Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thanksgiving Day Massacre

I've been a Deadhead since I was about 12 years old, back in 1982. My father bought "Skeleton's From the Closet" and I just fell in love with the band from that moment on. I didn't attend my first show until 12-30-85 (first Mighty Quinn btw), and I was truly on the bus forever. Today, I always carry at least one show in my cd case, one never knows when the opportunity will arise to listen to favorite gem through their 30 years.

To see my catalogue of live music check out my list on etree.
So, when the Live Music Archive (LMA) began uploading Grateful Dead shows a couple of years ago, I was more than stoked. I, like so many others around the globe, began furiously downloading all those tasty bites from shows we had only read about in Deadbase, or seen on others lists for so long. I had collected/traded tapes since 1985, and I have over 1000 hours. When LMA put the Dead up, I had a pretty repectable collection on CD, but I truly took full advantage of what they had to offer.

What did they offer? Not only the shows themselves were available in soundboard or audience, but also a place to comment about the show. Whether you were there, and wanted to share what it was like when Jerry grinned after singing "test me, test me. Why don't you arrest me?", or you've had this show on tape for 20 years, and thank the good gods for LMA.

The day before Thanksgiving, the Dead decided to pull all of the soundboards off of LMA. They haven't, as of today, stated their reasons for this. Many are calling the Dead greedy. I consider these people to be the one's who showed up for the shows just to hang in the parking lot, never intending to go inside. You ruined the scene, btw.

I think the Dead have generally been poor businessmen through the years, and they know this. They have trusted many people, from Mickey Hart's own father, Lenny Hart, who robbed them of thousands of dollars, to Ron Rakow, who had bad ideas, and also bilked the band out of much hard earned money.

After Jerry died, it was obvious the band as a business would have to downsize. And downsize they did. Today they don't tour as much. They live off of royalties (they sure didn't have much luck with their studio albums), and of course anything they make off of the road, after the over head is paid.

If the band wants to keep the soundboards off of LMA so they can package them themselves, it's their right to do so as the intellectual owners of the works. Yes, Jerry said many times once they're done with it, it's ours. But the band needs to survive into their old age as well. They recently laid off more GDP employees, including Ram Rod, one of the original roadies from 1965. That was not an easy decision to make.

One thing that disturbs me though is what GD publicist, and acquaintance of mine, Dennis McNally said regarding the trading community. He didn't see LMA as a community at all, just the high powered internet allowing folks to horde as much music as they can, as fast as they can.

I disagree. I did enjoy the idea of searching people's lists and making the trade, and going to the post office too, but i see little difference with what LMA offers. If LMA didn't offer the an area to discuss each show, then perhaps Dennis has a point, but this is an area where we can all get together and SHARE the music. The band does not exist anymore. The technology of today dictates that we will move at a faster rate. To disallow the music to be shared in this way is to only postponing the inevitable.

I miss seeing the boys live. I love pulling out a show from any era and being magically transformed to that place above the clouds, where only the Grateful Dead can take me. The trading will live on. The band can package all the music they like. Some will purchase it. Others will boycott it. Either way, as Jerry told us, "Once we're done with it, you can have it."

We'll take it any way we can get it.

The Grateful Dead are dead. Long live the Grateful Dead!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Eight Term Congressman Indicted on Bribery Charges

Calif.Congressman Admits Taking Bribes

How great is this? In the midst of Tom Delay and Bill Frist getting their just desserts, and with the city of San Diego already relling from a scandal in the mayors office, now their eight term congressman, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, has resigned after taking bribes from defense contractors.

Is this a great country or what? I teach high school social studies, and I love to talk to the kids about the pros and cons of democracy. They all love the fact that they can vote, and own their own property, and such. What I really like are the answers I get when I ask what is bad about America? I'm not an apologist, but I have to say that we better be able to get up in the morning and look at ourselves squarely in the eye, and I mean before that morning pick-me-up, and be real honest with ourselves about who we are and where we're going.

By the looks of ol' Duke, he's not going very far right now. What a shame too. This guy is a career politician, and Vietnam vet. See the look on his wife's face. Damn, I can't tell if she's crushed or pissed. She's probably both. She probably ran the whole scheme. Old Randy is just her pawn. "You was supposed to be president. I was supposed to be the next first lady. Now look at us: you stupid fat ass! You'll hang for this."

All of this and Bush's approval rating taking the deep dive that they are, is just too much fun for me right now. Can it get any better?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Smorkin Labbits a Plenty

If you have a chance you need to get your hands on Frank Kozic's fabulous little Smorkin Labbits. They are so damn cute. I would be so proud for my little daughter to be influenced by them.

This is what it's all about

Ok, so on Halloween/Samhain, a couple of my coworkers went to Slims in SF to see Sunn0))) and Boris play some very loud sounds. I believe the bassist from the Melvins is in Sunn0))). Anyway, being the poster collector that I am, I asked Eric if he would pick up one from the gig (I was sure there would be one, though I didn't know what it would look like). He readily agreed.

