pablo neruda: austral blackbird

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Last year, I got an illustrated hardcover edition of Pablo Neruda’s book, Art of Birds, translated by Jack Schmitt with drawings by Jack Unruh. It was a bit of an accident, since I thought I was ordering a bilingual edition, and I wish this volume included the original Spanish. But even without the originals, this is a very cool addition to my Neruda collection. Every poem (with the exception of the first and last) is about one specific species of bird, and many of them are right up there with Neruda’s best and more well-known poems.

The following poem is about the austral blackbird, which I had never heard of before, so here is a link to read a little more about this bird, see a picture, and listen to 30 seconds of its unique song.

Austral Blackbird (curaeus curaeus)

Whoever looks at me face-to-face
I shall kill with two knives,
with two furious lightning bolts:
with two icy black eyes.

I was not born for captivity.

I have a wild army,
a militant militia,
a battalion of black bullets:
no seeded field can withstand.

I fly, devour, screech, and move on,
rise and fall with a thousand wings:
nothing can stop my determination,
the black order of my feathers.

My soul is a burned log,
my plumage pure coal:
my soul and suit are black:
that’s why I dance in the white sky.

I am the Black Floridor.

free ebook giveaway through march 9

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From now through March 9, I’m giving away the following ebooks of fiction and poetry on Smashwords. Get one, get them all–pay nothing! All are available in epub and mobi formats.

Meteor Mags Omnibus Edition

Meteor Mags: The Battle of Vesta 4

Never See the Night

The Baby and the Crystal Cube

Anything Sounds Like a Symphony: Poetry at Maximum Volume

Animal Inside You: Poems of Chaos and Euphoria

glue5

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PBN SET 39: GLUE5
MAR. 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file free of charge at:. 141 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

My Bloody Valentine – Feed Me with Your Kiss
Screaming Trees – What Goes On (Velvet Underground)
The Act-Ups – I Can’t Stand It (Velvet Underground)
Joan Jett – Star Star (Rolling Stones)
The Poets – Baby Don’t You Do It
The Pretty Things – Midnight to Six
Eric Ambel & Roscoe’s Gang – Song for the Walls
The (International) Noise Conspiracy – Black Mask
Freddie & the Dreamers – I’m Telling You Now
Darker My Love – Pale Sun
Darker My Love – Helium Heels
Buffalo Fuzz – Hard Lovin’ Body
Buffalo – Pound of Flesh + Shylock
Electric Eye – Silent by the River
Electric Eye – Electric Eye
12 Rounds – Something’s Burning
98 Mute – Slow Motion Riot
OFF! – Red White And Black
Flogging Molly – Speed Of Darkness
The White Stripes – Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn
The White Stripes – Little Ghost
Henry Rollins – Ghost Rider (Suicide)
Mudhoney – Ghost
Red Fang – Flies
Sonic Youth – Renegade Princess
Robert Walter – Circle Limit
Long Beach Dub Allstars – Grass Cloud
Sublime – Free Loop Dub
Freddy McGregor – Bobby Bobylon
Joe Strummer – X-Ray Style
The Platters – (You’ve Got) The Magic Touch
Toubab Krewe – Wassoulou/Bani (Reprise)
Porcupine Tree – Piano Lessons
Screaming Trees – Freedom (Buffalo)

asshole

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PBN SET 13: ASSHOLE
June 2017

Listen or download the mp3 file. 81 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

Government Issue – Asshole
Kat McSnatch – You Are a Cunt
Exploited – Maggie You Cunt
Puma Broadcasting Network – Station ID 7
Rotting Out – No Clue
Agnostic Front – Liberty
Soulfly – Umbabarauma
Scum of the Earth – Get Your Dead On
Datsuns – MF from Hell
Nashville Pussy – Struttin’ Cock (Live In Weinheim, Germany)
Uma Thurman – I Am the High Fucking Priestess
Rise of the North Star – Welcame [Furyo State of Mind]
Joe Satriani – House Full of Bullets
Fu Manchu – Evil Eye
Novadriver – Deeper High
Mono Men – 54-40 or Fight
Harvey Rushmore & the Octopus – Octopus Ride
Phant – End of Daonnachta
Ed Special – Face the Music 30-Year Mix (partial)
Butthole Surfers – Tongue

birthday2

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PBN Set 40: BIRTHDAY2
FEB 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 47 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

