MonthFebruary 2004

Brado! AHHHHH!

     I just had this vivid dream. It’s important to note that I recently got a job as tech support at a library.

     For some reason, I was working as a reference librarian at Alfred Noble Library in Livonia in the summer time. An elderly woman came in and asked me to look up a book for her. She gave me the last name of the author: ‘Brado.’ I looked it up and the description read:

“Memoirs of a disturbed teenage girl, which she never intended to be read – UNIQUE, UNCIRCULATING. 191.27″

     She asked me to take her to the book, so we started towards the door. As soon as we stepped outside, a ridiculous blizzard began.

     In my dream, the library had expanded to take over a nearby field – but the shelves were all outdoors. They were each roughly 2 stories high, and arches had been built between each shelf, out of books. There were people who were hired to scamper around over the arches and pull out the books if necessary. It was very Beyond Thunderdomey in feel – primitive without seeming like it was out of the past.
Anyway, we made it to the shelves and we were on the wrong end of the dewey decimal system, so we started walking through the shelves, which turned out to be a maze constructed so that the passages were shaped like numbers.

     As we rounded the bend of a ‘2,’ the old woman started running, and I told her to slow down. She didn’t listen so I started chasing after her. When I finally caught up to her, I was out of breath and she was standing in front of where the book should have been with her back to me. She turned around all suddenly and I saw that she had become the teenage girl. She lunged at me and I yelled ‘BRADO! AHHHHH’ and woke up.

     According to my girlfriend, who was sleeping next to me, I really did YELL ‘Brado, ahhh,’ which came out sounding like “Intense Chewbacca yelling through water:” “BWAAA OOOOH! AHHHHHHH!” I woke up pasty white, and it took me several seconds to determine that she was not, in fact, Brado. I am clearly insane.

     In the Dewey decimal system, 191 is modern philosophy of the United States and Canada, in case you’re curious. I looked it up.

Mario Music Primer

     This month’s Wired Magazine has a profile on internet superstars the Minibosses, who cover only music from classic Nintendo Entertainment System games. The thing with them is – they refuse to do Mario music. Now if you ask me, that’s all posturing. Anyone who has ever picked up a bass guitar has attempted the underworld theme from the first SMB game, so I decided to see if anyone was doing mario music justice.

     The obvious first place to look was Overclocked Remix, a site dedicated to hosting reinterpreted versions of video game music. Most of the mp3’s are pretty typical videogame music fare: remixed to sound like… video game music. But if you dig around a bit you can find some pretty great interpretations by people playing real live instruments. I present to you my relatively organic-sounding Mario mix:

Koopa Troopa.

1.) Super Buck Jazz by Estradasphere

Super-produced version of the SMB2 ‘overworld theme.’

2.) Aquatic Interlude by Brad Smith

A tasteful arrangement for classical guitar with some synth bits.

3.) The Italian Plumber by M.S. Mehawich

A piano / cello / violin arrangement of several SMB1 themes.

4.) Jazz Plumber Trio by DJ Pretzel

Self-explanatory: Jazz trio plays mario music.

     Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that there is a guy methodically redoing every bit of music contained in the first Metroid game in a ‘metal’ style at metroidmetal.com. It’s pretty fun. There’s also a ‘deleted scene’ from that Wired article here.

Adam Bomb

     If you weren’t already aware, you’ll probably be happy to learn that Topps is offering a brand new series of Garbage Pail Kids, including artwork by original GPK artist John Pound. Official site here. Garbagepailkidsworld.com also appears to be an official site.

GPK 2K4

Totally Great 7-Up Glass

     I bought this at a rummage sale: Upside-down Coke glass = 7-Up glass (ie ‘The Uncola’).

Uncola.

Paul Collins

     I was first exposed to Paul Collins in the fifth issue of McSweeney’s, which published his essay on Solresol – a functional music based (as opposed to word based) language. This essay was eventually included in his book, ‘Banvard’s Folly,’ which I wrote about in my last update.

     Over the past year or so I’ve stumbled across articles by Mr. Collins in a few different places, so I emailed him to see if he had any sort of listing of where his more ephemeral work appears. This is what he had to say:

     “The other two places I do a lot of writing for [Besides The Believer and the Village Voice – which I mentioned in my email] are the arts quarterly Cabinet and the science weekly New Scientist. I’ve probably done 7 or 8 “Histories”
columns for NS in the last year — stuff very much in the Banvard’s Folly line. Cabinet has a couple of my articles on their website, and I think NS allows a free 1-week tour of their online archives. On the book front, I’ve got a memoir/travelogue coming out in April (“Not Even Wrong”) from Bloomsbury, and I’ve edited a new title coming out from the Collins Library in March — David Garnett’s 1922 novella ‘Lady Into Fox.'”

     As you well know, I am insane. As such, I have collected all the Collins-Penned Articles that are available online and stuffed them into a word file for convenient download.

Paul Collins Articles: Collected

Other Paul Collins Links:

  • The Collins Almanac is a “Selection of excerpts from old books, magazines, and newspapers,” which is updated every weekday.
  • The Collins Library is
    a “reprint series by McSweeney’s Books of unusual out-of-print literary works. Each volume is newly edited and typeset, and is selected and introduced by series editor Paul Collins. They are produced in very small runs, and can be bought at McSweeney’s online store , independent booksellers, and at Amazon.com.”
  • Collins on NPR, promoting the release of one of the Collins Library titles: ‘English as She Is Spoke”
  • The McSweeney’s Interview: Part One and Part Two.

     If anyone can be bothered to turn up an audio file of solresol being ‘spoken’ i’d love to hear it. I’ve had no luck with Google so far.

