My Compulsive List of Every Concert I Can Remember Seeing Part 1

There is no reason for writing this except for my love of music and my love of lists. Let’s see how many concerts I can remember attending and how many I can find exact dates for from the internet. We’ll start from the first show I ever went to and go from there. I’ll try to keep my memories brief.

  1. Lollapalooza ’92 – August 22, 1992 – Bicentennial Park, Miami – What a way to start. No wonder I became addicted to concerts. Lush, Pearl Jam, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, Ministry, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was so hot and sweaty. My skinny 14 year old self tried to mosh. I couldn’t understand why I kept going into the pit, but I did. Biggest memory though was getting home and my Mom saying we had to pack because Hurricane Andrew was on its way to wreak havoc.
  2. Beastie Boys, The Rollins Band, Cypress Hill – November 14, 1992 – Bayfront Park, Miami – Who knew there were so many skinheads in Miami? These punks who kicked around their steel toed Doc Martens were vicious. But I braved them to see the Beasties who started my music addiction as a 9 year old when I bought a cassette of License to Ill from Spec’s Records. A bonus that night I got to learn about two other crazy acts in Rollins Band and Cypress Hill. Decades later I’d get to interview members from both groups. Still holding out hope of talking to one of The Beasties one day.
  3. Soul Asylum, The Goo Goo Dolls, Vic Chesnutt – April 3, 1993 – University of Miami – I went to hear Soul Asylum, but it was The Goo Goo Dolls who blew me away with their high energy rock. I was really confused when they made it big a couple years later as adult contemporary soft rock.
  4. Stone Temple Pilots, Butthole Surfers, Basshead, Firehose – June 19,1993 – Bayfront Park, Miami
  5. Belly, Radiohead – September 23, 1993 – Cameo Theatre, Miami Beach – I live a half mile from this club and every time I pass by it I think about how I once saw one of rock’s biggest ever bands in this little space. Radiohead singer Thom Yorke was all glammed out doing his best David Bowie imitation. And Radiohead wasn’t even the headliner. That honor went to Belly who became one of my favorite bands.
  6. Nirvana, The Breeders – November 27, 1993 – Bayfront Park, Miami – I wrote my memories of this legendary Thanksgiving Weekend show for The New Times in 2014. Read it by clicking here
  7. Pearl Jam -March 28,1994 -Bayfront Park – I don’t remember too much about this show except I jumped the fence with hundreds of other ne’er do wells to get in and that during the show one shirtless drunk guy pointed to his friend at a helicopter in the sky and they both simultaneously stuck up their middle fingers and shouted “FUCK YOU!!!” at the pilot hundreds of feet above them.
  8. Rollins Band, Helmet, Sausage – July 20, 1994 – Bayfront Park
  9. Lollapalooza ’94 – August 15, 1994 – Bicentennial Park- All my friends waited all summer for this show and it didn’t disappoint. All our favorite bands were playing A Tribe Called Quest, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins, The Beastie Boys.
  10. Chuck Berry – January 1995? – Bayfront Park- The first concert I attended that I can’t find any proof of happening on the internet. I remember it was free and some guy kept yelling at Chuck, “Elvis might be the king, but you’re the prince!”
  11. Bob Marley Festival – February 11, 1995- Bayfront Park – I love Bob Marley but don’t remember the slightest thing about the music on this all day event. I think me and my high school friends simply went to see how many joints we could be a part of. We got home that night and tried to skimboard on the flats by the moonlight. I don’t think any of us caught the board even once.
  12. Natalie Merchant – September 1995? – Gainesville – Some kids in my dorm at Florida State were driving two hours to see her play. I went along for the ride.
  13. Sonic Youth, The Make-Up – October 14, 1995 – Legion Field, Athens, Georgia – Sonic Youth was one of my favorite bands. When I saw someone post a handwritten piece of paper anyone want to drive to Georgia with me to see sonic Youth I jumped at the chance. The Make-Up blew me away too. Like if Prince was the lead singer of The B-52’s. Athens was a super cool college town too filled with record shops and vegetarian restaurants. Shame I’ve never been back.
  14. Burning Spear – October? 1995 – The Moon, Tallahassee
  15. The Toasters – November? 1995 – FSU, Tallahassee – This ska band was incredible. Never been in a club where so many people were dancing like their lives depended on it.
  16. Los Straitjackets – December? 1995 – Grand Central Cafe, Tallahassee – I loved this bar and restaurant and I loved this band that played surf music while obscuring their faces with Mexican wrestling masks. I remember while dancing having the epiphany that you can only really have fun if you’re sweating. People who have smelled my body odor might disagree.
  17. Blonde Redhead – February ? 1996 – Grand Central Cafe – My best friend was in town visiting me in Tallahassee. This guy in my college Italian class recommend we check out this show. There were only maybe 25 people in the audience, but every person stuck around until the end to buy a cd from the band of two Italian brothers and two Japanese women.
  18. Dick Dale – February ? 1996 – The Moon – My college FSU would bring all these great free concerts for students. this was one of them. Interviewed Dick decades later. was disappointed he was a Donald Trump fan, but what a guitarist!
  19. De La Soul, Fishbone – October 15, 1996 – The Moon – What a great show I’d been listening to De La Soul’s album Stakes Is High all summer and their live show didn’t disappoint. I feel like they played on a school night way past 2 am.
  20. Lollapalooza 1997 – June 25, 1997 – Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm – We drove an hour North to see Porno for Pyros which was great. We were all in a tiny tent. Lead singer Perry Farrell took a swing from a bottle of wine and passed the bottle around to the crowd. He eventually drank from it again. Life before COVID! We saw Snoop Dogg and Orbital too, but with hindsight I look at the line-up and kick myself for missing Tricky and Doctor Octagon.
  21. The Kelley Deal 6000 – October? 1997- FSU – A couple months after starting to write for a local newspaper, I got the first assignment I was so excited for the chance to interview Kelley Deal. She never called! I was so disappointed. She still put on a great show. Decades later when I did get to interview her she was the sweetest lady and even apologized.
  22. Pavement – October 12, 1997 – Birmingham, Alabama – I could only find the date for the show because I remember driving back the four hours from Alabama back to Tallahassee that the news said John Denver died in a plane crash. Pavement was my girlfriend in college’s favorite band. After seeing this show they became my favorite band too.
  23. Mike Watt – 1997? – FSU
  24. The Make Up, Thee Headcoats – July ? 1998 – New York City
  25. Beastie Boys – September 2, 1998 – Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta
  26. A Tribe Called Quest, Black Eyed Peas – November? 1998 – Gainesville
  27. Modest Mouse – November ? 1998 – FSU – Another band that quickly became my favorite immediately after seeing them for the first time. I’ve seen them countless times since. Although I suppose when I finish this list I will be able to count how many times I’ve seen them.
  28. Yo La Tengo – 1998? – Cow Haus, Tallahassee. The list continues by clicking here….

