Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quote of the Weekend

"So we've got a new album out. It's pretty much like the other two; these guys play a lot of music and I talk a lot of bullshit."

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady
Black Cat, Washington DC

It seems I have discovered that the basement bar at Cafe St. Ex is, for all intents and purposes, the Black Cat's new green room. For the second "show in a row" I have avoided the opening acts by hiding at St. Ex -- trying to comprehend silent and un-subtitled anime while slugging beers and losing at eyeball tag -- and saw the headliner hanging out. If this happened twice to me alone, then I would guess that people playing shows at the Cat, especially on a weekend, often choose to hang out before the show at St. Ex rather than linger backstage. St. Ex in particular because it is a good bar and practically next door, but generally because backstage at the Cat isn't all that exciting.

I've had the good fortune of spending time backstage at both the 9:30 Club and the Black Cat and there are a few appreciable differences. Backstage at the 9:30 is your more typical Rock 'n Roll experience. There is a lounge area with weird furniture, a nice food spread, more booze than you can shake a stick at, drugs, and a lot of general wastedness -- although this was GBV so this could have been an in-store at Borders and there would still have been a lot of "general wastedness." Now this wasn't Behind the Music or anything and by and large the scene was pretty nonchalant but the point is that at the 9:30 there are some elements of the sterotypical Backstage Experience.

The Cat, on the other hand, is a somewhat different beast. Perhaps in keeping with its indie cred, the accomodations are pretty straightforward. A few doorless rooms (although maybe they have doors now, it's been a while), cobbled together furniture pieces, and except for the noise bleeding in from the Red Room, it's pretty quiet. Not exactly the bacchanalian environment one might envision. Now there is the one semi-scary bathroom up half a flight of stairs that looks like a convenient place for doing blow off of the sink or something shadey in the shower but I doubt that is a common occurrence. In reality I think there is something of a common strain that runs among many of the acts that come through the Black Cat and that is that they are not looking for any of that attendant rockstar bullshit. So it does make sense to show up to the club, drop off your gear, and stroll down the block to have some wine and food with friends before hitting the stage. Not a bad life...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday 8-Track

Since the Friday 8-Track will be off for the holidays next week, I'm gonna go ahead and do a Thanksgiving list this week. Jesus, I am definitely reaching on these tracks. They really have little or nothing to do with Thanksgiving but I had to give it a shot. So, as a bonus I am will incorporate a little contest into this week's installment. The first person to identify each of the alleged Thanksgiving thematic elements for all 8 songs will be the proud winner of the two Friday 8-Tracks of his or her choice which will be made avilable for download. Good luck.

Dave Matthews Band - "Tripping Billies" - Remember Two Things

I was waaaaay into DMB in college. I traded tapes, slept in the student center for tickets, and spent a lot of time trying to learn every song they ever played. This is one of the songs that completely hooked me on the band. Still in my jazz and jam band phase I was captivated by the mix of energy, strong pop hooks, and improvisational playing. As the band got stale I grew out of that phase, I guess, but this song still takes me back.

Paul Simon - "American Tune" - There Goes Rhymin' Simon

This one should be a gimme. Not one of my favorite Paul Simon tunes but it is an appropriate fit for the Thanksgiving mix. Can you believe he married Edie Brickell? What I am...

R.E.M. - "Begin the Begin" - Life's Rich Pageant

Peter Buck's jangley Rickenbacker 360 is probably one of the most identifiable sounds of 80's college radio. I think he deserves more credit for taking his somewhat limited guitar skills and stretching them across a great run of albums, including this one. "Begin the Begin" is a perfect example of Buck's mix of Byrds-y jangle and post-punk wail.

They Might Be Giants - "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" - Flood

One of the coolest covers ever just happens to be one of the geekiest songs performed by the geekiest of bands. Birdhouse is definitely the best song on this album, but Istanbul runs a close second. I still chuckle when I hear it.

Steely Dan - "Black Friday" - Katy Lied

This song kicks ass. Dig that keyboard intro and shuffle beat. " Gonna let the world pass by me. The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me. And if he don't come across I'm gonna let it roll."

Built To Spill - "Cortez the Killer" - Live

20 minutes of indie rock guitar wankery. This song is absolutely brutal live but you gotta appreciate Doug for going for it. This wouldn't have been my first choice of Neil Young tunes to cover but that's why Doug's the man and I am not.

