Posts Tagged books

Lovin’ Lovecraft

24 January 2010

I just wanted to share that H.P. Lovecraft has has been rocking my socks lately.  If you’re not familiar, he was a horror writer in the early 1900’s, probably best known for writing the influential and mythos-spawning The Call Of Cthulhu, as well as inventing — yes, inventing — the Necronomicon.  He had a big impact on Stephen King and his work, but apparently that influence extended well beyond books,  showing itself in everything from Metallica songs to well, virtually everything Guillermo Del Toro has done.  There’s even a little steampunk crossover in there.

I only picked up this short story collection because I had that Seattle trip coming up and needed something to read.  Normally, I latch on to authors that I’ve had good experiences with, but there wasn’t anything jumping out at me from my usuals like King, Palahniuk, and Silva.  I have heard Lovecraft’s name many times over the years and vaguely knew something about Cthulhu, but I never felt compelled to seek him out.  But I am so glad I did!  His short stories are genuinely creepy.  I was so sure that anything written that long ago in that genre would be way too tame for me, but not so!  He really focuses on concepts that  personally find the most shuddersome… ancient or dilapidated places… and vast, unnameable evils.  He is every bit as good as King, and in some ways even better.  I’m only half way through one small collection of his short stories, and I have yet to be disappointed.  I’ll keep reading this and other collections of his until I am.

As a bonus, Lovecraft is known for his antiquarian language, using archaic spelling and terms that were old even in his time.  As a result, and “wordophile” that I am, I’ve kept a list of 100+ words that I’ve needed to look up or that I just like so much that I want to remember them.  Can you believe it?  Over 100 noteworthy words, and I’m not even halfway through the book yet!  Clearly, this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with a great new/old author.


4 December 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: tired tired

My chief fashion consultant took me shopping the other day because I needed a few new work shirts.  By “work shirts,” I mean button down Oxford style shirts, a.k.a. “consultant wear.”  In my consulting days, the rule was always to dress one level more formally than your client.  So I was basically always dressed in these shirts.  Even though I’m in a stable cube farm these days, and could easily get away with jeans every day, I’ve never given up my habit.  It’s become like a uniform to me… I never wear street clothes to work, and I never wear work clothes other than to work.  I think it helps me mentally keep those two worlds and sets of responsibilities separate.  Anyway, because I view them strictly as “work clothes,” I don’t worry too much about them.  Simple solid colors.

You see, I have exactly five of them in my rotation.  The means I have a Monday shirt, and a Tuesday shirt, and so on.  So if you only ever meet with me on Tuesdays, you might think I wear the same shirt all the time.  I realize that even introducing one more, a sixth shirt, would skew that whole cycle so this Monday’s shirt will be next Tuesday’s shirt, and the following Wednesday’s shirt, etc.  But again, this isn’t a fashion show.  It’s just my work clothes.  I don’t care.  And in fact, some of these shirts are 12 years old.  I’m not kidding.  As they’re getting a little frayed, I figured it was finally time to get some more.  The last time I bought shirts was like 2005, and they were around $60 which I thought was expensive.  Do you know that she helped talk me into buying a pair of shirts for $250!  I know there’s been some inflation, but what just happened?  I guess with the amount of use I appear to get out of my work shirts, it’ll average out to like $0.02 per use, but still, that was a hard pill to swallow.  And they’re both purple.  This is the kind of power some people have over me.  It’s mystifying.

I now have six viable shirts in the rotation, which means my five-day cycle is broken.  It’ll be anarchy, but I think I can handle it.  In response, I think I need to finally relent with my consultant wear and just do casual Fridays like a normal person.  The thing is, Converse and tattoos at work?  It seems like a CLM (career limiting move).  Subconsciously, I think the constant consultant wear gives off a vibe of heightened professionalism to my coworkers and management.  Dress the part and all that.  What happens if they see me in cuffed jeans?  The spell could be broken for them, even just subconsciously.  Thoughts?

In other news, I’m almost done with Stephen King’s latest short story comp Just After Sunset.  Notice these pages are flying by, unlike the Mozipedia.  It’s an interesting and I’d almost say more “mature” collection.  Highlights so far include “The Things They Left Behind” which is a really moving story around 9/11, and the profoundly disturbing “N.” which deals with OCD and slipping into madness.  Maybe it just hit too close to home, but I found myself having to put it down a couple of times.  Pretty powerful stuff.

