Friday, August 25, 2006

Arrival Of The Bike

The bike arrived at my LBS yesterday. I got the 2007 model hence the different paint job. I took it out for a 12 mile ride yesterday averaging 20 MPH. I rode it to work today and plan to do some meandering afterwards. Lots of riding to do; so blogging may disappear again for a short while. Stoked beyond words, yes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wally's World Of Work!?!!!

Maynard G. Krebs Cringed When He Heard The Word WORK!?!!

Join me on a journey through the wonderful world of work as I revisit those places I once toiled at - Wally's World Of Work!?!!!

My first real job was at the Murfreesboro McDonald's located at 106 SE Broad Street. I started sometime in the spring of 1985. I still remember the first night with vivid cold clarity. I was paired with another first nighter and our only job was to clean out the indoor walk in cooler. I spent 4 hours scrubbing the stainless steel walls while trying to strike up a conversation with the other dude. He was beyond spaced out and could barely be bothered to nod or grunt. I returned home that night with sore muscles and a weak mind. Still I returned for my next scheduled shift.

Soon I was learning all of the grease splattered truths I would need to survive as a Mickey D's grill man. This was before the advent of the clamshell grills and I had to sear and flip the burgers. Sometimes it was slow and there wasn't much art to baking the buns, grilling, and dressing the burgers, but usually we were on a 12 and turn routine. You'd put 12 more burgers on the grill after flipping the first 12. One person could manage this handily even allowing for some spins of the bread shovel after scooting the tops of the buns off in one fluid motion. This rotation typically involved a subset of Big Macs like 12-6 and 6.

During the serious slammed times (like every Sunday lunch when a particular church would descend like locusts at our door) emergency measures were enacted. It would be 24 and turn with the assistant manager pitching in on buns and a wandering back person dressing the burgers between fish sandwich and Nugget deep frier runs hoping like hell they didn't run out of apple pies. During hamburger or cheesburger specials they might even spill into Quarter Pounder territory. Then there were the other kinds of specials: special orders.

They never bothered me since I've always preferred my burgers plain or just with cheese, but some of my cohorts would go crazy when requests for ketchup only or extra pickles made there way back to us. I never witnessed anybody doing anything super horrible to somebody's food while there, but there was this tradition of putting extra salt on a burger that got extra pickles. The usual way of dealing with a special order was just to take one's sweet little time. I did drop burgers on the floor as did others and they always went promptly in the trash. The grill men I worked with took their jobs seriously. It wasn't too much unlike All-American Burger from Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

If there any ladies reading this that might have stopped by that particular McDonald's back then and heard a loud "grill check" yelled from the back take it as a compliment. It was the standard way to let everybody know that a pretty woman was ordering at the front counter. A sudden need for napkins would arise if you heard the phrase while in the breakroom. You could be up to your neck in dirty trays with soap bubbles stuck to your polyester pocket less pants and you'd just have to go peek over the grill because not only do fast food utensils need a good cleansing, but so does one's tired spirit.

I worked the grill, front counter, and some drive thru during what would not be my last stint at a McDonald's. We only had one drive thru window back in those primitive times and the best job was to be a runner during lunch or dinner. There was always a pretty girl taking orders and the money and between rushing around packing bags full of food I'd do what every guy did when they got the rare chance to run - I flirted with the drive thru girl. Sometimes I'd even look forward to working especially if I knew I was going to be runner on a Sunday afternoon after working the truck in the morning.

Working the truck was the best. Two of us would be assigned to the job and you would not have to do anything but wait until the truck came. Once it arrived the work was fast and rough grabbing boxes from a conveyor and then stacking and storing them, but it beat grilling burgers. The best part was stocking the freezer which was outside the restaurant. Boxes and boxes of cardboard entombed cow meat went into the frozen vortex - a prize treat to go fetch during a hot summer days work. The extra payoff for working truck happened toward the end of the freezer stocking. A McDonald's birthday cake would get damaged in transit and we would take one for Ronald as we scarfed down the offending pastry.

