Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Told you so

My new story, "Owl-Stretching Time," is available over at Saying Stories. Please let me know what you think. And read the others, as well -- I like what I've seen of René's play.

As per usual, with a story comes a music video.

Now playing: Joni Mitchell - Blue
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

...ticktock, ticktock, ticktock...

Of course, my new Saying Story is due before midnight tomorrow. And I have a packed social calendar for tomorrow, and I have work tonight. And I have to sleep sometime.

So why am I talking to you?

Because I can't sit and write one thing for any extended period of time without a break. Consider this my pressure valve. I could play Rock Band some more, but I'm afraid it will difficult to get me to stop. So I post here.

Look for the story soon. If things go as planned, it'll be up tomorrow morning. If not -- well, we'll see.

Okay -- back to it!

Now playing: Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart
via FoxyTunes

Monday, April 28, 2008

If only someone would do this is in the real world

Now playing: Gabriel Mann - Overflow
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, April 27, 2008

List: My favorite TV seasons

Pajiba is doing a series of reviews on their picks for the best 15 seasons of the last twenty years. Far be it from me to stay off a bandwagon: here are my favorites, in no particular order.

1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine -- Season 4
2. Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Season 4
3. Lost -- Season 1*
4. The X-Files -- Season 3
5. Firefly -- its one and only (incomplete) season
6. Arrested Development -- Season 2
7. South Park -- Season 6
8. Seinfeld -- Season 4
9. Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- Season 10
10. Oz -- Season 4
11. Scrubs -- Season 3
12. House -- Season 2
13. The West Wing -- Season 2
14. Veronica Mars -- Season 2
15. Murder One -- Season 1

* The first season of Lost remains the most consistent thus far. But if the fourth season finishes with the same force it's maintained so far, it will take its place here.

Now playing: Radiohead - Gagging Order
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 25, 2008

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze?

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were HereIn 1975, Pink Floyd was exhausted. They had just come off an endless tour supporting their genre-defining masterwork Dark Side of the Moon. With that record, they had finally achieved everything they'd wanted in music -- fame, fortune, critical respect, unparalleled success -- but they felt defeated and lost. They needed to quickly follow up on Dark Side to keep their commercial momentum, but the studio sessions did not progress easily. The three songs they had written on tour were arranged and structured to be recorded simply because they were already done and wouldn't require any effort. But even so, the band went about the process lethargically -- just going through the motions. They just weren't feeling it.

And then Roger Waters -- the Floyd's main songwriter and creative force at the time -- hit upon inspiration. Since the entire band was on this same page emotionally, why not use that as the focus for their music? They ditched two of the already-written songs (though they'd turn up on a later album, Animals) and started fresh, composing new material that reflected their miserable, isolated state of mind. The other finished track -- a mournful elegy called "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," an ode to former bandleader Syd Barrett -- was reworked into a two-part suite that bookended the new material.

Though the process started mired in agony, the resulting album -- aptly titled Wish You Were Here -- is today hailed by all members of the band as their favorite. And it only happened because the Floyd were willing to accept their situation as hopeless, shake themselves out of their inertial stupor and take a fresh look at things. They used their biggest stumbling block and used it as inspiration.

This little bit of musical history is a long way of telling you that my planned Saying Story for this month, "Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles," is not going to happen. It was a great idea when I had it -- it's still a great idea -- but I'm not in the headspace to write it, and haven't been for a while. Just like the Floyd, I kept plugging away at it because it was the only idea I had. But now I've accepted the inevitable, and decided to put aside. (Though I may end up writing it at a later time -- I still like the story.)

Instead, I've followed the example of Roger Waters and turned my interminable funk inside-out. The resulting story -- which I'll probably write this weekend, in one sitting if I can manage it -- is an attempt to work through the shrouded and black mental state that's prevented me from writing in the first place. Turn into the skid, yeah?

Look for the new story, "Owl-Stretching Time," on Wednesday.

Now playing: Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Even when it's approaching torture, I've got my routine

René said I should start posting here regularly again, even if it is just a YouTube video or something. So here you go -- I love recut trailers.

In case you don't get it, it's an homage to another trailer -- my favorite trailer ever, actually.

Now playing: Serj Tankian - Empty Walls
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lost in a nutshell...what?

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Now playing: Mike Doughty - I Hear the Bells
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 04, 2008

Legos + Eddie Izzard = Genius

Now playing: Harvey Danger - Terminal Annex
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Count your blessings

1. Ah, yes: it's baseball season again. And the Astros' pumped-up new starting lineup got things going exactly the way you'd expect them to -- by losing their first two games, scoring all of one run in the process (and that came on a bases-loaded walk). But then last night, they blasted four home runs off two future Hall of Famers, made Trevor Freaking Hoffman blow a save, and won 9-6. So clearly they can hit when they need to. Which is a relief. And I like the way they're playing so far, despite the lack of scoring in the first two games. (And in their defense, they were up against two excellent pitchers in Jake Peavy and Chris Young. But still.) I remain cautiously optimistic, especially because we still don't have our full lineup out there yet (Kaz Matsui is still out, an unfortunate injury), and we also play in the National League Comedy Central, the worst division in all of baseball. It's a total crapshoot.

