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Hawaiian outing 1999

Junkmailer Vol. VII, No. I

It was the summer of 1995 that I first called Jason Miller from Hawaiian Express. It was the summer Alan and his goofy San Jose friends dubbed Emo Summer. Within two weeks of that call we had the skeleton of a Hawaiian tour made out, but for reasons illogical to me we took Mr Color TV (the limited-purpose vehicle made famous by, well, us) around the greater Pacific Northwest instead. In hindsight, I suppose the experience of breaking down 12 times in as many days is a character-building one indeed, but I think I would have rather drank funny blue drinks in the middle of the Pacific. Over the following four years YM tried three more times to reach paradise, and all in vain. Until this summer.

July 26, 1999

Bradley and BonneVicci showed up at my place shortly before 6am. They refused to jump on my trampoline so we took off for SFO Int'l Airport, but not before making a pit-stop at Mikey's to pick him up and make fun of the class pictures of him and his brothers set out in his living room. The rest of the bunch were already at the airport when we arrived. They looked like scumbags and smelt worse, likely due to having stayed up all night eating gas-inducing foods and riding Cal Train to the airport. It should also be noted that around 4:30am Joe, straight-edge by default, started in on his gift bottle of Mad Dog 20/20. He was going to take it on the train and get loaded, but he forgot, probably because the Dog already got him drunk.

brandon from grapefruit taking a napAlong with us is the band EMO SUMMER (which is Alan and Joe's don't-you-call-us-a-joke band with The Colonel Matthew von Burink and Tony ASS from JANITORS AGAINST APARTHIED / STUMPY / RED #9). They prefer to be addressed as Matthias, Orosco, Isaiah, and Jebediah, respectively, because they are ninny pukes. And they brought Skunk, their vegan roadie (know to the rest of us as Alex, the Flying Poof). I haven't the slightest clue what happened during the Emo Summer of '95, but to commemorate it they started a band (for themselves, not for you, I might add) that wears backpacks and cardigans and makes pointless incomprehensible zines and screens shirts while you wait and writes songs with titles like Mr Puberty and My Feet Are Wet But My Cuffs Are Dry and Fish Out Of Water. But if you call it a joke brace yourself for a long whiney diatribe about how it is anything but. And bring an umbrella to shield yourself from their tears.

on a good hair dayThe plane ride was nothing short of boring, but at least I somehow managed a vegetarian meal out of it. The others fared on pretzels and pineapple juice and farting loudly for entertainment. The greatest amusement came from the new haircut Tony gave to Alan late, late, late last night.. Alex put it best when he likened it to a bowl-cut if the bowl was Tupperware that was left in the dishwasher. It was big on top, with a little bit too much on the left side, and a couple of patches sprouting from the back of his neck. It was quintessential Alan. But Alan feared not his avante garde hairstyle because as we all know, it takes only hours for his hair to grow back out of any style. I mean it, it grows out of any style. In other words, Alan's hair is never in any style, but it's own.

the nesterJason and his friend, Jesse, picked us up from the airport in a van that wouldn't make it 100 yards into Pleasanton city limits before getting pulled over, confiscated, and torched by the police. Ever go running through a barren field of waist-high weeds and come across a vehicle that looked like it had been abandoned, gutted, incinerated and left to rust and be overtaken by nesting birds or a pack of raccoons? That's our ride, only with stickers. And it rules. Inside it is fully carpeted, moldy, and devoid of any seats. The front and side doors have a tendency to open on their own volition, and the back doors are merely tied together. It is par with every other vehicle YM has ever taken out on the road and nearly perished in.

Jason, I would like to note, is the only one with luck bad enough to rival Scott “Hard Luck” Jones. Here is an account from Mykel Board's MRR column a couple months ago:

the nester w/the molester“Jason is the well-meaning promoter who set up the homeless benefit... the boy is also the most important flame keeping Hawaiian punk alive. At the benefit, Jason set up his video camera to tape it for posterity. Where else could you get so many Hawaiian punks together? It, along with the time and money Jason invested with no return was too good a deed. Altruism is not something God takes lightly. And she didn't. Someone stole Jason's camera. Later that night, Honolulu cops arrested him for riding a motorcycle without a license. He rode three blocks. They also jailed the girl he was with. She had an outstanding warrant -- for a traffic violation. Camera, bike, and girl -- gone in a few hours! This just in: Jason broke his collar bone skateboarding. He was eventually required to have surgery for the collar bone then became involved in an auto accident after leaving the hospital when they removed the stitches!”

