September 28, 2007


My story about the podcasting monks is up and out. To paraphrase YACHT, nobody blvd me, but their magic is real, the monks do actually podcast. The more chanty podcasts are back towards the beginning of the year. My full interview with Father Funk will be in the next Hit it or Quit it. In the meantimes and the in-between times, I'd really like to suggest something to you--the monks have 7 or 8 services daily--they sing prayer three hours a day. I have only been to Compline and Vespers, but it was nice; it's a catholicism I can hang with. I took JR. There was one other person there once, and the other time I was alone. It's really worth going, it's a destination experience, even if you church averse.

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September 27, 2007


Impossible daddy movies get their due.

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Last night Kelly and I went on a spirit walk under the full moon. We started at her house and went east until we hit the water. Turns out she lives by a marina, which was filled with leathery dudes and sloshed ladies who were wine-partying on their sailboats. I love marinas for the fantasy plans they inspire ("we could steal that canoe thing with the bikes attached to it, and paddle ourselves all the way downtown!") and all the punny boat names. Pictured: Cod Father.

We cut through a knoll and came out a clutch of trees and over a little rise, and ouila, to our right was the whole city. Oooh, aaah. It had been hiding from us.

And this was on our right. Well, that and the misc. people humping on the pier. Sorry, didn't mean to spirit walk into your grind zone.

Turns out we were in the bird sanctuary, which is just a high-fallutin term for "bird VIP".

Past that was an acre of volleyball sand courts that were spooky and lunar. Kelly went to plunk down and make a body print and ripped the entire booty of her favorite jeans.

She decided to write a message in the sand to commemorate it for everyone who missed it. It read "MY Butthole Is Showing."

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September 25, 2007


I let up on my solitary libris and had some company today. It was my good ol' buddy JR, who came over to use the computer. The best non working writer in this whole damn city, and he's got nothing to type on. He worked and I made the lunch, and meanwhile, we did some sick, nostalgic bonding over a record I just bought for the first time ever yesterday.

Jane's Addiction Ritual De Lo Habitual. Believe it. High volume. Both of us singing along from separate rooms. 15 years on, there were revelations--for me--how much Janes rips Zep. I didn't know that when I was in 10th grade because I had no idea what Led Zeppelin sounded like because I wouldn't of been caught dead listening to them, even though I'd only been punk for like four months, I knew LZ was the province of rich hippie kids that went to Southwest and the dudes you bought your drugs from.

I was wondering how I managed to never actually own a copy--but it was easy not to--it was everywhere, so I didn't need to. Every bedroom stereo, blasting during the church lock in fellowship weekend, every car, Sunday Night dance Party, the metal chick played it every single shift at the record store where I worked. Ignoring their grode overblown legacy, Dave Navarro's chest baring oeuvre, the entire Perry=God meme of the nineties---shit is still rad.

Every boy I was totally obsessed with in 9th and 10th grade (with one exception) was in a grunge cover band that did Janes covers. Matt's 11th grade band, McDestiny, did covered "Stop" and "Summertime Rolls"--I'm sure if we'd gone to the same school, I would have spent summers lurking lonely around his bands basement shows, pretending to be drunk off one beer, hoping he'd notice we were wearing the same Mudhoney shirt and talk to me; such were my seduction tactics c. 1991--I was a pitiful thing.

PS. Happy late birthday to my dear and inspiring woman friend, Morgan "Alphonse" Morgo, now aged 24.

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Now thats what I call blogging.

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September 24, 2007


I'm in week two of playing isolationist home library: trashterpieces, Jim Thompson novels and Katrina books almost exclusively. It's a hell of a hobby--You pretend like you don't have a shit-ton of laundry or money-jobbing to do and instead you read for eight to 10 hours a day and you stop cooking meal-meals and give in to making foods that you can eat with one hand without looking at them.

