I’m Going to Be Making Some Changes, Angela.

Dear Angela,

I’m going to be making some changes to my blog soon.  The “Shameless Promotion” tab will disappear and be replaced by two different tabs.  One will be a “Works in Progress” tab, where I’ll post random things about whatever musical (or perhaps other) project I’ve got going on that are too long, too boring, or too technical for most people to care about and therefore don’t warrant being mentioned on the main page.  The other will be a tab promoting my studio and services I offer as an engineer/producer/whatever.

Also, you may have noticed that with this new template, I’ve now got the ability to keep SENSIBLE spaces between paragraphs, so there’s not going to be an inch of white space between words anymore.

 Just didn’t want to ruin your drive to work by doing that before announcing it.

Yours,

-Derek

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For anyone who doesn’t get that, see the comments on the post where I say I’m trying out a new theme for the blog.  🙂

For the Record… (That’s a Pun)

I may have jumped the gun slightly in announcing my intention to write a bunch of songs based on Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s works.  I still plan to do it…but I don’t think you should expect the record to happen in 2010.  I want to finish all of Vonnegut’s books before beginning recording…and I’ve got a way to go.  Apart from reading copious interviews, articles, and Wikipedia entries about the man himself (which will likely comprise at least one of the 10-12 tracks I could see this thing taking up), I’ve read a lot of his books, including his most highly regarded works…but there’s a LOT left (for which I’m actually kind of grateful, since I love reading it).

Here’s a list of Vonnegut’s works—and I’ll highlight the stuff I’ve read in—uhh—red.

  1. Player Piano
  2. The Sirens of Titan
  3. Mother Night
  4. Cat’s Cradle
  5. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
  6. Slaughterhouse Five
  7. Breakfast of Champions
  8. Slapstick
  9. Jailbird
  10. Deadeye Dick
  11. Galapagos
  12. Bluebeard
  13. Hocus Pocus
  14. Timequake
  15. Canary in a Cathouse
  16. Welcome to the Monkeyhouse
  17. Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons
  18. Palm Sunday
  19. Fates Worse than Death
  20. Bagombo Snuff Box
  21. God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian
  22. A Man Without a Country
  23. Armageddon in Retrospect
  24. Look at the Birdie

…and he also wrote a play called “Happy Birthday, Wanda June.”  It’s largely regarded as terrible, and I doubt that I could find a copy if I tried…so I’ll skip that one.

In all, I’m about half-way there.  To be fair, a LOT of that progress has been made in the past three months…but still.  The record isn’t coming out this year.  Hope I didn’t get anybody’s hopes up…but it’s likely that my Dad is the only one interested in the project in the first place!  (More’s the pity for Dad…)

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Restaurant Review:

  • White Barn in Florissant.  Review so far is negative-six out of a possible (positive) 1-5 stars.  To be fair, it was their first night…but I was sitting in my car for about 20 minutes and the line didn’t move AT ALL, so I left.  (I subsequently read on Facebook that the average time between placing your order and receiving your food was a famine-inducing 45 minutes!  And bear in mind, that’s PER CUSTOMER…so if you’re ten cars back, you’ll be there for HOURS.)  Take a lesson from Steak ‘n’ Shake (whose business was booming, likely as a result of the terrible service at White Barn)—throw a damn burger in a damn bag and let people go home.  Maybe in a couple of weeks they’ll have their act together…but if it stays like this, the ten customers they’re able to serve in an evening won’t keep the doors open.  I’ll try again in about a month, if they’re still there.  I hear they’re great when they actually manage to cook something.  But for now…boo!

A Few Things

Here’s my first real post under the new blog template.  Thought it’d be appropriate to do a “random” post.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I only have a few things on my mind…so we’re keeping it brief.

 

