happy 20th birthday, busblog

everything good that has happened to me over the last twenty years was because of this blog

so for that i want to thank ev and the team at blogger, and then google

i want to thank the terrible conditions i was under at E! which inspired me to blog and not give a shit if i got fired

and i want to thank all of the people who have read and commented on here. it was all energy that kept this thing rolling.

one of the things they teach you when youre a poetry major is walt whitman and his famous collection of poems, “leaves of grass”

i couldnt understand at first why he would write a book of a dozen poems and keep fiddling with it year after year, finally winding up with 400 poems in his Deathbed Edition.

this blog started with a stutter. i had a perfectly good website so i created this blog to advertise what i was doing on it.

once i learned what a blog “should be” and could be, i cut down on my photo essays.

although 20 years later, it is interesting how Dear Kids of Afghanistan, a photo essay i did soon after 9/11, sadly still relevant. it became the first thing of mine to go viral.

it’s always the dark ones.

even though i have added to this blog from different countries, hotel rooms, and boudoirs, the bulkload of it has been written in the same hollywood bachelor pad ive inhabited for those entire 20 years.

so thank you ken layne for moving out in 2001 so i could move in here.

and thank you Geena Davis, the old tenant in apartment 8 who rented me this great place for below market rate even though i didnt have my job at E! yet

i had bad credit, and i couldnt even afford a car.

thus i rode the bus.

i drive a mercedes benz now,

thanks to this blog.

lets see what podcasting does for me now.

when i flew to california after high school i had no friends here

quite a change from Illinois where i had gone through kindergarten to high school knowing pretty much every single kid.

was i popular? when youre the only Black kid in your grade it helps to be popular, but for sure everyone knows you. i was also loud.

santa monica college, 1984, michele had ripped runned fish net stockings, a skirt of some sort, a raggedy sweater, converses with words written on the sides with lipstick, she had the blues eyes the blackest hair and more lipstick on her pout

i said hello to her in the outdoor arena where bands would play at lunch time.

she had a wild looking friend with blonde dredlocks and barbie head earrings.

both a bit intimidating because not one girl looked like either of them in my preppy midwest high school, but this was exactly what i wanted when i moved to LA so i said hello again

i have no idea how i got a date with her but i did and one led to 100. she lived in malibu in a neighborhood where every house is worth at least $2 million, but she was not rich, far as i could tell. maybe her dad had money since he was an engineer way down in manhattan beach but their house was modest and so full of love.

the mom, the brothers, michele, the cats, the food, the open mindedness of everyone.

when i say i have had a charmed life this is exactly what i mean. if i had picked the blonde, none of this would have been the case. but fate put michele next to me and even though we broke up three times, we got back together repeatedly and i learned that Geminis are just like that, as is the world, so just roll with it and stop taking everything so personally.

she taught me about U2 and poetry and journalism, as in that was a path one could actually take and make a living from, and it would be honorable. before her i just assumed it was created inside a hollowed out volcano somewhere and delivered by magic.

we went to foreign films and talked all night on the phone and kissed and kissed and drove and drove because i lived in inglewood which was 32 miles away. 

worth it. every time. every single time.

after a while her mom said oh tony just spend the night.

i was so catholic and so midwestern and such a virgin, i declined the first few times but you do get drowsy after smoking a little weed on zuma beach under the stars.

i forget where i read it or heard it. it was either a model or a porn star or an actress who said

guys move to california and they think they’re gonna meet some hot native californian and make out on the beach and live the life everyone sees in movies but not it’s not like that.

and i know the world famous busblog says nothing in here is true but lets pretend for this minute that sometimes things are true here

you can move to california (or wherever) and you can have whatever it is that you want

and it will not be what you expected it to be.

but it will be perfect for you.

and sometimes it will be even better than you ever dreamed of.

happy birthday michele!

today is my first girlfriend’s birthday

have i always been lucky in love?

yes but it never felt like it.

usually i wanted more. especially when i was young, i felt alone. i felt like everything was a long distance relationship.

back then you had to pay actual money to make long distance phone calls. major props to my mom for paying those crazy phone bills. major love to the post office for sending my little missives.

back then there werent blogs or email or even electricity so you would whisper something into the ear of an indian and he would ride his horse to the next state over and whisper it into the ear of the next indian who would ride his pony to the next state. and so on and so on.

finally when the last indian got to the pretty girl he would dance your message to her and she would hopefully understand every word and the spaces inbetween.

it was called the tony express.

mary was taller than me and smarter and softer and cooler and she would write actual letters

on stationary. in different colored pens. and cool envelopes.

every day we would write and confess our love even though we didn’t truly know what love was technically. we were teens. we were so midwestern. we were so wanting to live the california life.

first her. then me.

but never we.

not out here at least. not for any period of time more than a few days.

so i sent her a bear. and in the arms of the bear was a cub.

and in the cub was a piece of my heart.

and back then the indians would charge extra for shit like that.

but i had extra.

do you know whose birthday it is? the busblog’s!

