May 12, 2009

How to Quit Smoking Part 1

Obviously it’s best not to start. I don’t mean that in any snide way, I bring it up because one of the greatest motivational factors in quitting cigarettes is being able to brag that you did it. Especially to your sorry ass friends who are still hooked, making excuses and treating their health with a glib existential nonchalance. I get it I’ve been there. I mention the not starting thing because on the more positive and less mean tip, one of the greatest things to do is be influential to someone, especially kids, in avoiding smoking to begin with.

So there’s two inspirational quit smoking concepts right there:

1. Gloating at your still addicted smoker friends is genuinely rewarding and

2. It’s mad positive to spread the word of not smoking to kids

Staying on the inspirational tip, lets talk about cigarettes.

Before we do I want you to light up, enjoy the moment. I’m not here talking blood and guts or to scare you. Again I’m not fucking around (I’m known for some sarcasm I guess), I want you to be happy while reading this and I don’t expect you to read this in the throws of quitting. No pressure here, you choose your time to quit. For right now have a smoke and please, read on…

Inspiration 3:

The tobacco industry is so powerful and evil it’s scary. They add poisonous chemicals to the tobacco that make the product more addictive. Research the tobacco industry and watch “The Insider”. Great quiting inspiration, I watched it while smoking.

Now for the how to. Later I will talk about my relationship with the old cowboy killers and my experience quitting, but I’m going to keep this part really simple and technical.

First keep this in mind – you are two things, a cigarette smoker, and a nicotine addict. Basic premise with my quit smoking plan. Here’s what I’m proposing to you: Stay a nicotine addict, quit cigarettes. I shit you not you can do it.


Nicotine gum sucks (at first) and is not central to my plan. But I’m sure that’s what you are thinking, duh he’s just saying do the gum or get a patch. No! It’s better than than that. They have a thing called the nicotine inhaler. This will be your new best friend as soon as the grief of the death of your old best friend (your last cigarette) begins to subside. And that’s real, take into consideration the mourning process that will happen. That’s why this quitting business is extra tricky, because it’s so not just about physical addiction. It’s very mental.

Quitting smoking step 1.

Nicotine inhaler.

The nicotine inhaler is the greatest quit smoking product on the market or at least the one that worked for me, a former two pack a day Camel Lites man. Here’s why: The process. It totally allows for all the elements that surround a smoking habbit and satisfies the real addiction – sweet sweet nicotine. Keep in mind, nicotine isn’t so bad at all, it’s just pleasurable and addictive and legal and cheap. The method of transmission is the enemy, all the poisonous smoke.

The inhaler comes in a little plastic box that I kept wherever I had kept my smokes before.  One of the greatest aspects to smoking is all the little “breaks” you get in life. Stepping away from it all momentarily. I didn’t give that up. I had my inhaler, that while no cigarette imitation, felt OK between my fingers and if I took a good hit I could feel the pure medical grade nicotine hitting my lungs. My smoking routine was the same, only the smoke was gone.

Before we move on to the next phase of my plan let me share a little trick and again, it may sound obvious but this is real quitting business here and I’m dead serious.

Quitting smoking step 2.

Smoke sometimes.

I know that sounds crazy but hear me out. First up this will never work if you continue to smoke cigarettes even once, because that’s what you are quitting FOREVER. You never said you were quitting cigars though, right? Ganja? It’s all good. In moderation of course, I mean light puffs on a bidi as a treat. I promise that as long as you seriously keep feeding you nicotine addiction with the inhaler you will change the way you relate to smoke and smoking, and it soon loses it’s appeal, trust me. But when you quit cigarettes that’s it, never a puff off a cig again. You can never be a weekend/social cigarette smoker, it doesn’t work, I’ve seen it a million times, and that’s the only rule I propose here.

I’m just coming off a DJ high from a dubstep gig at Ruta Maya but I promised someone earlier that I would follow up on my offer to share help on quitting. DJing has alot to do with why I quit but I just have to chill for now. I’ll be back with part 2 soon. This really is just a start and I really want to help people quit because it’s a real life corporate conspiracy to take your money and kill you and you like it.

In summary, when you are ready to quit buy the nicotine inhaler.

More coming soon…


May 8, 2009

Musical Revelry, Tape Delay #1

Filed under: As a DJ,Tape delay — daz76 @ 5:06 am
Tags: , , , ,

Wow, it doesn’t happen too much but I just found myself in the midst of musical revelry. Instead of just standing there listening like some bankrupted imobile old Pink Floyd fan I decided to start writing about it, the state. I’m listening to Atom TM’s latest release on the high profile experimental/electronic Rastar Noton label, Leidgut. It’s a stunning work of sonic art, incredibly designed digital audio structures that in one moment make no sense and in other moments too much sense, all in a good crunchy glitched out low rez digital way. If you know German electro pioneers Kraftwerk then this is like the best synthetic voice effects and most atmospheric parts of their classic album Radioactivity expanded on.

