Friday, August 04, 2017

Adventures In Music - The Creeps At The Down Home

Greetings True Believers... Beliebers... I'll come up with something to open with.  Sorry, Stan Lee.

I posted out on Twitter and got a huge response to the idea of this blog series (thanks to both of my followers for responding) so I decided to go for it.  The idea behind this series is to give you a peek into what it's really like being a local musician from a local musician's perspective.  Sure, we had tons of hot babes (not), gobs of cash (not), loads of blow (not even meth) and admiring fans (ie: people who didn't throw beer bottles) but, beyond that, was the art.

Yeah, we were delusional.

First, some background;

My music passion began when I was in high school and decided I wanted to join a band.  Hair Bands were big back then as it was around 1988/1989 and I was convinced it was my calling.  In other words, I wanted to meet girls.

I started playing late in life, taking money I had saved from work (shocker kids, I was working at age 16 so I could have money) as well as some birthday money and bought a Stinger model bass.  It was a Fender P Bass style oddball brand, but it stayed in tune, was playable and sounded OK.  All in all, a perfect starter bass for me. With that in hand I had some buddies who offered to teach me how to play because they needed a bass player.

Rule 1: Bands always need a bass player because there are approximately 4 of us in the United States at any given time. You can't swing a dead hooker without hitting a drummer or guitar player and everyone is a "Singer" (I'm looking at you William Hung) but most of them really, really suck.

OK, so you have my "Beginning" as a bass player in a garage band.  Let's get to today's story.

Today's story takes place at The Down Home in Johnson City, Tennessee.  The band I was playing with t the time was named "The Creeps".  We had kicked around some ideas on how to market ourselves and decided to embrace our weird side.

We consisted of Dustin Schrimpsher on electric guitar, Jackie Yeager on acoustic guitar, Michelle (I'll find her last name and add it later. cut me some slack, it's been over 20 years) on drums and Me on bass.

We had a tendency to laugh at weird things and write goofy songs.  One of our classics was "Cannibal Romeo" which Dustin and I wrote in a fit of geek bliss.

I see you floating in the carrots and beets,
stoke up the fire girl 'cause I love boiled meat.
Something something something I feel like a fool,
I should have ate Tipper when she smoked that doob.

Yep, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame keep our seats warm.

We also had a dang fine song we had written about a trailer park queen who called herself Velveeta because she thought it sounded classy.  It was obviously named "Hey Velveeta".

Do you sense something coming?

So, we get the gig booked.  This was roughly late 1993, early 1994 and we packed up the vehicles to caravan up.  We arrived and were pleasantly surprised, the place was fairly nice.  They had tables, a good PA, a great stage and for the love of Pete, A GREEN ROOM!

Yes, it was a real room where we could tune up, chill out and not have to hide at the back of the bar freaking out over if people would actually show up where we could get paid.

My girlfriend and I (she is now known as THE WIFE) plopped down on a couch where we were met with another shocker.  THEY WERE FEEDING US!!!

OMG, I can't explain how wonderful it is for a musician to get food.  Normal gig meals involved Bean Burritos from Taco Hell or 59 cent hamburgers from McDonalds.  A GREAT gig called for hash browns all the way at Awful House with black coffee.

We ordered our meal and it was... edible.  With hindsight it was fine microwave fare but also with hindsight I did not suffer from food poisoning. #Score

Shortly after the meal I began to notice I was itchy.  THE GIRLFRIEND was alo complaining and after a few moments we realized the couch we had crashed on was alive with frigging fleas.

Not, had some fleas on it, but was frigging crawling with these beasts from the gates of Hell.

Not much we could do but knock the tiny beasts off of us, scratch and get ready for the gig.

Time came and they called us out.  The room was maybe half full, so not a horrible crowd.  We put on our instruments and looked out.

Do you remember that scene from The Blues Brothers?  You know, the one where they're at the redneck bar, behind chicken wire and the realize they're in deep doo doo.  It was like that, only no cowboy hats and there wasn't any chicken wire.

