2/18/2011 Power Axe, Marnie Stern, Tera Melos

It was a Friday.  Los Angeles. Marnie Stern and Tera Melos at the Echo.  The desire to proceed was unprecedented and undeniably real.  Into the great wide peerless sky catapulted like dead skin born and freed from the lays and attachment of body, accompaniment, response and responsibility;  three approached a new kindle of aural magnitude unseen.

Blistered in rain the journey began.   Smog skies waved us onward.  A blind vestige of impenetrable waves batted again and again.  Streaking and streaking by and by. Pavement gripped at cautious speed. Danger ever present,  weaving through cascading downpours and shitty drivers. A dense ball, liquid to the touch,  impossible to trek without the weathered assault on high,  pulsating droplets unceasing, Los Angeles shifting endlessly like a homeless man in high mental failure.  The streets held no meaning.  Narrow corridors threatened to swallow us whole.  But beyond all reason we arrived…

At the gay bear’s night? What the hell is this shit? Unforeseen circumstances.  The show was not at the Echoplex but at the echo upstairs. Fuck. We all enumerate our frustrations vividly and loudly. fuck fuck fuck. The rain continues like a cold shower set to “no where to hide.” Making our way up a hobo piss staircase we race drenched but spirited.

The Echo at last.  Recovering as we make our way in tickets in hand,  the familiar bursting bass of a live show pounds the air molecules.  We enter.  Pretentious, righteous, musical, ridiculous, nerdy, random, intelligent. The crowd shares many shades of fandom.  An air of smugness.  My kind of crowd.  At the center of bar/ venue, the tiny stage would meld both musician and listener into one.

POWER AXE.  Only half way into their set but they had something unreal about them. Having only seen and heard poor recorded videos of them, I could only expect the least of anything.  Instead, an internal combustion engine of a band thumping at the burrows nerding within greeted.  Reminiscent of an NES dungeon hulking out of an old wooden 80’s television to destroy the world of man, Power Axe kicked all sorts of ass.

MARNIE STERN. Holy shit. What amazing talent. What soul. What beauty.  I have always loved Marnie Stern’s music every since I heard

This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That.

Yes. Fucking awesome album. Anyways.  What could be said about this performance can hardly be said because well you had to be there.

TERA MELOS. The concluding band.  Firstly I have to say, Tera Melos is unlike anything I’ve previously heard.  This band is a like a group of lost time travelers, far beyond the scope and worth of this age.  Seriously its like listening to something so constantly ahead of the mental process it immerses and permeates the neuro kinetic barriers trying to sway the hypnotic delivery that surgically stalks the brainial hemispheres; striding towards the cortex.  A virus. subliminally unstoppable.  Only the clinically unresolved invalid capsule of humanity wonders “what?”

Akin to a million childhoods, reruns, and wierd moments, Tera Melos has no comparative equal.

And thus ended our night.  Astoundingly wet.  But gratified by what was. what will come. A paradox circling like wolves ready. hungry. Wide eyed without thought, driven by instinct. Running on pure adrenaline.


native foods / palm springs

pat’s day off, where to go? what to do? after going through palm springs on the way to the hike a few weeks ago, we decided we wanted to spend the day walking around and windowshopping. so, alas, it was an easy decision! the local vegan reataurant, Native Foods, also helped convince us. we got there a little early, walked around, ended up not being able to wait, and got a seat at the restaurant. Cameron and Kevin got the gandhi bowl and the hollywood bowl — along with sides of steamed kale and sweet potato fries — with the intention of sharing, as well as some hot tea. pat got a burger (noticing a trend here…) and watermelon juice.
the drinks arrived first:

tea! mmm.


after a bit of a wait, it ended up being just time to eat when our food was served, so we were quite happy we showed up a bit early.

and then it was chow time.

after eating, we walked around and checked out the shops, pat got some snide comments about his hair, and we found a starbucks. coffees in hand, some serious windowshopping ensued; it was a very nice day.

we headed out just as the evening snuck in.

