People have, quite literally, written books about the satisfaction one gains from checking off an item from a To-Do list. There are profound implications arising from this phenomenon. One might ponder why someone gains such profound pleasure from such a menial, symbolic task: Ø Is it that so few of life’s goals and aspirations are clear-cut and well-defined to the point that they can ever be “checked off”? Is it just our inherent nature to organize our lives, inbuilt from generations of crabolution where those of us that had a plan thrived while those of us without perished? Are lists just fun? Probably yes. And, of course, we know they can be useful, for as Umberto Eco once wrote, “… it took naturalists 80 years to come up with a definition of a platypus. They found it endlessly difficult to describe the essence of this animal. So what did that definition look like? It was a list, a list of characteristics.”
~cRaB pLaTyPuS gRaPhIc NoT aVaIlAbLe~
But I can tell you, in the history of list-making, there have been few instances when someone took as much satisfaction as our little crab took in checking off the next item in his list: Far off to the East of towne lies a large rock, it's face scarred in such a way as to resemble a wicked claw, forever pointing to the ancient forest. Do not follow it.
At the forest's edge grows a mighty tree, its knots warped and molded to resemble a crab possessed, eyes focused on the forests depths. Do not pass it.
In the forest proper resides a lake, its tributary, jagged as a frayed lobster shell, leads to a clearing in the woods. Do not follow it.
In the midst of the clearing rises a mighty mountain, its craggy peaks like lucifers hands tearing at the sky. Do not climb it.
At the peak of the mountain there is a monastary, as red as the lava at the bottom of the seas. Do not enter it.
Within the monastary there lives a solitary monk, his eyes demented and his claws filled with magic.
Within his mind lives power beyond your understanding.
Within his heart there is nothing but darkness.
Within his soul there is nothing.
Do not find him.
Do not. Our little crab had spent the better part of a day in his new sanctuary, enjoying the peculiar fruits he discovered and refilling his pack with the most potable of waters and nuts, berries and tinder. He was fully hydrated and recharged, but today would be a day of rest and recovery. He set up his crabtent and made preparations to relax and enjoy the scenery as his body regained its lost vigor. This would be a good day.
This is the chapter which follows up "The Quest Begins". A Crabman makes his way into The Wild!
~Into The Dark~
Far off to the East of towne lies a large rock, it's face scarred in such a way as to resemble a wicked claw, forever pointing to the ancient forest. Do not follow it.
He had spent several months in this towne (which, with his current vagabond lifestyle, seemed like an eternity), but he had failed to grasp the full scope of its size. The towne center had an almost urban feel, always plenty to do and things to see, and he had explored that on many a crabstumblin' night. But his little shack was situated a few miles South-West... and he had never ventured too far off to the East. It surprised him how far off the farms and general vastness spread.
He followed the maine roads, unsure of where they would lead him. One by one the roads ended, and he'd have to venture through grasslands or stretches of dirt to find the next road. At last he was sure he had found the only unscuttled road left, heading squarely East, and he took it.
His crablegs were relieved that his crabpack* was growing lighter, but the dryness in his crabmouth made him keenly aware that the weight he was losing was his dwindling water supply. He was parched and this road refused to end. He was thirsty, the setting sun brought with it some relief, but the cold that came with it brought concerns of its own. He had underestimated this first leg of his journey. His stubbornness kept him from stopping to set up shelter before he reached his destination, and he scuttled on well into the night.
The road eventually ended, giving way to a steep and rocky hillside. He nearly broke down there and gave up, but his crabspirit surged like some sort of Altered Beast and he was able to Power Up the slope. When the horizon finally crested, he was greeted with sweet salvation. A large rock, it's face scarred in such a way as to resemble a wicked claw, forever pointing to the ancient forest. He followed it.
*Make sure to pick up your own crabpack! Available at all ACL shows!
This part of the story was part of the email to advertise the show at McMenamins Rock Creek Tavern on January 31st 2014.
This is the chapter to follow up "Wicked Rock" in the crabman's Amazing saga...
So he was off, and off he went. Sand, everything turned into sand. Dry sand. Fortunately crabs are good at sandwalking, but crabs are also accustomed to water. This sand was dry. Bone dry.
The desert had thirst enough to share, and it was very generous.
After eight hours of scuttling his water had run dry. He was parched to put it delicately. And he was tired. His bones ached, which is impressive considering crabs don't have bones. He began going just a little bit mad, which helped pass the time. He pondered bonelessness and what it meant in this shelled-in world of his. He pondered his pincers and he pondered his past. He pondered his ponderings and he pondered his crabpack*. Ponder ponder ponder.
He began laughing at this predicament he was in. He had long since given up hope of survival, but his dehydration-induced crabmadness was kind enough to put things into a twisted sort of perspective where nothing seemed too bad.