Then a follow-up column said: white bradley on the left and not-so-white jason on the right.Jason wrote me: “I was in an auto accident and the car I borrowed from an ex-girlfriend was totaled. I messed up my left knee too.”

Who better to arrange a Your Mother tour?

Our first stop was an Asian greasy spoon where food was consumed at unfathomable speeds. Our next stop was “Wet Noodle” Addison's apartment. He sings for the STICKLERS who stayed at my house a couple weeks ago and made good use of my trampoline. Addison showed us around his place lending special emphasis towards his 78 channels of television, four of which were porn. After taking in a little of the old in-and-out Jason dropped us off at Waikiki Beach for some bodysurfing and sunburning.

arrrgghhh!!! Jason came back to get us many scorching hours later and took us back to Addison's. On the way, I and all our luggage nearly unloaded out the back doors as they opened to the moving road. Thanks to Alex for anchoring me as i held on to all are stuff before pulling over to re-tie the doors shut. Once at Addison's, we regrouped and went out for Italian food at a fabulous place called Anitpasta's. They must have served us 12 feet of bread. It was one of the best Italian dishes I have eaten since I was in Italy gawking at statues of large Roman soldiers blowing each other. Our waiter asked me, “You guys are a band, huh?” I told him we were students researching melanoma and that ghostly Bradley was Control Specimen A and Mexican Joe was control Specimen B. He laughed and dropped a tomato in my lap. Then it was back to Addison's where we watched porn until we passed out.

July 27

but we'll watch it anyway!There is a voice I recall from my childhood. It passed through the lips of a woman whose image was a scrambled mass of wavy blues, reds and greens, and it was brought to me via Hugh Hefner's own channel 00. She kept repeating, “Electric….Blue” as I watched her mutating ill-colored mouth flash across the screen. It is a vivid memory and it wasn't until I moved to the conservative city of Davis that I actually got to see what the woman really looked like. Every day at 5pm in Davis the Playboy channel came in, unscrambled, for 7 full minutes. Occasionally, the Electric Blue woman would start off the hour. It was like meeting your favorite radio DJ in person for the first time.

That same voice woke me up at 8 this morning. It was as sweet and dangerous and alluring as it had been when I was in the single-digit age range, but it was only in my head this time. And instead of saying “Electric…;Blue,” she was saying, “Watch the porn….watch the porn…”

So I did.

When Alan woke up he was all excited about some dream he had with the Spice Girls and how “totally rockin'” they were. Joe and Mikey slept in Jason's van (newly christened The Nester) and it rained heavily on them. The rear top left corner of the van is shaped like it would fit the van, but years of humidity have separated it from the van's walls, leaving plenty of room for leakage. Joe woke up wet and miserable. Mikey somehow avoided the seeping roof but woke up wet nonetheless, thanks to the age-old dream where you think you're peeing into a toilet but are actually just peeing in your pants. He didn't find it nearly as funny as the rest of us. Which reminds me of a story of my friend Sully who went camping in a rainstorm. While he slept he got washed out of his tent and slid down a small incline into their still smoldering campfire. He only woke up because his friends were slapping him around trying to extinguish him. Now, that is funny stuff.

alex sleeps alex pees

When Addison finally pried us away from the TV a couple hours later he took us to Waimea Bay in The Nester. On the way I submitted a fun project I had been working on with my friend Danny Angel wherein you make Misfits' songs sex-related. Starting with the small handful Danny and I conjured up, we stopped after accruing these:

  • Astroglide Zombies (Astro Zombies)
  • Night of the Giving Head (Night of the Living Dead)
  • She-Male (She)
  • Semonamania (Demonamania)
  • Cock Among Us (Walk Among Us)
  • Ass Caress (Last Caress)
  • TV (as in 'transvestite') Casualty (TV Casualty)
  • Earth VD (Earth AD)
  • I Came Into a Martian (I Turned Into A Martian)
  • Mommy, Can I Go Out & Spill (my seed) Tonight? (Mommy, Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight?)
  • Balls (Skulls)

Once at Waimea, we cliff-dove and worked on our sunburns. We took BonneVicci up to have a dive and the locals called him “trash.” We called the locals “locals.” The locals called us “haoles.” We left.

joe, alex, matt and BonneVicci cliffdiving

Our next stop was a big shack specializing in shaved ice. I ordered a “red, blue and purple, with beans.” It was delicious, and I hate ice. The beans were called “azuki” beans and they had a guiltless, unprocessed sweetness to them. The others didn't enjoy them so much, so I ate theirs till I got sick. On the way back to Addison's for more porn I almost fell out of the van's side door while cruising speedily down a main street.

