Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Switched Off Bach

Oh yeah! I made this:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good Luck: Issue #1


I am pleased to announce the release of my first comic book!

It is entitled Good Luck: Issue #1.

It is inspired by one of my favorite bands, Good Luck, detailing their fantastic adventures through time and space.

The first issue is a 36 page fun filled, joke lined, action packed comic.

These are $4.00 each! Please buy! I spent a million years working on this.

If you have a PayPal account you can purchase Good Luck: Issue #1 here!

Copies are also available in person at That’s Entertainment in Worcester, MA, Desert Island in Brooklyn, NY and at HUB Comics in Somerville, MA.

Below is a teaser containing the first few pages of the issue! Enjoy!


Monday, November 22, 2010

I thought this was America?!

My friend, Carolyn, was arrested earlier this month at a protest in Oakland, CA.

On New Years Day 2009, Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man was shot and killed by BART policeman, Johannes Mesherle. Several videos were made by witnesses documenting the murder and the abusive events leading up to it. Over the following year and half Oakland witnessed numerous protests directed against the racism and police brutality of the Oscar Grant murder.

On Novemeber 5, 2010, Johannes Mesherle was sentenced to two years in prison for "involuntarily manslaughter." It is likely he will be released in less than a year if he behaves himself. My friend and former classmate, Carolyn, told me that there are people that have been arrested at protests that serve time in prison longer than this, and this policeman killed someone! There was a protest organized on this day, since a minimal sentence was expected for a white police officer. Carolyn was arrested at this protest.

Here is how she described it in a letter she sent to her friends:

The rally was proceeded by a march towards the BART station where Oscar Grant was murdered almost two years ago. Riot police in full protective gear and guns, Homeland Security, and Cops from 8 counties were there, fully ready for yet another riot in Oakland. They strategically blocked and diverted us from the direct linear path to the BART station and into residential, quiet neighborhoods. After about 30 minutes blocking, with lines 3 police deep, every chance to get to where we were going, they fully surrounded us. At one point, they made an announcement for the press only to leave. Over the bullhorn they yelled “this is a crime scene, you are all under arrest. Do not resist arrest.” Slowly, all 152 of us were bound with plastic handcuffs that tore at our wrists, and lined up on the ground. I witnessed 3 people beat to the ground by police, who were not at all resisting. We were loaded into police vans and processed on site, taken to jail, then processed into jail, SLOWLY, starting around 8pm.

Lots of different kinds of people were at the rally. People of color, white people, high-schoolers and their teachers, people from SF, Oakland, Berkeley and likely other places too. People were denied their medications (one of my 13 jailmates was denied her anxiety/anti depression medicine that she needs to take every 8 hours), and were denied medical aid for injuries received at arrest. Prison guards would tell us every time we asked a question, it’d add an hour to our time. They would laugh and make fun of us. We got one disgusting bologna sandwich during the 13 hours. I did not mind this, people have it way way worse, but I say it just to let you all know my experience. They were fucking assholes. Pigs.

I was released on my birthday (wooo!) around 8am- I was one of the first to be released. We spent the day connecting with everyone who was let out and making sure contact info was taken down to arrange for legal support for this bogus mass arrest. People were generally angry but supportive of each other, tired and disappointed by the sentence but still talking about what a better world looks like and how we need to get there. It was an experience for sure, I could say so much on it. Two people are still in jail from Nov. 5.

Throughout the years, the media has done a wonderful job at being completely one-sided, dividing people, and creating false claims about who exactly the protestors were and why they were doing what they were doing. The biggest one is that “outside agitators” come into Oakland at every riot, who are mostly white male anarchists, and just want to break things and destroy things. The news says that these outside agitators are leading young brown youth into danger. This completely nullifies and takes power away from the dozens of organizations started directly after the murder. Religious groups, pacifist groups, anarchists, communists, longshoresman, non-profits, and more than fit into neat little categories. The riots have not been all white. The people arrested actually have been largely from the Bay area. Oakland is largely Black and Latin.

Carolyn is one of over 400 people arrested as a result of the Oscar Grant murder. The Oakland 100 is an organization that has been helping those that have been arrested pay for their legal fees.

I encourage you to sign this petition to drop the charges on those arrested on November 5.


I want to say a couple things about all this:

1. Why do BART policeman carry firearms? Is this really necessary? Does it really make subway travelers safer?

2. This is the United States of America. We should be allowed to protest against our judicial, legislative and executive systems. As a result of these events the police are discouraging people from asserting their first amendment rights by arresting peaceful protestors. The threat of risking arrest and a potential prison sentence is enough to ward off many would-be activists.

