Inanely Long and Absolutely Unacceptable

A few years ago, I wanted to read the book “Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close.”  (That’s right.  It was a BOOK long before it was a movie, kids!)  I eventually got it and read it, and it was good.  I can see why they’ve made it into a movie, though I didn’t see Tom Hanks being in it.  That was a surprise.  I guess the book had better sales than I realized.

Anyway…  At the time, when I was still looking for it, I had trouble remembering the name of the book.  I knew it was somethingly-something and somethingly-something-else, but I couldn’t ever seem to get it.  I mentioned it to my brother a few times back then and we both kept throwing together random words trying to land on the title.  It was fun, and to this day, I struggle to remember the actual name of the book/movie, because our made-up names were funnier.  Thought I’d give all of you (if any of you) a chance to join in…  So here are 15 variants of the title “Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close” that I’m making up on the spot, for your enjoyment.  (The post title itself is a freebie.)

  1. Enterprisingly Astute and Ridiculously Small
  2. Embarrassingly Loud and Extremely Farty
  3. Surprisingly Large and Enormously Slanted
  4. Shockingly Round and Disturbingly Moist
  5. Incredibly Hairy and Delightfully Askew
  6. Ashamedly Tall and Abundantly Absurd
  7. Insanely Proportioned and Obscenely Uptight
  8. Irreversibly Aloof and Extraordinarily Polite
  9. Aggressively Weird and Unbearably Pointy
  10. Stunningly Soft and Maddeningly Fluffy
  11. Stupidly Flat and Unambiguously Fruity
  12. Delightfully Quiet and Exceptionally Late
  13. Ravenously Sexy and Inexplicably Neat
  14. Unthinkably Shaky and Suspiciously Wet
  15. Wonderfully Rotund and Unfeasibly Chewy

…and that’s how I spend my free time!

————

Current Listening:

  • Been on a Lou Reed kick.  It’s my goal to own every Lou Reed studio record (and a few of the GOOD live ones) by the end of the year.  I’m about a third of the way there.  Most recently bought Metal Machine Music (remastered, limited edition), New York, and Ecstasy.  Liked New York the best of the three, though Ecstasy has its moments, and Metal Machine Music is an interesting experiment in aural torture.

No TV and No Beer Make Homer Something-Something…

Last post got a little heavy, so let’s do a random one this time.  (You can tell it’s a random post because the post title is a Simpsons reference!  Whoo!)

  1. I’ve had a bit of a cold lately.  Why is it that when you’ve got a cold, people can call you a wimp for feeling bad and wanting to stay in and just be ill?  I’ve had the flu before and I’ve had food poisoning, etc etc…  And I never feel as bad as when I have a “simple” head-cold.  I think you should get a free pass to be miserable and pissy when you’ve got a cold.  But I seem to be largely alone in that.
  2. I’ve semi-resumed working on the next solo record, but I’m much more focused on Two Hangmen.  Rehearsals with Dave Knobel playing drums have been going pretty well, and I’m excited about what I think we’re capable of doing.  The solo record is an exercise and it’s a lot of fun…but there’s nothing like playing in a band.
  3. Comic books purchased this week:
    • Justice League #5
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6
    • The Flash #5
    • The Unwritten #33.5
    • Superman #5
    • Captain America & Bucky #626
  4. In my ever-spiriling-out-of-control, onward quest to find a cooler guitar tone, I’ve once again re-ordered my pedal-board.  Removed some stuff I’m not using added some stuff I’ve been missing.  Using the power of the amp a little bit more than in recent years.  Completely uninteresting to anyone but me…  But the short version is that I’m having a lot of fun figuring out which tone goes with which guitar and how to shape it.  My distortions and effects respond completely differently to my Telecaster than they do to my Les Paul, and it’s a lot of fun for me to experiment with that.
  5. I miss Conan O’Brien’s beard (again).  I’m on record as being pro-beard just in general…but Conan’s specifically just one of those dudes who looks better with a beard.
  6. Let me share something with you…  If you ever piss me off…like REALLY badly piss me off.  Like the kind of pissed off where I’ve stormed out of the room, called you a name, cursed your mother, and punched your cat on my way…THAT level of pissed off…  The way back into my heart?  Milky Way candy bar.  No bullshit.
  7. I’ve been trying not to be as political on the blog ever since Obama won in 08, but I’ve gotta say this…  If Newt is the Republican nom, I’m not sure I’m even going to vote.  It just doesn’t seem important or necessary to vote against him.
  8. Bought a new razor, on account of my face being overly furry.  (I like beards…but seriously, this is out of hand.)  Is it weird that I’m looking forward to trying it out?
  9. Read through book two of “Sandman” in one sitting.  It was really good.  A little brutal in places, but so was the first one…part of the genre.  But this is really an excellent series.  Read one of the four stores in book three, but this book’s stories kind of stand alone and aren’t as epic in nature.  Only read the first one so far, so I can’t say for sure, but I think I liked the first two books a little better (though I could’ve done without the spider stuff in book 2, even though it was done VERY sparingly), where they were more arching stories.  Still though, I’m very glad I’m finally reading this story.
  10. …and also I still have a job.  So that’s cool.

