Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giving thanks for my life, love and everything...

Well folks, I have just recently weathered a three week whirlwind that made some minor changes in my current course. October was particularly busy for me, which spilled over into the beginning of November. Now I feel like I'm down to Earth, and I'm left rearranging the pieces of my life that are out of order.

2011 is nearing completion, and it's been an amazing year. This, quite possibly, has been the most important year of my life. Today I stand at the threshold of having everything I've ever dreamed of. When I started skratching in my bedroom those 15 years ago, I would never in my wildest dreams have thought I would end up here in New Orleans. I most certainly could not have imagined that I would own my own business, or I would have an article in Offbeat Magazine. Not too bad for a college dropout from New Iberia, if I do say so myself. It seems as if these last two months have lasted two years. This is especially relevant because the last FIVE years seem to have passed in the blink of an eye. Its almost as if in an instant... SHAZAM... I went from a waiter and a hobby deejay, eeking out a meager existence in Lafayette to where I humbly sit before you right now typing this diatribe. As time is our most valuable commodity, the fact that it seems to be passing so slowly might just be the greatest gift of all.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, for the first time I'm seriously reflecting upon my life and where its headed. I truly am blessed to be living my life on my own terms. Whatever luck, combined with perseverance and wise choices, has put me in the best position to propel my life to heights previously unthinkable. Being securely in the driver's seat of your own life is an amazing position to be in. I am thankful for that. I am thankful for my mom. For the last 15 years of my life, our relationship has become something that I hold very close to my heart. As much as she would like to think she is different than her mother, she is very much the same in so many ways. She now occupies the space left by my grandmother's untimely death from brain cancer Thanksgiving Day 1993. That Thanksgiving was the last time I took time out to re-examine my life. At the tender age of 18 whilst in my first semester of college, I tried to find answers to some really hard questions about life, love, and everything. I decidedly came up with the answer 42.

Fast forward to today... I have so many things for which to be thankful. I am thankful for my continued good health. Without my health, I would have no life or not much of a quality of life. I am thankful for my friends. I don't have many good friends, but the ones that I hold close to my heart I sincerely cherish. I am thankful for all the gifts I have given by my creator, namely my creativity and good sense. I am thankful for my deejay career which was given an amazing boost by Yachtbounce, a genre I imagined with the help of some friends on Thanksgiving 2010. I am thankful for my business, Doggy Dog World, which after four + years is still here providing a much needed service to Midcity. I am thankful for my animals Taki, Joey and Doug. Their health and happiness brings me much joy, and I am blessed to have them in my life. I am thankful for being a homeowner. Although its not finished yet and I'm going through it with the contractors, it is a blessing. Lastly, I am thankful for a new, amazing presence in my life. I could have never predicted the turn of events that placed this person with me, and she has forever changed the way I look at myself, my life, and the world around me. I am forever grateful for her, and I am grateful to the forces that put us together.

All of this has me looking toward the future, my immediate future and my not so distant future.

Concerning my deejay career: I have not yet begun to really promote and market myself. I have always been of the opinion that I've got to be at a certain skill level to be worthy of promoting myself, and after 15 years and 10 years of battling the time has come. Its time for me to capitalize on my new-found "fame", and push my career to the next level. I will accomplish this by using all of the artistic talent at my disposal to become a tour de force in the US and the international stage. Using brand marketing techniques, I will expound on the reputation and quality of the Tony Skratchere brand, and maybe throw a few surprises in along the way. I am resolved to produce more music. I am resolved to better my deejaying in every way so to only cement the quality of my brand and further assure that I can continue to demand a professional wage from doing something that brings me so much enjoyment.

Concerning my business: Throughout the course of this four years, I kept my business afloat with little or no advertising or marketing besides word of mouth and sporadic fliers. I will soon be able to expand my services, and through some small improvements I will be able to change the dynamic of Doggy Dog World and enter into a new realm of business prosperity. Using many of the same techniques I will use to expand my deejay career, I will push my business to the next level and provide myself a better quality of life.

Concerning my personal life: I will eventually move into my new house leaving my deejay studio in the space that my bedroom now occupies. My home will be my home, and my business will be my business. I will finally, after all these years, have dedicated spaces for all of my creative outlets. My living situation will finally be able to be compartmentalized and my workflow streamlined and redefined. No longer will everything be mashed together into one chaotic mess. I will finally have the space for my life to breathe and breed. This new house marks the beginning of a new life for me. Now my dreams of having the life I always wanted finally seem within reach. In this new chapter of my life I hope to soon start a family and find new joys in raising children with someone I love. Now is the time to become the person that I was born to be. All of the pieces are in place. I am in the driver's seat, and its all up to me assemble the pieces into the big picture that is my future.

On the eve of Thanksgiving 2011 leading into the holiday season I can see the sun rising on the horizon of my life. I have always been a late bloomer, so things are working out just as I have envisioned them. I have made it thus far to a place where I answer to no one but myself. As this year comes to a close, I can only look back and take in all of the amazing things that I have witnessed. This has been a year of maturity, change, and most of all providence. I have seen myself go through real changes this year, and I feel as if this metamorphosis is only beginning. I welcome the changes to come, and I look forward to finally meeting this person that I am certain to become.

Love and blessings to all,

The Skratchman

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Tao of the Macaroni & Cheese Puzzle

I received a 108 piece double-sided macaroni puzzle for my birthday this year. It was a great gift because I hadn't done a puzzle in a number of years. This particular puzzle, despite its size and low number of pieces, was extremely difficult. As I emptied the box, spilled the contents on to my artboard, and began to flip and separate the pieces, I began to contemplate life and love through the eyes of a puzzle piece.

In essence life is like a puzzle. It begins in chaos. We are conceived and spend nine months in the puzzle box womb of our mothers. As we are born the contents of the box are unleashed and we spill onto the drawing table of the world. As we grow and learn, the border pieces of our lives begin to take shape. Sometime during adolescence, the border is completed and the framework of what our life is to become begins to take shape. What we are left with is the lifelong, arduous task of arranging the remaining pieces into something beautiful, picturesque or logical. Each day of our lives we are in some way completing this puzzle. Forever trying to find the right piece to fill the parts of our lives that are incomplete. If we are diligent and patient, the puzzle begins make sense. Once it begins to make sense, the process of completion becomes a simple organizational task.

