Now With That Out Of The Way, Back To Christmachine – Audio Reference Server

Now With That Out Of The Way, Back To Christmachine – Audio Reference Server

Ahhh… Where Do You Keep The Vinyl Rips and Hi Resolution Digital Files ? ——————————–>Photo Courtesy Of Doc KEYAZA!!!

 

So there has been enough (So much!) time passed, it’s blatantly obvious to me that no one else will create an Audio Reference Quality Standards Catalogue for individual album releases.  The powers that be have showed us time and time again that they feel that we should be left in the dark about the music we have purchased and continue to purchase.  It’s loud and clear, they do not have to, there is no other option.

All we asked for was lineage and provenance of recordings that we spend gobs of cash for, as well as the textual and numerical details as to how they mastered, remastered, and transferred the new releases. Once again we are left clueless as to what we are purchasing. We know it can be done, some releases have done just that, usually projects overseen by reputable audio engineers.

I do understand that in some cases they do not know some of these details as they have been lost to time, poor record keeping, lack of proper labeling, and a sad state of storage of the original master tapes.  In some cases they don’t even know whether they are the “original studio masters” or well travelled copies.  We saw that in the report on the sad state of historical music archiving, much has been lost or destroyed….as we know back just a few decades ago music industry analysts and label bosses went with the prevailing wisdom, why would we want to preserve all this music–who is going to want it?  What is the use?

This:

https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub148/pub148.pdf

And ESPECIALLY This (Re-Post):

http://www.billholland.net/words/Labels%20Strive%20to%20Rectify%20Past%20Archival%20Problems.pdf

 

Now that they realize the marketing and money making potential, oh the irony there, eh?  All we have asked for is crumbs; forget about the old arguments (for a moment) on the loudness wars, whether high rez audio can be heard by the human ear (The Nyquist Theorem), Wheather vinyl has more warmth and soul, whether expensive cables give a +/- better listening experience, The law of diminishing returns, “Sources? / Laws of Science?, Do CD’s suck, the failure of SACD, .mp3’s are garbage, etc.  Noel Gallagher saying there will be no more vinyl niche as an industry in a few short years as a result of streaming (He thinks? I agree, he is probably right).

With that said, our niche is just that–our niche, and it will continue as long as the electric grids are up.  Even then some of us crazies will be powering phonographs with a stationary bike, using a carefully sharpened fishbone as a rudimentary needle, a significant other propping up a makeshift jimmy-rigged cardboard cone to telescope and carry those wondrous melodies to the flash mobs in our living rooms.  Vinyl wear and tear bad, but for a time the ears are very good.

Remember what is normal any way, and relative to what?  With those previous dire predictions of the future, keeping in mind that some of us have never had or witnessed an argument on the early Yahoo and Alta Vista message boards about the wonders of Hi Resolution Audio (It will always be Hi-rez to me, soz!), I will try to parse mixed nuts.  Threading the needle like a steaming locomotive on crazy good meds, diplomacy will avail for all, no matter what our differences.  Joy!

 

Why don’t we focus on the things that which we do agree.

  1. We pay a lot of money re-purchasing music over and over.
  2. Music listening is a different subjective experience for each person.
  3. It “can” take a wee bit of trained ear (Not a B.S Degree), to hear improvements.
  4. The music is only as good as it’s source.
  5. ABX’ing can, not always, but “can” manifest as human listening fallibility & weakness.
  6. Placebo affect and bias are real “things”[sic].
  7. Provenance and Lineage of our recordings is Interesting and “nice” to have.
  8. There is such a thing as “brick walling”, “anti aliasing”, and de-noising”.
  9. There is more than one type of compression in music.
  10. Type A removes many of the tiny spaces to make music file formats smaller.
  11. Type B holds the fidelity of the performance together, Very Good!
  12. Good source players are available at many price ranges.
  13. There are good headphones and bad headphones at all price ranges.
  14. When in noisy public settings, audio nuances tend to decline.
  15. You Do NOT need to be an audiophile, to source good quality audio (If Available).
  16. Audiophiles can be nuts, same with Hi-Rez deniers. (In a good way 😉 )
  17. That said, Head-fi has it’s place, and deniers seem to hang around bigly.
  18. There are, subjectively to each of us, good mastering engineers and poor ones.
  19. We all have to listen to our source material and make our own judgements.
  20. I can have (IMO); my own vast archive of “self-proclaimed” Reference Quality Vinyl Rips, Hi-Rez digital lossless [FLAC 24/48, 24/96, 24/172, 24/192, 32 bit float, .WAV, even ALAC and DSD], quality sourced and mastered CD’s [16/44] etc., portable DAP’s/amps/DAC’s, and use .mp3’s and Youtube to preview and stream when need be.  It’s fine that you might consider this fodder, trendy, and hipsterish.  I often use apple ear buds while on the go with the mobile. I’m not a gobsmacked music snob…I listen to AC/DC cranked on the local radio in the car, beautifully overbearingly loud in all its overly-compressed glory.  I’d dance randomly in the street to an 80’s boombox with cassettes daily if these types of gatherings where more frequent.
  21. You can have 50,000 lossy .mp3’s on the go, with an excellent ear, sourcing quality CD’s and audio on your own volition (all without my schtick). You might even listen to vinyl for nostalgia purposes possibly.  Further you own low cost but excellent sounding source players as well as an expensive pair of headphones and/ or IEM’s. Even bluetooth love…it’s almost 5.0 (I too am sick of those frickin tangly chords). There’s nothing wrong with any of that.  What I’m getting at is it doesn’t matter.
  22. We can all site the Nyquist Theorem till we are blue in the face, and never get anywhere…agree to disagree perhaps.  If you’re happy, I am happy.
  23. Electronic music and Hip Hop does not and should not have to follow any of these rules.  Electronic music tends to sound great, almost always produced very well, unless it’s a very low bit rate or has been up sampled, but that is usually by design.  Hip Hop needs to be vicious or passive aggressive and Bassy…clean tight bassy…Superb dope! The only reservation I have is when either genre is too bright and shreds my ears. It’s rare, again unless by design.
  24. Classical music is on the other end of the spectrum…the rules DO very very very much apply. Soundstage and instrument separation are paramount.  Loud and soft, loud and soft just like The Pixies or Nirvana. A muddy midrange is a killer.  Attack, sustain, decay should be transparently punchy, grainy, and accurate.  The music has to breathe and pulse…ripping the heart right out your chest even with headphones on. Emotions, knocked about, tugged like a puppet to strings. It should convey an air of atmospheric space with perceivable parameters…and in a perfect world, pseudo-holophonic sound, as if you the listener can imagine you’re there live sitting center stage with the orchestra wrapped 180 degrees from ear to ear.  You’ll know something is wrong right off, a piano from each and every-little-single-ebony-to-ivory key is muddled together as one, or squashed in a constant spew of notes like an accordion. We should be able to perceive and hear milliseconds of spaciation[sic] and be acute to a differentiation between every single tapped key, no matter how fast the piece. I’ve said before piano is the hardest instrument to reproduce in recording with accuracy.  If that’s muddy then it’s all over.  I won’t get started on the pneumatic breath of the solo cello…you get my drift.
  25. Pop music…It depends on if it’s good! 😉 😉

So with all that said we arrive at the conclusion that we may not agree subjectively.  Please forgive me, as I was being purposefully presumptuous in some of the things I said above… but that is not the point.  I’m just generalizing for the sake of getting at the crux.  Most of the people reading this will not care one way or the other.  Some will be bored to tears as to, “what is the going on and on about”.  In the end we all just love music and are devilishly passionate about it–Pretty simple, no? 🙂

So, in the past I did some reviews….Beck, The Beatles Catalogue, Led Zeppelin Catalog, etc., they each get hundreds of hits daily as reference, awesome.  I also posted full album playlists (with some lineage)…it was quite subtle, again on purpose as to what I have deemed a Reference Quality Audio Recording.  I don’t know if I said it outright, I may have…If not my tongue in cheek went over people’s heads. A failed attempt by me.  Yes, you are left to taking me at my word, have to search for it yourself, and availability is spotty.  I know it’s somewhat authoritarian but let your ears be the judge.  There were many times I have searched for a single particular recording over weeks and months before finally getting a hold of it.  Time well spent!

