Underachievers, attack at your leisure. Hoist up your guitars and make them all believers.

Apologies in advance for some of these: one is overly serious, one is potty humor, and the rest are...something.

- Since "the Da Vinci Code" proved to be an incredibly popular book, publishers are trying to cash in on the craze. This explains all of the knock-off novels, from those with similar set-ups ("the Rule of Four") to ones that merely ape the title ("the Da Vinci Legacy," "the Van Gogh Conspiracy," "Michelangelo's Notebook"). This said, I've been working on some potential titles. If you ever spot one of these on the spine of a book, let me know so I can sue someone.
The Kuyper Caper
The Chuck Norris Manifesto
Pocahontas' Lexicon
The Kurosawa Cookbook
The Van Morrison Elaboration
The Raphael Cipher
Donatello's Possibly Cryptic Message (and now all four Ninja Turtle names have been used).

-There was a man I saw at the bookstore today. When I was growing up, his son and I were extremely close friends. By the time we reached our mid-teens, though, we didn't see much of each other, and both of us went in completely different directions (both ideologically and literally). Long story short, my friend died of a drug overdose about five years ago. I think his father is overwhelmed with grief whenever he sees me, memories engulfing him. I always feel like crying when I see my friend's father because I feel like I'm a painful catalyst, of sorts.

-Over the past few years, I've been tempted to put up an AIM away message that simply says, "Pooping," but I don't have the guts for it.

-I think one of the catchiest songs ever written is "Dixie." Too bad everyone associates it with hate, racism and hillbillies. Its popularity amongst the "South Will Rise Again" knuckleheads doesn't help either.

-Someone (jokingly) suggested they should make something called "Work: The Game." His idea was to set it in a traditional fantasy setting, and have it so the goal was keep tending your flocks and fields before dragons ate your village or marauding warriors set your crops on fire. Rinse and repeat. How about move it to a contemporary setting? Like, a game where you type stock reports, or ring up customers, or fax stuff for your boss. Good idea? Maybe?

- One of the biggest trends in the literary world: authors that normally write for grown-ups are writing kids' books. Examples: Carl Hiaasen, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Joyce Carol Oates, and maybe 20 other Big Names are trotting out books for children. Huh. Not to mention Madonna, Billy Joel and Paul McCartney all trying their musically-inclined hands at the picture book field. I guess they're doing this to get back at S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume for writing serious novels.

- I can't stop watching this. The nuances make it.

- It looks like Spring 2006 is going to be awesome for new album releases. Built to Spill's new one--You In Reverse--will be out in April. Uh...I don't know of any other ones off the top of my head, but I'm sure there'll be other good ones.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 2/14/2006 10:32:00 PM, ,

The Invented History of Superjock, Part 3: Practice, practice, give up.

The oral history of the Superjock practice experience, as told in a bar by a friend of a friend.

"Yeah, mmmm, I knew them. Well, one of them at least. Sort of. What do you want to know about? What their practices were like? You're serious? Okay, okay-- just--just let me order this first. Mmm, okay, thanks. Oh, that's good. Right, practice.

"I know Verien and Matt* had played together for a while, by the time they got the four-piece together. And Jeremy** was fairly new with the band. But Jason*** was the freshest of the meat, wet behind the ears and naive enough to prove it. And get this-- the kid had never played bass before!

"The first time they met--hang on. Yeah, I'll take another. Okay-- the first time they met was in Verien's room, on the third floor of that guy's dorm that used to be a girl's dorm not too long ago. Yeah, that's the one. All four of them crowded around Matt, who was sitting in the middle of the floor with his acoustic guitar. Jeremy had his acoustic, and Verien was playing on his djembe or whatever it's called. Jason was playing his electric bass, but he didn't plug it in; in fact, he could barely hear it. It's a wonder he even learned the songs.

"But anyway, they fleshed out some songs. Matt had written many of these before he formed the band, so it wasn't like he needed the practice--the rest of the band had to fall in line, though. Jeremy was pretty quick to pick up the guitar parts, and started added his own lead stuff in from the get go. And let me tell you, Jason got it into his head quickly that if you're not used to playing bass with your fingers (instead of usin' a pick, you know?), you'll have a swollen hand in no time.

"But the first practice went well. Though they practiced more and more over the next few weeks, they eventually started movin' shop into the concert band rehearsal space, an over-heated gym that dated back a century. Verien was fairly handy with audio-type things, so he got a good makeshift monitor system set up? What? Oh, they're, like, speakers aimed back at the musicians so they can hear all of the other instruments. Right. They messed up a bunch-- Jeremy had a tendency to over-think what he was playing, and Jason had these stupidly elaborate bass parts in his head that took him forever to strip down. But it was fun. Matt's songs were catchy, but fairly easy to learn. He was the first to admit that many of them followed similar chord progressions, just in different keys (he loved that capo of his).

"So they were confident. Well, as confident as that bunch could be, anyway. They just sort of stopped practicing, because they thought, 'Hey, we'll be cool.' They made a set of cryptic, asinine posters to hang up over the campus. They made trips to the Salvation Army thrift store to buy sweater-vests. They set up a rumor network that spread the word about this incredible band called Superjock, soon to play in Skye Lounge.

"But pal, let me tell you-- their troubles were only beginning."

*Verien (drums), Matt (vocals/acoustic guitar)
**Jeremy (guitar)
***Jason (bass/vocals)

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 2/05/2006 01:03:00 AM, ,