Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 More Random Things About BB

(Because admit it: You can never get enough BB)

1. If I started a band today, I'd name it "Diabolical."

2. Whit's mother, Mary, will always be "Mother Mary" in "Let It Be" to me.

3. I saw a brutal fist fight at a Rush concert once. The first punch went right past my face.

4. I think Myspace is really boring in comparison to Facebook.

5. I like bananas just a bit on the brown and spotty side.

6. I used to have a million concert shirts, but not anymore. Now I just have a Mance Lipscomb/Navasota Blues Fest shirt. MOBB's old Replacements/All Shook Down shirt is in my closet too.

7. Someday I'd like to have some custom cowboy boots made.

8. My right leg is a bit shorter than my left. I wear a shoe insert to correct this, but I'm starting to wonder why it matters.

9. I didn't touch a guitar for two years after my daughter was born.

10. One time while working at a recording studio, I walked in on an engineer and a client in the middle of a "side project." She screamed when she saw me. I just said, "Good night!" and left. No one ever said a thing about it to me.

11. In November of 1990, I watched an orange fireball blaze across the Austin sky.

12. I have seen a UFO, God help me.

13. If I could make a detailed list of reasons I'd never commit suicide, I promise you that somewhere on that list would be "because I want to be around to hear new music."

14. One time I thought Gary Busey was going to take a swing at me.

15. The first CD I ever bought was Led Zeppelin IV. I wanted Rush's Moving Pictures, but Wal Mart didn't have it.

16. My first concert, technically, was Kenny Rogers. He played at a rodeo I attended as a kid.

17. I was at a solo Britt Daniel (Spoon) show one night when someone yelled something like "you suck!" He rushed out into the crowd, wanting to fight whoever had said it. We all just laughed. He DID suck.

18. I once worked security for Jesus Jones.

19. Lou Ann Barton gave me the "heeeeeeey!" sultry greeting in a video store one morning. It made me need a really hot shower. Blech.

20. Some hands I've shaken: Jackie Chan, Willie Nelson, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins. Chan only offered me his left.

21. My kids must have a couple hundred movies. Maybe more. Therefore, I don't feel bad about secretly throwing away "The Teddy Ruxpin Movie." It was just about the worst thing I've ever seen, and folks, I'm a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan.

22. I think that when playing a solo, any note on the neck is potentially useful in any key.

23. A big piece of my heart is in New Orleans.

24. On the one hand, I don't much care for it when metal players do finger tapping stuff. One the other hand (are you snickering by now?), Stanley Jordan is absolutely incredible.

25. Jackie Chan's security kicked me out of the store where I met him for trying to snap a photo of him.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

On the PRS

[From an email I sent to Toland]

I put my first toe in the water today, finally putting my hands on a pricey guitar. I was in Weatherford on business, and they have a shop there called Craig's. It's where I bought my acoustic. They're PRS dealers too.



I only had a few minutes, as a coworker had driven, and our shift was over. Didn't want to keep her waiting. I put my hands on a Chris Henderson model. It's a single cutaway Les Paul type.



The good: Big crunch. They have an amp just like mine there. I dialed in a familiar setting, and it drove the amp better than mine. The tone was kind of generic, but maybe I could have tweaked that out with EQ.



The bird inlays on the fretboard really are quite beautiful. The workmanship looked very good, and I liked the color.



The bad: One tone knob seemed messed up; it turned like it had no... resistance at all. The other knobs all acted normal, whereas this one felt... broken. And I'm sorry, but I don't like recessed knobs. I felt like I had to work harder to access them.



Their famous "wide fat" neck felt kind of unwieldy in my hands. Maybe a guy with big hands like yours would like it, but it was a wee bit cumbersome to navigate. And for whatever reason, I didn't feel like my bends sang the way they should. I'd bend up, and the note would just die.



AND the A string vibrated in this strange, very wide, buzzy arc. Now, this instrument has 3 humbuckers, and a big magnetic field like that will jack with strings' vibration. Still... this is a $2600 (street price) instrument. You'd think that if they're bothering to make such an instrument, they'd have a common problem like this one licked, you know?



So the verdict thus far on PRS is a big fat "overrated." Granted, I only spent five minutes with it, but I now wish I'd spent my five minutes with the black Gibson ES-335 up on the wall...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice Ice, BB

Well, we're iced in here. That includes the kids. Suddenly I'd like to go back to work so I can rest up.

***

I've pre-ordered my copy of Roger Joseph Manning's Catnip Dynamite CD, which was available in Japan for so long.

You should do the same.

AND, Manning should tell his buddy Jason Falkner to release the Japan-only I'm OK You're OK here too.

***

Yeah, so last night I got around to changing the burned-out bulb in the oven. As with most of my little projects, I made it harder than it needed to be. I took out the whole fixture instead of just taking off the cover. Hey, it was hard to see in there.