Alright, holy hell, I write about some boring things sometimes.  I’m knocking it off right now.  Goodnight!

Makin’ Lights

30 November 2009

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood: busy busy

A very merry unbirthday to you all.  Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend.  I did!  Got to relax and visit lots of friends in what was probably the least traditional Thanksgiving of my life so far.

Before I forget, Morrissey on Wednesday, bitches!  I’ll see you all there, I’m sure.  He comes by so rarely these days, you know.  Who knows when we’ll get another chance!  In other news, due to an unfortunate ticket mishap, I will most likely miss the Cranberries on Saturday… unless I come across some reasonable prices and soon.  Fiddlesticks!

The Popscene show was fun as usual.  We stuck to the Smiths and we stuck to the hits, mainly to keep it accessible and efficient.  Rest assured though that we’ve been extra busy learning new songs, and we should have plenty of surprises for the next show (Red Devil Lounge on January 8th).  At this moment, we’re just six songs away from knowing all 72 Smiths songs.  Holy shitake, that’s amazing, is it not?  Anyway, yes the show was fun.  Lots of friends showed up.  Not my luckiest night though.  Ten seconds into “How Soon Is Now?” I broke a string… normally I’d stop the song, but that’s not one that you stop once it starts, you know?  Luckily we got through it relatively unscathed.  Then while cleaning up, my main gitter (that black 335) fell over or was knocked over.  After assessing the damage at home, it’s got a new ding on the side, and a tuner was yanked halfway off the headstock.  Tuner’s shot and its screw holes are stripped.  So that’ll be $65 in parts and ??? in labor to get it fixed, damn it.  At least it’s got more character now, right?  That’s what I’m trying to tell myself.  And for the hat trick, I went to load in my car as I left the club only to find my car with a flat tire!  Thank God for AAA and real men.  Could I have changed that flat?  Of course, but why am I paying for AAA?  Let them come out and do in five minutes what it would have taken me a half hour to do… at 3am… in the cold Thanksgiving night… alone in a back alley… after wearing myself out at a show.

The good news there was that Big-O replaced it free, aside from the cost of my time the next afternoon.  While I was out driving that next day, I caught my self weaving in and out of traffic a lot around the city.  I had to wonder, do I really drive that fast?  I don’t generally care if I’m zooming along at top speed, I’m just concerned about makin’ lights.  (I gotta make those lights, son!)  It drives me nuts to miss a light because someone else is not paying attention.  For some reason, the city was full of the clueless this weekend.  And while I’m rambling about city driving, I saw a guy on a Van Ness island asking for spare change/food… and talking on a cell phone!  I mean, was someone making a political statement here?  Was this like performance art?  Or was it real?  Because I think it was real.  I thought it was pretty shameful, but am I just out of touch?  I guess maybe a cell phone really is considered a bare necessity these days?

And now, a dedication to a friend who just moved to Oakland this weekend…

So I finally finished Goddard’s Mozipedia — all 500+ pages of it — and I am happy to report that it was well worth the effort.  It took me August through most of November, but I learned a ton.  I really enjoyed the tidbits on songs that never were.  Some of my other favorite entries were the ones covering Mozzer’s more controversial viewpoints, and in fact my favorites were the entries on vegetarianism and Margaret Thatcher.  If you read only a few entries, I recommend those.  I wish I could reproduce them here for you.  Powerful stuff, I thought.  My only criticism of this massive textbook is that it’s a little heavy on the actors/movies/television influences, all good stuff to know, but not always so interesting to read about (speaking personally).

And finally, a question I’m afraid to ask: is MySpace dying?  I continue to prefer it to all those other sites.  I like the flexibility, and I like the robust music infrastructure.  But I can’t deny that in recent months I’ve noticed a rapid and growing lack of activity among my friends here, while Facebook seems to become more popular.  I don’t see the appeal of having to rebuild everything for yourself over there when it’s already in place here.  What happens when the next big site comes along and FB dies (remember Friendster anyone)?  Then off to a new site?  Rebuild your whole network again?  All these competing social networking sites just seem to dilute the value.  If a site came along that could “talk” to MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. so you’d have a one-stop-shop, now that would be valuable.  Then you wouldn’t have to maintain statuses on several sites, etc.  I know, I know, one world currency, communism, etc.  Whatever.  I’m just saying… too many cooks spoil the broth.

