Meet the Mormons

Okay, so you all know I'm a Mormon, right? Okay, well, If not, I am. I'm a Mormon. There, we got that out of the way.

When I say "I'm a Mormon," you immediately think of some of the more prominent Latter-Day Saints, like, say former NFL quarterback Steve Young or animation whiz Don Bluth or Mr. "Little Bit Rock & Roll" Donny Osmond. But there are some Latter-Day Saints I'd just as soon you not be lumped in with. Which is not to say I think they're horrible people, just really obnoxious/misguided/crazy. Like that uncle you have that you really can't stand to be around, but what can you do? He's family.

So, what follows are three lists: Mormons I Will Not Claim, Mormons I will Gladly Claim, and finally, Mormons I Simultaneously Claim & Do Not Claim.

Mormons I Will Not Claim:

1. Orrin Hatch - More for his music than his politics, really (though I'm sure we'd disagree on a lot of fundamentals). It's bad, schmaltzy, embarassing stuff.

2. Jay Bybee - He's the Federal circuit court judge who started the ball rolling on the "Enhanced interrogation techniques" (aka: "Sticking a wet rag down a dude's throat and pouring water on his face while a doctor watches on, ready to administer an emergency tracheotomy if the combination of fear, wet rag and water causes him to, you know, drown") used repeatedly on Gitmo detainees. He's since shown remorse for his decisions, but, well, it's too little, too late.

3. Marie Osmond - She's a total headcase, isn't she? And not in a good way. In a sad way. And also an annoying way.

4. Mitt Romney - Sorry, but I don't trust a word this guy says. IMHO, He's just your typical all-too-happy to sell-out for political advancement governmental slicko. And his speech on faith during his campaign was so wimpy that it's no wonder he lost the primary race to a decrepit old man.

5. Glenn Beck - This guy is just a total slobbering whackjob. He gives paranoid delusionals a bad name. Also, he looks like somebody took a baby and put him in a suit, doesn't he?

Mormons I will Gladly Claim:

1. Jared Hess - Director/writer of Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and the upcoming Gentlemen Broncos. He also directed this pretty awesome video for the Postal Service.

2. Harry Reid - You already know that I love this guy.

3. Christian Jacobs - Former singer for the mildly alright Aquabats, Jacobs earns his spot on this list for creating the totally gonzo kid's show Yo Gabba Gabba! Cuz kids need their daily dose of crazy.

4. Bret Helquist - Illustrator for the Series Of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket and a super nice guy.

5. Glen A. Larsen - Basically, if it was on TV in the 80's and was passably rad, more than likely Larsen touched it in some way. His IMDB profile speaks for itself.

6. Arthur "Killer" Kane - Former New York Dolls bassist. If you haven't seen New York Doll, you should. I love just how matter-of-fact he is when Buster Poindexter's ragging on him for believing in something besides himself.

7. Ed "Big Daddy" Roth - I had no idea he was Mormon, but I will gladly take him. Dude created Rat Fink! R-A-T-T-F-I-N-K!!! And for that, American culture owes him some sort of collective high five.

8. Mike Allred - Someday I'll get around to posting on the influence of Mormonism on his Eisner Award-winning indie superhero yarn Madman (which is growing stronger with every issue), but for now I'll just say that he's a cool cat. I'm looking forward to his Metamorpho portion of DC's Wednesday Comics miniseries. Actually, I'm looking forward to all the portions of that miniseries. Paul Pope on Adam Strange? Kyle Baker on Hawkman? Ryan Sook on Kamandi?! And all of it superhuge like the Sunday Comics? Um, yeah. Check out Allred's AAAPop site or his issue of DC's (sadly) short-lived Solo for proof of his amazingness.

Mormons I Simultaneously Claim & Do Not Claim:

1. That Twilight lady - I'm really indifferent to this Twilight thing. It looks totally gay and sounds like poorly-written, turgid, teenage girl fiction. But then again, I am not at all A) the target audience, or B) don't like anything that's popular as some sort of hipper-than-thou knee-jerk reaction. I wish the lady all the luck in the world, but as far as being concerned about how she reflects on me as a Mormon, I am completely indifferent.

2. Orson Scott Card - Oh man, OSC. His book of essays A Storyteller In Zion is essential for creative Mormons and his Alvin Maker saga is powerful, fantastic stuff and let's not forget Ender's Game which is a really smart science fiction book. But lately I've read quotes that are, well, really weird. Like he's starting to drink some of the Glenn Beck Paranoid Kool-Aid, which is a shame, because he's a heckuva writer and an incredibly intelligent guy; hare-brained conspiracy theories notwithstanding.


So, my fellow Mormons, who do you Claim/Not Claim?


