Assorted Clearance Blowout

Here are several small things hardly worth full blog entries, but that nevertheless need to be said:

  • The Under the Influence of Giants show at Vino’s Tuesday was canceled. I am sad.
  • I’m rediscovering Led Zeppelin’s “That’s the Way” and “Tangerine.” I listen to side 2 of Led Zeppelin 3 constantly now. As I listen to more vinyl I find myself becoming attached to sides. Like Side 3 of The Allman Brothers’ Eat a Peach.
  • Bryan and our new band will debut at Sticky Fingerz next Wednesday, in preparation for our gig at Riverfest at 1:30 next Saturday at the Triple S Alarm stage.
  • I was going to post a video from youtube of my friend Elizabeth playing on Conan O’Brien last week but NBC Universal already pulled it down. I swear they must pay somebody to scour youtube looking for NBC stuff. Why can’t I have that job?
  • I haven’t mentioned my new friend Jody McCall. She’s a singer-songwriter guitarist/pianist. She rules.

Also, I added new products to CafePress, Mostly artwork from high school and from this book of Japanese advertising art from 1957 that I got at the Arkansas Art Center’s book sale some years ago:

The Old 97’s in Dallas

Meredith and I went to Dallas last weekend to see her friends The Old 97’s play at the brand new House of Blues that opened this week down there. Here’s a picture of her and her friend Murry, the bass player. He got us tickets and All Access passes so we chilled backstage like rock stars after the show.

We stayed two nights with my friend Allison and Saturday I ran around catching up with Odie and Torrey and going to Ikea where I bought an Expedit shelf. Good times.

Oh, and I bought another guitar. Shhh.

Bowie on Drugs

I’m slowly devouring Cameron Crowe’s archive of interviews, and came across this fine nugget from David Bowie:

CROWE: Did you ever get into acid?

BOWIE: I did three times. It was very colorful, but I thought my own imagination was already richer. Naturally. And more meaningful to me. Acid only gives people a link with their own imagery. I already had it. It was nothing new to me. It just sort of made a lot of fancy colors. Flashy lights and things.

This helps confirm my long-held suspicion that illicit drug use only tends to medicate psychologically injured people (with ailments ranging from simple stress to childhood trauma) and/or to make boring people seem more interesting to themselves. I don’t begrudge anyone their drug of choice; I just hope they know what they’re doing – that they’re not hiding from something they need to deal with, or that they’re not using drugs as a crutch to get them somewhere that they could get to on their own.

If only Nancy Reagan had said “Just say ‘meh’ to drugs.”

Redefining Success

Chris Onstad, creator of Achewood, had this to say in a recent interview:

“I’m not saying I don’t see Achewood as a success, because of course I do. The interesting thing about the way the Internet has shaped up over the last two years or so is that I don’t need to have – although I would like – an enormous Achewood collection in Barnes and Noble to be a success. On the Internet, I can monetize in so many different ways. We have a shop where you can buy books, t-shirts, accessories, paintings, on and on and on. There’s close to 100 different items that we sell. I don’t need to be as big as The Rolling Stones to make a living because ultimately I can support my family.”

I’d extend that message to a lot of other areas of artistic expression – music, books, graphic design, etc. I’ve seen a lot more musicians making a living through online means rather than through conventional outlets than ever before. If you’re a cartoonist, why bother with a syndicate? If you’re a musician, why bother with a record label? If you’re a writer, why bother with a publishing company? To paraphrase Andy Warhol: “in the future everyone will be famous in their own microcosmic niche.”

Just a Thought

I cringe ever so slightly when I hear conservatives Christians referred to as “homophobic.” Just because someone’s personal morality says that something is immoral, that does not necessarily mean that they’re afraid of it. I think pedophiles are immoral, but that doesn’t mean I’m afraid of them. While it’s certainly true that many conservatives are afraid of homosexuality on an individual level, I think the term “homophobic” is nevertheless a label that gets tossed around too easily. Just another tiny, irrelevant reminder from your friendly local language wonk.

Watch Conan O’Brien on Wednesday!

My friend Elizabeth is playing trombone with Patrick Wolf on Conan O’Brien this Wednesday night. I met Elizabeth during my trip to NYC last October and we became fast friends[1]. She gigs regularly as a trombonist for hire around the New York area. I once ate cotton candy off her head.

