Meteor Mags: The Battle of Vesta 4 – now in paperback and ebook!

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Four Action-Packed Stories Full of Anarchy, Asteroids, and Excessive Ammunition Continue The Adventures of Meteor Mags and PatchesHoist the Jolly Roger and Get Ready to Rock!

Available on Amazon in paperback (224 pages) and Kindle. Also available on iTunes and at Barnes & Noble for Nook Book.

Rings of Ceres: A hell-raising space pirate and her indestructible calico cat return to a decimated asteroid civilization to rescue friends and kick ass, but they get caught up in violent riots between the desperate citizens of Ceres and the mercenary security forces guarding the mining corporations.

Jam Room: Meteor Mags leads a jam session with the teenagers who want to start a punk band called Dumpster Kittens!

The Battle of Vesta 4: Meteor Mags and her fun-loving crew throw the birthday party of a lifetime—until death rains down from the sky! Mosh at the rock’n’roll party of the century as the Psycho 78s record their new album! Flee in terror as Club Assteroid falls under the dragons’ assault from space! Discover the underground caverns of Vesta and join the resistance! Take one last hell ride aboard the Queen Anne before it all goes up in flame! Strap on your battle armor and get ready for the most brutal, barbaric, blood-soaked fight of your life: The Battle of Vesta 4!

Hunted to Extinction: Meteor Mags and Patches undertake one last hunt to exterminate the space lizards from our solar system. Their journey reveals the fate of Tarzi’s parents, a tragedy that connects our criminal crew to a powerful potential ally. Plus, Mags gets a new ship, and it’s got even more kick-ass stolen technology to help her plunder the System! Her club might have been destroyed, but Meteor Mags and her friends will never accept defeat so long as they live.

May not be suitable for children or carbon-based life.

 

glue2

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Glue2 is a 187-minute music set I streamed in February 2019. You can download it as an mp3 for free at: https://app.box.com/s/4dcx3yen1rusuabapa22r8poan517qbo

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 36: GLUE2
FEB 2019

Anthroprophh – Ende
Dick Clark – Open Letter to the Older Generation
Frijid Pink – Sing A Song For Freedom
Buried Feather – Magnetized
Prasanna – Cosmic Potato
Sam Cooke – Twistin’ The Night Away
Joey Dee & the Starliters – Peppermint Twist
The English Beat – Twist And Crawl
Joe Satriani – The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing
Jane’s Addiction – Twisted Tales
Red Fang – Every Little Twist
Sonic Youth – Swimsuit Issue
Lunachicks – Light as a Feather
Lunachicks – Jerk of All Trades
Buried Feather – Would I Miss You
Buried Feather – Sunshine
Kosmischer Läufer – Tonband Laufspur
Low Frequency in Stereo – Texas Fox
Litter – Action Woman
Lonely Kamel – Damn You’re Hot
Kaleidoscope – Kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope – Please Excuse My Face
Kaleidoscope – Egyptian Gardens
Wayne Fontana and the MindBenders – Groovy Kind of Love
Incredible Hog – Lame
Buffalo – Suzie Sunshine
Helicon – Devil On Your Tongue
Psychic Ills – Depot
The Suicide Machines – I Don’t Wanna Hear It
Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden – Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple)
Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother
Happy Go Blues – Old Song
The Get Lost – One Way Ticket
Brian Eno & Karl Hyde – When I Built This World
Faust vs. Dälek – Imagine What We Started (Excerpt)
Cambrian Explosion – Innocuous Creatures
Power of Zeus – It Couldn’t Be me
Bug vs Earth – City of Fallen Angels
Kraftwerk – Heavy Metal Kids (Live on Bremen Radio)
The Guess Who – No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature
Toto – Rosanna
Tad – Wired God
Piero Umiliani – Risaie
ilu – Graffiti Hen Ewrop
Bill Laswell – In A Silent Way / Shhh / Peaceful / It’s About That Time (Miles Davis)

power

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Power is a 129-minute music set I streamed in February 2019. You can download it as an mp3 file free of charge at: https://app.box.com/s/0jw0k0k7e0k6a5phdlo9mgnc5oxaks8b

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 35: POWER
FEB 2019

Mitsuko Uchida – Franz Schubert Impromptu No. 4 in A flat/Allegretto
Djali Zwan – Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden)
Iron Maiden – Wrathchild
Godsmack – Cryin Like A Bitch
Pantera – Electric Funeral (Black Sabbath)
Orange Goblin – Into the Void (Black Sabbath)
Pantera – Hole in the Sky (Black Sabbath)
Revolution Mother – Burning from Inside
Revolution Mother – Ride The Sky
Metalium – Ride The Sky
Hangmen – Blood Red
T.S.O.L. – Superficial Love
Sky Valley Mistress – Smoke Fairy
Sky Valley Mistress – Wishbone
Scarling – Black Horse Riding Star
The Donnas – You Wanna Get Me High
The Donnas – Take it off
Motor Dolls – Nailed to the Cross
Motor Dolls – Power
L7 – Packin’ A Rod
L7 – Shove
Salt-N-Pepa – He’s Gamin’ on Ya
Foxy Brown – Hot Spot
SUBWOOFER – TEST
Snoop Dogg – Smoke Weed Every Day (bass boosted)
RemixGodSuede – I Can’t Die Today I Got Court Tomorrow
Prophets of Rage – Hail to the Chief
Refused – Poetry Written in Gasoline
Refused – Refused Are Fucking Dead
North Mississippi Allstars – Sugartown
Sonic Youth – Sugar Kane
Wugazi – Sleep Rules Everything Around Me
Billy Joel – She’s Always A Woman
Predators – Lets Find a Way off This Fucking Planet

seagulls

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Seagulls is a 77-minute music set I streamed in February 2019. You can download it as an mp3 free of charge from: https://app.box.com/s/6xs0n0jvd0c6fzsamfbeiivc3p020wwv

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 34: SEAGULLS
FEB 2019

John Prine – Illegal Smile
Beavis and Butthead – Lesbian Seagull
Dolly Parton – Touch Your Woman
Sean Wheeler & Xander Schloss – Good Pussy
Unida – Wet Pussycat
Sleepy Kitty – Mockingbird
Nashville Pussy – Pussy Time
Tex Ritter – Has Anybody Seen My Kitty
Light Crust Doughboys – Pussy Pussy Pussy
Barney Bigard Sextet – Sweet Marihuana Brown
The Haunted – 1-2-5
Jim Carroll – Neitzsche Said
Bige Dude – I Love Mac and Cheese
Rugburns – Me and Eddie Vedder
Cracker – Mr Wrong
Cracker – Low
Medeski, Martin & Wood – Whatever Happened to Gus [Word to the Drums Mix]
Wo Fat – Analog man
Clutch – A Shogun Named Marcus
OFF – Cracked
Sublime – What Happened
Rodney Carrington – Show Them To Me
Bad Company – Seagull
Liu Fang – Seagulls Playing in Water

temptation

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Temptation is a 172-minute music set I streamed in February 2019. You can download it as an mp3 free of charge at:

https://app.box.com/s/6owegs4zi6ojbocfbq0ar3bsi31fbd5s

The set list is available as a text file at: https://app.box.com/s/t0m7hh92dhpn5eto4crwzlzqsap6bid6

