May 30, 2004

This Has All Been Wonderful

So. Phish broke up. I actually had no idea until Shannon mentioned it in comments, and at first it didn’t really hit me. As far as I’m concerned, they never really came off of their 2001 hiatus. Their last show I saw was 09-24-2000 at the Target Center, which was fairly lousy. I never checked out Round Room because people were saying nasty things about it. I felt that Phish had run their course, and I was okay with that.

Then I thought about it. A world without Phish. My life without Phish. In 1999 when my enthusiasm was at its peak, such a thought would have been unfathomable. So much of my youth is so closely intertwined with the band that I can’t even make sense of my past without them.

My first live Phish show (actually, my first live concert ever) was 10-25-95 at the St. Paul Civic Center. I liked their song Bouncing Around The Room that was playing on the radio and I had heard that they were coming to town, so I called up my friend Willie and asked him if he wanted to go to a concert. He said yeah, so I got tickets and picked up A Live One and listened to the first disc over and over again, because I was convinced that they would play exactly what was on their latest CD, because that’s what bands do, right?

Well. They opened with Ya Mar, which fazed me for five seconds until I started completely digging it. I knew I was hooked right then and there. At set break I signed up for the Schvice and bought an eggplant t-shirt. During second set a guy sat right next to us in the aisle smoking pot, and I thought that was the absolute neatest thing. This show is so ALIVE! My shirt smelled like marijuana and I didn’t wash it for months, with the that fear it would lose that concert appeal. Years later, an actor at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival would rail me for wearing a faded pink shirt.

Throughout high school I played in a number of combos that played Phish covers, or attempted to play Phish covers, or were composed of musicians that worshipped Phish but didn’t play Phish covers. I remember sitting in Chris Hubach’s basement and listening to Junta at the first rehearsal for Pamplemousse. We weren’t really called Pamplemousse then; after numerous attempts we finally admitted that no one knew how to spell it. At Pamplemousse’s first gig at the Depot Coffee House, we played Gumbo. It was an ambitious undertaking for a high school jazz combo, what with lyrics and individual horn lines and everything.

Matt played trombone. David played keyboards. Together, the three of us started accumulating and trading Phish tapes with other fans. Matt and Dave had never heard Phish before, and they got way deeper into trading than I did, having been a spoiled rotten brat with my first Phish experience at the young age of 15. That summer the three of us caught their first (and my second) show on 06-30-99 at the Sandstone Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, Kansas.

Before leaving Minnesota we got into a stiff argument over what time we should head for Kansas the next morning. We resolved it by leaving that very night, and we pulled up in front of Matt’s uncle’s house in Missouri at 3:00 in the morning. We slept in their living room until noon, and then ate Frosted Flakes while watching Blues Clues. We whittled away the rest of the day tooling around rural Missouri, buying fireworks and throwing pennies at toll booths.

Bonner Springs was an outdoor concert and it rained hard. Really hard. I was wearing sandals, but Matt and Dave were wearing shoes that got so totally soaked that the drive home was going to be miserable if we didn’t do something. The morning after the show we went to a Walgreen’s where Matt and Dave walked in barefoot and bought $5 pastel flip-flops.

The concert itself wasn’t anything special, but it was our first experience road tripping and it made an excellent dry-run for our next Phish show later that summer. In July we left for Wisconsin to see 07-24-99 at Alpine Valley, which was an absolutely amazing show.

Back in the Twin Cities we saw a few more shows at the Target Center, but those all kind of blend together. I know 10-02-99 was a great show, with an encore of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and everything. It wasn’t until the summer of 2000 that Dave, Matt and I went big, hitting up three Phish shows in a row: 07-08-00 at Alpine Valley, 07-10-00 at Deer Creek in Noblesville, Indiana, and finally 07-11-00 at Deer Creek. The last show at Deer Creek was the best Phish concert I’ve ever seen, with a vacuum solo, Chalkdust Torture ‘Reprise’, Hold Your Head Up, every song segueing into Moby Dick, etc. We also sold grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to drunk college students, made friends with a couple of carneys and saw a cowboy statue come to life at a KOA Kampground.

Other stuff pops in there, too. On 7-21-01 , during a hot summer of working as essay graders, Dave, Matt and I hit up Trey Anastasio (with his solo tour band and Jon Medeski!) at Alpine Valley, and we spent the night at Greta and Tyler’s new house in Madison. We saw lots of interesting things on that road trip, including a road called Cannibal Crest, the Nutting Doctor, Mr. Yuk stickers on everything, and a giant water tower with a happy face painted on it.

