Random Stuff

La modifica.

My hope to get all that video-related business taken care of by the end of the week was pretty optimistic — and, as I’m realizing now, not very realistic. I think I underestimated how much work was involved. Or maybe I wanted to believe the editing process would be a little more straightforward than I knew it was really going to be. Bouncing back and forth between two different computers doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to save files on one flash drive or another on my MacBook, only to transfer those files to the external hard drive plugged into the crusty old Acer laptop so I can work with them in Sony Vegas.

It’s a little complicated. But it’s fun. I’ve been eating, drinking, sleeping, and even dreaming this homemade documentary over the last week or so. There’s no turning back now.

I’m enjoying the process of piecing things together. There’s a lot of narration, because there’s a lot that needs to be said, but I’m trying to take a “show don’t tell” approach as much as I can. For example, I could talk for a long time about how I felt I came into my own as a guitarist and found a way to speak through the instrument for the first time when I was an angry teenager with a short-lived band. I think it’s more effective to drop a fiery guitar solo from a live performance in the appropriate place and let the music do the talking.

There are some things I can’t touch on if I want a final assembly that’s less than ten hours long. But that’s what the forthcoming album-specific blog post is for. This film — if I can call it that — is more about putting the album in its proper context within the full arc of my artistic life and stuffing in as much behind-the-scenes footage as I can while I’m at it.

Working with a voiceover track instead of speaking to the camera has been a new experience for me. I’m used to treating public domain film content in a very specific way, using it to break up the rhythm of my monologue while commenting on what’s being said in an absurd or irreverent way. Now it’s become a different tool, serving as a visual counterpart to the words when I don’t have appropriate footage of my own to lean on or I want to mix things up a little. I’ve never been so thankful for the existence of the Internet Archive and the abundance of material that’s fallen into the public domain for one reason or another.

I had a bit of a scare the other day when I was trying to stitch a few segments together with Steeper. I kept getting all these messages telling me the program couldn’t find something called “delete.exe”, and everything went wonky on me. “Great,” I thought. “I find a simple solution to a problem, and now I have to find a work-around for the solution itself.”

After a number of failed attempts to join four or five files, I took a look at the different elements of Steeper I downloaded. There was something I’d forgotten to click on. It was “delete.exe” — the part of the program that allows you to overwrite old joined files. I downloaded it, tried again, and the issue was resolved.

Note to self: when a program comes in a few different downloadable parts/executions, it might be a good idea to grab all of them before trying to run the thing.

Being forced to break everything into chapters has been even more of a blessing than I thought it was. Making a change or fixing a rough edit is much easier when you’re dealing with smaller sections as opposed to one big chunk. It’s much less overwhelming when you don’t see the whole pile of work in front of you. And it helps to maintain a sense of structure, which was something I was concerned about having never done anything on this scale before.

I’ve got about an hour of footage assembled now, and I’m still far from finished. I’m getting there, though. Every day I either get another segment finished or I put a good dent in one or two of them. Today I should be able to finish three. That feels pretty good.

Broadcasting from home.

The deeper I dig, the spookier the unintentionally prescient elements of YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK get. There’s a bit I wrote but didn’t use for “Don’t Let the Preamble Ramble” that reads:

Distance is its own undoing.
All systems set to self-implode.

I don’t even know what to say about that.

On a lighter note, I’ll be talking to Brady at CJAM (through the phone) about music-related things around 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Friday. Feel free to tune in to 99.1 on the FM dial (or grab the live stream) if you’re interested in listening. Should be fun. And I think we could all could use a little fun right now.

Silly typos, lyric booklets are for kids.

YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK is somehow already at #3 on the CJAM charts, even though not a lot of DJs have had it long enough to give it much airplay yet. I’m a little surprised to see it debut so high.

There are a few other new albums being released right now by local artists with much higher profiles than mine. I have a twisted premonition that this will be the first thing I’ve done in years to never make it to #1 and in the weeks ahead it’ll get repeatedly lodged in the second or third spot behind the cool kids. Given all that’s transpired over the last little while, it would be kind of fitting to be on the outside looking in.

I’ll find out if my hunch is correct soon enough.

Also, if you got one of the first copies of SLEEPWALK, I owe you an apology. In spite of all the painstaking proofreading I subjected myself to, I still managed to miss two mistakes in the initial run of booklets. They’re two things most people will probably never notice — a missing bit of punctuation at the end of one song, and one printed word that isn’t the word being sung (though it sounds like it could be).

That I would forget a line in one of my own songs gives you an idea of how long I lived with this music and how much I had to try and keep in my head. I had dreams about screwing up the packaging even after I knew everything was fine. It took a while before I could relax and stop worrying about some other boneheaded blunder hiding in plain sight.

(One thing that looks like it might be an oversight is a deliberate stylistic choice. The word “Bible” appears in two different songs. In “Wherever the Lord May Be” I meant it in the literal, Old Testament sense, so I capitalized it. In “Losing Light” the phrase “black-eyed bible” refers to the unreliable words of some unsavoury characters. In that case it felt more appropriate to forego the capital B.)

Invisible though the typos may be to the naked and partially-clothed eye, I’m always a little miffed when these things sneak through. But I guess I have to accept human error creeping in once in a while. One wrong word and a missing period does hurt a little less than some of my hits of the past like “bilss” and “electic guitar”.

I made the necessary corrections and had more booklets made. If you’re one of the lucky few to receive one of the typo-enhanced copies, you now own a collector’s item.

No need to thank me. It’s what I do.

Getting closer.

There are three songs that still need a bit of work before I can mix them, four songs I need to fine-tune the mixes for, and then YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK is done.

It’s a strange feeling to be this close to the end after spending years feeling like it was a mountain I could never climb. There’s satisfaction, but it’s laced with disbelief. Some part of my brain is having a difficult time processing the idea that I’ve really made it this far.

I’ve saved some of the most intimidating songs for last. A few of them have arrangements that are so ambitious and fluid, mixing one song becomes more like mixing three or four at once. You’d think it would make more sense to get these things out of the way early on, but I feel better tackling them after getting most of the other mixes the way I want them, using the confidence and momentum I’ve accumulated as fuel.

So far I haven’t had to take ten different passes at a mix the way I did with one of the tracks on WHAT WE LOST IN THE FLOOD. So there’s that. A lot of times the rough mixes are pretty good, and the difference between “rough” and “album-ready” is only a few small adjustments. The lead vocal comes up a bit, a secondary guitar part gets nudged down in the mix, and suddenly everything fits together just right.

Every time I tried to guess at a “release date” in the past, it was little more than a prayer-filled shot in the dark. Now I can say with some degree of confidence that there’s no reason I shouldn’t have the album packaged and ready to share sometime in December — probably in time for Christmas.

Attentive readers will notice that the picture above marks the end of Maximum Beardage (2017-2019). I let it go for two years, which has to be a new record for me. It was fun, the hair didn’t get in the way too much when I was eating, and my plan was to hold off on trimming it down until the album was finished.

I looked in the mirror a week or two ago and saw this:

That’s a pretty fine beard if you ask me. I could have tidied up a few scraggly bits and gone about my day. But then I started thinking. I’m a tall guy. Most people who look at me don’t see me at eye level. They get a view that might look more like this:

Scary stuff.

I kind of got tired of all the grey hair in there anyway. So I grabbed the scissors and marvelled at the amount of hair that came off of my face. I still have a significant beard, but it’s much neater now, and birds are less likely to try and nest there for the winter.

Headphones: the final frontier.

Headphones can be such a nuisance.

Since the beginning of time, every year or two the cord for my Sennheiser HD265s craps out on me — though I seem to have solved this problem at long last by using separate cords upstairs and downstairs, cutting down on wear and tear. If I’m not accidentally sitting on a pair and destroying them (sorry, Direct Sound EX29s), I’m swearing when one of the drivers stops working and I’m left with sound in only one ear (I’m looking at you, Vic Firth isolation headphones).

The most frustrating of them all might be my Denon AH-D7000s — and not for any of the reasons you’d expect.

I bought them ten years ago, right in the middle of recording LOVE SONGS FOR NIHILISTS. They ran me about a thousand bucks. I was reluctant to spend that much money on a pair of headphones, but these were worth it. Some headphones will lie to you and make poorly-recorded music sound okay. Not these guys. Bad recordings and bad mixes are revealed in all their awful, glorious mediocrity. At the other end of the spectrum, when something is recorded and mixed well, it sounds otherworldly on these headphones. They’re a little on the bright side, but that allows me to hone in on and eliminate lip smacks, tongue clicks, and other unwanted incidental sounds that might otherwise slip through the cracks.

I’m sure something like the Stax SR-009s would blow the AH-D7000s away. I’m going to go out on a limb and say even if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t begin to consider spending $10,000 on those headphones and the amp needed to drive them. The AH-D7000s do the job just fine for me.

