friday non-random ten – songs about wizards and s**t


Hey, it’s Friday, which means music. Lacking any good randomizers, I figured I’d go non-random this time, and list some songs about wizards, given yesterday’s post. Not all of these are Harry Potter, but it’s my list, I don’t care, because wizards are a great topic to mine for music. I’m sure other people have suggestions that are way better, and that’s cool – I’d love to hear more. I know some filkers out there whose binders are full of tunes that are awesome…please share them!

I left the Humdingers off, largely to recuse myself due to self-interest, although I’m just there to play along. Consider that stuff a given.

  1. “human hosepipe” – harry and the potters (link)
  2. “my dad is rich” – draco and the malfoys (link)
  3. “I wish you’d be my witch” – mudbloods (link)
  4. “ode to harry” – switchblade kittens (link)
  5. “la la luna” – hawthorn and holly (link)
  6. “muggles” – mikey mason (sorta link)
  7. “the magic of the wizard’s dream” – rhapsody featuring Christopher Lee (link)
  8. “journey of the sorcerer” – The Eagles (link)
  9. “alone” – witherwings (link)
  10. the necromancer” – rush (link)

Of course I have comments. I left them below separately, so as not to wreck the format above, because I’m anal like that. I’ll leave the bad formatting for the stuff below. Again, if anybody is actually reading this, drop your suggestions below! I’m always down for more stuff to listen to.

  1. my favorite hatp tune. No other reason.
  2. this one makes me laugh
  3. great pop song we covered once live. total earworm.
  4. first hp song I ever yeard. My friend Karen used to play this band on her college radio show becaue the name made her laugh.
  5. fun little go-gos-esque thing. Full disclosure – I’ve played this one on stage with H&H a couple of times.
  6. bonus track on Mikey’s Dodecahedron, and a cover of Lorde’s “Royals”. works for me.
  7. Christopher Lee. ’nuff said. He was the closest thing in the world to a real-life wizard, and was the very definition of metal
  8. No lyrics, and made most popular as the theme to a sci-fi series. Don’t care. love it.
  9. Another great little ballady thing. Mandala’s prety great live, btw. catch her if you can.
  10. Yeah. Rush. Cool, I guess, but I’ve never been that kind of Rush fan. Included here because I couldn’t come up with a proper Zeppelin tune. Could also easily substitue more Christopher Lee.

Have a good weekend, all!


adjacent to rock and roll greatness


So, the Blibbering Humdingers got called out in an article on today, as #7 of “17 ‘Harry Potter’ Bands That Would Put The Weird Sisters To Shame”.

As a sometime/adjunct member of one of the “top 10″, I guess I should be honored (and I am, given the company on the list – luminaries like Harry and the Potters and Switchblade Kittens) that I managed to get myself (kinda) on (an anciliary media stream somewhat related to) MTV, only 20 years or so after such a thing was in any way relevant. Seriously, though, Congrats to Scott and Kirsten (seriously, I really don’t count here – I’m just the bass player looming rhythmically in the background sometimes) for getting recognized in the piece; it actually kind of is a big deal, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more talented couple of folks.

Anyway…it’s kind of cool to be adjacent to greatness; another teenage dream checked off the list in my 40s. As much as it sucks sometimes, I made myself a pretty neat life.

Of course, now that this happened, Taylor Swift will surely pick a fight with me on Twitter. Bring it on Tay-Tay, I’m pretty sure Katy Perry has my back.