If you search hard enough you will be able to get a hold of same source as I did, some searches will be easy, others will require patience and time.  Moderately I will recommend the High-Rez digital transfer available for everyone to purchase with a quick download and some cash.  I have no stake in this…no adverts, self funded hosting and servers.  I’m just passionate about music and everything else, and I know you are as well, or you would not be reading this.

Just a note **** again, the night site is under maintenance (The links from here the day page are static as of writing this)…It will be up again soon enough.  I’m going to do all those recordings here on the main page individually anyhow.  So there will probably be some updates as well.  When live, it will give you an idea of some of what I will cover, and it is only a small part of projected works.

From now on instead of taking a few months to do mega reviews, although I will someday do the Complete Pink Floyd Archives Posts (Damn there I go again, that’s one exception), from now on there will be single album releases (From past and present) which a single post can be done in one day.  I will do whatever I am listening to and I have in my wheelhouse as the best recordings and rips / digital to date.  The posts will vary widely in style, genre, and medium.  One day or two could be Thrash, the next Classical, Jazz, Electronic, Pop, wherever the music takes me.

In between I will continue to do my sordid stories, post mixes, photos, memorabilia, any type of art really.  I intend on making this site better by making it a reference site for individual albums.  In that vein It would make it possible for those who do not want to read my silly erotica, still be able to come here intentionally via direct link or search engine in order to just browse my reviews and recommendations on specific albums…quick and easy.

In conclusion, each album will have an easy to read, specific format that I have worked out, and tweak things as I go along.  If there is anything extra about a specific release that you would like to see, send me an email or message.  If I can get the info – I will post it or write you back.  Understand that I cannot council and/or recommend file sharing or piracy, so do not ask…messages from readers as to these types of questions will go unanswered.   No disrespect…just being clear.

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support. My Readers Are Awesome!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

 

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

 

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Irish and Italian Associates Make Strange Bedfellows For Organized Crime In Boston in the 1990’s… [First Pass Edit]

This excerpt is inspired by true events. Some of the characters , names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been changed for anonymity purposes. Any similarity to the names, character or history of any person is purely coincidental.

 

The Conclusion of Part 2 – Canada Unleashed: Montreal to Vancouver…Is coming up in the subsequent post. Thank you for your patience!

 

With the universe as my witness, I write because I have to. It is just how writers do things, 48674493wkpand as we know it does not have to follow any sensible guidelines…it can be about some pretty fucked up shit. It does bother me sometimes that the focus is on the frailties of others, sometimes even of those we look up to. It’s further strange how we as people find ourselves fascinated by movies, stories…any medium where we can find ourselves sympathetic to the villains. Music, Cinema, Photography, Art…just about anything, especially when there were real lives connected and destroyed by monsters. We laugh, repeat and mimic lines (whole scenes even), over and over again…we reset the knife or a bullet to the head and chest. I’m not passing judgement, just making an observation. The way violence plays out in real life is worth a shit ton of money, only the victims loose any sleep over it…pretty messed up when you think about it. Dollars drenched with tears, there is blood on our hands. We don’t cause the accident, but we can’t look away either.

It’s very easy to romanticise the days of old in the ethnic neighborhoods of any city, you know before all the gentrification happened and ruined it all. The world governments saw a powerfully lucrative stranglehold of an oportunity to legislate control of their own brand of organized crime. In the past “problems” were handled locally along familial, ethnic, and cultural lines. Now these problems are handled administratively by jurisdictional governmental law through taxes, fees, and for profit institutions.

Go to the neighborhoods now and a fascade of the old country still exists but it does not have the same soul. If the violence was part and parcel of the family ties, part of what gave the neighborhood soul, then I guess it’s better that we have all moved on in the last few decades. Although it did not mean to start out that way, with the eventual corruption of “Respect” and the “Code of silence” by power and greed, with the responsibility placed rightfully on the perpetrators — as that “silence” evolved into sociopathy, this led to everyone singing like birds in last ditch attempts to survive. After all it was one of the most famous gangsters in modern history who said, ‘To get where I am today, I had to burn every bridge that I ever crossed to the ground’…clearly there must have never been any intention of going back. Just as black on black violence has become perversely acceptable, warehousing of the mentally ill and addicts in prisons tolerable, white on white ethnic violence being the only slight outlier, nonetheless all of it was and still is an unholy and unacceptable terror.

I must have had a lot of misconceptions about my environment at the time, but it was the 5766489mn“beloved” neighborhood. It’s only been in recent years that I have been able to fully understand what was really going on around me, things that I had no control over. You know how it is, one hopes to feel good about the neighborhood they choose to move into…it’s only natural to look the other way. There was so much bubbling under the surface that I did not know of, nor would I want to know for that matter. It’s just striking to think that in the middle of all this awesome culture and family and worldy seamlessness, that a large part of what held it all together was so dangerous. It was obviously a case of naiveté on my part, not in the sense of lacking street smarts, as I was aware of organized crime. I actually knew that some of my friends families (over many years) were involved in it, not any specifics…it just was just “unspoken knowledge” if you know what I mean. Gruesome violence was always overshadowed with, “they had it coming kind of vibe”. Catholics and Christians really have it lucky in this arena, you know “The Jesus Christ Option”, all you have to do is ask to be forgiven on your deathbed and whamo…heaven sent! No time at all in Purgatory, what a bargain (That is if you believe in that sort of thing), No!

In the Italian section of the city, there were no supermarkets or big box stores and it was wonderful. In the morning after a couple of espressos, I would head to my local butcher, who would hack the section of meat desired off a fresh carcass in cold storage. The cleaver would come out to section chops or ribs right in front of me. For burgers and meatballs he would grind, also right in front of me, 70% beef and 30% pork to order. The reason for mixing the pork (aside from it’s amazing flavor) was to add some fat to the ground beef. The beef was so lean, that it needed some pork fat to not come apart when cooking a burger on the grill. Assorted Dry Salamis, Sausages, Prosciuttos, and Cappocola hung from the ceiling for the taking. After a little bit of everything wrapped in butchers paper, it was time to move onto the cheese shop.

If I thought the butcher shop was great then the cheesemonger formaggi was divine. Here I would get the finest aged extra sharp Yellow Italian Provolone and while it was being sliced I would taste test the ripe Gorgonzolla, Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesano-Regianna. Grabbing a block of each as needed, the store also served as a local Latteria, so I would also get some local sourced Raw Milk, Mozzarella Di Bufala, and a bucket of Ricotta. After getting what I needed and tasting a world of flavors over a few minutes time, I would stop at the pizza shoppe right next door for a huge slice of Ricotta pizza…their specialty. The Ricotta baked onto the pizza shell was an inch thick and was cooked to exactly the right moment when the surface of the cheese would just start to thicken and brown into a carmelized slice of heaven. The pizza pulled from the oven at just that moment of perfection so as not to burn. The slice could be eaten without care from one hand as I walked to my next destination, the perfect balance between savory and sweet.