My Morning Soundtrack - 04.29.09

* "Stupidity Tries," by Elliott Smith, from the album Figure 8
* "Need to Shout," by Architecture In Helsinki, from the album In Case We Die
* "Mercury," by Mahjongg, from the album Kontpab
* "The N.S." by Sloan, from the album Between The Bridges
* "0078h," by M83, from the album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts
* "I.O.I.O." by The Bee Gees, from the album Cucumber Castle
* "New Prisoner's Song," by Dock Boggs, from the His Folkways Years: 1963-1968 Compilation
* "You And Whose Army," by Radiohead, from the album Amnesiac
* "Dynamite," by The dB's, from the album Stands for Decibels
* "Teenage FBI (Original Version)," by Guided By Voices, from the album Wish In One Hand


Interviewing With the Starz! - Christopher Lynn

This week's Interviewing session is with Chris Lynn. Chris is the director for Spaces and is also a black belt in Settlers Of Catan. He can trade wheat like a champ.

Name: Christopher Lynn

Hometown: Orem, UT (Born at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia)

Occupation: Executive Director of SPACES (a contemporary art venue in the Cleve!)

Favorite type of donut: Pistachio dough with custard filling and coconut sprinkles. I just made that up, and it will be awesome if I ever make it.

Would you rather be mauled by a bear, stung to death by bees or eaten by a shark? Why?
I’ll take all three. We live in America after all! More is better.

If your life were a song, what song would it be?
4’ 33” by John Cage

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be?
¡Three Amigos!

If you had your way, where would you live out the rest of your days and how?
The where doesn’t matter to me too much. I just want to live it with my family.

What would your like your tombstone read? (Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you)
Christopher Lynn (b. 1974 – d. 2150)

The Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers?
I’m a Marxist

What three TV shows can you not miss?
Battlestar Galactica (R.I.P.), 30 Rock, Psych

If you could erase one social problem with the flick of yr wrist, what would it be and why?
Capitalism. Yeah, that’s working out well for us.

Who was your earliest remembered crush?
Arian Finch, 3rd grade, Mr. Paul’s class, Orchard Elementary School, Orem, UT.

What five things do you hope people know or think about you?
1. My name (FAME! I’m gonna’ live forever!)
2. I never learned to count past two

What three things are you terrified that people know or think about you?
1. My name
2. I never learned to count past two

The Stones or the Who?
The Stones.

If you could have any super power (flight, x-ray vision, the ability to talk to undersea creatures, etc.), what would it be and why?
When I get very, very angry, I will smell of watermelon. I figure that if I was ever bestowed with a super-power it would turn out to be completely useless.

What is the deal with airline food?
What is this airline food of which you speak? Do they offer such a thing?

What is your greatest unrealized ambition?
Becoming a child prodigy.

Most embarrassing moment ever. Go!
I don’t really get embarrassed very easily anymore. Maybe in high school when I took Emily Larsen on a date (one of the few dates I ever went on in high school), I thought I would be suave and sophisticated by taking her to a movie at the International Cinema. I got the show times mixed-up and the light-hearted French romantic comedy turned out to be a bleak Polish film involving a woman being drowned while rats ate her alive. No other dates with Emily Larsen followed.


Will we have another interview next week? Who knows?!


Steeler's Wheels

I want to get a bike. There's a bike co-op close by here that I'm gonna check out, thanks to a tip from tomorrow's Interviewing With the Starz! subject, Mr. Christopher Lynn. We were discussing types of bikes and how certain bikes have been co-opted by social groups and how/if that affects bike-purchasing decisions.

See, I want a road bike. Like the kids in Breaking Away only I'll wear longer shorts. Those kinds of bikes. But see, those bikes, while they're slim and lightweight (which is helpful, as I'll be running up and down RTA station stairs with this slung over my shoulder), they have also been claimed by the skinny jean hipster set. You know, guys who look like this or this. Pretty d-baggy, right?

Now, I'm not saying that everyone who's into these sorts of bikes is a snobby indie troll. I know John Kendall, he of Modern Chef Pants fame, who I consider one of the cooler people I've met, is a big proponent of the fixed gear road bike. Plus, the aforementioned portability and the fact that they're dead sexy, and you can see my conundrum. So there's that. I just worry about being seen as a wannabee d-bagg, which - I'm sure we can all can agree - is infinitely worse than being a real-life d-bagg.

So, what are my other options? A beach cruiser? Yeah, great idea. Why don't I get a pompadour haircut and start listening to swing music, too?

Actually, I sort of like beach cruisers. The main guy in Sparrow rode around on one while wearing a smart linen suit. (Did I mention that I loved that movie? Cuz I did.) They're cool and retro and all that, but is that really the message I want to send out to the world? That I secretly pine for the "way things used to be"? That I bought into the collective Hollywood dreamwish of 50's-60's innocence: sock hops, drive-ins, malt shops, the Big Bopper and gee whiz and poodle skirts and Beaver Cleaver and be-bop-a-lula and all that packaged nostalgia bull that is all so much air and fantasy. The good old days were neither good nor all that old. Discuss. I may as well ride around on Fonzie. Or, uh, something like that.

