“HELLO, DAD….I’M IN JAIL!!!!” (Part I)

Posted: 12th August 2014 by Sean Harris in Editorials

I managed to get nearly to forty years of age without ever having been incarcerated. It was a good run by most standards of the lower income male demographic.

But dammit, I’m no normal male. I don’t drive a car–I don’t do (or sell) drugs, and I certainly don’t steal (or at least I haven’t since I was a kid, when I switched Aaron Paoli’s Skeletor armor for my broken Skeletor armor while he wasn’t looking). I’ve never even cheated on an exam, come to think of it. I talked a lot in class growing up, and sure, I was suspended for the occasional fight and then for distributing my “pornographic newspaper”, but that’s about as up close and personal with authoritative reprimand that I’ve ever gotten. My rap sheet, as my booking officer would rightly exclaim: “was the most fucking boring thing he’d ever seen.”

So though I wasn’t entirely aware of it, being arrested was apparently on my bucket list, and it was time to cross that bastard off.

I don’t particularly want to air all the dirty laundry on the actual incident itself, but let’s say it was a fairly minor scrap with my younger sister, which is inevitably bound to happen when you live together as long as we have. Since we seem to have avoided physical altercations for the most part of growing up, I think perhaps we’re making up for lost time. Whatever the case may be, she has her issues and I certainly have mine, and there are many times, especially as of late, that they do not mesh together well. Shit happens, basically, and on this particular occasion, it came to me throwing a half-hearted sock into her left collarbone area.

Yes, I know and agree it was wrong. I’m human and I lose control of my anger, and siblings will be siblings. Sometimes you just can’t totally avoid clocking your kin to get your frustration across. White people of the same bloodline probably shouldn’t live together past adulthood, I’ve often read.

Law enforcement had been summoned a couple of times already in the past few months, all over shouting matches (as the only member with testicles here, I allegedly have the ability to sound the most intimidating), but aside from “ok, try not to fight and go your own ways” there wasn’t anything the boys in blue could really do about any of our domestic woes. This time, however, as I said, just enough of a line was crossed, so when they asked  her “do you want to press charges” she, in her anger and emotional/intoxicated state, retorted with a resounding ‘YES’, and that was all it took.

None of the initial result was particularly surprising, since California has rather strict battery enough laws (to the point of which you can knock coffee out of someone’s hand and be hauled off). I guessed, never having been arrested before, that I might spend the night in the Fort Bragg cell, and then get booked and sent him in the  the morning. Worst case scenario, an extra day, since it was the start of a weekend.

My detaining officer was a friend from grade school, and was courteous toward escorting me to the Fort Bragg department. On her command, I wasn’t even handcuffed; just showed to the backseat of the cruiser and driven away without hassle. Not long after arriving in their lovely gray holding tank, I was brought in for a quick pre-mug shot and then informed unceremoniously that I would be being transferred to county over in Ukiah.

The little record scratch sound went off then. “Low Gap? Excuse me? Um…wait a second–”

Before this could sink in, I was cuffed and chained around the back, and brought out once again to the patrol car. We departed for the wretched winding highway inland, which I’d like to add is not a fun experience as a passenger who gets carsick. With no real way to lay even my head down under the restraints, and the fact that we were going what seemed like about 70 over most of the mountain, my dinner tried very, very, VERY hard to revisit the scene.

Night fell while we commuted, and after somehow managing to not deploy the contents of my stomach all over the steel mesh cage before me, the city lights of the greater valley metropolis finally lit up the reflecting widows. We pulled up to the razor-wired gateway, and the sheer image of it made my heart sink. The severity of the situation was quickly dawning on me now, and I couldn’t make sense of how I had gotten here, when my original evening plan had been to get some banana split ice cream and maybe go out and see the new Godzilla in 3D.

The guards running the county jail aren’t as courteous and accommodating as your local grew-up-and-went-to-school-with neighborhood officer, you can imagine, so upon entering, I was turned and my head placed into a matted wall. I was then read some rules and asked some questions about tattoos, problems with ethnic groups, homosexuality, whether or not I had AIDS or anything contagious, etc, and my ear ring was removed along with my belt (which was the only thing holding up my too-large pants), shoes, and hair tie. I was taken down a hallway and put into a palatial glass-walled cell with three others. One of them was asleep, having stretched a sweatshirt completely around his head, torso and legs (just his socked feet were sticking out). A young Asian American with tribal tattoos was in the floor near him, trying to keep his head under the flanking metal bench that ran the perimeter of the room (obviously to lock out the soul draining fluorescent lighting), and the third caucasian, who looked a bit like Quentin Tarantino crossed with Popeye (not that they’re a terribly dissimilar pair already), was fast asleep on a toilet paper roll he had turned into am impromptu pillow.

