Monday, March 31, 2014

Cascades 1977

Los Angeles, CA

Cascades of money. I've seen it before in Vegas. It's a pretty sight for sure. Pretty like a lazy sunset or a basket full of puppies. Money makes people do weird shit, yet people do even weirder shit with the money they earn for doing weird shit.

The art of forging checks is a slow moving dinosaur. Virtual pick-pockets is where the moolah is at these days. The modern-day Jesse James is a kid with a laptop siphoning off bitcoins from unsuspecting schmucks.

Ask any ensemble of digital malcontents and they'll agree that maybe this particular digital currency is a failed experiment, but another incarnation will pop up soon enough. That's the inevitable result when traditions are eroded by the winds of innovations

Close your eyes and acknowledge the obtuse malaise. Millions of people. Just waiting to die. Asses parked in the same spot. Flipping the channels. One by one. Counting the seconds. Until the top of the hour and the channels recycle themselves. Another hour of mindless entertainment to keep you distracted from the truth that you're doing everything to distract yourself from facing the reality that you're just waiting to die.

Dylan said it better. Not as clumsy. "He not busy being born is busy dying."

Manifestations of dreams. Prophesies becoming realities. Those thumpers know their audience.

Distortion of reality is a dangerous thing. It's the pipe dream that gets everyone out of bed in the morning or why Guitar Center stays in business, or why the creator of Final Draft software is raking in the dough.

The font was dated. Old. From the 1950s, but it seemed even older. From the Roaring 20s. Maybe even older. Before the turn of the century. The pages were smooth yet had a distinct aroma. Must. Dust. Decades just waiting to be opened and exposed to the world.

Like one of those hoses that easily wraps up and fits into your pocket. I wish I had a way to funnel my emotions with something that will never tangle, yet easy-to-store. The emotional hose. Sometimes I stumble upon someone's social media feed and it's like they've turned on 34,000 hoses from every fire truck in SoCal.

Neurotic ineptitude is a shoddy, yet popular excuse. Hear it all the time in one form or another. Never amazed at the abrasiveness of someone willing to lie to your face instead of admitting fault. That's why lawyers reside in McMansions. That's why duels should be legalized again. Nothing settles a score better than an old-fashioned shootout. Sure, there'd be an initial uptick in violence, but after that subsides, you'd settle into a comfortable world with fewer shit talkers. Because no chump wants to mouth off and angle shoot against someone ready to fire a kill shot at your genitals.

If the liars don't getcha, then the lightning will.

Solemnity of a stroll down the street at Midnight without worrying about a sneak attack from the shadow people... the beings that lurk in that "in between space" which is the middle ground between light and dark. The shadows are the DMZ... it's neither light, nor dark. It's both. Sort of the grey area... the middle of the proverbial battlefield.

A cynical gaze at the stale horizon. Like it's supposed to look better. We've been spoiled by filters. Maybe we can walk through the rest of life with the right filter. (Mine would be 1977.)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baseball Time, Seasons Change, and Jeter's Swan Song

Los Angeles, CA

It's time for baseball. The spring ushers in an atmosphere of hope and change and positivity. That is, until your team shits the bed and you realize they suck and it's gonna be a long-ass summer.

Anyway, I participated in a roundtable with my brother, StB, and JoeSpeaker. We chatted about the win totals for every team in MLB. We broke up the roundtable into two parts...

2014 AL Win Totals
2014 NL Win Totals

As a life-long Yankees fan, this is truly a weird year. It's the first spring without Mo Rivera. Which is to say, it's like the first day after you amputate a limb. It's also Derek Jeter's last year. I'm glad he'll get to take the field without that shitbag A-Roid. But it's going to be an arduous final summer for Jeter because the Yanks blow chunks.

Anyway, if you like to bet on baseball, then check out Ocelot Sports because we will be posting daily handicapping videos by Buffalo66. If you don't know, Buff66 is a pro sportsbettor and one of the most fear opponents in daily fantasy sports. He hasn't held a "real job" in over a decade (maybe more) so betting on games is how he pays his rent. He's not a tout and he never charges for his information. He's a legit fan who happens to put his money where his mouth is. Visit the site for daily picks, which we try to publish around 6pm ET every day, unless there's any day games, then we try to get something up by Noon ET.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sweet 16 Quake - 5.1M

Los Angeles, CA

Terrible timing. Two basketball games in the middle of crunch time. And then shit starts shaking. Felt like the longest quake I've ever experienced. Nothing too scary, except it wasn't stopping. Slow roll.

It was actually two quakes back-to-back, which is why it lasted that long.

Initially, the 20-30 instant aftershocks concerned me but I was also preoccupied with basketball. Can't believe the suits did not have the foresight to make sure both games do not end at the same time. Oh, and try to schedule an earthquake at a better time... like 10 minutes later after the game was settled.

Here's a little Carole King, which I listen to every time there's an earthquake:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inside Dope: Behind the Scenes of Ep. 009 [Media Dope]

Los Angeles

We're nine episodes in! Shane called it "Revolution #9." That's a Beatles song from the White Album and it's one of those artsy-fartsy songs when Lennon just says "Number nine, number nine, number nine..."

Anyway, this episode clocked in as the shortest episode thus far, but it's jam packed with diverse topics. It's really three different parts: Dr. Hart Reprise, Dope Media, and Shane's recent score in a poker tournament.

The first part focuses on what Shane learned from Dr. Carl Hart's appearance on Dope Stories in the previous episode. Shane also shared lyrics from two different hip-hop songs... 1) Dead Prez, and 2) Wu-Tang Clan.

The meat of the episode is a new segment called Dope Media, which we hope will become a weekly segment in which we discuss a two or three drug-related/Dope Stories-centric things that we recently came across. During this media-heavy segment, we briefly discussed... Gus Van Sant's film Drugstore Cowboy, Drugs, Inc. Jamaica, D.T. Max's book on David Foster Wallace, and a rabbit hole of podcasts including Duncan Trussell interview on Marc Maron's WTF pod, followed by Amber Lyon's appearances on Duncan Trussell's show and the Joe Rogan Experience.

The last part is all about Shane's recent big score at a WSOP Circuit event in Los Angeles. He also broke down why $151,000 isn't really $151,000.

Here is the "setlist" for episode 009...

And stream episode 9 here...