I read on another blog that police told a woman with cancer who requested space to lie down that she "should have thought about her cancer before getting arrested.” No reasonable person intends to be arrested. This woman intended to assert her rights as an American. It's almost as if to say, "You want to protest? Then we'll see you in jail."

These arrests have been made unfairly. And I believe they constitute suppression of my fellow Americans rights and freedoms.

To Carolyn - thank you for standing up against injustice. I salute you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Googly Eyes

Based on my unverifiable research we can make the unfounded claim that Googly eyes were originally invented by the creator of Google, Sergey Brins.
Check it out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Robin Hood For President.

Dear America’s Future,
Please look at the above chart, taken from the Nation. It is 2010. The distribution of wealth in the United States of America is outrageous. The wealthiest 0.01 percent of American households earns more than 1000 times the average income of the bottom 90% of households. What is more outrageous is that the wealthiest of Americans are contributing to this country at nearly an all time low. Right now, in 2010, the income tax in the United States is capped at 35% of a very rich person’s money (very rich=annual income greater than $373,650). For a long period of time in the mid 20th century the tax rate on the top bracket was over 90%. What happened? Well here’s how I imagine it: The USA had huge expenses from WWII, was recovering from a Great Depression that they had to fix by implementing huge infrastructure programs. The majority of Americans being poor and many being descended from newly immigrated families could not be burdened with the cost so the government forced the rich to pay to make their country great. Here we are in 2010 with huge debt from foreign wars. Roughly 10% of the country is unemployed and the richest Americans are raking in 10^3 times the income of the average American. In the past America has fixed its problems by raising taxes on the outlandishly rich. Why not now? Since the beginning of the W Bush administration the tax rate on the wealthiest bracket of Americans has remained at 35%. The other wealthy countries of the world right now cap their taxes on their richest citizens between 45% and 60% (See Wikipedia).

I hope in the future that America is not a land controlled by a small elite group of wealthy families while the “free" and the "brave" have children that attend underfunded public schools and die of pneumonia because they can’t afford to heat their homes.


“If you don’t have an economic democracy, you don’t have a political democracy.” - Dennis Kucinich.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Harry and the Potters Scandinavian Tour August 2010

August 1

We packed all day. Paul ripped some Whale CDs and some mix CDs, so that we might have some music to listen to during the trip. Meredith drove us to airport at night. I slept the whole journey on the plane.

August 2

I woke up at Keflavik. Paul and I were stamped by customs. We retrieved our bags and rode on the Flybus to our hotel in Reykjavik. I overheard someone on the bus say that today was a national holiday in Iceland, so most everything will be closed, sort of like a Labor Day. We got into town early in the morning, but it was quite bright out but no shops were open. Not even the famous hot dog place. We hoped that something would open later. We went to a grocery store and got some cheese-yogurt and some rice-pudding treats and croissants. We read the local tourist paper, the Grapevine, and saw an interesting and existential address from the Mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr, who is an anarchist and comedian. We walked around a little further and got a coffee and a really sweet doughnut. It wasn't one of the traditional twisted Kleinur doughnuts of Iceland though. We made it a point to seek those out later, maybe if more shops decided to open up. We walked more around the city. We say a bunch of statues of vikings, settlers, dead vikings, viking ships, ducks, statues of ducks, blobs, and dragons. We went back to the hotel to freshen up and practiced incorporating some Whale songs into our set for the people of Sweden. Afterwards we went to Bærjans Beztu Pylsur for some awesome Icelandic hotdogs. They have these amazing crispy onions on them and a cool secret sauce. I bought a wool headband at the handknitting association of Iceland. My friend, Ashton, had told me to say hi to her buddy, Thor, who worked at a coffee shop in Reykjavik, but when we got there the only guy working was a tall elvish looking character who did not look like he was named Thor, so I didn't bother asking. Since most everything besides restaurants were closed due to the holiday, we gave into the haunting advertisements for the Blue Lagoon which had pictures of babes in steamy sulfuric geothermally heated pools. We ordered a bus and found ourselves in a spa that claimed it had healing powers in its waters. Everyone in the heated pools puts on some silica mush or mayonnaise on their faces that is supposed to make them beautiful. The steam cave was my favorite part. But the worst part is that there are spots in the pools where if you put your feet down they get tangled in a heterogeneous mixture of sand, silica, and hair. Squishy. Also the beer is overpriced. The main thing about this Blue Lagoon is that their advertisements make you think you are going to a beautiful natural hot spring in the middle of the icelandic wilderness. However, while it is still in the middle of nowhere, when you dip into the lagoon you see that there are a lot of heating stations that redistribute the geothermal energy to warm the pools in different spots making it not a completely natural hotspring. I'm not even sure if it is a spring. Overall the Blue Lagoon is a mediocre tourist trap that exploits the legendary geological allure of Iceland and provides tourists with an artificial and relaxing experience that they probably won't get many other places on earth. For dinner we ate Hákarl (traditional rotted shark), puffin, whale, and goose. WTF. The rotted shark smells like ammonia and tastes like fish and is served in a sealed container so as not to disturb your neighbors. I spent the rest of the night walking around the city and looking for vikings.