Sly & the Family Stone - "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" - Greatest Hits

I would be hard-pressed to come up with another band that grooved as hard as Sly & the Family Stone. I would rank their performance along with Alvin Lee's (Ten Years After) and Santana's as the best of Woodstock. Larry Graham slaps and pops his bass all over this track. I dare you not to dance.

Rush - "Tom Sawyer" - Moving Pictures

I love Rush. They are every dork's favorite rock band and you can see it at a show where the crowd is comprised mainly of Trek fans and metal-heads who like to play D&D. Seeing them play the entirety of 2112 live is up there as one of my top concert experiences. Anyway, this is one of my least favorite songs of theirs but I am desperately reaching for Thanksgiving "themes."

Well that's all of 'em. Some references are obvious while the others are ridiculously thin. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

R.I.P. Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman passed away today.

To say that he was a giant in the field of political economic theory would not be an understatement. The influence of his ideas and the theories he supported could certainly be felt within the economics department at George Mason University (a program that is home to not one, but two Nobel laureates). One of his achievements/honors not mentioned in the WaPo (AP) obit is having written the introduction to the fifitieth anniversary edition of F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. This is a text that had a great impact on my political outlook as Friedman and Hayek were both great proponents of economic and individual liberty.

Parents Just Don't Understand

I cannot believe that I had to call my parents and scold them yesterday. Scold them for not being more considerate. Scold them for not being more discreet. Scold them for not...not...not just resigning to old age and turning in their libidos. My poor sister; I'm just glad it wasn't me.

Yesterday afternoon my sister called me wondering aloud if her county health insurance would cover psychotherapy. These sort of dramatics are a little over the top for her so I had no idea what she was talking about. After informing her that I was not in the mood for this kind of crap, the worst story I have ever heard came pouring out.

"I called mom. I told her I was coming over. They knew I was coming over."
"Yeah, so?"
"So, I went over."
"So what? I really don't have time for this."
"They were going at it."
"Shut the fuck up! You walked in on them?"
"No. I could hear them from the kitchen!!"
"What did you do?"
"I started banging on the wall and told them to stop."

Eww. They are not supposed to be doing that, right? I mean my parents were only supposed to have sex twice. Once to conceive me and once for my sister. Done. Stictly for procreational -- not recreational -- purposes. Confused and mildy traumatized I called my mom at home and demanded that she explain this lascivious behavior.

"You know that she and I come over unannounced all the time. You shouldn't be doing that."
"Doing what?"
"You know what. She called me."
"Do you two just play telephone all day?"
"You. Shouldn't. Be. Doing. That!"
"Why not?"
"You're old."
"I would think that you would be happy that your father and I still love each other."
"Yeah, but you don't have to love each other."
"This is none of your business. I don't probe into your personal life."
"You do everyday!"
"Hmm. Yes, and while were on this subject, are you running around with loose women?"

Fucking derailed. This is my mom, she can turn a conversation on a dime. I am the one who is supposed to be on the moral high horse and without even knowing it she trapped me within the walls of my own glass house. Interestingly, this is one of the very few conversations I have ever had with my mother about sex.

Throughout my adult life we have been engaged in this delicate dance where she gets to convince herself that her once-Catholic son, being unmarried, leads a very celibate life. Not unlike how I once naively sold myself on the idea of my parents having retired the sexual aspect of their relationship. Well since that illusion has been shattered it is time for a little tit-for-tat.

That's it. I'm shaggin' someone in my old bedroom.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Too Much Free Time

I was watching a bit of The Wizard of Oz on TV the other night. Almost everyone knows about the eerie coincidence of playing Dark Side of the Moon along with film and all of the thematic synchronizations that occur. But one of the lesser well known analysis topics surrounding the film is Frank L. Baum's original intention of his book (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). Some scholars believe that the story is an allegory for the political and social issues of the time, most notably the debate regarding the US's adherence to the gold standard and a populist movement for a "bimetallic" monetary standard where the Dollar was backed by both gold and silver.

I know, it's pretty fucking out there but we studied it a bit in my Monetary Economics class in grad school and there are some good arguments in support of the theory. Here are the supposed characters inspirations, you be the judge:

Dorothy: traditional American values
Toto: Prohibitionist party (also called Teetotalers)
Scarecrow: western farmers
Tin Woodsman: industrial workers
Cowardly Lion: William Bryan
Munchkins: citizens of the East
Wicked Witch of the East: Eastern business and financial interests Grover Cleveland
Wicked Witch of the West: William McKinley
Wizard: Marcus Alonzo Hanna (chairman of the Republican party)
Oz: abbreviation for ounce of gold
Yellow Brick Road: gold standard
Cyclone: the free silver movement
Emerald City: Washington D.C.
Emerald Palace: the White House
Silver Shoes: the silver component of a bimetallic standard

At the end of the story, the Wizard cannot help Dorothy but it is rather her silver slippers that allow her to return home.

[note: In Baum's book, Dorothy's slippers where made of silver rather than rubies.]

Monday, November 13, 2006

Holiday Marketing Haiku

CVS Christmas
They too have windows with lights
Thanksgiving not yet

Snowmen on display
No respect earned Thom Turkey
All sales are final

Rudolph and Santa
Homes have they already left
To shill shitty wares

Haikus are good fun
For Yoda I can talk like
Monday Monday blah

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday 8-Track

No particular theme today. A random smattering of good stuff.

Joseph Arthur - "Slide Away" - Nuclear Daydream

I just got turned on to this album. I need a few more spins before I give it a good mental review but so far, this track is the standout. Sructurally it's a pretty simple song but the atmospheric production really adds a lot. The background vocals are fantastic. Download it.

Matthew Good Band - "Hello Time Bomb" - Beautiful Midnight

Remember MTV2? At one time it was a really cool channel that showed a lot videos you would never see on TV. That's where I first discovered this album. This is a tight performance with cryptic and angst-ridden lyrics, good guitar tones, and a lot of straight-up rock.

Kathleen Edwards - "Westby" - Failer

A great songwriter with a lot of attitude and a filthy mouth. I love it. This is a really good album especially considering it was her first. The band can really play and Edwards' stories are funny, painful, and heartbreaking. This particular track is about an affair with an older man and a very knowing female lead:

Got your little secret no I will not tell
You're trying to sober up in the highway motel
And my hands are covered with your smell
You begged me to stay and sing you a song
I dance dirty for you cuz it turns you on
And I'm a little bleeder with white pants on

And if you weren't so old I'd probably keep you
If you weren't so old I'd tell my friends
But I don't think your wife would like my friends

I've got a hit for everyday of the week
I gave you something of mine that was so sweet
That I've been holding on to since I was sixteen
You call me Danny and I call you Mable
You passed out so I flicked through cable
And I stole your gold watch off the bed-side table

The Beatles - "With A Little Help From My Friends" - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

I heard this song for the first time in a long while just the other day. When you stop and think about it, it really is amazing how wonderfully advanced their songwriting was in the midst of a lot of "straightforward" pop music. The way that the end of "Sgt. Pepper's" modulates into the intro, the multi-layered vocal parts, and that ending...so sweet.

The Refreshments - "Banditos" - Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy

This song kicks ass. Plenty of rockin' guitar with a Star Trek TNG reference, what more does a boy need?

Electric Light Orchestra - "Do Ya" - A New World Record

I'm not much of an ELO fan but Jeff Lynne is a solid songwriter. I mean, the guy got to be a Wilbury so that's gotta mean something. I do find it amusing that this song and Sweet's "Fox On The Run" are somewhat interchangeable but what the hell. The guitar intro is real nice and it's got a great hook. While this track is littered with 70's Big Production flair, at its heart it's still just a plain ol' rock song.

The Wallflowers - "Angel On My Bike" - Bringing Down The Horse

Drunk in a shitty motel room in Dewey Beach last weekend (loooong story) I came across the Wallflowers performing on god knows what channel (it was 2am and my bunkmates were crashing through the door). I hadn't even thought about this band in years so when I got home I pulled out this album and you know what, it's just about as good as I thought it was 10 years ago. I never thought it would hold up but, waddayaknow. Little Boy Dylan got all of the press but he did have a top-notch band. The guitar playing on this album is really good and done with a lot of taste. This is one of my favorite tracks from the album.

