Zheng Shangyou (Card Game)

Happy Monday!

A few months back my friend taught me this game he picked up called Zhen Shangyou which is a Chinese card game.  He translates it as “Swim to be the First”. It also appears to readily be known as “Winner”.  Either way, it’s a fun and simple game for two players with variations for more players.

Number of players: 2

Goal: Be first to get rid of all their cards.

Hierarchy of cards and combinations:

Highest  -> Lowest:

Spades -> Hearts -> Diamonds -> Clubs

3 -> 4 -> 5 -> 6 -> 7 -> 8 -> 9 -> 10 -> Jack -> Queen -> King -> Ace -> Joker

Red Joker -> Black Joker

 

  • Single cards: Any card from the deck, ordered by rank with suit being the tie-breaker. (For instance, Ace of Spades will beat the Ace of Diamonds, which will beat the King of Spades.) The red Joker is the highest single.
  • Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the King of Spades and the King of Clubs will beat a pair consisting of the King of Hearts and the King of Diamonds.)
  • Two [or more] pairs. Any number of pairs of cards with consecutive rank, e.g. 5-5-6-6-7-7
  • Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank.
  • Full House: A composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Ordered by the rank of the triple, regardless of the pair.
  • Straight: Any five or more cards in a row. Twos are low in a straight (so K-A-2-3-4 is not valid, but 2-3-4-5-6 is), and Aces can be played high or low. A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest straight. If a [x] card straight is the current play type, it is only possible to beat it with another [x] card straight with a higher lowest card.
  • Bomb: Any four cards of matching rank. Can be played on all tricks excepts higher bombs (i.e. the four same cards having a higher value) or straight flushes.
  • Straight Flush: Any five or more cards in a row of the same suit. Same rules apply as a straight. A straight flush can be played on any tricks except for a higher straight flush [see straight].

 

 

Rules for Play:

  1. Once the cards have been shuffled, deal out the entire deck including jokers.
  2. Who ever has the 3 of diamonds goes first, however the 3 of diamonds does not need to be played.
  3. The player who goes first lays down the lowest card they have as a single, double, or triple (as if player one has two 3’s they could play one 3 or both).
  4. The next player plays the cards that are of the next highest available combination or if they cannot or choose to they can pass.  The first player to run out of cards wins.

MC Chris is Dreaming (album)

Happy Wednesday!

I need to start with an apology.  I mentioned previously that I got MC Chris to agree to an interview and despite repeated emails and facebook messages, MC has refused to acknowledge me further one way or the other despite saying he would do “what ever I can to help a fan.” I’m not going to spend this piece chatting shit (I don’t want to get hit), however before this I was going to write something like “They say not to meet your heroes but that doesn’t apply to MC Chris because this guy is LEGIT!!” however I guess timeless advice is timeless for a reason.

Don’t get me wrong, I still respect the hell out of the guy as a musician and an artist.  His work has been a really important part of my musical enjoyment over the last 10 years and I’ve made some really great memories over this guy’s music.

me-and-mc

Speaking of great memories, probably the best show I’ve ever gone to.

Anyway, the show must go on.  Thankfully this year MC Chris has released a new album so I do have something to write about and the good news is that his new album MC Chris is Dreaming is easily his best album to date and as a fan I’m really happy to say this.   However with a disclaimer like that, you know I’m going to be pretty honest.  Let’s get to it!

If you’re not already a fan, there are a few things you should know about MC.

  1. He’s a nerdcore raper which is a sub-genre of rap which focuses on the things nerds, freaks, and geeks (1) can relate to such as a love for candy, star wars, trouble with mates/social acceptance.
  2. He really likes skits on his albums to “…break up the monotony of the music…” which are mostly accessible but there is some continuity between albums and inside jokes/jokes about obscure things that may require further research.  I’m a fan of them but they can be polarizing among his fan base.
  3. Dude has a high voice.  It’s not a gimmick, his voice is just naturally that way and personally I think it’s fucking awesome.  I wouldn’t say it’s his thing but it gives flavour to his music that if it wasn’t present, I feel like there would be something missing.
  4. Dude gets vulgar at times.  Examples include The Masturbation Song and Booties for Breakfast (Booties for Breakfast is a personal favoutite, I’m not sure what that says about me though but booty is pretty sweet)
  5. This guy has some really sweet and unique beats.  Take for example songs like Aulpragasm or DQ Blizzard or Reese(2).  I love listening to this guys music on multiple levels.  Many of his songs really are an aural-feast and particularly Aulpragasm is a song I tend to listen to on repeat for like hours.  I didn’t understand the “[x] for 10 hours” thing on youtube for the longest time until I found certain songs like this (not saying that I’ve done a 10 hour of the same song but…okay yea I’ve done it, I’m shameless…in fact I’m currently in a Aulpragasm loop as I write this it’s ridiculous to be honest).