August 3

We woke up early and were bussed back to Keflavik. We flew away to Bergen so we could connect to Trondheim. Before we boarded the Trondheim flight we saw that a bunch of people were boarding by giving their fingerprint. I keep forgetting that we live in the future. I didn't have a window seat so I did not get a chance to see the fjords as we flew over them. We landed in Trondheim and collected our bags, and waited for our friends, and guides, Elin and Emma, to pick us up. Elin said she'd be wearing a red and white striped shirt. All of a sudden my life had turned into a bizarre version of Where's Waldo, where Waldo looks for you. When I got home at the end of the trip, I looked at my old Where's Waldo book, and the funny thing is that whenever you find Waldo, he is always looking straight at you, as if he always finds you before you find him. Anyway we eventually found each other and the Swedes drove us through the mountains and tunnels into Trondheim. We pulled up to the book store to a crowd of 15 people waiting for us to arrive. We quickly set up and played an intimate acoustic set. We learned during the set that the Norwegian translation of the Harry Potter books is notorious for having the most terrible name changes. Albus Dumbledore = Albus Humlesnurr. Hagrid = Gygrid. Fred and George = Fred and Frank. WTF. Georg is already a totally acceptable scandinavian name. What was the problem there? Anyway we had a blast singing "Gygrid is fun to hug.” We shuffled the crowd outside the store after the show since the store was closing and we had some nice chats with a lot of folks who had travelled great distances for the show. Some from way up north. Some on 13 hour train rides. In retrospect its almost surprising that no one showed up from Svalbard. We grabbed some quick food from 7-11 across the street (which has way better food than the USA 7-11s). We then got in the van and began the drive to Elin's and Emma's hometown in northern Sweden. Somehow we ended up missing the highway we were supposed to take and drove pretty far off course into northern Norway. We had to turn around and take a back road through some awesome Norwegian landscape and waterfalls. We even passed an old James Bond style spy hideout form WWII deep in the Norwegian mountains. The drive reminded me of being in a BIG New Hampshire with 300% more cool waterfalls. Live Free to Die In a Waterfall. Because of our rerouting we showed up pretty late into town. We briefly met Emma's parents who were so nice to let us borrow their van for the trip. We thanked them and apologized for keeping them up late and then we went to Elin's house where Solitary Snape who had driven up from Stockholm would be staying the night as well. Elin's parents were away so we stayed up late chatting and drinking wizard tea with everyone. Everyone was talking about these special Swedish berries: Cloud Berries. Elin thought there were some in her fridge but they turned out they were just some mushrooms. Before going to bed around 3am (sunrise) we discussed the invention of a new sport: Sheep Curling - in which you put a sheep on four ice skates and push it and see how far it goes before it falls down or begins walking/skating away.

August 4

We were up a few hours later to drive to Östersund to set up for our show there. On route to the show we heard from Elin's fashionable sister, Linda, about the lake monster, Storsjöodjuret, who lives in the lake by the city. Linda illustrated the lake monster by bending some balloons and drawing a fangy face on them. She also expressed the desire to die in a cool way, and the coolest way is obviously to be eaten by Storsjöodjuret while riding your bike across the lake. We arrived at Tingshuset and loaded in our things to the venue. It was a really great room for the show. There was a an awesome giant sound system for a beautiful ballroom atmosphere. The floors were perfect for sliding, and I regret not trying to slide more during the show. Paul and I stepped out for a bite to eat while the Swedish Shortsnouts and Solitary Snape were sound-checking. We went next door over to a fast food seeming place that gave us hot dogs with shrimp salad and hot dogs wrapped in traditional swedish bread with mashed potatoes and a sauce that tasted a lot like Big Mac special sauce. It was definitely too many hot dogs for us to eat. Those potatoes really get you. We took a quick walk down to the lake. We did not see the monster. Dejected, we returned to the venue to soundcheck, and to practice for the first time with Jimmy who would drum with us at half of our shows. Jimmy was awesome he picked up on our songs quick and could play some of them brutally and painfully fast. He is only 17 years old and totally blasting the drums apart. We talked for a little while with the soundman, Jonathan, after the soundcheck. He was way into the Boston hardcore scene, though he had never been to the States. He seemed impressed by our quest to find the members of Whale in Sweden. One of them is now one of the most famous comedians in the country, Henrik Schyffert. The show was really great. The Swedish Shortsnouts with their brother-sister vocals and punk beats. Paul said they reminded him of the band, X. The paper the next day would liken their music to the Sex Pistols. Solitary Snape was great to see as well. Oscar makes a great frontman and reminded both Paul and me of Eddie Argos form Art Brut. We started our show acoustic and finished it loud and turned up with Jimmy slamming on the drums. It was great, but I didn't slide enough on that smooth floor. After the show we hung out in Tingshuset eating some bread and cheese and and homemade kladdkaka, which is some marriage between brownie and cake. We also popped open a bottle of Trocadero which is a Swedish soda that reminds me of a ginger-ale/sprite fusion. We stayed up for a while chatting and then hit the sack in the venue. They had a bunch of cots that everyone from the bands got to use to sleep on in the room we played in.