The definition of being Vegan

Lately I’ve been asked what being vegan actually encompasses.  Of course its obvious traits include a plant based diet (whole foods optional) and also taking on a non animal product stance if desired (planning on doing over time, so poor). That includes clothing, make-up, whatever.

But thats its official meaning.

Every word, I believe, holds its own precious meanings to the person expressing it. Its associations in experience, usage and interpretation.

Vegan. Its a word that holds alot of weight nowadays.  It resembles something so extreme. so powerful. Religious you could say. But to me its more of a promise. Yes it is a lifestyle in every aspect in basic terms, but its deeper effect that ties into everything we do gives it momentum.  From our daily meals to the sustainability of the environment to the very fabric of a our moral and existential consciousness that weaves us together as a whole. Being a vegan is more than just being healthy, its more than just being morally right, its more than being human.  Its a response to the injustice in the world that have been perpetuated generations long.

A promise.

Its a promise to the children of tomorrow that they might have the chance to live a better healthier life full of the diversity of nature.

To live guilt free of the burdens of man made extinction, environmental exhaustion, human corruption, animal abuse, and lethargic living.

To have a world full of beauty that lasts and lasts.  I think that is the epitome of being a vegan. A standard that holds no nationality or origin but blankets humanity as a whole. A promise not to live better, but to give better lives for those to come.

Yes the picture above has no relevance to anything.

-red mage

tahquitz canyon

clouds roll in wistfully on the morning of our planned hike; we greet the weather with appreciation… and coats. brr.

we cook up some quick and easy pita sandwiches.

  • 2 whole wheat pita
  • 4 (or more) mushrooms
  • 6 (or more) thinly sliced strips of tempeh
  • a few thin slices of diced tomato (optional)
  • paprika
  • mixed herbs
  • bragg liquid aminos
  • red leaf or romaine lettuce
  • red pepper hummus

wash and slice the mushrooms, slice tempeh, (and tomato, if you wish,) and place in a pan over medium heat. add a dash of paprika over top, and whatever herbs you like, and cook until everything softens. spray generously with bragg liquid aminos (to taste).

in a separate pan, (or in the same, if it’s large enough,) heat your pitas up until they are warm. wash lettuce thoroughly, pat dry, set aside. open pitas, spread with about 1 or 2 tsp of hummus per pita half. stuff with the cooked mushroom/tempeh, and then some big leafy pieces of lettuce. (the more, the better!!)

they fall apart a bit, nature of the whole wheat pitas, i suppose. but they sure are delicious, and good warm and cold.


so with food on hand, and cameras gathered and loaded up, we head out. tahquitz canyon is located right in palm springs, so it’s not a far drive at all… however, still quite difficult to locate. eventually, we find it.

the clouds and burned off, and the weather is comfortably warm, so we shed our coats and equip ourselves with cameras. a brief stop at the visitor center, and bathrooms, and we’re on the trail.

we look down upon the valley from which we just ascended.

the river is full from snow run-off, we flank it as we continue along the trail.

we cross it multiple times, walking upon both its banks.

we sit by the water to eat our lunch.

the mountains tower above us, as if erected to humble the clouds with their caress.

the sun peaks higher yet over the crags.

we found relics of old waterways further down the path.

kevin finds a gnarled piece of driftwood; some sort of magic wand? scroll down to see its cameo.

our meandering trail turns suddenly into stairs.

creepy grottos of trees act as sentries, motioning us in with outspread arms.

the river grows deeper and louder, it roars past us in a hurry to get to an unbeknownst destination.

a rickety metal bridge extends out over the river, warnings aptly posted.

the path curves around a bend, a sheer wall of rock hugs the right side of the path, water seeps from its cracks.

the desert air gives way to moisture-laden breaths, the sun departs somewhere behind the walls of granite; the temperature drops, and the trees are clad modestly with leaves from the year passed above our heads.