Meanwhile: The new DaCapo best of musical writing jawns book is coming out in a few weeks, and as someone with a Google has discovered, you can read most of it online. That said, you would be missing the best part (ok, second to Chris Ryan's piece, but, duh) --Christgau's foreword.

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September 23, 2007


Call for EMP 2008 papers! Conflict! Change! Two of my favorite bands and topics. Hooboy!

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September 21, 2007


In case you never get around to walking the Lincoln Trail train line--

here's a best of that spans about 20 miles, in southwest downstate Illinois.

I take comfort that unless something unforeseen and unfortunate happens (inland tidal wave, the war comes home, dinosaurs return from space and make us into agrarian slaves) the midwest will continue to be just like it is and has been for a long time:

Vast and corny.

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Don't let anybody tell you there isn't stuff going on in The Louis. There is. Me and Matt went on a hot date to the park by his house and watched hot air balloons get revved up for the big race the next day.

Though when we arrived it was already time for deflation, which is no less majestic.

Best part was the loud Steely Dan in the distance. After about five songs, we realized it wasn't a CD over the PA, it was a band. For the two minutes we were walking to where "Hey 19" was coming from, I was freaking the hell out "HOW DID WE NOT KNOW STEELY DAN WAS PLAYING THE FUCKING BALLOON THINGER?!" It seemed possible given that the Balloon Race is thee cultural event of the season.

But it was not Steely Dan, it was better than Steely Dan even! It was a rippin Steely Dan cover band playing a reception on the golfing green. They were called something like Funky Groove. They were perfect. They had a woman on keyboards that did the Michael McDonald harmonies and a full horn section. I'm not getting married unless Funky Groove is playing the reception.

Afterwards, we went out for drinks.

Drinks and some chocolate custard w/ marshmellow creme and graham crackers at my favorite place to eat in all of The Louis: Mr. Wizard. Fuck Ted Drewes and his famous custard! Nobody beats the Wiz!

Clean cup club.

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September 20, 2007



Ben took this picture and it's of Joan's arm and of a tattooed picture of a banner that me n' JR made her, being held by my arm. When it first came in the mail she said "Oh, I got yr M-A-P banner, and I hung it over the map in my office!"--turns out it was just tangled. Look at that shit. How committed are you to your PMA? I'm not exactly a natural with my PMA. I gotta work pretty hard somedays to be positive, despite having nothing to warrant any complaints about. I really want to be immoderately positive, at all times, regardless. I want to be a laserbeam, but "half nice most of the time" is such a huge improvement, I feel ok about it. Again, in closing, I'd like to remind you, or rather encourage you, for all of today and through the weekend-- and lets seal it with a pact between us now, effective immediately--to stay committed to being positive.

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Does anyone have Mark Donahue's phone number or working email? Or Ericas? Some of their mail wound up in my mailbox, but lists their address as across the hall, which was initially really exiting, but not actually true.

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September 18, 2007


Some notes, a topical research cache from Amtrack's Lincoln Line.

1. A record I enjoyed rather mightily over the weekend: the forthcoming Celebration album. The big plumfist of Dave Sitek drives this ship like a wheel--steering, ever and again into a mantle: TV On The Radio for boys. Jeff. Airplane party twilight allusions, in the meantime between uppers wearing off and downers kicking in, backed with sinewy lines cadged from a moldy Belly Dancing For Your Husband record. Katrina's voice comes into a her ownership it seems, now. She's arrived to where it is she's been aiming, in this band and that, since pert 1997. OH, and when the double track'd her--one doing witchy voice the other doing 10 miles of bad road voice; she sounds like a harbor whistle. It gives me what I wanted from Yeah Yeah Yeahs (pentultimate early 00's rockcrit concern) but only ever got 2x a record. I mean, it's different. Karen's wild as a whip, but Katrina's linear, gives us the easy line, with pleasure.