She’ll be the third person I’ve met who has been on Conan. The first and second were Bryan Beller and Mike Keneally, who played with Dweezil Zappa. Bryan has the distinction (I think) of being the first guy to take a bass solo on late night TV. Here’s the clip of the performance circa 1993, and here’s Bryan’s write-up of the experience. Mike and Bryan came through Little Rock some years ago for a guitar clinic and I took them out for pizza afterward. Here’s a picture of us. Bryan has recently moved to Nashville, which is nice. Hopefully we’ll get to hang out sometime soon.

UPDATE: Elizabeth says she’ll also be playing with a group called St. Vincent, doing several dates on the road opening for the Arcade Fire.

1.) We discovered last February that we had both recently read The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. That’s just spooky.

Thoughts on “Heroes”

One of the marvelous things about NBC’s Heroes is that, like the X-Men, each character has his or her own peculiar power that is somewhat limited in application. So writing a plot must be a bit like playing a game of chess. And like chess, Heroes has two “queens,” Sylar and Peter, who can operate with all the powers of each player (something that thus far separates the characters of Heroes from the X-Men).

All of this made me wonder about chess: why are its pieces so limited in movement, and why is there only one game to be played on the chess board, with one set of “powers” for each piece? There are dozens of games that can be played with a deck of cards, so why not re-assign each chess piece a new power? For example, let’s say that a rook can teleport to any open space analagous to its current position (if it were in the far top right corner, it could teleport any of the other three corners, presuming they were open.). Perhaps knights could only move at full right angles, bishops could only land on every other diagonal tile, etc. Just a thought.

I suppose at some point, the more changes you’d make, the more chess would resemble Dungeons & Dragons, which, in a certain sense, is more complex, creative and strategic a game than chess because the powers of the pieces are constantly in flux.

This is the sort of thing I think about before I fall asleep at night.

Equal and Opposite Reactions

I was about to begin this entry by saying “I am continually fascinated by…” and then I started to wonder how many times I’ve used that phrase on this blog. A quick Google search reveals at least four. I am considering changing the name of this site to “Continual Fascinations.”

Anyway, I dig Newton’s Third Law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It seems to cross over from physics to areas of social interaction, politics and technology in the form of my new favorite axiom, “for everything you gain, you lose something.” Consider a man in a room full of women, wishing to express to a particular woman that she is singularly beautiful. If he does so, the other women would assume by implication that they were not singularly beautiful, and they would despise him for it. Most probably, what he might gain in affection from the one, he would lose from the others.

The same is true for most religions. The statement of “I believe in my particular God” also carries with it the implication that everyone else who does not share your God is thoroughly wrong. Or even nationalistic sentiments, especially “God bless the USA,” which implies that God would not be blessing any of the other countries in the world any time soon.

I suppose this is the nature of praise. To single something out is to separate it from that which it is not. To define is to delineate. As soon as something is somewhere, it is not elsewhere. Which brings us back to physics I suppose.

Wolfman’s Got Nards: Special Edition

This brings me great joy. Via DavisDVD:

“Lionsgate Home Entertainment will release fan-favorite, and one of the most requested titles, The Monster Squad on July 24th. Available on DVD for the first time, the 1980s cult classic arrives as a 2-disc 20th anniversary special edition featuring a newly mastered 16×9 anamorphic transfer, Dolby Digital 5.1 and original 2.0 stereo tracks. Bonus materials will include an audio commentary with writer/director Fred Dekker and “Squad Members” Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert and Ashley Bank, deleted scenes, “MONSTER SQUAD FOREVER!” five-part retrospective featuring new interviews with Dekker, actors Andrew Gower, Ryan Lambert, Ashley Bank, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan and more, “A CONVERSATION WITH FRANKENSTEIN” never-before-seen classic interview with the Monster himself, the original theatrical trailer and TV spot. Retail will be $19.98.”

The Summer of the Third

This may be a record for most sequels in a summer, and certainly for the most Part Threes ever:

Part Twos:
28 Weeks Later
Hostel 2
Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer
Evan Almighty
Daddy Day Camp

Part Threes:
The Bourne Ultimatum
Rush Hour 3
Spiderman 3
Shrek The Third
Ocean’s 13
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

Part Four:
Live Free Or Die Hard

Part Five:
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix