Things in Jars

Drawing by Andrea

Whew, somedays fly by, and some take forever to end; today was of the later variety. Not that i did much really, worked and band practiced, but i havn't been getting nearly enough sleep lately and i think it's starting to catch up on me, i definatly got a little testy at band practice. I'm not going to get into it, in fact i'm not going to get into anything right now; it's never a good idea to run your mouth when you're over tired, it just ends up coming out like "Yeah, well fuckin' bla bla bla bla bla bla, whatever!" and then everyone's like "....."


I went and saw my friend kyle's band the other night and i was really impressed by what i saw. Their name was, Nightbird, or The Nightbirds, not quite sure; but they were exactly what i wanted to hear; soft rolling alt-country, with clean traveling baselines and reverby leads - i've seen the lead singer BJ around town, he's a deadringer for Ryan Adams, and like him did a nice job as a front man, singing and warbling off and on. keep your eyes open for when they play next. Reminded me of the Sadies.

I got a chance to see a rough cut of the new episode of the Deadbeats club, and i must say you all are in for a treat; it's good stuff; image if you can; a mashup of "The Office" and "Dynasty", that's all i'm going to say for now. Plus, Eva gifted me her old guitar for temporary use (and abuse.) it's completely labelless, has a spraypainted white backside, a gold glitter front, a japanese les Paul headstock and neck, a Jaguar's pickup switches, and 4 rickenbacker single coil pick-ups; it's gorgeous in it's frankensteinian hodge-podgery, and sounds like a fat little goblin; Eva darling, you're a dream.

Sausage Links


It's a Family Affair

Today at work I wore a tie, and a button up shirt; I don't do this very often, but I was leaving early at five to head up North to the Gate. It turns out that my family's Hardware store "O.C. McCuin & Sons" (serving farm and home since 1914) was awarded the Swanton Chamber of commerce award for Outstanding Citizen(s) of the year. I wasn't going to miss this, I wasn't even going to be fashionably late.

In the past I've missed out on some family events, due either to things going on in town here, or more likely my apprehension w/ dealing my family, I haven't always been on the best of terms with certain family members, and because of my own pride or self righteousness I've had to live with the guilt of never making amends with my grandfather before he passed away. Since then I've taken a new outlook on my family; and what it means to be family.

So at Five o'clock sharp I hit the road, Zen Micro in hand and made my way to a little family restaurant nestled alongside the Missisquoi River called "The Abbey". I was early and though I thought I was dressed up; it turned out I was the only person in the little coat check/antichamber wearing jeans and sneakers, The Lady at the door to the banquet room stopped me as I walked in, "Excuse me, what's your name son." I got a little worried, I don't think anyone knew I was coming and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to pay; I didn't have any cash on me.

"I'm Tanner, Corey's Son."

"Trevor Corison... No, sorry hun you're not on the list."

"He's Corey's Son." The man behind me shot out; It was someone I vaguely recognized; I couldn't put a name to his face; but all my life growing up around the store I came to know so many of the regulars; "How're you Tanner, good to see you." he smiled at me and I shook his hand;

"You're alset hun."

I headed in, looked around; there were scores of people here, but no one yet from my family; lots of familiar faces turned, I smiled and nodded, shook some hands and quickly made my way to bar. Where was my sister I wondered? Tara and I have always been each other's sidekicks at these sort of things. Nowhere; I ordered a Gin tonic and, then another - I was starting to warm up a bit; I talked to my Dad's good friend and co-worker Kyle "Aka Bubba" Lothian; a bear of a man with a shaved head and beard and heart of gold; No matter how blacklisted in the past I was with some people, Kyle never gave me any shit, even inviting me out for a beer and a chat at my grandfather's funeral.

There she was; and she had brought her girl Sarah with her; My little sister has more nut than I'll ever have and has had to endure more hard stares and whispers to boot; Being the first lesbian (openly.) in a family like mine is an experience I'll luckily never have to endure, though being the first one to be arrested has a similar appeal; we both agree. She's wearing striped pants and boots, and as she explains to me, a shirt that has holes in it, that everyone seems to be commenting on tonight. We're the classic family black sheep; a role we've reluctantly embraced and at this point in our lives, I think we're both ready to move past. We laugh, and have another drink; mine a double her's a Malibu with coke; and when it's time to move into the main room and greet family we do so with little apprehension.

