skulls across america

music, this and that, etc.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Voicemail from Kenny, received Sunday, May 26, 2013 - three minutes

Voicemail from Kenny, received Sunday, May 26, 2013 - three minutes

Hey Sam.  It’s me man, it’s Kenny.  I’ve been holding out on this call, just hoping that things worked out.  But it hit me today like a bolt of lightning, and I wanted to say that I get it now.  You fooled me!  I know you didn’t go back in time.  There’s just no way.  Come on, Sam!

Look, I knew all along that you weren’t going back to fix that land deal that got your grandpa shot.  It was obvious that you wanted to go back for Ann.  That’s why you set the target year for ninety-six.  Thirty-five year-old you was going to creep it up and try to pick up eighteen year-old her, that first year in college.  Or maybe you were going to risk destroying the space-time continuum by trying to talk eighteen year-old you into driving cross country for her.  Either way, I’ve been watching her Facebook for ripples, and there’s nothing.  You’re still not one of her friends, and she’s still married to that real estate guy from San Mateo.

So I started to get suspicious, especially of how you picked an impossible dead drop for passing messages.  Like I’m going to drive to Ohio to hunt through a copy of The Stand at your high school library?  You know my car overheats on the highway!  But still, everything in the field was so convincing that I nearly bought that Greyhound ticket, until I realized I could keep tabs on the Ann situation online.

It was crazy in the field when you and the machine just vanished.  No wobbling around, no time field distortion, just there one second and gone the next.  When I realized I was duped, I thought that maybe you pulled a Copperfield with smoke and mirrors.  But I looked all over the field that day and didn’t see any pieces of the machine, or any smoke or mirrors.  Then I thought that you might have shrunk yourself and the machine down and hid in the grass.  Except you knew that I’d walk all over the field to look for any parts of you or the machine, and I’d probably step on you.  And then it hit me - you teleported!  I don’t know if you found a quick mod to convert the machine, or if all this time you were building a teleporter and lying to me about the time machine.  Either way, I should have been kept apprised of that sort of thing, since it was my disability money and my parents’ savings that funded everything.

I really hope you’re someplace where you can check your voicemail.  I understand that the machine wasn’t a sure thing, but if it wasn’t going to work you should’ve told me.  I just hope we can sell off the more expensive computer parts, and the fifty-two Prius batteries, because that second mortgage I talked my folks into has a balloon payment coming up real quick.  I figured that was no big deal, because you’d be making serious cash on the races if the machine had worked.


Anyway, please come clean and call me back soon.  I tried to email, but my messages all bounced back.  And I was going to leave you a letter, but your mailbox has somebody else’s name on it already, so I’m assuming you didn’t take my advice and pre-pay your rent for the next few months.

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Thank you for your purchase of the MyStar Multi-wave Device

Thank you for your purchase of the MyStar Multi-wave Device.


Dear consumer,

We sincerely thank you for your purchase.  Before you continue, please take note that by opening the packaging on your new MyStar home cell tower / Wi-Fi / My-Fi / restaurant grade microwave unit, you assume all risks and indemnities herein, and acknowledge that any text on said package touting the product as “100% effective,” “Fully safe for pregnant women, infants, and livestock,” or “Energy Star rated at just cents per day” were the result of poor translation at a Toledo printing plant.


(This page intentionally left blank.)


The text originally intended for the product packaging included the following statements, which per the introductory paragraph, you have conceded to regardless of whether or not you have read these warnings or have already skipped ahead to the quick setup guide:
“At times up to 32% functional!”
“Moderately safe for pregnant women.”
“Infants within 400 feet should be wrapped in 3 layers of tinfoil.”
“Livestock, alive or dead, that are exposed to the MyStar must be immediately incinerated.”
“Energy star banned due to electric costs upward of four thousand dollars per minute, or even more when unit is switched from stand-by to warm-up mode.”


