The Volunteer

As I walked along the sidewalk I saw the flower,

a volunteer growing up through a crack.

It looked upward in defiance,

refusing to wither and give in.

Stem awkwardly long and twisted,

pale leaves outstretched straining for the sun.

Its petals bruised by a thousand footsteps,

stained and choked by exhaust.

Forced to thrive in unpleasantness,

just because of the way the wind had blown.



Image Credit: Flower in a sidewalk crack by Fuzzy Gerdes via flikr CC BY 2.0


Cursive. That archaic mode of recording one’s thoughts.

I have been spending some small bit of my spare time trying to remember how cursive handwriting works. I had abandoned it shortly after graduating high school. This was due both to my block letters being vastly more legible, and the increasing uselessness of handwriting in everyday life. I do remember, as a younger sibling wanting to learn cursive to be like my older sister and her friends. That squiggly, contiguous form of penmanship that they were learning made them seem so much more like adults who seemed to have this ability to pay for nearly anything by simply swiping a pen across the checkbook. This was of course before the prevalence of debit cards which opened up a whole new series of wondrous mysteries where purchasing options were concerned1. It seemed so fancy and beautiful. I was so fascinated by it that I got scolded once or twice by a teacher for drawing lines between my print letters to connect them.

When I had finally reached the age that it was deemed reasonable to be enlightened by the public education system as to the eldritch secrets of what I was assured to be the defacto way of writing2  I soon discovered the hand cramping agony of each loop and arc. My mind numbed at the similarities of lowercase L and B, the capitals T and F had the same issue, and the letter X was basically a V with a line through it. And what the hell was the going on with Z? My technique was awful and my teachers went to great efforts to point this out. My L’s didn’t have enough loop, and my T’s had too much (which is to say any). The little hooks of the letters O, V, and B left me at a loss as to how to start the next letter3, did I just start them at mid stroke or did I bring the pen down to the bottom of the line and start there, either answer seemed wrong at some point or other. I never remembered to dot my i’s or cross my t’s and when I did it was because I had broken the rules and not waited until I had completed the whole word. When I tried to write more neatly I wasn’t able to finish assignments in time and was marked off for having my papers uncompleted. Continued years of physical and psychological anguish over the subject did not improve matters. The introduction of a typewritten requirement to my reports and essays helped to greatly advance my self-worth.

Why then, am I revisiting this ancient horror?

I wouldn’t trouble myself, believe me I am not a masochist. It seems there is no plan to teach it at my daughter’s school. Now, I really don’t think it is all that important. Quite frankly it seems that most of the people who I’ve spoken to who are upset about the removal of cursive from the curriculum are people who still hold a grudge about having to learn it when they were young4. But anyway, my wife has mentioned in passing that she thinks we should teach her ourselves. Which I feel ultimately means I am going to end up trying to show her how it’s done And if that’s is the case, well I should have at least something resembling proficiency in the task.

I’d like to think that the price of keeping art and music in her school is the loss of cursive I am perfectly fine with that. Sadly that’s not the case. Art and Music will consistently be on the chopping block, because just like cursive it isn’t part of the standardized tests. The schools are beholden to these damn tests in order to maintain funding and resources, and so more funding and time is funneled to teaching towards the tests. That’s a negative feedback loop that is draining all of the actual education out of schools. We aren’t losing cursive to laziness, we’re losing it to bureaucracy.

Anyway, that’s What I’ve been thinking about over the past week. How about you?

Happy Monday5


  1. I really do long for those days when I was a child and had no need for the petty adult realities of personal finance 
  2.  Apparently they didn’t discuss the matter with my Mechanical Drawing instructor who just a year later would spend weeks teaching us the importance of perfectly drawn block capitals. 
  3.  If, while in grade school, I had been asked to write the word “bovine” there would have been an… incident. 
  4.  And damn it, if I had to shovel coal when we were kids then this lazy, good for nuthin’ generation should have to shovel coal too, by gum. 
  5. Wow it’s been almost a year since I typed those two words. And I still love me some footnotes. 

From the Bottom

How far down this hole did you crawl. How long did you travel through the maze ruined dreams and cast aside ambitions. Just to have a cool place to lay with the failures amassed. Here you’ve been for so long, eyes shut, looking back on it all. The things you’ve done, the pain, the debauchery, the betrayals. The people you loved, you’ve hurt, you’ve been. It seems so clear from this far down. In all this time you have kept solace in one thought. Vitriolic optimism surfaces once again. Smiling knowing you still have so much farther down to go





Sad Boy Radio: Spellbound

My first exposure to Siouxsie and the Banshees was one afternoon vapidly glaring at MTV and Peek-a-boo came on. It was odd, it was jarring, and I found myself liking it, a lot. I didn’t pursue the band at the time. Some years later I heard their version of All Tomorrow’s Parties by The Velvet Underground. That’s when I knew I had to listen more closely.