Download link for Episode 9.

Subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Sound Cloud:
RSS feed:
Twitter: @DopeStories

Listen to previous shows.... Episode 1 , Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, and Episode 8.

Also, here's my other Inside Dope posts, which give you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the first few episodes:
Inside Dope - Ep 2: Philip Seymour Hoffman and 90s Heroin Chic
Inside Dope - Ep 3: Start Up Dot Weed and L.A. Cannabis Cup
Inside Dope - Ep 4: Crack 101
Inside Dope - Ep 5: The Oxy Years
Inside Dope - Ep 6: Tripping in the House I Live In
Inside Dope - Ep 7: Greg Merson (WSOP Champion)
Inside Dope - Ep 8: Dr. Carl Hart
Thanks for listening. Don't forget to subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Season: High Maintenance

Los Angeles, CA

The return of High Maintenance. New episode, titled "Rachel", is a doozy. Yikes! So glad this webseries is back. Hope we can interview the creators for a future episode of Dope Stories someday.

Watch all of the older episodes of High Maintenance starting from scratch here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Pond

Los Angeles, CA

A room.

Two entrances.

No doors.

Her ashen face resembled a pock-marked sky from one of the Corot painting in the adjacent gallery.

Precise steps. Miserly eyes.

Kind of tightwad who treated her dogs better than her own offspring. Pure chow-chow. The most cherished possessions. The center of her universe.

No dogs allowed.

She reminded the Director that her late-great husband gifted him a new wing, a Chagall, and two De Koonings.

The Director wouldn't budge on his stance. Shakedown time. Unless she provided funding for another new wing and a couple of early Picassos and a late period Matisse.

The director suspiciously passed away. In his sleep. Choked. His own vomit.

The new director met her halfway. She and her dogs was allowed a private viewing twice a week. Once before hours and once after hours. Tuesday morning and Thursday evening.

She arrived every morning. 90 minutes before the front doors opened.  Herself, her attendant, and her chow-chows.

She slowly made her way through each room. The same route. The dogs were well behaved and never soiled the floors.

Well fed canines. Meals fit for a king. Supper each night cost more than the chef made in a week. Six days of wages fed a his three kids, wife, and mother-in-law out in Queens.

Feed two dogs for a night, or feed six people for a week.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Brain. Athlete. Basket Case. Princess. Criminal.

Los Angeles, CA

I saw the tweet from Molly Ringwald. It was the screencap above. The film The Breakfast Club took place 30 years ago. To the day. March 24th was a Saturday in 1984 and five suburban kids were sentenced to a day-long Saturday detention. Along the way, they realized they're more similar than the stereotypes that plagued the corridors of their school. They also realized they had a shared disdain for authority figures (like the detention warden and prick of a teacher), but they also had a special hatred for their parents.

The Breakfast Club focused on five archetypes... and did what they could to shatter those types.

Brain. Athlete. Basket Case. Princess. Criminal.

In my grammar school, the bad kids referred to detention as The Breakfast Club even though it was held after school. I think there was one actual incident of Saturday detention and I'm pretty sure the film inspired that teacher to evoke that shitty form of discipline.

After I saw Molly Ringwald's tweet, I popped onto Netflix and discovered they had The Breakfast Club. The theatrical version, too. God knows how many times I watched the edited for TV version on TBS or some other sights when they poorly dubbed curses into circus-like replacements. I still say "Flip you!" from time to time as a tribute to the edited version of The Breakfast Club.

I think the film came out sometime in 1985. I was in between sixth and seventh grades. That was back at a time when it was rare to see a teen flick that did not have tons of tits and ass. Sure, it was a little too "talky" but not as absurd as the adult-like dialogue on Dawson's Creek. I picked up on a lot of things through The Breakfast Club. Most of what I learned about socialization skills, sex, drugs, and rock and roll came from TV and movies. So it was natural that I'd watch The Breakfast Club at least a hundred times before I even entered high school. When I came across other friends who liked to "quote movie lines", then we all realized that The Breakfast Club was up there with Fletch, Animal House, and National Lampoon's Vacation.

I learned the intro to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", a song by Iron Butterfly, that the Bender character hums at the start of detention. I also learned clever catchphrases like "hot beef injection" and "neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie", both terms spawned from the sophomoric mind of John Hughes.

Judd Nelson played the Bender character. You know that guy. We all grew up with a Bender. The rebel, troublemaker, victim of child abuse, who took his misplaced anger out on the richer, more well-adjusted kids. Today he'd be a huge internet troll.

Judd Nelson never recovered from that role of Bender. He peaked way too early. He's been chasing his own ghost ever since.

In college, I explored the film stoned to the tits. Took on a whole new meaning. I probably saw it a few times since then... but I often turned it off and got irked when I discovered I was watching an edited for TV version. In high school it was almost comical to see how badly they tried to edit all the dirty parts, but as an adult I wanted the real thing.

So I finally watched The Breakfast Club as a middle-aged balding man. Holy shit. In some ways, it still holds up. In other ways it's severely dated. I also found myself trying to identify with the older people in the film like the jaded asshole teacher and the looked-down-upon janitor. But I couldn't. I still feel like an awkward teenager 95% of the time. I thought that would end when I hit my 20s... then thought it would end when I hit my 30s... and thought it would finally end when I hit my 40s. But... nope.

"Kids haven't changed... you have."

It's funny that the teacher was proud that he made "$31,000." In today's dollars adjusted for inflation, that would be like $70K. Shit, teachers would be lucky to make that much!

Today? We're awash in nostalgia for previous decades, whether it's 60s nostalgia and Mad Men or 80s nostalgia with The Breakfast Club. The five characters were all different archetypes from my youth. Because we all went to high school, it was an experience we could all identify with.

Of course, there's the elusive "girl in black", who is the utter freak in high school, but she's the type of character that got me into deep trouble in college and my early 20s. There's a modern derivative of that girl in black today and I can only imagine how depressing her Tumblr page would be. I could write an entire novel about what happened to the sad girl in black and how she spawned two or three more sad girls in black.

