12.28.11

The end of the year.

It’s been nine months since I moved to New York City and I am feeling more awake now that I have in a long time. I got the education I needed in Arizona to move forward, but school really put me to sleep. I liked many things about AZ, but I am glad to be back on the east coast. I am working as a dog walker in Brooklyn and managing to finish a book I have been working on forever called The League (working title). I took so long to write this book that there has since been a TV show named that. I don’t have any alternate title ideas right now, but this is the year I do something about getting it out. I have a draft finished and feel like I am one re-write away from showing it.

Something that has been a bit arresting for me is not knowing how to talk about cancer. September marks one year since I had surgery and chemotherapy. People occasionally ask and people hear about it and say they didn’t know. It is a weird subject for me. On one hand, I want to move away from it. Just put it behind me. But I also feel as if I am hiding from it and not dealing with it. I thought about writing in September to say that it is a year later and I am cancer free, but then there were complications and I was thinking that I might have it again. I am glad to say that nothing has changed since last year. I took me a while to find an oncologist, but I am with one here in NY, so I will be getting regular scans now. I have had some other problems complicating my health, but everything seem to be coming together and I am feeling well. Dog walking has helped with exercise and my attitude immensely. I have realized that three of my favorite things have to do with pets:

1) I enjoy watching dogs carry things, especially things that are too big for them to carry.
2) I like a dog or cat on a sofa. People who don’t allow pets on the couch have their priorities mixed up.
3)  Dog snoring.

I am still regularly writing for Razorcake. I am also still writing for The Tucson Weekly and The Brooklyn Rail. I am bummed that there has been another year without a Cramhole, but I didn’t start that thing thinking there would be any regularity there, so we hold out hope for another one sometime. I am still looking for zines and things to contribute to. We are also doing The Basement Apartments and it is sounding good. Don’t call it a comeback, ’cause we didn’t do that much in the first place.

SO… I am happy. Things are good. Just to break the somber tone and Bill-centricity going on here, I am going to put up a few of my favorite things for the year. Don’t think of it as a Top _ list, it’s just stuff I liked:

Guitar Wolf is always a good thing, but this year I got pulled on stage with them randomly. I was reviewing the show for the Brooklyn Rail. Guitar Wolf. The album is awesome, but what would you expect.

I’ve been praising The Shirks since the beginning, but this single is awesome-er that the last ones.

The Overnight Lows: good single from a good band.

The re-issue of Bright and Dark by The Resonars is essential.

Mississippi Records is a label to keep an eye on for good stuff. This Blind Willie Johnson album is nearly all of his recorded output. I love the way they package their albums. I have been submitting a full review of this record. If no one picks it up, i’ll post it here.

Everything on Sing Sing has been full-on. I picked up this Rip Off (Ireland) compilation and started checking for other Sing Sing releases. This Panic 13 one has been getting a lot of spins.

This just needed to happen.

I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t a fan of the Everly Brothers before, but I got into them more this year. It was mostly at the urging of my friend Travis. It’s great when someone leads you into something. I bought several collections this year…

With that sentiment in mind, I am going to encourage you all to get into Exodus this year. Face it: Metallica thoroughly sucks. There is no coming back for them. Like Exodus. Yell it out at Neil Hamburger shows.

Great stuff.

Buttshakers 5+6. All the Buttshakers are essential. Not in the “Bill sort of likes everything” sort of way, but in the “play all six of these and you wake up masturbating and the house is clean” sort of way.

I don’t know what year this came out, but I just got it and it’s awesome.

I reviewed a Monotonix show for the Tucson Weekly last year. Monotonix. The way this band was presented to me, I was not sure I would like it. Too much “young people having young fun” for me. When I hear a band is super wild, I generally assume it is because they are hiding the fact that they suck. But you gotta keep an open mind.  These guys’ records are solid. The show was great too. Young people accidentally like good things once in a while.

 
Here are some record stores that I have been frequenting. Support your local record stores.

 

 

I’ve seen David Cross, Paul Giamatti, and Maggie Gyllenhaal on the street while walking dogs in Brooklyn. This is a pretty cool line up of celebrities in my book. Better that seeing The Bachelor or something like that.

We saw Miranda July speak at a screening of her new film. We don’t go to the movies as often as we used to.


Amy got me tickets for Jeff Ross at Carolines for Christmas. I got into Greg Giraldo, Jeff Ross and Patrice O’Neal around the same time. Amy and I said hello to him after the show. He was super nice.

Well, this is going long. I haven’t felt like posting too much, so I guess I am running on a bit. I would say my resolution would be to keep in better touch, but I am never going to do that. This year, my resolution should be not to make promises about things I know I will never do.

 

12.14.11

I wanted to drop a line and say thanks to a few people who have put in some mail orders for Cramhole recently. All the packages went out. I appreciate the holiday-era orders.

I recently found a great record store called C0-Op 87 in Brooklyn.  Besides finding some awesome vinyl there, the shop is now carrying Cramhole.
We also restocked Goner recently. Thanks for keeping the comic alive.

Co-Op 87

Here is a list of retailers keeping Cramhole alive and good places to remember over the holidays:

Microcosm Publishing
Toxic Ranch Records-Tucson
Smash!- DC
Desert Island Comics- Brooklyn
C0-Op 87- Brooklyn
Goner Records – Memphis
Atomic Books- Baltimore
Parcel Press

12.07.11


Here is a link to  review I did for the Tucson Weekly. The Resonars is one of my favorite overlooked bands. This is a re-issue of their excellent Bright and Dark LP released by Burger Records. Burger has been putting out excellent stuff lately.  Burger Records

The Resonars- Bright and Dark (Burger Records)

12.04.11

Even for a slasher film, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is pretty stupid.
1) Is Jason sponsored by a power tool company? Where does he keep getting that stuff?
2) Why is everyone in this house having sex at the same time? Did they coordinate this?
3) How is Jason, who is essentially a walking corpse at this point, able to disconnect the power in the house when he does not seem to fully comprehend the semantics of walking around a wall?
4)  Where did the cat in the closet come from? Was that cat sitting in the closet the whole time, including the time since the last renters left the house?
5) As the movie nears the end, why does the killer find the need to stop and confront at the people he is chasing? Wouldn’t that time be better spent running? Particularly as, by the end of the story, the remaining people have figured out something is wrong. He is waiting for them to think: Oh, that’s what all this is about.

Is there anything redeemable about the film? Yes. Someone does get killed with a party horn, and it does honk when the person is stabbed with it.

Maybe the movie is ruined by the fact that it’s Sunday morning at 8:45. I have been getting up super early recently. I realized I haven’t written here in about a month. I have spent too many extra days at Lutheran Hospital doing cancer follow up. It has been over a year since the surgery and chemotherapy. I seem to be OK, but  all the following up that goes on when someone is cured in the movies is never portrayed. It’s like: “Yea, cancer’s over. Let’s get a milkshake.”

No milkshake for me, but I still try to remember all the faces I saw at the chemo treatment center, a percentage of which likely have passed by now. So I feel fortunate to be mostly cancer free. I am still waiting for tests.

I have also been buried by my final German class. That has been a pain in the ass for two years, but there is light at the end of that tunnel.

I have a draft of The League (working title) done, but I can tell it already needs a lot of work. I have put it down for a few weeks so I can knock out the bulk of these last German lessons. But I am enthusiastic that some of you will be seeing it within the year however we decide to get it done.

As far as active writing, I have a piece in the upcoming Tucson Weekly. I have also been working on some short stories recently. It’s about time I posted a few new ones.
Well, seems like a relatively mundane post, but things are going well. This is going to be the year to escalate.

11.02.11

Here is a review of a recent Vibrators performance I wrote published in The Brooklyn Rail. I have heard it was harsh. I didn’t think it was that bad. You be the judge.

