Four things that’ve happened…

Kind of want to blog about four different things, so I’m going to do them all at once.

1. “Out from the Light”
As many of you will know, I’ve been promising a new solo record for about a year (or so), titled “Out from the Light.” My feet have been dragging on it for various reasons, some of which weren’t my fault but most of which were. However, this past weekend, Dan Drake came over and put down his keyboard tracks. As such, the record has now FINISHED the production phase. Now, we’ve just got post production, which is the process of me cleaning up, mixing, and mastering the recordings. The “cleaning up” part takes the longest, as it’s going through each track and fixing whatever needs fixing and removing unwanted noises, etc. The rest is pretty quick. So I’ll be doing that over the next week or so, and I’ll soon have a new record finished.

Just want to add a note that this is some of the nicest-sounding work I’ve ever done. It’s kind of “pretty” sounding. Dan’s piano-work really adds a lot and there are moments where I forget that it’s even MY project. That’s pretty cool. Never had that before. I’ve talked a LOT about how this record covers darker subject matter. However, I’ve been realizing that it also kind of celebrates it. There IS beauty in sadness, and there’s something romantic about the futile. I guess that’s what I’m trying to capture on this record…and if anything captures the “beauty” part of that, it’s Dan’s keys.

One quick update on Dave–who you may remember has suffered a severe and possibly career-threatening hand-injury. He’s been in good spirits. He’s been joking about it a little. Like he’s been posting slightly nonsensical typo-laden posts on my MySpace page, blaming it on the fact that he only has one hand to type with. That’s pretty funny. He finds out on either the 25th or the 29th (I forget which he told me) when he can have his stitches removed.

2. The Emmys
Okay…I didn’t watch the Emmys, mostly because there was a bunch of stuff nominated that I don’t care about at all, and I knew the stuff I DID care about wouldn’t be winning. The show I probably put the most effort into is “LOST” and I knew they wouldn’t be taking home “best drama” nor would Michael Emerson get whatever he was up for–even though he SORELY deserved it. But I get why it didn’t win… (Apologies for the forthcoming asterisks.)

A lot of people are saying “LOST” didn’t win because “it’s TOO good,” but I don’t buy that at all. That just sounds a lot like the nerd who gets beaten up all the time saying, “They only do it because they’re jealous.” No. They do it because you’re a f**king nerd.

I think that Lost is pretty much the best thing on TV (or at least close…it’s between that and “House”)…but it’s one of those shows that will never be honored in the way it probably should be (unless they pile on the awards in the final season). It’s not that it’s too smart. It’s not that it’s too well done. It’s that it’s a show that you HAVE to watch every show to know what’s going on (thereby giving it an immediately limited audience after the first season), and it’s sci-fi.

Going back to the “nerd” illustration… There are a lot of nerds out there who are really nice, wonderful people. They do great things. They are good to those who love them. They may even really love some of the same basic stuff you do (in this metaphor, let’s say they love Led Zeppelin, just as the TV industry loves dramatic death-scenes). But… After you’ve been around for a couple of minutes, they mention something to the effect that the theory of relativity combined with a time fluctuation, combined with electromagnetism could possibly allow a bunny to travel forward in time a few seconds, therefore on a massive scale, the same principle could move an entire island…

…and they get the sh*t beaten out of them. Lesson learned.

3. The Feldman Gig This Weekend
There wasn’t one. The gig was double-booked by the bar, and we were cancelled at the last minute. Apologies to anyone who might have shown up.

It’s getting to be an unsettling trend with this band. In recent days, we’ve been screwed out of money (Pirate’s Cove–where we’re playing next week AGAIN for some reason, and it’s absolutely the LAST time I’m doing it–and it’s under protest). We’ve had gigs where no one showed up (Kokomos–when I didn’t play bass). We’ve had gigs end early because of lack of attendance (Mac’s–who were actually really nice about it, and were really cool people). We’ve had bars book us on St. Patrick’s Weekend and not draw a crowd, then blame US for no one coming in (Parrot’s–their owner’s a freak, an ass, and a complete douchebag…but other than that I have no strong opinions about him).

I’m starting to think we’re playing the wrong places. I mean…if we’re booked at bars that DON’T have a crowd in them on a Saturday night, then we’re playing the wrong bars. It’s a bar…it should be overflowing with people. If it’s not, then you can’t blame the band. If you’re expecting a band to bring in their friends, you’re working under a failing business model. (This is especially true as it applies to a cover band–were we playing originals, the bars would have a valid point.) Maybe we don’t just need to book ANYTHING…maybe we need to book places that have a few cars sitting in the parking lot.