The weed scene was also interesting then as it is now. The preppy girl got blitzed and realized popularity was foolish. The nerd loosened up. But jock boy went apeshit after hotboxing one of the rooms. Hey, a half of joint would never create that much smoke. Now, if all five of them blazed doobies at the same time, maybe they could create that milky white atmosphere. But not just one dude after a few puffs. So jock boy, who presumably is high for the first time, would not run around like a maniac. In reality, nothing would happen because you rarely get high the first time you smoke. So let's say jock boy did try it once or twice and was way past the first stage of Weed 101... it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to be that physically active. Then at the end of it, he screams so loud that the glass door shatters. Weed gives you incredible strength, speed, agility and the ability to break glass with your voice. Weed is like vocal steroids times a million. Wish it were really like that.

The weed scene was also cheap yet covert nature of product placement in films. The scene ended in with the jock taking off his sweat shirt to expose a tank top with a NIKE logo while he ran around the library. He could had a Chicago Cubs or Blackhawks shirt (like most jocks from the Chicago burbs might sport), or some sort of t-shirt with his school's wrestling logo on it. But nope... it was Nike.

The end scene was an emotional highpoint complimented by the perfect song. Simple Minds are still raking in dough for Don't You Forget About Me. It's what we played at my 8th grade dance.

The Breakfast Club is not the first time a song was inserted into a teen movie to sell a gajillion records. It almost makes you wonder if John Hughes was using the music industry or if the music industry was using John Hughes. Probably a little of both.

The synth-heavy We Are Not Alone by Karla Devito plays as montage of the cast dancing around in the library. That's the scene everyone remembers and that was in all the trailers. You're supposed to look at that weirdness and melt for the 80s.

In the end... after an intense group therapy scene that reminded me more like an AA meeting... the message is clear... all of us are bizarre, but some of us doing a better job about hiding it. And that everyone has a streak of anti-establishment sentiment pulsating through their veins. We're all united by the simple fact that we all hate our parents. But then again, isn't that ironically mainstream since everyone has that same issue with authority and clashing against their parental units?

The Breakfast Club took place thirty years ago today... and some things are still the same.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

JRE with Dr. Carl Hart and Amber Lyon

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The Joker and I had a chat about the ebbs and flows of our favorite podcasts. Everything goes in ccyles, but this past week has been an amazing week for content across the board. It kinda sucks too because I was super busy with dual work assignment, my own podcast, and March Madness.

Luckily, I turn down the sound during broadcasts. I usually listen to music while hoops flickered on multiple screens, but I squeezed in a few podcasts here and there. Joe Rogan is tough because his shows runtime are anywhere from two to three hours. I typically break it up into thirty minute segments.

Here's Dr. Carl Hart, which he recorded the day after we taped our episode for Dope Stories...

And this one sort of came out of nowhere. I came across Amber Lyon's reporting when I lived in San Francisco. She's an Emmy-winning reporter who quit CNN because of some shady practices (the government of Bahrain paid off CNN to NOT air her documentary). Anyway, she spent the last few months on an inward journey. She went to South America to take ayahuasca with a medicine man...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Madness of March Returns and How to Triage Four Games at Once

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's that time of year again. March Madness. The NCAA college basketball tournament. 68 teams vying for the championship. It's really a billion dollar money grab for corporations while amateur (unpaid) athletes give up their blood, sweat, and tears for the love of the game. It's really one of the best spectacles on Earth, and the opening days... first four... are among my favorite days of the year.

By the way, that Billion Dollar bracket? Bullshit. The real odds are like a Trillion to one, so Warren Buffet is fucking you! Doesn't matter. No one is going to come close unless they submitted a couple of million different combinations and even then it will still be a mega-longshot. So yeah, I didn't bother submitting one to Buffet. Fuck that fucker in the fucking big head.

Anyway, back to March Madness. This is the one time of year I go berserk for basketball. It used to be the only chance I had to generate income for my summer travels. Historically, I planned my summers around how much money I won during March Madness. If I had a sick score, then I could visit some place really cool or see spend a significant amount of time on the road following Phish. If I had a shitty March Madness betting wise, then I'd have a rather mundane summer with no travel plans. Luckily, that only happened once or twice in the last 20 years. I always managed to squeeze out some profit betting on college basketball.

Sometimes I wonder if I became a writer just to guarantee I have time off to watch the opening round games. Seriously. 32 games spread out over 2 days. There's 16 games on Thursday and 16 more on Friday starting at noon ET. With the exception of a work trip to Uruguay a couple years ago, I have not missed the opening round in over a decade. I usually traveled to Las Vegas with my brother and/or Senor for the second round of action because it's not as crazy. But the first week of March Madness is like Christmas, New Years, and a dozen birthdays all rolled up into one.

The best part about living on the West Coast is watching games at 9am local time. It's 2014, so there's technology around to watch every single game. There's never more than four on at once and the NCAA cut a deal with four networks to air every single game. The games used to be only on CBS, but now TBS, TNT, and TruTV carry spillover games.

So how do you triage these simultaneous games? I devised a plan to figure out how to watch every play without missing anything. I use the main TV, a secondary TV (that is usually in our bedroom, ye moved into position next to the main TV), and an iPad. That's it. Pretty simple.

I log into my cable company's app and watch one game that way. Then I utilize my laptop to visit the NCAA website and stream two games from that and HDMI those feeds to the secondary TV, while the main TV has on the "primary game."

So what constitutes a primary game? Here's the rules I set up to help me triage how to watch four games at once...
1. Game with least amount of time on clock. This is simple. If a game has 2:00 left and another has 12:00 left, I automatically watch the end of the first game. Now, the ends of games can become elongated affairs in which 30 seconds of "clock time" is really 17 minutes of Earth time due to commercials, free throws, and other interruptions. That's why having games on other devices is great because I can watch those screens until action is ready to roll on the big TV.

2. Game with the biggest bet. Another simple rule. If I got a bet on it, I'm gonna sweat the fucker. The only exception is if the game is early in the first half or if there's another game near its completion, so that means rule #1 takes precedent.

3. Game with the second biggest bet. Pretty simple. Anytime I have money on a game, regardless if it's a small bet or big bet, then I'm gonna keep close tabs on it.

4. Potential upset. I love these games. That's the beauty of March Madness... the Cinderella stories. I love a good upset, especially on the first day of action. Anytime I see a #15 or #16 seed with the lead, or keeping it close, I'm gonna wanna watch that drama unfolded.
So that means I tend to keep the least interesting games on the smallest screen... the iPad. These games are usually the least interesting game that's still playing the first half. The secondary TV also gets any first half games until it's nearing it's end, then it gets bumped to the big TV.