July 28

back of the t-shirtWoke up at 8 again and someone had already beaten me to the porn. Turns out The Colonel is more obsessive about it than all the rest of us combined. “Channel 78! CHANNEL 78!!!” we hear him yell with way too much frequency. By 9 we switched over to Saving Private Ryan (not to be confused with Channel 78's “Shaving Ryan's Privates”). The extreme graphic nature and intensely heavy themes of the film put me in a weird mood which could not be quelled even after we all bought white-tailed tuxedos for $15/piece. It did make me rather industrious, though, as Alex, Joe, Addison and I plotted, drew, designed, and made films for a new t-shirt design that we gave to Jason to make into silk-screens. Shaka, brah.

After a relatively cheap session at Kinko's (thanks to the kind, loyalty-lacking employee behind the register) we hit the beach again and rode the waves as the sun set. My biggest fear in life is water. My only recurring nightmares, most people sleep - matt slumberssince as far back as I can remember, have always involved water. I can't even swim in the deep end of a backyard swimming pool without getting panicky. But out there, over a quarter of a mile from the shore, with no fins or board or Floaties to keep me afloat, with the sun half over the horizon and painting the surrounding sky a rich firey-orange, I felt like I never wanted to leave. Why would I? This is the kind of situation where one finds God. Instead I found Joe who was trying not to get washed under and scraped on the rocks below the surface. We swam back to shore non-stop and I walked out feeling more invigorated than I have in recent memory. I love it here. I don't want to go home. I don't want fall back into a society where midget priests murder golf pros.

We ate at Antipasta's again and probably consumed 15 feet of french bread this time. We waddled back to Addison's and watched gruesome and violent home videos, thus recapturing my weird mood. Jason came by and took us for a ride. Along the way Alex was leaning against the side door of the van and nearly escapedlouie - super hessian falling out when the locked, latched door decided to open. Why do we keep sitting by the doors when the odds of them opening us up and dumping us on the street below are so high? You try and fit 8-12 people in a van without sitting someone next to one of four doors... We stopped at some surfer's shack where we were loud enough to have the police called on us. They showed up and asked the locals what us “haoles” were doing there. When it was told we were a band one officer was actually cool, which was rather odd. Tony got egged while skating in front of the place. And we met the most hession of hessian's. His name is Louie (extra point right there) and he didn't even know what a hessian was (another point). He was just full-on hesh.

There is an apartment in town whose denizens recently moved out. With two weeks still on the lease, we were given a key and permission to enjoy it at will. Mikey, Joe and Bradley tried to enjoy it by ignoring the wall-to-wall gook and senseless trash that carpeted the place. It was nicknamed The Squat. The rest of us went back to Addison's to sleep. I was awoken in the middle of the night by Alan. Alan, more than once, has had wet dreams while sleeping next to me. Alan has also been known to sleepwalk naked around our hosts house's. Alan is a weird sleeper. Last night Alan tried climbing over me to get to the bathroom but he was too tired and perplexed to continue. I woke up with him straddling me and moaning confusedly.

July 29

8am and the porn was on. It has now become a flittering background piece, like the hum of an air conditioner. It's comical and desensitizing to flip the channels from Saved By The Bell to the Home Shopping Network to someone's face buried firmly in someone's naked butt. But it is The Colonel's birthday so we leave it on. Otto showed up with a Hawaiian-famous Ottocake. One of Otto's three jobs is making his own recipe of cheesecakes and they are RULIN'! It was consumed in record speed and we had to fight not to call Otto back and order 100 more.

craigums and joe snorkin'Once we were sufficiently bloated we left for Hanuama Bay to snorkel. The guy who rented us our snorkeling equipment asked us what band we were in. But there was no apparent reason to ask. The closest indication of us being at all musically-inclined was my Smiths t-shirt. We weren't even wearing shoes, much less guitars or records or a sign that said “Aloha, We're a Rock Band.” It must be the smell.

Again, Joe and I swam dangerously far out but instead of wave-riding we got to see the likes of squid, eels, turtles, and tons of neon, bulgy-eyed, oblong, and otherwise odd fish. The waters were exceptionally choppy and my aqua-fear began to resurge so we paddled back in.

After cleaning up a bit we went to watch Addison's new band featuring a haole local named Brian, and Brandon from GRAPEFRUIT. While they practiced we wandered around the place naked for lack of something better to do, because everything is more fun when you're naked.