Or how about a mountain bike? Oh yeah, okay. I'll just give up completely, then. Khaki shorts, Birkenstocks, maybe golf on the weekends and if I'm feeling frisky, jam me up some Michael Bolton on my Zune. That'd be swell. Maybe get one of those igloo looking things, cram my kids in there and drag it behind me to like Trader Joes or whatever for some tofu non-fat frozen yogurt bars or something. I mean, I already cruise around in a minivan, why not sell out to the suburban boogeyman wholesale?

Or, I could wind up on the other side of the mountain bike coin and buy some biking shorts (maybe a matching shirt!), a ridiculous looking helmet (why are they all so dumb-looking? We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make a bike helmet that doesn't look like something from the B-roll of Running Man?), those clamp shoe things and some Oakleys and totes shred up the trail, dude? Totally tubular. To the extreme!

See my dilemma here? Please, Internets. Help a brother out. Should I just look for a road bike, d-baggery be darned! or is there some burgeoning bicycular subculture a-brewin' that I can get in on the ground floor of? Maybe those old-timey bikes with the gigantic front wheel? I always wanted to grow a handlebar mustache and say "Bully!" all the time. Top hats are super! Lemme know.


Interviewing With the Starz! - Misty Johnson

Today's interviwee is Misty Johnson. We go to church together. She is not boring. Take it away, Misty...

Name: Misty Allred Johnson

Hometown: Redondo Beach, California

Occupation: Slave, I mean, homemaker.

Favorite type of donut: That’s a hard one. I like chocolate glazed but a good spud nut is hard to turn down.

Would you rather be mauled by a bear, stung to death by bees or eaten by a shark? Why?
Probably mauled by a bear. It would be over rather quickly and you wouldn’t drown in the process, which is a big personal fear.

If your life were a song, what song would it be?
"Wise Up," by Aimee Mann

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s a toss-up between So I Married An Axe Murderer and A Christmas Story. There are so many good movies out there so I reserve the right to change my mind.

If you had your way, where would you live out the rest of your days and how? I would live in a warm, quasi-urban place with a good foodie scene.
It will probably be San Diego eventually anyway. As far as how I would live out my days, I would read in the warm shade, visit farmer’s markets, travel, have lots of dinner parties for friends, go to the temple, play cards, audit interesting college classes, and visit with my family. Pretty boring – and selfish, no?

What would your like your tombstone read? (Don't worry; I'm not going to kill you)
Onion, tomato, and mushroom. Oh, you mean my actual burial tombstone?! We’re dreaming here so: Loyal friend, amazing mother, and the best wife a man could dream of.

The Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers?
The Three Stooges, although Richard Marx has had a few good songwriting gigs. Who knew he had brothers?!

What three TV shows can you not miss?
Back before DVR and it was still on the air, it was Gilmore Girls. For current shows I enjoy House, 30 Rock, and How I Met Your Mother. I always enjoy Barefoot Contessa and The Closer is becoming a favorite.

If you could erase one social problem with the flick of yr wrist, what would it be and why?
Anything having to do with the plights of children, be it poverty, abuse, hunger, sickness, access to education.

Who was your earliest remembered crush?
Peter Ryan in the first grade. He had nice legs. I won’t even comment on the Karate Kid fiasco in the fourth grade.

What five things do you hope people know or think about you?
Pretty boring but here they are…
1. I’m a great wife, mother, friend, and cook.
2. I have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.
3. I have a knack for remembering names.
4. I’m a pretty decent editor with regard to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. (Is that weird?)
5. Calling me a liar in all seriousness is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, things you could do to piss me off.

What three things are you terrified that people know or think about you?
1. I talk too much.
2. I’m not very good at keeping the house tidy and clean.
3. I’m boring.

The Stones or the Who? Who?
Sorry, not a big fan of either. There are a few old, old Stones songs I like but Mick has always bugged me.

If you could have any super power (flight, x-ray vision, the ability to talk to undersea creatures, etc.), what would it be and why?
This one’s tricky. It’s probably not seen as a superpower per se but I think I would have to go with ultimate patience. Believe me; even on a good day most parents would agree with me that it’s a superpower.

What is the deal with airline food?
I have never figured this one out, though the food on Air France and Air Tahiti Nui have never disappointed. Don’t ask my husband though, he never eats airline food.

What is your greatest unrealized ambition?
I wanted to be a performer when I was younger. At one point I wanted to be a circus clown but the dreams ranged from gymnast to singer to dancer. I would probably settle for having a walk-on role in a movie or on TV.

