Hurricane Irma

The only thing that was …not disconcerting but certainly weird, was how familiar it was. I mean we haven’t had a storm like this, not really, since Andrew. And this didn’t hit. Even Wilma and Katrina had more people in the streets as they hit (because Wilma was “only” a cat 3 and Katrina a 1 when she came through). And I had that same creepy feeling of empty streets and a tense, city shushing itself down. There’s something weird and creepy about a place for people without people in it. Empty malls, empty apartment buildings, empty schools. And then after the storm, still the emptiness but also a mess. And when you did come across people it was in stressful and tense contexts. Cops at intersections, human streetlights. People in lines, being tense and short with each other, because we all need some gas, no one has ice, everyone is tired and uncomfortable and sticky and miserably dirty. No one had a hot meal for days. The only thing approaching comfort was cranking your car’s AC but you can’t drive because there’s a curfew and no gas and where would you go? How would you even get there, the streets are a maze of trees.
I have a good friend who is new to the state and had to explain that you want a fast hurricane, in movement. Slow wind speed is better — a cat 1 vs a cat 5 which is terrifying — but if it’s going to hit you, you want it to keep going as fast as possible. What made Andrew so devastating for Homestead was that it was so strong and then when it made landfall, just…fucking stayed there. Grinding the place down to rubble. You look at the pictures of homestead and they’re all from far away and it looks like bombs went off everywhere at the same time, but being there, being close to the detritus, the hot moist swampy air that’s so thick you can feel the effort it takes to breathe, and seeing the shit on the ground. Nails driven into cars. Asphalt just…peeled up. Walls shorn off buildings.
I did see some really good people’ing though. Working the shelter before it hit, checking people in, had a bunch of terrified people, with passports, with IDs, literally asking military personel what papers they needed to have to check in. I surprised more than a few by giving them their IDs back without even looking at it, “We don’t need it. Just tell me your name and write down everyone’s name in your party”. A family with a young lady, 17 or 18, decked out all in santero white. A lady who wasn’t checking in but bringing a coffeemaker to her friend at the shelter. A dude dragging a queen mattress, another with lawn furniture, another with a desktop computer and monitor. A transit worker who had no reason or cause to go out of his way to drop folks off where they actually needed to go (instead of at the pickup points) but who did anyway because otherwise those people would have been fucked (a family going to Grenada, they were just flying through Miami on a connection). Two Italian kids, brothers, 19 and 20, who were here on vacation and got picked up from south beach and had spent 4 of their 10 days here in a shelter, showing some 7 year old kid how to do flips and gymnastics, while they had no idea how they were going to get to FLL for their morning flight on Tuesday.

Extended Deadline


I had a brief exchange with a friend on facebook about how she would use his full name and I tell her how he used to be annoyed when I used the full middle name (“Armando”), and she says she always thought it was sexy. So there you go, Mo, one last time to be a sexy beast.

Here’s music that reminds me of Mo.

Here’s a song where I sampled his voice from a voicemail he left me — at 2’58”, that’s Mo saying “I’m a sick boy, I need my medicine”:

vignettes, featuring mo:

  • I had a car before he did, so I’d usually be the one to drive us around; it only had an FM radio so we were sort of stuck with whatever was on air. He would usually sing the lead because I sang poorly, although I did get better by singing along to weezer and toadies. For entertainment we’d translate the songs into spanish as we went, along to the radio (that’s a lot harder than it sounds, try it). One time, I think it was because Guitar Center had just opened and they had an opening day 10-drumsticks-for-ten-bucks deal, I had drumsticks in the car. So we both started pounding on the dash along to whatever was playing. Remember, POS car, so no A/C, so he’s slapping his hand on the roof for the bass drum. The couple in the lane next to us on the way to Westland mall just stared at us like we were insane.


  • When he got his first piece-of-shit car — I forget what it was, but he nicknamed it “Sharky”, I think inspired at least in part because I’d nicknamed my car “Frankenstein” (because it was mostly a white Ford Escort, except for the baby blue driver’s door and fender) — but it had those headlights that flip up, except one would not flip so it sort of looked like one of those puppies with the floppy ear and he was driving with both feet and he’d go straight from foot-on-the-gas to foot-on-the-brake, which was jarring as fuck. I think when I showed him to use one foot and to let the car coast a bit before braking, we both had a little regretful reflective moment that he didn’t have some family member to teach him. Which is not a knock on his family; he was the youngest — a fact his father told him was because he was an unwanted accident — and his older siblings had left the house way earlier.


  • When I was 19 or 20, I’d gotten into a huge blow up with my dad and I called Mo, just crying, a fucking wreck, I couldn’t even tell him the whole fucking thing because it was too long, I just asked him if he’d play Daniel Johnston’s “happy time” over the phone for me. He did it without asking and I said thank you and hung up and we talked about it later. We talked seriously about moving out, getting the fuck out of Miami. He was pushing for Dallas, but I was thinking Panama City where a mutual friend had moved and recommended to us. In the end, I was too scared to go and our plans fizzled.


  • We had a running joke, that any dream’s hidden meaning was that you were gay. (“I dreamt I was driving my old car” “You know what that means?” “No” “That means you’re gay”). No homophobia meant; one of his brothers was gay and I know that he had many gay friends that he loved and respected (even in high school; I was such a naif that when he told me there were lots of gay or bi kids in our friends group, my reaction was an incredulous “really?!”). I say “our friends group,” but the reality is that most were friends with Mo, although he’d probably deny it, he was certainly charming and charismatic and inspired a sincere confidence in friendships.