While this record owes everything to Kraftwerk it is an entirely original work. Except for the final track on the disc which just so happens to be a vocoded sound poem from none other than Florian Schneider, founding member of Kraftwerk. Right now the rhythm I hear is based around that sound that used to happen when a cell phone was near computer speakers – remember that? It’s sonic detritus now and and when processed just right can be an effective sound element in a composition. It brings that retro futuristic aesthetic, although that phantom cell phone sound is all but a thing of the past now, I’m reminded about how weird that was. This is a great piece of music for those with more exotic musical tastes, even academic and conceptualists will find much interest in Atom’s latest work.

BTW Atom TM is also known as Atom Hart, Ewe Schmidt, and most famously Senior Coconut. Check it out, revelry moment 1, over.

Last night I went to the dubstep party at Plush. This sound is considered fresh because it’s just catching on over here but the truth is this thing has been evolving for quite some time. No Doubt there is some eponymous moment when the classic dubstep sound was identified and labeled for categorization, the fact remains that the genre continues to include even more experimental and minimalist ideas. Late night at Plush they drop the tough, heavy stepping wobbled out bangers but if you hang out a little early the Djs play a lot of really experimental stuff, where the focus is more on the sound as the dancers are not quite primed to hit the floor. When a genre of underground UK dance music is incorporating weird shifts in time signature, unresolved measures, and uncanny levels of consistent, repetitive, eye ball wobbling bass we know exiting new musical progress is in effect. Sure check out some dubstep on line or CD but what I’m saying is that the real meaning and significance of the music comes from a physical encounter with a booming soundsytem, hardcore sub-woofers. It’s a bit like getting a massage except you wobble around with other people instead of just laying there.

The other thing I like about going to the dubstep parties around town is that it brings out a very diverse crowd. Many different people are into this music because of the cultural diversity represented in the sound. The dance peeps love it, the hip hop heads love it, reggae enthusiasts, and of course those of us who love dub music.

 Before I wrap it up dubstep has evolved more or less out of the jungle/drum and bass UK styles, and has a heavy reggae influence. Although the tempo seems relaxed, slow, the funk comes from playing with shuffled half time and off rhythms, which often mix well with minimal house or techno beats. It’s atmospheric and dark music, but once you find the groove it’s a stepper’s delight.  Revelry 2, out.

Why did I think that it was important to hate bands like Pink Floyd ( I think I already mentioned them earlier…) or Bob Dylan until just recently? Why did I impose this ban on what I deemed to be “old” music. My parent’s never force fed me their music and what they did play back then I liked. My mom was a fan of mellow singers and we always listened to pop radio in the car. My dad liked rock. Not blaring, but he surprised me once by taking me to see the Police.

The early walkman was a great way to disconnect from the world and I used to listen to all kinds of music with one rule in effect: It had to be modern, if not futuristic. To me that included punk rock, hardcore, rockabilly, goth, etc. The genre was not so much the issue, it was the newness that made it vital. For whatever reason, the Violent Femmes sounded new. Skinny Puppy sounded new. Virgin Prunes sounded new, even when they tried to sound old. Not to mention, by the time I got to most of these bands they were old. This was pre internet when you actually had to do leg work to know about the underground sound.

I’ve always had a very open mind regarding music and I would say that my desert island disc would probably include Carl Stalling, choral music from Bulgaria, Chinese music is amazing, Motorhead, etc.

Sorry I have to stop and call bullshit on myself for that last musical revelry.  First off I’m not even listening to music, the CD ended about five minutes ago. Obviously there is no such thing as a desert island disc these days, right? Now it would be a desert island ipod and you could pretty much put all the music ever on there so making a slim selection anymore is just dumb. I’m putting an end to all reveling right now but I’m happy I did get to mention Carl Stalling, Virgin Prunes, and Florian Schneider all in the same blog. Normally they get their own blog each.

Oh I forgot. I love Steve Martin’s banjo music.

Insane display of a dubstep quick mix. This is how it’s done.

Brilliant on every level – music by Carl W. Stalling.

May 3, 2009

The Night I met Merl Allin

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 9:08 am
Tags: , , ,

Please, I’m not trying to act like some GG Allin and the Murder Junkies worshiper or anything like that, although I do admire GG for doing what he did instead of just killing everyone. I think it would have been easier for him to just kill. In many ways he probably took the high road.