Siouxsie and the Banshees formed by Sioxsie Sioux and bassist Steve Sevrin in 1976 to fill a last-minute open spot at the 100 Club Punk Festival, in September of that year. They enlisted the talents of Marco Pirroni on guitar and Sid Vicious of The Sex PIstols  was the drummer. It was supposed to be a one-off performance but, they were asked to play again. The line up has changed several times. In 1981  the band included Budgie (Peter Clarke) as their permanent drummer and John McGeoch on Guitar. It was in that year they released the album Juju, and with it the single Spellbound.

Spellbound is intense and dark, with a big sound. The Guitars and percussion are strident and with Siousxsie’s vocals give the impression of something dreadful galloping in front of an impending storm. The sound is a bit of departure from their more synthesizer heavy Kaleidoscope album.

Though the band didn’t like the having the label of “gothic rock” applied to its work, the album has been a major influence on many artists of the genre.

The band would perform until 1996 when they finally disbanded, with Siouxsie and Budgie continuing to record as The Creatures. A side project they started in 1981, the same year Spellbound was released as a single.

That’s it for this week let me know what you think about this song, or suggest other songs/ artists for me to cover.


I spent Thanksgiving among strangers this year. Well, I mean my wife and daughter were there but that’s pretty much the list of people I know. It was hosted at the restaurant my wife has recently found employment at. It was a fairly casual arrangement I suppose. The restaurant did the main dishes and guests were suppose to bring side dishes or deserts. Being food people my wife and I opted to bring both. The point is all these people were basically strangers to me.

For the fourteen years my wife and I have eaten Thanksgiving dinner with her family. Relationships with them however, have been disintegrating for some time now and we just finally decided we’ve had enough and no longer care to spend what little free time we have sitting in a house full of people that don’t care for each other very much, just waiting for the first person to loose their shit or to start being openly racist and thus causing the rest of the day to be awkward and uncomfortable. So instead, this year we dined with people at her work.

This wouldn’t be the first time I had a holiday meal amidst the unknown masses. I did have a couple of them in homeless shelters and that’s about as strange as it can get. I was a different person then. For one thing I was a vagrant; and vagrants can’t afford to be antisocial. This was a world apart. Sobriety and misanthropy kept me nervous and in my little corner that I staked out, just waiting for the night to be over. This gave me a little time to reflect on a few things. Namely, what’s the big deal about this holiday anyway?

See I don’t like the holidays to begin with. I’d been holding up on not flushing this one down the crapper with the rest of them but, I couldn’t tell you why.

I mean you could say spending time with your family but I spend all of my time off with them and quite frankly we all get on each others nerves after a while.

There’s the food. I like food. I love stuffing my face until I’m sick but, I’m a good cook so is my wife. We can do that when every we want. It’s just not very practical.

Then there’s the setting aside the day for reflecting on what your grateful you  have. Well I try to do that on a fairly regular basis. Some days it’s a shorter list than others. Today’s was about fair to middling.

Things I am Thankful for:

My Wife and Daughter.

This is your standard run of the mill cop-out answer. You get it.

The Fact That My Wife Has a Job Again.

It’s been a rough several years while she has struggled to find not just a job but, one that is fairly stable. It’s amazing the level of stress that has been lifted off my mind for that. It is an added benefit that she works someplace that is nice enough to hold a holiday meal for it’s employees.

Seriously money isn’t everything but, I’ll be god damned if it doesn’t solve a multitude of modern problems.

Non-alcoholic Beer.

It’s not a thing I keep around the house normally but I knew I would feel like having a drink by the time I got done watching a bunch of total strangers getting drunk. It’s not the perfect substitute but it makes me feel better. Something to do with dopamine, reward mechanisms, yada yada yada. I happened to have picked a fairly tasty one, so that’s a bonus.


Stores That Are Open On The Holidays.

There’s a lot of crap flying around the internet about where not to shop because they make employees work on Thanksgiving. There is also a lot of crap marginalizing these complaints by pointing out deployed military, emergency service and healthcare workers don’t get the day off; so why should retail workers?

First I wan’t to state how much bullshit it is to compare the two groups. The people who are military, EMS, or work in hospitals are necessary to the infrastructure of this country and/ or otherwise responsible for it’s safety and security (whether that’s what they are being used for or not is another matter entirely). They signed on to those jobs, hopefully out of some sense of civic duty and should be commended for that.

If we give the guy at Best Buy the day off no one dies. The Commies don’t win. You just can’t get your new TV/ tablet/ laptop/ unimportant-material-bullshit at door buster savings, alright. It is fucking dishonest, disrespectful and just plain god damned obnoxious to confuse that point so just stop.

That being said, just about everyone I know who cries foul about stores being open on Thanksgiving a) has the day off to complain about it and b) will end up in a grocery or convenience store at least once that day to buy that one ingredient they forgot, or to do a run for beer or smokes when they under estimate how far their vices go when they don’t have to be at work. So, I don’t care if all you bought was a pack of gum, or a gallon of gas. If you bought anything today your part of the system of consumer demand and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Well maybe not, ashamed per say… I mean I’m not ashamed that I had to go buy eggs, sausage and corn meal at the last minute. I’m a busy guy, or at the very least lazy, and didn’t get around to getting that shit earlier in the week so I went shopping today. Screw it. Though I was sure to be polite and thank the clerks for being there, I mean that’s just common decency.