PBN SET 33: TEMPTATION
FEB. 2019

Abbey Lincoln & Hank Jones – The Nearness of You
Sarah McLachlan – Possession – (Solo Piano version from Bonus Track)
Yuji Ohno – Lupin III Love Theme
Josh Turner – Three Hours (Nick Drake)
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – If I Were A Carpenter
Zakir Hussain – Tabla Tritaal
A Perfect Circle – Fiddle And The Drum
Carpenters – Sing
Leslie Odom Jr – Autumn Leaves
Diana Krall – Temptation
The Temptations – I Can’t Get Next to You
Bill Withers – Use Me
The Aggrolites – Funky Fire
Choking Victim – Crack Rock Steady
Upbeat – Space Case
The English Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom
The Specials – Rude Boy’s Out Of Jail
Sublime – 54-46 That’s My Number/Ball and Chain
Thievery Corporation – .38.45 (A Thievery Number) (Feat. See-I & Al Williams)
Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley – Welcome To Jamrock
Snoop Dogg – Get a Light (Feat. Damian Marley and Timbaland)
Del the Funky Homosapien – Bubble Pop
MC 900-ft Jesus – If I Only Had A Brain
GWOV – Mac n Cheese
Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill
Attack – Lady Orange Peel
The Charlatans – The Only One I Know (Remastered)
Goat – Stonegoat (7-inch)
Morlocks – Sex Panther
Nirvana – Very Ape
look around you – cat fight
Screeching Weasel – I Wanna Be Naked
The Escaped – Wasted Life
The Distillers – L.A. Girl
Preasure Point – Heart Like A Lion
HorrorPops – Where They Wander
The Ducky Boys – Break Me
Mudhoney – Blindspots
Jimmy Barnes/Joe Bonamassa – Lazy (Deep Purple)
Joe Satriani – Always With Me (live)
The Bakerton Group – Funky Navajo
VAST – Don’t Take Your Love Away
Rod Stewart – I Was Only Joking
Nirvana – Dumb
AI Lover – Neo Eno

virtually yours: a memoir

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I’m posting this memoir as a free PDF for anyone interested in finding out more about the creative origins of the Meteor Mags series. Initial feedback from my workshop group was positive, so why not post it here in the Mars Will Send No More laboratory? The complete work is a 20,600-word PDF you can download at no charge from:

https://app.box.com/s/vadslt2r84imqjowbuti4ol5mzasbolf

Description:

Virtually Yours describes how exploring a virtual world inspired artistic creation in the real world. While other books about Second Life present themselves as academic studies of virtual history and sociology, this one focuses on the uniquely personal dimension.

Virtually Yours delves into questions of gender, identity, romance, and friendship in a virtual world. Part fantasy, part emotion, part head-first dive into the creative process, Virtually Yours gives a first-person account of the way digital universes hold the potential to inspire creativity and help deal with personal tragedies through expressing ideals about ourselves and the world.

Part I tells the story of how the author’s experiences in a virtual reality inspired and shaped the fiction series, The Adventures of Meteor Mags and Patches. The essays in Part II give an authorial perspective on the series’ characters, influences, content, and intent.

jam room: a vignette

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Jam Room, which you might have seen posted here in 2018 in its original draft form, is a one-scene episode in The Adventures of Meteor Mags and Patches. Honestly, Jam Room should have been combined with the previous full-length episode: Rings of Ceres. But it wasn’t until after Rings was published and I started the next story that I realized I’d forgotten something. 

Since the scene didn’t fit the pacing of the title story in The Battle of Vesta 4, I made it a standalone piece followed by supplemental material not included here: song lyrics from–and magazine interviews with–bands and characters in the stories. Mags and her crew might be villainous pirates, but they are also talented musicians. Jam Room is the crew’s last jam session before the life-changing events at Mags’ birthday party, and it shows how “the new girl” from Rings of Ceres makes friends with her eventual bandmates in Dumpster Kittens.

JAM ROOM

 9 November 2029: Vesta 4.

The day before her 106th birthday, Meteor Mags showed off her drum set to the new girl, Jinx. The two convened in the jam room Mags set up so Sarah and Anton could practice and work on songwriting.

Patches stretched out with her eyes closed, resting her fuzzy face on one outstretched limb atop a tube head on an Orange amplifier.

“It’s a beautiful kit,” said Jinx.

“Bird’s-eye maple,” said Mags. “Custom-built on Mars. But if I had it to do over, I’d go with mahogany. Not as pretty, but a heavier sound that could kick a god in the balls.”

“Can I play it?”

“Anytime you want, dear. But if you fuck it up, you’re paying to fix it. Deal?” Mags held out her hand, enclosed in a fingerless biker glove.

Jinx slapped her hand into the older woman’s leathered grip. “Deal.”

Mags’ eyes twinkled like stars in a telescope’s glass. “Check out this bass pedal. I keep tweaking the action on it, but I think I got the right tension now.”

Bronze cymbals glowed in the jam room’s light. They perched atop polished chrome stands and hardware. The bass head bore a ring of skulls. Mags sat on the drum stool. Her ample backside and swishing, fluffy tail enveloped it.

Jinx said, “I thought you’d play with a double kick.”

Mags scoffed. “Batalla plays a double kick for the 78s, but I prefer the old-school approach. One foot for the bass, and one for the high-hat.” She gave the high-hat an expressive flourish, demonstrating its glistening sound closed, open, and a half-dozen states in-between. “All about that high-hat.”

Corrugated foam panels lined the walls to reduce the ambient, reflected noise of the kit and the stacks of amplifiers around it. A hint of jasmine piped through the air vents to mask the stale scent of recycled air. Tattered couches and love seats along the walls sat so close to the array of instruments that ear damage was practically guaranteed, but they gave the close quarters a lived-in, homey feeling.

On one couch, Tarzi reclined with his feet on an armrest and his head smushed against a pillow on the other. He had arrived a few hours earlier after spending his morning in a spacecraft with Ryder. The older man’s conversation left him with a need to immerse himself in George Orwell’s book, Homage to Catalonia. He lifted an eyebrow to gaze over the top of the memoir. “John Bonham didn’t need two kick drums.”

Mags pointed a drumstick at the adolescent she affectionately called her nephew. “Right on, T-man. All in the wrists? All in the ankle, too. Speed, precision, lightness, power.” Mags pounded the bass pedal with her right foot and made it fire as rapidly as a machine gun.

Jinx took note. “How do you get it to go so fast but still keep time?”

“Come here and watch.”

Jinx stepped behind the kit and observed.

Mags blasted another staccato bass burst. Then she rested her sticks on the snare head. “Stay loose. You can’t tense up. But you need to stay firm, too. Don’t get all flabby. When you find that balance, you can do anything. I don’t just mean with a drum. I mean anything in life.”

Jinx did her best to absorb this advice. “When my ankle gets better, I’ll be all over it.”

“That’s the spirit.” Mags twirled the drumsticks in a blur. “Sarah and Anton could use a drummer, and you seem like you have the right attitude. Why don’t you show me what you got, but without the footwork?” Mags held out the sticks.

Jinx grabbed them. As soon as Mags slipped off the stool, Jinx filled it. She adjusted the tilt of the ride and crash cymbals, brought the high-hat a little closer, and executed a brief roll across the three rack toms from smallest to largest, ending with the floor tom. “You’re taller than me,” she said. “But I can work with this.”

Tarzi called out, “Drum solo!”

Jinx twirled her sticks with almost as much panache as Mags, tossed one into the air, and caught it. “You’re on.”

Mags lit a stolen cigarette and appraised the girl’s technique and timing. Jinx blasted into a speedy 4/4 punk beat then stretched it out into a flurry of syncopated, off-beat fills—not with the facility of a seasoned New Orleans drummer, but showing solid ideas and spontaneity.

A knowing smile crept across the smuggler’s face. Jinx was not yet a percussion expert, but she would be just what Sarah and Anton needed to jam out their tunes and kick some arse: straight-ahead rock beats, with a generous amount of creativity to help their songwriting and improvisation. Mags made a mental note to thank Tinta for the introduction.

Sarah ran into the room, dragging Anton behind her as she had nearly every hour of every day since the boy’s father brought him to Vesta. His embarrassed expression of the first few days had disappeared, and a newfound contentedness shone on the face of the boy who had so recently lived under the threat of terror on Mars.

Mags said, “Now this jam session can officially start.” No one heard her over Jinx’s drumming.

Jinx saw the founding members of Dumpster Kittens and stopped playing. She didn’t smile, but she lifted her head in a gesture of recognition.

Sarah said, “That would be a cool beat for Agents of Cruelty! Are you feeling better?”

“Fever’s gone,” said Jinx. “Ankle is damned useless right now, but at least it isn’t throbbing.”

Mags introduced Anton to Tarzi, and a comfortable chatter filled the room.

Ryder showed up to see what all the racket was about, and another round of introductions followed.

Mags said, “This is the guy who planned the Yeltsin job.”

