Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What are you shuffling currently?

It has been some time now since the last list was provided by my blog. It’s been even longer since I’ve supplied my faithful few readers with a “Something you might not have known about....” entry. Revisit the 2010 entries if you are unfamiliar with these. You can learn a great deal about cubicles and rhinos. I will hopefully provide a new entry along those lines in the near future, but first – a new list!

The following list is not an “all time favorite” list, but is rather a list based on my current enjoyment levels. Humans are a rather fickle species, so it is entirely possible this list will change drastically in a short time and will be looked back on with embarrassment. I rather doubt the last part since I have no great talent for embarrassment anymore. Without further rambles, here is the latest list for your edification.

The TOP ten bands in no particular order which I am enjoying listening to at the present time but might feel different about come Autumn.

1. The Watson Twins – I know almost nothing about this band, but I picked up their “Talking to You, Talking to Me” record up at the Library and am listening to it several times a week. Very cool vibe and excellent instrumentation.

2. The Decemberists – “the king is dead” is a constant rotator at the present time. I also regularly revisit the other Decemberist albums hanging about in my walkman. I lament Valencia on a monthly basis.

3. She & Him – This is the band featuring Zooey Deschanel. It has a really pleasant throwback sound as though my radio was a time machine. More appliances should provide time travel capabilities.

4. The National – Simply amazing. Always wanting more.

5. Flobots – This is another group retrieved from the library. I like to throw up a hand and rap in the car. I sound amazing when I rap.

6. The Swell Season – I’ve enjoyed them for a while, but recently seeing the movie “Once” revitalized my interest all over again. So this is a music and movie recommendation. Hold on tightly.

7. The Arcade Fire – No. I haven’t completely worn out “The Suburbs” yet, but I am probably getting close to it. Still very happy that a group I like won a Grammy.

8. The Avett Brothers – I am on a mission to somehow make these brothers adopt me. They seem like such wonderful brothers to have.

9. Justin Brinker – Hymns of the Broken. The Debut release from a Dallas area musician. It’s rather good. Nice ambient vibe and thoughtful lyrics. Looking forward to hearing more from him in the future.

10. Duffy – Guilty Pleasure. I’ve been listening to the “endlessly” album frequently in the last couple of months. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you.


Calling all Vacationers to advise.

Low Cost Vacation ideas. Who’s got them? I’ve got nothing but want to have a little cheap family fun this summer.

Here’s what I need –
1. Something that works involving children aged 5 and 7.
2. Something that will not be crazy expensive.
3. Something that does not involve air travel.

What can you advise? My creativity as a human earthling does not extend to vacation planning.

Help me out here, eh?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dreams to Remember

The right place at the right time.

Is it an excuse for our failures or a true reason we never got our chance to shine? Were we really just not in the right place at the right time, or were we just not really very good at what we were doing?

Take music for an example.

I’ve known so many musicians that I thought were great. I thought they had all the necessary talent and ambition to make a name for themselves. My friend Shannon has a magical voice, writes compelling and excellent songs, has gigged incessantly for the last decade, and has a nicely marketable appearance. My only conclusion is that either I overestimate his talent (which I don’t think I do) or I have to conclude that he was never in the right place at the right time for the right people to hear him and buy into what he’s doing.

Or maybe it’s just the plight of the music industry and the only way to make it now is to find your audience on your own.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I am 33 years old these days. For some of you that sounds nice and young and I have my whole life ahead of me. Some of you are ready to issue me a walker.

I had imagined so many things to have accomplished prior to 33 and very few of them have happened. I can blame the “bills to pay” and I can blame the circumstances. I can say I was just never in the right place at the right time.

But maybe it’s more personal than that.

Maybe the problem is that I have lacked the courage to really pursue a better, more meaningful life. Maybe I continue and continue because I’m too lazy to really try something different.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

As it stands, I have a day job that somehow became a career. Unfortunately this seems to be the only thing I have succeeded at over the last 10 years. I have a band that hasn’t played a show in a year and can’t seem to finish it’s CD. I have a novel that is half completed and growing at approximately 1 page every 4 months.

I have been wondering lately if it is too late to start over. All these bills to pay and what not make it feel very hard to do so, but I just don’t know about going through another decade of this.

I still haven’t found any rich relatives that I can count on dying any time soon. Or any time at all. Apparently I have no rich relatives.

Too bad.

Courage friends. Let’s see what new dreams we can come up with to help us get through the dreary perpetual now.

My latest carrot on a stick is becoming a College Professor.

But it’s a really long stick.

And a really expensive carrot.

And so on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are you ready for the Crash?