I rely on my phone to sweat Twitter, monitor @OcelotSports (and Buffalo66's last minute betting additions) and field text messages. It seemed like I was getting pinged every 10 seconds from some other degen. Having a secondary laptop (usually Nicky's laptop) is key when keeping tabs on line moves, because the primary laptop is running the live streams.

The first 16 games? Totally draining. By the time the day ended around Midnight PT, I had been up for 16 hours grinding line moves, online sportsbooks, Twitter, etc. You never realize how draining it is until you finally turn everything off and collapse into bed.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Inside Dope: Behind the Scenes of Ep. 008 [Dr. Carl Hart]

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

When Shane approached me with a concept that became  Dope Stories podcast, he specifically mentioned a book by Dr. Carl Hart titled High Price. The book was a hybrid memoir/science book that dispelled many myths about drugs, especially the propaganda surrounding crack cocaine. Dr. Carl Hart is a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at Columbia University (in fact, he's the first black tenured professor in the sciences. Ever.) and he conducted experiments that debunked a lot of disinformation spread by MSM over the last three decades.

Super cool that someone of Dr. Hart's pedigree (Ivy League prof) agreed to stop by the Dope Stories studios (aka my apartment) and sit in our recording studio (aka my office) for ninety minutes to talk about drugs, drug myths, and discuss Shane's infamous/controversial article in Slate about crack use. It was that exact article that "touched" Dr. Hart's heart and he felt compelled to meet with Shane in person and take time out of his busy schedule and be interviewed by us.

Dr. Hart is no stranger to the talk show circuit. He's appeared on numerous TV shows and even went heads-to-head with Bill O'Reilly. Dr. Hart was even scheduled to appear on Joe Rogan's show on Monday, which is so damn cool that he made time for Dope Stories, which is still relatively new compared to established programs like the JRE.

Dr. Hart signing his book High Price

There's a great story about how a persistent Shane snagged Dr. Hart for an interview. We knew he was going to be in town for a few days, but didn't know how busy he was going to be. Sure, we could have conducted a Skype interview, but Shane really wanted to meet the man who helped inspire this podcast.

We spent a few hours with Dr. Hart and it was definitely one of the coolest experiences I ever had. Seriously. Ivy League professor hanging out in my office to shoot the breeze. Most college professors can be a little snooty, or stuck-up, and they love hearing their own voices... but Dr. Hart was gracious and humble and didn't jump down our necks when we were completely wrong about a few things (behind the rampant brainwashing and propaganda from the Nancy Reagan Just Say No era). He really wanted to engage in a conversation instead of give us a lecture. I wished more professors were like Dr. Hart... I might have spent more time actually going to class.

I hope we can get Dr. Hart on the show every few months (via Skype) to discuss different aspects about drug myths, drug policy and race, and the drug war. After all, he's one of the inspirations behind this podcast. His book opened my eyes to so many myths. His spots on different media programs were enlightening (just do a search on YouTube for "Dr. Carl Hart"). But most importantly, he instilled some much-needed confidence in Shane, who has been struggling with shame and embarrassment surrounding his affinity for freebase cocaine.

Anyway, here's the "setlist" for Dr. Hart's interview. It really doesn't do it justice because we spoke about over a dozen topics. But the one thing that startled me was his honest assessment of The Wire. It's one of my favorite shows... but he wanted to make emphasize that it's still fiction and not an accurate portrayal of the black experience. Dr. Hart critiqued that The Wire was enjoyable, but it still fits into the mold of white people telling the story about the lives of black people.

Listen to Episode 008 here...

Download link for Episode 8.

Subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Sound Cloud:
RSS feed:
Twitter: @DopeStories

Listen to previous shows.... Episode 1 , Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, and Episode 7.

Also, here's my other Inside Dope posts, which give you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the first few episodes:

Inside Dope - Ep 2: Philip Seymour Hoffman and 90s Heroin Chic
Inside Dope - Ep 3: Start Up Dot Weed and L.A. Cannabis Cup
Inside Dope - Ep 4: Crack 101
Inside Dope - Ep 5: The Oxy Years
Inside Dope - Ep 6: Tripping in the House I Live In
Inside Dope - Ep 7: Greg Merson (WSOP Champion)

Thanks for listening.Don't forget to subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Missing Plane

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

To hell with Courtney Love. I cracked the case.

Ancient. Fucking. Aliens.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writing Music: The Black Keys

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The Black Keys. Dynamic duo. Dirty guitar and funky drums. I was blown away by them the first time I saw them live. They were one of those bands that I was obsessed with in 2005.

The Black Keys album El Camino was released in later 2011 (produced by Danger Mouse). I listened to it the first time heavily during the summer of 2012. The title makes me laugh.

The Black Keys evolved every so slightly from their gritty blues roots but this album is still raw, nut-rattling, retro garage rock...

Monday, March 17, 2014


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

What a way to start St. Patrick's Day with a rattler at 6:28am. I set line at 4.2M. It came in at 4.7, but downgraded to a 4.4.

Live TV. Can't beat an earthquake in progress.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Speedrun: Blade Runner

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's another installment of Speedrun, which is an animated synopsis of your favorite films in less then 60 seconds. Here's the futuristic mind fuck Blade Runner...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Phil Lesh Day

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

It's Phil Lesh Day. The bass player from the Grateful Dead is 74 today. Yeah, it's Phil's birthday. Ides of March too.

Phil Lesh. Still alive and kicking. Still rocking out. Still playing music he loves with his friends. Inspiration. I hope I'm still writing and kicking it with friends when I'm in my 70s.

Here is an interview Phil did last year with 93.3 WMMR in Philly..

Friday, March 14, 2014

TED: Jen Shahade and Decision Trees

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Jen Shahade is a chess champion, author of Chess Bitch, and a poker player. I met her the first time in the Bahamas a couple of years ago, the same trip that Nicky won a tournament. Fun weekend.

Jen gave a TED talk called Understanding Chess Mastery and discusses the concept of "decision trees." I mentioned this particular TED talk and decision trees in a recent episode of Dope Stories. Check it out...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Inside Dope: Behind the Scenes of Ep. 7 [Greg Merson]

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

We interviewed the world champion Greg Merson for the newest installment of Dope Stories... Episode 7 - Greg Merson.