“I’m retired,” Ryder lied. “Now I’m just a chauffeur to Mags’ teenage sidekicks.” He plopped down on the edge of Tarzi’s couch.

The young man held out a hand and received a hearty slap on his open palm. “Thanks for the lift.”

Mags asked, “Are you two friends now?”

Tarzi said, “You were right about his having shite taste in music but awesome stories.”

“Dude,” said Ryder, “I played you the good stuff.”

“Sweet bleeding fuck,” said Tarzi. “It was like eight hours of Ted Nugent.”

“That reminds me,” said Mags. “Drum fills! Some of the all-time greatest are in Stranglehold. We need to add that to our list.”

Tarzi said, “I am not putting that right-wing jackass on our list.”

“Then I am,” said Mags. She took the sticks from Jinx and settled again on her drum stool.

Anton piped up. “We could do a jam on it. The riff is pretty easy.” He lifted a Gibson SG from its stand and tuned it.

Tarzi returned to reading. “All hope is lost.”

Sarah said, “I don’t know the words.”

“I got you covered.” Ryder snatched up a pencil and paper. He recited the words as he wrote, until he came to the second verse. “The road I travel’s a—” He raised his head. “Mags?”

“What?”

“She’s just a little girl. Are you sure you want her singing this?”

“Because it says bitch? Jesus, Ryder, you’re getting soft in your old age. This girl’s seen some shit you don’t even know about. Sarah, what’s a bitch?”

A pair of sweet, angelic eyes met Mags’. “A female dog. Or, in prison, a person who performs sexual favors for protection from gang violence.”

Mags pointed a drumstick at Ryder. “See?”

“Oookay. Bitch it is.” He completed the line on the paper. “And if your house gets in my way, baby—”

Tarzi barely lifted his eyes from the pages. “We’ll get sued for this, you know. Quoting song lyric without permission.”

Mags laughed. “The Nuge was assassinated when he ran for President in 2020. Nobody’s suing us over Stranglehold. And if they do, I’ll kick their arse.”

Sarah asked, “What’s the melody?”

Ryder sang a few lines for her.

Celina appeared in the doorway. “For fuck’s sake, Ryder. Sing it in the right key!”

“Celina!” He descended on her like a storm and crushed her in a hug, sloshing her drink over her hand. “Goddamn, is it good to see you again!”

Celina slapped his bum. “You too, you lousy felon. Now let go, before I suffocate.”

He released her, but his eyes were held captive, and his smile faded not one bit. “What’s a key?”

Celina rolled her eyes and wiped her wet hand on her jeans. “Let me do this.”

Sarah listened intently to the older woman’s singing. “I can do that.” She stepped up to the mic. “Who starts?”

Mags aimed a drumstick at Kaufman’s boy. “Anton. I’ll count it off.” She smacked the sticks together crisply four times, establishing the tempo.

The young man began the riff, looking to Mags to make sure he had it right.

She gave him a wink and a smile and four extra bars to get settled. Over the blaring guitar amplifier and its crackling distortion, she shouted to Sarah. “Ready?”

Sarah closed her eyes. Anton’s riff was a warm liquid, a comforting bed of fuzz, a sound as soothing as a city being bombed off the map.

On Anton’s eighth time through the riff, Mags exploded a drum fill on snare and bass. It shook the room so hard the building seemed in danger of falling off the asteroid into space. The precise, sharp sting of her snare made Ryder jump. He’d almost forgotten what a musician his partner in crime was.

The twelve-year-old Sarah launched into the first line. She didn’t really know how a dog in heat felt, but she was pretty sure it felt like kicking arse, the freedom to say anything, and a desire for something immediate and personal.

Celina sipped Kraken black rum, nonplussed by the wave of sonic annihilation rolling over her. She tapped her foot as if the ear-splitting racket from the speakers was the most natural thing in the world. With cool detachment, she noticed the new girl’s eyes never left Mags.

As Sarah’s vocal chords ripped into the verse about bitches and houses burning, Celina considered Jinx. Many of the young women the Australian had worked with in the club over the past few years were basically nice girls who had survived terrible events. But this newcomer had a good helping of the antagonistic, punk-rock attitude Mags exuded. It was a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, it showed an inner anger and strength. On the other, it might be a guard against a deeper, overwhelming sadness. Rage was a wall, a barrier, and Celina wondered what unspoken torments Jinx carried with her. Would they destroy the young woman, or was she strong enough to conquer them? Celina decided to keep a watchful eye on her, lest inner turmoil lead Jinx and her new friends to destruction.

A woman who had dealt with immeasurable sadness for too many years, Celina relegated all these thoughts to a space she held inside her. She returned to the joy of the moment. It was time for the guitar solo.

Mags backed off her assault on the drum heads and let the band bring it down. Anton was no Ted Nugent, but he took a credible turn at a solo. His father’s illegal Sonic Youth records had influenced him, so he eschewed Nugent’s shred style for an atmospheric, textural romp. He set the headstock of his guitar against the amp. A wailing cascade of feedback poured out like a lake from a broken dam.

The raucous, flowing noise excited Patches. She leapt down from her perch on Anton’s amplifier and shoved her face between the speaker’s tweed cover and the microphone in front of it. With her ears pressed flat against her tri-colored head and her whiskers shimmering in the soundwaves, she howled into the crisscross pattern of the microphone’s metal head.

The guitar solo gave way to a caterwaul that nearly paralyzed Patches’ friends. The criminal calico filled the room with noises that spoke of her prehistoric ancestors: the fury of a smilodon sinking its teeth into a cave bear; the iron flavor of a mastodon’s blood in her mouth; the despair of watching spear-wielding primates rob a continent of its massive, mammalian fauna.

No one in the jam room would forget that cry, but only Mags understood it on a primal, genetic level. The smuggler shut her eyes and saw in Patches’ song a place of bestial beauty and torment. A place of perfect belonging and never-ending loneliness. It smelled like Earth and rain and matted fur.

Mags’ drumsticks smashed into the tom heads like they called out for war. She attacked the crash cymbal repeatedly and released a forlorn, unearthly wail in duet with her kitten.

Again, Mags backed off the percussive assault to let in the band. Sometimes, she thought, you gotta start low.

Sarah sang the pirate’s thought, and her voice led the group to the finale.

patches on turntables - draft - Copy

 

blue day

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Blue Day is a 204-minute music set I streamed in May 2017. Download it as an .mp3 file free of charge from:

https://app.box.com/s/tshibk4zjgdtgawwqlhl8cnwq8w42zcw

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 12: BLUE DAY
May 2017

Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs – Blue Day
Sandy Bull – Little Maggie (1963)
Joni Mitchell – Stormy Weather
Asteroid #4 – Empty Like A Little Child
Gregg Allman – Devil Got My Woman
Jorma Kaukonen – Blue Railroad Train
Steel Panther – Girl from Oklahoma
Sonic Youth – Drunken Butterfly
Frank Zappa – Call Any Vegetable
Baby Woodrose – Talkin’ Bout Love
Doc Watson & Merle Watson – Little Maggie
Al Petteway – Maggie’s Reel
Ivan Drever & Duncan Chisholm – Fiddle Reels: Maggie’s Pancakes / The Little Cascade
Morlocks – Sex Panther
Nirvana – You know youre right
Swans – 93 Ave. B Blues / Little Mouth
Bill Frisell – Twenty Years
Kodo – Bird Island
Oscar Peterson Trio – Daahoud
Munir Bashar – Taqsim Rast
Hank Williams – A Tramp On The Street
Doc & Merle Watson/Merle Watson – The Hobo
Charlie Byrd/Herb Ellis/Mundell Lowe – Billy Bean
Count Basie – Feedin’ the Bean
Coleman Hawkins – Bouncing with Bean

Puma Broadcasting Network – Station ID 2
Buffalo – Bean Stew
Jorma Kaukonen – Waiting for a Train
Wayne Hancock – Flatland Boogie
Charlie Hunter/Skerik/Stanton Moore – Boogaloo Boogie
Jack Dejohnette – Jamala
Gateway – Cinuçen
Swans – Inside Madeline
Morsel – Didj Drone
Ravi Shankar – Poornamadah
Kodo – Berimbau Jam
Naima K – Lelilanga
Nomad – Ahulakamine Hulan
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Facing Up To The Facts
Telstar Sound Drone – Drugs Help
Black Light White Light – The New Line
Mission of Burma – Secrets
Doctor Explosion – Aint Coming Home
Screaming Jets – FRC
Kat McSnatch – You Are a Cunt
Swans – You Fucking People Make Me Sick
The Gyuto Monks – Guhyasamaja Tantra. Chapter II