“man, Emo Summer is not a joke...”Then it was back to Addison's apartment where we checked out the Hawaiian “808 Scene Bulletin Board” on the internet. There we found numerous listings regarding our's and EMO SUMMER's presence on the island. Most of it was positive but a couple postings were a little livid about our playing. One guy with the moniker “Big Gay Al” was pissed! He was very opposed to “whiney emo fags” coming to Hawaii. It was fun watching all the people respond to his postings. It's an odd feeling when people you've never met defend you for reasons you'll never know. A lot of people have called us fags over the years, but usually because we act like overt homosexuals. But around here I have noticed a lot of folks throwing around the word “fag” and “gay” (as in, “I saw the gayest TV show last night”) without meaning it literally. It's still meant derogatorily, but without any direct reference to same-sex relations. From what I gather this scene is pretty tight and progressive and unity-oriented, and there is a lot of communication going on between a lot of genres of bands/zinesters/etc., so tolerance is an obvious virtue here, but I don't know how much this particular subject has been addressed. I also catch a lot of racial slurs. One of the first local words I learned here was “mooke” which is slang for an indigenous Hawaiian. As soon as I repeated for pronunciations sake I was told never to use it as it has the same impact as the word “nigger” would back on the mainland. Yet, I heard it all the time in casual conversation…

July 30

flyerI stayed up late enough last night that I didn't wake up until 10 this morning! Finally, it's feeling like a vacation! We had a photo and a little write-up in the paper today because our first show is tonight. The last time we had something in the paper was when we were in New Zealand and the write-up led off with, “Masturbation-obsessed kids from California…” Luckily this one was tasteful, if a little dull. At least I can show it to my parents.

The Nester hauled us down to Waikiki beach. On the way we arranged such memorable a cappella numbers as We're Gonna Be Here A While (composed while stuck behind a garbage truck on a one-lane side-street), Driving Down the Fuckin' Road (drafted while cruising down the Waikiki strip), and Looking For A Parking Spot (duh). The songs were romantic, emotive and inspiring and we cursed ourselves for not having the moment captured on celluloid. But I can't imagine that anyone we drove past felt safe with a rickety old rust can on wheels full of singing, smelly boys passing by so closely.

We found a parking lot and circled it for 15 minutes before finding a soon-to-be empty spot. As we waited for the car to pull out, a car ahead of us, also looking for a spot, backed up next to us. Joe asked what the lady thought she was doing and she said she was waiting for this parking spot. Dumbfounded, Joe told her there was no way she was getting this spot. She ignored him and stayed where she was, still waiting for our spot. We were all voicing our perplexity at this when Tony, sitting bored in the way back of the van, and out of the loop on the current situation, asked what was going on.
“This lady is trying to steal our spot.”
“She's what?!”
“She backed up and is now trying to pull in the space we're waiting for.”
Without a moments hesitation Tony charged through the van like a detective late on the scene of a crime, knocking over everyone in his way. He burst through the side door (which was about to open on it's own anyway) and asked incredulously, “What do you think you're doing?!”
The lady was stunned and probably wondered how many people were in this van and if her life was in danger. Tony jumped out at just the right time because during the melee the space opened up and we drove in. Three cheers for Tony!

this parking spot it OURS, bro.Joe, Alan and I tried swimming out to where the surfers were which was a good half-mile out. One near-decapitation-by-surfboard-skeg too many, we swam back in. On the way back to the van we stopped for water at one of the 700,000 ABC Convenience Stores along Waikiki beach. While I was waiting for Mikey to look through every lei in the store I spied a box of Band-Aids. I don't know what prompted me to do it, but I took one out of the box and applied it directly to the gaping wound I received from yesterday's snorkeling. The best part was having to dig out the sand that had embedded itself deep inside the open sore. The lady behind the counter asked what band we were in. Why would she ask that? What is it about us that makes people ask that so presumptuously?

The club hosting our show was called Beach Hall and it was well-capacitated with under-18'ers dressed in every form of alterna-gear you can imagine. That's what I love about smaller, tighter scenes: most everyone gets involved, even if it's just to show up to shows dressed like loons. Jason took the films we designed and made them into deliciously tacky, yet bona fide t-shirts. I saw them displayed behind a merchandise table and moved in to complete the YM merch collection with all our other records and CDs and crap. Already behind the table was a striking lass named Chelsea. She was straight out ofchelsea and jason the Poison “Fallen Angel” video with long, straight, platinum-blond hair, a deep, even tan, and a svelte made-for-Rock-videos figure. She was kind enough to watch over our stuff, except when she was dancing like a total spaz during one of the bands. I sensed she was “with” Jason and pressed no further out of respect for the both of them. Though I have to say, I was really curious because I had a strong sense that there was something odd about the girl.