In the metal communal toilet off to the side was some vomit and a few orange peels, nearby on the floor a 1% milk carton, more puke, and that was about it. Four walls and a bench. And a floor. A floor I didn’t want to be walking on, much less laying on like these other unconcerned gentlemen.

Which reminds me, I was the only lucky son of a bitch in the room without socks. This was a pure act of chance, since I had decided my pair was a little dirtier than my liking when I was leaving the house (just before I got into with my sister), so I had just ditched them and gone with my tennis shoes alone. I hadn’t planned to even spend the evening around friends, much less strangers, much less strangers in a filthy county jail, so hindsight had to take a long walk off of a very short pier in this instance. As my sneakers were now locked in a storage bin with my belt and other sparse contents of my pants pockets, here I now was, bare piggies on a cement floor that had various bodily fluids and half digested gruel strewn about haphazardly. I chose the cleanest looking spot on the bench I could find, and planted myself to await whatever fun exercise was next in store.

My friendly childhood officer driver had answered a few questions during the beginning of our lovely trek over the hill, and they played now in my head over and over. What was the booking procedure like? How long would it take? Her answers had been fairly “oh, you know, simple” in tone, and the picture I had developed for the routine before me was something along the lines of a little time on this comfortable bench, a half or so of questions and fingerprinting, and then kicked out the door in the morning.

This relaxed vision was a far cry from what fate was about to be induced. For the next twenty-three hours, myself and a rotating door of incoming and outgoing detainees were kept in stasis, left to sit on our metal benches, sleep on our concrete floor, and brave pissing in our shared commode of horrors. I suppose in complete fairness, at one point, they did move us into a warmer, larger cell, which thankfully had a newly cleaned latrine (albeit for about 20 minutes until a new DUI came in and splattered it with his extremely pungent Caesar salad and vodka mixture). I was caged close to 11 pm on a Saturday night, which is a bummer because court is out for the weekend, so I would have to be housed until I could appear before a judge a few days later during government business hours. Waiting to be booked is a drawn out procedure, as it is first come first serve, unless the detained can post bail, in which case they are bumped to the front of the line. As it was mostly DUI and marijuana cases coming and going at an alarming rate, the majority of the arrested seemed to have the cash lying around to enjoy cutting ahead, while yours truly with his hundred and fifty bucks in the bank had to take it on the chin. It would be damn near 10 pm on Sunday before I was given room and board in the resident luxury suite with the rest of the lucky sentenced or destitute inmates.

This brings me now to the phone call situation: if our jail system is anything, a money laundering system is it. The notices hung on the walls of the holding cell tell you that “LOCAL CALLS ARE FREE”, but don’t let them lie to you like that. Rather, expect to rape the party you call for damn near twenty dollars each time you dial out. Your destination transmission has to go through an automated process and put together a collect call account via credit card to cover the damage, and it quickly culminates into economic calamity.

But I digress…by the time my name was called and I was led into the little isolation booth for inquisition, I was wavering under lack of sleep and the first three helpings of “jail chow” (breakfast was two hardboiled eggs, a rejected by state standard orange, three slices of wheat bread, and a packet of cereal that barely qualified as a handful of generic Corn Flakes…thankfully lunch and dinner were marginally better in proportions) and although I was dreading being admitted, the thought of at least being able to lay down and have a blanket was sort of balancing out the expanding knot in my insides.

The paperwork finally filled out, I was then taken to the glamor room for digital fingerprinting on a machine that could not seem to function well (we had to do infinite passes to get anything that was considered readable, and I began to wonder if all the years of hand washing had somehow disfigured my skin). After snapping a set of exceptionally vile photos, I was told to strip, show several orifices to the nice officer to prove I wasn’t smuggling in drugs or weapons, and then slink into my new uniform. Clad now in a lovely green jumpsuit–complete with orange socks that looked to be pulled off of a dead Oompa Loompa–I was then advised to grab a bed to go with my issued bag of extra clothes and toiletries and carry it off to the non-violent offender wing I was being assigned to.