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a fan of this guy for over 10 years now ever since I first heard Fett’s Vette (“…you think you can cook, I got a grappling hook…”) and Hijack (“…go take a hike and don’t forget the trail mix, BITCH…”) and Evergreen (“on the first day of xmas my dealer gave to me a bag of shrooms and some lsd…”).

Anyway as I said earlier, MC Chris (in my personal opinion) had a really strong early career with albums like Life’s a Bitch and I’m Her Pimp, Dungeon Master of Ceremonies, and the prime album MC Chris is Dead.

However after that, for a long time, I really didn’t get in to his newer albums like MC Chris Goes to Hell, Marshmallow Playground, or Race Wars.  I mean, he had some solid songs from those albums like Drinkin’ Blunts  from MC Chris Goes to Hell (I LOVE the brass in this song), Best Day Ever from Marshmallow Playground (this song is so cute and this album lacks his usual caustic edge but it is really sentimental which I appreciate seeing the diversity and emotional vulnerability as an artist but most of it is just something I listen too only when I’m in such a specific mood that I still can’t place what it is), and On the Road from Race Wars (since I’m being very honest, I’m just really not a fan of this album overall).

Then MC Chris is Dreaming dropped and my. mind. was. BLOWN. I didn’t even know about the Foreverrr album until MC Chris is Dreaming came out (Foreverrr is a solid album, from skits to songs with Give Up the Ghost, I’m a Fucking Wizard, and Foreverrr) and honestly I’m kind of sad I didn’t know about Foreverrr album sooner so I could have spent more time with it.

Back to MC Chris is Dreaming.  This album has the strongest opening since MC Chris is Dead with the titular song MC Chris is Dreaming (unfortunately, I cannot find individual links to the songs from this album either on youtube or soundcloud however here is a link to his entire album

and trust me, the ENTIRE album is worth listening to and the skits are on point, some of his best ever) which opens with this slow build up for the first 38 seconds then it drops at 40 seconds and gets to work.  This album, like Marshmallow Playground feels like one of his most honest and vulnerable fitting the theme of Freddy Krueger being a central character in the skits.

freddy

For those of you too young to remember, Freddy was a dream demon who would find your insecurities in your dreams and kill you by invading your dreams and killing you in an ironic way that related to your insecurities which would manifest as a death in real life.  Rick and Morty had a good time with this character as Scary Terry.

He touches on some sensitive subjects as childhood obesity (Spanky), growing up with an alcoholic father (Pop Run), and substance abuse struggles (Ditched).  The last song, Ditched, really hits a chord with my personal struggle as I’ve mentioned before I am an alcoholic in recovery and despite having some sober time it’s still a real fucking struggle.  Lately it’s been extra tough being an American abroad, being almost 30 with no savings and a “colourful” resume/CV, and Cheeto Voldemort and the League of Unqualified Millionaires (Billionaires?)(3).

chetto

I am beyond giving a crap if people get offended about my opinions about the current administration.  We have a fucking REALITY TELEVISION STAR and repeatedly failed entrepreneur and FUCKING PEDOPHILIC RAPIST as a president so pardon me if I refuse to respect anything about the orange idiot.  However, now that the presidency is basically a joke and open to anyone I’m starting a new hashtag #FinandLouie4President2020  

Anyway back to MC Chris.  Dude’s a great rapper, he’s a funny guy, and his kid is probably too young to realize yet but he’s got a cool AF dad.  Yea, he’s kinda been a flake but he’s still a pretty fuckin’ good rapper.