Most embarrassing moment ever. Go!
Well, peeing my pants out of sheer need in front of a lot of people when I was eleven still stings.


Well played, Johnson. Who's next? No one is safe. Next week, cats & kittens.

PS: If you want in and haven't received a questionnaire, let me know and I will hook you up. Otherwise, I'll have to start interviewing myself and that could get weird.


Future's So Bright

Today's Claire's birthday. She's cool. This is her eating Lucky Charms, rockin' some shades. I'm glad she's here and part of our crazy little clan. I'm a very luck man, to be surrounded by cuties of this caliber like all of the time. That is all. Good night.

Interviewing With the Starz! - Ben Todd

"Dude, what happened? It's been like two Tuesdays and no Interviewing With the Starz! Are you okay? Did you fall in the shower or something and couldn't move and nobody knew you were hurt because you were too cheap to get that Medic Alert thingy? Those things save lives, man. Seriously, are you okay?"

Yes. I am okay. I am very okay. I'm still trying to figure out what I can blog about. If you have any suggestions on things I should be pontificating about, feel free to give them to me. I will gobble them up , digest them and turn them into, figuratively speaking, rad crap.

Anyway, to make up for not posting interviews, I'll post one today and one tomorrow. Also, if there are any questionnaires out there that need filling out, finish them up and get them back to me. And if I don't have a provided picture of you, I will use the internet to get one of you and will ensure it will not be flattering. You have been warned.

Today's interview is with my cousin, Ben. We are cousins. We cuz.

Name: Benjamin Graham (pronounced Greyhame, because I am a wizard of the grey. Not really it’s pronounced gram. Like graham-cracker. Just ask anyone from elementary school) Todd

Hometown: Originally from Las Vegas but I left there when I was 14 years old and grew up in Orem, Utah. That’s where I got in most of my trouble. Now living in Lehi, Utah.

Occupation: I am a Digital Subscriber Line Technical Advisor and Screener. Or a tech support guy. More importantly, I’m going to school to be a mechanical engineer and no longer be a tech support guy. But tell that to my family. Because I will always be their tech support guy.

Favorite type of donut: Well, if you’re in a front wheel drive car, then you have to do donuts in reverse because they just plain don’t work in forwards. And that makes me a little queazy. So I’m going to go with rear wheel drive donuts. But in the snow. Not the rubber-burning kind. You can’t get that smell out of your clothes!

Would you rather be mauled by a bear, stung to death by bees or eaten by a shark? Why?
Stung by bees. I have a romanticized vision of being stung into numbness and then fading into eternity. I bet that I wouldn’t go numb though, so then I’d rather be almost drowning (which is what I’m scared of most) and then see a bear riding a shark and they see me and high-five each other and then, well, it’s bear maulin’ shark eatin’ time.

If your life were a song, what song would it be?
“Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh geez. Well I got kids, so I’ve been there. I handled the live version of Speed Racer for nigh onto six months. But honestly, I’d say Castaway with the ever loveable Tom Hanks. Because:
1) He’s not being Forrest Gump
2) The sound of waves for three hours I think anyone can handle
3) Bosom Buddies, man!

If you had your way, where would you live out the rest of your days and how?
A rock, an Island. Oh wait, this isn’t the song question? I want to live on the ocean. If I stay stateside, then I’d live out my days quite easily in southern Oregon/Northern California. I’ve been to Hawaii and that would do quite nicely as well. I want to stay in America because we’ve got a middle class and guns.

What would your like your tombstone read? (Don’t worry, I’m not going to kill you)
Dude, if tombstones start reading then I think the 1300 page version of Les Miserables should be required reading for anything. Including you, internets.

The Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers?
The Marx Brothers. But don’t let McCarthy hear me say it. I’ve spent enough time in front of a grand jury.

What three TV shows can you not miss?
Lost, Survivor (since season two: represent!), Flight of the Conchords.

If you could erase one social problem with the flick of yr wrist, what would it be and why?
Trite? I think not, sir.

Who was your earliest remembered crush?
Samantha on Who’s the Boss?

What five things do you hope people know or think about you?
I really do care.

What three things are you terrified that people know or think about you?
Gosh, I guess I don’t care.

The Stones or the Who?
Hendrix, man.

Freaking hippie.

If you could have any super power (flight, x-ray vision, the ability to talk to undersea creatures, etc.), what would it be and why?
The ability to tell people to stop talking with their mouths without having to say anything. Just think it and POOF, no more words out of your mouth you.

What is the deal with airline food?
I would have capitalized the a and f in Airline Food. Why? Do I want people to read stuff that I write and know what I think is Important?

What is your greatest unrealized ambition?
Jumping straight into space. From the ground. Without my jetpack, I mean.