And during the whole time this never ending round of pleasure was transpiring, all I could think about was the fact that the old prick who hit me with his car got to go home without a slap on the fucking wrist.



Posted: 29th July 2014 by Sean Harris in Commentary

It is with sadness that we say goodbye to a friend and 1994 classmate. Gary Avants Ogle was a creative, talented, and funny guy that many of us can recall fond stories of (in particular, for me, was having “drawing wars” with both he and Aaron Paoli in class). I’ll miss his wit and love of medieval fantasy themed art, genre flicks, and old school video games. God speed, man, and see you on the other side.

Gary Avants Ogle



Posted: 4th May 2014 by Sean Harris in Editorials

Hello there. I’m Sean–a thirty seven year old male, heading my way to thirty eight in just a few short months, and I’m alone.

I sometimes think it’s simply because my better years are pretty much over, or that my looks (to those who considered them appealing) have faded off, or just that my OCD has made it impossible for anyone to stick around for longer than eight months to a year. I’m sure factors from all of these categories are responsible to degrees, some a bit more than others, since out of my entire circle of friends from high school onward, I seem to be the only one who can’t a relationship together.

Do I choose the wrong people, or do the wrong people choose me?

Memories of females past haunt me as I lay in darkness, trying to shut my brain down to sleep. A few, in particular, delve the deepest and the worst. We don’t pick and choose our favorites in this lifetime, they just seem to mutate and grow into the objects of our ultimate affection and need. And it always seems that the select who become the most important are inevitably the same individuals that abandon us in the most cruel fashion.

That’s been my case, at any rate. I have a particular trio: the “trifecta of heartbreak” I like to call them, who seemed to vanish with one last act of betrayal or entirely without an explanation at all. That isn’t to say there aren’t others I miss, of course; some even terminated by my own will that I look back now on and kick myself for doing so (hindsight is 50/50, they rightly say). However, it’s what you desire most that eventually eludes you, and in the end it always comes back to the trinity who I let get the closest. Their images spin endlessly around my memory and hang like a thorn laden leash around my throat.

I’ve been a recluse for many stretches of my later adult life (middle age something fierce), so dating sites have been tried, random hook ups from friends, blind dates, etc. None of these ever go right, and the resulting experience generally leaves a disdain for humanity hanging in the nearby ether. Things were so much easier in my youth; working on an underground newspaper and doing movies, being involved and around my peers and contemporaries. Those days are long gone now, probably indefinitely. Poverty, failure, and a broken mind repeating an aberrant code have replaced the creative drive and confidence of what once was. This doesn’t help attract the opposite sex, I’m afraid, and the opposite sex seems, at this stage at least, to be just as messed up on their end of things.

It’s a bizarre crossroads of the impossible. Younger girls are part of the self centered social network age (not to exclude the neurosis of modern men, however, since I don’t date them my wrath remains aimed squarely at generation narcissistic bitch), and trying to impress one of them with a dead newspaper gone web blog or 52 minute movie that didn’t make a cent back in profit just isn’t going to happen. Hell, I don’t even drive a car–a great deal of females would rule me out just for that alone. The one’s my age? Forget it. They’ve been divorced once or twice already, have kids in tow, and chips on their shoulders that put mine to a crying shame (and trust me, the having kids part isn’t the problem. My last ex had four of them, and they were the highlight of the entire debacle).

While my physical reality deteriorates, so do my options. And that’s the curse of growing old in a nutshell I believe–watching life take away what it used to give. It’s a tragedy we all get to experience sooner or later, unfortunately, but I was hoping I still had a little bit longer to build the nest I always dreamed I’d roost. As it remains, I limp forward into an uncertain future, hoping that perhaps better fortune will find a shred of mercy. I’m certainly ready…and going by the recent past, a little more than certainly due.


Posted: 7th March 2014 by Sean Harris in Editorials

First off, major apologies for the near three month delay from any updates. A few weeks before Christmas, just as I was preparing to grace this beloved website with several new articles all at once, my eMac of four years bought the farm when a circuit breaker was flipped to restore power to a faulty bedroom. It was also, as chance would have it, the day before I was going to back the past few years of writing/pictures/music and whatnot on to a flash drive, so you can probably imagine that I was not a very happy clam with the black turn of events. Finances were also very tight, more so because it was the blasted holidays, so it took some juggling to come up with the funds to get something in quick as a replacement.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I would then go almost two months without any form of access to the world, except the outdated method of walking out the door and physically engaging with it. My immediate plan was to speed the process through as fast as possible, so I didn’t have to listen to KOZT as my single form of entertainment (who, I’m sorry, can only manage a decent song every five hours or so) and stare at my wall, drooling and dwelling on things I didn’t particularly want to dwell on. Like all good plans, however, the end game just kept right on eluding me. The initial computer that was ordered was stolen (a long story in itself, so we’ll save that tale for another day), and getting reimbursement to remedy this second debacle became a very long and painful process.