Emitt Rhodes

     Last year I discovered Emitt Rhodes’ self-titled first album, thanks to an article in Tape Op. It’s a masterpiece of fuzzy early 70’s pop songs – all instruments played by Mr. Rhodes in his home studio. A friend of mine once said: “The solo album McCartney should have made.” And he’s right. All great songs (Well, except for ‘Fresh as a Daisy’ but 11 out of 12 is pretty good) that approximate late Beatles production surprisingly well. It’s out of print on it’s own, but is available as the first twelve tracks of ‘Daisy-Fresh from Hawthorne, California (The Best of the Dunhill Years),’ which also includes a sampling of Mr. Rhodes’ later albums (None of which ever seemed to equal the promise of the first). I’ve posted an MP3 of one song from the self titled album – ‘Long Time No See,’ and a much later recording that is included as the last track on the collection but never appeared on a proper Emitt Rhodes album: ‘Tame the Lion.’

     My friend Dave recently sent me a link to this article. Erik Himmelsbach catches up with Rhodes who has apparently been paralyzed by depression all these years – seeing little to no money for the music he wrote. The article outlines the contract he signed with Dunhill, which puts the later albums in a more understandable context – the contract required him to produce a full album of material every six months.

     “I knew it was wrong, because it didn’t make sense,” Rhodes says. “Six months a record … and I just spent nine months in the studio every day. When was I going to perform? When was I going to tour? When was I going to take a vacation? When was I going to have a life? I did it because I was stupid.”

     There’s a good site dealing with all things Emitt, including some rare live mp3’s and photos of his home studio. It also looks like the latest issue of SCRAM! magazine has a new interview with Mr. Rhodes, including all sorts of photos.

     It’s also worth noting that much like Klaatu, whom I wrote rather extensively about in my March 2003 entry, Emitt’s debut was suspected of being a disguised Beatles album. There are transcripts and downloadable MP3’s of a call-in radio show discussing the possibility here.

Chris Ware Trivia Update

     In case any of you were wondering about the Chris Ware mystery I described in my last post (March 2003), I’m happy to report that I have an answer. But first, since it’s been almost a year, I’ll include a refresher on the mystery in question.

“A few weekends ago, I went to our local library’s book sale. There, amongst the gently used hardcovers, I spotted the spine of a book bearing some hand-lettering that looked very similar to the hand-lettering that cartoonist extraordinaire Chris Ware did on the spine of The Comics Journal #200 (I swear to god I am not making that part up – that’s actually how I found it). A comparison:

     I picked it up, and the cover had all sorts of little Ware-ian illustrations and trademark techniques. So I open the back cover and the jacket design is credited to George Wilson! A Mystery! Photos of the jacket artwork are here, here and here. The book is a first edition hardcover copy of ‘Anything Considered’ by Peter Mayle, and my best googling has turned up no reference to this particular mystery on the Internet. I did turn up a George Wilson who appears to be employed in the publishing industry, but anyone who is even mildly familiar with Ware can just TELL it’s his work. If you know Chris Ware, you should tell him that the jig is up: his cover’s blown and I therefore deserve the original artwork for the cover. “

And now… the resolution:

Dear Mr. Kempa,

     Yes, “George Wilson” is a pseudonym I use for crass hackery which I feel was altered enough from my orginal “idea” (if there was one) that I don’t want my name on it; I’ve used it four times now in a variety of circumstances only to indicate that whatever it impugns should in no way ever be considered “art” or be confused with what I normally do, even though it’s all probably virtually indistinguishable to the layman.

     Thanks for asking, however, and while it’s no secret really, I’m sort of amazed at the number of queries I receive about the name; guess I’ll never be able to smuggle arms or anything as I don’t really seem to be the “undercover” type.

Best wishes, thanks again, and regards,

C. Ware.

     This obviously means I have three more ‘George Wilson’ works to track down. And I have no idea what they might be. If you have any info, let me know.

Happy Cape-Enthusiast

     Among the wealth of great video clips available at yesmuseum.org, I found a GIANT .mov file of Yes performing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘America’ live in the studio in 1972. The file is around 33 Mb, and appears to have been transferred from a very old video tape, but it’s worth every second you spend downloading it, because Rick Wakeman was the happiest guy EVER when this performance was recorded. It’s really pretty amazing. His happiness was of such magnitude that he couldn’t express it with a mere goofy smile – he had to release it in little spasms of joy whenever he wasn’t playing. It’s kind of like the girl in the trailer to that movie, ‘Love Actually,’ who steps away from her date whom she just kissed to do a little dance in the stairwell, but Yes is Rick Wakeman’s date, and he’s so happy he’s not hiding his little dance. So, so great.

So very happy.

     I just stopped to think about why I find Mr. Wakeman’s happiness to be so great, and I think it all boils down to the reason he’s so happy. He’s freaking out because his band rules, and he can hardly believe how much they rule. He’s a spastic, stringy haired guy with a giant smile and ridiculous keyboard abilities – and his brain simply can’t process the fact that he ended up with a band who was covering the shit out of ‘America’ at that particular moment. And instead of being all cocky about how great they are – he’s just so HAPPY. Almost to the point of disbelief. I LOVE that.

I Rule at Photoshop

When I was working on redesigning this page I made this icon but didn’t end up using it. I was really happy with how it came out, though. So I guess the point of this post is that I totally rule at photoshop.

Vicarious Barnes & Noble Thrills

Names Changed to protect the innocent.

Them: yesterday at work I found a package of herbal pills outside the bathroom

Them: and I cant remember what they are called, but they are to make you poop. and I was like BOO-YAH. that is SOLID PROOF that people come to barnes and noble to shit their brains out and not ruin their own toilet

Them: ALSO

Them: I saw the MOTHER of all turds in the second stall of the womans bathroom tonight. its the poop all other poops are afraid of. The power aisle smelled like poop.

Me: oh man

Me: that rules

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