Friday, April 29, 2005

Mark My Words...(or the One Where Lefty Rambles)

I was reading the new issue of Wizard*, and came across the blurb about the new Green Lantern Corps miniseries coming out in August. On that, let me just say that it's just a matter of time before some writer makes Kyle a villain. The blurb in Wizard described Kyle as:

"In his soul he is not a Green Lantern, but he is a hero. The qualities the Guardians seek out for a Green Lantern are the ones Hal Jordan possesses, and Kyle doesn't quite have those, but he tries. He might be viewed by some people as a second-rate Green Lantern, but there's nothing second-rate about him as a man."

Not exactly a glowing review of good 'ole Kyle Rayner, so I can see someone taking the easy way out and make him a villain. That would be too easy in my book, and I think it was the good Doctor over at Polite Dissent** that suggest that plot device of making turning a hero into a villain was a cop-out, a simple way of the writer not having to create a formidable villain or rehashing a hero's rogue gallery.

That being said I am looking forward to a GLC miniseries written by the very talented Dave Gibbons, although I would be a LOT more excited if he was penciling it as well.

*Yes I do pick up and read Wizard. In spite of it's short "skim the surface articles", the really shoddy pricing guide, and the HUGE catering to the "Big Two" it makes great bathroom reading.

**Dr. Scott at Polite Dissent runs a super-swell site, but one would expect given his profession he would have Dr. Strange or Dr. Mid-Nite as his favorite characters and not Hawk & Dove. Boycott his site until he relents! 'kidding, at least it's better than Mike's*** Swamp Thing fetish.

***Mike Sterling also runs a very good site for being a Swamp Thing fan. I wonder if a real Swamp Thing fan would be a vegan?


Lefty's Friday Three Questions

Every friday I ask 3 questions. My answers are in the comments area, where you can leave your own answers to the questions as well.

1.) What TV show's season finale are you most looking forward to this May?

2.) What gets you more riled up: the cost of gas, the cost of concert tickets, or the death of Blue Beetle?

3.) Do you own a concert T-shirt? If you own more than one concert t-shirt what band do you have the most concert t-shirts of?


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Cool ways to waste time

Mariposa Street in Fresno, CA (published 1903-04)

Just read in the latest Library Journal (the one with a picture of Master Chief from Halo 2, which was a bit weird to see in a Library magazine) that the New York Public Library has opened an online gallery. They have 275,000 images from 15 different collections including civil war photos, 16th century maps, Russian civil war posters, and lots more.


Two Cent Reviews

This week I picked up just a handful of books, and like a great many of you I got shut out for this weeks Infinite Crisis tie-in, Days of Vengeance. Don't read too much into that because from what I understand the problem was bad judgment on many store owners and DC's part. It wasn't that DC had printed a huge amount of OMAC and DOV #1, they just printed based on what the stores ordered with a healthy overship. The problem was that orders had to be in before Countdown came out, so all this tight-lipped we're not telling marketing run-up didn't help in initial sales. Now when the #2 issues hit we'll see a buttload of "variant" (a.k.a. Second print) of #1' those 1st print may actually be worth more in the collector's market because of scarcity, and those variants may actually be very useful to sell-through on future issues, because there's actually a need for the reprint.

Anyway, enough about that, here's my short reviews of what I picked up:

Flash #221
The Rogue War unfolds, and I have to say it was a little weird to have Flash there. He seemed out of place in his own comic. This issue was like watching the superfriends cartoon in which every opposite lines up to fight each other: heat vs cold, old vs new, etc, etc. For something that has been long in the coming, so far the Rogue War isn't paying off for me. And don't get me wrong, a have major props for Geoff Johns and his work on Flash (and the half a dozen other titles he has time to write). !! (out of 5)

Sleeper Season 2 #11
This crucial issue is a set-up for next month denouement as loyalties are revealed, a plan is put into action...and then proceeds to be shot to hell. It really looks like the series will be going out with a bang, and I have my doubts Holden will live out his days in beach sand boredom. All in all a very good issue. !!!! (out of 5)

Wonder Woman #215

Rags Morales and Michael Bair arrive for duty on Wonder Woman, and wow that dress to impress. The art is wonderful in this issue. I have to give it to DC they have really out down themselves first by giving Wonder Woman to Greg Rucka, but now to have Morales and Bair onboard is a dream come true. Of the "big three", Wonder Woman has always felt like she's that run down building that one month is a supermarket, then next months it's a Dollar store, then the next it's on of those converted "non denominational" churches. This time around, Wonder Woman feels like she is firing on all cylinders. The threat does feel more intense as Diana prepares for a trip to Hades, just as it's newest denizens prepare for revenge. The story has me hooked, and this has turned into a comic I now put at the top of my reading list. I never would have imagined it. !!!! (Out of 5)

Captain America #5

Now with less confusing plot! Yay! I have to admit the past few issues left me a little unsure what was happening, but this issue is basically the "fill in the blanks"/flashback issue and acts as the set up for the end of the current storyline. I wasn't bowled over with it, but was mildly entertained. Michael Lark's art continues to impress. ! (out of 5)

X-Men Phoenix: Endsong #5

So you're telling me all this time, Huey Lewis was right? Sing it with me:

"Don’t need money, don’t take fame
Don’t need no credit card to ride this train
It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes
But it might just save your life
That’s the power of love,
That’s the power of love"

Feel the power of love indeed! So the miniseries comes to and end...or does it? Yes that's right! I smell sequel!!! Overall I really loved this miniseries, Greg Pak hit one out of the park in a story that really felt like the X-Men of yore, a family unit that would move heaven and hell to save one and another, even if it put the universe on the line. Yes, the nature of the Phoenix is that it dies and comes back, but that last page of the book felt too much like marketing and drew me out of what otherwise would have been a fantastic read. Greg Land, despite some of his cheesecake tendencies, does a fantastic job on this issue.
!!!! (out of 5)

And my pick of the week goes to Sleeper Season Two #11.

I still have one more book to read, it's the new Ait/PlanetLar book, Filler. I plan on diving in to that one this afternoon, and while have a post of its own tonight or tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

That time of the week, here's the top 10 things burning up my time:

1.) Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse I picked up this graphic novel on a lark a month ago and just have started reading this. I would have to say that this GN enters officially on my list of comics that transcend pop culture "candy" and into the worthy realm of Literature. This definitely one of the best graphic novels I've ever read. I love the way this GN feels like a biography. It tells the story of a young man in the south during the civil rights era who struggles with his homosexuality. It's much than that. SRB addresses racial, theological, social issues in a humanizing way, avoiding pandering to the reader. If you haven't read this GN, go visit your local public library and do an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) for it NOW!

2.) "Devils & Dust", Bruce Springsteen Here's a quote a friend of mine is gonna steal from me, but I'm stealing back (yeah that's a U2 reference there): [Devils & Dust] is Johnny Cash meets Woody Guthrie. Hands down this is the best writing Springsteen has done. Each song is much like a poem. Songwise it may not be his best work, but it's still darn good. The album takes some listening to, but I was rewarded by some beautiful songs. I sensed a theme of borders in the work. On the DVD portion of the disc, Bruce says each song deals with a protagonist placed in a dangerous position. Great images throughout the work. If you're keeping score, D&D is not as good as "Nebraska" or "Lucky Town" but better than "The Ghost of Tom Joad".

