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I’m a freelance interactive content strategist and copywriter in Austin, TX. See my work here.

I post about whatever geeky stuff interests me. Sometimes I post funny stuff that I make up. About once a week I post videos of my cat Yeti ignoring me. I welcome reader suggestions and feedback. I seldom get any.

Oh, yeah. I’m also the recording artist currently known as ManChildATX.

Wednesday
May142014

Countdown to Kickstarter: Things I've Learned on My Way to Launch

A preview of my Kickstarter preview page

Next Tuesday, May 20, barring any unforeseen obstacles, I will launch my first Kickstarter campaign. The intent is to try to raise funds to duplicate and promote the CD for my second ManChildATX album, My Mouse Finger Is Insured for $10M. If you are reading this, there is a very excellent chance you will also hear about the launch of my campaign next week. 

Kickstarter, for those of you living on Mars, is the wildly successful crowd-funding site that I wish I had invented. The way it works is you get an idea; you need money to realize the idea; you create a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money; you offer rewards to your contributors related to the realization of the idea; you have a set period of time to convince people to help out; and if you make your fundraising goal, you get the money (minus a cut for Kickstarter and Amazon Payments—like I said, I really wish I had invented it). If you don’t make your fundraising goal, you don’t get the money, and none of your contributors pay a thing.

Theoretically, it could take someone a couple of hours end-to-end to create a Kickstarter campaign. But I’ve been working on mine, off and on, for months. I’ve remade my campaign video a couple of times, and rewritten my entire Kickstarter page over and over again, with literally hundreds of incremental changes in between.

Part of the reason it has taken me so long to launch my campaign is fear and anxiety. Once I launch the thing, there’s no turning back. If I fail to make my goal, well, I can picture that being a pretty big blow to my always-sensitive ego. And if I do make my goal, of course there’s built-in anxiety anytime you put your creative work out in the world for others to judge. Boo hoo for me.

Fear might slow me down, but I won’t let it stop me. Really, the main reason it has taken me so long to launch is that the more I’ve messed around in the Kickstarter world, the more I’ve learned that there are right ways and wrongs ways to go about it. It’s my nature to want to get something done and put it out there, and I was all ready to do that with my Kickstarter campaign in the fall of last year. But the more I looked at what I’d done to put together my Kickstarter page, the more dissatisfied I felt, and convinced I could do better. That’s when I discovered that there is a virtual cottage industry of Kickstarter advice.

First, of course, there’s Kickstarter itself. They want people to create successful campaigns that will make their goals. The more successful campaigns, the more success for them. Toward that end they offer a Kickstarter School page, to help newbies like me create appealing campaigns. The most useful info I got from Kickstarter’s primer was the importance of creating a lot of appealing campaign rewards, especially at the lower contribution levels. In light of this, I slashed the contribution levels for all of my reward categories, and added a bunch of reward categories to the few I started with originally.

This was hard for me, since my “act,” ManChildATX, is essentially unknown, which is a big reason I’m going the Kickstarter route to begin with—I’m hoping it helps create some buzz as well as raise some money. There are a lot of music acts on Kickstarter who already have significant followings, and many of them offer rewards that only diehard fans would want, like autographed items, personal house concerts, the chance to sniff their underwear, or what have you. (I don’t even want to sniff my own underwear.)

It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone will care enough to up their contribution enough to get an autographed ManChildATX CD or a glossy photo, or a trucker hat. But over and over again during this process I’ve had to tell myself, You don’t know what works and what doesn’t, so listen to the people who do. So, I’ll have many more rewards than I originally intended.

The second thing that’s had the most influence on my Kickstarter strategy has been this study by Georgia Tech researchers on “Kickstarter phrases that pay.” Basically, these geeks loaded a whole bunch of Kickstarter campaigns into their computer and had it spit out common phrases used in successful campaigns and phrases used in unsuccessful campaigns.The top entries (out of bajillions). I didn’t take this list literally, but did let it inform my overall tone.

OK, I skimmed but did not read the entire study. And I didn’t literally seed my campaign with any of their successful phrases. I also didn’t comb through my copy for the unsuccessful ones either. But I did let the study convince me that my tone and turns of phrase mattered more than I was admitting in my initial rush to launch my campaign and be done with it.