They’ve become an indispensable mixing tool. If I can get a song to sound good on my monitors, the darker (and somewhat more flattering) Sennheiser headphones, and these Denon headphones, I know it’s going to translate just about anywhere, whether it’s a full-range hi-fi setup or tiny laptop speakers.

All was well until three or four years ago, when something strange started to happen. Every once in a while I would leave one of my spiral notebooks lying around in the studio and a small splotch would appear somewhere on whatever page the book was flipped open to. I don’t have oily fingers, so it was a bit of a mystery to me. I started to think maybe there was a friendly ghost wandering around in our house and he/she enjoyed reading my lyrics. Nothing else made much sense.

Then I noticed I kept leaving the Denon AH-D7000s on top of whatever notebook I was using. It wasn’t greasy ghost fingers making those splotches. It was the ear pads on the headphones.

I’ve never been rough with the AH-D7000s — I take care of my stuff — but they’ve been very well-used in the time I’ve had them. When one of the structural screws popped out, forcing Steve Chapman to turn into MacGyver and save the day, it was shoddy craftsmanship on Denon’s part that led to the problem, not headphone abuse on my part.

Now it’s the same thing again. Here’s a company that charges a lot of money for high-end headphones, and they can’t be bothered to use a PVC solution that won’t completely break down over time.

It’s been getting worse over the last little while. Now both the headband and the ear pads are degrading, and some days I’m finding bits of pleather in my hair and on my face.

Laurette, the owner and alterationist at Seams to Fit, has done a fair bit of mending for us over the years. Seventeen years ago, Johnny Smith brought Jiffy — a stuffed giraffe I’ve had since I was a baby — to her for some surgical intervention. Too many trips to the washing machine in my childhood left him with some awful scoliosis, and he couldn’t even raise his head anymore. Thanks to Laurette, Jiffy got his swagger (and his posture) back, and he’s still going strong today at the age of thirty-six.

If anyone was going to be able to do something to salvage these headphones, I thought it might be Laurette.

I asked her what she thought about sewing a fabric over the headband to cover the decrepit pleather so it wouldn’t break off in my hair anymore. Without batting an eye, she said, “What about vinyl?” She had an extra piece squirreled away that looked like it was just the right size. It was black, and it looked and felt very similar to the material the existing headband was made out of. She said she could rig something up with velcro so it would be removable, in case I ever wanted to clean it.

Two days later it was ready. She charged me all of five bucks. From a distance, you wouldn’t even guess the headphones have been altered in any way.

The ear pads are another story.

A lot of third party companies sell replacement pads that cost anywhere from thirty to sixty dollars. That sounds semi-reasonable, but there’s a serious drawback. Because none of these ear pads are manufactured from the original materials Denon used, they all change the way the headphones sound. That wasn’t going to work for me.

You’d think I could just buy replacement ear pads from Denon themselves. Nope. They used to sell replacement parts, but they’ve discontinued most of the headphones they used to make, and though the new AH-D7200s look almost identical to the AH-D7000s, you can’t even buy replacement ear pads for them. Talk about not standing behind your products.

After doing some research, I discovered Fostex is the only reputable company making replacement ear pads that are more or less interchangeable with the original AH-D7000 pads, and they won’t alter the sonic signature of the headphones too much. After shipping, they would run me well over a hundred dollars. For ear pads. Made of the same material that will someday degrade and flake off on my face all over again.

“Nuts to that,” says I.

I’m sticking with the decaying ear pads I’ve got. I don’t mind picking the occasional tiny bit of pleather off of the side of my face. At least I don’t have to worry about it getting stuck in my hair anymore. That’s progress.

Take me on.

Almost everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard A-ha’s breathless pop classic “Take on Me”.

Post Malone was in his parents’ basement, tattooing a portrait of Louis Althusser on his left ass cheek with the aid of a stolen compact mirror. Willie Nelson was alone in the back of his tour bus, trying to smoke a breadstick after burning through his entire stash of pot. Britney Spears was giving her sister’s Barbie Doll the evil eye and contemplating drowning it in the bathtub.

Someone you might not expect to be a fan is Gordon Lightfoot. In a little-known interview with Canadian Tire Magazine, Gordon once opined, “It really is the quintessential love song. It grabs you by the throat and forces you to eat a pile of hummus, whether you’re hungry or not.”