EMO SUMMER played one song before stopping and ranting about how unsociable stages were and how they're just some plot to de-unify people or some such nonsense, so they invited as many people as could fit onto the stage to join them for the rest of their set. The stage was BIG, too. It was inspiring and fun and it cleared the dance floor for Chelsea to further act like a lunatic. The Colonel (singer for EMO SUMMER) is a big guy with short hair and a beard. From the get-go he looks like a sensitive emo-boy. Give him brandon and robyn standing in a club, s-t-a-n-d-i-n-gsomething to pout about and it's enough to point him out to your friends and laugh at him. Put a backpack and collared shirt on him and it gets worse. Give him a mic and let him spout off contrived emo-rhetoric and you'll want to beat him up (and that's coming from me!). Granted, the issues Matt brings up are relevant, applicable, and for the common good, but I've read 100 zines too many telling me how “racism is bad” or how “we're killing Mother Earth, so please, let's stop the madness,” et al. It is my and Mikey's job to berate and make fun so we joined in a chorus of “You suck, sissies!”

As much as I like to knock them, EMO SUMMER are a great band and they put on a great show, and I was not the least bit surprised when their merchandise was aggressively sought at the end of their set. It was entertaining to see two emo girls with metal lunch boxes latch onto a very uncomfortable Colonel and tell him how inspiring his message about bringing forth a just treatment of women was. But hearing them talk to him gave me an uneasy feeling, like I was just a jaded jerk. Coming livefrom the liberal California Bay Area, where equality is so strove for you want to second guess anyone's motives for fear that someone is getting disrespected, even if you're just buying a bagel from a street vendor, I forget sometimes that The Colonel's spiels are still enlightening to some. Truth be known, I felt like a downright asshole. Joke or not, positive topics are positive topics, I'll just try and keep my snide, holier-than-thou attitude to myself from now on. Or maybe starting tomorrow…

Our performance was fantastic, as well. Despite playing on gear much smaller than we were used to, we had an excellent time. (Bigger gear, you see, leaves more of the sound options to the players, and not the sound guys - so we usually like to adjust the sound so that we can play as sloppy as we do and it won't be as obvious as it could be.) And I can't say we turned in an exceptional performance, or that we were all that tight, or that we sounded very good at all, but I do know that we were having a buttocks' load of fun. But then really, how can you not have a good time in Hawaii? We all wore our Hawaiian shirts and the tuxedos and we looked hot. Addison's wife, Robynne, got us all matching tourist sun-caps (mahalo, Robynne!) which completed the ensemble. By the end of the first song most of us had to ditch the jackets, and by the third song most of us were wishing we could legally ditch the rest of our clothes as it was darn hot in there. The DJ who spun records between bands got in on a couple of our songs and scratched during some of our breakdowns. His dig-diggitty scrat-scratchitty intro to I'm So Happy was shoots, brah!

fun game: find craigumsIt never ceases to amaze me when people know the words, and sing along, to our songs. As is known to familiar YM fans, I don't even know half the words to our songs, so I have to say it's nice to look out and be able to read someone's lips to remind what I should already know. By the end of the set my suit was thrashed, my hat was permanently “borrowed” (sorry, Robynne!), Mikey was naked, and Chelsea was hard at work selling our stuff. What a success! What fun! What a country!

We loaded all our equipment (we only bring guitars, essential drum stuff, and costumes when overseas) into Jason's truck and split up. Everyone but The Colonel and me went back to The Squat to unload and hang out. Otto, Addison and Robynne took the two of us out to dinner. We returned to Addison's where Alan was passed out. Our rifling around kept him from sleeping so he farted at me in contempt. I farted back as retaliation. He returned the attack and so it went until we fell asleep.

justin from grapefruit surfin' and showin' assThe other guys apparently cavorted around the beach after the rest of us went to sleep. As Mikey described it, the bunch was considered worth avoiding. This, judging by the continuing number of people going way out of their way to avoid any sort of contact with them. While on the shore they passed couple after couple, all making out to the calming sounds of the ocean as it careened gently on the smooth sands of Waikiki beach. Then they saw some guy jerking off to all the embraced couples and went back to the Squat.