The Land of Sleeping Rocks – A Short Story

Every morning the boy stared at the ocean. Once all he could see was the water, but now the boy saw other things.

A sailor with one leg had told the boy there were other lands than the island he called home. Lands with rocks that sleep and birds that speak. Before this conversation with the traveler the boy knew the island of his birth was not the entire world, but he was not aware of it. Now to the boy the horizon was not an end, but a beginning.

The boy took one step into the water. “What are you doing?” The girl asked him.

“I am leaving this place.”

“Why would you do that?” she asked. “Do we not have everything we need here? Trees that feed us, lagoons to swim, sunshine to keep us warm, our families, our friends…?”

“We do not have rocks that sleep, nor birds that speak. There are no dragons that breathe fire nor women with tails of fish.”

“We do not need those things.”

“I do.”

“Oh,” she said sadly.

The boy had known the girl longer than he could could remember and he wished not to see her hurt. “You could come with me.”

“No, I can not.”

“Then I will bring you back a sleeping rock.”

“That will be nice,” she said. Those were their parting words before the boy dove into the ocean.

He swam further than he ever had before. Past the breakers, through the crashing waves, beyond the reefs that were home to the fish. He swam until his arms ached and then he kept swimming. The sun rose and set and was then followed by the moon. The sea was more vast than he ever imagined. Its tides were unrelenting, but he found the strength to keep kicking. He had a promise to keep. He told the girl he would bring her a sleeping rock. He would look foolish if he failed.

As day turned into another day and then yet another he saw a dot. It became a hope and then a glimmer and then a certainty. It was land. He stroked with all the force he could muster and let the water do the rest. Then he tumbled into a sandy beach. The boy put his hands into the ground and pushed himself up. His knees nearly buckled, but he took one step after another to see a bed of sleeping rocks.

The boy picked up a stone. It did not move in the slightest. The boy figured it was a sound sleeper. Before the boy could examine it further a bird with feathers of the rainbow perched next to him. The bird stared at him. Was this the bird that spoke?

The boy asked him, “Where am I?”

To which the bird replied, “Where am I?”

The boy stepped closer to continue the conversation, but the movement scared the bird. It flew away as quickly as it arrived.

This was a spectacular place, one beyond the boy’s imagination. But still the boy’s heart was heavy. He had spoken to the most amazing bird, but there was no one else to witness it. No one to make certain it was not ill effects from his day at sea that was speaking to him. Perhaps if someone else was there he would not have behaved so rashly. The girl, for instance, was smart. She would have advised him to proceed cautiously. Maybe then the bird would have shared stories from the sky. Fortunately he still had the sleeping rock which he put in his pocket for safe keeping.

The boy walked along the coast. As far away as he was, this new land seemed eerily similar to his old one.

He heard footsteps. The man with one leg had warned him not all foreigners were friendly. There were pirates and cannibals out there.

The boy dove into the brush. He tried his best to stay hidden, but was too tired to keep still. He took out the rock and shook it with all his might. An awakened rock would surely scare off any villains. But it was no stranger he faced, it was the girl.

“You are back!” she said. She hugged him strongly.

The tides the boy realized were stronger than he estimated. They had taked him in a circle. “Yes, I am back.”

“We were worried you would not return.”

“Of course I came back. I promised, didn’t I? Here….” He handed her the present. “It is a sleeping rock.”

“Oh, why thank you,” she said as she wondered if all the rocks on their beach were also sleeping.