August 5

I was dreaming so pleasantly that Whale had carried me magically across the ocean straight into Sweden. I woke up to find "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe" blasting on the soundsystem. Paul had hooked it up to get me out of bed, because I had slept like a log all through the night. There was more bread and butter with cheese for breakfast and then we got to have some hangout time in Östersund. We walked around with Jonathan, Elin, and Nina and got to eat some awesome sandwiches at a cafe. I also picked up some postcards with the lake monster to send to some friends. We saw Linda as well, and it was evident that Storsjöodjuret hadn't gotten a piece of her…yet. We soon hit the road and headed for Bäsna, home of the Swedish Shortsnouts. We arrived at Anna and Erik's family home. Their mom had prepared us a traditional swedish dinner and Papa Mats offered us a beer. We feasted on several versions of pickled herring, potatoes and chicken. Then we hurried over to the local Bygdegård where the show was being held. The Shortsnouts played a great set and did an impromptu encore for their first hometown show ever. I think their kindergarten teacher was there. There were about 30 folks at the show which I have to say is pretty good for a town with only 600 people. There were some very little kids there that did not know any English so we tried to play "Accio Hagrid" in Swedish as many times as possible. After the show we ate some more kladdkaka and hung around the kitchen table for a bit before Paul, Jimmy and I went to sleep in the ancient and adjacent two-room farmhouse. Jimmy told us that his dream was to become a voice actor and I fell asleep as he was explaining to Paul about his favorite dubbers in Sweden.

August 6

We had some more bread and cheese with butter for breakfast and homemade muesli in yogurt from Anna and Erik's mom. We started off early towards Göteborg. English speakers often pronounce the second biggest city in Sweden as "Gothenburg" but in Swedish you say it "Yer-teh-borh-yee." Go figure. On the way to the city we stopped somewhere at a rest stop to meet Elin's parents who were on holiday in southern Sweden. We ate some bread and cheese sandwiches for lunch and bought a bunch of candy at the gas station. Djunglevror (Jungle Roar) was one of the favorites of the touring party. It is a licorice monkey coated entirely in salt. It really stings your tongue. Watch out. There was also Hexavror (Witch Roar) which is salty licorice sticks but more mild than the jungle variety. I saw some candy-marshmallow mushrooms that I thought looked like nipples, but everyone said that the gumdrops were the nipples, including Elin's dad who called them the "breasts of virgins." Anyway it was great meeting Elin's folks, they were very pleasant and offered us teas and coffees. We quickly got back on the road and drove through a harsh rainstorm to Göteborg. We arrived at the venue with time to spare. We got a chance to walk around the town look for Whale records which we could not find. Our traveling party was telling us that everyone in Göteborg was obsessed with puns. The place we played was named as a pun: Lokal Sinnet. It means the "local scene" as well as "sense of direction." Pun City. It's where I belong. When Paul broke a string later during the show they seemed to handle my Hogwarts puns light heartedly where as they usually bomb in the states (i.e.. "Where do trees go to learn magic? - Logwarts). We were in for a surprise though. When I told the Frogwarts joke everyone somehow immediately launched into a traditional Swedish folk song: Små groderna. It is a song about a little frog with no ears or a tail that everyone sings at the midsummer festival while they dance around a pole and jump like frogs. Everyone knows the song. It's more popular than the national anthem - more popular than "Happy birthday." Små groderna IS Sweden. Paul came back on stage with a new string on his guitar looking quite bewildered. Just gotta go with the flow. Sometimes it is just time to sing about a frog. The folks who ran Lokal Sinnet were really awesome. They made us an awesome vegan lentil soup and gave us unlimited free beers. They seemed really happy with the fun loving audience and the show. We got to stay at Göteborg Elin's house with her musician husband, Martin, and her two children. They made us an awesome smörgåsbord with fried feta cheese with honey, marinated artichoke hearts, and wild mushrooms. They also made us some nice drinks and gave us humungous air mattresses to sleep on. THE BEST!!

