Monday, May 22, 2006

Not the Guy From "Almost Famous"

Other MySpace goings-on: A man named David J. Martin contacted me recently as well. He apparently is affiliated with the (former?) band The Notorious Head of S.M.E.R.S.H. — which may or may not officially go by the name "The Notorious Head of Smersh," which I like less even though I couldn't possibly think of what S.M.E.R.S.H. could be an acronym for. The note, which had the subject line "I'm the man who wrote 'Tempus Fugit.'" went as follows:
Our drummer found your blog somehow and saw we're on a CD of music you burnt. I just thought I'd drop you a line and say thanks and i'm glad you like the song.

Anyways, take it easy.
To the point, but still slightly thrilling for me. The blog post he's writing about is this one, in which I recommended a few songs to readers who might want to listen to something they hadn't heard before. And if you like the kind of music I like, then the song "Tempus Fugit" is still a great song and worth the effort it takes to find it.

This marks the second occasion a musician whose work I enjoy has contacted me after reading something I wrote about him on my blog. (The first would be Mike Lebovitz, the man behind the band Father Bingo and the song "Ginger Prince Is Not Shirley Temple." That interaction is detailed in this post, by the way.) And that's great — not only to help me get in contact with cool people but also to help me realize that these cool people are willing to spend time Googling themselves in an effort to find anybody, somebody who cares about what they've done.

You know, because that's what I spend half of my day doing.

The lesson we should all learn: blog about people you think are cool.

Oh, and for the Drew-Explains-It-All aspect of this little subject, the band the The Notorious Head of S.M.E.R.S.H. probably refers to a fictional James Bond Russian spy group, which itself was a take-off on the actual Russian counterintelligance agency, Smert Shpionam. Also, tempus does in fact fugit. Dig it.
[ link: David J. Martin's MySpace profile ]


This is a photo of a horrifying spider.

Horrifying, isn't it?

Anyway, it's drawn much attention on Flickr — an undue amount, I say, especially because the only tags I've associated with it are "australia," "vacation," "spider," "large," "scary," "colorful" and "horrifying." Odd how Flickr works.

Last week Bookstore Chris sent me a MySpace email telling me the following about my horrifying spider friend:
Your Horrifying Spider (as big as your fucking hand, no lie) is a Nephila Maculata, of the Tetragnathidae family. Spiders in this genus (Nephila) are also called "golden orb web" spiders, named so because of the yellowish color of their silk which happens to be the strongest in the entire Araneae order (spiders).
Good to know.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Golden Diva

I'd explain, but then I'd just sound crazy. Just rest assured knowing it's the Golden Diva. And that's all you really need to know.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Of Myths and Monsters

Meg Horexjhxi — Meg! — wrote me with a reminder of a new bit that will be of interest to Nintendo die-hards like her and me.
You probably already heard this, given your capacity for arcane information, but Pit from Kid Icarus is going to appear as a playable character in the next version of Super Smash Bros. It's called "Brawl."
I realized when she wrote that this news is also of interest to Back of the Cereal Box readers, for
I think many don't understand the origins of this blog's address and my AIM screenname. You see, "Kid Icarus" is a wonderful side-scrolling game Metroid-esque I played when I was wee. And played. And played again. In fact, I can still hear the tinny, early 8-bit theme song in my head. It stars a winged little guy with a bow and arrow. His name is Pit and he is on a never-ending mission to defeat Medusa and rescue the fair goddess Palutena. (Much later in life, I found out that this name was a Japanese corruption of “Parentha,” which is one of the names of Athena. Go figure.) Anyway, the game combined my love of video games with Greek mythology, as Pit had to fight characters like Cerebus and such. A good, long-standing childhood memory.

Now Pit is being updated for the next entry in the “Smash Bros.” franchise, “Smash Bros. Brawl.” The game pits old and new Nintendo mascots against each other in hand-to-hand combat, for no real reason other than to make a fun game. And seeing Pit re-imagined for a high power system makes me happy.

Here's Pit as I remember him from my childhood:

And here he is, computer generated and looking much more like the hero of Greek legend he was supposed to be. That is, of course, Greek mythology by way of anime.

Small victories. You take what you can get. I honestly can wait to wail upon the likes of Mario, Pikachu and Princess Zelda with arrows of pointy justice.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Anna et Rana

I hijacked Kristen's computer and stole some of her photos from the trip. While we were at my Aunt Judy's house in Townsville, we made friends with a tree frog, which thankfully wasn’t one of the poisonous ones. Kristen got some good pictures of me and the frog.