The boy was too tired to move. Meanwhile the girl was occupied inspecting him. So it took them both by surprise when they heard a yawn and then a cry. The rock was awake and it wanted something to eat.

Like a Rolling Kidney Stone

“How does it feel?”


“On a scale of one to ten how bad is the pain? How does it feel?”

I’ve come up with a pain scale if ever asked that question again. Ten meant you were knocked out or possibly dead from the pain. Nine meant it hurt so bad you were trying to vomit but nothing came out but a guttural moan. Eight meant it hurt that much, but vomit was actually forthcoming distracting you a bit. That meant this was a “seven,” I said.

The emergency room nurse pricked something into my arm as I prayed. I imagined with her manipulation the tightness in my stomach lessening. And it slowly did before moving up to my ribs.

I’d had kidney stones once before fifteen years ago. I was working an office job and sometime after lunch I started feeling uncomfortable. The movie producers I worked for were out of the office so I went to my car and tried to sleep it off. Impossible. I paced around the office and some intern seeing my face, God bless his soul, offered to drive me home. On the afternoon ride I must have been making faces because he said, “Dude, I should take you to the hospital.”

“No, I just want to be home.” In my head the bright fluorescent lights would make things worse. On the throne of my blue toilet I could resolve this.

Home was no better. Bathroom, bedroom, couch in living room. I couldn’t escape it. Until finally the toilet came calling. Out of my mouth came all of that delicious broccoli from that Chinese restaurant where we always ordered take-out. Too bad, I thought. I liked that restaurant but this had to be food poisoning. I had a cast iron stomach. This was Spring 2005 and it was the first time I had thrown up since I stained the newly renovated science wing at my high school  between first and second periods when I was a freshman in 1993. I believe on that evening in 2005  I threw up a second time, then I went to sleep, woke up in the middle of the night to drink some rice milk, went back to sleep and in the morning I planned to go back to work when the tightness in my stomach came back. Maybe it wasn’t food poisoning. Maybe my appendix burst?

I didn’t have insurance, and the emergency room treated me as such. A lady came in asked for my credit card before I saw a doctor. Eventually a doctor  quickly diagnosed me with kidney stones. This wasn’t on my radar. “What can you do?”

“Nothing. You can wait around here and it will cost you a lot of money to have me watch you pass them or you can go home and pass them yourself. How much pain are you in?”

I noticed I wasn’t  hurting.

“Maybe you already passed it without knowing it?” The doctor suggested. He handed me a prescription for painkillers, some paper sieves for me to urinate through to catch the stones for a specialist to examine and sent me on my merry way.

And I was merry. I was back at zero on the pain scale. With the exception of the hospital bills that kept coming my kidney stones were quickly forgotten. I now had a pat answer for the most extreme physical pain I’d ever felt., but as  fifteen years passed that pain grew abstract.

Until Saturday morning at 3 am. when I didn’t know why my stomach hurt so much. I burped out gas. I didn’t want to wake my wife so I went to the living room to try to replicate that yoga move she showed me to relieve bloating. I let out some more burps and went to the bathroom and I remembered this was what kidney stones felt like. There was the cramp of all cramps stretching the right side of my lower rib cage. I lied down on the couch and it hurt so much I couldn’t even cry. I could barely even breathe.

I had to vomit, but this time nothing came out but a moan. If anyone would have asked me, this pain was a nine. I paced from the bathroom to the living room and back again. This was kidney stones, it had to be. Or maybe this time my appendix had burst? Regardless, I would go to the emergency room and if need be now the doctor was obliged to watch me pass them, after all I had insurance now.

Except  this was the year 2020. And there was a global pandemic for the highly contagious COVID-19. Miami Beach where I now lived was currently one of the hotbeds for the contagion. Was it worth going to a hospital with kidney stones and coming home with coronavirus?

And then my  fifteen year vomit-free streak ended. Kidney stones had done twice what no cocktail, mediocre burrito, or flu bug had accomplished  by making me retch again. Except this time there was no release. There was no going to sleep for a ten hour slumber. There was only more pain. So much more.

Like anyone searching for answers in our present time I went to the internet. There was something called teledoctor where I could talk to a doctor at any time of night. It was 6 am when I spoke to the medical expert and recited the last few paragraphs to him.

“You need to go to the emergency room,” he told me after my monologue.

“Even with COVID?”

“We take abdominal pain very seriously.”

I appreciated that. For the first time I understood why everyone thought it was so charismatic when Bill Clinton said “I feel your pain.”

I put on some shorts and my flip-flops. It crossed my mind this wasn’t appropriate wardrobe to die in, but it hurt too much to attempt to be fashionable. I woke up my wife and told her I was going to take a taxi to the emergency room. In hindsight I can appreciate this is a messed up thing to be woken up to. She wanted to drive me, but that meant waking up our daughter and I didn’t want her to see me like this.

I’d always been a stubborn contrarian. I can’t even explain why I don’t trust Uber, but I compromised and let her call me one instead of a cab. I’d been boycotting wearing the surgical masks too and had instead been using this bandana I got one Halloween when I masqueraded as a pirate that I tied around the back of my scalp.

