My latest excursion to St. Louis was probably bar none one of the worst trips I’ve ever been on. There I said it. The trip had a purpose, to move my parents after 32 years in one domicile. This wasn’t so much the burden, but the layers that got piled onto the project during the lead-up to the move made it exhausting and unrewarding. Who knows when I’ll next go back. I was only able to go out 4 nights over nearly 3 weeks; I had one brunch and one lunch with friends. Aside from that I was held hostage to not having a vehicle, and to spending countless hours migrating furniture and boxes across and around 4 floors of one of the best houses in the city. A quick after-thought count would suggest I walked up and down over 20,000 stairs to complete the job (it was 15 up and 15 down to the front door; and 31 up and 31 down inside the house; basement stairs were 17 up and down… do the math). Still, I’m all about hard work. I appreciate the physical exhaustion at times. But the exhaustion of family and other barriers shed light on how not to conduct a project like this in the future when it’s my turn.

While I was there my dad – the Dude – also had four stents put in his heart, which put an exclamation mark on the stresses of the project and daily life in Normalville. I wish I was there for the post-op but I barely escaped as it was. While I was there some good happened, but I really had to fight for it. Thanks to John and Octavia for their support; to Ash for his big biceps and stick shift super-powers; to ARRG for the awesome sport; to Leah for the brunch (I needed to get the FUCK outside!) and to everyone else who loaned an ear and listened.





* I worked on and off over two weeks boxing my own stuff up, rented a U-haul, and whisked it away…
* to my friend John’s basement! It looks quite good here. I would have liked to have skids on the floor, so fingers crossed there’s no floods ever. …
* Ash was a biiiiiiig help moving stuff – thanks to his dad’s truck – to my parents’ new digs. I rewarded him with Redbird memorabilia (below)
* Yes, I have THAT record on vinyl! Don’t make me RICK ROLL you!

When in St. Louis be sure to stop by the Royale on South Kingshighway for your fix of “food and spirits”. There are lots of great bars in St. Louis but the Royale really makes it a point to remind you you’re IN St. Louis. The fleur-de-lis painted on the building’s exterior is just a taste of what you’ll find indoors, including photos from years past, drawings of St. Louis imagined in the future, and maps aplenty, including one that I donated to the bar showing the layout of the city as it was built up around old forts. The proprietor Steven Smith also showed me a wall painting in the bar’s courtyard that showed the city from pre-Civil War years and depicted an Army Corp of Engineers project that was commissioned by none other than Robert E Lee – I never knew!


Old-school photos and new-school friends (and Juan-o): that’s me I guess from around age 15; Smarty McFly of the Stunt Devils derby team (who was quick to inform the table she won “Best Rack 2009” – I didn’t see the competition, but sure!)(UPDATE: forgot to mention, she’s sporting my Dolabany otchkies); Juan-o and company playing a 2:40am game of “The Game of the House Located Upon the Top of the Hill” or something obtuse like that (Frankenmonster totally pulverized our asses with two punches!); and enjoying a brunch at the Benton Park Cafe with Leah – do go here, the food is delish, I had the veggie burger which is totally one of a kind!

It’s strange how some kids have “a thing”. And this little cutie’s thing is anything mask or head-wear! She’s game if it covers her face, goes on her head, tweaks her vision, or just generally looks awesome!

* if you have a day, walk around Soulard in historic St. Louis – some wonderful pieces of architecture remain!
* I rewarded Ash for his contributions of truck-n-muscle with some St. Louis Cardinals ephemera I collected while going through literally tons of boxes full of crap.
* one of the few exciting things I was able to enjoy during my trip was the 1st anniversary of Binge & Purge on Cherokee Street

Of course an always-admired location to stop by, Vintage Vinyl in University City just west of the city limits. Still the largest and most-awesomestest music store I’ve ever been in, they have more vinyl than you could physically listen to in a calendar year! This place was a big part of my youth, and a large portion of my personal vinyl collection came from here.

and of course lastly a shout-out to APOP Records, also on Cherokee Street (two doors down from Binge & Purge, above). APOP are a record label and store, specializing in independent, punk, hardcore, gore films, counter-culture books, crust demo tapes, and unique LPs ranging from rock bands to Laurie Anderson. Stop in and say HI to Tiffany, tell her I sent you! Great store, great layout, and there’s always something I’ve never heard and quite like on the house speakers. Oh yeah, fucking rad cat too, that followed me around the store a couple times, acting like it’s looking at vinyl! loL!