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.”