Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Where's Ringo?

Virgin says there are 74 bands in this image. How many can you find?

(click the image for the full resolution graphic or you'll be missing half of the easy ones...)

My finds are in the comments so as to not spoil all your fun with the easy ones.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"And in my dying breath..."

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and it was brought to the forefront of my actual conscious brain today when I got an e-mail reminding me of a very specific event in my past. We're talking a split-second, blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of thing. It is the kind of thing that brings back a flood of memories -- all of them good -- and it made me give voice to what I had been going over in my head.

As I look at all the things I've done -- including all the stupid shit, terrible decisions, bad choices, and horrible people I've put up with over the years... I realize that every bit of that stuff, no matter how terrible or how amazingly fantastic all adds up into what I am today. If you take away any part of my past experience, I would not be the same person. If you were to take away just one wrong choice or derail one thread of unhappiness, where would that leave me today?

It's something I've often pondered - and moreso since getting the lyrics to "A Question" stuck in my head over ten years ago. But now there's a physical manifestation of these thoughts.

When I look at my little boy I see the sum of all the things I've done. I see the toll of all the choices I've made.

And I see without a doubt -- I have no regrets. Given the chance, I wouldn't change anything. I would love to go do some of those thing again (and again, and again,) but I see no need to change any of it.

The question that lies within
Is so hard to understand
It still tears at me
And in my dying breath
My heart holds no regrets
I wouldn't change a thing

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Failing at not sucking

I stand by my previous posts about NaNoWriMo - sit down and write your story. It's not too late, but you'll have to work extra overtime to ever get finished.

But, as I say that, I have to admit that I am sucking big time. I should be at around 20,000 words in my NaNo Novel. I'm about a quarter of that. And you'll even just have to take my word on it because I haven't bothered to update the word counter thing.

It's not a matter of drive or lack of ideas - I actually had less tangible story when I got to this point last year. All I knew when I started that one was where it was going to end up and that it needed to take the most ridiculous route possible to get there. I had no idea what that route would involve, but I slogged through it and I was pretty happy with what I got out of it.

This year, I started a new one on an old theme -- one of my seminal ideas going back to a WordStar document on my old XT Compaq Luggable. I got about 1500 words into it, thinking to myself that I really might have it this time -- I might be able to take this one all the way to the bank, er, word counter. Whatever.

The second day of working on it, I was blindsided by a whole new idea - one that came fully formed with opening paragraphs and a pretty good idea of where it was going and how it would get there.

So -- I scrapped the first one. Again. I started up the new one about a guy who wakes up with a lump on his forehead. I started writing about how he doesn't understand why his house isn't what he remembers his house to be. And I've got more. It's waiting to come out. But holy shit is it ever hard to write on my current schedule. I've been tapping away on breaks at work (and I should be tapping away here - how many words are in this post which could have been put to better use?) which is why my word count isn't updated... I've got little text files scattered here and there (which my fancy new USB flash drive thing should remedy) and I haven't yet combinated the whole thing back into one document.

I feel compelled to write this novel for many reasons, and most of them selfish, but thanks to Kingo I may have found a bit more inspiration. I'm not sure if it's enough to push me over the top, but it's certainly enough to kick it up a notch and try a little harder.

Kingo sent me a link to Sarahdigm Shift. Now I'm linking right back so you can see what he said she said.

I don't even know what to say here. What I want to do is go find her house and knock on the door and say, "Thank you," in person. I'm sure after reading any part of that book she'd never even unlock the screen door, but I would still offer my thanks for her comments. I also owe her a corrected copy of the book when I get around to it -- that one's got quite a few typos in it.

I'm going to stop blabbering here and go back to the guy with the bump on his forehead. He's about to meet Ted S. Edwards, in the flesh.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Anger Management - Step by Step

1. Grab your guitar. Tune it to standard intervals. The fat string should be tuned to C#.

2. Grab your amp. Turn the pre-gain up all the way. Try to twist the fucking knob off.

3. Still at the amp, turn the post gain or master volume up to a very loud level. From prior experince you should know which point on the indicator summons the cops. If you're only kind of pissed, put it a hair below this point. If you're really pissed, just go a hair past that point.