(This page intentionally left blank.
Please consider your hopes and dreams before continuing.)


This page left mostly blank, but not left completely intentionally blank.  Please place this page within a 7 foot radius of the MyStar before operating the device.  After the MyStar is placed in stand-by mode, you must closely monitor the status of this page.  Should this page catch fire, you must:
1. Immediately flee the MyStar device.
2. Contact your power company.  If the automated menu prompts you to enter an extension, press 666.  If the automated menu prompts you to say why you are calling, calmly state “MyStar device has initiated phased hyper-volt mode.”
3. If your locality is serviced by a nuclear power plant, you must call the Department of Homeland Security.  When prompted to state why you are calling, calmly state “MyStar supernova.”  Wait seven seconds.  Then yell “Red dwarf!  Red dwarf!”  They will know what this means.


(This page filled with heart-warming photographs 
of small children holding butterflies.)


Please note that when wrapping children under the age of 5 in tinfoil, special care must be taken to ensure that the child’s airways are kept clear.  We recommend that you only wrap the child’s trunk and legs with tinfoil, and purchase the protective titanium child’s sized helmet from the MyStar e-store for approved, fully-ventilated cranial protection.  Alternatively, simply send the child to its grandparents before operating the MyStar, provided they live no closer than 3 miles from the MyStar installation site.


(This page intentionally left blank.
If nothing else, think of your loved ones.  
While the MyStar may be non-refundable,
can you really place a price tag on the rest of your life?
)


MyStar Quick Setup Guide
1. Remove all packaging.
2. Do ensure that you have removed the outer layer of molded HDPE, as there is a layer of bubble-wrap between it and the inner molded layer of HDPE that will catch fire and emit toxic fumes if not removed.  Due to a printing error, the outer layer is labeled “Non-removable HDPE shell.”
3. Remove the layer of bubble wrap in between the two layers of molded HDPE plastic.
4. Take care not to remove the inner layer of molded HDPE plastic from the MyStar.  This layer is labeled “Non removable HDPE shell.”  Removal of this layer will result in your being placed on any number of watch lists, none of which will bode well for your future employment.
5. Open the 6 power-cable hatches which circle the bottom ring of the MyStar.  Extend each retractable 220-volt plug from its hatch and connect to its own isolated 220-volt outlet.
6. Once you have donned protective gear and followed all applicable warnings from page 3 of these instructions, you may place the MyStar into stand-by mode.
7. When the status indicator light at the top of the MyStar begins flashing bright red pulses exactly .6 seconds apart, you may place the MyStar into warm-up mode.  Placing the MyStar into warm-up mode too early will void all warranties and absolve MyStar of all liability.
8. If the status indicator light flashes red .7 seconds apart or slower, you must not place the MyStar into warm-up mode.  You must wait for the MyStar to cycle through the remainder of it’s standby mode; the status indicator will reach .6 second intervals again in 10 to 28 hours.  Placing the MyStar into warm-up mode after the status indicator light has begun flashing .7 seconds apart or slower will void your fertility and may have an adverse affect upon your genetic makeup.
9. Once the MyStar has been placed into warm-up mode, it will cycle through internal operations until it is able to be activated.  When ready, it will emit a tone, the F above middle C, at 240 decibels.  Hearing protection is strongly encouraged.
10. If not mentioned earlier, please ensure that the MyStar is not operated within 25 miles of any airport or heliport.


(For the love of all that is holy, are you not even reading these filler pages or what?  
We left them mostly blank to give you time to contemplate your impending doom.  

Well have it your way.  

Don’t order the protective lead operator’s overcoat and titanium helmet, 
don’t wait the 4 to 12 days for the safety capsule 
to ship halfway around the world from our warehouse, 
and don’t arrange with your local codes inspector, 
fire marshal, and FBI regional bureau chief 
for the federally mandated installation review 
and buyer’s remorse counseling.


Just plug the damn thing in already.  

