Posted July 5, 2007, 9:44 pm

Hail Satan

I ducked out on work last Thursday and Friday, it was gotdamn medicinal.

Thursday morning I woke at 6:30 as per orders of my last month of bio-rhythmic programming. I tried to sleep in but quickly discarded the idea. An unshakable sense of wasting time propelled me from the mattress, demanding I return to activities of leisure I’d nearly abandoned.

First up, the internet. Too much content, too many tools to access interesting information, overload. I digested the net until my laptop’s battery died. News, comics, blogs, videos, music, email. Too much.

Second, guitar. I swear I used to be able to play my own songs without breaking (as much of) a sweat, without my elbow and wrist cramping up (so painfully). I got to work with some of the lyrics I’ve been cooking up in my mind while commuting. Some of the songs are rather promising, and they’ll be shared here soon enough.

Third, cooking my own food. Cheese and tofu omelette’s, jelly-milk, cookies for breakfast? Meals ought to be more than checkpoints between shifts of labor and sleep. Having the kitchen to myself and no deadline was excellent.

In the afternoon I caught the LightRail and then the CalTrain into San Francisco, to meet up with Guy, Rebecca, Logan and Allie. On my way there I had a love affair with the hills.

This was probably my fourth trip into The City in the past few months, and I’m beginning to gain a solid sense of direction, much better than I ever had in NYC. Navigating on foot isn’t that bad, but biking there is wonderful (hills be damned).

So the five of us met at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to see an exhibit on R. Crumb. I notived how much I really despise writing about art (artist statements, reviews, etc.) so I’ll spare you my own flailing thoughts. Suffice to say he drew a lot. There were some interesting pieces he did as part of a group effort; either a single page with panels by as many as twenty different artists, or the short stories he co-wrote and co-illustrated with his wife.

Tangentially, here’s a great snippet from an interview of Robert Crumb by Robert Hughes in Time.

HUGHES: Did you at any time share that view that was so prevalent at Haight Ashbury and other “great centers of world learning” that dropping 250 mics was going to somehow or other induct you into a better world, which if everybody else dropped along with you would then turn out to be kind of utopia?

CRUMB: Yes I did believe that, I’m embarrassed to say. I remember preaching that to people.

HUGHES: It was a kind of self-congratulation in a way.

CRUMB: Well, no because all the hippies that took LSD felt that, in the beginning with some actual validity, that they had perceived a lot of things that were wrong with the direction that industrial civilizations was going. And this was all suddenly revealed very clearly. It got fogged over a bit with all the other crazy stuff that was going on but in the beginning when you took LSD you saw that there was something all wrong with this whole set-up here. “We’ve got to get back to the land. We gotta get back to nature. We gotta get rid of all this polluting chemical nonsense. We’ve got to stop this. It’s unhealthy for the planet.” It all became viscerally clear. It all became suddenly life threatening. All these cars coming at you.

HUGHES: Well it was life threatening

CRUMB: But in a normal state you just kind of adapt to it. But [on LSD] it all just seemed totally insane.

After the show we walked cross-town to a (Vietnamese? Korean? Chinese? pan-Asian?) restaurant Allie recommended. On the menus were cartoon images of dolphins, cows, chickens, and other such delicious creatures. “We pray for you!” they said, or “Don’t eat meat, for health!”, and the menu reflected this perverted vegetarian slant. I had the black mushrooms garlic and broccoli, and it was delicious. There ought to have been a fungus on the menu, pleading for its life.

After food we jockeyed for a bus to take us to the Takahashi’s uncle’s place. After an embarrassingly long attempt to board a bus paying with wrinkled cash, we were off. On the floor in front of my seat was the non-cash-value contents of someone’s wallet. A bookmark with a psalm on it, expired bus transfers, and two high school photographs. On the back of each was a hand written message; “Here’s my BF, don’t we look innocent? =) See you later!” or some such. Every time the bus stopped and started, the motor sounded like Chewbacca.

We crashed at Uncle Takahashi’s sweet bachelor pad overnight. A massive bull skull hung above the curtained windows. There was a shrine to Satan and/or science and/or rubber brains on top of the stereo. Beside one couch was an impressive collections of novelty pens, suspended images traveling along their length when tilted. Found next to the other couch was a medical device of nefarious usage.

The next morning there were milkshakes for breakfast and cross-town buses. I returned to San Jose on a lazy southbound train Friday afternoon.

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