The Panaficio was right around the corner and I would purchase my desired breads and pastries. Some Scali, Focaccia, and Ciabatta for Panini’s (sandwiches) and occasional Lobster Claws and Pistachio Macaroons. Right next store to that was the Vegetable Market where I could get the best (just harvested and/or in season) Cilantro, Carrots, Onions, Broccoli Raab, Basil, Red and Green Peppers, Red Potatoes, and Romaine Lettuce. I would also grab assorted fruits: Plum Tomatoes, Olives, Peaches, Pomegranates, Green Beans, Bosc Pears, and Eggplant. Every year I would pine for the time of year, the arrival of the fresh and slightly ripened green whole figs to slice and eat the green gooey flesh…a whole bag sometimes until it gave me a stomach ache. That shit was some serious natural candy.

2387565yh

Johnny Depp – “Black Mass” Movie [Warner Brothers Promotional Photo]

These days some might think, what a pain in the ass to go all these places for your food. I can assure you that it was not, and is one of the best experiences one could ever have in life. Exactly the way it’s still done in many parts of the world…you got to know and talk to the people, actually see the hands that helped you to gather and select your provisions. The proprietors would clue you in on a seasonal or new gem that had fallen into their hands. We the locals got first dibs and a taste test of everything bought, and more importantly might desire to buy. I have never bought a tomato in a supermarket or big box store that had that distinct heirloom tomato taste, NEVER. The nightshade family, oh an ode to the nightshades…did you know that Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant are all in the same family as Tobacco (Nightshade Solanaceae)? Did you also know that all of these nightshade varieties contain small amounts of nicotine, even more when unripe? This is why nicotine is known to be one of the most effective and safe pesticides. This naturally stable form of nicotine is what helps keep pests away from the fruit. Oh how do I long for those days again.

There were several execution style murders right in front and in the area of my butcher shop, within the stretch of only one or two years. It was very strange how when a shooting would happen it would blow over so quick. White on white gangster crime obviously not a big priority for the police. I remember walking down the street after the bodies had already been removed, the shop owners would be outside washing their sidewalks with pressure washers as the blood ran in the gutters to the storm drains. The incidents would not even make big news…like page six at best.

I actually did not know that some of these murders were literally right on the sidewalk directly in front of my butchers’ street facing store front window. I had noticed right after the killings that the butcher shop had drawn closed steel garage doors, but because it was afternoon I just thought he had closed up for the day. The next morning while getting some stocks he told us what happened. That he was tending shop and all of a sudden bap bap bap, three shots and three dead people right in the street in the light of the day. He said it was over before anyone even had the time to register that something this crazy had happened. Their were just dead bodies lying all over the street. At that moment, a lot of shop keepers including him closed up shop for the day. Precisely the reason why his steel safety garage doors were closed so early in the day.

My flat was in the direct cross roads of the North End, in between Prince and Charter Streets. Not far from my door stoop was the Old North Church, famous for Paul Revere’s ride (“One if by Land, two if by sea”, in reference to the British Invasion of the US). Looking South was Haymarket Square and Faneuil Hall. At the time Boston’s Big Dig Construction Project was in full swing and was a major demarcation point separating the North End from Downtown Boston. It was early in 1990 and I was working two jobs to make ends meet. One was at the Fish Pier by day and the other I had begun in 1989 working at all the clubs on Lansdowne Street. I was tasked with local concert crew and band/ stage/ venue security.

Coach was dealing weed out of the flat at the time, but we were small fish, just small amounts of green to people who we were friends with (mostly College Students…none of whom lived in the North End). What was strange though was that as anyone who smokes weed knows that at times there would be “dry spells”, meaning that for many possible reasons…that a city or a whole state (or region) would have times when there was no weed to be had. The suppliers higher up on the food chain would be completely out or “dry”, unable to supply the street level dealers. This would cause minor panic within the weed community because they were unable to get their daily high. I remember one particular dry spell which lasted several months because a major dealer had been pinched by the feds for trafficking cocaine and marijuana. The thing was that Coach’s dealer never hit this dry spell so we always still had weed, but again Coach did not sell to anyone in The North End. The word that was going around in the neighborhood was that it was impossible to find a dime bag of weed, but heroin was plentiful everywhere for a mere five dollars a bag (and it was extremely potent). I’m sure you can see where this was heading, right down the tubes, and fast.

I remember one day hearing commotion outside my apartment window, dogs were barking, kids and people were whistling and screaming. So I head over to the window overlooking the street and I see a young guy who I knew was a local. He was rolling and falling onto the hoods of cars, obviously extremely high on heroin. He kept nodding out and waking up again over and over falling on to the sidewalk. Next thing I know, I see his elderly mother come around the corner with a broom screaming at him about being a “Waste” and a “Junky”. Next she starts beating him with the broom, first with the brush part then the wood handle. I was thinking this is crazy…and as usual whenever something crazy like this happened in the neighborhood, you could feel the eyes of all the people living on the street focused on what was going on from the awkward comfort of their flat’s living rooms. It was very sad, someone must have called emergency services because a few minutes later an ambulance pulls up and scoops him off the sidewalk to take him to the hospital. That’s just one example, but incidences like this were happening with more frequency.

It was normal each day to walk past the old timers sitting out in front of their stores, homes, or social clubs located in the basements of the packed together row houses. There was one guy in particular that stood out…he was often by himself sitting out in front of his building and although he was almost always alone…he seemed to interact with everyone in the neighborhood from his sharp little corner. I always greeted him everyday and he was very cordial in response. One particular day I walked by him and after saying hello, I continued on as usual. Next I went down to one of the local haunts in the tourist areas of downtown to sit and have some pints of beer.

The bartender who I knew pretty well from my patronage at his bar, was complaining that day about back pain. Somehow we got on the topic of pills, percosets to be exact, saying he needed to pick some up when he got off work. I half-jokingly asked if I could get a few as well, he affirmed and just had to make a phone call. Like ordering pizza, the only difference was that they did not deliver and that I would have to go get them from someone in the North End. Hmmm…that’s a strange coincidence. Not only that but he said that I could go get them right away if I wanted. He explained to me where I had to go and as luck would have it…I was going to get them from the guy I passed every day on the corner and had been saying hello to for like forever. Of all places to send me in the city, the bartender was an Irish guy from “Southie” (South Boston) directing me to my own neighborhood in the Italian section, the North End to pick up the pills.

I quickly finished my pint and got on it. It only took about ten minutes to walk there. So I cautiously walk up to the guy and I say, “So and so” sent me to pick something up. Without pause he yells out the name of a woman, then proceeds to tell me to go inside the door behind him…to walk up to the apartment at the top of the stairs and just knock on the door and give her the money. So I did as he said and after knocking on the door, an elderly woman opened it up and said a kind hello. I then gave her the money and she gave me a plastic bag with all the pills in it. That was it and I left just as I had come, walked back to the bar and divided up the goods, all were happy.

Sometime in the next month we decided to do it again, he made the phone call and then said I could go, but this time he had different instructions for the deal. This time I had to go inside a particular store and ask for a specific number of pills using a particular “code word”, and that they would hook me up. So I again walk over in short time and walk inside the store as instructed. There were a number of people inside doing actual business as it was the middle of the day. Again I did as was told, said the number followed by the codeword and within thirty seconds or so I was handed my merchandise. As soon as I received the goods, I noticed everyone scrambling in the store…someone ran to the store front window and flipped the “Open” sign to “Closed”, just like you would see in the movies. I thought for a second was this a raid…no…I did notice a car had just pulled up that was double parked on the one way street. Then someone ran over to me and said “off you go”…ok, that’s odd.