The first page I wrote was too earnest and there wasn’t enough me in it. Reading between the lines, it read like it was written by someone who was afraid he wasn’t going to make his fundraising goal—because it was. So my first rewrite was just an attempt to insert more of a sense of inevitable success into the narrative, and also inject it with more of my personality and off-the-wall absurdist humor.

My subsequent rewrites have largely been an attempt to tone down my personality and off-the-wall absurdist humor. Because another thing I’ve learned about Kickstarter is that it helps to have people with a critical eye look at your campaign before you launch. Again, this is advice you get from Kickstarter itself, and they have a preview function built into their interface that makes it easy to send your campaign page to folks, and easy for them to respond with feedback.

And the people I asked for feedback from really stepped up. Which sucked. Because they pointed out a lot of things I could be doing better. That meant I had to swallow my pride, admit they were right, and then get back to work.

Which I did. I pretty much addressed each feedback item individually, and incorporated almost all of them—even some I disagreed with. For one thing, asking for feedback is a tacit admission that it’s impossible to truly be objective in judging our own work. For another, I wanted to show the people I asked that I value their opinions and that I heard them. And maybe as a bonus that will inspire one or two of them to be social media cheerleaders for me. At any rate, I feel much better about the quality of my Kickstarter campaign page since making changes based on their feedback.

The final thing I’ll share was that even though I had originally planned to launch my Kickstarter campaign last October, I learned that it’s OK that I didn’t. In fact, it’s much better that I didn’t. Just yesterday I came across “Kickstarter Lesson #68: You Don’t Need to Launch Today,” on a site called Stonemaier Games, a company that has launched multiple successful Kickstarter projects. The post lists all of the wrong reasons for launching a Kickstarter too early, and I saw myself reflected back in every one of them. So I’m glad I waited and continued working.

But the wait is just about over. At a certain point, there’s a time to fish or cut bait. My Kickstarter campaign may not be perfect—in fact I’m sure it’s not—but it’s much better than it would have been had I launched last fall, and it’s much truer to me as a person than it was.

So, next Tuesday, May 20th, at 10am I will launch. Why Tuesday? Oh, because one more thing I learned is that Tuesday seems to be a good day to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Thanks for reading, and please consider helping me out when my campaign launches. I’ll need it, and it will be much appreciated. You can keep up with how my campaign is going and other ManChildATX goings on at the ManChildATX Facebook page

 

Monday
May122014

Recent highlights from my neighborhood listserv

 


HELLO, NGIEBROS!! I GOT a LETtER TELLING ME I WON A BIG PRIZE. BUT IT HAS NOT SHOWNED UP. ON my DOORSTOP!!! WHICH ONE OF YOU ToOK MY BIG PRIZE!!!!!!!????
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

Hi, folks. We’re new in the “‘hood,” and have a lot to learn. Could someone please tell us when the ice cream trucks start coming around? Our kids are new to city living and we think they’d get a kick out of this old fashioned tradition.
Bill and Cassie on Shunk St.

Neighbors, I have some good news: I have successfully lobbied the City Council to add an agenda item to discuss a potential neighborhood-by-neighborhood referendum that has the potential to ban those parasitic ice cream vendors from our neighborhood forever. People in other neighborhoods can suffer through an endless loop of Popeye the Sailor Man performed on the synthesized glockenspiel, but as for me, I’m going to do everything in my power to get those blood-sucking weasels off OUR streets. And your little sugar-addicted munchkins be damned!
Harry on Muenster Cir.

OK, NEGIBONS! YORE SILANCE SAY IT ALL: ITS A CONSPRI, A CONPIARS, A COPSNIARC… YALL GANGDED UP ON ME! TO STEEL MY BIG PRIZZE!!!! WHAT I WANT TO KOW IS WHY!!!11!?????
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

Who do I talk to about moving polling place locations in the neighborhood? I feel the current locations are entirely too accessible to certain people who I do not feel should have such an easy time voting, if you catch my drift. If we moved polling places to a gated subdivision in the neighborhood, I feel our democracy would be better served. Or I’m open to the idea of limiting the franchise to property owners, if folks think that’d do the trick. Thoughts?
Sylvia on Marchan Ct.