  1. My cellphone isn’t working very well.  It’s a really crappy touch-screen and the screen is so bad that I’m not really able to dial out right now.  (I might be able to figure out how to call the LAST person that called me back…but that’s about it.)  The texting seems to still work with a little effort…but it sucks.  Do not EVER get a touch-screen phone from Verizon.
  2. I had the best Reuben I’ve ever had today.  There’s a deli a little bit down from where I work (in the COOL—if not slightly douchey—part of town) called Pickles.  I’d never been there, but Christine (at work) said they were good and I didn’t want Chinese again (which everyone but Christine and I was having delivered).  So Christine and I got sandwiches from there.  Got the corned beef Reuben—they also make it with pastrami, which I’m probably going to try next time.  Just a really great sandwich with about a pound of meat on it.  It was a good three inches thick on MARBLE rye (that’s some good freaking bread), sauerkraut, and the most playful piece of melted swiss on top.  You’ve gotta try that place, if you’re in town.  I’ve only had the one sandwich, but if it’s any indication, they’re amazing.  I’m already trying to find an excuse to go there again…or see if they deliver.  🙂
  3. I mentioned a while ago that I’d been thinking of doing a record of entirely songs inspired by the writings of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  That idea is still very much with me (though I should probably finish reading everything first).  I’ve got some songs rolling already and I think this might be where my next record is headed.  Or maybe it’ll be an “online only” thing.  Not sure yet.  We’ll see.  But…I do want to reveal the working title of the project.  It’s based on something Vonnegut wrote/drew in his novel “Breakfast of Champions.”  Vonnegut illustrated the book himself and advised that his art-skills weren’t necessarily on par with Michelangelo…  As an example of what readers could expect to see as an illustration, he described this: as “my picture of an asshole.”  Eventually, it got shortened down to just an 8-point asterisk and he even inserted it into his professional signature.  It’s kind of a big deal, in-joke among Vonnegut fans.  As such, I’m thinking that the cover of the Vonnegut CD will be a Polaroid photograph of me, and the title will be “Derek Brink – A Picture of an Asshole.”  Probably won’t put it on the merch table when I play churches…but it kinda works and it makes me laugh.  Maybe I’ll spell it “a**hole” though—with 8-point asterisks, of course.  🙂
  4. In completely unrelated news, and in order to provide the weirdest transition I could think of…  My Grandma’s birthday was yesterday.  She turned 85 years old.  Talked to her on the phone for about 20 minutes or so.  She’s hoping to make it to my niece Tessa’s birthday party next weekend.  Hope she does.  Haven’t seen her in a little bit.
  5. Re: Tiger Woods’ return to golf…  Don’t care.
  6. Thanks to the iPad coming out, there’s been a lot of discussion about e-books floating around.  The iPad does WAY more than store e-books, but that seems to be a major selling point of the thing.  (Along those lines…I know they’re trying to avoid saying it, but if they want to sell one to people like me, they’d be better off just saying, “It’s like a laptop with a touch-screen.  You’re welcome.”  But I digress…)  As an avid reader, I’m not a fan of e-books.  It’s not a techno-fear thing…it’s that I think the entire idea is flawed.  How many books does a person typically read at once?  One, right?  (Unless you’re a college student or doing some sort of research project, in which case I kinda get it…but most of us read a book at a time.)  So why carry around thousands of them?  Plus, for those of us who read in the tub…I’m not going to take a $500 iPad with me into water.  I can see where e-books are good for things you’re not going to want to keep for very long, like a library book (or rental…or however they do that…), but let’s not forget…  Every hard drive eventually fails.  Then it’s bye-bye books, and it’s pretty much your fault for not having a hard copy.  (This, incidentally, is also how I feel about those suckers who only buy their music digitally then their laptop crashes…)  So…when it comes to e-books, I’m against them.  However, I do get what people like about the other functions of the iPad…though I don’t think it’s going to stick around forever like most of the Apple fans seem to.  At least not under that name.

…and that’s it for this round.

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Current Listening:

  • Rufus Wainwright – “Release the Stars”  — And I’m very excited about his upcoming “All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu” record coming out later this month (in the States…it’s already out in the UK).  That one’s just him and his piano and he’s doing a few of the Shakespearian musical sonnets on it alongside his original material.  He’s one of those guys who can just be accompanied by his own piano playing, yet SOUND like a symphony (as evidenced by his “Grey Gardens” performance on a not-too-long-ago episode of the Jonathan Ross show).  So I’ve got high expectations for “Lulu.”

Trying a New Theme

I’m trying out a new theme for the blog.  I think I like it.  I’m not fully happy with the header yet…but I think I like the burlap in there.  I’ll be putting something else up there sooner or later, I think.  We’ll see.  Otherwise, I think this is kind of nice looking.  Hope you do too.  (Sorry if it’s not showing up yet, as you’re reading this, or if it looks weird…  Still working out the bugs.)

 

No other news, really…

Random-diddley-dum-diddley-dum

You know the drill…  Here’s some random stuff from in my brain.