So I’ve been thinking lately about what it would be like if everything just crashed. I am not referring to some Post Apocalyptic situation where 80% of the population is wiped out by a Super Flu or a Nuclear War. Nothing like that is on my mind. Not entirely anyway. Let’s just say that some unforeseen event occurs which completely wipes out our computer systems worldwide. Everything crashes. Almost everything is handled via computer these days so this would be the biggest worldwide catastrophe since Noah was counting Aardvarks. So everything has broken down. Money is worthless since almost all of it was tied up electronically somewhere and there are no more records. No one can prove who owned what. Electricity is likely out too due to all the power plant failures and explosions following “the event.” How soon running water / indoor plumbing? I think humanity would go primitive pretty fast. The digital world is over and we don’t remember how Analog even works.

So we’re back to basics. The thing I wonder about is this. How would I fare in that kind of world?

I like to think that I possess a certain modicum of survival skills. By this I mean that I know how to set up a tent and apply sunscreen. I’ve seen the Swiss Family Robinson and Castaway. I once fired a pistol and hit a target. I read Lord of the Flies. But how far is that really gonna take me?

I do not think I am a convincing barterer and would probably get ripped off trying to trade for a cow. And really, how much of what I own would really have trade value in that world? And what would I do with the cow anyway? I don’t know how to change that into hamburgers. I suppose I could figure it out.

I certainly couldn’t market my skills learned in the workplace. Insurance will no longer be a hot topic when picking world leaders. For that matter there wouldn’t likely be world leaders, at least not at first. Everything would probably regionalize.

I realize the likelihood of a worldwide computer crash is unlikely. At least until they try to terrify our descendants with talk of Y3K. Start stocking up on water now. It’s much more likely that we’ll just continue to head in two different directions as humans. There will be those who have the technological skills and exposure and those who don’t. Those who do will continue to further isolate themselves with each generation and find ways to manipulate and utilize those who don’t.

Bring on the Morlocks.
But I digress.

My basic question was regarding my potential for survival and maintaining my family’s survival in a post-computer crashed world.

I think I’d make it in the end, assuming I don’t end up being shot defending my books from becoming firewood. Someone has to preserve Kurt Vonnegut for a future without Kindles.

You are welcome Mr. Vonnegut. Rest well.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dust off the moon

Can someone help me with something? Why don’t we go to the moon anymore? When you think about the mass technological advances in the last 50 years, you would think it would be a lot easier now to send someone there and land than it was on those earlier missions. I’m not a big conspiracy theorist, but it makes you wonder about all those rumors that we never landed there in the first place and that all of that footage was faked. I’m pretty sure the issue isn’t financial, considering all the other things we blow our money on. I’m also pretty sure it’s not because of the bad Transformers who live on the moon, but again, I can’t be sure. I know we don’t have to beat those Ruskies into submission anymore, but surely there’s another Sputnik out there to freak out the establishment isn’t there?

So what’s the story here? It’s been a really long time now since a lunar landing. Aren’t we supposed to have colonized the moon by now? Isn’t that what the boomers had planned for us? If nothing else, aren’t we supposed to use it as a landfill for our 80’s big mac containers?

Just something I was wondering about and hoped one my 3 faithful readers might have some insight on the death of the space race.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Well Rounded Failure

So in retrospect, I think I have been soundly defeated by my interest in too many things.

I have always been rather well rounded in my interests. In literature I enjoy everything from Charles Dickens to Stephen King. From American classics to comic books. In music I roll with DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and switch seamlessly to Wilco. From Damien Rice to They Might Be Giants. I love most things in the art world and also cheer wholeheartedly for my local sports teams. I love to watch Audrey Hepburn classics and modern Zombie movies. I play in rock bands and work at an insurance company. I love Bruce Campbell and still try to take myself seriously. I am topically conversant on a wide variety of things, but have no interest in making small talk. I play a variety of instruments, draw fairly well, enjoy writing, listen to sports radio and recently planted a vegetable garden.

I am all over the place, and I think that has been my problem.

I think my interest in so many different things has crippled my potential for success in any one particular area. I will never be a first rate musician, largely because of my inability to commit to any one instrument for an extended period of time. The grass is always greener, and all of that. I am an expert on no particular subject because I’m always moving on to the next shiny subject to catch my mind. I never could commit to a definitive, realistic career path because there are just too many dreams to follow, and in the end I have a job I have no real connection too other than financial, while never fully pursuing any of the many careers I would be interested in. It seems that by the time we know who we are it’s a little too late to do very much about it.

So far the only thing I’ve been particularly successful in is being married, which is one of those things you kind of have to commit to and can’t really be well rounded. Sorry ladies.

So... Just some thoughts. It could be that all my failures are simply because I’m not as smart or talented as I think I am. After all, we are all the stars of our own TV shows, and I’m sure I am no exception to this rule other than the fact that I like starring in your TV shows as well. But I do think there might be something to this idea. Einstein might have been slower with that whole relativity thing if he was busily monitoring who the Browns were taking in the 5th round of the draft this year or was laughing his tail off over Shaun of the Dead.

Not that I’m comparing myself to Einstein, although I do find science very interesting.
Math too.
Oh! And Literature!
And don’t forget History, Geology, and Theology.
I like them all.
A whole lot.