For those of you who either know me in real life or know of me online and are kept awake some nights with a vague, nagging concern for my fate, let me tell you what I'm up to, so that I won't have to repeat this story dozens more times in person until it's utterly lifeless:
1. I have quit my job. Today is my last day as a Visitation Supervisor. My new job title? Guy Who Writes Stuff. (It's going to be a few years before I can stomach telling people I am "a writer".)
2. I am getting my first major Writer's Paycheck next week, which explains Item 1, above.
3. I am selling most of my possessions and moving to Bellingham, to live the hobo life in a dirty old house with a bunch of young college kids. This is how I will make Writer's Paycheck #1 last long enough to bring me to Writer's Paycheck #2
4. This is going to be awesome.
To my Seattle friends, I must say I love you all, some more than others, and I will return. This Bellingham thing is more of an extended vacation than an actual MOVE, a chance to finally experience The College Years I was deprived of as an uneducated churchgoin' smalltown farmhand. (Yes, I am a Farmhand. I used to buck bales and ride hawses with Sam Elliot and the Marlboro Man.) Although in this case it will be more like the College Month, as I plan to move out the moment I get the above-mentioned Writer's Paycheck #2 and become a veritable THOUSANDAIRE.
Move to where? Everywhere and nowhere....A MOTORHOME! A BADASS 70'S GMC MOTORHOMEMOTHERFUCKER!
But more on that later.
For now, farewell Seattle! And Bellingham? Prepare yourself for for an older-than-median-age independently wealthy unemployed tall guy coming to crash your parties and drink your PBRs. Also, New York? Prepare yourself for another guy maybe publishing a book. And also also, Hollywood? Prepare yourself for an uncomfortable guy way out of his element. And Chiropractor? Prepare yourself for a guy who damn near broke his back nudging a little end-table. And yet life is good, despite all the handicaps.
This summer a big thing on Top 40 radio was what I can only describe as a "semi-cover" song--in which the artist doesn't actually cover the original song, or even sample it, they just lift the original's entire hook and reappropriate it into their own song--as the entire hook.
This is genius. Writing a dull, meandering verse is easy, but writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus is hard. And writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus that is a decade or two old and has already stood the test of time and embedded itself into the collective consciousness? That's damn near impossible!
This could be booming business, when you consider how many popular hit songs other artists have come up with over the decades! Just scan through the list of past Billboard #1 singles, cut out the chorus, and insert it in between a few verses you've written in the same key, and you've got a road-tested hit, with BONUS NOSTALGIA VALUE!
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's 3 examples from this summer:
Flo'Rida -- "Sugar" (chorus is the chorus of Eiffel 65's "Blue")
Flo'Rida -- "Right Round" (chorus is the chorus of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Around")
Khristina Debarge -- "Goodbye" (chorus is the chorus of Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye")
I feel like there were 1 or 2 more than that as well....anyone recall?
Labels: Pattern Recognition
I HAVE PAINTINGS
DO YOU LIKE PAINTINGS?
DON'T BE A BUTTHOLE
"The Thousandth Floor" -- 72" x 35" --- 600$
"Happy Picture About Love" -- 60" x 24" --- 200$
"The Workweek" -- 60" x 24" --- 350$
"Sudden Change In Perspective" -- 24" x 60" --- 350$
THOSE ARE MY PAINTINGS THAT I AM SELLING
DO YOU WANT TO BUY THEM?
DON'T BE A BUTTHOLE
Labels: Cries for help
My friend Peter emceed the event, and when I asked him what river we were floating he replied, "The maps call it the Stillaguamish, but the locals have another name..." He didn't finish the joke. Pretty good setup though.
We were going to buy rubber donuts--inner-tubes, if you will--from a gas station, but Peter found some at a garage sale instead. They were cheaper. When we arrived at the launch point I discovered that the tubes were really small. Usually a river-floater would use tractor tire tubes or at least large truck tubes, but I think these were from a compact car, or maybe a bicycle. My ass hung down into the water like the meat they drag behi
One of the main agendas of this river float was to be drinking beer the entire time. Once I got into the raging waters, however, I realized that hauling two beers on my tube while trying to navigate around rocks and logjams with only one free hand wasn't going to work out. Also my bottle cap opener doubles as a knife. The blade is hard to avoid while opening bottles. Seemed like a bad idea. I chugged one before I launched and had to make do with only the feeblest of buzzes.
Also I think the compact car our tubes were salvaged from may have been a Ford Model T, because within 20 minutes they had all sprung leaks. I was glad I had jettisoned the beers because now I needed my free hand to plug leaks. Peter informed us we had about 4 hours left till the end of the float. I tried to do the math but thinking about drowning in rivers depresses me and so does doing math. I decided to take a wait-and-sink approach.
Fortunately, even after my tube had deflated I was still able to use it as a sort of generic brand Water Wings™, and if I was feeling especially bold, I could sit way down inside it with my legs sticking straight up like a little child who has fallen into a toilet.
Every 10 minutes or so the water would get really fast and really shallow, and we would all get raped by jagged rocks.
As the journey wore on, I started to bitterly ruminate on the beer I discarded. Oh! I said to myself. If only I had kept that beer, I would surely be drinking it right now! There were many other people floating on this river, and they had all without exception come better prepared than us. Not only did their floatation devices float, they also had iceboxes floating alongside them, no doubt filled with beer and rum and other goods. As I drifted past these smug poltroons in my flaccid, rapidly sinking car tire, how I longed to board their vessels and seize their cargo by brutal force. River Law has only one tenet: "Beer." I don't really know how that's a law, but I still follow it.
I didn't end up killing or even robbing anyone, but my friend Benji almost did. Everyone else in our party had worn old tennis shoes for the shallow stretches where we had to walk, but Benji had neglected this detail. Instead, he acquired some silver ballet slippers that he found in the grass. Wearing these and a pair of very short, very see-through, neon orange Power Aide shorts, he attempted to avoid all the painful beach rocks by veering up into a riverside field. As he started to ascend the slope, a group of locals sitting next to the water in a military-green golf cart, accosted him.
"Where you goin, buddy?" they demanded.
Benji explained his situation.
"Well that's private property," they said, gesturing towards the field.
Benji explained that he was aware of this, which is why he was on his way up there to raid the village and make off with all their cattle and women in his partially-deflated ship. Benji is blonde and has a beard and looks like a Viking, but the locals didn't relate to Benji's rape-and-pillage joke so he returned to the water and we all floated away to safety.
The only other thing that happened on the trip was I got really bruised and sunburned and then when we got back I ate some poisoned food that gave me food poisoning and now I have diarrhea.
As you all sit around enjoying your Vanilla Iced Creams in this sweltering summer heat, consider this Fact!
The Vanilla orchid was original discovered in Mexico by Mexicans, but the spice was not widely used by the rest of the world. In the early 1800s the French tried to cultivate it in France, but failed (cultivation FAIL) because French bees were too snobby to polinate it.
What happened next was that a 12-year-old boy named Edmond Albius discovered how to hand-polinate the orchid. (No that is not a euphemism for masturbation, although maybe it should be.) His discovery allowed vanilla to be mass-produced all over the world.
The thing about Edmond Albius is that not only did he revolutionize spice production at the age of 12, HE WAS A SLAVE. He made his amazing polination discovery WHILE PICKING A BALE OF COTTON.
So next time you sit down to enjoy a delicious Waffle Cone or Iced Vanilla Latte, by all means enjoy it, just remember that hundreds of thousands of African Americans suffered and died so that you could have it. That's all I ask.
Also, isn't it sweet irony that VANILLA was invented by THIS cool chocolate cat?