So venture out is what I did to keep sane, more often than not. Some of it was nice…therapeutic, good for the soul and such. Some of it was not…like spending more money: food isn’t cheap these days, especially if you aren’t cooking it. It added up quickly, and my bank account, a file which doesn’t contain nearly enough credits for my ultimate satisfaction, was depleted fast. I was caught between that classic rock and hard place, needing the mental stimulation since my normal outlet was cut off, but not being able to change the situation with my cash spending filling the void (of which I was already in the hole a few hundred bucks).

And then, on January 5th of what was supposed to be the start of a better year, even more bad luck struck out. Literally, this time. In the early dark evening, nearing Safeway on a very cold trek, yours truly stood at the precipice of parking lot adjoined crosswalk, preparing to make the final dash in toward the heated consumer cathedral. A woman passed in front of me first–I could see her hair up in a overly large scrunchy–and as she proceeded across the four way intersection, my line of sight followed her and caught the flare of oncoming headlights. The approaching vehicle was not even up to the furthest pedestrian yellow zone yet, and appeared to be slowing slightly. Standing under a bright mercury vapor streetlight, wearing a gray colored tee, I was highly visible, so fully confident that I had been spotted, I began a quick stride to get across.

Mind you, I was moving briskly, because it was freezing. My breath crept on frosty tendrils while I pumped chilled air through my lungs, the thought of indoor central heating luring me into a slightly quickened pace. At just past the halfway mark in the road, the legal boundaries of my destination a mere ten feet away, a sudden discrepancy was detected in my peripheral vision. The alert system sounded and went off as I processed the horror that was about to unfold; it appeared the south-bound car that I had discerned as a non-threat had sped up again and NOT stopped at the opposite crosswalk at all, and was moving at an unpleasant velocity toward me.

Time does that weird bendy/twisted thing in a tense moment like this, and it’s amazing at what strange lines of inner dialogue zap through the wires. My first thought was “oh, he’s going to hit me” which was followed by a question of frustration, as my brain became puzzled as to how I had miscalculated the timing of it all. This thought broke quickly then as well, because mortal fear kicked in, and I tried to get the pistons moving faster to get the hell out of harms way. Let me say that it’s a damned good thing I did, and that I saw this disaster impending at just the right moment, because if it weren’t for my burst of adrenaline to move I would have been splatted all over this car’s windshield. As it was, even with the heads up, I still wasn’t going to quite clear the collision, so I mentally prepared for impact and the last thing I remember thinking, oddly, as the left side of the machine struck my legs, was that the color of the auto body was dark, just like my adorned jeans.

My right leg was plowed first, the exterior of the passenger side shearing the backside of my calf. It was mercifully a medium graze, but my left leg, being just a tad further back in stance, took the bigger bite. The force of the direct bludgeoning spun my entire body around, knocking me off my feet entirely and throwing me, very hard, shoulder and neck first, into the nearby pavement.

The first words out of my mouth were something close to: “OW…FUCK…ARE YOU KIDDING?!” and, even in shock, I had the wits enough about me to be appalled that the vehicle that had just bounced me like a bowling pin just kept right on driving, not even so much as a brake light flashing. Vaguely aware that another person was on the sidewalk, just a little further up from where I lay in the road, I shouted “CAN YOU GET THAT LICENSE PLATE?” and then, watching the back end of my runaway assailant recede into darkness, realized I was still vulnerable as a target for additional passing motorists.

Thankfully, I was able to get up, and shambled over to safety off the tarmac. The woman on foot I had called out to, twenty feet ahead, had turned around now and was standing there staring in disbelief.

“Did that car just HIT YOU?”

I put my hand up to my neck, which felt a little more than numb like the rest of me, and began rubbing what I thought might be a minor injury.

“Yeah, did you see that plate?”

She turned, squinting, and though his taillights were only dots now, tried to make something out. The giant Canclini truck that was parked near us had obstructed her initial scanning, and now it was too far away to get any clear reading. Turning back to me, she nodded a defeated “no”, and withdrew a cell phone to dial 9-1-1.

