Cerebral Flotsam And Jetsam - My Mental Maelstrom


Baby Steps

After my last whiny spell, some small amount of progress has been made. I’ve asked around about some open mic nights here in Austin, and started rebuilding my solo acoustic song list.
Then today I saw a casting call for someone to play Tom Cruise in a short spoof about him and Katie to be aired on a local access comedy/improv show. I initially deleted it. Then I remembered over the years how many times people told me I looked like, or in some way reminded them of Tom Cruise (I lost count after about 15). I figured, what the hell, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I may not be a dead ringer but if it’s a comedy caricature, then I could probably at least do something interesting with it.
Later as we were about to meet some friends for our monthly writer’s meeting, I got the call that the people from the show wanted to meet me to scope me out. I had to leave the get together with our friends to go meet them. I grabbed my Tom Cruise sunglasses, and prepared for the audition. I watched Ben Stiller’s hilarious turn as Tom Cruise’s stunt double from the MTV VMA show. On the way to the audition (I was just meeting them at a coffee house) I started improving as Tom Cruise in the car, and I gotta say, I came up with some good stuff. I may have to do my own Tom Cruise skit just to use it!
When I met them, we chatted for a bit and then they handed me the pages. I was hoping for a chance to improv and riff a little, but that was alright. I looked them over, they summarized the scene, and we started to read through it. I launched into my best over-enthusiastic Tom Cruise and read the first set of lines. That was it. They decided that I was the man for the part. Now I don’t know how many other people they saw, if any, but it was still cool to get the part after reading one set of lines.
So tomorrow I get to be crazy Tom Cruise in a skit which will air on a local show. And to think, I had deleted this email, and only retrieved it because of all the crazy people on crack over the years who have told me that I reminded them of Tom Cruise. Crazy, man. Like Tom Cruise.


Listless in Seatt…err…Austin

MIA: One Joie de Vivre. Yesterday I did nothing. I’ve been working twelve hour days, and some weekend time for the last several weeks. Doing not much more than working and sleeping, usually having time to watch one TV show with Jess before bed. Initially we thought we were going to have to work Saturday and Sunday so when we got Sunday off, I quite looked forward to just shutting off and becoming a human vegetable for a day which is pretty much what I did.

Continue reading…


“The Beatles” by Bob Spitz

I read a quote somewhere that the latest Beatles biography, “The Beatles: The Biography” by Bob Spitz should now be considered the definitive Beatles Biography. I could not agree more. This book is an absolute must for any Beatles fan.
Much of what is presented in this book has been presented many times before, and in fact the “notes” section, in addition to crediting every source of every quote, does a great job at summarizing how determining the accuracy of much of the Beatles canon is next to impossible. However the presentation is exactly what makes this book so great. It is not presented as an encyclopedia of facts. Information is conveyed in such a way that by the time you are done reading you will feel like you actually lived through it; as if you just took an actual journey through time from before any of the Beatles were born through the heights of their historic unmatched fame, to their sad deterioration and slow crumbling demise. It’s all told in a very narrative and engaging fashion.
It’s an absolutely amazing journey with an emotional resonance that can’t be described. This is one of those few books that is not simply just a good read, it is an experience. There are many people who are referred to as “The Fifth Beatle”, but by the end of this book, you’ll feel as if The Fifth Beatle was you.


Ha! I’ve been Dugg!

So my latest entry on the Austin Metroblog has apparently been dugg. If you don’t really know what that means, don’t feel bad. Mostly it means some people have thought the story was worth sharing and while others post their witty, insightful, literate criticism of the piece. The troll comments are so amusing, I’d like to take them and use them as quotes like books and movies do.
“d00dzorz,. that;z u3er 1aMe!” – Trolly McTrollkin, New York Times
“This guysis like suzh a nerdburger that he should like totally marry the comic book guy from teh Simsons” – Noah Socialskills, Mom’s basement
You have to expect that kind of thing any time anything is put on the Internet for mass consumption. All in all, I find it pretty cool that someone “dugg” me and many people seem to have appreciated the post.


Blame the spammers

Due to the fact that the number of unauthenticated commenters on my blog is far outweighed by the number of spam comments that attempt to get posted (and luckily trapped for moderation so I can delete them), I have now turned off comments for unauthenticated users. What this means is that you can not comment on any entries unless you create an account and sign in to leave a comment. I promise it’s painless and all your privacy is totally respected, protected and all that. Most people who comment here are already signed up anyway, so most of you won’t be affected. So to those who have not signed up for authentication with Typekey (you can sign up directly form the comments page), be it out of laziness, or paranoia of some worldwide internet conspiracy to steal your private data for Big Brother, I apologize. I am tired of moderating spam comments, and they are far more numerous than the comments I receive.
I may allow unregistered commenters to comment again. I can’t decide. I really love not dealing with spam, but looking back through my old comments I started thinking it might suck to exclude those people.