2. The new Jens Lekman: He sounds euro-mean (not actual mean, but too emotionally blunt for ears raised on that tarr thick American sap of pop romance) the way he queries the girls in his songs. Ben Gibbard inspired too many indie-dudez without strong voices to sing to dance music. Gibbard knows his own range well, fwiw, but Jen Lekman is not the man I want to hear sing to disco. There is no convincing come on in his voice, only an impatient "trying". When you are dancing, you don't want to be reminded of the sort sourness he brings to mind; gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight, but not a man that sounds like an old roommate you hated complaining about girls that wouldn't f him...

3. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings: 100 Days will be in my top 13 records of this year, at this rate. These are songs. Burners in r&b idiom.

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I went south for an extra long weekend, a weekend with bumpers, and so did my technology. The lil' puter is on a death trip, or was, and then, well, actually, now, suddenly works and connects to the interweb upon arriving home. I have some pics to share, but sadly, some of my favorite things were not captured to digital--namely the empty mansion by Matt's apt. that I am tempted to squat. The window to the servants quarters/sleighmasters kitchen-house (or whathaveyou) is CRACKED open and a hose is running up out of it. I could just shimmy right in there and peak around. Check for ghosts and special stuff someone forgot in the basement. Maybe there some VC Andrews business going on and there are little children in the attic eating arsenic meals and peeing in one anothers' hair! Surely there is a tunnel outta the outbuilding for reaching the castle jawn proper, making it easy for me to sneak on it. It's not for sale, the mansion. It looks (dramatic sound here) abandoned! No curtains in them turrets! Handball court sorely unused! Maybe I can get a STL p/t gig as a dust nanny for that grand casa? PERHUMPS.

Second, from Lincoln to Joliet, there was a young sir on the train--I assumed him to be a freshman of somesort--who believed that he was on a private conveyance, rather than a public one and talked loudly on his phone for nearly three hours. It was really amazing-bad--his main mission was to find out who in Joliet was holding: "Hey, so I am getting into town in about two hours and I'm really going to need to smoke. Do you have any cigarettes?" And so on. The only sound in the car for an hour was a teenager whining for weed. Until his girlfriend called. Then he screamed "I TOLD YOU! I CAN'T TALK! I'M ON THE TRAIN!" a few times and went back to his pot pursuits. The homework girls around him were all too polite to do much more than sigh loudly and rap their highlighters on the seatbacks. I was burnt from three hours of backtracking review of The Odyssey since it's been a few weeks and all I could remember was Odysseus talking up the princess-girl on the pebble beach while wearing nothing but some branches he got off the ground and so I had to rewind to when shit started going down in Lakedamion (sp?), and eventually I had enough with the winedark sea and the trillionth descrip of fine gold bowls that had ever been made by human hands in which some water or meat was served or given as a gift. So I listened to The Eagles instead.

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September 12, 2007


Tomorrow, Miranda July is on Bookworm. Since this last week or so we've all been real abreast of MJ, why not follow the trend for just another day: lets keep on breasting. I don't really care to listen to her explain her new short story book with all of it's OCD bisexual martyr girls desperate for love anyway how because it kind of makes me mad, but honest to god, I would listen to Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt (xoxotrueluv4ever) interrogate a tree stump for an hour.

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Tomorrow, Miranda July is on Bookworm. Since this last week or so we've all been real abreast of MJ, why not follow the trend for just another day: lets keep on breasting. I don't really care to listen to her explain her new short story book with all of it's OCD bisexual martyr girls desperate for love anyway how because it kind of makes me mad, but honest to god, I would listen to Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt (xoxotrueluv4ever) interrogate a tree stump for an hour.

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Strictly for my 55405 homies / retired scenesters still living within a half mile of the CC / 37 year olds who lived in Minneapolis in 1988 and still have their singles collection intact: Does anyone have an Mp3 handy of Big Trouble House's "Union Feed Grain Mill"? I am not 1000% on either band name or song title, as 1990 was a long time ago, but I could sing it to you. I fear I am confusing it with a Breaking Circus song, but I don't know if I ever even liked Breaking Circus all the way, so maybe? I am newly 31 and my mind is ripped on nostalgia that'll only get cured by hearing the damn thing. PS. Do not just up and email it to me, just let me know you got it and we can work something out.