Dive deep enough into the Dark Web, past the secret Fifth Harmony porn films and the failed standup comedy of Donald Trump, and you’ll find a bootleg recording of an intimate show Gordon played for a small but appreciative audience in the mid-1990s, backed only by a pianist. For the only time in the great man’s long and storied career, he chose to put his stamp on a number of obscure covers, from Sepultura’s “Ratamahatta” to Swing Out Sister’s “Breakout”. Tucked away at the very beginning of the show like a quiet prayer is a song that has touched the lives of so many, written by some very photogenic Norwegian dudes.

Here’s Gordon Lightfoot singing “Take on Me”.

Take on Me (live)

If it came from a bull, and it smells like a bull…

There’s this thing called the RPM Challenge. It started back in 2006. Participants record a full-length album that’s ten songs or thirty-five minutes long, and they do it inside the month of February.

I’ve never done this. I used to record albums in a matter of days all the time, but for whatever reason I don’t think any of them were started and finished in February. Not since I started working in the digital domain twenty years ago, anyway.

My friend Joshua Jesty, on the other hand, has been a proponent of the RPM Challenge for about as long as it’s existed. He hasn’t made a “February record” every single year, but I think his latest instalment is his sixth. That’s some serious commitment to the cause right there.

This time around he asked a bunch of different friends to contribute to the album. I was one of those people. The thing is, he didn’t just ask me to play on one of the songs. He asked me to make the cover art too. And if you know me, you know I’m not someone who’s ever asked by anyone to do that sort of thing, because I’m not really a visual artist.

I am, however, a little bit nuts. I like to make up for my inability to draw freehand by tracing on top of existing pictures in a computer program that wasn’t designed with that in mind and then warping the context. In this case I took a photo of Josh holding a bowling ball in front of his face and turned the bowling ball into a massive mound of crap. Then I added a gloating bull to make the album title Nonstop Bullshit literal.

He used that image for the cover art, unmodified.

The song he asked me to play on is a pretty, atmospheric ballad called “Endless”. Josh felt it needed some dobro at the end, so I pulled out this guy, who’s been feeling a little neglected.

I’m not one of those crazy bluegrass pickers who can play frenetic, brain-melting slide solos. I tend to gravitate toward simple, melody-based things. I sat with Josh’s song for a bit until I felt I’d figured something out, recorded a handful of takes with a single Pearlman TM-250, and picked the second-last one. It wasn’t the best technical take, but it felt the most like me. Then I sent it off as a WAV file and Josh stuck it in his song.

Check it out.

I feel pretty good about that solo, I have to say. It isn’t flashy, but it works.

Elsewhere, things are getting back on track. My pseudo-vampire sleep schedule, while workable, drifted to the point that I wasn’t seeing a whole lot of daylight anymore, I didn’t have a lot of energy, and I couldn’t get much done. After not having to go a night without sleep to reboot my sleep cycle for more than a year — a pretty monumental accomplishment when I used to have to do it every few weeks — I admitted defeat and did it again. I’ve now been back on days for almost two weeks, and though readjusting to eating meals at normal times was a little strange at first, it’s nice to be reminded just how much time a proper day gives you to accomplish things.

My goal now is to pick a song every day and either evolve it in some significant way or finish it. So far, so good. Guest-related fun is starting to pick up steam again as well. Tara Watts is supposed to swing by in a little over a week to sing on something (remember her? I used to play in her band six million years ago!), and a few days after that a flautist is supposed to come over to record magic flute things.

I just might manage to reach my goal of thirty musical contributors on YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK after all.

Boulevard of bokeh dreams.

I just bought this thing — a 50mm Canon lens that’s been nicknamed “the nifty fifty”. For a year or two I’ve been talking myself out of getting it for one reason or another. I’m not a professional photographer, I doubt I’ll ever progress far beyond “bearded hobbyist”, and I don’t need an assortment of lenses for what I do…but it doesn’t hurt to have a second option.

That inescapable thought was what swayed me in the end.

For less than $200, this lens is insane. It isn’t a Zeiss Makro Planar, but it isn’t trying to be. One thing it allows you to do is blur parts of the image that are out of focus in a way that’s really pleasing to the eye. This effect is called “bokeh”. It’s also called shallow depth of field, but I prefer the idea of someone trying to say “bouquet” and sneezing at the moment of truth. Best of all, it’s fast, so it doesn’t mind low light situations.

Though this isn’t a great picture, it’ll give you a bit of an idea. The light in this room is far from ideal. Most lenses would either refuse to take an in-focus picture or laugh at me while ejecting themselves from the camera body. The nifty fifty didn’t care. The shot is a little grainy, but it has no business looking this decent given the lighting situation. Notice how the floor beneath the snare drum isn’t just out of focus in a conventional way — it has a creamy quality to it.