3.) 24 (Fox) If you had asked me last season who my favorite non-Jack Bauer character was I would have said President Palmer. This season it's all about Chloe. I delight in how she is so sure of herself when it comes to technology that she is so matter-of-fact about admitting her superiority, but when she out of her element she reaches out to those that may feel snubbed by her....and not once do you believe she has it in her bones be to a two-faced spy -she's all good-guy...err...woman.

4.) Farscape Season 3 DVD Still a great show, but I've been feeling this season has been a little lackluster. I miss Zan. I'm about halfway through with this season.

5.) The Long Haul by Antony Johnston & Eduardo Barretto This was a fun read. I enjoyed the build-up to the heist, more than the actual heist itself. I thought some of the major characters looked a little to similar which made the robbery a little confusing keeping track who was who. All in all this book was a great light read. I did a copy of double-takes on the spine to make sure this wasn't an AiT/PlanetLar book because it had lots of great stuff going for it: a plot that was ready-made for a blockbuster movie, creators that appeared to do their homework, and a book that made me want to see out other books by the creators. I will be looking for more Oni Press books in the future...I already pick up Queen & Country also published by the good folks at Oni Press.

6.) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central) This weekend I watched a month's worth of Daily Shows and finally got caught up. I love the supporting cast of the show. Remember when SNL was at their best and you just had to tune in each week to see what they'd do? Well, it's the same thing for me on T.D.S.

7.) Rainbow 6 Black Arrow (Xbox) Ok, I'll admit I switched over to Halo 2 for a little bit to check out the two new, free maps...but then I switched back to Rainbow 6. This weekend I'll be able to crow about my team, AOW's victory of my wife's team Rump (hmm more like Chump) in a head to head match.

8.) The Amazing Race (CBS) My favorite show on TV. I missed last night's episode and ended up in a fight with my wife over it. I did see the last 10 minutes that she managed to record, but damn it if there ever was an episode I wanted to see in its entirety it would be this one just to explain to me how Meredith and Gretchen were able to come in 2nd in this week's leg of the race.

9. The Apprentice 3 (NBC) One of the better reality shows, and it's now headlong towards the finish. One of my favorites got "fired" last week, so now I'm rooting for the Tana.

10.) Survivor (CBS) Yes they 'jumped the shark' with the Survivor All-Stars, but with the recent emphasis/storyline on Stephanie's struggle to win the game despite tremendous odds, it's made for good television. I secretly hope it does come down to Tom the firefighter and Steph, but the problem with Survivor is that it's not often the BEST player wins the prize, it's the more cunning and lucky.


Mixed Bag: Full Steam Ahead

I was going to post the track listings of all those participating in the first annual Mixed Bag. After some debate, and comments in earlier posts, I've decided to wait until all the bloggers had had a chance to receive the Mixed Bag discs and can experience the different musical choices for themselves. I will say this I was surprised by some of the choices, some tracks were even almost chosen on my own Mixed Bag, and there are a great many bands/musicians I've never heard of. So I'm excited to have my mind and ears expanded and experience some new music.

For those involved, I will be emailing you all today or this evening with instructions and addresses of the other participants. I also want to pass along that one of our participants has a surprise for us. Without giving his track listing away, Larry Young of AiT/PlantLar named his Mixed Bag: The CousCous Express Soundtrack. Larry goes on to say: "Everybody's going to get a copy of the book, too, because that's how I roll."

Looking forward to hearing all of your Mixed Bags. I'm enjoying mine here at work right now. It sounds real good.


The Train Kept A'Rollins

Last night I got a special treat, a friend had an extra ticket to listen to Henry Rollins speak at Fresno State. I'm peripherally aware of Henry Rollins from Black Flag and the Rollins Band, although I couldn't name you a song. I've also seen him a few times on VH1 and some of his TV gigs. I knew it was at least going to be an engaging monologue.

When Henry came out,he got the obvious out of the way...he's shorter than people expect him to be, but he still has his hair. He talked about attraction, and how even men are now caught up in the fashion of looking "hot". Rollins said that unbeknownst to some in the audience, everyone looks attractive to someone, you just may not respond in kind. He proceeded to about his questions about why some people, including a cab driver from Pakistan, found him attractive.

He spoke about his travels, particularly his ride aboard the Trans-Siberian Express in winter. This travel led into other monologues about when guys are most "real" (when they are caught by surprise, and when they vomit), and the importance of keeping busy and evolving.

He spoke at some lengths about landing a role in a movie and the death of a childhood friend's mother. This lead into the gift of humor, and it's importance in the human struggle.

He also spoke about Bush and his gang of villains, and what it really means to be an American in the land of the free and the brave. This was parlayed into a talk about his involvement with the USO and visiting wounded soldiers here in the U.S. It was horrible stuff he was describing. I was most affected when he mentioned the mothers of the wounded soldiers. He did a great job in bringing home the point that our soldiers were sent out in a useless war without the right leaders, the right equipment, and the right support.

The night ended with Henry encouraging the audience to get pissed off, and to use that energy to spend even one hour a year to change the world for the better to exact our revenge.

Henry spoke for about 2 hours. It was thought-provoking, inspiring, very funny, and moving. If he heads into your neck of the woods, check it out by all means.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

This Blog Is Evolving

I've been slowly updating/editing/changing links on the sidebar. I just wanted to point fellow Netflix lovers to this blog: Hacking Netflix.

BTW, if any fellow bloggers and Netflix members want to jump in on my Netflix friend's list, drop me an email. I've been enjoying seeing what a few of my friends have watched as of late. As for myself, I'm nearly halfway done with season 3 of Farscape.


Go read this...

I thank God for small miracles. I thank God for Paul Taylor. He is probably the smartest man I know and I am so thankful that he has continued to post stuff for nearly a year fairly regularily. Go read his post today, especially that last paragraph.

And yes I got the Simon & Garfunkel reference in the title.

As for me, I got very little to post today, but I'll try to have some new stuff later that doesn't involve Mixed Bag. And for those involved with Mixed Bag, all I can say you're going to enjoy the announcement tommorrow. Actually, should I even post everyone's track listing, or should I save that for a surprise? Oh, and once again Larry Young proves why AiT/PlanetLar rocks 'da hizzie (that IS what the kids are saying right?)


Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday, The Last Mixed Bag Update

Only a few more hours to join up for the Mixed Bag. Right now we are up to 15 bloggers with only five open spots left. If you want to take part, read the instructions here, and drop me an email. I'll close this down when I either get 20 participants or by the end of my working day this evening (4 PM PST). I've begun to get track listing from each of the participants. I'll be posting the track listings on Wednesday. If you haven't sent one in just make sure I have it before Wednesday. I'm sad to say I'm still working on mine, but should be finished before I head to bed this evening. I've seen this musical experiment described as a contest on another blog, so I just want to clarify this isn't a contest, but a sampling of what music is connecting with (and sometimes defining) the lives of various bloggers in this cluster of folks connected in many different ways (in this case many of them are in the comic book blogosphere, but it is enriching to see a few that aren't). Here's the listing of the 15 bloggers already taking part:

AiT/PlanetLar ---> Larry Young
Delenda Est Carthago---> Greg Burgas> Fred Hembeck
House of the Ded---> Logan Polk
In One Ear---> Thom Gladhill
The Johnny Bacardi Show---> Johnny Bacardi
Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood---> Ken Lowery
LeftyBrown's Corner---> Chris "Lefty" Brown
The Life of a Wife and Teacher---> Kelly Brown
MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog---> MercuryX23
Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin---> Mike Sterling
Near Mint Heroes---> Shane Bailey
Polite Dissent---> Scott Morrison
Postmodern Barney---> Dorian Wright
Roxy's World---> Roxy
Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like?---> Tom Collins

Update: We will be running with 16 participants for this Mixed Bag. Most of those involved have already emailed me their track listings, if you haven't please have it to me by this evening.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Mixed Bag Sunday Update

Up to 15 bloggers.

For instruction on how you can be involved in Mixed Bag Music, go here. Listed below are bloggers taking part (so far) in the Mixed Bag:

AiT/PlanetLar ---> Larry Young
Delenda Est Carthago---> Greg Burgas> Fred Hembeck
House of the Ded---> Logan Polk
The Johnny Bacardi Show---> Johnny Bacardi
Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood---> Ken Lowery
LeftyBrown's Corner---> Chris "Lefty" Brown
The Life of a Wife and Teacher---> Kelly Brown
MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog---> MercuryX23
Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin---> Mike Sterling
Near Mint Heroes---> Shane Bailey
Polite Dissent---> Scott Morrison
Postmodern Barney---> Dorian Wright
Roxy's World---> Roxy
Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like?---> Tom Collins

Once again last day to take part is next Monday.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Mixed Bag Saturday Update

For instruction on how you can be involved in Mixed Bag Music, go here. Listed below are bloggers taking part (so far) in the Mixed Bag:

AiT/PlanetLar ---> Larry Young
Delenda Est Carthago---> Greg Burgas> Fred Hembeck
House of the Ded---> Logan Polk
The Johnny Bacardi Show---> Johnny Bacardi
Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood---> Ken Lowery
LeftyBrown's Corner---> Chris "Lefty" Brown
The Life of a Wife and Teacher---> Kelly Brown
MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog---> MercuryX23
Near Mint Heroes---> Shane Bailey
Polite Dissent---> Scott Morrison
Postmodern Barney---> Dorian Wright
Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like?---> Tom Collins

Once again last day to take part is next Monday.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Lefty's Friday Three Questions

For those with the home edition of "Lefty's Friday Three Questions", every Friday I ask 3 questions. My answers to the questions are in the comments area, where you are invited to leave your own answers to the questions as well.

1.) Is it time for Tom Delay to step down as majority leader?

2.) Band geek, stoner, loner, chess nerd, hippie. It's time to fess up to what clique you found yourself in high school. What it a good experience or something that you just have to let go of?

3.) What the best rock n roll movie ever made? I'm not talking about a live concert, because hands down IMHO that should be Talking Head's "Stop Making Sense" or The Band's "The Last Waltz".


Thursday, April 21, 2005

This linkblogging goes to 11

11. My wife ponders growing old AND being adopted. Witness this multitasking.

10. Paul Taylor writes yet another political diatribe more concise and thought-provoking than I ever I'm linking to it. Here he nails the "Hammer".

9. Peter Chattaway connects the dots and gets me excited for a future Jack Black comedy, with possible religious connotations.

8. Echidne of the Snakes posts about a recent Time magazine article on Ann Coulter and FAIR's response.

7. Iddybud posts on John Edwards podcasts, which strike me as a really great idea, and fueling the rumor jar on who is running in 2008 I'm sure. (Mental note to myself, d/l Edward's podcasts)

6. Musing's musing posts about what the Pope Benedict XVI's election may mean.

5. T. Rex's Guide to Life shows you the face of (some) NRA members...just the crazy lunatic ones.

4. Steve Gilliard's News Blog posts on Eric Alterman posting about Time's article on Anne Coulter.

3. The Comics Reporter asks some important questions about comic book publishing numbers. I wonder if it's time for the monthly floppy to go the way of the dodo.

2. Shane of Near Mint Heroes posts about the works of potential Hall of Fame Eisner award nominees. The same post can be found at the very cool site, Visionary Ink.

1. Look! Doggies here, and here.


Mixed Bag Participant Thursday Update

We are up to 9 participants. I have to say I'm really looking forward to hearing what been soothing these savage beasts...or what's been putting the fire in their bellies. As for myself I've begun the process of picking Cds that I've been listening to but haven't filed away yet, and have begun choosing what might find it's way onto a CDR mix. There's always a struggle between picking stuff I really groove to and keeping the ones that flow from one song to another evoking the mood. It's a happy chore.

For instruction on how you can be involved in Mixed Bag Music, go here. Listed below are bloggers taking part (so far) in the Mixed Bag:

ATI/PlanetLar ---> Larry Young
Delenda Est Carthago---> Greg Burgas> Fred Hembeck
House of the Ded---> Logan Polk
Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood---> Ken Lowery
LeftyBrown's Corner---> Chris "Lefty" Brown
The Life of a Wife and Teacher---> Kelly Brown
MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog---> MercuryX23
Near Mint Heroes---> Shane Bailey
Polite Dissent---> Scott Morrison
Postmodern Barney---> Dorian Wright

Once again last day to take part is next Monday.


The Death of Spider-Man

Consider me officially on the bandwagon that wants J. M. Stracynski off of Amazing Spider-man. Don't get me wrong, he's written some pretty cool stuff. I'm probably one of a handful who really liked the Ezekiel addition to the Spider-man mythos. And I am appreciative that we didn't see many of the recycled legion of Spider-man villains that cycle through the book like the seasons. However the new villains never made me feel like it was life or death for poor ole Petey. That being said this new issue has a pretty strong image on the cover. I do enjoy Mike Deodato Jr's art. On the cover, we have a costumed Peter Parker sandwiched between his two strengths in his life....and then the image is distracted by that annoying UPC code hovering over Aunt May's head, looking ready to crush her.
**Spidey senses tingling!***

The inside of the book doesn't get any better. While I usually like J.M.S.'s writing, he can occasionally get bogged down in being overly-sentimental. After the loss of Aunt May's home last issue, J.M.S. goes to the well of oversentimentality over and over again.

Okay, Okay..I can bear through that but then there is this giant new change in Parker's life now that Spidey is an Avenger, and membership has it's privileges. His new status is a giant pill to swallow and gets stuck in the windpipe when we see Wolverine making pretty with the boys when the Parkers are introduced to members of this new band of Avengers. J.M.S. tries a some interesting, although already been done, stuff that falls flat. Captain America getting chummy with senior citizens because he's from that era...check! Wolverine getting a hard-on for someone else's significant other...check! Hydra reforming to conquer the United States...check......waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh?!?! Who got their Avengers comic in my Amazing Spider-Man comic? This just feels like Spider-Man been sent to the bleachers and spends most of the issues waiting for the coach to put him in.

