Archive for December, 2013

Humans Being on MVM

Been a long time since the last time I had a Van Halen video… a quick look tells me it’s been almost two years. That’s just… wrong. So it’s time to get that fixed. Can I tell you how hard it is to find some good quality Van Halen videos on YouTube (at the time I’m writing this). I was thinking of actually using something fom VH III – the one album they did with Gary Cherone. (Despite its lower-than-usual-for-Van-Halen sales numbers, it was actually a decent album. Except for the last track. That one, not so much.)

In my searching, I did come across one number that has featured heavily in my “getting pumped up” playlists… Humans Being from the Twister soundtrack – – a video I didn’t realize actually existed.

In 1998, I took my friend Danny to see them in concert as a graduation/going away present (right before he went to Army basic). That’s a story for another time, but he was stoked as soon as the band started the opening riffs. That tour was the first time it would be played live. And it was awesome.

 

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Discussing The Firm

One of the pieces of advice that is often cast at developing creative people (I’ve mostly read it as directed at writers, but I imagine it’s a universal-ish sort of thing) it to latch onto a work that resonates, and study it. Back in the days of vinyl, before stereo overdubs and hyperactive mixing, that’s how musicians would cut their teeth — buckle on headphones and replay songs over and over, figuring out a lick or bass groove a few seconds at a time, tearing it apart, learning from it, incorporating it into themselves until they learned what they needed, leveling up in musicianship (especially if the parts were tricky… have you tried picking out what McCartney does on some of the Beatles tracks? Lady Madonna, for instance.).

In the writing arena, anyone that’s attempted NaNoWriMo at least once has probably heard the advice. Hell, Chris Baty includes it in his book No Plot, No Problem. Have a model novel.

Without putting to fine a point on it, I went into figuring out my thesis novel with John Grisham’s The Firm as an undercurrent, the paranoia and underdog calling shoved into a situation where they are in jeopardy. Okay, so just about any thriller could fit the bill, but The Firm was what came to mind. Here’s the catch. I hadn’t read the book, at least, not completely, only seen the movie. (I started it about 15 years ago, I had a movie tie-in paperback, and made it 75-100 pages. Things didn’t click at the time, either the class schedule or work… I got distracted, then loaned it out from whence it never returned.) While in the middle of drafting the project, I knew I would need to take on the source, but I didn’t want to do so while still trying to figure out the story, my story, and having the first draft get derailed. I’ll read it, I told myself, after finishing the first draft.

The (very rough) first draft was finished back in September. After finishing the other classes for the semester, I dug in, reading for both story and execution. I’m still mulling over some of my observations (after finishing the book the other day), and how they might be able to be applied to my project (like stylistic things…hello, re-evaluating dialogue tags) but also making me question part of my structure (I’m using third, and the entire first draft is only from the over protagonist’s shoulder…now I’m wondering about adding some scenes from other POVs, and if so, whose?)

Which is to say, the study part is only just beginning. I was a little surprised by the reading, and found myself thinking about attacking my copy with post-its to mark scenes NOT from Mitch’s POV. I imagine that the paperback copy I have now will take it’s fair share of beatings over the next six months or so, until I get to a point where my manuscript sails with a bit of punch.

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Expanding the Stable

So there has been news swirling around the household for the past few months, and there’s a bittersweet edge to it. My step-father died in early October from complications after surgery. Two weeks before, right after his surgery, he at least knew the news.

We are expecting.

Hence the subtlety of the title… We made a big deal a few years ago about having a baby dragon. This time around, the delivery will be during the Year of the Horse… Stable… Get it? When MC first made the announcement on her Facebook account, they read it as an actual equine addition.

Only, it’s not just an addition. It’s a pair.

That’s right, twins. But we didn’t find that out until late-October.

For the first pregnancy, we didn’t find out the gender until he emerged. At the time, we said that IF we were to have another one, we would find out. With twins, the decision was guaranteed. Which was today. Would there be a filly and a stallion? A pair of stallions? A pair of fillies? Inquiring family members wanted to know.

We found out this morning.

Officially: A pair of stallions are due for arrival at the stable sometime in the spring.

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Straight No Chaser on MVM

Last year, a version of this week’s selection was getting some pretty heavy airplay on one of the local stations. We liked it enough that after finding out the name of the group, Straight No Chaser, I got the album (at least, the one with that particular version), and it was a regular feature for most of our holiday driving. And they started as Hoosiers, which I just found interesting.

(They also do a version of Toto’s Africa which, if I’m listening to it in the car – if it’s just me – I tend to repeat the song, turning it a little louder each time.)

 

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Celebrating 5 Years

On this date, five years ago, Marry Catherine and I were married.
Here’s to many, many more.

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Crashing Lightning on MVM

Live emerged in the mid-90’s, fueled in part by their single Lightning Crashes – from their second album – getting heavy airplay. It’s a subtle number, almost reflective in tone (indeed it’s likely the quietest song on the album). I knew there was a video for it, but it had been years since I’d seen it.

 

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Hella Good on MVM

No Doubt broke out in 1995 with Tragic Kingdom, which is actually their third album. Half of the album would eventually be released as singles. This week’s selection, however is not from that album. Instead, it’s from their 2001 album Rock Steady.

 

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