Friday, August 31, 2007

Live from the Lobby of the Providence Radisson

Hey, the second remote Rambler. Now this blog is really earning its name! The last time I tried this trick from the Super 8 Motel in Brattleboro, VT, the computer flailed around like a parody of a virus infected PC. This one seems to be humming along just fine, which probably means that when I go ahead and post this, all you'll be seeing is my bank account info and password.

Got into Mystic later than desired, after trying our darndest to avoid traffic on 95 north - and even speeding along on Route 15 for a bit - but a little confusing ended up putting us back on 95 about 2 miles south of the 95/91 split. Meaning, we sat in traffic for about 45 minutes well past midnight to drive 2 miles. Not an exaggeration. It was really sad and put me in a foul mood. Blissfully, the road opened up after the tiny, tiny little bit of construction they were doing, and it was only about 40 minutes from New Haven to Mystic, where we got into our Econo Lodge room and into bed in record time.

And what do you know? I got a great night's sleep. And it was a quick and lovely 40 minute drive this morning from Mystic to Newport, where Yesenia and I ambled around aimlessly, not bothering to go back to the mansions on this trip (we'd seen The Breakers on a marathon day a few years back). In fact, all we really did was wander in and out of a few shops along old wharfs, grabbed some Del's frozen lemonade (the treat of the East), then had lunch where I got an early drunk on and finally Yesenia drove herself and my sorry drunk ass up to Providence and our hotel.

Then some more aimless ambling around Providence shopping districts, then dinner at old Thai/Cambodian/Vietnamese restaurant Apsara's, then even yet more still aimless ambling, and back to the hotel. Where I sat down and apparently continued the trend...

...sorry, it's been that kind of low key day. No brains, or nuthin. See you tomorrow. Then I'll have wedding anecdotes and perhaps some tales of WaterFire for you. You lucky devil.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

5-Minute Man

My first remote blog! Had DeSk in Port Chester, and Karl is kind enough to allow me to enter this evening. Edz and Karl are here, and Yesenia is pacing, so that means we should be going soon. And where are we going? To Mystic, tonight, and then on to Providence for my cousin's wedding on Saturday.

I'll see if I can keep this thing going over the weekend. We're at the Radisson in Providence, which didn't even exist while I was in college. Looking forward to seeing it.

Anyway, gotta hit the road, and here's hopin' it don't hit back...


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bowling With Dollers

Went to the Lucky Strike lanes at the Palisades Center with Jim & Danielle Doller, for dinner, drinks and bowling. And I have to say: color me impressed. The alcohol is pricey (as I was expecting), but the food is reasonably priced and really very good, and the bowling it and the overall vibe of the place is pretty damn nice. Done up in a faux 1950's California decor, like a humid fever dream of a bowling alley had by James Lileks.

Yesenia turned up (but did not bowl) in time for the second game. Jim, Danielle & I all bowled weakly n the first game, so we added a second, and Jim & I at least did well enough, with Jim winning at 154 and me - oh, how I hate to use the phrase 'coming right behind,' but there it is - at 148.

The whole reason I wanted to go in the first place was to get some practice in for my sister's birthday party, which features bowling out in Brooklyn. I don't want to embarrass her into having to make excuses for how bad a bowler her brother is.

Anyway, consider this high praise, because I recommend the place to anyone even if they're not going to bowl. At this point, it's about the best food in the mall; the bar is good; the service, while slow, was pleasant; and the waitresses were super-cute. On top of that, they had a big area in the back full of air hockey and pool, and even 10 lanes for Candlepin bowling. The vibe was nice and relaxed, and I'd go back in a second. I only hope it stays around.

One caveat: sadly, they don't have period-specific music. It should all be the Ventures or Dick Dale. Jim had the suggestion that there should be a live surf band playing in the back, which really would be perfect. Or a cool-era jazz combo, complete with chanteuse. I could bowl to a chanteuse. Why not?


P.S.: Sorry for the title, but, really, how could I not use that...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Demolition Man

Accidentally hit 'return' instead of the tab key while I was still in the title field, so we're stuck with my that non-sequiter title. See, the 'return' key activates the 'Publish Post' button on the compose page, whereas the tab key - as it always does - just gets you from one field to the next.

One of things I don't like about Blogger is that it makes you give the piece a title before anything else, I guess because it has an auto-save feature, and it needs to have a name for the file, which it generates automatically from the title you give it. I suppose I could disable the auto-save, but that causes all sorts of its own problems, and, frankly, the totally random titles I sometimes come up with are part of that Rambler Charm.

Thing is, if I had some idea what I was going to write about beforehand, then that title/filename thing would be fine. But this thing is usually the last thing I do everyday, and I remind you yet again - in case the name The Subway Rambler doesn't give it away - that I pretty much make it up on the spot and have no idea what I'm going to write about until I start typing.

(As if you couldn't tell by the fact that I'm writing about why the title of this entry has nothing to do with the entry itself.)

Beyond that, it was a long day - as noted yesterday, I was up until about 2 AM, and then had to wake up at 6 AM to get to a business meeting in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. From here, that's about a 2 1/2 hour drive (plus) each way, so the better part of the day was spent in the passenger seat of my boss' VW. Sandwiched between drives was a meeting with the owner of the Saab service center that we've taken on as a client, so I had to be 'on!,' which is not my favorite mode.

I got home at around three and had a late lunch, then crashed for a nap, which I awoke from in a panic about fifteen minutes later to the sound of the skateboarding teenager boys getting into a screaming bitch-fight across the street. Much shouted profanity. Seriously: I swear a lot, but I at least know that screaming 'fuck you you fucking (whatever)!' at the top of your lungs in the middle of a suburban neighborhood is maybe a sign that you're just a little - oh, what's the word? - déclassé.

By that time, it was about five, so I packed up Jim's miter saw and 'erotica' (his copy of Alan Moore's Lost Girls, which I read on Sunday and may or may not write a review of) and heading off to meet him for our drive to Port Chester and jam night. Any other night, I would have cancelled, but it was McDonald Night - that is to say, our bass player who we lost to his new baby has gotten permission to come out once a month to jam, so those nights I'm bound and determined not to flake on. He was even kind enough to pick me up a burger and fries from Duchess, a regional fast food place that I'd never tried before but had a bug up my ass to do so ever since I first saw him eat it a couple of years back.

