537> Unkel Fester's idol-killing family album from the Bay Area down to Panama 1984-85

7 AUG 2017 | DC> ... continuing where we left off, dear Internet, in our ongoing efforts to archive our existence... mining back to 1983, finds us at a private boarding school (Robert Louis Stevenson) in Pebble Beach. While both Chaulky + i got scholarships the first year there, the next year we had to pay + our mother couldn't afford to send us both so i volunteered to transfer since i hated the place + Chaulky only had 1 year left of high school so he stayed. My junior year i transferred to Mountain View high ... before Google, when Mtn View was far from cool. We lived in an apartment "on the other side of the tracks" off Moffet Blvd, pretty much solo as our mother still lived in Mexico. Going to 3 different schools the first 3 years of high school will make you give up on trying to make friends, so we were pretty much a loner, except for the 2-3 other punkers in the school (most everyone else were preppy kids). We were hardcore straight-edge by this point, didn't drink or do any drugs from the ages of 15-25.

1984—We went from getting straight As at an elite private school to a public school + our grades progressively started to dip... As to Bs to Cs... go figure. Even got a D in physics (funny, as we went onto get a Master's in physics). We took A.P. calculus but never bothered to take the final test. We never skipped classes, we just didn't like taking tests and had better things to do w/ our evenings than homework. We played guitar in a punk band (Unkel Fester) w/ 3 lesbians in Berkeley so had to drive up there (in a 66' mustang) every time we practiced. Here's 3 Unkel Fester songs (recorded on a walkman, so not the best sound quality):

Unkel Fester—"Charlie" (1984) [... as in Manson]

Unkel Fester—"Marine Boy" (1984)

Unkel Fester—"Nasty Nancy" (1984) [...as in Reagan]

Or we'd drive up to San Fran to see shows On Broadway or @ Mabuhay Gardens. Most of our chronicling these days was thru music. Here's our 1° notebook from this era, stuffed full of scraps, mostly undated so not totally sure, but think most of it is from 1984-85:

Mostly they are song lyrics/notes, w/ the occasional dream or typical teenage doodle or rant interspersed.



... not that we used the lyrics, or even made "music," most of what we recorded (on our own) from this period probly qualifies as sound collage. We had a Tascam 4-track, a drum machine, a bass, a guitar, a delay pedal + a recording walkman that we used to go around recording ambient sounds. Here's a few of those tracks...

"Laugh Track" (1984) [sampled sounds from various movies]

"Plate of Shrimp" (1984)

"Lucid Viscosity" (1984) [mostly recorded with a glass of water + a microphone]

"Mexican Spaghetti" (1984)

"Primal Fear" (1984)

"Back to the Mud" (1985)

Chaulky (right) + i (note recording walkman in hand) at the baylands


Chaulky + i in Carmel


our room in Mtn View

our cat named Sid

Chaulky painting our father (wearing a RISD shirt... i think it was between his junior + senior year he spent a summer there)


besides art, Chaulky was into running, 1 of the best in the region (Monterrey)

1985—We also started running cross-country our junior year (at RLS we played soccer), tho never at the level of Chaulky. For gainful employment around this time we worked at Domino's (even delivered a pizza once whose address just said "Hangar 1, Moffet Field" (one of the largest free-standing structures in the world, so large it forms its own weather patterns)) until we broke an axle-rod mid-delivery. We also worked at Crown Books in Sunnyvale (part of our duties included ripping covers off remaindered books before throwing them in the dumpster) + even got promoted to manager after only a few months. We graduated from Mtn View + after that went to the local community college (Foothill College). Around this time we met our first serious girlfriend, S, who we dated for like 5 years. We met her her at a Butthole Surfers show when she stage-dived on top of us.

w/ black hair + eyeliner


jamming in S's "chicken coop" (S on drums, cant remember the name of the kid on bass)

Besides Unkle Fester, we jammed with various other folks. The "Team Yahtzee" tracks were recorded in the above chicken coop w/ various skate-punks + me on drums (not that we knew how, but no one else wanted to).

Team Yahtzee—"Do Your Really Care" (slow version) (1985)

Team Yahtzee—"Do Your Really Care" (thrash version) (1985)

"Pissed off Jam" (1985)(B on drums, me on guitar + some big Indian guy on bass)


S + i often dressed up incognito just for kicks


Chaulky w/ red hair


me + Chaulky w/ a donkey

Around this time we took a spontaneous roadtrip to New Mexico + Colorado. If our older brother hadn't sent us these photos we probly wd of never remembered.

me + Chaulky up on a mountain in Colorado



me + Chaulky in Taos


+ our passport has a stamp for Panama in Feb 85—as i remember it i again spontaneously skipped school w/o telling anyone + met my mom there to help her on a buying trip. She had a SLR camera that i borrowed to take some photos:

Panama canal


Panama City (a police officer started following me around "por tu seguridad")


San Blas islands


Our music became a little more melodic/structured + more brooding/droning. We became somewhat obsessed w/ The Cure Pornography during this time, we've probably listened to it more than any other album in our life. Also Echo + the Bunnymen, Tones on Tail, Violent Femmes, + all the hardcore stuff: Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, Minor Threat. We slipped into a depression that lasted a few years... or i don't know, maybe we never snapped out of it. A few more tracks:

"Reverse Osmosis" (1985)

"Hole of Light" (1985)

More excerpts from the above notebooks, circa 1985 (we'll spare you the typically juvenile miserable confessionals):



And some transcribed entries:

Jan 5, 1985

tell the dogs to stop barking
I hope they bite your throat
they dont complain about airplanes
or about settling for a fire hydrant
it chokes on the duck.