Most embarassing moment ever. Go!
See the question about what I’m terrified of or whatever...

Honestly, don’t you think this interview has gone on long enough? Why do you need to pry like this? My guy said these would be softball questions. You’re not even wearing pants! And we’re all laughing at you! And you have nowhere to go because the doors have all disappeared! And now you can’t talk because your mouth is gone and you look like that girl on that Twilight Zone movie who didn’t have a mouth because it was gone! And we’re still laughing at you and, no, you cannot be in our book of the month club.


Brutal, right? Come back tomorrow for more Interviewing With the Starz! Who will live, who will die? Tune in to find out.

My Morning Soundtrack - 04.23.09

* "Everywhere With Helicopter," by Guided By Voices, from the album Universal Truths And Cycles
* "Peace of Mind," by Enon, from the album Grass Geysers Carbon Clouds
* "Paradise," by Meat Puppets, from the album Huevos
* "Heart's Arms," by Bonnie "Prince" Billy, from the album Beware
* "Doctor Dark," by Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, from the album Lick My Decals Off, Baby
* "Water On The Brain," by The Hollies, from the album Evolution
* "Zurich Your Shoulder," by dj n-wee (Jay-Z vs. Pavement), from the album The Slack Album
* "Keys To Your Heart (Version 2)," by The 101'ers, from the album Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited
* "Phantom Anthills," by Chad VanGaalen, from the album Soft Airplane


Specific Atlantic

I've tried to write a coherent post about Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart's Seaguy more times than would be cool to admit, and this might not be that time, but I figured with the first issue of the second volume of the Seaguy saga - Seaguy & the Slaves Of Mickey Eye - in comic stores now, I figured I may as well give it another go, to try and get across just what it is about this ridiculous little book that resonates with me.

See, the biggest problem in talking about the first volume of Seaguy is that you have a tendency to want to summarize it, and when you do that, when you start mentioning the talking, floating, cigar-chomping fish who serves as Seaguy's best friend or the chess games with Death the Gondolier or Seaguy's unrequited crush on that hirsute and ravishing She-Beard, or the mummy on the moon, the sentient foodstuffs; it all starts to sound like some sort of joke. And it sort of is. It's a ridiculous adventure, a goofy lark, a quasi-superheroic picaresque, beautifully rendered and masterfully paced.

But that's half the story. That's the surface of the thing, the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Beneath the veneer of goofiness, of Disney-ness, lies a heady, complex tale about, well, lots of stuff. I've found that I'm really attracted to things that are simultaneously goofy, heavy and sad, and nothing fits that bill like Seaguy does.

It's a story of determination, of friendship, of cruelty, of oppression and the innate desire to overcome that oppression, no matter how cloaked it may be. To me, Seaguy is about being a hero, being an individual in a world where you're constantly being told that such notions are not only unnecessary, but are dangerous and should be stopped. Like Patrick McGoohan's (may he rest in peace) The Prisoner, it's a tale about the resilience of mankind and their need for individuality and liberty in a world that is not too keen on either of those things. It's about standing against power and protecting goodness, regardless the personal cost.

But why the superhero trappings? Well, first off, it's Morrison's medium. (Jog also points out that there may be more than a little bit of Morrison's experience in writing New X-Men for Marvel in there as well and that Seaguy may serve as meta-commentary on the perpetual status quo/continuity reboots of superhero comics in general) But it also speaks o the core of superhero comics. They exist to remind us that when all is said and done, we have to do the right thing by our fellow human beings. That if we're given a gift - in Seaguy's case, the desire for adventure and heroics - we have to use it in the service of others. Evil has to be stopped, wherever it rears its head, whether it's the guy hassling an immigrant at the corner store or an invading army or an evil super genius in purple and green battle armor.

And to be frank, the evil we face most often is the small stuff, the invisible stuff. The little indignities we allow to happen all around us that or perpetuate ourselves that, once put together, trap us in a world we no longer recognize. The evil that we allow (and, I believe, is part of the nature of this fallen world) to happen that creates a prison (which PKD refers to in VALIS - and Morrison lifts in his ├╝ber-gnostic-mystical-conspiracy adventure tale The Invisibles - as "the Black Iron Prison") around us that can only be overcome by us choosing to do the right thing, to slowly perfect ourselves, to hold ourselves to a higher standard than the rest of humanity. Whether that standard is that of a Superman or a Savior, we have to look beyond where we are, we have to travel to the furthest reaches of our world to do that thing which has been set before us.

Because, see, Seaguy's world is a world where the bad guys won, but nobody knows it. They're too busy living in or around the Mickey Eye (a giant, anthropomorphous unblinking cartoon eye, always watching, always recording) amusement park, which gets bigger by the day. People ride the rides, eat the weird, pink, moving food while their children cry and the moon gets seized, branded and vandalized. Now even the moon watches over you.