I don't know how these developments will work out, or how long lasting they'll stay. Spider-Man has been in worse hands, i.e. Spider-clones. Is J.M.S. making the best out of an editorially-mandated situation? I had thought that he was virtually working with a net but with minor editorial remarks, but like a great many things, I could be wrong.

Anyway this issue finally has reached my limits. Isn't a new creative team on the way? Soon? Purty please?


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mixed Bag Participant Update

For instruction on how you can be involved in Mixed Bag Music, go here. Listed below are bloggers taking part (so far) in the Mixed Bag:

Me (Chris "Lefty" Brown) of LeftyBrown's Corner
MercuryX23 at MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog
Shane at Near Mint Heroes
Kelly (aka Mrs LeftyBrown) at The Life of a Wife and Teacher
Greg at Delenda Est Carthago
Ken at Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood
Logan at House of the Ded
Larry of ATI/PlanetLar

I have also been told, and I second it, that we need to twist Tom the Dog's and Johnny Bacardi's arms to take part; because their musical tastes are impeccable. While I'm at it let me go for the gusto and see if I can convince the ever busy musical jukebox Larry "Parachute Pants" Young to the listening party.

Once again last day to take part is next Monday.

Update: As you can see in the growing list, the list has grown to include one of my hopefuls, Larry Young.

Any other takers?
(I'm now secretly hoping for Becky Cloonan who strikes me as a music driven artist)


Musical Tidbits

**I just blew my mind the other day. I was reading an issue of Hittin' The Note (an Allman Brothers magazine) and read an article about the Tom Dowd documentary. Imagine if you will, Eric Clapton getting the notion to have a music festival in honor of Tom Dowd and then invited many of the artists that have worked with the late producer. The festival would have to run two or three days, maybe more just to fit them all in. Could you imagine who would be invited: Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Booker T & the M.G's, Solomon Burke, Chicago, Eric Clapton, a reformed Cream, Deep Banana Blackout, some semblence of Derek & the Dominoes, Dr. John, Tinsley Ellis, Aretha Franklin, a reformed James Gang, Love & Money, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Herbie Mann, Meatloaf, Eddie Money, Rod Stewart, Billy Vera & the Beaters, a re-formed Wet Willie. It would melt my brain.

**How long must I wait until I get my ears wrapped around a new Darkness CD?

**I really must look into the back catalog of Warren Zevon, Brian Wilson (with his current band), California Guitar Trio, Iron Maiden, Los Super Seven, and I need to pick up a Public Enemy Best Of CD.


Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

This weeks Top Ten will is a bit music heavy and comic content light, as I am such an anal-retentive fanboy that I am waiting to read vols 2 & 3 of The Couriers until I can find a copy of vol. 1. Here we go:

1.) The Amazing Race 7(CBS) TAR is one of two shows that I simply can't wait to watch each week. We heading towards the finale and 3/4 of the teams that are left deserve to be there. As for the other 1/4, the only way they'll get to the finish line ahead of the others is if they trip, fall, whine their way there. Sure I respect Meredith and Gretchen's ability to outlive some of the other better teams, but it's only a matter of time. Last night's episode has me now pulling for Uchenna and Joyce, but teams Rob and Amber & Ron and Kelly have all proved their mettle. This has been one of the best seasons of the Amazing race.

2.) Los Super 7 "Heard It on the X" Incredible mix of music. I don't know too much about the group other than each of their albums (this is the third) have a theme. Some critics have suggested that this is their weakest album, but if it is it is still head and shoulders above most other music. This CD features guest stars galore covering songs one might have heard on the Mexican radio stations that made Wolfman Jack a household name. So far this is one of my favorite CDs of 2005.

3.) Allman Brothers Band "Instant Live 10/10/04 San Antonio, TX" What a great show. I'm a fan of these Instant Live series which is basically a soundboard recording of live concerts. On this concert the ABB dives right into the Texas sound with their version of "The Sky is Crying" and knocks one out of the park with "Who's Been Talking" and an incredible "Dreams". This also features the much-loved return of "Blue Sky" to the setlist with Gregg on vocals.

4.)Susan Tedeschi "Live from Austin, TX" I'm so glad that we are beginning to see more releases from the venerable show "Austin City Limits". I hope we see more of these in the future from it's long history. Susan gives a great performance, along with her amazingly talented band featuring future star, Jeff Sipe. This is a welcome change from her previous studio album that had great playing, but felt a little sterile. Here those same songs come alive along with some of her other great songs and a few covers including "Don't Think Twice It's Alright", "Voodoo Woman", and "Angel From Montgomery".

5.) 24 (Fox) Yay, next episode former President Palmer returns! This season has been full of twists and turns, and the main terrorist always seems to be one-step ahead of Bauer and the folks at CTU. Only 6 episodes left.

6.) Faces "Good Boys..When They're Asleep" I picked up this best of Faces CD for just a few dollars. I have Wink and a Nod, and love it, but wanted to hear some more. After hearing these other songs I think I'm going to end up picking up the box set in the near future. I've been told, and agree that the limit of Rod Stewart's musical goodness ends with his first solo album, so I'm more than happy to mine this treasure cove of great music.

7.)Eric Alterman "It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad You're Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen" My friend and Springsteenologist, Paul Taylor loaned me his copy of this book. Eric Alterman is best known for political and historical writing, but his love for music shines through in this tome for Bruce Springsteen. This book has been such a pleasure to read, I've been diving into a chapter a day during my lunch break. I should finish on the day I pick up "Devils & Dust".

8.) Rainbow 6 Black Arrow (Xbox) Yes I'm still playing this quite a bit, so I won't go into a big explanation about it.

9.) Arrested Development (Fox) My fingers are stilled crossed. The Fox website says the series returns this summer, but no news if they will be reruns or new episodes. Hands down one of the funniest shows on T.V.

10.) True Story Swear to God #12-13 Picked up my missing issue (#12) at A.P.E. a few weeks ago. This last two issues had a lot of humor in them, including a LOL moment that had my wife giving me the "you're a freak" look featuring a giant cockroach and a predatory cat. While these issues did include a lot of humor, I have to say there is a very real emotional theme running through both issues as Tom deals with the reality of being displaced from home and when the fairy tale romance becomes a 'work in progress'. Great stuff!


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Blogger Mixed Bag Update

My original post may have been a bit confusing, let me break it down for those folks still having questions:

1. No more than 20 bloggers will be involved in this experiment. The chance to jump in this ends on Monday the 25th when we close up applicants and run with who we've got.

2. Each blogger will put together a "mixtape" CDR of different music they are curretnly grooving to. They will make a copy of their CDR for the other participants of the Blogger Mixed Bag.

3. If a blogger wants to participate they'll need to contact me at my email address listed at the top of the sidebar on the right-hand side. Please include your mailing address, and the web address of your blog.

4. On Monday I will have a full listing of all participating bloggers. Also on Monday participiating bloggers should email me the track listing of the CDR (and any other info/reflections/title/etc they want to include).

5. On Wednesday I will post everyone's track listing. Also on Wednesday I will privately email the other participants the mailing address of all the bloggers involved. At this time the bloggers should start making copies for the others.

6. Once copies are made please mail one copy to each of the bloggers, all copies should be int he mail within the first few days of May.

