"" bshawise: June 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miles and Miles

Perhaps the coolest person to ever live is Miles Davis. Steve McQueen is a close second. But Miles is the king. I met him almost 10 years ago via his paramount album Kind of Blue. I forget why (maybe an old Cosby rerun) but I decided it was time to get into jazz. I purchased the compact disc and it melted my brain. It spoke to my bone marrow and for at least a month I went to sleep and woke up listening to it. I didn't know it at the time but it's considered one of, if not the greatest jazz albums. Quincy Jones said in 1999, "I don't know why, but that will always be my music, man. I play Kind of Blue EVERY day - it's my orange juice. It still sounds like it was made yesterday." Perfectly said, Quincy.

I played trumpet in 5th grade. I was awful. I was last chair- behind the smelly girl even. During recitals I'd watch her fingers to see what to play. I never once blew a note. Every individual practice I had with Mr. Keesey would start with him saying, "You didn't practice did you, Brad?" The trumpet was just not cool. I bet if there were baseball cards of jazz legends more kids would be into jazz. I had no idea until it was too late that the trumpet was way cool. Music education needs to do a better job of teaching our children about jazz. The Muppets were on to something and somewhere along the lines we abandoned jazz for singing dinosaurs.

Which is the purpose behind this post. I know it'll go highly ignored by most of you, but allow me to be a jazz evangelist for just a little bit. I promise your life will change for the better if you accept Miles Davis into your heart. So I've assembled the entire Kind of Blue album here (except for the alternate take of Flamenco Sketches). This week, I humbly ask that you let this unbelievable collection play as you go about tasks that could handle some background music i.e. dinner, TPS reports, paper/magazine/novel/short fiction reading, internet surfing, deep conversation with your significant other and/or your god. I'm not asking much here. But I am asking that you give Miles a chance. And if something connects with you on some level try giving the video below a look. The bass line is intoxicating. Watch at the end when Miles walks off and asks for a cigarette while the bassist keeps plucking. Classic cool.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stevie + MJ (are you kidding me?)

Brenty, here's some inspiration for the reception.

Bear Zen

As the final guests pull away in their minivans and SUVs, the Clowns take off their wigs to start cooking dinner, and Bear sneaks away for a short-lived respite. Nobody knows about Bear. They assume it's still Derrick under the suit. And by the time they begin to wonder aloud why Derrick never talks anymore and how he grew so tall so fast, Daredevil is pouring moonshine down everyone's throat transforming their concern into revelry. Every morning is brand new. Bear gives head nods to the Freaks when they pass by and shout, "Dancing Derrick! Have a good show, brother!" He patiently endures Bearded Lady's awkward flirtations as they wait for Ringleader to call them on. And as he balances on the tiny ball in his shameful tutu he resists the overwhelming urge to eat the drunk farmers who yell, "Cute skirt, Christopher Robin." From behind his cartoonish mask, Bear knows that if he can abstain from more killing he can one day make it out. Goodbye to the pathetic fair circuit and hello to the prestigious stripes of Mr. Barnum. Derrick will be there in spirit as he gets converted into caloric drive and determination inside Bear's stomach. That zen thought justifies everything in Bear's mind as he sits and waits for the Clowns to finish boiling sausage.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Axel, Cop of Beverly, Protect Us

There are two kinds of people in this world. Real Eddie Murphy fans and the rest of us posers. Both kinds of people saw Beverly Hills Cop and thought, "I'd feel so much safer if Axel Foley was always around to protect me on the highway." Real fans, however, empty their life savings and make it happen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chasing California

I found a few old gems the other day. One being this picture of my time as a ghost. Those were strange times, friendo. I was so misunderstood. I just felt so...invisible. (RIM SHOT CYMBAL CRASH)

Actually, this is from spring 2001. I spent 94 days living in Venice Beach, California. I have at least eight stories to tell from my time out there. Give or take. It was a "travel quarter." I didn't have a job like my roommates did. I spent three months riding my bike around LA taking photos, reading novels and writing every day. This happened as a result of a literature class I took the previous quarter that honestly changed everything. Reading books, talking about them, writing our own quick stories was a whole new world (cue Aladdin music). I felt like an Amish kid who tripped over a Gameboy, Pop Rocks and a Def Leopard CD. I kind of had a melt down. I was a year from graduating with a degree in graphic design and then found out about this literature thing. I was like an engaged lover who met someone else. So I left for California in hot pursuit. (I'm sure I'll share more on this topic down the road)

But I also found a short story that came from that time period. I've made changes to it over the years. I think it still holds up. It's long for a weblog post (classic disclaimer) but if you have time to burn you may enjoy this short, non-autobiographical story. Read More...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tiny Devil