When I saw him the following week (I went to a conference in Miami for a week. See entry below for November 1), he presented me with the amazing piece you can see here. I was shocked by the power of this piece. It is perhaps my favorite so far.

I was unfamiliar with the artist, Aaron Horkey, who also does skateboard art design, and I was unfamiliar with Burlesque Designs, until now. Their work is truly wonderful. The paper stock is thick, the colors are rich, and the artwork is some of the most intricate I have yet to see in poster work. I am so surprised that they do not appear in the "Art of Modern Rock" book. Shame on them.

Please check out the link, and enjoy their work. Also, one of the great things about collecting concert posters is that the price is very affordable. It's obvious to the artists that the fans cannot pay much, so they keep the prices down. Once you own the work, though, the price can rise to a good amount. This piece, I bought for $20.00 It now sells for as much as $120.00 The show was only three weeks ago. Only 250 were made. Wow! What a investment.

Should Tookie Receive the Death Penalty?

Governor dreading decision on life or death without clemency, Williams' execution is just weeks away
Williams, 51, the co-founder of the Crips gang and a four-time murderer who has become an anti-gang crusader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is scheduled to be executed at San Quentin State Prison on Dec. 13. . . .
. . . Prosecutors argue that a man responsible for four shotgun murders who was involved in nearly a dozen violent incidents in his first decade in prison -- before he changed his ways -- deserves the sentence a jury recommended.

Read about the history of the death penalty
More about Tookie and California's stance on the death penalty

Big thanks to Joel Arquillos for this story and the links. Check out his personal bog here.

Monday, November 14, 2005

An Active Weekend

Being a teacher can sometimes have its benefits. First, I have the pleasure to work in a career that offers a lot of autonomy. Second, it keeps me young. Third, I work with some amazing educators, each with their own political philosophies, which happily are very similar to my own. LEFT! Finally, I have quite a few vacation days, in which to enjoy with my little family.

Many of you might think that vacation days would top the list, but to be honest I love being in the classroom. I used to be in retail. Now that is a living hell! I always enjoy being in with my students, teaching them about the ways of life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. Yes, I'm a social studies teacher. Thank you very much.

With Veterans Day, I was lucky enough to have last Friday off. We actually did a minute of silence at 11am on the Thursday before. The kids were great. We didn't want them going into a day off without knowing just exactly what it was they we getting the day off for. When they're at the mall, or playing video games, or even getting stoned with friends, I want them to know that many people, soldier and civilian, died in a just or unjust war.

On Saturday, Kitty and I took Lauson out to enjoy the weather. It was beautiful in San Francisco this weekend. We found ourselves on Height Street, which is a rarity. We don't ususally dare to hit a tourist trap on a weekend. We hit up Amoeba Records, of course. Ali wanted some music, and I had to feed my jones, and buy a poster, like the little one above. Actually, that's the one I bought. It's a Chuck Sperry (Firehouse) piece for NYE 2004 Jello Biafra/Melvins show. I've been eyeballing it for a while. It's actually rather large. 4' x 3'.

I've decided to only buy one poster a month right now. It was a hard decision to be honest with you. I love the fact that these posters are so inexpensive these days. It truly is the working man's art. The artists know the buyers can't afford to spend much, so they keep the prices low. This one was $35.00.

The remainer of our weekend included a few parks with the one year old. She's about to walk; it's so fun to watch her go up and down the stairs and down the slides on her own. We also went to the 10th anniversary party for Laughing Squid. This is my friend Scott Beale's site. Check it out, but don't blame me if you get hooked, and use it every day.

I found myself actually taking about a 30 minute breather last night. Being a teacher is quite amamzing, but the work doesn't stop when the final bell rings.

Jello Biafra and the Melvins "Plethysmograph""Yuppie Cadillac"


Mother Daughter

AliKatt and our daughter Lauson Kai at the Laughing Squid 10th Anniversary Party on 11-12-05

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Compound

I feel like David Koresch must have felt like: isolated, but with a loving family that would die for you. It may come down to that.

I'm staying at the Doral Golf and Spa Resort, by Marriott in Miami for the NAF conference (see below for info about NAF). The accomodations are par for the course (did I already use that pun?) The food they are offering us in the morning is a muffin, sliced fruit and either juice or coffee. I drink neither juice nor coffee. I used to love juice, but I dislike pulp, and now the damn stuff gives me heartburn. It sucks getting older.

For lunch they offer over-priced sandwiches, and for dinner...well, I'll stop there. So, you ask, why not go off the grounds for some meals? That would be great, but the closest resource for food, away from the resort, is over a mile away. What's the big deal with that, you ask? I came with shredded shoes, desiring badly to purchase some while I was down here, and now I'll have to take an expensive cabride into downtown to locate some Payless Shoe Source to spend as little money as possible on some cheap tennis shoes.

I'm bitching, I know, but isn't that what these things are for?

I love what I've been learning? I attended a workshop on improving advisory boards. Here are my notes. Do what you will with them:

Gather student work and profile it at the next law advisory bd. meeting to help with fundraising.

how do we get professional clothes for kids who cannot afford clothes?

mentors need to talk to the kids about their attire. possibly bring in toastmasters for speechmaking.