7. It would also be nice if the other bloggers participating would post on what they liked/disliked/who's CDR rocked/etc.

Update on the update: So far we have three participants, they are:

Me (Chris "Lefty" Brown) of LeftyBrown's Corner
MercuryX23 at MercuryX23's Fantablous Blog
Shane at Near Mint Heroes
Kelly (aka Mrs LeftyBrown) at The Life of a Wife and Teacher
Greg at Delenda Est Carthago
Ken at Ken Lowery Presents: Ringwood


Rice: Kremlin Power, Russia Media 'Very Worrying'

Here's a snippet from Reuters:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, starting a two-day trip to Moscow, said on Tuesday the Kremlin's tightening grip on power and Russia's pliant media were "very worrying."

"The centralization of state power in the presidency at the expense of countervailing institutions like the Duma (parliament lower house) or an independent judiciary is clearly very worrying. The absence of an independent media on the electronic side is clearly very worrying," she added.

She also was heard calling the kettle black.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Blogger Mixed Bag

Let's start May off with a bang and share what music we've been grooving to as of late. It's a cool way of getting exposed to cool music you may have missed, never heard, or wanted to hear. This is an open call for any blogger you wants to participate. I'll keep this offer open until I reach twenty bloggers willing to take part or until Monday the 25th at 10:00 AM PST. Each blogger that would like to take part will make a collection of music they been enjoying and then we'll make copies of the collection for every participating blogger (up to 20 people).

As soon as you signal your participation I'll update this post with a link to your blog. This week start thinking what you'd like to put on your CD. Next Monday each blogger will email me what's they included on their CD so that on Wednesday of next week I can post each blogger's collection CD (and whatever name you give it). Then in the first week of May we'll mail out the discs to each other.

If you would like to participate just email me (link is on the right hand sidebar of this blog) with your blogname, link to your site, and your mailing address. Your mailing address will not be posted. When the deadline is reached I will email each participant with the mailing address for each other. After this little experiment is over the mailing address will be trashed.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Lefty's Friday Three Questions

For those playing at home or work, every Friday I ask 3 questions. I include my three answers in the comments section where you are invited to leave your own answers there as well.

1.) I've been having fun watching Farscape. What's the best science fiction you've read or watched?

2.) Create a reality show that they haven't done yet, but should.

3.) Last week, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey won Isotope's annual mini-comic competition. He's the new hotness, but what other new creators should Leftybrown and his devoted readers be on the lookout for?


The Things You Discover About Yourself

I'm bisexual.

No, no, no. But I read an article in the SF Chronicle about a free site called, which offers to find information about anyone. Intrigued to see what information would be revealed, I visited the site and put in my information. The address was correct, the phone number was old, and so was I. It said I was born in 1946, making me 59 years old. And here I only thought I was only wise beyond my years.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

You found this blog how?

Here are some of the recent searches that ended up finding my blog, for no good reason:

ellis hip hop cd dc "cha

Warren Ellis master of comics books, the internet and now hip hop! My favorite track is the Identity Crisis Ass-rape Remix.

lean on me music video in the gym 2005

Hmm, a British search for a music video in the gym. Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong gym, because every single freakin' time I'm in the gym it's turned on to either Fox News or ESPN. Thank you XM Radio, for providing me with a good alternative.


Wow, a search from Japan. Word of advice, pick it up, they are fantastic shows. Plus it's the return of "Blue Sky" to the setlist.

k d lang tearing pope picture on saturday night live pictures

Hmm, wrong singer. Try again this time using Sinead O'Conner.

chris and dominique relationship poem

I betcha 2 dollars it's an acrostic with Dominique's name spelled on the vertical. Oh it's from a book? Nevermind.

the night gwen stacy died comic book scan

It was a dark and gloomy night...or so my spidey senses tell me.


Short Takes

- How long must LeftyBrown wait before Chico & the Man TV series comes out on DVD?

- Lefty is having a tough time finding a cheap hotel in Santa Barbara in May for an Allman Brothers concert, then it hit me why...the Michael Jackson trial. Damn.

- Is it a sign of the apocalypse that I am actually starting to listen to Jerry Springer on Air America, and that he is starting to make sense?

- I'm thinking about starting a pool for how long it will take for Tom Delay to finally step down from leadership. My own guess is that it'll happen in about three weeks.

- There's a reason why they call Social Security "the third rail", just looks at Bush's numbers. Actually I think gas prices have more to do with Bush's popularity slide than S.Security or Terry Schiavo.

- I miss being able to hear Rachel Maddow and Chuck D. on my way to work in the morning.


Velvet Revolver: Hello Fresno!!!

SO yesterday Velvet Revolver blew through town. Opening for VR was the hard rockin' band, Hoobastank. When my friend and I got into the Savemart Center we were relieved to see that a lounge had opened to protect us from that which is Hoobastank. So while thousands of people waiting anxiously to listen to the band play "The Reason", which they never ever hear on the radio, MTV, or VH1, we were watching my SF Giants lose another one to the dreadful L.A. Dodgers and throwing back Fat Tire Ale. During our lounging I remarked that pairing Hoobastank with Velvet Revolver was sorta like a presidential campaign. As a presidential candidate, Velvet Revolver then needed to chose a running mate that would bring in other key demographics, in this case the teeny-bopper (with parents) card.

Anyway, after the noise died down we made our way to the floor and noticed that the Savemart Center was largely empty. There were wide amount of empty room on the top tiers of the stadium. Not even the general admission floor was crowded. Granted the concert was in the middle of the week, but man for a local show this was pitiful.

The show was really lackluster. My main complaint was the sound. The sound was simply horrible. I have a feeling that the sound "engineers" were wired for sound in theatres and not for caverns like the Savemart Center. The treble was much too high, washing out many of the vocals and especially the background vocals. It seems the soundboard folks were just making sure that everyone could feel the beating of the drums, and once done decided their job was done. The problem with the sound made songs that once held nuance become chants. It was even hard to hear the differences in the tones of the two guitars.

Performance wise it was much better. I liked the simple set, complete with their American Bandstand-looking name in lights, the use of strobe lighting, and the use of the backdrops. Scott Weiland continues to evoke a poor man's Mick Jagger with his strange body gyrations that proved at once silly and entertaining and strangely exciting. Oh, and Scott made frequent use of a bullhorn. Slash did a good job and had a few moments to shine. The band also made good use of the stage.

The setlist included, I think, all of their album plus 3 Guns & Roses songs and 3 Stone Temple Pilots songs. All of those songs went over really, really well. So, all in all the show was a disappointment. Definitely not worth the $45, the tickets really should've been about $20 cheaper. At least I had a good time chatting and snarking about the show with my musical compadre, Tony Holt...who I hope posts his own review on his great blog.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

Here's this week's top ten things occupying my time and fascination:

1. Farscape Season 2 DVDs Just finished season 2 with season 3 now on the way from Netflix. Overall a pretty good season. This is a pretty good sci-fi show that had a good run.

2. 24 (Fox) I still dig this season quite a bit. I enjoy that the threats keep unfolding, and I like the world-weariness of Jack Bauer.

3. Los Super 7 "Heard It On the X" What a freakin' great CD. This mexicano-blues-rock album is an homage to the Tex/Mex radio stations just across the borders.

