Return to the Random

Just dawned on me that I haven’t done a random-style post since before I did the “New Year’s Eve” posts.  So let’s go!

  1. Charter Cable sucks.  The signal keeps scrambling every 5-10 seconds and no one at the company is any damn help.  I really wish they weren’t the monopoly cable-company in this area.
  2. Bought the new Iron Maiden, the new John Mellencamp, and Iron & Wine’s 2009 release.  That was a weird combo.
  3. Got an oil change.  Apparently I was about 800 miles overdue.  I thought the “1” in the hundreds place of the sticker was a “7.”  Oops.  So it was badly needed…but seriously, Valvoline?  $40?!?  Really?!?
  4. I grabbed myself a bottle of Bushmill’s “Black Bush” Irish whiskey over the weekend.  I’ve been a big Bushmill’s fan for a long time, but I’d never tried the “black.”  Apparently it was aged in sherry casks.  Really adds a dark, woody, smooth quality to the drink.  I highly recommend it.  It’s almost like whiskey stout.
  5. Played a few tunes with my brother tonight.  I think we’re going to record a six-song demo just to have something to play for people.  Hoping to get someone in to play some snare drum with some brushes for us, too…but that’s all the drums they’ll be allowed!  (Okay…maybe—MAYBE—one cymbal for effect.)  Looking forward to that.
  6. Should start meeting with a dude in the next week or so to play some bass and see if we’ll be working together.  We’ll see.
  7. Our office at work is growing and growing, and tomorrow is the “big day” for some major happenings in the office.  (Don’t want to say too much, because it’s boring to everyone but us, and also it’s not really anyone’s business how our office works.  So there!)  🙂  Kind of exciting.
  8. Looks like there’s going to be some major remodelling happening at the house pretty soon.  New back door.  New bathroom.  Paint on the walls.  Trash in the…uhh…trash.  Should be cool!
  9. Anyone else seen the new Kellog’s commercial that uses “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy I’ve Got Love in My Tummy” as the background music?  Anyone else really disturbed by the fact that they’ve got KIDS singing that?  (Maybe I’ve just got a dirty mind…but eew!)
  10. Update: I have not watched ANY of the movies I said I was going to.  Oops.  Hoping to at least get “Inglourious Basterds” under my belt by the weekend, since it’s borrowed.
  11. I ate at Rally’s (or Checkers, to some of you) today.  Ordered the Bacon Cheddar Fries.  I can pretty much guarantee that they used neither actual cheddar nor actual bacon.  And I paid for it later.
  12. I’ve been massively behind on my Vonnegut reading.  I’ve had a bookmark midway through “Palm Sunday” for about 2 months.  I don’t know what happened.  I think maybe I’ve just been reading more comic books and haven’t been making time for book-books.  I’ll have to correct that.  I feel like I’m missing out.

Well…that’s it for now.  Might be going to see Rush on Sunday…but we’ll cross that bridge later.  Tune in to “Empty Checking” this weekend for the reviews of the CDs I bought, as well as reviews of any of the comic books I’ll buy tomorrow.

Until then…try not to suck, okay?

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Current Watching:

  • Cheers.  Gonna try to watch some Red Dwarf before going to bed, too.

Pictures I Stole

My friend (and coworker!) Tara came to see me play with the Feldman Group last month.  She took some pictures and posted them on Facebook.  In true Derek Brink fashion, I hit “Save As…” on all the ones of ME, and I thought I’d share them here.  All due credit to Tara Black, who is an excellent photographer and is available for weddings, parties, baby-photos, and funerals.  

Wait.  Not funerals.  Sorry. 

Anyway…please enjoy the pics (and my comments in the captions).  🙂  

Easing you in with a shot of Mike playing guitar. I really dig this shot. Thinking I'm gonna draw Mike's attention to it.
I always dig shots like this.

Ah my Facebook friends...slowly chronicling my alcoholism one picture at a time.
From the "Derek kinda looks like Neil Young" files.
I look really shocked by whatever's going on just out of frame, don't I?
I like this one a lot. It really shows off my beard.
I dig this one a lot too. I'm an active guy. Those are motion lines. (Twenty Internets awarded to those who know what I'm referencing there.)
...annnnd from the "He may be fat, but he sure can ROCK!" files...

