Slayer Player Slayed?

On Thursday, 49-year old Slayer guitarist, Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

Now, liver failure is not all that unusual–especially for a hard-livin’ rock star–but in this particular case it is. Some in the medical field are saying that a spider bite Hanneman received 2 years ago was the catalyst.

You read that correctly: A SPIDER BITE.

(courtesy Billboard.com)

(courtesy Billboard.com)

Here’s how the story goes: Apparently, whilst Hanneman was partaking in the ancient art of hot-tubbing, he got hisself bit by an arachnid. The owie healed–sort of–but Hanneman didn’t get medical help and soon necrotizing fasciitis set in.

Don’t know what that is? Well, I was about to post a pix of folks who had this ick, but the pix I found even made me wanna hurl, so I nixed it.

You’re welcome.

While I am not a huge Slayer fan (their music is too damn mellow for McCrabass), and I initially half-ignored the news of Hanneman’s death until I heard about the spider bite.

Some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt was when I got nipped by a Black Widow years ago, which is why this death-by-spider-bite-two-years-later angle has me flummoxed.

Spider bite deaths are rare in this day and age, which is why I am intrigued by what allegedly happened to Hanneman. I’ve heard of people almost losing body parts due to the toxic Brown Recluse bite.

But dying? There’s gotta be more to the this tale.

Until more is discovered, here’s a sweet, little slide show about the most toxic spiders on the planet. Hat-tip to the Daily Beast.

 

 

 

 

Nocturnal Emissions

Insomnia sucks for the most part, but what it doesn’t suck at is getting me to gaze into the deep, dark crevasses that make up what’s left of my soul. Some nights I think of fluff — like fuzzy kittens, soap scum and sweaters made out of love, merino wool and sunshine.

Then, there are the nights when I can’t get the frightening images of acid wash jeans, people who insist on wearing PJs out in public, post-WW1 German porn and the Dave Matthews Band out of my noggin.

Tonight is no exception and here’s what’s rattling around in what’s left of my once-semi-brilliant mind.

1) When the first-time writer of a hit movie tells an interviewer that he/she just simply sat down with a “How To Write A Screenplay In One Weekend” book, and wrote that semi-literate–but funny celluloid sensation–they’re lying to you.

Here’s what really happened: The studio wanted to work with this person because they’re popular and funny. So, these clueless execs buttered them up, then asked them for an idea and maybe a rough draft of a script. Upon first the reading, the must-hire D-girl who’s fucking the junior exec, quickly learned that this particular popular person is much better at doing late-night sketch comedy. Ahem–mum’s the word, see. So, the studio then hires a team of script doctors (at about $200k a pop) et voila–hit movie!

2) While I’m on the Hollywood trip, here’s another tidbit: When an actor/actress/singer thanks their assistant in their Oscar/Golden Globes/Emmy/Grammy acceptance speech, they’re really thanking their drug dealer. True story.

3) Bulimia never, ever goes away–it just manifests itself in other forms–like the urge to dye one’s hair purple, or start a blog, or build the original Roman Empire out of unused tampons.

4) Naming your children the correct name is vital to their future. Adorning them with monikers like Brittany, Tiff’ny, Zephyr, Madison, Schylur/Skylar, or Savannah, well, they’re bound to grow up to be total assholes, and will either yank their puds for money or spend a lot of time spinning nekkid around a steel pole at a dank truckstop bar on the interstate. I can’t believe that unimaginative parents in this country feel the need to sully the awesome reputations of two of my favorite cities by naming their sub-mental spawn “Madison/Madysun” or “Savannah” because both names are “unusual.” Get over yourselves because you’re only doing your kids a disservice by bestowing them with awful names. Stick with the classics.

5) If you insist on naming one of your kids Marquis, at least have the fucking sense to pronounce it correctly–it’s “Markee” not “Markwiss.”

6) The more I think about it, the more I believe that Stalin was just misunderstood.