This brings me to love. We as individuals are a lot like puzzle pieces. We all are looking for how we fit into the bigger picture. We are all like a puzzle pieces because while we all have similarities, no two puzzle pieces are exactly the same. Some of us are part of 5000 piece expert puzzles, some are part of a far smaller, easier to complete puzzle.

There are three types of puzzle pieces: corners, edges, and interior pieces. The corner pieces are the rarest of the pieces, these are the visionaries in our society. Next are the edges, they form the frame in which the rest of the pieces will eventually fall. These are the professionals, the artists, the scientists, the architects, the doctors, the teachers, the engineers, the athletes, the musicians, the actors, the entertainers. Lastly are the interior pieces, the most common of the three. These are the workers. Without these pieces there would be no picture. All of these pieces must all work together to complete the grand picture of life.

When looking for love, this is especially relevant. The interior pieces have it the easiest. There are four pieces that one can be perfectly connected... four great loves. The edge pieces have but three great loves, and the corner pieces only two great loves. We stumble throughout our lives trying to find these perfect matches. In the process we try lots of wrong pieces, trying to make this connection. Sometimes, pieces look as if they ALMOST fit. The piece is the same size, color, and shape, but it's just not the right piece. That piece belongs somewhere else in the puzzle. It's another's perfect match and no matter how much we try to force it, the puzzle cannot be completed with those two pieces connected in an imperfect way. We are all looking for our perfect match. If we quit in the middle of the search for the missing piece, we can never hope to see the full picture of life.

So to all of you who read this, go out today and buy a puzzle. Open the box, spill the contents onto your kitchen table, flip then separate the pieces, and go to work on completing the puzzle. While you do so, remember these words. Remember your great loves. Remember when you were a child and didn't have anything to figure out. Remember when you figured out who you were as a person. Remember when you put your own life on its current path.

I see my own life in this process. Over and over again I keep placing piece after piece onto the puzzle and the more I concentrate on slowly putting things together, the more the picture begins to take shape. Hell... if I ever feel like I've got it all figured out or if I get to the point of completion, I'll just break it up into its original form and do it all over again. To me life is about the journey not the destination.

The Skratchman

Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday Weekend 2011 Wrap-Up...

As I opened my blog, I realized that it has been almost two months since my last post... WHEW! Unacceptable... So much has happened since August 30th. Each year around this time I make birthday "resolutions" not unlike New Years Resolutions except I tend to take these a little more seriously. Its all a product of my daily quest to be better than the day before.

I don't regret not posting for a while... I live my life very publicly on the intrawebz, and often times I have to live an entirely private life. These memories I have made in these two months are mine. You guys didn't get to share them with me. If you are friends with me on Facebook and/or follow me on twitter, you know I've been doing well. That's all you need to know. I have, in fact, been doing well... fantastic even...

There's no time like the present. AmIRite??? Well, this brings me to October 21st, 2011. My birthday fell on a Friday this year, which means next year my birthday will fall on a Sunday since next year is a Leap year... Am I angry that 2012 has gipped me out of a Saturday birthday next year?? What a silly question! I could never be angry at 2012. We don't even know each other.

This year I turned 28... again. Friday was my actual birthday, and I spent it exactly how I wanted to spend it. I spent the day anxiously awaiting updates from Stephannie on her drive in from Austin. I had just finished reading "Jitterbug Perfume" the day before after taking an increbibly long time getting started by reading about 20 pages per sitting for the last month or so, I blazed through the final 100 pages on the morning Thursday October, 20th. The final chapter was still emanating in my psyche, as I continued to contemplate the actual significance of the novel in my life right now. "Am I Alobar, and she Kudra?" What a beautiful question!

At six o'clock, I begin my drive to Lafayette down I-10. I took my time and arrived in Lafayette around 8:20. I took the University exit and proceeded to the Racetrack to begin my wait. I realized something upon my exit to Lafayette. Lafayette has it bad from a public perception standpoint as evidenced by the exits off of I-10. You have the General Mouton exit which is probably the least sketchy of the four. But the other three, Johnson St, Evangeline Thruway, and University all cross through the poorest parts of the city. If you're an outsider coming in, you would NEVER think that River Ranch and Broadmoor even existed. I hope the plans for the I-49 extension go directly on top of the Thruway. This would allow the city to add a few more desirable exits into the city (Willow, Congress, Johnson St. Pinhook, etc...) This is what I thought of whilst I was waiting for Steph to arrive. It was ultimately briefly summarized in my Facebook status of the evening: "Waiting for my lady at Racetrack on N. University... Dude, Lafayette is so f*cking sketchy." Sketchy indeed, sir. Sketchy indeed.

On Saturday, I did Herb Import's Roktober fest... ALWAYS SUPER FUN, and I got my Professor Farnsworth action figure. So I was cool.

The details of the weekend will remain private. All I will say is that it was one of the greatest birthday weekends of my life.

As I drove home on Sunday, I had a lot of time to reflect on my weekend, previous year, my plans for the next year, my immediate future, and my 5-year-plan. I came up with a nice list of realistic goals for myself:

1. Be a better deejay

2. Draw more

3. Grow the business

4. Buy more plants

5. Explore new recipes

6. Continue to exercise daily

7. Write more

These are all realistic, and only further expound on things I'm already doing and would like to do more of. This is the first year a very long time that I feel a very real sense of liberation. For the last few years I had been a rut... plain and simple. I lost my way. Now that I'm on this new path, each step that I take along this path feels like a first step. 2011 has been a great year so far. I can only see great things happening for 2012.


The Skratchman

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lyrical Tuesday...