4. Greg Rucka "Queen & Country:A Gentleman's Game" Just finished the book yesterday. It was quite enjoyable and I kept wonder how Chase would get out of her predicament with only a few 50 or so pages left. Also something happens to a character I liked that serves the book well, but I'm sorry to see happen. 'Nuff said.

5. Bruce Springsteen "Nebraska" Wow. I think this just might be my favorite Springsteen album. I just got this through My last month's pick was Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" I didn't find all that entertaining, but this is a complete 360. I love the song lyrics, I love the quiet hushed feel of this album. You can almost feel the road-weariness.

6. Arrested Development (Fox) I'm a little freaked out that this show is "on the bubble" as to whether or not it will be renewed for next year. This is the smartest & funniest show on TV, bar none.

7. Rainbow 6: Black Arrow (Xbox) Yep, still playing it...just not as much as I used to.

8. The Amazing Race (CBS) The number of the teams I've been rooting for are dwindling. Thankfully Rob and Amber are still in the hunt for the prize. This has been a stellar run this outing.

9. Desperate Housewives (ABC) Finally got caught up on the show after watching 3 episodes in a row. I like that the mysteries seem to moving along. It's sad that whatever conflicts these actresses may be having off the set is creating a negative buzz, because the writing has been quite good.

10. "Left of the Dial" (HBO) This 'warts and all' look at the first year of Air America was really interesting. I had no idea just how close Air America was to folding. It's interesting watching this documentary and seeing the folks no longer on the air, replaced by the less than stellar Jerry Springer. I also liked the focus on Randi Rhodes. She was way overlooked when it came to the "star power" of Franken and Garafolo, but hands down Rhodes is the best thing Air America has going for it.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Free Write Tuesdays

[I'm just writing whatever the heck comes out without shaping much of what I write, so read accordingly]

Walt Whitman, Woody Guthrie, and Bruce Springsteen approached me in my dreams last night. They spoke about a country that had gone missing, secretly replaced by a Starbucks posing as a Walmart that had a church in it's food court. Walt had Woody by the nuts and proclaimed that the future of America laid in Guthrie's semen. Springsteen stretched out his right arm and pointed like Babe Ruth and said "Go forth and multiply!" Walt put his tongue in my ear and breathlessly whispered for me to call him 'Captain'. I hid my erection from my wife and the congregation that had gathered to watch Bruuuuuuuuce play "Backstreets".

Somewhere a president cowered. Somewhere in a place formerly known as America a boy believes in the promised land. Somewhere a child spills his water and his blood on sands that cradled civilization, his final thoughts are of watching his cousin in a Mickey Ds playground and the taste of special sauce.

Gone are the mites and mice that gnawed on our house and stirred us to wake. Gone are the days in which the sunsets baked our minds in holy wonder. No more heroes and firemen to carry us to safety. We sleep and dream like photographs -no, more like television.


Monday, April 11, 2005

File Under miscellaneous

On babies: Had the chance to have lunch with some friends on my way from A.P.E. to Fresno. They have a small child who is beginning to crawl but at this point the kid is doing the most excellent centipede. Next week he'll learn the pop-n-lock.

Road music: On my way home I decided I wanted a CD to listen to. After hitting a few places I could not find a single place that had Panjabi MC in stock, but I found two really great CDs: Los Super 7 "Heard It on the X" and Susan Tedeschi "Live From Austin". I highly recommend the Los Super 7, what a friggin' great disc. If you like Mexicano/Blues/Rock/Horns you must get this CD.

Even More Music: Then when I got home I discovered I had some CDs come in the mail. As per a recommendation I saw on another blog, I picked up The Flaming Lips "The Soft Bulletin". I also finally succumbed and picked up The Killers "Hot Fuss". And coming to the party late I finally picked up Guns & Roses "Use Your Illusion II" and Iron Maiden "Piece of Mind". These past year I've begun to appreciate those metal bands that I thought would lead me to worshipping the devil or wearing spandex. I'm also seeing Velvet Revolver here in town this Wednesday. Of the more bizarre pairings, who the hell decided that Hoobastank was a good opener for V.R. It's like oil and water, should be fun to see the results at least.

Sin City: To clarify matters. I saw the film. I liked it. It's the closest thing to translating a comic book to film. But I'm not wild about it. The problem with adapting a noir comic or book to film is the cheesy noir dialogue..and having Bruce Willis sleepwalk through your film.

Isotope: I went to the after-A.P.E. party. It was my first time visiting Isotope. It's called a comic book lounge. In my head I had this picture of a roomy comic shop with lots of shelves and couches and chairs, and maybe a bar. It was a good vision to be shattered because James Sime proves you can still have your average looking comic book space and turn it into the hippest comic book shop on the West Coast just by ambiance, toilet seat art, and a comic book prophet as the owner of said establishment. I'm making mental notes in case I ever go into the business.


Danger Will Robinson!

Well it was bound to happen. My wife has now started blogging. You can check out her blog, The Life of a Wife and Teacher. Her blog needs a little tweaking, and I hope a better name, but she's off an running.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Before my head meets the pillow

I just got back from the After-APE party at Isotope. I chose not to go to the Drive By Truckers concert, 'cause after walking around all day my dogs could only handle on more function. Anyway, here's the minicomic that won the 2005 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics: The Last Sane Cowboy by a Brit, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey. I read the mini-comic and it's pretty good and a tad surreal. It's a western meets the afterlife meets High Noon. Good stuff. Daniel has a website here.

Isotope was PACKED. You could barely move. It was a good mixture of fans, creators, and those there for the free drinks.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Lefty's Short Report from A.P.E. 2005

Well I am back at the hotel, resting my feet, contemplating what "concert food" I'll have for dinner, and gearing up for the next leg of my San Francisco journey. A.P.E. was jumping today, with a lot of booths, a lot of people, and long lines for Flight v.2. Their booth was a mad house, I didn't pick up the book, but looked through it and it looks really nice. Can't wait for my copy to hit the ole local comic book shop.

-Ricks Spears and Rob G.-

My first stop was at the Gigantic booth. After waiting so patiently for A.P.E. to come around I finally picked up the Teenagers From Mars TPB, and the Dead West preview story. I had a good chat with them, had my book signed and Rob G. was cool enough to do a head sketch (I'll post that when I get back to Fresno).

I wandered the many booths and eventually landed at Tom "nicest guy in comics" Beland's True Story Swear to God booth. We chewed the fat, I picked up a missing issue, and Tom was gracious enough to do another sketch for me. As an unexpected bonus, members of Tom's family (including Lily). For long-time readers of TSSTG have fun identifying the folks in the pic below with their images in the book.

-The actual real cast of True Story Swear to God (collect them all)

And were walking and walking and walking and having James Sturm sign your copy of Unstable Molecules. And we walking and walking...

I think I looked like a stalker over at the ATI/PlanetLar booth. After picking up vol. 2 & 3 of the couriers and having these palooks sign 'em:
-Brian Wood and Rob G.

..I waited to say hi to Larry Young and get him to sign my copies of Astronauts in Trouble and True Facts. Larry was really really busy with people so I waited, left, came back, left came back, ad eventually got to say thanks and chat a short bit with him.