August 7

In the morning, Göteborg-Elin and Martin made us an awesome breakfast with swedish meatballs, bacon, waffles, and eggs, oh!, and of course, bread with cheese and butter. Martin plays in this Swedish folk band that has toured the states singing songs about 19th century Swedish American immigrants, Johansson och det Starka Bandet. It was entirely satisfying and we were soon off and on our way to Oslo. Elin's grandfather had given us a GPS when we were in Bäsna. It was certainly getting confused in Norway as it started taking us the wrong way down one way streets. We eventually found our way to the Litteraturhuset through a maze of insane one way streets. We unloaded our things into the auditorium. Nina from Cappelen Damm, came by and gave us some books in Norwegian that were about rumpledunk (quidditch) and mythical beasts. She took us to eat some food at the cafe upstairs. She even got us beers which would have cost us $15 each otherwise. Norway is crazy expensive. I remember a lot of pregnant women showing up while we were eating lunch. Although, I don't understand how anyone in Norway can afford to have baby. If it costs $30 to eat lunch it must be a bazillion USD to feed a baby for the year. The show ended up being the biggest show of the tour with about 150 people singing along and jumping up on the stage with us. We had our new Norwegian friends translate "Accio Hagrid" into Norwegian on a napkin for us, so we could play that over and over. Anna and Erik had also started playing trombone and trumpet at our shows and really ripped Oslo a new one. My favorite moment was right after the show when Oslo-Nina got everyone on stage together and took an awesome class photo. OSLO CLASS OF 2010 FOR ALLTID!!!! After the show Elin and Nina went to get the car that Nina had named Blixten (Lightning flash). We loaded things and waited for them to park the car. When Elin, Emma, and Nina returned they seemed very distressed and upset about the navigation of streets in Oslo. Elin exclaimed something to the effect of, "Fjording Oslo, How does it work?!" Oslo-Nina then took us on a brief walking tour of Oslo, possibly attempting to explain how it works. We walked by the palace and down through the downtown to the new Opera house. There was a freaking' floating stage at the Opera house. Fjording Awesome! Walking around, I noticed that the city of Oslo also has this strange official seal that features a guy holding a record and arrows standing on top of a long haired woman, with lions coming out of his waist. After our brief jaunt around the city was over we drove over to Inger's house. Her dad had prepared an awesome meal for us. It was real similar to a chicken cacciatore, and made me feel right at home, as if I was eating with at my grandma's house. Inger's dad told us about his scuba-diving adventures in Australia and other places around the world, and talked local Norwegian politics with us. It sounded like the people of Norway were up in arms about the government making some back alley deal with the power companies to string power lines across some fjords to Bergen. After a nice after dinner chat and some Internet surfing, Inger and her dad gave us all awesome beds to sleep on.