 

you baby

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You, Baby is a 110-minute music set I streamed in November 2018. You can download it as an mp3 at no cost from:

https://app.box.com/s/xls24rkwly5h7tcfxdsz3xzue0t42fvy

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 29: YOU, BABY
November 2018

Sun of Man – Whispering Jackoff
Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times
The Black Crowes – Black Moon Creeping
Vista Chino – Dargona Dragona
Vista Chino – Sweet Remain
Tony Iommi/Henry Rollins – Laughing Man in the Devil Mask
Slo Burn – Prizefighter
Clutch – A Shogun Named Marcus
Wayne Fontana and the MindBenders – Groovy Kind of Love
Amboy Dukes – Baby Please Dont Go
Ron Gallo – Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me
The Turtles – You, Baby
Herman’s Hermits – Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter
Spin Doctors – Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong
The Black Crowes – Remedy
The Bad Plus – Iron Man
Clutch – High-Caliber Consecrator
Deftones – Change (In the House of Flies)
Chingy – Right Thurr
Timezone LaFontaine – Crunks Not Dead ’04
RemixGodSuede – I Can’t Die Today, I Got Court Tomorrow
Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs – Momma (live on GTK)
Om – Addis
Black Angels – Paladin’s Last Stand
Fugazi – Returning the Screw
Fugazi – Foreman’s Dog

 

fried potatoes

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fried potatoes (1)

If you slice a potato thin enough and deep fry it, you’ve got potato chips. Pan-fried potatoes are a hearty alternative that doesn’t require a vat of hot oil.

I sliced half a Russet potato and fried it in a mix of olive oil and coconut oil. Medium low to medium heat is best. (On my electric stove, where burner controls are marked 1 to 10, I used 3.5 to 4.) I’ve found that too high a heat tends to burn the oil or even burn the potatoes before they are cooked all the way through.

This method uses less oil than deep frying, but you still want enough oil in the pan to cover the slices. Just look at them bubbling away!

fried potatoes (2)

I prefer cooking them until they are mostly a light golden brown. The thinnest slices get crispy like a thick potato chip, and the thickest slices are still cooked all the way through.

I lay the slices out on a big plate and sprinkle them with whatever seasoning sounds good. For this batch, I used ground peppercorns, sea salt, and dried rosemary. But you could use dill or chili powder or any spice you like. I served mine with a dollop of hummus and some sliced pepperoncinis.

The following photo doesn’t show the whole batch. I started eating them while the last slices were still cooking. Too yummy too wait for!

fried potatoes (3)

heavy 6

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Heavy 6 is a 140-minute music set I streamed in December 2018. You can download it free of charge as an mp3 file at:

https://app.box.com/s/5al91isteldpgvku05p5ia4mfop5pgdh

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 32: Heavy 6
December 2018

DJ Kay Slay – 60 Second Assassins
San Francisco Mouse – Slam the Jam
The Joy Formidable – Cradle
Mammoth Indigo – Flowers in the Basement
dEUS – Bad Timing
The Volcanics – Get a Move On
The Heavy – That Kind Of Man
Sena Ehrhardt – If Trouble Was Money
Cody Jasper – Locked Up (Homesick)
Jimmy Barnes/Joe Bonamassa – Lazy (Deep Purple)
Betty Blowtorch – Hell on Wheels
59 Times The Pain – Weakend Revolution
Sleater-Kinney – All Hands on the Bad One
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Helter Skelter (Beatles)
The Rebel Set – Falling Apart
Priests – Pink White House
Anders Osborne – Darkness At The Bottom
Joe Bonamassa – Oh Beautiful!
Buddy Guy – Baby Please Don’t Leave Me
Melvins – Lizzy
Bleached – Sleepwalking
Shack – 24 Hours
Peaches – Turn It On (Franz Ferdinand)

PBN – Station ID 2
Gnod – Paper Error
Jesu – Your Path to Divinity
Alestorm – Fucked With an Anchor
Flogging Molly – Queen Anne’s Revenge
OFF – Fuck People
Dozer – Drawing Dead
These Arms Are Snakes – Lead Beater
Before I Had Wings – No Redemption
OFF – Darkness
Sharkey Bonano – Has Anybody Here Seen My Kitty

crock-pot sausage

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Since it’s hard to identify chunks of stuff in a photo of a soup or stew, today you get a photo of unprepared ingredients!

crockpot sausage

This series of posts about cooking was first imagined as a way to chronicle my crock-pot experiments, but after several culinary successes, I realized I hadn’t kept any pictures. No one wants to read a food blog without seeing the food, so 2018’s first “concrocktions” must wait until I feel like making them again for picture time.

Ingredients: 1.7 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, a jar of mushroom pasta sauce, a whole bulb of elephant garlic (peeled, with cloves chopped in half), a red bell pepper and an orange bell pepper (roughly chopped), a yellow heirloom tomato (roughly chopped), some black and white peppercorns, and enough chicken broth to cover it all.

I cooked a smaller batch without the veggies and garlic a week before, intending to serve it over pasta. But it was so good, I just ate the sausage and sauce on their own! That first batch was made with hot, not sweet, sausage, and there’s no reason you couldn’t add some heat to this concrocktion.

Cooking: This batch was larger than the previous two, and it took about five hours on high in the crock-pot. At three hours, it was maybe cooked, but not all the flavors had blended, and the peppers were still too crunchy. About half an hour before I was done, I added uncooked pasta.

The chicken stock does thin the red sauce, but the combined flavor is intense enough to be worth it. In my second attempt at this dish, I learned I could throw a small amount of uncooked pasta into the crock-pot about half an hour before the cooking stops. The pasta soaks up excess liquid for a hearty dish with fewer pans to clean.

I almost got it right last time, but not quite. This time, I added maybe 6 to 8 ounces of a pasta I’ve never noticed before: orecchiette.

pasta for crock pot sausage

The orecchiette needed 45 minutes on high to cook, and I could have let it go an hour. It remained al dente and did not turn into the creamy mush that overcooked pasta can become in a crock-pot. Also, I used less pasta this time to avoid making the broth too starchy. Think about the starchy water you pour off when you boil pasta, then realize that starch is now in the crock-pot broth. So, be careful.

crockpot sausage 2

Taste Review: This was the best of my three attempts at this kind of dish, with a balance between rich sauce, meat, pasta, and vegetables that practically melt in your mouth. The picture above is after I already ate two bowls and was going back for a third!

This concrocktion has one foot in the world of stew and one foot in the kind of Italian food I’ve loved all my life. I served it in a bowl, but most of it you can eat with a fork. I originally thought I’d pull the garlic out for something else, but the cloves had turned super soft and broken apart, and since all the flavors are blended in the sauce, the garlic bites aren’t overpowering at all. The tomatoes and peppers are almost dissolved into the sauce, but the pasta and sausage are hearty and substantial. Good blend of textures, and super tasty.

crockpot sausage 3

drone

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redkrackle-small-for-blog

Drone is a 143-minute music set I streamed in August 2017. You can download it free of charge as an mp3 file at:

https://app.box.com/s/l6wc7ehndbij9vot7t6ra4job7jszm24

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 19: DRONE
AUGUST 2017

Spacemen 3 – Come Down Easy
Spacemen 3 – Call the Doctor
Matthew Howard – Drone (a poem)
Matthew Howard – Transformations (live)
Cambrian Explosion – Innocuous Creatures
A Perfect Circle – Annihilation
Jimi Hendrix – Drone Blues
Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Elevation of Love
Debashish Bhattacharya – Maya
Subterranean Jazz – Blue Pearl
Ralph Towner – Drifting Petals
Northwoods Improvisers/Faruq Z. Bey – Fountain
Tinariwen (+IO:I) – Sastanàqqàm
Mark Lanegan – When It’s in You (original Methamphetamine Blues)
Mark Lanegan – Bombed
Jimi Hendrix – Belly Button Window
Roosevelt Sykes – Sunny Road
Munir Bashar – Taqsim Rast
Homayun Sakhi – Kataghani
Jimmy Wages – Miss Pearl
Sade – Pearls
John Coltrane – Black Pearls
Steve Reich – Electric Counterpoint
Datura – Mantra
I Solisti di Zagreb (Vivaldi) – Allegro (Concerto fur Streichorchester and Cembalo G Major)

heavy 4

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mars 2016 march logo

Heavy 4 is a 126-minute music set I streamed in October 2018. You can download it free of charge as an mp3 file at:

https://app.box.com/s/j9mqgxtvi9pvsk8ffakgpn6f5yajkut2

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN Set 27: Heavy 4
October 2018

