"Money's just something you throw from the back of a train." - Tom Waits
Living from paycheck to paycheck, entirely broke, spending what little money I have on records, beer, books, and records...
Folks with money tend to cherish their stuff. Things they can cradle and coo at and adore and be proud of. Those of us who do without tend to cherish moments, memories, friends. A sweeping generalization, and I'll not rescind it.
Tim and I discussed this while sitting on milk crates and drinking coffee tonight. We agreed that milk crates, punk rock, coffee, and the company of friends are some of the greatest gifts we've been given. We watched skateboarders thrash the quarter pipe, listened to London Calling, and I sighed that I couldn't be more content for that single moment.
There are people from my high school class who have families, who have real jobs in hospitals, law firms, vacation agencies. They could look down their nose at me all they want, at my lack of a "proper" education, my complete financial insecurity, stacks of bills, broken bones, bad tattoos... They could pity me 'til Kingdom Come, but I'm pretty sure I'd still feel sorrier for them. I've done and seen things these past few years that some of them will never see or do in their entire life, and without spending any money, but just following my heart and playing a guitar or two. We live the life that comes natural to us. We know of no other way.
Yeah, I'm still playing music in a stupid punk rock band, hanging out with my best friends every chance I get. Every day is Friday, every season Summer. I'm doing exactly what my teachers were afraid I was going to do, and I couldn't be happier. The things that are important to me are family, friends, community, art, love, freedom. I'm not going to let the motherfuckers and the chickenshits and all the other bastards win, ever. My feet are planted, my hands are spread, and my eyes gaze towards glory; inner, above, and beyond.
In the summer of 2004, I drove to San Diego (from Kansas City, MO) with a friend. It was a spontaneous trip; we had no money, no plan, no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Two weeks later, two weeks spent in shitty motels, a car that kept overheating in the 115 degree Arizona heat, and several fast food parking lots (once money ran out), I returned to the green, green grass of home a changed man. I consider this trip one of the most important times of my life.
It was also the first time I have been to California since being born there in 1984. I wept at the sight of the sand dunes and Pacific Ocean.
Recently, I found a mix cd that I made just prior to the trip. If I remember correctly, the plan was to wait until we had crossed the border into California to dramatically pop this into the car's stereo. That moment was about 11 o'clock at night, just outside of Yuma, AZ, in the Colorado Desert (Imperial County).
Here, unabridged, regardless of any embarrassing inclusions, is the track listing to the cd.
01. Sound clip from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
02. Rancid - "California Sun"
03. Transplants - "California Babylon"
04. Rancid - "Hyena"
05. Choking Victim - "Crack Rock Steady"
06. Eve 6 - "Open Road Song"
07. Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - "Johnny Appleseed"
08. Kottonmouth Kings - "Bump"
09. Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards - "Campbell, CA"