And on another note.  Thanks to all the people who’ve been downloading New Year’s Eve.  I’ve gotten some really nice Facebook comments, e-mails, and so on.  Glad it’s hitting a chord with some folks!  I’m really pleased with it, and it’s always nice to get the kind of feedback that makes you think that maybe you’re NOT crazy.  🙂

“New Year’s Eve” – The Music and the Thanks…

Hope you all enjoyed reading the “New Year’s Eve” story over the past few days.  As promised, here is a post with the music.  You can download it all for free.  No charge.  No catch.  I’m posting the song links (including one that has the whole thing in one file, if you’d prefer that), but I’m also following them with the “Thanks” and “Credits” type stuff that would normally be in a CD jacket.  If you’d like to see the whole project on my website in the format that I originally intended it, please click here.  (It’d be nice if you at least took a peek at the art.  I worked pretty hard on it.)  🙂  The music itself is fully produced and mixed.  Guitars, bass, drums, etc, etc.  It’s a proper album.  And—again—it’s FREE.

Also, as one small story-note, the story and the music are of course related and tell the SAME story, but you’ll notice portions of the story that are missing from either format on its own.  To get the full story, you really would benefit from reading AND listening…so give it a shot, if you haven’t.

Anyway…with no further ado.  Here are the songs.  If you would be interested in getting a hard-copy (a CD-R with full disc jacket and jewel case) please let me know.  All I’d charge is shipping cost, if any.

  1. New Year’s Eve
  2. Left it All
  3. Letting You Go
  4. Nothing Stays the Same
  5. Only the Memory
  6. Gone
  7. Falling
  8. Make Something of Myself
  9. Suspended
  10. Epilogue (“NYE Theme”/”Wonderful Words of Life”)

OR CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE THING AS ONE FILE.  If you’re the type that would rather think of it as one piece on your iPod, this is the link for YOU!  🙂

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Credits and Thanks:

Credits:

Stuff I played: Guitar, Bass, Piano/Organ, Drums (some of which were done with a keyboard), Harmonica, and I sang, too.

“Wonderful Words of Life” was written by Phillip P. Bliss, and is in the public domain. Arr. D. Brink.

Thanks: To all the people I thanked on the “Out from the Light” CD, since this was done just after completion of that record, and not much has changed. I suppose I owe some particular recognition to Dayna, who was the first person to tell me the idea didn’t suck, which kind of convinced me that I wasn’t crazy for trying it. Also thanks to SLCC for laying me off, which provided the inspiration to finish this thing, and the folks at ICS for making sure that inspiration didn’t last too long–as it were…

Thank YOU for downloading this exclusive music, only available here and at live-shows.  Incidentally, if you would be interested in picking up a CD-R copy with full album artwork, hand-signed and numbered by yours truly, please e-mail me via the “Contact” link on the main page, and I’ll be glad to send one to you.  All I ask is that you pay shipping (about $3, I think).  And remember, I encourage sharing.  Please feel free to burn a copy for a friend, or direct them to this page.

Inspirational Materials:

Music: Michael Penn–“Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947,” Aimee Mann–“Lost in Space,” Ray Davies–“Working Man’s Cafe,” David Bowie–“Reality” and “Heathen,” Rufus Wainwright–“Release the Stars,” and assorted Frank Black stuff.

Books: Nick Hornby–“A Long Way Down” (HUGE influence on this project), Albert Camus–“The Stranger,” Craig Thompson–“Blankets.”

Movies: Hard Core Logo, X-Men 2, Little Miss Sunshine, Milk, High Fidelity (as always).

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And…as a special note just on the blog…  I’m really thrilled to be able to do this.  We live in a time where recording technology and web-hosting is affordable and easy to work with.  Good Lord, why don’t more people do this?!?  It’s really exciting to be able to have an idea, put it together, and share it with conceivably the entire world in a matter of minutes.  Get out there and do something awesome folks.  We have the technology!

Thanks for hanging in there for the whole thing over the past few days.  I’ll post something inane and stupid soon to make it up to you who think it sucks.

“New Year’s Eve” – Part Three

If you’ve visited the blog over the past couple of days, you know that I’m building toward the online FREE release of my new record “New Year’s Eve” this weekend by posting the story in sections on the blog.  We’re up to the final part of the story.  I hope you’ve been enjoying it.  If you missed the previous parts and/or are reading this in the future and this just happened to be the page you stumbled upon, here are a couple of links…

So…now that we’re all caught up.  Let’s finish this thing!  Same rules apply about the copyright and whatnot.

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Part III

It hurt, if you’re wondering. Of course it did. It was probably the roof of the van caving in that saved my life–and Ms. Paponicolas ruins ANOTHER New Year’s Eve. Hindsight’s always 20/20. Still, at least her insurance didn’t cover suicide jumpers. Something went right, anyway.

You read stories about jumpers who survived in newspapers and books from time to time. I’d read one a few years ago about a guy who jumped off of a bridge into a river, and just as he was in the air–the point of no turning back–he realized that he wanted to live. Of course, if aiming for a van-roof was an ineffective way to kill yourself, then aiming for a RIVER (as long as you can swim) was just a pathetic cry for help. That guy didn’t even skin his knees. I dislocated both shoulders, broke my nose and right cheek-bone, irreparably severed a tendon in my left leg, shattered most of my teeth, and suffered the other abrasions and bruises that you’d pretty much expect of a guy plummeting through a van-roof from the twelfth story of a building.

