26 February 2019

Beatsie Boys Book

I recently finished the Beastie Boys Book (thanks, Justin) and was struck by a number of things that I choose now to share with you.

Foremost in my brain is just how lucky these dudes were. The entirety of the Beatsie career, almost, was predicated on right place-right time: growing up in the birthplace of hip-hop? Check! Being born into permissive families so you can roam NYC clubs at a young age? Check! Finding and befriending the biggest and best early hip-hop group, and their manager? Check! Finding a label during the age of record labels that would give you creative control and a bunch of money? Done deal!

There are more examples, but these guys seriously got a lot of breaks. They were basically just music nerds with the audacity to find and use the resources and talent to make a career out of this nerdery. And that's not a dig; all the breaks and opportunities don't mean a whole lot if you don't latch on to them with both fangs, or have the musicianship to make something worthwhile, which brings me to another observation: MCA.

Even though I consider myself a (quite literally) life-long fan of the Beasties, I had no idea just how important Yauch was to the process. It should've clicked with me after he died, as all of their projects basically stopped with him. But MCA was the dreamer and the doer of the band. He was always pushing them on to the next thing, finding a crazy idea and then actually following through. All three of them wrote a lot of music (Adrock especially, it seems) but in terms of direction and momentum, it was all Yauch. As Adrock and Mike D emphasize time and again, he was the type of person who found wild notions and then actually followed through on them.

Most impressive of all, to me anyways, was the relationship they had with creativity. They always seemed very comfortable with their creativity, with taking risks and running with whatever insane notion came to them (I recall, quite distinctly, after Hello Nasty came out, seeing an ACTUAL infomercial on the ACTUAL paid access channel that they produced to promote the album). I'd say this comes from: (1) starting on a path of professional creative output at an early age and (2) having each other as editors from the beginning. The three of them, along with the rest of the crew that came and went over the years, was like a petri dish of cool ideas and musical freedom and it didn't go wrong because they didn't allow it to go wrong. Because there were three of them. When others got famous and surrounded themselves with enablers, the Beastie Boys had a trinity, a triumvirate, that kept them each grounded and doing what they were supposed to be doing.

Final point: while I don't think Mr. Adam Horovitzt or Michael "Sweet Lou" Diamond are done making things, this book feels like the logical conclusion, the capstone, to the Beatsie Boy legend. As a product in the marketplace it's beautiful and Beastie-ish, full of funny essays, excellent and rare photos, playlists, gear list, and sundry else. As a bit of writing, it's heartfelt and touching, most of all for us nerds who grew up alongside these guys as the cool older brothers we never actually had.

If anything it stands as a monument to a different time and to a different people in a different stage of life when things were simpler.

09 January 2019

Truth Solution

Hey, it's me! I wrote this post in the middle of 2018 as part of a trove of posts I'm sitting on and not releasing (hence the slump this blog has seen). Said posts are in the stasis chamber because I don't want this blog to become a place for political or ecumenical debate; and yet I can't help writing about this stuff as it is where I am these days. This post seemed innocuous enough so I'm posting it now. Hopefully 2019 will mean more writing and publishing projects, maybe even some fiction to post here. Or not. Either way, the train keeps moving. I've no less than a dozen games and stories in the cooker so we'll see if time and energy allow me to complete anything, or publish some long-dormant completed works.

Laters.


04 September 2018

A Prayer for Writers in the Morning



So what have I been up to? Not a whole lot of writing! Most of what I've written here has been about my faith journey, which I'm not totally comfortable sharing yet. But I'm easing my way back in the saddle and deciding what to focus on and finish next, now that things have slowed down for Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse (we won and ENnie!). Part of that is going through old stuff and sifting what's worth picking back up. In that process I found this "prayer" I wrote several years ago and found amusing. May it encourage those of you who also get up too early to try and do something.

a cup of... by carmine-voleme
a cup of... by carmine-voleme
Awake, o spirit!
Awake, O creative heart!
Let not the devil tempt you back to sloth,
but let the Lord free you for to make fun things.