Greg Merson is a recovering drug addict who got sober and went on to win the 2012 WSOP Main Event. We were fortunate to chat with Merson for an hour or so. Merson was very honest and forthcoming about how his drug habit affected his poker career. Early on, he could never build his bankroll because he was dipping into his roll to pay for his increasing habit to cocaine. He eventually stopped... but he acquired a nasty penchant for Adderall. He was clean from Addys for a stint before he relapsed with cocaine and pain killers. Merson finally got clean -- for good -- and rebuilt his bankroll after moving to Canada to play online poker (in the wake of Black Friday when the DOJ shut down major online poker sites in America). Several month later, Merson moved to Las Vegas and won two WSOP bracelets including the Main Event championship.

Merson had some great advice for me when I told him I was also struggling to stay clean from prescription opiates. He said, "Think about the one thing you're great at... and you'll be even better when you get clean." Sensational advice.

Here's the "setlist"...

Listen to episode 007 - Greg Merson...

Download link for Episode 7.

Subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Sound Cloud:
RSS feed:
Twitter: @DopeStories

Listen to previous shows.... Episode 1 , Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, and Episode 6.

Also, here's my other Inside Dope posts, which give you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the first few episodes:

Inside Dope - Ep 2: Philip Seymour Hoffman and 90s Heroin Chic
Inside Dope - Ep 3: Start Up Dot Weed and L.A. Cannabis Cup
Inside Dope - Ep 4: Crack 101
Inside Dope - Ep 5: The Oxy Years
Inside Dope - EP 6: Tripping in the House I Live In

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing Music: Milestones

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Talk about crushing it.

In September 1958, Miles Davis took a sextet into the studio and they cranked out with enough material for an album that would end up being called: Milestones. Miles' band for that session was an all-star band featuring John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Paul Chambers, Red Garland, and the legendary Philly Joe on drums.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dock Ellis (a.k.a. The Guy Who Pitched a No-Hitter on LSD)

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Today is Dock Ellis' birthday. He's 69. He's infamous for claiming to have pitched a no-hitter on LSD. His story is a classic. Not only did it have LSD, it contained plenty of speed too.

Drugs are bad. M'kay?

 Here's an animated version of Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No...


Thanks to BTreotch for tipping me off to Dock's birthday.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Writing Music: Horace Silver and Filthy McNasty

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Horace Silver (piano player, composer) had a wry sense of humor. Hence the title from one of my favorite tracks... Filthy McNasty. Although smack in the middle of the hard bop years, Silver's sound was a precursor to the 70s funk movement.

Filthy McNasty is the opening track off of a live album Doin' the Thing, recorded in May 1961 over two nights at the infamous Village Gate on Bleecker Street in NYC's West Village. Silver's line-up was a powerful quintet anchored by Blue Mitchell, Junior Cook, Roy Brooks, and Gene Taylor.

I made a playlist of the entire album...

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Machu Picchu: The Steps (Video)

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

In April 2011, I flew down to Lima, Peru to cover a poker tournament. Nicky was covering a different tournament in Connecticut, but I got the lucky assignment. Once in a lifetime opportunity.

I spent three straight days working inside a Lima casino with my pal Shamus, plus a Argentinian fisherman turned photographer. In that short stint, I became a VIP at the sportsbook because I was their "highroller" for betting a couple hundred a night on the NBA. When the trip was over, I couldn't wait to get out of Lima and explore the ruins of Peru with my travel companions Shirley and Sos. We planned to climb Machu Picchu, which was on my bucket list of must-visit places.

Words cannot describe the significance of my trip to Machu Picchu. The visit coincided with one of the worst days in the online poker industry (Black Friday when the DOJ shut down the two biggest online poker rooms). My future was in jeopardy, but none of that mattered because I was in the middle of the most spiritual experience of my life.

I never really posted much climbing Machu Picchu. I wrote about it numerous times but the material was too personal and I never published it. I hope I can write something a little less personal in the near future, but like a lot of non-essential things, it's on a long list of things I'd like to write if/when I have the time.

I published two Truckin' pieces inspired by my trip to Machu Picchu and Cusco with friends Shirley and Sos. Check out: Cusco and Ollantaytambo to Augas Caliente.

I also uploaded an entire photo gallery. Four actually: Machu Picchu, Cusco, Aguas Caliente, and Lima.

However, I dropped the ball in the video department. I shot a ton of video, but never got around to uploading anything to YouTube. I kept postponing and procrastinating. I envisioned an hour-long video that covered my entire trip to Peru, but that seemed too daunting, so I wanted to break it up into much smaller individual videos. Yet, I never did that either. The raw files are scattered over two laptops and somewhere on an external hard drive. It was one of those projects that got left out of the mix. I had to move to Vegas right after the trip and had very little time to do anything except cover WSOP and thought I'd do it at the end of the summer when Phish tour ended. But I got into a car accident and moved to San Francisco. While in SF, I was stuck in my own fog, and never got around to splicing anything together. When I moved back to LA, the Machu Picchu videos was always on my TO DO list of creative projects... although it was never near the top. It was in that secondary column of personal endeavors that I'd find sometime to do if I had a wretched batch of insomnia. Alas, Machu Picchu got lost in shuffle between work, other projects, and... life.

While cleaning up my office this weekend, I came across one of the videos from Machu Picchu. I'm in a highly-ambitious, manic phase right now, so I did not hesitate to fire up YouTube and upload it. As is, too. Totally raw. I didn't want to postpone these Machu Picchu and Peru videos for another three years. In a weird, cool way... stumbling upon this video is enough serendipitous inspiration to finally get me off my ass and finish something I've been wanting to do for three years. One video a month is not too much to ask, right?

Here's the first video from Machu Picchu in a new ongoing series. It's not even a half of a minute, but I climb a stone stairway to a ceremonial area of Machu Picchu. Waiting for me at the top are my friends Shirley and Sos...

If you're fascinated by Peru, check out my photo galleries: Machu Picchu, Cusco, Aguas Caliente, and Lima.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Inside Dope: Behind the Scene of Ep. 6 [Tripping in the House I Live In]

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I felt the pressure for episode 6.

The Slate article that Shane wrote doubled our audience in a couple of hours. When the weekend ended, we had tripled our audience.