"The Hardest Button to Button" ~ The White Stripes

We started living in an old house
My ma gave birth and we were checking it out
It was a baby boy
So we bought him a toy
It was a ray gun
And it was 1981
We named him Baby
He had a toothache
He started crying
It sounded like an earthquake
It didnt last long
Because I stopped it
I grabbed a rag doll
And stuck some little pins in it
Now were a family
And were alright now
We got money and a little place
To fight now
We dont know you
And we dont owe you
But if you see us around
I got something else to show you
Now its easy when you dont know better
You think its sleazy?
Then put it in a short letter
We keep warm
But theres just something wrong when you
Just feel like youre the hardest little button
To button
I had opinions
That didnt matter
I had a brain
That felt like pancake batter
I got a backyard
With nothing in it
Except a stick
A dog
And a box with something in it
The hardest button to button(x7)
*background: The hardest button to button (x3)

Great song, even more phenomenal video by Michel Gondry... You all should check it out!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monologue #3 "Talking my way out of a DWI"

Age: 25

So my girlfriend and I had gone to a BBQ this particular evening. I mentioned in an earlier monologue that a few things go perfectly with BBQ. One of those things is beer. See kids, that's what we call in "the business" foreshadowing.

I finished off a sixer of tall cans and smoked a liberal amount of pot before my girlfriend and I started to feel a little frisky and decided to go back to the apartment and get busy. We said our goodbyes to our people and started to head home.

I was driving a red Honda Civic 2-door standard (or coupe, if you will) at the time. Being a broke ass irresponsible 25 year old to say that the car had been poorly maintained was being extremely modest. The brakes were in dire need of being changed and were making this fantastic scraping metal grinding on metal sound. Some of y'all know of the sound in which I'm referring. The car had an expired inspection sticker. I had an expired license and no current proof of insurance, and I'm unsure whether or not I had current registration. I was a ticking time bomb.

I had grown very adept at down-shifting to stop at red lights unless I had to stop abruptly, and then I was treated to the amazing screaming and grinding of the brakes laboring to stop the car. I hated that sound so I tried my hardest no to have to stop like short. It was pretty awful, but I was a dumb kid who thought I was indestructible. I didn't have a care in the world. It was my life and fuck you for telling me how to live it.

I always took back roads to avoid seeing the police whenever possible. On this particular route I would have to go through one single red light. ONE SINGLE RED LIGHT. We zigged and zagged through the neighborhood streets as we neared the red light. The light turned yellow as we were about 20 feet away from it. There were two choices: slam on the brakes and endure the awful screeching sound or run the light. I chose the latter.

Unbeknownst to us there was a city police officer camped out in the adjacent parking lot staking out the intersection for speeders, reckless drivers, and runners of red lights. We ran the light. He saw us and promptly pulled out. I was fucked. Luckily my adrenal gland was up to the task of sobering me up so I could chat with the nice police officer.

"ACT SICK!!!" I said to my girlfriend as the cop was approaching the driver's side door.

"OK!!!" she shouted.

"I got this... don't worry." I calmly replied as I composed myself for the impending encounter with the Lafayette PD.

I rolled down my window and before the cop could begin his "license, registration, proof of insurance" routine I began talking.

"I'm soooo sorry sir. My brakes are failing, and I'm having to downshift to stop. My girlfriend and I are coming back from dinner. I think she ate some bad fish. I'm trying to hurry home so she doesn't throw up in the car." I replied with this mix of truth and half-truths.

He looks over at her and she gives her best Meryl Streep impression. And the Oscar goes to...
He looked thoroughly convinced.

"Did you have anything to drink at dinner?" He asks.

"No sir, not tonight. I have to get up early in the morning for work, and I don't like drinking if I've got to work in the morning." (lie)

"Well, what's that??" he asked pointing to the 12 oz. beer can in my cup holder.

"OH SHIT!" I thought to myself.

"Oh, that??! That's an ashtray (which it was)." I replied.

Someone had left an empty beer can in my car after a night at the bar last week and there it remained as my ashtray. I picked up the can and gave it to him. He could clearly see that there was absolutely no liquid in this can and unless I was a 5 pack a day smoker it was impossible for that beer can to have been from anytime in the recent past.

"Someone left that in my car last weekend, and I've been using it as an ashtray ever since." I said. "Please don't give me a ticket for having an open container... just pretend its a Coke can."

He looked somewhat convinced.

"Can I see your license?" he asked.

"OH FUCK!" I said to myself as I smiled and began reaching into my wallet for my expired license all the time hoping he wouldn't notice the expired inspection sticker. I was also repeating in my mind "Move on" trying to use Jedi mind tricks to rid myself of my current nuisance.

"Here you go, sir." I said as I handed him my license. He looked it over.

"You know this is expired, right?" he stated.

"WHAT?!! Reaaaallly??" I exclaimed channeling Bill Murray in my best half-serious/half-joking tone.

"Yessir, its December and it expired in October." he says.

"NO WAY!! I thought that was next year." I said continuing to channel Bill Murray.

"I tell you what, I know your girlfriend is sick but if she has a valid drivers license I'll let you go as long as she drives the car home." Apparently he believed us and didn't want to take me in, due to the massive amount of paperwork involved in such a simple traffic stop.

She pulls out her license, hands it to the officer, and he surveys it.

"Little lady, you OK to drive?? How's your stomach?" he asks in his most concerned tone.

"Oh, yessir. I'm a little sick, but I'm SURE it won't effect my driving." she says.

"Well, it looks like you're driving HIM home." he made sure to accent 'him' as to make sure I knew he was doing me a huge solid. "First thing Monday morning I wanna see you going down to the DMV and renewing your license." He said as I was getting into the passenger seat.

"Yessir! Thank you sir!! Thank you so much, I'll also get my brakes checked too while I'm taking care of things I should have taken care of long ago." I said.

My girlfriend jumped into the drivers seat, drove for about 3 or 4 blocks before we switched places. She couldn't drive stick, nor did she understand how I was downshifting to stop the car so the brakes wouldn't make that noise.

We finally made it home and the mix of adrenaline mixed with the cockiness of my escape from the clutches of the law led to some of the best sex of my entire life. THAT WAS A GOOD NIGHT!!! I guess I'm just a lucky dude.