I stood outside waiting for the black SUV driven by Rosa to pick me up. The light was coming out indicating morning. I paced around until I saw the massive vehicle parked diagonal from the corner I was at. “Melanie?” she asked. I nodded yeah not having the wellbeing to inform her that it was my wife’s name and app.

She took a long time to start driving. She was looking at her phone. I stopped myself from explaining this was an emergency. I rolled down the window in case I had to vomit again.  There were no cars on the road but somehow she caught every red light that was between us and the hospital. I tried to will myself out of my body. It didn’t work. I was stuck.

But we got to the hospital’s campus where a handwritten sign greeted us reading, “Thank you heroes”. Heroes. They would save me.

As mentioned I’d been to emergency rooms before. I expected a long, uncomfortable wait. But after having my temperature taken to make sure I didn’t have a fever and given a surgical mask that I’d avoided for all these months I was grateful to find I was the only person in the lobby. Everyone else was either fortunate or smart enough to be anywhere else at that moment. I filled out some paperwork, turned over my driver’s license and proof of insurance and was quickly walked into their care.

I collapsed on the hospital bed as though all my problems would now disappear. The young guy who led me to the room wrapped velcro around my arm. “Do you have high blood pressure?” he asked.

“It’s probably because he’s in a lot of pain.”  A nurse told him and now we’re at the beginning of the story when she asked me “How does it feel?”

So bad that at the time I would have happily made any deal with any deity, god or devil, that agreed to take away the pain.

The nurse injected something into my arm and my mind wandered as it is so prone to do into the world of pop culture. I thought about Kurt Cobain and how he claimed his whole heroin addiction stemmed from stomach pains. Was that my fate? Dependency on drugs to numb the pain, followed by bouts of creativity, worldwide adulation, and then a bullet to the brain? The two middle steps seemed unlikely, but as hours of anguish turned into days I did start considering ending it all for the first time in decades. On day four or five of this kidney stone ordeal I  conceived a suicide plan for if this went too much longer. I would find the tallest highrise in my vicinity whose roof I could access. It would have to be at least thirty stories. I would swallow all the pills still in my possession and step off of this cruel ride. You might think this a cowardly solution, but then you probably never had a kidney stone.

But at this point I had faith in modern medicine. And the pain was lessening. I tried to shut my eyes in the bright hospital light and add to the three hours of sleep I was working on.

The nurse as she was adjusting IV’s oozing into me said to someone else in the room. “I have the Eminem song ‘Stan’ stuck in my head.” This was a conversation normally in my wheelhouse. I love small talk about old songs. but I couldn’t muster up the chit-chat. It made sense that a conversation was going on like I wasn’t even in the room.

“I don’t know it,” the other person said.

“It’s where the term Stan comes from when you’re a big fan of someone,” the nurse informed her.

The doctor came in. I explained my whole story as best I could. He felt around my mid-section asking if it hurt here or it hurt there as he applied pressure.  He agreed with my self-diagnosis of kidney stones, but was going to have me take a CAT scan just to make certain it wasn’t anything else. He gave me a jar to pee into and then told me something that I noticed everyone in the hospital said as they left my room, “I hope you feel better.”

What a nice thing to say. I told myself I would end all future interactions with that statement after they healed me.

An orderly wheeled my bed into a room where I was told to lie down in an open machine with a cushioned bench. The CAT scan technician told me to follow his instructions of when to hold my breath and when to breathe normally. Holding my breath was easy, breathing normally took more effort.

Wheeled back into my room I heard my phone beep. My wife texted asking my condition. I wrote something back but had no reception. I slept as best I could. At a certain point I heard the song “Stan” played at a low volume just outside my quarters.

“Such a good song,” a male voice said as the samples of Dido singing played over Eminem’s absurd rapping. “It’s funny how much better the first couple albums are. Why’s it always like that? It’s like you only have so many good songs in you.”

That’s a thought so many of us share. The early stuff is always better. Does that apply to life too? I was turning 42 in a week. It’s not old, but it sure ain’t young. Had I used up all my hit songs for my non-musical career? Was the rest of my life meant to be a series of duds with an occasional memorable trip to a hospital thrown in?

Some time after that thought the doctor came in and confirmed it was kidney stones. He gave me a series of prescriptions, told me to see a urologist, drink more water and lay off eating too much salt and they were going to discharge me.

“Wait what?” It took me a second to register they were telling me to leave.

“You can always come back if you’re in too much pain.”

I guess there was a pandemic. And the pain wasn’t as excruciating as it was when I came in. I was at a five now. I checked my pockets. My phone said it was 9:30. Had I only been in their care for three hours? I had a full day ahead of me still. My wallet was in my pocket, but where was that pirate bandana I used as a face covering? Guess I lost it. We had some good trips to Trader Joe’s together. Well I had the hospital issued mask now. But as I walked out of the hospital I saw my reflection and there without my feeling it was the bandana wrapped lower around my throat.

The next days were amongst the worst in my life. The painkillers would stop the harshest edges of the pain, but never enough. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t shit. I couldn’t read or even watch TV. All I could do  was down one glass of water followed by a pill followed by another glass of water and then another pill as a mineral rattled around my organs.

In one not particularly proud moment maybe on day  three I went on some fuck COVID rant. And not in the way people say fuck cancer. I was certain nothing was worse. I would trade kidney stones for all the coronavirus in the world. Hook me up to a ventilator and stop this!