7) Write Yiddish and cast British. Never fails. Ever.

8) Once I deem you to be a douchebag, there’s no way to recover. It’s just best to move on and realize that me calling you a douchebag is actually a gift–a kick in the ass of sorts–to get you to fix your douchebagness. Trust me on this–I’m a damn good judge of character.

9) OJ did it.

10) I’ve said this before, but there is no such thing as a social media/content management guru. If you introduce yourself to me as a social media/content management guru–and say it with a straight face–well, you’re about to be called a word that rhymes with schmoucheschmag. Gurus can only be found in ashrams in India, by the way.

11) My god–I love peonies.

12) You know, that rug really DID pull the room together.

13) I can really see a future with this gentleman. He’s all sorts of secksy in his thong, and not to mention his pathway to adventure, which has me a-quivering by the way.

Picture 3Is that a cat?

14) There’s nothing wrong with nom-nomming on chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting for breakfast, lunch and dindin. But you must realize that stuffing your face with all that chocolate goodness will cause you to resemble a mutant hamhock after about a day of this diet. Never fear monkehs–that’s why god invented eating disorders.

15) Everyone should own this album.

ffym

For those of you who have difficulty reading the above image, it’s Ben Harper’s “Fight For Your Mind.” It’s haunting, sensual and beautifully produced.

One of my fave songs ever–

You’re welcome.

16) Elvis is king–Costello, not Presley. Puh-leeze–I’ve never cared for that drug-addled twat.

 

 

 

Lookie here

The McCrabass blog is a distraction for me–it’s fluff, it’s fun–aka it’s mental masturbation.

I consider my blogging as a sort of “Artist’s Way” minus the touchy-feely-I-was-once-married-to-Marty-Scorsese-but-he-dumped-me-so-now-I-write-how-to-books-for-wannabe-artists-aka-bored-housewives –but with box wine, chocolate and Bikram yoga. Oh and dark purple highlights and buttloads of salty language.

Simply put, I’m a writer who blogs for fun. I’m not into that brand-building bullshit. (Side note: what the fuck is branding anyway? Why are we supposed to brand ourselves to each other? What the fuck does it have to do with the price of eggs? It doesn’t help people get meaningful work, believeyoume. It’s basically a bullshit term made up by marketers. You’re only a brand if you’ve been heated up on the range where the deer and the antelope play, and used to tap some livestock ass.)

When I’m not thinking up and composing posts, I’m writing my book and looking for a gig. That type of writing is my true calling, along with journalism which I happen to do quite well when given the opportunity.

The following list is made up of folks who are great writers and use their blogs to display their dog-given talent. Some days they write more than on others by using words and images–or just words or just images–kinda like yours truly here. I’ve been reading these folks for a long time now and I suggest you check ‘em out. They write to write, not for the nebulous glory of Internet awards but because they love writing. Oh, and they all have something to say which is the mostest important aspect.

I’m not going to write up brief descriptions of their work because you need to do your own heavy lifting. You won’t regret it either.

In no particular order, if you may …

Reinventing the Event Horizon

Squathole

Lame Adventures

The Learned Fan Girl

Marguerite Darlington

The Musings of a Storyteller

Lloydville

Jonathan Turley

Rufino Cabang

CREW

UnfetteredBS

Robert Loerzel

Adventures By Kim

Violet Blue (NSFW)

Love Letters Are Dying

Herlander-Walking

Learn ‘em, know ‘em, love ‘em.

Hey Los Angeles …

… the 1990s called–they want Michael Bolton AND Mario Lopez back. You’ll understand in a moment why this odd duo should be shoved back to the decade when Saturns were THE “It” car to have.

From Racked.LA.com:

Oh I hope you’re sitting down for this bit of news, and I hope your hair salon is closed for the day since after reading this, you’ll want to get a mullet.