“Are you ok?”

“I…think so.” she was already talking to dispatch as I answered distantly.

“Yes, a guy just got hit by a car. We’re at…by Safeway. Which street?” She turned to me. “Which cross street?

“Uh Franklin…and…” I turned and couldn’t see the sign, since it was on the other side of the lane. “Let’s see if I can NOT get hit this time.” I joked weakly, skimping across the way again, being especially wary this time over. From afar: “Walnut, going across Franklin toward Safeway.”

It took roughly three minutes at this location for response, which was good. One cop came out of Starbucks (guffaw), right across the street, and the ambulance pulled up from around the corner, with the conveniently positioned hospital on the opposite side. A second officer joined the first within a few more moments. They took my description of “small and sporty, dark color–possibly spoilers” and even better detailed account of the asphalt patterns on the south side of the crosswalk (officer #1 even marked the place where I got creamed with a red circle, the nice man). The ambulance moved my leg and arm around, looked at my scraped up arm, and then asked if I wanted to go to the clinic while a few photos were snapped for report purposes. I declined, entirely for neurotic reasons, honestly, and the fact that despite I was still nursing my neck and shoulders with my hand, couldn’t feel much but cold and numbness. They told me if things got worse, which often happens with internal damage, to come right in. I agreed and that was that.

Safeway offered up its warmth, where I calmed down a bit and got the blood going and then bought a pack of gum. Standing in line, I noticed my neck, shoulder, and head were beginning to now really hurt, the adrenaline leaving my system and allowing me to experience sensations, so with reluctance I left and headed my way up to the emergency room.

My shoulder and arm weren’t broken, according to X-rays, and the nurses cleaned and disinfected my road rash before sending me home with a prescription for generic Percocet. I figured I was lucky to be alive, and hoped that my wound was simply bruising that would be better in a week. The mysterious driver was long gone, and my hazy account of his or her vehicle was likely not enough to warrant an arrest, so I left things as they were and tried to move forward from the incident as best I could.

Now this is where the story gets truly odd. Over the next few days, rumors got back to me from people around town and (dear God) FACEBOOK that a suspect was apprehended not very long after I was hit. My step brother’s girlfriend even said he had heard it on the radio driving to work. I had made the initial crime report to the police, who had taken my phone number, obviously, but I hadn’t heard a peep from law enforcement so I was colored rather curious that such news was floating around the grapevine. Twenty four hours later, I took initiative and phoned up the p.d. to inquire about the circumstances of the open investigation.

I introduced myself to the officer on the line and told him that there was talk in the community about a suspect having been caught. Slowly, he responded: “a suspect was IDENTIFIED, yes.”

Further prodding, a name was given out before I was then informed that the case was now being referred to the district attorney’s office. I asked what I had for options as far as prosecuting went, and he said I had a few and would have to contact a lawyer.

I left that conversation, relieved that the rumors had been true, but puzzled as to why wasn’t I notified of anything by the department. Further still, as I would come to find out after the Advocate posted their article on the whole ordeal, was that this 63 year old man driving a GOD DAMNED PORSCHE was not arrested after mowing down a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Instead, it turned out, a relative had been called to come pick him up after he was taken in (keep in to account that he was caught just a little while after our encounter because he was driving around with his headlights off in another area of town). Call me a conspiracy theorist nutjob, but isn’t this usually the telltale sign of someone who’s inebriated?

The press release said that “he MAY have POSSIBLY had a MEDICAL CONDITION that contributed to the accident”–which is about the most vague twisting of word evasion I can think of. Why was he driving at all if he had such a condition? What was the condition? What kind of such variable makes it ok to leave the scene of a crime, even if you are unaware of it, and not face anything but a slight slap on the wrists and a ride home from your family?

I’m still in the dark on all these details. Nothing more has been added or said, and the incident has slipped away as a momentary footnote of local gossip. My left side, from the center of my shoulder blade down to the middle of my ribs, now has chronic pain along with decreased mobility in that entire area. My OCD has notably also worsened, since stress and trauma will extend that courtesy toward an anxiety disorder, and I now find myself in some bizarre unknown territory of legal recourse that is beyond my experience or understanding. Something should be done, I feel, if only to serve some form of justice. The whole situation is sideways, and makes my head spin. I want my neck and side to stop hurting, and I don’t want to be on the verge of a panic attack when I cross streets for the rest of my life. At the same time, I have this very grim feeling that this is an uphill battle I can’t possibly win, in a society that caters to the Almighty Dollar and against a person with far greater monetary clout.