August 8

There was no show on this day, so we were ready for a nice relaxed drive to get ourselves down to southern Sweden and close to Copenhagen. Inger and her dad served us a nice breakfast with bread and butter and cheese. There was also some awesome Norwegian cheese that was super heavy and super sweet. It was brown! They also gave us some fish in tomato sauce and some animal's liver pâté to put on our breads. Yummy. We said our "tusentakk" and goodbyes and left Oslo, headed back to Sweden. --- Or so we thought. The GPS had somehow routed us to the far west of Norway with our realizing it. We were 30 kilometers outside of the city when we realized this. Not too far, so we reentered the address. Our final destination looked right but it was not taking us back up through Oslo and down the other side of the fjord. It was directing us to drive across the Oslo Fjord. We figured maybe there is a bridge. But it sure looked like a curvy bridge on the GPS map. After about another hour ofthe GPS taking us on windy windy roads along the coast we found ourselves boarding a ferry. Ultimately the GPS added quite a few hours to our trip. Everyone seemed upset, and was mumbling "That GPS can go fjord itself." But then I realized that I was riding a boat in a fjord in the middle of Norway and then it didn't seem so bad. When we landed we decided to turn the GPS off and use a map for the rest of the trip. On the way out of Moss we passed this bizarre statue of what seemed to be a guy with a headache. I couldn't take a picture of it, and I only saw it out of the corner of my eye but it was a weird statue of a man holding his head in a very painful stance. We made it our goal to swim in a Swedish lake at some point during the day. We drove a little of the highway into a really small Swedish town, Hällevadsholm. We stopped at a grocery store to buy some things for lunch. We got some things to make sandwiches. Nina convinced us that it was a good idea to buy and eat cheese that comes out of a tube. I had seen Inger's dad put some tube-cheese on his breakfast this morning, so I was not entirely surprised at this suggestion. But tube-cheese must be a big thing in Sweden. They had fifty different flavors of cheese at this tiny grocery store. They had shrimp flavor, bacon flavor, even cheese flavored cheese. We bought the food and then walked down to a lake in town that had a swimming dock. We ate lunch on the dock. We changed into our swimwear and dove in! It wasn't as cold as I expected a lake in Sweden to be. But this was a really small lake; it was more of a pond, I guess. The next time we come, we have to swim in one of those giant lakes and ride the lake monster. We emerged from the lake refreshed and ate some berries that Paul had picked on the walk down to the water. The drive continued onward. We listed to some great mix CDs that Elin and Emma had put together for us. Some of our favorites for the ride were Ida Maria and this Ebba Grön song that had a gong at the end. I can't help but think of Math the Band whenever I hear a song end with a gong. We arrived in Höör around 22:00. We were discussing that a lot of the cities in the south of Sweden have more ümlats in their names than in the north. We were also extremely hungry and looking for some food to eat or somewhere to get food so we could cook at our new friend, Ally's house. We passed a pizza shop by the train station. The girls suggested we get pizza. I looked at Paul. "Have you ever heard of Swedish Pizza?" is what our eyes said to each other. We've certainly eaten our fair share of terrible pizza on the road… mostly in England. "Is Swedish pizza any good?" is what we said out loud, and explained about the time we had pizza in Lancaster that was basically raw dough with ketchup on it. The Swedes told us that their pizza was quality and we went into the shop to see what we could order. Apparently every pizza shop in Sweden has 100 different pizzas on their menu, and on every menu is a banana, curry, peanut pizza. WTF. It's a Swedish staple! Try getting that at IKEA. Anyway we asked if we could get a regular pizza. You know the kind of pizza I mean. Just cheese and sauce. No funny business. They looked at us as if we had two heads. There is no such thing as a regular pizza in Sweden. It has to have a bunch of stuff on it. Actually I did see one on the menu, but no one EVER orders a regular pizza. So we got one of the curry pizzas and a vegetarian one with more normal toppings. Also every pizza in Sweden comes with pizza salad, which is exactly the same as American coleslaw. We took the pizzas and pizza salads to Ally's house and chowed down. They made lemonade out of some syrup from Ally's fridge. But get this: the lemonade doesn't taste like lemons in Sweden. It's more like a concentrated berry drink. Oh well. Nothing is as it seems. We ended the night playing the Swedish game of LIFE in which I skipped college to become an artist that married a monkey and Elin somehow got to marry the church. Cool game. Afterwards Paul and I tried to play Rainbow Road on Mario Kart , but realized only too late that Ally had not unlocked the levels to get us there yet. We settled for DK mountain. What a day!

August 9

Today was the day of the Copenhagen show. We ran some errands downtown in Höör and went to look for a post office to mail some postcards, but in Sweden you don't need a post office to mail postcards . You can just buy stamps at any old store and throw them in a yellow box and then they will go to America. What sort of socialist country doesn't have a readily available post office? Oh well. Also, we ended up paying five kroner to use a toilet at a cafe. WTF. We checked with the GPS and it told us to take a ferry to get to Copenhagen, so we turned it off and used a map to get to the bridge. After a quick drive over the bridge we found ourselves in Denmark and made our way to downtown Copenhagen. We parked and spent a few ours at Tivoli, the third most visited amusement park in Europe. The park is awesome. It is on one city block right downtown. All the rides are really compact. The best rides were the Demon and the Roller Coaster. The Demon was a roller coast but THE Roller Coaster was a cool old wooden ride that had an operator on each train of cars that controlled the breaks so the cars didn't fly off the track. Also it had a cool totally dark part of the ride. We rode it twice in a row. There was also this Hans Christian Andersson ride that took you way too fast through the worlds of his stories. There were a bunch I didn't recognize including one that takes place in the ice kingdom and has some god that cries glass onto the Earth. I don't think I remembered it exactly right. It was certainly weird though. Paul and I ate a hot dog in a baguette for lunch. After a few hours in Tivoli we went over to the Osram Culture Centre, where our show would be held. No one was there yet to let us in. So we went on a quick walk around the neighborhood. We saw some nice murals, sick bikes, some cop cars busting something up, and a lot of anti police graffiti. By the time we got back, Myren from De Høje Hæle was there to let us in and asked if we could help him grab some equipment from his practice space around the block. I had met De Høje Hæle last October when I played with them in 926 Main Street Apt. 2 during our trip to Detroit. When we started booking the Scandinavian tour we got in touch with them to see if they could help us with some awesome DIY all ages show. They really pulled through. They got this awesome space about the size of a small gallery and did it through the library so that they could use their PA system and get some funding for the bands and make it basically a free show on a monday night. Also since the drinking age is 16 in Denmark, all the shows are all ages anyway, so we didn't have to worry about that when getting the show together. The show worked out really well. A Balkan band opened playing some real traditional music. De Høje Hæle was great. And our show was fun. Jimmy was playing drums with us and I didn't realize he had taken of his shirt until the end of the set, because it was hot and we were moving fast and I broke my glasses. Line from the front row gave me her fake HP glasses to wear for the rest of the shows. Takk! After the show we were all really hungry. Myren jumped in our van and directed us to an awesome falafel place a few blocks away. I had a totally sick shwarma sandwich. It was beyond awesome. For the rest of the trip whenever we got hungry, we wanted to go back to Nørrebrogade and eat one of those wraps. Takk Myren for the show and finding us awesome food! We did a late drive back to Höör to stay with Ally again.