Nirvana – Breed
Tune-up clip from Stooges documentary
Dope Life – Die Motherfucker Die
Snot – Snot
Nickelback – Follow You Home
Killing Joke – The Death and Resurrection Show
Phant – End of Daonnachta
Clouds Taste Satanic – Out of the Abyss
Megadeth – The Threat Is Real
Murder City Devils – Johnny Thunders
Dopethrone – Dry Hitter
Papa Roach – Dead Cell
Buffalo Fuzz – Hard Lovin Body
Sky Valley Mistress – She Is So
Graham Day and The Gaolers – Wanna Smoke
Mono Men – Wimp
Fu Manchu – Eatin’ Dust
The Bloody Honkies – I Don’t Care About Your Man
Sonic’s Rendezvous Band – Getting There (Is Half the Fun)
Black Label Society – Funeral Bell
Nashville Pussy – Go Motherfucker Go
Scarling – Band-Aid Covers the Bullet Hole
Hoodoo Gurus – Down on Me
Killing Joke – You’ll Never Get to Me
Wo Fat – Common Ground
Sumac – Hollow King
Sumac – The Radiance of Being
Om – Unitive Knowledge of the Godhead
Mammothwing – Chump Change

Whipping Boy: a short story

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Meteor Mags: Whipping Boy. © 2015 Matthew Howard. All Rights Reserved.

Description: In the third episode of The Adventures of Meteor Mags and Patches, a hell-raising space pirate and the guys in her rock band embark on a harrowing mission of vengeance that will require them to shoot pool, drink cheap liquor, and avoid public restrooms. But before the night is over, they will cross paths with their biggest fan, and forever change his life.

4,400 words. Appears in the Meteor Mags: Omnibus Edition in paperback, KindleiBook, and Nook Book.

 

Whipping Boy

 

Life’s not worth living if somebody thinks he’s in authority over you.

—Robert E. Howard; Letter to Farnsworth Wright, 1931.

 

February 2029: Ceres.

Jeremy jabbed the needle into his arm until the ink ran out. He had wrapped a sewing needle in thread and jammed it into a pencil eraser. The night before, he had used this tool to finish the outline of a five-pointed star. Now, taking his only shift break to sit on the concrete steps behind the bar, he did what he could to fill it in. He dipped the needle into a tiny bottle of India ink. The wind blew a cloud of regolith down the alley and through the stink rising from the garbage dumpster near Jeremy’s side. The billowing asteroid dust obscured the stars from the sky, but Jeremy only cared about one star right now.

Behind him stretched the grimy wall of Red Hot Rod’s Bar & Grill. Red Hots served terrible food to terrible people, mostly asteroid miners the industry was in the process of chewing up and spitting out, along with the peddlers, whores, and drug dealers who eked out a living from their suffering. The well-off corporate types who ran the mining businesses never came to this part of town. The neighborhood was not the very worst on Ceres, but it was trying its hardest to win that reputation.

An artificial gravity field held everything to the rock, including a breathable atmosphere. But sometimes Jeremy wished the GravGens would fail and all of it would just go floating into space. Poverty held Jeremy to the rock with its own kind of gravity. At age fourteen, he worked every single day, and still he could not afford to leave. He could barely afford his slotbox at the neighborhood motel, the coffin-sized enclosure where he slept and hardly had enough room to sit up straight.

Most nights after his double shift, he simply sat outside, working on his star tattoos and listening to recordings of Meteor Mags and her band, the Psycho 78s. He could not afford a tablet on his wages, but he had a small file player, with ear buds, he had found in a dumpster. He wore it clipped to his shirt. It now held the first album from the Psycho 78s and a dozen bootlegged concerts from their tour with Mags as the singer. Jeremy listened to nothing but these recordings, over and over, day in and day out.

He wore his Meteor Mags t-shirt every day, too. The front of the black shirt showed Mags silkscreened in white. In cracked and faded letters, the text below her read, “Рок спасет мир!” Mags danced on a stripper pole, naked except for star-covered socks, her skin adorned with more than a hundred black star tattoos. The stars ran up and down her arms and legs, across her belly, over her left breast, around her neck, and down her back. The word ANARCHY adorned her chest.

Suddenly, the restaurant’s back door slammed open. It smacked Jeremy’s arm, driving the needle a half-inch deep. He cried out then jerked the needle free.

“Germs? What the hell are you doing out here?” It was McAllister, the head waiter. “Cutting yourself again, ya little freak?”

Jeremy shook his head at the ground. He knew it was pointless to argue with the head waiter.

“Yeah? Well, guess what. That screeching hooker you’re in love with is here.”

He raised his eyes. “Meteor Mags?”

“That’s the slag.”

Jeremy grabbed his ink bottle and jumped to his feet. “No way!” But as soon as he tried to get in the door, McAllister yanked it shut from inside. The lock clicked shut. “Hey,” he shouted. He rattled the door handle in vain. “Hey, come on, Mick!” He pounded on the door. “It’s not funny! Let me in!”

Then McAllister flung the door open. It struck Jeremy. He staggered backwards, lost his footing on the concrete steps, and fell to the ground in the alley. His ink bottle shattered beside him on the dirty pavement. Jeremy groaned, trying to get to his feet.

McAllister stood in the doorway and laughed. “Jeez, don’t cry over it, ya little fuckin’ baby.” He slammed the door shut.

Wincing, Jeremy made his way back inside. He still had a few minutes left on his break. He walked through the food prep and storage area. To his left lay the dish station where he worked. To his right was the line cooks’ area with its grill and fryers. Several cooks clattered plates and pans below the ventilation hood which never worked quite right. They laughed at obscene jokes, chattering loudly about nothing. Ahead of Jeremy, through an open doorframe, sat the wait station where McAllister and another waiter gave dishes their final preparation before taking them out to the restaurant. But as Jeremy stepped up, his boss stormed through, bumping into the young man.

“Hey,” Rodrigo shouted at him. “No, no, no. You get back to work, dish-dog. Back. Back!”

“But, Rod, I still have five min—”

“Break time’s over, Germy. Get back to work!” Rodrigo grabbed the boy’s shoulder, turned him around, and pushed him back to the dish station.

“But—”

“Now!” Red Hot Rod tromped off to his office to snort two more rails of cocaine.

Jeremy slumped. He shuffled to the dish station, a large sink where he rinsed dishes before loading them into the mechanical dishwasher. Just then, McAllister came around the corner. He tossed a stack of dirty plates into the sink. Filthy water splashed all over Jeremy’s shirt, splattering his face and soaking his music player.

“Look alive, freak!” McAllister walked back through the wait station and out to the restaurant. The door separating the wait station from the main floor flapped noisily behind him, back and forth, until it settled.

“Hot pan coming through!” A cook shoved a scalding-hot skillet into the dish water. A rancid cloud of steam rose from the sink. It filled Jeremy’s nose and made him cough. “Oops,” shouted the cook. “Sorry, Germs! Ahahahahaha!”

Jeremy grabbed a towel and wiped his face. His ear buds dangled around his neck, but now they made no sound. His sopping wet music player would never work again.

“I don’t know why they’re so hard on you, kid.” The second waiter stood in the open doorway. He leaned against the frame, crossing his arms. “Hey.” He looked up and down the cook’s line and craned his head toward the back. “You can totally see Meteor Mags from our station. Come take a peak. I’ll cover for you for a minute.”