I fall asleep
entering a new world.


May 1, 1985

green walls
eyes upon me
tearing me apart
razor blades on rooster legs
I stumbled on our company
and wondered where it came from
the atmosphere of eyes and voices
just wouldn't leave me open.
The door was cold on my shaking hands
confused glances followed in my footsteps
covered up by waves of intellect.
The door turned into a carriage
three bags of skin with featureless faces
back through the gates of the restaurant
automatic pepper sprinkler
made me think
here's where i met the man in gold
Russian dancer dancing
under the gold glitter of pepper
he turned to me & i turned to him
no sign of transition
gold coins spinning out from blurred smiling faces
I let myself go
the green walls beckoned me
taking me from this gold world
in between was black
with head on ground listening
to silence
the green room empty of people now
but still loaded with obligation

This snippet above (based on a dream) got turned into "Six and a Half Feet Below Sea Level" in Poste Restante. And this logged dream loosely forms the beginning of "Hitting from the Wheelhouse" (also in P.R.):

May 21, 1985—Mountain View, CA

A man I presumed to be my father waded through the water in his Navy uniform to board a ship. He climbed aboard soaking wet and went over to salute the captain. His mind wandered (I should know, I turned into him). I imagined a fight on the other end of the sip, a sort of déjà vu. Then I was wandering through this town similar to Ajijic, but in Panama. I was also a boy. I came across a group of kids who I at first thought were beating up on other kids. I was forewarned that they would beat me up. I went to take a closer look and saw what they were actually doing... they were grabbing arms and forming a large circle. They would sling forward towards the center and smash their heads together as hard as they could. Their was 2 groups doing this and they did it over and over. I began to run through the streets of cobblestone. I was a little lost.
     I finally found where the ship was anchored. I swam out, they were impatiently waiting for me. The ship was no longer an aircraft carrier but a Toyota pickup. They had me climb in back despite the coldness. The driver was very authoritative, I think he was the captain. There were 2 other people, one I think was my father. As we drove along the lake, I kept asking questions like “what lake are we in” and the captain acted really impatient with me like I was ignorant and didn’t like my questions. We were in Lake Nicaragua and the snow-capped mountain in the background was Mt. Kilimanjaro. I asked how far the mountain was. The captain told me to shut up. It wasn’t cold although there were patches of snow on the shores. We were then playing foosball in the well of the ship (it got longer). The captain said he felt immature playing and gave up in the middle of the game, so I sat by myself and I had no one to play with.

+ here are a few more transcribed pages from around this time:


my skin tightens
i shake
i fall
my language binds me
leaves me blind
my shoes wet
they only leave me 1 pair
my skin peels back
revealing fleshy insides
seeds on the ocean
the delicate in-betweens
stays one step ahead
of my lost shadow
i fall
it falls



staring at the void in the darkness
your absence blacker than darkness
is there a difference between above and below?
do we control our lives
when we change the world
or do we just cover up the lies?

you hung yourself
but left us hanging
you freed yourself
but left us dangling

selfishness on both parts
spreads like disease

kill your idols
before they kill you

8 AUG 2017> In real time + space, back on the homefront in DC... our bedder-½ is off to Nepal, then London + Bellagio. Been reading Family Album by Jason Snyder... speaking of memories of growing up + whatnot. And the book takes place in October of 1984, tho the kid in the book seems a few years younger than we were at this time. Not sure how autobiographical it is, if Snyder himself went through similar childhood trauma when he was young, but he sure knows how to write about it, at times downright disturbing. And not in a weepy feel-sorry for me like way, but somewhat abstracted + vague, like how the confusion + anger of post-traumatic abuse surfaces pieced together in run-on sentences like this: «And to answer the tape machine vacancy he is thinking about you will come home tonight because you can feel him align the darkness inside your silence». Staggered w/ incomplete sentences like in this passage:

Sporting goods, hobby wares on display. Matthew removing the mask. The thin filament of consciousness surfacing between Matthew and Petey. Each as if contemplating the distance necessary to deprive the other of what is inside himself, such as the oblique, deciphering expressions of blamelessness they have in not looking at one another, glazing their stillness with a natural comfort for mutually assured deceit.

We published excerpts from it in Sleepingfish 12. And speaking of grammar, we also posted the first unit (of 7) from The Gotham Grammarian. The rest will follow monthly.

[9/1/2019 addendum: after discovering negatives + photos we'd never scanned in... here's a few more shots from this time period in California + Panama:













+ sum additional art shots here. Chronological continuation—California 1986]

 536 <( )> 538 > Indulge us w/ textilioma: purging to reinhabit Palo Alto, 1986

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