Wolfboy was holding the flashlight for me. As I struggled to replace the wire that holds the cover, I jerked the fixture by accident.

The result: sparks, and a puff of smoke.

Wolfboy took a deep breath before yelling to the whole house:

"THAT... WAS... AWESOME!!! Blue sparks and smoke!"

Glad I could amuse you, kid.

***

I have also pre-ordered my copy of the new Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) solo album, Insurgentes.

It comes with a CD, a DVDA (which I assume is a 5.1 mix of the CD--THAT would be cool), and an autographed jewel case booklet.

Get yours.

I love you, Newbury Comics. Will you marry me?

***

Repeat after me: Texas wants Ben Sheets.

***

Speaking of 5.1 mixes, my friend Ken Baum has been ripping me some lately. Beatles, Chicago, REM... he got me the two-CD Fragile (Nine Inch Nails), and you know, I have no idea when I'll get to hear it, as it'll only play in my DVD player. MOBB won't sit through that. I guess I can't blame her.

***

I have just been going non-stop lately. I've been in several trainings for work. When I'm home, I'm doing counseling stuff. I'm up to five clients now. It makes BB a busy boy.

***

The new Krav Maga school opens here in Hurst on February 3. Cool.

***

My February "boys only" tour of Texas is shaping up nicely. First, on February 20 I'll head to Katy, Texas to hang out with Whit and his JMMA crew. I expect to show off my mad new Krav skillz.

On Sunday the 22nd I'll head to Austin to hang out with the Doug for a few days. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed: There's a decent chance we'll get to attend a Willie Nelson/Asleep at the Wheel taping of Austin City Limits.

***

Well, I've got some important sitting around to do. Y'all take care.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The BB Protein Shake

In summer of '07, I was in good shape. I almost had pecs, almost had biceps. I was almost comfortable shirtless.

Life intervened. The shirt went back on.

I haven't ever descended into total sloth, at least. Any given time I've needed to work out or exert myself I've gotten by.

Now, I want it back. As my busy schedule allows, I am getting back into Krav. I joined the new school. I'm doing my pushups too. I want it back.

It's hard for me to get enough protein. I'm not a big meat eater, so it's a struggle.

Here's the protein shake I've been enjoying lately. THEGIRL helped me make one a few minutes ago:

3 scoops of Genisoy protein powder
12 ounces of 2% organic milk
4 tablespoons of peanut butter
About a teaspoon of honey

Blend. That's slightly more than 50 grams of protein, and it tastes great. Genisoy doesn't sweeten their powder as far as I can tell. I don't recognize all of the ingredients, but I don't think any of them are sweeteners. That works well, as it lacks that odd zing with which so many other powders make you deal.

Sometimes I'll drop in a banana for a few more calories, maybe as a breakfast drink. Then the honey isn't necessary.

THEGIRL loves it. Wolfboy doesn't care for it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Wrapup

Did you know that the U2 song "Pride (In the Name of Love)" contains a historical inaccuracy? The lyric is, "Early morning, April 4... shot rings out in the Memphis sky" (as we all know).

But Dr. King was assassinated in the evening. That was about four months before I was born.

***

I try to stay out of political discussions. I have my own opinions, but I don't enjoy the sort of heated debate that comes with politics.

I'm going to throw this out there, considering the importance of this particular time.

I voted for Obama.

I respect the office of the president. When Clinton was in office, I was appalled at the name-calling.

I happen to think that George W. Bush was an absolutely terrible president. I won't stoop to calling him names, or joining the "chuck a shoe at the president" group (or whatever that little online group is called).

He may have done us one of our greatest favors though. I mean this with all seriousness.

He set the bar so unbelievably low that there simply was no way another conservative was going to be elected. He made possible the election of an African-American president. Mr. Bush fumbled so badly that even this nation so prejudiced managed to elect a Black man.

I like Obama. I think he's smart and charismatic. I hope he's not one who is big on ideas and talk without delivering though.

I am cautiously optimistic.

***

So yeah, I've hauled my antiquated fanny back to Krav. Well, to a different Krav school. I am just starting over, effectively, and that's fine. I trained so infrequently in the last year that I need to do this. On some stuff I get by just fine, and on other stuff the rust shows.

I work out in these great KM BDU pants that Whit got me. They're sturdy, roomy, and they look good. Oh, and they're comfortable.

But I learned that all the physical activity loosens them up just a bit in the waist. I hit the Army/Navy store to get a little cloth belt for them.

On a rack in the back were some boys' pants. Lo and behold, I found a pair of olive drab BDUs in Wolfboy's size. They're identical in construction to my KM pants. They're even the same brand. They FIT him nicely, and they were only $4.99.

Score one for BB.