Peace be upon all our neighbors. We, the members of the Hoffman Living Cooperative, are pleased to announce that we have a bumper crop of ragweed sprouts to share. Many find these sprouts to build up their natural immunity to allergies. Just two or three pounds of them yields enough juice for a delicious ragweed sprout and hay pollen smoothie. We’ll have flats of sprouts set out by the curb over the weekend. Take all you want but use all you take, and leave some for others. Don’t worry about the smell—that’s just the growth medium we recycled from our composting toilets. Enjoy!
Brother Fred of Hoffman Living Cooperative on Rapple Way

Hi, there. Does anyone know a good, reliable company to call for fire suppression? There’s a little conflagration at the back of our house and we’d like to get some recommendations for reputable fire suppression contractors fairly soon, and certainly before the fire reaches the baby’s nursery. Thanks.
Sally and Brad on Adnan St.

NEER MIND NGEIBOSR!! THE LETTERS SAYS I >>>>MAY<<<< HAVE WON A BGI PRIZZE!! SO IT MUST STEEL BE oN THEWAY!!! SORRy I ACCURSED ‘YAL’L!!!
BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

 

Friday
May092014

Cat not digging "canine clowntime"

Wednesday
May072014

Photo Gallery: Abandoned Full Poo Bags, Spring 2014

ARTIST’S STATEMENT: My work photographing full dog poo bags left lying around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake continues. As I spend more time with full dog poo bags, I can’t help find myself humanizing them. Who did they belong to? Who filled them with poo and then abandoned them for someone else to deal with? And what is wrong with those people that they would leave behind an innocent sac of polyethylene to represent their craven, callous selfishness? The imponderables draw me further into the poo bags’ world, and my art. Enjoy.

R. Malley

Artist

This poo bag casts a shadow as if to say, “Look at me! I’m a castoff!”

Taking the trouble to knot the bag, and then tossing it on the ground. Who is the real artist here? I’d submit it’s not me.

I was tempted to check to see whether this bag did indeed contain as large a dog log as it appears, or whether it had been “fluffed up” to help the dog’s owner feel like a “big shot.” But I didn’t.

Is that just another rock? No, it’s a full poo bag. Oh. Gross.

What does this say, if not, “I’m lonely?”Like me, you probably find the composition of this shot inspiring. All credit must go to the selfish asshole who discarded this poo bag on the ground.

Desolation and dread. And nothing else.

New growth, old, bad habits.

The simplicity of spring, captured in its essence. Plus, a full poo bag.

Tuesday
May062014

What's going on?

Greetings, Oblogatorians. Just a few quick notes on the sporadic and inconsistent posting schedule of late.

•I’ve been very busy with work, which is really great from a paying the bills standpoint, but kinda overwhelming.

•I’ve also been very busy getting ready to launch the Kickstarter campaign for my second ManChildATX album. I’ve been getting some great constructive feedback on my Kickstarter page, which means I need to do a little more work before I launch. I also need to have some breathing space in my work schedule around the time I launch, so I can obsessively hype it, monitor it and respond to any feedback I get from it. And breathing space in the schedule has been hard to come by. Finally, I’m also really, really nervous and scared to death about the whole thing. But my birthday is at the end of the month, and I definitely want to have it launched by then, so I can use that as a hook to guilt people into helping out. Great strategy, no?

•Lastly, thank you very, very much for reading Oblogatory. It means more to me than you could ever know.

 

Tuesday
May062014

Forget the Humor Code, here's why things are funny

For this they wrote a book?!

You’ve probably heard about The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, a new book by Peter McGraw and Joel Warner. The book is the source of news stories you may have read about the 10 funniest cities in America.

I’ve always thought that analyzing humor is a silly pursuit, both literally and figuratively. If McGraw and Warner really wanted to know what makes things funny, I could’ve saved them the trouble of writing a book and making all that money. There aren’t that many things that make things funny. In fact, here’s the entire list:

Expulsions of air, (any) body orifice from

Balls, appearance of, descriptions of, getting racked in

Old Jewish women, visits to the gynecologist of

Priests, rabbis and ministers, walking into a bar of

“The other,” otherness of

Intense sexual desire, desperate, ill-considered attempts to fulfill

Stereotypes, stereotyped behavior of

Farmers, daughters of

Donkeys, dicks of

“It’s the parrot.”