 

signatie

Dude signed my notebook. I guess he’s pretty legit.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Here’s how I delineate the differences: Nerds – really smart, but are happy being reserved socially.  Geeks –  usually more passionate than traditionally intelligent and more sociable but usually focused around niche things like tabletop gaming, book clubs, LARPing (Live Action Role Playing).  Freaks – pretty much the crazy artsy types who kind of don’t really fit in with any one social group but are happy to be accepted or not a long as you don’t fucking judge us for our eccentric bodily modifications or outfit choices.  I personally identify as a Freaky-Geek.
  2. I can’t stop here, there are so many good ones like Older Crowd, Fett’s Vette, MC Chris is Dead…I could keep on but my word count is already getting high.
  3. Just to list a few: Betsy DeVos the new head of Department of Education has no experience with the public school system and WANTS TO SHUT DOWN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist is a outspoken racist, Rex Tillerson who is the ExxonMobil CEO secretary of State (guess what? as CEO has done plenty of business with the Russians, which is the extent of his foreign policy experience, has pretty obvious conflict of interests, and is very anti-global climate change advocacy), and my personal FAVOURITE Rick Perry picked for the Department of Energy DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE JOB DESCRIPTION ENTAILED BEING IN CHARGE OF THE NUCLEAR STOCKPILE AND NUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTURE.  I cannot fully express how fucking mad and anxious I am about this living fucking nightmare of a situation.

Elmer McCurdy: Failed Train Robber or Successful Mummy Prop? (folktale)

Happy Monday!

Today’s tale is brought to you by my very funny friend Chris from Poorly Drawn Thoughts.  He draws web comics about a bearded man.  Occasionally said beard punches people.  It’s glorious. Go check him out.

Born on the first day of the year 1880 in Maine to Sadie McCurdy.  The father’s identity is unknown but Sadie’s Brother George and his wife Helen offered to adopt young Elmer.  In 1890 George died of tuberculosis at which point Sadie decided to tell her son, Elmer, that she and not Helen is his biological mother.  This disturbed Elmer and in his teens he started drinking.

He began working for his grandfather as an apprentice plumber and seemed to be competent at it.  Then the Panic of 1893 plus the loss of his biological mother and his grandfather culminated in him loosing what was left of his family and his job.  With nothing left, he took to the road.  Drifting along the east coast looking for work and a stiff drink.  However work wasn’t consistent, mostly due to his drinking, but eventually he would join the U.S. Army in 1907 where he would learn how to work as a demolition tech.

This, like most things in his life, didn’t last long.  Honourably discharged in 1910, he decided to take his new found love for exploding things on the road and hit it big by robing a train.  His first proper job was an attempt to rob the Iron Mountain-Missouri train which was said to have $4000 worth of silver on board.  In today’s money, that’s roughly equivalent to ~$98,000 (or ~£78000, gotta love that inflation though) in today’s money.  Elmer and the three other men were able to successfully stop the train and locate the safe, however Elmer used way too much Nitroglycerin on the safe which resulted in not only blasting open the safe but also melting almost all of the silver they were after.  The were able to scrape about $450 (~$11,000/~£8,800 today) worth of silver off the walls and floor of the safe  before they made their great escape.

After the bungled robbery Elmer was able to convince two more folks to help him try and rob The Citizens Bank in Chautauqua, Kansas.  Apparently they spend about two hours banging away at an outer wall before Elmer pulled out some more nitro and blew it away.  Then to open the safe, nitro again.  However the nitro didn’t ignite and they stole about $150 (~$3600/£2800 today) worth of coins that were in trays outside the safe and split.

In one final job in 1911, Elmer and two other guys decided to rob a Katie Train in Oklahoma which was rumored to contain $4000 worth of silver.  They stopped the train only to realize it was the wrong train and managed to steal: a revolver, a coat, the conductor’s watch, two demijohns (1 demijohn = 1 imperial gallon/8 pints/64fl oz/1.8 L) of whiskey, and a whopping $46 (~$1100/~£882 today) from the mail clerk.  News papers called it “The smallest train robbery in the history of train robbing”.

In the first job, let’s assume they split the $450 evenly among the 4 of them.  Then in the second job, the look out man ran away midway through so we can guess that Elmer and his remaining partner split the $150.  In the final job, we can guess that the 3 men split the $46 even for ~$15 a piece. Elmer has made $112 + $75 + $15 for a total of $202 (~$4900/~£3900 today) in his short bank robbing career.

After the botched job, Elmer took at least one of the demijohns of whiskey (maybe both) and drank with some ranch hands at the place he was staying.  What he didn’t know was there was a $2000 bounty on his head which lured 3 sheriffs to come for him and they had a shoot out resulting in Elmer taking a slug in the chest.  The sheriffs found one of the demijohns empty.