“Lord, I confess I am not what I ought to be, but I thank you, Lord, that I’m not what I used to be.”
— Maxie Dunnan


7 November 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  enlightened

Well kids, after two years of campaign-related news dominating the airwaves, it’s going to be weird to not have it.  Two years!  I can remember Saturday mornings driving down 19th Ave. and all the candidates being the subject of so much of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”  Every Saturday morning.  For two years!  And soon there’ll be no Bush.  I guess we’ll have to find something else to talk about?  This week seemed to fly by, and I’m glad it’s already the weekend again.

I have to mention that I did start that book on death that I mentioned last week.  It’s called Staring At The Sun, and it knocked me on my ass.  I read it almost cover-to-cover in two days.  And I am going to read it all again very shortly, because there is so much to absorb.  It’s amazing how much of it struck chords in me.  It’s clear how much the fundamental and innate fear of our own mortality works its way into so many facets of our lives.  And so much of what has been going on with me the last few months can be tied back to it.  Like I said, it knocked me on my ass, and set the tone for my whole week.  It has given me a ton to think about.  Suffice it to say that I highly recommend it.  It’s valuable for everyone, not just those facing their own mortality or the passing of a loved one.

Halloween was quiet.  And I had a rainy, white-knuckle drive to and from Palo Alto in a heavy downpour.  Had a nice time at New Wave City and saw some friends.  But once I picked up that book, as I said, it set the tone for my whole week and weekend.  On Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk around the lake.  With a lot of new perspectives on my mind, I took extra time to explore the wooded areas I usually just pass by.  I came across some unexpected wildlife (which I later looked up and identified).  I saw a trio of the very odd ring-necked pheasant, which I at first mistook for a wild turkey.  I later came across a banana slug in my path.  And the highlight was seeing the strangest caterpillar I’ve ever seen up close.  He was trying to make his way across the street, which I couldn’t let him do.  After a few minutes of wrangling, I got him safe back into the bushes.  This is significant for reasons I will explain in some future blog.  But anyway, my point is that it’s astonishing what’s out there when you slow down and just take the time to look.  I’ve a lot of lessons left to learn.

On a lighter note, last weekend Super Troopers was on yet again.  I think I should just admit to myself that this has become one of my favorite comedies.   I’ve only ever seen it on television, but I seriously never get tired of it.  I’ve watched it back-to-back and still laughed out loud at parts.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I love it.

Ah well, while we’re on the subject of “things that are played ad nauseam on Comedy Central,” the quote of the week comes from Destructor in Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs.  I guess you had to be there.


Rooted In The Me

5 October 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  mellow

Can you believe that it’s October already?  The last year went by so fast.  :(

Time is, as ever, speeding up.  And I know I say that a lot, but really this has been the fastest year yet.  The things I was doing, and the people I was spending time with last Summer and last Fall.  It feels so close.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year.  My late grandfather used to say something to the effect of “the years fly by, but the minutes drag.”  It’s never been more true for me.  How do I slow it down?  How can I?  As close as I can figure it, the years are flying by, in part, because my life is not changing much week to week and month to month anymore.  I live in the same place, work at the same place.  I enjoy music as much as ever, but even that has become somewhat “old hat” as they say.  The reality is that things aren’t that much different for me now than they were last year or the year before.  Maybe I’m not being entirely fair with myself here.  I have grown a lot as a person this year.  Matured a lot, I think.  I know myself better, and I’m learning more every day.  But the central issue, the undercurrent running through all of my issues from general life restlessness to relationships to panic and beyond, seems to come down to the $64,000 question: what are my future plans?

As I approach age 30 next year, I’m at a crossroads.  I’ve spent the last 29 years preparing.  I’ve grown, I’ve learned, I’ve acquired.  I’m stable.  I’m secure.  As is my nature, I’ve done the research.  I’ve prepared.  I’ve built a life for myself that’s designed to give me all the advantages possible.  And with this life that I’m so fortunate to have, I’m left wondering… so what now?  A house?  A family?  Should I go back to school?  Am I going to continue pursuing music?  Should I be starting my own business?  Should I be volunteering more?  Do I wake up every day just to go make money so I can go buy more shit I don’t need?  Basically, what the hell am I doing with my life?  How many more months and years am I going to be going to the same job, the same apartment, the same concerts, the same dance clubs.  What is the greater meaning?  What is the purpose of all of this?  Am I going to live my whole life only for myself?  Only to consume?  I’m looking for something bigger than myself.  Not necessarily a religion, and not necessarily a “cause.”  But some broader context that my existence fits into.  Obviously, these are some pretty major questions.  But I guess this is the right time in life to be asking them.  I have lots of pondering, meditation, and work ahead of me.  So… yeah.  I hadn’t really planned on getting into all that here, but there it is.