August 10

We had bread with cheese and butter for breakfast. Ally also had tons of berry bushes in her backyard so we picked some gooseberries and currants and put them in our muesli with yoghurt as well. That was quite delicious. We drove up to Växjö for the show. For lunch we got to eat at MAX, which is the big Swedish fast food chain. All the items on the menu list their carbon footprint so you can be ecologically conscious of your fastfood eating habits. We were playing in the Musikhuset. They had an awesome room with a sick soundsystem but since the engineers were away on vacation we couldn't use it. We did get to use some giant amps in the backline though and with the help of Papa Mats got a decent vocal set up with some monitors. The show was really fun! We snuck "Små Groderna" into the middle of "Stick it to Dolores," right after the "Oh my God, you look like a frog" part. Caroline, who had set it up, took us walking downtown afterwards to find food. We ended up hitting up a Thai restaurant for takeout. FYI: Thai Restaurants in Sweden do not have Pad Thai. Weird, huh? Caroline had arranged for anyone traveling from out of town for the show to stay at her school. So we went over to the school and set up sleeping bags in the classrooms. We ate our Thai food in the lobby. We opened up some Pippi Longstocking soda and tried to drink it with dinner but it did not complement the curries at all. After dinner we held a sliding contest in our socks along the smooth floor. I won gold. In the classrooms we tried to watch movies on YouTube and project them onto the wall with the class room projector. We couldn't get the speakers hooked up though, so we watched a lot of stuff with out sound. Most of what I remember watching was some Don Hertzfeldt cartoons and an episode of Mumin, whom I still believe is a cow.

August 11

We had a nice breakfast buffet of bread, butter, and cheese when we woke up in one of the neighboring classrooms. There was no show booked for today, so we got up early and began our drive towards Stockholm so that we could have a day in THE BIG CITY (STORSTADEN)! We got into Stockholm in the early afternoon. We parked by Tantolunden and hopped on the subway to see the Old City. We ate at an awesome underground cafe and the girls took us to the science fiction bookstore which is some sort of Nerd Mecca. On the third floor was almost every board game imaginable. We walked over to the central station and too the subway to another part of town, where we began an epic record shopping experience. We were specifically looking for some Whale records and Ubangi records. Paul scored the Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe 12 inch at Record Hunter. The real scores were to be had a little ways down the street at Nostalgipalatset. This place looks like its going to be a junk store when you walk in, but down the hall is a giant room filled with tons of records. They had a ton of Swedish stuff. We found a ton of Ubangi records and singles. Score! I also got Beck's "Steve Threw Up" 7". And a bunch of other stuff. I checked their metal, but it looked like some metal heads had just cleared out all of their Manowar. We must have spent an hour at this place flipping through the vinyl. After the Swedes got a little impatient with our record shopping we left with ten pounds of vinyl and went to a grocery store to buy some things for a cookout in Tantolunden. We took the subway back to the park and walked around past beautiful gardens until we found our friends and the grills. We threw some lamb sausages and asparagus over the coals. There were some apple trees nearby. We picked an apple and bit into it, but it tasted immensely tart. We sliced the apple and threw it on the grill thinking that might make it better, but it was still as sour. After we ate and played around on some playground equipment the Swedes taught us how to play Bremball, or Burnball, or Swedish Baseball. In Bremball you pitch the ball to yourself and run around the bases until the ball is returned to the burner, who has his own plate that he must touch while holding the ball. If he burns when you are off base, you must return to the last base and the burner's team receives a point. I think you get points if you make it all the way home. Also you get points if you catch the ball one handed. Also since you never get out, there can be more than one person on a base at the same time. Everyone bats through the lineup twice each inning. It's a lot of fun. I kept trying to imagine American baseball players playing Bremball on TV and thinking about Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz running bases side by side. Then I hit two homeruns. There are also supposed to be two bats that you can choose to use: the old lady bat, which is flat, and the normal bat, that looks like an American baseball bat. After winning the two inning game that we played, we went back downtown to catch I am From Barcelona play at UNGO8. There were some big balloons that were unleashed upon us and everyone was happy, and we were all tired from a fun day in the big city so we went back to Emma's grandparents house and fell asleep, after we listened to one of our Ubangi records.