“Really?” Jeremy looked up hopefully.

“Yeah, but make it quick! Okay?”

“I will. Thanks, man.”

He walked through the wait station. The door out to the main floor had a plastic window, so the waiters would not run into each other coming and going. Jeremy stepped up to the window and peered out. His eyes scanned the smoky, dimly lit restaurant though the plastic. And there, at the end of the bar, standing at a pool table with her back to him, was Meteor Mags. Jeremy recognized the two men with her: Donny and Fuzzlow from the Psycho 78s. Jeremy’s heart nearly burst in his chest. He held a hand to the window.

The door swung in and smacked him in the face.

“Ow!”

McAllister’s head popped up on the other side of the window, laughing.

Laughter came from behind, too. “Hahaha! We got you good, Germs! What a sucker.”

Rodrigo strode into the wait station. “What in the hell are you doing, Germy? Didn’t I tell you to get back to work? Quit fucking around!” He waved his hands angrily in the air. “Move it, dish-dog! Move!”

Jeremy wiped his nose. It left a bloody streak along the back of his hand. He shuffled back to his dish station, looking only at the ground. Once he got there, he scraped dirty dishes into a trash can, and he cried.

“Are you sure we got the right place?”

“Mhm.” Meteor Mags eyed the layout of the billiards balls on the table. Donny had broken the first rack of nine balls, but none had sunk. “Red Hot Rod’s. Owned by one Rodrigo Galipollas. A real scumbag. He’s definitely our man.”

“The only thing red hot about this place,” said Donny, “is the scorching case of scabies you’ll get from the toilet seats.”

“I’d rather piss in the bloody alley,” said Mags.

“From the looks of this neighborhood, you ain’t the only one.”

Mags took a drag from her cigarette. She set it in an ashtray on the high-top table beside her. “Just get ready to pay for the next round of rum, Donny. Nine off the one for the win. Corner pocket.”

He smirked. “Uh-huh. From all the way across the table, with seven balls in the way? Why don’t you just call it a foul and hand Fuzz the cue?”

“Why don’t you shut the fuck up while I shoot?” Mags thoroughly chalked the cue tip then made a bridge with her right hand. With her left, she raised the butt of her cue at a forty-five-degree angle. In one powerful stroke, she drove the cue tip into the cue ball like she was trying to pound it through the table. The cue ball leapt into the air, jumped the length of the table, bounced off the back rail, and kicked into the one ball. The one ball rolled obligingly into the nine ball, which dropped into the corner pocket.

“What in the actual fuck?”

“Donny,” said Fuzzlow, “don’t ever leave the nine ball near a pocket when you play against her. It’s pure suicide.”

Mags laughed and laughed. “Don’t you know who my gramma was? Best damn billiards player in all of history. We’ll be having that shot of rum now, Captain Clueless!”

“It’s gonna be a long night,” said Donny, fishing a few bills from his pocket.

When he returned from the bar, Donny set three shots on the high-top table. Mags raised her glass. “To sweet revenge,” she said, and they all clinked their glasses together.

“Cheers, mates.”

“Bottoms up.”

Mags gulped. “Holy shit-fire, Donny. What kind of swill did you order?”

“Tastes like sodding petrol filtered through a dirty sock,” said Fuzzlow.

“Give me a break, you two. I asked for top shelf!”

“They must keep their cleaning chemicals on the top shelf. Let’s try the bottom shelf next time!”

“Living dangerously,” muttered Fuzzlow. “So, how do you know this Galipollas is our guy?”

Mags leaned in and lowered her voice. “Let’s just say I know a guy in the Port Authority who knows a guy who knows a guy, okay? This Rodrigo character is definitely the loser who ratted out Plutonian’s pirate radio station. And it isn’t the only one he’s done it to. He picks up the scuttlebutt from the mining crews in this joint, and then he sells the info to the pigs in the MFA.” Mags referred to the paramilitary squadrons who operated under the Musical Freedoms Act of 2019, patrolling the Belt to shut down illegal broadcasts and confiscate banned recordings. “It’s how he keeps a constant stream of blow going up his fat nose. We’ve got rock’n’roll DJs doing hard time thanks to this jackass.”

“Not after tonight,” said Donny.

“Goddamn right,” said Mags. “We’ll jump his arse when he leaves for the night, and that’ll be the end of that.” She lit a stolen cigarette. “Now rack ’em up, Fuzznuts. We might as well have a little fun in the meantime.”

An hour later, Jeremy got his opportunity to go out to the main floor of the restaurant.

“Hey, Germs,” called McAllister. “Get your mop bucket, freak. Someone just ralphed all over booth four. There’s puke everywhere! You’ll love it.”

He filled his bright yellow mop bucket a third full with steaming hot water and poured in some cleanser. He set in the wringer that squeezed out water from the mop, and then stood the mop in the bucket.

McAllister looked around the corner to the dish station. “Don’t take all day, ya little wanker!”

Jeremy grabbed some wet towels and wheeled the bucket through the wait station, steering it by the mop handle across the cheaply tiled floor. He pushed open the swinging door with the bucket. But as he made his way through the restaurant, he only had eyes for Meteor Mags. Then he bumped a customer’s chair.

“Oi! Watch where yer goin’, ya bloody fuckwit!”

“Sorry, sir.” He looked at the floor and steered his mop bucket. Then he looked up towards the pool table Mags and her bandmates occupied. They stood there laughing, clinking glasses of rum together. Jeremy heard Mags’ laughter through the din of the bar as if he had dialed it in on a radio. It was the most angelic sound he had ever heard.

Then his bucket struck a chair leg. Water sloshed all over a customer’s boot.

“Hey, fuckmuppet! What are ya tryin’ to do?”

“Sorry, sir. I was—”

The man slammed a handful of cards down on his table. He stood up. “Ya lookin’ for trouble, mate?”

One of the man’s three companions spoke up. “Hamish, will you leave the little sod alone? Look at him! Probably ’tarded. Let it go, man.”

“Shorty, don’t ya ever tell me what to do.”

“Whatever, Ham. Are you playing or passing?”

The customer sat back down and scooped up his cards. “I wouldn’t pass if yer mum was rubbin’ her tits in me face and tuggin’ at me knob!” He threw down a card. “See how ya like that!”

Jeremy steered his mop bucket over to booth four, glancing at Meteor Mags, but taking care not to bump into any more customers. When he arrived at the booth, vomit dripped from the edge of the table, covering the thinly padded seats. Thick, beige, and full of meaty chunks, it splattered into a generous puddle on the floor. The puddle, like quicksand, closed over and filled the areas where customers stepped in it as they exited the booth in a hurry. Sticky, smeared footprints led away from it.

Jeremy would have been stunned to discover the human digestive system could hold so much semi-solid material, if not for the fact that he saw this nearly every single night. With his bare hands and a wet towel, he wiped vomit from the tabletop. He was going to need a bin for the glasses and dishes, and a lot more towels.

“There he is! There’s our waiter! Hey! We need four more orders of turducken wings!”

“I’m, uh, not the—”

“Janice hurled all over our turducken wings! Now get us some more!” She slapped Jeremy in the back of the head. “We don’t have all night!”

“But I—” Then he had a realization. “Of course, ma’am. Let me get your waiter. We’ll have some fresh wings in a minute.” He wiped his hands on a clean towel, then tossed it onto the table.

“Well, hurry the fuck up!”

He stepped away from the booth with a weak smile and walked straight towards the pool table. This was his chance.

“Yo, Mags,” said Fuzzlow. “Fanboy alert. On your six.”

“Oh, here we go.” Still chalking her cue tip, she glanced over her shoulder. She peered over the rims of her tinted glasses at the approaching boy. He looked like he had been soaked in dirty dishwater. Damp filth caked his pants legs. Food stains marred his concert t-shirt, and spilled bleach added ugly fades to the white silkscreen design of Mags pole dancing. But Mags could see the adoration in his eyes. She faced him, and she smiled. “Ahoy there, little pirate. How are ya?”

He stood dazed like an escaping prisoner caught in a spotlight. His mouth moved without making a sound. Then he found his voice. “I love your music.”