Anyway, seeing as how it is now midnight, eighteen hours after I woke from four hours of sleep, on a day on which I've been going non-stop... and I followed up the very rare ingestion of fast food with a couple of hours of my ragged and out-of-practice drumming, I'm super, super tired. So I'm calling this random pile for the evening without any kind of clever wrap-up. Nurse, please close up.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Late NIght with David Kopperman

I have to leave the house at 7 AM for a meeting in Pittsfield, MA, and I'm doing my usual last minute speed-waltz through the creative that's being presented for said meeting.

So, you know the drill: have a nice day and I'll see you tomorrow.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Climb, Rinse, Repeat

Took a hike up the local smallish mountain today, along with Jim, Karl and Karl's brother, Yanni. It was overcast and stupidly humid, but after about three quarters of an hour, we stopped at a decent height over the park and dried off in the breeze. Everyone else was dressed for the hike, I looked as if I'd wandered out of a mall and ended up lost in the woods. Still, unless I'm getting paid, I don't really care much to wear what I'm supposed to.

On the descent, Yanni (in the lead) stopped us, and pointed out what he claimed to be a Copperhead crossing the path. In brotherly fashion, Karl wasn't sure that's what kind it was, but a quick check of the internet confirms Yanni's call that it was, indeed, a Copperhead. And since, a year before, Karl and I had come across a Rattlesnake crossing our path on a hike, that means I'm two-for-two. Whee!

Karl set his altimeter at the start of the hike, and I'd like to be able to tell you just how many brambly, rocky, and scree-filled feet we climbed, but we completely forgot to check it. Perhaps Karl will be kind enough to hazard a guess?

The clouds, heat and humidity never broke for the roughly 90 minute hike up and down the mountain. But after we got back to Jim's and watched an episode of Wonderfalls, we emerged into bright, warm and dry daylight. Which just goes to show what A-ha said is true: The sun always does shine on T.V.

Got home and read in the hammock for awhile, and if that isn't the best way to spend a Sunday on the Summer's penultimate weekend, then I don't know what else is. Only thing missing was a beer.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Forbidden Singularity

Speaking of The Black Hole, Yesenia brought our copy of it upstairs earlier, and that was our viewing for the evening. Let me just make two observations:

1) The is like the best sci-fi film of the 50's, for some reason made in 1979. From the casting (Ernest Borgnine as an intrepid reporter?) to the oddly de-saturated film stock, the whole thing feels like an unofficial sequel to Forbidden Planet, not least because of the Disney designs and F/X animation in that film.

2) The tone of this film is, pardon my French, totally balls-out fucking schizophrenic. Has there ever been a movie that veers between the completely goofy and the nightmarishly creepy the way this thing does? The moment when the ultra-cuteified R2-D2 ripoff V.I.N.CENT (made more than a little gay by Roddy MacDowell) gets into a whirling blade death-duel with robotic satan-stand-in Maximillian in the twisting and compressing wreckage of the Cygnus on its plunge into the black hole sums up the two conflicting modes completely. And, oddly, the film's schizophrenia is what makes it work at all. If you took away the cloyingly cutesy robots and hokey dialogue, the film would be dry as a bone. If you took away the moments where Yvettte Mimeaux sees a vision of hell with Maximillian standing on a flaming mountain, overseeing armies of lobotomized slaves, it would be pretty boring.

None of this is to say that The Black Hole is a good movie in any conventional sense. But it's a really interesting mess, an attempt a real science-fiction in the wake of the new Star Wars Space Opera paradigm that discards genuine science when it feels like it, and throws around deep metaphysical concepts but undercuts them by having Anthony Perkins deliver them in a half-dazed Norman Bates mode.

One of the oddest conflicts in the film are the imaginative and beautiful but wholly unconvincing special F/X - a dichotomy that runs so deep for the viewer that the F/X become almost postmodern, visuals for the sake of visuals that comment only on themselves, as if Harrison Ellinshaw were channeling the spirit of Jackson Pollock. There's no denying the beauty of the huge, red, glowing and transparent meteorite rolling destructively up the central structure of the ship. There's also no denying the absolute artificiality of it. Bailing wire and paraffin would be my guess. And oatmeal - they always use oatmeal in these shots, somehow.

An interesting sidebar to the film viewing this evening is that this was one of Yesenia's favorite's as a kid. Apparently, she was really into sci-fi in general, but her grandmother gave her a really hard time about it, because I guess it's not something that good Puerto Rican girls 'did.'

As the second film in our double-feature, we watched Like Water for Chocolate, an old favorite of Yesenia's, and my first viewing.

Anyway, it sucked. What can I say? Single guys, make that potential mate take a test: any woman that thinks this film is romantic in any way should be immediately disqualified. And possibly institutionalized.


Music of the Spheres

Did a lengthy search with Bubba for some various music online tonight, and one of the things that came up was our mutual love of John Barry's orchestral soundtrack for The Black Hole. And it made me remember, yet again, that before I listened to popular music or rock or anything else, the records that I bought - spent my allowance on and everything - were movie soundtracks. Not the type of mix tape compilation that's in vogue today, but the lush full orchestration types that followed in the wake of John Williams' Star Wars

In fact, the double LP or Williams' score for that is the first album I can recall owning, or at least wanting to own, which is an important distinction. So, music is another part of my life that was deeply influenced - and in some ways, fostered - by the deeply obsessive love the six-yer-old me had for all things Skywalker.

So, for several years after that, I exclusively bought soundtracks, or requested them for Christmas, birthdays or Hanukkah. And it didn't ended up being a broad connection - Lord knows, I'm not one of those movie score obsessives who has to have every last note Bernard Hermann ever wrote - but it formed the cornerstone of my musical leanings, towards music with an inherent narrative feel and a broad range of musical colors. In fact, my entire love for Prog Rock - my personal "Dave" music that none of my friends share any taste for - begins with my repeated listening to Wendy Carlos' Moog and orchestra soundtrack for Tron. The two Journey songs on there? Not so much.

I've not been such a close follower of movie scores over the recent two decades, my musical tastes having turned towards rock and jazz and their antecedents and offshoots. But there will still be a theme here or there or an interlude that I note with interest. Williams (again) came up with a pitch-perfect theme for Harry Potter, for example. Or the drunken Argentinean tangos for Waking Life. Or Jon Brion's mournful yet oddly optimistic Wurlitzer score for I ♥ Huckabees. And I've already mentioned how much I liked the score from Mirrormask, no matter how far outside my taste it is.

And there have been others. An eclectic selection:Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Brokeback Mountain. Schindler's List. The Truth About Charlie (And you know a score has got to be great when you still want to hear it even when you hated the movie that it came attached to).