Normally this is where the life of a robber/piss-head would end however, Elmer was about to make more money after death than in life.

Elmer’s body was taken to the local funeral home to be preserved until he was claimed, this was a common practice at the time so that when someone came to claim or identify the body it was still…identifiable.  Time passed and no one claimed Elmer’s remains and the funeral director refused to release or bury the body until he got his money.  This was when he got an idea to put Elmer out for display to make his money.  For just a nickel ($1.23/99p today) you could see the body of “The Train Robber Who Wouldn’t Give Up”(1).  His body became a wild attraction gaining the attention of carnival folks everywhere.  The funeral director rejected all offers to sell the body.

In 1916 James and Charles Patterson, owners of “The Great Patterson Carnival Show” which was a traveling circus, contacted the funeral director under the guise of being Elmer’s “long lost brother” claiming his body for a proper burial.  After some legal convincing, the funeral director released the body where it went on to live under the show name “The Outlaw Who Would Never Be Captured Alive” until 1922 when they sold the show to Louis Sonny.

Louis Sonny opened a traveling show called “Museum of Crime” where Elmer was among much more successful robbers like Bill Doolan and Jesse James.  In 1928 Elmer was used as a prop to advertise a film, Narcotic! which is basically an early 1930’s propaganda film about the horrors of drugs.

After Sonny’s death in 1949, Elmer’s body was stored in a L.A. storage unit until 1964 when Sonny’s son lent the body to film director David F. Freidman to feature in his 1967 film She Freak.  This process of selling the corpse kept on for years until Elmer’s body found a home in the amusement park, The Pike in Long Beach California, in the fun house “Laff in the Dark” as a hanged man.

In 1976 the crew of The $6.000.000 Man were filming the episode “Carnival of Spies” on location at The Pike.  They decided they wanted to remove the hanging man, Elmer’s body, for the shot and in trying to remove what was assumed to be a wax figure the arm fell off exposing mummified flesh and prompting an investigation.

The identity of the body was a mystery until the medical examiner discovered a 1924 penny and a ticket stub for Sonny’s Museum of Crime in the mouth of Elmer’s remains.  After all this time Fred Olds who represented the Indian Territory Posse of Oklahoma Westerns claimed the body for burial in Oklahoma where he was buried next to Bill Doolan.  To insure Elmer’s remains were left to rest, he was buried under 2 cubic yards (1.5 cubic meters) of concrete.

So what’d we learn, folks? Crime doesn’t pay? Drugs are bad? No, what I choose to take away from this story that even if one is a failure in life, there’s a whole life after death which one can enjoy success.  Rest in peace, McCurdy.

 

Footnotes:

  1. His corpse was also known as “The Mystery Man of Many Aliases”, “The Oklahoma Outlaw”, and “The Embalmed Bandit.

 

Koo Koo Kanga Roo! (interview)

Happy Wednesday!

First I want to thank Valeria Quinn for the links to some bonus Mega-Ran song!

It’s pretty tight, I liked it a lot.  Feel free to leave music recommendations.  FAIR WARNING: I have at least 2 more interviews for the nerdcore series and a couple of bands to follow up on first but I am open to suggestions!

Koo Koo Kanga Roo! is a fun duo and put on an excellent show.

When they came up on stage, in their gold sneakers and gold fanny/bum packs (worn on the front), they put on some music and had been warming up and told the crowd “We are a dance along kind of show” which was followed by instructions for the crowd to learn some dance moves, one maybe two and all pretty easy, per song starting with a warm up song.  I wish I could remember their line up however here are some fun songs by them:

Dinosaur Stomp

I’m pretty sure this is the first song they opened with.

Pancakes for Dinner

I know they played this one.

Fanny Pack

I remember this one was particularly funny since in the UK fanny…doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in the US.

And here’s the interview:

  1. Who inspires you? Musically, artistically, writing, personally? (As many answers as you want, don’t worry about restricting yourself to one source).

    We like any group or band or performer that puts on a great live experience. We started the band after seeing bands like Dance Band, Zibra Zibra, of Montreal and the Flaming Lips.

  2. Did you always want to be a musician/songwriter or was there a “monkey touch monolith” moment?

    Always liked music and wanted to be apart of it some how. Didn’t know how until college.