And that’s it for now.  Go out and live.  Turn off the computer and LIVE!!!

————

Just kidding!  Leave your computer on.  Here’s more words…

Current/Recent Listening:

  • Lou Reed – Berlin — Listened to it three times on Tuesday.  It’s lyrically very dark, but musically a masterpiece.  (And dark lyrics aren’t a big deal to me…I actually kind of find that sort of thing reassuring.)  I don’t know why “Men of Good Fortune” isn’t the most covered song in the world, but it probably should be.  And the guitar tones are just amazing.  But yeah…it’s a sad record.  Which is actually kinda cool and adds to the effect of it, coming right on the heels of the super-glam “Transformer” record like it did.
  • Lou Reed – Set the Twilight Reeling — An overlooked 90s record of Lou’s that’s probably the best thing he did in that era.  Even if lyrically all he really did was write about whatever thought he had on the way to the studio that morning.  (The first song is basically summed up as “I’d really like an Egg Cream.  Remember Egg Cream?  Guys?”)  Title track’s genius, and again, such lovely CLEAN guitar tones.
  • Black Francis – Bluefinger — Not to be confused with a popular James Bond villain, this is Frank Black’s return to the Black Francis moniker and it sounds like the Pixies record that never happened.

    …so there’s some stuff to check out, if you’re looking.  Though it’s all best described as an acquired taste.

The third paragraph from the bottom should really go on my letterhead someday…

Before it escapes my brain forever…this is the song-list from church this morning.  A new arrival to the church led worship, and I accompanied him (which kinda means I led too, but he was the guy with the microphone, so I look at it as him leading).  Dude’s name is Jeremy, and over the three times I’ve met him, he seems like a good cat.  Looking forward to playing lots of music with him over time (I hope).  I wasn’t in my best singing-voice today, so I didn’t give myself a microphone.  Ended up singing the last song myself though, due to some quick shuffling of the worship-order that led to the preacher asking me to jump up and close with a song…so I sang the first verse and the chorus twice, because those were the only lyrics I could remember.  🙂

Anyway…  Song-list:

  1. Hope to Carry On
  2. Blessed Be Your Name
  3. How Great Thou Art
  4. By His Wounds/Nothing But the Blood
  5. How Great Thou Art — Reprise (this is the bit I sang)
    T-shirt worn: “Read Vonnegut”

On another note, we did something kind of interesting today.  Allow me to rant for a bit…

In groups at our tables (our churches sits at tables…because pews are too mainstream) we were all asked to share the thing we need to let go and surrender to Jesus—THE thing.  The thing you don’t talk about because it’s too embarrassing or damning.  One of the leaders of the church (name and sin withheld) started us off by telling the whole room his “thing” and it was a big one.  So we were all kind of on the hook at that point—which sounds like a nightmare, I know, but I’m sure if you just said “Nope.  Not telling.” or went with a lesser “thing” no one would’ve cared much.  One of the church leaders (again, name/sin withheld) was sitting in my group and shared his “thing” and followed up by saying that he always feels nervous about confessing stuff like that because of the expectations placed on ministers…that they’re supposed to STOP being human once they enter the pulpit.

That, of course, is bullshit.

One of the main things I like about my church is that we’re a bunch of people.  Screwed up—nay, fucked up—people.  And we all know that.  I have yet to experience any judgement or scolding for my problems—even the ones I probably SHOULD have by now.  And it dawned on me today…that doesn’t happen at our church (so far), not because we’re better or worse Christians, but because looking around the room, I saw a lot of people who’d come from other churches where they HAD been judged.  I think a lot of us who’ve been there a while have stories that include some variant of, “and then the chairman of the elders/the youth minister/the pastor called me and it got ugly.”  Usually over a non-issue…  Usually over just being human enough to admit you’re fucked up and to OWN it, and sometimes be trapped by it.  The Church Universal doesn’t care for that.