the waterfall sits before us, going contentedly about its business.

rocks built up like dams around us, polished smoothly by years of swells.

it’s not long before cameron has her shoes off, trying eagerly to brave the icy waters of snow run-off.

after about 5 minutes of hopping, splashing, and skittering around, the water is not getting any warmer, and cameron, cold yet satisfied satisfied, but having enough of this masochism, decides to get her shoes back on.

kevin walks out upon the rocks over the water, having the common sense to, of course, not stand in it.

we linger, tiredness remedied by the rhythmic repetition of the crashing water.

it grows darker yet, and we must begin to head back.

we chase the hurriedly receding sunlight.

we spend not a moment neglecting to take in the beauty of this place.

the canyon parts outwards towards the valley, however it is unimpressive in retrospect to what we have seen that now lies behind us.

we head back on an opposite trail; new sights are seen, the sun at our backs.

late light paints golden the mountainsides; the water slows, its voice now only a whisper to the evening.

magic stick cameo… looking quite limp in this picture, but truly, its quite impressive. the driftwood.

the canyon lies behind us now, the sun set in its embrace.

we make our way back to the car.

the clouds blow in, and on the way home, it begins to rain.

ultimately, a lovely conclusion to a lovely day.

music and real food… daily

january 29, deerhoof, the echoplex.

we head out in the afternoon, making sure we have enough time to grab lunch. we aren’t sure if we’ll still have our hunger with us after having to sit in pat’s car the whole drive (little microbial forests grow inside the cupholders) but we somehow manage. an average amount of traffic later, we find a parking a bit away and walk over to real food daily. it’s not too busy in there, and the crowd seems a bit more down to earth than the last time we stopped here. the locals must have other things to do on a saturday night?

regardless, we had our expectations set high after experiencing the wonder of their pooh bear and christopher robin last time around; another amazing monthly special salad.

boasting curry sauce, baby greens, cashews, spiced tofu, currants, apples, and basmati rice, the road to new delhi seemed like the obvious choice. we got the 10-piece nori maki for the three of us to share, and pat got the burger with the works. (they took no chances with misnomers on this burger.)

our drinks are up first; pat gets a rootbeer and kevin and cameron get the house blend kukicha tea. mmm… starting the meal off right.

next up… eats! food is brought over in a timely manner, and it looks amazing. pat assembled his burger, and kevin and cameron start with a roll of nori maki.

then jump to the salad.

then comes the food-ADD, when everything is so incredibly and unfathomably flavorful that you aren’t sure what to eat next, so you just jump from one to another, too determined to talk about it, but sharing lots of “mmm”-noises, because one can still make those without ceasing chewing.

pat becomes territorial of his aptly named burger, and denies cameron a picture…

but she manages. really, it’s under there… somewhere. this is just a pat-sized potion of food.

surprisingly, we actually made the meal last, and it was delicious. we paid, and tipped, and drank the rest of our tea, and were off. the rest of the evening involved periodical reminiscing about dinner while strolling around awaiting the doors to open for the show. a little after 8:30, they open the doors, and we enter, cameraless. (denied our press passes)

regardless, the show was awesome; ben butler and mousepad opened, a synth and drum duo, which ended up being pretty crazy. deerhoof followed, and it turned out to be a very awesome show, and a very awesome night, all in all.

Respect. Responsibility. Peace. Why the fuck not?

By Red Mage

Alright. So this has been on my mind for a good couple of weeks. Its something that ever since I’ve turned to vegan-ism has been haunting me more and more. I ask, should I feel guilty about the actions of others? specifically speaking here, I’m talking about the abuse and use of animals. Food. Clothing. Product. It seems like they are our eternal tools, slaves to our grand scheme. Their backs and bones, bodies obliterated in rending machines, the structure of our diets and liveliness. Its been around for thousands and thousands of years. human carnivore-ism. But today’s world, where we want peace and equality, justice for all, freedoms and what not, stands ridiculously hypocritical when what we eat and wear is imprinted with death. The foundation of eating and wearing animals is grossly morbid and considerably despicable almost to the point where it could be considered evil. Yet here we are where the entire populous eats affluently, not seeing, hearing, or smelling the things they put in their mouths. Not even questioning the cleanliness or value of it. Or even it’s origin.

