Monday, April 27, 2009

Marooned on the Mutant Earth!

My next campaign:

YOU are a shipwrecked space traveler from Thundera, Eternia, Etheria or Mongo.

YOU've crashed down on a water-rich planet with a N-O2 atmosphere like your home. The whole planet is wilderness. The only natives who even have language, let alone know anything about tools, are small bands of hunter-gatherer simioids.

But someone crashed here first! The Mutants of Thundera, the Horde of Etheria, the Hawkmen and Space Vikings of Mongo, maybe even some Decepticons. And who left behind all these mazy ruins and abandoned temples of blasphemy?

Stay tuned, Space Wanderers!

The Shiny Beast of Thought!

And now, to celebrate Poetry Month in a slightly more awesome fashion, a relentlessly anti-female frustration rant from Doc at the Radar Station (which I never cite as my favorite Beefheart record, but it's easily the one I listen to the most). It's both a poem and a song, so it has quite a few more repetitions than is felicitous on the page. Just listen to Don screaming it thru the canyons of your mind:


DIRTY BLUE GENE
~Don Van Vliet

The shiny beast of thought!

If you got ears, you gotta listen.
Old woman sweat; young girls glisten.


The extract you thought
is the ex that you got.


Harpin' a thought.
Ex-extract.
You hear me?

Hope this art drops,
Grooves you right.

Drop by drop,
light by bright,
night by light.

There ain't no good and there ain't no blame.
Not a hip. Ain't no lame.

You make the fault, you cause the blame.
Devil the same.

Harpin' a thought.
Ex-extract.
Shiny beast of thought.
You hang up, now you caught.

If you got ears, you gotta listen.
Old woman sweat; young girls glisten.
There's more than what you thought.

Harpin' a thought.
The shiny beast of thought!

Stand there bubblin' like an open cola in the sun,
Back is achin', work is never done.
She's swingin' a sponge on the end of a string.
Right on the brink she spills the ink
down the sink.

She's not bad, she's just genetically mean.
She's not bad, she's just genetically mean.

Oh! Don't you wish you never met her?
Don't you wish you never met her!
Don't you wish you never met her?
Don't you wish you never met her!

Dirty blue Gene.
She's swingin' a sponge on the end of a string.
Don't you wish you never met her?
Don't! you! wish! you! never met her!
Don't you wish you never met her?
Don't you wish you never met her!

She's not bad, she's just genetically mean.
Ah, ah, dirty blue Gene.
Dirty, dirty, dirty blue Gene.

She's. Not. Bad.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's difficult to get the news from poems

yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

(Thank you, W.C. Williams.)

Here's something about dying, misery, and the news:


AUBADE
~Philip Larkin

I work all day, and get half drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I myself shall die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
--The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused--or wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness forever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast, moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear--no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small, unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can't escape,
Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

^*^
Like in the Yeats poem from the 1st, I'm interested in the adjectives modifying verbs, in 'grow light' and 'stands plain'--I'm not sure if those are both 'predicate adjectives' but I think they are. Seven hundred billion bonus points to anyone who can tell me I'm wrong.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Drummers social-network too

Whaddya know? There's a rather new social netorking/original content site for drummers! Drum Channel. As of right now there's a tiny picture of me on the home page (because I just singed up), from 11 years ago when I was playing with Central Boise Library (R.I.P.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Groove is the Green Fire

That drives the shoot of music through the soil. (My apologies to Theodore Roethke and the rest of the English-speaking world.)

I'm late to the party, but as I understand it, my new favorite drummer--my new idol of groove--the master professor of my new study of laying the fatback down--the pattern I pin to the fabric of my funky butt to cut out a new, deeper pocket--Joseph Modeliste, is, in the Fraternity of Beat, viewed as a demigod.

This pleases me for one self-serving reason, related to my epicfail at playing to the click, out in the shed, with Mr. Z.--namely the cut from the Meters's album Rejuvenation (of 1974) called 'Jungle Man.' It's the kind of song that you listen to once and grab the little slider in Windows Media Player and drag it back to the beginning as soon as the fade out starts--once you hear it you can never let it end. Although 'Hey Pocky A-Way' is next, and that song should never end even more neverly.

But when you do drag 'Jungle Man' back from the fade out to the beginning, you can't help but notice, so deep are you in Modeliste's pocket, that the cut starts out--unless I'm seriously misunderstanding something--a little bit slower than it ends.

I will follow in my master's footsteps, whithersoever they shall lead.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Discuss:

Is the Mr. Show theme inspired by Lumpy Gravy?