Drive-By Truckers - "The Day John Henry Died" - The Dirty South

Is this a repeat? I feel like it is, but fuck it. Awesome tune. The song is waaaay better than the "John Henry was steel driving man" songs we used to sing in elementary school music class:

It didn't matter if he won, if he lived, or if he'd run.
They changed the way his job was done. Labor costs were high.
That new machine was cheap as hell and only John would work as well,
So they left him laying where he fell the day John Henry died.

Who doesn't love their rock served with a bit of commentary regarding the impact of industrialization on the 20th centruy American labourer? I sure do. Anyhorse, this song is a good introduction to what the Truckers are all about -- definitely worth downloading.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Things To Do Before You Die

Punkin' Chunkin'

Gettin' Our Redneck On

Pumpkins + Booze + RV = Good Times!

Oh, come on.

I just saw a commercial for Chili's. The baby-back ribs song was performed by the Old 97's. Come on!!

It Has Already Begun

I am going to be extra Scrooge-y this year. November fucking 9th. Remember that date. That was the day that the holiday marketing blitz began in the '06. A new record, an all-time low. Why can't I just consume in peace?

I wrote off yesterday as a blip. A spurious data point, perhaps? Strolling through the aisles of Target stocking up on light bulbs (I think my apartment is poorly wired) I began experiencing a buzzing sensation deep within my inner ear. That sort of pain is typically brought on by holiday music but that couldn't haven't been the case yesterday. Not this early in November. Right? Wrong. I have already repressed most of the memory so I cannot even recall what song it was but then again, all those Muzak abominations sound the same to me. I did survive however and was not yet ready to condemn society as a whole. Giving the benefit of the doubt, I assumed that it was perhaps a programming mistake. Wrong again.

This morning at my local corporate beanery I was treated to even more holiday schlock on the speakers. Further dismaying me was the sight of snowmen cookies in the pastry case and a rash of holiday gitf crap on display. As I type this rant, I am drinking this morning's "Christmas Blend" out of a red and white decorative cup. To reiterate, it is only November 9th.

Look, I am not a completely horrible person. There are many things I enjoy about Annual Gift Exchange Day. Shopping for tasteless Christmas cards, new sweaters, and the annual ritual of my parents serving Lil' Smokies with the hors d'oeuvres and me bitching about the missing "mini hot dog buns." It's all good stuff but let's give it a little bit of time. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving hasn't even aired yet.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I happened to be staring longingly into my fridge last night when one of the young ladies in the building across the street was being dropped off by a gentleman caller. I keep my kitchen window open and for whatever reason, you can hear every little thing that goes on on my street. I heard a lot of nervous laughter and looked out and saw what had to be the conclusion of a First Date.

It's funny how obvious the signs are. They were standing a good two feet apart in front of the door. He was nervously shifting his weight from one foot to the other. She kept fiddling with her handbag. There was an awkwardly loud conversation with a lot of gesticulating on his part and you could tell they were both buying time to see what would happen. "Do I make a move?" "Is he gonna kiss me or what?"

I finally realized that I was blatantly staring out the window at the two of them so I shamefully closed the refrigerator door and went about my business. From the way things looked, I'm guessing that he didn't get any. But I do love those awkward moments. They're kind of exhilirating and it's all part of the chase.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Just Under The Wire...

...well, I banged out my self-imposed piece of ficiton just like every other school assignment; shabbily and at the very last minute. This was more of a typing exercise than anything else, but this is the first piece of fiction I've written since high school. Base on the quality of content and razor sharp focus of the writing, I'd say it's as if no time has passed at all.

the wrong pants

“Maybe I left it in my other pants. Shit.”

Standing in a Trailways terminal in downtown Columbus is no place to be having a Missing Items crisis. My immediate future had become reliant upon a scrap of paper with a city and bus number written on it which had apparently walked off sometime between its inception and my current need for it. Sticking with the only investigation strategy I had, my hands took another desperate lap through the pockets of my pants in case it had been missed during the previous four searches.

“Sir, can I help you?”
“Yeah. Uh…I’m sorry, what?”
“Can I help you? Where would you like to go?”

There is no official diagnosis, but I’m pretty sure that alcohol greatly affects my short-term memory. The fact that I was on the wrong end of a daylong bender couldn’t even remember what city I was supposed to be going to had to be related. Generally aware of this affliction I’ve sort of taken to behaving like Guy Pearce in Memento and write down everything on Post It Notes when drinking. A popular point of application for this stenograph technique is my refrigerator which only ever contains beer, yellow Gatorade, hot sauce, and leftover containers -- mostly Tupperware containers pilfered form my parents’ house and Thai food boxes. The labels read either “EAT” or “DO NOT EAT.”

