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Friday, May 19, 2006

The Great Story Hunt

In two weeks I have to present a new story to my Short Fiction class. I was halfway through a first draft of a story when I realized that there was no story in my story.

Sometimes trying to find a story is like being on the hunt for the elusive Nebraskan white-billed finch. You put on your rubber highwaters, and your camo hat, you've got your binoculars hanging around your neck, and you've got the bird-call-kazoo almost permanently attached to your lips, as you try to trample quietly through the reeds of the low waterlands, stalking the ultimate sighting... your story.

Come to me story! Don't you hear my call!



Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"This is a very good tune. My mother used to sing this."

I never really thought that I would end up ranting about American Idol on this blog, and yet, here I go:

Last night on Idol, contestant Taylor Hicks chose for his final song of the night the Otis Redding classic Try a Little Tenderness. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Otis' work, or just soul music in general, Otis is best known for his song Dock of the Bay, but was also a prolific writer of some of the most popular soul music of all time, including the song that Aretha Franklin made famous, Respect.

Now being a fan of soul music in general, I have been a huge fan of Taylor's since he first appeared on the show. I love his musicality, and the tone of his voice so reminscent of Joe Cocker. And to be fair, Try a Little Tenderness is the perfect song. But one of the biggest drawbacks of American Idol is that they are constantly taking these 4 or 5 minute songs and collapsing them into 2 minute songs so they can pack more into their hour of show.

Unfortunately, this just kills the power of Try a Little Tenderness, which builds the tension through a full 2 minutes of the song before finally starting to ramp up the tempo and intensity. It is all horns and organ, and wailing vocals. It builds, builds, and builds until it explodes out of him, and he can barely get out the lyrics.

Sorry Taylor, you didn't make it for me last night, but I would love to see you do it properly. For the tour I guess.

You got to rub her gentle man,
don't bruise her no- no-
You got to love her, squeeze her, don't tease her...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Age of the Digital Camera

A friend of mine recently added me to his flickr account so that I could see pictures of his wedding, which I was unable to attend. The wedding pictures weren't uploaded yet so I flipped through the pages of his older photos. He is an accomplished digital photographer, with an eye for intricate detail. Mostly, he takes close-ups of everyday items, finding the beauty that most people would not notice. A large percentage of his photographs are frankly, stunning.

After the fourth page though, I felt like I was drowning in photos. The digital age has ushered in a time period where ease has overcome editing. Sometimes even a nice looking photo is not a good photograph. Of course, I'm not talking about the pictures of your mom and her cat which might be worth saving for posterity. I'm talking about pictures that you've taken with an artistic vision in mind. Let's face it - they don't all say something. Some say nothing, capture nothing, and mean nothing.

I know his flickr account might just be a place where he dumps photos, but I would be thrilled to see him organize them.

Sometimes you have to pull the weeds to see your garden grow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


This photo was taken at the Hoover Dam a few years ago.

The Brass Monkey

Had lunch at the The Brass Monkey today. It's a K-Town eatery that gets a good business lunch crowd from the surrounding office buildings, but at night turns into a happening Karaoke spot. The walls of the entry way are lined with photos of celebrities rocking the mic, and posing with the two owners. Inside, dark wood paneling is a back drop to a slurry of flat-screened TVs, and red leather, high back, study-style chairs are scattered about the room. Smaller wooden chairs at the central tables bring to mind an old sea captain's steering wheel.

One of the owners is a middle-aged gentleman who was spotted today wearing a navy blue blazer and a baby blue polo shirt, all over a pair of weathered khaki cargo pants. It seems that he's expecting to go big game hunting before the day is out.

This is one of my favorite lunch spots.