This episode was one of the most diverse to date. We touched on several topics including reactions to The Slate piece, a pair of 50 Cent documentaries I watched, Eugene Jarecki's drug war documentary The House I Live In, Shane's bad trips, one of my bad trips during a Phish show at Alpine Valley. a brief history of LSD research in America when the CIA paid Ken Kesey to test it, Shane's friend from NYC who was busted for weed, the amazing web series High Maintenance, and how it compared to Shane's stint as a marijuana delivery guy in NYC.

Listen to episode 006 - Tripping in the House I Live In...

Download link for episode 6.

Subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Sound Cloud:
RSS feed:
Twitter: @DopeStories


Listen to previous shows.... Episode 1 , Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5.

Also, here's my other Inside Dope posts, which give you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the first few episodes:

Inside Dope - Ep 2: Philip Seymour Hoffman and 90s Heroin Chic
Inside Dope - Ep 3: Start Up Dot Weed and L.A. Cannabis Cup
Inside Dope - Ep 4: Crack 101
Inside Dope - Ep 5: The Oxy Years

Thanks for listening.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Speedy Lebowski

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Love these Speedrun animated videos giving you the rundown of your favorite flicks in 60 seconds.

I didn't like The Big Lewbowski the first time I saw it. But I knew about the Coen Brothers. How their art is like a sleeper cell... or creeper bud... it's one of those marinating things. It takes time to get it. You really have to gut through the weirdness and confusion and watch their films a dozen time or more until one day it clicks. Everything. And everything little nuance makes sense.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

High Maintenance (Web Series)

 By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

High Maintenance is a funny web series about the daily life of a weed delivery guy in NYC. Yes, it's about weed, but it's really about catching a small glimpse into the lives of different New Yorkers who use a weed delivery service.

We talked about High Maintenance in the latest episode of Dope Stories. It's good. I highly recommend it.

Watch the first episode here:

High Maintenance // Stevie from Janky Clown Productions on Vimeo.

Watch all episodes of High Maintenance here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Writing Music: A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

This was the first jazz album I ever owned. My college friend Schanzer gave me a copy on cassette. He played the sax and was an encyclopedia on jazz. A Love Supreme was my first introduction to Coltrane. I must have listened to this at least once a day during the summer of 1994.

Twenty years later, I'm still listening to Coltrane's A Love Supreme (1964). I expanded my Coltrane collection since college, but when I'm bogged down in a big writing session (like today), I bring out the big dogs like A Love Supreme.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A Matter Involving a Personal Business Matter

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

"Can I speak to _____?"

"Who wants to know?"

"It's a personal business matter."

"Who is this?"

"I want to speak to _____."

"I know WHAT you want. I just want to know WHO wants it."

Long pause before she took a deep breath.

"Are you _____?"

"Depends. Who is this?"

"I am trying to reach _____ about a personal business matter."

"If you actually knew ____, then you wouldn't have to call this number to reach him."

"Can you give me that number, so I can reach _____."

"Only if you tell me who this is. Who are you? This is the fourth time I'm asking and I've been very polite."

"I can't tell you. It's a personal bus-"

"ness matter, right," I said, cutting her off and finishing her sentence.

"So you're going to play that game right? It's a losing strategy. Is this your first day on the job or something? You're not very good at this."

"Can you tell me how I can reach _____?"

"Yes, I can."


"Well what?"

"Can you tell me how to reach ____?"

"Only if you say the magic word."

"What's that?"

"Come on now. Really? First day on the job?"

"The magic word? Ummm.... Please?"

"Please what?"

"Can I please have the number to reach _____?"

"That's not the magic word."

"What's your problem?"

"My problem? I got lots. But I apparently have something you want and you will not cooperate, so I'm not going to give it up."


"Fine what?"

"Fine. My name is Martha."

"See? Was that so hard, Margie."

"Martha. Not Margie."

"Okay Margie, now you're finally figuring out how to properly make a phone call. You identify yourself to start out. I should not have to ask for your name six or seven times. That's just plain rude."

"Rude? Like you're being right now?"

"Where you about to call me an asshole?"



"Gaaaah. It's Martha."

"I don't believe you. What's your real name?"

"What? Real what?"

"Real name. What is it?"


"Jesus, you're not stripping here. No fake names. Do I have to fucking spell this out for you? Tell me your goddamned real name and state your business or I'm gonna hang up."

"Sandy. it's Sandy. My name is Sandy."

"Finally! See was that so hard? Sandy?"

"We're not supposed to..."

"Yeah, I know. It's your first day."

"Third day actually."

"I could tell. You're not very good at your job. Where exactly do you work?"

"I can't say. It's a personal business matter."

"You're terrible, Sandy. I know you're from a collection agency. It says so on my caller ID?"

"That's not supposed to happen."


"Our number showing up. It's supposed to be private."

"Don't believe everything that idiot manager tells you. He's full of shit. Am I right? Middle-aged goofball? Fifty pounds overweight? Bad breath? Balding. Drinks too many energy drinks. Thinks he's smarter than God, but he'd talking down to all of you?"


"Umm, what?"

"I mean... how did you know that? I mean, actually he's 100 pounds but yeah, that's my boss."

"What's his name?"

"Oh, my manger? I can't tell you."

"Come on, Sandy. We're friends right? Right, Sandy?"

"Well... I'm sorry. Can we get back to the purpose of this call?"

"Yes, let's do that. You called me in the middle of Jeopardy and I'm missing everything. What is Bismark!"

"Excuse me?"

"Sorry, I was playing along. What is Topeka?"

"Sir, I'm trying to reach ______. Can you tell me how I can do that?"

"What is Missoula?"

"You said you would give me the number."

"I never said that."

"Umm.... yes, yeah... yes, yes you did."

"Tell me your bosses name and the exact name of your company?"

"What? I can't do that?"

"Jesus, I know the name of your company. I can see it on my caller ID. I just want to hear you say it?"

"MIP Solutions."

"Come again?"

"MIP Solutions."

"More like MIP Collections, right? No solutions here. If you had solutions, then you wouldn't have to chase down all these deadbeats who owe you money."

"Can you please give me the number? I don't have a lot of time."

"Oh, am I delaying you? Am I bothering you? Because you're bothering me."

"I'm sorry."

"You should be, dammit!"

