Category Archives: Plugs

Vote Early and Often

A couple of things about voting. First of all, my work colleague and carpool buddy, Sean McArdle, has a comic book project in the top three of Platinum Studios’ 2008 Comic Book Challenge. He’s made the jump from the Top 50 to the Top 10 thanks to the judges, and voters have put his project into the Top 3. Now it’s up to voters to choose the top entry, which will win, among other things, a publishing contract with Platinum – kind of like American Idol, only with super powers and wearing spandex. Wait a minute…

(Speaking of Idol and voting in this manner, I’ve never seen the logic in letting people cast as many ballots as their endurance allowed – especially since there’s technology to at least slow it way down. I suppose they went the easy route and decided if you can’t totally beat them, join them Oh, well.)

So here’s the link to Sean’s project. Vote early and often. And here’s the main page if you want to get a look at the competition.

In the meantime, I’m done with the redesign of this site. When I made the flip to this current version, I said I had been in a mood when I came up the the previous design. Well, I must have been in a mood when I did this one, too. Have you looked at it lately? Manila folders with red Dynamo labels, indeed.

Anyway, the new design is a lot cleaner and uses some tricksy CSS technology to display the data. I’m happy with it, and I think I’ll work until I change my mind again. So far, that happens about once a year or less.

Look for the redesign to launch on September 3rd, in conjunction with… something else.

I’m also in the process of compiling a to-do list that I thought I would post here. Long-time readers know that I do this from time to time to push myself to get things done. It’s no quite ready, but I’ll get it posted soon, I hope.

But don’t look for immediate progress when the list goes up. I’m a little busy until after the first Tuesday in November:

“At the Start…”

For those of you who still come to these pages because of some drivel I cranked out in the 80’s and 90’s, here’s a great way for you to support me in my retirement, which is only a couple of decades away: hie thee to this page at CDBaby and buy a copy of my son’s first album, Start. That’s right… I’ve always said that my children were my retirement plan, and if you early adopters help make this album a sensation, he’ll do more, make tons of money, and in my old age he will be able to support me in the manner to which I have become accustomed.

Seriously, I hope you’ll at least go to CDBaby and give the album a spin. I think it’s great stuff, being “Inventive, witty, and organic piano-and-vocal prerecorded sound product,” as my son calls it. I really do like this album, and in the weeks since I’ve had a copy of the finished album, my son has moved into my Top Ten artists over on my Last.fm account. And it’s not just because it is my son. If he had done an album that was like, say, Master of Pupperts, I would have listened to it, smiled, told him it was very nice, and then washed the experience out of my ears with some Stan Ridgway.

So check it out. Admittedly, it won’t be for everyone, but then music is a subjective experience like that isn’t it? Only you won’t know until too late if you don’t care for it because you’ll have already bought the album. Oh, dear. What a shame.

The Kid That Used to Feed My Fish Makes Good

Back in the early eighties, when I was a young married and my new wife was teaching at a junior high school in a part of Wyoming where tourists never think of stopping, I made the acquaintance of a young man named Jason Smith. He was a junior high student, he lived in my old neighborhood, and my wife caught wind that he was in need of a father figure in his life, his parents being divorced. He was into music (he played drums), so he ended up coming over to our house, and I let him have the run of my stereo and record collection. I remember him being enchanted by Kate Bush, astonished by King Crimson, and he loved my collection of Canterbury bands, all prog rock groups that came from or had roots in Canterbury, England (Camel, Caravan, Kevin Ayers).

When we left on an extended vacation, I hired Jason to feed my fish while we were gone, with all the attendant visiting rights to my records. Judging from the phone messages on our answering machine when we got back, he must have lived over at our place (it was almost reminiscent of Risky Business, but I doubt he took things that far).

My wife and I moved away from Wyoming and ended up in Ohio. I’d hear from Jason occasionally – he was in school in Colorado, then he was heading to LA to seek his fortune as a drummer.

And I guess you could say he found it. He was an original member of Five For Fighting, and worked in a David Bowie tribute band. He played with Enrique Iglesias, and on the film scores for The Italian Job and Solaris. But he remained fascinated by prog rock, and grew into jazz (or maybe he liked jazz from the outset – I don’t remember), and toughed it out through the process of recording some demos, finding a producer, putting together a band, and hitting the studio.

In any event, after a lot of hustling and hard work, Jason’s first album was released a couple of months ago on Alternity Records, a label with a foot in both the Jazz and Prog camps. It’s called Think Like This, and is a collection of Jason’s jazz-fusion original compositions and covers. He’s playing in an area of jazz that I happen to like but have neglected in favor of Pat Metheny, so it’s great to have his recording in my hands.

So this is my shameless plug for music by the kid that used to come over and feed my fish. I’m really proud of Jason and his record, as much as a sort of godfather-thrice-removed can be. I’m pleased that he’s gotten this far, and maybe a little smug over the fact that maybe I helped broaden his horizons a little (even if, as is said in Raising Arizona, he can’t really remember how they got broadened).

Check him out.

Listening:
Jason Smith, Think Like This
(via iTunes)