Monologue #2 "How I became a deejay that night on XTC"

Age: 22

So I went to LSU for like one semester. I don't think I went to one of my classes... not one. I wasn't cut out for college. I was way too immature, and all I wanted to do was get wasted and chase girls. Well, I was fresh out of rehab because my mom caught me selling drugs. I told her that I had a drug problem and I was doing it to support my drug habit which was bullshit and a BIG MISTAKE. So after rehab, she moved me out to Baton rouge, enrolled me in LSU and had me live with my cousin Mark who was prone to going on long trips... AWESOME.

At that point I had become a fervent music collector. I had a handful of records and and overstuffed 100 CD wallet full of all different genres of music.

I used to go buy music every week at Paradise Records with my check from my awesome catering job. Those guys had a great music selection and a pretty decent vinyl section. I would pick up a few select albums and/or pieces of vinyl every week.

Well one night I was partying at a small electronic music club impressing the female patrons with my B-Boy moves until I saw this girl. her name was Angela, and she used to date my homeboy Jeremy years prior. I always thought she was hot and I saw this as my opportunity to finally hook up with her.

She ended up knowing someone who had some "good" XTC pills, and she wanted to know if I wanted to get some. She also wanted to know if I had a place to go and get cozy. I just got paid so I had a pocket full of cash. My cousin Mark was out of town, and I had the house to myself. Check and check.

Somehow using her powers of female eternal hotness, she convinced me to buy her XTC so we could roll together. I bought four (4) two for me and two for her for a grand total of $100. It was a mere drop in the bucket for me a reckless college student with an awesome low-responsibility job. In hindsight, I had NO IDEA what I was in for.

We pop the pills on the ride home and I remember her telling me to chew them up so they would hit me quicker. The taste was absolutely awful... just terrible. I to a swig of my water to try to kill the taste. That wasn't happening.

We get back to my house and I immediately rush to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Proper oral hygiene is important, especially after you've eaten a Schedule I narcotic or if you're chilling with a lady.

I step outside the bathroom and I start to get the rubber legs. So I labor into my bedroom and plop down on my waterbed (I was a classy dude). Angela was already on the bed so I put on some reggae and went to get us some water. On the way back to the bedroom I started to hallucinate. I had never hallucinated on XTC before so I asked her what was up.

"These are MDA pills. You'll hallucinate. There's no speed in them to counteract the hallucinations. All the sexy, none of the speed." were I believe her exact words.


We then started to talk and rub on each other as the drug started to take a hold of us. Eventually we quit talking, got lost in the music and just began to writhe around on the bed breathing in each other breath. It was pretty hot in a spiritual drug-induced sort of way.

We were doing OK until, I started to feel queasy. I had always heard that really good X will make your seratonin levels rise until they overload and then you will vomit and feel AMAZING. I had never experienced this phenomenon, but I was pretty sure I was about to experience it for the first time. There was a weird mix of fear and anticipation as I rolled out of the bed on a direct trip to the bathroom. I got two or three steps outside of the bedroom before the projectile vomiting started. I finished and quickly grabbed a towel to clean it all up. It never felt more amazing cleaning up puke ever before or since.

After I re-brushed my teeth, I jumped back into bed and she and I got lost in a long sexy embrace as I put Dj Krush's "Meiso" album on repeat. Be became one body. There were no words being exchanges except for "Oh GOD!!" and low audible moans. It was pretty fantastic. This continued for a long time, very long in fact. I switched CDs three or four more times to continue to set the mood. We continued this until daylight when the effects of the drug were beginning to wane. I mustered up the courage to drive her home because I had a catering job at 10am.

When I got back from dropping her off, I set my alarm for 9:30am so I could be at work on time. I changed into my work clothes, watched the clock and pretended to rest until my alarm sounded. Luckily I felt normal enough to think I could go to work. I headed out the door with my CD case and headed to work. I get about half-way to the job before I realize that I left my CD case on the top of the car when I left for work. FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!!
That morning (Saturday) was an LSU home game so there was no hope. I just lost $1000s of dollars of music due to one night of drug fueled passion.

While at work I made the conscious decision that I would only buy vinyl from now on. I would never leave my vinyl on the roof of the car. Vinyl would stay at home and become tapes as I would just tape my records for listening in the car. It seemed like a workable plan. That decision directly contributed to my decision to dedicate my life to being a DJ.

When I got home from work, I tried calling Angela to see if she wanted to hang out again. She gave me the wrong number... figures.

Monologue #1 "Hello, Mescaline! Nice to meet you???"

Age: 19

Growing up in a small town in Louisiana there was a shortage places for reckless youth to go and get our "all night party" on. Bars closed at 2am, and weren't very friendly to psychedelic drug use. There was ONE all night club about 45 minutes from home. It was called "The Outer Limits", and they stayed open until 6am (maybe later but we never stayed past dawn). It was a techno music "rave your ass off" kinda place, and for us on the weekends it was home.

So I get picked up by my friends Kyle and Beau. We always asked beau to score the drugs because he "had people". What we were into back then was pot and acid. Beer and liquor had its place and that place was house parties and BBQs. We were out to get twisted and boogie down. There was no time for getting drunk.

So Beau reaches into his pocket and pulls out three pennies with foil taped onto them. That's how the acid always came packaged. We would always drop the acid as we were leaving. That way by the time we got to the club it would just start to kick in and we could effortlessly merge with the party crowd. We smoke a bowl on the way to the club and appropriately listen to Lords of Acid as the soundtrack to our current voyage.

We arrive at the club and aren't feeling a thing. We get into the spot and sorta wait around for something to happen... nothing.

"BEAU! YOU GOT US SOME BUNK ACID!!!" Kyle exclaims. "Go find us some more."

We were mildly annoyed, but we each lost out on $5 so who cares? Whatever. He comes back about 15 minutes later with some acid with a picture of Felix the Cat on it. It looked pretty legit, so we all dropped at the same time.

By the time it hit my tongue, I immediately began to trip. That was odd... very odd. We all immediately headed to the dancefloor and got busy for what I think was around 30 minutes. We all sorta stumbled off the dancefloor at the same time and looked at each other. We all seemingly had the same crazed looks on our faces.

"WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!" we all shouted in concert over the pumping electronic music.

"What in the hell is happening?!" I asked.

"I don't know. Fuck it. Let's party!!" replied Kyle.

