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Entry date: 3-11-2024 – First Day of Spring Break (the Bet) – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


There are cartoon bluejays singing on my shoulder.






Physical this morning. Hooray! It’s been a while since I have been poked and prodded. I have a lot to share with good ol’ Dr. Doris. Getting older is just lovely.




Rhondi got herself a smoker for her birthday from her dad. She’s like a kid in a damn candy store with it. I suspect I will be eating smoked things for quite some time. No complaints here.




(The Bet returns)


Marcy slipped quietly back into the bedroom she shared with Paul. The exchange with Jimmy was enough that she knew there would be no more sleeping, and the sun would be up soon.


She picked up her phone and saw all the texts and calls from Greg. The last one had come in five minutes ago and simply said:


Marcy – what’s going on?


She hit the button to call him back. He answered on the first ring, repeating his text verbatim.


“I don’t know, Greg. I really don’t.”


She listened to him explain that Jonathan’s body had gone missing, but that wasn’t all of it. Hospital security footage had video of him attacking and killing Damon Landers in the elevator that was heading to the basement.


“I know. I saw it.”


“W-w-what,” stammered Greg.


“I don’t know how to explain it, Greg. I’m sorry. What can I do?”


Greg was silent on the other end of the line. Finally, he said, “He was dead, right? You saw him. We tried to save him…” Greg trailed off.


“Let me take a shower, Greg, and wake Paul. I’ll head down as soon as I can,” Marcy said.


“Fuck this, Marcy. My shift is over in an hour and I’m getting the fuck out of here as soon as security says I can. They are looking for him and the police are all over the place.”


“Do you want to come here? I can make you some coffee and we can talk about all of it.”


Greg was silent again. When he finally spoke up, his voice was trembling.


“Marcy, I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s going on, but my gut tells me this has something to do with you. I’m going to go home, crawl under the covers, and not come out until…well, I don’t know when. If I were you, I’d stay away from the hospital today… Maybe for a while. Call in sick tomorrow, I don’t know.”


Greg hung up the phone.


Marcy just stared at her phone. Greg sounded like he was afraid. She wanted to tell him it would be okay, but how could she? She wanted to tell him everything that was going on, but again, how could she? The one thing she knew was that Greg did not want to hear from her for a while.


A thought crossed her mind. Had she made a bet with Greg? She didn’t think she had, but she couldn’t help wondering. She had made a bet with Paul, Winny, Billy, and that nice lady with the omentectomy.


At the moment, Marcy couldn’t think of her name. What was it? Bethany? No, she was too old for a name like “Bethany.” It was something like that. Marcy decided she would check on her, either way.


She looked up at the ceiling and whispered, “God, what do I do know?”


The ceiling decided not to answer, but if it could, it would have whispered back, “Pray for Jonathan.”


Marcy shut her eyes and all she could see was a pool of blood in the elevator.




For my birthday about ten years ago, maybe a little less, we went down to Tucson with our lovely friends, the S’s, and saw Neurosis at the Rialto Theater. Beforehand, there was an amazing meal at Café Poca Cosa (RIP), then a loaded Nutter Butter that Rhondi and I shared.


We probably should have shared half of that cookie, to be honest. It kicked in about the time Neurosis came on stage. For once, I was grateful they didn’t have their incredible wall of images behind them. They came out and just rocked ferociously in a stark white light. At one point, Rhondi said to me, “These guys are like Viking rock.”


You know, there is something brutal and powerful about Neurosis. I can’t remember when I got turned onto them. It was the early 90s, I know that. I kept hearing about how powerful they were live, and it was the truth.


I haven’t been intimidated by many bands over the years, but Neurosis was definitely one of the ones where I thought to myself a couple of times, “these guys are serious.” It’s kind of like that scene in Cable Guy where Andy Dick tells Matthew Broderick, “Get on the freaking horse. I don’t think he’s kidding.” Neurosis brought the rock every time I saw them.


Enemy of the Sun is the first record by Neurosis that I bought. It’s their fourth record out of about a dozen, I think. I haven’t kept up with much of their more recent stuff, but I certainly grew to appreciate the first few records, especially The Word As Law.


What I initially loved about Enemy of the Sun is how much is going on in the record. It’s heavy and powerful, but it also has some really pretty parts. These guys were playing on a different field than most of their peers. There is a ton of thought behind this record.


“Lost” is the opener and it is a masterclass in the creepy build up. There are some great samples at the start from the film, The Sheltering Sky, and it just grows and expands from there. I was listening to a lot of dark, heavy music in the early 90s, but this one was the champ for me for a while.


As “Lost” fades into “Raze the Stray,” the band starts implementing a larger variety of both sounds and voices. If you listen closely, there are probably five or six different vocal tracks going on, for example, and bassist Dave Edwardson, gets some really gnarly blasts of cookie monster style vocals in there. Typically, this type of vocal gets old for me fast, but when it is used correctly, it’s pretty darn great. The vocal line over the end is fantastic, too. Not sure who sang it, but it’s a nice little bit of ribbons and bows that ties the song up nicely.


“Burning Flesh in Year of Pig” starts off with a visual that you won’t quickly forget. As great as Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, and Edwardson are in this band, the two really unsung members of Neurosis are Simon McIlroy (keyboards/samples/etc), and drummer, Jason Roeder. I believe Enemy of the Sun is the last album that McIlroy is on with the band, but Roeder is a fucking beast. The dude plays tribal beats as well as anyone.


Case in point, “Burning Flesh…” is instrumental other than McIlroy’s tape of a man describing a Buddhist monk in an act of self-immolation and Roeder just takes over. When “Cold Ascending” kicks in, Roeder is still firmly in command. These words could be written about every song on this record, though.


The last four tracks are a combined forty-eight minutes in length. “Lexicon” kicks off the onslaught. It’s kind of a nightmare that came to life in the form of a song. Not one that you’d want to be sitting alone in a dark room listening to while under the influence of just about any drug. It’s dark and heavy and serious and the longer it goes, the more fucked up it gets.


I have to imagine that these guys were buddies with or involved in the making of the Faxed Head stuff, somehow, after listening to “Lexicon.” It’s got a lot of similar things going on to that side project of Trey Spruance. They are all Bay Area peeps, so paths surely were crossed.


The title track, “Enemy of the Sun” is a favorite of mine. It’s got this whole slow burn thing going on in the beginning where you can feel the tension mounting more and more as time goes on. Of course, when it kicks in, it’s full-on Viking metal. I can see Vikings pouring out of a longship and just murdering anyone brave enough to get in their way.


“Enemy of the Sun” just comes in, wave after wave, of heavy anger. It’s a simplistic riffi in a lot of ways for the meat of the song, but Roeder starts driving it home around the 4:45 mark and the call and response vocals with a Valkyrie cry from the sampler is just great.


“The Time of the Beasts” is a bit of space filler here, but still good. I don’t think the album would have been any less loved by myself or other if it wasn’t there. “Cleanse,” though, goes on and on for a long fucking time. It’s a suitable closer for a powerful record and completely built around some excellent tribal drums and noises. I’ve always been a sucker for good tribal drums. There is even a little bit of didgeridoo going on in there at times but I’m guessing that was just a sample from McIlroy.


Enemy of the Sun was a good introduction into the recorded work of Neurosis for me. It seems that everyone I have ever talked to about the band has a different favorite record by them. This is the sign of a damn good band. While not for everyone, if you are in the mood for something heavy and dark, this one will do the trick.


See you tomorrow.

do they match?

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