So the blog was pretty quiet for a bit there, huh? Sorry about that. It’s been a rough week (or so?) and days are kind of blending into each other. Been frightfully busy at work (one of those blessing/curse things–glad for the work, could do without the stress…but I choose to err on the side of glad for the work) and in my personal life I’ve got a couple of balls in the air (heh…I said “balls”) and though I’m having fun, I would prefer to be having sleep. And tacos. I always like tacos.
Anyway…now that we’re caught up (we are, right?), let’s do one of those random posts that no one likes very much, except for me and possibly my friend Angela…hi Angela.
- For the record, yes, I am writing this while drinking.
- Spent a lot of tonight chatting with a guy about random pop culture stuff largely from the 80s and 90s. I know we covered Batman, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, The MDA Telethon, Star Trek, Star Wars, the career of Tim Curry, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That was the most fun I’ve had talking about pop culture with someone who isn’t my brother in a very long time.
- Been working hard on the new solo record…but still mainly focusing on Two Hangmen. (I had to double check myself there…been in so many bands with my brother, I forget which one we’re in now). I’m close to having the 2H (that’s what I call it) EP for sale on iTunes (and possibly others—trying to figure out if that costs extra via the new service I’m going to use). It’s a step in the right direction for the band, I think. I mean, it’s a demo, and I’m way more excited about what the future could hold with Dave Knobel playing drums in the band…but the EP is important, and I’m proud of it. First time Dave (Brink) and I have done something that was just US…so it’s important to me. And you’ll all be able to buy it online soon. For like WAY more money than you could buy it for from one of us…but this is what you wanted. Weirdos. (Who I love…so you’ll give me money…)
- I’ve been watching “An Idiot Abroad” every week. Really enjoying it. I’m new-ish to the world of Karl Pilkington, but I totally get why Ricky Gervais keeps forcing him on us. In some ways, Karl is one of the handful of generous things Ricky’s ever done…and I thank him. 🙂
- Also said on Facebook: “Moves Like Jagger” makes me want to swim like Brian Jones.
- I miss Doctor Who when it’s not on. That’s probably not worth writing. But neither is bleeble blobble farkle wobble… Yet here we are.
- Strong possibility that I’ll be going with my brother to see Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper in Indianapolis in July, the day after his 40th birthday. (Dave’s, not Alice’s.) That should be awesome. Just have to clear it with work. Shouldn’t be too big a problem…but send good thoughts my way anyway. I love this sort of thing and I’m already excited about it…so I really hope it’s all going to work out, schedule-wise. I mean, come on… Maiden AND Alice?!?! When the hell does that happen? I’ll tell you… In July. That’s when!
- Bought a record by a guy called “Bro. Stephen” titled “Baptist Girls.” I’m a little pissed off that he called it that, since I’ll have a song called “Church Girls” on my solo record…but otherwise it’s a good record. It’s not as amazing as I’d hoped it would be when I bought it. The review I read of it said it was written by a “troubled soul” and recorded in a converted chicken coop, with intermittent sounds of rain and the crack of a wood-burning stove…and that sounded like my cup of tea. And it KIND OF is… But those ambient sounds aren’t nearly as present as the review suggested and the songs are just FINE, but not amazing. But I like it, and I can see myself listening to it a lot.
- Have I blogged since Whitney Houston died? If not… Did Whitney Houston’s funeral get as much coverage as Princess Diana’s? …and Why? I mean…RIP and all…but seriously… What happened after “I Will Always Love You?” All I remember is a couple of beatings from Bobby Brown and then her funeral. It’s more sad that her life boiled down to THAT than that it ended. (I know, I know… Insensitive… But I’m no worse than the people who didn’t listen to her since 1997 then went out and bought her greatest hits after she died and claimed they were “ALWAYS” fans.)
- I fried up some bacon today. I did last week too. I didn’t realize how difficult it is to make GOOD bacon. I’ve been making the microwave kind since…well since the company I like now used the GREEN boxes instead of the yellow ones. Whenever that was. Last week, I burned the bacon. This week, I did okay on half and under-cooked the other half. But either way, it didn’t make me sick, so I consider it a success. Baby-steps.
- A new Van Halen record is out! And I don’t care!
…and that’s enough. Church tomorrow. Pins and needles until I tell you what t-shirt I was wearing, I’m sure…
I’ve been making it my mission to name every “random” post after a piece of Simpsons dialogue. Ralph Wiggum is a particularly good source for that.