I guess only time will tell on all these things, so I’m trying to keep my fingers crossed that something positive comes about. In the meantime, this is your humbled editor, advising you and your kids to always look both ways, and then wait until nothing is moving on the road at all to go.


Posted: 12th February 2014 by admin in Commentary

The Rag salutes Angie Regan (formerly Koski) and Jubal Stedman, both Fort Bragg High School alumni who have been tragically taken.

God speed to two deeply missed souls.

Angela Dawn Koski Regan

Jubal Hugh Stedman



Posted: 23rd October 2013 by Sean Harris in Editorials

We’re going to talk a little about mental illness, since it seems to be a reoccuring theme for a few of us.

I wrote about having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, more intimately than I ever had before, in the editorial of the September 1995 edition of The Monthly Rag. I was really struggling at the time, if I remember correctly (and I’m pretty sure I do, trauma is often hard for me to let go of), and I think it was a way of baring all my sins in lieu of actually going to therapy. Entirely for my own satisfaction and catharsis, it ended up having a few positive secondary results in that it brought forth a reader who was hiding a similar affliction, and also that it found its way into the hands of the teacher of the psychology class at the College of the Redwoods. To my good fortune, it struck a sympathetic chord with her, and she kept that issue around to share with future classes when studying emotional and mental development deficiencies.

Over fifteen years later, I’m still battling the uphill fight, which has at this point taken sharp turns for the worse and worn my spirit down to the nub. Honestly, I thought (or at least prayed) it would diminish in my middle age or older years, but it appears my wishes for any inner peace have fallen on deaf ears. It’s been a tiring and long ordeal. We’ve all got something, like the old saying goes, but some of us have something just a little more special and ridiculous (and sure, many have even worse, but what does it matter which way you are robbed, and who’s to ever say which Hell is the most trying?).

Let’s do a quick recap of the timeline so you’re up to speed: somewhere between the ages of twelve and fourteen, my head pulled a diabolical maneuver, and, depending on which theory you subscribe to about genetics and/or environmental factors, a long dormant abberation killed off my central control system and took over at the controls. I started doing some very eccentric behavioral tics thereafter, worrying abnormally, even for a teenager, about pathogens, cancer, AIDS, and losing loved ones or myself to death. A set of rituals were drawn up emotionally to deal with these preoccupations, perhaps to level the playing field and counter the sense of control I felt I had lost over the tangible things in my existence. These routines grew to intrusive proportions, consuming my waking hours, washing my hands, checking and counting and doing all the hallmark things one with this particular anxiety disorder does.

The first thing you do when you become aware that you have lost a few sandwiches from your picnic basket is try to hide that unsettling fact from everyone around you. I was a relatively bright individual for my age, at least enough to know that what I was doing was irrational and that something that I had no control over whatsoever was pulling all the stings ahead of me. All the same, the embarrassment and fear yanked within, and I struggled to maintain a facade of normalcy to the eyes of my peers and family. My hands finally gave my secret away, cracking and bleeding in the cold winter air during a marathon of persistent scrubbing. Over a small breakdown not much time later, I was sent to St. Helena Medical Hospital via ambulance and 51/50 to spend some time in the adolescent mental health wing.

It was there that my ailment was given a name, far before it was a popular buzzword and throwaway descriptive term for anyone that might be anally retentive about personal orderliness or hygiene. From that point forward, medicated and in and out of various counseling, I tried to come to grips with the phantom I was saddled with. At the very least, I knew I wasn’t insane, so there was small comfort to certainly be had. Still, the frustration of knowing I’d likely be locked in combat with this nuisance until my dying day, and all the things in life it would likely keep me from enjoying, frequently took the wind out of my hopeful sails. There remains entire weeks, moreso often than not lately, that I just don’t want to even wake up and try again.

Perhaps it’s a form of midlife crisis that I feel like an abject failure despite the accomplishments I have managed to perform even as a malfunctioning organism. It’s difficult to ascertain the source of the self loathing, and I’m certainly not being paid like my many past therapists to figure it out in depth. Giving it due reflection and trying to articulate the experience with the written word or moving image is as good as it gets for me, even if those too can only be executed when the demon permits.