What say we take it down a notch from existential crisis to cell phone coverage.  If you’ve talked to me on the phone while I’m home, then you’ve undoubtedly endured a lot of buzzing and bad reception.  I think I’ve just about had it with Cingular.  The reception isn’t bad around the city, but in my apartment, it’s nearly intolerable.  I have friends that basically won’t talk to me when I’m home because it’s so bad.  I’m leaning toward giving Verizon a shot, but I don’t know if it’ll be all that much better?  Anyone have good SF cell phone carrier experiences they care to share?  I was looking at the latest phones at a Verizon store last week.  They’re all so complex now.  I like the QWERTY keypads, though that might make one-handed texting difficult.  But then, since texting while driving will be illegal come January 1st, when will I be texting one-handed?  Learning how to use a new phone does not sound exciting.  And all the touch screens and mp3s and all that bullshit.  No thanks.  Oh, and then there’s the question of whether I should keep my current number (with its East Bay area code that always confuses people).  It would be nice to finally have a 415, but is it worth the hassle of changing phone numbers and somehow communicating my changed number to all my friends and business contacts?  Change… meh!

It was a pretty lax weekend for me.  I spent some time roaming the Haight with Shel and picked up a few books and CDs.  In a clothing store there (Villains Vault), there are several paintings by local pop artist Jenny Wehrt.  They’re kinda “Photoshoppy” looking to me, nice colors, and she’s got great taste in subject matter (Morrissey to John Waters, Clara Bow to Bettie Page, etc.).  Painted on canvas, and not outrageously priced.  If I put more effort into decorating my place, I’d pick up one of her Moz pieces for sure.  Anyway, last night I rallied for a brief appearance at New Wave City, where I was delighted to hear “20th Century Boy” for a change.  Today, I skipped Elvis Costello and Gogol Bordello at Golden Gate Park to instead stay home, clean house, sit on my balcony in the sun, and read.  The weather was nice, so I opened all the windows.  Days like this remind me of lazy days when I lived with my folks.  It’s comforting and rejuvenating, and I plan on making a habit of it.

By the way, if you really loved me, you’d buy me stuff from the Tiki Farm.  Me gusta!

We’re just about a month out now from the election.  I feel pretty confident that Obama’s got it locked up.  And Biden really impressed me the other night in the debate.  And honestly, there was a time (around 2000) that I actually really liked McCain… but of course, he’s changed.  But Palin, man, she just makes me cringe.  I’m embarrassed for her and for our country.  Anyway, I won’t spout off a bunch of my own political views here and now, but something we can all agree on: get out and vote!

Thanks to Blanca for sending out this video.  Now you all go send it to your lazy friends.

While sitting in the sun today, I read through a few more Grimm’s fairy tales.  I feel like it’s one of those things that I need to read as an obligatory part of belonging to Western culture.  They’re interesting, but far from what I think most people refer to as a “fairy tale” in modern terms.  They’re short, disjointed, dishonest, violent, and surprisingly seem to contain little or no moral value.  They read like something the author truly is making up as they go along… throwing in a last-minute character here or some arbitrary magical physics there.  Ah well, I guess it was another time.  But it’s still making for interesting and occasionally beautiful reading…

“My love for her is so great, that if all the leaves on all the trees were tongues, they could not declare it.”

… le sigh.

Bear with me.

9 June 2008

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  lazy

So I think I mentioned a while back that I’ve been half-heartedly trying to track down a bear flag sticker.  I actually went to look online last night, and I think I might end up with a shirt as well.  I’m torn between the one that says “Yes, I shit in the woods,” and the one with a bear silhouette that says “B.I.L.F.”  I am seriously fascinated by this community lately.  You know, aside from the whole humping other men aspect, I can just really relate is all.  And as I get older and chubbier, I think I’m inevitably going to end up the world’s only straight bear — whether I like it or not.  I figure I might as well dress for it.  Witty t-shirts aren’t limited to men though.  I saw one that said “Butch in the streets, femme in the sheets.”  Clever girl!