More than just getting my interest, I loved some or most of those scores. So, maybe it's not me. Maybe it's just the movie soundtracks that got small.

Anyway, any soundtracks that you few Subway Passengers out there like? I know Rick will recommend a Rachel Portman film. Bubba will no doubt cite some Danny Elfman job. And let's not forget Jerry Goldsmith. Bring them on.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Weird Science

I wonder: is there a scientist out there researching what the Big Bang smelled like?


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Half-Life Crisis

I seem to be undergoing one of my periodic crises of spirit, where I begin to view myself in as uncharitable a light as possible and see only failure in my past, grimness in my future, and a fat, ugly, drab and old loser in the mirror. The eczema isn't helping with that last one.


Anyhow, I know from experience that the way to handle these troughs in the surf of life is simply to ride them out, teeth gritted and whistling an ironically happy tune. Lord knows what sparks these. Could be chemical, could be environmental, could be causal. The result is the same - a nattering and unflagging internal criticism of everything I do, and how I do it.

Now, don't get me wrong: I firmly believe in having a healthy and strong ability to self-critique. There is nothing more sad than an artist - or anyone, for that matter - with heaping gobs of unearned self-esteem, delusions of adequacy. My sister used to joking call people like this "pronoid," and that seems to sum it up quite nicely. If you can't look at what you've done and who you are with a questioning eye on a constant basis, you'll become stagnant.

The quest for personal growth is very important to me; sorry, I'm a child of the 70's. But when that tool for self-improvement gets cancerous, watch out: your self-worth becomes devalued currency to yourself. You cease to be able to do anything, and that's no good at all. If you're so crippled by self-doubt that the act of picking up a pen or guitar or brush leaves you feeling unworthy and slightly dirty, then it's time for a reevaluation - usually from outside sources that you trust.

Of course, I don't get depths that deep anymore. I conquered a lot of the RISD-based artist anxiety a few years ago, and I'm always in love with my musical ideas (chalk that one up to the self-delusion part). What's on the chopping block this time around is just me. The personality that is "Dave Kopperman," capitalized and trademarked. So, excuse me, that would be:


He's a weird dude, that one. Bossy and self-important, harshly judgmental yet unable to accept criticism. Nosy and lacking in any sense of empathy, yet still willing to hand out advice and to treat his own advice as if the receiver would have to be an idiot not to see the rightness of it.

Etc., etc. As you can see, the inside of my head is a dreary place to be this week. Apologies. Ignore me. It'll pass.

Still: I did manage to somehow convince Yesenia that I was worth spending a life with. So maybe I'm not entirely beyond redemption...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Easy, Way Out!

So, yeah, I decided to become a little more normal and ordered this fucker today:

The LaCie D2 Quadra 500GB eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 & USB 2.0 Hard Drive-External Hard Drives. Oh, yeah. I'll never run out of hard-disk space now.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.


P.S.: "And I even like the color..."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Burn, Baby, Burn

So, the Airport on the Femputer has been acting up the last couple of months.

Er, that is to say, the wireless ethernet connection on the MacMini has been giving trouble.

You know, no matter how you phase it, it would be just as confusing to anyone who came out of a coma from 1998, so let's move on.

And, no matter how you phrase it, it's still just a huge drag. After a couple of lengthy phone session with the Mac techs, we've established that, well, I need to take it to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store after all. Well, hey! At least I have a fucking case number now, for all of my troubles.

Maybe I'm being too harsh - after all, they do have to cover the bases on those tech calls, and sometimes it is something as simple as just resetting the P-RAM (and for the coma arrival from 1987, that doesn't mean we're moving the baby's stroller back to the starting position). But this is not one one of those times, so we're going into the shop to take a look under the hood.

To prep for this, I'm backing everything off the hard drive that I want to save. Now, a normal human being would simply buy an inexpensive external hard drive for this, but I've always been really, really conservative with my computer purchases. And I was almost normal for a little while the other day - I'd gotten to the second-to-last screen to get MacMall to ship me a nice, fat LaCie 500GB Firewire Drive, but then a big lightning storm swept in and I shut down the computer before I could finalize.

So, the method I've chosen instead is to clear room on my dinky LaCie 40GB, 30GB of which are the Multitracks and Masters from Selling the Downtown Dream. This also wouldn't be much of a big deal, but the Femputer is packed to the gills with crap, so it's been a bit like playing one of those puzzle games where you have to slide the tiles around just so and get the one blank in the corner before you get the picture solved. So, it goes something like: backup something from the Femputer on DVD. Trash. Copy files over from "The Barn" (the oh-so-huge-when-I-bought-it-in-2002 40GB hard drive) to the Femputer. Burn to DVD. Trash from Femputer.

Thing is, I'd really like to clear space on the Femputer anyhow, because it's so full that it's been affecting performance. You doubt? It comes with a 75GB internal drive, and at one point, it was down to about 300MB available. Photoshop acted like it was drunk on private stock. No good. Clear out.

So what's the hold up with all of this? Well, the fucking DVD burner - which is supposed to burn up to 8x, only burns at a maximum of 2x. Whee! One more of those weird Mac things that Apple say is fine, fine, fine, but really is just not. Of course, since I'm taking this opportunity to clear a lot of unnecessary-in-the-now but needed-at-some-point stuff off the Femputer - unretouched scans, music files, etc. - I'm burning two of each, so the seemingly simple process of backing up about 40GB worth of stuff is really taking a long, long, long time. Like, two hours for each DVD kind of long. So, I probably won't be getting to the Apple Store until Thursday.

There's also the small effort of organizing the shit before burning, rather than just throwing it on to a DVD willy-nilly. My roughly ten years of experience with the ad agency - much of that time spent trying to find files that were backed up several years before by my self-obsessed ex-boss - has taught me the value of a simple, easily understood system, and of naming files with as much clarity and detail as possible. Printing out disc catalogs is also useful.

See, many of the agency files before 1997 are either on SyQuest or Bernoulli. Or perhaps one of the 85 unnamed Zip Discs that comprise the pre-CD agency archives. And even the CD-Roms from my ex-boss just have the client and 'File #3" written on the disc. Which is a real problem when you have a client with a 20+ CD-ROm archive. And finding a particular file? Fuck you. Roy (the ex-boss) would only name things "Ad 7" x 5"... annnnnnnnd that was it. The real teeth-grinding irony of all this is that he would give me a hard time about my filing, which was the right thing to do in my first few months of working at the agency, but when he did it towards the end of his own tenure, he was just being an insane dick.

