Everything seems to be intact. I was expecting much worse. Buildings blown, trees fallen, fires blazing, the seed of apacolypse rooting below our very feet - it's never as glamorous as you picture it. Nothing has really changed....except me, I suppose. Even that's up for debate. Kaua'i was wonderful. I met some great people. I lived in a beautiful place. The island loved me and hated me. Yurt. I already miss it.
My exit interview was trivial and slim to what I thought it would be. No timeless words of advice, no miraculous secrets, no tears, not even an offer for a ride to the airport, a few laughs, and the unnerving things I've heard and seen....all hidden behind a handshake and a smile. I heard a pregnant woman was fired two weeks before she was set to go on Maternity leave. The act would effectively terminate her health care, successfully thrusting her into labor with nothing more than a blanket hanging over her shoulders. I haven't confirmed its truth, but the rumors feel real. I hope for the best, but that's all i can do...i'm back in California.
The epic realizations of living on an island, the morose expectations of returning - what conclusions have I come to? Will I share them?
I'll share this...the one thing that I will take with me. EAT COLORFULLY & AVOID SUPERMARKETS. That's two things.
Eating colorfully is a 'simple jack, finger painting, hopscotch, don't eat the paste' kind of way to eat healthy. Get your reds, oranges, purples, whites, greens, yellows, blues, Get 'em all!
Try it. You'll feel colorful. You'll feel like a rainbow. It's insame. Same.
Warning: for The COLORFUL DIET to work, the foods must be organic and fresh.
"Hamburger meat from Wendy's is brown...that's a color," he said arrogantly.
"Ya, a shit color," the wise Buddhist responded.
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA. June 5, 2013. near the corner of Lincoln & Euclid.
Four biers on the 5 North, a pack of grits, and a couple of red bulls. Take me down to the purple palace to set the mood - the smooth peaceful sounds in exact tension with the world we are about to walk into. The live shows eek similar grunts from dark places. We stood there, waiting with a crowd of boys, girls, men, women...ripped, torn, inked, pierced, plugged, plastered. Swaying, arms crossed, screeches of the first guitar rumble through us, pushing us towards the stage as if it was known all along that is what would happen. Elbows thrown thrown proudly in the air as CEREMONY begins, "Pack your fists full of hate and take a swing at the world!" The electric crowd is hit with water, lightning strikes, blasts of violent camaraderie explode on the floor. The stage is ambushed, divers throw themselves head first off of it - happy to land anywhere, on anyone. You must keep your wits about you, or your fate will surely be secured with a foot to the chin (worse things have happened).
"I have a chip on my shoulder...i'm on a losing STREAK!" There goes D.L. Fibbs, the famed poet, flying through the air, swallowed by the eager crowd. They pull him to the ground and stomp on his limbs, then, as if he were their brother, they help him up and hug him. The music doesn't stop for anyone or anything. Bloody ears, suckered lips, black eyes and swimming pools of unruly sweat soak the toasted freaks of the night. There, in the middle of chaos, Humphrey Orlando dances with a funky glaze in his eyes. His body moves jerks and jolts, the funkiest parts are in his knees, his hips. D.L. Fibbs, in the center of Head Trauma City, stage left, knows the funk all too well and joins Orlando. They hold their elbows even higher and swim against the current of the pit. The masses do their best to turn their momentum around but the funk of the music has taken over, and as the lead singer vibrates spastically like a possessed Johnny B. Goode the creepiness of the music only intensifies. Shakin', rattlin', rollin'....gettin funky in the middle of CHAOS.
Best show Humphrey and D.L. Fibbs have ever been to. Broken down feelings of hope for our generation are cleansed and burnt with hot water, but as they all unite in their sick doldrums, they're liberated from the grasps of a mojito for a girl with a navel piercing.