4. Cue up the CD, record, tape or MP3 of "I'm Broken" from Pantera's Far Beyond Driven album. Make sure it's loud enough to be heard along side your blazing guitar amp.

5. Get ready to go - the guitar starts on the fucking downbeat.

6. When it gets to the halftime part be sure your head swings forward on the kick drum and snaps back (hard) on the snare. Be careful with the string skips, but don't stop the neck snapping.

7. Repeat. Maybe try it with Cemetery Gates or (if your wrist is up to it) the Cowboys.

7a. Kick stuff.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

just another day

Thirteen years ago today I had a busy day. I remember very clearly that it was a Friday. I had just had the transmission replaced in my fabulous '81 Buick Century. When I picked it up, the brakes still didn't work worth a shit, so I ended up taking my mom's car to work. I was working at the college campus in the shitty convenience store they had wedged into a double-sized closet and on Fridays I had to arrive early to unload the weekly delivery truck.

The Friday before, I had gone to work aiming to win the Halloween costume contest. I showed up at work dressed as a buxom bimbo - and I neglected to take any other clothes with me so I got to go to a meeting at the radio station and hang out with my friends in the afternoon wearing my mother's skirt which I could barely pull up over my fat ass.

Despite my ridiculous attire, my best friend Paul still stopped by and dragged me out of that shithole so we could go have an ultra-healthy Marriott fried lunch nextdoor. But, the whole thing was worth it. I weathered all of the, "Holy shit that's one ugly fucking woman," comments and ended up with a gift certificate to the mall (which was promptly exchanged for a Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.)

But thirteen years ago was the week after Halloween. As I said before, I had a busy day. I had to go to work and unload the truck. I had to actually pick up my car after work, then I had to drive back to the college to pick up my share of band crap because we had a show that night.

My band played every year for some fraternity's benefit party. You probably know the fraternity even if you didn't go to our college -- it was the one which not only admitted girls, but didn't haze or initiate or turn anyone away. All geeks welcome.

We had one of the better (at least better attended) shows that year. I remember my brother dragged a bunch of his friends out to see us play. I remember my friend Trevor showed up toward the end of the evening. When I saw Trevor I remember that I had a brief realization that Paul hadn't met me for lunch that Friday and he had said he was going to come to the show, but I hadn't seen him there. I also remember going home and collapsing out of sheer exhaustion around 4 A.M.

Sometime early the next day, I was aware of someone knocking on my door. My stepfather was telling me to get the phone. I don't think he said who it was, but he might have said something about it being "some girl."

As I reached for the phone, I was overcome by a very real sense of dread and somehow I knew who it was and what she was going to say even before I said, "Hello?"

The phone call was from Paul's girlfriend. She told me he had shot himself the night before. I didn't have to ask if he was OK. I knew he wasn't.

I spent the next period of my life in a daze - that period lasting for around ten years. Throughout the year I would battle low periods and thoughts of suicide. The only guarantee was every year at Halloween I would become incredibly depressed and suicidal. I came very close on a few occasions, but something always stayed my hand.

A few years ago my wife talked me into seeing a counselor. I was reluctant, but I eventually gave in.

Thirteen years ago I lost my best friend. I spent the next decade of my life trying to follow his path. This year is the first time I can look back to that day and remember the songs I played with my band and the fun that we had without thinking about how, at the same time, my best friend was dying.

So on this Guy Fawkes night, do me a favor and raise a glass to your heroes whoever they may be. You can also do yourself a favor and get some help if you're being crushed by depression. Try this for a start:

Post Secret

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Write it. Now.

If the image doesn't show up, try again. The NaNoWriMo server appears to be getting slaughtered by page requests.

(which is just a fancy way of saying, "Everybody else is doing it, why aren't you?")