Techno Party Style – Happy Birthday
Mr. Rogers – Happy Birthday
Soundgarden – Birth Ritual
Fugazi – Birthday Pony
Queens of the Stone Age – How to Handle a Rope (A Lesson in the Lariat)
Kyuss – Happy Birthday
Rotting Out – Born
X – How I Learned My Lesson (Live)
La De Das – How is the Air up There
Suicidal Tendencies – How Will I Laugh Tomorrow
Eric Cartman – How Would You Like to Suck My Balls
Matt Monro – Born Free
Alice in Wonderland – The Unbirthday Song
Crystal Method – Born Too Slow
Thievery Corporation – Rebirth (Feat. A Forest Mighty Black)
Dolly Parton/Willie Nelson – Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Live)

glue4

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PBN SET 38: GLUE4
FEB 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 124 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

Monkees – Me and Magdalena
Contours – Do You Love Me
The Attack – Magic in the Air
The Volcanics – Get a Move On
France Gall – Les Sucettes
Wand – M.E. (Gary Numan)
Heritage Blues Orchestra – Catfish Blues
Sam Kinison – Love Song (live)
F-Minus – Suburban Blight
Bass Drum of Death – For Blood
Yak – Harbour The Feeling
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Weapon of Choice (UK Version)
The Heavy – That Kind of Man
Red Fang – This Animal
MC5 – Call Me Animal
Ruts – Babylon’s Burning
Upbeat – She Go
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Global A-Go-Go
Jungle Fire – Jambú
Vaudou Game – Elle Décide
Nick Cave – Fire Down Below
July – The Way
Les Fleur De Lys – Mud in Your Eye
Les Fleur De Lys – Gong with the Luminous Noise
Eric Burdon – Devil Run
Albert Cummings – Your Sweet Love
Johnny Mathis – Gina
Black Doldrums – Dreamcatcher
All Them Witches – Alabaster
Rising Appalachia – Handsome Molly
Lillasyster – Nu Har Jag Fått Nog (Akustisk)
Seo Linn – Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile
Pumarosa – Priestess
Skeeter Davis – The End of the World

glue3

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PBN Set 37: Glue3
Feb 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 152 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

A Cappella Barbershop Quartet – Hello My Baby
The Turbo A.C.s – Collision Course
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols)
Darker My Love – Blue Day
Asteroid #4 – Let It Go
Axiom Funk – Cosmic Slop (feat. Material)
Buddy Guy – Smell the Funk
The M and S Band – Egg Roll
Napo De Mi Amor et Ses Black Devils – Leki Santchi
Sleater Kinney – Ironclad
Tito & Tarantula – After Dark (Single Version)
Tito & Tarantula – Crack In The World
Crystal Caravan – We Always Lose
Crystal Caravan – Love and Direction
Masters Apprentices – Buried And Dead
The Eyes – When The Night Falls
Not Ur Girlfrenz – I Will Follow (U2)
Pearl Jam – World Wide Suicide
Mudhoney – On the Move
Screaming Trees – Paperback Bible
Shack – 24 Hours
Toadies – Sweetness
Big Organ Trio – Diva Mode
Barrington Davis – Raining Teardrops
Happy Go Blues – Mountain Girl
Psychic Lemon – Hey Droog
Albatross Overdrive – Viking
Scorpion Child – Liquor
Red Sparowes – The Great Leap Forward Poured Down Upon Us One Day
Burt Shepard – Has Anybody Seen Our Cat
If These Trees Could Talk – Barren Lands of the Modern Dinosaur
Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree –
Every Night I Walk The Same Train Of Thought
Tuber – Sex And Depression
War – Slippin Into Darkness
Small Faces – Itchycoo Park
Shirley Temple – On The Good Ship Lollipop

glue2

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PBN SET 36: GLUE2
FEB 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 187 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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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PBN SET 35: POWER
FEB 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 129 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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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PBN SET 34: SEAGULLS
FEB 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 77 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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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PBN SET 33: TEMPTATION
FEB. 2019

Listen or download the mp3 file. 172 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

Abbey Lincoln & Hank Jones – The Nearness of You
Sarah McLachlan – Possession – (Solo Piano version)
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
Pressure 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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JUNE 2019 UPDATE: An updated and expanded edition of Virtually Yours is now available for Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SWYPJR9/

kindle cover project3

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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PBN SET 12: BLUE DAY
May 2017

Listen or download the mp3 file. 204 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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 You’re 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 – Ain’t 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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PBN SET 29: YOU, BABY
November 2018

Listen or download the mp3 file. 110 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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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PBN SET 32: Heavy 6
December 2018

Listen or download the mp3 file. 140 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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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PBN SET 19: DRONE
AUGUST 2017

Listen or download the mp3 file. 143 minutes. 128 Kbps.
The set list is available as a text file.

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)