Once there, Mikey spent the remainder of the evening lighting firecrackers inside The Squat. But it wasn't till after everyone was snugly asleep that the smoke detector went off. And off and off. The group attempted to dismantle it by punching it severely, but to no avail. Finally Alex was able to use his brute force to completely remove the apparatus from the ceiling. Yet it continued to ring. They removed the battery and, proving the machine was set up purely to taunt them, it continued to ring. It took dunking it in the fish tank to shut it up, allowing them another hour of peaceful sleep before the road below began bustling again.

August 1

I woke up at 7:30 this morning (that's a full 90 minutes of sleep). I bounded upright with the hope that it was all a bad dream, but scrunched between a garbage can on my left and Joe's feet on my right (and still in all my clothes from the night before, wet shoes included), I took reality for what it was worth and lied back down. I couldn't shake the feeling that someone very close to me had died. Upon closer inspection I realized, stupid as it sounds, it was a part of me that died. Why WHY?! do I have such an attachment to a sliver of wood?! How much more materialistic can I be? That guitar's been with me 3 months short of 10 years, so that's gotta say something, but this earthly, possessive attitude is lame. I've got some serious re-evaluating to do before I make peace with this…

Anyway, Mikey and Bradley have paychecks to pursue so they flew home today. Jason dropped Reghi off somewhere downtown today and then came over and took us to the beach. Recalling a nagging question I had regarding he and Chelsea, I implored. Jason Miller, Lady Killer, had this to say: “You know it's love if you're willing to wait that extra three months till she turns 18.” Question answered.

I have been swimming in the ocean every single day this trip. I hate the water. I don't like walking past sprinklers. I can't even stand washing my hands! But I love swimming in the ocean here. It's warm and playfully invigorating. I feel like a day here would be totally wasted if I did not feel the rich sun on my skin and the warm sea around my body. In addition to falling in love with the ocean, my mile/minute persona has given way to a kilometer/minute and it declines more everyday. This place is inherently relaxing. It's beautiful, it's mitigating, it's enthralling. I have no desire to go home. What could drive a person to voluntarily leave such a paradise? For a job? It seems so ridiculous. Yet people do it everyday. I'll be doing it in a couple days. It makes no sense.

dave “addison”On a sadder note, this morning Robynne was kind enough to make a list of the addresses and phone numbers of the over 30 pawn shops in the greater Waikiki area, all of which I tried calling to see if they had acquired the livelihoods of two lamenting tourists. None of which could help.

For dinner we drove up to Noe's parents' house on the North Shore. We had a BBQ on the beach with 10 of Noe's closest friends and wondered aloud what I would miss, who I would piss off, and what I could gain if I never went home. Everyone had some lame excuse as to why that was a bad idea.

Note To Self: keep Notes To Self to self.

August 2

By some bizarre coincidence I woke up at 6:28 this morning, just in time to move The Nester before it got towed. Shortly thereafter we got in touch with Brandon from Grapefruit who took the day off to take us all surfing. He called four times over the next five hours saying he was on his way. He did, in fact, show up, and he did, in fact, take us surfing. Between he and Tom Tom, they conjured up a couple extra boards and we all took shifts ride, ride, riding the wild surf.

grapefruit, alive and well and tanI was in the second movement. After just 30 seconds of paddling I was reminded sharply of the severe strain I had put on my arm back while boogie boarding. To make matters worse we had to paddle an obscene distance before we even got the end of the swell. Then we had to battle the waves themselves from there. The first wave was a keen reminder of how important it is to keep your weight centered, lest you nosedive into the wave and get skegged in the head by your own board. Daunted, I paddled back out with mostly my left arm and waited for some more user-friendly waves. I waited a long time and watched Brandon and Tom Tom effortlessly catch wave after wave with a local's style and grace. Some many minutes later I was ready and inspired to try again.

I paddled furiously to catch a Brandon-recommended wave. With the swell retreating in the opposite direction it felt like I was getting nowhere. In fact, due to my invalidic technique it felt like I was just swiveling my board to the right. But then the wave itself finally caught up to me and I felt myself being jettisoned forward. I leaned back a little bit to bring the nose up so I didn't have a repeat performance of my last face plant. The speed felt strong and my balance felt controlled so I hopped up to my knees. There I knelt for a good 10 feet before getting so excited I jumped back into the water like a kid at the pool whose Floaties where just attached.