  • Mo’d had long hair in Jr high and high school, a sort of mushroom cut kind of thing, but he had a harsh receding hairline and after highschool when he started to work he started shaving his head. I had long hair, like, down to my nipples long. Capt. and I were over at Mo’s place on Sunset and Capt went out to get a drink or gas or something and while he was gone I got a wild hair up my ass and asked Mo to shave my head. Mike left and I had long hair and when he got back, poof, gone. Mo’s first words when he did it were “You know, I think you should dye it blond.”


  • Eden was art director at this gallery downtown, the wallflower gallery, and Mo was tending bar as a favor (and for tips) and Ron his roommate thought someone was starting some shit with him and he came running down the stairs, “Nobody lays a hand on my roommate!” It was sweet but hilarious.


  • He tried not to curse, he’d call you a jerkmuffin pretty easily though. Maybe that was just me, though. He was definitely an Elvis man, and his two favorite football teams were the Cowboys (because he’d romanticized the city he was born in, Dallas,) and whoever was playing the Dolphins.


I’m sad he’s gone, and I sort of can’t believe it. Like….really? He actually did it? That’s not supposed to happen. He’s supposed to have a close call and then get better. It still feels like a shitty joke. It really feels like any second he’s going to go naaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh and say “I was just joshin’ you, I’m a josher”.


I’m not grieving his loss — I lost my best friend Mo years and years ago and I did my grieving then. I remember Eden laughing at me when all that shit went down, “You still believe in best friends?” Mo was the last one of that ilk for me. About 2009 or 2010, Eden called me — he’d been living in the same city as Mo and had spent time with him — and asked if I’d still be willing or interested in talking with Mo or being his friend again. I said no, I didn’t think we had anything to talk about. I’d stopped hating him and moved on, and I can only assume that he did as well. Our time as best friends had come to it’s end and we’d gone our separate ways and had had lives and experiences apart. I only briefly met his wife once while they were married (and a few times before they were married). He was, if not devout all the time, certainly a committed Christian, and largely responsible for my own interest in Christianity when we were playing music together. I was around when he moved from administration to bartending, but I don’t know anything about his transition from bartender to the hotel business. I don’t know anything about his divorce or his move to California and likewise he knew little or nothing of my life after we parted ways. But even now at this far remove, he’s part of my life. That spark you get when you recognize something of yourself in another person and you instant know This Person Is One Of Mine. He had that, for a lot of people.


I had that fleeting thought: what if I’d said yes? What if we were friends? Would he have called me up? Would I have known to stop him? Could I have talked him down? He always did have his depressive episodes, and honestly it was something that we bonded over — not just he and I but certainly that too. There’s something about meeting someone who knows, if not your own pain, what that type of pain is like. His last note alluded to a triggering event, and I know I’m not alone in wishing he’d just fucking found a different way to deal with it, whatever it was. It’s tempting to be angry, to vent that anger and frustration, that feeling of impotence and perhaps blame the victim. To call them selfish. To call them cowardly. It’s unjust and it’s a painful reflex reaction. He could get low, really low. And not having been in his shoes and felt his pain directly, to judge his exit harshly is — while understandable — unkind.


The truly terrible thing about that type of mental anguish is how alone you feel and, from the outside, how difficult it is to reach someone who is feeling like that. Even if every single one of the people mourning him now had told him how much he meant to them, how much joy he’d added to their lives and how much they appreciated him and his presence in their lives, would it have gotten through? I hope so. But now all we have is his admonition to reach out to people who suffer from depression and share our love with them and not let them feel alone.

Guess who’s back? Tell a friend, tell a friend, tell a friend


It’s the return of the giant link-list email newsletter thing, now consolidated into a blog post for yourmy convenience. Would anyone be interested in an occasional mix-CD?

Bacon. A food so delicious that the bible forbids it. Sin with me: bacon cupcakes, Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 commits suicide by bacon, bacon explosion, get that bacon out of your teeth with bacon floss, chocolate bacon and the coup de bacon, candied bacon ice cream

File under “and people say I’m hard to shop for”: happy vagina t-shirts, aquarium toilet, check out the speakers on her, vagina perfume

File under “like goldy, but with iron”: Catholic church needs to read the bible more, apparently

Questions are a burden to others, answers a prison for oneself:

Science! It works, bitches! : Tattoo changes color with glucose levels.

Rob wants to give you a high five!

So…about that salmonella peanut butter: bird shit.

Freebase caffeine

There are no words for Starfish hitler

Science makes a mermaid.

also also, modest mouse is coming!


Joseph Palmer: Perscuted For Wearing The Beard – Jon Dyer’s Blog. Now that’s a man with commitment to facial hair.

Cupid’s getting kinkier every fucking year

“makes you feel pleasure” is surprisingly not in the top 10.

I have long been both a lecherous pervert and fascinated with the brain and mind, so naturally this article on the orgasmic mind was fascinating stuff to me. Scientific American also has a buncha jawsome articles that are semi-related, e.g. Why We Kiss, which when you think about it, has got to be the most amazing caveman discover ever (“…so…if we put our food/noise/biting holes together but don’t bite…it feels good?” I’ve heard it theorized before that it started as a feeding ritual for those unable to feed themselves.)

Life’s mysteries explained

stop or i’ll poke your eye out


from the women are vile and pernicious files:

and from the it’s only funny until someone gets hurt files:

it’s not your fault you can’t find the fucking thing. ok, it really is:

well, at least there’s proof that we just think differently now. Not that thousands of years of empirical evidence isn’t Just As Good As Proof.