Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Can Get Gone....

On Christmas day, a bit of sadness passed into our lives when George Micheal died. I didn't realize he was that young, so this struck me as a little crazy. George was part of my maturation, the period where I went from awkward kid to, um...awkward man-child? More than a few of his songs I can still sing from heart even though I know it's been five or ten years since I heard them. He resonated, which is something you don't see much of in this instant gratification entertainment culture we live in today. The man could sing.

Careless whisper, of a good friend...

And just as I get ready to properly eulogize him....

Carrie Fisher dies. I knew about the heart attack, but I just knew she'd pull through. Damn, I'm a middle aged black man, but Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia and as a kid that gold bikini talked to me. As much as people decry that women can't be strong on film, we met Princess Leia on a secret mission where she stared down one of the baddest villains ever created, then minutes after the 'heroes' arrived SHE TOOK CHARGE OF HER OWN DAMN RESCUE. As we say now, she could do both.

Now I think that this would make a fantastic obit - so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”
― Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

2016 has just been hell on my childhood. Prince, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Florence Henderson, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, Doris Roberts, Ron Glass, Merle Haggard, John Saunders, Craig Sager, Morley Safer and and Abe Vigoda. It's an eclectic list to be sure, but then I was raised in age before curated entertainment. I like everything because I liked it, not because it was cool.

Is this what being old feels like? Watching your childhood slowly dissolve.

Because this sucks.

I'll be happy this New Year because this damn year is over. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Just Musings, I guess

Ramblings Post #330
And I wonder in the dark of the night, can you still see the light, can you still be alright, can't you see I don't want to fight, etc and so on. Song lyrics man. That's the lick. That or dog grooming. Or underwater basketweaving, which I understand is big among athletes as a second career. 

I should be working on my album. The working title is 'A Million Years and fifteen minutes in the Making'

I think this is possible because I have the app Garage Band on my pad and I've actually created two or three decent songs. And I'm not talking about using the loops that come with the app and blending them, I mean I've loaded the individual instruments and plucked out the individual notes and added vocals to create actual original music. I'm no Kanye (poor, poor Kanye) but the songs I've done might qualify as jazz fusion eclectic experimental, if of course you have some tequila before you listen. And aren't really paying attention. It could happen.

This comes up because as I keep procrastinating about finishing this book that's almost done, and gearing up for this certification in January (I'm studying more than I'm writing) I keep looking for the right music to listen to while I study....er, write.

Anyway, last night as I flipped through white papers and the study materials I stumbled upon radio.garden, a website that lets you tune into radio stations around the world. And I tooled about listening to stations in Latvia and Rome, popping into London and then down to Marrakesh where it was bumping. I find it interesting just how much American music is listened to around the world, even in countries where the DJs don't speak English. When I look at it like that, I can see how some are terrified of the cultural influence this little piece of North America. But this isn't a political screed, this is just listening to music from Iran, Beijing and Spain and hearing the same songs.

Back to my album, which I'm now inspired to create and put on soundcloud. I'm going to make that my February project, after this certification. And the book.
Now, I guess, it seems more real, because who knows, maybe I'll even hear it on the radio somewhere. Probably not.

Barkeep. I heard about this drink they make in Norway on the radio. You got any Yak milk? You do? Then you'll need a bull horn, some Svedka vodka, a boiled egg....

Monday, December 12, 2016

Yeah, We still Dem Boys..

Ramblings Post #329
I would like to thank the fair weather fans for their brief stay, and wish them well wherever they land. Git, and don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you! And I would like to remind everyone that we've already punched our playoff ticket, and while I'd love home field as long as we get there and win one I'll feel good about this year. 

After an epic run, the Cowboys have finally lost a game. To them damn NY Giants. I would have preferred Minnesota, but you take what you can get. And now you're saying, whut?

Contrary to the hopes of other Cowboy fans, I wasn't hoping for a run of the table and a one loss season heading into the second season. This is a young team, lead by a rookie, playing wide open get at you football. They'd beat the Ravens with the best defense in football and the Steelers with a last second drive. Their only loss was practically a fluke, with it being blamed on a single player trying to do too much. And as good as they've been, these wins haven't been knock you down and walk away laughing wins, but battles in the trenches that only looked easy in retrospect. 