"Well if you provide me with a number to reach ____ then you can get back to your Jeopardy."

"Sandy, that was the brightest thing you said all night. There's hope for you yet. But you know what? I still don't like the fact that you want to use me. Not only do you want to use me, but you ruined my only down time. I was having a lovely evening at home, relaxing on my couch, sipping a beer and testing my knowledge of U.S. history when you decided to call me... even though I am on a do not call registry. Do you realize you can go to prison for violating my privacy like that?"

"Um, no I am not aware of that. But technically I'm not a telemarketer. I'm a collection agent."

"Do you know that also applies to collections too, Sandy? Of course you do, that's why you wouldn't tell me your real name. Look I don't want to pull rank on you, but you're way in over your head here. Why don't you give me your number at work and I can call you back when final Jeopardy is over?"

"Ummm... I cannot do that."

"Just give me your 1-800 number and your extension and I'll call you back."

"It's not our policy to give that info out."

"I get it... so here's the deal, give me your home number and I'll call you there."

"I cannot do that."


"Excuse me?"

"Ah, you don't want to give up your number right? Your home number."

"No. It's private."

"Yeah... right, you don't want me to bother you at home, you want your privacy."

"Yes, correct. That's exactly it."

"But it's a personal business matter."


"Seriously Sandy. It's personal business matter. If you want info, I will provide it, so long as you play the game. Give me your home number. I will call it when you're busy watching your favorite show, then I'll give you the information you seek, so you can get a lead on _____."

"I can't give you my home phone. I don't have a land line. Only a cell."

"How about your cell?"

"Is there any other way we can do this?"

"Sure... I know another way?"

"Which is?"

I hung up.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Twit Links: January and February 2014

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Behold... the things I tweet'd.

I shared these tweet-worthy links for some reason or another during the first two months of 2014. FYI... these links do not include my own shit like Vines, Instagram, blog posts, etc.
Suspect Arrested in 1978 JFK Lufthansa Heist [Fox]
Snorting Smarties Alarming Trend [CBS12]
What Big Brothers Sees About You Using Your Location Data [Activist Post]
Cormac McCarthy's Ex-Wife Pulls Gun From Vagina During Argument About Aliens [UpRoxxx]

Good Long Reads
Recluse Lives in Midtown NYC Hotel for Decades [Smithsonian]
Diary of a 24-Hour Dive Bar [Punch]
One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society [NY Mag]

Social Media
Generation Like (Doug Rushkoff Frontline Documentary) [PBS]
The Problem with Facebook; Treating Members As Advertisers [YouTube]

Literature, Journalism, and Writers
Midnight in Dostoevsky by Don Delillo [New Yorker]
Shattered Glass: Fraud Journalism and Stephen Glass [Vanity Fair]
A 2013 Book List by Matt Matros [Tumblr]
Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators: Psychology of Waiting [The Atlantic]
Wheaton's Law Revisited (Guest Post by Brad Willis) [Wil Wheaton Blog]
How Much My Novel Cost Me (by Emily Gould)[Medium]

Drugs and Art
Self-Portraits on Every Drug [Bryan Lewis Sauders]
Self-Portrait Before/After LSD [Web Burgr]
The Last Crack Hipster [New York Observer]
Fifteen years Smoking Crack [Slate]

Film, TV and Hollyweird
Recreating Bosom Buddies Intro [YouTube]
Cheers: The Lost Super Bowl Scene [Ken Levine]
Review: Inside Llewlyn Davis [Fraggin' Aardvark]
Oral History of Ghostbusters [Esquire]
Can You Dig It?? The Warriors: 35 Years Later [Esquire]
Cameron Crowe on Philip Seymour Hoffman [The Uncool]
The Broken-Down Grace of Bill Murray [The Dissolve]
So Money: Oral History of the Making of Swingers [Grantland]
Controversial Jeopardy Champ Arthur Chu Tells His Story [A.V. Club]
Jeopardy's New Game-Theory Devotee Is One to Keep an Eye On [The Wire]
NYC Filming Locations for the Godfather, Then and Now [Scouting New York]
Madder Than Hell: How Network Anticipated Contemporary Media [The Atlantic]
How Office Space Influenced an Entire Generation Thought About the Workplace [Flavor Wire]

Los Angeles
City Lights: LA [Vimeo]
The Periodic Table of L.A. [Mandatory]
No Regrets: I Can't Stand New York [Splice Today]

Sports, Sportsbetting, and Gaming
Norman Mailer, Sportswriter [The Atlantic]
Basketball, Football and Hockey Are All the Same Game [Slate]
What I Think About Jerry Jones [Nolan Dalla]
The Angry Last Days of Ty Cobb [L.A. Times]
The Oracle of Ice Hockey [The Atlantic]
Sheldon Adelson’s Internet Jihad [Politico]
Time to Rescind Nevada's Ban on Olympics Betting [Gaming Today]
TED: Understanding Chess Mastery by Jen Shahade [YouTube]
Mob Rat Says New Jersey's 'Gotti' Go for Legal Sports Gambling [NY Daily News]
Truth and Consequences: Reflections on the Grantland Controversy [crAAKKer]

Interview: Jerry Garcia [YouTube]
Chart: The Walrus Was Paul [Twitter]
Beatles: 1964 Press Conference at JFK Airport [Nifty Nibblets]
Trey's Guitars [Google Docs]
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Live at Winterland 1975 [YouTube]
Sly Stone's Higher Power [Vanity Fair]
Bluegrass Version of 'Enter Sandman' [YouTube]
The Allman Brothers Story by Cameron Crowe (1973) [Rolling Stone]
Lyrics of Johnny Cash's 'I've Been Everywhere' Mapped Out [Open Culture]
Neural Substrates of Spontaneous Musical Performance: An fMRI Study of Jazz Improvisation [PLOS One]

Interview: Father John Mistyi [WTF Podcast with Marc Maron]
Interview: Yakov Smirnoff [WTF Podcast]
Interview: Jon Ronson [WTF Podcast]
Silverback Gorilla vs. Grizzly Bear Reprise [Behind the Bets Podcast]
B.S. Report: William Goldman Interview [Grantland]
The Moment by Brian Koppleman: Marc Maron Interview [Grantland]
The Moment by Brian Koppleman: Chuck Klosterman Interview [Grantland]
Jazz's Influence on the Beat Generation [Sound Opinions]

As always, follow me on twitter.... @TaoPauly. I created an account for the new novel... @PeachesNovel. I also have other accounts for @DopeStories, @CoventryMusic, and @OcelotSports.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Stefan Molyneux and the Truth About Addiction

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

"There is no drug that is inherently addictive," explains Stefan Molyneux, but there's something else that's missing in people's lives, which really makes people vulnerable. Molyneux goes into depth about the root of addiction and humans pursuit of self-soothing.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

City of Wet Angels

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Cats and dogs.