Maybe on day four I realized Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” was all about kidney stones.

You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hanging out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud

I continued to offer my services to Yahweh and to Allah and to Satan and even Apollo. I would be as religious as need be.

On the morning of day five, I had a Zoom meeting with the specialist. From my laptop computer I explained to my urologist all the misfortune I had suffered. He told me to continue to drink water and that sometimes this can take weeks.

Weeks? But isn’t there some procedure where you can blast the kidney stones with sound waves?

“Yes,” he calmly responded. “But your stones are too low. This would shatter your pelvis.” Instead the procedure that would need to be done would be they would stick a hose up my dickhole and they would shoot lasers at my kidney stones so they could pass easier.

That sounded painful.

“You would be unconscious But yes it is uncomfortable.”

I don’t know if it was that conversation that finally knocked the stones out of me, but after a dozen more hours of moaning I went to the bathroom.

I remembered after my last kidney stone experience fifteen years earlier I’d had a scary conversation. One of the producers I worked for was an ornery sort and had a death threat. He hired a private security guard who I spoke with long enough that I mentioned my first kidney stone experience. He said, “Ooohhh kidney stones. That’s like pissing out razor blades.”

I had yet to feel such a sensation. My pee hadn’t hurt. It was only my stomach.

“It will,” he told me. “If it hasn’t yet it means you haven’t passed them.”

That freaked me out. That meant the pain could come back, but it hadn’t until now. But yet here I was urinating and the stream stopped and out came something I could describe like I was peeing out a razor blade. I looked down into the toilet bowl and my piss was tinted with a tinge of red. It stung a bit, but nothing like the rattling around in my kidneys. I kept my eyes open for a four millimeter stone. My naked eye could spy nothing. Please God I prayed. I will piss out razor blades for the rest of my life, just cast out the stones.

After five days of hell I was able to sleep through a night.

And now I write this down in the hopes I don’t forget. These are tough times. Maybe all times are tough, but in the future if things get me down, if things aren’t going my way, I’ve got to remember. Any day without kidney stones is a good day.





Just Another Date Night in the Year 2030 – A Short Story


Just Another Date Night in the Year 2030 – A Short Story


David Rolland

Wow the work week flew by. Friday night already. Let me check the date app to see who I want to go out with tonight. I’m feeling like something cis norm.

Scroll. Scroll. Ah, let’s get a close up. Oh, never mind according to her menstrual app, she’s showing potential for moodiness. Scroll. Scroll. Let’s get a hologram. OK! Even better she hasn’t streamed this week’s episode of The Walking Thrones, so she won’t give any spoilers. Let’s do it! We agree to a reservation at eight at Chez Le Drone which has received tremendous Yelp reviews.

I schedule a driverless car pick up. Hee hee, what a hilarious holo video of a cat getting run over. Car’s here. I rate it, but begin to get annoyed by the podcast blaring In the speakers. I text to turn it down, but I have to pay a subscription fee for a noiseless ride.

She said she’d be sitting in the back by the window. There she is. I’ll rank her on the dating app before I say hello. A ten on punctuality and a 9 on looking like her hologram. WTF? She ranked me a 6 on punctuality and a 5 on false advertising.

We greet. She already ordered for me based on my profile. The wine is red and the meat rare. We discuss various amusing Tweets and controversial Instagram postings. It gets a tad bit awkward when the drone asks if we would like more to drink and I realize I’m a bit low on Bitcoins. Fortunately, she has already reached her maximum caloric intake for the day.

As she stands up I realize I am aroused. Perhaps it is the wine that makes me feel so forward when I ask her, “Your AirBnb or mine?” She offers hers, but first insists I log onto a sexual relations app. She uses Consexual. I download it and look over the contract. It’s fairly standard. Fifteen minutes of foreplay before touching privates. No posting of videos without her prior approval. Rear ends are off limits.

I punch in my PIN and an hour later we are laying in her bed rating each other’s performances. I give her a 10 with the good faith that she will do the same for me.

I keep refreshing the screen waiting to see how she rated me, but she is obsessed with the number of likes the pictures of her undressing are getting. I begin to feel a strange sensation like something is missing from the night. A void, an emptiness, that is until she asks, “Want to watch The Walking Thrones?” 

I then feel complete.

Deadbeat: The Movie

This is a short film I wrote and directed back in September 2003 It’s based on the first chapter of my novel Deadbeat. If you want to know what happens next and before, the novel is available for purchase by clicking here.

Thank you to everyone in the below cast and crew who volunteered their time and effort.

In the years between shooting this and putting it on-line I learned that the editor, Matt Villines had passed away. I’m not sure if he would have wanted me to, but since no one had to watch this as much as he did in the editing suite of the L.A. Film School, I’m dedicating it in his honor. R.I.P. Matt.

Frank Bengling: Mark Craig
Maria Novella: Mirelly Taylor
Roger Bengling: Kidd Stablein

Writer/Director: David Rolland
Producer: Jacintha Timothy
Editor: Matt Villines
Sound Design and Mixing: Peter Stier Jr.

Chasing Rainbows

We drive.