***

We did a lot of cleaning today. I moved the surround speakers like I've wanted to for so long. They'd been positioned right behind the couch since the days when we had a woefully underpowered amplifier. Once we upgraded, though, they needed to be positioned properly.

You know, they sound a lot better than I expected in the new positions. I came home from KM and MOBB was watching some Spanish-language movie, and running the sound through the stereo because she liked it.

***

And now a nice Spock's Beard song for you.

Have a great week.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Don't Mind


The amazing Jason Falkner, doing "I Don't Mind" from his Japanese-only release I'm OK You're OK.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Am Iron Dad

It's Friday night, and MOBB is watching Iron Man.

This movie is so flippin' great.

And I'm ready for an Avengers movie. I mean, we've already seen Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Storm, and Wolverine on the big screen. How hard would it be to write Captain America into an Avengers script?

And you know... why hasn't Cap's costume ever changed?

***

I bought some wrestling shoes tonight.

***

The head of the school of social work at Tarleton asked me to give a lecture this semester.

Do you have any idea how pumped I am to do this?

***

I have no particular plans this weekend.

***

I've been listening to a lot of Spock's Beard lately. Snow is one terrific CD.

***

I've been thinking about our home state lately.

The machine at the hotel made Texas-shaped waffles. Tell me: If you're from, say, some rectangular-shaped state like Kansas or North Dakota, do the hotel waffle irons there make rectangular waffles?

I think I'll cogitate on this one a while, see if there's a real post to be had.

***

An excellent point made at the conference yesterday:

Immigration from Mexico is a concern. Whether you want open borders, fewer immigrants, more immigrants, tougher laws, more flexible laws... everyone has an opinion about it.

What happens when and if Mexico genuinely becomes a failed state, and suddenly those immigrants are refugees, fleeing north with only what they can carry? How do we respond when they are gathered at the border?

***

Y'all have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Random Facts About BB

I had a nightmare about a hedgehog this week.

I also had a nightmare that terrorists stole my French fries.

I fell into our big, curbside trash can. Really.

I think I have a texting-related injury. Again, really.

I’m going to Stephenville tomorrow.

There’s a nice-smelling candle in my study now. I want it to always smell like that in there.

I received a form letter from director Robert Rodriguez last week.

My pinky hurts.

I’ve started listening to Dock Boggs again.

I play some sort of video game called Super Mario Brothers Smash Melee (or something like that) with Wolfboy. I almost never beat him. He encourages me nevertheless.

I heard a Motorhead song from the Spongebob Movie soundtrack today. Jeez, is NO ONE unavailable for the right price?

Monday, January 12, 2009

BB Goes IKMF

I have enrolled at a new Krav Maga school. It's based in Saginaw, though they've begun to teach in a karate school very close to my house. I had terrific times at the old school, and I'm sad to see it go.

This is an IKMF (International Krav Maga Federation) school, whereas the other was a KMWW (Krav Maga Worldwide) school. Pretty much the same stuff, just taught out of two different organizations.

I'm excited. The instructors are well-qualified, the location is good, and the tuition is reasonable. If you live near the mid-cities or Saginaw and are interested, I'd certainly recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Galveston Struggles on in Hurricane Ike's Aftermath


Thanks to Bruiser for pointing me to this terrific video, set to "Blackbird Fields" by one of my favorite bands, Varnaline.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Disease Model of Addiction: A Polemic

I'm going to take this opportunity to express an opinion that, while not inappropriate, really can't be expressed in a professional context.

See, the most popular approach to conceptualizing addiction is the disease model. And I start off by saying that I respect this concept. It is a good thing.

Why? Because it lends the proper perspective to it all. It's a viewfinder through which one can properly see the scope of what lies before them.

If a family system is no longer able to function, the fact that they rail against the "disease" that's doing this to them is useful. They understand it, and it doesn't presuppose that addiction is wholly a moral failure. It nods to the biology at work.

It's the model supposedly embraced by AA, a widely-respected organization. Substance Abuse Counseling (Lewis, Dana, & Blevins) writes, "The disease model was first conceptualized by Jellinek (1960)."

But the "Doctor's Opinion" portion of the preface to the first edition of the AA "Big Book," published in 1939, states:

It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."

It seems that AA, by soliciting the opinion of medical experts who espoused a disease model, chose to abandon the facets of addiction that they had originally accepted. They appeared to be pushing for a disease model decades prior to Jellinek.

***

Some of the tenets of the disease model:

*Alcohol- and drug-dependent people have physical cravings that can be irresistible.

*They lose control over drinking and drug use.

*The condition is progressive and irreversible.

"Many adherents of the disease concept view all slips as relapses, and a client's slip is thought to obviate prior success." (Lewis, et al). That is, a person who has been sober for a period of time has to "start over" if he or she ever drinks or uses again. The prior clean time has, in accordance with the model's "all or nothing" assumptions, been in vain.