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September 10, 2007


Perhaps it is the inborn nature of a trip that requires supply lists. Or maybe that is the hurt of the dunes: a refusal to be mastered. Somehow, it's always a bit of a fiasco. You try and go to the beach with your melons and expectation, and you have all the supplies, yet not all of the people. I dunno if I'm interested in getting it right. The chaos subsides, the water and company and sand and sandwiches are plentysome and then it's seven hours later and yr checking out yr reversed-out pink raccoon face sunburn in the rearview thinking "fuck it."

Nora wound up at another beach--absconded and webbed within someone elses haphazard plan. My phone was on my nightstand, and I was on the sunny beach with Kelly and Heather. We made some calls on Kelly's and took down phone numbers in the sand (handy, multi-use) and yet it was destined to be a missed connection. Noah came too, all the way from the city spectre on his motorcycle, and he did not find us. We baked in the sun alone, just the three of us. Watching the people on the human-carrying kites drift from Mt. Baldy, over the steam of the cooling tower and then hover above us.

I remembered the knife this time though, I housed it in a homemade sheath of painters tape and a decorative hand towel. It was awful big to brandish in public, it's hugeness felt sinister, glinting as I sliced the cantaloupe. The waves were high and we jumped in them, we ditched the veggie snacks for half melted euro-cookies that came in in a roll and spent the whole afternoon chatting towel to towel. We were playing the "game" that Ben introduced me to which is not a game, it's actually just a device to discuss what celebrities you would sleep with, but "game" sounds more reasonable. Four categories: Life partner, one night stand, one night stand that you would never tell anyone about, torrid affair. The game can go on for a long time if you do categories: dead people only, musicians only, same/opp. sex etc. Since Kelly picked "Lily Tomlin at 70" as her one night stand she'd never tell anyone about, I felt safe saying that Charlie Rose is my usual pick for life partner. (Mind you, I'm not actually attracted to Charlie Rose, but if I were Charlie Rose's life partner it means I could have bonkers dinner parties. Though I doubt Joan Didion would come. But maybe she would. And if she didn't then maybe Gwen Ifill or a gang of epidemiologists, Chuck D, some bible scholars, Jasper Johns, and Craig Finn. Plus, Charlie Rose owns part of an island, so I too would own part of an island, since marriage is about sharing. On the island, I would have a treehouse like in Swiss Family Robinson movie all to my self.)

We stayed all day the beach, phoneless, not minding the time, or the suns powerful rays. We just built some rock piles and kept running into the waves clothed and then racing down the dunes. From the top of the dunes, we could see that the boys who had been around earlier had written the word "PENIS" on the shore in 15 foot high letters. I won't tell you what we wrote back.

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September 07, 2007


I'm in love with all my friends.

I dunno how we're all going to rig getting the days off again unless we hurt Morgans other leg, but the dunes stay on your mind. First thing each of those beach goers says to me when we talk is "when are we going back?" BFBF=best friends beach fiending. It was a birthday week beyond my wildest thirtiest dreams.

My big surprises were the miniature german picnic basket from Ben and the wonderful lion bathmat from Ian and Robin and Max.

For being three months old, Max has great taste in home furnishings. He knows what I like better than I do. On my day-of-birthday-31, my real present was being Harris family adjacent; I got to drink their Portland coffee, eat a peach and plum breakfast pancake casserole, get drooled upon. Not to brag or anything. They have been gone for three weeks and now they are back and I feel like Max is all grown up. He's got a neck and a giggle and rolls around. He might as well be moving into the freshman dorms. Three months is old as fuck.

In other news, Morgan bought a fancy new uekelele. She knows a song, and thats the one they sing around the campfire in The Jerk. We sang it together. Band practice in the car is the wave of the future.

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I wrote a story about Anders Nilsen and this week, it's the cover story of the Chicago Reader.

Good morning.

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September 06, 2007


Not unlike the list of Miranda July, here's my sweet friend Jane Feltes boostering Miami; she's like the Rick Ross of public radio. This is me blowing up her spot.

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David Singer, My Friend, emailed this over to make sure I sawed it. You maybe missed it too, so ALAS, Miranda July NYTizzimes play list. I like her parting joke best. I also agree with her about the Bill Callahan record, even though I only felt taken with it enough to listen 3-ish times, but when I did listen, I felt like it was weirdo-world "Wichita Lineman" in reverse--he's going towards love that he doesn't know, his heart is broken open, he's backing up all the way home. Which is a good idea, formulaicly, answer songs are not so fresh--but inverse versions could be. (PS. When you get to the end of the Miranda list, ignore any reflexive desire to read the comments, because it's not going to improve your life. Let your mind be like that old punk patch of the stick figure throwing the swastika in the trash. Stay on your positive path.)

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September 05, 2007



Can we talk about the utter sweetness of friends who make you LOL HOPZ for your birthday?


Do you like music?
I know it's way early to talk about favorites of the year and actually, heirarchy is bogus business and not tremendously productive in the first place, but I thought maybe I would share this mini list because a few people have asked.

1. Fiest - The Reminder. I did not "get" this album until I saw her play a show and I was besmitten. I listen to it often. Maybe you might like it too. I don't know if it "better" than other records, but I like to listen to it for light solo dancing, cooking and cleaning accompaniment.

2. Boys Noize - Oi Oi Oi. He's German, but he does French crush-you blown-bass thump so well.

3. The Screaming Females new one. Not as much in actual listening as in heartspace/live show experience because Marissa is doing a more theatrical singing that I'm not positive I can hang tough with.

4. NO AGE - Weirdo Rippers. I don't think I fully understand all the way yet because I haven't seen them play yet, and I think that is the other half of their 1000 pc. tiger puzzle.

5. The Diplo remix of M.I.A. "Boyz" sticks better than anything on her record, though I really like Kala's feeling of third-world boo-ya, frosty almost menacing anti hook production, fuck-you-first-world sour notes. Her gunplay and money love seems to be born of a different angle than the current MP3-remix-blog-mash-up-money-lifestyle-eagerness--urgently-circa-now-era songs that feel like being slapped in the face with a dick wrapped in coke-rolled $20s*, nonetheless, I just can't make it through the entire album.

(*you know what I mean)

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September 04, 2007


There are three Los Angeles blogs (or, as they call them there--blods) that are worth the hang time: Jenna from Mika Miko does Chancla Joose which makes me wish she did a paper fanzine that was phonebook sized. I'm into her nothing somethingness and have a growing fascination with her as a personality. There is also the group-bloggins of the band Abe Vigoda which is like a farsical meta-comment about the "personal" aspects of blog-form. It has inside jokes that I don't get but still laugh at. KIDS. And incase yr not already steady bookmarking it :David Scheid: still waters run deep, I am into the meditative force of this one.

And now, lets talk about some books.
I have just finished, almost against my will, Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries. It is exactly what the title says it is: really boring junkie war story and Motley Crue business circa 1987, edited for clarity: unspectacular OD's, the revolting banality of a daily drug habit, goin' to the Cathouse with Riki in between fights with Vanity. Each entry has retrospective comments from people involved, which lifts some of the repetition of "I haven't showered in 12 days. I am in my closet shooting speedballs and want to die. I ran out of toilet paper three weeks ago. I bought 5,000$ worth of coke and then flushed it down the toilet. I hate Vince/my mom/myself/my dealer/our management." The illuminating post-script (and most interesting part of the book) is Nikki the sober daddy living one day at a time, talking about how he hopes the book helps those still in the life. But meanwhile the entries are illustrated with pictures of people doing lines and groupie girls being penetrated with champagne bottles, which doesn't really lend to it's being a cautionary tale.

