Flammability," "The Effects of Radiation," "How I Became Invincible." It is the last song that claims a special place in my heart. "Bricks Should Have Wings" is a call to action in the face of absolute chaos, represented by a riotous moshpit. This is what those Wachovski-or-whatever weiners were shooting for in that ridiculous underground rave they shot: a sky full of bricks winging their way to their targets with remorseless drive and purpose, while the crowd below pogoes in an affirmation that they are, maybe only temporarily but in any case joyously, awake.