I think sometimes well-meaning church leaders and assorted busybodies see someone’s flaws and (often with good intentions) immediately think, “GASP!” (Yes, in my world they SAY “gasp.”)  “What will the sinners think if they see a CHRISTIAN being human?!?”  You can almost hear the prosecutor saying, “The prisoner who now stands before you was caught red-handed showing feelings.  Showing feelings of an almost HUMAN nature.  This will not do!”  And the clergy are among the first to be crucified.  When Jesus would probably…y’know…forgive and try to help.  Sadly not an uncommon story in the Church Universal.  Sadly, not an uncommon story among the members of my church…  But at least now we’re together.  No old man who should’ve stepped down from the lofty perch of Elder years ago is wagging his finger at us…at least not yet.

And I think that’s what the Church Universal is turning into as the previous generation starts to lose its hold on it.  It’s left with us.  The kids who were yelled at for spilling the communion.  The teens who smoked in the church parking lot and had the elders tell the youth minister to ask them to leave.  The former ministers who had other leaders in their church examine their lives and declare them unworthy to serve Christ.  The Bible College graduates who couldn’t find work in a church because their band plays in bars, and they like to keep a couple cold beers in the fridge.  The porn addicts.  The would-be teen moms who saw no way out but to have the abortion.  The guy who stole money from petty-cash to pay his rent, hoping to pay it back someday.  The car thief.  The bad parents.  The drunks.  People who are broken, rejected, and lost…and we wandered around long enough that we found Jesus, who accepted us…so we huddle together, away from the bad old men in suits who told us we could have Jesus, as long as it was THEIR Jesus.

We’re hurt.  We’re abandoned.  Struck down, but not destroyed…  Fucked up, but not condemned.  We’re the Church.

And I’m very grateful for the one I’ve somehow fallen in with.

(It should be made clear that we don’t all swear as much as I do, and at least most of those descriptions were made up and not meant to describe anyone specific…)  🙂

Babbling about the places where I babble…

Well, I’ve done some cleaning up around the blog.  Got the links all organized.  Got my Tweets automatically posting in the margin…  Those of you reading this on a mobile device have no idea what I’m talking about though, because the mobile version of WordPress doesn’t show my margin-stuff.  Seriously…use a real computer.  (I think those of you who have this e-mailed to you can’t see that stuff in the e-mail either, but I’m not sure…)

I’m going to be working extra hard on my Internet “presence” (if any) in the coming weeks.  I’m going to be fixing some stuff with both my own and my band’s websites.  I’m going to be adjusting how I do online music sales.  Though I’ve found a cheaper solution to what I’ve been using, I’m considering removing my music from iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster and just selling MP3s directly through the website.  I might still stay on iTunes, just for the sake of it…but Rhapsody’s definitely gone (because the streaming thing they do actually KEEPS people from buying it, based on my sales stats) and Napster’s been worthless and hasn’t brought me a dime…  But I think I found a cool, easy way to sell MP3s in a form that looks not totally dissimilar to a blog.  Mostly because it’s software that WordPress developed.  Gotta play around with it a little first though.  Also plan to keep the Tumblr page going strong and I’m going to revive the podcast sometime within the next couple of months.  (I know…I’ve said that before…)

I’ve also massively increased my Tweeting volume.  Found a good, free app for my phone that makes it easy to tweet and doesn’t cost me any texts.  So now I’m posting random nonsense and happenings at the speed of Derek.  Facebook’s still a big thing for me though, because it’s where discussions happen…so I think of that as the MAIN micro-blogging I do, and Twitter’s just for pretending the thoughts in my head are worth sharing.  (Spoiler alert — They’re not!)

Dunno why…just in the past week, I’ve found myself with a big bucket of Internet Can-Do!  So I’m striking while the iron’s hot…because we all know I’m going to get lazy again really, really soon.

…oh…and when I’m closer to knowing when the new record (Pop Art Manifesto) will “drop” (as the kids have stopped saying), I’m going to do a complete re-design of the website.  Already designing it, but it’s not going live for a while.  Right now it’s mostly just conceptual sketches–haven’t gotten my website building program back up and running yet, after the Great Laptop Crash of 2011…  But if I can make it look as cool as it does in my head and make it as simple and user-friendly as possible, I think we’ll all be happy.