You are clearly as oblivious to reason 
as our engineering, product testing, and legal departments.)


Congratulations again on becoming a proud owner of a MyStar home cell tower / Wi-Fi / My-Fi / restaurant grade microwave unit!  Should your MyStar provide you with all four of those capabilities without causing you permanent injury or genetic mutation, you will have joined a very elite group of people!  Friend them on Facebook at facebook.com/MyStarSurvivors.


(This page intentionally filled with blank lines

on which the authorities shall record the names of the dead.)

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Bands I've seen...

In somewhat chronological order...
  1. harold betters
  2. primus
  3. helmet / edison
  4. big black nun
  5. primus / blink 182 (got there late, missed the aquabats)
  6. pearl jam
  7. helmet / the melvins
  8. bad religion
  9. the smashing pumpkins / the frogs (?)
  10. dave matthews band (x2)
  11. nada surf
  12. horde tour: neil young & crazy horse / col. bruce hampton / spiritualized / others
  13. ben harper & the innocent criminals
  14. radiohead (metropol)
  15. weezer (metropol)
  16. sunny day real estate (metropol)
  17. helmet / creta bourzia (metropol)
  18. cornerstone: m.c. hammer (as hammer, I believe) / others, including one awesome midnight circle pit
  19. the juliana theory
  20. fugazi / burning airlines (CMU)
  21. burning airlines / faraquet
  22. faraquet / rainer maria / juno / the most secret method / the great northern
  23. jets to brazil / burning airlines (?)
  24. faraquet / q and not u
  25. hey mercedes / new end original / naht / burning airlines / death cab for cutie (gymnasium in VA)
  26. jets to brazil / the americans (black cat)
  27. rocket from the crypt / detroit cobras (?) / (?)
  28. the promise ring, burning airlines, joan of arc, the dismemberment plan (show at PSU)
  29. elliot smith / grandaddy
  30. guided by voices / spoon (totally did not appreciate spoon at this point, which was a crying shame)
  31. the k word
  32. fugazi (richmond)
  33. grandaddy (they were opening for someone, and we split after grandaddy - that's dedication, right?)
  34. rancid
  35. fugazi / quixotic (ft. reno)
  36. rocket from the crypt
  37. mogwai / bardo pond
  38. hey mercedes
  39. Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards (?)
  40. rancid / afi (?)
  41. hot snakes / beehive and the barracudas / lost sounds
  42. bluetip
  43. beauty pill / aloha
  44. fugazi / dead meadow (field near pitt)
  45. five iron frenzy
  46. and you will know us by the trail of dead...
  47. aloha / apollo sunshine
  48. anathello (opened for them)
  49. ted leo & the pharmacists
  50. the toasters (opened for them)
  51. wilco
  52. wilco / low
  53. neil young / wilco
  54. gringo star (opened for them)
  55. the shipping news
  56. wilco / conor oberst & the mystic valley band
  57. post-faraquet-pre-medications band (black cat... can't remember the name, honestly I think it was a one-off under the name)
  58. wynton marsalis
  59. the fairfield four
  60. the dave brubeck quartet
  61. herbie hancock (PSU performing arts)
  62. the sidemen
  63. gillian welch & david rawlings
  64. ted leo & the pharmacists / screaming females
  65. magnolia electric co / destroyer
  66. obits / constantines
  67. magnolia electric co
  68. obits
  69. grace potter & the nocturnals
  70. bill kirchen
  71. spoon
  72. the dead / the allman brothers band (penn state rally for Obama campaign)
  73. greensky bluegrass
  74. greg allman
  75. deke dickerson & the eccophonics
  76. larry keel & the natural bridge
  77. colebrook road
  78. mandolin orange (opened for them)
  79. my morning jacket / neko case
  80. eric lindell
  81. dr. john
  82. spirit family reunion
  83. delta spirit
  84. iron & wine / sharon van etten
  85. broken fences
  86. third day
  87. driftwood / stewed mulligan
  88. the wheals
  89. my morning jacket / band of horses
  90. the del mccoury band
  91. cabinet
  92. consider the source
  93. tauk / deaf scene
  94. the blind owl band
  95. tom petty & the heartbreakers / drive by truckers
  96. lindsey lou & the flat bellies
  97. jill andrews
  98. the stray birds (opened for them)
  99. fletcher's grove
  100. cabinet
  101. punch brothers / aoife o'donovan