It’s just been frustrating lately…

4. Duckman
So “Duckman” came out on DVD! (Well, the first two seasons, anyway.) I’ve loved “Duckman” for YEARS. It’s one of the first really “adult” themed animated shows (from like 1994) starring Jason Alexander in the title-role. It’s lewd, rude, and in poor taste…and is AWESOME! I’m just really happy that it’s on DVD now! I’m hoping the releases of seasons 3-4 aren’t too far behind.

…and those are the four things I wanted to blog about…

Current Listening:

  • Tori Amos – “The Beekeeper”

Update and Whining…

I’ve been in some pain this week. A lot of it in in my left pectoral (again). Some of you may remember that I’ve had pains there on and off for a while. This time around, it hasn’t been as intense or frightening (there were times before that I thought it was my heart, it hurt so much)…but it has been more specific and localized. Part of it has to do with something that’s supposed to actually make me feel better…

As you probably know, I sometimes walk with a cane due to a bad knee that I’ve developed over the past few years. The trouble with the cane is that it helps the knee, but then I have to spend WEEKS rehabbing my shoulder, peck, and/or back. Kind of a catch 22. I think. I’m not really sure what a catch 22 is. I should really read that.

It’s also–I don’t expect you to understand this–a bit embarrassing to be 28 and walk with a cane. As a result I sometimes don’t use the cane when I (sometimes BADLY) need it. Maybe it shouldn’t be embarrassing. After all…what’s that old parable? “A one-legged man went his whole life being depressed and wondering what good there was to living until he met a man with no legs…then he knew there was at least one guy out there that he could take in a fight.” Something like that, isn’t it? I’ve always wondered if that metaphor’s supposed to make one-legged people feel better or make no-legged people feel worse.

Okay…

I kind of like the cane. It makes other people nicer. People open doors for you. They get out of your way. They tell their kids to stop running around and acting like idiots, less they trip the dude who kind of looks like House. Plus (as House himself would attest) you can get away with being a little bit surly and no one will get too mad at a guy with a cane–or at least they won’t say anything. Sometimes people even let you get away with coming in late to work. The phrase, “My leg hurt” goes a shockingly long way. I don’t mind any of that.

What I mind is that people who I know begin behaving differently towards me when I need the cane. Usually well-meaning (Christian) people that I know will treat me with extra sympathy when I’ve got the cane. I get it. It’s the same thing that makes otherwise anonymous strangers open doors or grab things off particularly high (or low) shelves for me…but it’s different when it’s a friend. They shouldn’t feel obligated to do that. They should treat me the same way if my balance is off or not…though, I do appreciate it when someone helps me carry something. (The worst part about the cane isn’t having the bad knee, it’s only having one available hand.)

Alright…so that SHOULDN’T be embarrassing… In fact, I do kind of celebrate the cane when I have it. It gives me something to do with my hands as I’m sitting around. I play little games or do things that require a lot of dexterity (like flip the cane around in the air through all of my fingers–which even Hugh Laurie can’t do, as he’s only ever gotten to THREE fingers on the show!). Plus, as I said to someone who last week said, “I notice you’ve got your cane,” “Yeah, but it’s okay. It’s a nice cane.” It is. It cost me $85. Still, there’s a slightly miserable part to being pitied by someone you know. It’s not fun.

…all that to say my shoulder and peck hurt, and the Feldman gig (at Kokomo’s, on Mid-Rivers Mall Drive) tomorrow is going to SUCK. (Apparently last time Mike played there with a session bass player, as I was unavailable, there was absolutely NO audience at all…and we’re playing there tomorrow…for four hours…………………… ….. ?)

Anyhoo…don’t know why I wanted to talk about that…but it’s my blog and I don’t really need to qualify it, right? 🙂

Current Listening:

  • Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir – “High Cost of Low Living”

Slogans

Okay, I’m doing a kind of political post, but I’m trying to make it fair.

As you know, in any election year, there are a bunch of slogans and jokey phrases that get thrown around by the supporters of either side. Usually they’re kind of mean. Since I like mean, I now present to you my favorite jokey campaign-slogans (so far) behind the 2008 election. 10 for the Obama Campaign, 10 for the McCain Campaign. Let’s go.

