Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/29/2010

This is my only entry for this week as I have been madly working on the 4th draft of my novel to help shed 50 pages and start to send out query letters in November.  I was originally intending to have my first round of queries out before the end of the year, but one to two months early is where I am heading and I am definitely fine with those results.  I am also excited to start a five-issue mini-series for a comic book I am slowly working out the details for and will start that hopefully next week.

I feel a cold coming on and my thoughts are not quite holding together this morning, so forgive me if I start making no pancakes on this early Friday zombification. very, very tired.

Slice of Heaven

Finishing a new five page story for the Comic Creators Workshop - Every month at the Comic Creators Workshop, offered through Comics Experience with Andy Schmidt, a new writer's/artist's challenge is posted and attendees decide whether or not to participate.  For the first challenge, my five-page script was chosen to be critiqued by none other than Jason Aaron and was a challenge to write, requiring that the panel descriptions be no more than one sentence long.  His feedback was incredibly helpful and I will be revising the script and reposting hopefully this week.
The October challenge involved writing a script as if I had to motivate a highly-detailed and brilliant, yet in-need-of-encouragement artist to make him psyched to illustrate the script.  I got nutty with the writing and was quite pleased with the results.  From what I could tell, other members of the workshop enjoyed it as well, which always feels good.  Another workshop member's script was chosen to be critiqued by none other than Dan Abnett.  Of course I wanted my script to be chosen again, but after reading the other script, I would have been foaming at the mouth to draw it out...too bad I can't draw.
The workshop continues to be an amazing tool to improve my writing and an immensely fun experience.  Jumping from writing scripts, to critiquing other's scripts and to receiving criticism from others has proven vital to my growth as a writer, not just in the comics medium, but other mediums as well.  I am also considering taking the lettering class and possibly the coloring class next year, when they are offered up again.
I can't give this workshop enough praise.   Oh...the November challenge is up.  Time to crank up the mental gears.

Morning Glories #3 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics.  Morning Glories continues to be the comic that I anticipate picking up from the comic store  the most each month.  In this issue the mystery and intrigue deepen and we are introduced to a past Morning Glory alum...with past meaning centuries in the past.  Although this issue only centers on three of the modern day (?) students, we are given deeper characterization and insight into each of them.  There is one point early on when a sentence or two of the dialogue is like nails scraping on a chalkboard, and I was thankful that Eisma did not choose to illustrate what was described; my twisted little brain was more than happy to fill in the details.  *shiver*  If you are not reading this book, then please let me know what the hell is wrong with you...seriously.  Issue one and two can be bought from ComiXology for the computer, iPad, iPhone, iTouch and who knows what else.  Now I get to wait for issue number four...3 weeks to go.  *sigh*
Morning Glories #3

Secret Six Vol. 3: Danse Macabre - Written by Gail Simone and John Ostrander and illustrated by Daniel LuVisi, published by DC Comics.  I have not mentioned Secret Six on my blog before, but with the release of the latest TPB, it was time to say how much I enjoy this dark yet amusing book about a team of ex-villains gathered together to run questionable missions for the mysterious Mockingbird.  Deadshot takes the spotlight for much of this book, which has a Blackest Night tie-in, but it is not too overly obnoxious.  The current members of the Six are as follows: Scandal Savage - the "damn hard to kill" former in-team leader who has recently been put on the sidelines by...; Bane - The man who broke Batman and is now acting team leader; Catman - a vicious and deadly fighter, who once, according to Catman, beat Batman; Ragdoll - the rather insane and obscenely flexible psychopath; Jeannette - an incredibly strong and resilient combatant with a tendency towards dressing in French Revolutionary clothing.  Oh yeah, she is also a banshee; Deadshot - a cold and merciless killer.  Never get on his bad side; Black Alice - a teenager with the ability to mimic the power of any magic using hero/villain she encounters.  She is the most dangerous and unreliable of the bunch.
Although this is Vol. 3 of the series, there is also a mini-series and a book before that as well, bringing the count to five TPB's currently out.
Villains United, Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation, Secret Six: Unhinged, Secret Six: Depths and now Secret Six Vol. 3: Danse Macabre.

Secret Six Vol. 3: Danse Macabre
Secret Six Vol. 3: Danse Macabre

The Mercury Last Saturday Night - Okay, this one would have ended up in the Slice Into the Woods section if not for the fact that I had to get home to finish a five page comic script for a Comic Creator Workshop challenge that I was able to finish on time and for which I was quite proud of the finished product.  That Saturday night, Amy and I agreed to meet a friend for a drink at the Mercury Lounge and before we even walked into the bar, we saw a whupped-ass looking person with fucked up long black hair and semi-torn clothing.  My thought was, "Great...I hope we don't have to sit next to that guy...errrr girl...errrr whatever that was."
We walked in and there was a screen showing the title menu to a DVD being projected at the bar entrance and three quarters of the patrons were dressed as zombies.  There were cookies, gummy worms and other treats for everyone, not to mention the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA waiting for me.  We were completely confused as to what the hell was going on, but found out that they were having a "Zombie Party" for a bartender who was leaving to pursue other opportunities and that at 10:00 PM, they were going to be showing the movie Wild Zero.  "What is Wild Zero?" you might ask.  It is a Japanese Rock and Roll film with flying saucers and zombies.  WHY THE HELL DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS MOVIE SOONER?  Holy shit, if there are naked hot girls in it, I will have everything that I could possibly want in a movie.
I was torn to let Amy and our friend head home, while I shirked my responsibilities to the five page script that was due in three hours and stayed to watch the movie.  Instead I left to further building my new career.  BUT, I rented the movie and we will be watching it at a party on Saturday.  Now if I could only figure out what the other movie was going to be that The Mercury was going to screen at midnight.
*side note* - The DVD for Wild Zero has a built in drinking game that will show a mug when the following occurs:  a zombie's head explodes, anything explodes, someone shouts "ROCK AND ROLL," someone combs their hair, anything shoots fire.  The game is simple, when the mug appears, you drink.  I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be some drunk fools within the first 40 minutes.

