I’m Back!

Haven’t blogged in some time.  Many apologies.  Been a little distracted.  So now I’m going to do one of my (non-trademarked) trademark “random” posts to address the stuff I meant to blog about.  🙂

 

  1. Still no solid word on the job-front.  Been a little disappointing, actually.  But I’m sure I’ll find something.  I still have some feelers out there that haven’t said yea or nay yet.
  2. So Bea Arthur died.  She pioneered roles for women with her work on “Maude” and did some really good voice-over work of which I’m a fan (most notably her gig as the Fem-puter on “Futurama”).  Never really dug “The Golden Girls,” but right on.  See you around, Bea.
  3. Remember a few posts back where I started talking about my on-again-off-again “New Year’s Eve” project?  Well, it’s more on than it’s ever been!  I’ve been writing and recording and I’ve got about five songs completely done!  (Including drums, and my debut on playing a little light piano!)  It’s only going to top-off at 9-10 songs, I think…and what with me playing everything myself and it being so short, I’m probably not going to do an official, replicated release of it.  It’ll probably be an Internet/CD-R release for uber-cheap.  Not sure yet, though…but I really like what I’ve got done so far!  🙂  Sound-wise, it’s kind of Aimee Mann meets Michael Penn meets Ray Davies, meets a Hammond-type organ sound.  Plus some of my typical sound as well…  Kind of a departure, but I think it’ll fit in the grand-scheme of what I do.
  4. My CDs are in, by the way.  The website has yet to have the “buy” links up for it.  I’m kind of doing things quietly at the moment.  But yeah…it’s ready to go.  Comment or e-mail if you’re interested in getting one of the physical CDs (ie – You’re not a downloading-type and are avoiding purchasing it on iTunes…or you’re an uber-fan and want both!).  I’ll get one to you for $8 if you see me in person.  $11 if I have to mail it to you, to cover shipping.
  5. I’m going to take some vacation time next week.  If I don’t use it up, they don’t buy it back…so I’m using it (my boss encouraged that, actually).  🙂
  6. I’ve had an on-and-off headache for a couple of days.  Mostly, I’ve just been sleeping really badly and my eyes are communicating that to me by hurting.  It’s felt like someone did that eye-poke thing from the Three Stooges, then swirled their fingers around a little.  So yeah, I’m hoping to get some decent sleep tonight…but it’s midnight already…so maybe not.
  7. I’ve been shockingly deficient in wearing my cowboy hat so far this season.  That’s probably partially because it’s been bouncing back between hot and cold (and it’s been cold in the mornings, but hot in the afternoon…like it’s Spring or something!).  Can’t ever tell if I should wear the felt one or the straw one.  🙂
  8. It’s finals week at the college, which is always kind of interesting.  It’s also the last week they’re serving lunch.  So I’m trying to suck up every last three-dollar lunch I can get before it’s all over.  🙂
  9. Re-watched all the X-Men movies.  Kinda excited for the new “Origins” one coming out this month.  Looks pretty good.  For the record, I liked all three X-Men movies a lot, but my favorite was #2 (“X2: X-Men United”).  Not only is that my favorite X-Men movie, it’s one of my favorite comic-book movies in general.  Definitely top-five…possibly top three.
  10. My birthday is in a month.  I should probably do up a list.
  11. I should also pay my dad the $429 I owe him.  Super-sorry about that, Dad.

That’s it for now.  I’ll write tomorrow.  I promise!

————

Current Listening:

  • A bunch of Frank Black…
  • …and I’ve had “True Colors” stuck in my head for like two-months…but let’s not dwell on that.

Perez Hilton Vs. A Soapbox

So let me get this straight (no pun intended).

 

This guy:

 

perez-hilton

16290034sh6

 

thinks this girl:

 

california_usa_01

45451199-5ca9-48e9-83d9-4ce7036d03bdnews_ap_org_t350

 

has gone too far and that she’s setting back the cause of gay rights?

 

“Hello?  Pot?  This is Kettle.  I was just looking in the mirror and it turns out…”

 

Look…even if she’s wrong (and let’s face it, the jury’s out) about gay marriage, Perez Hilton’s the last person who should be championing the dignity of gay culture.  (But then again, when James Dobson is the representative for the other side, I guess it’s kind of a sliding scale…)

 

(Pictures snatched from the Interwebs…thanks a bunch, Google!)