Creativity Enema

For a long time I’ve felt in a creative rut. Basically, since I started this job over a year ago, I’ve done just slightly above nothing in my creative pursuits. Stopped going on auditions, hell, don’t even have any headshots, haven’t done anything musically, not much updating here, etc. One of the reasons I quit playing World of Warcraft was that I felt I could use that time more productively (even though we never had time to play that much anyway).
Lately I feel like I’ve made at least some progress in this field. I wrote another short film for this year’s Kinetoscopic Wonderment Festival, but unfortunately found out that they had moved the deadline up by several months from the past two years, and thus found it was impossible to enter this year. My reign of winning has come to an end there. I still plan to make my short film for posterity and possible entry next year though. I’ve also been making at least some progress in paying more guitar at home and honing my craft. Not as much as I’d like, but some. The new tranquil green cave in our condo is a warm and creative place.
I also acquired a few new pieces of software for my home studio which I’ve been loving and learning to use. It has inspired me to do something I’ve thought about for a long time. I’m doing my own version of “Tomorrow Never Knows” off of the Beatles’ album “Revolver”. The interesting thing about it is that I’m recreating all the parts (except Drums, vocals, and tambourine) with my super bitchin Variax Digital modeling guitar, and Pod XT Digital modeling amp/effects unit. I find this song not only a brilliant composition, but a brilliant feat of production. The entire song drones on one chord, with various strange little tape loops being faded in and out throughout the song. I’ve read stories about how when the album was recorded, due to technology limitations at the time (they only had 4 track machines), Gearge Martin had various interns standing all over Abbey Road studios, some in closets, holding tape loops on spinning on pencils as he faded them in and out, practically “playing” these loops as instruments. I’ve had a blast recreating these strange sounds on guitar. It’s coming along greatly.
On another front, inspired by Annika, I have become a Metroblogger for Austin. At first I was scared to sign up as they want people who can post more than 3 times a week. That seemed like a lot of pressure, but what what better way to get me writing creatively more often than an actual obligation? Supposedly I’m in the process of being added to the system over there and then the panic can begin.
Of course lately I’ve really been wanting to play WoW again…


The Evil Even Cthulhu Fears

Thanks to someone’s blog (or perhaps I should be cursing them), I saw something that had me wide eyed and slack jawed in its horror. Proof that Disney is a soul devouring machine of pure condensed powdered evil. I found myself appalled, and yet I couldn’t stop listening. As each consecutive clip played, I wished I could burn my own ears with a red hot poker until they were solid masses of flesh which could not be further violated. Instead I bolstered myself, summoning my strength of inner will to shake off the effects of this travesty and instead face this dark material; look this beast in the face to gain what knowledge and understanding I could without being cowed. I faced it and came out stronger, more knowledgeable of this insipid horror like some Lovecraftian hero who must be able to face monsters and demons and look them in the face to know their world and learn how to defeat them. Mark Mothersbaugh, why have you forsaken us?


Too much good TV!

There’s a subject line I never thought I’d type. For a long time there wasn’t much on TV that we watched. Usually just a handful of programs. This last season has been one of our busiest. Many of the shows we started watching to see if they would be any good, ended up canceled (Nightstalker, Threshold) while we still have many more that we are watching. I would say that a very large chunk of shows that we now watch were discovered in hindsight. We let everyone else suffer through the crap and wait to see what seems to consistently rise to the top. Eventually there are always certain shows that we can’t seem to escape. Everywhere we turn, we hear or read constant praise. When this happens and we finally decide that we must check out this show that everyone’s raving about, we will usually download or Netflix all the previous episodes, get caught up and then start recording new episodes as they air. This is how 24, Lost, House, Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica and possibly a few other shows came to be in our regular watching schedule (if you want to get technical, I think we actually caught up with BSG when they re-ran all of season 1 before season 2 began).
Our latest addition is Arrested Development. As with most of the other shows, I had been subtly inundated like Chinese water torture with references to how great this show was. I was always reading about how, despite its greatness, it was on the verge of cancellation because television can’t possibly let something good and original survive. Only the most cookie-cutter, bland, lowest denominator pablum was fit for our airwaves! When I heard it was canceled, I decided to finally give in and check it out because now I knew there was a finite quantity, and therefore I wouldn’t be investing myself into another indefinite television relationship (the small irony of that being now that I’m watching it, there are rumors that some other networks may pick it up).
I gotta say, I think it’s worthy of every nugget of praise that has ever been lodged into my brain. Very original and hilarious.
A few other grains of sand which have settled in my oyster hoping to irritate their way to making pearls are Scrubs and Deadwood.
With Deadwood, we don’t get HBO, so we have no choice but to download or wait for DVDs. Catching up and watching live isn’t really an option. We’ll see if Scrubs is persistent enough to break my resolve. Usually, once I’m aware of a program’s presence in my psyche, it’s only a matter of time before I give it a go. We shall see.


Arr! Pirate Booty!

Many of you have probably heard of “collectible card games”, the most popular one being “Magic: The Gathering.” After Magic became such a huge hit, everyone on the face of the planet was mandated to put out their own CCG, 99% of which quickly faded into obscurity. Well I’ve just stumbled upon something even cooler. A “Constructible Strategy Game” and even better yet, it’s all about pirates! I present to you “Pirates”. Each pack contains everything you need to play: cards that you punch pieces out of to construct your 3-D pirate ships, a punch out island, treasure tokens, crew member tokens, and instructions. It’s a simple little game that looks like it could be a lot of fun. It’s similar to the “CCG’s in that there’s a whole list of ships and crew members which you try and “collect” ranging in rarity. Their website has a lot of great information including a flash animated set of instructions and game examples. We just bought a couple of packs and will probably end up with one or two packs from each expansion. Check it out!