That's one of the first cliches I heard as a little kid. My mom used it to describe really bad, hard, fast rain that we'd get from time to time in the NYC area.

Cats and dogs.

Dogs and cats.

It never rains like cats-n-dogs in LA, but it's pouring right now in an torrential manner that would be considered cats-n-dogs territory.

Raining on and off last couple of days. Sunny SoCal is getting dumped on by Mama Nature. More like getting pissed on. Crazy shit, only crazy because it's rare to hear one of those emergency messages pop up on the TV suggesting we move to higher ground because of the rain. I live in the slums of Beverly Hills... so the higher ground is implied. It's the flash flooding and landslides you have to cope with. Heck, our alley had poor drainage and flooded a few inches in a manner of minutes.

California needed the rain. The state suffered from a terrible drought. Worst in decades. It's the first bad one since I moved out West.

Hollywood is a magical place where dreams are manufactured. Winters are non existent in paradise. The amazing (near-perfect) ubiquitous weather spoils so many denizens of Los Angeles, so anytime there's a hint of precipitation falling out of the sky, everyone FREAKS THE FUCK OUT for no reason whatsoever. All because little droplets of the water fall from the sky.

Sweet Jesus, Los Angeles freaks are fucking freaks for freaking the fuck out about fucking water, man. What the fuck?

Those Hollywood Freaks cancel plans when it rains. Seriously. They stay home and grind social media and whine incessantly about how it is raining, meanwhile everyone else in the country mocks them for being a bunch of wussies for getting all bent out of shape because of a little water coming from the sky.

LA Freaks stay home from work and they don't go out and watch local TV news delivered by spray-tanned, botox talking heads spewing fear and paranoia about the dangerous water falling from the sky.

The collective anxiety about the dangerous rain forces people inside and they order in take out food, so if you try to order food it will take three to five hours for your delivery to arrive. Sure, the roads are somewhat empty except tourists, drug couriers, rent-a-hookers, and other delivery drivers. But even the empty roads cannot overcome the redonk backlog of take out orders. Drivers are swamped with deliveries. To complicate matters, half of the delivery force is also freaked out and called in sick, because they're afraid of driving in the rai.

The city of wet angels grinds to a halt.

Those Real-Plastic-Franken-House-Wives of Beverly Hills are morbidly afraid of the rain. Those vapid ditzes cancel everything. Nuking their social schedule: cocktail-drenched lunches, purse-dog grooming, shrink tune-ups, spinning classes, spa day or mani/pedi day. Everything. Cancelled.

Those Hollyweird douchenozzles and sleazebuckets? They cancelled all their meetings and screenings and rub-n-tugs in Koreatown. All because of a little water. Maybe their souls are so marinated in evil that those greedy fuck-stains will shrivel up and die from those tears from heaven?

Rain days. Yes, that's what LA freaks do. They take rain days. Similar to taking a day off back east or in the Midwest when it's snowing (moderately). There is some legitimate concern and public safety issue when it rains for the first time in months with slick, slick freeways. So many accidents in the first few hours after a storm. Truly dangerous with oil and gunk accumulation.

Winter in LA is a joke according to my East Coast standards. There's really two seasons... the "winter" and the rest of the year. Nicky gets bundled up anytime the temps dips under 60. The winters in SoCal are super mild.

At worst, it's in the mid-50s and rains a bit in January and February. LA gets roughly 50% of it's rain (14.2 inches per year) in the first two months of the year. The actual rainy season is four months (Dec thru March) and LA gets 85% of its rainfall in the four month span.

Shit, it's been dry the last few months. That's bad news for farmers in the central valley. It's dangerous for potential brush fires up and down all those hills scattered about... all that prime real estate can go up in a flash. The reservoirs were low. SoCal's water problems have been well documented in Hollywood. Just watch Chinatown with Jack Nicholson.

Nicky gazes out her office window and sees the LA River (actually more like the viaduct you see in so many movies like Terminator 2). The good-old LA River was barely a trickle the last few months... until now.

The rain arrived. The freaks got more and more nervous and paranoid with each droplet. Hard. Rain. Hard. Buckets. Cats-n-dogs. Stream in my alley. It never rains that hard in SoCal. Yet... it happened.

Karl Rove's weather machine has been working overtime in 2014. I got fucked during the polar vortex at the start of the year and stuck in NYC for 10 days until I could finally get back to balmy LA. But no complaints right now. That rain freaks out my neighbors, but I love it. We needed it.

I crank out some of my best work when it rains. That's why I missed living in Seattle. It was always the absolute perfect writing weather in the 206. Something about the sounds of the keys on the keyboard meshing with the rain sounds. Fleeting moments of harmony. Rhythms of nature and that kind of stuff.

Noah Baumbach made a movie about me with his film Greenberg. Seriously. I'm fucking Greenberg... a moody New Yorker who is a fish out of water in LA, oh plus he doesn't drive. In Greenberg, the main character "Greenberg" plays a song for his brother's assistant Florence. He mentioned that LA-area DJs only played that song when it was raining. But at the time, the weather was its usual sunny self, yet Greenberg played the rain song anyway. Pretty obvious what's going on inside his twisted noggin. Although pleasant and sunny in real life, in Greenberg's universe, it's raining, which is why he's playing the certain rain song that ONLY gets played by well-adjusted disc jockeys when it's raining outside.

Sunny outside. Sunny inside. That's the ultimate goal (pursuit of happiness).

Rainy outside. Sunny inside. That's the type of people I like to be around.

Sunny outside. Rainy inside. Well, that's Greenberg. I am Greenberg. I am rain.

Rainy outside. Rainy inside. Rainy all the time. I like to make my own rain. Makes me appreciate the sunny days... whenever they return.

Here is that little number by Albert Hammond... It Never Rains In Southern California....