special dispensation: dylan (quite a few shows, listed here), including the following bills:
dylan / jimmie vaughan / junior brown / elana james
dylan / willie nelson / john couger / the wiyos
dylan / lucas nelson
dylan / elvis costello / amos lee
dylan / the raconteurs
dylan / dawes

by the way, no offense to the many area bands I've seen and played shows with, I was just thinking more of the touring bands I've traveled to see, or been fortunate enough to see locally.  I have great memories of seeing, and playing shows with, many other bands, like:
the alan smithee project
mid air version
the unwanted
anarchaos
the marauders
214 spit
the chandelier swing
emmet and mary
the mad katz
the vicars (double duty, as the harlots played at the first vicars show, and then a few years later I joined the vicars as drummer #3)
endless mike and the beagle club
the one and only matt miller
apache moon
the hit and miss engines
the crew of the half moon

some bands I'd like to see yet:
trampled by turtles
dr. ralph stanley
barn owl
jbm
junip
the black keys
weird al
queens of the stone age
bonnie prince billy
metallica
beach house
hum
paul simon
dinosaur jr
godspeed you black emperor
jamey johnson
j. tillman
jethro tull (but only with Martin Barre on guitar)
shearwater
stephen malkmus & the jicks
tom waits

and lastly, bands I've been in, not counting some endeavors that never played a show:
inside kid
ohio liberation army
the harlots
famous last words
the vicars
the headaches
striped maple hollow

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Recent recordings

I've been making/writing some electric/drone songs/recordings/pieces over the last month, ostensibly as part of National Songwriting Month (#nasowrimo) but also as an after-effect of listening to Barn Owl nearly non-stop for the last four or five months. This set features the last five recordings - met yer gnome, the cloud ate my homework, meeting aborted, five block radius, and the bear sits like an old man in a wicker chair.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dylan shows I've been to - updated Aug 30, 2012


Dylan shows I've been to - updated .  This is just so I can find this list in a pinch.  Dylan shows I've been to - ratings based on my recollection, not a strict grade on the musicality.

1. Pittsburgh, November 8, 2002: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/110802s.html
- I listened to all his old records before this one.  Not a good primer for latter-day Dylan.

2. State College, PA, September 3, 2006: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/090306s.html
- He played Forever Young at this one.  I was standing a few feet from the stage - great show.

3. Fairfax, VA, November 17, 2006: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/111706s.html
- He played Señor at this one.  Fantastic.

4. Hershey, PA, June 24, 2007: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/062407s.html
- This was a hot day, but it wasn't a bad set at all.

5. Pittsburgh, PA, October 11, 2007: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/101107s.html
- Great show, from row C!  With Elvis Costello solo.

6. Washington, PA, July 13, 2009: http://boblinks.com/071309s.html
- Good show, real close, also on the bill was Willie Nelson!

7. Akron, OH, November 2, 2010: http://boblinks.com/110210s.html
- Great show, seats were really close to the stage, the band was on fire, and the crowd was really into it.  First show I'd seen (since getting really into Dylan) with Charlie Sexton playing in the band, this was a great one.

8. State College, PA, November 9, 2010: http://boblinks.com/110910s.html
- The Bryce Jordan Center was done up in a really off-putting way for this show.  But after having seen him at his best 7 days before, and knowing that I'd missed Blind Willie McTell in Pittsburgh 2 days before this show, there was no way this was going to live up to expectations.

