I have a whiteboard on the wall of my home office, next to my computer, where I write down ideas for articles, stories, poems or projects, many of which end up here at Indie Moines. Some things, of course, are posted on the blog without ever passing through the whiteboard, dumped straight from frontal lobe to keyboard in fit of inspiration. But some things go on the board and never quite ripen to full fruition, so they often get consolidated into omnibus blog posts involving several short pieces, in lieu of one long one. As I look at the whiteboard tonight, it looks like it’s time to do a little slate cleaning, as I’m running out of space to write new things. So tonight’s omnibus post clears everything off the board, so I can wash it clean, and start afresh. You’ve been forewarned . . .
1. Before there were blogs, there were journals and diaries, and Robert Fripp has been keeping one of the latter since his youth. Fortunately, he’s chosen to share it online with interested readers, including me. I admire him immensely for his guitar-playing skills, of course, but I also admire him immensely as a man: he loves his wife and his pet rabbit, he stands up for what he believes in (even when it is unpopular to do so), he offers sage counsel and wisdom in fields where he is expert, and he appreciates the little things that make life lovely. I especially liked this quote from his August 23, 2012 entry: “How wonderful life can be, in its small details, when your home is where you live.” Amen.
2. Speaking of Robert Fripp, The 40th Anniversary Editions of the King Crimson catalog that he is producing with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree are revelatory and masterful. They have moved Starless and Bible Black and Lizard up into my all-time favorite album list, and I am really looking forward to hearing Lark’s Tongue in Aspic later this year, since I’ve listened to live versions of songs from that album more than the studio originals in recent years, and hope that the 40th Anniversary treatment lets those studio recordings soar the way they ought to.
3. The vocalist-bassist on Lark’s Tongue in Aspic was John Wetton, later of Asia fame. Before he joined King Crimson, he played with a group called Family, and the two albums he released with them, Fearless (1971) and Bandstand (1972) are also among my all-time favorites, and have also been relatively recently released in strong, well-mixed digital editions. Worth seeking out, if you’ve never heard them. They are sort of cross between a classic progressive rock group and a rowdy English blooze band. Here’s a great live cut from 1971 with Wetton strongly featured: “Spanish Tide.” He’s the one playing the twin-necked guitar and singing.
4. I don’t watch a lot of television, but I’ll generally have at least one show at any given time that captures my attention enough to watch live or make a point of recordings. My current favorite television show, that I tape and watch religiously? Adventure Time. It’s mathematical!
5. The locations of the nine greatest restaurant meals that I have ever eaten, and who I ate them with:
Channel Bass Inn, Chincoteague, Virginia (long closed, me and Marcia)
Cafe Marquesa, Key West, Florida (me, Marcia and Katelin)
Zuzu, Napa, California (me and Marcia)
River Street Cafe, Troy, New York (no official website, many meals with many people)
Driftwood, Oranjestad, Aruba (me, Marcia and Katelin)
Barbes, New York, New York (me, Marcia, Katelin and our friend Pat, two meals)
Hótel Búðir Snæfellsnesi, Búðir, Iceland (me, Marcia and Katelin)
V Mertz, Omaha, Nebraska (me and Marcia)
Unknown parilla (steak house) in La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina (me, Marcia, Katelin and Katelin’s friend, Kenna. I can’t find the name because apparently it has closed; I know where it was, but it does not show up on maps anymore).
6. The greatest story songs of all time (I’m not doing all the links this time . . . you can find them if you want the proof):
“Ode to Billie Joe” and “Fancy” by Bobbie Gentry
“1952 Vincent Black Lightning” by Richard Thompson
“One Tin Soldier (Ballad of Billy Jack)” by Coven
“Buenos Tardes Amigos” by Ween
“Lady Waters and the Hooded One” by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
“Common People” and “Sorted for E’s and Whiz” by Pulp
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” by The Band
“Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” by Meatloaf
“El Paso” by Marty Robbins
“Maddy Groves” by Fairport Convention
7. Gay Tastee’s “Beautiful Brand New” is one of me and Marcia’s all-time favorite songs, a hands-down desert island disc for us both. There’s a video for it on Youtube that somehow makes it even more poignant and haunting than it already is. You need to see it.
8. I truly and sincerely think that some of the best writing I’ve ever done in my entire life can be found in the Plays In One Act series that I rescued and edited from the old Upstate Ether and Upstate Wasted message boards, and archived here at Indie Moines when I set the site up. They were almost all done collaboratively with a bunch of other people, so I can never really do anything commercial with them, since I don’t actually own and didn’t actually create many of the words contained within them. But there are some real gems in that pile, some funny, funny stuff, and some raw material that touches deeply on topics that folks don’t often cover. I go dig through them regularly. You should too. Start here.
9. XKCD’s Click and Drag is the coolest interactive web experience I’ve had since, oh, I dunno, maybe the day I discovered snarg in 1995 or so. Go explore it, and don’t miss the underground civilization, nor all of the things up in the sky.
10. Vacations are the time to do things that you don’t normally do when you’re at home. When we were in Wyoming, this included going to see the idiotic final Batman movie. The experience made me even more firm in my resolve to never again pay to see a movie based on a comic book superhero. Of course, given the total lack of imagination evident in Hollywood in recent years, this pretty much means I’m just staying home and watching “Adventure Time” most nights.