A scuttlers high is much like a runners high, where after strenuously pushing through physical thresholds, the body releases endorphins into your brainhole to help mitigate pain and allow you to keep on moving. This, coupled with dehydration madness, is quite an experience (though not recommended). It left our little crab scuttling above the clouds while his body slowly broke down despite him.
He didn't even notice the trees on the skyline. His mind was off, awash in a sea of colors and flowing streams, when some mighty shrubbishness caught his crabeye. He was only a few meters** from the edge of the forest when his mind finally snapped back into reality, or at least a close approximation of reality. His thoughts progressed... Trees like water... I like water... I like these trees.
And he did.
And once he found some water and took some time to catch some crabrest, he was very pleased to discover, right on the forests edge, a mighty tree, its knots warped and molded to resemble a crab possessed, eyes focused on the forests depths. So he set up shop for the night next to this, his new favorite tree.
*Available at all ACL shows! **A meter is about a yard
This email was to advertise the show at The Annex in North Portland on April 25th 2014...a show which was cancelled due to...wait for it...the club CLOSING FOREVER WITHOUT WARNING.
Ahhh, to live A Crab's Life is truly no easy thing...
This is a the follow-up to "Into The Dark..." as the Crabman's crazy saga continues...
He awoke in a bit of a daze. His crablegs ached after the countless miles he had ventured the day before. He was beginning to question the wisdom of setting off the day after such a wicked bender, the dehydration he felt seemed to pierce every cell in his body. But he looked back to the scarred rock he had finally discovered and a surge of pride and ambition overtook him. His mission was just beginning, and he was finally beginning to understand that this would not be a pleasant stroll to the mountaintop, but he still could not grasp the magnitude of what he was undertaking.
He pulled out his itinerary, and with a sigh and a smile he crossed off the first crableg of his journey. Far off to the East of towne lies a large rock, it's face scarred in such a way as to resemble a wicked claw, forever pointing to the ancient forest. Do not follow it. At the forest's edge grows a mighty tree, its knots warped and molded to resemble a crab possessed, eyes focused on the forests depths. Do not pass it. In the forest proper resides a lake, its tributary, jagged as a frayed lobster shell, leads to a clearing in the woods. Do not follow it. In the midst of the clearing rises a mighty mountain, its craggy peaks like lucifers hands tearing at the sky. Do not climb it. At the peak of the mountain there is a monastary, as red as the lava at the bottom of the seas. Do not enter it. Within the monastary there lives a solitary monk, his eyes demented and his claws filled with magic. Within his mind lives power beyond your understanding. Within his heart there is nothing but darkness. Within his soul there is nothing. Do not find him. Do not.
Although he had read and reread this cryptic message many times as he wandered, it only now occurred to him that he didn't see a forest. Forests, as you may know, are generally not easily hidden. If you find yourself unable to quickly locate a forest, it usually means that you are not particularly close to a forest. This dawned on him suddenly, and his accomplished little crabsmile dimmed just a bit. But he had his claw-rock guiding him and he deduced that southwest would be his direction of travel.
There was nothing. A vast and uncountable pile of nothing, stretching for miles to the southwest. This would be a long, thirsty walk. And it was.
This is the part of the story that was to advertise the show at Macadam's Bar & Grill on April 11, 2014.
What a Killer show last night! We crabs all had quite a blast, and felt good about getting back into the swing of things for 2014. We debuted some new material, played the traditional ones our fans have come to expect, and all in all delivered in every way a crabman can. See you next time! Which is, by my calculation, April 11 at Macadams Bar & Grill in SW Portland...
~The Quest Begins!~ Our gentle crab stumbled home from the bar, his mission scrawled on a bar napkin stained with beer and whiskey. His vision was blurred, but he was confident that when morning came, he would be able to read the now-mysterious words and decipher their perilous instructions. That night was fraught with many dreams of far-away lands and danger and excitement, none of which he would ever remember. He awoke well after dawn, his crabhead gently pulsating with reminders of why alcohol should be avoided in great quantity (a lesson he refused to learn...). The mild throbbing was quickly quelled when a rush of adrenaline overtook him as he remembered his new quest. He found his bar napkin and, with what can only be described as Gusto, unfolded it. The words, while smeared and sloppily jotted, could be discerned, and it was now just a matter of brief preparations before he would once again set off, leaving behind everyone and everything he had come to know...
He took a quick brine soak and packed up his crabsack. Before heading back into the world beyond, he took the time to carefully re-scribe his instructions. In an elegant hand he wrote out his destinations for the days, weeks, months, or years ahead. He had no way of knowing how long this journey would take, and he knew nothing of the dangers that awaited him. Perhaps if he did, he would have stayed, but as it was he focused his crabmind sharply on the first line of his itinerary:
Far off to the East of towne lies a large rock, it's face scarred in such a way as to resemble a wicked claw, forever pointing to the ancient forest. Do not follow it.