Michael Bolton Joins Santa To Celebrate The Grove Tree Lighting

The Grove is gearing up for a big shopping season. The arrival of a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree at the end of October marked the beginning of the shopping center’s 10th annual holiday celebrations, which get an official kick off this Sunday, November 11th. It’s on that date that The Grove will light its tree with a huge party involving balladeer and Jack Sparrow imitator Michael Bolton.

The holiday show will begin at 7:30pm and will feature a “snowfall” and the sounds of Bolton plus Melanie Fiona, Colbie Caillat, DJ JibbJock, Scotty McCreery, Rickey Minor and His Band and Phillip Phillips. Santa will also make an appearance; Mario Lopez and his dimples will emcee. The ceremony will conclude with fireworks.

Now, if this Michael Bolton was performing, I’d deal with the surly LA crowds to watch.

 

Tone-on-Tone engaged

Newsflash: Two of the dullest people in the world are finally engaged.

(courtesy of justjared.com)

I know you’ve been losing sleep over the whole “Will they or won’t they?” time-suck. And now you have two folks you can send your congratulatory flaming bags of dog shit to.

Theroux liked it enough to put a ring on it, but only after Aniston cut the imaginary wedding ring she donned on after hearing Brad Pitt allude to her in an interview … or two … or never. One can hope. Perhaps America’s Sweetheart circa 1999 is hoping for Brad Pitt to bust-a-wedding a la “I thought the track star didn’t smoke” in “The Graduate.”

You remember Jennifer Aniston, correct?

She was one of the lottery winners who once sported one of the umbafugliest hair don’ts unleashed on a populace so into star fucking, that it has leeched into our collective DNA. Now you know why you see updated versions it every damn day. Thanks a lot, assholes.

It’s good that Hollywood is back on track in the relationship department after this fiasco. Finally, all is calm in the pot-smoke filled, dull-as-a-doorstop dome — until Angelina decides she wants to taste Justin.

 

 

What a difference a year makes

On July 6, 2011, I started this blog. I had no idea how it would turn out or if it would even last more than a few posts. There was always the chance that I’d grow bored and dump it like a bad boyfriend. Hell — that could still happen, but I doubt it because this is just too damn much fun. It’s my own creation that hails from the most mysterious, silliest, contemplative parts of my soul.

With the exception of a few posts where I find inspiration in another news story or in normal everyday human behavior, I never truly know what I’m going to write about until I click on “new post” and start typing.

It’s that very moment when I feel the most creative and free. I feel fortunate to have this innate ability (some might argue with my word choice) to create and write, and I’ve learned that the more I do it, the (hopefully) better I get. To me, writing is a release, a comfort and a source of nourishment. It’s what I long to do for a living.

When I started this blog, I was unemployed and uncertain of my future. Sadly, that’s today’s theme too. It’s been 17 months since I was laid off from my job at Modern Healthcare magazine, and very little has changed. I’ve had a few, brief freelance assignments, sent out countless resumes and went on a bunch of interviews. Southern California was my home for roughly 6 months — and I long to make it my permanent home, dog willing. I do believe that will happen but it’s just a matter of when. While I love Chicago, Southern California just suits me better. There’s a comfort level I’ve never been able to achieve in Chicago — a concept that is lost on so many folks, but not on those with whom I am closely yoked.

A year moves quite fast these days. Time moves faster when you’re not working, by the way. It wasn’t unusual for me to experience a myriad of emotions within a 24-hour span. Brutal, yes, but I learned a great deal about myself, and have realized it’ll all work out — life has a way of making things just so. Sure, the path is riddled with crap and more crap, but it’s worth it all in the long run.

So, thanks for your support. I do plan on writing more political posts since we’re smack-dab in one of the biggest political pig fucks of all time. What’s happening in this presidential election season breaks my heart, makes me laugh and gives me hope.

Odd, yes, but it’s not unlike what I’ve personally experienced during the past year.

