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

January 31, 2009

i got crabs

There’s a big long pier that puts you about two hundred yards out over the Pacific Ocean and people crab fish from it as the waves break and boogie boarders in half inch thick wetsuits try to find a wave to catch. You’re looking at the crab “hook”. It’s a bit of chicken and squid in a homemade wire trap with a bit of blue wire turned back on itself like a slip knot. The crab gets a leg in the large circle and when it leaves, the wire tightens around the appendage. Like this…

Here it is, an unlucky lady caught in the snare. She was thrown back. Too small.

This one cuts the mustard, just made it big enough to throw in a pot.

January 30, 2009

uploading the zines

This old zine Sean and I made in 1995 just got posted to my zines section. I tried to get it done last night but I went to bed instead.

January 27, 2009

the dow dropped trou…

Hard times, like jerking off the cat just to feed the dog. Things ain’t easy. Then my old pal from the junk mail factory gets laid off. It’s like Mom kickin’ you down the steps…it hits home. I guess if you’re still workin’ you could stop by his site and download a tune or buy a cd or somethin’.

January 26, 2009

i picked a bad day to quit drinking wine

photo posted from my iPhone
It’s good to be back at work…

Close shave

photo posted from my iPhone
I bought an old fashioned straight razor. Don’t ever rush the job with one of those.

facebook is great for moms

First I joined friendster, then everyone moved to myspace, and then along came facebook. It wasn’t until this last social network appeared that people really started finding me out of the blue. Computers aren’t geeky anymore. Working moms, stay at home moms, high school jocks, classmates just out of prison, they’re all on facebook.

I remember when I had an Angelfire email account years ago, Classmates.com would roll out the banner ads all the time. It seemed like a great idea, but it costs money to contact people who have put up profiles. I didn’t care that much. Just stopped by their site and they are charging $39 a year for complete access (to be able to contact other profiles, etc.)

Classmates has been around since 1995 so they aren’t completely stupid, but I would have to believe their days are numbered. Here’s a quote from the CEO Micheal Shutzler back in 2002:

“We’re not changing any business paradigm. The myth in the early days…was that information on the Internet wanted to be free, and the consumer won’t want to pay for anything. Somehow, you’d make money. (Classmates.com) grew painfully slowly…a couple of years ago, we had 5 or 6 million names in the database. Then came the collapse of inflated advertising rates. We had a product that was compelling and had an opportunity to acquire new customers at an economically viable price. ”

I wonder how this guy feels about facebook, which offers everything classmates does, but for free – and has about 1000 times more growth. I enjoy being part of the generation that has watched the internet develop. I can already say, “Kids these days don’t know how easy they have it. We used to have to rely on class reunions to find out who got fat and who got rich.”

As a former class president, I ought to organize an online reunion. But I was impeached for a reason – I didn’t do my job. So you won’t find me on Classmates, and there I am on facebook, adding friends but not really sure why.

January 25, 2009

it’s prettier in real life

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco side

love is chemical dependence

Oxytocin. Don’t let a gold digger get her hands on some. Or the guy who buys Spanish Fly through mail order companies in the back of Hustler. It’s the love drug. Along with vasopressin, oxytocin is the chemical your body releases during orgasm, (and childbirth, for women). It’s part of what makes you want to bond to another person.

Sometimes I don’t want to bond to my partner. There’s a whole world out there full of back alleys and bars where you can get into a lot of trouble. But my girlfriend and I are eating dinner and watching a movie, so the excitement passes me by. Instead of scoring some coke in the men’s room and getting in the cab with strangers to party in a loft down by the strip clubs, I’m offering to wash if she dries. Then we’re gonna watch Benjamin Button.

Who are these people that get married? I’ve seen my parents. Each still on their first marriage. It seems to involve television. Is there a study on how many marriages that appliance has saved? Let’s face it. You wake up, go to work, come home and eat, then it’s about time for bed. It can’t be too hard to stay married, you hardly see the other one. You see your work mates more than your spouse. You have a little sex, some natural drug washes through your system and you decide to stay married another night. Oxytocin. One day at a time.

As my parents both know, I was born on the fourth of July. That is one good reason I am so into independence. That, and I bought into the mystique of a lone cowboy, a wandering martial arts master, and a writer living high on a lonely mountain ridge in a fire tower. Archetypes of freedom.

To perfect a craft requires isolation, and I want to be the best. America asks no less of her citizens. The American dream is to leave your family and head west, alone across the prairies, killing wild game in the snowy mountains and wrapping your feet in their fur, then descending down the western slope of the Sierra Nevada’s and staking a claim in California gold country. Alone and young. Soon to be rich.

Meanwhile I’m also supposed to be married and working hard, too. That’s the other America. I threw in with the low oxytocin kids and took off west. I’m getting older and it still doesn’t seem important to get married. But breaking up is hard to do. You can read the 8 page New York Times article I did, and tell me if I got it wrong: men suffer from lust, and women love to be desired.

I got lust in my heart. Which is a real motivator for staying single. My girlfriend, she likes to be desired. Ladies, tell me if I’m wrong, but being desired doesn’t need a sex act to be fulfilled. Not like lust does.

I’m not a science writer for the New York Times, but look at it like this. It’s easy to stay in a relationship if guys are yelling “Nice ass” out the window at you. You know you’re desired, and you can go home to your mate and he’ll stroke your thighs and kiss your mouth. But that lust is a ball breaker. Yelling, “Nice ass” isn’t enough. I wanna know where that ass lives, where she works, I wanna buy her a drink, I want to have sex with her. My body is telling me to try. But I gotta go to my girlfriends place instead. I’m gonna do laundry.