The disease model also does not account for the phenomenon of spontaneous recovery. Sometimes addicts quit successfully, with no particular intervention or medical assistance. I would venture to say that there is little in a progressive disease that is analogous to this behavior.

And sometimes addiction does not progress like a disease. Substance use/abuse occurs on a continuum, with non-problematic users at one far end and problematic, physically dependent users at the other. Many people who abuse alcohol do not worsen to the point of their demise.

(Nor do they improve to the point of complete sobriety)

***

I am a proponent of the biopsychosocial model. Let's break this down:

BIO, as in biological, refers to elements of addiction found in the disease model. It can be a deep physical need. Withdrawal from alcohol, for example, is potentially lethal, as it can cause grand mal seizures.

There is a genetic component. A child with an addict parent has a 50% chance of becoming an addict herself.

[Question: How would you, as a parent, react if a genetic test could tell you that the child you have conceived carries an addictive gene?]

The need for drugs or alcohol can become hard-wired into the brain. We all share some basic brain parts with other, simpler creatures. Our primitive or "lizard" brain structures are the ones that control basic things like regulation of heartbeat and respiration, fight or flight (and other) instincts, all that. So if a person has spent years dealing with anger, which is considered to be an offshoot of the basic emotion fear, by drinking, the need for this chemical becomes imperative. Those old brain areas, which typically would be flooded with endogenous (neuro)chemicals during such times of stress, become trained to expect the foreign chemical as well.

The brain is essentially screaming for alcohol.

*

PSYCHO is psychological. There is no magic here. This is when the substance is used as a response to some emotional stimulus. Use is a coping mechanism. The person who dealt with anger by drinking was initially drinking for psychological reasons. Only by pounding the brain with this chemical repeatedly does the biological need develop.

Typically, the brain will have some means for responding to anxiety or fear or other emotions. The unpleasant nature of the response, such as tremors, is sometimes coped with through substance use. How many of our heroes of old war films dealt with a troubled conscience with marijuana or bourbon?

*

SOCIAL is the point at which others' behaviors can affect what happens to the addict.

If someone has cancer that is in remission, their health is not jeopardized by socializing with someone who has active cancer. The same cannot be said to be true for addicts. An addict in recovery can relapse simply as a result of socializing with people who use.

***

For years, addicts were thought to be morally deficient people who could be saved if they would simply acknowledge and change their sinful ways. Well, in reality no matter what they acknowledge, addicts can't just stop. That is addiction--the inability to stop, no matter what. Addicts know every consequence of their addiction: lost jobs, screwed-up relationships, squandered money, betrayed relatives, and so on. But they can't help their behavior. Dr. Drew Pinsky, Cracked.

***

In substance abuse treatment centers, patients are currently given dual diagnoses. The idea is that addiction does not occur in a vacuum; it is comorbid with emotional disorders. The patient is perhaps disagnosed with opioid dependence and depression, for example.

There are over 100 pages devoted to substance abuse disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV. Surely in the coming years and decades we will look back on even this time as somehow missing the mark regarding addiction. I do believe, however, that whatever we uncover in our quest, we will be better served if we can find some way to more accurately conceptualize addiction.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I Went to Entmoot and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

It's Saturday night, and I'm here, enjoying the quiet.

***

New Year's Eve was wholly uneventful.

New Year's Day went as planned, pretty much. I hunkered down and spent about 10 hours watching the Lord of the Rings DVDs.

A few thoughts:

I love how it plays almost like an alternate British history. It just has that "this could be true" feel to it (dorky, I know). And watching this reminded me that if I am going to invest myself in a fantasy movie, for whatever reason I enjoy one that doesn't rush to create this "other" world. It might explain my fondness for Legend as well.

The lighting was terrific.

The music was too. Did this win anything for music? Wow.

Entmoot sounds like it should be a music festival.

And the shots all LOOKED good. Nothing that looked low-budget. I watch a lot of bad movies, and in those you can see just how a limited budget can hinder things.

Great casting.

*

True, by the third DVD my attention was waning a bit.

***

Lately I've been enjoying listening to old Stax/Volt stuff.

***

I got a haircut today, and did the leaves in the front yard.

***

Things are shakin' on the martial arts front. More info as I get it, but it looks like I'll be getting back to regular training soon. I can't wait!

***

Been listening to a ton of Guy Clark too (thank you again, Toland). I should just up and learn about everything the man has ever written, I do believe.

***

My father and I are tossing around the idea of taking a trip together, but we can't seem to figure out WHERE exactly.

We have ruled out Mexico.

***

This is meandering, and I thought more would occur to me. Y'all take care, and I'll take another stab at this soon enough.