Thoughts on Leaving

I started writing this for my own benefit.  Kind of liked it, so I cleaned it up a little and I’m posting it here and probably on Facebook later (where it probably is more appropriate to reach the SLCC audience, since only a few of those folks visit here anyway)…

 

As most people are probably aware, SLCC has opted not to renew my contract next year in a cost cutting measure. I’m sad about it, but from every angle that you can look at it (money-wise) they’re making a sound decision, and I don’t blame them.

 

I’m a fan of tying up loose ends, so I’m writing this note. It reflects a few of my thoughts and feelings about having to leave. Please know that I mean all of it in the BEST way, and I hope none of it comes off in any way critical or bitter. Maybe there’s some sadness, here…but there are no bad feelings. I just want to be clear about that. So, with no further ado…

————

Stuff I’ll miss:

  1. The Job — I know it’s probably weird to some of you, but I LIKE Library work. I particularly like OUR Library. It’s nice to be around books and media and to have keeping up with current trends in media be a part of my job, rather than just a hobby. One of the best things in life is to be able to be around your interests, and my interests are largely books and media. It’s been great.
  2. The Bookstore — It was just a good place to go and spend a few minutes of the day. The folks that ran it were always friendly and kept things well-stocked. I’ll miss that a LOT.
  3. The Cafeteria — I know the typical student point of view is that their Cafeteria is terrible, no matter the school. That’s part of being a student. A college Cafeteria could serve the finest food in the world, and students would STILL say things like, “Ugh…Fillet Mignon again?!?” But I think our Cafeteria does a great job. Not everything is always to my taste, but that’s to be expected. More often than not (I’m talking high-90-percentile) I’ve been a very happy patron of the Cafeteria when I’ve been in there.
  4. Ridiculous conversations with students/MAP workers. — This has been one of the best parts of my job. A lot of Library office work is kind of low maintenence, and you can chat while doing it. I’ve had some really fun conversations with my workers. I could do the whole list of people I’ve sat chatting with, but I’ll just focus on Matt and Dayna for now and say I’ll really miss them.
  5. Chapel…especially SENIOR Chapels. — I’m not often present for Chapel. I’ve wanted to be there more, but so much stuff piles up around the office in the Library, that (especially in this under-staffed year) I’ve felt like I could use the hour to get things done. However, I will frequently listen to the Chapel recordings afterward. Especially the Senior Chapels. I’ve listened to every one of those.
  6. Graduation. — I can’t put into words how rewarding it is to see someone accept their diploma when you’ve watched them struggle, helped them find things, listened to them complain…to watch someone “make it” to graduation is an amazing experience, and the feeling the professors, staff, admin, etc. have during the day is probably only MINORLY trumped by the feelings of the actual graduates. I’ll miss that a lot, and I’m not going to lie about it…I’m INCREDIBLY bummed out that this year’s will be the last one I’m attending.
  7. Professor Lay. — I use the term “Professor Lay” to show him the respect he deserves among his students…but I know he hates it. When I talk to him in person, I call him by his first name, because he’s my friend. He’s actually the first real friend I made among the faculty. I will greatly miss Doug popping by my office with some thought or question. I’ll miss the lunches. I’ll miss…too many things to list. I’m sure we’ll still be friends, but I’ll hate, hate, hate not seeing him as much.
  8. Professor Sanders. — Pretty much the same deal as above. Kent and I are of pretty much the same generation (or thereabout). We frequent each other’s blogs. He asked me to teach a lesson on comic books in one of his classes (which is one of my favorite SLCC memories, by the way). Every time he comes into the Library and needs something, he shoots me some weird, random look through the window to my office, just to make me smile. He’s a great guy. I’ll miss seeing him around.
  9. Professor Doggett. — I worked with Professor Doggett at the Ferguson Church as well. I wear it as a MAJOR badge of honor that I’m able to say he was my missions prof. when I was a student. I hold it as a MAJOR badge of honor that we worked side-by-side in a church together. I hold it as a MAJOR badge of honor that we’ve been colleagues at SLCC. …but the biggest honor is that I’m able to call him Larry–or sometimes Bwana–my friend.
  10. Professor Merritt. — I dare you to find someone on campus more genuinely kind than Professor Merritt. Go on. Try. He’s one of the nicest, sweetest people I’ve ever met. He’s an encourager. Even with his recent health problems, he’s not had a cross word for anyone. I deeply admire that… Shoot, if I have the sniffles, I’m practically unbearable…but he’s always good to people. I’m going to try to do my best to take that example with me everywhere I go.
  11. Dr. Chambers. — I’m going to keep this one brief, because he’s my boss and I don’t want to seem brown-nosey. But… He’s been a really great boss. He’s trusted me to do my job. He’s believed in me. He’s supported me. He’s sung my praises on more than one occasion. He gave me the news that my contract wouldn’t be renewed, and I think he actually felt worse about it than I did. Great guy, and I’ll miss working for him.
  12. Dr. Jones. — Everyone on campus can find SOMETHING about Dr. Jones that they like. Even if you don’t like how tough his classes are (and if that’s the case…what, exactly, did you think college was going to be???), you might like how funny he is…or that he’s a big Styx fan…or that he does his best to find a kind word for you when you need it. He’s one of the few professors who’s gone out of his way this year to tell me that he thinks I’m doing a good job running the Library. Kinda made my day when he said it.
  13. The Pabarcus Family. — I can think of no single family that has been more influential in my life over the past 3-4 years. I’ve never met a Pabarcus I didn’t like. I’ll really miss seeing especially Mike and Deb as frequently. I’ve kind of gotten used to having Deb being right across the hall if I need to chat with someone about virtually anything. Again, I’m sure we’ll keep in touch…but it’s really going to be weird not seeing them as often. That’s going to be a MAJOR adjustment.
  14. …and all the rest… — Those guys are the ones with whom I’ve had the most significant contact this past year (or so), but I know I’m leaving off a ton of people. I could go down the faculty/staff/admin list and tell you what I like and will miss about every person on there (or pretty close). But this is already getting long… Just know that if you don’t see a name on here, it probably should be.

