It’s been a while since I emerged from the bavacrypt. No work travel for me since May of 2022, and I won’t lie, I was getting into a groove at home with the nest full again and my blood levels finally normalized. Life has been small and good, but there is a world out there, and to finally cross paths in the flesh with folks I work with daily and other friends I have not seen for many years is a special opportunity that I’m ready to partake. I have a crazy Canadian comrade meeting me in Los Angeles tomorrow—which is its own special gift—but there are also commies from grad school, and a dear friend from my days at UCLA that I had not seen for 23 years.
That was my first evening in San Diego, catching up with Thom Arredendo who I now know is one of those rare human beings that you can simply walk back into their life after more than two decades and pick up from where you left off. California was my home during the early and mid-1990s, filled with post-punk bands, Long Beach Community College, Parker’s Lighthouse, UCLA, AVS, movies, music, literature and poetry. It was the beginning of my love affair with the world wide web, and the moment I realized gaming—thanks to PCs—was going to be an entirely new phenomena after playing Doom and Duke Nuke’Em, not to mention MAME, Warez sites, and CD-ROM games like The Residents’ Bad Day at the Midway. Thom is a part of me, and seeing him again was a welcome reminder of a time that was special. Hell, a focal point of the next leg of this trip is seeing Unwound live on their reunion tour at the Wiltern Theater—a band that defined my time in LA and underscored a strain of manic, disaffection that framed a sensibility of the time.
Thom is a huge film, music, and literature lover, and stands as an early influence for AV Geekery. He started me off on my love for laserdiscs, turning me on to the above clip of Michael McClure talking about Jack Kerouac describing what the ocean is saying in his novel Big Sur. I believe the clip is from the 1986 documentary What Happened to Kerouac (1986) featuring an inspired clip with a description and reading that borders on the magical. In preparation for this adventure I finished Ham on Rye (1982) on the flight over, and just cracked On the Road for the next piece of my journey. I wanted to be more regularly reminded of a moment when words and ideas created a vital and radical lens on the experience of living. I tend to smooth the poetic edge of things with age, and wonder if that’s what makes me the who I am looking back on the who I was. Who am I here? Ah Jerry, Jerry Blake.