This apparatus looks perverted doesn't it? It's mine. And it is. Leah made me buy it and she'll admit that it's more for her benefit than mine. In a sick way it brings her pleasure. Not me. It's pure evil. It turns my soft mane of nose hair into a prickly thornbush. Before usage I can rub my nose and experience zero pain. After usage it feels like I have pieces of broken glass in my nostrils. And the worst part....it tickles. Like bad. To the point of torture. The tiny mulcher cuts up my nasal forest in a ticklish way only a true pervert could invent. In closing, Sharper Image supports inhumane torture. Don't let their fancy massage chairs fool you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Miss Juicin'

Miss Jackson went on steroids today. She's a juicer. Cheater. She's been raging all day. One second she's hitting home runs the next she's crying in her water dish. One minute she's bench pressing 380 the next she's screaming about how Congress is a bunch of terrorists. I had to hide all my diabetic needles and Bud Selig posters.

(in truth, the vet is hoping the roids fix her wonky leg that never recovered after the back injury.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gross Generalization Game

A new go-to phrase for me is, "There are two kinds of people in the world...." then I share said two kinds i.e. people who wear shirts to Midas and people who don't. It's a way of using gross generalizations to spice up observations. Today, I listened/watched a musician who made me think there are...

(1) Those who view the parameters (box) they're given as the destination (2) and those who view the box as just a starting point.

(1) BOX=DESTINATION PEOPLE (BDPs) are given a set of parameters and expectations for a particular project/task and typically the first thing they'll want to know is how things were done in the past. Those factors become the box that BDPs work in. They do everything they can to fill that box with the most excellent version of the project/task they can produce.

(2) BOX=STARTING POINT PEOPLE (BSPPs) are given the parameters and expectations for a project/task and the first thing they'll typically want to know is how can they change those parameters to exceed expectations. The past serves only as a respected competitor- something to beat not match and/or mimic. All those factors become the box that BSPPs want to blow up, morph, stretch, poke holes in, change into something unexpected and better.

You need both types of people, obviously. I just happen to gravitate towards BSPPs who wear shirts to Midas. There are of course BSPPs who leave their shirts at home to go buy mufflers. Avoid them. They are a dangerous breed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

So Good So Good

In 1999 I was working in Boston. On a Friday afternoon I was talking to my friend Ryan (via interweb) who was living/working in Manhattan. A bunch of our high school friends were visiting and he was telling me of their adventures. I said, "Man I wish I was there." He quickly replied, "Then come." I sat there. Nothing was packed. It wasn't in the plans, but... I had no plans. So I left for Manhattan. I stopped at a Kmart about 40 minutes outside of Bahhhhston and bought a few necessities. Toothpaste, sleeping bag, Neil Diamond's greatest hits and four camping tents and four pool rafts. I got back in my GMC Jimmy and drove for another hour and got stuck in a two hour traffic jam. Didn't move an inch for 45 minutes. I was frustrated.

When I finally got into Manhattan I was tired and mad that I missed dinner with high school friends. An ambulance blared its horn so I pulled over to let him by. An impatient cab driver started honking at me. They don't care about emergency vehicles. After a few honks he got fed up and drove up and over the left side of my back bumper with his front. I told Neil Diamond, "He just drove over my bumper." ND disgustedly replied, "Sweet Caroline." Something snapped. Anger mixed together with the logic that my GMC was bigger than his cab caused me to punch my gas and ram into the back of his bumper. He jumped out and started screaming at me. I told him to get back in his car. Neil saw the hand signals the cabbie was giving me and appropriately sang, "Hands, touching hands, reaching out." The light turned green, the cabbie got back in his car and we were on our way. Murder by cab driver averted.

I found a parking spot in the Lower East side and buzzed Ryan's apartment. He helped me with my stuff. "What's in the bags?" he asked. "Tents and pool rafts. I thought we could go urban camping tonight." Back at Kmart I decided that a 540 square foot apartment wasn't going to handle 14 people that weekend. The night before someone slept in the shower. I figured we'd set the tents up on his roof, inflate the rafts and sleep like kings under the stars and lights of the Empire State building. And after riding bikes until 3am all over the sleepless city we laid our heads down on our pool pillows, stretched our legs out as far as we wanted and slept. It was pure magic. For a few hours I knew how MacGyver slept so soundly. Ingenuity used for the common good produced a deep kind of rest.