————

Stuff I won’t miss:

  1. The printer, especially when there is a HUGE paper due and everyone prints at once.
  2. The parking lot in winter, when despite the BEST efforts we can put forth, it still freezes over and I end up falling down at least once a season.
  3. That’s about it…not bad to only have two things on this list after seven years…

————

A few random thoughts:

  • When Professor Alcorn left the college in the early 00’s, he offered a food-for-thought quote from his personal diary that’s always stuck with me. “If they throw you a party, maybe they’re too happy you’re leaving.”
  • The part that sucks the most about this is that I’m leaving the job that I know I’m going to look back on later in life and think, “That was the happiest I’ve ever been.” Even if my next job isn’t some soul-destroying, dead-end gig…I know I won’t be near as happy and fulfilled at whatever that job’s going to be as I was at SLCC.
  • …also it really would’ve been great to have a new job lined up by now, but with things how they are, I’ve not found anything.
  • I have nothing profound to say about it at all. I know someone else who’s in the same boat who’s taken the “everything happens for a reason” route…and I guess that might be true, but sometimes I think that the “reason” isn’t anything in the future…it’s just that money was tight and/or you were expendable. If everything happened for a reason and everything always ended up working out, there wouldn’t be any poor people and the economy wouldn’t suck…
  • My last day in the office will be May 29…my birthday. Nice.
  • I’ve always tried to be honest. Sometimes that’s been good and sometimes bad…but if nothing else can be said about my time at SLCC, at least you always knew what you were getting. In all, that’s served me pretty well. Things only change and progress if someone has the guts to talk about the problem (or solution…or whatever). I had someone tell me recently that that’s one of the things they’ve most admired about me and that they wished they could be like that. I don’t know if they really DO wish they were more like that…but it was nice to hear!
  • Adapt and overcome.
  • I hope I can find a job in roughly the same driving-radius. I’m not really what they call a “morning person.” I don’t want to get up much earlier than I already do…and I usually don’t want to get up THIS EARLY, either!
  • Jesus never got a pink slip…just one more way in which He’s better than me…but on the other hand, I’ve never been crucified…so…
  • I should really clean my office before the end of May. Lots of stuff needs to be sorted out so the next person can find things.
  • I haven’t always been top-notch at my job, but I feel like I always tried my best. That’s a great thing to walk away with.
  • It’s better to leave on your own terms…but you’re still leaving some place you loved…so it doesn’t really matter how it happens.

————

Maybe I’ll post more thoughts later…but this is turning into a book…so let’s wrap it up there. In closing, just in case I don’t write more, thanks to everybody that’s made working at SLCC so great. It sucks that it can’t last forever…but as Bruce Springsteen once said, “Everything dies, baby…that’s a fact.” And as Kurt Vonnegut said about that, “So it goes.”