vigilantes custodum


Given the baseline of the American school system, it’s kind of atypical that I never read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school – I *think* I touched it in college, but for whatever reason, I don’t have any more than a collective unconscious impression of it from that period; and I know I’ve never seen the movie that really colors a lot of people’s impression of it. That chanced, though, a few moths ago when I read it as an adult, through relatively fresh eyes. While the popular cultural perception of Atticus as a beacon for equality was there in my head (as it couldn’t help but be, given the cultural significance), it didn’t always come across on the page. While I got the general vibe that Atticus was definitely interested in the rule of law and a sense of justice and minimum standard of rights for every person, he never struck me as a crusader for equality. One can see how young Scout lionizes him (as an primary school aged child would certainly do to her father) as such, but the words that come from Atticus’s mouth don’t necessarily portray that. Compared to his peers, he’s progressive in the sense that he’s willing to give Tom Robinson a fair hearing in court, but still tends to exhibit a kind of assumed superiority, if in a more noblesse oblige than “lynch ’em” fashion, over all sorts of folks in Maycomb, be they black, poor, or female. Sure, Atticus does the right thing in the end for Tom, but it seems to be more out of a sense of almost parental obligation as someone of superior breeding and privilege rather than any belief that he and Tom are on the same level.

You know what, just go ahead and read this piece over at gawker/jezebel; it describes it pretty well.

I haven’t read Go Set A Watchman yet, and despite the controversy around its publication (which is, admittedly, a bit shady), I plan to once I come up in the queue at the library, because the bits I’ve heard about it are interesting, even if the book was, as is largely suspected, the first draft of a novel that eventually became Mockingbird, rather than a strict chronological sequel.

The story of a grown-up Scout Jean Louise coming to terms with the discovery that her childhood heroes aren’t as untarnished as her memories dictate is a powerful, universal one. This happens to all of us as we get out into the world and experience life; the world we came from when we were kids simply doesn’t look the same when we’re looking back through a couple of decades’ experience; it’s smaller, a little dingier, and many of the ideas held dear simply don’t work when compared to the wider world of our experience. Again, while I haven’t read it yet, I suspect that the folks back home in Maycomb don’t quite know what to make of grown-up Scout, either, as the lessons she took from her childhood experiences aren’t necessarily the ones her caregivers expected, although make perfect sense given the combination of experiences she actually had.

Such is the way of the world, as it was and ever shall be. I’m honestly curious to see how the release of the new work will affect the way the classic is taught and understood. The lessons to be drawn won’t be the same, certainly, but that doesn’t mean that the new lessons or understanding are in any way not valuable.




Seventeen years. Still sticking around. Either you’re actually into me or a glutton for punishment. Happy anniversary.

This video has nothing to do with our relationship. Admit it, though, you’d love it if I could do those high kicks with the bass…


friday pandora ten – “could really use a silver lining” edition


It’s Friday, and it’s long overdue. Sleep has still been fitful all week thanks to all kinds of stressful crap, but you know, I’m dealing. For all the crap being thrown my way, I’m mostly dealing with it to the point where I don’t always *look* like I’m on the edge of cracking to those on the outside. I take victories where I can find them.

The biggest events in my life this week has been having to “speak bitch” entirely too often to get professional people who really ought to know better to do their damned jobs, and finding out that in a little over a week, I have to go to Oklahoma City for a conference, which might be neat, other than the last minute nature of the trip, the fact that I’m going to be stranded in a convention hotel without my own transportation, and per diem in OKC is pretty pitiful, especially when it’s further reduced because of “provided meals”, so I won’t even make any money on the trip. Yeah.

Of course, I’m also not thrilled that I’ll be spending time in the place where this idiocy went down this week. Of course, I work about three miles from where this completely different idiocy happened the other day. I can’t win for losing in the racist geographic proximity olympics.


Weekend is totally booked as well. Probably too booked, but it is what it is. Maybe we’ll find some time to celebrate tomorrow’s anniversary of seventeen years of wedded bliss. I would love to get some date time in, even if it’s just dinner and Ant-Man. I hope we can make it happen.

Anyway, here’s some tunes. Pandora, because I don’t have my MP3 player on me. Pandora never used to have this many ads. And apparently I need to rejigger my algorithms, because this mix is not working for me at all:

  1. It’s My Life (live) – Bon Jovi
  2. Tighten Up – The Black Keys
  3. Alone – Falling in Reverse
  4. Clint Eastwood (live) – Gorillaz
  5. Primadonna – Marina and the Diamonds
  6. Sigh No More – Mumfort and Sons
  7. Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men
  8. Train in Vain – The Clash
  9. Dust in the Wind – Kansas
  10. Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC

So, sorry for bringing you all down…I’m Eyoreing a bit today. Hope I can get past it.




Given my current collection of life experiences, the next time find myself at a western-style equestrian competition, I will be completely justified in saying “This Ain’t My First Rodeo”

This post is brought to you by my recent, lamented discovery that I have to go to Oklahoma in two weeks for a work conference.


conquering the soldering iron


If you happen to keep an eye on my social media feed, you’ll notice that I ran into some last minute trouble with my main bass this weekend. Saturday night I plugged in the five-string Jazz bass and felt more resistance than expected, followed immediately by markedly less resistance; the sure sign of an input jack popping it’s connection. This sort of thing can happen when the nut loosens up and the wire starts twisting around the jack, which is what looks like happened here.

Luckily, I never got rid of my old 90s Ibanez four string, so I was able to rely on the backup for the church fill-in gig I had Sunday morning.

Fixing an input jack is a trivial, five minute repair (and almost four of those minutes involve waiting for the soldering iron to heat up), though after a few bad experiences in the past, I’ve mosty shied away from DIY electronics repair. Of course, taking the instrument to the good luthier in town always involves several days in turnaround for even something as trivial as thi, even though they do try their best, and do routinely excellent work (he’s the “good” luthier, so he’s in demand), and when I called Guitar Center, I found the tech was on vacation.


Finding myself in this position, I decided that maybe it was worth giving DIY another shot. Thanks to investing 9 bucks in a new soldering iron (my old ones are old giant 300w sci-fi pistol affairs, or really old, corroded, and, as I discovered, missing) and a couple of quick searches for a good instructional video and a couple of primers on soldering basics, I managed to successfully effect the repair in about 10 minutes, making a pretty damned clean join I’m quite proud of, and probably saved myself a few bucks (I figured I’d pay somebody 20 bucks to do this) and definitely some time, and can do it again myself next time.

Plus, I got to feel handy and invincible for an hour or so afterwards.


strangeness in vision and dream


Warning: Post Contains weird, stream-of-consciousness recounting of the dream experiences. It’s weird. Feel free to ignore. I just had to get it out.

Due to a number of factors, including stress and anxiety on all manner of fronts, and the lack of my wife in my house and bed this weekend (She and the girls were out of town for a dance competition; the boy and I went to a stand-up show, ate bbq, and watched bad movies), I’ve slept terribly for the last week or so. Such a state has induced some strangely lucid and bizarre dreams (or at least dreamlike experiences, as I’m pretty sure I was at least partially awake/aware) while at least attempting to sleep.

Last night, for example, got really weird. I present the narrative in blockquote, so as to avoid any semblance of connection to reality.

My real-world ability to fall asleep blended into the dreamlike suggestion that I’d actually gotten up and driven to a nearby grocery store to return a video around midnight. Never mind that I haven’t rented videos from a real rental place or grocery store in who knows how long, nor does this grocery store rent videos (or even have a redbox terminal), nor would the movie in question (a surely fictional documentary on economic theory and quantum mechanics) be in stock at any of those places. Of course the grocery store in question wasn’t actually a grocery store inside, nor does this place look like it did in this semi-lucid dream (for example, it does not have two Taco Bells in pad sites in the parking lot). Needless to say, there was also a significant fee for damage to previous rental media on my bill.

I suspect that I’d actually fallen asleep by this point, because, in spite of the fact that I’d driven a perfectly good car to the store, I decided to disregard that fact and walk home. In walking home, I ended up purchasing a late meal at both Taco Bells, eating said meal on the way, and witnessing both a drug deal amongst strangers who happen to be walking home along the same path I was walking, and later witnessing other nameless, mostly blank people smoking crack on the sidewalk (“don’t worry, there’s no cameras on us!”) out of pipes constructed from aluminum foil and discarded taco shells. The fact that they were using Taco Bell food as drug paraphrenalia worried me a bit, in spite of my innocence, as I was carrying a bag of tacos, though the only police cars travelling the route were chasing down horses illegally travelling on city thoroughfares.