After the last song of the encore we literally ran out of the venue, as last time at Alpine Valley we got caught in a traffic jam for three hours and we had no desire to repeat that. As we were hoofin’ it back to the car we ran into two guys stumbling around the lot looking for whippets. We asked them if they had been at the concert, when was freakin’ RAD, and they said, “Nah, we weren’t in that Mexican fiesta!” We were the first car out of the lot.

When you tell me that Phish is breaking up, you’re not telling me that my favorite band is evaporating back into the ether. When you tell me that Phish is breaking up, you’re not telling me that they had a good run and they’re leaving on a high note. No, when you tell me that Phish is breaking up, you’re telling me that a chapter of my life is coming to a close. I have so many memories wrapped up in listening to that band, in seeing that band, in touring with that band, that the thought of them leaving is absolutely painful.

Phish was always one of those constants in my life. No matter what the world, Phish would always be in Kansas in June, in Wisconsin in July, in Minneapolis in September. Like the rising and setting of the sun these were all things I could count on. Their tours always started and ended with the phases of the moon. Even when I wasn’t eagerly holding tickets to an upcoming show, it was comforting just to know that Phish was touring. They were like the soothing hum of the city. You don’t notice it while it’s there, not until it’s gone, but when it leaves it wrenches open a hole in your gut.

Alas, all things come to pass, and I’m glad that Phish mutually chose to close it earlier rather than later. Nevertheless, 21 years of anything isn’t a bad run by any means. Thanks for everything, Phish. To everyone on the crew I send my best, and I wish you luck on whatever endeavors await you.

And thanks for the kind postcard. Though the need for roadies may fade, the passion for music lives on.

May 27, 2004

Mail Call

Today was definitely mail day. I swear those sorting ogres sit on this stuff in their post office caves, and every fortnight a band of elves has to be dispatched to slay their filthy hides and retrieve my subscription renewals to Outside, Smithsonian and Euro Trash Monthly.

It was all good stuff this time around, though. I received a magazine from my auto insurance company, which is always comforting. It had a child on the front cover, no doubt a ploy to make me think of my own children and buy insurance for them, too. Like I’d ever do something like that. I mean, if I had kids I’d probably get them caught in my garage door, or hit them with my car, and then my insurance company would be all trying to get money from my insurance company and that’d be a huge mess with me caught in the middle with a garage door knocked off its track. Too much hassle.

My credit card bill arrived as well, with the charge for my electric bass and amplifier. I also got my tax return today (more than 1,100 smackers), which was a welcome windfall as I need to pay for food, bass, amp, car insurance, utilities, cell, and my rental company’s own incompetency. They lost my rent check last month (this is the second time they’ve done something of the sort and they deny it wholeheartedly, of course) and posted a strongly worded resolution that resembled an eviction notice.

I had to stop payment on the old check (which cost me $25) and issue them a new one, which they greedily snapped from my roommate’s hands with their slimy tentacles. They were kind enough to waive their $xx.xx “late payment” fee, but were not kind enough to waive the $75 “non-compliance” fee. Thanks for the love, guys. If this happens again, you can be sure that you’ll receive more checks with skulls scribbled in the memo area.

I also received a letter from my best friend Mark, who will be moving out to Washington for the summer to work at an internship building biodegradable nuclear reactors, or radioactive windmills, or something cool like that. We’re going to the String Cheese Incident festival at Horning’s Hideout next month, and we’re totally stoked. As it turns out, the fellow who is living in my old room up in Hood River is a huge jam music fan as well, and with his crew he’ll be hosting a few shindigs at Horning’s that weekend. Rock.

Most importantly, today I received an invitation to my friend Chris’ wedding, who will be married to the lovely Barbara this July in Iowa. Chris was the svelte Apple geek of our Nerd Herd, a biology genius and a fellow champion of the bastu, and he’s the first person among my misfit group of friends to go ahead and tie the knot. I’m excited for their wedding, for the reception, for the drunken spastic dancing that is bound to occur when we spin all the Nerds back together again. I’m also looking forward to seeing my old stomping grounds, kickin’ around in Minnesota, catching up with old friends, diving into Lake Superior, sipping a brew at Sir Ben’s, making a cameo appearance at Camp Ihduhapi, etc. Time to get on that ol’ jetliner, again.

I haven’t seen home since September, and while I miss just about everything about it, Oregon has been seeping deep into my soul for the last eight months. There is so much of me still back in the Midwest, and there always will be. At the same time I find my West Coast existence slowly fleshing out, synchronizing itself with my previous lives.