So here’s stuff that happened or is happening or might not happen or whatever. You know the drill by now, probably. Unless you’re new. In which case, prepare for hazing at a later date. I’ma take yo’ pants.
- I went to Vintage Vinyl on Tuesday. It was Valentine’s Day and I hate Valentine’s Day usually, so I stopped in to have some fun looking for music. Tends to lift my spirits a little bit. Bought a copy of the 2009 deluxe-edition release of Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” because I realized I didn’t have a copy and that seemed wrong. Also bought a copy of Mark Lanegan’s new record “Blues Funeral.” Listened to “Kind of Blue” a couple of times and it’s every bit the masterpiece people say it is. “Blues Funeral” was a little jarring at first, because I’m primarily a fan of Lanegan’s “Field Songs” which is pretty laid back. “Blues Funeral” has moments that are very pop-based and rhythms that almost border on techno. Good record, but I need to absorb it further (wait…farther?).
- Also while at Vintage the following (approximate) conversation took place, proving that record stores are the best places in the world.
- Clerk: You enjoying Valentine’s Day?
- Me: Not especially.
- Clerk: Why not? You single?
- Me: Yep.
- Clerk: Well then what’ve you got to worry about? Everybody else is running around stressed. Let THEM hate it. You’re a free man!
- Me: Never thought about it that way…
- Clerk: Yeah! Go home, open up a beer, listen to Miles Davis…
- Me: (Smiling) You just changed my day, sir!
- Bought new comic books today.
- Batman #6 — Really, really good. I was off Batman for a while under the Grant Morrison helm, but Scott Snyder is a genius. I’m actually angry when an issue ends now, because I want to know what happens next. I’m SO glad to have that back!
- Winter Soldier #2 — Not yet read, but I have high hopes for the series. Feel a little let down by the “Captain America” title right now, but Winter Soldier seems promising. I just wish they’d have timed it a little better to explain Bucky’s release from Gulag and then apparent death in Fear Itself…but most of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Hugs!
- Generation Hope #16 — The only X-Men title I’m presently reading, and they’re talking about canceling it. I sure hope it lives on.
- Rough day at work. Nothing specific. Just swamped—which is kind of good in its way, because at least that shows that there’s work to DO, y’know? Hoping for a brighter tomorrow. Almost the weekend, after all. I think the headache I had all day just made it feel more difficult than a lot of it probably was…except for the stuff that was actually that difficult. 🙂
- Oh, as an update, I put in for a few vacation days next month. I’m taking off March 14-16, leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Looking forward to that! It’ll be good to have some time to just do nothing but knock my guitars around for a while.
- I’ve been really tired all week. Like “hope I’m not coming down with something” tired. This morning, for example, my alarm went off and I sat up and turned it off. A couple of minutes later, I realized I had fallen back to sleep…while still sitting up. That can’t be good, can it?
- I can’t even begin to say how much I want a burger right about now. Doesn’t even have to be a good one. I just want a burger. Yet I’m too lazy to drive. Nuts.
- A little disappointed to hear the news that TV’s “House” is coming to an end this year. I still stand beside the show, and I know a bunch of people stopped watching once the original three “ducklings” went their separate ways. (Even though they all came back to varying degrees.) I think it’s a case of a show having too many cast changes in too short a time and people gave up. But in my book, it’s called “House.” So as long as House was on the show, I was cool with it. Plus, Hugh Laurie is a ridiculously talented actor, and I like watching him. Hoping he doesn’t end up going back to the Stewart Little flicks after this. He’s better than that.
- Or a hot dog…I wouldn’t turn down a hot dog. And donuts are pretty great…
- So I carry a briefcase from place to place. Have since pretty much high school. (I wonder, in post-Columbine, post-9/11/01 high schools, do they let the kids have briefcases?) It’s amazing how regularly people ask me what I keep in it. I’ve even had cops stop me more than once while I’ve been walking down the street and ask me to open it. (Each time it’s happened I’ve told them I find it insulting and asked if I can inspect the contents of their patrol car in return. So far, no takers. Shit like THAT is why I don’t give to “Guns and Hoses.”) I don’t know what the mystery is…what do people think I’m going to say? The honest answer is, “papers, notebooks, some stuff for work, a book or two, sometimes my lunch, pens…” Y’know…stuff you’d find in a briefcase. What’s the big deal?
- …who am I kidding? I’m making soup.
See you next time, with more nothing!
Feeling kinda blah and sleepy after a long day of extreme sitting down…and also it’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t much care for that… But I wanted to post the song list from church this weekend, before I forget it forever. So that’s why I’m writing.