  3. What do you consider your greatest artistic and/or professional and/or personal achievement? (Feel free to answer all three or one or a combination, whatever man)

    Just the fact that we are still doing this crazy little project is cool to us, but feel like there are still bigger things we want to get to.

  4. What superpower would you have if you could have one and why/what would you do with it? (Seriously anything, from the mundane, to the established, to something completely original)

    I want to have a pocket of gummi bears always loaded up. Fully stocked at all times.

  5. If you could be in possession of a pocket dimension that you could travel into and out of at will, that contained any established cannon (books, movies, comics, video games, Salvador Dali paintings, anything) what would it be and what would you want to most do in there?

    I would go into the Mighty Ducks universe and hang with the team. Maybe be their water boy.

Thanks. Answers from Bryan in Koo Koo Kanga Roo. 
 
Bryan

Koo Koo Kanga Roo

Big thank you goes to Koo Koo Kanga Roo for playing along!

If you liked this or have a music recommendation feel free to leave a comment and share.

Me Talk Pretty One Day (Book Review)

Happy Monday!

I hate Valentine’s day.  It’s a dumb holiday made to make couples feel bad by not being able to do something over the top wonderful and single people feel desperately alone while the rest of the world seemingly flourishes with love and acceptance.

16602253_1751063321876142_4428602366976674715_o

Generally sums up my feelings on the whole affair.

That being said, plus my general dislike for February: the worst month is not a sentiment I alone carry.  However I’m here to help you feel less bad about the dismal political situation and the increasingly bleak global climate change crisis with a very funny book by American humourist David Sedaris called “Me Talk Pretty One Day”.

me-talk

This is the colour blind version.

This is a book of memoir essays set roughly in a chronological order about Sedaris and friends, maybe “friend and family” since the reoccuring cast is composed of his boyfriend Hugh and some family members.  The book is split into two parts: “One” which contains  13 essays set in the United States and “Deux” which contains 14 essays set in France.

What I really liked about this book, other than it’s ability to wring tears from alternating twists of hilarity and sentiment, is how easy it is to pick it up and read an essay(1) and put it back down.

Particular essays of note are:

Go Carolina – This being the first essay opens up with a story from Sedaris’s childhood about being place in speech therapy for his lisp and the stigma that comes with it.  This essay struck home with me being that when I was in primary school, I too was forced to take speech therapy for a similar lisp on account of my “s” sounding like “th”.  One of the marks of subtle genius was in the essay every time Sedaris has dialogue for his speech therapist, the “s” are initialized emphasizing her slithering exacting of the sadistic sound.

“I’m trying to help you, but the longer you play these games the longer thiigoing to take.”

-Agent Samson, p. 7

Another quote that rings beyond the story is the idea of therapy.

“…with the exception of my mother, I discussed [the therapy sessions] with no one. The word therapy suggested a profound failure on my part.”  (p. 7)

This talks to a deep seeded view, particularly in the American mind set that therapy is something for deeply broken or crazy people.

“Despite the woman’s best efforts, no one seemed to make any significant improvement. The only difference was that we were all a little quieter.” (p.12)

This is one reason why I was always quite in school until going off to university because twice a week I was made painfully aware that I talk differently and that somehow that is improper.  Not only was I made painfully aware of there was this idea that there was something painfully wrong with me to all my peers when I would be mysteriously summoned  from class  to attend my sessions.

The Learning Curve – this essay is about one of Sedaris’s earliest teaching positions for a creative writing workshop.  This was the first essay  I read, since this book was assigned for class some essays were picked for reading and this was one of them, and it made an excellent first impression of the book.

This essay, like so many of Sedaris’s others, playfully pokes deep insecurities that I imagine (hope) that I am not alone in harboring with poignant quotes:

The position was offered at the last minute, when the scheduled professor found a better-paying job delivering pizza.

p. 84

As Mr. Sedaris I lived in constatnt fear. There was the perfectly understandable fear of being exposed as a fraud, and then there was the deeper fear that my students might hate me.

p.86

Or the dreaded angry-but-clever student

“Let me get this straight,” one student said. “You’re telling me that if I say something out loud, it’s me saying it, but if I write the exact same thing on paper, it’s somebody else, right?”

“Yes,” I said. “And we’re calling that fiction.”

