Phoenix Rising

I like this performance. I am also enjoying listening to the group's sophomore effort, Alphabetical.

Ancient Guitar from Korea

I am definitely in Korea. It's a nice experience so far. Sohee's mom has made me wonderful Korean food. My old director at a university has dubbed me happily married because I have gained weight since 2007 (She doesn't know I stopped smoking and started eating small children). I have also picked up a bad ass Korean guitar that sounds like a string quartet on crack. Now I just need to put out a comic book, CD, and write a screenplay. I've got work to do.

I'll start posting comics once I find a scanner.

Back in Black

Sogee and I are back in Korea. We arrived last night. Now we're going to get a guitar.

Jamming at the Brewery

Sohee and I head off to Seoul tomorrow. I'll be out of contact for 12 hours. In the meantime, here are some pics from our latest adventures in Boulder.

Yesterday we went off to Odell's Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins with Mary and David.

Sohee learned how to brew beer.

I was obsessed with the bottling procedure. It made me feel like I was watching Reading Rainbow live.

"Oh, yeah," a college student agreed with me. "We've just gone through the tunnel with the trolley on Mister Roger's Neighborhood."

"I could watch this all day," a middle aged woman said.

"I don't know about all day," I said. "It is hypnotic though."

"I feel like a bottle," Sohee said.

"I feel like gear switch."

"David is hitting on the tour guide."

"That's what he's supposed to do," I said.

Last night, I jammed out with Sean, Kelsey, and Michael. I played bass. Sean taught me how to play bluegrass. I was all about it.

After Sean showed me how to do the picking, I started to figure it out. It's pretty fun. I think I'll write a bluegrass tune on the next Slipshod record.

FYI - I am not taking my guitars to Korea. That means I'll either build a telecaster or get a Fender knock-off somewhere.

Korea here we come!

Boyfriend Rental for the Lunar New Year

My Dad doing push-ups at our wedding in New York.

Would you rent a beau to take home to your parents? That would make a nice revision to THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

The Persian-Korean Connection!

There is an incredible clip of Jeff Beck playing guitar on the middle left of this page. I'll see if I can find it on YouTube for those of you who might not be able to view it overseas.

This is Jeff Beck performing, but if you want to see the awesome whammy, you'll have to go to the previous link.

Oh, wait. I found it.

I have been watching a lot of music videos lately. I really enjoyed Pink's Glitter in the Air performance at the Grammy's this year. Sohee thought it was pretty hot too.

I also like Ludacris' How Low video. It makes me laugh a lot. I love the whole horror meets stereotypical rap video.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Islamic Republic Takes on Google

In an effort to sabotage a possible protest of the Islamic Republic, the Iranian government is seeking to block text messaging and Internet services.

Such a tactic is akin to putting a box of ripe persimmons before a family of Iranians and telling them they cannot eat.

I predict significant changes to the government within the next 14 months.

Loren Goodman's Top 500 Songs: 41-50












Is Dani Shapiro's Blue Pill Useful for Budding Writers?

Dani Shapiro's A Writing Career Becomes Harder to Scale is an honest look at how difficult it is being a published author for newcomers and previous authors alike in today's social media marketing world. Shapiro points out that "...[writers] tweet and blog and make Facebook friends in the time they used to spend writing...How, under these conditions, can a writer take the risks required to create something original and resonant and true?"

That is a good question. I believe it takes as much art to finding ways to write as it does to write itself in today's media world. If you are hoping for a continual writing life, I would suggest an occupation that will help pay the bills during your writing days. If you have some sort of trust fund, or available funds to let you write daily, or you don't mind living in squalor in a community with a lower standard of living, you'll be able to write without too many constraints. Of course, as Shapiro points out:

The publishing industry -- always the nerdy distant cousin of the rest of media -- has the same blockbuster-or-bust mentality of television networks and movie studios. There now exist only two possibilities: immediate and large-scale success, or none at all.

In some respects, I agree with Shapiro. It's true that an author must sell more than modestly in order to have a publisher for a second book in the mega-publishing companies. At the same time, independent presses are not included in this calculation. I would say that an author who is looking to put out a first novel or collection of stories would do well to seek out an independent press with promise, or to simply start a press independently.

I also believe writing has a bigger opportunity for originality and innovation than Shapiro realizes. The statistics that a writer may not be able to publish in a major press should not deter today's writers from bringing work into the world. The advent of Internet publication, vooks, and other forms of written distribution guarantee that no matter what you write an audience can be found for your work. The only difference is that you won't have instant success, be on Oprah, or necessarily be a recognized name in letters with three books on an independent press.

