lost time incident 55 – [unknown artists]

lost time incident 55
Yesterday, our landlord stopped by to fix some plumbing issues in the bedroom, so the majority of my day was spent adjusting id3 tags on my music collection and arranging for digital back-ups of the updated files. It was an easy thing to do while I sat around waiting, hearing the occasional tapping noises coming from the bathroom.

I was making the hard decisions, folks.

For example: [unknown artists] is more appropriate for some albums than “Various Artists” because “various” implies there’s many, but you know who they are. But if it’s an album composed primarily of songs recorded off the radio in Indonesia with no attempt made to discover artist names, or it’s field recordings made while walking around at night in Bali, then the artists are just unknown.

Also, if a DJ has put an album together, their name is used as Album Artist. That’s easy. But should they also be the artist for each track, even though the tracks themselves consist of music from other musical artists? And if you decide no, the artists whose work makes up each track the DJ selected should be listed, well then… you might be labeling only a partial version of the named track, depending on the DJ’s attention span.

My landlord had a heavy metal box of tools and visited two hardware stores in search of supplies for the project yesterday. I improved the resolution of the cover art of some digital albums. In 100 years, neither of our efforts will be remembered.

I did get in some shopping at Trader Joe’s as well, so… I’m not yet 100% a music troll who doesn’t venture out.

 

weekend gon’ be all


Two weeks ago, during the last lost time incident, I included a tweet with this format that referred to a cursed sword. A few weeks later and I decided to revisit the format and include a few more genres. People lead different lives. I can’t know what genre my Twitter followers exist within. Now, if they live in a fantastic and enchanted realm, or on a space station, or in a horrific monarchy of terror, they’re all set.

And the last variation is just a little joke for the rest of us who haven’t figured our genre out yet. An eternity called “the past” behind us and an eternity called “the future” ahead of us, none of us sure why we’re ticking along one second at a time in this constantly changing “present”.

 

looking and listening

Iron Fist – I won’t be the first to tell you, but this show is terrible. Don’t watch it. The writers never really figured out what our titular hero wants, but he’s rich and white, so we’re supposed to be interested no matter where he drifts. Also, one glance at the actor they picked to portray a world-class martial artist and any suspension of disbelief collapses like a … like an under-invested-in suspension bridge of disbelief. This pigeon-chested fellow (who apparently sometimes only got taught fight choreography 15 minutes before it was filmed) is not convincing as a fighter. Other characters even say he’s not a very good Iron Fist (which is a special kind of mystical punchy guy), which— okay. But he was still supposed to have earned the title by punching the heart out of a dragon, so “not a very good Iron Fist” should still be effing amazing. And he’s not. Ugh.

Legion – What if David Lynch collaborated on a superhero show that was barely a superhero show? What if all the sets were incredibly designed and the lead character might be insane, so you’re never sure what’s really going on, but it’s so pretty you’re happy to follow the journey anyway? Wonder no more, friends. You don’t even have to be interested in comics to dig this show. Very stylish. It’s got Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Rec) and Bill Irwin (one of the greatest living clowns in the world) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords). It should probably have you as well.

Little Axe Records – On Bandcamp, I’ve been spending some time looking through the offerings of this label out of Portland, OR. They don’t seem to know entirely what they have. There’s music from a few named blues artists and some named locations, but they also have albums posted with not tracklists… just Side A and Side B. Or compilations where old songs are shared without artist info, as if they just found some old vinyl and decided to share it with the world as-is. Mysteries to explore.

 

ending theme song
Okay! I’ve got a book I’m meant to be working on and a social engagement in a few hours, so it’s time to wrap this puppy up and ship it out.

Oh, almost forgot to ask: How was your week?

There. Pleasantries accomplished.

—Michael Van Vleet

lost time incident 54 – the art of procrastination

lost time incident 54

I should be writing fiction in a different browser window but I’m writing in this one because I’m having trouble getting started. Got off to a great start last Saturday, but by Sunday I was thinking I got some tone issues wrong. It’s too early to go back and rewrite the first section, but what if I just do nothing instead for a while and see how that works out?

How it’s working out is: I’m sending out this newsletter instead. That’s catching the ol’ bullet with your teeth. That’s taking charge, buddy.

