Member since Wednesday, 26 June 2002
Last visited on Tuesday, 4 October 2011
k0k0peli has posted 248 entries, 8344 comments , has a karma score of 275 and has moderated other SE users +100 Informative.
In case anyone cares, yes, I was in the California underground comix scene, early 1970s. I carried a huge old US Army rucksack. Wednesday morning in SF, I'd stuff it with comix from Print Mint & RipOff Press & etc, and last-week's copies of the Berkeley Barb and Berkeley Tribe. I'd hitchhike down I-5 to LA, get to Hollyweird late Wednesday, just in time for the weekly LA Free Press and LA Staff issues coming off the press.
I'd stand at the corner of Hollywierd & Vine waving papers at cars and shouting my mantra: "L.A. FREE PRESS! L.A. STAFF! READ ALL ABOUT IT! READ ALL ABOUT GEORGE WALLACE AND THE LESBIANS! FIND OUT HOW THE HIPPIE CHICKS DO IT, WITH WHOM AND WHY! ONLY 25 CENTS! SEX, DRUGS, ROCK-N-ROLL AND COMIX! READ ALL ABOUT IT! BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!"
I had stacks of papers and ZAP and FREAK BROS comix. The Berkeley papers went for a premium, there was no regular distrubution in LA then. One of my regular customers was in a lime-green hemi-cuda with a huge spoiler fin and, in gold script on the door, the name LAWRENCE WELK. I had a first wife -- Elton John's TINY DANCER was written about her.
I had groupies. I had run-ins with the Jeezis Freeks. I had a 7-foot snake, Noah the Boa (Columbian rosy boa) wrapped around my neck as I walked down Hollyweird Blvd and nobody paid attention, much weirder things were going on. I weighed about 160 lbs. I stood 6'5"+ with stringy black hair down to my shoulders, a missing upper incisor and ugly black glasses. I had it all.
At midnight Saturday the paper business would collapse. I'd stuff my rucksack with all the leftover papers and LA comix and hitchhike back north, land in SF not long after dawn, sell the LA papers and comix to local vendors, crash at some friend's place, hang out with cartoonists and DMT freaks, then hitch up to a chicken commune in the hills above Mendocino. Sit on the porch all day drinking cheap wine. Sit around a campfire at night with locals smoking hash oil and snorting amyl nitrate from 1-liter jugs. Lay around there until Tuesday afternoon, then hitch back to SF and start the cycle all over again. I did this for about 1.5 years.
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But long before that, I was into religion. My ex-Quaker grandmother sent me off to Oral Roberts University when it first opened. That didn't last too long. Then, while hanging around in Mexico City, I ran into a Free Baptist bishop who ordained me. That didn't last too long either. When I heard about the Universal Life Church, I signed on and got ordained again. And I've been an atheist ever since. [Atheist means, I don't worry about your god(s) so don't you worry about my demons.]
I spent years as a 'folksinger' (public nuisance), hitchhiking around the country playing guitar in bars, streetcorners, parks, jails, etc. I built and sold mountain dulcimers. I inherited my grandfather's 1900 banjo-mandolin, a wonderful noisemaker but heavy. I had to stop playing harmonica when I neglected to shave - blues harps rip out facial hair, painfully. I have written many songs you've never heard.
I spent years in San Francisco, where I was variously a street freak, welfare daddy, junkmail deliveryman, bicycle messenger, broadcast engineer, and unindicted co-conspirator. This life eventually got old. I followed a girl to upstate New York (Palmyra, origin of Mormons), got a factory job, almost became domesticated but that didn't stick. I hitchhiked and bussed across Mexico, watched Evil Kneivel at the Snake River Canyon, and transformed into something else (wrecking my artistic sister's Fiat Spyder had nothing to do with this).
Just after Nixon resigned but before VietNam ended, I joined the US Army (1st Infantry Division - IF YA GOTTA HAVE ONE, HAVE A BIG RED ONE!) and later the California Army National Guard. I was variously a radioman, photographer, and field medic. I was the second-best .45 pistol marksman in the 1st Division. In the Army I'd put in for Korea or Panama but they sent me to Kansas. Bummer. I spent an autumn rolling all over Germany with my Field Artillery unit. [Field Artillery means never having to say you're sorry.] That was fun but I didn't get to kill anyone.
"With the hell of war, he's come to grips
Policing-up the filter-tips
It makes a fella proud to be a soldier!"