My daughter’s in her car seat in the back as a little bit of rain hits the windshield. In the gray clouds I notice the faintest hint of a rainbow. “Look, there’s a rainbow.” I tell her.

“Where?” she asks. I point, but she keeps asking, “Where? Where?”

It’s fading so I try to point it out exactly, but she’s getting frustrated. I’m not sure if it’s the way the seat has her strapped in or the direction my finger is pointing has her looking some way different than I intend, but I start to get concerned this whole situation might be scarring. Three years old is a formative age for the subconscious.  Could this create in her the idea that magic and beauty will always be just out of reach?

But then the road curves and something funny happens, the rainbow gets brighter. “Do you see it?” I ask her.

“A rainbow!”

We turn on to the interstate and I swear to God in the west is the fullest, most vivid rainbow I’d ever seen in my 38 years on Earth. Hell, for all I know it’s the most brilliant, colorful rainbow anyone in the universe has ever seen.

“Two rainbows!” she says. The conditions were so perfect that another fainter rainbow was on the outside of the legendary rainbow.

We keep driving. The road turns again.

“Where are the rainbows?” she asks. And I wonder if we can’t help scarring our young no matter how hard we try. Now she’ll think rainbows are something we’re all entitled to.



Zikapocalypse Now

A flea nearly brought down Western civilization when the Bubonic Plague took a tour of Europe centuries ago, but I’m still not sure how seriously we should take this Zika virus.

They say the sexually transmitted virus only exists in a mosquito that lives in a three mile radius in Miami. But this as we all know is complete and utter non-sense. If this virus traveled thousands of miles from Brazil to Miami in the matter of months, there are flying bugs and sexy people spreading it already at least as far as Kendall and Pembroke Pines.

They say Zika does not hurt most carriers. It will at worst cause flu symptoms, unless you are pregnant, then your poor child will have a misshapen and deformed head.

It is probably nothing. A couple years ago the news media was trying to sell us on the idea that Ebola will be the end of us all, before that was the avian flu, AIDS, and carpal-tunnel syndrome.

But odds are one day the fear-mongers will be right. It will all end for humanity. Or at the very least humanity’s idea of a perfectly proportional head.

In Defense of Third Parties


Besides someone saying “it is what it is” no comment gets me more riled up than, “if you vote for a third party candidate you are throwing your vote away”.  Using this set of logic in the 2016 presidential election, if you vote for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wins anyway, then you threw your vote away as well. You could also say if you vote for the victor and they win by more than one vote you also threw your vote away. The only vote that has value from this school of thought if you take it to its extreme, is an election where there is a tie, and your ballot will break the deadlock.

Voting in a population as large as ours is a symbolic act. The 2000 presidential election, the closest one on record, was decided by the 537 vote margin in the state of Florida. Those 537 ballots, lawyers argued fell within a margin of error where there needed to be another recount. If 537 votes could easily be misread, what difference does one vote make?

One vote is a voice saying I will not support two flawed candidates who promise war, just because this is what the Republican and Democratic parties served up. Yes, Donald Trump might model his rhetoric on some weird combination of Richard Nixon, Benito Mussolini, and Andrew Dice Clay. He is most probably the Anti-Christ he presents himself to be, but  in good conscience neither can I back a candidate in Hillary Clinton who promises in her Democratic Convention speech “we will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground.” Previously she bragged how as Secretary of State she wanted to get more aggressive in Libya and Syria and most famously voted as a Senator to go to war in Iraq.

In protest I will vote for the Green Party’s Jill Stein for President even though she has zero chance of winning. Contrary to the political slogan a vote for a third party candidate is not a vote for Trump.

A vote for Trump is a vote for Trump.

If enough liberals make the same principled act and if enough conservatives vote for the Libertarian Party, perhaps in the next election the major political parties will take notice and give us options where we do not have to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Pain Killer – A Short Story

I had been to doctors, physical therapists, yoga classes, and chiropractors, none could help with my back. On the best days it was uncomfortable, on the worst I am at a lack of words to describe. It had become an ever present weight, one that had me swallowing pills wholesale and saving up money for an experimental surgery. So I was open minded when a man stopped me as I limped away from the counter with a cup of coffee.

“That looks painful,” he said. I contorted my body to fit into the booth and managed a smile that my pain could be acknowledged.

“What do the doctors say?” he asked before recognition seemed to creep into the eyes behind his rimless glasses. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to intrude. It’s just I recently recovered from an injury that looks quite similar to what you’re suffering.”

“Really?” Months earlier I might have been cynical that he was trying to sell me something, but I had grown desperate and was willing to buy whatever anyone was offering.

“Yes. My hip was out of whack quite like yours and my shoulder was lower and I’m sorry, just looking at you is bringing back terrible memories.”

“How did you heal?”

“I found a doctor.”

“Can I have his name?”

“Yes, of course.” There was a long pause. It felt long anyway. “I must warn you that he is not a conventional doctor.”

“Is it reiki? Acupuncture?”