We then headed back to the dancefloor and got lost in the music for hours until it neared 5am as we all collected ourselves in a corner somewhere.

"I don't know who's driving home, 'cuz I'm fucked up." said Kyle.

That had become the customary sign that it was time to make our way home. Whenever Kyle was too fucked up, it was ALWAYS time to go. I looked around and there was plasma shooting through everything. All solid forms were turning into liquid. I could see all of my friend's skulls through the skin on their faces. So, of course, no one bothered to draw straws, play paper rock scissors or cast a vote as to who was driving home. I was automatically assigned with this task as I had many, many times in the past.

I was always the most level-headed and "together" of all my friends plus I was an ace at driving style video games, so I was always the natural choice. I strap myself into Kyle's metallic blue Honda Civic hatchback, pop a quarter into the slot and begin the long journey home. I was done with electronic music at this point so the obvious choice was punk. I believe for this trip it was Bad Religion's "Recipe for Hate" album. This severely altered everyone's trips. Now instead of plasma, everything became weird H.R. Geiger-esque bio-mechanical forms. We were laughing like mental patients the entire trip. We stopped at a red light next to a gentleman and his "old lady" on a Harley Davidson motorcycle made out of bones and steel.

"HEY MAN, NICE HOG... AND I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT YOUR BIKE!!!!!!!!" I screamed out the window.

That did it. We laughed until we cried all the way home. The next evening when we all woke up, I called Beau to ask him what in the hell happened to us. He made a couple of calls and and he found out that that first "acid" we dropped turned out to be mescaline. That explained it all.

Hello mescaline... It was very nice to meet you!?!?

The Shadowbox Theatre Monolgues (Better late than never)

So I was asked by Chris Trew to perform monologues for The Megaphone Show. I was honored to be invited. I searched my memories to find the best stories for the improv troupe to piggyback. Considering my mindstate the last couple of months, reminiscing on my drug addled youth seemed to be the most appropriate topic. All of the stories are over 10 years old and 100% true.

I spent the better part of that Wednesday afternoon with a legal pad and a pen. It was amazing to me how much I could recall from those early days of my road to maturity. As the time creeped on, my hand started to cramp up from furiously writing. I penned one story, then the second, and lastly the third. It was a veritable chronology of shenanigans and tomfoolery. I was a wild kid living a reckless life. Oh how far I've come.

I arrived at the Shadowbox Theatre about 30 minutes early with my 12 oz. Redbull, bottle of water and yellow legal pad in tow. The anticipation was building as I was mentally preparing myself for the monologues. I had been to The Megaphone Show once before when my best friend Champsuperstar did her monologues which all contained strippers and rampant drug and alcohol use. I should fit right in.

When I got inside, I noticed that they were playing Yacht Bounce over the PA system (see, smart people get it). I re-read the writings and made some mental revisions since I forgot my pen. I anxiously waited as the audience filed in. As the theatre filled up, I became more and more excited at the prospect of sharing my memories with an audience of my peers. Chris gave me a rundown of the format, and I took my seat in the front row as the troupe came out and introduced themselves.

I was introduced and I started my first monologue. Much to my surprise, people laughed at all the funny parts and focused on the stories as if I was a drug obsessed Ernest Hemmingway. As I finished my first monologue, applause roared throughout the theatre, and I watched the Megaphone Show do their magic.

These guys and gals are brilliant. Each scene you get completely transported into each of the comic's worlds. They picked out small details of my stories and turned them into a festival of the sublimely absurd. The audience (including myself) couldn't help but to laugh as the stage constantly transformed as the stories flowed freely as the Mississippi river running through the city.

Once they were done with their first improv performance I came back on and did my second monologue. This process was repeated all night. I couldn't believe that I was part of this amazing process. Not only was I a part of the evening's entertainment, I was the focal point. It was amazing.

Performing in this capacity and just the simple fact that The Megaphone Show exists is a testament to the rich cultural landscape of this great city in which we live. I am honored to be a part of this landscape especially coming from such humble beginnings. Its hard to believe that at one point in my life my dreams consisted of getting a good job at the port, getting married and having kids with my then girlfriend. Oh the things that can happen when you embrace the power of psychedelic drug use. These monologues became a marker of my transformation into the person I am now. I do not regret any of those experiences because they have turned me into the man that sits before you today.

I will revisit the Megaphone show as a spectator, and I hope to one day return with newer, funnier stories of events of my more recent past. I sincerely thank everyone involved with the show, and I feel as if it has ignited an entirely new performance fire within myself. Its amazing how big the world can be once I stepped outside my small, self-imposed circle of life. Thank you Chris Trew, and thank you Megaphone Show. You have introduced me to a new part of myself, and for that I will be forever in your debt.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Saga of Getting in Shipshape

So, I've pretty much been biking at least 7+ miles every day for a month. I've been doing pushups and situps almost every day for the past month. I've been lifting weights for the last two weeks, and I still can't seem to put a dent in this belly fat.

I remember watching the movie "Super-Size Me", and the director Morgan Spurlock went from eating a vegatarian diet to eating McDonalds for every meal. He chronicled his "progress" which included a battery of physical tests and of course regular weigh-ins. After his saga of daily McDonalds he gained a whole lot of weight and faced really terrible negative health aspects. I say this because there was a point not too long ago when I joked that that movie was my life. I was so busy/lazy that I would eat fast food for almost every meal. I was a slave to my appetite for convenience.

When Spurlock went back to real life and resumed his vegatarian life, he immediately lost all the weight EXCEPT for the belly fat he accumulated in his saga. Apparently belly fat is the most stubborn breed of all fat and it takes a far stronger committment to diet and exercise to destroy it. I have that committment. Whether this belly fat disappears 1/2 ounce at a time or a pound at a time, IT WILL BE DESTROYED. I can't keep carrying this spare tire when there is no reason for me to have it. If I have to do abdominal exercises every day until its gone, that's what I will do.

This is a message for all you people out there who are struggling with weight loss. There are no quick fixes. You need to be committed. You need to take this seriously. Human beings are blessed with a superhuman capacity for pain tolerance and perseverance. Use these facilities people. All your goals can be reached, you just have to let them be reached.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My social networking addiction...

