Thursday, April 29, 2010

now it's over I'm dead

and I haven't done anything that I want
or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do.

I interviewed John Flansburgh, one-half of They Might Be Giants (the guy back and to the left), today for my Going on 50 project and I'm hopeful that this particular piece will see the light of day in time for, say, the 50th anniversary of Mr. Flansburgh's birth (which is a mere week away).
which means I'll spend a decent amount of my upcoming weekend transcribing (though the weather's supposed to be on the gorgeous side (a welcome change)).
but that's okay because JF's a thoughtful fellow and our conversation was, at a minimum, pleasant and enjoyable so I'm looking forward to going back to it.

and if you don't own They Might Be Giants (shame on you), may I suggest that you start with one of my favorites (if not my very favorite TMBG song), "Dead."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

a rather watery day

so it was raining when we got up (very, very, very early), raining when we left, raining when we got on the subway, raining when we caught New Jersey Transit to Newark, raining when we rode the Newark Light Rail (my first time ever) and raining when we arrived at Branch Brook Park.
and it rained the entire time we walked.

some walkers had made banners to honor loved ones lost to breast cancer and of course we have friends and family who have battled or are currently battling breast cancer.

and as I rode home (Light Rail to Newark, PATH train to the World Train Center (though you no longer travel through the open footprint), walk over to City Hall (since the 2/3 weren't running from Church Street) to the R, switch at Union Square to the N - this took a while) I finished reading Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life (which is now the last book I ever read; the one before that: The Good Soldiers. both are recommended, neither for the faint of heart).
and of course the titular subjects of almost all biographies die at the end.
and Raymond Carver died of cancer on August 2, 1988 which, today, came right around the Trade Center.

you can still contribute to the Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure through the end of May.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure - North Jersey

A week from today, rather than sitting on the couch watching the exciting conclusion of the Dark Knight, my spouse and I will be somewhere in north Jersey (wherever the PATH drops us off, I guess) walking to support the Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure® in the fight against breast cancer.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and the more we raise, the more the North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® can give back to fund vital breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs in our own community and support of the search for a cure.

If you are able, please support us with a tax-deductible contribution. Even $5 will bring us one step closer to a world without breast cancer. You can make a donation online (though there's a $25 minimum if you take that route) by simply clicking on THIS LINK, and any amount that you can give will help.

Thanks, and enjoy your Sunday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I interviewed

The Wedding Present's David Gedge (a pleasant fellow) this afternoon near 1st and 1st in Manhattan.

the band's on tour (Maxwell's in Hoboken on Saturday night, the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday before heading in a generally western direction) behind the 21st anniversary of their Bizarro album.

but the reason David and I spoke today is that he'll turn 50 on April 23rd (and his one birthday wish is that no one acknowledge his birthday (which'll be pretty tough for his van and bandmates as they've got a fairly long drive that day)).

David's the fourth 49-year-old musician I've interviewed since beginning my Going On 50 project not quite two months ago.

and in other news, the National Hockey League's regular season ended today (so now we get three months of playoffs), and that means that fantasy hockey leagues all over the continent wrapped up play for the year.
and I am both happy and proud to say that both of my teams, The Mike Pelusos and the Happy Valley Hired Goons, finished their seasons in first place.
must be my strong, Alabama-based hockey heritage.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

striking while the proverbial iron is hot

I'm in New Jersey for the weekend, and over the course of my first two morning cigarettes I saw five rabbits from my mother-in-law's back porch. now, seeing a rabbit or two in her backyard isn't all that unusual (I've even seen deer before though her house is decidedly more suburban than rural), but two came within six or seven yards of me while another ran right past my feet.
I suspect that their usual rabbit reticence has been replaced by the bunny belief that no human would harm them on Easter weekend.
true enough.

in any case, I wanted to thank all of those who rendered very kind comments regarding my recent (posted less than 24 hours ago) Alex Chilton piece for
the whole experience, though a goodly amount of work, has been quite gratifying. but, of course, the piece would not have been possible without a really fine editor, Tommy Craggs, and, most importantly, those current and former Tuscaloosans - Cass and WIll and Wade and Kimberley and George and Sam - who shared their stories.

Deadspin was kind enough to post links to the Tusk book and to Cup of Coffee as well as mention that I'm working on two oral history/interview projects - one with 49 year olds and one with folks who have lost a job since the start of the recession (and yes, I'm looking for interview subjects - get in touch if you or someone you know qualifies - might as well post the e-mail address that Deadspin gave - - because it'll be interesting to test the limits of my gmail spam folder).
but I wanted to provide easy access to the works of those who shared their Alex stories as well:

Will Kimbrough has a new album called Wings. Sam Baylor's latest album is Life on Trouble Street and then there's the justifiably landmark Gawk by Will & the Bushmen from the days when Will and Sam were playing together. all very worthwhile and deserving of your dollars.

happy your Easter weekend.

Friday, April 2, 2010

more on Alex

so I've penned, or interviewed, or interviewed and penned, two recent pieces on Alex Chilton, one the night he died (published at 8:18 the following morning) and one that just popped at