“It is unique. Dr. Woh works in realms that I have never been exposed to. But his his results are for me anyway, extraordinary. And his price…”

“If he can heal me, I will pay any price.” I said it and I meant it. The man who then introduced himself as Stephen Lyme gave me Dr. Woh’s address. On the train ride home I looked for evidence of Dr. Woh’s existence on the internet, there was none. Instead I found on-line profiles for Stephen Lyme, For the last year he looked a man of 35 in fantastic health, but the pictures from a year earlier portrayed misery. His spine was askew in a grotesque manner. In the dozens of photographs the camera could never seem to grasp him with a genuine smile.

After work the next afternoon with my pain being on what I would describe to doctors on a scale of 1 to 10 at a 6, I made the trek uptown. I tried to hope for the best and expect the worst, but as I walked down the stairs to the door marked 7707 I could not help but feel I was wasting my time. This looked more a dingy basement apartment than the office of a miracle worker.

But still I knocked.


I saw a buzzer and rang it. When I lifted my hand to knock again the door opened.

An older man opened the door with a beard reminiscent of alfalfa sprouts. I was about to ask if he was Dr. Woh when he spoke in an English accent. “You are not well.”

“No, Dr. Woh.” I was unsure what to say next so I apologized, “I’m not sure, is that the right way to pronounce your name?”

“Come inside.” He rushed me in and placed his hands on my hips trying to push them into alignment. Of course they would not stay settled. “This is bad. Rotten.”

I looked around. The bookcases and the desk and the futon couch made it evident this was a basement apartment, but I asked anyway, “Do you need to see my insurance card?”

Again he did not answer my question. “This looks very painful.”

“It is.” I assured him.

“Would you like treatment?”

“Yes! I mean, what would that entail?” He poked my leg with his bony finger then traced up toward my stomach. “Forgive me for asking so many questions, but I’d like to know what I’m getting into. I have limited funds and…”

“You can pay me what you think is fair.”

“That sounds… fair. Yes, I would like you to treat me. Please.”

He turned to open a door I did not notice was there. We walked in and he began lighting candles until I could see there was a red circle painted on the floor with a star in it.

“Is that a pentagram?” I asked.

“Yes, you have a demon within you and I must pull him out. Please, step into the star.”

I did as he said. he began speaking, nearly singing in a language I did not understand but imagined to be Asian. Chinese? Japanese? Korean? I could not say. I tried not to stare as he hopped up on one foot, but then he kicked me right in the stomach and I began to vomit. Green, black, and brown liquids spewed out of my mouth. As I was coughing and spitting and letting out all this bile, Dr. Woh was carefully collecting my refuse and jarring them in glass containers.

“You maniac!” I shouted out along with a litany of curse words when Dr Woh pointed out something I had not realized.

“How is your back?”

Not only was I standing upright, but there was no pain, no discomfort. “What did you do? How did you do that?”

“You had a demon within you. I took him out.”

“That is it?”

“I must dispose of him properly or else it might return, but yes otherwise this demon is done with you.”

“So there are no follow ups, no anything I should know?” he said nothing merely twisted the lids of each jar with great care. I went into my wallet and gave him everything I had knowing full well that was not enough. Even if the pain came back later that night or the next day, he gave me what no other treatment could provide, a moment of peace. “Thank you, doctor.”

He accepted the money and said nothing else.Then he opened one door and then another and I walked out into the night air. Or perhaps I walked on the night air. I was confused. I felt free and was unsure how to express my good health. I decided to click my heels the way they did in old movies. Even on the landing I felt fine. A jogger almost ran into me and I decided to follow him.

I felt fine. I felt great. There was an awning just out of arm’s reach I took a couple steps and leaped and touched it. This was remarkable. Life for so long had been a burden, now it felt like a blessing. There was so much to do. Old friends to see who had undoubtedly given up on me after so many turned down invitations. Places to visit that seemed too much of a trouble due to my affliction, I could now frequent. Genres of lifestyle like adventure, romance, and even comedy now seemed within my reach.

Then one day I saw him. The smile, the love for life was gone, his hair unkempt and his eyes staring down at the sidewalk. Most distressingly he was dependent on a cane. “Stephen!” I called to him. He did not look up so I stood in his path. “Stephen Lyme.”

He looked me up and down and managed a, “Hello”.

I did not know how to address his ill health, so I ignored it, a response I loathed when I was the one in pain. “I’m so glad I ran into you. You were right. Dr. Woh was a miracle worker. I’m off to play tennis now. Tennis! Can you believe it?”

“Yes. Yes, I can.”

“Is everything OK with you?”

Hunched over he looked at me like the idiot I was. “No.”

“What about Dr. Woh? Can he help you?”

“Dr. Woh’s services are too expensive for me at this point.”

“I’d be happy to lend you money. It’s the least I can do. Your recommendation improved my life in ways—“

“Excuse me,” he said as he limped past me. “It was good to see you, but I must make my way to the pharmacy.”

It was an odd exchange, but one I did not ponder too deeply. I was too occupied tasting fruits that had been kept away from me. I began exchanging flirtations with Jayne in accounting and looked into a weekend flight to New Orleans.

Then one morning the pain returned. Not a gradual tweak, but rather a full and excruciating reversal. After pushing myself off the ground and devouring whatever pills I still had at my disposal I took the trip toward Dr. Woh.

I knocked at his door.

No answer.

I knocked harder. Still no answer. There was no phone number or e-mail to reach him at so I sat, until I had to lie down at his curb. Hours later the door opened and I stood up with great difficulty. “Come in,” he said immediately.