My files are tight, man.

Anyway, the result of all that is that my computer files are the one area in my life that I really put in the extra effort to have as much order as can be maintained, and where I recognize the danger in letting things pile up unsorted, unfiled and unburned. I'd been neglectful with the Femputer over the last few months, simply because of all the hours I was working. Now, it's one of those things that I'd put off that has become a thing that must be done.

I suppose I could just start throwing shit into the gaping maw of the G5, which has about 40GB clear anyhow, but that's only a temporary solution, and in general, I'd like to start implementing a more rigorous storage routine, if only to save me the trouble of all this happening again.

Ding! Would you like to verify?


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Had the big twice-yearly family party today, out under grey skies in the Orangetown Memorial Park. Odd to see everyone together - our family being a blended family and having quite a disparate social makeup at this point. Still, I'm writing this from the upstairs room that used to be my sister Leah's bedroom, and then for a brief time, my stepsister Gail's, and I think even my stepsister Amy even lived in it for a short while. That was an upgrade from their rooms in the basement, and having spent 18 months or so living in Amy's old basement room and coming away with a lung ailment that took another two years to get rid of completely, I cant blame them.

But I'm getting off my main point, which is this: everyone at the picnic today - including my mother, in the early 70's - has lived in this house. and now it's just me and Yesenia. Our house. It's a very, very, very fine house. One cat in the yard, life used to be so hard, etc.

I wonder if I can press any of them into service to help paint the damn thing?


One Handed Typing

Apologies for the missed day - got in bed, threw on a few Mr. Show episodes, and crashed. Somehow, I never even thought of getting up and Rambling. I blame the pot.

Tonight, not much either. Went to Bubba & Fi's, and Pete & Wowie were there. Pete and I were designated drivers, but everyone else got decently hammered. Me, I just ate too much and felt out of it and generally anti-social.

I ain't the party type...


Thursday, August 16, 2007

For your consideration (or lack thereof)

Watched a clip of an abandoned film Karl & I and others were making back in 2000-2001. In fact, the raw footage for the edited clip we watched was filmed the weekend before September 11th. Yes, that September 11th. Anyway, the film was abandoned when it was realized that a) KArl hated having to be on screen so much, and b) none of our friends could actually act, or at least memorize dialogue.

Still, the portions of the film that were mostly dialogue-free (the film was vignette style, with many scenes almost pantomime) were quite good, as I'm always refreshed to discover. I never watch the fix or six edited vignettes and think, "oh, that sucks, what amateur crap." I think, 'jeez, if this were on HBO, I'd watch it.' Six years on, it's still very funny, and even when it isn't funny, it's at least interesting. So, the feature never came together. As a group of interrelated shorts, that's a decent review.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Invisible Cosmic Debris

Saturday night, I made every effort to go out and see the Perseids, again touted as being an extra, extra, extra spectacular show this year - sort of like the Ice Capades, only only a larger scale and a little less random. So, of course, I get out at 2 AM (the beginning of the peak hour), walk down the street and dutifully face northeast, with my neck craned up to about 40 degrees, or a little bit over the neighbor's roof.

Waited, waited, waited, nothing. It was a little overcast, and, yes, short of living at the airport, the light pollution couldn't be any worse here, even though it was a new moon. But still: they claimed eighty an hour, and I didn't see a single one. And, you know? I never see one. Ever. Back in college, I drove all the way out to the middle of Connecticut from Providence (leaving my lame or smart friends behind who had no interest), and it was clear as a bell, and moonless again. But nothing.

After about half an hour, I got paranoid that I was making my neighbors paranoid, and the clouds started to take over and the sky turned that electric orange of the streetlights along the Henry Hudson Parkway, and I supposed that was it. I walked back up the street and got back into bed, reporting to Yesenia that she missed a great show with as much sarcasm as I could muster at 2:30 in the morning with a neck cramp.

It's not like I'm expecting the sky to open up like the view from the Millennium Falcon's cockpit on the leap into Hyperspace, but one fucking meteorite would be nice, you know? My instinct is to plan a getaway to northern New England or some equally benighted place, next August, but I know from experience that it would be a fruitless quest.

Next year, I'm just going to the Hayden Planetarium. Bring on the laser pointer and the Godlike announcer with the soothing baritone.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Weird Things We Like

Every peer group has its own cultural touchstones. In your circle of friends (and if you're reading this, you're probably part of mine), there are certain pieces that everyone can agree on. In fact, some social groups are even defined by the things they like - punk, mod, geek and Trekkie come to mind.

But everyone's got those few things they like - either movies, or bands, or comic books, etc. - that among their circle of friends, they're on their own. Those works that only they seem to have any affection for, usually quite a bit of blind affection for, that others don't even dislike mildly. These are the works that one person loves that everyone else hates, that we sometimes even evangelize for, that only end up having everyone call us crazy and question our taste.

I probably have more than a few of these solo fan obsessions in my pocket. Works that I can't even talk about with friends,a or that I've shown and been derided for. But what the hell. I still love them. Here's a partial parade of shame, with as many YouTube links as I can cough up.

1) Rock and Rule

This film blew my mind when I was twelve, and although I'm aware that it's a practical impossibility to view with a critical eye those icons from our childhood, I finally saw this again after a twenty-year break and I still think it's a really daring and cool movie. If nothing else, it's got a great soundtrack, with Lou Reed doing his best version of a glam-ified Mick Jagger and a duet from Debbie Harry and Robin Zander. But there's so much more than nothing else: great design, a vivid re-imagining of the New York new wave scene as a dystopian post-apocalyptic wasteland dotted with lumpy cities (that owe more than a little to Moebius) and inhabited by anthropomorphized dogs, cats and rats. Really slick and impressive animation and - what the hell, it's got a demon made of meat. Literally: they filmed a transparency with cow's brains right on the animation stand.

I think where most people lose interest in the film is in the slack and off-center storytelling, where major things happen off-screen and character development is delivered in mumbled asides. I, of course, actually like that aspect of it. When I showed it to some friends a couple of years ago, they were genuinely mad at me for forcing it on them. Oops.

At least Yesenia liked it. She said it made her feel like she was tripping.

2) Howard the Duck

I really have no excuse for liking this film, beyond saying that it is a genuinely faithful adaptation of the comic. Of course, I saw it when I was fifteen, and I didn't read a comic written by Steve Gerber until my late twenties, so go figure.