August 12

This was the last day of the tour. We slept in a little late and went back into the city to do an interview for the Swedish teen magazine, Kamratposten at a cafe downtown. Paul was pumped to order some Swedish meatballs and slam them before we left the country, but the kitchen ran out, so he settled on the Swedish meatloaf. We left after the interview so we could drop some things off at the venue, including Emma and me. When we got into Rågsveds we had a little trouble getting the car to the Folkets Hus, so Elin and Paul just dropped us off with the gear somewhere in the area and they went off to pick up Jimmy and his drums and amps way in the north of the city. Emma and I walked with all the stuff into the plaza and found the venue. We were only waiting for fifteen minutes when someone came to open the door and let us in. Soon Lindströrm showed up in a van with a PA system and this cool Finnish dude, Sampo, who would help run the sound system. We loaded it into the venue lightning fast, since they were parked in a narrow alleyway and cars kept driving by getting angry we were taking one minute to unload everything from the van. I helped Sampo set up the sound system and got things as ready for the show as possible without all the stuff Jimmy was bringing. I found myself really hungry so I walked outside to a grocery store and bought some bread. I contemplated getting some tube-cheese for it, thought of my stomach in its fragile state, and decided against the purchase. I also bought a Snickers bar for Paul since he would probably be really dizzy from not eating in so long. When they arrived it was a hurricane of a soundcheck, and before we knew it people were flooding in and Proper Use of a Rubber Duck was playing, and then we were playing and the whole tour was melting into this one moment where everyone climbing on stage with us singing our songs and CH was playing bass in our band, and Anna and Erik were blowing their horns like punk angels, and Jimmy was playing hard and fast and I was yelling "STOCKHOLM!" a lot, and everyone in the room was screaming at us, with us, and at the very fact that we had come so far - journeyed across 323,000,000 cubic kilometers of water with just a guitar and glockenspiel and had somehow made our way across fjords and forests amassing new friends and creating a rock band where all the wizards of Scandinavia were free to join.

Our last few hours of the trip were a blur of saying goodbyes to the fellowship of wizards that had met us on the tour. We had brought some American junk food cereal to give as gifts to those who had helped us so much. We went to Lindström's house and drank Finnish liquor with Sampo. We danced to traditional pop songs about vikings while Oscar decreed that everyone must wear something on their head. I got Sampo to admit that Mumin, though he is definitely a troll, must be closely related to the cow family. There were nachos. I fell asleep on a couch, and then woke up and ate some nachos. The sun was up when I went to sleep.

August 13

Goodbye Scandinavia. After one final meal of bread, butter, and cheese, we loaded Emma's van and Elin drove us to the airport so that we could return to our homeland. Goodbyes were heavy but hopeful, for we all knew that this was not the end, and soon enough we would return, and that oceans cannot separate real wizards. Vi är trollkarlar.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bruce Springsteen’s First Car

The above picture was taken at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.

Bruce Springsteen bought his first car for $2000. It was a ’57 Chevy convertible. He was driving this car when he recorded Born to Run. This is the car where you roll down the windows and let the wind blow back your hair. This is the car that makes dreams come true.

Why do people love cars so much? It’s a way of getting from A to B. But that’s not all. If A is your routine and B is the unknown and full of potential and adventure then the car will propel you to the future. The car is a vehicle to transport you from the reality of the now into the reality of future. The car will take you to what you anticipate to be at the end of the highway. The car is the moving frame of reference between two stationary points in space and time.

Lets face it, Bruce Springsteen loves cars (For homework maybe we can count all the cars he mentions from Greetings to the WOAD). But American culture worships cars. Cars fit in perfectly with American mythology. This is the mythology that is defined by stories of independent people who strike out on their own to build a world for themselves. The car is the raft the Huck Finn floats down the Mississppi on. The Car is the Manifest Destiny. The Car is the Oregon Trail. The Car takes you to the first Thanksgiving. The Car is the immigrant coming across the Atlantic to escape starvation and the miserable routine of the centuries.

The Car is the vehicle that brings you to you to your dreams.