Anti-Obama/Pro-McCain:

  1. Not as much of a single slogan, but go to http://sendbarackyourbaby.com/.
  2. Tax + Spend = Change
  3. If Barack wins, it’ll be an Obama-nation. (Say it out loud if you don’t get it.)
  4. It’s called the White House… (sic)
  5. JUST SAY NO-bama
  6. Chuck Norris does not like Obama.
  7. Vote McCain/MILF ’08! (Actually, I’m not sure if that’s Pro-McCain or not…but it’s funny.)
  8. Say NO to B.O.
  9. If the Democrats had their way, Bristol wouldn’t have a problem. (Again, I’m not really sure if that’s necessarily Pro-McCain, but it’s definitely anti-abortion and semi-pro-Bristol Palin…so it stays.)
  10. Admit it: You just think voting for the black guy makes you a better person.

Anti-McCain/Pro-Obama (Pro-bama):

  1. John McCain – Four more years (until the nursing home)!
  2. Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor.
  3. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still Sarah Palin.
  4. Average Life-Expectancy for a male in America: 73.6 years. (More of a statistic, but applicable.)
  5. You can’t spell “maniac” without “McCain.”
  6. McCain: He remembers what “Maverick” is referring to.
  7. …you do realize that she didn’t write that speech, right?
  8. Obama: Because 8 is ENOUGH.
  9. Women should be leaders, not props.
  10. President Palin: A heartbeat away.

If the McCain ones seem meaner, it’s not just because I’m voting for Obama…there’s just more of them out there. There’s more specific stuff to work with on the McCain side, too. Most of the Obama jokes out there are just recycled Liberal jokes with no real focus on Obama. I mean, sure, “A taxpayer voting Democrat is like a chicken voting Sanders” is funny…but it’s not really an Obama joke is it? …and I think the whole Obama/Osama thing was played out before he even had a legitimate bid… But I do want to give a runner up nod to “Obama is the new black.” Thought that was funny. Just kind of depends on your point of view as to who that supports and/or if it’s appropriate. (Also, it’s probably worth noting that I’ve heard absolutely NO Biden jokes, for some reason.)

…but yeah, my official position is that McCain sucks and Palin’s an idiot. There’s just funny stuff for the other side, too.

Something you might not have noticed…

EDIT: Please see the comments section of this post for some additional resources and links that were provided by my friend Jim. He also makes a very valid point about another unfairly, at least seemingly randomly ocurring disorder that also needs research at least as badly as MD/MS.

I meant to write this before Labor Day, but it somehow escaped me. Apologies for the lateness.

You may have noticed a link I have added over on the right. As most of you are aware (if you’re regular readers), I’ve given to the Barack Obama campaign a couple of times this year. You may, however, not be aware that there is another organization to which I regularly donate. I’m speaking of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Many of you probably watched part of the Jerry Lewis Telethon over Labor Day Weekend. I watch it every year. I watched a lot of years before I started giving, mostly just because it’s the cheesiest entertainment on the air, and it’s bound to provide some cheap, unintentional laughs. Recently, though, I’ve started actually giving. I felt guilty about making fun of the show when it really raises some serious money for people doing God’s work. Now, I give to the MDA, and I no longer feel guilty…though I do still make fun of the show.

Diseases like MD, MS, ALS, etc. are one of the few things I look at in life and I think, “that’s not fair.” Let’s face it, a lot of life isn’t fair, per-se, but you can at least figure out some explanation or reason for why something happened or is happening. Not so with diseases like those. They can strike anyone at any age, and for the most part there is no real cure. Treatments have advanced by leaps and bounds, but treatments are not cures. There is no cure for the muscle atrophy that takes place and there is no insurance check big enough to replace the use of your limbs. Other diseases at least give you a fighting chance. Most cancers are fight-able. There are cures to almost all of the major blood disorders. Even AIDS, which is incurable, at least most people got of their own doing–and at least you can pinpoint who to blame for it. The diseases researched by the MDA, though, are almost always random and almost always deadly.

That. Isn’t. Fair.

The telethon’s over, but the need isn’t. I hope and pray for a day where we don’t need the telethon anymore (and I hope it comes before Jerry Lewis dies–he’s 81 and has done this for 50-some years) and that life can be fair for the kids and adults these diseases are as of yet still killing. I hope next Labor Day they throw a celebration because they found the cure, and the next year, they just air the old Martin and Lewis shows in tribute to the work that was done. …but for now, the need goes on.

Please, if you’ve got the time to read my blog, you’ve got the time to visit their site. If you’ve got a couple of bucks you can throw their way, it could be the difference between a kid being diagnosed to die before he reaches 20, and a kid growing up to be a dirty-old-man.

Just thought that was worth saying, unlike 90% of the other stuff I say on here.

Remember…you can put lipstick on a pig, but someone still died from ALS today.