The real deal tell-all thats laying waste to my mind and I'm only half way through: Tolstoy's Confession. You should be on this asap. It's a trim volume, not an epic, though not ness. a quick read because there is a lot to process. It's Tolstoy at the end of his life calling bullshit on everything he's ever taken as gospel--religion, writing, art, his privilege right as a rich white dude. He talks about being re-enforced and encouraged by other for every shitty thing he's done: killed people in the Crimean War, been a drunk, a willfull, bougie prick, a vain slut, written just for the money and fame--and any time he tried to go spiritually straight, he couldn't and no one wanted to see him succeed down that path. So basically, it's like the Russian Heroin Diairies, but set in 1902 and with serfs instead of groupies. J/k!

PS. I AM 31 TOMORROW AND THE ONLY THING I NEED IS A DVD PLAYER. And a curious hat. And a new towel.

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September 02, 2007


As of Weds., I'm another year older. The big 3-1. I think it'll be an auspicious year; perhaps I'll finally hit puberty.

And as we have done the last few birthdays, we went to the Indiana Dunes. Matt drove up 5 hours, fresh off his first week of law school, to come to the sand party. Whatta man.

We got off to a fiascous start: We hit the road late and the holiday traffic was such that the 45 minute trip took three hours. Meanwhile, JR had to be to work back in Chicago by 5:45 or else and it was after 3. We dropped everyone and their watermelons off at the beach and I took JR to the Indiana commuter train stop so he could head back to the city. He did not even get see the beach or touch the sand, only ride in the car. We gave him a sodie, some pretzel bread and train fare and off he went. I felt like a real shit for insisting he come with, but he is gracious as ever. Also, I forgot to bring the knife, so we broke a Sean Kingston CD in half by wacking it with a shoe, and then used the sharp edge to cut up the watermelon. In case yr wondering what to do with your Sean Kingston promo--that's my suggestion. Kate says she saw him on Good Morning America and he seemed like a real a-hole, so maybe it serves him right.

Morgo got hit by a car while on her bike and went to the hospital the night before. Despite being gimped out with blackening contusions, she refused to miss the beach party.

Kate, accidental Tura Satana, resplendent in her fake ponytail and Nora's inside out underwears, framed by the nuclear cooling towers. I forgot to tell her the Dunes were the beach, but she made due despite being unprepared. Nothing stops her good time.

I also forgot to tell Kelly the dunes was the shore. She thought it was regular nature--the hiking kind. She didn't make good on her promise to swim in her jeans. but she did come up with a fun game--

that involved trying to replicate the impossible poses of the photo spreads from XXL magazine. The woman in the picture says her sex drive on a scale of 1-10 was an eleven and that she has sex four times a day if she can. That must not leave her much time for playing badminton at the beach with her friends, which, speaking from experience, is about as fun as it gets.

Jesus read our minds, and sent a beach ball rolling to us out of no where.

In between crawling up and then running down the dunes and rounds of Frisbo (another new game which involves throwing a frisbee on under an ever lowering beach log, while singing the Frisbo song, while Kate does her old cheerleading moves between turns)--there was a lot of swimming.

New roomie Annielaurie had her paw in a cast, but was the best badminton player out of us all. I think she thinks we are a bunch of revolting weirdos--as a crowd, we work a bit blue.

Some one started a long digression on the topic of "weiners" on the epic drive up. I'm not naming names.

It's not the same person who got chocolate frosting all over the bed sheet. And also not the same person who pretended to "do" the watermelon. Or the person who made us watch them pee in the waves. Or the people who were making gross motions with the frisbo stick in between turns.

Morgan snuck up on Miles when he was changing and tried to yank his towel off with her cane. You give that girl a cane and suddenly she's Benny fucking Hill. The beach turned us into a pack of feral teenagers.

We had to be out of the parking lot by dusk; we cut it rill close.

To paraphase the master--bonjour birthday and au revoir, beaches.

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