Really, I like this film for three reasons only: the soundtrack is one of John Barry's best, with a really lovely and rising main theme (I bought that sucker on vinyl as a kid, and not for the Thomas Dolby songs on the b-side); the casting of Lea Thompson at her peak hotness when I really had a major crush on her (still do); and the cool traditional F/X work from ILM, which could almost be a showreel for their effects animation and highly-refined stop-motion techniques. The monster designs are also boss, what can I tell you?

I won't even try to defend the film on other grounds, because that's a fool's errand, but I will note that I was emotionally affected by the story. So sue me. I was fifteen. They'll never release this one on DVD, but I would be the first at the door if they did. I do have a bootleg, thanks to my friend Jim's convention hopping ways.

3) Mirrormask

A more recent addition to the pile, one that other people watched first and told me of its lousiness. It suffers from a lot of the same narrative issues as Rock and Rule - being murky storytelling and emphasis on visuals over narrative - but Mirrormask Dave McKean takes it a step further by covering the screen in fog and haze and scribbling so that every frame of film is like a bunch of pages of a copy of Griffin and Sabine got wet and were stuck together. Add to that really cloying dialogue from Mr. Cutesy himself, Neil Gaiman, more puppets and masks than any adult should have truck with, and a soundtrack that sounds like the worst pileup of electronic fusion imaginable.

And you know something? I was totally charmed by it. I even bought the damn thing on DVD, and I've watched it a few times, and I remain charmed by it. I'll definitely see the next thing that McKean does, and I guess I have some hopes for Gaiman's Beowulf script.

I think I may by the soundtrack on CD, too. God help me.

The thing is, are these just hopeless bumps in my otherwise hip aesthetic sense? Anomalies that stand outside my taste like barnacles on a ship? No. In a way, these films (and others like them) are pretty key to my central self - that's why I end up attached to them while others see nothing of value in the at all.

And no finger pointing. You know you all like your indefensible crap, too.


Monday, August 13, 2007

The Writing Hour

So, it's 10 PM, and I'm writing the Rambler, and Yesenia is writing in her dream journal, and there's crickets chirping outside, and the laundry is done, and the upstairs office is about halfway cleaned, and there's a lovely breeze coming in through the windows, and I got all of the extra junk out of the dining room, and etc.

One of those days that comes in two acts: all day long, I forced together two versions of a catalog for a client. I'd thought it would only take me an hour or two (I'm usually very fast with this stuff), but I was way off. I'd originally planned to see the Simpsons Movie illegally with Jim and Karl, but the last symptom of the time I'd lost working at KPMG was this catalog - really, I should've had it done on Friday - and so now the draft is done.

Act two started after I'd gotten the catalogs into the UPS overnight, and then came home to do a little work on the house. It's amazing how much better you feel when you have time and energy to do those dishes and fold that laundry, rather than walking past their respective piles with a sideways glance and a guilty shudder on your way to bed.

And now? Unlike the last few months when I had to stay up until two o'clock to meet deadlines, I'm done for the day and it's only 10:15 or so. What a great feeling. Not to say there won't be crazy deadlines in the future - I'll always work close to the wire when it comes to stuff I have no interest in doing, sadly - but they won't be every night.

Act three will be an early bedtime. Perhaps a DVD with Yesenia. These are the days.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Wheeeeeeeeeee! Urk.

My head is pounding from too much food, too much alcohol, too much loud conversation, too many music videos blaring in the background. too many hands of Uno and too many rounds of a game with no name that involves putting names of people into a hat and then doing a three round play where the names are guessed.

Also: too much work to do. See you tomorrow.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Same as the old boss

Mostly a day of napping, interspersed with cutting molding on a miter saw I borrowed from Jim. If I had a little more energy, the molding would have gone up as well, but I lacked even the energy to go to the hardware megamart for the second time today. Earlier, I'd gone to pick up some screws to finish assembling the light/fan fixture (and succeeded, so at least that got done), but after a nap and dinner, a wave of enervation so overwhelmed me that I was only able to put up a couple of pieces of end molding before I looked at the bent nails and said: fuck it.

Anyway, I'm going to see if I can help Yesenia tidy her office - well, it's my mess, too! - and then call it. You have a good night. And don't forget to check the Perseids tomorrow night. Gonna be a big show, they say.


Now Begins the Time of Focus

Okay, KPMG: over. Class: over. Meaning I have free TIIMMMMEEEE again. First things first: fucking dining room ceiling. Second things second: tape, plaster, prime and paint the dining room. This will be the next two-to-three days.

After that? Well, the house has bee so generous in providing me with downtime activity this year, I have a veritable cornucopia of shit to choose from, but I guess I'll have to go with getting the last of the crap out of the basement - that's going to be a few days, because it's not something I can do for more than an hour at a time. Thankfully, about 85% of the stuff is gone, but what remains are the two bathrooms, which pose some problems I'm just not yet prepared to handle.

On the creative side, the was-named-DeSk-but-now-has-no-name band will be starting to record in earnest later this month. And...

You know? Mostly, I don't want to think about what I'm doing or putting any pressure on myself to meet any kind of deadlines on anything. I've just had seven months of 60 hour work weeks, of never having a moment when I didn't have to be thinking about how best to organize my schedule and generally performing triage with all aspects of my life: only things that were actually on fire at the moment were given my attention. Everything else went into the green room. Now, apart from the usual stream of stuff from my one job - which I can easily handle - everything will get done in time, without guilt, without pressure.

I really just need to nap for a few days, that will be nice.

The Rambler, which was started as an emergency release valve for my creative voice in the time when I had no time or resources to do anything else, will continue at its daily pace. Why not? It takes no effort whatsoever, and it still serves that valuable function of end-of-day meditation. Heck, I've even given it this nice, new template, to make it feel loved. I'll probably tweak the design, fonts and colors (Google doesn't let you do more than just a little bit of tweaking on these) over the next few days, but for today, I'm going to stick the template up as is, and see how it looks.

Then, sometime in the fall - perhaps? - the new Copper Man site, totally revamped. We'll see. Maybe if you're good.

In the meantime: get some sleep. I had the experience today of trying to teach a room of ADD-stricken 12-year-olds Photoshop, and that'll draw the life out of just about anyone.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ten x Ten

Nice! 100 fuckin' Ramblers!

I think I'll celebrate by writing nothing and getting some sleep. Today was my last day at KPMG, and tomorrow is the last class of this current session, so I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands than I know what to do with. This weekend will be spent in meditation.