Ok guys... I have a social networking addiction.

Its not like I work at a job in front of a computer all day, and can be getting over on the boss by constantly Facebooking and tweeting... I choose to sit on the computer all day and constantly check, and update, rinse & repeat. Its a colossal waste of time. So from now on & until further notice, I'm going to keep my presence very limited. I'm going to check my Facebook twice a day. Once in the morning, and once at night. I will occasionally post updates from my phone, so I won't be all the way gone. It will be the same with twitter. I'm making a serious effort to do more with this "wasted" time, like interact with people in real life. The days of me tweeting in social settings are over, except during the random deejay set to tell you guys what song I'm playing or some shit like that. I've got to try & ween myself of these things because I feel as if they are retarding my ablility to relate to people in a real life setting. So if you guys wonder where I went, I didn't go anywhere. I'm just busy.

Thanks for your cooperation,

The Skratchman

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anatomy of a boat party (Nightfever XIV: Yacht Bounce)

The story really starts late Friday night... I was restless and anxious and I stayed up way too late. When my alarm went off @ 4:45, I pressed the dismiss button thinking I was gonna get right up. I ended up sleeping another 30 minutes... FUCK!!!

So I'm rushing to the airport, running just as fast as my little feet would take me. I get to MSY at about 5:35 for a 6:00 flight. Cutting it close isn't the word. Luckily the lady at Special Services gave me my boarding pass and told me to sprint to the gate. I blazed through security in record time and ran to the gate. They were waiting for me, she called and told them to hold up. Pretty incredibly nice of her!!

So the first flight was quick, and I had a 2 hour layover in Memphis. I had no problems on the layover. Had a coffee, banana and a lavash wrap. I then just played chess on my laptop, and typed up some ideas... No big deal.

Boarded the plane in Memphis to Austin. This is when I started to get really excited about the weekend. I had three goals on this trip:

#1. Rock the fuck out of the Boat Party

#2. Don't drink

# 3. Exercise

I arrived in Austin, call Papa Chop then proceed to wait. While I was waiting I saw Trent Finlaysen (Writer for Waterski Magazine), one of xxxxxxx's old skiing teammates waiting on the curb also. Maaaaannnnn I hadn't seen that dude in like 5 years... What are the chances?? What is the universe trying to tell me???!!!

Well, Papa Chop and I went directly to the airport to meet Jeff Strange. We get to his house which has a sweet vintage Cadillac parked in the driveway, BEE TEE DUB.

Go inside and Zucca greets me at the door.

I relax on the couch and Jeff plays some records on his hi-fi phonograph. Good afternoon.

Now I may or may not have nodded out on Strange's couch for a second, and it seemed like it took us a lifetime to get moving BUT we eventually went on down to Congress to pick up some Captain's hats and some fresh gear.

Next stop was FOOD. We went to Wahoo's Fish Tacos for some grub. If you have never eaten at Wahoo's, you are missing out. I'm no Yelp reviewer, but it's good stuff.

We got back to Papa Chop's house, and I asked if I could borrow his bike for a ride. He told me the way to a dirt trail, and sent me on my way. It was a good ride. I went about 10 laps on the dirt trail until I decided I was tired and made my way back to Papa Chop's house.

After I showered, I layed down for a bit and typed some things out on my laptop, as well as build my crate in Serato for Nightfever XIV. We were going out later to promote at the RJD2 show at Foundation and later the Big Freedia show with Dj Mel at Beauty Bar.

Busted out way too late for school. We ended up scooping Strange at about 11:15 and got to the RJD2 show just in time to see his last 20 minutes before he shut it down. Same thing happened to us for Freedia, we got there for the last 20 minutes of her set, also. I guess you could say I was a day late and a dollar short, although I did snap this photo:

Pretty cool, huh?? I thought so too. Yacht bounce meets Sissy bounce!!! F*cking poetic...

Well we get back around 3 and I'm up for 7:30... Goddamn insomnia gets me every time.

I sat up for a while wishing I'd have brought my sketchbook and some pencils or markers, but alas if wishing got you anywhere I'd be in an entirely different place right now. After updating/checking my Facebook, tweetdecking for a bit, and general internet nothingness I made my way downstairs for some breakfast. I ate Cheerios with banana with Papa Chop's family, wife Reina and their two kids Zander (6) and Franti (10 months). Reina, Zander and I then went to the gym so I could feel sane. I pounded out about an hour workout and I walked around this massive gym, the size of the place is really truly amazing. There is nothing dedicated to fitness of that magnitude anywhere around New Orleans.

Went back to shower, and I lay down and rested my eyes for about 45 minutes before we had to start packing up for the boat. We got to Strange's house around 2:30 and loaded up two SUVs with all sorts of stuff for the party mainly many many cases of Dos Equis, Tito's Handmade Vodka, and a keg of Abita Purple Haze.

So Yacht Bounce is ready for it's first voyage out of Port New Orleans. The stage was set, the crew was seaworthy, and the passengers were ready for some good times on the Lake Travis. Thanks to Dj Orion, Dj Mel, Papa Chop & Jeff Strange we begin our voyage with hearts full of whimsy and stomachs full of Dos Equis, Abita Purple Haze, Tito's Handmade Vodka, and sliders.

We got to the lake just as the other boat was coming in. Coincidentally the boat party right before us was the Big Freedia boat party so Yacht Bounce was ready to meet Sissy Bounce.

It was a beautiful day on Lake Travis, and I waited patiently as everyone set everything up and got ready for launch. The line for the boat was building as everyone waited in anticipation for the maiden voyage of Yacht Bounce in Austin.

Once I got on the boat I christened her the S.S. Christopher Cross, and we began to sail. Once sailing Dj Orion took the first captain's ship, followed by Dj Mel and lastly I brought us through sundown and on to the dock.

All in all it was a great voyage. Everyone was very receptive to the music, save for a few families that complained about the profanity.

Above is a video of the water pigs interference... Pretty cool... Yacht Bounce shut them the hell up!!

The entire weekend was capped off by Rudy's BBQ and when Zander showed up, he was wearing my captain's hat that I'd left for him in his room...