And I have no idea why I’m writing all this right now.  I’ve just missed blogging about things like this, I guess.  🙂

————

Current Reading (Comic Books):

  • Batman — Been really enjoying it ever since the relaunch.  Thought the “Court of Owls” sounded stupid when I first heard about it, but now I can’t get enough, and I’m very excited to hear that the “Court” will be at the center of a major event, spanning all of the Bat Books this year.
  • Morning Glories — Still one of the best things on stands.  Always weird.  Always intense.  And this issue has some of the best dating advice I’ve ever heard in it. “You need to find some girl who’s not doing you a favor every time she looks in your direction.”
  • Deadman — Shocked that I actually like this character in the New 52.  Never had much use for him, but from Brightest Day onward (and especially in Flashpoint), Deadman’s been a good read.
  • Sandman — Waiting on trades #2 & 3 to arrive in the mail from Barnes and Slowble.  (I call them that because their online shipping sucks.  I ordered them on Sunday.  They were in stock.  They didn’t ship until 10:30 last night and won’t be here until Monday.  Not the first time they’ve been this slow.  Membership card?  Not renewed. — Though I must say, when I order stuff in-store, it’s much faster.)  Can’t wait to dig deeper into the character and let the story unfold deeper and deeper.  Even before he really knew what he was doing (as he himself has admitted), Gaiman was awesome.

“Nice” days in January lead to unseasonal storms. So don’t complain about them to those of us who love Winter, you sunshine loving freaks.

It’s raining heavily in the St. Louis area.  “Severe Thunderstorm” they’re calling it, with a “chance” of producing tornadoes.  On January 17th.  At two in the morning.

Okay look…the “chance” of tornadoes developing is just plain, flat-out fear mongering for ratings on the part of the news channels.  Channel Four in my area is being particularly transparent.  Weather guy actually just said, “The storm has weakened, and the National Weather Service has allowed the warning to expire, but I still feel like this is a storm that I need to continue to watch and track for you.”  Sad.

As many remember, St. Louis had (I think) five tornadoes tear through here on Good Friday of last year.  Remarkably, no one died or was very seriously injured as a result.  Other areas were not near as lucky.  Just prior to that, many lives were lost in Alabama and Georgia in big storms.  Then slightly after the St. Louis tornadoes, the devastation in Joplin took place.  And now the news stations are playing on the fears of the masses every time it drizzles.  Bugs me.  A lot.  This kind of thing is actually why we DON’T take bad weather very seriously around here.  A tornado warning is just a graphic on the screen to most of us, because we know that 999 out of 1000 times, they’re just making too big a deal out of nothing for screen-time.

…and since the thunder is keeping me awake (because I’m sleeping with my window open, since it’s 70-degrees in JANUARY—and we may talk about how much I hate that in a different post later), I thought I’d rant about it for a little bit.

And I’m done now.  Please resume enjoying the Internet.

————

Worship Song List from Pursuit on 1/15/12:

  1. Blessed Assurance
  2. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  3. Softly and Tenderly
  4. Be Thou My Vision
  5. Victory in Jesus
    T-shirt worn: Reverend Horton Heat

Sometimes I wish sandwiches could last forever…that’d be an awesome life…

Suddenly it’s almost a week later…

Been a weird week.  I’ve been going back and forth from not feeling very good to feeling great to feeling okay except my shoulder hurts, to whatever…  (I have no idea what I did to my shoulder, by the way…but I did the HELL out of it.)  I don’t really have anything in particular in mind to write about, so—as you can probably tell by the insane post title—we’re going to do that “random” thing I do…