I was going to, at some point, write about the death of my friend Jim's mother, but our mutual friend Bubba beat me to it, and did so with more grace than I could muster, so I direct you there.

But come back here tomorrow for the 101st Rambler, y'hear?


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pearls for Thine

Alright, the FTP let me in. Still slow, but all the pictures are here. 'Enjoy!'

Last night, I put together the 'final' KPMG comic. Here's the illustration:

First, before going to the wake on Monday, Yesenia & I went down to Pearl Paint to pick up some paper and other supplies. Since I was doing this one in watercolor, I wanted to find a paper that matched the stuff that I did some of my better watercolor illustrations in college (I'll get together a few of those for post later this week). Turned out to be 300lbs Hot Press Arches Watercolor paper - really, really nice stuff. I hadn't bought this stuff in almost twenty years, and it felt oddly good.

I also picked up some frisket film, if I needed.

Anyway, later that night, I came back and did the illustration. The method: blew up the previous version of the first panel to about 8" x 10", taped that to the back of the Arches, and laid it on my lightbox. The previous version was don this way as well, directly from the sketch. Each new version gets some refining, but not always an improvement. For example, here's the sketch version, which took about two minutes to draw:

That was then cloned, the original hand lettering scanned in and placed, and with only the different facial expressions, putting it together in Photoshop went pretty quickly:

When that comp was approved, I blew up the first panel, taped it to the back of some bristol, threw it on the lightbox, did some pencil lines to get the characters 'on model,' but you can see that the 2nd draft still kept a lot of the looseness of the first. I decided to ink it all in brush, because I can work looser and more dynamically (and faster), but also because I've really made it a goal to master dry brush, so you can see I trotted it out here in a few places:

Then I redid the lettering and the facial expressions, all on the same piece of bristol (which looks rather abstract:

Then I comped that one together, only swapping out the facial expressions and dialogue. Then I colored the whole thing:

They asked that the characters look younger, and for a couple small word changes, so I softened his features with the clone tool and copied and pasted to change text:

And I was a smart guy: I left the whole thing in layers, particularly the word balloons and dialogue. So, when the approval came in, it was just a matter of doing the illustration over, and changing the panel borders and dialogue to a brown to match the brown ink in the new watercolor version. Karl gave me some good advice on what real state-of-the-art home theater standards are, so I made one more text change. You'll note that in the illustration, I softened the guy's features even further.

A little more cloning and moving, and the thing was done:

So, we'll see.

I have to say that as a student, I loathed process. Hell, as a student, I loathed college, but I must confess that practically every technique I employed here was something I picked up at RISD. Even the aesthetic choice of the brown ink instead of black for the watercolor was based on a senior illustration show I saw at the school when I visited in my senior year of High School. The tracing paper route came courtesy of the then unfollowed advice of Mahler Ryder. I know my time with Russell Jones also influenced my watercolor technique. So, what do you know? Maybe my RISD education is finally starting to pay off - at 500 bucks a pop.


Insert Supertramp Music Cue Here

Willy Loman, Unenlightened as Always, Returns Home

Let's keep this short and sweet, shall we?

I woke up early - sleeping in the living room of The Bell School, with its open floor plan, will do that to you. Particularly when people are making coffee-making noises just a few feet away. Sarah cut out at 6 AM to drive back home to Portland for her first day waitressing - that's a two hour drive, for the Maine-illeitrate among you.

Pinocchio and I went over to a nearby Dysart's - a sort-of I.H.O.P. recast as a truck-stop. This turned out to be the place where he'd met his wife (a blind date) about a decade earlier, but the vibes there were so - interstatish - that it was hard to picture it being the start of anything of that nature.

Anyway, after some French Toast (although the Dysart version of the McGriddle had been recommended to me by all members of the Bell School, I had to demure, thinking of the seven-plus hour drive ahead of me), and some career conversation about Pinocchio's music, I hit the road.

And drove, and drove, and drove, and drove and drove. And drove. I had plenty of music with me, and some stand-up by David Cross and Patton Oswalt to keep me company. I took one stop, at the Freeport Friendly's. This was mostly intended as a piss-break, but I decided to make a meal of it. After a couple of days of healthy, home-cooked food, I needed some real-honest-to-goodness artery-clogging crap, and Friendly's is also good for a Proustian Rush of flavor, given how often my mom and I went to the now-defunct one in the local mall when I was a kid. So, I got the usual: burger, fries, and a junior chocolate Fribble. And when say 'usual,' here I mean a meal that I haven't had in about twenty-five years, but was my standard back in the day.

From there, it was a pretty straight line, and this time I smartened up and avoided 95 and 91 entirely once I got on to the Mass Pike. 84 all the way to New York, to 684 to the Saw Mill Parkway to 287. Over the Tappan Zee Bridge - now taking bets on just when it will be the follow-up in the Minneapolis 35W Bridge S.M.E.F. Derby - onto Route 9W, and home.

Home, Yesenia. Kiko, sleep. Unfinished work from home and office. All that stuff.

Next time, I'm going to New England for a week. and I'm taking my wife with me. Our cat, too, if we can keep her sedated.


Monday, August 6, 2007

A Moment of Silence

The wake was tonight, and all the family was there. Indeed, all of several dozen families seemed to be there, as the joint was thronged and the parking lot was impassible. I dropped Yesenia off and parked a few hundred feet down on a side road, then walked back to the funeral home - crossing the four lane highway in the process. The same spot where a member of my graduating class mowed down a drunk crossing from the bar that used to be there, now a diner. I paid extra, extra special attention.

The last time I'd seen Jim's mom was back in the early Spring, I think. At any rate, it had been a few months, and I heard she'd been losing weight precipitously. Still, I wasn't prepared. I don't think anyone was, but the mood in the room was generally pretty up. Two nights before, Jim's dad had said he wanted the wake and funeral to be a party, so I bore that in mind, and I think the overall mood helped the nuclear family - the Doller clan has always been a loud and fun one, so the wake itself was loud and - if not fun, exactly, at least not the heady sadness of the previous wake I'd been to, for Fiona's dad, at the BIG TIME ITALIAN FUNERAL HOME in Brooklyn.

Of course, as always, I had to leave early. I always have to leave early. Earlier today, I got the go-ahead to do the final watercolor for the comic, and when I suggested Thursday as a deadline - a speedy but civilized three day turnaround, in other words - the creative director winced, drew a whistling breath, and said, "Well, it's - ah -pretty tight." Fine, I can take a hint. In fact, I'm taking a break from the painting right now to write this. Hopefully, I'll get the whole thing done and scanned and assembled for tomorrow. The funeral is set for 10 A.M., so if I finish up by two or three this morning, I'll still get plenty of sleep and won't be nodding off during the eulogy. That's bad form.

