Jimmy Jazz ~~ Captain’s Blog 53

I’ve been buying books more regularly for the past couple of years, and picking up extra copies  of my favorites. Originally I thought I would give them as presents or even barter for luxuries (bunches of kale, soy lattes from Cafe Moto, gig entry, bottles of wine…) Since I’m unemployed, however, I thought it might be prudent to sell them. Hence THE $5 BOOK SALE. I’m offering my novel THE SUB and about 40 other books including We Rock So You Don’t Have ToAnna KareninaAgainst History, Against Leviathan, Stewart Home’s Slow Death, Barry Graham’s Before and 5 books by Irvine Welsh!

Jimmy Jazz ~~ Captain’s Blog 27

I went out to The Soda Bar on Sunday night to check out Agent 24 and Stuntdouble. It was good show, a good time. I had a pint of the black with James Zzyzyx and Ben from the gypsy punk band Di Nigunim, listened to several hip hoppers, which was cool, but the best part was the exchange that I made with rapper Stuntdouble. I was able to trade a Pirate Enclave tshirt and a copy of my novel The Sub for a tshirt and 7″ featuring his rap Ballad of Shawn Nelson.

 

We were able to effect this trade because of what classic economists call a “double coincidence of want.” I met Stuntdouble at the library a year or so ago, where he works, when he said he’d been to one of my readings. I was stoked to see he’d written a song telling the story of Shawn Nelson, the guy who stole the tank from the National Guard Armory since I had written about the incident and published a story called ‘To Shawn Nelson’ in City Works 98.

 

Since I got home I’ve listened to the 7″ five or six times. It was so refreshing to pull out the turntable and play the record. I’m not a total Luddite, I’ve been listening to music primarily via computer mp3 for several years, but I feel some subtle quality lost. There’s something great about listening to a vinyl record, holding the jacket, studying it, making a concerted effort to decipher the lyrics. We were able to make the exchange because we both had something the other was, ostensibly, interessted in. Since I’ve been unemployed I’ve become more interested in systems of exchange that don’t involve money (since I don’t have much, ha) My neighbor, for example, went on vacation this week and asked if we could feed his cat. Sure, we said. And we were pleasantly surprised that he left us two bottles of red wine.

 

I’ve held this kind of barter system (akin to mutual aid) in high esteem, but according to David Graeber in Debt: the first 5000 years, which I picked up at the library this week, barter never existed in the wild. There have been many systems for distributing things that people need, but, he says, no one ever exclusively traded chickens for cows.  The library for example is one system of exchange (taxes >> information) and the Pirate motto: ‘Give What You Have, Take What You Need’ might be another.

Jimmy Jazz ~~ Captain’s Blog 15

I looked out the window and saw  cops and reporters outside. They had my neighbors’ house surrounded. The reporter told me that someone inside had been TAZERd and robbed. I called my neighbor. He came home from work and the cops told us that two suspects had used ‘a ruse’ to get inside, TAZERd and tied up the foreign student who had been staying with them– a 20 something Korean girl. She wasn’t hurt. The robbers took her cell phone and laptop. They also took her keys. After the cops left, my neighbor changed the locks.

 

Jimmy Jazz ~~ Captain’s Blog 8

The power went off at 3:37pm. I was at home playing with my nephew. When it didnt come on we walked to his little friends house around the block to play. Neighbors were already out in the yards talking and drinking together. Drivers coming in out of the gridlock looked frazzled seemed nervous. I felt a little nervous too being disconnected from modernity, until I dug my handcrank radio out of the camping supplies.

I felt sort of haughty walking around turning the little handle (my nephew had to turn it too) I quickly realized that I had tuned in to what Guy Debord called The Spectacle. Most of the blather on the radio had been made static by the power outage – so no voices blaming Obama for the economy or selling anything at all– but they were broadcasting anecdotal reports spanning the blackout from northern baja Mexico to Arizona to Orange County. The trolley stopped on its tracks. People were stuck in elevators and on rides at Legoland. Six million people without power. Tonight all of San Diego would be in the dark. I shared a beer with the neighbors and told them some news ‘two power plants had blown…’ most of which turned out to be wrong. But also was able to share sound advice like ‘fill some water jugs’ and ‘dont open your refrigerator.’ Thanks to our vegan diet we wouldnt be throwing anything away.  Angela and I ate dinner by candlelight which we heated on the gas stove. We communicated with our daughter by text message,  she was ‘bored.’ Later my friend Cecil came by on his bike. The ice cream store and the neighborhood taco truck did record business, he said. We sat out front and watched the neighborhood kids shoot a gambit of fireworks – roman candles to bottle rockets, which they have never done before even on 4th of July.

All around the neighborhood we could hear people talking who had never talked to each other before and laughing their asses off. I cranked my radio and we marvelled at the fear that gripped many callers — ‘ terrorist attack!’ ‘9.11’ ‘the nuclear power plant will fail’ — until one lady called in to share something we were already deep into: ‘I just want to say that the moon and the stars are beautiful and suggest everyone go outside and take advantage of this rare opportunity.’

 

Jimmy Jazz ~~ Captain’s Blog 2

There’s a little farm down in Imperial Beach, near the border that we buy from at The Golden Hill Farmer’s Market.  They had a special event where you could pick your own  tomatoes, so I took the trolley south with Angela and Cecil. We carried our bikes on since its roughly 2 miles from the trolley stop to the farm. Tijuana was just across the river valley and we passed several border patrol agents on horseback. The idea of working on a farm full time, in the summer heat, started the refrain “Don’t want to work on Suzie’s farm no more” running through my head. Volunteers directed us to our furrows and we ended up picking the most delicious heirloom tomatoes Angela or I had ever eaten. Deep red and heavy with sweetness.  A group of guys picked out a little bluegrass on stringed instruments under a tarp while the farmers served a yummy gazpacho and bruchetta on compostable plates. I already planted the seeds from one of the tomatoes in our garden.