Slice Into the Woods

Nothing much to gripe about other than the usual bunch of big corporations attempting to buy our elections and continue to damage our economy so that a few thousand white-haired white guys can become even more rich than they are now.

Besides that, this week just simply dragged along at a snails pace.  I need to stop living for the weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/22/2010

Let's do this thing, peoples....

Slice of Heaven

My 40th Birthday Bash at HobNob - Last Saturday I celebrated my 40th birthday with about 30 people at the HobNob here in Santa Barbara.  We took over the entire back patio and despite initial heavy precipitation everyone appeared to be having a great and mellow time.  HobNob had a little placards with pictures of me--I am guessing Amy supplied the horrendous pictures--and gave me photo of myself to wear as a badge that said, "Yes it is my birthday.  Yes you can buy me a drink!"  Embarrassing, yet funny and a nice touch.  For food, we had a giant bowl of freshly made potato chips with a blue cheese sauce on the side, trays of bruschetta and a platter of chicken skewers; all of which were delicious and gone in no time.
For drinks, I ended up using about 70 red poker chips which I distributed at least two to each guest, allowing them to order any drink that they wanted.  Some people ordered dinner, some ordered extra shots (ugh) for me.  By the end of the evening, I had a Manhattan, vodka tonic, a cucumber press, two shots of Patron, and some hellacious concoction called a "Mind Eraser"...thanks, Alex.  Of course there was a giant chocolate cake from Anna's Bakery in Goleta, which I love and they even went so far as to put a cityscape with a plastic Spider-Man toy atop it, reminding me of all the nutty cakes I used to have when I was a kid--I'm looking at you Crystar the Crystal Warrior cake from my childhood.
In the end, people were brought to HobNob to celebrate my birthday, but this year my hope was to have a miniature celebration of those who make my life fun, joyful and happy.  I think I succeeded. Thank you all for coming and I love you all dearly.  Also, thank you HobNob for putting on a wonderful event and I will tell everyone to grace your establishment, and we will be back soon.  I could not have asked for a better evening.
Happy Birthday to me, bitches!

The Goon Volume 6: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker - Written and illustrated by Eric Powell, published by Dark Horse Comics - The first page of this volume says it all, "This Ain't Funny,"and boy howdy was Eric Powell not kidding...jesus....  This book breaks from all the "Knife in the eye, " slack-jaw (zombie) pounding shenanigans of the prior six trades (incl. 0).  Although I would normally be sad that characters such as Dr. Alloy or my favorite Spanish-speaking Lagardo do not appear, the heavy emotional story presented in this book is amazing and almost seems as if from a different series entirely--I did not mind in the slightest.  There are few if any jokes in this volume that finally answers the questions of how the Goon received his scars and what happened in Chinatown.  I was left more than fully satisfied with the reveals and I am still thinking about the incredibly real depictions of a man's reaction to something so staggering painful that it may very well affect him for the rest of his life.  Sure there are zombies, werewolves and other monsters walking around, but this issue left me with the same feeling of loss and sorrow found in works such as Strangers in Paradise and Blankets.  Unlike most comics, things don't end up going well, but that's okay.  In fact life can be pretty fucked up and that's just something that has to be dealt with and accepted.  Page 80 through 89 are some of the most heart wrenching sequentials I have ever seen and they almost did me in.  Who hasn't been through something that didn't work out according to your dreams?  Who hasn't been wronged for no apparent reason?  Real life involves not saving the kitten in the tree, defeating the evil foe, or achieving your heart's desire.
I highly recommend this book, and I definitely want my wife to read it, and as a stand alone graphic novel it is an odd little noir tragedy.  But, to really feel the emotional power of this book, it helps to know the characters so that the change in pace is more jarring...for that you kind of need to read the first volume and the rest.  Where my wife is concerned, the problem is that "Knife in the eye" and fishmen may not really be her bag, but I am still going to try to get her to read it.  A truly devastating and beautiful book.  Crap, gotta go cry...whatcha lookin' at you slack-jawed palooka?!

The Goon Volume 6: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker
The Goon Vol. 6: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker ...or kick me in the heart and put your cigarette out on it while you're at it. 

The Goon Volume 7: A Place of Heartache and Grief - Written and illustrated by Eric Powell, published by Dark Horse Comics.  Okay, after Chinatown, things get back to bloody, nutty and offensive.  In this volume the Priest gets whats coming to him, but what replaces him could quite possibly be much worse.  Old foes are back, and someone thought long dead returns from the grave...or has he.  The immensely hot cock-teasing harpies are back and oh yeah...a four-foot tall hobo riding an alligator in the swamp.  What more could you ask for.  Do I even have to say it?  Highly recommended.

The Goon Volume 7: A Place Of Heartache And Grief (Goon (Graphic Novels))
The Goon Volume 7: A Place of Heartache and Grief...or Kids love fish squeezin's

The Goon Volume 8: Those That Is Damned -  Written and illustrated by Eric Powell, published by Dark Horse Comics.  Damn...can you guess what I have been reading for the past week?  Obsess much, Donist?!  What to say without giving anything away...the story continues from volume seven, and Frankie and the Goon consider leaving town after the Buzzard reveals that the town is forever damned, but despite all of the sin the pair have committed, it is still their home and people need them.  Death, curses and further torment for the Priest are found in this volume and the Goon crosses a major line of cruelty when he captures a traitor in his midst.  Oh yeah, all that and the corpse mother, too!  You guessed it, highly recommended.

The Goon Volume 8: Those That Is Damned (Goon (Graphic Novels))
The Goon Volume 8: Those That Is Damned...or  "Happiness is for pussies"

Apple Magic Trackpad - Some very cool friends of mine--who were not supposed to give me anything--gave this to me as a Birthday gift at the HobNob party and I was totally surprised.  I love this device so much more than the wireless Apple mouse that I was using that I don't know what I did before it came into my life.  It took a bit of tinkering with to get it to function the way that I wanted and there was a learning curve to all of the subtle little movements and tricks, but in the end it makes life much easier.  The only small gripe that I have is that it is a little awkward when I need to highlight things or click and drag, but this is probably user error and something that I will figure out in time.  I love this thing.  Shucks, guys, you shouldn't have!

Slice Into the Woods

The End of Mad Men Season 4 - Not that this season finale was a let down--it wasn't--my biggest problem is that now I have to wait seven fucking months for season five.  What will I do without my weekly dose of Joan?  Oh wait...The Walking Dead starting on October 31st from AMC.  Okay, things will be alright, at least for another five weeks.
*btw - this was an excellent episode, not at the same level as the season finale of season three, but pretty damn good none the less.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 3

Continuing my remembrances of the various concerts that I have been to in my life.

Pat Dailey - I had no idea who this guy was until my evil-ex-girfriend-number-two and I went to visit my dad and stepmom in Ohio.   Pat Dailey is a singer-songwriter who plays at Put-in-Bay, an island on Lake Erie, and he also plays extensively in Florida.  He is oftentimes compared to Jimmy Buffet and the guy has a fairly awe-inspiring legion of fans.  Most memorable was a song about having a threesome with two girls and Pat as he "jumped into the pile."  He also played at a place that called itself the longest bar, which was essentially a bar that wrapped around most of the restaurant.  The show would have been a hell of a lot more enjoyable if my now--thank fucking god--ex-girlfriend had not been there.  She disappeared during the show for over an hour, and I frantically went looking for her, only to see her outside smoking cigarettes, drunk and trying to hang with people who generally wanted nothing to do with her; she was probably trying to find drugs of some sort.

KMFDM x2 - I first saw KMFDM at the Ventura Theater and the turnout must have been very disappointing for the group; there were seriously like 60 people there.  The band didn't seem to be phased and rocked the hell out of the place and quite possibly rocked some actual hearing loss in my left ear...seriously.  My hearing has never been the same.  Kids...remember your earplugs when attending live shows, especially when you are practically leaning against a monster-sized amp.
After apparently not suffering enough the first time, I went to the American Legion Hall in L.A. and saw them again.  This show was completely packed and those crazy KMFDM guys put on a momentous show, but what struck me the most was spoken word artist Nicole Blackman who opened for the band and also sang during one or two of  the songs.  Ms. Blackman was all dark venom, beautiful voice and well...beautiful.  She actually made the show for me.  *She also went on to "sing" for The Golden Palominos on the album Dead Inside, which I love.  What is she doing now?

Primus at some sort of big event thing - I don't really remember the deal with this one, other than a bunch of my musician friends worship at the alter of Les Claypool.  I'm not a big Primus fan, but I vaguely remembered having an okay time.

Lollapalooza the third - Okay, I fucking hate big giant outdoor event shows.  Sure some of the best bands do them, but they are usually in a fucking desert with very expensive refreshments and the highest proportion of drunken/drugged douche bags in existence.  I cannot imagine a worse way to spend the day than in the baking hot sun, surrounded by an 85:15 dude-to-girl ratio of wasted morons trying to mosh to George Clinton and other non-moshable bands.  I think the Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins were there, although I was more concerned with the tumultuous sea of stupidity churning in front of my group.
One high point was a fist throwing, shirtless dude with a three-foot long stocking cap springing from the mosh malevolence straight at my friend's girlfriend.  This idiot was three feet in the air and my friend, a pretty big guy, stepped in front of her, locked his arm forward and the flying moron slammed face first into my friends palm.  Full on double palm face.  The guy dropped to the ground like a rock, shook the stars from his head and rejoined the mosh.
Things were so stupid that the Beastie Boys stopped the show to yell at the assholes who were groping a crowd surfing woman and they also reprimanded all the moshers asking them to pogo instead.
Finally, after I had seen enough, I went to the mist tent to cool off so that I would not faint from heat exhaustion, and while standing there, an older hesher-chick walked into the tent, saw me and said, "Don't worry about it, Baby.  Just take it off!  Take it all off!  Yeah!"  Um...okay, but maybe not in the mist tent, and maybe after a shower, in a private air conditioned room, after a cool drink and a sandwich or something...wait...where did she go?

Lush x2.5 - I have a definite soft spot for this band.  I love them.  A group of us drove to Glam Slam in L.A. to see Lush with Weezer as an opening band.  Weezer was great, but then Lush came on stage and I was loosing my mind.  I then lost my mind in a completely different way when Glam Slam began to experience major technical difficulties during the second or third song.  We ended up waiting for an hour and a half in the roasting nightclub, when finally Miki Berenyi took the stage to rip on the establishment and the two giant pillars in the theater that sported two naked women holding up the ceiling.  The band later announced that they were canceling the night but they would attempt to play again the next day at the same bat-place at the same bat-time.  Immensely disappointed we drove back to Santa Barbara, shuffled all of our work schedules and were able to return the next night to see the show.  Lael also almost got kicked out of Glam Slam when he went into the unused Prince V.I.P. area, but he talked his way out of it.  Regardless, the show was great and they played all of my favorite songs.  The worst part was after the show had ended and roadies were packing up the gear, some asshole decided that he wanted the set list, jumped on stage, took the set list to which the roadies just shrugged their shoulders with indifference, and the guy leapt from the stage as if the theater was still full.  It wasn't.  Most everyone had left, except for my group who were chatting and the guy crashed into Rita, knocking her to the ground and giving her a raging headache.  I went to find the asshole to pummel him, not something I do, but he was long gone.
I then saw Lush again in L.A. with the manager of the evil music store corporation, an odd and overly excitable but nice enough guy and a girl that I had been anguishing over for a year or two at that time.  She ended up getting too hot down on the floor and went up to the second level to watch the show and pull herself together.  This was not exactly where I wanted to watch the show, but I was happy to be with her anyways, despite firmly securing myself to the "friend/nicest-guy zone."

More of this stuff later...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/15/2010

Huh, this one is going to be a bit shorter than usual.  It is almost as if this week were sucked into a void that spiraled out of control into a quagmire of nothingness floating along a....*slap*.  Shut it, Donist.  Get on with it.

Friday Slice Of Heaven

Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft - written by Joe Hill with art by Gabriel Rodriguez, published by IDW.  I decided to finally give this series a go after consistently hearing praise on ifanboy and various other comic related podcasts and I am thrilled that I did.  Very much a horror driven series, the story centers on the Locke children: Tyler, Kinsey and Bode.  After finding their father murdered and their mother raped at the hands of a deranged teenaged student, the children barely manage to survive the ordeal and the murderer is locked away.  The grieving family moves to Keyhouse a New England Mansion on an island called Lovecraft with their mother and their father's brother.  The family struggles to heal from the tragedy that they suffered, while the youngest, Bode, discovers a key that allows him to pass through a door in the house that turns him into a ghost.  He also discovers a voice at the bottom of a well with less than pleasant plans for the occupants of the house.  Things go from troubling to worse when the voice in the well contacts the murderer and mysteriously frees him from his prison cell far away and instructs the teen to find two keys located in the Lovecraft mansion that provide access to something dire.  
Supposedly, this 6-issue series is the prologue to Act 1, which will consist of two 6-issue storylines ("Head Games" then "Crown Of Shadows"), followed by Act 2 (also two 6-issue series, the current part is titled "Keys to the Kingdom") and Act 3 (again two 6-issue series).  Great read thus far and now I have to buy the next six issues!  The IDW iphone/iPad app has "Welcome to Lovecraft" available for $.99 each issue...just buy them.  Oh yeah...Joe Hill is Stephen King's son.  

Locke And Key TPB (Locke & Key (Idw) (Quality Paper))
Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

The Goon Volume 5: Wicked Inlinations - Written and illustrated by Eric Powell, published by Dark Horse Comics.  I still absolutely love this book and I have heard that the next volume is where the crazy shizzle goes down, but Wicked Inclinations is a great lead in.  Keep an eye out for the homage to Alfred Hitchock's The Birds.  The Buzzard returns as does my favorite Spanish-speaking giant lizard monster, Lagardo.  The Priest becomes even more desperate when he discovers that the Buzzard knows his name...his real name, and knowing one's real name is power.  Also introduced in this book is the disgusting Corpse Mother and her equally revolting brood.  Still an immense amount of fun and perverse beauty, Eric Powell's The Goon is something everyone should read.  I got lucky and picked up Volumes 5,6 & 9 at for $4.95 each, but it looks like the sale is over.  Keep an eye on the site and hopefully they will pop up again at that amazing price.

The Goon Volume 5: Wicked Inclinations (The Goons) (v. 5)
The Goon Volume 5: Wicked Inclinations

Slice Into the Woods

Beck University: Learn Real American History - The world according to Beck.  This confuses the hell out of me.  I am torn between seeing this as the best of the funniest shit I have ever heard, and being completely filled with dread and a lack of hope for the human race.  Are you kidding me?  Wow.  Sign up for the Glenn Beck's Insider Extreme and you too can have access to such narrow-minded, thought-numbing classes as Faith 101 - Religinut Forever, Hope 101 - I hope I never have to pay taxes for poor people, Charity 101 - How to give $$$millions to the Chamber of Commerce for attack ads against the Dems to further corporate interest, Founding Principles - We don't want to pay for no poor folks and I should never pay taxes, Why Obama is a Socialist and He Sucks - We also think he wasn't born here 101, How to be a recovering drug addict and make craploads of money while being a Fox lackey 102.  Do people seriously pay for this shit?  To quote Bugs Bunny, "What a moroon!" 


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 2

Now comes the crazy period of my concert going life where I could not tell you the chronological order, place or who went with me even if my life depended on it.  It all is a big giant blur.  Not because I was wasted on drugs--I don't do them--or that I was drunk out of my mind--I liked to drink but usually could only afford one--it was just that during that period, I went to so many concerts it is difficult to keep them all straight.

Okay, let's try to do this...

Elvis Costello at the Santa Barbara County Bowl - I did not know much about this man at the time, but the show was really good and I recognized a song or two during the set.  I went with my housemate and then best friend, who shortly thereafter "broke up" with me to move into a house with cooler people so that he could "become more serious about his skating."  Uh...okay.  The show was good though.

The Alarm at the Ventura Theater - I went to this show with one of the managers at the evil music corporation.  The show was okay, only they kept all of the dinner tables up--they served dinner prior to some shows back then--and we had to sit at a table for the entirety of the damn show.  Weird.

The Pixies at the Ventura Theater for Trompe Le Monde - This show absolutely fucking blew me away.  I think I went with my brother and the same manager from the evil music corporation.  This was the first concert that I attended that I was seriously amped to see without a girlfriend or having to worry about if so-and-so liked me.  It was purely about the music and my brother could handle himself, so we jumped to the music and had a blast.  At one point in the show, Joey Santiago, cut the hell out of his finger while playing guitar, and without missing a beat, grabbed a beer bottle and used that instead of his finger for the bar chords.  Whatever the hell a "Debaser" is, I wanted to be one after what is still one of the best shows I have ever attended.  They broke up shortly thereafter.

Red House Painters - I went to this show as a favor to a very good friend of mine back then.  I knew nothing of the band, and they were good musicians, but it was all a be too slow and downer-Danny for my taste.  I think my friend was in love with the singer.

Public Enemy in Isla Vista at the Anaconda - This was an okay show.  I think Lael, Jeff and some other friends were there as well.  It was vastly oversold and the show was so oppressively baking hot, that the band was throwing water on the audience to cool them off to prevent people from fainting.  I would have liked the show if I could have fucking breathed.  It was one of those things where the best part of the show was stepping out into cold night air once it was over.  Plus, the stage was so damn small that the band barely was probably a mixup that they were even there.

MC 900 Ft. Jesus in Isla Vista at the Anaconda - This was on a holiday evening...Halloween...New Years???  Hell if I know.  This show did not start until around 11:00 PM and went on to almost 1:00 AM, but I believe that we were waiting there at about 9:00 PM.  There was almost no one at this show and I have to hand it to MC 900 Ft. Jesus for actually playing.  I would not be surprised if he was in the back arguing with the promoters about going on or not.

Fishbone x2 or x3 - "U.G.L.Y. you ain't got no alibi, you're just uglyyyyyyy."  Now that that is off my chest, I saw these guys at the Ventura theater and at The House of Blues.  Good show with talented musicians, but the real, absolutely weird thing was that at The House of Blues show, I was watching Fishbone and it occurred to me that I had dreamt about the downstairs area of the venue.  I was standing in the audience looking around and seeing the same exact areas away from the stage, around the pit, up above where the ceiling opens up for the second time.  I had never been there before, but I recognized everything plain as day.  Very, very, VERY weird.  The whole thing distracted me for much of the show.  Maybe I had been there in a previous know, like I was reincarnated from Julius Caesar when he tried to conquer Ben Franklin and his kite, and they fought at the House of Blues in Hollywood 100's of years ago or something.  I am still creeped out by the Deja Vu feeling though.

Sextacy Ball with Lords of Acid (x2), My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult and...Prick??? - A group of us went to this show at the Troubador (I think).  It was nuts.  I believe the first band was called Prick and they had their song "Animal," but it was My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult and the headliner, Lords of Acid, that had things going crazy.  My friend, Rita, was the Thrill Kill fan and they put on a down and dirty sexy show, but Lords of Acid was who I wanted to see.  The Lords are psychotic and their performance consisted of the singer, Lady Galore, in a tight leather outfit and at one point she dragged an anatomically correct male blow up doll onto the stage and proceeded to bite its pee-pee.  This offended me.  She then grabbed it by said dildo and began slamming it on the stage repeatedly.  Again...offended.  I was so offended by this show that I went and saw Lords of Acid again, this time at the Whisky(?).  So much crazy fun.

Nine Inch Nails x3.2 - The first time that I saw Nine Inch Nails (Broken Tour) was was sitting outside of the Roxy (?) for the sold out show, while my friend made a futile attempt to convince security to let us in through the back door...didn't happen.  They sure sounded good though.
After that I officially saw NIN at the Universal Amphitheater twice with openers Marilyn Manson in their infancy days.  NIN was touring for The Downward Spiral album and the show was pretty intense and grand.  I loved it.  Unfortunately, I will forever have the image of opener Marilyn Manson's pasty ass wearing a loin cloth with a giant black dildo (huh...I used the word "dildo" in the same blog entry twice?) and in a fetal position on top of a gargantuan amp screaming in a high pitched voice, "Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me" over and over again.  My group and I got up to get some nachos at that point.  Yeah, fuck that guy.
The third time I  saw Nine Inch Nails was when I saw him paired with....

David Bowie - Bowie was touring for his Outside album, which I really loved and he teamed with Trent Reznor for a super show that was pretty phenomenal.  NIN opened, then during the last third of the set, David Bowie joined Trent Reznor on stage to sing some of the NIN songs.  The set gradually shifted from NIN, to NIN with Bowie, to Bowie with NIN, to Bowie.  As far as collaborative efforts go, it does not get better than this.
I also saw Bowie on the Changes tour at Dodger Stadium.  What else is there to say about Bowie performing his greatest hits.  The main thing that chaps my hide about this show, was that I bought a ticket for a nerd named Ned, who wrote me a check for it and then disappeared from my school after the check bounced.  What an asshole.  Regardless, a Bowie show is not one to ever be missed.

Much more next time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/08/2010

Um...yeah.  Um...I just hit the big "4-O."  In the past, I have always extended my birthday celebration for as long as possible.  If I could get a month out of the revelry, I would do it.  Three mudd pies over two, it was my birthday four days ago, I'm in.  Another tequila shot?  Heck my birthday was two weeks ago, why the hell not.

This time though, I wasn't all that excited.  I had reached a milestone.  Suddenly, I was no longer in the same age bracket on the Best Buy receipt survey which has never awarded me the $5000 gift card despite how often I mark their store as a "9" or "10."  I had left my original, more comfortable 31-39 bracket for the new 40-55 that had been looming before me for years.  But then I thought, "I really want an iPad.  Shit, my birthday is coming up in a month and it's a big one.  Do it, Donist.  Do it, you son of a bitch.  You deserve it."  So I did.  I also treated myself to a mountain of graphic novels, extra beers and food to the point that I have to be careful not to gain back the weight that I lost.

Now that it has come and gone, however...I still have almost three weeks to buy tons of crap, eat a lot, drink a lot and insist on doing the things that I want to do, because I just turned 40 goddammit and I deserve it!  Fuck it.  Maybe, because it is a milestone, I can stretch this out until the new year.  Pre-40 was uncertainty and trepidation, Post-40 is BFD and let's keep this shit going...although dialing things back a bit  on the calorie front and being sure not to stay out too late...I do need my sleep, and there are reruns of the Greatest American Hero.  Isn't Johnny Carson on tonight?

Friday Slice Of Heaven

My Birthday on 10/05 - My wife rules, plain and simple.  I woke at 5:30 AM to work on revising--again--my novel and Amy was up at 6:00 AM making me pumpkin waffles and Blue Bottle coffee.  Pumpkin...f_ing...waffles!  It does not get better than that, at least not until you add some apricot preserves and a little peanut butter, then wow.  Then she handed me my gifts: four cool t-shirts and Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, which is supposed to be one of the most important graphic novel releases of 2009.  One of the shirts was black with the Red Lantern symbol.  I explained that the Red Lanterns were the embodiment of rage in the emotional spectrum.  She replied that she was reminded of the Care Bears.  What?  The Care Bears?!  That is absolutely, positively not kind of have something there.  Was there a Care Bear that vomited up flaming blood?  I'm not sure.

Day After My Birthday Off From Work - I decided to take the day after my birthday off instead of the actual day, because I figured that Mad Men Tuesday was a good way to kick things off, plus I could drink a little more than usual and not worry about falling asleep in my TPS report on the job.  I basically woke up, wrote some, made whole-wheat pancakes with apricot preserves and peanut butter, watched Iron Man 2 on Blu-Ray, took Tulip for a walk, went downtown to get my comics, worked on the book some more and came home.  I also took an hour long nap, which I never do.  I could get used to days like that.

Morning Glories #2 - Written by Nick Spencer with art by Joe Eisma.  Okay, I should have had this book over two weeks ago, but I forgot to put it on my damn pull list and it sold out.  Thank goodness I went to the Comic Store on Wednesday and grabbed one to the second printings of #2.  I love this book and this is going to be one of those series that has you wondering what the hell is going on, while crying that you have to wait for another month before the next issue is released.  The story concerns six exceptional students who are invited to the Morning Glory Academy where all sorts of odd things begin to occur.  Conflicting personalities, sadistic instructors, and the discovery that their parents have never heard of them before trouble the students.  Things only become more weird and bizarre when they find themselves spending their first day in detention.  Well written and exceptionally mysterious I cannot wait for issue #3 to come out.  *side note - Nick Spencer attended the Comics Experience with Andy Schmidt and has gone on to create quite a name for himself.  
Jump into the series and buy these issues...if you can find them.  However, Morning Glories #1 & 2 can be found on Comixology (PC, Mac, iPhone app, iPad app, iTouch app) for $1.99 each.  No excuses, buy them.   

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 - Written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Dustin Weaver, published by Marvel Comics.  A dense, rich and at times confusing book about the history of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization focusing on its historical members and their protectorship of Earth.  Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Nostradamus and others, work to defend from menaces such as the Brood, Galactus and the Celestials.  Fascinating book that needs plenty of room--and issues--to breathe and tell the story properly.  A great book thus far.  

Film School "Fission" - I'm not one for writing music reviews, but I have to say that I love the latest album from Film School.  The addition of more female vocals remind me slightly of some of My Bloody Valentine "Loveless" era songs, and the other tracks are calm and cool or rocking.  I love the song Heart Full of Pentagons.  Check it out and listen to the samples on iTunes or  Really good.


Slice Into the Woods

Chamber of Commerce Funding Attack Ads With Funding From Big Business and Foreign Corporations -  Wow, just wow.  Bring jobs and production back to the US?  Not if these good ol' boys have anything to say about, and not if these foreign companies have anything to say about it either.  It's pretty distressing that countries outside of the US can try to buy our elections and that Big Business can pursue their agendas without limitation now.  Why are the people allowing this to happen not under investigation?  Let me get this straight...bringing jobs back to America for Americans is not patriotic, but restricting Americans to paying foreign interest for oil, moving jobs out of our country to save a buck or two on a widget (except for the unemployed who lost their jobs and can no longer afford said widget), and allowing foreign interest to dictate domestic policy is what being an American is all about?  Stupid.  


Friday, October 8, 2010

To All the Concerts I loved Before - Part 1

On Facebook the other day, my brother sent off the following note:

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what albums my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note -- upper righthand side.) Quickly, and in no particular order...[and I added a new rule--no band can have more than one album]

I came up with the following albums:

1. Fission - Film School --listening to it right now
2. Head on the Door - The Cure
3. Doppelganger - Curve
4. Search For the New Land - Lee Morgan
5. 2 - Darker My Love
6. This Is How It Feels - The Golden Palominos
7. Tune In With... - The Bristols
8. Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed - Neon Indian
9. Kind Of Blue - Miles Davis
10. Return To Cookie Mountain - TV On the Radio
11. In Rainbows - Radiohead
12. Express - Love and Rockets
13. An Illustrated History - Puffy AmiYumi
14. Dark Continent - Wall Of Voodoo
15. Silver Collection - Astrud Gilberto

This task, along with turning 40, kick started me into thinking about the many concerts over the years that I have attended and what some of those shows entailed, if anything.  Here we go and sort of in order.