Then it rained and I wished I bought tents that were as water resistant as our beds. The next night though...nothing but clear skies. Good times never felt so good.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


With his plum-sized eyes, Tunnellove searches for his maniacal trainer. His jockey, Santo, sits crouched underground asking TL what he sees. "It's either a bahmistfah or a pathetic game of hide and seek....I can't tell." Santo asks if they have nets or tranq guns or suspicious demeanors. Tunnellove shakes his head no. "Then lets ride!" shouts Santo. TL just stands there. Not even a flinch in response to Santo's friendly slap. He just feels overwhelmingly safe. Comforted by the surrounding cool earth. The hunched-over jockey rests his head on TL's mane and says, "I know...I know....you'd rather wait...."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Power of Editing and Excessive Free Time

Reality Check

I got off to a bad start this morning. I was putting my bag into the car, my coffee and banana bread waiting for me on the roof, I shut the door and my coffee and banana bread left to wait for me on the garage floor. A literal and figurative bittersweet, hot mess. I was in a bad mood the entire drive. When I got to work I told a few people I had the "worst" morning. I whined, "My coffee spilled and it was just the worst." By the third person I caught myself and realized how bratty I am. My "worst" morning is not getting to enjoy homemade bread (baked by my amazing wife) and coffee while driving in my Volvo (full of gas) to a great job full of great people. Reality check. The only thing that warrants the use of, "the worst" is my attitude. I deserve mornings with no coffee. They truly wake me up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Redemption Song

Last night I saw this band perform at a youth conference hosted here. I really disliked them. They weren't my style and they just seemed like everything wrong with Christian bands. Trying too hard to be rock stars and looking silly, maybe even pathetic in doing so. But then, at the very end, the tiny lead singer came out with giant Hulk gloves spray painted silver and TOTALLY REDEEMED HIMSELF.

(side note: it's pure coincidence that this post has the hulk and a moped again)

Monday, June 16, 2008

He-Man (ish)

I broke my rib. I don't have the X-rays to prove it. But it has to be more than a bad bruise because I honestly can't imagine the pain getting any worse. Unless my rib was sticking out of my skin. I guess I should suck it up.

If you know me, you probably think I sustained my injury by saving an elderly, distressed damsel from a mugger wielding a crow bar. Well, you're wrong. The mugger was holding her at cannon point. I stepped in and took the blow at point blank range. Cannonballs hurt. I'm not sure why we abandoned them for tiny bullets and germ bombs. Is it because they can't eat flesh? Are punishing blows too old fashioned? I digress.

The truth is, I broke my rib on a slip n' slide. To be fair to my temple, I re-broke my rib. Over a year ago I got busted up making a diving catch in a SUPER important flag football game. I bet those guys are still drinking Budweisers and talking about that catch. Anyways, I was faced with a long strip of wet vinyl and did my best Pete Rose impression. I gambled that my body could handle numerous bellyfloppin slides. I lost the farm. The reality (that I'm no longer He-Man) beat me with a royal flush of age-ism. I was duped into believing the catcalls of my teenage brain, "You're a bronze adonis. You can do this. You should try it off the roof." What my nearly-30 yr. old body should've known is that the hard ground beats teenage brain every time.

Unless you're He-Man. That guy spends his Saturdays slippin', slidin' and bouncing cannonballs off his chest.

Joe, call your agent, that sounds like a plot line for the next Weekend at Bernie's.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Your imagination deserves the few minutes it takes to watch this short film.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bookmark it, Dan-o

I've been using these two sites for a few weeks now and I am positive that they're worth sharing. Perhaps you early-adopted long ago. If not, allow me to introduce you to my first new buddy, Pandora. This site allows you to create radio stations with music you like. It's all free. So say you're a huge Fanilow but your evil boss won't let you bring Barry cds to work. Pandora. They also find music that is similar to an artist or song. It helps expand your horizons and shows the Fanilows that Michael Buble is out there crooning as well. You can give songs "thumbs up or down" which helps Pandora learn your taste. It's worth bookmarking immediately.

The second site is StumbleUpon. It literally helps you stumble upon things that interest, amuse, tickle, educate, nourish you. Remember in high school when you'd drive around looking for stuff to do. This is kind of like that. But it has the ability to only take you down the good streets. The streets with hackey-sack games and parks full of rap music and all your friends. You tell Stumble (I call him stu) what interests you and then you start stumbling. You can click that you "liked it" and it saves that site for future reference. It can drive around looking for everything you like or very specific things (video, images, blogs, news). Give it shot and if you find anything cool send it my way. I promise to do the same.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Green Machine

As some of you know I am so green. My lawnmower is still cutting grass sans gas. (that sounds like a sweet rap lyric) And lately I've been thinking that I want a moped. Bad enough that I spent two minutes photoshopping the original Hulk onto a scooter. That has to say something. Anyways, with the gas prices hotstepping towards silliness I just kind of want something I can cruise on but won't kill me. Moped/scooters get like 90 mpg. I'd be so green you'd have to start calling me Lou. Maybe Louie Green. We can iron that out later. The problem is they're selling like hotcakes. Craigslist is failing me. Moped Armies are forming all over. I predict that it won't be long before mopeds and scooters are chirping all over the city. Rideable cicadas.