Scenario: I come home from a long night of drinking and need food before passing out; leftovers are in the fridge. I reach for the nearest container and dig straight in. If delicious, I label the container “EAT” and return it to the fridge. If however my first bite of beef panang causes me to throw up in my mouth, I label the container “DO NOT EAT” and return it to the fridge. I know it’s ridiculous that I don’t just throw away the spoiled food items, but that’s not the real flaw in the system. The greater issue is that anything I label as “EAT” will assuredly be mislabeled by the time I come around to it again. Therefore just about everything in my fridge is inedible when I need it. I spend a lot of time vomiting in my kitchen and it’s not the wasted food (or the stomach sickness) that bothers me but rather the process inefficiencies. The current solution theory is that I need to get rid of my fridge.

This is how I ended up trying to buy a bus ticket to nowhere; booze and bad bookkeeping. At some point in the last 24 hours I had drunkenly worked out that a) my job sucked and b) my talents were of better use elsewhere. I work as an invoice clerk, which involves using an old computer with an even older operating system (read: no transferable skills). My only real talent is my aptitude for the guitar and that assessment is based strictly upon the platitudes of family and well-meaning friends. But so be it, so given those two factors I somehow worked out that I could make more money in two days busking on the streets of ____________ than I could in a week at my shitty job. And that was pretty much it. Drunk and encouraged by my drinking buddies I whipped out a Post It and wrote down my plan to catch the next bus to ____________ where I would spend the waking hours playing songs on the street and surely pocketing several hundred dollars from entertained passersby. I knew the best place to do this was, as I recall, either Memphis or Nashville. One of these cities had a long and successful tradition of busking and I made up my mind to go there. So I wrote the my destination down, convinced it was one or the other, and four hours later was at the Trailways station with only my guitar, $132, and a missing piece Post It Note. Where the hell was I was going?

“Hang on.”

I’m not kidding about that short-term memory thing. For the life of me I can’t recall which city I decided was the one I was to be heading off to. I know that I had told myself I should visit Graceland while I was there, but again, is Graceland in Nashville or Memphis? That I definitely did not write down. There’s an irony to living your life according to rash decisions that you cannot recall only hours later.

“Uh, Nashville. Yeah, that’s gotta be it.”
“Excuse me?”
“You want a ticket to Nashville, Tennessee?”
“Um, yeah. Yes. That’s where Graceland is, right?”
“Oh, I love Paul Simon.”
“Me too. One ticket to Nashville please.”

Poll Tax

Maybe I will vote more often.

My stock argument for not voting is rational abstention; an admittedly ambiguous and near-meaningless term. I often feel unrepresented by the available candidates and as a proponent of limited government living under an enormously bloated State entity, believe that the differences between individuals elected from my district are ultimately a wash when it comes to my day-to-day. This year's Senate race in Virginia has added to my voting malaise where I was presented this morning with a choice between two equally graceless buffoons. What would motivate me to involve myself in a debate where "the lesser of two evils" and "...the devil I know" are apt metaphors? Nothing, so I voted for neither.

Local election are the ones that can have the greatest impact on my life but I live in Arlington County where the issues most often revolve around education and public works. As a childless renter, I don't really have a horse in that race. So I left the bond issues and school superintendent decisions to better motivated and educated voters.

But nonetheless I did go out and vote this morning. I checked one box and one box only. Today I became a One Issue Voter and I felt surprisingly good about it. There is still a little charge that I get from participating in the system -- even if it is flawed -- and wearing my "I Voted In Arlington" sticker today. It was a good morning...I hope my one vote mattered.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday 8-Track

I've been on a power pop kick of late so that should do nicely for today's theme. If I ever got into playing original music again, this is most likely the songwriting vein I would be mining. There is something really exhilirating about this little sub-genre with its strong melodic structures, fun if not even complex harmonies, big hooks, and lots and lots rock guitar.

Cheap Trick - "Surrender" - At Budokan

One of the masters of the "genre," Cheap Trick just plain f'in rocks. "I Want You To Want Me" would be the obvious example but for whatever reason I've gone with "Surrender." One of the cool things about this song is that it is somewhat anti-rebellious, reminding kids that their parents were once young too and probably a lot cooler than they think, "Mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird. Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away." And the live version explodes off of the Budokan album.

