Firewater – The Golden Hour

May 7, 2008 at 8:39 pm (announcement, news, nonfiction)

firewater is back!
after far, far too long, there is a new album, and it’s really fucking awesome!
yeah, well, i’m biased. but seriously, even i’ll admit there are firewater songs i’m not too fond of. on most of their albums there are some songs i really really LOVE and some i could totally do without and tend to skip when they come up on the shuffle.
the golden hour is completely and utterly solid, though. it’s ALL good, in my opinion. some of the songs are better than others, of course, but there isn’t a single one that i don’t like.

as if this wasn’t good enough, they’re playing in chicago on the 30th of the month. i really want to go. i should. i could, as far as i know. but i really don’t like the idea of going to concerts all by my lonesome, and none of my best friends are big firewater fans.

so consider this a call for a favor and companionship. if you’re interested in checking out a really interesting, excellent, and unusual band live and don’t mind a trip to and from chicago to do so, let me know. and, of course, if you’d like to know what they sound like before considering such a thing, let me know. i’ll be glad to give you a taste of the awesome. chances are you’ll know pretty quick whether you like them or not.

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Quercus Reading ’08!

April 24, 2008 at 6:03 pm (announcement, news)

so let this be an invitation to anyone i know locally that actually reads this:
come to the Quercus Reading and Art Show on Tuesday the 29th of May at 7pm in the Ambrose Hall Board room at St. Ambrose University in Davenport! it’s gonna be awesome! especially the whopping two page short long short story i’ll be reading!

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Rest in Peace, Gary

March 6, 2008 at 1:20 am (gaming, news, nonfiction)

so on the morning of March 4th, 2008 E. Gary Gygax died.
for those that are unaware, Gygax was the co-creator of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
if you don’t know what D&D and RPGs are, i can only express confusion about why you’re reading my blog.

anyone who knows me well knows that i don’t have any particular fondness for D&D, especially not in its current incarnations. however, like most gamers, especially those of my generation or older, it was one of the first RPGs i had serious contact with (or, in my case, since i’m fairly young for the gaming crowd, it was AD&D 1 and 2, but still, you get the point) so there’s a lot of nostalgia associated with it.

but the relative quality of D&D and its descendants really isn’t the point.

it was pretty much THE FIRST roleplaying game! it’s the grandpappy! it led to so many other games, and not all of them are played around the tabletop. while most of them have probably never even heard the man’s name, the millions of people out there spending tons of time and money playing World of Warcraft certainly owe some thanks to Gary.

so in the end, i can’t really think of Gygax as just helping to bring the world D&D. he birthed an entire hobby. a hobby that that has given me and a lot of other people a great deal of enjoyment and inspiration as well as leading us to new friends and making our existing friendships deeper.

Thanks, Gary.

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all i wanted was dinner and philosophy notes

October 19, 2007 at 7:41 pm (news, nonfiction, personal)

the time: october the 8th, 2007, about 3:30 in the afternoon.
the place: the campus of st. ambrose university, davenport iowa.
the question: do i hang around campus for 3 hours, being hungry and trying to study until my night class and continue being hungry until i get home at about 9:30, or do i go home and get food?

sometimes i’ll just suck it up and be hungry. sometimes i’ll buy food on campus. that day, however, i realized that the main thing i needed to study (my notes for history of ancient philosophy) was at home.
this made the decision.
i would go home. i would eat, i would study for my upcoming test, i would go back to school for class.

the time: 3:45 pm, the same day.
the place: the intersection of jersey ridge road and 53rd street.
the question: what the hell just happened?

i’m going home. no problem. i’m want to go by my bank and through the atm to check my balance. so i head north up jersey ridge road, intending to cross 53rd street and take 65th street over to utica ridge. as i’m heading up to the intersection i see that the light is solid green. awesome. i don’t have to wait. but then someone starts turning left from the north side of the intersection, from jersey ridge onto 53rd. i have to break a bit. i’m cursing at the stupid, selfish jerk a little, but it’s no big deal.
what IS a big deal is the car right BEHIND that person that is ALSO turning. i slam my foot down onto the brakes but it’s too late. bam.

the driver of the other car was a 16 year old girl. i’m still not sure what the hell happened. if she just wasn’t paying attention or if she was distracted by her cell phone ringing (i think she said something about that afterwards) or if she was following too close on the tail of the big, black SUV that was right in front of her and didn’t see me, or a combination of all of those things.

all i know is this sucks.

detailing anymore of that day is probably unnecessary. i was fine, physically, and so was the other driver. my car was ruined, however. i don’t know or care what happened to hers.
i think that, possibly, the following two weeks were worse than the accident itself. dealing with the insurance companies, looking for a new car. all very frustrating, stressful, and depressing.

fortunately, it’s mostly all over now. i have another car (though it wasn’t my first choice… that one got bought out from under us) paid for (mostly) with the settlement, which seemed pretty fair and reasonable, all things considered.

i never really did get much of a dinner, or any studying done.
but i did fine on the philosophy test anyway.

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this is what politics has been missing!

May 12, 2007 at 2:31 pm (news, nonfiction)

belgian politics must be interesting indeed. if we only had more political candidates in america like this.
i’m pretty sure i’d vote for her.
say what you want about the economy or national security or whatever.
anyone willing to do this jut to get my vote, well, gets my vote.

just click the damn link.
www.nee-antwerpen.be/index-eng.htm

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Woo hoo! Firewater!

April 29, 2007 at 7:04 pm (music, news, nonfiction)

I suppose this may not be news to everyone, but it was news to me today, and it got me all excited, so I wanted to post about it.