Sneeze it with me now: bokeh!

I’m just starting to play around with it, but I’m not feeling any buyer’s remorse.

There’s a learning curve here. With no zoom, you’re forced to move around and really think about composition. I’m not sure how much I trust the autofocus when it comes to still images. I’m probably going to have to get more comfortable using manual focus to get the most out of this lens.

These are good things, and they’ll lead to better, more artistic pictures.

Even so, the nifty fifty has given me a new appreciation for the kit lens that came with my Canon T5i (an EFS 18-55mm zoom lens). Everyone craps all over this thing and says you can’t take good pictures with it, but for my modest purposes it’s been great. The autofocus is fast, quiet, and almost never seems to hunt. The image stabilization allows me to shoot video handheld without things getting too jerky. It isn’t amazing in low light, but it sure beats the pants off of the Pentax point-and-shoot of yore and shoots much cleaner, deeper-looking video than my Flip friends. It’s never prevented me from getting the shot I wanted, and sometimes that zoom really comes in handy.

My point is, it isn’t the glass in the lens, but the lass and her hens. Wait…that’s not right. Ask not what you can do for your camera, but what your camera would do if forced to watch Samurai Cop on an endless loop. No…that’s still not it.

Eh, you get my drift.

(Seriously, go watch some clips from Samurai Cop if you want to collapse in a bewildered fit of animal laughter. It has to be up there with The Room and Troll 2 in the pantheon of the most hilariously bad films ever made.)

The answer, my friends, is written on a cheque.

Apparently Bob Dylan accepted a big smelly bag of money so Budweiser could use “Blowin’ in the Wind” in a new commercial they debuted during the most boring Super Bowl of all time. Somewhere someone who once believed Bob was the voice of their generation is vomiting up a winter scarf.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I can understand why a young or struggling artist would allow their song to be used in a stupid commercial. If they’re offered a life-altering amount of money, they can tell themselves the payday will enable them to make the art they want to make and get it into the ears of more people. That’s not a bad thing, assuming they’re not making bad music. I’m not going to tell you I wouldn’t at least be a little tempted if a good offer came my way, and I don’t even want my music to reach a lot of ears.

With Bobby, I just don’t get it. You can’t tell me the guy needs the money. If there was any doubt, at least we now know the man doesn’t hold any of his songs sacred.

Let us remember better times.

Worse than this weirdness — far worse — is the news that Disney is releasing a live action remake of Aladdin. Are they really that bereft of ideas? In the right hands it might not have been horrible. Guy Ritchie does not have those hands. His hands are wrong. Very wrong.

From what I can tell, he handed CGI duties over to a blind mouse with a drinking problem. A lot of what’s in the trailer looks less realistic than the animated film did. Hell, this looks more true-to-life than some of the backgrounds in the new movie:

Will Smith is playing the Genie. Nothing against Will, but his character looks like the most hilariously half-assed green screen creation in the history of film. Think “The Fresh Prince in blueface with the body of a random beer-swilling amateur wrestler Photoshopped beneath his head” and you’re most of the way there.

Enough about that.

My grant proposal went off into cyberspace about two weeks ago. It’s in the hands of four strangers now. I should get an answer in a month or two. Fingers, toes, and earlobes crossed.

WHAT WE LOST IN THE FLOOD has finally slipped off of the CJAM charts after nine weeks straight in the top thirty. That has to be a new record for me. I have no idea who was giving it airplay for such an insane length of time, but I bow before them in gratitude.

I’d like to be able to tell you I’ve been recording up a storm since my last post. That would be a lie. It’s been slow going so far in 2019.

I got my little replacement effects-generating red kidney, the piano was tuned for the fifty-third time, I was all set to get back down to business, and then I got sick. Again. At least this time it wasn’t so bad (I started eating zinc and vitamin D the second I knew something was coming, which seemed to cut my usual symptoms in half), but I still lost some time when I don’t have a wealth of it left to work with.

Motivation has been a problem. Even now that I’m not trembling beneath the covers with an upset stomach and angry elbows, it continues to be a problem. But you know what hasn’t been a problem? Writing songs.

The well kind of ran dry for a little bit. Well, that’s not quite right. It only felt like it did. See, I’m used to writing all the time. Musical ideas show up on a daily basis, pretty much, even when I’m asleep. Some of them turn into songs. Some don’t. And then the words show up when they feel like showing up.

