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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

April 30, 2007

The Asian Language


This woman, Elizabeth Tana, had some nice prints at the open studios yesterday. She pointed out that the characters in the left hand print were Asian language numbers. At first I thought she was dumb.

“There is no Asian language” I told her. She explained that Asian languages as a whole write numerals the same way. Western/European cultures do the same thing. 17 is 17 in Spanish, German and English. My mind was blown.

April 29, 2007

Dave’s Van’s Floor’s Beautiful


Dave, my producer, drove us down to Hunter’s Point to the open galleries. I had been thinking recently about the lack of graveyards in San Francisco and if it had any relation to the lack of junk yards in The City as well. Turns out there are a few junk yards left. Back in N.H. friends would go to the junk yard once in a while just to look at what got left behind when the car was impounded. You would find cassettes in the glove box, porn mags under the seats, all kinds of detritus that painted an intimate portrait of the former owner. It was sad when the car was really smashed bad and it looked like no one could have possibly lived and you’d find a picture of a guy and girl in love.

The 5th Season

this guy came from the 25 cent bin. It’s a cassette tape of American Oldies music.

I vote to replace the season we know of as “Spring” with “Yard Sale Season”. The season formerly known as Spring could remain, in a shortened form, if people were really still attached to it. Currently Spring begins on the Vernal Equinox, around March 20th, when the sun appears to be over the equator and the day is about as long as the night. Big deal. You won’t find any eBay material there.

So let’s keep Spring, but that shit ends April 22nd, the day Yard Sale Season begins. April 22nd is Earth Day, and yard saling is a perfect “Reduce Reuse Recycle” activity. Plus it gives everyone a chance to do a little Spring cleaning, which is where all the crap comes from in the first place.

Think of it like this. Spring cleaning is like a seed from a flower that will germinate into a healthy yard sale in a few short weeks. Without Spring Cleaning Season, we wouldn’t have Yard Sale Season. And without Yard Sale Season, Summer would be spent at camp without any new board games or dishes. It’s an important part of the cycle of life, and I’m glad we’ve agreed we need a fifth season.

April 28, 2007

Garage Life


This is in my garage. I spent most of the evening down there melting plastic blobs together, organizing my saws, and playing with a handful of driftwood sticks. I love the garage. It is like having a cave to play in. A cave with a secret door. I really really enjoy being out of the sun but in the fresh air. A garage.

There’s an art show my friend Paul Fresina told me about. Here’s my plan:


This is Driftwood vs. Driftplastic.
Driftplastic isn’t really a word. Since there is more plastic floating up on Ocean Beach in San Francisco than there is wood, let’s get familiar with it.

The driftwood has been partially burned, and it looks beautiful. I don’t think the plastic looks as beautiful. Is that why we still call driftplastic “garbage”? It’s lack of beauty?

Anyway, the plan. Melt the plastic together with a blow torch and hang the blob on the wall next to the chunk of driftwood. I’m trying to make the point that we have too much plastic floating around in the environment, and it’s not going to age as well as organic matter.

We don’t call driftwood garbage. driftwood.jpg

America: Starving For Fuel


April 26, 2007

Fashion Show


Last night I was behind the scenes at a fashion show for CCA, California College of Art, working as the announcer. I practiced a bit for it. It went well.

While I was living in L.A. last year, I got an audition for a bit part on an episode of “America’s Next Top Model”. The rehearsal was in Tyra’s office even. Her personal office, with sliding glass doors that opened onto the roof top deck and had a gorgeous view of Hollywood.


I was awful. I was supposed to play the part of a lecherous photographer who tried to get the model to do a nasty pose. I was terrified. “Wooden” is how they describe a performance like the one I turned in.

These girls are putting black gaffers tape on the soles of their shoes, so the model won’t damage them on the runway and the designer can return them after the show. Who knew?

But it’s not a bad memory. When I think I can jump in and do anything, I like to remember that. Some things take practice.

I realized I loved seeing girls with their hair rolled up.

Practice Makes Perfect


April 25, 2007

Death And The Devil.


April 24, 2007

Meet the Richmonds


A lot of people think “anal sex” when they think “San Francisco”. That or the Golden Gate Bridge. I have lived in San Francisco for more than six years, almost entirely “in the avenues”, as it is called. That’s the two neighborhoods that abut the Pacific Ocean – either The Sunset or The Richmond. Combined, “the avenues” are thought of as a suburb of stucco homes with no distinction other than being close to a cold ocean hidden by constant fog.

The real action in San Francisco happens along The Bay. The Financial District (rich & white), The Mission (poor and Latino), The Castro (rich & white & gay), The Tenderloin (poor & Black), Chinatown (poor & Chinese). Sidewalks with trash, hawkers, hustlers and noise. Where the beat goes on. Where stereotypes linger. Where they’re livin’ for the city.