As I walked out the store, I noticed I was the last one out besides the store workers, who stayed behind. As I’m walking out the storefront, just as I’m about to turn right out the front door, I noticed a man get out of the vehicle that was double parked. Another man was walking toward the store with him, however I could not take my eyes of the first man, he was creepy looking. I remember vividly thinking the guy looked like a psychotic leprechaun. He had shades on and was bald on the front and top with shiny grayish blonde crown of hair from the sides to the back. I could not get the look of that man out of my head, he was all business and projected the body language of person with zero fucks given. I don’t know why I got that idea or feeling from him, but I did. I also felt the sudden urge to get as far away from the area as possible immediately. In all seriousness I was not scared just a little creeped out, again I did not know who he was but his face is burned into my brain to this day. It was also not a big scare to me because I had walked amongst gangsters before. It was common knowledge that if you keep to yourself and show active - BULGER Wanted POSTER.PDFrespect you will “most likely” get the same in return.

Several years later, after I had already left the city and was traveling on tour with bands, I read an article in a newspaper and there were a few photos of a particular gangster who was near the top of the US Most Wanted list. The article was about, and photos were of that man (in a different incident and location), who I had cautiously passed that day near that store front. I quickly realized after some research on the internet, that it was the one and only “Mr. White” (J.J. “Whitey” B.). There is a lot more to the story for another time and another day. Not common for an Expat Icelander living in a US Italian neighborhood taking advice from an Irish Bartender in an Irish Town…while running into a famous Irish Gangster (who lived in the Irish part of town) in the Italian section of Boston. Go figure…fahget about it…what a tangled web we weave.

 

 

 

For those who want a larger overview, separate but surrounding this piece visit & read:

http://bostonmobscene.blogspot.com/2005/01/mob-in-boston-1990s-until-early-2000s.html

 

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support. My Readers Are Awesome!

Cheers and Bless!

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

[REWRITE] Schitzo – Manifestation Of A Nomad…Jack Kerouac, Lowell Sun And Bastard Saint (Excerpts Part 2)…[Second Pass Edit]…

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

Schitzo – Manifestation Of A Nomad…Jack Kerouac, Lowell’s Son And Bastard Saint (Excerpts Part 2)…[Second Pass Edit]… Just so people know Part 1 has not been published yet, so we’ll start here. These are excerpts from an early version of a non-fiction memoir.  Again this is a true story…the caveat being that what readers take from this may have dissenting opinions of it’s possibility to be true.  For example, some might not agree or believe in the possibility of descriptions of phenomena described herein, and see them as delusional experiences (this is key and left for the reader to decide).  Again that is the point, each reader will see these descriptions as they relate to their own personal beliefs.  It is written with the highest regard to accuracy, and is in relation to the entire story, only a small piece of what the complete story has to offer readers.  This is just a taste, and the final name of this memoir has not been completed as of the date of this being published.  Finally, the text is subject to change with subsequent rewrites.  Enjoy!

 

================================

 

Excerpt #1: Pre-Amble – 

r5768986bbSo I want to be an author, but all I could think of is what right did I have to try and be anywhere near the caliber of a wordsmith as many of the world greats that had come before me.  My writing is shit to be honest, but again it comes back to my belief that this is a long term learning process, always reaching for the sky to attain higher levels of this disciplined art.  What I do have going for me is the many experiences that have been laid out before me to explore, going deeper when there was no shovel to dig.  My fingernails are stained from the soil, my hands chaffed and cracked, dry to the bone from the rare earth and loam.

Each piece that I write is part of a specific set of exercises that I look to explore and hopefully master at some point in the future.  The most exciting part of this experiment, that will unfold right before your eyes, is that each piece is published in relation to how I feel they belong in the overall story since the start of this process.  Each piece calls to me when it is meant to be posted.  What that fully means I do not know, but something prompts my conscious mind, and lets me know that this (whatever that means at that specific moment) is what is to be published next.  Some might see it as just the human mind doing what it’s supposed to do, others may see it as a higher calling.  Maybe it is a little of both, regardless to me at least, it is an interesting look into the creative process.

 

Excerpt #2:

I had been brainstorming for weeks, months maybe, thinking so hard that my brain began to hurt.  I was in transition from being a dreamer to a thinker and it was very very hard.  I had always been a fierce dreamer, the problem being that it was taking all the brain power afforded to me.  After many years, a lifetime really, the dreaming had literally taken over all of my mind.  Even worse, is that through the years I did not even notice it.  Then at some point dreaming became so dominant that I sometimes could not tell the difference between fantasy and reality.  It was as if I lived in a cartoon or was in the throes of full fledged dissociative episode where I was often living vicariously through an outer body experience.  It was not as some have described as looking down on their body’s in a situation where they were close to death, it was for me as if my body was going through the actions pertinant to the life situation and my detached soul taking the ghostly human form, sitting right next to me as my unconscious mind had completely taken over.  My detached self was prompting my earthly self to react as if I was a character in a video game.

I was a sleeper and I loved to lucid dream where I would drift half my life away, just as I had in a previous life as an opium addict, frequenting opium dens where I would indulge and float around, never seeming to reach a complete state of sleep.  There I would explore the universe without having to get off the hard bamboo mat, where my body would lie with my mind shelved on a small pillow.  Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with an overactive imagination, obviously it is in part, absolutely vital to reaching our full potential.  At the time, more of it the better I thought.  It would help me to experience more of life with an open mind…and for the most part it did.   Having an overactive imagination opened my mind to experience all that I could, and helped me to understand and accept many things that others seem to have a hard time reconciling about the human race and the breadth of differences in people.  There was plenty of logic in there as well, which I now know I had confused to be a full fledged thought process, but logic is only a small part of a robust thinking mind.

I had come to the realization that I now had to rewire my neuronal pathways in my brain to be more of a thinker, and put the data stores in my mind to good use as there was no use for them in an overwhelmed dreaming mind.  Too many thoughts and experiences coming into brain storage and not much of that coming back out with intelligent efficiency.  Think of it like having hard disks or sets of file cabinets in your mind, and they are all overflowing with billions of separate thoughts coming and going into and out of consciousness.  There is only so much space before they begin to overflow, losing and misfiling pieces of paper or data.  At some point when these pieces of information are called forth by the conscious mind, the problem faced is that the data or files are now incomplete, corrupt, and damaged.  You can imagine the problems this would begin to cause…wait, what were we talking about, I completely lost my train of thought.

Now all that might sound foreign to some as each person’s mind learns and is wired differently, but we’ve all heard the old addage as well as the song “Don’t fall in love with a dreamer”…as well as the part about the fool.  It also happens that many people have a more healthy balance and division in their use of brainpower.  For those who do not, like me, I’m apt to say that everything happens for a reason.  If I had not developed the way I had just described, I definitely would not be writing all the things I am now.  So what might be seen as weakness, I am now flipping on it’s head (No pun intended), and turning it into a form of strength.  In the extremes, It is how many people with seemingly devastating and debilitating disabilities, forge on with heroic stamina and poise.  With all that said, we cannot forget that societal stigma tends to deny that hidden wounds and internal mental scars can be just as devastating, if not worse.

In being a dominant dreamer, I can now see how so many are held back by it’s comforting yet deceptive charm.  Also as in many cases we are not taught the difference between dreaming and thinking, that there is a huge psychological and cognitive difference.  The phenomenon is often described that the affected person cannot see the forest for the trees.  As I realize all of this, it’s like a light switch has turned on in my brain.  Spending days, months, and recently years forcing myself to brainstorm, think, and write…I can actually now, as I put pen to page, feel the physical transition and transformation taking place in my head.  The dendrites and neurons in my brain are rewiring as I speak.  I now regularly go in and out of what are commonly referred to as peak experiences, and reaching the tipping point the words come to the page like an avalanche.  I can feel the blood pumping through my veins with excitement, my body a neuro-chemical suit.  As you can imagine it is not easy mentally making that transition, I can assure you that.  There is so much to tell…I cannot get the words out fast enough…It’s going to take me a lifetime (which I do not have) to complete, but I will do my best.