It was a good service this week, I think. Good sermon, good conversation…and for the most part, I think the songs went okay. Played my 12-string Takamine. Hadn’t played it in a long time* and I think the strings were still on there from back when I was still Music Ministering… Should’ve changed them. Sounded okay and held up for MOST of the songs, but broke the (root) D string on the second to last verse of the last song. There was a time that would’ve stopped me cold… But I think I must’ve become a better guitarist somewhere along the way, because this time I made a joke about it, people laughed, and I finished the song. So it was cool. Out of tune, but cool.
I jokingly opened the service by asking, “Hey, do you guys remember the year 2006? ‘Cause we’re gonna do some songs I used to do when I was a music minister in 2006.” 🙂
- Let Everything that has Breath
- I Will Praise You (…which, incidentally, is not said anywhere in the lyric of the song, so I’m not sure why that’s the title.)
- How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (As communion song)
- You Alone
- Revive Us Again
T-shirt worn: Kind of a complicated one to describe. It’s one issued by Hank Williams III. Has a picture of Hank Sr. on the front and reads, “Hank Williams Would Agree…” Then on the back it says, “The Opry has Sinned.” It’s about how the Opry refuses to reinstate Hank Sr, but they have a lookalike standing outside the Opry greeting people. Shirt’s meant to raise awareness to that…but mostly it just ends in this lengthy explanation and no one cares by the time you’re done talking. Just like now. Hi there!
I’ll try to write more things later in the week.
* EDIT: Just remembered! I used the Tak on the “Wayne County EP” last year. (That’s still available for ABSOLUTELY FREE on the website, by the way.) But I think the strings legitimately were as old as I think they were.
I was talking to a couple of guys this week about the first item on the following list. I said (proudly) that I had never done that thing. It was no big deal, conversation moved on to other things…but it did start me thinking. What stuff that people talk about as being a big deal have I just plain never done? Then I took that one farther… What stuff have I never done that I have absolutely no desire to do? This is the list I came up with while bored and jotting things down on a post-it note–a convenient list of ten, only seven of which I grasped at straws to come up with. Some of it is stuff I actively plan not to do. Some of it is stuff I wouldn’t MIND doing, but I don’t feel like my life is incomplete without it.
You get it. Why am I still writing about it?
I have never (and don’t really WANT to):
- Gone to a strip club.
I find them demeaning. Not to women…to men.
- Flown (in a plane, helicopter, or otherwise).
Didn’t really want to fly prior to 9/11, and I certainly don’t want or respect the security hassle that exists NOW.
- Swam (swum?) in the ocean.
Things might eat me.
- Heard anything with my left ear.
I’m deaf in my left ear. Not everyone knows that. Have been since birth. In fairness, I am aware that there is sound present in that ear if I’m wearing a pair of headphones or whatever…but I can not identify WHAT I’m hearing.
- Been to the top of the Arch.
Lived in St. Louis for at least most of my life. Never felt the urge to go up that thing.
- Been to a pro-football game.
Specifically a Rams game. Wouldn’t have really come up otherwise. I’m not a football fan, and I don’t see the appeal in going to see a game I don’t really enjoy in the first place. My dad is a PSL owner/season ticket holder for the Rams games. It’s gotten to the point that he doesn’t even bother asking me if I want to go anymore. I just don’t care. At all.
- Seen all of Casablanca in one sitting.
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all of Casablanca, but not in the right order. And at this point, does it really matter if I ever do?
- Been overseas.
Goes hand in hand with the whole “never flown” thing…but for all you know I could’ve gone by boat. (But I wouldn’t, because of the things in the ocean that might eat me.) I really WOULD like to get to Europe some day–particularly the England/Ireland/Scotland cluster. And maybe Germany. Visit the whole family heritage… But seriously…I’m pretty sure I’d be arrested for bitching about airport security long before we departed.
- Fired a gun.
In fact, I purposely asked NOT to when I was a boy scout at camp. As I’ve always said, I don’t own a gun because I’m afraid I’d use it…and also, I just don’t feel the need to have one. It’s not some liberal “I don’t need to hide behind a gun” thing or whatever (though I do tend to agree with that mentality). I just don’t want to be a guy who has a gun sitting around, acting like it will somehow matter that it’s there if anything goes down. It won’t. I’ll shoot myself in the foot and the robber will loot my corpse… And I live near like a dozen grocery stores…no need to go hunting, either.
- Seen the Grand Canyon.