 

…and my mother used to frequently say, “That’s as useless as tits on a field-mouse.” But I’m not really sure how that applies, here.

…and they wonder why Christian music isn’t taken seriously…

Here are a few REAL Christian record covers.  With stuff like this out there, you can almost understand why people are into Satan…  Found these on a couple of different sites on the Interwebs…  Hope you get a good giggle or two from them.  Check out the links at the bottom for more.

 

doveNo problem, Mike.

 

jackdrugsAnd don’t they look riveted! 

 

letmetouch

Nothing suspicious about that…

 

whereglorybegan

^ Quite probably the most disturbing record cover I’ve ever seen.

 

Sources:

http://www.worstalbumcovers.org/page/Religious+Sinners

http://www.zonicweb.net/badalbmcvrs/

501 Blues

Holy crap…I can’t believe I didn’t notice that my last post was #500!  I hit 400 in December, so I guess it’s about time…but wow!

 In recognition of that “accomplishment,” I’d like to thank all of my (15) loyal readers with this, which I feel sums up the relevancy of my posts over the last 501 efforts:

 

GIANT ASS SAW THING!!!

 

giant20ass20saw20thing

(No, I didn’t take the photo or make the image.  I’ve seen it on a few blogs and boards, but have no idea where the original came from…nevertheless…credit to that guy.)

Music Stuff

Okay…let’s get off the job-search for a moment.  Let’s talk music…

 

  • I finally have the physical copies of the new CD in hand.  It’s not quite ready to go though.  I do all of my packaging in-house, so I’ve got to finish that up.  Also, I’ve decided that I’ll be personally numbering and autographing the first 100 copies.  So I’ve got to sit and do that, too.  “Official” release date, as such, is Tuesday the 28th.  Look for the website to reflect that soon, too.
  • I’ve been kind of writing and re-writing a project for a couple of years called “New Year’s Eve.”  (I think I started it in 2006.)  It’s basically the story of a guy who goes through a major bad-spell, capped off by that year’s NYE Countdown, when he decides to jump out of the 12th story window of his apartment building (but he survives—spoiler alert).  The story is heavily influenced by Nick Hornby’s book “A Long Way Down” (which is my favorite of his books, narrowly edging out “High Fidelity”).  I keep drifting toward the story, then away from it.  Last year, I did a complete conceptual re-write.  This year, I think I might actually record some of the music, but keep it sparse and simple…just me.  As I said, I’ve abandoned the project a number of times, so it’s not set in stone that I’ll actually do it THIS time, either…but it wouldn’t hurt to demo a few things and see if it goes anywhere.
  • I’ve also been tentatively gathering folky songs for a project I’m calling “The Last Folk Singer” (named for a character in “US!” a novel by Chris Bachelder, mostly centered around Upton Sinclair).  It’s also been through a couple of iterations.  It also has no particular time-table attached to it.  Just kind of a banner-title and a loose theme of ideas.  Not really a concept piece…yet.  But I’m toying with something…might be good…might suck.
  • I’ve been demoing my butt off for Blue Tattoo.  We’ve already started working on three songs, which are coming along nicely.  There are about 8 or so more in the wings that I think have a realistic shot.  We’ll see.  Hopefully we’ll manage a practice tonight and hammer out some more stuff…  We’re also talking about doing a new demo that better represents where we’re going.  Probably five-songs.  Maybe more, so we have some to pick and choose from.  Personally, I’d like to just record everything and do a proper record, but I get the sense that the other guys think that’d be too much work since clubs just aren’t booking us right now.  No idea on a “when” for that.  Hopefully we’ll discuss that some tonight, as well.
  • I think I might be out of the Feldman Group.  I told Mike at the beginning of this year that I only wanted to play about twice a month.  He asked if it’d bug me if he got a second guy signed up to play any gigs I couldn’t/wouldn’t do.  I said that’d be fine, since Mike wants to work EVERY week.  Long story short, I haven’t heard from him since mid-March (and he’s had a BUNCH of gigs on the calendar since then).  Might just be a coincidence, but I get the sense he’s going with the new guy full time.  Maybe I gave him the impression that I wanted out all-together.  If I did that, it was an error…hopefully we’ll work this out on some level anyway.  Even if I’m not in his band, I’d hope we’ve known each other long enough that it won’t matter re: our friendship.
  • Didn’t I say somewhere that I was going to take a hiatus from solo-work to focus on Blue Tattoo?  Hmm…  Maybe I was lying.  Or maybe I’m just dealing with the job loss by focusing on music.  (Entirely possible!)
  • Actually, Johnny (drummer, Blue Tattoo) suggested that I just go into music full time.  I like the idea, but I don’t think it’s possible.  I do OKAY on record sales, when I put out something new…but I don’t know how to book myself frequently enough to make any real money.  I’d love it, though.  Even if I only swung like 10-grand a year doing it, that’d be awesome…get a part-time job to cover the rest…but I don’t see it happening.  I’m almost 30 (yikes) and that’s a little too late to try to make-a-go of it in the music industry.  But it’s nice that Johnny believes in me.  Good cat, that guy.