Folding Happy Meal boxes, using carbonated water to clean the grill, making pancakes on the breakfast shift, chowing down on my standard break meal of plain double cheeseburger and fries, sweeping the parking lot, or cleaning the dining area will always be a part of my life. As will the quiet of a closed restaurant save for the complaints of those chosen to clean the restrooms and my pruned up hands after a few hours diving at the end of a shift. It's the place where I first heard the saying, "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean" and thought that the person saying it was an idiot.

It's the place I was at while Live Aid was happening. I'd peek into the breakroom every chance I got to see who was on stage. It was the summer that "Walking On Sunshine" was a smash hit and I can still see the assistant manager Linda come in one afternoon practically dancing as she sang the song. She invited me to a party that summer where I promptly ruined the festive mood by putting Rubber Soul on her record player. The late and great Smooth worked there too on his way to becoming a manager himself while attending college at the same time.

I was bound for Memphis State in September. At least that was the plan. I had even toured the dormitory I would be living in earlier that summer. So I put in my two weeks notice. I worked those last two weeks in a bit of daze. I spent the last day doing much of nothing. It was a tradition of sorts. Then right on the eve of moving to Memphis I learned my parents either didn't have enough money for it or just didn't want me to move away. I had covered my living expenses. They were supposed to have come up with tuition. So I ended up at M.T.S.U. that fall which is quite the novella of disillusionment and pseudo artistic angst that I'll post here soon.

I should have gone back to work at the McDonald's in Murfreesboro. But I didn't. I viewed such a move as a failure. So I decided to try the Smyrna Mickey D's instead. It was closer to where I lived. That was my justification. The story of that job is short and almost violent, but it can wait until another time along with a short story I wrote during that era featuring a cast of fast food miscreants and other friends and enemies. Remember; don't work too hard.

Do The Arches!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nemesis Boy

The blog I most need to add to the sidebar: Nemesis Boy. Great stuff to be found there about the Nashville music scene.

Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs

Bob Dylan said this about ....the music industry's complaints that illegal downloading means people are getting their music for free,...."Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Original Sexy Back

What's Justin Timberlake doing trying to steal my mojo? I thought I brought "sexy back" last year when I started rocking Bruce Lee t-shirts while shopping for Tiffany lamps. My espadrilles made me look like a straight up gangster too. How dare that couldn't make the cast of a Liberty Land singing troupe try to steal my Thor-normous thunder.

And while I'm temporarily insane and lolling around in the pop music watering trough, where one is lucky if they only contract a spiritual dysentery, doesn't Fergie realize that the bridge in her video for "London Bridge" is actually the Tower Bridge? Yet another victim of a British scam that once took in an entire Arizona city. Natural grifters those Brits.

In the mailchute this morning - a missive from Trent Harmon who used to drum for Luck London back in the mid-80's. He stumbled into this hot bowl of Soulfish Stew after reading Tracy Moore's Never In Nashville article. He got in touch with me because he was hoping I'd know where he could get his hands on video footage of any of the Blind Farmers From Hell's summer parties held at the Blind Farm in Lascassas. I couldn't help the brother out, but maybe some of my twenty or so loyal readers can since Trent is more than just a drummer to me. He was my manager during my brief sojourn as a delivery driver at Ace's Pizza where I spent more time playing paper football in the front window than delivering pies.

It's been awhile since we had a Toby Holmes shout out. So here we go once again in our quest to find out what ever happened to this Goombah chicken eating dude. If you have seen this dude let Soulfish know. We're sure we owe him a good kick in the ass for something.

Have you seen this man?