He wanted us to call him Captain Night (for Nightfever). Here's to you Captain Night, and here's to you Soul of the Boot, Strangetribe ATX, & Austin. I love you guys. My captain's hat truly goes off to you.

End Captain's log...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today is Friday...


I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Oh, Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love

Saturday, wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday, never hesitate...

I don't care if Mondays black
Tuesday, Wednesday - heart attack
Thursday, never looking back
It's Friday, I'm in love

Monday, you can hold your head
Tuesday, Wednesday stay in bed
Or Thursday - watch the walls instead
It's Friday, I'm in love

Saturday, wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday, never hesitate...

Dressed up to the eyes
It's a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throwing out your frown
And just smiling at the sound
And as sleek as a sheik
Spinning round and round
Always take a big bite
It's such a gorgeous sight
To see you eat in the middle of the night
You can never get enough
Enough of this stuff
It's Friday, I'm in love

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love


I'm going to Austin for the weekend for my big boat party! Y'all have a great weekend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Car Today

Today is the day I get a new car. This week dragged along until today. In just one hour I will be the proud owner of a white Nissan Pathfinder. I shall name her the SS Stella del Soul. She and I will go on many, many new adventures. Her name will be signed at the bottom of my new lease on life.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Beatles...

The Beatles are one of those rare bands that is completely timeless. I feel as if they were sent from God to teach us all how to live our lives in a world of craziness. This is best evidenced by songs like "Let it Be", "We Can Work it Out", "With a Little Help From My Friends", and...

Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don't make it bad,
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
And then you can start to make it better.

Hey Jude, don't be afraid,
You were made to go out and get her.
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better.

And anytime you feel the pain,
Hey Jude refrain,
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.
Because you know that its a fool
Who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder.

Na na na na, na na na na...

Hey Jude, don't let me down,
You have found her now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude begin
You're waiting for someone to perform with
And don't you know that its just you?
Hey Jude you'll do the movement you
Need is on you shoulders.

Na na na, na na, na na na na yeah

Hey Jude, don't make it bad,
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Na na na, na-na na na
Na-na na na Hey Jude,
Na na na, na-na na na
Na-na na na Hey Jude.

Na na na, na-na na na
Na-na na na Hey Jude,
Na na na, na-na na na
Na-na na na Hey Jude.

Na na na, na-na na na
Na-na na na Hey Jude,
Na na na, na-na na na
Na-na na na Hey Jude.

One of my favorite songs of all time... Have a great day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Me the athlete

Its been so long, I almost forgot that I was once an athlete. Ten years of gymnastics, fifteen years of B-Boying, and twenty years of skateboarding seemingly got lost somewhere in what I became. Biking 15 miles every morning before dawn has re-awakened that part of me. What I had forgotten, my muscles seemed to remember. They are now thanking me for it. Who I really am is not the couch riding lazy guy that I had grown so accustomed to being. I now know that a huge part of me is directly connected with fitness. This fitness is not only physical, but it somehow is connected to my mental health. There is a big part of myself that is at the core, never satisfied with the status quo of life. Everything can be better, I can always be better, I can always do better, make smarter moves. I am a bar raiser. I was not happy in so many ways, in fact, I was miserable. I can see this pretty clearly. The only evidence of this lies in my deejaying. I was never satisfied with my current skill level. I always wanted to learn a new skratch, new technique, new trick. I can always be a better deejay. Its so clear to me now.

My mission now is to tap all of my talents and continue to raise the bar in all aspects. I will be a better artist and painter. I will be a better deejay and producer. I will be stronger, thinner, and more muscular. All of these things are directly tied to my true happiness. I may never be satisfied, but I will be happy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

As I begin seeing land on the horizon...

There will be less yacht and more bounce. I can't be out to sea forever.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Post-Love Yacht Bounce

Even the nights are better (Yacht Bounce Remix) by TonySkratchere

These were some of the hardest to get through emotionally for obvious reasons.

Reminiscing ~ Little River Band (Yacht Bounce Remix)

Reminiscing (Yacht Bounce Remix) by TonySkratchere

Its amazing how one life changing event can turn a happy song into a sad song. The power of great songwriting knows no bounds.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Darkest Day

Bad by U2

If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go
If I could throw this
Lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you break, break away
Into the night
Through the rain
Into the half-light
Through the flame

If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day

Oooh oooh, oooh oooh, oooh oooh oooh...

To let it go! And so fade away
To let it go!
And so fade away
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
Wide awake
I'm not sleeping, oh no, no, no

If you should ask then maybe they'd
Tell you what I would say
True colors fly in blue and black
Blue silken sky and burning flag
Colors crash, collide in blood shot eyes

Oooh oooh, oooh oooh, oooh oooh oooh...

If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would
Let it go

This desparation
In temptation

Let it go
And so fade away
To let it go, oh yeah
And so fade away
To let it go, oh No
And so fade away
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
Wide awake
I'm not sleeping oh no no


I hope I make it. Please pray for me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What, why & how YACHTBOUNCE??

The "WHAT?"

Yachtbounce in its purest form is the perfect fusion of Yacht Rock and NOLA BOUNCE music. The beauty of the genre is it takes the whitest music of my lifetime and mixes it with the blackest music of my lifetime, forming the ULTIMATE gray genre. Its smooth music thrown onto the streets and forced to fight for its survival.

The idea for the genre was contrived by a small group of friends on a late night bender. It seemed hilarious at the time to meld these two completely opposite musical styles (it was & still is). Well... I sat on the idea for months, always keeping it in the back of my mind until one day I re-watched the Yacht Rock videos. That was all the inspiration it took for me to kickstart my plan of creating this new sub-genre. Yacht Bounce also had a cinematic influence... the movie "Step Brothers". As you all know the movie has multiple nautical references punctuated by the Prestige Worldwide video, "Boats & Hoes" and the meme "F*ckin' Catalina Wine Mixer".