2. I bought Beth Kinderman's album, All of My Heroes Are Villains, and you should, too. I've talked about her music at length before, but this is a real record -- recorded in a studio with a band and everything. It sounds phenomenal, particularly "Hannibal Lecter" and "Valley." So you should buy it. It came with a free bumper sticker, too. Here's a rundown, in my patented iTunes-screenshot review style:

3. I also bought Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, the new Counting Crows album, and it's probably their best record since Recovering the Satellites over ten years ago. Trust me: the catharsis to be found in singing the last verse of "Come Around" at the top of your lungs cannot be understated. "And one of the million lies she said / Is, 'Everything you love is dead' / But I've seen what she thinks is love, and it leaves me laughing / So we'll still come around."

4. Rock Band is the single greatest multiplayer game ever made. It's also the best music game ever made. It is impossible to describe how fun it really is. Our band, Scott Tenorman Must Die, broke the 500,000 fan threshold last night and earned our spot in the Rock Band Hall of Fame. Our best song? "Epic," of all things. We own these setlists. Except for "Green Grass and High Tides," which we have yet to complete. Not even once. But it's getting there.

5. For serious this time: I've restarted work on my Saying Story for this month, "Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles." It's about vampires. And ghosts. And the Who. What's not to love? You can check my progress with Regina Spektor in the sidebar.

6. Though most of it isn't written down, I have almost the entirety of the next Revolver episode in my head. So as soon as "Miles" is out of the way, that'll be coming.

7. My friends are surprisingly patient and supporting of my problems. (Though one of them, of course, laughs in my face when something bad happens, he sends very considerate e-mails.) Everything fell apart for me at once last month; on Tuesday, I think I made the first step toward building them back up again. And they'll be there when I do. Breathing a sigh of relief, I'm sure -- I'm insufferable when I'm depressed. Thank you, guys.

That list was longer than I thought it would be. But then, that's the point in counting them, isn't it?

Now playing: Beth Kinderman - Princess
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April's fool

Have you ever done something stupid? No, I mean stupid.

Like: before you did it, you were thinking, "This is stupid." While it was happening, you were thinking, "This is stupid." And after it was over, as you stewed in the aftermath, you thought, "That was stupid."

And I mean a real thing. With consequences. Lasting ones. Bad ones. All of which you saw coming.

But you did it anyway. Because you knew -- well, you thought -- that no matter how badly it hurt while it was happening, no matter how much it scarred in the aftermath, you'd be better for it in the long run. Your future self -- your far future self -- would benefit from your pain. You thought of Pink Floyd's The Wall -- specifically the end, when Pink's wall is torn down, accompanied by a primal scream of anguish. It hurt him so badly, but, in the end, it was what he needed. You thought of forest fires, of volcanic eruptions, and how the wildlife eventually returns to normal. Of the darkness that must come before the dawn.

So you did your stupid thing anyway. And you hated yourself. But you put your head down and forced your way through it. Because it was what you needed to do.

Have you ever done that?


Um. Me neither.

Just a hypothetical question.

On an unrelated note, here is a song by Tool. I place this here for someone who will most likely not see it. And who, ironically, does not have an "h" in their name. At least, not that I know of.

What's coming through is alive.
What's holding up is a mirror.
But what's singing songs is a snake
Looking to turn this piss to wine.
They're both totally void of hate,
But killing me just the same.

The snake behind me hisses
What my damage could have been.
My blood before me begs me
Open up my heart again.
And I feel this coming over like a storm again now...considerately.

Venomous voice tempts me,
Drains me, bleeds me,
Leaves me cracked and empty.
Drags me down like some sweet gravity.

The snake behind me hisses
What my damage could have been.
My blood before me begs me
Open up my heart again.

And I feel this coming over like a storm again now.
And I feel this coming over like a storm again now.

I am too connected to you to slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you touching me, changing me,
And considerately killing me.

Without the skin,
Beneath the storm,
Under these tears
The walls came down.

And the snake is drowned and
As I look in his eyes,
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of those times.

I could have cried then.
I should have cried then.

And as the walls come down and
As I look in your eyes
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of the times
I have died
and will die.
It's all right.
I don't mind.
I don't mind.
I don't mind.

I am too connected to you to slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you touching me, changing me.

And considerately killing me.

Normal posts will resume tomorrow, I promise. I'll talk about baseball. Go 'stros!

Now playing: Tool - H.
via FoxyTunes