Is this a bad thing though? I don't know. I feel that in the place where a writer may not be able to get certain books out to major publishers, they will still have an opportunity for publishing on the Internet or with a smaller press. After increasing sales or notice in these venues, they can get a bigger deal from a large publisher. There is also the opportunity to sell immediately to a large publisher if you have the connections to get ahead of the slush pile, or an idea that seems to have commercial viability.

I believe Shapiro's article is a healthy dose of reality for writers who want to write a book in order to gain popularity. As Shapire more or less hints, that type of outcome would be better served by going on Facebook or joining a reality program. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, that happens to be the growing trend among Americans in all aspects of creation - sell or die! If a writer believed in this story, it wouldn't take long to realize that happiness will be dictated by a book's latest sales numbers, and that an author would have extreme difficulty writing at all.

For those of you who are interested in a creative life that does not need to include major publication or fame, I commend you. You have just opened yourself up to a writing life without limitation. You may be on Oprah, sell a million books, or none at all. No one said that it has to be one way or not at all. Anyone who tries to sell you a "Hollywood or Bust" ideal has forgotten why they started writing in the first place.

Please do yourself a favor and toss Shapiro's "dose of reality" away if you enjoy writing. That kind of thing matters very little in the scheme of a happy writing life.

If I were to offer real advice to young writers, I would say that an artist's life is a balance between healthy and unhealthy obsession. A writer stirs creative possibilities, finds a world, and begins adding to that reality until a complete work of art is created. The same goes for other art forms. Social media tools shouldn't deter an artist from creating. If an artist has half the mind, he or she might realize that opportunities are more abundant because such tools exist.

In short, a story about how the publishing world operates does not dictate the creative world. As the Rock put so eloquently in "The Tooth Fairy," "If you don't shoot, you can't score." I like that. I would even take it a step further:

Take a shot. If you miss, take another. The sky hasn't changed color.

Somewhere Out There

Sohee sang this while she cooked peanut noodles today. I printed the lyrics for her.

Once you get on YouTube, there's a whole string of these extremely young singers on various competitive shows. I thought this one below was one of the cutest.

I could start putting a string of these young performers together, but when you've seen one, you've pretty much got the idea. Of course, there is that 11 year old who sang the Jennifer Hudson song. That was impressive. You'll find it on your own I'm sure.

Buddhism & Sex at Hardcore Zen

Brad Warner will be discussing Buddhism & Sex on February 6th, 13th, and 20th, 2010 at the Hill Street Zen Center in Santa Monica, CA.

Indian Suicides Increase Over Education Pressure

3 Idiots is the highest grossing film in India's history. The 2009 Bollywood comedy film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, with a screenplay by Abhijat Joshi, and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra was loosely adapted from the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat.

Lebron Song

I would like to write a song for Lebron James. He is too good not to have an ode to his skills.


TMBG will be playing in LA on Feb 6th.

16 Days Away!

I have about 16 days left before the temporary stay in South Korea begins. Today I woke up at 5 a.m. and began packing. This might seem early to some of you - both in time of day and because it is so far in advance - but I had to step up the game due to the amount of things I have now gotten since my return to the states. I had to make hard choices between what books, Star Wars figures, and tax documents would come with me (all the Star Wars figures are coming - there are only three or four). I also had to simply pack the two bags I'm allowed to see how much space I actually had.

Ordinarily, I would simply be thinking about clothes and knick knacks, but since I plan on recording music for the next five months, I had to reserve space for the various tools of the trade - namely, an MBox2, Rhodes NT01 microphone, mic stand, G Drive, and cables.

Some of you might think, "Why not just get all that stuff in Korea?"

"Well, my friends, that would cost a pretty penny. American goods are usually marked up 50-60% because they are highly desirable in Asia. Believe it or not, there is also the added issue that there is no Apple store or local Guitar Center in Korea. Add to that my limited ability to speak Korean, and you have a foreigner who would be paddling up shit's creek saying, Anyang! (hello in Korean) NT101 ga choo sa yo? (you got?) That might seem like I said something intelligible in Korean. I don't know. I might have just impressed myself. I am pretty sure I am right, but I might have just written: Hi, NT101, dick you? My doubts and sentiments leaning to the latter certainly don't make me feel better about trying my hand at obtaining this type of equipment on the streets of Seoul.

Of course, such an adventure might be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, I am looking forward to my trip to Asia. I have secured a part time teaching position while I'm there, so my time will be filled engaging young minds, hiking up mountains, playing tennis, meditating at Hwa Gye Sah (temple), and getting acupuncture. I am pretty sure my mental and physical body will flourish. That's what I'm hoping at least. To have that clear head while writing all these songs. Who knows? I might just come up with a great record.