So…that’s what’s going on, musically.  Here’s hoping some of it doesn’t suck!  …and seriously, check out my new record.  It’s already on iTunes, as I’ve said repeatedly.  It’s the nicest sounding record I’ve done.  I’m pretty proud of it.  Hopefully I’ll be finding ways to get it to the ears of many people in the not too distant future.  (I think I may have an in with Lindenwood University’s radio-station…but I’ve got to feel that out a little more.)

 

So that’s it…

Top Five Dream Jobs

Okay…so as you know by now, if you’ve been reading along, I need a new job.  I have a list compiled of the top five things I think I could do and make decent money doing, drawing on my management experience, etc…but that’s boring.  Who wants to read that???  I’d much rather share THIS list…my top five DREAM jobs.  Jobs I will probably never have in reality, but that would be kind of fun.  So here we go…my top five dream jobs (not in any particular order)…

 

  1. Touring/Recording Musician. — Not asking to be The Who or the Stones…maybe just Frank Black in the post-Pixies, pre-Pixies-reunion years. Enough to get by and keep doing it, but not limitlessly rich and famous.  Maybe big in Europe/Japan/Norway.
  2. Stand-up Comic. — Again…don’t have to be Carlin or Hackett or even Leary—and screw Dane Cook, by the way. Perfectly glad to be Patton Oswalt or Mitch Hedberg (before he became an overnight legend by dying). I’d just like to get up there, say the outrageous/stupid things that get me into trouble in real life, and have people laugh.
  3. Voice-over artist. — It’d be kind of cool to be paid to go into a room and say stupid stuff, or to read travelogues. I don’t have to be the “In a world…” guy.  I’d be fine with pretty much being a guy who no one knows, but who constantly works for like PBS or someone, back in the days when people other than me still watched PBS.
  4. Entertainment journalist, circa 1969-78. — Interview bands like The Who in their heyday, hang out with Zeppelin and see what Bonzo was like in real life, get offered pot by Paul McCartney…then write about it.
  5. Barbecue Cook. — They say there’s nothing better than being paid for doing what you love, and I love cooking and eating meat. Gimmie an open flame and a dismembered part of a cow and I’m a happy man. I’d even develop my own “secret spice” that we’d roll the meat through before searing it on the grill (probably largely made up of other parts of the same cow).

So that’s what I’d be if time, history, money, opportunity, and/or health and safety laws weren’t a factor. Only one that seems kind of attainable is the last one…but whatever.

————

Quotable Quotes — only one this time…but it’s a really, really good one:

  • Kris Kristofferson to Toby Keith, upon Toby (who’d just sung a song about how great it’d be to bomb America’s enemies) telling Kris not to say any “lefty sh*t” on stage: “What the f*ck did you just say to me?  Don’t turn your back to me, boy.  You ever worn your country’s uniform?  (Keith says, ‘What?’)  Don’t ‘What?’ me, boy!  You heard the question.  You just don’t like the answer.  I asked, ‘Have you ever served your country?’  The answer is, no, you have not.  Have you ever killed another man?  Huh?  Have you ever taken another man’s life and then cashed the check your country gave you for doing it?  No, you have not.  So shut the f*ck up!  You don’t know what the hell you are talking about!”  —  And that all took place backstage at Willie Nelson’s 70th birthday concert, no less.  Stuff like that is why Kris Kristofferson is on my “heroes” list—and why Toby Keith’s on the same list as Dane Cook…  🙂  (All due credit to Ethan Hawke and Rolling Stone Magazine’s April 16, 2009 issue, in which that can be found.)