 

Tuesday
Apr292014

This Week in Chutzpah: The News Quiz

Which entity just announced that it discovered an accounting error that meant it had $4 billion less than it originally reported?
A) Vladimir Putin’s interior decorator
B) Bank of America
C) My lying cousin Stevie
D) Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
Answer: B

What is the approximate ratio of the penalty Bank of America will likely pay for their error to the penalty they would charge you if you overdrew your checking account by $7?
A) 1,000:1
B) I hate math
C) Will this be on the test?
D) Incalculably large
Answer: D

Where are the masked, highly-trained, Russian-speaking pro-Russian paramilitaries in eastern Ukraine most definitely NOT from?
A) Russia
B) Russia
C) Russia
D) Russia
Answer: A, B, C or D

When Vladimir Putin asserts that Russia has absolutely no designs on eastern Ukraine he means what?
A) Russia has designs on eastern Ukraine
B) Who wouldn’t want eastern Ukraine?
C) With those beautiful eastern Ukrainian women, come on?!
D) All of the above

Which news organization gave the most favorable coverage to racist/rancher/protest leader Cliven Bundy, whose main argument is that he should get to mooch off the federal government for free?
A) The Nation
B) Liberal Freeloaders Weekly
C) Government Teat Suckers Gazette
D) Fox News
Answer: D

The virtual silence from Fox News in reaction to rancher Bundy’s virulently racist remarks that African-Americans might be better off as cotton-picking slaves could best be compared to what?
A) A turd falling in a snow drift
B) A duck farting the Star Spangled Banner in a soundproof booth
C) Sean Hannity blowing smoke up his own ass
D) Any of the above
Answer: D

Speaking of racism, the most shocking thing about the tape secretly recorded by NBA owner Donald Sterling’s ex-girlfriend in which he revealed his racist attitudes was what?
A) His racist attitudes
B) His magnanimity at suggesting that the woman he was cheating on his wife with could have sex with Magic Johnson if she wanted to, so long as she didn’t post pictures of it on Instagram
C) The fact that Donald Sterling did not use the word “shvartza” one single time
D) Any of the above
Answer: D

Monday
Apr282014

Cat apparently unmoved by switch to indoor-only status

Friday
Apr252014

Netflix sleeper: Let the Fire Burn, a doc about the 1985 MOVE debacle

It’s interesting to watch a documentary about an event I remember reading about in the news. Invariably my perceptions of the event are revealed as superficial and colored by my own biases. So it was with “Let the Fire Burn,” a 2013 documentary produced and directed by Jason Osder and now available on Netflix I.V. The film covers the city of Philadelphia’s action to evict the group MOVE, a kind of back-to-nature urban charismatic cult, from a neighborhood row house, which resulted in the deaths of everyone in the house, including innocent children, and a raging fire that destroyed over 60 neighborhood homes. Comprised entirely of found footage, Let the Fire Burn doesn’t seem to want to foist conclusions on the viewer, aside from the obvious one that bombing a home and letting it burn while you know there are children inside is a craven, immoral law enforcement tactic. This film, along with Waco: The Rules of Engagement should be compulsory viewing for anyone in government tasked with confronting a messianic cult. Rule #1: when a group is predicated on the belief that the rest of the world is against them, don’t fuel their paranoia and sense of persecution. MOVE was far from blameless, but it’s easy to believe they became much more radicalized in response to violent, heavy-handed treatment as directed by the city government and police than they would have had they been left alone. 

Thursday
Apr242014

NYT map shows boundaries of baseball loyalties

Austin: on the wrong side of the Nolan Ryan line

Using Facebook data, the New York Times built this interactive map of baseball team affiliation. They give the boundaries between regional rivals cute names, like the Munson-Nixon line between Yankeeville and Red Sox Nation. The line separating my Astros from the Texas Rangers is called, predictably, the Nolan Ryan line. If things keep going the way they have been, the Rangers may just annex Astro-land and claim it as one of their minor league territories. 