For a while nothing much was showing up at all. I didn’t sit down and try to force it. I don’t work that way. Nothing good has ever happened when I’ve tried. It just wasn’t happening, and there wasn’t much I could do about it.

I started to think it was my first real brush with writer’s block. Then I looked at how much writing I was doing in the run-up to the supposed dry spell.

I started writing for YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK in March of 2014. Not counting the latest batch of songs, and not taking into account any of the sketches that haven’t yet been fully fleshed-out, in that time I’ve written six songs with Adam (Mr. Shimmer Demolition himself), eleven with Steven, twenty-eight with Gord, and two hundred and thirty-six on my own. A dozen of those two hundred and thirty-six songs were meant for either AFTERTHOUGHTS or FLOOD. The rest were written specifically with SLEEPWALK in mind, even if a few ended up on STEW and a few more ended up on FLOOD because they made sense there.

Two hundred and twenty-four songs written by one person for one album might not seem like a whole lot when it’s spread out over a period of five years. That only averages out to forty-five songs a year. But consider: about a hundred of those songs were written in the last ten months of 2014, and the vast majority of the rest were written in 2015 and 2016. Things slowed down a lot after that. I wouldn’t be surprised if I only finished a dozen new songs last year. By my standards, that’s downright anemic.

What happened was, I went on a real tear for a while there. The sketches and undeveloped ideas from 2014 to 2016 might even outnumber the finished songs. I’ve been pretty prolific for a pretty long time, even if I haven’t released a lot of albums in recent years, but I don’t think I’ve written with a sustained fury like that since I was in high school and had to resort to writing lyrics in the middle of most of my classes to save my brain from atrophy.

When I look at the bigger picture, it makes sense that things would taper off at some point. You can’t keep writing like that without your brain exploding. And I think on some subconscious level the songwriting part of my mind probably said, “Maybe it’s time to take a bit of a break. You’ve got some serious catching up to do in the recording department.”

Still, going too long without writing has never been good for me.

Just as I was starting to get worried, I picked up a guitar and a new song happened. Then I sat down at the piano and wrote another one. And another one. And it snowballed from there. In the past week I’ve written eight new songs. Three of them still need some more words, but other than that they’re done.

There was no feeling of a switch being flicked. Songs just started coming again. You know what they say: visions come to prepared spirits.

I’m not sure how many of these most recent songs will end up on the album. I think at least a few of them are worth tackling. I’ve already recorded piano and a vocal track for one of them.

Baby steps.

It’s a brand new ear.

I swear these years keep going by faster all the time. It’s getting a little unnerving.

2018 was not as productive as I hoped it would be. That’s been a recurring theme in recent years. It was a definite step in the right direction, though. Jess’s album was released. Ron’s album hit the finish line and will hopefully see the light of day early in 2019. And I was able to finish one of the two major albums I’ve been working on while putting a decent dent in the other.

As a rule I don’t have many feelings about a year one way or another when it’s brand new. It’s up to the year to show me what it’s going to be. But I’ve got a sneaky feeling this one might be pretty good.

(That probably means we’re all doomed.)

If nothing else, 2019 is going to be the year of YEAR OF THE SLEEPWALK. It’s not a choice anymore. I need to get that album done before it gets too big for me and starts thinking it can boss me around and stay out all night without calling.

One reason for serious celebration — this year we’re getting the Deadwood movie we were supposed to get more than a decade ago. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

It’s really happening. Really. For real.

Of course, you can’t have pancakes without a little mediocre cocaine. We’re also getting a live action Cowboy Bebop series, whether we want it or not.

You’d think writers and producers who have such defective, corroded fucking brains they’re rendered incapable of generating any ideas of their own would have changed career paths by now, opting for something more suited to their abilities — landfill-licking, or drinking hair growth serum, or the like. But no. Steadfast in their idiocy, they go on remaking and rebooting existing films and television shows with diminishing fucking returns, as if someday, if they recycle the right thing the right way, they might manage to produce through sheer luck something other than a piece of shit.

(Spoiler alert: this lazy, cynical, money-before-brains way of working will always produce a piece of shit. Also, the above paragraph was my poor man’s attempt at emulating something approaching Deadwood’s unique marriage of eloquence and profanity. Couldn’t resist.)

Anyway. I hope you did something fun to ring in the New Year. Me, I switched back to my old shampoo. And if that doesn’t set the tone for the excitement of the year ahead, I don’t know what will.