Back in ’93 I graduated from college up at Humboldt State University with two very interesting, although useless degrees. I had worked as a groundskeeper on campus, putting myself through school, for three years though, so I did have some useful, albeit poorly paid skills. Got a job with this nut Tom Lindquist, a hell of a guy (who if you sweet talked enough didn’t mind taking the day off and going out on his boat [I use the term “boat” loosely] ocean fishing). Hell, one out of every three days it was pouring rain so we couldn’t work anyway. There was three of us on his work crew, the foreman Dan and my fellow grunt John. Hell of a job digging ditches (Tom rarely rented a trencher), shoveling rock (Tom rarely rented a skid loader) and hauling concrete with wheel barrows (Tom never rented a concrete pump). Probably the best shape I’ve ever been in my life, WORKED MY ASS OFF, although just about every day we were stoned and amped on meth. Most of the job sites were hell of far away from the shop (Tom’s house) so on the drive home the three of us would work on a 12 pack every night. Tom’s wife got pretty pissed one day when she saw all the empty beer cans in the back of the truck so Tom told us he wasn’t going to pay us for the drive home if we were going to be drinking beer. That was fine as long as it didn’t interrupt beer thirty. Anyway John and I got to be pretty good buds (maybe not that good, as I have no idea where he is today) working there, mainly because we car pooled back and forth to work (a 20 minute drive each way between Arcata and Trinidad). There’s two things I really remember about John. Dude was a huge fan of the movie Friday and could recite the movie from beginning to end (and you know how it is when you’re geetered out, it’s hard to keep your mouth shut). The other thing, was that he turned me onto the Jerky Boys. Anybody remember them? Their first record came out in 93′, John had it on cassette, so he and I would listen to that on the drives. Not sure what made them pop in my mind today, but I gave them a listen and it was good for a chuckle (much funnier when you’re high and 23, I think).
Last pothole of the day or maybe a tutorial in how to fill potholes? I’m giving them way too much credit and this idea has been beaten to death, as it’s no mystery that your average municipal type is a lazy fuck, but some things are always entertaining. I’ve worked for both the state of California and the city of Lemon Grove in grounds/public works so I have first hand experience. These guys appear to be from somewhere in Europe (just a feeling) so maybe it’s not just a US phenomenon. Based on my own experience, the guys that have some kind of tool in their hands or have perhaps found a shovel to lean on, have the right idea, you have to at least look ready to work. Some other pieces of advice…first, sunflower seeds, “spits”. If you don’t have those, you’ll be so bored that you’ll go from a one pack a day habit to 2-3. Another one…look pissed. It sets you apart from the other guys who just want to shoot the shit. You are not happy to be there and would rather be doing something good for your community…hahaha. Lastly, if you get the chance…volunteer for traffic control. Grab the “stop/slow” paddle, trade off between smokes and sunflower seeds, pretend you have authority and people watch (most of them are pissed off because you have inconvenienced them, but would be the first to complain if the road was not smooth as glass). My boss’ boss once told me that I needed to hold the paddle with authority and proceeded to give me a lesson on “effective” traffic control, it was pretty funny and from then on I mocked him by being a total clown. To this day I am a “total clown”.
By request from my bro Shawn, he saw this one in a pile of records I just got (this one for a buck). Saw the cover and knew I had to have it, if just to be teleported back to 1983. Anyone seen Strange Brew? Stupid question, because if you were around in ’83, and you knew what was fucking funny…you saw that movie. The scene in the shock therapy room…the padded room…the line up. Blah, blah, blah…if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about and if not go see it…eh. This little 7″ is interesting, the title track isn’t on the soundtrack, so I guess it’s just part of their continuing act. Despite having Geddy Lee (this is not a Rush tune) Take Off suffers badly from being stuck in everything that was lame about early 80’s pop music. I wouldn’t if I were you, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, but if you don’t believe me, give it a listen. Elron is cool, it’s a little bit thing, typical of their humor and I suppose if you need a simple lesson in morality it’s got some value there too. I think what I like most is the cover, it reminds me of laughing hard.
Take Off (featuring Geddy Lee) Elron McKenzie
Tried to find the official soundtrack to the movie, but no luck…did manage to find the ‘hit’ (yeah right) title track.
Ian Thomas – Strange Brew
Haven’t watched the whole thing in ages but I have a feeling it was funnier when I was stoned and 14.