Friday, April 10, 2020

Awesome Middle Eights: a playlist

A finely-crafted middle eight (aka, bridge) is a precious and rare thing of beauty, and I'm definitely a connoisseur. On the down side, nothing blows up a great song like a crappy, slapped-together bridge (and wow, there are a lot of those).
To celebrate the best that the middle eight has to offer, here are some my favorites followed by a Spotify playlist:

  • Radiohead: "Creep" Perfection. This might be my favorite of all time: seamless and gorgeous in composition and execution, this bridge adds impossible amounts of power while also dramatically increasing the melancholy of the narrator. Well and truly nailed it.
  • Fountains of Wayne: "Stacy's Mom" Adam Schlesinger, RIP :( I just love FoW's masterful manipulation of emotion and energy. 
    • SPECIAL BONUS! Robby Fulks: "Fountains of Wayne Hotline" Better if you listen to this with no explanation, just give it a go
  • Sheryl Crow: "My Favorite Mistake" I really love this one because of the Hammond organ. It's so deeply sweet and soulful, and the guitar behind has enough throat to make Sheryl's plea feel urgent and real. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Mini Book Reports: Murder, Weirdos, More Weirdos, More Murder (hmm...)

I forgot I had a blog for a year! But I didn't forget to read a bunch of books. A short list of mini-reports:

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief

  • I picked this up, thinking "Oh cool. These guys are batshit, so this oughta read well." I HAD. NO IDEA. More like utterly batfucked. A jaw-dropping read. Also, note to Tom Cruise: back up. Keep going ... no, don't stop, just keep going. We'll let you know.


  • Save miserable people - if you can - from the depths of their despair. Also, after a mass shooting nothing goes back together.

Guns, Germs, and Steel

  • "White Man's Burden" is a crock of shit. 

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

  • Again, after a mass shooting nothing goes back together. 

Educated: A Memoir

  • Holy shit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Orcas Nouveau (project in process)

I'm developing an art nouveau piece which requires several steps (I don't have an actual plan - I can only see it in my mind-grapes). But, since I am the only one to read this, I thought it would be fun to document the process!

Step 1: sketch and ink in some orcas & ocean:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

My snowy house of snow (that got snowed on)

We had a couple big blizzards in Seattle this February! While the snow didn't stick around too long IRL, it made a big impression on our collective imagination. My house got a beautiful white blanket, worthy to be memorialized. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Snowstorm in Seattle

Seattle just got smacked by the snowiest February in 50 years. Panic in the streets, grocery stores looted, cats marrying dogs, and this little sketch I drew while sitting by the fire.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Thoughts - Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

TL;DR: I adore and admire Elizabeth Holmes.

JK, LOL. You won't find a less sympathetic character in any book this year. J-Law is going to play her in a movie? Welp, I hope they fluff her up a bit or they've got a paper-flat villain.

But the book Bad Blood is a nice tick-tock, true-crime thriller. If that's your jam, get on this. Since there are a lot of great reviews already by people smarter than me, but I won't reinvent that particular wheel. But I do have some thoughts to add (in addition to endorsing the obvious* themes):
  • Unlike so many of our top-name grifters, Holmes is not lazy. Sure, she was way overconfident and lacked a compass (moral or otherwise), but she busted her ass creating Theranos (and its $900m of funding) out of an original idea, thin air, and a billion hours of midnight oil. She pulled a LOT of very talented people into her wake and demanded the same level of sweat from them. It's snake oil for sure, and criminal, but not lazy.
  • If I pray hard enough, will Ms. Holmes tell her side? I would love to understand how she saw this playing out, especially once Carryou was on her tail. It's one thing for the Theranos board to get all dreamy eyed, but I cannot understand what kind of gear-grinding was going on in her OWN head while the avalanche of devastating reporting went to print.
* Theranos was the quintessential IRL house of cards: delusions of grandeur by the kids, lack of oversight by the adults, wholesome sunk cost effect leading to criminal conspiracy... Jeezy Petes, read this book.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Book thoughts: American Kingpin

TD;DR: Buy this book. I devoured it in about three days.

If you're unfamiliar with the story of Silk Road and Ross Ulbrecht, think Breaking Bad but sub in a nice, quiet physics grad student for Walter White, and a darkweb contraband Amazon for Walter's blue sky meth.

This is a super compelling heart-of-darkeness journey with a true-crime tick-tock element that would make an amazing movie (please cast Robert Pattinson, who could be Ulbrecht's twin). Apparently there is a documentary out, if I find it I will update and link to it here.