My dream, if there is one left to be had in the box of broken promises, is to reach some kind of understanding between the world around me and the twisted thing that exists to torment my soul deep inside. Maybe one day I can get it right, and leave just the right marker behind that can touch the minds of the curious and the hearts of the empathetic.


Posted: 29th July 2013 by Sean Harris in Editorials

It’s been over a year since I last wrote an editorial for this site, and not a lot has changed in any personal category (or, at least, certainly not anything for the better). I don’t know about you, friends, but these are depressing days. From where I stand, detached and staring incredulously, all that can be seen is endless despair stretched out to the infinity line.

Now rarely do I complain, but just what the hell is going on here in 2013? Forsayers and doom prophets struck out again as the unlucky number rolled into theaters on schedule, except smuggled with it came a toxic cloud of negative that seemed to encapsulate the entire globe. Public shootings, marathon bombings, increased government spyware, soccer games that ended in dismemberments…maybe the news just amped up the usual fear factor for their own gain, like they’re prone to do, or maybe the world just isn’t balanced right without real Twinkies on store shelves, but for whatever the reason, the past seven months have presented few and far between on the positive meter.

If the last five years have reaffirmed anything, it’s that the very basic luxuries must be appreciated because so many can’t even hope to achieve them. Life takes more away as it stubbornly lurches forward, and doesn’t seem to care one way or the other if you or anyone else is stripped of happiness or sanity. I am thankful to still have had a roof over my head, and the very few family remaining at my side to enjoy it with, even though I do sometimes miss the old days of having extra cash in my account and being able to indulge and enjoy something. Perhaps that is the entire problem. Just going out to a movie is too damn expensive now, let alone taking a tiny vacation. It keeps getting worse, and where it will all go from here, I have to wonder in trepidation.

Along with proposed raptures, what also didn’t happen for the tail end of 2012 was a newsprint release of a 40th and final Monthly Rag. Printing on real paper, which costs real trees, is just not in on the new age budget plan. This apparently extends to grocery bags, as well, because now that they’ve done away with plastic and gone back to the old ways, it donned on them to also start charging cash for every single one of those too. Let’s get all this straight in a nutshell here: we took a step backward in materials (try carrying your paper bags in the rain and see how long it is before they totally desintigrate), and now we get the pleasure of adding them to our shopping bill on top of it? As if the casual necessities aren’t being jacked up in price every other week despite this—how in the hell are we supposed to keep the electricity on (don’t even get me started on PG&E and their monopoly-centric schemes) and still continue to eat? And if you think they did it for the environment, you need to head over to e-bay and buy the bridge I just put up for auction. Corporations do not care about such humanitarian causes; they care about a profit margin that allows their CEO’s to wipe their asses with cash and buy children for sex on the black market. Now they can cut plastic bags off the big bill, get an extra ten cents for every paper sack they pay less for in bulk, AND smugly sell it to an eco-friendly community as some sort of heroic act of green charity.

I call bullshit on yet another in a long string of ways to bleed the public dry. The economic milking has reached the critical point where even the most ignorant of minds suspect the cow is on full time life support, and that may be why that thickened dread is hanging in the air. We’ll just have to wait, pray, and see if it can still be dissipated.


Posted: 23rd March 2012 by Sean Harris in Editorials

Against all rational understanding, this October will mark the 20th anniversary of THE MONTHLY RAG. To celebrate our two decades of inconsistent activities, ideally, I’d love to put out the 40th and final edition, live and on classic newsprint skin for one last hurrah on the local stands. Then we can proudly fuck right off and bury the ancient ways of black stained fingerprints entirely, retiring fully to the web to be lost in cyberspace along with everyone else’s retarded personal blogs.

It’s a promise I can’t make and guarantee to actually keep, you understand. Life in 2012 is as strange and unfriendly as it was in in ‘08, ‘09, and those other two bastard years that followed them, with our world on the fringe of a spiraling class war and the spirits of man, woman and child embattled. The economy is still right in the sewage where it was excreted and left a ways back, and the price of paper has likely gone up further than my third leg during an all female ass extravaganza.

Let’s not digress, however. How’ve you all been? Going by my own observations, a great deal of you are as screwed as I am, with relationship and monetary issues appearing to have no real end in sight. You can feel the palpable tension of desperate abandon in the air, which may perhaps be the sign of the times, or it could just mean I’ve been interacting with the wrong group of associates lately. Misery does indeed love its familiar company.