 

Excerpt #3:

The people began to feel lost in the coldest and darkest period in history.  Freewill was their ball and chain and again they were frightened.  The sage began to speak, “Flung into the darkness”, the man continued…”I was given the knowledge that is available to all men and women, all you have to do is stop and listen.  My Father’s Father was a great man.  My Father’s Father’s Brother was also a great man.  They recognized and chose to focus on the hope and the possibility for good in all humanity and became proprietors for the people.”  They knew that they could bring the people great joy and that it was good.  The world had just emerged from one of the greatest threats to all humanity, the greatest war against evil, men and women had ever known.  This was not about religion, or dogma, or God…far from it as a matter of fact.  What is known is that in exchange for winning the most tumultuous war of all time, in defeating evil this time, that it had not under any circumstances been destroyed.  There were many like my family, who had great faith in mankind as well as in the trees, sun, oceans, stones, and soil.  In order for the great war to have been one, it was well known that with all good there had to great evil…thus the world was slung into the universe, and bones ground to dust.

The evil that all humans knew continued to roam the land, taking the weak to their knees as they worshipped instant gratification into a blinding obsession.  The shortsighted were once again unaware and blinded by love, roaming the earth for souls to influence and nurture…but there was a catch.  The catch being that the earth was now slightly more than fifty percent evil, and slightly less than fifty percent good, so evil forces would always have a stronger attraction than good.  The difference seems slight but but paradoxically immense and infinite.  Legend has it that Mother Nature was to watch over this split and further the wisest mind of all time.  Whatever it was that was greater than the Mother was androgynous and absent of human form, and the life and energy and the future and the past and the intersection of all things, held the universe together in a balance (ebb and flow) beyond the conception of anyone on earth.  The equation of this meticulous and benevolent balance (never quite reaching perfect equilibrium), proved order through chaos, encouraging expansive outward movement in the formation of the evolutionary space-time continuum.   The constant tension of opposing forces is key to the development of both the universe and the species.

All that the people knew was that they were naked and flawed.  They felt the urge to compete, and there were no laws.  So the people had to create laws, and although unavoidably flawed, they had to be born out of protection for people who ought not be taken advantage of.  There were many who wanted to be “Gods”, even though there was no proof that there was such a thing.  Some of these self-proclaimed “Gods” were fare and charitable.  On the other hand there were many self-proclaimed “Gods” who were miserable and yearned for more and more power.  They did not care about the people, drunk on the blood and tears on those they held influence and sought to destroy.  This was the cost of freewill.  This was not beset upon the people, the people beset it upon themselves.

The earthly gravitational microcosm was the family, and the intention was good, although flawed. There was tension, but the intention was good, although flawed.  There was learning, and the intention was good, although again flawed.  Until one day when the son of the Father’s Father felt inferior for one reason or another, and that son took the burdens of all of his family that had come before him as personal.  This son saw an opportunity to exploit a weakness, a metaphorical cancer, which he also had the choice to extinguish.  Instead of stomping it out, he let it flourish because he felt slighted and inferior.  At the time he did not distinguish it for a cancer that would grow and swell uncontrollably to magnanimous proportions, fed by the bitterness of his brothers scorn.  There were many incidents along the way which inadvertently spurned and encouraged the disease.  At some point it grew out of the control of the weaker son’s hands, the point at which he had the opportunity to stop the spread had come and gone, and he was blinded by hate.  Some of it was rational but more of it was not. This brother sadly believed that if he waited for just the right time, when no one was looking he could destroy his brother, the people however would be the real victims.  Because he was blind, he could not see beyond his brother.  If he had to spend his entire life (till his dying day) trying to destroy his sibling, he would, even if it also meant the destruction of himself as well all he held dear.

 

Excerpt #4:

One night as the scorned brother was sleeping, in his dreams he came upon a powerful force in the form of a spirit.  It was very hard to see but he knew that it was there.  He felt power and awe and riches, beyond the dreams of any man who had come before him.  He felt compelled to kneel before the force to get a better look, as it was very very dark.  Without a moments notice, as he tried to focus on the spiritual force, he realised he could see the massive enticing power before him if he kept his eyes closed.  It was then then that the dark force seemed to reach out to the scorned brother, and the powerful said to him…

I’m pleased to make your acquaintance,

We have not met before, but you always knew I was there for you.

It was before my stay in the womb that you were conceived.

Taking the position of the blind, with one exception, the ability to feel.

Is it not so quiet with so many around.

People weakened from participating in humanity.

May I touch your face as I cannot see to well?  As my fingers cross the breeze and I feel your scars…

They are smooth and rough as the result of many fine years.

With your eyes closed, is it not true that I let you see?

Does the grass not grow, as we watch, right beneath our feet?

Does the sun not feed, insatiable…Does the water not quench, parched?

It offers me a gentle and pure time, with the dearly beloved.

Wait not, come into me and I into you, let me show you the world!

And you me, know that your secrets are safe with me.

Let me do the walking as you rest, forgotten son.

As we join together in spirit, you keep what you have, and I give you the rest.

The future is yours for all eternity.

It is all about you now and forever will be.  With all of us…

 

Excerpt #5:

I found myself plastered to my bed with fear and agitation.  My musculature was tightly shaking, anchored as if taught rubber bands were wound tight around my bones.  I was in the throes of an uncontrollable full body spasm with no end in sight, grinding my teeth so tight and unable to swallow.  Burying my face into my pillow, I tried to meditate to calm my nerves which were exploding with sharp pains as if I was lying on a plywood bed of nails.  Parts of my extremities were falling asleep and waking with no warning, just as one feels when they get pins and needles in a foot or arm from pinched nerves.  Sweat leaked from my pores, although there was no sign of fever, it was in a word brutal.  I did not know how long i could keep this up as my mind was anxiously suggesting that I was going completely insane.

I was lying in a bed next to the nurses station and there was only one incandescent light in that area with a single nurse doing paperwork.  The room was otherwise completely dark and as my eyes were adjusted to the darkness, I could see thirty other beds in the same room all full with patients, many writhing in different states of insanity.  Some were vomiting and others were screaming out loud in all kinds of noisy agony, the nurse just sat there as if this was normal. The large room was only separated by the warm humid outside air by large screens and there was no breeze.  I was hoping upon deception that a cool breeze would pass over my body, but it was not to be.  Out in the yard, in plain sight, there was an extremely large industrial size bug zapper where hundreds of mosquitoes and moths were electrocuted with every passing moment.  With the constant biological genocide before me,  I found myself wishing to be in their place…just kill me and put me out of my misery.  I thought to myself that if there was a hell, this would surely be it.

My mind began to wander aimlessly, I was not being kept there against my will…mulling over the idea that I could just walk out the main screen door not far from where I was interned at any time.  Then the reality of the situation would hit…where would I go?  It was quite feasable and a bit calming to think that I would probably feel better just getting this out of my system, running off into the black night screaming my head off until I fell to the ground in complete exhaustion.  The problem was that I did not have the energy to make this happen, exhausted from my hopeless quivering corpse. There was a clock on the far wall that would unervingly tick tick tick, every deafening second heard through the cries of despair and agony…every single moment felt like hours.

