Cerebral Flotsam And Jetsam - My Mental Maelstrom

22
Jan
2021
1:11

Dream Theatre 60

In this dream I was picking up my (dream) girlfriend (ex in reality) for some fancy date or function. I was dressed up and she approached the car in a sexy, form-fitting red dress. I was breathless and it was almost like life was in slow motion. Then as she arrived at the car, I realized I had not cleared the passenger seat of all the clutter and trash there. I did my best to quickly clear it, hoping there were no crumbs or anything that would get on her dress. Lucky for me, she didn’t seem to mind and scooted over really close, threw her arms around me and initiated some heavy making out.

Sadly the whole cluttered front seat part is only bit representative of reality.

29
Dec
2020
22:42

Scampi’s Organ Palace

There was a cool place in Austin called Scampi’s Organ Palace where my late Aunt would take my cousin and I when I was visiting as a kid. They were two of the most important people in my life growing up so those memories are very special. At one point a couple of years ago, I went in search of information on the internet. I couldn’t find much but since I was bothering to research, I figured I’d make a Wiki page. After a year or so, I Wiki informed me the page would be deleted as the subject was not notable enough or something along those lines. I didn’t think to save it so I thought it was just gone. Then last night I got the idea to use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find a cached version of it. Luckily it had been cached a total of one time, so I figured I’d immortalize it here as well for posterity.

Scampi’s Organ Palace

Scampi’s Organ Palace was a locally owned restaurant in Austin, Texas, from 1977-1985. Known primarily as a pizzaria, the restaurant also served salads and sandwiches as well as ice cream. For entertainment, Scampi’s featured magicians, jugglers, comedians, flashing lights, balloons, bubbles, a cymbal monkey named Scampi, and its centerpiece: a huge Mighty Morton theatre pipe organ.

The organ had a movie screen above it which primarily showed old silent movies and black-and-white films including those of Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, and Woody Woodpecker. Scampi’s also showed the first two films from the original Star Wars trilogy: Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

A second-level stage to the left of the organ showcased performing magicians. A staircase to the right of the organ led to additional seating. The restaurant was carpeted in red.

History

Scampi’s was begun as Scampi’s Old Organ Grinder and Pizza Emporium in 1977 by original owner, Dayle M. Harris. An Eastern Airlines flight captain, Harris had long been fascinated by antique pipe organs.

Scampi’s was located in north Austin at the intersection of North Lamar Boulevard and Koenig Lane with a current physical address of 5555 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78751 – now a Goodwill thrift store. Unlike Goodwill which faces North Lamar, the eatery’s entrance faced Koenig Lane. The restaurant received much of its business from the Texas Department of Public Safety located across the street as well as from students of McCallum High School.

After a particularly awful winter combined with the rise of Showbiz Pizza and Chuck E Cheese (which would eventually acquire Showbiz), Scampi’s had to close its doors in February 1985. In the words of last co-owner, Bobby Cordell, “Our last night was on a New Year’s Eve with a pizza and a pitcher of beer.”

The Organ

Scampi’s organ was a Robert Morton Mighty Morton theatre pipe organ built in 1925 for Loews Theater in CantonOhio. The organ accompanied silent movies of the era from 1927-1932.

Weighing over 8 tons, the Mighty Morton had over 1,000 pipes, some as high as 16 feet. It also had a whole battery of percussion instruments attached to it from chimes to drums as well as various other instruments, lights, gadgets, and gimmicks. A 10-horsepower motor powered the bellows to create the air pressure for the organ.

After Scampi’s closed, the organ was purchased by a pipe organ society in Florida.

References

  1. Trademark information
  2. Archived news story from the Roy Faires Collection

Sadly, 2 of the other sources I originally obtained some of this information from are no longer online.

50 year old me
28
Dec
2020
0:00

Semi-Centennial Celebration

50 year old me
50 Year Old Me

LEVEL UP! LEVEL 50!

This is a 50 year old man. Not bad for half a century if I do say so myself. Even if I haven’t had a haircut since just before the lockdown started in March, my beard is more gray than not, my forehead has lines from my extreme expressiveness, and my eyes have some well-earned crow’s feet and a little more weight of living and experience behind them. Why do I make this statement today? Honestly, because it makes me very uncomfortable so I’m owning it. Facing the discomfort. It baffles me as I certainly don’t feel 50. I’ve always said that from about the age of 12 I felt about 25. Truth be told, it’s probably closer to 30 now. Judging by the roles I get and comments from people who learn my age, I apparently don’t look 50. The gray beard probably adds 10 years but at the same time, I’ve grown to like its character when I choose to have it.

Continue reading…
08
Dec
2020
17:06

Michael Against The Machine

I previously released a silly video in which I sang the outro of “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against the Machine in the style of Michael McDonald. I had a non-zero number of people on the internet say they wanted the full cover. At first, I thought that maybe they think they want the full cover but that in reality it wouldn’t be as funny or hold up for that long. I was wrong.

While I initially had my doubts whether a full cover could live up to a silly 30 second piece of absurdity illustrating what it might sound like if Michael McDonald and Rage Against The Machine were accidentally fused in a transporter accident, as I would be lying in bed trying to sleep, ideas would start coming to me. More and more ideas. Until I knew I had to be the conduit through which this alternate dimension cover came into creation.

I present to you, all 4 minutes and 16 seconds of this glorious abomination. In case you aren’t familiar with the original song, PROFANITY WARNING during the outro. It’s also way more enjoyable if you are familiar with the original.

"Eternal" Cover Art
23
Nov
2020
16:13

New Song Alert: “Eternal”

NEW SONG! WOOOOO!Here it is! The new collaboration with Andrew L. Hunter, one of my best friends for almost 40 years. We’ve come a long way since the days of spending the night at my house and making up silly songs on a cassette recorder. As usual, Andy sent me the synth tracks, lyrics, and a melody and let me take it from there. To my ears, this is what happens if you you put Genesis, Duran Duran, David Bowie, and The Police in a blender and add a dash of that personal seasoning and a melange of other influences. Available on Bandcamp, Reverbnation, and soon coming to all major streaming and purchase platforms.

"Eternal" Cover Art
“Eternal” Cover Art by Andrew Hunter
12
Nov
2020
20:59

Ologies Podcast “Behind The Music”

Nick Thorburn of the band Islands composed the theme song for the wonderful “Ologies” podcast. Here we see some behind the scenes footage of one of the hottest studio musicians that Nick brought in to record.

Nick eventually opted to go instrumental after a falling out with his lyricist. Here’s rare footage of the original vocal track.

12
Nov
2020
20:55

Guitar Hero

Sometimes you get a really silly idea. Then you go to execute that idea and it’s way harder and more involved than you thought, but you’re committed and make it happen. I commit to my absurdity. Music written by Foreigner (Jukebox Hero).

12
Nov
2020
20:52

The Solo From “Wait” By White Lion

I feel like things that I learned during my younger years are more “sticky.” Songs I haven’t played in 30 years will come right back while on the other hand stuff I’ve learned more recently I have to refresh far more often if I want to remember it.

From the moment this song came out, I loved this band, the guitarist, Vito Bratta, and specifically this song and this solo. It was another major landmark in my guitar journey. Much to my surprise, when I decided on a whim to play this tonight, it took no refreshing. A few passes through it and it was right there, still permanently stored in the mental archives.