I am drawn to apocalyptic fiction and fantasy, as recently alluded. Particularly the human side of it.
It started with reading Nevil Shute’s On The Beach in high school. The premise is that a massively nuclear WWIII has wiped out the northern hemisphere, leaving Australia and New Zealand unscathed. Unfortunately, the radioactive fallout is working its way there and they know the end is coming soon. The story follows a few months in the lives of people there as they prepare for the inevitable end in their own ways. Heartbreaking. There’s no happy ending.
And then in college I discovered one of my desert island books, The Stand. I’m sure I read it the first time on a two-day bender, straight through, without sleeping, showering, or eating anything that didn’t come in shrink wrap. While I love the book as a whole, it’s really the first half where Captain Trips works its way through the population, killing everyone, and the way the survivors coped that gripped me. It was heartbreaking, and if you consider the first movement of the book by itself, there’s no happy ending.
Movies, too. The other night, when I should have been sleeping, I got sucked into Contagion. It was on TBS, so they stretched it into about 4.5 hours. I love Soderbergh, and they actually filmed some of it in my office. Look for a brief shot of an abandoned trading floor, and a fancy conference room with this weird, fake grass on the table. But that’s not what got me. It’s how people bonded together, or didn’t, as the world appeared to be ending. And even lesser movies have had the same effect on me, like Deep Impact. (We can forget about Armageddon, though, except for any scene involving Liv Tyler.) Same deal: even though the apocalypse wasn’t total and there were plenty of survivors, you’d have a hard time arguing those are happy endings.
I get sucked in every time, like a bug to a black light.
In each of those stories, there is a point where a few elites know the truth before the masses do. There’s usually an effort to conceal the information, but it’s futile. At some point, enough people are dropping dead and the truth is plain to see. That usually goes badly for those elites. Either there’s backlash from the mob, or they get sick, too. Not a happy ending.
It just wouldn’t be Lowell George-day on OF without his trademark song Willin’. Here is a live version of Lowell duetting w. Linda Ronstadt - if you want the two studio versions Little Feat released, you’ll have to travel back in time three or four years, respectively, or you can hear the official LF live version here…
Lowell George with Linda Ronstadt: Willin’ - from Live at WHFS bootleg, 1974
H: The last dozen years of my life have been in some part defined by a decent chunk of friends in my demographic cohort suffering sudden, complete failures of their meat suits. Too soon.
He: Hiding behind process is the lowest form of cowardice. Get shit done or get the fuck out the way. And shut up while you’re at it.
Li: I remember being 25 and knowing everything. No idea why I wasn’t bludgeoned. Maybe the 40-somethings in charge remembered their own stupid youth and took some pity? Maybe I should emulate those guys now?
Be: I’m not as angry as that all seems. I’m on my way home in 66° weather. Tonight there will be wine, good company, and music to soothe. And it’s an old person place with seats.
B: The next two weeks are big, busy, and bold. I embrace change; always have. I thrive on volatility. But even by my standards, these are big waves building. Surf’s up.
Oftentimes when I’m alone in a contained crowd—on this train, in a bar, at the store—I game out what would happen if the group of strangers I was with at that moment were somehow suddenly, permanently isolated together. Say, transported via a wormhole, or maybe the only survivors of an instant cataclysm. In a flash, we are the last people on the planet, and we have to decide how (or if) we are going to survive together. What kind of leadership structure would emerge? Who’d be in charge? Anyone here know how to raise food or hunt? Who’s going to be my friend? Who might kill me for sport? What about a possible mate? Anyone know medicine? Who looks like they know how to weld, or repair masonry? Am I a burden or an asset here?
I’m out the door by around 6:00 most mornings. Even though or maybe especially because the winter was so terrible and my daily mission so futile, I pause before getting in the car and take in the sky for a bit. Venus, Jupiter, and Mars were there to calm and align me. Not in any astrological sense; you know I don’t roll like that. I just get a little blissy when I contemplate the stars, planets, and our place among them, and specifically the idea that in our unlikely yet perfect little corner of the universe, some pieces of it came together in just the right way to become aware of itself. It won’t last. It’s worth enjoying occasionally.
That said, the last few days, my stargazing has been fruitless. Too much sunlight and/or the cloud cover of spring rain. This is, as we say in the business, a good trade.
I am a member of no minority class. All the privilege? That’s me. I have it. I know; that makes me terrible and beyond redemption. Please reblog something about the horror I personally inflict by breathing—that helps. But if there is any day where I feel like maybe I can begin to get what it’s like to be among the oppressed, it’s being a Sox fan in this city on the day of the Cubs home opener. May it rain sideways today. May another century of losing commence. May lightning strike WXRT’s tower.