Here they are.

I liked this one so much that it bumped out "Drew and Kangadrew" as my MySpace default
picture. Also, I know I look like shit in these — that is, if shit could be sunburned and sweaty — but keep in mind that Townsville was as humid as jockstrap and that these were taken a good five weeks into my trip. You should be looking at the frog, anyway.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Casino Night Zone

Based on the appearance of the front gate alone, I decided that Sydney’s Luna Park looked like a stage from Sonic the Hedgehog.

luna park 1

luna park 3

luna park 2

In addition to Sonic the Hedgehog: creepy in its unrelenting cheerfulness.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

A Bird That Looks Like Mr. Burns From The Simpsons

The title says it all. The resemblance is striking, isn’t it?

bird that looks like mr. burns 2

Excellent, indeed.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Toilet Paper That God Must Use

The Sydney Opera House wants you to enjoy your visit, and it reminds you of this in many ways. The one that meant the most to me was the dramatic lighting behind the toilet paper.

backlit toilet paper

Because the toilet paper in my bathroom just isn’t striking enough.

Monday, May 1, 2006

I've Been Down So Long (It Looks Like Up to Me)

While stumbling around on iTunes some time back, I found a song called “Some Velvet Morning,” the meaning of which escapes me but the tune of which can take hold in my head for days at a time. It climbed up my most-played list until it reached the very top, where it’s hovered ever since. “Some Velvet Morning” was initially sung by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood back in the 70s. Several different artists have covered it — like Lydia Lunch and Nick Cave or Evan Dando and Sabrina Brooke — but I somehow doubt anyone reading this now would recognize any of the versions of it. Too bad, really: The original is especially good in that neither Sinatra nor Hazlewood has what you’d consider a traditionally good singing voice, so they kind of song-speak their way through the song. It’s odd, but it works.

I’d bet Hazlewood had a hand in writing a lot of the songs he sang with Sinatra. Each has a something quirky about it, like “Big Red Balloon,” which involves a man escaping from his shrewish wife with the titular floatation device, or “Down From Dover,” which explains childbirth with the lyrics “At any time a tiny face will show / The wait is almost over.” (Shudder.) Nothing too weird, though, just a little off.

I make this claim about Hazelwood authorship because Spencer and I recently stumbled across the man’s personal webpage, on which he discusses much of his life. Most prominent among featured bits: an excerpt from his autobiography, The Pope’s Daughter, in which he talks about his relationship with Nancy Sinatra, the child of one of the most powerful figures in the recording industry. I’m almost keen to read the book, based on this passage alone.
What’s it like to work with a Nancy Sinatra? They ask it, and ask it, and when you have answered, they ask it again. And the ‘ahs’ and ‘ers’ come pouring from your mouth like so many miles of frozen string melting from each desperate tug of a left hand filled with warm adjectives. And because you will not free your sinful right hand (so happily engaged in mental masturbation), and swim for shore, you drown in a sea of sometimes kind, seldom clever, never interesting and mostly biased anecdotes.

So perhaps in our little story it is best we stay with feelings, failings and fantasies, shying away from graffitied walls of truth where someone has bothered to engrave it all, just as it happened, but didn’t!

What’s it like to work with a Nancy Sinatra? It’s a visit to Disneyland, only your father owns all the rides. It’s an evening in the medicine cabinet of Edgar Allen Poe’s mother. It’s a trip on Superman’s cape and you are too frightened to look down for fear you’ll discover your real identity. It’s a Sousa march and the phallic cymbals are playing melody. It’s a plastic palace where all that glitters is gold. It’s a Las Vegas stage, sitting on a two-dollar stool in front of a fifty-two-piece orchestra, next to a lady in a five thousand-dollar gown; you’re singing a little flat and wondering if the fly is open on your eight-dollar ‘jeans’. It’s Beauty and the Beast selling a ‘fix’ to the Mickey Mouse People. It’s frustrating, foolish, Falstaffian, freaky, fucked-up and fun.
Easily the best writing I’ve seen in a celebrity autobiography, and you’re hearing it from a guy who spent twenty minutes reading Adrienne Barbeau’s There Are Worse Things I Could Do.