OK, enough of that.  A quick recap of two back-to-back weekends of back-to-back shows…

This last weekend…
Friday I finally got a chance to catch Spindrift, a spaghetti western (meets The Doors) band from SoCal that I’ve missed up here a couple times.  They played 12 Galaxies so it wasn’t hard for Sus and I to get up close.  I really like what they do — it’s not far off from what I had wanted to do with my failed spaghetti project.  It inspired me to maybe get that moving again though.

Then Saturday I caught The Black Angels at the Independent with Jamie.  I like their stuff as well, but a whole set of it was a bit too much, which is to say it lacks variety.  They put on a good show, but there were sound problems all night.  By the end, the vocals were like an ice pick in my ear, and we had to cut out before the encore.  I’m glad I went, but I think I’d prefer a shorter set and a larger venue for them.  And a toilet bowl made of gold, while I’m asking.

P.S.  Both of those shows had amazing and noteworthy visuals.  Must be a psychedelia thing?  Wouldn’t make sense for TCB, but for other projects?  Me gusta.  Oh, and it turns out these two bands toured together last Fall.  I guess I missed the boat on that one…

Then Sunday was the Haight Street Fair with Sus and Shel.  Nothing amazing there, but why pass up a chance to be surrounded by thousands of dirty drunk people?  Actually, true to my spaghetti-themed weekend, there was an artist (Gabe Leonard) with a booth there that does some pretty good surrealist spaghetti and celebrity work…


It was only late last night that I realized I missed that Doo Wop night again!  Next month for sure, damn it.

And erm, the weekend before that…
So the weekend before last was TCB’s Blue Lagoon show in Santa Cruz.  We met a bunch of great folks before hand and talked Smiths.  People that travelled far just to see us.  And me mar and par even made it out for the show.  But contrary to our “norm,” we ended up going on past midnight.  And there was no sound check.  And probably too many bands on the bill.  And by the end, a drunken d-bag or two in the crowd trying to ruin other peoples’ good time.  All issues working against us, and none of which we had any direct control over for a variety of reasons.  We made it work, and the show was a success, but next time we’re in SC, we’ll take measures to see this doesn’t happen again.

That night, no one wanted to brave the drive home… or pay for a hotel.  So Sus, Orlie, Cam, and I all crashed on my folks’ floor.  Total sleepover.  And no, we didn’t stay up all night talking about boys.  Though it’s a wonder any of us slept with the orchestra of snoring going on.  In the morning when everyone split, I had some time to visit with the fam.  But at that point, my biorhythm was off, and it stayed wonky all week.  I think I slept past 1:00pm on Sunday, and barely made it to work every day last week.

Sunday was R.E.M. and Modest Mouse at Berkeley’s Greek.  The show started way early, still daylight in that outdoor venue.  Orlie and I got there a bit late and missed the first few of Modest Mouse’s set including Dashboard.  But we saw the majority of it and it’s always a pleasure to see Johnny at work.  I have to say too that R.E.M. really impressed me.  I don’t own any of their music, but they sounded great, and really put off a Smiths-like vibe on stage.  They played over two hours, and included “Fall On Me” which they introduced by explaining that it was “requested by a member of one of the other bands that we have tremendous respect for,” which of course could only mean Johnny.  Anyway, yeah, the show made a fan out of me.

And now you’re caught up.

So Graham sent me this the other day, which you musicians might find interesting.  Moog’s got a new guitar that makes some interesting E-Bow noises.  I think I’ll stick with the traditional approach myself, but I’m sure we’ll hear these in lots of prog rock soon.

And in closing, Chuck Palahniuk’s latest book Rant is finally out in paperback.  I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating:  Palahniuk is a fucking genius.

Da Bears…

1 October 2006

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  mellow

… and 99 Other Chicago Stereotypes, which so far appear to all be true.

I’m writing to you from a hotel near O’Hare in Chicago.  The people here really do talk funny like the old SNL sketch, so at least there’s that.  I’ve seen a few of those messy bowl haircuts and thick mustaches too.  I thought that was supposed to be a joke?  It’s like 1983 all over again.

I would paste a picture from O’Hare here if I had time to figure out how to get it from phone to blog.  Maybe later.  Or maybe one of my bitches will do it for me.  You know who you are.  *whiplash*

Before I forget, Jared is coming to San Francisco this week, so I’ll get to see him hopefully when I get home.  There’s a good chance he’ll make it to This Charming Band‘s Ireland’s 32 show this Saturday which will be both the first time he’s ever seen us play as well as a rare chance for you to meet him if you haven’t yet.  Remember also that this is Peter’s last official show with TCB!