I’m sure it’s a very impressive hole in the ground. I know it’s a spiritual experience for some people, and I don’t mean to belittle that… And I’d even go there, if it came up. But I just get the sense that my reaction would be, “Yep. Big hole in the ground.” Now, if they can light that bastard up with a Laser-Floyd show or put some lava in it or something, maybe I’ll change my tune a little.
…and that’s just SOME of the stuff I haven’t done!
- Deer Tick – Divine Providence
- Johnny Cash – American Series (all of it) on “shuffle”
Haven’t blogged in like a week. Oops. Here’s a random post. Hurrah!
- Played at church today. Didn’t lead, per se…but played. My friend Jeremy was leading and I was backing him up. He was kind enough to thank me for “carrying him,” because that’s the kind of guy he is, but in reality of the five songs we did, I had never played FOUR of them before rehearsal, so if anyone was carrying anyone, it was Jeremy. Plus, he’s a really good singer and knows how to read a room, so he’s much better than he gives himself credit for. Anyway…here’s the list…
- Sweetly Broken
- Forever Reign
- I Surrender All
- You Are God Alone
- Revelation Song
T-shirt worn: U2
- Got a haircut. A friend told me that he’s known me for probably half my life, but he’s never seen it this short. I think it has been though…I just don’t think we saw much of each other during that time.
- Haven’t blogged since before I found out that my friend Jim’s dad passed away (around this time last week). Mr. Manno was a good guy. He had nice things to say to even me, who he had no reason to be nice to. I hadn’t seen him in probably ten years, though I’ve seen Jim a number of times during those years. Mr. Manno was a musician. He played harmonica and played in quartets and clubs in the St. Louis area…and he regularly played with Stan Musial. You read that right. THAT Stan Musial. Apparently he plays harmonica, and my friend’s dad played with him a bunch of times. Dunno if he came by the wake or not though. Anyway…rest in peace, Mr. Manno.
- Got the new Leonard Cohen record (“Old Ideas”) along with a lithograph of a thing Leonard drew. It’s good. Sort of sleepy listen, but that’s to be expected of almost any Cohen record, to some degree. There are some really great lyrics. I would have preferred that *some* of the music be mixed a little bit louder in places, but on what could conceivably be the LAST Leonard Cohen record (he’s in his late 70s), I can understand why they’d want his voice to be the focal point. Overall, I give it a B+. Favorite lyric: “I love to speak with Leonard./He’s a sportsman and a shepherd./He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit.”
- Giants won the Significant Tea-Server, or whatever you call it. Always good to watch the Patriots lose, when you’re from St. Louis. I don’t even watch football (except for the Superior Goblet), but I’ve got enough town pride that even I hate the Patriots.
- Bought a Pignose amplifier. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a guitar amp that’s about the size of a cigar box (in fact, if memory serves, I think the first one was actually made from one) and every guitarist owns one at one point or another. It has been used by such names as Clapton, The Eagles, and Frank Zappa. It was the first truly portable, battery-powered amplifier. I didn’t but one for years and years, but finally broke down and grabbed one. In the last few years, I’ve developed a taste for vintage equipment, and though the one I bought was made fairly recently (probably in the last year), Pignose amps are still constructed exactly the same way they were decades ago, so I liked the idea. Plugged it in and fell in love immediately. This is VERY close to the fuzz-tone I’ve been looking for for a VERY long time. Trying to figure out how to wire it into my Fender amp to have the best of both worlds. Very happy with that purchase. Think it’ll find a nice home on my new record, too…whenever that happens.
- I think I need a vacation. This isn’t a “my job sucks and I hate being there!” post or anything like that. People there are basically nice to me and all… It’s just that the weekends are starting to feel like they go by in an hour, and I could use a few days in a row of sleep and rest. And maybe a small trip somewhere. Not that I can afford that. But a few days to sit around lazily and play my guitar(s)…that sounds great. (Plus, there are some odds and ends to tie up with the kitchen remodel–cleaning mostly–and that’s kind of a big deal.) I might ask if I can take like a Wednesday through Friday in early March or something…maybe leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Or this may just be blog-talk. And blog-talk is basically nonsense.
- Had some of the all-caramel Milky Ways. Really good…but I missed the rest of the Milky Way. Don’t get me wrong, if I ever need a caramel overload, this is where I’m turning, but for the most part, I’m a creature of habit.
- Been falling in love with the TV show “An Idiot Abroad.” Really funny. Probably helps if you know who Karl Pilkington is…but kinda works anyway, I think.
…and that’ll do it for now, I think. I’ll try to blog more this week.