Firewater hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth after all! Apparently while Tod A. has been off traveling the far and middle east he’s also been writing a lot of songs. so some day, theoretically, we can look forward to a new album

also, his blog is cool.
http://www.postcards.blogs.com/

Not only that, they have a myspace page!
http://www.myspace.com/realfirewater

This makes myspace about a billion times cooler, in my book. Don’t get me wrong, it still sucks ass, but hell, the presence of one of the most kick-fucking-awesome bands ever makes things much more tolerable in this gross little corner of the tubular intarwebs.

anyway, if you’re one of the poor, sad, unfortunate people that has never even heard of firewater you should get your ass over there and listen to a couple of the songs. personally, i don’t think they picked the best ones for the myspace page, but “Bourbon and Division” kicks serious ass, and “Dark Days Indeed” is pretty good too.

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kurt vonnegut is dead. so it goes.

April 12, 2007 at 10:31 am (news, nonfiction)

kurt vonnegut died yesterday. this makes me sad.
so it goes.

“When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
perhaps
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
‘It is done.’
People did not like it here.”
-“Requiem,” Kurt Vonnegut

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26 hours

February 27, 2007 at 10:13 pm (news, nonfiction, rant)

on monday at three in the morning we lost power. or rather, to be more precise, our electricity went out.
this sucked.
for those who don’t live in the midwest, we had a lovely huge storm of snow, freezing rain, sleet, all that good stuff on saturday night. a lot of people lost their power.
we weren’t one of them.
i went to work on saturday afternoon, to campus to work an assigned weekend shift in the only mac lab on campus. it was supposed to be an eight hour shift, until midnight, but i was sent home after an hour and a half by campus security because they were locking up the whole building.
still, when i got home, we had power. i talked to a friend the next day – she had lost power for fourteen hours. i felt bad for her. i knew that didn’t sound like much fun. but i figured we were in the clear.
we hardly ever lose power where we live, and when we do its usually only for a few minutes at most.
the storm was all over by sunday.
but yet, on monday morning, something woke me up. i was wide awake and i didn’t know why. then i heard my computer shut down and everything else in the house that makes that house-filling kind of white noise suddenly stop. the house had that kind of quiet that it only ever has when it lacks any electricity.
i dragged myself out of bed, got my cell phone and checked the time. three am. i was awake enough at that point to even set the alarm on my cell phone in case the power didn’t come back on, or i was asleep when it did. but i figured it WOULD be back on, and soon. it wasn’t.
in the morning, seeing that there still was no power, i decided i might as well go to school early and work on things in the library before my eleven am class, since i couldn’t do anything other than read at home. after my classes were over at one, i called home. still no power. i stayed at the library to work.
the outage continued.
even stranger, to me, was the fact that not only had it started after the storm was over, but our power lines are underground. i wondered if it even was connected to the storm, or did we just have the bad luck to have this happen when thousands of other people had lost power due to the storm. the people behind us had power, the people one block away had power. maybe a dozen houses on our block were affected.
finally, the electricity came back on at six in the morning on tuesday.
twenty six hours without power.
it was frustrating, but i can’t claim it was traumatic in any way. more annoying than anything else, and it made me think for awhile about just how much i (and most people in our society) rely on electricity, and electricity provided by an outside source. it made me wish for a “green” house with solar panels, batteries, and bio-fuel powered generators. i hated being paralyzed, driven from my home because of this.
anyway, i’m not sure where else i’m going with this. i just know that being without electricity made me feel “powerless” in more ways then one. it reminded me of how completely dependent most people are on electricity, and that worries me quite a bit.

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RIP RAW

January 23, 2007 at 2:01 am (news, nonfiction)

i just found out
Robert Anton Wilson died at 4:50 in the morning on January 11th.
he will be sorely missed
this is a perfect example of how out of touch i am. i have long considered RAW to be one of my favorite writers, and i had to find out about this through amazon. how strange is that? i guess because i had bought books of his through amazon before, they realized i might want to know about his death. kind of creepy.but none of this is really the point

the first of Wilson’s works that i read was The Illuminatus! Trilogy which he co-authored with Robert Shea. the phrase “it changed my life” is frequently tossed about when people refer to books that they find particularly good or powerful. i’m not sure that anything i have read has ever actually “changed my life” but if anything has it was The Illuminatus! Trilogy. if nothing else, it certainly changed the way i think – about books and fiction specifically, but also just in general. after reading it, i don’t think i have ever really looked at the world in quite the same way. and that is a very good thing.

after reading The Illuminatus! Trilogy i went on to read some of Wilson’s other works, and many of his non-fiction had equally large influence on the way my mind functions. in particular his book The New Inquisition helped show me the value of keeping an open mind – about everything. what we today believe to be inalterable fact may be shown to be utterly wrong tomorrow. it isn’t a matter of deciding whether light is a particle or a wave, it’s merely a matter of deciding whether it is more useful to view it as a particle or a wave at this particular moment. similarly, in an article in his book The Cosmic Trigger vol. 3 he discussed in madness inherent in the word “is,” something i wholeheartedly agree with, despite my own complete failure in removing the word from my vocabulary. it’s a concept that would take a bit too long to explain with any justice here but as Wilson said himself:
“”Is,” “is.” “is” — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is”; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.”

anyway. i could go on and i suppose, but i won’t. in the end, i don’t know as much about the man as i’d like to. all i really know is that he was brilliant and creative and fantastic writer. it makes me sad that he will never again bring us any new ideas or books.

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