 

18 years old.

you know how old that is in Internet years? like wayyyy past retirement.

this blog has been a Godsend.

i have met people from around the world cuz of it. pretty girls and drunken dudes.

at least two foreign governments have flown me to their land to have me experience their worlds and write about it here.

sounds crazy but it’s true.

this blog has never demanded anything from me and i love that.

over the last few years i haven’t written in it as much as i used to, but this blog doesnt care.

it knows what it is and doesn’t need constant validation.

its like that mysterious foggy swamp near the mississip, it’s fine all by itself

but if you’re curious enough to explore it, you’ll be mystified by the twists and turns

sometimes beautiful, sometimes fugly, but never boring.

how many anythings with over 12,000 posts can say that?

i love you busblog, 42nd wonder of the world.

proclaimer of peace love and soul.

uniter of peoples, home of photos stolen from the www

graveyard of beautiful lies, half truths, and accidental wisdom.

will this go on for another 18 years?

probably.

hopefully.

god willing.

the only question will be, will you stick around for the ride?

i hope so, because i’ll tell you something, i can see the future and the next 8 years is going to be

cooler than the last.

that is my guarantee to you.

so strap in, pass around the juice boxes, and say yr prayers.

fuck yeah greg mcilvaine

last night, in a beautifully appointed rented soundstage in atwater village

greg vaine, your boy, invited bandmates from groups he’s rocked with since he was a teen,

to his time in isla vista,

frisco,

and now back in LA.

there were reunions, surprises, cover tunes, a taco hat,

multiple costume changes,

it could have gone on all weekend.

it’s a testament to how loved greg is and how many different genres of music are better when he’s on guitar.

i hope we do this every 50 years.

happy birthday to my all time favorite blog about busses

do you remember everything? like how this started?

like how you were frustrated and sad and felt like your life would add up to nothing?

do you remember how Blogger used to crash all the time, several times a day

and you had to write to support and Real People would write you back and say oh try this

or oh we did this for you

and it was all free and it was nice and you sorta made friends with them, virtually anyway, because they were good souls?

does anyone remember laughter or 40 comments on every post or blog rolls or

the all powerful technorati 100?

of course you don’t, youre so young and so much has gone under the bridge

i dont remember half of it but this blog, my blog, the weirdest thing ive ever made, documented most of it

due to broken links and poor planning a lot of the pictures are gone

and the pictures made it so much better

but the tales are somewhere in here. fond memories of not so fond experiences sometimes.

and fortunately the only thing that was true

was you.

and i thank you.

happy 17th birthday, busblog of hope.

thank you for refreshing my memory.

today is liana’s birthday, the only liana ive ever known

here we are at the premier of kill bill 2, one of my all time favorite movies.

do you know rare that is, when you get to go somewhere with someone you like, and its free, and they give you free popcorn and coke,

and some cool toys and a poster

AND it turns out that you love the movie?

what i also like about this picture is her Flip Phone.

before smart phones there were flip phones. pretty sure in that picture she’s saying, “hello, police, i really dont know this person, can you rescue me?”

last night it rained and rained and it sounded so good on the window

amber, who had been napping since she got home, woke up around 11pm

and said, i am so lucky. and she delivered this sweet little list of all the things she is grateful for.

i said, i am grateful too.

and i am.

so much of my life has been free popcorn, incredible girlfriends, and favorite movies ever.

and toys and free stuff and flip phones.

today it’s super sunny out because the angels above want Liana to have a happy birthday today and i hope she has one because she is cool.

today is kurt cobain’s birthday, he would have been 51

when i was driving the Royal Blood bassist from WeHo to DTLA he told me he was gonna be playing at the Forum in a few days.

I said, oooooh the Forum. I have seen many great shows there.

he said, like who?

i said, well The Cars, Manson, Clapton, Weezer, Nirvana, Kiss

he said, Nirvana? How were they?

i said, it was for charity and the Butthole Surfers opened. i sat all the way in the back. and they did something that i only saw once with Bob Dylan at the Arlington Theater… Dylan started the show sorta drunk but as it progressed it was obvious that the booze had been replaced with water, and by halftime Dylan had sobered up and was sooooo perfect.

the same happened with Nirvana. Kurdt seemed spaced out and super chill, but as they settled in the got louder and gnarlier and i dont know if the heroin was wearing off or the weed, but it got better and better.

they played Teen Spirit like 5th on the playlist. sorta to get it out of the way.

very punk rock. very “if you were here for the hit you can go home now.”

i have many things that i am supremely grateful for: namely the women i have had the great good fortune to know in my life, but seeing Nirvana live is way up there. and i take none of it for granted.

today is danielle’s birthday, shes 24

here’s whats sad about this day. i think it’s been more than a year since ive seen My Love.

it’s been so long that the place where we met, where this beautiful photo of her was captured, is no longer there.

danielle and i met at E! which is no longer at 5750 Wilshire. the halls where she once skipped are occupied by another.

this is what happens when you move to san dieger, LA gets sad and tries to move on, but it never does.

the irony is danielle left to study french film and now im the one in the heart of cinema. im the one driving up and down hills of pacific palisades watching the sunset, sighing, wondering if danielle is seeing the same colors

breathing the same breezes

chasing the same sea gulls.

for those of you who miss her blog, danielle is still living large with her doctor beau. she is still as stylish as ever and she still has exquisite taste. during the summer Amber needed a place to Air BnB down in san diego and i inquired from danielle if she would rent out her pad for the weekend. she said she would let Amber stay there for freeee. which is the right price.

when amber got there she called me and said danielles place is phenomenal. everything here is beautiful and girly and classy and just right. it’s a dream inside of a wish.

which is the perfect way to describe todays birthday girl herself.