People wonder why bad relationships last so long. Couples develop chemical dependencies, that’s why. Your girlfriend is your high. Jesus didn’t have the vocabulary for it, but he was warning people pre-marital sex was a recipe for disaster. Hearts get broken. God gets cursed. Jesus says “Don’t do it.” He’s trying to protect his fathers name.

My lady and I have been going through a few rounds of breaking up and making up, and we’re trying to figure it all out. She’s a beautiful woman, smart and fun. She cares about me, I care about her. I just think back to some words of wisdom from my old friend Rusty Sunshine.

“I don’t care who she is, after ten years, twenty years, you’re gonna get tired of fucking the same woman.”

God damn. Is there really ever an answer in science? I need an anti-lust drug so I can concentrate on one woman and start getting some housework done.

January 23, 2009

home improvement

photo posted from my iPhone

This is what the living room has looked like for too long. So I got a bunch of old lath (the stuff these old San Franciscan homes were made out of before sheetrock was invented) and nailed it to the wall. That’s what being unemployed does for you.

January 21, 2009

being on the other side of the truck

photo posted from my iPhone

Aaron is the white dude sitting on the curb. Those are day laborers standing behind him. They’re all in the parking lot at Home Depot in Colma, California, just outside of San Francisco. Novemeber and December were incredibly slow for Aaron, a self employed landscaper and San Franciscan native.

“I figured, I’m just as broke and hungry as these guys, why not?” Aaron says. It wasn’t so easy, he found out.

“Turned out to be an oppressive situation, being a minority of one. At first they were happy to see me, they thought I was a contractor gonna hire them. Then they realized I was looking for work too. A lot of those guys were not cool. I don’t speak a lot of Spanish, but I could tell they were talking shit about me. And I saw a lot of racism in the contractors. ‘You’re a white boy, you shouldn’t be out here,’ they’d say to me. No one could accept a white guy doing day labor. I could see contractors looking at me, but they wouldn’t hire me. I asked one guy why not. ‘You probably cost too much,’ he said.”

According to Aaron and others I’ve talked to, the hourly rate for straight labor jobs, moving rubble, digging holes, that kind of labor, is 12 bucks an hour. Other guys postion themselves as painters and charge $15 or more an hour. Guys who claim to be experienced carpenters might charge $20 an hour.

“They might be experienced in their country, but building materials and building codes are different. Maybe they build with pine, which is really soft, and to be safe in earth quake prone Bay Area, you’d have to make a 4 by 6 work where a 2 by 4 would normally go. They use recycled cement in Mexico too, which requires more water. If you put four times too much water in our cement, it’s gonna fail. Not right away, but in a few weeks it’ll crack all over.”

Aaron showed up at 6:30 am the first morning, one of the earliest on the scene. He waited ten hours without getting any work. He was back again the next day. Still no luck. “Some of those guys drink or smoke weed on the side while they wait. One guy tried to get me high, but I was like, ‘No way. I’m standing out here because I need to work, not because I wanna get high.'”

He carried a backpack full of tools with him and a portfolio of work he’d done. It wasn’t until six hours into the third day of hanging around the parking lot that someone finally gave him a job – painting a living room and bathroom.

“I felt like an omen . ‘Now Americans are doing this? Uh oh. Shit must be getting bad.'”

Aaron talked about being embarrassed to see people he’d worked for in the past seeing him stand out there. There was also an attitude among the day laborers that he was encroaching on the immigrants gig. They’d staked that turf out for years and didn’t want a white guy moving in.

“A lot of my friends are mixed race, and they all say they don’t feel like they’re accepted by any group. If they are black/white mixed, blacks don’t think they’re black, whites don’t think they’re white. That’s kinda how I felt. I was looking for work, but workers wouldn’t accept me, and I’ve been a contractor, but the contractors wouldn’t hire me. No one wanted to see a white guy standing out there.”

January 20, 2009

it’s a hard way if don’t nobody lend you a hand

Here’s a spliced together interview with a guy selling Obama t-shirts in front of a grocery store when I was in New Orleans a few months ago.

Take a listen totrueplayers and learn the difference between pimps, players and true players.

Dr. King and Barack

It’s skate or die time for America
From an Al Jazeera article: “(MLK) fought his whole life against the forces of militarism and economic exploitation, while (Obama) empowers, and is empowered by, bankers and militarists…

If the Obama-ites had more presence of mind, they would avoid comparisons with Dr King, which can only redound to Obama’s great detriment.

King’s break with his one-time ally, Lyndon Johnson, the former president, set the standard for both political and moral behaviour.

When it became clear that the war on poverty, a programme of government aid to help the poor in the mid-1960s, was doomed by the war in Vietnam, which acted “like some demonic destructive suction tube,” devouring all available resources, King publicly declared against the war.

In doing so, he severed what had been the most productive relationship between a US president and a black leader in US history.

But the war gave him no choice, since military expenditures made “rehabilitation” of the American poor impossible.

Both morality and politics led to the same conclusion: the movement could not coexist with war.”

So let’s not forget there is still a War on Terror and we are fighting that war in Afghanistan. Mr. President is committing more troops to the region. The next four years aren’t gonna be a party. Shouldn’t we try to finish the War on Poverty before we proceed with Afghanistan?


At 9:30 this morning while checking email, I heard Obama’s voice out on the street, like he was driving around on the back of a pick up stumping. It was just the garbage man with his radio turned up loud enough to hear the speech as he got out and collected bins from the street. This president means a lot to people.

classics in turkish

If you need a copy of the best movie ever, overdubbed in Turkish and recorded in Beta format, give a call.

January 19, 2009

the NOW industry

I am from the future. My jet pack is biodegradable. Sub-zero emissions on my way to work. Moon boots at the antique store fetch thousands. I wish I was born in the old days. I would like to throw my garbage in a bucket. Drink unfiltered water. Brush my teeth with a tooth brush.

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