The student pulled out his notebook, wrote something down, and handed me a sheet of paper that read, “That’s the stupidest fucking thing I ever heard in my life.”

p.93

Before reading this and before the state of student teachers plummeted (2) I wanted to be a teacher.  Now? Who knows, maybe I’ll secure a job as a professional dust collector.

scruffy

Scruffy leads a simple life. Scruffy sweeps. Scruffy sleeps. Scruffy does it again.

 

The Late Show – This essay is about sleep.  Or rather the lack of and coping strategies.  Sedaris describes that a normal sleep schedule involves laying down around 11pm and laying awake until 5:48am in between letting his mind be occupied by various day (night?) dreams of various levels of fantastic complexity from the “Mr. Science” fantasy about being a scientist who invents “the perfect idea” and lives wildly comfortable, to “The Knockout” about being a boxer but contains some of my absolute favourite descriptions of hair I’ve ever read:

…my inky black hair, which weighs in midway between curly and wavy, and calls for the invention of a new word.

“It’s…cravy,” you’ll say. “Like a storm at sea if the ocean were made out of hair instead of water.”

p.256

Overall this is a book I have re read in part a few times mostly in part because of it’s format but also because there are some essays that really gross me out like the last one “I’ll have what he’s wearing” which I’ll leave it up to you to read and form your own opinions on.  This is the kind of book that I love to have on hand because it’s low commitment, when studying English Literature and trying to finish Infinite Jest (second swipe) reading time becomes hard to come by.

img_20170130_231339_726

I’m a little past page 500, total page count is 1057 (if I remember right). R.I.P. Antitoi brothers. 😥

Footnotes:

  1. Range: 3-20 pages per essay and average: 8.81 pages per essay
  2. Okay this is a pretty serious issue not only in the UK but also in the US with horrifying things like this “[The University and College Union (UCU)] says that higher education has become one of the most casualised sectors in the UK – second only to the hospitality industry.” The ENTIRE reason I got back into school was to get OUT of the hospitality industry, not only to get out of the minimum wage spiral but to also secure a job in a field that I could find security.  This is no longer the case and when I’m pushing 30, facing a mountain of student debt, and dependent on a government that does not value the the financial aid program or generally public education to pay for a higher education, I’m in a pretty hot situation where I cannot plan a future beyond “what am I going to eat for dinner the next 6 months?”

    rice

    2 meals a day because 3 meals feels indulgent.

Heart Attack (comic)

I feel like this is what’s going to get me one day. Happy Valentine’s day. 

Sorry for the late posting.  It’s been a pressure cooker week and I fell asleep at 7pm local time.  

If you’re single, sad , and/or just in need for an extra laugh check in Monday for a review of the very funny book of essays “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris.  

Interview with Mega-Ran (music)

Happy Wednesday!

A few months ago in November I went and saw my first nerdcore show in Manchester and going in the only rappers I was familiar with were MC Chris and MC Larz but everyone put on such an amazing show that after the show was over I went and talked to the performers and explained about my blog and asked if they would agree to an interview.

All have agreed however I’m still waiting for answers back from MC Chris.  I hope he finds time to reply to me but if not I will do a write up for his newest album instead.

The first up in the series is Mega-Ran.

20161127_231633

Mega Ran and me

Here’s a few of his songs I particularly like:

Miniboss

Megaman Forever

Suck it Trebek this is my favourite because it’s a under publicized story that Alex Trebek of Jepordy said with regard to nerdcore “doesn’t sound like fun” and with regard to nerds “losers, in other words”.  So yea, Trebek: you’re the looser.

Interview:

1. Who inspires you? Musically, artistically, writing, personally?
anyone creating, living their dreams, hustling. it’s so inspiring to see creators making a living on their art, and working hard to get it out there.
2. Did you always want to be a musician/songwriter or was there a “monkey touch monolith” moment?
I didn’t… I wanted to be a dentist. Music was a hobby or passion project until one day I put songs on the internet that got a lot of attention and led to more and more gigs which led to me quitting my teaching job to do this full time. Every day is like a dream.
3. What do you consider your greatest artistic and/or professional and/or personal achievement? (Feel free to answer all three or one or a combination, whatever man)
I think my greatest achievement is surviving, as crazy as that sounds…so many people from my old neighborhood let their dreams and passions die, as that’s what we’re told to do.. Somehow I held on and it’s working out. I’m a living testament.
4. What superpower would you have if you could have one and why/what would you do with it? (Seriously anything, from the mundane, to the established, to something completely original)
I’d like to be able to fly. I’d just use it to get to gigs, because I really despise flying on planes, haha. So if i could get to my shows without worrying about lines, checks and small seats, I’d be great.
5. If you could be in possession of a pocket dimension that you could travel into and out of at will, that contained any established cannon (books, movies, comics, video games, Salvador Dali paintings, anything) what would it be and what would you want to most do in there?
there would be a super NES with every game on it in there. I’d sit down and drink Ecto-Cooler and play Super Metroid all night.