Teenage Fanclub - "Star Sign" - Bandwagonesque

I once stood in a half-empty 9:30 Club watching these guys play as if it was 10 years ago and those of us that were there (lots and lots of single dorks milling about by themselves) just ate it up. So, when Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) and Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) were each driving Creation label head Alan McGee insanse -- quite literally -- with their long overdue magnum opi, this little pop gem came along to suppress the demons in McGee's head. They should have been one of the most popular bands in the world. Oh well.

Gin Blossoms - "Til I Hear It From You" - Empire Records: The Soundtrack

I think this band was way too unfairly maligned. Their only real sin was being a pop band at a time when everyone thought they hated pop music. They really are a good bunch of songwriters and this song is a strong example of that. I was working at a Blockbuster the summer after I graduated high school (and for several years after) and this video was on a trailer for Empire Records that would play in the store constantly. I miss that job.

Tommy Keene - "Places That Are Gone" - Showtunes

The original EP that this song was first released on in 1984 is pretty tough to find but the live version off of the Showtunes album will suffice. A hometown guy who was supposed to be the Next Big Thing has pretty much been ignored his entire career. Hell, I didn't know who w=he was until he opened up for GBV on their final tour. But man can this guy write and play. He's still cutting albums and his last one, Crashing the Ether, is definitely worth checking out. This song is a good aural definition of power pop.

Fountains of Wayne - "Maureen" - Out-Of-State Plates

Perhaps the current reigning kings of power pop, the Fountains are great. This song would have been the B-side to "Stacey's Mom" but they decided not to release it. This record takes off from start to finish with loud guitars and high harmonies. "I know you think I'm just a friend, but can we please just put on aned, to all the Catholic imagery that you insist on feeding me?"

The Bigger Lovers - "Peel It Away"- This Affair Never Happened...And Here Are Eleven Songs About It

Here's an example of a cool band that just never made it commericially and subsequently disbanded. All I can say is this is a good album, a great song, and I wish I could have found out where they would have gone next.

Velvet Crush - "Drive Me Down" - In the Presence of Greatness

I am sure you find yourself in a lot of pretentious conversations about power pop so this is one of the bands you want to name drop (avoid the obvious Big Star references). Discovered (sort of) by Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and featuring as producer and unofficial fourth member a young Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush is yet another band that should have been really successful but instead wallowed in obscurity. Whatever, the music is great. Which leads us to...

Matthew Sweet - "Where You Get Love" - Blue Sky on Mars

This song kicks ass. When I first heard it I was kind of still hung up Girlfriend and was pleasantly surprised by this pop-y gem. I believe this was the first album after he parted ways (in the studio) with post-punk guitar legends Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd. Not that this means anything other than the fact that I want to seem cool.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

...and we're off.

I couldn't resist. The first sentence is:

Maybe I left it in my other pants.

The Not-So-Great Blogger Challenge

Via Irish Red's blog, I discovered this interesting challenge. Although intrigued, I am somewhat terrified by the notion of writing a 50,000 word novel in only a month's time. I can barely string two or three cogent thoughts together so the thought of pulling together many chapters of god knows what in such a short period of time is rather daunting.

But I like the idea; the idea of being forcibly creative under the gun. So I have come up with my own writer's challenge open to anyone and everyone. Consider it a cheap amalgamtion of National Novel Writing Month and the Project Greenlight auditions. Later today I will post one sentence. One opening sentence as great as Melville or Dickens could have ever penned, and from there I will write some rambling fictional very-short-story/post. I have no idea what the sentance will be or what I will write about. And there is no pre-determined length that said story needs to be. It will be posted by Tuesday afternoon~ish and I encourage others to try their hand and participate.

I think that one of things that draws people to this medium is that perhaps, as writers, our "skills" are better suited to the essay and short form. Here is our chance to be fictionally creative within our respective wheelhouses. You know, I don't think Dickens had any idea where his stories were going when he wrote them in installments. He just kept spinning his yarns and after 30 or so chapters he had a Great Expectations. Who knows, this could be the first chapter of your own Bleak House. That book made no damn sense to me but I am told -- by people much, much, much smarter than me -- that it is brilliant. So there you go.

Stay tuned...