brandon taking a napI paddled back out and tried again and again to reproduce the elation I got from that first wave. I never quite recaptured the sentiment. Until I went all-out and stood up on my feet… again, I swam as fast as I could until the wave picked me up. I monitored my speed by adjusting my weight forward then backward, then forward again, and when I felt the time was right to jump up, I did. The sensation was amazing. At first I just stood there, astounded that I was still up and wondering why some unseen force hadn't caused me to loose my purchase and fall clumsily back into the sea. But that never happened. The board was mine. This wave was allowing me to experiment and build my confidence. This wave could taste my pain and sorrow and loss, and it was telling me, “Man, things are gonna be alright. Just hang out with me for a little while and I'll take you places you've never been.” I'm told the only reason locals surf around the Waikiki area is because the waves have a longevity that is hard to come by on other parts of the island. I don't know what the waves are like at many other places here (besides the ones I see on ESPN), but I can attest to these waves lasting a long time. I must have been on that wave for a solid 30 seconds. Considering your average surf competition run is well under 10 seconds, I was up for a lengthy time.

I was hooked. The pain in my arm was drown-out by all the adrenaline and the ever-growing rash on my chest from the surf wax was of little concern to me. I just wanted to surf. And I kept surfing. I caught 5 more waves before retiring and it was all beautiful. Though I was unhappy to discover upon my return to the shore that my nipples had been scabbed over by the concentration of sand, salt, wax and fiberglass, I still just wanted to continue surfing.

August 3

What else? Went to the beach.

Then around 6:30 this evening Alan and I went to have dinner with his family's neighbor and my co-worker, Bill. He and his wife have a timeshare somewhere in the middle of nowhere and, like everywhere else on this island, it's beautiful. The tide comes right up to their building and sunsets are all theirs. Bill is a youth pastor and retired principal, but he has a ponytail and, at the urgings of his church kids, doesn't wear underwear on Wednesdays. Needless to say, he is fun to hang out with. Dinner included Bill's extended family and vegetarian lasagna and pineapple bundt cake (our first pineapple anything since we've gotten here). All three were worth the trip. Being the only ones under 55 years of age helped Alan and I put our trip into perspective. The only preparations I made for this trip were bringing sunglasses and sunscreen. I fit two weeks worth of clothes, costumes, and band gear into one duffel bag. But Bill's family chatted idly about how they brought their own food and beach chairs over here. At what point does one include furniture in one's holiday luggage?

On the drive back to Addison's, Alan and I got to hanging out. We've been in this band together since 1991 and he's one of my best friends, but he lives an hour away and we only see or talk to each other on band-related terms. And as is well documented, Alan is a pain in the butt in that respect. So it's nice to be with him when there is no agenda. I am reminded why he is my friend, even if he is one of the most annoying people on the planet. On the hour ride home we talked about absolutely nothing special. I love those kinds of conversations. But my shoulder is so incapacitated I can't even adjust the volume on the car stereo.

While Alan and I were out with Bill, Joe, Tony and Alex went out on the town with Jason. All I know of the evening is that it started with funny blue drinks and ended with St Ides malt liquor. They lost Jason and had no way back to Addison's so they spent a good couple of drunken hours trying to bunk with whomever would let them. They were wildly unsuccessful and ended up walking the many miles back to Addison's. Nobody really knows how they did it or, more specifically, how they knew where they were going.

August 3

DAMMIT! Why do I keep waking up at 6:30 every morning?! This is wrong! Today was a lax day spent record shopping and selling. THE JOHN SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION are in town today with RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and we all got on the list thanks to Otto of the Fine Cheesecakes.

About an hour before we left for the show Addison got a call from Judah (guitar player for the BLUES EXPLOSION) asking if he could borrow an amp because their stuff got stolen. What is this? Some sort of epidemic?! Addison consented and we got more people on the list.

The BLUES EXPLOSION were amazing, as usual, but RAGE were totally uninspiring. I saw them about 8 years ago and was totally impressed by their politics. Each song was preambled by some explanation and most all of it was enlightening. I saw them a few years later and it wasn't quite as intense or impassioned but it was interesting nonetheless (that same show their singer called The Colonel a “f***ing idiot” because The Colonel, our favorite emo boy, was drunk and wearing his high school football jersey). But this time they said nothing except that copping a feel off a girl who is crowd surfing is disrespectful. 90 minutes he had to enlighten us, but that was all we got. Many punk bands who operate with a message are merely preaching to the converted. Few acts get outside of their element and have the opportunity to say something relatively profound. Propagandhi is a good example. They get an endless parade of idiots at their shows and the many times I've seen them they make good use of the situation by breaking down barriers, educating and turning the place upside down. RAGE has the same opportunity. Their fan base has to be one of the more socially unaware assemblages around, yet they said next to nothing the entire show. I was just disappointed, especially since the bulk of this particular audience was military. I saw one flat-topped crusader for sexual justice with “I Love Sluts” inked on the back of his wife-beater. Who better to share a conversation with?

busted!Alex moshed in his Wonder Woman tiara and bikini outfit and had many attempts on his life. We saw Gunman and he had on even more gun paraphernalia. We also had a lot of seemingly random people come up to us and express there sorrow at our lost guitars.