The Cowboys needed a team loss, where they just didn't execute  and played bad before they got into the one and done shoot-out that is the playoffs. The offense has played badly but still found a way to win, so the team needed loss to get their minds right that they aren't invincible, and what is required for the rest of journey is a new level of commitment  that may not have been needed before or could have been excused from time to time.  And I don't mean this just for Dak and Zeke, who seem surprisingly mature for the little bit of time they've been in the league, but also for the coaches who didn't want to stay creative and appeared to only dabble in play design when it was convenient. I put most of this loss on them: the coaches.

What I really don't want is Dak to end up like RGIII, a phenom in his first season who faded as soon as opposing teams figured him out. And while Dak is consistent, the coaches really haven't gotten creative in the play calling for him with rare exception. Which means other teams who previously had no film now can see what he does, and see that he does it all the damn time. Which is bad. 

Are the Cowboys a Superbowl contender this year? Hell yeah. If they stay healthy and get their minds right.  Will be easy? If it was easy it wouldn't be the NFL. The remaining games are winnable, with I think Tampa Bay and Philadelphia being the more likely and Detroit being a struggle. Two of three wins or one win and a loss by the Giants (who also plays Detroit) means a lock for the division and home field. But it's not over yet. There is still a lot of football to play, and the 'boys have had penchant in the past of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory, but this year I think 'we in there'. And all signs point to that being the case for a while. 

So, take the loss as a reality check. Head back to Jerryworld and let's dig down and see what we're made of. Okay?

How 'bout them Cowboys!

Barkeep. Tequila shots for everybody. I got a good feeling about dem Boys!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Go WestWorld young man...

Ramblings Post #328
Good TV is hard to find. Don't get me wrong, there is some good stuff out there, but finding good stuff I actually want to watch is another. And since I've got other irons in the fire, sitting down for an hour to watch something , followed by the hour it takes me to get back into other thing mode, means I try not to sit down for that hour. Only so many hours in a day, and if I spend a good bit of it on TV, well, you see how that goes? So, good watchable TV is hard to find. And NO, I don't use on-demand. That would be worse. 

I just finished watching Westworld and now I'm mad. Partially because the story won't pick up again because the producers A) have other jobs and B) haven't written the script yet and partially because this has turned into a mystery show, where I'm supposed to watch four or five times making notes to get it all. At least there aren't secret messages embedded in the background I need to decode. Now, as much as we have lamented situations where we already knew the story ( i.e., Game of Thrones), it did mean that the production could move along without hiccups. But then we didn't have fresh well written stories, so the there is a trade-off here. Although a 16-month plus delay seems a little much if the program was designed from it's inception to be multi-year. Looking at you producers and HBO.

So, what did we learn from this season? Spoilers here, but you should have seen it by now. William and the Man in Black were the same guy in different timelines, but we knew that. Hopefully Logan was the critical failure 30 years ago. Delores is Wyatt. We got the master Ford giving one last fuck you to the Board with a circus of death as his new narrative. And it turns out Ford wasn't the bad guy. We found out that there is a Park 1 (Which may or may not be Westworld), which gives rise the idea of Park 2, Park 3 and so on. Some of the hosts are finally conscious, now in episode 10, and the maze really wasn't for the guests, but for the hosts to navigate. And finally, supposedly this was all just a prequel to the 'real story', which I understand starts in Season 2. Pfft.

Smashing. Not quite Lost, which just seemed to generate questions for questions sake, but still intriguing. Still, I have a few questions that I'm probably going to find the answers to on Reddit, but I'll post them here first just because I can. 

■ What was Ford building in the park? 

Theresa complained earlier that the mad master was using up a crap load of resources on his new narrative. But Ford's master plan included him not being there, and killing the board wouldn't have used up a quarter of the park. So what exactly was he building? A giant fort for when the people outside (police, government, etc.) come to take back the park? A new city for the hosts to inhabit? A facility to build more hosts, maybe a host army or even a replacement board ? I want to know! 