In the Midwest I played the roles of camp counselor, Kentucky essay grader, windsurfing director, photographer, humor writer, jazz monger and Phish tourist. I’m still finding my place out here, but so far it has involved windsurfing gearhead, webmaster, Sambaist, kiteboarder, mountaineer, snowboard instructor, cripple, web designer, blogger, rock climber and mountain biker. That, and so much more that can’t even be categorized.

I do know this, though: Give me some crayons and I can draw a mean Tyrannosaurus Rex with a chainsaw.

May 24, 2004

Monday Night Fever

New Photo Gallery: Disco Bowling. You’re bound to like it. This one even has pictures of people in hot bowling positions!

I’ve been processing photographs for the last four hours. I’m going to bed to dream about fire-breathing robot dinosaurs that eat cars in football stadiums. If only there were such things in real life, I could be happy forever. Sigh.

May 23, 2004

One Year Later

Well, it’s official. As of Friday I have managed to survive an entire year in the man-eating landscapes of Oregon. I’ve taken up a few new sports, broken a few old bones, taught and learned a thing or two, and have pretty much had a kick-ass run from 2003 to 2004.

After a great weekend darting across the country to catch up with friends old and new, it’s time to chill on this Sunday evening with a bit of Speyside Lochruan Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, imported from Scotland to America by my sister, and imported from Minnesota to Oregon by my parents. The stuff is quite tasty, aged twelve years. Damn. When this scotch went into storage I was finishing up elementary school. That there is some long-range planning, I tell ya.

Mangled limbs and all, I made it to Hood River in record time on Friday, and let me tell ya, tis a beautiful drive from Bend to Hood. You’ll be driving across the sagebrush flats of Central Oregon, and then all of a sudden the ground will drop out from under your car and you’ll be launched off the black cliffs of a bottomless pit. It happens at the Crooked River, and then again at Mill Creek. Everything is all flat for miles and suddenly BAM, you’re flying over a rend in the flesh of the earth.

The western skyline is impressive as well. On a clear day you can see Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Black Butte, Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood all stretched across the horizon. I watch these peaks drift by and think what it would be like to have giant hands and swing from one to the next, flying through the mountain air like a wild huge chimpanzee making his way across the Cascade Range.

Near Mount Hood I picked up a hitchhiker who needed a ride to Hood River. He assured me his name was Daniel and he would not stab me in the back. He was from Pennsylvania and was out visiting friends in Portland, but like everyone else he found himself lured into the mountains by their beautiful siren songs. We talked about music and the outdoors, and both of us seemed perfectly happy to live life without our ears stuffed with beeswax.

In Hood River I met up with a good friend and her fiance and their crazed rock climbing friends from Washington, and we shot off for Portland to the sounds of Sound Tribe Sector 9. After navigating the rat’s nest of roadways near downtown Portland we found the Tonic Lounge, and stumbled into the bar to reap the sweet bounty of a round of PBR tallboys. Of the entire Cowboy Curtis crew I met up with Neal first, and damn near had to roll up his jaw from the floor. Jake was surprised as well, though Nate had seen my online order for their cd and had a hunch that I would be dropping by. Ethan didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t know who Ethan was either, but we love him just the same cuz he just graduated from college and he plays bass and he understands what it’s all about and thus he roolz.

It felt really good to see the crew again and catch up life and everything, as these guys are one of my favorite bands from back home. I used to play with Nate in jazz band, and I first met Neal at the Big Wu Family Reunion where he was wearing some very wet (and very white) swimming trunks. This was Cowboy Curtis’ first time touring outside of Minnesota, and their new CD is like #19 or something on a Seattle radio station, and they’re boggled that we’re not allowed to pump our own gas in Oregon, and they took the time to drive out and see the Goonies house in Astoria (and the Coast, though that’s not as important)… and as great as it was for me to see some familiar faces, I’m sure they felt the same way.

Not to mention that their show fucking rocked. They played a lot of stuff from their new album, as well as some super fresh cuts, and I could feel that point, half way through their first song, where they totally clicked together. The mix was really good, the vocals were spot on, Nate can kick anyone’s ass inside out on drums, and they seemed totally comfortable in their new environ. I would have liked to see the megaphone, and more broken bass strings, and more strip teases to the keyboard demo song, and more hot college chicks dancing on stage for the encore, but regardless, it was a hot representation from the Midwest. Welcome to Oregon, my friends.

After the show they were selling buttons, stickers and handmade shirts, which were actually t-shirts, sweaters and jackets picked up at Goodwill and then hand-painted with Cowboy Curtis’ logo. I had to get the vintage running jacket, but decided to leave the red “Ski Vermont” sweater for another raving fan. I swung back to see what my Hood River buddies were up to, and they were melting straws in a candle and pasting them on the wall. Then they were tossing matchbooks into the candle. Then they were tossing napkins into the candle. Then the candle shattered and they put out the fire with PBR and gin. Then they got a new candle, and shortly thereafter the owner came by and took away their candle privileges.

So we went to play Galaga and then bid goodbye and left the bar and went to Wendy’s and I let the drunks shout at the box and even after that the bank teller was nice enough to give us a free Frosty for backing up the car and resetting her timer, which given her concern it must have been some sort of crude roadside bomb or something. We ate our Wendy’s in the Les Schwab parking lot in Portland and drove back to the Safeway parking lot in Hood River and I spent the night sleeping in my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

And thus concludes the celebration of my one year anniversary.

May 20, 2004


I need to rest up for my big excursion this weekend. I’ll be ditching out of work early on Friday to zip on up to Hood River, pick up a few friends and roll over to Portland to catch Cowboy Curtis at The Tonic Lounge. This is their first trek out of the warm Wisconsin/Minnesota music-breeding cocoon, and we want to make sure they feel hot and welcome out here on the West Coast.

With any luck I’ll be spending Saturday and Sunday in Hood River, and I travel armed with my kiteboard, mountain bike and climbing gear. I’m ready for anything… that is, anything but whatever happened in the crash I took off my bike three minutes ago. I was practicing wheelies, and I’m to the point where I can get about three cranks on the pedals until I need to drop down again. I’m also to the point where I can flip off my bike backwards and catch myself with my bum leg. I jammed ol’ righty hard and the pain came back, though definitely not as sharp as before.

It dawns in the familiar way, with the sudden jam of limb against the earth, the instant mental realization, and the agonizing wait as the pain receptors struggle to register in the brain. Then the wave of pain slowly overtakes the body, travelling up the spine from the leg, rattling the skull, and flowing down again. The slight dizziness, the taste of bile in the back of the throat, the panicked apologies to the guy in charge.

Everything should be fine; I probably just stressed it. This body has knit itself back together numerous times before. One occasionally wishes that the spirit wasn’t quite so demanding on it, but then, where would be the fun in living like that?

May 19, 2004

Power Rant: ON

UPDATE: Hey! Let it be known that this particular Andrey Golub is a really, really nice guy. He is most certainly not the Andrey Golub I’m talking about in this post!

The parents headed back to Minnesota this morning after a rip-roaring week of Bend action, and things are returning to normal now. I walked downtown to deposit my paycheck tonight, and while I was heading down Wall Street someone kept taking shots at me with a paintball gun. I looked around, and the sidewalk was littered with happy little broken yellow/green spheres. As I was hurrying home to grab my cell phone and .22 I almost got hit by a car that was casually rolling through an intersection. The classy fellow had Mardi Gras beads hanging from his rearview mirror.

I’m much too tired for this. Before I left on my excursion my roommate recommended that I drive downtown. “It’ll be quicker than walking,” he says. “Driving is for pussies,” I say. Yeah. For pussies that don’t like to be shot at, and pussies that don’t like to be hit by cars. If that’s the case, call me a pussy.

Speaking of, this blog has been getting some delightful comment spam from pr0n sites, lately. I delete this foul graffiti, permanently close comments on the afflicted entry, and block the offender’s IP block from ever commenting again. And I burn down their house and salt their lawn. Usually it’s the typical enlargement/enhancement/endearment crap, but tonight I received some garbage boasting pr3-t33n s3x. Assholes. I ran a WHOIS on the respective domain and it returned the following:


xxx (now that’s interesting…)


Vinnitsa, 02108

UA (Ukraine, eh? Interesting…)

First Registered:

May 29, 2003

Last Updated:

August 08, 2003

Administrative Contact:

Andrey Golub

Vinnitsa, 02108


Phone: (omitted)

Billing Contact:

Andrey Golub

Vinnitsa, 02108


Phone: (omitted)

Technical Contact:

Andrey Golub

Vinnitsa, 02108


Phone: (omitted)

Name Servers:




Information Source:


And to Andrey Golub and all the other people associated with crap like this, I have one short comment of my own:

Go to hell.

May 18, 2004

Everything is okay, everything is fine

I had an epiphany at the Pine Tavern this evening, and suddenly I knew how I was going to finish up the templates for my new photo galleries. The entire setup is rather clever, and given my short attention span when it comes to design projects outside of work these days, it’s a wonder I was able to see it through. I’m glad I did, though, because there’s just something about slamming those pixels back into the ether that really gets me all riled up. Watch out kids, cuz Uncle Dane is back in the Scotch, again.

I’ve managed to put up four galleries so far, and all of them are chock full of fresh and grisly bits. You may have seen a few of the photographs already, and there is one in particular that if I see it again, I’m going to hurl. It’s been mentioned recently. I’ll let you guess which one it is.

So. Check it, yo.

April 15, 2004 – It snowed or something on tax day, and I took pretty pictures. At one time they were still pretty pictures, but now they haunt my dreams and I need to carve out my eyes with sea shells.

March 10, 2004 – I went for a walk during work to cleanse my head, and things were in bloom all over the place. There were also big stingy things all over the place who were all enjoying the things that were in bloom all over the place. Luckily, they didn’t hurt me and my leg didn’t break for another four days.

March 6, 2004 – A friend came down from Hood River and we went aclimbin’ with a friend from Bend. I lead my first climb, a 5.6 at a dangerous section of rock known as Rope-De-Dope-De-PAIN AND DOOM AND BLOOD AND CARNAGE. Thanks to the Manwich, we just barely survived.

February 28, 2004 – My first-ever session of climbing at Smith Rock, where we invented “EAT THE PIGEONS!” and wondered “WHO WILL WIN IN A FIGHT TO THE DEATH? THE RATTLESNAKE OR THE CAN OF MANWICH?” The answer still eludes us.

As I said, the design and templates are quite clever, and I’ve managed to massage Movable Type into opening new horizons of laziness. If I ever figure out how I actually set up the scripts on this thing I’ll do a little bit o’ write up on it, as it should be fairly helpful to other people who want to steal my ideas and pretend that they are clever themselves.

I mean, really. I just stole these ideas from someone else so I would think of myself as clever, and what is ‘clever’ anyway but the act of forgetting the source of your intellectual inspiration? And where in the hell did that rattlesnake jet on off to?

May 13, 2004

Exaggeration (Over?)

So. The First Ever Bend Bloggers Bash was a rolicking success. If one is to take Doug’s Axiom, which states that “The loudest one is always the leader,” Jake (Utterly Boring) and I spent most of the evening sparring for domination of the group. I won out eventually, though, thanks to my cutting wit and lack of genetic descendants. What can I say? Buying diapers from Wal-Mart at 10:00 in the evening just siphons the life out of a man.

Props definitely go to Shannon (There’s Always Something) for plannin’ up ‘dis whole shindig. Hopefully she can free Jake from his hide-a-bed before I find it and huck eggs at it. Barney ( was kind enough to launch a press release (more like a Declaration of Intent if you ask me), but I didn’t get nearly enough time to shout at Barney so I don’t know Barney half as well as I should.

Simone (On The Bright Side) showed off her professional freelance photography abilities by climbing up the wall to take everyone’s picture. She must have touched up the pic in Photoshop, though, cuz I know I never looked like that much of a moron. Never ever. I was a suave dude all evening, and any report you hear of my being a spaz or something is a FILTHY LIE. It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya! Someone get Roger (High Desert Skeptic) on the horn!

I believe it was Jon (Chuggnutt) who decided that Bend needs shirts that say, “You don’t go to the D&D… You end up at the D&D.” I have since decided we all need t-shirts. They’ll say something lame like “Bend Blogging – Better Than Logging.” Understand that these t-shirts are only meant to hold over until we get black leather jackets emblazoned with our lame-ass slogan and flaming skulls.

Jesse (Bring Back the 80’s) has one of the most unfortunately named weblogs out there, but luckily the fellow is a huge fan of Homestar Runner, so in the universe there is always balance.

Kerry (Bend Buzz) and I made great progress in unravelling the mystery of The Kids on the Hill, mostly by labeling them as The Kids on the Hill so we will be able to discuss them further.

There were lots of other things, too. Most people were kind enough to link to each other’s blog entries for the evening, but I’m a jerk when it comes to that sort of thing and my wrists hurt too much to write more hyperlinks and I’m tired and cranky and YOU ALL KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU WHEN I GET CRANKY. I’ll conveniently sum up the rest of the evening with a list of quotes:

“I’m married to fruit salad!”

“IP that motherfucker!”

“I’m expanding my social circle.”

“And now you are trapped in our clutches!”

“You’re gonna spam my weblog and them I’m gonna have to kick your ass.”

“I’m blogging this.”

…and the classic…


May 12, 2004

Attention All Live Journalists

Personally, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s already 10:51 on Wednesday night, and so far no one has blogged the First Ever Bend Bloggers Bash.

“Someone’s gettin’ egged!”