It was then that I realized, with nothing left in the tank, that before I had come to this godawful place that my father had given me a set of brand new rosary beads in a small leather pouch.  They were in a drawer right near were my head was situated, but I was convinced at what help would they give…none, I’m sure.  As I began to choke on the frothing saliva from my mouth and nose, I suddenly felt compelled to go for the beads.  I removed the beads from the pouch and grasped them tight enough to rip them apart. After wrapping them a few times around each hand, the crucifix fell into the palm of my hands surreptitiously, as if that was the place it was supposed to be.  Also inside the pouch was a small piece of folded glossy paper with prayers and a step by step method on how to use the beads. The instructions indicated what sections of the beads corresponded to each of the individual stations of the cross.  I was not the praying type and did not even know if I believed in any God.  Having no place to go and seeing no harm in attempting to just say the words and go through the motions, even if it only meant helping me to pass the time, anything to ride out this physically emotional and psychological trauma.

The one light in the background of the nurses station helped me to just make out the words on the paper now unfolded and laid out before me.  I first said an opening prayer as instructed, and then began to go through the stations of the cross one by one…it was unintelligible, choppy, and manic, but I soldiered on.  I would forget where I was and lose my spot as I mechanically moved the beads through my wiry shaking fingers.  I found myself tentatively re-reading passages and sentences over and over as I made my way through the process.  Sweat dripping from my hands and forehead, acidic fluid that upon contact with the print on the glossy instructions, rendered the words illegible. As I was doing all of this, I simultaneously was pleading with the universe to please let this pass, please-please-please let this pass.

At some point a few minutes later the shaking began to wane somewhat.  I was ecstatic that just faking it and going through the motions was working.  Suddenly stunned into a kind of stasis, In the air above the other patients right before my eyes, appeared what looked to be a hologram but it was more real than that.  There in an almost indescribable full range of color and motion, appeared a perfectly symmetrical apparition several feet wide.  At first there were several wrapped layers of green interwoven prickled thorn strands, wrapped around a beating heart that had flames shooting out the aortic canal at the crest.  About two feet on each side of the wreath of rotating thorns, the ether seemed to produce a moving universe where time and space were flowing towards but not fully reaching me.  My eyes no longer welded closed, then witnessed a woman appear above the heart in full color, while all the imagery that I just described was in constant motion all around her.  I had to be hallucinating this I thought, but I’ve never hallucinated without drugs before.  Anyway I continued to experience this phenomena as it was quite amazing and in turn began to calm my wretched frame. The woman looked only to what I could recognize as Mary the Mother of Jesus, seated and draped in a blue and white separated headdress and full body shawl, while the flames from the aortic valve flashed in her lap. She had a slight ethereal white halo rotating around her head.

All around her were what I recognized too be visions of men and women saints (if you believe in that sort of thing) and androgynous angels coming and going, propping her up in the air as I just lay there plussed. At some point her lips began to move but there was no auditory projection, nonetheless I somehow knew what she was indicating…that ‘I had to make a choice’.  As soon as I realized this, I could see what I can only describe as the ‘forces of light’ situated to her right side.  For some reason I equated this ‘welcoming force’ with the presence of ‘Jesus’ although there was no sight of what I could impossibly perceive to be ‘his’ likeness.  I actually felt a calm bliss with the ‘forces of light and ‘peace’.  Simultaneously on her left side was also only what I can describe as the ‘forces of darkness’. Similarly there was no ‘demon or satan’ but the  ‘impression was put upon me’ that they were there in the same way that ‘The Son Of God’ was there on the opposite side.  From the ‘dark forces’, I felt ‘power and strength greater than I had ever known’, and it sent shivers up my spine and riddled goosebumps all over my skin.  There were no more words, but the side with the ‘dark forces’ was the only side trying to ‘make its case to coax, convey, and convince me to come to their side’.  It was ‘implied’ that the ‘world would be mine…power and riches beyond my dreams, no more room for pain, and eternal glory’.  Focussing back on the side with the ‘good forces’, there was no hard sell and no promises, but ‘calm, peace, and eternal life’.

As I gripped the rosary tight, I thought to myself I have to make a leap, I had to make a choice (well really I did not have to, but I did anyway), even if it was going through the motions as I said before.  I checked to make sure I was not dreaming…but I was wide awake.  I always could tell when I was in a dreaming state and I was surely WIDE AWAKE!  So I made my decision and ‘click’ everything went black and all the pain and shaking stopped.  As I lay there for a moment, I felt a rush of adrenaline and power.  I wanted to yell out what had just happened or tell the nurse but I was rendered small, minute, and humbled.

Next thing I know I was suddenly stunned and shocked awake in a pool of sweaty white sheets.  The clock on the far wall revealed it was early afternoon the next day.  Exactly twelve hours later from 2 a.m. when the visions occured…I was covered in itchy hives and the clock read 2 p.m.

 

 

Thanks for reading and for all your kind words and support!

More Interesting Articles and Reviews to come.

Cheers and Bless!

 

CM ☕

 

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Almost killed / Locked Up Abroad. Escape From Mexico…A Country I Love, Part 1 Of 3…

Almost killed / Locked Up Abroad. Escape From Mexico…A Country I Love, Part 1 Of 3…

Today Up On Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server :

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT SHOCK YOUR SELF WITH ELECTRICITY OR DO WHAT I DID AT HOME, YOU COULD BE KILLED. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. I UNDERSTAND ELECTRIC CURRENT PROPERTIES AND WAS TAKING MEASURED RISK. AGAIN DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. I KNOW IT’S BIZARRE THAT I EVEN HAVE TO WRITE THIS. RAWR !!!

It was another beautiful day in San Diego California. Every day is beautiful in San Diego, 4563rtwell that’s not completely true, but for most of the year the weather is fabulous.  One of the things that people from Southern California like to do is go south of the border into Mexico / Baja California.  I have a great fondness for Mexico always have and I always will.  The people, the food, the culture…what’s not to like.  Some people say that Baja California does not give you the full Mexican experience, and I agree with that.  Comparing Mexico City to Tijuana is a whole different ballgame for sure.  For us though, to walk over the border was a fun escape to another world.   Today also would be one of those days where I would come close to death but who would have thought.  I have been to Mexico many times, before and after this incident…and I will always continue to go.  This day though would be one I will never forget.

So on that morning we walked to downtown San Diego to the West Broadway Train Depot, and caught the next trolley for the short ride to San Ysidro.  San Ysidro is the end of the Trolley line and also adjacent to the US / Mexico border.  When we got off the train everyone would just head en mass to the maze of stairwells and tunnels that take you into Tijuana.  Sometimes we would go farther south to other towns like Ensenada where you could get a hotel and all you’re food for the day  for 20-30 dollars US.  In fact we knew a 76687juTurnCRPfew Americans who would live in places like Ensenada and come over the border to San Diego every day for work.  The reason being that you could live so much cheaper there than in the US.  Anyway walking over the border was an easy experience at the time, as immigration did not check our passports leaving the US, only when coming back from Mexico into the US.  So no hassles at all…smooth like butter.

So after traversing the maze of tunnels we would come out to a large open square made of granite stone and instantly on the other side of the square we are bombarded with people holding signs to try and get you into there stores selling everything from pharmaceuticals to souvenirs to alcohol “For Cheap”.  All the seasoned visitors know that this is not the place to but any cheap goods, they get cheaper the farther you get into Mexico and everything is up for negotiation.  You walk away after a bit of interest and they will drop the price often down 75% or to what you are offering.  With that said there are a lot of counterfeit goods, just as there are on the streets of New York City.  You have to know what to look for in quality so you don’t get taken.  Most of you already know this though I’m sure.