Fortunately for us, the place really did have an "Eclectic" booking record, so we weren't pelted with beer bottles, but we were almost universally ignored except for a couple of polite bouts of applause.

The real pain came later when I stripped down after the gig and found I was covered all over...

all... over...

... with flea bites.  I hope they burned the couch.

Stay tuned.  I believe the next gig we'll talk about the dangers of playing music in the mountains of Tennessee with another band, another set of musician, another location in The Great Gatlinburg Gig.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Emo Goofy - Rough Sketch

The things my youngest and I cook up...

We're still arguing over Eeyore's career choices.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Your Momma's So Fat

Stilton's Place had a nice commentary on how Kellyanne keeps sticking her foot in her mouth.

Sadly, I had to agree. Here's my comment on the post:

You summed it up well.

Both sides are pretending what happened was some "Great Scheme" instead of, as you described, a phishing campaign that got a hacker, or group of hackers, into some servers.

The left is relying on ignorance and fear to give the impression that this was a highly coordinated, sophisticated, state-sponsored attack which could only come from Russia against freedom and democracy.

In actuality, it was an email that likely included a hyperlink like "Click here to see what you won!" with the target URL being a script kiddie file with a keylogger.

Even if the program was written with a cryllic keyboard, we now KNOW the NSA does that to hide the source of our own programs. I'm sure the Russians use similar tactics. It could have been China, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, or, for Pete's sake a kid in Indonesia who downloaded the file from a 4Chan group.

We don't know anything except the idiots in charge have no idea how any of this works and are not only over their heads on the technological aspect of this, they are over their head in how to handle it.

I feel bad, but Kellyanne is getting her butt handed to her on these things. I get what she was trying to do, but she got suckered with a kid's game.

Doesn't the Trump admin sit and think these scenarios out?

Minion 1: Hey, this report says Obama KNEW about the hacking and did nothing!
Minion 2: Idea! We emphasize that to show how Obama was negligent!
Minion 3: Um... Wouldn't that give the Democrat party ammunition to say, 'See! See! The Russians really DID hack the election!'
Ghost of James Carville: Dadgummit! Hornswaggled again! I'm madder than a tick on a June bug!

*I know James Carville isn't dead, he's just omnipresent*

Both sides should just resort to a televised Cut-Down contest, or a Your Momma joke-off to end this once and for all.

Your momma's soooo fat...

Friday, June 23, 2017

Why I Watch Doctor Who

"Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you place on a life.

An unimportant life.

A life without privilege.

The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. That’s what defines an age, that’s… what defines a species.

` Peter Capaldi as The Doctor
` Episode: Thin Ice

I have a love of the current run of Doctor Who. Specifically, all of the NuWho since 2005. I have some Brit friends who tell me Doctor Who is just a kid's show and they don't watch it.

So why do I?

Part of it is I'm a geek and always have been. I want to explain, that isn't all of it though.

A few years back I was going through a LOT of back pain. A LOT. I was really, really depressed and flipping through Netflix one weekend. I saw the series for Doctor who was there and decided to venture a try on it. I started with NuWho Series 1, Episode 1, "Rose".

I loved it.

Sure, it had some HORRIBLY CHEESY music, but you'd spend 45 minutes getting into the plot and what was going on and then WHAMMO! The Doctor does something brilliant and saves the day.

Eccelston (Number 9) is my doctor. He always put on a happy face to hide his true feelings. I was shocked when he blew his top in "Dalek" but by the end of the Series, I was hooked. I am sad he only had one Series as The Doctor, he was "Fantastic".

Tennant (Ten) is my favorite Doctor. He carried on with the happy faced, but troubled character. He added a lot of emotion to the part and it was more than just a fun ride.

But why am I hooked? Why do I watch a kid's show to this day?

Because the show is about hope.

The show gave me something to look forward to in my pain; something as an escape. When the TARDIS door swings open and The Doctor steps out, hands in pockets with his confident swagger, I knew I was along for a fun ride.

I liked Matt Smith (Eleven) and was severely disappointed in Capaldi's (Twelve) take on The Doctor. My family has since met him, Michelle Gomez and Jenna Coleman and they found them all to be wonderfully delightful people. They were gracious and kind to my kids and wanted to know more about them. They love their fans.