I chatted up a few creators to see how they broke their eyeteeth on publishing their comics, and picked up some real cool stuff that I can't wait to read. I'm particularly looking forward to a book that looks really great, Rex Steele. The artist on Rex, Bill Presing was kind enough to give me a head sketch. Their booth was hoping all day because of a really, really great DVD they had playing of Rex Steele, one I regret not picking up. Here's a pic of Bill Presing and the Rex Steele DVD animator, Alex Woo:

-Bill Presing and Alex Woo

The other find I can't wait to read is Ryan Claytor of Elephant Eater Comics. I picked up these three minicomics called And Then One Day. These minicomics have a felt cover that sold me immediately. I forgot to take a pic of Ryan, but I do recommend his stuff.

Well off to dinner, a concert, and later the Isotope after-APE party.


Friday, April 08, 2005

This Comic Has NO Title

I've been thinking about a title for this comic I've now commenced writing. I usually don't get hung up on titles when I'm writing, but now that I'm writing something that is a little less recreational and have hopes to one day publish, I think a lot about my unofficial patron saint of comics, Larry Young who runs ATI/PlanetLar. A good title helps market a comic. Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise is a great of the best in my opinion. Larry has a slew of great titles. Astronauts in Trouble, what guy (and girls too) doesn't want to read about one of childhood "real" superheroes finding themselves in trouble. The title rocks. Tom Beland's True Story Swear To God is another great title.

So I'm writing a comic about a man who goes missing leaving his wife a new purpose in life, to find her missing husband. Eventually the series will pick up some X-file-y sci-fi mixed in with some Fugitive themes. So while driving about town I've been tossing around titles. The best hook I've thought of is "Looking for Luther", or "Searching for Luther". I've also thought about changing the missing man's name to Lloyd, because "Looking for Lloyd" sounds better with the long "o" sound. But I want something more, something that encapsulates the mystery and makes the potential buyer consider giving the book a chance.

Meanwhile, I'm just about on page two. Which isn't saying much because the first two pages provide setting and builds to the start of the mystery. So I've also been filling in the blanks storywise and what I aim to do in this arc. This also brings up some questions as to whether it's more cost effective to publish in OGNs (collecting a story arc possibly) or to publish in a floppy. Maybe it's too early to start thinking about that. I do want to finish a story arc before I start the hunt for an artist who can draw in a realistic style...not to mention an inker. Geez, this may get expensive.


Lefty's Friday Three Questions

At long last it's Friday. Time to play 3 Questions. My answers will be in the comments area of the blog where you can leave your own answers to the 3 questions.

1.) Have you bought a CD based solely on the recommendation of a blogger? Is so what was it, did you like it, and who recommended it?

2.) Have you ever purposefully visited anything related to a piece of rock history? Is so what was it, and what's the connection?

3.) What's the first movie you can remember going to? How old were you?


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Lefty Looks Forward to the Weekend

Well my Weekend plans are starting to become written in stone. On Saturday I'm heading out from Fresno to head to the Alternative Press Expo (A.P.E.) in San Francisco. It's a three hour drive that will likely be spent flipping from XM channel to XM channel, unless I happen to come into some addition 2005 Allman Brothers Band Beacon shows.

A.P.E. should be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing James Sturm, who I know very little of, but his Fantastic Four mini, Unstable Molecules is one of my favorite TPBs. The majority of the day will be spent garnering sketches, chatting with creators, publishers, and trying to learn more about self-publishing. I'll also be picking up some minicomics, trades, comics, in addition to taking pics.

In the early evening I'll get checking into my hotel room, where, if I have the laptop, I'll upload some pics from A.P.E. here on the blog. After a "concert-safe" (i.e. nothing that might through my bowels for a loop) I'll be heading to the Fillmore to catch the wonderful Drive By Truckers perform. I am so looking forward to seeing these guys.

If my energy holds up, after the concert I'll drag my well-rocked ass over to the After-A.P.E. party at Isotope, which I hear is a hoot and a half. James Sime, the proprietor and party-host, said that the party should be still going strong after midnight, so if I gots the momentum I'll be there.

From there it back to the hotel for a small amount of shut-eye, and I'll make the decision the next day whether or not I want to catch my first Giants game since my team moved several years ago into SBC Park.

It looks to be a busy and fun time. Anything I should be on the look-out for at A.P.E.? If so please leave me a comment.


Get Lost, eh?

I love the ABC show, Lost, but....

- When was the last time it ever rained on this tropical island?

- Shouldn't Hurley have lost a lot of weight by now?

- The show needs some Sleestaks or, wait, Mary-Ann.

- Amazingly they found the only Polar Bear infest island with laundry service, and working showers.

-Finding love on an island without toiletries and toothpaste never seemed so romantic since Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins bumped uglies.

- Did the show move the shoot from Hawaii already, because the beach shots look different.

- Will we see the black woman's husband, or see her backstory?

- Willllllllllllllsoooooooooon!


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Humpday Meme Alert

Real content will be taking place later on today, but until then here's a semi-interesting meme I saw over at Shane's blog, Near Mint Heroes.

10 Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't

1. Let's get the easy one out of the way: Married Mrs. Lefty Brown (not her actual name)

2. Danced on top of an U-Haul outside of a waterpark in the middle of Iowa.

3. Played pool with one of the drummers of the Allman Brothers Band.

4. Had a tick removed from my genitals using a match when I was in third grade.

5. Jumped over a rattlesnake when helping a professor do some research on Yucca Plants.

6. Pre-ordered Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600.

7. Read the entire Dune series 4 times over.

8. Mailed a single sock to a Christian music label (Blond Vinyl) to get a free music cassette.

9. Got married by a lesbian pastor (actually my wife can also say she's done that too) in the United Methodist church.

10. Walked among the oldest living things in the world (no, not the Rolling Stones), the Bristlecomb Pines in the White Mountains. The oldest tree, the Methuselah tree is over 4,700 years old.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Lefty's Weekly Top Ten

I haven't done this in a short while, but here are what have been floating my boat, so to speak, as of late:

1. Farscape Season 2 DVD Watching TV shows you may have missed is what Netflix was created for in my book. Some episodes are good, some episodes are decent, but then there are some episodes of this show that are simply some of the best sci-fi on TV since the original Star Trek. I've been devouring these DVDs as soon as they arrive in the mail.

2. Rainbow 6 Black Arrow (Xbox Live) I've been enjoying playing this still, but have found recently that sometimes the interpersonal relationships that develop online can be just a tricky to navigate as the ability to escape a grenade that's landed at your feet.

3. Queen & Country: A Gentlemen's Game by Greg Rucka Recently re-read the entire TPBs for this series in preparation for the novel. The newest TPB, Saddlebag, was more than a bit lackluster, but so far I have been enjoying the novel.

4. Amazing Race (CBS) My favorite reality TV show is in fine form in this installment. While I was rooting against them in Survivor, and am now rooting for Rob and Amber on A.R. who are playing the game with skill, charm, and a zeal that is fun to watch. I'm also rooting for the two brothers who also exhibit a great attitude toward the game.