After you get through the square, you come to a taxi area that looks like some scene reminiscent of Mumbai, India.  Hundreds of cabs and their drivers all vying for your business.  Since it’s a short walk to Downtown Tijuana, there is no need to take a cab.  Next comes the walk over the footbridge which is a bit sad because there are young children selling things like packs of gum and pulling on your arm as if you did not notice them.  Their mothers sit in the crevices of the footbridge watching that there children are persistent. It’s not overwhelming but it gives you a real indication that you are in a whole different world in terms of poverty.  The footbridge goes over a large dry aqueduct (like the type you see in movies in LA) and is the real demarcation between the US and Mexico.

After walking down the street southward we come to “The Arch” that welcomes you into Tijuana proper.  This is where we come to the main drag which is a left turn into the bustling city, reminiscent of Downtown Istanbul with with a Spaghetti Western flair.  This is the main marketplace and you can find just about anything here, again everyone vying for your business and aimed toward the college students or people trying to avoid the official drinking age in the US.  Loud music is blaring from the different clubs and bars 24 hours a day…it just never seems to end, kind of like a more lawless version of Las Vegas.

As we stroll we look at all the goods for sale and stop if we find something interesting, but our real aim is the food.  Rule #1 always drink sealed bottled water and stay away from anything that contains ice. Bottled beverages are always the way to go, that are kept cold.  Avoid ice sold at the street vendors in anything from drinks to shaved ice…I have broken that rule before and did not get sick, but I have seen too many people that have so take it as you wish.

We then arrive at our favorite hole in the wall taco stand.  We know it’s great because it is packed as always and the cooks make your food right in front of you either at the bar or in the several booths inside.  The food moves quicker than they can sell it, it does not have a chance to sit out in the open for more than a few moments.  There is another station where a woman is cooking fresh corn and flour tortilla floutas.  The smell is glorious.  So as we walk in we grab either a bottled water or a Mexican Fanta made with real cane sugar, in those old style soda bottles with a cap that needs a bottle opener (Or the lighter trick).  There is a bottle opener conveniently on the wall right by the cooler.  We order the carne asada and carnitas tacos with everything, and tell the waitress to please keep them coming.  They come quick and fit perfect in the hand. Topped with melted cheese, red onion, cilantro, and lots of fresh squeezed lime juice. There are two large self serve 45635lkCRPsalsa’s on each table one with salsa verde and the other a roja salsa caliente…do you like it hot or hotter, hmmm choices, choices.  Latino music plays in the loud and there are three people just randomly dancing in the small ailes.It is then one realizes that they are immersed in a fabulous culture.  It’s heaven Jerry, just heaven!

So after wolfing down as many tacos as possible we ask for la billete and it comes in at just under 20 dollars US.  Where can four people eat all the endless fresh taco’s made right in front of you, with water and sodas for under 20 bucks in the US?  So after we pay our bill, we head out to wander the streets in search of the unique sights, sounds, and aromas of this amazing country.  Sure some of it is a bit camp and touristy, but the deeper you look…the more you find things that you do not need but must have.

As we walk down the boulevard  we came to familiar bar, another hole in the wall where there is someone outside trying to convince us into drinking alcohol there.   He obviously gets a commission to get takers down for cheap drinks.  So as my three friends were into getting some beers at some point. The bids start at 1 dollar US per beer and we haggle down to 50 cents US, and then comes the kicker as always…”The Walkaway”.   We notion we’re not interested and as we start to walk away he yells out’ “Let’s make a deal!”  As we were piqued with interest, a disheveled looking fella walks out of the bar to us.  He is carrying a car battery on his chest slung over his neck and arms with leather straps.  Protruding out at length from the car battery’s terminals are two long wires attached to a makeshift connection on the other end to two metal handlebars sawed off and connected, one for each wire.  He says to us in broken English, ” If one of you can hold these, one each hand…past red line”, as he points to a dial and voltage meter that has a red line pasted on it…”, then beers 25 cent, if not 75 cent.

Well we all looked at each other to gauge a response, I lit up inside, he did not realize that he had come up against a shark for this type of challenge.  Everyone was like no way, forget that…crazy talk! So I asked my mates if they want, I will do it.  I wasn’t even going to be having beers.  As I said though I had an angle and one caveat, free sodas for me…and they agreed.  As soon as we agreed he handed me the handles one for each hand as he began to chuckle and he referred to us now as, “Mis amigos y amigas favoritas”, I had a chuckle as well.  It was showtime and my friends were all pleading with me not to do it.  I insisted as I said just trust me on this.

So before I took the Pepsi Challenge for 25 cent beers and free sodas, I ask for your patience for a moment as I explain and digress from the matter at hand.  Winding back several years earlier, I have a DJ set up always in my flat.  My place always has long wires leading to power sources around my space. I would spin vinyl, and as I still do just mix and beat match continuously for hours and hours.  I spin everything from Electronic, Dinosaur Rock, Rap, Pop, Metal, Classical, and Alternative as well as all things in between.  Right below my old skool wood and fuzz super heavy DJ Coffin, I have a five foot high JBL Bass Rig on wheels for my setup to rest on.  The wheels allow my complete setup to move around the house as needed. Down by the wood floor I always have a small matrix of power cords just under the bass rig.  One day when I was spinning my bare feet happened to land on the wires and I got a good shock as I had not noticed one of them split. I did notice shortly before that there was some strange noises in the mix as if there was a grounding issue but it came on so gradually, I did not notice till I got shocked.  Something happened though I kind of liked  the way it felt.

I know some will find this crazy and bat shit but I noticed when I got shocked, the hair would stand up on the back of my neck and I would get goose bumps all over.  So like an idiot I did it again and again, until I was standing continuously on the damaged wire.  I was not worried about shorting my equipment as the wires fed into a power conditioner that just trips if there is a surge.  Yes, rationalization I know, but it felt really good. Over a short period of time I got used to the strength of the voltage and any fear which I initially had faded away.  I continued doing it for a few days off and on, and at some point when I moved my rig I swapped out the damaged wire for a new one.  I eventually forgot about this experience, until one day at a family cookout someone mentioned how they got 65768uiCRPshocked and without missing a beat I told everyone what happened to me.  The looks I got were epic, it’s as if everyone was looking at a ghost.  Until someone broke the silence with some consternation and a laugh…I had never thought to much about it.  My family begged me not to do that anymore, but it was still met with some measured laughs.

So here we are at the moment of truth, the man at the bar hands me the two handlebar terminals one in each hand, asks me if I’m, ready.  Go for it I egged.  He started out with a low voltage turning the dial to 25% of the way to the scratched red line.  It then occurred to me that if by mistake he turned it up all the way I could be dead. Putting that out of mind, I just began to meditate a bit and see if I could ride it out.  He then went to 50% and I was still fine.  I could feel the electricity coursing down my arm and into my head and belly but it was still fine.  Then he went to 75% and I had to clench my teeth and I could feel my muscles all over contracting.  My arms began to quiver as I gripped the handles but could barely feel them any more, I thought I was going to drop them.  Then as everyone on the street was gathering around watching what I was doing, with my mates worried as all heck. They did not look comfortable even though I was doing the heavy lifting and the crowd was cheering me on.  Then the man said he was going to red line it and I had to hold for ten seconds, he looked convinced I was going to fail.  He slowly raised to the red line in the center and the crowd began to count…Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro….it was as if time stood still.  My teeth began to rattle. cinco, seis, siete…I was definitely at the end of my line, just hoping the handles would not drop, as I said I could no longer feel them but I knew they were hot somehow.  Ochooooooooo, Nueeeeeevvveee, Diezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, once I realized we were at 10 he began to lower the voltage. I had done it.  Everyone was 343456hjCRPcheering, it was pretty wild.  So we went inside the bar and my friends got their 25 cent beers. I was the man of the hour, exhausted, and the fun had not even begun.