EDIT, for Mr. Smitty: the Mr. Show theme was written by Mark Rivers drummer for the Cavedogs, who I'm now interested in; also, you will someday fight cavedogs. You can buy a recording of the Rock Coaches (funny name) playing it here. Or you can listen to the whole track instead of buying it.

Lumpy Gravy is a Frank Zappa record and song. You can listen to a snippet of Keith Emerson playing the title theme from Lumpy Gravy here (track 13). And it's track two here, on the new album that I covet most in the world.

Friday, April 3, 2009

For Bejar Disciples Only

Today on the AV Club a new column begins, the first installment about a box of paperbacks of The Destroyer series.

In the comments a movie based on the novels is mentioned--Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. It features Wilford Brimley and Kate Mulgrew, but that's beside the point.

That movie brings up a list of "Movies Most Like. . ." which includes Big Trouble In Little China.

Adding Big Trouble In Little China to your queue leads to the suggestion that you try another movie:

Fitzcarraldo.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Blood-Hungry Hawktopus Sky Pirates of the Red Wasteland

I nabbed this image just a few weeks ago, from Comic Book Resources, I think. It's part of comic, probably DC, and maybe having to do with Batman. I put it up here hoping somebody will tell me where it came from so I can buy it. Also it's awesome and I have incorporated all it implies into my gaming life.




I made up the Blood-Hungry Hawktopus Sky Pirates bit (yeah, okay, just the name--the artist had the idea); the Red Wasteland is the Marscape homeland of the Bat People and their High Priestess Tamara, which are co-creations credited to Charon Silverlocke Nutvis.

What the hell happened to the D&D?

I used to write about D&D here, once upon a time, but those of you who singed on for that may have noticed that that stream dried up pretty quickly. It's of small concern to anyone, I know, and even those who might have been interested probably appreciate the lightening of their reading load, but I haven't forgotten you guys. Well, not completely.

I don't have anything about D&D just yet, but I can see something on the horizon. For now, just a word of explanation: my OD&D&S&W campaign was strangled in the crib (actually, it was more of a late-term abortion) by this rock 'n' roll music I play with this bunch of damn kids--most of them were BORN in the '80s. Geezis!--and while we're working on the record and playing shows in this, though snowy, spring and summer concert season, I'm not going to be able to referee in my usual timeslot.

This could result in me playing in a 4e campaign--wait, come back!--since T. Smitty is an excellent DM and available to take up the slack. He's sympathetic to old-school play, so I have hope that he'll bring to bear the lessons we've learned from the Renaissance about the roots of the hobby that are worth continuing, even with the shiny new game.

I want to continue carrying the banner--uh, I guess I should say 'take up the banner again from where I left it to be trodden in the mud of dereliction'--but don't get your hopes up too high: When I re-launch my OD&D&S&W campaign, it's going to involve ThunderCats.



ThunderCats as a PC race--several PC races, in fact: Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs, Pather-ninjas, Obi-Wan jaguars, and even whatever the hell Wilykit and Wilykat are. Coyotes or chocolate bars, probably.





I'll be drawing on the Filmation shows, too--He-Man, She-Ra, Blackstar, Bravestarr. Have you seen Blackstar? It's awesome. And Flash Gordon.

Naked warriors with mythic swords and naked sorceresses with serpent staves. Space ships. Funny animals. Ray guns. Black-and-white heroes and villains. I can't help it--it's the world I want to play in.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Holy Shit. VAMPIRE SQUIDS.

Feels like a day for a poem

I don't have one of my own at hand, so I fall back on the old saw, the old warhorse. . . the old sawhorse?

This poem may be my favorite thing in all creation. Hell, in all Tarnation. I recite it from memory (and you'll see that I actually can't remember one whole word. . . maybe I'll even leave out a whole line or a stanza), so 100,000 times 10 bonus points to everyone who can point out an error--words, punctuation, taste, hygiene--everything is fair game. Proust misremembers quotations in one or two places. Am I better than Proust? And I know it's only one search string away from copy-and-paste perfect correctness. You don't get poetry, do you?

THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE
~W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree
And a small cabin build there of clay and wattles made.
Nine bean rows will I have there and a hive for the honey bee
And live all alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I will have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket sings.
Midnight there is all a glimmer and noon a purple glow
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now for always, night and day,
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
When I stand upon the (roadside?) or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


What I'm most pleased with today is how the first line of the second stanza ends with an adjective (slow) which is modifying a verb. Take that one to your schoolmarm. And quiet flows the Don.