Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rainclouds and Cigarettes: Tigers, Tacos, and Texans


Writing feels like a chore tonight. Not because of any sort of exhaustion, real or imagined, physical or mental, but just a sort of general irritible apathy that arises at the thought of pushing this cheap pen across this cheap notebook.

Seems like my hardened distaste for Texas may be softening, though I've only been in the Lone Star State for a day. We stopped barely a mile past the Texas border at a rest stop that turned out, by the best sort of serendipity, to also be a visitor center for the Blue Elbow Swamp. We took a long walk on the wooden boardwalk, admiring the cypress and Spanish moss and turtles.

We arrived in Houston much earlier than expected, so we spent the day slouching around the beautiful Rice University campus, where the boys were slated to play a radio show later in the evening. We drank coffee and followed gorgeous college girls around for several warm hours, the surprisingly majestic Houston skyline rising above the dancing, stretching trees that were carefully planted along the grounds.

The show tonight was closed by a band called the Hates, who formed in 1978 and have been a fixture in the Houston punk scene ever since. The bass player wore a studded leather vest and knee-high mocassins, and spent much of the show lunging and spin-kicking like some sort of Nordic god, long hair tossed with the manic energy not seen in many musicians half his age. The singer and guitarist was of indiscernable ethnic origin, with a tall orange mohawk and a stage prescence that called to mind Joey Shithead, from DOA. The soundman, a polite older fella in a Stooges shirt who wore a small red metal vial of unknown content around his neck, informed me that this charismatic mohican was nearing sixty years old.

Side note: While still in Louisiana, we stopped in a ramshackle little town called Grosse Tete, where we saw several signs for a live tiger exhibit. The exhibit consisted of a single large cage, in which a solitary male tiger paced back and forth sullenly, paws treading a well-worn route about the enclosure. It smelled like shit, and was wholly depressing. A banner fastened to the cage read something like "SAVE THE TIGERS! HELP KEEP THE TIGERS IN GROSSE TETE." Fuck that. Set 'em free, and let 'em feast on the fatty pink flesh of their second-rate captors.

The women in Texas have been, thus far, beautiful. The beer is excellent, and the equally excellent Mexicano radio station played in the van all day. We ate asada tacos from a mobile taqueria for lunch, and deep fried tacos from Jack-in-the-Box for dinner. I'm all out of cigarettes.

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