I should have picked a different day, or maybe a quieter street. As it was, there were tons of people around. Plenty of folks to scream and gasp at the sound of the crash, the “thunk” of my body hitting the van, the crushed metal…and The Scream. Even I was shocked by The Scream. It was the sound of the Living. The sound of Life desperate for Life. I struggle to even call it my own voice. It was coming from my lungs, yet wholly separate from me.

I knew almost upon impact that I was going to live, because I was sure I’d pass out roundabout floor eight…but I didn’t. I didn’t lose consciousness. It just hurt. A lot. I probably drifted in and out with the blood loss, but I was awake when the ambulance got there. I felt them insert the needle to knock me out. Then I woke up in the hospital. It sucked.

It’s been seven months of surgery and recovery. There were/are legal ramifications of course, but let’s not get into it. All that’s really relevant is the choice I had to make. I had three options. (1) Try again. (2) Don’t try again, but live in misery. (3) Adapt and overcome. Option #1 was out. The Scream told me that. Option #2 was somewhat to my liking. I’ve always been a pessimist and a misanthrope. (Chloe preferred the term “sanctimonious-asshole,” but I think “misanthrope” sounds classier.) But Option #3 seemed the one thing I hadn’t tried.

I’ve spent most of my life being the person everyone told me to be. My parents told me to be a good student. My high school guidance counselor told me to got to college. My college advisor told me to go into literature and teaching. My job told me to clean out my desk. My wife told me I was distant and unloving. My friends told me I’d become hard to be around. My brain told me to believe them and then told me to jump. My psychiatrist tells me I’ve got a long road ahead and that I’ve got to “do the work.” My priest tells me to say the Lord’s Prayer and I’ll be redeemed.

My heart tells me to listen to my gut…

[The End…probably…]

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Tune in tomorrow for the music!

“New Year’s Eve” – Part Two

Following is Part II of the libretto for the upcoming release of my new, Internet only release concept-album, “New Year’s Eve.”  for Further information about the project please see yesterday’s post, explaining it.  As before all characters are fictional, copyright Derek Brink 2010, etc, etc…  Just don’t steal it or I’ll date your mom, okay?

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Part II

The decision itself was easy to make. I was ready. Some people only think they’re ready. When Elton John “attempted” suicide, he turned the gas to his oven on “low” and laid his head down on a pillow inside of it, with all of his windows open. He wasn’t ready. He just wanted attention. (For the record, I like Elton John, and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is in my top-five records.) I was ready. My note was genius, even if I do say so myself. I quoted Keats and Longfellow…and Ron Jeremy. The guy may make porn, but he knows how to turn a phrase.

It was short. Only two pages, typed. It was mostly an apology to my children, obviously. And venomous bile toward Chloe. “It’s all your fault…blah blah blah…I hope you live a VERY long life since you’ve so significantly shortened mine…etc.” Then I put on my favorite shirt, my favorite jeans, my favorite boots, and…well…you know the rest, I guess.

My last thought, listening to the countdown, was “This is what it’s like to be completely free.” Odd thought, isn’t it? You’d think I’d have some existential weight to deal with, right? I was raised Catholic, after all–and I was still practicing right up until the divorce, unlike most people I knew. Didn’t people who committed suicide go to Hell? Didn’t the priest tell me that God knows all, controls all, and will never give someone more than he can bear in my last Confessional? Why didn’t that matter? Why did it fall on a deaf ear? Shouldn’t I have been thinking about that? No. Nothing like it. I just felt free. Free to fly, like I’d always imagined. Somehow, in my mind, I thought it might feel like flying right up until impact.

The clutter of the crowd below was one noise. There were no individual voices or sounds. Just one big clatter. It sounded like any city on New Year’s Eve. Except that I was up there in my apartment, singing our songs. The songs that meant something to Chloe and me during the good times. Occasionally stopping to shout “Happy Anniversary, you bitch!” out of the window, hoping she was down there somewhere.

I hoped to make the front page. As much as I hoped Chloe–and that hump Todd she’d had The Affair with–was down there, I hoped even more that she wouldn’t hear about it until she opened her morning paper. A nice, piping hot cup of coffee and one of those horrible muffins she liked. Page one, “Teacher Topples from Tower. Wife/Widow Welcomes New Year. Alliteration Grips Newspaper!” It would be beautiful.

…ah the best laid plans of mice and men… (That’s Steinbeck. Read a book!)

[to be concluded]