Last rumoured to be hanging around near Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Soon To Be Mine

I've got a 58cm Trek 1000 ordered from MOAB in Murfreesboro and I'm just giddy in anticipation of riding it. I've been riding a cheapo Wal-Mart mountain bike on the road since April (averaging about 80 miles on it a week) and I've just about thrashed it out. The Trek 1000 may just be an entry level road bike, but I'm sure it will do fine for me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


It's on! Keith Gordon versus the Nashville Scene and Wally's right in the middle of it! My evil plan is working nicely! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

I stick to what I said in the article: I do think The Metro was better when Kath and Tom wrote for the mag and the debut issue with Bon Jovi on the cover was lame. Now to what everybody maybe wants to know: what do I think about Keith Gordon? The surprising answer: I think he's okay. When I was a young neo-fanboy just starting to dig into the import bins at Cats and Port O'Call record stores I ran across some small articles written by Keith that appeared in Creem, most notably one on the Meat Puppets. Soon I was digging pieces by him in Tasty World. He was no Ort or Lester Bangs, but I knew if I saw his name in the byline that I would probably like what he was writing about. I've always felt that he went downhill during his tenure at The Metro. Now this could have been because of many things: my own tastes changing along with my own growing confidence as a music consumer, the dictates of Keith having to keep a listing ship afloat long after it should have sank (check his Tears For Fears mention in his post), or maybe discovering he was a girthsome biker looking dude and not some scrawny geek that still lived with his mom which is how I'd always pictured him, or when he added Reverend to his name (I know now that somebody else dubbed him that) which at that time seemed like he was copying Collin Wade Monk.

See, it's very complicated - this world of rock and roll fandom. Good luck to Keith and his book project on Nashville rock and roll. I'm sure that when it comes out there will be people besieging him for leaving their favorite band out. You know my theory is that every band that ever played a gig is somebody's favorite band. For instance I don't see The Dislocated, Michael Landon's Ghost/Pipebomb, or Dragula on Keith's band lists at his site (they are all bands I was in). Never mind that I've been too lazy to send their info in to him.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Into The Groove - Big Choice Bowl

Back into the blogging groove sort of kind of...splot back into the "big choice bowl" even if the web isn't what the Minutemen were talking about there. The Nashville Scene has printed Tracy Moore's look back at the halcyon days of Nashville rock and country punk so check it out if just to see my pithy quote about that old Nashville rag The Metro. There is also a bunch of comments about Collin Wade Monk's podcast here. Who woulda thunk we'd be seeing F Particles videos in 2006? I am humbled to have once been their doorman. It was a helluva lotta fun to have been 19 while carding folks to see if they were 21 or not. I drank lots of beer that night at the Exit/In too.

As for other things; I got the We Jam Econo DVD last week and I'm on a major Mike Watt, D. Boon, and George Hurley kick these days. If only I had enough hair for a wave unit! In some weird anachronistic throwback to my younger days I've also been ear dining on slabs of molten metal from back in the heavy metal freshman in high school days. I'll never get bored with Diary Of A Madman; never. I've even begun contemplating playing at the local coffeehouse perhaps. I'm also gearing up for another burst of song recording like I did last year - the famed 21 songs in 30 days or something like that where I recorded a tune on my four track, digitized it, and then emailed it out to everybody that asked me to assail their spirits with my kind of punk rock power pop trash. If you want in on this latest installment called Fortified For Stronger Bones (20 songs in 30 days) let me know. I'm thinking that November would be a good month; samhain of our souls and all that.

Here's my final announcement on my New Year's resolution on losing weight: I have not quite reached my goal of dropping 47 lbs, but I have dropped 37 and I don't appear to be in any danger of packing them back on. I ride a bicycle 60 - 80 miles a week and eat sort of sensibly. Things I've seen on my rides: snapping turtles crossing the road, hawks, cranes, stupid rednecks yelling at me, angry dogs (bit once so far...thank goodness for leather shoes), and a fox. Not to mention all of the wildflowers, roadkill, and puffy white clouds in the sky. I truly love riding a bicycle.

I'm a little worried that if I begin to post regularly again that my ecosystem rating will go down, but that's the chance I'll have to take. Give me another week or two to recharge my brain cells and I might just start cooking up at least a weekly serving of Soulfish Stew for you.