After the show we all took to Waikiki for some midnight skinny-dipping. The Colonel did his “Beached Matt” all night where he lets the surf wash him up and roll him over the shore while his pants are half way down his ass, all for the enjoyment of all the couples walking hand-in-hand past him.

August 4

We had a lot to do today. First up, we were supposed to take Addison and Robynne out for breakfast. Then we planned on hooking up with Otto to see The Blair Witch Project. Then we were supposed to meet up with Jason and go out surfing with him and the GRAPEFRUIT guys. But around 10am Robyn showed up in her hospital scrubs and invited us to breakfast with her and Craig and Carrie. Only we had to leave now. With half of us only half-awake and the other half still asleep, we grabbed some things and hastily woke everyone up. 10 minutes later we were still asleep but out the door with full abandon of any pre-laid plans.

We met Craig and Carrie at a yummy hole in the wall and had breakfast. We talked about last night's show and the recent rash of stolen equipment. A week before we left I got an email about Sonic Youth's entire equipment truck being stolen. Like their music or not, their equipment is still one of a kind. From what I've understood about them over chaka, brahthe years they make their own stuff and take 20-30 guitars with them on the road, all of them totally different. Stealing that isn't like stealing a writer's pen and paper, it's like stealing their vocabulary. Craig then told us about MAGPIE's ill-fated tour where their entire van got stolen outside of a house in Portland. They found it a couple days later but it had been gutted. Backhanded as it is, all the tales of stolen stuff are slightly consoling.

Since we were already headed in the direction of Brandon's we drove straight through to his redneck of the woods and surfed some more. I am totally hooked. I biffed again and cut my head open again, but it was worth every injury. I was the last one in and the only reason I stopped at all was because I needed a ride back to Waikiki for tonight's Local VS. Haole kickball game.

kickball temsThe game went famously. They scored 12 points in the first inning and we had none, but by the third inning we caught the hang of it and scored 17 in that inning alone. In the end, we lost by 1 point, but we were sufficiently dirty and tired so we all shook hands and shared orange slices.

We dropped off Addison and went out for dinner with the other team. Dinner was bunk and immediately redeposited in the Denny's bathroom some 30 minutes later. On the way back to Addison's we stopped off at the grocery store and restocked Robynne and Addison's toilet paper, air freshener, soda, bread, aloe, and whatever else we came across that we remembered using of theirs. Then we went home, listened apologetically to all the messages from the people we ditched today, and passed out.

August 5

Woke up late today for a change. Of course, we're flying home at noon and I actually wanted to be up early to go for a swim or some breakfast, but oh well... Sure enough Alan's hair has grown considerably since the opening of this trip. It almost looks decent. Almost. Addison drove us to the airport in The Nester and it was a sad departure for us. Addison, on the other hand, was stoked as he'll finally have some unadulterated time with his wife.

While actually in line to board the plane a big guy with frighteningly pale skin and a guitar slung over his shoulder garnered our attention. We talked to him about what he was doing here. And only after surveying (what is left of) our equipment for a couple minutes did he ask if we were band. When we have no obvious indication we're a band, we get asked at the drop of a hat. But when we carry guitars and records and shirts around people think twice before asking. Hmm. We ended up selling him a few records and CDs 30 seconds before handing over our boarding passes to the flight attendant. Rock'n'Roll all night and provide product all day. Why am I going back home?

BIG Mahalo's to:

Dave “Addison” Noodle & Robynne for all the space and hospitality and free porn, Jason “Hawaiian Express” Miller, Jesse, Otto & his AWESOME cakes, STICKLERS, GRAPEFRUIT, LAST IN LINE, EXIT 24, CAVAN & THE DYNAMITES, Chelsea, Big Gay Al, the DJ at Beach Hall, Craig & Carrie, Robyn, Steve the Travel Agent, Petra zine, Noe, Doug the Transvestite, Andrew Hamilton, Barf the Mog, Matthius, Vacancy zine, 808 kickball team, Antipasta's, LOSE MONEY, PETTYFORDS, BUCKSHOT SHORTY, KEYSER SOZE.