Way back in the day when I worked at Record Gallery I remember the owner Steve showing me a GG Allin record and I was impressed with the crude gun and knife tattoos etched into his neck on the cover photo. This guy obviously did not give a fuck. Steve gave me the lowdown, that GG performed confrontational hardcore music often naked, often covered in his own shit, and often randomly punching/fighting with people in the crowd. From a distance it sounded AOK to me, but I had no desire to actually witness such a violent and crazy performance. I didn’t want any GG Allin shit on me! But we proudly displayed his records and treated him as a  legendary and exemplary extreme punk rock anti-hero.

GG’s last show happened right around the corner from my old apartment in NYC but I didn’t go. It was at the Gas Station and believe me if you don’t know about that place you missed a fun part of the mid 90’s Lower East Side scene. Where the Gas Station stood was the first place they razed and built new condos in that neighborhood. The end was near, I thought. And I was right. Anyway, that last show climaxed with a naked GG and crowd basically rioting up and down Ave. B. GG ODed in the following hours. In many ways he was kind of the original Steve O, but GG had to die. That was part of it. I watched the documentaries etc. and always had a soft spot for the hated man but nothing special. I think I kept one CD around for good old American teenage shock value.

Later it came to my attention (after watching a GG Alllin documentary, I think it was called “Hated”) I noticed that the guys from GG’s band, the Murder Junkies, were always on my block (4th between A and B in NYC) so I put it together and found out their rehearsal space was a few doors down. Cool but again, whatever. One of the things that you do when you live in New York City is ignore the shit out of anyone remotely famous or well known. You act like you have no idea who they are and I would often add a flourish by acting as if the person they are with is the famous one,  just to add an extra “fuck you famous person – I live here too”.  I’m not kidding that’s a new York thing.

Long story longer, the other night I was in my car listening to local UT student radio KVRX and they announced a ticket giveaway. I got my phone ready because it’s actually pretty easy to win tickets to things on the radio and all I knew is that it was a rock show at Emo’s. I was the first caller and got on the guest list. I had never heard of the bands they were talking about so I looked up the show info at Emo’s website only to find out that yes, there was some over blown indie hard rock thing happening outside, but inside, the Murder Junkies were playing. How could I resist?

So I went, got in free, hooked up a beverage at the bar, sent a cheers to KVRX. I spotted Merl, GG’s brother and longtime bassist for the Murder Junkies. He now has taken over as vocalist minus the shit and blood covered confrontation that his brother was famous for.  It’s still the Murder Junkies though, and they are a fucked up yet crucial part of American musical history whether we like it or not. Obviously I like it.

I introduced myself to Merl, he was just standing there near the merch booth and I pretty much told him what I just wrote here. Really nice guy, I think a bit taken off guard by a momentary reminiscence with a complete stranger of  a funky little block on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where I had lived and he was a Murder Junkie. He assured me that New York City sucks now ( I bet it doesn’t) and for a few moments the intersection at 4th and B came back, more vivid than ever so far.

I think the real moral of this story is that if you care in the least about punk rock or American hardcore music/performance culture you can pretty much meet most of the (still living/active) founders and VIPs of the scene because they all come to Emo’s and it’s easy to win tickets on the radio.

So there you go, me and Merl from the Murder Junkies are pals and I guess you will get mad at me later when you youtube GG Allin and see how freaked out and fucked up what I’m talking about is. Was that English? In my opinion GG Allin was a poet, and I’m proud to have met his brother.

April 30, 2009

My take on the Austin Mayoral race 09

Filed under: Austin life — daz76 @ 11:20 am
Tags: ,

Brewster McCracken

Brewster McCracken is a Texas native, born in Corpus Christie. A relatively young candidate at 43 he is a graduate of Princeton University. McCracken also holds a law degree from UT School of Law as well as a master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ school at UT. He is also a former prosecutor and served in the U.S. Army.

Brewster McCracken looks at the “Austin Model” developed in the 1980’s that essentially served as a vision to bring the high tech and bio tech industries to Austin which is now considered to be a globally accepted model for city development. McCracken’s proposed ideas about Austin’s future look to that model but expand on it, taking into consideration emerging industries such as clean energy, which is a major focus of his campaign. He has solidified his popularity with Austin’s creative community by also supporting a strong film, game, and technology driven entertainment sectors which he believes can be future sources for economic and job growth here in Austin.

McCracken is endorsed by many green/clean energy industry leaders and technicians as well as by local entertainment luminaries such as Sarah Hickman and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim Leauge. The Austin American Statesman has also endorsed McCracken.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn

Carole Keeton Strayhorn is also a native Texan born in Austin and the daughter of long time dean of the UT Law School, Page Keeton. Strayhorn holds an honors degree from UT and began her career in education. She is highly awarded in that field. She became the first woman to become mayor of Austin in 1977 and served until 1983. Strayhorn has also served as the Texas Comptroller of Public Affairs (again the first woman in Texas to do so) as well as serving as Texas Railroad Commissioner. In 2006 she ran for Governor of the state of Texas where to some controversy she was denied including the word “Grandma” in her name on the Gubernatorial ballot, despite the fact that one of her opponents is commonly known as “Kinky” Friedman, a nom de plume. Strayhorn also suffered some humiliation during a televised debate when she did not know the name of newly elected Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Also of interest is that her son, Scott McClellan served as George W. Bush’s press secretary.

