This is the fourth place I've lived in the bay area, and my second time living on the top floor of a building with a flat roof. Who's the college numskull who invented flat roofs anyway? What a dumb idea.

When it rains, the water has nowhere to go, and just puddles over your head, and after some years and a strong rainstorm — like yesterday — it's not going to simply stay there for the weeks it would take to evaporate.

It drips through the ceiling, of course. Jake pounded on my door at 3:30 this morning to tell me to check for leaks in my room, but my drips didn't begin until sunrise. There are buckets in the hallway, and now two buckets catching slow leaks in my room.

It's been raining inside all morning. Outside, too. 

I've wrapped a few layers of duct tape around the holes in my soles, and there are plastic bags between my shoes and socks. Now I'm wrapping my bulky body in this new but cheap parka, hoping it's sufficiently water-resistant, and I'm off to San Francisco to spend a few hours at Black Sheets.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

On the ride home, the rain briefly turned to hail, thrown against my parka like fistfuls of rice. And I wonder where the homeless are huddled tonight? Danny, and a few other homeless people I sorta know, and the thousands I don't know at all. This is a wild storm, just walking a few blocks in it. Having no home to walk to, nowhere to be warm and dry, is something I can only  imagine.

My new parka is water-resistant, but not waterproof, so I'm a little moist. The duct tape on my shoes unpeeled itself, but the plastic bags worked well enough that my feet feel mostly dry.

That's why, when the cashier says "Paper or plastic?" the answer is always plastic. Just try wrapping your feet in a brown paper bag when it rains, bub.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Home again in this drippy room, I'm filling this week's zine orders, listening to the rain, looking out the window, and wondering if everyone feels as alone as me.

From Pathetic Life #19
Monday, Dec. 11, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


  1. I was just thinking it might be time for a song of he week, although I very much enjoy your songlists. So . . .

    I've been a fan of They Might Be Giants since the early days of Don't Let's Stop and Ana Ng, and they rarely disappoint. They're nearly a generation younger than me, and I don't pretend to understand what they did to music, or what New York did to them, but they managed to grasp the profound from time to time.

    Here is a video of them from The Tonight Show in 1990 (unfortunately Leno is guesting; fortunately, Doc is playing himself).

    This is one of TMBG's best tunes, Birdhouse In Your Soul.

    Note: I briefly played the trumpet's first cousin when I was a lad and the note Doc hits and holds in live performance is remarkable.

    Here are John and John, They Might Be Giants, singing Birdhouse In Your Soul.



    (If somebody wants to light up this link, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

    1. The name of TMBG's first radio play song is "Don't Let's Start". I should probably proof my own comments.


    2. A link lit up.

      Never heard that song before, so it must've not been a hit. Clever and wordy and I like clever words so I like it, grazi.

      Doc Severinsen is still alive, which pleasantly surprises me. Wikipedia says he was the last performer to play but not sing the National Anthem an an MLB All-Star Game.

      I love bonkers trivia like that.

    3. "Birdhouse In Your Soul" was #1 on College Radio Charts in 1990 and beyond, but I'm not sure that anyone other than ASCAP and BMI and a couple of industry publications has payed much attention to singles charts since the 80s. There are certainly digital singles, and people buy them for their portable play devices (almost entirely "phones" today [except for me]), but it's mostly been an album world for a while. I suppose the odd surviving AM Morning Zoo format still announces chart position, but I think by now most of the animals have been released to the wild. I don't exactly keep track of radio stations that play music, so maybe I'm out of date.


    4. Thanks for the light. It's a fine song.


    5. As of a few months ago, before my car conked out, so the last time I listened to the radio, the still played American Top 40 with Casey Kasem every weekend — recordings of 40-year-old shows.

      Other than that, I have not intentionally listened to rock on the radio since the 1990s. Too many commercials and idiotic DJs, who are just as bad as the commercials. Until they bring back Emperor Smith, I'm not listening.

      Also not buying. There are perhaps half a dozen songs on my playlist I've paid for, all from tiny bands nobody knows. The big bands don't need me.


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