5. West Wing (NBC) It's been a very good season this year, hard to believe tomorrow is the season finale. It'll be real interesting seeing Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda face off next season, although I have a feeling Alan's character will be the next Commander-In-Chief seeing as how Jimmy has a development deal with ABC next year.

6. 24 (Fox) It's not a perfect show, but it's the show where you get the most bang for your buck. This is a Hollywood blockbuster told in 24 parts. This season has been particularity strong with only a few minor weak points (the former director of CTU's whole daughter sub-plot for one). I'm anxious to watch last night's episode as soon as I get home. I'm now wondering how long it'll before we get a movie version of the show. It's just a matter of time.

7. Allman Brothers Band 3/14/05 Beacon Theatre, NYC, NY Copies of the recent Allman Brothers Beacon run are starting to circulate. This show is well-performed with a rousing acoustic set with Gregg Allman doing a few of his solo numbers with great passion. The jams this night are great and I love who "Why Does Love Have to Be So Bad?" blends into "Franklin's Tower" and then weaves into "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed". Great show. (Drop me a line if you need a copy)

8. Arrested Development (Fox) Once again teetering on the edge of cancellation, Arrested Development is the funniest shows on network TV, and gives HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm a run for it's money as well.

9. Lost (ABC) I'm surprised that this series is doing as well as it is. How can a show that is so well-written and brought to life be adored by both critics and viewers, doesn't seem possible. Thankfully the series continues to be compelling, but I hope they can escape the weight of the mysteries it's creating. After a while the audience will want answers, just ask Chris "X-Files" Carter.

10. Alias (ABC) Alias hasn't been in my Top Ten in a long time. This season has been largely hit or miss for me, but now as the ongoing storylines seem to be picking up again (albeit relatively "Rimbaldi" free) it's gotten more and more interesting as we head to the eventual sister vs. sister battle.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Lefty's Musical Leanings

I was listening to a recent Allman Brothers show (3/11/05 Beacon Theatre, NYC,NY) this morning and got to thinking about music. Here's are some observations about the music I like and why I like what I like:

- I am drawn to music that can be expounded on. I like music that can be opened up and re-examined with the use of a long guitar solo, drum solo, or the sound of a singer's voice hittin' that special note. I believe that real music is something that has depth and must be mined. It's more than entertainment, it's a journey, it's art, it's a exploration and an adventure, and yes it's is sometimes a religious experience. I find the Allman Brothers and their ilk address a lot of those beliefs. Like the ocean and space, music has a lot of mystery left in it. Sure often times we hear similar chords or song structure, but like they say "God is in the details". For example, I love Warren Haynes guitar playing. It can be furious and playful, or even tender. Often times Haynes will drop musical teases in his solos. He's good, but his ABB partner, Derek Trucks is "one with the force." Trucks is a spiritual shaman in his playing. One gets the feeling that he is approaching his solos or chords as if on a quest to discover the flame behind the shadows on the wall of the cave.

- There's nothing wrong with music that's simply entertaining, but for me that kind of music loses it's flavor over time. I can't imagine how horrible my life would be if my 'Desert Island Disc' consisted of a diet of Outkast, Indigo Girls, Guns N' Roses, or AC/DC. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy these artists, because I do very much...I just recognize that they don't go beyond the role of music as entertainment.

- I wonder if people who listen to Rap and Hip Hop religiously find their preferred flavor as being more than entertainment, as being something that expands the role of music in one's life. Maybe that's why Rap and Hip Hop is so big right now, because it's "shelf life" is so short that next month the listener needs another flavor or sweetener. I'd be interested in hearing from someone "in the know" on this. Should make for interesting conversation.

- Going along with they previous thought, I also wonder if I expect too much from music. After all, Korn fills someone's reason d'etre, n'est pas? I wonder if people's expectations of music also reflect their level of self-examination. Do shallow people listen only to shallow music, and conversely do self-reflective folks listen to music that informs AND entertains?

- I've found I don't listen to music when I'm "with" my wife. I find it interesting because others I've talked to do use music as a part of the "transaction." For me I don't because I don't want to be distracted and find myself paying more attention to that interesting "Oyo Como Va" tease in the Gov't Mule song than in my Q.T. with my wife. [My wife will probably be mildly upset with me for "going there"]

- I'm spoiled by the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, and others. Often times these bands of songs that are usually 5 minutes of longer. The Allman Brother's "Mountain Jam" is almost never less than 15 minutes. So when I approach The Ramones, or other bands that most of their songs is 4 minutes or less I look down on them a little. I took me a while to believe that just because a song is short, it's doesn't make it bad. Along with that, just because a guitar player isn't as good as others, it doesn't mean they aren't capable of creating great music. Neil Young is by far not the greatest guitar player but, goddamn it, he creates some of the greatest music. Also Green Day is more known for the creation of "pop punk", but they still managed to create one of the best punk albums in the past ten to fifteen years on "American Idiot". AC/DC is also a prime example. Angus Young's guitar playing is wonderful, but also more than a bit repetitive. In spite of that, he's drives the ship down some awe-inducing numbers.

- Once when I was on a camp out at Mono Lake a professor I went to college with described music appreciation as bandwidth. He compared the various genres of music to a prism and the graduated bands of light. The more of the bands of light the listen can hear and appreciate opens them up to see the whole picture of the organism of music. Also as we spent time studying the various bands of musical light we then are able to appreciate the other bands of that musical prism. It's been several years since that conversation, and no, no drugs where involved in that conversation. I can't remember the exact meaning of the conversation, but that image still sticks in my mind as I find that I develop a deep love for music or artists that I couldn't "get" in my younger years. I often think of the Beatles when I think of this prism. In my younger years I like the mop-topped era of the Beatles. My first Beatles tape I purchased with my own money was The White Album. I remember being excited that I bought a two cassette Beatles "album" for cheap, and then felt betrayed when I heard the music. Where was my Beatles I knew? Years later the White Album is one of my favorite Beatles album, and I feel more moved by their music of those years than by their mop-top incarnation. My bandwidth increased. That also happen when I learned to love jazz, but I have to admit that's an area I'm still trying to see more clearly.

Well, lunch is over. Time to get back to work-related activities.


Friday, April 01, 2005

Lefty's Friday Three Questions (Aprils Fools Edition)

I thought about doing some April Fools pranks here on the blog, but decided that there are going to be much stuff elsewhere on the "internets." So normal blogging here today, without further ado here are this week's 3 questions:

1. What's the best April Fool's Prank you pulled on someone? Have you had a good one pulled on you that you fell for?

2. What short-lived band or musician got the short end of stick, and should have had a longer career than they did? Bonus points if you've seen them in concert. Triple points if you've seen them several times in concert.

3. I'm just a couple of weeks away from heading up to San Francisco for the Alternative Press Expo (A.P.E.). While there I'll hit the con, but can't decide whether to hit the Fillmore to see Drive By Truckers, or find my way to Isotope for an after-APE part-ay. Any advice? Also, I'll be equipped with my digital camera, my sketch book, and some dinero. What should I be looking to pick up, what "next big thing" in the Indie comics scene should be on my must read while at A.P.E.? Although my lovely wife won't be heading up A.P.E. with me, I am looking forward to this Con quite a bit.