A Saturday in June with David

David is one of my dearest friends. He’s highly intelligent, has a quick wit that’s matched by no one, and is kind and caring. I met him in Los Angeles right after a horrible break-up and we became fast friends.

We’ve known each other for almost 20 years.

Since I’ve been back in LA, we’ve spent a great deal of time together and have fallen back into some of our old routines from when I previously inhabited this city. We’ve sipped coffee at two of the best coffee places on the planet, had a mini-Oscar viewing party and had long discussions about both of our pasts, our presents and futures. Those are the conversations I treasure the most.

Then, there are the ones that aren’t particularly earth-shattering, but are memorable.

Julia: David, we both need jobs.

David: Yes, but we’re too old to be whores.

*****

While watching “Aliens”(spoiler alert — really?) & Michael Biehn acting through his body armor and the colony dirt his bod was covered in – David: I just wanna sleep with his forearms, is that so bad?

… the part after Newt, Bishop and Ripley escape, and colony goes nuke-cu-lar.

David: They didn’t cut Newt’s hair — what is that about?

*****

Reminiscing in his mind about a White Trash 4th of July party a friend had back in the late-1990s in Hollywood, David blurted out:

“Hey Jules, remember when I crawled naked across Mitch’s apartment floor and licked his cute friend, Manhung?”

Of course I remember. How could I forget? Some memories you need to expunge from your mental rolodex, but I knew that this particular one would be useful someday. Also, who in their right mind would want to do away with such a gem? I’d gladly take some of that fancy book learnin’ I did in college that isn’t helping me right now (statistics-*ahem*), and replace it with David memories.

I was dressed like a trailer park princess (shut UP) and oh so glad those pics have been destroyed. This particular party was a low-point for David — drinking-wise. Soon after, he dried out and has been sober now for 12 years and 5 months. The party was on the roof of Mitch’s apartment building that was on the edge of Runyan Canyon, and David wandered down to the apartment to use the loo, and chill out.

Oh and lick Manhung. Yes, there’s more to this yarn. So much more. Delving into that particular memory might toss me back into therapy — circa 1997. I remember driving someone to the ER because they had stabbed themselves with a Spork or a tin can, or got a fish hook to the eye. I don’t remember the specifics.

After the naked crawl down memory lane, David decided he needs to find a hairy Chinese guy with a big dick.

Charming.

He still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.

*****

David: Julia, you know what a theremin is, don’t you?

Julia: Yes, dear, I do. What is the purpose of the question? 

David: Just curious. 

*****

We have one of those friendships where, if we don’t talk for a couple of weeks — or months — we can pick up where we left off as if only a few hours have passed since the last time we chatted. When we were roommates at the appropriately dubbed Palazzo (credit: David) on Beverly Glen, just north of Olympic in West LA, we would spend many a-weekend with our other roommate and great friend, Kim, not doing a damn thing, just keeping the couches down. We all had stressful jobs at the time — I was working in animation at the Mouse, David worked (& still does) in PR and Kim worked as a producer for home video — so we treated our apartment and each other’s company as a sanctuary of sorts. This was a time when we were still finding our way — in that fearless manner that’s de riguer of late-20s/early 30-somethings.

Oh, how the times have changed.

As I was getting ready to leave, David was just finishing up a phone call with an acquaintance. He was mumbling about how he’ll help some folks, if they’ll help themselves. I nodded along since his logic makes sense to me.
I looked up at him just as he said, “But for you, dear Julia, I’d walk on hot coals.” 

I’ve known this to be true for years, but hearing it always feels good.

Next up: Camping with David in Kings Canyon.

Kitten with a whip

This past weekend was DomCon LA at Los Angeles.

Now, I’m not into fetish or S&M or bondage, and IF those things did whet my appetite, I sure as shit wouldn’t talk about them here. This is a family blog — with lots of swears and porn. And other material that is not welcome in polite society.