National job shadow day.

Find the IT/Law Dept. heads from the Bay Area colleges to sit on the advisory boards. Invite the career services director from the college too.

kids should intern at the colleges too. in the IT/law depts. The two and four year colleges should offer scholorships too. Teacher's choice scholorships based on teacher's criteria (Kendall college Chicago offers this).

Competitions on college campuses. Invite college seniors to talk to the students.

Standard of conduct agreement the students need to sign.

"guidelines for Internship supervisors"

Chamber of Commerce-great resource
education committee, luncheons, be a presenter, have a student speak to them. the COC knows nothiing of NAF

Elks/Lions/Rotary/Kiwanis all have scholorship committees

Law graduation sash by holiday break

Advisory bd. meeting: invite students to present what they're doing in their classes.

Internship committees: fundraising, internship, publicity
Have the meetings at the school instead of the office.

Read "Oh, The Places You'll Go:, Dr. Seuss to the students.

Give local recognition to the business partners through the local media.

Also, I attended a workshop on student self-assessment.

All-in-all a productive day.

I'm not used to the weather. When I lived on St. John, USVI, it was always overcast, with ten minute showers. It's overcast now, and I'm just not used to it.

Well, one more meeting for the day coming up, and then off to Little Havana for shoes. Perhaps I'll wear my Che t-shirt.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Goin' Back To Miami

...goin back to my girl"

Actually, my girl(s) are back in San Francisco. I had to fly to Miami yesterday (11/01/05) to attend an education conference put on by the National Academy Foundation.

I'm designing an academy at my high school that they are sponsoring. They are a part of a nation-wide education reform group, that pushes the small schools concept. I teach at a school that has four small schools in 11th and 12th grade that the kids can choose from. They include: CAST (a creative/performing arts academy), International (for kids fresh off the boat, so to speak), WALC (Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collective), and Law (I'm in this one. I teach a constitutional law class). None of these are sponsored by NAF. I am however beginning a NAF academy with an informational technology focus (AOIT).

This is what brings me to Miami.

NAF holds a number of conferences a year, across the country. They sponsor about 1000 academies in over 700 schools in the US. I was in San Diego for their annual summer leardership conference last July.

the meetings here are focused around groups, like mine, that are engaged in the year of planning. We plan this year, we implement next year.

I haven't been to Miami since 1993, when I moved to the Virgin Islands for a mere four months of continuous bordem. Actually, the only real thing I did in Miami was fly out of their airport. I drove across the country with my friend Conrad (who I think I still owe $500 to. Sorry Conrad.), for three weeks. We did radio at KFJC together. We zig-zagged all over the place. It was an amazing trip. I encouraged all 20-somethings to do a road trip across the country at least once, before they get on with life.

We went to Vegas for three days and saw the Grateful Dead. Sting opened for them. By then, they pretty much sucked live, but I still love them. We drove up to Mt. Rushmore, and across South Dakota. We even went to Wall Drug. We ended up staying with his mom in a very small town in Minnisota for five days while our jeep was being fixed. he went to the same school for all 13 years. We were both a couple of long hairs too. You can imagine the looks on the kids' faces when we walked the halls.

After the jeep was fixed, we took off down the Mississippi river and into Fayetteville, Arkansas, where we stayed with some girlfriends of mine. Apologies go out to Amy. She knows what for. Great girls too. I met them first in Austin in 1993 at SXSW. SXSW used to be a great music conference for the industry types that wanted to get away from their work for a while, and just enjoy the music. It ahs since become the biggest music conference in the country. Everclear was discovered there. Of course, they drashed and burned, which is exactly what should have happened to them.

We hit Memphis after that. I touched Elvis' grave. He wasn't there though. He's in Africa, living under the name Mojo Risin'. Yeah.

We got to Sarasota, Florida and stayed with my cousin David. Sarasota is where PeeWee Herman was caught doin' his thang in an adult theater. Isn't that where you're supposed to do your thang? We met a bar owner who toold us he could hook us up with some jobs, once we got there. He also had a rather cute waitress working there. My apologies go out to her as well. I think you're getting the picture. We declined the offer from the bar owner though. We told him we had jobs waiting. We were heading out the St. Thomas, USVI to run a radio station. The owner told us that a music and program director positions were open, and they were ours as soon as we arrived. I had, at the time, seven years in radio, and was stoked to be making my way out there.

After Sarasota, where I left my mini-tape recorder, with a bunch of VERY private thoughts on it, we made our way to Ft. Lauderdale, to put our jeep on a ship. Got the jeep set, and taxied down to Miami. We headed straight for the airport.

I was home less than four months later. When we visited the radio station to begin our jobs, the owner met us, told us he didn't know who we had spoken too, but they were fired; there were no paying jobs, but we could volunteer if we wanted to.

I left my heart in San Francisco. So I went back to get it.

By that time my, then girlfriend, was pregnant...with someone else's kid.

I never did care for Florida. No offense. It looks good on you though.