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Willie's Off-Brand Web Journal: September 14-October 11, 2005

Saturday, October 8, 2005:


That's a picture of a tiny guy Bev and I found when she took me on a hike up Chick Hill recently. I would never in a million years have expected to enjoy hiking (unless the phrase was completed with the words "up my pants," from which I get a perverse thrill), but Bev convinced me using her feminine wiles, and was right to do it. It turns out you actually do get an ineffable sense of accomplishment from walking about a mile up a trail and then scrambling up trail-free granite ledges with the goal of seeing a huge chunk of southeastern Maine changing into its fall colors all at once, from Acadia to the paper mill in... some city whose name I forget. It's really breathtaking, but none of the pictures I took does the sight justice, so I've decided to give you a picture of a frog instead.

My parents came out here to visit a couple weeks ago (bringing along my drum kit- hooray!), and I've honestly never seen my dad so happy, which made me feel good. Not that my mom didn't have fun- I'm glad she did- but outside of seeing my dad leap around the room after the Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup, tearfully bellowing, "We sweeped them! We sweeped them!" (and then bellowing, "Chris, who the HELL CARES?!" when I calmly interjected, "We swept them"), I'm not used to seeing Dad as blissful as he was looking at the Bangor-area landscapes.

So basically, I live in a pretty place. A pretty place that doesn't have a Media Play or any of the skyscrapers that I love so, but a pretty place nonetheless.

CURRENT MUSIC: Pop Artificielle by lb.
D-U-M-B, everyone's accusin' me!
Subterfuge, hobo, engrams, avarice, sesquipedalianism, regal, engorged, nugatory, unputdownable, Funyuns, whacksturbator, hindsight, skill set, and Garfunkel.
3:38 PM.

Doot? | |

Sunday, September 25, 2005:

I've reached an impasse with the new Disclaimer song, "Basra Reed Warblers." It's shaping up to be the most difficult song I've yet recorded. Not "difficult" in the sense of "hard for the listener to get ahold of," like some Frank Zappa noise-out, but "difficult" in that I'm having a really hard time figuring out exactly where the song wants to go. It's annoying, because I'm attempting a different process in recording this one, trying to record all the tracks first and work out the song's structure afterward, and the process is kicking my ass. (Sounds pretentious, I know, but I got the idea from that old joke about the sculptor who's asked how he carved a statue of a horse, and he responds, "I started with a block of granite, and then I chipped away everything that isn't a horse.")

So anyway, as long as I'm playing with things, I thought I'd solicit your input without letting you hear the song or giving you an idea of what it sounds like. What I'd like you to do, if you're reading this, is suggest something you think I should do to "Basra Reed Warblers." Doesn't matter if you've never heard my music, doesn't matter if you don't know me at all. That might be better, actually. Just give me a directive. Anything at all, from specific suggestions like "The bassline needs a flanger" to broad ones like "Incorporate the Nabisco jingle" to abstract ones like "Run it over with a bike." Since I'm so far off from where I want to be, I'm hoping that this new twist to things might provide the Zen-ish Oblique Strategies miracle drug I need to get the song back on track.

Thanks in advance for your help, y'all.

CURRENT MUSIC: Love Kraft by Super Furry Animals.
CURRENT ENDORSEMENT: Chris Willie Williams uses Vic Firth sticks.
3:17 PM.

Doot? | |

Friday, September 23, 2005:

Bev, Bev's mom Lanie, and I participated in a charity "Race for the Cure" for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on Sunday. We didn't have to enlist sponsors or anything tacky like that; the funds raised came from all the racers paying an entry fee. I walk five kilometers back-to-back so infrequently that the notion of paying for the privilege struck me as a tad odd, but it's for a good cause, so Bev rightly cajoled me. And I got to annoy her for several weeks by calling it the "Race for the Prize" every time it came up, so we're even. And I had a good time moseyin' around Bangor.

With our membership packets, we each received a "Race for the Cure" T-shirt, a number bib, and a set of safety pins with which to pin the bib to the shirt. Except that my packet didn't have any safety pins so I had to bum some. At any rate, Bev and Lanie donned their shirts but I stubbornly refused to wear mine, due to the fact that it was covered with the logos of the race's corporate sponsors. While I think it's great that the Komen people got money from so many businesses to hold this event, my view is that it doesn't count as a donation so much as a PR expenditure if the companies get free advertising on the race participants' respective torsos, and I didn't want to be a part of a Ford Motor Company brand awareness campaign. Not that my abstention delivered a withering blow to Corporate America or anything, but it's one of those things that helps me convince myself I have principles.

Those who found the previous paragraph intolerably annoying in its smug Adbusters preachiness, on the other hand, will be happy to know that just past the race's finish line, a woman was grabbing each person's number bib and recklessly yanking it off the area to which it was pinned so she could hand the number to the official timekeeper. She pulled out one of the safety pins in addition to my bib, so my R.E.M. shirt now has a big, unpatchable hole in it much like the one in Around the Sun's songwriting. So I got my raging liberal comeuppance. As, I imagine, did any smartass racers who attached their bibs to their navel rings.

