Okay (okay okay), it’s just a little pinprick

A food court in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: Burger King(TM), Cinnabon(TM), and an anonymous corporate bar. The thought of food is appalling. The Japanese coworkers and I ate at a dim sum place called Noble Court(TM) yesterday. I munched on oil-covered noodles, drank oil-laden soup, and took a massive bite of a chicken leg that was still frozen in the center.

Last night was tough. I woke up at two a.m. swaddled in Seattle Westin’s(TM) so-called Heavenly Bed(TM), lucidly dreaming of skiing at warp speed down a mountain covered with red snow. Freezing, I stumbled out of bed to the thermostat and the temperature of the room instantly rocketed up past four hundred degrees. The walls of the room ceased to be foursquare, and the bed slowly turned on an axis somewhere deep within the guts of the building. As I lay there in bed, awash in alternate waves of heat and cold, my mind began to dissociate from my body, and thus my skin started to separate from my muscles, tearing into loose sheets and folds. It peeled from my body like the skin on an overripe banana. Things became interesting.

I decided that the correct choice of action was to make coffee. In retrospect, I acknowledge that perhaps making coffee was not the optimal course of action, but we are simply documenting the facts here. I got out of bed, hauled my miserable ass to the coffeemaker, filled the carafe with water. I installed it in the coffee maker, put the ground coffee in the filter basket, and waited. Nothing happened. I stood, my legs failing underneath me, for about eight weeks before realizing that I had failed to actually pour the water into the coffee maker.

A delayed flight later, I’m home, sweating under a down comforter. Aspirin and steady love from my wife has my bug under control.

All this time I stayed out of sight, I started wondering why

She lovingly assembled the sandwich: turkey, cheese, fresh spinach, tomato from the vine, and my favorite mustard. She presented it to me with a big glass of water and sat at the far end of the couch. I alternately munched and complained.

“There were so many others auditioning for Starbuck,” I spat, spewing breadcrumbs. “The Rainmaker is one of the great modern roles for men. Dozens of people turned out at the Hillbarn. The other guys were pros. They were so good looking… they had such good reads…”

“I know, dear,” my wife said. “You’ve worked so hard on it.”

“That’s the thing!” I said, waving the glass of water. “I know every line, every moment of the character. I’ve spent months living inside the character’s head. And to see it all burned away in a bad audition…”

“Well, dear,” she said. “You don’t know that you didn’t get the part.”

“They let me go,” I whined miserably. “Don’t you see? There were other actors there reading the part of Starbuck after they said I was done. You don’t let your first choice go. You let your third and fourth choice go, maybe. Not your first choice.”

“Interesting idea,” she said. “But you don’t know what’s going on in their heads.”

I munched the sandwich. “Thank you for the sandwich,” I said.

“Now I guess you just wait,” she said.

So I waited and ate the sandwich. Ten minutes later, the call came. So mark your calendars for Valentine’s Day 2004. I can’t vouch for the quality of Starbuck yet, but I guarantee you that the assistant prop master for the show will be of the highest possible caliber.

Bought a beat up six string in a secondhand store

There is such a thing as talent. Tonality is important. Pitch control, color, breath control, all important.

Or so I thought. If Antares Autotune was trinitrotoluene, then Nashville would be a huge smoking pit right now. This $359 piece of DSP software is now a standard piece of equipment in the country/rock/blues/rap/industrial musical mega-establishment. You can’t write a number-one hit without it.

So here’s my cover of You Tore Me Down, originally by The Flamin’ Groovies, inspired by Krash’s recording, recorded start to finish in sixty minutes. Every single track in the recording is a single take with no rehearsal. You notice I blow the words at several points, but that does not matter. With the awesome power of Antares Autotune, talent is a thing of the past! Coat your mistakes in a comfortable patina of tonal perfection! With human error mitigated, we can work to create the MUSIC OF THE FUTURE!


All these places have their moments

Here’s a story. You are on the cavernous Blue Ship, hurtling through space at eighteen point five miles per second. The nine hundred people who live, work, love, play and die on the Blue Ship are here because their great-grandparents committed their lives and the lives of their offspring to the trip.

The designers of the Blue Ship equipped it with a canonical library of digital books, music, and all other recorded knowledge and art authored by mankind. They also provided the inhabitants with a sports arena, a food preparation area, a medical facility, and a theater.

You have lived your entire life on the Blue Ship. Your great-grandchildren, should you decide to bear them, will deactivate the transit crystal, break the welded seam on the titanium door, and once again breathe the warm air of home.

This is the only life you will ever know. This is the only life your shipmates will ever know.

You may live your life by delving into the various prepared entertainments that the ship’s designers have provided for you: an endless catalog of books, movies, and artistic recordings, and creative and academic works of every imaginable type.

Or you can exit your rest cell, tap on the doors of your neighbor’s cells, and try to interest them in a game of cribbage. Or distract them by telling knock-knock jokes. Or you can make fun of them, or hate them, or love them. Or talk existential philosophy with them. You can even try to get a volleyball league together.

Or ignore them, all as you please, and draw concentric patterns uninterrupted in your rest cell. You are stranded on the Blue Ship, screaming at eighteen point five miles per second, and you can never, ever leave this place.

Also, there are nine hundred people here who can never, ever leave this place either.

Do what you will.