Down in the main room, everyone is milling around and getting seated and I'm overwhelmed and so proud that so many people have come out tonight. My father is nowhere to be seen, neither is my Uncle; I walk back to the coat check and find them wearing their all season suits, the ones that come out only for weddings and funerals, pacing around trying to make themselves useful, helping people put their coats on hooks and smiling big nervous smiles. It strikes me how scared he is to be recognized; and I think about how much I love him for being my father. When he sees me he smiles;

"How are you Mr. McCuin, didn't know if you were going to make it."

"Of course I would!" I say and we shake hands, and I swear that we're both as relieved as the other; I congratulate him, and he demurs, I ask him if I can get him a drink cause he looks nervous, but he doesn't drink, and if he does he has one girl drink and gets all red and flustered. We all head in, I sit at the table with the "Reserved McCuins" card; and I laugh at how true that statement is. The Evening begins with the head of the chamber of commerce talking about going to highschool with Corey (my dad) and Owen, and how happy he is to be giving this award; but first the food!

We all eat; I eat a lot; it was excellent; buffet style Franklin county eats; salad, potatoes, stuffing, pasta bake, and choice of roast beef and turkey - I hit it up twice.

When everyone's had their fill the MC gets up and starts doing his thing; a little roasting a little family history; Mostly things I've heard before; Founded by my Great-Great Grandfather O.C. just before WWI as a bulk grain station; one of the first people to successfully market bulk grain to farmers; later has three boys, the store expands to home goods and lumber, the Great Depression; for years they gave goods on credit, WW2, the boys join the Marines; come back tough asses; so on and so on - I look around the room and see smiling faces, a lot of older folks are nodding as if agreeing. A few older gentlemen stand up and give accounts of doing business with my family, and words like "Good businessmen", and "honest folks" are passed around and I swell with pride; one man Mr. Dick Cassidy; an old family friend and opinion writer for the local paper tells a story and finishes with three killer "You know you're old when" Jokes...

"You know you're old when you go through a motion detector, and it doesn't go off."

"You know you're old when you spend more time packing your pills" than your lunch"

"You know you're old when you can't find your ass with your hand"

My grandmother remembers meeting my grandfather when she and a few girlfriends were taking a weekend down in the states (she being from Bedford Quebec.) and stopped to get gas and McCuin's, apparently she was still very young, and he was quite a few years older; she doesn't give specifics as well as she used to but gets a far away look in her eyes and laughs warmly. She's told me a story where, because of the age difference and since my grandfather was enlisting in the Marines he went to one of her birthday parties, just before he was leaving and gave her only one present; a nickel and told her to call him when she turns 18.

Memories are passed around, and the whole time my father has a bright red face and an attentive smile; They end by presenting my dad and owen with this, and everyone calls for a speech; and reluctantly they step up to the mic; my father goes first; saying not more than ten words altogether, thanking everyone for being so good to the family, and then Owen steps up and says "same thing corey said" And their is a round of applause; and standing round; and again I feel so much happiness and pride. When I look over at my sister I can tell she could cry.

My father spent seven hours fixing someone's hot water heater on Christmas morning; that is just one reason he deserves this recognition, and I know inside, he has no reason at all why he was given this honor, he just assumes that it is the way it is, and that he's isn't doing anything more or less than anyone else would; and I suppose he's right; and maybe he isn't saving whales or ending hunger; perhaps giving a good price on a bag of dog food doesn't warrant ten paragraphs of late night blogging;

But in my world that is nothing but grays and indecision, easy ways out and intellectualized cowardice; I can't help but look at my father and the examples that he embodies unconsciously; I haven't figured them all out yet; some of them I want to keep personally for myself - but I think about them, all the time; and I hope I can do right by them by not merely thinking about them, but by being them, and doing them.

So Congratulations to my father, for working hard and doing right by our family. Love you.