In other news, Syrian Army regains control of Quasyr and Turkey riots in the streets as its police shows the first ugly scars of militarization. I'm sick. Sick of drying up in the sun. Sick of this island. Sick of fun. Sick of going sober. Sick of starting over. Sick of Black Flag. Sick of Cro-Mags. Sick of living. Sick of people dying. Sick of trying. Sick of television. Sick of telephones. Sick of homophobes. Sick of condos. I'm sick. Sick of the GOP. Sick of Liberals. Sick of me. Sick of Obama. Sick of head trauma. So very tired of being sick. I'm sick. Sick of living in America. Sick of mass hysteria. Sick of realism. Sick of Buddhism. Sick of long boards. Sick of hardcore. Sick of Catholics. Sick of atheists. Sick of police. Sick of yuppies. Sick of paying rent. Sick of being bent. Sick of hearing lies. Sick of mankind. I'm sick.
The final days have come...i leave the island in 3 of them. Tomorrow, I'll travel to Polihale for the night. One last open ocean adventure, and I'm contently happy about it. Polihale means "house of the dead" - fallen kings are buried in the mountain that overlooks the long, winding beach of the southern coast. The water is crystal clear, like glass. I've been there once before, but this time will be different - not as much whiskey. We'll leave at 10 am tomorrow, well, i guess it's 'today' now. Then, on Saturday evening i'll return to the yurts. The San Pedro cactus drying on our kitchen counter will be gone and our minds will, with any kind of luck, still be in tact, still capable of reasonable thought - or they won't. Either way, time won't stop and before I realize it i'll be back in California. Sweet, wonderful California. Kaua'i just a memory. I'm going to miss it, terribly - i'm sure of that, because the strange, gossipy, sexual world they've created here is nuts, but it's a good kind of nuts - the kind you store away for cold winters. I'll be back.
Today, for some reason I was particularly curious about my family's past, our history, so i dived deep into the archives and investigated where I came from. Czechoslavakian, Magyar speaking, divorce, immigration, Oscar & George are both men in my family like i'm some kind of 'Bluth'...it's insame. Same. I've yet to uncover much on my grandfather, Robert Charles Kuster - he's the pirate of the family - but I know i'll find something. To me, the most intriguing person in my family is my other grandfather, Martin John Stassel, everyone called him Marty, though. He used to be 'Sr.' and would have been 'I' (the first) making my father the 'II' and me the 'III', but his tragic, untimely death in about 1965, when he was in his early thirties and the father of three (My father, his oldest son, was 7) scared my mother and they decided to break the long lineage of Martin ' s in my family - Chad Martin Stassel, they chose instead....that's what the C.M. stands for. My father's name is Martin, his father's name is Martin, his father's name is Martin and so, too, was his father named Martin. I've uncovered some old yearbook photos of my grandfather in his college days. He went to Ohio State University and then University of Detroit - he was a very smart man, studying to be a Veterinarian. I found a picture of his intramural basketball team...they were the champs...and the name of their team was "Slo-Mo-Shun". I'm pretty certain Marty came up with that one. I also found an old fraternity photo of him at Ohio State...he's wearing a suit and he looks so much like my father, right down to their hands. They have the same hands. It may seem difficult to know that just from a picture, but my dad's hands are giant, dry creations, and they move elegantly with tigerish leaps. They're unmistakable. Seeing photos of my grandfather, the eerie similarities churn my stomach a bit ... not in a sick way, but more of a pioneering way - unearthing photos and records of a man that died many years ago, a man I wish i knew, a man who played basketball, my father's dad, my grandfather. You start to think of how you'd get along, and, just from seeing his face and the shape of his jaw, I can hear his voice. I can hear his laugh, too. He talks like my dad. He looks him.
I guess I never told you how he died. Driving home one night from work at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan, Marty was hit by a drunk driver. The crash killed him instantly, crushing his VW Bug like a tin can - they say he would have lived if he had been driving a car with an engine in the front, a bigger car. My grandmother, Joan Smithers, was widowed with three boys in Detroit. The death of Marty prompted her to move my Dad and his two younger brothers across the country to Southern California. First, Glendora, then Corona Del Mar. Joan Smithers is an incredible woman.
The story of Marty Stassel and Joan Smithers is a tragic, beautiful love story. I'll tell it to you some time.
Rest in Peace, Marty.