Did I mention that my path home was a fusion of pretty much every town or city with a hill in it that I’d spent any significant time in during my youth? There were definite elements of Sunbury and Ashland, Pennsylvania, plus various other real-life bits and pieces and stuff that was clearly made up. No? Okay. So noted.

I ended up stopping my travels for several hours at a bluegrass jam session populated by both made-up people and a few folks I know (or knew), where I played a bunch of instruments (that I seem to have had with me the whole time). After that, I ended up hiking home, hefting two very large and heavy guitar cases. Somehow, I dropped these both along the way, and spent a lot of time worrying that the crack smoking dream automatons would take them before I could go back and retrieve them after I’d gotten home (which was very important to do).

My hike home became suddenly very arduous – it started to involve ladders, and sagely advice from co-workers past – and I ended up stopping at several homes along the way, often asking simply for passage through them for some reason, despite the (admittedly steep) sidewalk outside. I think these stops led to some side-spinoff dreams – I have memories of a manufactured novelty musical group made up of superheroes with a long and storied history in the city of Richmond Virginia – but the details are lost to me. I remember somebody in an antique shop being pretty nice to me, though. Pretty sure I was well and truly asleep here. There were whales.

Eventually, I got home, to a home I totally didn’t recognize, as a strangely-colored sun was rising. Things happened here, though they’re lost to the dreamscape. I somehow did get back in my car (it apparently came home on its own) and successfully retrieved the guitar cases. One was intact, though the other wasn’t. the contents were stolen, but were somehow replaced with a much more valuable, but confounding to play, instrument.

I blame the crack dealers.

I can only imagine my nocturnal utterances last night. I apologize to my wife for any disturbance while she was trying to rest.

I really hope things get better tonight. I could really use the sleep.


friday musical discovery – elle king


So, traditionally (if not so much lately), Friday has been “random ten” day around these parts, where I run a playlist of ten tunes at random off of the record collection/mp3 player/streaming app/whatever I have around and occasionally comment on them.

Not doing that today, though I will toss out this week’s interesting musical discovery. I was listening to wnrn in the car the other day, as I’m wont to do, and heard a song that grabbed me; not sure why it grabbed me exactly, but it did. Of course, I missed the artist and the title, but as the station posts it’s programming on it’s main page, so I was able to identify the offender as this tune:

Elle King – “Ex’s and Ohs”, from the record Love Stuff. Never heard of her before (though apparently she’s been kicking around on the edges of my musical experience for a while), but an amazon music search and $6.99 later, I’d downloaded the record and loaded it on the USB stick in the car, and have been giving it a listen this week. I like it. it’s bluesy, modern, interesting, and full of banjos used in clever, non-intuitive ways that tickle my instrumentalist’s fancy. The above tune is great, but I’ve been really digging “America’s Sweetheart” and “Kocaine Karolina” as deeper cuts.

Today, I finally looked her up to get some context – turns out she’s the daughter of “comedian” Rob Schneider. Weird. Still grooving on the record (assuming that’s a thing a 40 year old white guy can actually do). Consider this one recommended.


no one could know how much i needed this this week


Thanks to more than one dear friend, this guided meditation from a brilliant guru named Jason Headley, floating serenely out there in the electronic aether, popped up in my various media feeds, and I am extremely grateful.

While, as another friend says, “it’s not how Elizabeth* does it”, it certainly applies to the kind of stuff I’ve been dealing with recently, what with demands and stressors I’m dealing with (that I won’t go into here, but if you’re interested, pull me aside in the real world; it’s very likely to become an entertaining story of schadenfreude in repeated tellings as I develop some distance; tragedy + time equals comedy, after all), this two minutes and change really resonated with me in ways you can only imagine, and it provided me with a much-needed laugh yesterday.

I share it here, for posterity and for the benefit of anyone else who needs it:

I hope it helps some of you as much as it helped me. If you need a nice companion piece, as always, you can’t go wrong with this classic bedtime story.


* – For the uninitiated, Elizabeth here is a well-loved and appreciated music/choir director who is wont to begin rehearsals with a less toungue-in-cheek variant of this sort of thing.


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