And with that he was off...
Who: A Crab's Life along with Lust for Glory, Do it for the Dinosaurs, Father Mars & Known As Anonymous! What: Rock and Funk Extravaganza! When: Saturday, Jan 11th, 9pm (Crabs are up first, so get there early!) Where: Malibu's in Vancouver WA Why: Adventure! How: A mere $5
On Christmas Day, I decided to look ahead to the next year, and test my idea of luck.
I shot 50 free throws on my apartment's SportCourt.
I made 37.
This was a little disappointing.
So I shot 50 more. And made 32.
Uh oh! That's well below the free throw average of our NBA heroes. Things are looking a little grim…is this an indication of my future...what's coming next??
I gave it three days ("holi"days), and went out to shoot 50 more. 31 made.
Not good enough yet! THAT"s IT. THIs Crab will not go quietly into the night!
On December 29th, 2013, I went down to the Court again. I shot around a bit, goofing off, laughing at myself, breathing a little heavy in the crisp air, trying to keep things natural, loose, light. And in a certain moment, I realized it was time to get serious. I shot 50 more free throws. I made 27.
I went inside my brain, at that point, and I came up with a single, specific, and sort of strange thought. I thought that perhaps I should swallow my pride in life, focus on living as unselfishly as I could, and always give others the benefit of the doubt. Life is hard for everyone, and unpredictable to boot. It is far too easy for me to start scattering blame all around in response to frustrations, awash in the illusions of manifest destiny and Entitlement. And I made a mental note to embrace this new mindfulness Immediately.
Armed with this Christmasy message and a sure hand, I went on to make 35 out of 50.
Not great, but not terrible. I apparently have a clear "average." The question now is, what does it all MEan??
Anyone with half a cephalothoracic ganglion knows that Santa Crabs lives atop the Volcano in a lava-rock igloo with his wife and workshop. His workshop runs smoothly, he will tolerate no less. The hermit crabs that crab the assembly lines work their hermit-hands to the bone (figuratively, of course) with the promise that all their tireless hard work makes for joyous merriment for all the good little crabs and crabbettes below. They accept this because they've never known anything else.
Anywho.... on one very special night every year, Santa Crabs takes a night away from reaffirming his relations with Mrs. Crabs and ventures down into the Volcano. Meanwhile, all the little crabs the volcano over leave out a plateful of seaweed and detritus before tucking themselves into bed. They know that if they're good and they fall deep asleep, there's a chance that Santa Crabs may come flying down in his sleigh, towed by two magical reinseahorses (he used to have nine standard reinseahorses, but his accountants determined that upgrading to two magic reinseahorses, while more expensive up front, would drastically cut his rotifer expenses and recover the upfront costs in a matter of years. That's not even taking into account the savings on lighting. Did I mention these reinseahorses have glowing noses? 'cause they do. Bright, too. Pretty damn impressive. They glow RED as can be, illuminate a few hundred yards with a couple of those. And I know what you're thinking, isn't it kinda dangerous to navigate in the middle of the night with only red light to see by? Like flying through a damn dark-room! Well, shut up, it's magic, okay? Deal with it. But, yeah, he didn't have to buy lights & batteries for his sleigh anymore, so a fiscal win there too), to give them all sorts of crabtacular treats. Of course, the naughty little crabs just got a stocking full of lava in the morning, but that's all the more reason to be good!
So be merry, be good, and do your best to be Crab-good! Merry Crabsmas, Happy Crabukkah, and a Crabtastic Crabzaa!
From an anonymous reviewer, November 2013 (partially edited for content, protecting the innocent):
Life as a songwriter.
A song is a living, breathing, evolving thing.
One day you are inspired by an emotion, an event, a Happening. And the music and the words pour out of you, a snapshot of a temporary reality that supercedes real life. You share it with your bandmates within a day, or a week or a month, and they think they "get it." They begin to jam along, adding peripheral pieces of culture. And they probably Do get it. So when you get to that lit-up stage, surrounded by friends and fans, to sing and play it live, you think about those moments when you first wrote it. And you relive those emotions; both the discovery of the words and melodies, and the feelings that welled up into this Piece.
But only at first. Here's the funny thing. As life goes on, things change. Feelings change. Your life as a whole lives and breathes as well, in unexpected directions. And after a few years, maybe decades depending...the song becomes less a snapshot of that distant emotional experience and becomes a separate piece of your character. A part of you. Grown from something specific, and having lived through multiple situations since. The song itself bore weight on all those situations in subtle ways. So, its temporal meaning is merely recalled, while its "present" meaning is experienced anew.
And every time you hear the recorded version of it, on the radio or in a car, you remember not the beginning, but great swashes of everything.
"No Hesitate" is forefront in my mind, and the reason I was inspired to write this.