“How sweet,” she said. “What’s your favorite song?”

Jeremy could scarcely believe the moment was real. “Something to Destroy. But I have bootlegs of every concert from the tour, and I love all of them, and I listen to them every day and nothing else, and they mean so much to me. I mean if not for you and the band, I don’t know what I’d do, I just—”

“Germy!” Rodrigo’s shout destroyed the boy’s gushing fountain of praise. He stormed up to the pool table, waving his hands wildly in the air. “What did I tell you about bothering customers?”

Mags looked at the man from the corner of her eye, then back to Jeremy. “That your boss?”

“Yeah.” He shrunk in shame.

“Germy, you clean up that booth right now!” Rodrigo descended on the boy, grabbing his shoulder roughly. Rodrigo shoved him away from Mags and back toward the booth. Jeremy stumbled. He looked to Mags with the saddest expression she had seen in a long, long time.

“Heya, Rod,” she said. “Why don’t you take it easy on the kid?”

“I don’t pay him to stand around and talk!”

“Is that so?” she asked. “Maybe you should, what with all that money you make ratting people out to the MFA.”

Rodrigo’s eyes went wide, and his mouth fell open. The look confirmed everything Mags had told her bandmates. He waved his hand. “I don’t have any idea what you’re—”

Mags flipped her cue stick around and brought the butt down on his forehead as hard as she could.

“Oh, shit,” said Donny.

“There goes our plan,” said Fuzzlow.

Rodrigo stumbled backwards, catching himself on the end of the bar. “Aaa,” he shouted, holding a hand to his face. “Estás muerta, puta!” He pulled out a shotgun from under the bar top.

Jeremy knew his boss kept a shotgun there, though he had never seen it used before. When he saw Rodrigo reach back there, he knew what was happening. Later, when he remembered this moment, he would never quite recall what spurred him to act so recklessly. He pulled the wringer out of his mop bucket by its handle and swung it at his boss.

As Rodrigo brought the shotgun around to Meteor Mags, the wringer caught him in the side of the head. Jeremy picked up his bright yellow bucket and doused him with searing water. Rodrigo screamed.

“Get back, kid!” Mags pounced. She yanked the shotgun from Rodrigo’s grip and clocked him in the jaw with it. He slumped to the floor.

Mags pumped the shotgun and fired it into the ceiling. A buckshot round shredded the smoke-stained tiles. She pumped the shotgun again. “Guys,” she yelled to Fuzzlow and Donny, “get this creep out of here!”

A chunk of the ceiling fell out and collapsed at her feet in a cloud of dust. Customers dove to the floor. Some crawled under their booths or backed against the wall. “Listen up, motherfuckers! You can follow me outside and die, or you can stay in here where it’s nice and cozy. Enjoy some drinks on the house! It’s all the same to me.”

Mags kept the shotgun leveled, encouraging customers to step aside for Donny and Fuzzlow. The two of them dragged Rodrigo to the wait station door. Donny pushed his way through, pulling a knife and growling like an animal at McAllister and the line cooks. Having heard the shotgun blast, they offered no resistance. Fuzzlow dragged Rodrigo’s body out the back door of the restaurant.

Mags followed them closely behind. “Keep drinking, or come and die!” The swinging door flapped shut noisily behind her several times. Then it went still.

A moment later, the shotgun roared again.

Jeremy threw open the back door and dashed down the concrete stairs. He came to a sudden stop. Donny brandished a blade, and Fuzzlow held the shotgun. They relaxed at the sight of the boy.

Jeremy saw Meteor Mags dropping shut the lid on the restaurant’s garbage dumpster. A trail of glistening blood led from a spot just in front of the steps, through the dusty slime of the alley, and up the front of the dumpster. The winds of Ceres would soon bury it below a layer of regolith.

“Heya, kiddo,” she said. “You got a clean towel on you?”

Jeremy nodded quickly. He stepped up and handed her a towel.

Mags wiped her hands on it. They left bright red marks on the cloth, which she then pushed under the lid of the dumpster. She clapped her hands together. “Nice save in there, little man. You got a name?”

“Jeremy.”

“Love your shirt, Jeremy. I think it’s one of our best designs.”

“I saved up for it for months.”

“Months?” Mags looked him up and down. She pulled a pack of cigarettes from her bra. She lit one up and handed it to him. Then she lit one for herself. She blew three smoke rings into the dirty asteroid air. “Tell me something, Jeremy. Do you like this job?”

Jeremy coughed. He’d never had a cigarette before. “I fucking hate this job. Everyone here treats me like shit.”

“Mhm.” Mags flicked ashes onto the ground. “Made you their little whipping boy, didn’t they?”

“Yeah. I guess so.”

“Mags,” said Fuzzlow. “We should bounce. Like right now, before it gets hot.”

She raised her hand. “We always make time for our fans, don’t we?”

Donny rolled his eyes and shook his head. He knew they would have better luck arguing with a brick wall than trying to get Mags to move before she was ready.

“Tell you what, Jeremy.” She pulled Rodrigo’s wallet from her skirt pocket. She rifled through it quickly, pulled out the thick stack of currency inside, and stuffed the rest into the dumpster. “Why don’t you get the bloody fuck out of this neighborhood forever?” She handed him the wad of cash. “And get yourself a better job while you’re at it.”

He stared in disbelief at the money, then up to Mags, then back to the money. He took it and shoved it into his pants pocket.

“Yeah, kid,” said Donny. “And stay the hell out of the mines. Take it from someone who’s been there. You don’t want to end up in those hellholes.”

Fuzzlow added, “Don’t become a musician, either!”

Mags snorted. “Yeah. Worst job ever!”

“Mags,” Jeremy stuttered. “I—”

“I know, dear.” She bent down, leaned over, and placed a single kiss on his cheek. Then she put her hand on it and looked into his eyes. “See you at the shows, Jeremy.”

He smiled like he had never smiled before.

Mags raised herself to her full height. “Fuzz? Donny? Let’s get the hell out of here!”

Jeremy watched as the three of them ran out of the alley and disappeared around the corner. Then he ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction.

A week later, he laid out his forearm on the padded armrest. “It’s just a shitty stick-and-poke. I know it’s terrible. Would you fill it in for me?”

Tinta owned her own tattoo shop. She had decorated the walls with her original flash art and posters of her favorite bands. She looked at the half-dozen star tattoos outlined on the boy’s arm, and only one of them partially filled in. “It doesn’t really look that bad. Did you free-hand all these?”

Jeremy nodded, embarrassed.

“Why didn’t you fill them in?”

“I, uh. I lost my ink. It’s a long story.”

“We can fix them up no problem,” she said. With gloved hands, she took a freshly autoclaved needle and set up her tattoo gun.

“Wow,” said Jeremy. “That looks like a nice rig.”

“Nothing but the best. Why don’t you watch me fill in a couple, and I’ll explain what I’m doing, and then you can try filling in one yourself, okay?”

His eyes lit up. “Really?”

“We don’t get many Meteor Mags fans in here. Let alone ones that do their own ink.”

“How did you know?”

Tinta laughed. “Who else would be trying to cover their body in stars?” She worked the needle over his skin. First, she tightened up the outlines. Then she set about filling in the pentagrams. She talked him through the process, giving him tips here and there, and asking questions to make sure he understood. “By the way. Did you hear the new Psycho 78s single this morning?”

“A new single?!”

“It’s all over darkweb. Here. Hold this, and I’ll put it on for us.”

Jeremy took the tattoo gun from her.

Tinta touched the screen at her station and brought up a video channel. “Check this out. It’s called Whipping Boy.”

The video began with Meteor Mags, Donny, Fuzzlow, and their drummer standing before a burning building. Mags wore a pair of .50 caliber pistols strapped in holsters at her hips. She brandished a black leather bullwhip. Other than her steel-toed boots and her star-covered socks, she wore little more than a ribbon in her long, white hair.

As she snapped the whip, Donny blew into his baritone sax. Drenched in overdrive and doubled with a bass note two octaves lower, the horn pulsated a monstrous, relentless riff.

The drums kicked in, and Fuzzlow ripped a searing lead with his distortion-soaked harmonica.