As Americans we have always depended upon animals. Culturally our American lifestyle has been rooted in the flesh of others. Eggs. Bacon. Milk. Thanksgiving diner. Christmas diner. Mcdonalds. 49c tacos. Carne Asada. CHICKEN NUGGETS. It’s all very appetizing but all so morally objectionable. I want to believe that others have the sense and intelligence to question their daily processes. Overwhelming evidence of Factory Farms pushing unsustainable amounts of meat. Farmland spanning acres and acres to grow crops to feed those whose sole purpose is to die. Calves killed so that their milk can be our milk. Chickens overstimulated to grow abnormally big. E.coli infested beef. Animals drowning in their own shit and butchered still covered in it. Its nothing new, but from these eyes, this mind, I’ve only recently realized the futility of man’s greed, man’s folly.

‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’
Genesis 1:26

And here I am quoting the bible. Some would take that interpretation and call it God’s Permission for us to take whatever we want. I don’t understand that. Animals have been around long before Mankind. What? Where they waiting for us to come and devour them? Are we some sort of locust, some sort of expansionary invasive species set to plague the Earth? Perhaps. But in optimistic terms we are the keepers of the Earth; heralds of nature. What exactly makes us better than the dumb, stupid, or ignorant? Nothing at all. We all move, we all feel. We don’t consider newborns lesser people. Indeed like newborns, are those weaker and lesser than us to be taken care of? Is it not our responsibility? OUR DOMINION? OUR FAMILY?

Responsibility. It’s something that’s only recently become a global need to do. Demands for true democracy in the Arab states. Bipartisanship(I guess lol). Health care. Financial Reform. Gay and Lesbian rights. And I think most importantly of all dietary and moral awareness and responsibility. Sure veganism and vegetarianism is a very tiny tiny percentage of the western world, but so was Christianity, scientific thought, cleanliness, women’s suffrage, civil rights, and others at one point.

I’m not gonna go preaching the benefits of a vegan diet. Or how Humans are natural Vegetarians and not carnivores or even omnivores. Because that’s hardly the point.

THE POINT IS. where do morals lay in all this mass slaughtering? because it is mass slaughtering. billions every year. What peace is there when our stomaches are lined red with gravestones? The double standard of having death everyday on your plate but not wanting death. It’s unnervingly frightening what we do daily, all the more so because it is entirely UNNECESSARY. The effort it takes to kill is less than to grow. Why kill when you can grow? Why cut when you can pick? Why destroy when you can create? It’s the very basis of an advanced spiritually civilized people transgressing, transcending past the vices of ignorance and hatred. Non-violence. constraint. humbleness. acceptance. understanding. PEACE. peace for gods sake.

why are we killing ourselves? Because killing comes naturally; breakfast, lunch and dinner. A subconscious dive into accepting the right to have death every day. So why shouldn’t we have it wherever we go? on the go? against who we want or what we want. Its like respect doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Respect. why not? why not give it a go. It’s the only thing that makes any sense in this world. Respect begets respect. Yet many fail to respect the life that’s been taken; no longer anything but “meat” no more an animal. horrible yet true. The same vein goes for killing humans. No longer human but a corpse. whats the difference between a corpse and meat?

And I ask Internally again. Should I feel guilty about the actions of others? The answer is yes. The systematic world holds no outsiders. The dead hold no words but speak through their absence. Neutrality brings nothing but sorrow and tragedy for the victim and the victims to come.
And that is why I am posting this. Respect. Responsibility. Peace. Why the fuck not?