The man comes around

The winter continues to drag on and since i've lost the gift of music in my truck, the ol' Zen Micro is getting some new playlists. It's probably not safe at all to drive around with headphones on; but i figure since i got rid of my cellphone, this makes it even. Lately my tastes have been venturing back in time and across the atlantic, New Order, the Smiths, Pulp and The Orb are currently rocking my world, anything with a beat really; i'm been busting out my old Drum and Bass LPs, Ram Trilogy, Optical, Cause 4 Concern; vintage UK drum and Bass, lovely. Currently; Madonna's Hung Up(J' Sui desolete' lol, whatever...) is absolutly killing the dancefloor of my mind; maybe she's robbing the coffin of mid 90's trance (and daft punk.), whatever, music is all about theft and reinvention, as long as it shakes the booties and warms the hearts, it'd say it's a fair trade.

Man, is there anything worse than doing the dishes... it never fails to be an issue in every household i've lived in; I'm open to ideas here people, what works for you guys; (don't say "being mature and responsible" that's off the table.) we've tried the "Wash your dish after you use it" but that doesn't work, no one wants to do anything after they've just eaten; we're trying to take turns but that turns into "But i fuckin'... vacuumed..." or "But i cleaned the toilet", i mean, what is with that - we'd rather scrape each other's turds out of the toilet than was a dish? that's not true actually. That was "Satire". Eh-hem.

Holy crap Madonna is tearing it up; god i love headphones. Wait, now we're gonna change it up a bit. "My Friend Dario" lord. i'm getting dumber by the second, glorious.

I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to go fishing; any takers?

Atari Lynx


Man, i wish.

I was poking around today at Recycle north and found this photograph... it speaks volumes; i dig the christmas wreath in the background, add's a festive quality. Posted by Picasa


Fun for Everyone!

Here's the game:

You take lots of random, weird pictures with all your digital cameras and cell phones, and then you email them to: was57lay@photos.flickr.com the subject header becomes the title of the picture, and the body of your email becomes the explaination; then it shows up on Highgate, instantly for all to see.

Sound like fun?

for example Rose sent those pictures of the soft spot show at Pearls last week, from her phone.



So last night some of the seamonsters came over to the Sin*a*Gog and we got to watch the much talked about Can DVD, before I had even seen it, I'd heard so many differing opinions of it; lots of people said "Oh it's shit; don't bother." I was skeptical to say the least. I was even a little worried; sometimes seeing a band in real life, is a little to much reality. Take Jason Molina's new line-up with Magnolia Electric Co.; I've always loved his Songs:Ohia material, and for the most part I enjoy the electric company (granted it's a little less original/neil young on a cracker anyone?) But seeing them live at Higherground last fall was heartbreaking; the man has no stage presence, even worse, he makes weird overly dramatic hand gestures and postures like a balding miniature Morrissey. I can see him playing slowburning dirges to a small crowd, hunched over his acoustic guitar, but not on the Tonight's the Night '05 tour, or whatever it was they were trying to do. The music itself was pretty boring as well; a little to chuggy not enough energy; I told myself they were having a bad night, apologized to everyone I dragged out with me, and made a mental note to forget this ever happened, or at least whenever I listen to "The Lioness."

What was I saying. Oh yeah, so I was worried when we first started watching the Live show. The video fades in with a strange close-up a child banging on some drums, and then fades around to close-ups of most of the band members, all of whom are apparently deep in though/totally tripping testicles; I started thinking; this is concert? And then bang; instantly I was assaulted with some of the most dense and potent krautrock I've ever heard. The Film had shifted to them playing to a rather large audience, and just really getting into it. The first thing I thought after that was "Man, these guys could play."
There albums are for the most part amazing; but this footage I was watching was like listening to the Can that is represented on their albums, and fusing them with a punk band; they were driven; less cerebral, they had a visceral edge that I wasn't used to hearing, and I liked it. This was prime Can, 72, sometime between Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi and it showed. I've never seen a drummer so in line with what was going on around him, and there was a lot going on. They all gave each other their space; each one finding minute rhythms inside and outside the beat; no one took "lead" and no one's Ego seemed to dominate the sound. I took copious mental notes.

The rest of the DVD however, was crap. Especially the epic slideshow masquerading as a "Documentary". What was interesting about it was it's depiction of Can as they progressed, and specifically Ermin Schmidt, who in the early days seemed aloof and talkative, and by the late 70's early 80's was a full blown ego maniac. Most of the interview clips with him talking make almost no sense, and he seemed to usually just disagree for the sake of disagreeing. I can't remember anything exactly but basically it was like this:

"Yah, vel, Ve ah German yah, and because of dis, yah we do not feel ze need to be coherent, stringing verds togesa is art, and you ah not a banana, ah you now?

and then later, he would say it in French. At some point I think around 77' things got really surreal with Can performing super disco dance pop to a sea of seated and stone faced students while wearing chain male and silver surfer jackets (Ermin, at least.) And when that wasn't enough, flash forward to the 90's or 80's I couldn't tell, and they're all living in like a fucking, adobe house playing flugalhornes and making little videos where one of them pretends to be the waiter, "but Ooops he dropped the bottle, lets chase him everyone!"

"What is this shit, Benny hill?" (Jb says.)

At that point, I realized that there is a distinct possibility that everything I may accomplish in my life, can be inadvertently tarnished and destroyed by my own doing in the end. I also realized that, if you're a little bit weird now... Wait till you're 70, then you're gonna be a fucking lunatic. I just hope I don't care by then.

What you can see here:

1. The empty gaping pit where my faith in humanity once dwelled, warm and secure.

2. what appears to be unearthed components of a flux capacitor.

"Fuck off for sure! Like, Totally!"

I woke up late for work today to walk out and find that someone had cleaned out my truck for me, but in the bad way. They took my stereo! Motherfuckers! Not to mention Eva's totally happening 80's Mix. They got a bunch of other stuff too... but i'm not sure exactly what cause i had so much crap in there. To be fair, it's was inevidable, i mean... my doors don't lock, and the stereo itself couldn't be mounted cause the dash is completely fucked from the previous owner... who had HIS stereo jacked.
So basically, it was going to happen. doesn't keep me from wanting to cry... Listening to music while i'm driving is probably one of my all time pleasures; i've made countless "Driving to" mixes specifically taylored for each little trip "The "I forgot my scarf at JB's but it's to cold to walk so i'm gonna drive over there, even though it's only four blocks" Mix, for example.

Sigh. And today was gonna be such a good day.

If anyone out there has any old car stereos kicking around let me know, i'll trade you something for it; perhaps my "It's Wednesday in August, i've got the day off, it's sunny, i'm going swimming" Mix. More than likely though it'll be my "It's January, it's bitter cold, i'm late for work and stereo just got stolen by some mega-jerk." Mix. Your choice.

i'll post more later, topics to include:

Valley Girl
Sakura / sushi
family business
soft spot
Hair Cuts


Sour Krauts/Geek Alert

Oh brother am I tired today; this weekend kicked my sorry butt. Saturday was one thing, and then Adam Lukins shows up from Brooklyn and the next thing I know me and Todd are staggering home from the O.P. at 1:30 so much for relaxing with Bergman; besides someone left a quarter bottle of JD at our place with no cap on it, and I figured it'd go bad if I didn't drink it, waste not want not is my motto, that and "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." that one's a good one too.

Band practice in a few minutes, and I'm psyched, things have been getting really good lately we've got a new P.A. head that actually makes my Korg sound like it should, I get really huge bass now so things have been getting super-krauty and rhythmic; Brian and marney have settled in nicely and the rest of the gang are turning out some very remarkable and restrained textures. We've sworn off shows for the next few months so that we can work on finishing up and releasing a couple albums "Metaphysical Graffiti" (which is exactly the length of Zeplin's Physical graffiti) and "Sir Charles russell pussycat, is dead." And also so we can just get tight again, after the holidays and line-up changes we've all been feeling a little out of it. But like I said, it's looking good; Actually, now that I think of it we're going to be playing a show with the Cripples, Aaron Horneblas's new band and I really can't wait to see those guys in action; that dude shreds. I don't even give a damn about virtuosity in music, most of the time I think it's a crutch for the unimaginative, but some people are lucky enough to be both talented and creative and Aaron is one of them. Mark it on your calendar, Feb. 16th Hetro-Gnome. No wait...... I don't know where, maybe Pearls. Whatever, as long as someone in the band knows I'll get there.