The whole world is now a Disney World. Literally. It's mystery, magic and strangeness have been replaced by mechanical imitations of those things. Think of how Disney has hollowed out our collective imagination through its adaptations of stories that have been around for centuries. Think about how when you read the words "Snow White," how the Disney version has replaced any vestige of the original tale in your mind. Now imagine an entire world like that, its inhabitants literally being amused and distracted to death while an unblinking, shadowy, fascist group rewrites history wholesale and gets rid of any unsavory characters. In issue #1 of volume 2, Mickey Eye's guards, with their black jumpsuits and giant eyeball helmets, literally arrest Death - a fact of life - and cart him off. You can't have him around, reminding the masses of their mortality, now can you? Why, they just might try and do something with their lives beside consume and obey and we can't have that.

It's not so goofy, now, eh?

As I said, in Seaguy's world, the bad guys won. Evil prevailed. The heroes - like Doc Hero who spends his days getting drunk and riding rides to remember what it was like to fly - all live thinking they are no longer needed in this brave new world. There is no more evil. The Anti-Dad has been defeated. Let's just spend our money, play around, watch TV, don't rock the boat, don't step out of line. If you do, you're crazy, a terrorist, or both.

And step out of line is exactly what Seaguy does. He liberates talking foodstuffs, visits Atlantis, travels to the moon and learns that history lied to him. He peers behind the curtain and sees just how evil the world really is. And what does he get for his troubles? His best friend dies, his memory gets erased and he's given a new familiar - Lucky el Lorro, a ridiculously caricatured Spanish parrot - who's there to keep a close eye on Seaguy, just in case he gets the itch to carouse around again. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest crossed with The Prisoner, leavened with a heavy helping of gnosticism.

At the end of the first book, you hope that Seaguy will remember, that his indomitable spirit will break through the prison he's been stuck in. You wonder if it's the first time he's been wiped like this, if maybe this is another in a long list of psychic breakouts that he's orchestrated. You want him to win. You want him to be the hero you know he is.

And that's why I believe in superheroes. Not as corporate icons or trademarks to be renewed or revered, but as fictional people who remind us that we need to confront evil and unjustness and not let ourselves be distracted by the prison we've been unwittingly interred into. Why there aren't more superhero comics like this is a real shame.

Seaguy is, simply put, the most heroic superhero book I have read. Hands down. The fact that it contains a floating, cigar-chomping yellow and blue tuna fish is just an added bonus.

My Morning Soundtrack - 04.17.09

* "Satisfied Mind," by Jonathan Richman, from the album Jonathan Goes Country
* "In A Dream," by Corduroy Utd., from the Labrador 100, A Complete History Of Popular Music compilation
* "Come on Along," by Hairem, from the Girls With Guitars compilation
* "The Frankston Line," by Youth Group, from the album Skeleton Jar
* "Open Your Eyes," by Avengers, from the album Died for Your Sins
* "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse ," by Of Montreal, from the album Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
* "Strange Condition," by Pete Yorn, from the album Music For The Morning After
* "Maybellene," by Chuck Berry, from the album The Great Twenty-Eight
* "I Will Follow," by U2, from the album Boy
* "Me & The Wind," by Doug Gillard, from the album Salamander


My Morning Soundtrack - 04.16.09

* "Ethiopians," by The Mountain Goats, from their Daytrotter Session, 06.13.2007
* "Private Affair," by The Saints, from the album Eternally Yours
* "Oriri Jerode," by Godwin Omobuwa, from the Afrobeat Nirvana compilation
* "An Older Lover Etc.," by The Fall, from the album Slates
* "Untamed Girls," by The Raveonettes, from the album The Chain Gang of Love
* "I Go To The Barn Because I Like The," by Band Of Horses, from the album Everything All The Time
* "Ballad Of Dorothy Parker," by Prince, from the album Sign 'O' the Times
* "We're All Mad Here," by Tom Waits, from the album Alice
* "X-Ray Eyes," by Guster, from the album Goldfly
* "Asterick," by M83, from the album Before The Dawn Heals Us
* "Flaming Pie," by Paul McCartney, from the album Flaming Pie


My Morning Soundtrack - 04.14.09

Yesterday's commute soundtrack. Nothing for today cuz I was reviewing the two mixxes I've been working on.

* "Never Believe," by Elf Power, from the album Walking With The Beggar Boys
* "Goin' Home," by Lowell Fulsom, from the album Tramp
* "Every Red Cent," by Rocky Votolato, from the album Suicide Medicine
* "Dumb It Down," by The Pernice Brothers, from the album Discover A Lovelier You
* "Thanks A Lot," by Neko Case & Her Boyfriends, from the album The Virginian
* "Shoulders & Arms, " by Tokyo Police Club, from the album A Lesson In Crime EP
* "In My Place," by Coldplay, from the album A Rush Of Blood To The Head
* "Meanwhile, Rick James...," by Cake, from the album Comfort Eagle
* "I've Been Wondering," by The Minders, from the album Hooray For Tuesday
* "You Can't Catch Me," by The Rolling Stones, from the album The Rolling Stones, Now!