  1. I’ve had a lot of Chinese food that I’ve not really enjoyed lately.  I’ve really got to go by the place near my house one of these days and get Chinese food done right!
  2. Quick review – Vonnegut’s book “Mother Night.” – I mentioned it on the blog a post or two ago.  I’ve since finished it.  Really good book.  Certainly among his best work.  One of those books where you feel robbed when it ends, not because it ended badly, but because it had to end at all.  Give it a look if you want a good WWII novel.
  3. I’ve got a mixdown of the Blue Tattoo abandoned-record done for some reason.  I’ve been trying to sync-up schedules/timing with the other guys to get them copies.  Wish it were going to be released…but if nothing else, it’s nice to have the keepsake.
  4. Re: My solo act.  I’ve opened up some initial conversations to get some bookings on my calendar.  Not sure what “band” if any will accompany me for the first few…but it’s exciting to have SOME forward motion, anyway.  I’m trying to kind of reinvent my sound a little to be more rock-sounding even on the more acousticy-stuff.  I think there’s enough of my material that’ll make the transition to make it a decent set of songs.  I’ve got three records and a bunch of stuff I haven’t released yet.  I should be able to find SOMETHING in there!
  5. We’re REALLY caught up at work right now!  (At least as it applies to my job and the stuff directly connected to it.)  That’s pretty cool.
  6. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
  7. Imagine #6 as said by Sean Connery, and you’ll know what it was like to be in my office all day today.  🙂
  8. I stopped by Best Buy today and they didn’t have ANY of the CDs I was looking for (there were about 5 on my list).  Now…either my tastes have gotten so obscure and weird that major stores don’t carry them anymore (but come on…no Lou Reed?) or the Best Buy nearest to me sucks.  And considering the fact that they’ve GREATLY reduced the numbers of CDs, DVDs, Blu Rays, etc that they have on the shelves…I’m thinking they just suck.
  9. I think I might’ve gotten my picture taken by one of those red-light cameras coming off the highway today.  In my defense, I did not expect the traffic to come to a dead stop while I was in the middle of the intersection.  Hopefully, the guy who reviews the tape will be lenient…  I have my doubts.
  10. I’m hungry…no motivation to cook or go to a drive-thru.  Bummer.
  11. Just seems to me that if an air-conditioner is set at 72-degrees and it’s still kicking on, that means it’s over 72-degrees in the room and it needs to kick on…it doesn’t mean that it needs to be turned off.
  12. “House” apparently hasn’t been new for WEEKS (or the DVR somehow got screwed up).  I miss it.
  13. I could use a new straw hat.  It’s kind of that time of year, and the one I’ve been wearing for years has some wire poking through.  It’ll be sad to retire it…but hey…new hat!  🙂
  14. I somehow deleted the “Recycle Bin” icon from my desktop–hopefully not the whole Bin!  anyone know how to get that back?
  15. The wrestler Chris Kanyon died over the weekend of a possible suicide (could also have been accidental overdose, but people seem to be leaning toward suicide).  He was a really great wrestler.  They used to call him the “Innovator of Offense.”  He did things in the ring that I’ve never seen anyone do before or since, and by most accounts was a really good guy.  (He was also noted to be one of the only wrestlers ever to be openly gay while still actively wrestling, but that’s very much a side-note to his career…which is why I’m stating it parenthetically.)  So that sucks.  Always hoped he’d find a way to make a comeback.
  16. My back has been bugging me more lately.  I don’t know if it’s a lack of deep sleep or what…but it’s irritating.  One of these days I’ll get that looked at.  (Right after I get to the dentist, ha ha.)
  17. STILL no St. Louis date for the Drive-By Truckers tour!  THAT.  SUCKS.
  18. I’ve got a digital camera…why don’t I take more pictures?  I don’t have like ANY pictures of anyone or anything I like.  I should do something about that.
  19. Quick update on the “Restless” thing I’ve been writing.  I’ve got another chapter mostly written and an outline for another 3-5, depending…some of that’s already written, too.  I’ll finally get another chapter or two up within the month, I think.
  20. I’m not going to see “Date Night,” but I AM going to start shouting “Shut the hole!” at people.  🙂

 

…and I’m going to stop…

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Current Reading:

  • I’m on a mission to read all of the Vonnegut books.  Presently on “Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons (Opinions).”  It’s a little bit of a difficult read for me because it’s a compilation of his opinion-pieces up through 1974…so I wasn’t alive for ANY of the stuff he’s talking about.  Fortunately, I’m well-read enough to know about MOST of it…but some of it’s just a little bit “I don’t care about Nixon”-ish.  Still…it’s Vonnegut…so I basically like it.  I think next I’m going to go back and read “Player Piano” and/or “Sirens of Titan” and finish it out by reading the stuff I’ve not read yet in order of release date, which is probably how I should’ve done this all along.