9. Johnstown, PA, August 29, 2012: http://www.boblinks.com/082912s.html
- This was perhaps the best I've seen yet.  Dylan and his band were sharp, they seemed to be having a lot of fun, and the setlist was fantastic.  Saving Grace in the six spot was fantastic - I had no idea he hadn't played that in 7 years - and then 6 songs later, finally, after years of waiting to hear it live, he played Blind Willie McTell.

10. California, PA, April 13, 2013: http://www.boblinks.com/041313s.html
- Great show, great set with a new (but short-lived) lead guitarist.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some simple rules, if I can ever follow them

Here are some simple rules/goals to get myself into slightly better shape.  Good luck following any of them, self!
  1. Always:
    1. No french fries.
    2. No soda.
    3. Portion control on the chips at lunch time!
  2. When weight is above target weight:
    1. No snacks after 8pm.
    2. No beer during the week. (Mon-Thurs)
    3. On the weekend (Fri-Sun), max of 1 beer per 30 minutes of exercise or physical labor.
  3. When weight is below target weight:
    1. Only healthy snacks, from a tiny glass dish, after 8pm.  (to do: find an edible, healthy snack)
    2. During the week, 1 light beer, but only if 30 minutes of exercise or physical labor during the day.


As you can see, this is not the strictest of regimens I intend for myself.  We'll see how it goes here.  A couple of business trips in the past six weeks have not helped matters, but I'll be doggoned if I'm going to go out and buy new pants and shorts, so I've gotta do something here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dylan shows I've been to


This is just so I can find this list in a pinch.  Dylan shows I've been to - ratings based on my recollection, not a strict grade on the musicality.

1. Pittsburgh, November 8, 2002: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/110802s.html
- I listened to all his old records before this one.  Not a good primer for latter-day Dylan.

2. State College, PA, September 3, 2006: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/090306s.html
- He played Forever Young at this one.  I was standing a few feet from the stage - great show.

3. Fairfax, VA, November 17, 2006: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/111706s.html
- He played Señor at this one.  Fantastic.

4. Hershey, PA, June 24, 2007: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/062407s.html
- This was a hot day, but it wasn't a bad set at all.

5. Pittsburgh, PA, October 11, 2007: http://my.execpc.com/~billp61/101107s.html
- Great show, from row C!  With Elvis Costello solo.

6. Washington, PA, July 13, 2009: http://boblinks.com/071309s.html
- Good show, real close, also on the bill was Willie Nelson!

7. Akron, OH, November 2, 2010: http://boblinks.com/110210s.html
- Great show, seats were really close to the stage, the band was on fire, and the crowd was really into it.  First show I'd seen (since getting really into Dylan) with Charlie Sexton playing in the band, this was a great one.

8. State College, PA, November 9, 2010: http://boblinks.com/110910s.html
- The Bryce Jordan Center was done up in a really off-putting way for this show.  But after having seen him at his best 7 days before, and knowing that I'd missed Blind Willie McTell in Pittsburgh 2 days before this show, there was no way this was going to live up to expectations.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

National Songwriting Month 2012 challenge!

I'm participating (a few days late) in National Songwriting Month 2012. I'll be trying to write and record a new song each day. I started on May 5 and have three days under my belt. Here's an embed of all of my NaSoWriMo2012 compositions: You can check out more of the participant's work via the NaSoWriMo group on SoundCloud

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New recording: Kill or be killed

Kill or be killed by skulls across america


This is one I had written, and demo-ed, a while back, but finally recorded properly last night. I did a bit of mixing on it, but went light on the effects. After all, it was 1:30am at the time.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Divided Self: Hell to Pay

Hell to Pay is another original by Adam. It's a few years old now, but it hasn't aged a day.

Hell to Pay by skulls across america

Direct: http://soundcloud.com/skulls-across-america/hell-to-pay

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