Mags wailed at the top of her lungs.

Whipping boy!
What’s your name?
Whipping boy!
A life of pain!

Maybe you should take the cash and run.
Maybe you should get yourself a gun,
Before they kill your soul. Alright!

Fuzzlow raged into his harp before she began the second verse.

“She’s something else, isn’t she?” Tinta asked over the music.

“She sure is.” Jeremy would never forget Mags’ kiss, and her kind words. He gripped the tattoo gun in his hand. He knew it was not the kind of gun Meteor Mags sang about. But it was the right one for him.

“You know, I could use an apprentice around here,” said Tinta. “Someone to help with the shop and learn the trade. I’ve got more space miners wanting tatts than I know what to do with right now! You think you’d be interested in working here?”

“That sounds like the greatest job ever,” said Jeremy. Then he filled in the rest of the stars, all by himself.

THE END

mars 2016 march logo

 

overcoats

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Overcoats is a 184-minute music set I streamed in December 2018. You can download it free of charge as an mp3 file at:

https://app.box.com/s/uzq0t73t2h5yjd18g4daqy0j6g68zb1b

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 31: OVERCOATS
December 2018

Jay and Silent Bob – Fat Man in an Overcoat
Jay and Silent Bob – Fuck Rap
Pailhead – Anthem
Solomon Burke – Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan)
Danny Gatton – Thirteen Women
Bitch & Animal – Angels Heard on High
Aphrodite’s Child – The Four Horsemen
Primal Scream – Slip Inside This House
Primal – The Hustle
Kokolo – Soul Power
Foo Fighters – My Poor Brain
Life Leone – Is This Love
Queens Of The Stone Age – Regular John
All Them Witches – Don’t Bring Me Coffee
The Bravery – Believe
Boomtown Rats – Mary of the 4th Form
The Eyes – I’m Rowed Out
Life Leone – An Education
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Rich
Melvins – The Green Manalishi Parts 1 and 2
Primal – Lucky Soul
Space Siren – You’ve Tattooed My Brain All Away
Queens Of The Stone Age – You Can’t Quit Me Baby
Sean Wheeler & Xander Schloss – Good Pussy
Jay Reatard – In the Dark
Fugazi – Ex-Spectator
Pothead – Deliverance
Robert Walter – Circle Limit
Life Leone – Lonely Teacher
Refused – Rather Be Dead
Refused – Circle Pit
Deftones – Lotion
Silent Servant – Speed and Violence
Architectural – Peacetime
Sound Out – Gotta Be Acid (original mix)

PBN Station ID 7
Primal – Got A Hold On Me
Queens of the Stone Age – Walkin’ on the Sidewalks
Primes – Bodies
Life Leone – Trust Me
Wo Fat – Sleep of the Black Lotus
No Mad – Mental Revolution
Marcus Lazarus – What You Got (Is What I Need)
Beck – Debra
Stoned Jesus – I’m the Mountain

when you were gone

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When You Were Gone is a 123-minute music set I streamed in October 2018. You can download it free of charge as an mp3 file at:

https://app.box.com/s/5ikxxltz735f093foswzqa3ammb8auut

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN Set 26: When You Were Gone
October 2018

NARLA – Lie To You
Ben Reaves – Trains (Porcupine Tree cover)
Days of the New – Shelf in the Room
Black Angels – Bloodhounds on My Trail
Stone Temple Pilots – Down
Head Control System – Kiss from a Rose (Seal cover)
Steve Rothery – The Ghosts of Pripyat
Stone Roses – Begging You
Black Light White Light – Higher Than Low
Boomtown Rats – Mary of the 4th Form (single version)
Mono Men – You’re Gonna Miss Me (13th Floor Elevators cover)
Bikini Beach – Emily
Flatliners – Cry Cry Cry (Johnny Cash cover)
Hoodoo Gurus – Down on Me
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl
Not Ur Girlfrenz – I Will Follow (U2 cover)
Wooden Shjips – Back to Land
Electric Eye – 6 a.m.
Panic Room – Satellite
Radiohead – Everything in Its Right Place
Melody Gardot – Love Me Like a River Does
Bravery – The Ocean
Jane’s Addiction – Then She Did
Sonic Youth – Small Flowers Crack Concrete
Rescues – My Heart with You
Depeche Mode – Stripped (10-inch remix)
Astrud Gilberto – Fly Me to the Moon
The Mamas & the Papas – Dream a Little Dream of Me
Bert Jansch – Alice’s Wonderland

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T. Rex Generations: a book review

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T. Rex Generations stars four young rexes we meet under the watchful eyes of their parents as they hatch from eggs. In their youth, the rexes learn to survive, scavenge, and hunt. They meet a beautifully illustrated assortment of cretaceous creatures they must battle or escape. Author and artist Ted Rechlin creates even more dramatic page and panel layouts than in his 2017 brontosaurus book, which makes for great fight scenes. And in a world of monsters just as fierce as they are, not every rex will survive.

This book will delight dinosaur enthusiasts and comic book fans, and though it has a lot of physical conflict, it isn’t graphic or gory. Adults and kids can enjoy this all-ages action-packed story together.

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My dislikes are mostly minor details: seeing the same double-splash page of empty landscape repeated where more story pages would be welcome; anachronistic phrases such as “so the siblings ease off the gas” that seem out of place millions of years before cars; and a couple spots of clunky exposition such as saying “as was previously noted…” when repeating something from a few pages prior.

My only major concern: why do the young rexes not get named until the final page? Characters we care about in a story usually get identified by name right away, and the parent rexes are identified just after the babies hatch. It isn’t clear why the younger rexes don’t get names until late in their adolescence, unless we see their climactic edmontosaurus kill as a rite of passage into adulthood. But even though a caption describes that as a “first kill”, it seems more likely that a predatory reptile who has been larger than a pickup truck for years has killed more than a few things. After a wild romp in the cretaceous, the last page left me with more confusion than conclusion.

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None of that stopped me from enjoying this adventurous addition to my library of dinosaur books and comics. T. Rex Generations is a fun read and a joy to look at. The full-page and two-page illustrations of the rexes and dakotaraptor, edmontosaurus, and ankylosaurus would make great prints or posters.

Get some dinosaur in your new year at Ted Rechlin’s store or on Amazon!

 

Big thanks to Smith Publicity for the review copy of T. Rex Generations, and to Comicon.com for the images in this post.

may this be love

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May This Be Love is a 104-minute music set I streamed in November 2018. You can download it free of charge at:

https://app.box.com/s/sssdsco03obumo6q5a33lldm7ctt62xx

The set list is available as a text file.

PBN SET 30: MAY THIS BE LOVE
November 2018

Trio Marsicano – Machine Gun (Hendrix)
Powderfinger – My Happiness
World Saxophone Quartet – Freedom (Hendrix)
Shawn Lane – Peace in Mississippi (Hendrix)
Jimi Hendrix – Lullaby for the Summer
Emmylou Harris – May This Be Love (Hendrix)
Terje Rypdal – Into The Wilderness
Sonny Hines – Has Anybody Seen My Kitty
Tchavolo Schmitt – It Had to Be You
Flogging Molly – Devil’s Dance Floor
Chuck Carbo and The Soul Finders – Can I Be Your Squeeze
Toadies – Sweetness
Sr La Muerte – The Power
Skull Defekts – A Message from the Skull Defekts
Shihad – FVEY
Molior Superum – Försummad
Bug vs Earth – City of Fallen Angels
Terje Rypdal – Out of This World (Sinfonietta)
Schooner Fare – The Mary L. McKay
Sabrina Carpenter – Why

Year-End Book Giveaway

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Score a few more holiday goodies courtesy of Mars Will Send No More. From December 26 through January 1, the following ebooks are available at Smashwords absolutely free:

Meteor Mags: The Battle of Vesta 4

Meteor Mags: Omnibus Edition

The Baby and the Crystal Cube

Never See the Night

Animal Inside You: Poems of Chaos and Euphoria

Anything Sounds Like a Symphony: Poetry at Maximum Volume

Thank you for dropping by to read, comment, share, and discuss in 2018! Have a Happy New Year!