Without him asking I expressed how the pain had returned. He said nothing until I begged, “I need you to do what you did before.”

“What I did before was what you would call a one time only—“

I interrupted. “I understand you must charge me. I will pay any price.”

He looked at me. A deep look. “You are desperate for good reason. This demon you have attracted will not be so easily fooled.” He stepped into the pentagram room. I quickly followed. He turned on an awful avant-garde music as he lit his candles.

He motioned for me to sit where I sat before and then left the room. I counted the seconds and then the minutes until he cured my agony. He returned with a jar that he handed me. In it was a little white mouse, the kind they use in laboratories or that you buy in a pet store to feed a snake. “As I thought this demon is not receptive to the same methods. It requires blood.”

I knew where this was going, but refused to believe it even as he handed me a knife. “I need to kill him?”

“Yes, and you must drink his blood.”

I wish, not truly, but more for reasons of empathy, that you could feel what duress I was under before you judge me. Perhaps then you would not consider what I did next as harshly. I behaved like a man lost in the desert who came across an oasis. Maybe it was all a mirage and the water I was drinking was just sand, but I had to try. I took the knife to the rodent’s throat and swallowed until there was nothing left.

I could not tell you at what point the creature stopped squirming because immediately the nausea kicked in. I spat out that black, brown gruesome tar and as I regained my senses I felt fantastic again.

I thanked Dr. Woh profusely. He did not smile. He knew much better than I that the cure was temporary.

Whereas before I was healed for months, this time it was only weeks until I needed to visit him again. I came prepared, stopping at a pet store and purchasing one of those mice. Dr. Woh shook his head and directed me toward  a restaurant’s kitchen where I paid for a rooster. It is true what they say about the bird, it does continue to move after you cut its head off.

The next healing or exorcism or whatever you should call it involved a snake. The following one required a cat. I did not feel as badly as you would think about slaughtering a dog as I could touch my toes again afterward.

As I stretched I felt the need to ask Dr. Woh what would be next. Would I require a horse or a monkey maybe? It was worse.

“The next step will require human blood.”

I thought long and hard about who I might be able to coerce into aiding my well being. I figured I could offer some vagrant money to follow me into the pentagram. Perhaps it would require drugs. I told Dr. Woh, “That will not be a problem. Next time you see me I will have the proper sacrifice—“

Before I could fully finish the sentence I felt the sharp blade of his knife puncture my throat. As my insides seeped out Dr. Woh feasted on my blood.

Turned out I was not the only one to suffer from back pain.


Ghosts of Basketball Courts Past


Every so often I drag my old bones out to a basketball court and try to relive the glory days. I tell myself I’m just going to shoot around since I’ve got a fragile back, but inevitably someone asks me to play a game. Hoisting an orange ball toward a metal rim you find yourself in the company of people you might never talk to. Now I’m an elder statesman, but it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was one of the young whippersnappers.

Those years when I spent every possible moment on a basketball court, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, most of the regulars were my age or a few years older, but there were a few oddball adults. There was Jerry who must have been six foot six and looked like an eagle and John Lithgow had a lovechild and there was Paul, a foul mouthed guy who if you left him open long enough would pretend to pick his nose before he took the shot.

As the years passed and basketball went from an obsession to a hobby to something I rarely do, I can’t say I thought too much about either of them. But not too long ago I heard that Paul had passed away.

Hearing he died kind of jarred all these conversations over the years we had loose. I think most of this dialogue was after my first year of college. I was supposed to have gotten a job that summer, but I was thrifty enough to avoid one and spent the afternoons playing basketball. Paul who had kids just a few years younger than me felt comfortable giving me advice beyond putting more arc on my jump shot. I remember him telling me (his fellow Jew) that Miami would be a great place to live if it weren’t for all the Jews and Cubans. I also remember him telling me it was better to live in nature than in the city, because cities you eventually get bored of, while in nature there’s always something new, a new swimming hole, a new trail to walk.

I remember us making a bet about the NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls had just won a record number of games and I bet him ten dollars that the Bulls would win the best of seven series in five games or less. The Bulls won the first three games and my bet looked good, but then somehow lost the next two games, before closing the series out in six. In other words I lost the bet and as a thrifty guy without a summer job, I wasn’t too unhappy that I didn’t run into him at the courts before I went back to school.

When I made it back the next summer he was never there. I don’t know if I asked what happened to him or it just came up, but the story was he got in an argument when he called a foul. The opponent disagreed about the call and punched Paul square in the face. I had seen Paul get obnoxious in games, one time he didn’t like a call and punted the ball fifty feet away, but as an eccentric character he could get away with it. This time that wasn’t the case. He didn’t fight back, he left the game and walked off the court never to return. There were disputing stories of who threw the punch. But I’d like to think it wasn’t one of the regulars.

That was almost twenty years ago.

Now when I go out to the courts and I’m the one dispelling wayward youths unsolicited wisdom, I kind of marvel at however slow the days might go, how fast the years pass. Off the top of my head I don’t have too many regrets, but one is that I skipped out on the ten bucks I owed Paul. Now I’ll have to wait until the game in the big basketball court in the sky to pay my debt.