As such is in the coffee, so let such be with you

Awake, O sleeper, for you believe in the creative process
and, foolishly, that it is best done early in the morning
So, awake, young sloth, and make fun things and write stories no one will read
Let thine fingers fly with the speed of eagles
Eagles who are still half-asleep and on their first cup

Awake and let not the internet send thee into distraction
for cats are cute and Facebook is irritating, but in a fun way.
Let good things come from your hands
and not stupid

07 February 2018

Flash Fiction

She walked the same road every day.

No matter the season, no matter the noises, no matter the weather, she made the same, long loop of road every day. Suit up in appropriate clothing, shorts, skirt, sunhat, winter coat, snow shoes, whatever was necessary to complete the day's road. It was automation, it was catharsis.

She walked the same road every day.

Like all great journeys, it started one day with a simple decision: to walk. And so she did. The air was crisp with the newness of fall and refreshed her lungs and trickled into her soul. She kept walking, even when she was tried, wandering into spaces she'd seen a thousand times but never bothered to investigate. She found nothing. Next day, she did it again. Soon it was her daily bread. Something was being exorcised, though she could not say what it was. Whether it would end or not was unclear and immaterial; only the road mattered.

30 January 2018

Pharisees and Publicans

The liturgical calendar recognizes this past weekend as that of the Pharisee and the Publican. This comes from a story Christ told us that is recorded in the book of Luke, chapter 18. In short, two men enter the temple -- one a pious pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee boasts, saying, "Thank God I'm not like them." The Publican says, "God, have mercy on me." (Coincidentally, this is where we get the Jesus Prayer) Christ ends this tale with a call to humility, saying the tax-collector went home justified.


I noticed this on the calendar a few weeks ago and it's been on my mind since. It seems especially pertinent in my theological pursuits, as all Christians (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, probably even Oriental Orthodox and other, smaller communions) suffer from what Seraphim of Patina called the "correctness disease." We want to get this Christian thing right, not because it benefits our souls and the ones around us, but because we don't want to be like them. Anyone suffering from "convertitis" is immediately tempted by this.

"I've got this Reform theology sorted out," says one, "so let me tell you why you're wrong and probably going to hell."

"I'm a catechumen now," says the other, "so let me tell you why your Protestant belief system is heresy."

Suddenly the understanding God has granted us becomes a step that puts us over our neighbors. Suddenly we're not like them.

I hope, no matter where I land theologically, that I can be like the publican, recognizing my need for God no matter what. Pray for me!

09 January 2018

HELMS

Last year I spent some time working on a heavy metal demo with my good buddy @CapedSam. We got the thing done, got it mastered by the inimitable Joey Jones, and I was able to release it just yesterday. I hope you like it and I hope it is the first of many musical fruits to come.
helmsatl.bandcamp.com

I've also had writing on the brain majorly of late. HMTM is progressing, as are my theological pursuits, but really I want to write some fiction this year.

02 January 2018

Proofs

I've (thank God) been able to tap the brakes on my voracious consumption of theology and general Orthodox stuff. In part this is because I'm maxed out, at capacity, able to take in no more and need to give my brain time to digest (to continue with ingestion analogies). I've actually been chilling out, playing more games, watching more stuff, not pushing things too hard.

I'm also slowing down because I'm getting tired of arguments. Most of the stuff I read online is just debates between Protestants and Orthodox and Catholics. Everybody has a proof and everyone wants to share it. The thing is, we don't change until we're ready to, no matter what we take in. And we don't often realize we're ready. So a lot of these proofs I read are from people who were ready, had some kind of experience, and are communicating it in opposition to something else. While these things are interesting, they'll ping off your brain unless you are ready too. The response is then to ignore it or, if you're the type of person who loves to argue and be correct, to attack it.

I am not that type of person, and in these discussions soon saturate and retire to my corner.  I don't want PVP any more -- I want solo and co-op. In short, I'm tired of proofs. I'm tired of talking about this stuff. I want something to do. I want Christ. I'm ready for the next thing.