I always wanted a moped. When I was a kid Dave Losey had one before he was legal. It was black and gold and hardcore. Another friend from junior high, Nate Williams, signed my yearbook on the last day of 7th grade, "this summer, when I get my moped I'll come over so you can ride it." He never got one. I had neighbor who's dad won the lottery and of course he had one. He always told me that once he got a better moped with a bigger engine I could have his old one. That never happened either. I'm just now realizing how many broken teenage promises revolve around mopeds. Weird.

All that to say, if you have a moped or scooter that just sits in your garage let me know. Just don't promise something you can't make good on. I can't handle any more heartbreak.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Soul Food

I doubt I'll ever get political with this weblog. I simply don't know enough to go there intelligently. But, I like how much artists like Obama. Good art speaks to souls. And I'd be willing to say that change only happens if souls are spoken to. Let's all make art this week. My buddy, Hoffmann, smoked a pork shoulder for us this weekend. That was good art. It spoke to my soul and my stomach. Art is bigger than paint and pixels. We all can create something. Yes we can. Yes we can.

Scariest Thing I've Seen This Week

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Giant's Bride

The old giant gives his trusty paddle to his tiny bride and steps back. She stares at him. He rubs his chin with his enormous hands waiting for a reply. She just stares. He speaks, "I'm done playing ping pong." No response. Wide-eyed silence. The giant tries again, "I'm done for good. It's over." She shifts slightly in her fur coat. She's spent years buying herself nice things. Nicer than the fur even. All in attempt to garner the attention of her humongous husband. He always chose ping pong. A strange obsession, but obsession nonetheless. Years worth of evenings were spent in separate rooms. Until now.
Now, the giant is ready to change.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

St. Elizabeth

I spent the past two days with my team (work not kickball) at St. Elizabeth's- a former catholic church bought by a bunch of Vineyardites. Some people (building/health inspectors) don't find the run down, old and haggard quality of Ms. Izzybeth quite as endearing as I do. They're constantly issuing pieces of paper that use words like "condemned" and "shut this place down or we'll throw you in the clink." I love this place and I'll be sad if it ever gets "restored." The stained glass glows in beautiful contrast/harmony with the chipped paint and bare brick of the inside walls. The grand quietness of the vaulted/arched ceilings combined with Norwood sirens and muffler-less cars creates a unique, holy experience. When the skies went dark at 4pm the handful of working lights struggled to illuminate the space without the help of the glowing stained glass. Something about how the inside of this old church needs the outside struck me. An exchange between the two is necessary for physical and metaphorical reasons. I'm still wrestling with what those are. Maybe one is that a church without the influence of the outside community is a dark, quiet vault of unreached/undiscovered potential. And vice versa. Maybe. Like I said, still wrestling.

Day two there was a fire across the street. Norwoodians like watching fires. Sans shirts.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lil' Meatloaf

My pocket-sized, future rock-diva of a friend mat milthaler has a weblog. While on our roadtrip Joe and I decided we would some day make our fortune writing and producing a one man rock and roll show featuring Mister Milthaler. Imagine Meatloaf + Freddie Mercury + Bette Midler with robotic lights and smoke. Live in Reno! Mat and I actually rapped together way back in the day. Little known fact...this Renaissance Man is a descendant of the secret love affair between Leonardo DaVinci & female tasmanian devil. If his weblog reflects this 100% true fact we're all in for a treat.

Back in the day

I must be feeling nostalgic er something. I plugged in my old hard drive and found these little doozies.They're fantastically and wonderfully bad. My buddy Jeremy and I led a young adult gathering as volunteers (2003ish) and spent our free time making ridiculous videos. Amazing how much and how little has changed...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Morning Sounds

9am sunday morning. sitting outside on my tiny deck. lots of sounds. morning doves impersonating owls. distant dogs shouting at each other. cicadas buzzing and dying. miss jackson's teeth nipping together eating said cicadas. kids chasing each other. my toilet flushing upstairs. a motley crew of birds harmonizing. woodpecker doing his best to play percussion for everyone but struggling to keep tempo with the unorthodox rhythm. squaking, crow-like birds flying overhead. miss jackson stepping ungracefully thru the ivy in hunt of more cicadas. leah sneezing inside (avoiding bug bites-she's very sweet and the bugs know it). neighbor doing a STOMP routine filling a wheelboro with something (wood maybe) and dropping a bucket on the ground. a blackish bird splashing clean in our bird bath. cars honking-seems early for honking. miss jackson pushing open the squeaky door with a stick in mouth to join leah inside. my empty coffee cup snapping its fingers for a refill. my keyboard going quiet....