The plans to go see Scissor Sisters on Friday didn’t happen (due to an unfortunate ticket mix-up), but it ended up being a fun night anyway.  Sus sadly had to cut out early, but Shel and Nick and I pressed on to Pop Roxx at the DNA Lounge.  We met up with Ozzolini and Meredith as well as several other club friends.  The music was horrific and it was broken up by a performance by a local band called “Triple Cobra.”  It was kinda like New York Dolls meets White Stripes only not very good.  The only thing I can say about them is that they use the old G.I. Joe “Cobra” insignia as part of their logo.  I’m jealous I didn’t think of that first.  Although I bet the band’s using it illegally.  But then, I suppose that’s the Cobra way.  Cobra-la-la-la-la-la!!!

Saturday was the Download Festival, and that one actually did happen.  At the Shoreline, Shel and Nick and I ended up going together and we caught all of the important bands.  Some of the peripheral festivities included a garage band competition where you sign up on the spot and some instruments are already set up for you to walk up and use.  It was even “staged” in a fake garage complete with basketball and hoop.  Too bad only Nick and I were there to represent, because I think TCB would have slayed them.  As it was though, the illustrious “Chesterfield Trio” was called up and could not find their drummer.  Our man Nick volunteered and played three songs with them, totally ad-libbed!  Amazing!  So I guess technically Nick played the 2006 Download Festival.  He also successfully rode a little kid’s bigwheel that we found.  I’m sure pictures will surface on MySpace very soon.

Thanks to Sus, we had 5th row seats, center stage!  I have a whole new appreciation for seeing big bands up close now that I know a little bit about what it’s like to be on that side of things.  It’s always neat to see how the big boys do their thing.  The answer is: roadies, and lots of them.  We caught the last half of the Shins set, as well as Muse (really good live showmen, but I won’t be buying any of their albums).  The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were great too, and Karen O was out there as crazy as ever.  She was dressed in a shiny green dragon costume/leotard that looked like it came from an elementary school play.  At times, she even had a little dragon hat on, bounding across the stage and spitting water into the air.  The core trio was joined by a 4th man (bass/guitar/keys) who sat idle on the floor facing away from the crowd during all the songs from the first YYY album.  The unwanted 4th wheel, as it were.

Beck was the headliner, and he put on a memorable show.  There was a marionette puppet show in the middle of the stage which included a puppet for each band member (dressed identically and holding identically modeled instruments).  They danced and sang along with the real band they shared the stage with.  The puppet show even had its own psychedelic lightshow (matching the real band’s) and a little puppet cameraman with a working “puppet cam” providing a real-time puppet’s-eye view onto the Shoreline’s jumbotron screens.  Later in the set, Beck played solo acoustic while the rest of his band ate dinner at a table right in the middle of the stage.  Eventually, they all broke into a Stomp-like percussive jam with spoons and plates and glasses.  What a creative fella that Beck is.  Oh, and insane.  I’m only sorry that I was so tired I dozed a bit during his set.  No reflection on him though.  Fucking puppets?  Man, I wish I’d thought of that.

Shifting gears…

I never know what to put as my “mood” on these blogs.  They all so sound so extreme.  How often am I really “ecstatic” or “infuriated?”  I need something a little less committal.  Although I do like that you can plug whatever you’re reading or watching(?) or listening to.  My only suggestion would be to add “what I’m currently eating” to that list.

I’ve been a little creeped out on how all the books I’ve read recently seem to relate very much to my life, and in some cases, explicitly reference things and places I do or go to.  In one such fiction, a hit man buys a dog at a pet store I went to while in Phoenix last month.  Another references my exact car.  OK, maybe lame coincidences, but it really makes the fiction real for me.  Both bizarre and totally neato.

I’m reading Chuck Palahniuk’s latest, and good Lord he is a genius.  This is an author that should receive public funding so that he can turn out work undisturbed.  This new one, Haunted, is kicking my ass.  One passage was actually so upsetting that I had to stop reading on the plane because I thought I was going to throw up.  That’s some quality writing.

In one (non-stomach-turning) passage, an extremely wealthy character is describing how being a billionaire socialite has bored her and how “poor is the new rich.”  The extensive travelling she’s done has effectively shrunken the world for her:

“Taking the Lear jet from here to Rome in six hours, it’s made escaping too easy.  The world feels so small and played out.  Globe-trotting is just the chance to feel bored more places, faster.  A boring breakfast in Bali.  A predictable lunch in Paris.  A tedious dinner in New York, and falling asleep, drunk, during just another blow job in L.A.”