Speaking of Krauty goodness, the Can DVD is coming out soon, my copy is coming in tomorrow (record store perks.) Though I hear it's a tad of a crap bomb, all the music is there later schlocky stuff, I don't care either way I just want to SEE them play that's cool enough for me; Plus Breiner is getting the "This Heat" remastered box set in soon and he's gonna let me touch it. the box set. Maybe even let me read the liner notes. ALSO today the promo for the Liars' new album "Drum Not Dead" came my way today and gotta say, i'm digging on it, aside from the the first track it's a whole new deal for them; I won't go into details, I need to listen to it a bunch more before I write a review, but suffice to say it's quite relaxed and, yes, krauty even - which makes sense given that they've got two drummers and live in Germany now.

Band Practice time.


Geek Alert:
What a looser hu?
Maybe if he was as good as i am, then he wouldn't be dieing so much. Witness, my COD screen captures. Can you guess who Casiotone MT-40 is?

Want even more geek action? check out this stuff; it's called Ferofluid, and it's a liquid developed by NASA aparently to ensure that all our schools will remain under funded... but damn if it doesn't look amazing when it's magnetized. check it out.Video


The Winter no longer sucks (party.)

Yawn... 3:30 pm, time to get out of bed. Last night was alot of fun, i'm so glad everyone turned out; It was so nice to see this modest dwelling filled with sympathetic souls, on such a strange and cold evening. It all went in such a woosh! one minute i was getting home from work, kicking all my dirty laundry into my closet; doing last minute dishes, Todd was just getting home as well, doing some last minute cleaning in his room, aka Todd's Lounge, aka, the "Drug" room, aka the Tounge; the next minute; this place was packed to the gils! Packed is hardly a suitable descripter; luckily after a bit, some people cottoned on to Todd's Lounge, and the double room was in effect.

I had a play list setup so that i wouldn't have to worry to much about DJ'ing, but i i should have known that'd never work as everyone took their turns playing DJ and tossing on records, plugging in Ipods, and shuffling MP3s; One minute Stereolab the next, Nirvana (Negative Creep.) one minute Mariah carey and ODB, the next an American Analog set mashup with kelley Clarkson. At one time i had to difuse a potentially explosive situation between a group of dance party ready ladies and one very obstinant David who insisted on playing "cosmic dancer" cause people actually just wanted to make out. Cosmic Dancer got played, why? well the rational seemed to be that the song was about dancing, so that was the compromise. Fair enough.

I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman about human services and how insane it seemed to him that people who are mentally ill and overtly prone to violent outbursts and who just shouldn't be allowed into the general public are instead allowed and then given two servants. Interesting points were made, but ultimatly i was playing host so i didn't sit in for two long, though i'd like to continue that conversation; reguardless, it seems Eugenics is still alive and kicking.

Eventually a minor dance party kicked in, and not very long after; people began making their way out into the night. At one point me and Todd went to have a smoke in the Can and when we came back out the whole place was empty except for bottles and cans on every surface; and a few still rolling back and forth on the floor. That was fun we said to each other, i yelled out the door "Thanks for coming everyone!"

Thanks for coming everyone; now i gotta start cleaning - after that, a little grocery shopping, some lunch, and quiet evening watching the dreary Bergman masterpiece "Winter Light".

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Eva brought me a gift! (that's me on the right, in case you didn't know.)

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Joy time people

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Tonight @ the Sin*a*Gog

That's right, it's that time of the month already. Tonight, 10ish bring food and wine or booze, beer too if you have it. Mostly just bring yourselves, records if you wanna spin them; slides if you want to project them, thoughts if you want to share them, and rugs if you want to cut them.

Just to clarify; The Winter Sucks party, is not about hating winter, (confusing ain't it?) it's about hating the parts of winter that suck, and we all know what parts they are, but of course they're different for each of us, whether it's the long cold dark, heating bills, scraping ice off of everything, not knowing if your car is ever going to start, falling on your ass, painful existential crisis's or even more painful boogercicles; we all share in the experience that is a New England winter, together.

So to sum up, tonight is not about hate, but about sharing. Get it?


Here's the directions to our place.
Can't wait to see you all!