My Morning Soundtrack - 04.10.09

* "You And I Are Through," by Buddy & Bob, from the album Buddy Holly: the Memorial Collection
* "Melt Down the Knives," by Sin Fang Bous, from the album Clangour
* "(Thin) Blue Line Swinger," by Yo La Tengo, from the Camp Yo La Tengo EP
* "Daughter In The House Of Fools," by Enon, from the album Hocus Pocus
* "Company Book," by Sugar, from File Under: Easy Listening
* "Like A Fool," by Ryan Adams, from the album Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers!
* "I Predict A Riot," by Kaiser Chiefs, from the album Employment
* "Blow Away," by George Harrison, from the album George Harrison
* "I'm A Man," by Bo Diddley from The Chess Blues-Rock Songbook compilation
* "She Doesn't Laugh At My Jokes," by Jonathan Richman, from the album Having A Party With Jonathan Richman
* "New Hampshire," by John Linnell, from the album State Songs


My Morning Soundtrack - 04.09.09

* "Mr. Soul," by Buffalo Springfield, from the album Buffalo Springfield Again
* "Skips A Beat (Over You)," by The Promise Ring, from the album Very Emergency
* "Girl U Want," by Devo, from the album Freedom Of Choice
* "My Mistake (Was To Love You)," by Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross, from the album The Best of Marvin Gaye - Motown Anthology Series
* "Take Me To the Mardi Gras," by Paul Simon, from the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon
* "I Hate Hate," by Cornelius, from the album POINT
* "Whether Or Not It Matters," by the Kingsbury Manx, from the album the Kingsbury Manx
* "Blood Brothers," by The Persuaders, from the album Thin Line Between Love And Hate
* "Talking In My Sleep," by Love, from the album Four Sail
* "Blast Valve," by Flake Music, from the album When You Get Here, It's Time To Return


Like Rabbits

Just in case you're not subscribed to both of our blogs, my lovely wife Candace posted these bunnies that we collaborated on. They're for the girls' Easter baskets:

My sketch. Her stitch. I love working with this lady. She's aces.

In other news, I posted a mix to the Master List from a former classmate of mine, Mister Scott Shipley. You can download it here. I have like three mixxes half-finished, but I think next month's is gonna be titled American Music. Anybody else out there makin' mixxes? Let me know.

Also, I did a little My morning Soundtrack thing yesterday. Now that the weather's getting better and I can walk to the train station easier, I may try and do these more regularly. What do you think? Good idea or totally dumb?


Interviewing With the Starz! - Allen TenBusschen

This week's interview is with Allen TenBusschen. Yes, that's really his last name. I had some classes with this kid. He's a good egg, even if he did forsake graphic design for (gag!) illustration. Keep an eye on this guy, he's going places. He blogs here. He looks like this:

Take it away, Tenbu...

Name: Allen Charles TenBusschen

Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Occupation: College Student, hopefully forever.

Favorite type of donut: Long John with the creme in it.

Would you rather be mauled by a bear, stung to death by bees or eaten by a shark? Why?
Oh a bear in a second. I hate bees. They are awful and I saw My Girl, I don't need that kind of drama. I think bears are pretty much awesome, and I think there was an episode of the Simpsons, where a certain town formed a bear patrol. Hopefully though it would become a Lifetime movie, like where my wife beat me and the bear took me out of my misery.

If your life were a song, what song would it be?
"New Slang" The Shins. In all honesty this is like one of those questions that can be answered truthfully with a different song at any point in your life.

If you could only watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Shawshank Redemption

If you had your way, where would you live out the rest of your days and how?
Someplace where the view was as epic as Alaska, but was 72 degrees year round. Or a real place, like Portland Oregon. I love that town.

What would your like your tombstone read? (Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you) "Dylan actually killed me."
"Died Tragically Rescuing His Family From The Remains Of A Destroyed Sinking Battleship" - I think that is actually what I am going to get put on it. Sums it all up.

The Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers?
Marx Brothers

What three TV shows can you not miss?
30 Rock, Scrubs.

Who was your earliest remembered crush?
I don't remember her name, but I have a yearbook from elementary school somewhere with a girl with hearts drawn around her, but back when it really mattered, like 6th grade. Chelsea Frazier. Oh yeah, I had a huge crush on her for like ever.