We hung around for a few hours while the friends got their drink on. Then we realized there was about one hour till sunset, and decided to walk around the city, even going off the beaten path, which i would later come to realize paradoxically that our luck had run out and fully kicked into gear at the same exact time.  So we get back to the beginning of the main drag and we noticed there was another road with vendors that veered of the main road going downhill but it was heading North West, kind of in the direction back towards the border. We decided to wander on down this road as we entered painters light, my favorite time of the day.  I noticed the first vendor was a woman who owned a statue store and the front was open like a garage filled with lots of statues mostly religious in nature but there was other things as well.  They seemed to be made of cheap plaster but they were still pretty cool.  On the cobblestone street in front of us where statues both painted and unpainted, many I noticed where oddly balanced on the top of round stones, and as the wind was picking up they would wobble a bit back and forth. In the moment, I did not think too much of it as we all just were browsing.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc!

Next thing I know, I hear a small crash behind me about fifteen feet back, It then dawned that one of the unpainted statues had fallen over and smashed on the street.  We all looked at each other confused and thinking why the hell are these statues set up on round rocks and I felt bad for the woman…next thing we know she starts yelling at me that I owed her, “150 dollar cash”.  I tried to reason with her, it was then all of us knew we were being set up.  It was quite clear as I had not even come close to that statue.  As she began to yell at me in Spanish, which I understood she was yelling at other vendors to come stop me…I said let’s go this is getting crazy.  As we were walking away I could see a group of men forming at the top of the street pointing me out and beginning to head down the street after me.  Shit was going downhill fast and I could tell they figuratively wanted my head on a platter as they began to scream “Policia, policia!!!”

I had heard of shit like this before and there was no way I was taking the fall for something I did not do.  I had also heard of people being thrown in a Mexican jail for stuff like this and it would take a cash bribe to get out.  I then looked at my mates and I said quickly and quietly, “I’ll meet you guys at the border, just take the main road back.”  I continued “I’m heading for the border on my own, and then we can take this up with customs officials.”  It was my only hope as they we’re coming after me.  I bolted down a side street and once I did It looked like I had entered a demolition zone, a back street full of rubble, smashed bricks, stray dogs, feral cats, and trash…something that you might see off the beaten path in Beirut.  I was scared shitless, and it was then my “Jason Statham caught up in a Liam Neeson Movie” persona kicked in. Adrenaline full on!  The street ran parallel to the main road back to the border but it was still a dozen blocks back to the crossing.  I dodged and dived around all kinds of obstacles, climbing over fences…it looked like construction was going on as well but there was literally not one person in sight.  Ever hear of a back alley in a different country, with no people on it the likes of which someone encounters in a bad dream.  Well I had found it.

The gang that were chasing me cut over to that road as well but as I said it was full of obstacles so they were slowed down as well.  I thought to myself, although they were coming they were not fast or gaining on me, so as long as i kept up my pace I would make it too the border before them.  After a few blocks I ducked below a damaged wall as I waited a few moments, looking around the corner to the road we originated on and as I predicted my mates walked by and I cut back to them thinking maybe they had given up.  So I walked up to them again and they looked worried.  I told them if they pop up again I would take off (again) and meet them at the border as originally planned.  Just as i finished saying that I looked back up the road and they where running, yelling, and now I noticed several of them were carrying guns and waving them in the air.  After seeing that I took off again cutting back towards the same road I had been quickly navigating through those obstacles. Now I knew for sure this was definitely not going to end till we at least got to the border.  So I soldiered on not knowing if I was going to get out alive.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc!

Slowly but surely I made my way back towards the border. Next thing you know it sounded like firecrackers going off, however when I noticed puffs of dust coming from the sides of the cement walls and the dirt being kicked up, I then realized, holy shit they’re shooting at me.  I just kept going with all that  I had in the tank as i continued to hear the sound of bullets going by just like something you would see in the movies.  This can’t be real I thought, I’m going to fucking die here.  So I don’t know if anyone has ever had something like this happen to them before, but I can bet even if you have not, you can imagine what it would be like.  Not pleasant…I did not have time to think, I was going on pure instinct at this point.  Ducking and diving, surging and backing off for a moment to mark my path, it still seemed they were not gaining on me.  I was sure as hell they were still coming though.  Luckily the shooting was sporadic and jagged (not constant), and I took advantage of that fact.  Not only that they seemed to be bad shots because they were not even getting close. Who knows, they were probably just trying to get me to stop not actually hit me…I could not be sure.

I realized next as I came around a bend that I was only about three blocks from the foot bridge…I had a bad feeling that this was where they were going to cut me off and catch me.  I had to stay positive and I can assure  you it was not easy.  I could not see the gang behind me anymore but I could here them yelling.  I made a break back to the main road and when i got to the footbridge I ran faster than I ever have in my life and made it to the main square at the border.  I wanted to make my way over to the main stairways to the tunnels and bridges that led over the border to immigration.  One great thing that I realized was the square was filled with people, so I stopped running to not stand out…hoping that I would blend in.  I still did walk very fast though.  When I got to the walkways I stopped to get my bearings and wait for my friends…a few minutes later the mates come around into the square and I yell and wave to them.  As they made their way over to me, there was a small moment of hope that this could be over.  We, for a moment (prematurely) hug and talk about what just happened. That moment did not last long.

About a minute later the gang came crowding into the square, and this time they had the freaking police with them…communicating on radios as if they were calling out an APB.  I could not believe it…this was insane.  Again (for the third time) I said to my mates, “I have to go”…yes, they were stunned. So I bolted up the stairs and ran through the tunnels as fast as I could and eventually I came to the straightway where I could see the the US Immigration turn styles but was gutted because their was a frickin’ line.  I could imagine the Mexican Police grabbing me before making it through and claiming jurisdiction.  So I took a deep breath, opened my passport, and just kept calm in the line about ten deep.  Surprisingly the que went quite fast as there were a few lines open at the same time.  I finally got to the customs official and he asked me a few questions.  I had to weigh instantaneously in my mind saying anything about what had just happened versus just getting back into the country.  I could not hear the angry mob anymore and just went for it.  I answered the questions truthfully and he let me pass.

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc!

When I got outside of the border crossing station in San Ysidro,  I walked over to the trolley platform to wait for my group to catch up with me. I was elated, I could not believe I had made it.  After about ten minutes they arrived and we all hugged it out.  What a mess…so much could have gone terribly wrong and yet being back in my home country…I was overcome with the feeling of safety.  It was finally over.  I can tell you this, it was the topic of conversation amongst our friends and family for a while.

Since then I have safely gone into Mexico both the Baja Peninsula and the Mexican mainland and would never encourage someone not to go.  It was just the luck of the draw on that day in that moment.  I can also say I have been in other life defining situations in the US as well as other places in the world.  So I’m not singling out Mexico…as I’ve said it is still one of my favorite places in the world.  The Mexican people are a wonderful and  hospitable culture.  I just happened upon an anomaly.  It’s fun to be on TV but I can say without hesitance that I would not trade my freedom and safety for a go at an episode of National Geographic “Locked Up Abroad”, and by the way do you think getting shocked for 25 cent beers and free cokes is really worth it? I do.

 

Thanks for reading and for all your kind words. Your patience with my insubordination is greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your support!!!

More Interesting Articles and Reviews to come.

Cheers and Bless Bless!

 

CM ☕

 

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