A big thanks goes out to Mega Ran for being so awesome and playing along!!

 

Stream of Consciousness Theatre presents: First Try

Happy Monday!

life

I’m often plagued with the phrase “If you can’t find the time to do it right the first time, when will you find the time to do it a second time?” reinforced by Jack Kerouac’s philosophy of “first thought, best thought”

“By not revising what you’ve already written you simply give the reader the actual workings of your mind during the writing itself: you confess your thoughts about events in your own unchangeable way. Well, look, did you ever hear a guy telling a long wild tale to a bunch of men in a bar and all are listening and smiling, did you ever hear that guy stop to revise himself, go back to a previous sentence to improve it, to defray its rhythmic thought impact? If he pauses to blow his nose, isn’t he planning his next sentence? And when he lets that next sentence loose, isn’t it once and for all the way he wanted to say it? Doesn’t he depart from the thought of that sentence and, as Shakespeare says, ‘forever holds his tongue’ on the subject, since he’s passed over it like a part of a river that flows over a rock once and for all and never returns and can never flow any other way in time? Incidentally, as for my bug against periods, that was for the prose in October in the Railroad Earth – very experimental, intended to clack along all the way like a steam engine pulling a one-hundred-car freight with a talky caboose at the end. That was my way at the time and it still can be done if the thinking during the swift writing is confessional and pure and all excited with the life of it. And be sure of this, I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing speculation and deleting and it got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no feeling. Goddamn it, feeling is what I like in art; not craftiness and the hiding of feelings.”

-Kerouac on “first though, best though” Source: I Fear Brooklyn

and legendary achievements such as the SF short story “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” which was not only written in one sitting/one draft but also went on to win a Hugo Award.  My experience as a cook hasn’t taught me any different, “You have to be perfect the first time, every time because we don’t have time for a second chance” as many of my chefs have told me over the years which became something I came to resent about the industry but made an imprint on how I shape my self as a creator.

I frequently feel like a man running out of time, being out of step with people of my generation and off the beaten path for what constitutes a reasonable existence, approaching thirty with next to nothing to show for myself other than a collection of scar tissue and a creative interpretation on the conventions of grammar and syntax.

I think frequently though about Kerouac’s process, regardless of his claim to write On the Road in one draft, more specifically one 120 foot long scroll he constructed to feed into his typewriter so he could write continuously, but his process was longer than that.  Longer than 120 feet and longer than the three weeks it took him to cover that roll in ink.

His idea was to capture the improvisation of the jazz musician, to create something so raw but right that the first time it comes into being it’s presentable. As Wachowaik criticizes in her dissertation Speed Limits: The Formation, Dissemination, and Dissolution of the Counterculture in American Literature 1951-1972.”

Though Kerouac projected the belief that both great writing and great jazz improvisations should be “simply realized without the thought process of the creator intervening,” he conveniently glossed over the process of the jazz musician, which involves years of study, rehearsal, and revision to produce effective “improvisation” (Elteren 87). In reality, Kerouac spent years perfecting his “spontaneous” tone, often jotting down personality sketches and stock phrases in his notebook that would find their way into his books (87).

Source

She highlights how Kerouac, like the skilled jazz improvisation artist, practiced and conceptualized his art long before ingesting eye ball vibrating amounts of coffee and speed in April 1951.  In this way, it can be said he drafted for seven years while rambling the country the same way a musician can said to be practicing even when they’re just tip-tapping.  A healthy regimen of regular writing and reading keeps the mind sharp so that when the time comes to write, it can be done with clear efficiency.

There is also an ethic to this approach, the school of minimal editing, in that the less drafts a piece takes, just like perfect plating the first time, the more warmth there is left in the final product.  My personal goal, someday, is to write a novel in the first try (in a 5×5 quad composition notebook, black ink, hand written) however I imagine it’ll go something like this: