Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Officially Cracked

I got mentioned on Cracked.com! (Or at least my book does.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Palm Springs Leather Weekend.

Joel and I used some airline miles and an invite from our friend Peter Fiske to attend Palm Springs Leather Weekend. It was nice to get out of the house for a change and try to alleviate the fact that my depression has reached an almost crushing level of despair, along with my computer networking class being far and away harder than I ever imagined it to be.

Luckily, there are only two of us in the course and that allows the prof to answer all of my annoying questions. I fear I may not be able to catch up to the level of technology the course involves.

However, let's share some of the pictures.

My friend Alex Ironrod opened the weekend by reading from his new novel "Leather Nights" (a murder mystery) at Gear. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout for him. I should add that I wrote his back-cover blurb.

My friend Bryce, whom I had not seen for a few years. This was in the party behind the Tool Shed where I'd set up a book table.

Mikal Bales (aka Daddy Zeus of Zeus Studios) took the time to come over to The Barracks on Saturday to say hello. He may be one of the men in California that I've missed the most since moving away. His new beau, Mick, is very sweet.

The gentleman here, Marshall, was a close friend of my late master, Gary Taylor. We had not seen each other since 1999. We had a long and somewhat emotional talk while he visited.

The notorious Gagbear and George (WetInSF) visited. It was nice to finally meet Jim after years of chat.

In what I can only say was the oddest moment of the weekend, singer Gregory Gray walked up to my table and said - in a thick Irish accent - "You don't even remember who I am, do ya?"

He was right, I didn't.  I interviewed Gregory over the phone in 1994 for Frontiers Magazine when his album "Euroflake In Silverlake" was released. When he played a show at the Virgin Megastore, I picked him up and we went to The Faultline for a wild night. He picked up a date and returned to his hotel after a few hours, and I'd not seen him since. That he remembered me and decided to hang out again was delightful and fun. Turns out he's a PS regular now and we have several mutual friends.

Of course, it wouldn't be a hot weekend if there weren't plenty of good looking men running about. (Hi Nipper!) That is, until The Barracks got busted for overcrowding (and yes, the place was mobbed), and the cops cleared everyone out. My first ever bar raid! Ah, well.

Then it was on-board the big old jet airliner for the trip home, for which we had enough miles to get first class seats. I never realized how comfortable flying could be before this. It made the end of the weekend easier to deal with. We arrived home to one very happy kitty. Now it's back to studies.

I am going to make a great effort to write more posts and reviews, if only to force my brain to write things.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Isaac Asimov On Ignorance

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Amazon Reviews: Dave Rawlings Machine "A Friend of a Friend"

The name speaks a certain truth
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Dave Rawlings has been siding along the Americana and Roots music scene for over a decade, primarily with singer/songwriter Gillian Welch. But you may have heard his work on albums by Bright Eyes, Old Crow Medicine Show and Ryan Adams (whose song they co-wrote for Adams' "Heartbreaker," "To Be Young," appears here). Along with Welch, several of Rawlings' friends appear on "Friend of a Friend," and is all the prior mentioned artists ring your musical chimes, you're going to enjoy this CD.

Welch is in heavy rotation on "Friend," she is either playing guitar or harmonizing on most of the songs. Rawlings also lays some reclamation to his previous contributions to others, like the aforementioned "To Be Young," as he takes an Old Crow song - "I Hear Them All" - and claims it for himself. But he's more than adept on covers; when he combines Bright Eyes' "Method Acting" with Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer," the songs' resonant themes blend seamlessly. Rawlings and Welch also have some fun with their rootsiness; "Sweet Tooth" is a singalong that may be about something deeper then a craving for candy, and "How's About You" is a convincing porch rocker.

"Friend of a Friend" is an affirmation of Rawlings' individual talents. It's a charming album that wears its traditionalism on its sleeves, and will make fans want for more contributions than from what you usually hear on Welch's fine recordings.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Amazon Reviews: Josh Ritter "The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter"

Riding in Victorious 
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Josh Ritter pulls off a neat trick on "The Historical Conquests." His earliest work drew the usual Dylan/Springsteen comparisons of literate singer songwriters. On this album, his fourth, Ritter brings in the rock and keeps the comparisons coming, while drawing in more. At some points on the album, I kept thinking of English wits like Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello. It happened for me on "The Temptation of Adam," which contemplates being the man who has to decide the fate of the planet (or as he puts it, "w w i i i"). It's the peak moment of "Conquests," and moves Ritter to a high plain of songwriters.

The rest of the CD is pretty darn good, but never matches "Adam" in originality or cleverness. Ritter makes a good Dylan on the opener, "To The Dogs or Whoever," where the lines spit out in machine gun rapidity, or "Empty Heart," which could be a pop single. The sense of humor pops up again on "Next To The Last True Romantic." "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter" is another collection that moves Ritter foreword progressively as an artist.