VAMPYRE is now online for your free viewing pleasure. Please check it out on youtube or our website (www.darkagepictures.com) and leave some feedback, and if you like it and can spare ten bucks, also kindly buy a copy so you can have it in full resolution with all the special edition bells and whistles included. We’ve still got a few left to go around, you can imagine, and don’t want to look like we’re preparing for a special Darkage Pictures episode of Hoarders.

Apologies for the wait on all the updates, but I have a reputation to maintain here, and middle age isn’t helping things along any. We’ll return again, sooner hopefully than later, so please keep checking back for more happenings.


Posted: 28th July 2011 by Sean Harris in Editorials

Ahh…2010 (we’ll get to you shortly, 2011). How I wish I could praise you in hindsight for the many generous blessings you bestowed upon us lowly mortals, but alas, with your wretched passing, you somehow managed to rival and even surpass the entire bulk of the accursed ‘08 and dismal ‘09. Unbelievable accomplishment, really, and I for one will not be missing a single solitary moment of your vile shenanigans.

With the turn of yet another year, I was hoping the channels were merely clearing to shepherd in some much better fortune. Judging by the track record of the past few we here at the Rag were prepared to keep our guard way up there in the back yard, and I’m pleased to announce now that our defensive decision wasn’t without warrant. 2011 has run a gamut of mediocre to abysmal, with everything from multiple health issues, bill screwings, deaths, and terrible 3D movies. As California continues on its economic hot rails to hell (“no, no…it’s getting better, honest!”) and mass produced performing art declines to its most vulgar, mother nature seems to have a hidden agenda all her own. The coast barely stumbled out of winter, at the same time that everyone else over the mountains were melting like crayons, and then after two weeks of sun that polar autumn chill kicked in anyway. I’ll leave you to predict whatever future you see fit to declare concerning our impending climate, because frankly I don’t care all that much and nobody seems to want to agree on anything. Truths are hard to come by when everything is a sales pitch, so as it looks to me, we’ll either endure all the unpredictable shifts, or eventually go the way of the giant upright lizard.

That doesn’t mean you should be a complete an utter knob, though. Recycle. Use common sense. Don’t have sex in the Purity parking lot at 11 pm and make me have to walk around you. Some of this stuff should be a no-brainer, people. Rise above that persistent inner monkey.

Now, on to the big question: “where the hell is A Killer in our Midst 4, Mr. Sean Harris?” Would you believe that our titular villain has STOLEN the entire work print and refuses to release it back to me unless he’s given top billing, medical benefits, and a new iMac? No? Not buying that one again, I see. How about I use the tried and true “the computer ate all the scenes” again, just for the sake of consistency?

All right, fine. I screwed up. I was doing so well, too, putting out that nifty teaser trailer in July ‘09 and working at a reasonable pace to have a big killer blowout just in time for the coming Halloween. Then a little problem happened upstairs in the nero department, and now I’m sad, you’re sad, and everyone loses. Fear not, however, as I’ve upped my medicinal dosage and am repeatedly giving me self shock treatments to not only stop stuttering, but also get out and finish making what most of you probably won’t even pay to watch.

As I’ve said in the new site’s intro, the time of the freelance do-it yourself-with-ink-and-glue journalism is long dead and over, having moved itself entirely to the world wide interweb. I’ve held out stubbornly as long as I could, but with costs they way they are and the general apathy of the young and middle aged anyway (if it doesn’t come up on their droid or iphone in an instant, it isn’t worth sparing a nano-second of attention span on) what exactly is the point of sinking further into debt and doing all the legwork?

Until next rant, it’s me here signing off, reminding you that if there’s a new way…Dave Mustaine will surely beat us all in line.


Posted: 7th July 2011 by Sean Harris in Editorials

So yes, I’ve finally caved.

Since there’s no more money and issue 40 is sitting uncompleted on my layout table, my producer has graciously provided this domain name and set me loose into the screwy realm of cyberspace. I’m not sure what will become of such an exercise (much of the same way I recall feeling in 1992 when this all began on Thermo-fax), but the plan is to make archives for the existing material in print, finish various tales that were left undone, and basically keep some part of The Monthly Rag spirit living and breathing in digital form. That isn’t to say that you won’t see another ink bleeding newsprint edition in the local scene again, of course, but in the meantime and just in case all else fails this will be our regular headquarters for contact and updates.

Lots more to come, I promise, so bookmark and please keep checking in!