Thursday
Apr242014

Ask a Pathological Liar: Smother-in-law

Dear Pathological Liar:
I am engaged to a wonderful girl. The problem is I can’t stand her mother. My future mother-in-law is loud, rude, opinionated and ignorant. My fiancé, however, thinks her mother can do no wrong. I’m worried that my true feelings might show and destroy our relationship. What can I do?
Signed,
Smother-in-law

Dear Smother:
What can you do? Hmm, not much, but for starters I’d suggest you stop whining and suck it up. Do you think I was thrilled by the prospect of having Beyoncé’s battleaxe of a mom for a mother-in-law? Hell, no. But when a woman loves you, you deal with it. Fortunately, my affair with one of the Kardashians—I forget which one—broke up my engagement to Bey before I was committed for reals. But things usually work out for the best, don’t they? I mean, now that I’m married to Bristol Palin, I have the fringe benefit of a cougar-in-law, if you know what I mean. So it’s all good.
Hope that helps.

Dear Pathological Liar:
I’m applying for a job that I really, really want. It would truly be my dream job. The problem is, I have a good friend who I know wants the job, too. But she’s already applied and been rejected. With my qualifications, I’m fairly certain I’ll be hired. But that would probably leave my friend crushed and jealous of me. What should I do?
Signed,
Timeclock Blocker

Dear TB:
This reminds me of a situation that happened to me once. Back in the ‘90s, when my dad owned Coca-Cola, there was an opening high up in the marketing department. My sister and I both really wanted the job. But since she was older, my dad gave the job to her. He made it up to me by setting me up with my own boutique agency, which I grew into a major industry player and later sold to OmniCron for $750 million. I would suggest you look into a solution like that. Hey, it worked for me!

Dear Pathological Liar:
i stoled sum candy fum the stoar en my dady says i hav to go bak en tel the man at the stoar i stoled his candys. but i dont want to. how kin i do it cuz ill be shamed.
Signed,
Sally, age 5 ¼
P.S. dont say just tel my dady i went to the stoar wifout rilly i go. dady says he wil go wif me.

Dear Sal:
Well, I thought there was an easy solution to this, but your postscript put the kibosh on that idea. I don’t have a clue. Serves you right for getting caught.

Friday
Apr182014

The greatest song you've never heard: F-Encounter by Bootsy Collins

I thought it might be fun to share the favorite, little-known songs that are part of our individual cranial canons. I’ll go first.

The entire Ultra Wave album by Bootsy Collins is one of my faves and has been a huge influence on my musical sensibility. But this song, which just seems to come out of nowhere, still blows me away. What does it all mean? Does it matter? No. When I die, I hope there’s a party to celebrate my life, and that this is on the playlist. 

Your turn. Send me YouTube links to your greatest song that most of us have never heard, and if you can, jot down a thought or two about what it means to you. Now, step off the unenjoyment line and jam on F-Encounter.

 

Thursday
Apr172014

Open source list of potential comedy club names

Anyone in North America may use any one of these names free of charge to start a comedy club, although an all-expenses-paid trip to the grand opening party to any venue outside the 512 area code would be a nice gesture, don’t you think?

I am seeding the list with these entries, but let’s grow this sucker. Send me your entries on Facebook or Twitter (@richie_boy, hashtag #comedyclubnames).

The Riot Room

Chez Comedié

Fitz and McGiggle’s

Ye Aulde Laff Shaque

UpChuckle’s

The Hilarity Hole

Guffaw Getters

Laugh Trackers

Bananas! Bananas!

The LOL Lounge at Goldblatt’s

Mama TeeHee’s

The Brick Wall

The Bust-a-Gut Hut

Bellylaffs & Brewskis

Shangri Lahf

Junior’s Say What?

Improv Igloo

Bleeper’s Blue Room

Chief Funnyhaha’s

Morty’s

 

Wednesday
Apr162014

When a Heisman Trophy candidate is accused of rape

The New York Times goes long and multimedia about the rape case that implicated Heisman Trophy candidate and eventual winner Jameis Winston, of Florida State University. To say that the Tallahassee police botched the investigation is to imply that they made a serious effort at pursuing it at all, and the article is persuasive that they didn’t, despite a plethora of strong leads. But it’s not like no one was punished: Winston’s roommate was censured by FSU for filming the encounter on his cellphone. And the victim, who obviously suffered physical and emotional trauma from the incident itself, was hatefully vilified in the campus community when her accusations were finally made public a month before the Heisman was to be awarded, which was 11 months after she’d reported the incident. If you want to read something that’ll make your blood boil, this is a good bet.

