So, David Byrne was in Cleveland – and how'd that go?
Well, aside from a local cabbie trying to scam him out of a hundred bucks (and how funny is this: Byrne posts the guy's phone number on his blog) and a heartbreaking outsider's take on the crumbling chunks of Euclid Avenue, there was this:
office. Tim wrote: “I've got to tell you about a special Cleveland
treasure, Glenn Schwartz. Glenn started the James Gang in the 60s, then
moved to California and was in the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. He
flipped out soon afterward and was in religious communities. He's had a
rough life and is tortured and crazy…Now Glenn is 67 years old and
plays in a blues trio for free late every Thursday at a small bar
called Major Hooples. There are typically 20-30 people there and he is
jaw-droppingly amazing to see. His playing is like electric bolts
straight from his psyche. He jumps off his amp and plays guitar with
his teeth. And he often preaches fire and brimstone between songs. It's
something very special and you won't see anything like it except on
Thursdays in Cleveland.”
So David GOES to Hoopples – that's how it's spelled on the side of the building, and yes, I drive right past this place every damn day, down by the unpretty parts of the Cuyahoga – and who knew something like this could happen inside You've just got to watch the video to believe it.
(Thanks to George at Brewed Fresh Daily for the heads-up on this one.)
Harlan Ellison is a ridiculously talented fuck of a genius and while on the one hand it would be cool to sit down with him and talk writing and science fiction and pop culture, I have to admit I don't think I'd have the stones to pull it off and still keep a sense of humor about it, so I'm glad there's someone like Jonathan Callan over at Comic Book Resources to do it. (Wow, that was a long sentence. Oh, and thanks to Brendoman at the Propeller Geeks group for propping the interview.) Excerpt:
wouldn’t care so much, wouldn’t fulminate so passionately. (And I would
love for some of you punks out there to stop misusing the word “rant”
for every jeremiad, exposition, panegyric, gardyloo, plea and pleading,
expostulation, screed and/or sermon you’re too fucking slovenly stupid
and/or lazy to designate properly.) N.B.: this interview is not, repeat
not, a rant.
This is a long, two-part interview – Part one is here – but I swear it's worth it, and if it's not, well, um…here's a BSG intro spoof for your trouble:
Check out this spiffy school folder I got from a friend yesterday:
It's officially the second-coolest school folder I own, next to this one:
Yep, that's actually mine from second grade: It's split in two and the edges are worn soft as old socks, but the 39-cent price tag from a long-gone Finney's Drug store is still inside, and it still takes me back to Miss Hogan's room in the Hartville Elementary basement hallway.
Today’s Funky Winkerbean hits awfully close to home:
I had that happen once with "Crossing Decembers." Nice punch in the gut.
What else made the day great? (Besides all the stuff I already wrote on Field’s Edge, I mean.) WeIl, I sold a copy of “Collect All 21”
to a fantastically supportive former co-worker from the local newspaper up there, where I held my first full-time reporting job; I got to see several OSWCCers, which is always worth any road trip; and in the artists’ room I touched base with Sean Forney, who sat
next to me at the Harper Con in Columbus back in August.
When I got home, Jenn was working late, so I settled in for an evening of “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” which I’d never seen. The DVR had also just finished up recording the first two “Terminator” movies, too, so I was SET.
Heck, it all pre-emptively made up for Sunday, when I had to replace both headlights on my car following the guidelines in a faulty instruction manual – honestly, when you say “remove the bolts from these brackets,” and you illustrate only the TWO obvious brackets on top without noting, “Hey, by the way, there’s a third bracket hidden halfway down the engine compartment that you can hardly reach with a socket wrench,” that’s kind of an Epic Fail, tech writer dudes. Of course, if I hadn’t had to spend so much time replacing the damn headlights, I might not have noticed that my freaking oil fill cap was gone. Seriously? How the hell does that thing even fall off, much less without making a ridiculous amount of attention-getting clatter along the way?
Oh, Dear Gawd this is GREAT: Glen Mullaly, who encouraged me with some kind words soon after I finished "Collect All 21," has dug up his personal tale of a truly horrific Star Wars-themed promotion at a local car dealership. No-show droids (probably for the best), a Bigfoot/ape/wookieething, and arguably the worstworstWORST Stormtrooper. Costume. Evar.
I’m psyched about Screaming Tiki this weekend: Adam and I will be doing some write-ups and photos for Field’s Edge, I’ll be manning the OSWCC booth for awhile, and a friend of mine has generously offered to stock some copies of "Collect All 21" at his astounding vintage Star Wars dealer’s table.
Should be fun!
We had a fantastic weekend in the woods at Salt Fork State Park – first time I’d been there in almost 20 years, and Jenn & Kelsey’s first real camping experience ever.
Left work early Friday, packed the Family Truckster to the limit and hit the road not long after my daughter & her friend got home from school. We had a great campsite, pitching the tent just inside the woods, facing east atop a steep hill with the lake below to the west.
(That photo’s from Saturday morning: By the time we got the tent set up and the fire going on Friday night, it was dark. We had our dinner of Nathan’s hot dogs, baked beans and Pringles by the light of two battery lamps on the picnic table.)
Since Jenn wanted to fully experience the outdoors, we pulled back the rain flap on our half the tent when we went to bed. It made for a really freaking chilly night.
Sometime in the dark wee hours, we heard rustling nearby and shone the flashlight outside to catch a raccoon trundling around and climbing on our picnic table looking for scraps. (Sorry, dude: We cleaned up well and stashed leftovers in the car.)
Around 7 a.m., I got up I started the fire for coffee. Over breakfast, we saw a big Pileated Woodpecker in a tree behind our tent. I took the girls exploring down the hill to the edge of the lake and found a curled bottle shard worn smooth at the edges by the water and sand.
Late morning, the four of us drove over to the Hosak’s Cave trail and hiked into the ravine and its big sandstone overhang, then hit the Stone House Nature Trail for a bit before going back to the campsite for lunch.
Spent the afternoon chilling out, and I took the kids around the Beach Point Trail midafternoon. (Very warm for October: I think it hit 80 on Saturday.)
Before dinner, Jenn & I did the Morgan’s Knob Loop, which wound through some stunning forests and a rocky, shadowed gully, then down near the lake. The picture up at the top is from this hike. On the way back to the campsite, we saw three deer grazing at the roadside.
After dinner, when it got dark, we were readying for s’mores when a skunk wandered into camp. The girls were stranded in the tent; Jenn & I stayed out by the fire ring with a flashlight on the critter, and Jenn came pretty close to deciding her newfound love for camping was nothing but a passing infatuation and she did not like this at all. But the skunk tottered off after about 15 or 20 minutes without incident and Jenn came back around to enjoying herself. (To quote Clark Griswold, "It’s all part of the experience, honey.")
Sunday morning, the kids slept in while Jenn & I had coffee by the fire again, and a buck came within about 20 yards of us, watching us silently from the woods.
I posted several other photos from the weekend on my Flickr photostream.
Another short hike around our area in the morning, and then we packed up and had an early lunch before leaving around noon, stopping on our way out of the park to let a trio of wild turkeys cross the road.
I admit, I’m jealous of Adam because he’s enjoying this third season of "Heroes," – and I’m not. I really wanted to, believe me, although I wasn’t nearly as wound up for this season’s premiere as I was last fall, since the show’s sophomore year was awfully weak.
But the premiere just left me kind of nonplussed. Another time-travel catastrophe that has to be averted. Suresh going all "The Fly." Niki-not-Niki. Honestly, the only part that really appealed to me was the idea of hunting down the four escaped bad-asses from Level 5: Pure good-guys-vs.-bad-guys stuff. It wasn’t enough to keep me tuning in, though, and the weird thing is, I really felt like I’d either seen everything on the show before or they were throwing too many new characters and twists into the mix just for the sake of keeping me off balance. (And no, I don’t think those are contradictory statements.)
Maybe the big thing is that I think they’ve all but robbed the show of any emotional weight, because for all intents and purposes, ain’t nobody gonna freaking die for real. Yes, I know this is a well-worn comic-book staple. Part of the playground equipment. I get it. But they’ve stopped even pretending. Remember the end of Season One, when the Petrelli bros. made their ultimate sacrifice and flew up into space to die in an atomic fireball? Excellent move. Then they bring them right at the very beginning of season two. All downhill from there.
That episode Adam mentions, "Company Man?" Yes, it’s still the Best. "Heroes." Ever. Why? Fewest characters in the episode; single storyline; and also the biggest sacrificial moment anyone’s ever made on the show. When HRG tells the Haitian to take his memories of Claire, that’s freaking powerful no-looking-back (literally) stuff, because dammit, it stuck and it mattered.
Honestly, the only non-sitcom I’m watching now is "Fringe," and that hasn’t lived up to the hype either, but my daughter likes it, so it’s something we can share (and she’s in middle school now, so I’ll take those moments where I can find them, thanks very much) and it’ll give me an excuse to introduce her to the "X-Files" pretty soon.
How long until "Lost" and "Battlestar" come back?
My wife and I have not traded mix tapes in years, so when she told me recently that she’d burned a CD and left it in the computer for me, I was caught off guard.
The next day, my daughter and I had an off-putting morning while she was getting ready for school. Something about bringing in a dollar not to have to do a bunch of extra push-ups in gym class. I could have been totally misundertanding the situation, but I didn’t feel like I was getting the whole story and this got her even more worked up, and then I had to remind myself that she’s a sixth-grade girl and Jenn has already warned me that there will be days like this for no apparent reason.
I get in my car, try to listen to the news for about two minutes, but can’t because the political theater is filling me with rage and sadness and I’m already off-kilter anyway.
I put in Jenn’s CD. I’ll admit that I’d only glanced at the list the night before – enough to notice a couple songs that she knows I like, and a couple that are our goofy "it’s just us in the car, so you take the drums and keyboards and I’ll handle air guitar and we’ll share vocals" rockers. By the next morning, though, I’d pretty well forgotten all but one or two of the songs, so I really had little idea what to expect.
And – BOOM. Turns out Jenn is still the Iron Chef of Kitchen Mixtape Stadium, at least when she’s cooking for me. She knows it is not only possible to appropriately stir stuff from Tori Amos and Jay-Z/Linkin Park in with Cat Stevens, Twisted Sister, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, the Boomtown Rats, M.I.A., Styx and a half-dozen others, but that doing so will hit all the chords in the right places and put goosebumps down my arms and lumps in my throat and have me singing top of my lungs and remind me that life’s a pretty OK place after all.
Thanks, Jenn, for keeping the silicon chip inside my head from switching to overload, for reminding me that life’s not trite and jaded, for our wild world and our wildest dreams and for always inviting me along to walk this way.