  1. I’m anxiously awaiting the new Leonard Cohen record.  At some point, Cohen went from being an artist I was aware of but not wild about to being one of my favorite artists.  I think it started in 2009 when I picked up his “Live in London” record, just for kicks.  It’s sublime (to borrow a word he himself uses on that record to describe his background singers).  Got to see him two years ago (or thereabout, might’ve only been one—but it FEELS like two years, anyway), and that remains one of my favorite shows I’ve been to in the 2000’s.  So I’m very excited that he’s doing a new record of NEW material.  Not a lot of people in their 70s do that.  I’m getting the version offered on his website that comes with a limited edition, numbered lithograph.  The lithograph prominently features a (tastefully done) nude lady, so I kinda had to talk myself into it…but like I said, he’s in his 70s.  Not likely to get too many more lithographs from him.  And it really is beautifully done.
  2. I think I’m going to make some chili tomorrow.  Then on Saturday, I’m going to get a burger from Five Guys, pour some of the chili on it, and then eat the burger.  Looking forward to either enjoying an awesome concoction…or going to the hospital.  Either way, probably a blog post in it.
  3. Snowed in St. Louis.  I like when that happens.  MoDot dropped the ball on the road-treatment though (and they basically admitted as much).  We got an inch or less and you’d think there were six inches.  Part of that is just because people in this town freak out when it RAINS, much less snows and they forget how to drive…but also, MoDot completely failed to pre-treat the streets in advance of the storm, so it ended up pretty slippery out there.  Still, I got to work and back with no real problems and was surprised to hear co-workers talking about a much icier ride than I personally experienced.  Guess I was lucky.  Took a long time getting there this morning, but it was better going home.  Plus, I like snow, and I like Winter…and you Summer-loving jerks have gotten enough nice weather to last you for a snow storm or two this season…so let me have my fun!
  4. Finally started reading Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” comic book.  It sort of revolutionized the genre when he first wrote it (between 1989-1996).  That was a little bit before I got serious about reading comics (though I was definitely buying trades in at least the later part of the 90s), and I definitely wasn’t into his sort of stuff at that time or for a few years after…but reading it now, I feel cheated that I didn’t read it when it was new.  I’m almost tempted to only read one issue a week, just to experience some delayed gratification to somewhat mimic the experience people had at the time…but let’s face it.  I’m an American.  Gimmie gimmie gimmie!  Only about three issues in so far, but it’s great.  Can’t believe how long I’ve been missing out.
  5. For those wondering about my kitchen (ie – no one), there’s some trim that has to go up and I need to get a microwave…but it’s very very close to done.  It’s just little stuff now.  I’ll post some pics on the Tumblr page soon.  I’m particularly thrilled with how the backsplash turned out.  The contractor put up way more tile than I was originally planning, but it turned out to be exactly the right thing to do.  And I LOVE the look of the cabinets.  Just need to clean up the other (visible) rooms and get my dishes washed and put IN the cabinets…and we’re good!  🙂
  6. As I’m writing this, I’m getting a headache that’s getting worse.  It’s weird.
  7. Earthquake in Haiti happened two years ago today (err…yesterday, since it’s now after midnight…oops…).  There are estimates that 95% of the rubble from the quake still has not been removed or even addressed, and hundreds of people are still living in tent cities.  (Well…there will probably always be tent cities there…but a lot of those specific people didn’t USED to live in tent cities.)  Still worth Googling some of the benevolent organizations that are ACTIVELY working in Haiti, if you’ve got some free time.  (Or just click over to my friend Shara Lyn’s blog to see what her life there is like and what you can do to help.  You can also leave me a note in the comments and I’d be glad to provide some contact info for organizations there that I know are reliable.)
  8. Been listening to a lot of Lou Reed again/still.  Particularly enjoying “Songs for Drella,” which he wrote with John Cale (formerly of The Velvet Underground) in tribute to Andy Warhol.  Made myself a list of Lou Reed records I’d like to buy…it is…longer than expected…

And that’s all I’m going to write for now…  Headache’s gaining momentum, so I’m thinking I’m going to pop some Ibuprofen and go to bed.

Enjoy your weekend!

My iPod’s a Punk

I put my iPod on “shuffle” at work again.  Here’s what it did.  Sorry!

  1. Accidents Will Happen – Elvis Costello
  2. The Creature Crawling – Frank Black
  3. She is Fading – Vigilantes of Love
  4. Fan Club [Demo] – Cheap Trick
  5. Young Girl – Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
  6. Soul Meeting – Solomon Burke
  7. She’s a Dream – Grace Basement
  8. Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon – Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
  9. Each Day of Sorrow – John Mellencamp
  10. Run Rudolph Run – Reverend Horton Heat
  11. 21 Reasons – Frank Black & the Catholics
  12. Thirty One Today – Aimee Mann
  13. The Pilgrim – Iron Maiden
  14. Far Side Banks of Jordan – Johnny Cash
  15. Graveyard Shift – Uncle Tupelo
  16. Red House – Jimmi Hendrix
  17. A New Machine – Part 2 – Pink Floyd
  18. I Want You – Bob Dylan
  19. Riding on the Wind – Judas Priest
  20. Heartbreak Hotel – Willie Nelson
  21. Every Time I See Your Face – Live
  22. Army Reserve – Pearl Jam
  23. I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
  24. The Door is Always Open – Waylon Jennings
  25. The ‘In’ Crowd – Bryan Ferry
  26. Within You Without You – The Beatles
  27. Sweet November – Derek Brink
  28. Imaginary Man – Ray Davies
  29. Snake Bite Love – Motorhead
  30. Manifesto No. 2 – Shooter Jennings
  31. And I Love Her (German Stereo Version) – The Beatles
  32. Jagged (Live Version) – Old 97s
  33. Someday You’ll Call My Name – Hank Williams Sr.

On a side note…  Seems like Gary Puckett wrote a lot of songs about underage girls.  Never found that creepy until now.