So, back down to the kitchen (my temporary studio) to finish up. I've hit that point I usually do, about halfway through every piece where I feel like I've hit a wall, and everything is good, but if I lay down one more brushstroke, it'll all go to Hell. Time to get over that, I think.

Tomorrow night, we'll finish up the never-ending New England story, and then I think the rest of this week will be a little light reading. It's pretty clear when these things get too prose heavy, that's not what they're supposed to be. So, some comic reviews, including the completed first Dark Tower miniseries, Berlin #13 and others, and maybe some movie and music reviews to boot. See you then.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

As We Liked It

Real time intro: A good friend's mother just passed away this Saturday morning. I'll probably be getting into that later in the week, once I've decided how best to discuss these weighty topics without cheapening them for the sake of a stupid blog. If I find I can't approach it with the dignity it merits, I'll skip it entirely - but don't be surprised if the Ramblers this week are suffused with hints of the metaphysical.

But now, it's still Saturday, July 21st here at the Rambler, and that means:

Willy Loman's Big Night Out, or: Arthur Miller meets Shakespeare in the Park

Having made it to the Bell School in decent time, even with the crazy Waterville runaround, I took a quick shower to rinse the camping stink off and came down to chat with Pinocchio (dear God, now I'm really regretting these pseudonyms from the other day), who is a guest, and Rob, the owner, and Rob's mother-in-law. After a brief but bracing argument on the validity of French hip-hop with Rob's mother-in-law, Pinocchio, Sarah (Pinocchio's girlfriend) and I hopped in our cars/pick-up trucks and headed over to Bangor.

What was in Bangor? Pinocchio is a member of an acting troupe in Bangor (The Ten Bucks Theater, for anyone who feels like Googling it), and was directing a bluegrass version of As You Like It. There was some concern that they would have to use the rain location, but there it was, that beautiful weather I'd brought with me. Before heading out, though, I had to take advantage of the nice weather and dry the wet tent, tarp and sleeping bag. Out they came from my car - and, oy!, I hadn't realized what a musty smell had already formed in there - and over a washing line in back of the Bell School. And since I'm such a great guy, I even folded their clothes that had already dried out there.

In Bangor lies the oddest but, in many ways, nicest part of the entire trip: Pinocchio had to attend a going away party for a member of his theater, so he dropped me in Sarah's hands and left us essentially for a date in downtown Bangor. And the timing couldn't have been better - I really, really needed to decompress about my conflicting impulses from Bread and Puppet, and Sarah - a currently ungraduated Harvard alum(?) in her mid-20's - was the exact right person to share a good afternoon's rambling Café talk on pretty much every topic: performance, writing, art, communal living, families, life, the universe and everything.

It was nice for many reasons - the unscheduled inclusion into my carefully-planned vacation, the refreshing one-on-one after the alone-in-a-crowd experiences the night before, the feeling of being allowed to be Dave after stumbling around awkwardly at B&P, and that rare feeling of meeting someone truly great both without feeling any pressure to be attractive to them in any way, and also no feeling that you have to be competitive with them. If I'd had dates like that back when I was single, I probably wouldn't have hated dating so much, after all.

The day wore on, and we went over to the park where As You Like It was going to be staged. A nice natural amphitheater, with a rolling meadow above and a ring of forest behind the performers. Opposite the parking lot there was a view of all of Bangor, so I can only imagine that the park itself is the highest point in the city.

Before the play, a juggler came out - he was practicing as the early arrivals laid their blankets out, and his practiced segued right into his act seamlessly. He was quite good, and did it all (flaming torches, 50 ft. high nasal pole balances, etc.) Then Sarah joined Pinocchio (who was playing banjo) for a quick opening number, along with a jug player, guitarist and fiddler.

The play began right after, and was a nice diverting way to spend a couple of hours. The actors were all prepared, and even though I have the same reaction to Shakespeare I often do - I'm always about a beat and a half behind the players, because I have to decode the language in my head - I was able to follow along well enough. It helps that Shakespeare's plot and characterization here are about as deep as a picture of a puddle, so there's no room to get confused. It's also pretty fuckin' funny the way major action keeps happening offstage, and then someone runs in breathlessly to tell us what happened.

Pinocchio had directed his actors to interact physically with the audience, and later in the play, the princess disguised as a man plopped herself in my lap and played with my hair while she delivered a teasing come-on to the male lead. So, that was nice. Of course, later on, when I was waiting for Pinocchio outside the troupe's HQ across town, she walked in and gave me a odd look, probably thinking, "Well, shit. I'll have to knock off the lap thing - I've got a stalker, now."

Sorry for creeping you out, lady, but don't worry: Thin and blond is not my type. The one I really had the hots for was the curvy brunette with the pixyish air that played her cousin. Thank God she didn't land on my lap, or there would have been much embarrassment on both our parts and I'd probably be writing this entry as part of my Bangor Community Service, or something. Now there's a Shakespeare comedy of the sexes, for you!

Anyway, the play drew to a close just before sunset, and after stopping by the theater for the aforementioned stalker moment, we headed first to Almacs for provisions and then back to the Bell School, where Rob - a genius writer going through an amusing bitter phase - loudly and hilariously proclaimed his utter loathing for Shakespeare and pretty much anything else that was brought up in discussion. He went to bed and Sarah cooked up a nice late dinner of sausage and string beans, so my string of good meals continued.

Finally, I went to bed on two pushed-together couches under two of the homemade quilts that decorate the place (and provide for part of the income), and was out after a few paragraphs of some New Yorker political piece.

Next: The Last Leg!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Memorial Pub Crawl 2007

There’s seven deadly sins
And we’ve found out some new ones.
The only problem is fitting them all in,
But you’re a prodigy.

I’ve tried to follow through,
But there’s no talking to you.
That wave dismisses it -
That charm and smile shit -
Like you always pull.

There’s nothing that you wouldn’t try.
It’s just not done unless we get no sleep tonight.
The subway’s gone and I guess we’re going on.

New sky from the passing storm.
The pavement’s wet and warm.
I still see us mirrored below -
In neon haze and streetlight halo,
You’re water, air and fire.
Follow - you’re always there…

There’s seven deadly sins,
And each one has its defenders.
The only problem is, the encores never dim
They just become eulogies.