I have been lifting weights more diligently than at any point in my life. I have a program. I am regularly increasing my maxes. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, I think. The good news is that my back has been healthier (knock wood) than at any point in the last five years. That’s reason enough to keep doing it, and I will. But on the other side of it, there is no discernible difference in the size or shape of any part of my body. I haven’t taken out the tape measure but there’s no need. I can see the same scrawny stuff. This is super unfair.
Chsh is in three weeks! I’m not sure I can make it to Mullen’s, but I expect to cavort with each and every (but especially you) on Friday at the hotel bar and points beyond. Start hydrating.
Unpopular opinion (in prog circles): 90125 is Yes’ best album. By a lot. Actual songs, with actual choruses and verses and hooks, as opposed to fifteen to twenty minute excursions in pudwhackery? Yes, thank you. (Heh.)
I’m also not a super big fan of Steve Howe as a guitarist. I saw this tour and remember Trevor Rabin stretching out at the end of this and absolutely tearing off every face in the stadium. On this studio version, he only does about 8 bars before it fades, and still manages to get about 1/4 of my face dislodged.
Hey, thanks for the offer. It's not so much a creeper as a student or two, maybe more. One student got on my work computer, which I left unlocked when I went to class and left her in my office looking over resources for an upcoming psychology club event, and found my tumblr. She then told at least one other student my username. So kinda yes, kinda no. As far as I can tell, they don't follow me, so I'm trying to ditch them with a name change.
(cirquedurartastic said I could publish this)
I told her that if she had a creeper, that it’d be easy to raise an army of tumblr warriors to take care of him.
I dreamed we saw Sir Ian McKellen in full Gandalf costume outside a storefront. I asked for a picture of him with my daughter. He obliged. But then I couldn’t find it on the camera and no one believed us. #NoOneCaresAboutYourDreams #CoolStoryBro
At some point after that, I woke up to find a hand above me, menacingly suspended just over my face. I almost screamed. Turns out it was my own hand…I was asleep with my arm straight up in the air.
I’m working from home today. My job is mostly about meetings, but for whatever reason there are none scheduled. Those of you who saw that pic of my office will understand just how blissful it is to be out of there for any length of time. Other benefits: an additional 45 minutes of sleep, fuzzy pants, using my beloved Mac (h8 u so bad, windoze), the sound of my kids, getting some coding done, decent coffee, music, and unfettered, unmonitored access to the Internet. Hi. <3
Speaking of work, several lights are now shining brightly at the end of the tunnel. At least one of them will not be an oncoming train, right? I just have to pick correctly.
This was the 3rd coldest March in the 130+ years they’ve been keeping records here, the 3rd snowiest winter, the 2nd coldest, etc. Looks like we might end March without a single day breaking 60. It even snowed a little this morning, but it can’t stick. This weekend will be in the 50s. I feel like maybe the worst is over. April will be gray and wet and colder than I want, but it won’t bite. I think we survived.
Hello, friends. I’m sorry I haven’t had much time to play with you here lately. Things are good. I have stuff in progress.
In the interim, please enjoy another entry in the occasional series entitled, “Guitarists You’ve Never Heard Of Who Are Better Than John Mayer.” In this episode, I present you with two in one song, Robbie Fulks and his longtime sidekick Robbie Gjersoe. Don’t worry about the genre. Listen to these men play. Trust me.
My students need 40 mirrors to develop their observational drawing skills through self-portraits! My students are excited and engaged young artists. One of the most important skills to develop as an artist is the ability to draw what you see. My students would benefit greatly from the…
This is a good friend of mine and the project is not just about art, but about extending the conversation with her students about self representation in art, media, and culture. I think that’s pretty damn neat. It’s only got 11 days left and if just 39 random people gave $10 each we could fund this project.
If you can’t donate, would you consider a signal boost? I’ve only got about 12 people out there that might see this, but I think all 12 of you have a whole crew of bright, shiny, lovely followers who might be willing to help.
We are doing a family getaway this weekend at a hotel downtown. It has a beautiful pool and is near a million amazing restaurants which the world’s fussiest kids will hate. We’ll figure that part out as we go.
$20/day for wifi and $8 minibar beer, however? Nopity nope nope.
So I bought some Cabernet at 7-11 which is as good as you’d think. Cheez-it snack mix, though? Nature’s perfect food.
This part of the city is packed with people right now, positively crackling with pre-spring energy. I’d like to just stand out there and watch for a while.
Had a week at work that did not feel exclusively like soul murder. Not sure how to process that. Let me get deeper into this Cab and get back to you.
Here we are at last We’re running out of gas The air is getting thick The girls are feeling sick We’ll pass out on the beach Our keys just out of reach And soon we’ll say goodbye Then we’ll work until we die