Keel, Lita Ford and Y&T at the Arlington Theater - My first concert ever.  I was in Junior High at the time and I had only ever been in the Arlington to see Return of the Jedi, and Indian Jones.  I loved the experience.  The next day I bought Keel, I hunted down the first Lita Ford solo album and then went for all of the prior to "In Rock We Trust" albums from Y&T.  The highlight of the show was when "Rock" the robot guy from the cover of Y&T's album stomped on stage and the lead singer said that he had the biggest balls in the world.  Damn right he did.

W.A.S.P. and Ravage at the Arlington Theater - Okay, admitting to going to this show and fucking loving it (still to this day, mind you) is the guilty pleasure equivalent of being pantsed in front of the girl's gym class.  Ravage...don't know much about these guys other than closing on the end of their set the lead singer growled a gutteral, "RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrAVAGE!"  Jeff and I lost our minds and giggled our asses off at this.  Then came W.A.S.P.  We are Sexual Perverts?  We Are Satan's People?  Who cares, all I know is that they had all kinds of metal ramps on the stage with four enlarged versions of their heads impaled on spikes for the crowd to see.  At one point, Blackie Lawless threw a poster into the audience and it flew with the grace of a dying dove, smacked the dude behind us in the face, and said dude was promptly tackled by another fan to get the poster.  Hardcore.  After the show, when Jeff and I were outside waiting for our mommy to pick us up--I know, I know--we heard a big beefy metal dude yell, "HEY, that asshole waved a gun at me!" and instead of retreating into the crowd, he ran up State St after the offending person in the car.  Wow.  "I'm Blind In Texas."

Midnight Oil at the S.B. County Bowl - I didn't go to any concerts for years after W.A.S.P until 11th grade.  You see...there was this girl I was in love with, and "Beds Are Burning" was a pretty big hit at the time.  A really fun and energetic show despite my bleak hope that Shawna would actually have some degree of interest in me afterwards.  Most memorable was that the band brought a shitload of junk on stage that served as a back drop to their performance.  I am guessing that they were going for a junkyard vibe or maybe an Australian bar feel, or something; I can't imagine having to drag all of that crap along on tour.  Taxidermied Crocs and Dingos mixed with clunker cars and Televisions?  Sure, why not?

Love and Rockets x5 - I still love Love and Rockets.  I honestly don't remember how many times I have seen them live, but each time was outstanding even though some songs did not exactly lend themselves to being performed live.  One of my high points was working for the evil music corporation and seeing Daniel Ash come into the store.  It just so happened that I had "Sweet F.A." on CD sitting in the back and he signed it for me and chatted for a while.  A very nice guy.  I rarely get starstruck, but this...damn...  

New Order at the S.B. Bowl - An immensely disappointing show.  Started at 7:00PM with no opening band and proceeded to have an amazing light show while they broad daylight!  Kind of lost the whole effect and the music was totally off as well.  Bummer

Oingo Boingo x4 or x5 - Boingo is just fucking awesome...or rather...were fucking awesome to see live.  Their sets went on for hours with hit after hit and each member had such passion for performing that the crowd was left reeling.  If there was ever a reunion tour, I would probably travel to attend.  C'mon Mr. Elfman, what do you say?  Oingo Boingo was a major part of my musical world for many years, right up there with Love and Rockets, and....

The Cure x4 - "Disintegration," "Wish" and "Wild Mood Swings"  Grand, sprawling, hours long shows  that were so powerful and amazing.  I loved them and would go to see them again even though I lost interest in their latest albums.  One weird occurrence was at the "Wild Mood Swings" show a gigantic man walked out on stage, freaked out Robert Smith--a tall guy in his own right-- and the much smaller security team, who didn't know what to do.  The dude danced on stage for a moment and then agreed to be led off.  Shortly after, an intoxicated girl cruised up to Lael and I and stood on the empty seat next to me and chatted me up.  She was cute, I was flattered and not used to that sort of thing, but the moment soured when a few songs later I felt her attempting to steal my wallet from my back pocket.  Seriously.  The Cure was fantastic though.  I still love the "In Orange" video.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Ventura Theater - This was for the "Automatic" tour and I have to say that this show blew.  Jim Reid had a broken arm and they just sounded horrible live.  Very disappointed.

Stan Ridgway at the Ventura Theater - One of my favorite shows of all time.  My first girlfriend and I got lost in the hills of Ventura for some odd reason, but thankfully made it to the show before Stan began to play.  There wasn't much of a crowd, so we went right up to the front of the stage to hear some of my Wall of Voodoo favorites, "Don't Box Me In," and solo stuff.  Stan was engaging with the audience and did not seem to mind the less than full theater.  It was a blast.

Peter Murphy at the Ventura Theater - This was for the "Deep" album and Peter knows how to knock 'em dead, or at the very least out fucking cold.  The show was sold out and there were so many people crammed onto the general admission area that a girl passed out.  Peter Murphy, stopped the show, pulled the girl on stage and then sang a couple songs to her.  Why didn't I think to do that?  One funny thing: My first girlfriend is 4' 11" tall (funny considering I am 6' 2") and at one point the floor was so packed that I lost track of her for a moment and saw her floating squished in between a couple of big goth dudes who did not even know she was there.  I pushed through, grabbed her arm and pried her out of the seething mass of goth sweatiness and we retreated to a calmer locale.  I kind of wished I was at the show by myself.  

A pretty impressive start if I don't say so myself, but nowadays I find that I have to either be duped into going (thank god I went to Phoenix and Neon Indian), guilted into going (Connor Oberst) or actually really, really want to go, which is a rare thing.  Read my previous posts about the Avett Brothers show and super fans and my theory that there is always at least one person in attendance who will drastically diminish the returns of your experience because of their douchebagaholic fuckheaded behavior.  That said, some of the above shows were some of the best moments of my life and remembering them sends chills across my know, the good kind of chills.  Thanks, brother, brother, oh brother of mine for the sparking this idea. 


Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 10/01/2010

This week was a little light, but good things were pretty damn good.  Here's the breakdown...

Friday Slice of Heaven

My Five-Page Comic Script Is Being Critiqued By Jason Aaron! - Holy crud.  After the Comics Experience writing course wrapped up, all attendees were given a free month of the Comic Creator's Workshop, where all areas of comic creation can meet, discuss and post comic scripts to be critiqued.  I received an email last Wednesday saying that there was a challenge at the Workshop to create a five-page comic script with one rule: all panel descriptions had to be no more than one sentence.  The email also stated that all scripts had to be posted by midnight Saturday to be part of the challenge.  I intended to enter, but found that I only had time on Saturday starting at 8:00 PM.  I had been running a few possible stories through my head for a few days, but it wasn't until after two pints and lunch at the Hollister Brewing Company, and after the movie The Town that I got serious about the project and hammered it out over three hours.
Low and behold, mine was chosen to be critiqued by Jason Aaron writer of Scalped, Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine, WolverineGhost Rider and many others.  Even if he takes my script and kicks it in the nuts, and rubs its face in the dirt, I will be sad yet thankful that it was done by one of my favorite writers.  You know, a sort of "thank you sir may I have another" sort of thing.  
Aaron also gave some of the best advice that I have ever read at his "Where the Hell Am I" column at  He stated, "If you ever wanna write comics for a living, the first thing you need to not suck."  It's as simple as that.  Here's to hoping that my little five-pager doesn't suck.  This news made me pretty damn happy.

Troll 2 - Okay, I can't believe that it has taken me this long to watch this ugly, thought deteriorating, poorly scripted, over acted, cheaply produced, beautifully gorgeous train wreck of a fucking movie.  This was beyond monumental.  The story is about an obnoxious little brat who talks to his dead creepy-as-hell grandpa--who should not be allowed anywhere near children--and who has told the whiny little tyke all kinds of bullshit about goblins.  Wait a minute there Donist, you said this movie is about trolls, right?  Well, the title has the word troll in it, but the short little poorly-costumed creatures are only ever called goblins.  This is the hell out of me, but let's not ponder the details.  Anyways, there's a daughter with 80's hair, who likes to dance horribly and reveal camel toe while lifting weights all night.  She also likes to complain about her boyfriend, who is more 80's than she is, and who refuses to see her without the presence of his three guy pals, one of which he sleeps in the same bed with while shirtless.  Ummm...okay.  Anyhow, the mom is glassy-eyed nuts and the dad has a really bad haircut and likes to walk around with shirt unbuttoned down to his navel.  Then, see, there are these trolls goblins that live in the vacation town of Nilbog (think about it) and they try to get humans to eat weird cakes that turn human flesh either into a goopy ochre type plant-based slop that they can eat, or the human tissue turns into a meat/vegetable hybrid that they can eat.  What the hell?!  
Also, there's a witch with black crayon on her teeth, and the directors tried to make her look old, but you can totally tell that she is kinda hot and stacked under the horrible makeup.  She wants to trick humans into eating her wares so that they turn into vegetable goo too.  Creepy grandpa shows up at all sorts of weird times and under the dumbest circumstances, with some degree of rationale that still has me confused.  Stone Henge gets brought into the whole mess somehow and the whiny brat confusingly saves the day in a manner that still has my head reeling.  But, it is a hollow victory because everyone comes back to life...what the fuck!?  Now I'm all confused and that feeling is priceless, since the entire movie flew by in no time at all and I enjoyed it immensely.  
The catalyst for watching Troll 2 was that I heard about a documentary titled Best Worst Movie (to be released November 16 on DVD), which centers on the near cult following of Troll 2 and follows the actors and actresseses, the fans and with tons of other bizarre information.  I cannot wait.  Troll 2 is also currently streaming on Netflix.  Watch it now, ya lousy bums!
Troll 2 [Blu-ray]

Pride of Baghdad - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, with art by Nico Henrichon.  I have come to the conclusion that any movie or book that has animals as the main characters--with the exception of Hotel for Dogs, Garfield, and Cats and Dogs--is going to have some serious shit go down, and I will be left feeling as if I were punched in the stomach 37 times.  Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Plague Dogs, Watership Down, We3, christ...need I go on?  I'm already getting teary eyed.  That said, Pride of Baghdad is an incredibly well written graphic novel, with gorgeous art that comes together in one of the most emotionally stirring books I have ever read.
The story is based on true events, and concerns a pride of lions who have been released from a bombed out zoo in Baghdad.  They are left to struggle to find their way through a war torn Iraq and to determine if life was better in the zoo or now that they are free.  The back story on each lion is all too real, and the events in the book happen all too quickly and are jarring yet realistic; especially the end.  
I had to process this one for a while, and was nearly crying throughout the book, but I could not put it down or turn away.  Excellent beyond what I can describe and I am all the better for having read it.  War sucks.  

Pride of Baghdad

Slice Into the Woods

Rutgers University Freshman, Tyler Clementi, Commits Suicide - Not only does this bullying shit go down in the K-12's, but it continues on into college at the very place where students finally hope to be able to start their lives anew.  Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and the roommate's female friend, Molly Wei, installed hidden surveillance cameras and transmitted shots of Clementi having sex to the web, invading the man's privacy for their own amusement.  Clementi later committed suicide by jumping off a bridge as a result of his embarrassment.  
At least Ravi and Wei are 18 and there is no question whether or not these evil assholes can be tried as adults.  This kind of behavior needs to stop and bullying needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  I am sorry that Clementi felt there was no other way to deal with the horrible behavior of these awful human beings.