The other thing I was doing— curating my mp3 collection and spiffing up id3 tags for albums I got from other people and never cared enough about to clean up before— is an easy way to lose a day. (I also spent time curating a set of tweets, which required a bit of Photoshop editing to line everything up.)

Writing, writing, writing.

In theory: We enjoy doing it.

In practice: We enjoy having done it.

This “actually doing it” step is a tragic prerequisite.

 

nonsense from twitter

Everyone says their weekend is going to be crazy, but I never feel particularly surprised by what they actually got up to.

Immediately after posting this, I wondered if readers would assume that the person taking ownership over the cursed sword would head off to challenge Skull Ape, or if it was assumed that the narrator has two tasks: fob off sword, then defeat Skull Ape (without a sword).

Is one funnier than the other?

It’s a good thing Twitter is free. I would not pay money to share these half-formed thoughts. You’re not paying money to be subjected to them. Capitalism has failed.

 

never too early to start planning
Hey kids! It’s March! You know what that means? Time to start thinking about CAMPUS PRANKS!

Feel free to use any or all of these ideas this Fall when you get to campus. If someone with a badge tries to stop you, use this simple trick: Scream CAMPUS PRANKS! Into their dumb face until their hat falls off and they flop out of their shoes.

Then leg it!

  prank – Knock on a random dorm room door. Shout that you’re sick of the lies and you’re drinking poison and it’s all their fault. But make sure you only drink liquor you’re not old enough to purchase. “Die” on their doorstep. Stay there until the resident advisor shows up. Rise from the dead and bite them. Hand them a flyer promoting THE WALKING DEAD. Collect a paycheck from AMC.

  prank – Sneak into either a sorority or fraternity house. Find where the underwear is stored for the Greek residents. DO NOT remove it. Instead leave a flyer for MeUndies, extolling the virtue of their 92% MicroModal® 8% elastane material, and their natural, sustainably sourced fiber. Then get the heck out of there unseen. If you’re spotted, just say you’re a podcast made flesh… an audio golem, cursed to wander the land until you can return to your RSS home.

  prank – Who cares. Glue something to something else in a way that makes someone’s life inconvenient. Be sure not to take their feelings into consideration. Think only of the joy you get from making an impact on the life of another, even if it’s negative, as proof that you’re still alive, and the college itself isn’t a dark dream. That you’re not actually in your middle age, and that you haven’t forgotten to attend a class all year, and now a test is due, and you can’t remember what building the class is hosted in. If you can prank someone, and make them even a little bit less comfortable in the world, that’s proof. This is real. Your teeth are really falling out. Why aren’t you wearing clothes. Are your clothes glued to the floor? Have you been pranked? Your childhood dog is here. Is this a prank? Scraps is dead. C’mere, boy! C’mere, Scraps!

 

ending theme song
Oh, dang, I forgot to get sponsors for this week’s newsletter. Maybe next week we’ll have some. I guess our pranks are giving sponsor shoutouts pro bono this week.

The Signal: EP133

The Signal: EP133 – Exactly 45 minutes of music, smuggled from cyberspace via a jigsaw rigged keyboard in Digitown, South .exe-ville. This time out we’ve got beats (and robot vocalists) from Japan, UK/Jamaican dub, soul from Canada, vapor from the 80s, psycho-surf, hip-hop, and more!

Download by clicking on the link (or image) above. The file is available only for a limited time. If you’re interested in the tracklist, it’s in the mp3 itself, in the id3 tags. Or, if you sign up to be a member of our mailing list, The Tuned In, you’ll be among the first on the planet to know when a new mix is posted, and you’ll get a permanent archive link and the entire playlist, delivered to your inbox.

lost time incident 53 – see something wonderful

lost time incident 53
It’s been a while. How have you been? Still hanging in there?

Okay, that’s enough about you, let’s get the focus back to me.

The thrill of having written and seen published a story about cannibals at a swap meet has worn off. The year itself has been off to a rough start, what with the decline of Western civilization… and we didn’t even get as civilized as I’d hoped we’d get before the backsliding kicked in. You may have noticed. I feel like some of this has made it into the news.

Oh well.

Nothing to do but keep doing what we were doing (plus a bit more when possible).