What five things do you hope people know or think about you?
That I am not actually a pr*ck, even though I pretend to be one on occasion.
Total nerd, maybe not as awesome as Dylan but close.
I hate Slasher/Horror movies, but I am super afraid of Ghost.
I have thought about becoming a history teacher many times. I love history.
Also a geologist. For some reason I love geology.

What three things are you terrified that people know or think about you?
I totally can't fight, I haven't been in a fight since like 7th grade.
I am super jealous of good typographers
Probably the worst speller on the planet.

The Stones or the Who?
The Kinks


If you could have any super power (flight, x-ray vision, the ability to talk to undersea creatures, etc.), what would it be and why?
Aquaman sucks, so no water ones. I think I would have Wolverine's super healing. It sounds kind of crappy but he has lived like forever and through about everything, plus then I could talk trash to anyone and not be worried about being killed, or stabbed on a subway. And yeah, I would get some sweet action with claws.

What is the deal with airline food?
Never actually eaten airplane food

What is your greatest unrealized ambition?
To become an awesome singer, and then use that to escape Austria when the Nazi's invade, wait... Seriously though, I would love to be able to learn how to sing or play the harp. That would be awesome.

Most embarrassing moment ever. Go!
My life is just a series of these.

In 9th grade we had to make a presentation for class, our group decided to make a commercial, so I went about filming it, and my brothers helped me out. So we made a short movie and about halfway through it my other brother ran into the set and mooned us. This made it on the film of course. The commercial was re-shot right after this, but it was like 3 in the morning, so we called it good, it sucked, but whatever.

The next day before class I watched "Our Masterpiece" and realized that my brother mooning the camera was right before our commercial. We didn't record over it like we had thought, we had recorded right after it. So needless to say when I got to class I told my group, and we didn't want to fail so we tried to queue up the tape to the commercial, but that didn't happen.

So in front of my whole class I showed a video of my brother's butt, and man I didn't live that down for years.


& that's a wrap. Until next week, folks.

My Morning Soundtrack - 04.07.09

"California Saga - Big Sur" by The Beach Boys from the album Holland
"You Will Miss Me When I Burn" by Palace Brothers from the album Days In The Wake
"Shiftless When Idle" by The Replacements from the album Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash!
"If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)" The Staple Singers from the Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration compilation
"If I Had A Heart," "When I Grow Up," "Dry And Dusty," and "Seven" by Fever Ray from the album Fever Ray


I Guess You Could Call It Superpowers, But Nobody's Gonna Save the World With What I've Got

This is my new favorite picture of myself. Taken last night while we were grilling some burgers cuz the weather's been freaking awesome. I'm eating Aldi store-brand cheese puffs, which are also awesome. I am squinting at the sun. The sun is also awesome.

So yeah, spring is (hopefully) here, though I wouldn't be overly surprised by a freak snow storm sometime in the next few weeks. I seriously don't want to talk about how nice the weather is because I'm scared I'll jinx it, so yeah. Whatever. Aldi cheese puffs are awesome. Plus, it's a huge bag for 99¢. How can you beat that?

In other news, we had a Nintendo party at church last weekend which totally reignited my obsession with 1990 puzzle game, Dr. Mario.. Now, I'm not bragging, but I am reeeeeeally good at Dr. Mario. Which sort of sucks because if I'm gonna be like really good at something, why does it have to be a video game? And a 20 year old one at that? It's like finding out you have a superpower, but that that superpower is the ability to read any language or eat like, anything or that every time you sneezed, a marshmallow fell from the sky and hit somebody living in Concordia, Kansas square on the head, casing them to look up at the sky in surprise, shaking their fist and cursing the universe. (Actually, that last one would be pretty cool.)

I'm obviously not that bummed, since it hasn't stopped me from rockin' the D-pad, droppin' pills on viruses with the speed set on high and the sound turned down. I still haven't broken level 20 without dying first, but it's coming back to me fast and soon enough, I'll be the best Dr. Mario player alive and use my fame and fortune to buy a lot of bags of store brand cheese puffs.

And then I will eat those cheese puffs.

What about you, is there something you're really good at that is totally useless to humanity at large, but still brings you immeasurable joy? (Keep it PG, people. This is a family establishment.)


Just Like They Did It In the Movies

So, the big thing in my life these past few months has been crafting the image campaign for the Cleveland International Film Festival, and, once that was complete, attending said festival. So it was while occupying this cinematic headspace that I pulled together this month's mix, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. 20 songs about movies, the people who watch movies and the people involved in making movies. Moviesmoviesmovies. Tracks from Okkervill River, Sloan, Wire, the Brothers Palace and Everly, Cake and loads more. Download it here and let me know once you do.

And while I'm on the subject of mixxes, check out Nick's mix: MeatBrain. I'm downloading it as I type this. Exciting, right?! Did anybody else get one done this month? If so, send me the link and I'll add it to the Master List.