Tuesday
Apr152014

Cat offers no opinion on Furminator or furjector button

Friday
Apr112014

Rejected letters to People Magazine, princess dandling edition

Dear people who knead People (Magazine):

Please bear with me. It’s been awhile since I’ve written and I have a lot of pent up thoughts and feelings. Also, in kind of a new thing for me, this letter will cover two topics, so you may want to break it up and run it as two separate letters. You can use a fake name on one or both of them, so it doesn’t look like I am the only one writing to you, even if that may be true. 

OK, topico numero uno: You’ve got Princess Kate DANDLING on the cover. Question: When is it appropriate to show a princess dandling? Answer: Never! I don’t want to see a princess dandling, and I’m pretty sure the rest of America doesn’t want to see it either. It’s disgusting! Ix-nay on the incess-pray andling-day!

I am pleased that Kate has a new nanny though. Thank God!

Topico numero two-o: Yes, we know Mickey Rooney was a horndog! His “many legendary loves?!” Who are you kidding? We know what you are getting at here with your sneaky coded language. You’re implying that just because Mickey was shortish and banged a lot of broads, that makes him a wee oversexed freak. So I suppose William Powell was just fulfilling his height-determined erotic destiny by plowing the fertile fields of Hollywood’s starlet farms? Listen, I have it on good authority that Mickey Rooney was a gentleman, not some love-’em-and-leave-’em roué. He made sure his ladies were satisfied—all the way satisified, if you know what I’m saying—which is more than you can say for Glenn Ford!  

Sincerely,

M. Ravid Lichlard

PS. If you think my nanny comment warrants it, you can break this into three letters instead of just two.

 

Thursday
Apr102014

What I said, and what I wish I'd said

 

What I said

…and what I wish I’d said

“Uhn! No fair!”

“What you posit smacks of inequity, you disingenuous churl.”

“Oh, yeah?! Well, but what about, um… ah… you know, that… that one time?”

“You act as if your position has always been consistent. In point of fact, it has not been, which I will illustrate now by recounting in detail an incident from our common experience. (Detailed narrative of incident goes here.)”

“Oh, you… you… big… poopy-head!”

“I find your manner, behavior, language and very being comparable to an excrescence of night soil from the sick ward.”

“That’s not what I meant! What I meant was… not that!”

“Sir, I know very well my meaning on that occasion. And you know very well my meaning on that occasion. And, at present, one of us is misrepresenting what my meaning was, and I aver that it is not me who is so doing.”

“OK. I’m sorry. I was wrong.”

“Had I my wits about me, my rhetoric would render me victorious in our verbal set-to, leaving you as helpless as a filet of poached salmon at a ladies tea. But as I’ve let my emotions get the better of me, leaving my powers of argument temporarily compromised, I’ve decided to declare victory while ceding the field.”

“I hope you’ll forgive me.”

“Asshole.”

 

Tuesday
Apr082014

The Kamikaze Refrigerators album has been re-issued and you should buy it

Album art by Frank Kozik. Click to view track list on CDBaby

My old friend Spot just reissued the first and only Kamikaze Refrigerators record on CD Baby. Spot is a fine musician, writer and photographer, but back in the day, he was largely known for being a record producer for punk and indie legends such as Black Flag, the Minutemen, the Meat Puppets and on and on and on. In the early 80s, he came to town to produce Austin’s Big Boys, then (and still) one of the greatest acts to come out of Austin. The band I played (drums) in, Kamikaze Refrigerators, had more or less survived to that point on the strength of the imprimatur of the Big Boys’ Chris Gates and Tim Kerr. At their urging, we scraped together our band savings (about $400) to record with Spot while he was still in town working on their record. We recorded eight songs, probably because that’s all we could afford. Then we broke up.