Along those lines, this morning I sent off a pitch to the weirdos at Horrible Vacuum for a second book. We’ll see if they dig the concept. Fingers crossed. If they do, I’ll be spending a number of weekends, head down, writing. Sure, I could do that anyway, but you have to remember that I’m lazy and surrounded by entertainment options.

[Same Day Update: Okay! They liked the pitch, and gave me the go ahead to write a new book for them. Now I know what I’m doing with my free time for the foreseeable. Nice!]

 

stuff from twitter

My Twitter creativity has been at next-to-nothing so far this year, as Twitter was transformed from a playground into a vehicle for social outrage, even among the funny people I follow. I’ve retweeted a bunch of stuff, but… yeah. This sigh is the only tweet worth rescuing at the moment.

haunted america
The Ol’ Winthrop Place, Loop’s Hollow, Rhode Island
Ask any kid on a dirt bike and they’ll tell you the ol’ Winthrop place is haunted. But what really haunts this town is children. Who rides dirt bikes anymore? You check any other town and the kids are at home, playing video games, taking photos and applying funny filters to them. Nobody goes outside but these dirtbike kids that skid to a halt in front of you if you get too near the Winthrop place.

Asking “What’cha up to, mister?”

Look closer. One of them is wearing a canvas bag emblazoned with the logo for the Loop’s Hollow Clarion, which stopped publishing in 1972. Here’s an experiment: Try mentioning that you’ve recently visited the beaver dam in neighboring Borington. They’ll snicker and repeat the word “beaver” and that’s how you can be sure they’re out of time. Nobody snickers at that word anymore.

Do not trust them. Do not subscribe to their paper. You’ll never see a single sports page for your money. Those aren’t real kids.

The Haunted Dairy Queen, Downingcurd, Pennsylvania
Several haintologists have visited this site and they’ve all reported unusual readings with their bullshit electronic gizmos. Sure, they’ll spend a night there alone, and report that it got strangely cold, as if we don’t all know there’s a freezer full of ice cream locked away by the day manager at end of shift that might possibly be a factor.

I applied to join one of those crews. Told ’em I could run their social media account. “Do you know how to run a blah-blah-spectro-blah-malizer?” they asked. Heck no. Never heard of one. But I can pay money to a Russian botnet to get their follower count up.

No dice. They wanted fake scientists, not actual help. Their loss. I hope they drop and break one of their stupid clicky recording gizmos and I hope their YouTube channel gets permanently shut down from all the DMCA complaints I filed on ’em.

That’ll teach ’em.

Oh, and the ghost at the Dairy Queen is just some girl who worked there in ’97. Ate too many Blizzards and died. She has more followers on Twitter than those clowns who didn’t hire me.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.
There’s two ghosts here. They seem cool. Say “hi” if you see ’em.

 

ending theme song
Okay! Hope that was worth the wait after several weeks off. The fact that I’m now committed to write another book may very well affect the timing of the next one… or maybe I’ll be back in the habit. Who knows, who knows.

—Michael Van Vleet

(cover image credit: Richard Winters – http://pixel8or.tumblr.com/)

cliche collision

You know what they say. In the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man always dances like nobody’s watching.

Unless the blind are doing that weird touch-y thing where they crowd around and try to hold his limbs while he moves, but it doesn’t work very well. No one has hands big enough to take in the entire choreography.

And I have no idea why the one-eyed man feels the need to don a costume for these dances. It’s wasted effort.

Next year, let’s not vacation in the Kingdom of the Blind.

The Signal: EP132

The Signal: EP132 – Exactly 45 minutes of carefully balanced tunes, glittering and perfect. For those that have ears to hear, we’ve got hip hop from the UK, electronic sounds from Mexico, cumbia from Colombia, a doo wop bad boy, Italian horror movie soundtrack music, dubstep, retrowave, and a bit of bedroom pop.

If that sounds good, download away, because this mix won’t be posted forever. If you’re interested in the tracklist, it’s in the mp3 itself, in the id3 tags. Or, if you sign up to be a member of our mailing list, The Tuned In, you’ll be among the first on the planet to know when a new mix is posted, and you’ll get a permanent archive link and the entire playlist, delivered to your inbox.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Don’t you think you deserve that? C’mon. Life is hard enough.