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Back in California, I relocated from Chino to 29 Palms to Santa Cruz to Sonoma County. I studied Native American hallucinogens, electronics, desert botany, computer engineering, hippy pussy, rock climbing, weird history & science, etc. In SoCal I worked as an EMT, botanical field researcher, desert survival instructor, XMas tree salesman. I wrote a cactus field guide. In NorCal I hooked up with a pioneer computer programmer, wrote COBOL code at a huge IBM shop, built Heathkit microcomputers, designed wargames, drank a lot, accumulated many guitars and synths, camped frequently on beaches and deserts, et cetera. Health problems (like, I repeatedly stopped breathing) forced a very early retirement from codemonkeying, at age 35. Life has been good ever since.
collect accumulate stuff. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, lutes, dulcimers. Central & Native American pottery, weavings, baskets, drums, etc. Many many publications, recordings, quaint post cards, microbes, odd carvings & figurines & idols, wall art, dust samples, large & small electronic devices, alien implants, stencils, Pentax camera lenses, silverfish.
I went online in 1981 and have been there ever since. I was once officially designated "a credit to the Internet." I issued 4-times-daily newsletters on skepticism for some years. I was invited to edit major forums on conspiracies and the paranormal; I quit eventually because I got tired of all the anti-Semitic shitheads. "Jews are behind every conspiracy!", they rant. Fuck'em.
I cut ties to the SF Bay Area around 2003 (except for a long-lost daughter who lives in SF, doing very well as a Realtor - joined the Thieves Guild, she did). Now I 'live' down a rutted forest road in the Sierra Nevadas below Lake Tahoe, and sometimes on the Arizona-Mexico border in a high-mountain mining town. But most of the time I'm traveling, driving around Mexico and Central America because I can't afford to drive around the US. I favor Greater Guatemala.
Stay tuned for more: Three-way relationships, many drugs, explosives, near-death experiences, FBI investigations, deportations, biker gangs, vast libraries, bad art, obsessive photography, modular religions, the Artificial Intelligencia, etc.
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UPDATE - EXPLOSIVES. Well, that was back when I was involved with UAW/MF (the motherfuckers) and Yippies in NYC's East Village in 1968. I was wearing Lutheran priest's robes at a demo in front of the 9th Pct Cop Shop; and M80s were tossed; and I got busted. Cops raided my X-flat (condemned) crashpad on E.11th St. and found some volatile substances stashed there by speedmaker AL THE ALCHEMIST, and called the bomb squad. I got off with a warning on the M80s but sat in legal limbo on the bomb stuff for some months, till charges were dropped. Lack of prosecution. I've generally avoided explosives since then, except those the Army gave me.
UPDATE - BIKERS: Whilst still in the US Army at Ft Riley, Kansass, I somehow found myself the official photographer of a local outlaw biker gang. I was even published in EASYRIDERS magazine. This was fairly cool until they invited me to their John Birch Society meetings. Ay yi yi. My old Ventura guitar still bears the sticker HELMET LAWS SUCK.
UPDATE - 3-WAYS: Somewhere in the 70s I hooked up with B&C. B was an old friend of the sister of my first wife (my daughter's mother), a very tall vegan working as a hamburger flipper. I was visiting them at C's mother's place in Connecticut when C first hopped into bed with me. We drove around New England in their van, taking turns in the back with sex. After leaving the Army, I moved in with B&C in the mountains above Los Angeles, next to Lake Arrowhead, in a 3-story log cabin above jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo's place. Log cabins are no fun in winter, when the only heat is a fireplace upstairs. All that is gone now, lost in forest fires. And B developed non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and died, and the magic was gone. Damn.
UPDATE - ELECTRONICS: My first wife's sister is now a famous Sci-Fi/Fantasy author, but that's another story. Their father Ed designed missile guidance systems. He would sometimes pinch surplus electronic gear from the missile factory for me to fiddle with. I'd worked with circuitry before then, but MilSpec components are wonderful for building exotic gizmos. Y'know, death rays are really rather trivial to construct. Heh heh. Later I actually studied broadcast electronics, got FCC Radio Engineer licenses, then blew it off. Eh.
UPDATE - PHOTOGRAPHY: Dad shot seriously for many years. I was raised in a photo darkroom. Many nights we'd swirl film and print paper in chemicals while the old National shortwave receiver he'd built pumped out operas from European stations. I had serious photo gear when in the Army, even worked as an Army photographer, but all my stuff was stolen. Damn. I snapshotted for some years. About a decade ago I started accumulating digicams; recently I got a superduper Pentax dSLR and went on an eBay spree for more lenses. I am now out of control.