A few years later, when Spot relocated from California to Austin (where he lived until just a couple of years ago), he started a couple of small record labels, one for his own music, and one for other acts he liked. His choice for the first release on the latter was the Kamikaze Refrigerators tracks which had been a-molderin’ on his shelf. 

Knowing the limited potential of a debut record from a defunct band that few had ever known about to begin with, I tried to talk Spot out of spending the money to release the record. To no avail. So I got my friend Frank Kozik to do the album cover art, which is apropos of nothing, except that it’s a cool cover, and Kozik is now a very successful artist, whose molded collectibles sell out in pre-order.

So, it’s funny how everything comes around and becomes nostalgic. People still occasionally tell me how much they liked the Kamikaze Refrigerators, although at the time we couldn’t draw a crowd to save our lives. But it was my first band, and I loved what we did, and umpteen bands later, I consider myself lucky to have had the experience. 

Here’s a video Spot put up with the album’s first track, which was the first song we worked on and done in a single take! Again, the album is available on CD Baby and should be in the iTunes store soon. Buy, buy, buy!

 

Monday
Apr072014

Monday Morning Ethicist: M*****f****** Lane Closing Line Jumpers

You know who you are, assholes.

Chuck Klosterman is The Ethicist for the NYT. I am the Monday Morning Ethicist.

Yesterday’s second question for Chuck: I often hear people talking about how they want to own one of the bigger cars on the road for safety reasons. This has always struck me as kind of terrible. They want to be in the bigger car so that, if they get in an accident, they will be ones doing the smashing rather than being smashed? Is that unethical?

Chuck said (in so many words): No, because that’d mean the ethical alternative would be to drive a smaller car in which you’d take the brunt of the damage.

I say: Yes, it is unethical. This is just another lame rationale people use to justify buying huge SUVs. And what do people, at least in my part of the world, want to do with their SUVs? They want to drive like selfish assholes, using their vehicles’ sheer bulk for intimidation purposes. This is best exhibited in the behavior of the sad excuse for a human being whom I call the Motherfucking Lane Closing Line Jumper (MLCLJ).

The MLCLJ sees a long line of cars in one lane, and a clear lane in front of him, where far ahead a road crew has blocked off the road, forcing everyone to merge. Most people see the blocked lane and start merging immediately, lining up to take their turn squeezing through the traffic bottleneck. But not MLCLJs, who are invariably driving a Toyota Land Crusher, a Ford Exclusion,  a Chevrolet Suburb, or the like. Oh, no. They see the drivers who merge promptly as so many naive suckers waiting to be taken advantage of. They floor it down the blocked off lane right up to the choke point, passing dozens of queued up drivers on their way, and then using their large land mass-sized vehichles to barge their way in to the front of the line, daring anyone with a smaller car to stop them.

I hate them. With a serious, serious passion.

And so my next car will be a big car, but not for safety reasons. My next car will be a rolling justice machine. It will be a mid-’70s leviathan, like maybe a ‘74 Olds 98. And it will have reinforced steel bars bolted on everywhere to the exterior. And I am going to drive around town searching for road construction sites where drivers are forced to merge into one lane, and I am going to lay in wait for the MLCLJs, and when they try to jump the line in front of all us ethical drivers, I am going to “accidentally” veer into their lanes. I figure I’ll be doing them a service by helping them test whether driving “one of the bigger cars on the road” is safer. Or not.

 

Friday
Apr042014

Metal thingy I found a while back still satisfies

Both of my dedicated readers may remember this from back in ought-one-one. It still sits on my desk where I can see it every day.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Who said that? Keats? Yeats? One of them poetry dudes, I’m pretty sure. And was he wrong? Hell, no.

We went al fresco for this photo session, me and my little hunk of metal did. If anything, I think the natural lighting only makes it more beautiful. But then again, I’m hardly objective when it comes to this little booger.

Just look at the details in that patina! Why, if I had a daughter, I’d name her Patina. But from the way things are going, I’ll probably die childless. Maybe that’s why I feel so tender towards this thing, which, again, I believe is some kind of ferrule. And it never did nobody no harm, so far as I know.

Dang, y’all. If that doesn’t get you all choked up, I’m not sure what will.

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