But, had I known about Dom Con, I woulda gone — as a journalist, an observer for the people if you will. You know, as a member of the 4th Estate — I could’ve dressed up as Mistress McCrabass — the Goddess of “Fact-checking” — you get something wrong, well, you get my red pen. *Ahem*….

Mistress McCrabass would’ve known what to do when chump Will Smith backhanded a reporter who tried to give him a big old wet one. Mr. Smith would been licking my boots had he tried that with me.

It’s ok — let your mind wander. And while you’re imagining me correcting you with my crop across your bare, oiled ass here are some pix from conventions — past and present.

Enjoy — you swine fucking assholes.

I

A somber anniversary

This week marked a difficult anniversary for Los Angeles — the 20th anniversary of the LA riots.

What do I remember?

I remember driving home from Hollywood and stopping at a stoplight only to be surrounded by very angry people wielding bats and other large blunt instruments. When I told them I was on their side, they let me go.

I was living with a now-ex-fiance at the time who came from a very religious (born again) family. He was funny, but trying waaaaay too hard to be the next Howard Stern. When his creepy, crispy Christian brother asked if Dan had found Jesus during the riots, his classic response was, “Yeah, I think I saw him looting an appliance store in South Central.” End of conversation.

Very funny line but he was gone by the end of May for many reasons.

The first evening of the riots, I went up to Mulholland Drive to watch the city burn. It was eerie and unbelievable. But what really made that trip totally LA was the fact that there were probably about 20 camera crews up there shooting stock footage for the inevitable MOWs that would be produced in the next few months/years. What made it even MORE LA is the LAPD did nothing to stop the filming. Ahhh…the needs of Hollywood trump social justice every damn time.

Life in the Valley was relatively normal during the riots. At least it was in my ‘hood. The LA basin was a  true hot mess. Television coverage was hypnotic and for the most part, the media did an ok job — with one exception: Bree Walker. She was working for the CBS affiliate here at the time and was at the anchor desk reporting about the live shots happening all over the city. The one in Koreatown stuck in my mind. The reporter in front of a mini-mall was giving a report as to what was happening when a shootout between a Korean business owner and rioters sprang up behind him, he dove for cover as the bullets flew and reporting the action along the way. Instead of asking if the reporter was okay, Bree asked, “Do you think those guns are registered?”

At that moment, I chopped off Dan’s head and threw it at the tee vee.

After Rodney King made his whacked-out plea, and the fires were put out and 53 people were killed, and not to mention the emotional and fiscal damage the riots had on the city, state and the psyche of Angelenos, not much changed for those who erupted in anger. Florence and Normandie is still old school and Reginald Denny forgave the folks who beat him within an inch of his life on national tee vee.

South Central is still wallowing in poverty and high unemployment.

Check out these stats courtesy of Mental Floss: From 1970 to 1990, the number of African-Americans living in suburbs jumped from 3.6 million to 10.2 million. However “black flight” contributed to an even greater concentration of poverty in central cities. The total number of African-Americans living in poverty in the ghettoes increased from 2.9 million in 1970 to 5.3 million in 1990, from 13 percent to 18 percent of the African-American population.

And, these numbers will continue to get worse each year. Having a black POTUS or more blacks in positions of power has helped a miniscule amount and bode well for the future, but ill-informed attitudes will be around forever, sadly.

I don’t know if LA has completely recovered from what happened 20 years ago. Sure, the burnt-out buildings are either rebuilt, painted over or gone forever. But the stench of what happened is still permeating this city, and that’s good. A little reminder never hurt anyone, but will it help?

 

 

Magnificent Obsessions

When I’m not focusing on my main obsession — finding a decent job — I’m out and about checking out the sights, sounds and smells of Los Angeles. I’ve wandered all over the place in the past two months, out among the living and breathing denizens of this city and have found some new and not-so-new-but-seem-new loves.

Am I obsessed with astrology and psychics? Nope. Especially not after a well-known website which houses psychics and their wares turned me down for a writing/editing job. I know, how odd of me to not be into this since California IS the place for such obsessions. The last thing I need is to have someone tell me what my future is based on a reading a synapse misfiring in their brain gave them. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own little reality to get bogged down in cosmic farces.