I used to be bummed out about my digs. The Richmond. People weren’t poor. There were no hipsters out here. No hot girls in boots with pointy toes and pointy heals, wrinkles of leather cascading around their ankles, skin tight jeans, tight blue-zebra-print boat-neck three-quarter-sleeve shirts revealing their leather belts…no record store, no thrift store, no bums on the street. I wasn’t surrounded by young people reviving the 1980’s. Was i even in a city? At 28 years old and coming from New Hampshire, I wanted more.

I’m writing today to tell you that I’ve made peace with The Richmond. It’s mostly families out here, middle-aged Russian men hop the fence to get into the high school fields and play soccer, Asian women walk backwards up the hills with two small sacks of vegetables, a few black high school kids wait for the bus to take them home, and white guys like me sit by the living room window watching it all as we use our computers. None of the hustle that comes at the feet of skyscrapers. But I’m in The City. I’m in San Francisco.

That means people might not be particularly ghetto or hip, weird or flashy in my neighborhood, but they won’t call you a fag if you are. Folks are excited that things change, that new ideas come along. That is the real thrill of San Francisco, no matter what neighborhood you’re in. You can do your thing. This city let’s you be yourself. Even in the avenues.

In New Hampshire, you’d be called a fag for any behavior that wasn’t totally normal. Being called fag was a bad thing. Even if you were. Even if you weren’t. After six years in San Francisco, call me a fag. I don’t care. Even if I am. Even if I’m not. Right on, bud. I’ll be down at the beach metal detecting.

Actually I won’t. Not after yesterday. What a disaster. Baker Beach, the clothes optional cove a few blocks away seemed like a potential gold mine. With people stripping down, lots of change, watches and jewelry was sure to get lost in the sand. I kept my pants on and fired up the Ace 150 and was instantly bombarded by sounds similar to the floor at Harrah’s Reno. DING!!! DING!!! DING!!! DING!!!
I swung the plate back and forth to pinpoint the vein but the entire beach was reading like two inches below the sand a base of loose change had washed ashore. My little Ace has three metal settings – All Metals – Jewelry – Coins.

I switched through the options and it looked like I was standing on all three. I kicked back some sand with my foot expecting to find a wrecked antique steal hull steam ship that had been carrying coins from the San Francisco mint and containers of gold nuggets from Sutter’s Mill.

Each metal setting will give a different tone in the headphones, so I had a triad chord hammering away in my ears until I finally lifted my machine high enough off the ground to silence it. My father had told me that charcoal can give false readings, and there were remains of beach fires as fresh as last night scattered in the sand. I hadn’t realized how bad it would mess with the search for treasure, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going back to the beach to hunt treasure.

I’m going to a ghost town. In the meantime, I’m going to spend a little more time exploring my neighborhood. Stop wishing I was living somewhere else. Because The Richmond kills it.

Maybe I’m boring. They say Metal Detecting is the worlds most boring sport. Really? I suppose those same people think bigfoot hunting is boring too. Sure, there’re long stretches of waiting, but when you spot a Yeti, when the Yeti attacks your camp one night, when you fight for your life with an abomidable snow-creature standing 8 foot 9, ask yourself: “Am I bored?”

It’s the same with metal detecting. Maybe I find bottle caps and rusty pipes most days, but someday, someday, I’m gonna unearth a chunk of gold the size of a Yugo. And I won’t be bored while I wait.

April 22, 2007

There is a movie called Angel, and this is a song about that movie.
Thank you Dave Luzius, for reminding us how important Angel is.

Can songs have sequels?


April 21, 2007


April 20, 2007

The Richmond District. San Francisco. California. Hell-Of Sick.


My friend works at this church down the street. His name is Douglas Freedman and he operates the movie projector during church services. This is the same equipment used in old time movie theaters.

I have not seen the movies and Doug will not tell me what they are about. He has told me there is an orchestra, and they play spaced out jams on a drum set made of crystals, giant vibraphones where the shortest key is five feet long and the stick is large as a Chinese Emperor gong, and a choir that sounds like a cross between Tibetian throat singers and Yoko Ono at her weirdest.

April 19, 2007

Coin Shootin’


Coin shootin’ is how you call metal detectin’. Mostly though I’m lookin’ fer gold. This here is a Garret Ace 150. Jus’ an interductry model. My pop sent it to me, got it this mornin’. Came with a little plastic sun visor you can see strapped on my forehead.

Took it in the back yard and found some pennies I ‘membah huckin’ out my window last time I swep’ up. I’d like to thank my father at this time for sendin’ it along. ‘Preciate it.

Angel Over Brooklyn


April 18, 2007

Crown Hardware Carries the Heart Wrench!



“Does it break your heart when you see how much plastic Americans throw away every day? Does your heart feel crushed when you realize the stuff will never biodegrade? The Heart Wrench can help! Get off the chemical dependence of synthetics with natural products!”

copy from the Heart Wrench card.

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