Friday, August 3, 2007

My Big Poopie Butt

Another day between New England trip entries - I'm starting to like the rhythm of the one-on/one-off pattern. Here's what's happening in real-time: closure.

Wednesday, the ad agency I work for lost our longest-term client - also one of our bedrock accounts, so money (which has been a little tight in the last year) will be even tighter. I can't be exactly sad, though: I'd run out of steam doing work for these people years ago, and it's looked like they were going to drop us every month for the last two years, so I'm glad I won't ever have to do another large piece for them that gets remade into a mediocre mess by committee or goes unpublished, after eternal, painstaking revision after revision. When I found out that they never liked my best work, it became more and more difficult to try to give them my best work, which is never a healthy situation. Everybody will be happier all around, although our agency will be poorer and filled with much anxiety as to how to fill the hole in our income that this creates.

Also, I finally wore out my welcome at KPMG with my sporadic schedule, but that's okay. Even though I really liked the extra money, anyone who's read the Rambler even once will know that having given my entire life over to work in the last seven months was really taking its toll on me. They told me that they were going to find a freelancer that could work 40 hours, so I'll be finishing out (presumably) within the next couple of weeks. Then it's goodbye!, Amazon impulse purchases!

Work on the dining room is also drawing to a close, with the final beadboard having gone up last weekend, and the molding and plastering set for this weekend, with the painting happening next weekend. I'd meant to put up the new light/fan fixture earlier this week, but I discovered that the ceiling box we installed was the wrong kind, so I have to replace that. Shame, because the wiring went really well, but that's what I get for not reading the instructions.

Let's see if something else along this theme develops. Perhaps some big life closure is coming soon, as well. I don't welcome it. Closure is not always desirable.


The Bell School

Willy Loman and the Flop-Sweat Follies, Cont.

As a child of divorce, you become very aware of the various pitfalls any marriage can go through. Perhaps, at some core level, you even think that the natural course of events is to have a failed first marriage, and then a long and successful one following. If you're feeling really pragmatic, you might think that the second marriage is more based on compromise, companionship and practical needs than love.

But what really floats around in your head, if you're a child of divorce like myself who is now in the age group where most of my friends have married off, is the question of 'who's going to be the statistic?' In other words, whose marriage isn't going to hold?

Turns out it was one of the earlier ones, being my college friend Sayonara* and her husband, Pinocchio.* And it was an interesting case, because it was also one of the least-traditional marriages I've ever seen. But even given the slightly left-field nature of the coupling, they made it work for about nine years, until the differences they saw in their futures became too divergent. Pinocchio had long wanted to be a homesteading subsistence farmer, while writing plays and music and prose on the side. At first, that's what they perused, but Sayonara's desire to live and further her arts career in NYC brought Pinocchio to live in Brooklyn for a couple of really trying years. Eventually, he couldn't take it anymore, and - with other pressure on the marriage included - the two opted for an amicable divorce, with Pinocchio moving to Maine and Sayonara staying in NYC.

Pinocchio landed for the first year at a place called "The Bell School," just south of Bangor, and, short of any other information and knowing that a couple of other long-term guests lived there, I had an image of some kind of seedy halfway commune, in major disrepair of the electrical and plumbing variety. I discovered very differently last year when Yesenia and I drove to visit Pinocchio and discovered instead one of the loveliest homes I've ever seen - a living spread from Architectural Digest about beautiful renovations of the Yankee golden age, or something.

A young married couple had bought an 19th century single room clapboard schoolhouse and transformed it into a wet-dream of a home. And since the two were both artists and generous people - he, a writer and she a multimedia artists who runs her own quilting company - they like having a small crowd of interesting young artists to share the space with them. And the name "The Bell School" is accurate, but also a deliberate choice to keep calling it by its public name, even though it's now a private home. On our first visit, Yesenia and I have never felt more welcomed in a place, a feeling made all the more remarkable by everyone besides Pinocchio being complete strangers, and Pinocchio himself while being a friend, is still someone I have only known well for a couple of years.

So, when I went back to the Bell School this year, it was with both great happiness to return to such a lovely place and visit with such incredible people, but also a little regret because I knew I was basically blowing through -staying for less than 24 hours - when what I really wanted to do was hang out for week straight and generally make a useful nuisance of myself.

As noted, I met Pinocchio through my college friend, and the first time I met him was, in fact, at my own wedding. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I really got to talk to him, and found him an engaging guy. Like me in many ways, but with differences that make our interactions interesting - for both of us, I hope. A couple of years ago, he asked me to play bass on his record, which I was incredibly flattered to do. Pinocchio himself at the time was something of a Luddite, but has since embraced the usefulness of computers in pursuit of a D.I.Y. music career. Still, he was impressed enough with what little studio savvy I possess that he later had me master the album, which I was again flattered to do. I'd still like to record him, but he's afraid that I'd try to expand on the drums and bass and guitar that he had going on the record I played on, while he's heading back toward the antique bluegrass and folk instrumentation that he loves.

He's right, of course. At some point I'll drug him and get him to make the Sun Records style recording I want to hear from him, but in the meantime, his new record - recorded by a Bell School expatriate who had relocated back to Texas - is a really lovely collection of acoustic sounds, with just some gentle cello and rare pedal steel touches. He's gotten the thing professionally mastered, to boot, and is gearing up for a number of New England folk house dates, both solo and with a backup singer an a cellist.

The timing of my visit to the Bell School this year also deliberately coincided with a Shakespeare in the Park production of As You Like It which Pinocchio was directing - and which he moved up to a Civil War setting, so he could score it with more of that folk and bluegrass music.

All in all, a good way to forge a new path after the previous one with Sayonara had ended with no mutual way forward.

Anyway, I arrived at the Bell School at 1:30 PM, a little grimy and road beat, but thrilled to be there and to have brought yet more nice weather with me for another friend's outdoor show.

Next: As You Like It in Bangor

*Since everyone knows these are pseudonyms, I figured I'd just make them as obvious and silly as possible. Since I'm getting into that rare territory of discussing other people's private lives in depth, the change of name seems necessary. Apologies if it makes this entry a little weird. The Pinocchio in this story is not made out of wood, nor does he have a predilection for lying to keep himself out of trouble.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

RE: While I Was Out

This is getting to be seriously pathetic, but I'm afraid I must beg off a Rambler tonight, as well. Sleep beckons. She is my mistress, and I love and fear her. I must go to her.