So I released my first two tracks, "Africa" ~ Toto (Yacht Bounce Remix) & "Boats & Hoes" ~ Huff & Dobach. "Africa" was the confirmation that this genre is valid, and "Boats & Hoes" outlines the philosophy & whimsy of the movement. In a small pocket notebook, lie the scribblings of what was to become Yachtbounce. The music turned into something really fun for me to make and/or playback to myself. I never expected anyone else but these select few people to like it, much less vibe out to it. I'm immensely pleased that I was wrong about that last statement.

The "HOW?"

Yachtbounce is made by combining the Triggerman Break, Brown Beats, and Rock the Beat as is all traditional NOLA Bounce music. I make everything using Ableton Live and my initial tracks were made on a ten inch Asus eee PC netbook. We pull from a specific group of tracks from a specific era: 1975-1983. It has grown to include any retro song that meets either the smoothness quotient or the milquetoast quotient.

For all people thinking of putting out a Yachtbounce remix, ask yourself these questions:

Could I see myself listening to this on a boat?

Have I watched the Yacht Rock series?

Have I seen "Step Brothers"?

Is the original song smooth?

Could you see the finished song being used in an 80's movie?

Are you prepared to buy some boat shoes?

Do you think Hall & Oates is rad?

Does this remix contain Triggerman, Brown Beats and/or Rock the Beat?

If you answered yes to 6 or more of these questions, Yachtbounce just might be for you.

The "WHY?"

The simple answer to this question is "WHY NOT?" People have been remixing popular music pretty much since the "club dj" has existed. If you search for any popular song, you'll find House Remixes, Hip Hop remixes, Dubstep remixes, Bmore remixes, etc... Its time for Bounce to be recognized in this trend. "Why yachtbounce?" Yachtbounce gives NOLA Bounce remixing a genesis for the time-period from which to draw from and the focus on the "traditional" way of producing bounce music. When I go about making a remix, I transport myself back to the beginning of Bounce in the early 90's in NOLA. Its like THAT.

Its time to truly put NOLA Bounce on the map by flipping and remixing old songs in the tradition of BMORE CLUB music which coincidentally was established in the same time period. The major difference between B-More & Bounce at the time were that B-More was a deejay driven genre focusing on remixes, while Bounce was more artist driven genre focused on making original songs. This, to me, is what's significant about Yachtbounce. It is fueling an amazing new wave of deejays "dipping into the pool" and making and releasing new Bounce remixes of older songs.

OK, now let's be real... Not every remix of an older song should be labeled Yacht Bounce. You remixed Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Diana Ross, etc...? You remix Slayer, Helmet, Tool, Metallica? THAT'S NOT YACHTBOUNCE! Its a Bounce Remix. By all means, I WHOLEHEARTEDLY ENCOURAGE ANY AND ALL NOLA BOUNCE REMIXES. LET'S KEEP THIS GOING! TO BE, OR TO YACHT TO BE... THAT is the question.

Follow Yachtbounce HQ @yachtbounce on twitter...

'LIKE' us on Facebook Yacht Bounce

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Musings & lessons on being a dj/promoter

When I started seriously collecting records back in 1995, I could have never foreseen where I would end up. I just wanted to play the records I loved for people that would hopefully appreciate them. I didn't care about branding myself, marketing myself, trying to sell myself to clubs, or anything that today's young deejays are doing. I just wanted to skratch, beat juggle, and play music that wasn't being heard anywhere else.

As a naive young kid, I didn't know how the business worked. I was wide-eyed and optimistic and I thought that I was special. I wasn't. I was unique. I offered different music, but I was NOT special. I still remember my first weekly. It was a Monday night Hip Hop night at Shanahan's in Lafayette on the McKinley Street strip. I submitted a cassette mixtape to get the gig. That goes to show you how long ago this was. I didn't really promote the night, and it lasted about 6 months. Although many more gigs would follow, I'll always remember that one. It was my first and I'll never duplicate that feeling.

My longest running event was "Bucknutty's Skatepark Hip Hop/B-Boy Jam". What was born from a few friends needing to get together to practice dancing turned into an 8 year long monthly b-boy/graffiti/deejay/MC showcase. We drew b-boys, graff writers, and deejays from Arizona to Atlanta. This was where we tried out all of the Mad Cajun battle routines and later the team turntable routines that my crew became known for. We worked in conjunction with the Kubuki Crew to keep this event running strong, and we all share the credit for this event's success.

Fast forward to today, and I've embraced my role as an event promoter, organizer, deejay, and friend to music. This brings me to some lessons I've learned along the way.

The Skratch Man's Rules of Thumb:

1. Know your friends, enemies & frienemies. This is of utmost importance, you've gotta know who's with you, who's working against you, and who's pretending to be down.

2. Respect the OGs. Always pay homage to those who came before you. Always.

3. Recognize the real, expose the fakes.

4. "If you aren't excited about the music/scene/event, don't expect anyone else to be either."

5. Be considerate, courteous, and respectful. If someone sends a message, respond. If someone calls, return their call.

6. All business correspondence should be done through email. Be upfront. In lieu of contracts, this is the best way of recording and documenting agreements between multiple parties.

7. Message boards are valuable resources. Personally I don't take advantage of this as much. (Sorry Geo's board & skratchworx... I'm getting back on soon.)

8. Work with your competitors your create a network which feeds off of itself. Don't intentionally book something if one of the homies is throwing a party. Try your best to let everyone know in advance what you have coming up and vice versa. Conflicting dates sometimes can't be avoided, but try your best to know who's throwing parties especially if out of town talent is involved.

9. Know names. Get to know as many people as possible in your scene. Be grateful to everyone who shows up to your parties.

10. All gigs are successful, even the ones that aren't. In the grand scheme of things its all what you extract from the experience. If you got to & from the gig safely, your turntables worked, & you got to play some records... SUCCESS!! Even if 10 people showed up you were still there, YOU ROCKED IT. That's all that matters.

These are some of the things I've learned in my 15 year journey. I try my best to adhere to these little guidelines. I'm not perfect and sometimes I can be a little harsh, but we're only human, right?

There's room for everyone in this music scene. Support local business, art, music, and expression. Push the boundaries, introduce new things, do more, reach more people. If you don't do it, who will? Spread the love!!!

You can catch up with me on and follow me on twitter @tony5kratchere