Strayhorn has a streamlined set of issues that she focuses on, most specifically the city budget. She has railed against the system of city-financed lobbyists in the state capitol. She is a staunch supporter of law enforcement and is a long time member of the Austin Police Association. She has expressed concern that the city spends thousands conducting archeological research in Zilker Park before spending money on the police and she says that as mayor she would get more police on the street as soon as possible.

Another major issue that Strayhorn has taken on is traffic in Austin. She believes that enough time and money has been wasted on research and studies and wants to implement new strategies in how we commute, including possibly overhauling Capitol Metro. She has also pledged her commitment to supporting small business, promising to modify the red tape laden bureaucratic system that makes it difficult if not impossible for some local business to operate.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn has received the endorsement of ChangeAustin.org – an influential grassroots political advocacy organization. ABoR, the Austin Board of Realtors, also endorses her as well as the St. Edwards University student newspaper.

Lee Leffingwell

Without the aid of a Wikipedia entry for Lee Leffingwell, I had to use more varied sources for information about this Austin city council member running for mayor. We do know that Lee Leffingwell is a native Austenite, his father worked in the fire department and law enforcement and his mother at UT. Leffingwell entered the army, became a pilot, flying many missions, and later in his civilian career became a commercial jet pilot.

After retiring from piloting, he returned to Austin and became a community volunteer with an emphasis on ecological issues. Leffingwell is known for advocating a more transparent local government as well as looking forward at the inevitable growth of this city and how to bolster strong commerce and housing sectors and directly address the inevitable impact on the environment that this will have into the future. Also of interest is that Leffingwell was one of two city council members to vote against the forgivable loan for Las Manitas restaurant last year, suggesting that ultimately the loan would not have any real benefit for the city or downtown, only the restaurant. He also voted against proposals to restrict the size of new homes being built in certain parts of Austin claiming that such laws if in effect should be city wide, not just street to street, and added that many people these days are relying on add-on rental property as a way to improve their investment. Leffingwell has several significant endorsements, most notably the Austin Fire Department and Austin’s infamous independent free weekly, the Austin Chronicle.

Taken from the Austin Chronicle’s letter of endorsement regarding Leffingwell and Brewster McCracken published last week:

“The Chronicle board discussion of the candidates even suggested an apt and double-edged analogy: “Right now, who do you want in charge of city policy, your stodgy but reliable dad or your energetic younger brother?” We’ve opted strongly for the former.”

After doing the research I have decided that I will vote for Lee Leffingwell, and it has little to do with the Austin Chronicle’s endorsement. While I am not aware of his complete record, I appreciate his tone. Aside from 9/11 hijacker types, I generally believe that people who become pilots, specifically commercial pilots, have built in bravery, leadership qualities and an innate desire to look out for people.

These days it is rare to see a politician so openly reveal their sense of compassion and put forth the idea that helping the less fortunate is an important and necessary role in our city. His relationship with Austin’s environment, the parks, trails, waterways etc. is hard to deny and I trust Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake in his hands.

One other interesting thing that I noticed was Lee Leffingwell’s website offers a Spanish language option. I do not believe I saw that option on the other candidate’s pages. As a bilingual American, I can appreciate that, and it shows intelligence in the campaign strategy. I also really like the personal and down to earth tone of his website, and although I am inherently suspicious of politicians, I find the man to be genuine about his dedication to making Austin a great place to live and be into the future.

Brewster McCracken has some appeal because he has strongly associated himself with the more fun aspects of Austin culture and received great press a few years ago for smoothing over some wrinkles when a percussion group was arrested during SXSW for parading into the street. I believe he needs more time to find his true position on the tougher issues that are facing Austin in the near future.

As for Strayhorn, I appreciate her straight ahead style and political experience, but she is a politician’s politician if there ever was one and no, she’s not my grandma. That type of campaign strategy strikes me as a thinly veiled version of politic fast food and her D.C. insider connectivity seems a bit much for the position of Mayor in weird old Austin Texas, despite our status as the state capitol.

April 26, 2009

None Could Fight

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 7:42 am


Near Victoria Station

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,


Go as a Suit

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 7:20 am


Eat Fast

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 7:16 am


Feel Beautifully Repulsive

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 7:14 am


Fridge Poem 1

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 7:08 am


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