OK, so that isn’t my life exactly, but it definitely sums up my feelings about too much travel in general.  In the past few years of consulting, I’ve flown all over the U.S. and been to places I would have never gone otherwise.  And for all the fun I’ve had, you know what I’m left with?  The feeling that world is a lot smaller than I thought.  Phoenix is Denver is Atlanta is… Chicago.  An over-simplification, I know, but honestly.  It becomes “no big deal.”  And I don’t like that.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always been comforted by the idea that there’s a whole big world out there that I will never understand.  I don’t ever want to be so used to cities all over the world that they become indistiguishable from each other.  I don’t ever want to feel like it’s all old hat.  I don’t want to discover all of the world’s secrets.  It’s much more valuable to me to always know that there is a great unknown out there yet to be discovered.  Sometimes I’d rather let myself imagine how amazing and wonderful some far-off place might be, rather than stay there for two weeks and see that it’s the same old place but with different street names.

Chicago is the new San Diego.


25 September 2005

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

 Current Mood:  geeky

A few weeks ago, I picked up a book in the art section of Cody’s called Minipops.  This artist has basically drawn little pixel cartoons of famous bands and movie characters.  You may have seen his work in recent Yahoo commercials.  Anyway, I was instantly obsessed with it.  This is so far up my alley for reasons I won’t bore you with, but yeah… I wish I’d thought of it.  I used to draw little things like this all the time.  If only I’d stuck with it, huh?

You should go check out this guy’s  website at  Last I checked, you can download all the Minipops that are in his book, plus some new ones.  Look for your favorite band, and steal it like me!  How big a nerd am I?

P.S.  That was rhetorical.


19 June 2005

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  pensive

It was 101 degrees in Phoenix when I touched down tonight at around 9.  I finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Stranger Than Fiction during the flight.  That guy’s a certified genius.  I order you to read this book, but make sure you’ve seen Fight Club first.

OK, so three big pieces of news.  The first is that I may have a new roommate lined up for when Jared leaves next month.  An old friend who’s been trying to get out to SF for some time now.  I will reveal our mystery guest if / when it’s all confirmed.  That’s right, bitches.

The second thing is it looks like we (the as-yet unnamed Smiths cover band) may have found our bass player.  That completes the lineup, so look for shows before too long, folks.  Also went out with the singer and his girlfriend and friends.  They’re good people.  And hot.  Like me.

The third and final is that I got tickets to go to Hootenanny in a couple weeks.  No Reverend this time, but Link Wray and several others.  By the way, that is also right, bitches.

P.S.  My birthday is coming up next weekend, Sunday to be exact.  Anyone up for going out Saturday night?  We’re thinking about karaoke in the city or something.  Let me know if you’re interested!

I Left My Life In San Francisco

17 May 2005

CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.

Current Mood:  bored

This morning, I heard on the news that we here in Phoenix were in for a big cool-down. Yes, today saw a high of a mere 92 degrees. 92 degrees. Two weeks ago, if you had told me that I’d be happy to hear it would be 92 degrees outside, I’d have kicked you in the balls. But today, well… I was thrilled. I don’t think you understand the heat here. When you open the door to leave a building, it is exactly the same sensation as opening an oven. That hot wind of hell blowing right in your face… only you can’t escape it. It surrounds and stifles you. Who actually chooses to live here?

I think I’m officially old. On that same news program, they did a story about a local high school which featured interviews with several high school junior and senior girls. Here’s the thing: I thought they were hot. Every single last one of them was hot. Now, when I was actually in high school, I don’t remember thinking every girl classmate was hot. The only conclusion I can draw is that I was attracted to their youth, which makes me a dirty old man, Holy God. I’ll be 26 next month. My 20’s, the presumed “best part of my life”, are more than half over. I can’t even write about this now… we’ll return to this topic as my birthday approaches.

I’m reading Cujo this week. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know how it ends, but so far the most emotion it’s illicited from me is a profound sadness for the poor, rabid dog. :(

P.S. This weekend is scheduled to see record highs… 108 degrees on Sunday. Thank merciful Allah that I won’t be here to see it.

P.P.S. This is, by far, the most boring entry I’ve left in a while. And I realize that. But you read it anyway. Sucker.