Rot.

The hunt for the perfect t-shirt. Actually, this obsession has been a life-long one. I’ve tried them all and my fave has to be a James Perse one I found at a deep-discount place in Chicago. It was similar to this one, but sans the writing on the sleeve.

Best. T-shirts. Ever.

My perfect-t-shirt-obsessed-sister-Liza tells me that the Gap has some decent ones that are long enough at a fraction of the cost. The good thing is, the Gaps out here are great and seem to carry different stuff than their stores in other cities. Also, since James Perse is located here, I’m sure they have some sort of  warehouse sale where those of us of limited means can venture to buy their threads on the cheap. We probably have to be escorted in under a cloak of darkness though as to not to embarrass ourselves. Chalk one up for Los Angeles.

Scarves. Always scarves. My new fave is this one from the over-priced and over-hyped Lululemon. But I love it anyway.

                          

If/when I get a gig, I’m treating myself. Odd? Perhaps. But, that makes more sense to me than getting some hookers and blow and going to town. Hey, that’s just me — I don’t mean to knock your habits.

Friends, this is a horchata con espresso AKA liquid crack.

Magnificent obsession.

I get this fab beverage at the best coffee house I’ve ever been to in my entire life: Cafe de Leche on York and Ave. 50 in Eagle Rock. Words can’t quite describe how fucking yummy and good this stuff is, so I won’t even try. I don’t want to embarrass mahself OR my favorite drink by getting all schmaltzy. Sadly, I view this obsession as a treat since it’s loaded with calories AND it’s kinda expensive. It’s getting to the point that after I guzzle one of these, I need a cigarette and a nap.

 Thank you, Darrin N. for introducing me to my new, fave crack house.

One of the advantages of not having broadcast tee vee is I listen to NPR all day long. When it gets to be too much, I resort to watching screeners or listening to my own music on my ‘puter. Or, I read — a lot. One of the nice things about radio out here is it’s a bit more progressive and interesting than what we have in Chicago. There’s more alternative music here than anywhere else. One of the NPR stations here, KCRW, plays a lot of this music. Some of it is a bit much, but the atonal crap comprises about 5% of their playlists. The rest is worth listening to again and again. My latest faves? Gotye, Heartless Bastards, Los Campesinos, Shelby Lynne, Kimbra, Jessie Baylin and more. Now, before the music snobs weigh in, I’m well aware that some of these artists have been around for a while. No shit. But, this is the first time I’ve had the chance to listen to any of them. These types of tunes aren’t played that often over the Windy City airwaves.

Anyhoo, enjoy.

Gotye.

Smells.

My ‘hood smells. The whole city smells. Some good smells and some bad smell, but mostly good. The ocean, orange blossoms, night blooming jasmine, gardenia and eucalyptus — they’re especially strong post-rain and help to smother the roasting taco meat and pee-pee stench (rarely are the two experienced at the same time) that permeate my street when the breeze is juuuuuust right.

Since for the moment I’m living in a desert and not in a swamp, my skin is suffering. Big time. I’m starting to resemble Bridget Bardot circa now and thrilled about it I’m not. Short of soaking in olive oil, nothing keeps my skin from puckering up due to the arid air here. Add super-sensitive skin to the mix and I’m in a conundrum. The stuff I get from the chain drugstores doesn’t work (and I’ve tried them all) and the good stuff costs some serious coin (thank dog for samples). Pure coconut oil is messy and a pain to prep so I’m still figuring this one out. But, I do have the sunscreen issue licked. A daily shea butter bath will be the way to go should I end up here.

Beautiful people –LA’s filled with ‘em due to the movie industry and a burgeoning fashion scene. They’re fun to look at for a minute or two, but as soon as most of them open their mouths, well… there goes my erection.