That Thanksgiving Is Over And The Hum-Buggery Season Is Upon Us.

Now that we have overcome this last hurdle I can devote all of my energy to properly despising Christmas. You know why, and if you don’t you’re part of the problem.

Sad Boy Radio: The Loveless Fascination

A week of distractions and mild frustration with the world around me has gotten me off track with my regular blogging but I figure if I don’t have time to post a Sad Boy track and say a few things about it I might as well hang it up.

In a near unprecedented event my wife checked out my blog because she heard me talking about this little project and she suggested Under The Milky Way by The Church. She thought that it might be “more romantic than mopey.” To which I say  moping without a sense of romance is merely idle depression.

So this one goes out by request.

The Church released their first album Of Skins and Heart in Australia during 1980 and issued the single The Unguarded Moment in ’811. It was eight years and three albums later that the band came to LA to record the album Star Fish and with it the track that they are probably best known for.

The band didn’t enjoy Los Angeles much, nor did Steve Kilbey much like the final product, Saying in 2006;

“It’s actually flat lifeless ‘n’ and sterile. Great song, sure, but the performance, the sounds are ordinary. We coulda got that in Australia in a week or two for a 20th of the money we spent. Hey, it’s sold almost a million in the US alone, but we’ll never see any money ’cause it cost so much to make”2

They might not have seen the money then but that might not be counting the how often the song has been licensed since, appearing many add, in the movie Donnie Darko and a slew of published covers including this thoroughly annoying one by Powerman-5000.

And yes, the song is romantic, but it is moody and forlorn quality to it. The “bagpipe” solo adds a further gloomy dimension. Fun Fact: The bagpipe sound was  actually produced on an electric guitar using some manner contrivances including an Ebow and a Synclavier3. So we all learned something today.

Also I think I may have set a new record for number of links in one of my articles.

As always, any thoughts, or suggestions leave me a comment either here or elsewhere on the internet. Seriously I like hearing from people.

  1. Incidentally this is my favorite track of theirs so here it is
  2. Source Wikipedia,  their citation is here 
  3. And I have no idea what the fuck that all means but that’s why there’s google. 

Today has been canceled due to lack of interest

I was writing a light-hearted little ramble about spending the past several days sequestered in my room playing video games in the dark s and generally getting nothing done. I was going to joke around about how it’s been so nice to revisit my formative year easier. I wanted to make a jovial anecdote about the multiple choice nature of morality in the gaming world because it is just a mechanic and not a way to live life. I’ll probably still finish it, later…. maybe.

It’s been a shit weekend. We all know why.

I’ve had a shit day on a personal level.

The whole world is turning into a shit show, and I am very disappointed in all of us.

I’ll get over it. Hopefully by Wednesday.

Until then here is my dog scratching her back on the lawn.


Let’s try to spend a few days not being asshats.

Thank you.

Happy Monday.

Sad Boy Radio: Fate Up Against Your Will

It’s been a few days since I’ve said anything, seems I spent some of my free time reliving the angsty bullshit lifestyle from the later stages of my adolescence. Can’t say I missed it that much but it’s a nice place to visit if you can make the trip.

In that vein let’s talk about more of that mopey eighties music.

First appearing in 1978 as an opening act for a band that singer Ian McCulloch had been fired from, Echo and the Bunnymen started seeing some success with their 1982 album Porcupine. The Killing Moon is from their 1984 album Ocean Rain and, is probably their best known song (though I suppose one could make the argument for Lips Like Sugar holding that distinction).  The song has great guitar and bass work and moody lyrics and an overall despondent tone to it. The single marks their addition to the american teen listlessness of the nineteen eighties, or as Stewart Mason from All Music puts it;

“The Killing Moon” is the point at which Echo & the Bunnymen turned from second-string post-punkers into members of the pantheon of heroes to the mildly alienated suburban teens of the mid-’80s,

For what it’s worth, I’m glad they turned that imaginary corner. I’d hate to imagine a world with out my Sad Boy music.

That’ll do for this week. I’m still looking for more entries into this genre. If you’d like to contribute leave me a note, either here or using any of the options on my contact page.

The Woman Downstairs

The woman downstairs was crying again.

He was trying to nap, and she just kept crying.  Great sobbing breaths. all the time saying, “I’m sorry, I’m trying.” He tossed and turned, trying, like always, to ignore the pitiful sounds of her sadness.

Pretending, once again, to not be home as her boyfriend stomped around screaming threats and abuses. Trying not to hear the awful crack; or notice the ammonia smell of gunpowder. To not feel the awful silence that followed for ages afterward.

It had been weeks, and he could still hear her crying every time he shut his eyes.

Washing Away


The rain has come and the rain has gone,
Washing away all the joys of the world.
The playground is sodden and filthy,
Sad little children shuffle past.
Heads down, glancing sideways.
Their laughter will unsung this day.
They march on towards homework,
That Great executioner of youthful glee.

The rain has come and the rain has gone,1322
Washing away all the joys of the world.
The old dog mopes at the window,
Lonely and fearful of distant thunder.
The days walk had been abandoned.
Now she can only lay here waiting,
And hoping,
The child will come home soon.





Happy Monday