Upon inspecting the Komen shirt's sponsors later, I discovered that the Bangor Daily News had neglected to properly capitalize the second sentence of their (already grammatically annoying) motto, which read, "It's what you need. to know." So I'm thinking that if I don't get the copy editing job at The Ellsworth American, there may be another paper in the area that could use one.

For my final comment on the race, at its starting point, there was a nut holding a sign that said, "29 STUDIES TIE ABORTION TO BREAST CANCER." (No footnotes or sources were provided on the placard, which I felt was irresponsible.) The raisin-cake holding the sign didn't appear to have been kicked in the shins at any point, judging from his posture as I passed, so karma points for the smart people! Abortions for all!

While Bev was at work last Saturday, I drove down to Waterville to see The Aristocrats. I loved it. To a degree, I agree with Rich's complaint about the editing, which puts more emphasis on the sheer number of comedians interviewed than on the content of their discussions (why bother putting Kevin Nealon and Dom Irrera, to name two, in the film at all if neither gets to say more than ten words?). That's a mistake, considering the way several of the subjects (most notably George Carlin) come out with very interesting, offhand observations about comedy theory when the camera sits still. However, enough of the particularly novel interpretations are allowed to play out that the choppiness isn't too big a problem, in my opinion. You still get the infectious momentum of Gilbert Gottfried's desperate attempt to regain the audience at a Friars Club roast following a disastrous 9/11 joke, Sarah Silverman's cleverly uncomfortable first-person twist on things, and a South Park version in which Cartman tells an insanely riotous version whose having-our-cake-and-eating-it-too brilliance comes from the reactions of his friends. Plus, any film that gets genuine laughs from Bob Saget's delivery of a joke is a remarkable film.

CURRENT MOOD: Dissatisfied with this entry, but here it is anyhow.
"Pioneer has customers in every state including Katrina states. To compound the issue we have a large portion of our customer base who remit their payment to a post office box controlled by a bank in New Orleans. This issue alone has caused our customer service department to be flooded with calls that frankly, we were not prepared to handle. ... Then the customers in the three affected states who had to be relocated are calling and trying to establish new service and terminating their old service. ... The volume of unexpected calls has literally crushed our team who has been working overtime day and weekends to try and keep up. ... Pioneer has received a minor amount of nasty grams or calls from some of you and we'd ask you be patient. We know what the hold time is for your calls and the number of emails we haven't responded to as well."
TIME: 5:12 PM.

Doot? | |

Saturday, September 17, 2005:

The Airbag's Lipstick Kiss finally got a good review from someone I don't know personally! Norberto Gomez, Jr., of Skratch magazine, I could kiss you! If the Bigger Brothers hadn't made me sign a form promising I wouldn't! Here's what he has to say:

"I'm reminded here of (dare I say?) Syd Barrett. There are a lot of psychedelic shakes, blips, beats, and whimsical vocal deliveries of lyrics like, 'There's a pile of broken-necked angels below my window / Their kamikaze raids won't let me sleep / They give way to grim hallucinations.' However, the sometimes-electro package of tracks like 'Fixing a Hole' is balanced evenly with the organic feel of rock-out tunes like 'Wrong for the Right Reasons Is Still Wrong' (which sounds like it was recorded in the same studio The Animals entered in the early 1960s). The eclectic nature of this album is never boring, with acoustic-leaning material to electronic robot whines and fuzzed-out guitar riffs. Chris Willie Williams, the Unreliable Narrator, is perhaps the future of the singer/songwriter genre itself, injecting new life into an already overdone category through his disregard of conventional standards. 'Please! Pardon Our Progress,' he yells."

(The review will be available here until next month, after which point I'm guessing you'll have to click here.)

Needless to say, it's exaggeration bordering on rock sacrilege to compare my nonsense with Syd Barrett or The Animals, but it nonetheless made me feel really good to read that. Particularly since I spent the morning struggling with a new song, "Basra Reed Warblers," which I've already scrapped and re-recorded a few times. It still isn't coming close to the sound I hear in my head. No- not the one that's been telling me to break all the eggs in my local grocery's freezer case by smashing them against an athletic supporter (which should be the only thing I wear during the process); the other sound I hear in my head.

CURRENT MUSIC: Silver Apples by Silver Apples.
Uncharacteristically cheerful.
MOST RECENT ACT OF REBELLION: I stood one rung higher than my ladder warned me to, at risk of losing my balance.
1:44 PM.

Doot? | |

Wednesday, September 14, 2005:

Below is the very best spam scam I've ever received. That's all I wanted to share today. Enjoy!

From: markwhite101@msn.com
Bcc: disclaimerwill@aol.com
Subject: GOOD NEWS
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 00:56:27 +0100


Good news federal government has giving us go aheard to deliver your consignment to you on free of charge rigth there in your door mat , i regret to announced to you that outging people that been delaying your consignment they are now in the net of economic and fanacial crime commission(EFCC) rigth now they are in jail we the newly elected comettee we are ready to work with you as soon as you get back to us.


Thanks you
Best redard,s

CURRENT MUSIC: The Broken Record by Twink.
12:14 PM.

Doot? | |

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