■ When can we visit Shogun World?

As the wacko duo blazed down through the corporate offices, they passed through SW, what I'm calling Shogun World. When can we go there? And why is it based specifically there, inside Westworld? I ask that becasue the Mesa HQ isn't centrally located, Sweetwater is. But HQ has to be close enough for the nightly swap outs. And no, I don't believe its located near Pariah, despite one theory. But it isn't anywhere near an edge, to join with a new space, so why locate the Shogun display there? Is it not ready yet? 

■ How much jail time should Felix get? 

The idea that Felix would get away with helping Mauve is absurd. There are witnesses, the people in the offices, who can place him with the rampaging hosts. Although I'm certain Ford hid their tinkering in the system when he allowed the Mauve augmentation and killed most of the video when he designed her escape, the wacko duo he was traveling with must have killed at least a dozen people, something that can't be hidden. Unless Ford planned to kill every human in the Park, anyway. Okay, I just didn't like Felix. At all. The proper term is 'simp.' 

Now, if Hopkins decides not to return, and it seems likely, could/would they re-cast and have his character return as a host...only much younger? Oooh, now there is intrigue. 

Good show. A little ponderous at times, and at others a little more mysterious than it ever had to be. A good story is a good story, it doesn't need tricks. So here's to hoping this doesn't become a trick show, one after the other, just a good show. 

Barkeep. A whiskey and soda. I'm just moseying around tonight.

Monday, December 5, 2016

So, where you been?

Ramblings Post #327
Take a walk. A long slow walk from your home, from your phone, from the world really, the creature comforts and connectivity you know and look at who you really are. Look at yourself, without your friends or family, without your spouse or child, without your job or home. Imagine you're alone in the world and all you have to do is choose. If you don't choose to go back, then you have a problem. If you do choose to go back, then ask yourself what are taking back that is so valuable? When you know, it's time to head back. 

I haven't been updating this recently, much to my personal chagrin, because I got other stuff on my plate so to speak. I've been working, hustling if you will, to actually get some stuff done. Some of it personal, some of it professional, all of it worth my time. Even though the cattle drive I'm on doesn't seem to want to end, that's a good thing, but I'm carving out some time to get myself situated for better things.  

Although I've been writing a book for forever - No, not that one, the other one. No the other other one. Yeah, I know. So, in an effort to better myself I decided to do a kind of writer boot camp, and challenged myself by signing up for National Write a Novel Month. The goal was to write 50,000 words in 30 days, thus producing a short novel. It turns out the Great Gatsby is roughly just that long so idea makes sense, and 50,000 words is just a little less than 1,700 words per day. This should be doable was my thinking. So, I drew up an outline and on November 1st got started. That would be about where I left you with the exception of noting the new national nightmare.

I was good for a while, steadily working at it. Had a few makeup days where I needed 3,000 and 4,000 words, but in the end I did learn some things which were invaluable. And although I had to pull together roughly 8,000 words in those last three days, I made it over 51,000 with about 30 minutes to spare. Which when I looked at it, is about as many words as I've written on my two previous works in the past 18 months! So there's that. I've discovered I need to work faster. This new work isn't quite done yet though, still a few parts to fill in but I'll finally have something I haven't had in a long time: A completed first draft. Then I'll let it sit until after the second thing I've been working on. 

That second thing is a new certification, which sounds weird in my line of work. But I've talked to some colleagues and been to a few seminars, and it looks promising. So, now I'm looking at study material with an arched eyebrow. My current problem with this whole thing is the material looks so...inadequate. I kept thinking that the books I ordered would be larger and more substantial. And the test questions they all have appear to be so ...obvious
I want to say I already know most of this stuff. And you know what happens when you start thinking things like that? I get to the test and everything will look like it was written in German. Call it paranoia, call it looking for ghosts where there aren't any, but it's that little voice some where saying  DO MORE! So, even though I've got a good nut of material, I'm still seeking out more. 
I can't keep doing what was doing and expecting different results. 

New year, new me. 

Barkeep. A sparkling water please. With a bourbon chaser. What? Baby steps.