Vibrators

09.15.11

This week a review I wrote for the Tucson Weekly about the new Dwarves album is in the paper. Here is a link to the online version:

The Dwarves

Things have been going pretty well. We restocked Cramhole at Smash!, Goner, and Microcosm this week. Still working on the animation piece. It is going pretty well.

Also finished a draft of The League (working title) this week. As the book comes together I am getting more excited about it. It is going from skeleton to gross thing with some flesh on it.

And with all that on the table, I am off to walk dogs!!!

09.04.11

The Humpty Dance

This week I actually fired up the Ampeg for the first time in months. This monstrosity of an amplifier has been a curse, especially moving across the country. After Tucson amp genius John Markovich got it running full speed, I didn’t have the heart to get rid of it. So here it sits. After months of inactivity and a trip across the country in a Pods brand storage unit, it sounds pretty good next to my couch. It’s too fucking big to take to practice.

The Basement Apartments have been practicing and are starting to sound like a real band again. We are polishing a ten-song set that consists of our favorites of the old and new songs we are working on together.

I have also finished what I believe to be a first draft of a book I have been working on for the past couple of years that I have been writing under the title of The League. It is a pretty jagged draft, so don’t look for any good news about it for a while, but I feel as if a complete story exists on the pages and I feel like the story is developing a life of its own.

We had a great drive through D.C. to Charlottesville during the hurricane. I was carrying records and books I wanted to sell; I think the neighbors thought we were bugging out because of the storm. I didn’t get to all my usual places, but I did get to stop by Record and Tape Exchange in Fairfax. Always glad to see that place is still going strong. Also got to Black Gold in Brooklyn last week thanks to Joao. That is the most record shopping I have done since I moved to Brooklyn. I found good stuff in both places.

We also took a turn working on the Cramhole animation we are calling Vinyl Countdown. Mr. Chen and I set out to work in a coffee shop, but ended up in a McDonalds because the café was too crowded. I felt a lot less pretentious working in McDonalds. We also saw a guy in a Digital Underground t-shirt making McDonalds my place of choice to have work sessions. I recommend the cola.

08.04.11

razorcake_cover_63.jpg

Razorcake 63  is out. This ish has an interview I did with Found Footage Festival creators Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett. I am pretty proud of how it came out. Found Footage Festival DVDs are guaranteed laughs.

Still working on an interview with an excellent band called The Overnight Lows and still sending interview requests to John Waters. I think perhaps I am being naive that that will ever happen, but one can hope. I’ve probably accidentally achieved stalker status.

We have been practicing as The Basement Apartments again. Things are sounding A-OK so far. New songs are coming together and the old songs are sounding less like new songs. R’n’R.

I have been working on a novel about a guy who moves to the southwest and becomes confused. I have been calling it The League for a while, although I have discovered  recently that this is the title of a popular television show. I guess I’m changing the title, but I haven’t thought of anything catchier.

I am now in a regular dog walking route. Knowing where to go every day is a big plus. As a creature of habit, it is good for me to know where to be. Big projects for me right now are finishing a draft of the book, continuing to finish the cursed German class, and getting rid of Tuberculosis, which I just discovered I have. After last year’s cancer, I have decided to become a collector of fine, antiquated diseases. Next up: Leprosy. Anyone who wants to trade Leprosy for Tuberculosis, just give me a call. 

 

07.13.11

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Here is a link to a review of a recent Guitar Wolf show I wrote for The Brooklyn Rail. They kick ass always and forever!!!

Guitar Wolf

07.07.11

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Amy recently made the trip over to Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn to re-stock Cramhole issues 1, 2, and 3. It has been a while since we have done a comic, but I am a bit broke at the moment. I have loads of notes though. Mr. Chen has also been working on an animation based on a script I wrote featuring Cramhole brand anecdotal humor. Maybe I’ll just do a Hacienda sort of thing and call that #4.

Desert Island Comics 

Cramhole is also available through Microcosm distribution and at Toxic Ranch Records in Tucson and Smash Records in Washington D.C.


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