Series 9 made me like Capaldi's Doctor. Series 8 was just unclear on why he was... mean. I don't know how else to put it. I blame the writing of Moffet as he failed to show how much 300 years on Trensladore had damaged The Doctor as a person. I get that now. It also helps Capaldi's wild(ish) hair has given him a much friendlier look.

Three more episodes with Capaldi before we get a new Doctor. I don't know if I'll like him (or her if you follow the rumors) but I expect to remain a fan.

Hope is eternal. As long as I have hope, I have life.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Number Of Days Until Obama Leaves

The country has a new president of the United States. May we all pray that he leads wisely, lawfully and within the constraints of the Constitution.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Good Old Fashioned Rant

Call comes in.  The support guy answers and the conversation goes something like this:

Tech: Hi, I'm upgrading my software today.
Support: Sure thing.  What's the problem?
Tech: Well, I need the software.
Support: ...

Call me "Old Fashioned" or perhaps years of tech support have blinded me to the realities of "Life in the Real World" but my check list would have been something like this:

Step 1: Download software

Especially if it is some old as crap stuff that hasn't been in use for ten years or so.  Why is the name of Cthulhu would you wait until the DAY OF YOUR UPGRADE to try to find the software?  So on the day of your upgrade (which happens to be a Sunday afternoon) you decide, "Well.  Might as well go dig up some software for the upgrade.  I guess once I've got that and FUBAR'd the upgrade destroying the database and server I can also read the instructions on the process to upgrade."

Honestly, this lets you know exactly how successful his upgrade will be.

The next time you sit in a queue for an hour or so, keep in mind the questions being asked.  Explaining to people that just because the feature isn't working the way they think it should work, the display doesn't look the they think it should and I don't know how to do this and I'm paying you money so why should I bother reading the documentation so just do it for me, are all likely ahead of your legitimate question.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Safe Spaces For All

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  Part of the problem is whenever I post I am so disturbed by something that I sound suicidal or deranged.  I am not.

I am, however, very frustrated.  The world is busy with trying to not insult anyone and if anyone is insulted it is the end of the world.  Unless that person happens to be a Christian.  If that person is a white Christian, then double points because we've caused all the pain and suffering in the world.

The way I see things, the world is trying to flip the scales so white people are on the bottom rung of society and minorities are in control.  Please don't take this as I'm saying white people should be in charge and I'm just waiting on Klan hoods to come back from the cleaners, my point is you cannot fix injustice with more injustice.

Charlotte is the latest example.  A black man was killed by police.  That is all we know.  The police say he had a gun, we know there was a gun at the scene.  The family says he was reading a book, the police say there was not a book at the scene.  That's really all we know.  From that we have three nights of protests and the first two nights the protests turned into riots and looting.  After the national guard was pulled in and a midnight to 6AM curfew was put in place the third night was apparently peaceful.

Do the people who are looting and rioting think that will "Avenge" the fallen?  Will it tip the scales in their favor?  Will it force those in authority to suddenly respect them?

It's hard to keep a sarcastic, humorous point of view while you watch society eat itself.

As for the upcoming election, this is the first one where I don't want to vote.  I know each candidate is terrible.  Do I vote to put an orange Cheeto into the White House, or a known liar with possible brain damage?  Do I not vote and let the cards fall where they may?

I'm still mulling that one over.

Anyway, I may have some new ideas on cartoons coming up.  Perhaps I can laugh my way through the Apocalypse.  We're all in this together.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Wonders Of A Beard

The other night I got my granddaughter out of her car seat and while I was carrying her into our home she began rubbing my chin.  She was grinning and just kept rubbing and rubbing it.

The little things mean so much.  I remember how fascinating it was for me as a kid to feel my dad's chin when he hadn't shaved.  The scratchy growth at first and then the tickle of the longer hair as his beard came in.  Her rubbing my beard and seeing the joy on her face took me back to my childhood and gave me a bright spot to get through another day.

I hope God gave you something to brighten your day too.  I'm hanging in there.