Books I’ve Published – 2013

I already have these books listed on My Book Shelf page, but most of you folks don’t visit that (the numbers don’t lie), so I figured I’d do something I rarely do these days, and actually post a link farm. I apologize for those hoping for a new, proper post from me, but I’m a little out of sorts and not feeling too chatty. Included with these links are the brief summaries I wrote for these books a week or two ago:

THE BACK ROADS OF LIMBO
A series of short stories and novellas about spies, sultans, genies, detectives, bad angels, a man’s best friend, the God of Squirrels, Christmas dinner for two, thieves, sorceresses, lost children, working while you sleep, writer’s block, soul-eating vampires, and a giant squid.
PRINT | KINDLE

TERMINAL MONDAY: a Dream of New York City
A man meets an old girlfriend who convinces him to return to novel writing, but not before his wife leaves him, he gets his old band back together, and suffers a nervous breakdown.
PRINT | KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

TERMINAL MONDAY: Under Observation
A man has a mental breakdown and wakes up to find himself under observation in a New York City hospital.
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

ASHES: Infinite Redress
A scientist becomes infected by a space-borne virus that contains the soul of an alien missionary who bonds with her and draws her into solving the mystery of how the aliens all died.
KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

The BRIDE of WAR
A knight falls in love with a young woman designated to be sacrificed to a mystical dragon, and undertakes a quest to learn how to defeat the dragon and break the centuries-old pact.
PRINT | KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

LINKTALES volume one
(excerpts from The Dark Guild) A series of mysterious events lead to the old city of Londonis being invaded by soul-eating vampires.
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS

You know what I’m asking you to do. Please. Thank you.

Lee.

You Never Give Me Your Money… You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper

STATE of the LIMBO ADDRESS(es):

I write fiction. You can find it in the following places:
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | PRINT | SMASHWORDS

I do Graphic Design, cartooning and painting. You can see a gallery of some of my work here:

http://blog.clearvisionstudios.net/about/clearvision-studios/

I also also make music. You can hear it here:

and you can buy some of it here:

http://etceterathesismusic.bandcamp.com/

I can be followed on many social networks. I don’t have a Foursquare account or an Instagram account, but I subscribe to just about everything else. I don’t IM much anymore, so don’t ask.

I post these things for you because I am told people don’t like using mouse buttons. This is alien to me, but I don’t want to alienate any of you aliens, so voilá. Don’t say I never did anything for you. And don’t say I don’t do anything for you now. I already know that.

Lee.

We Are Broken

So, I’ve been taking some time off to think about the directions I’ve been being pulled in, and I have to confess that, while I feel a strong sense of responsibility to the people I’ve gotten involved with over the last few years, I am also feeling very strongly the responsibility I have to my wife, and to my impoverished household. I’ve been letting my career/financial situation drift for the last couple of years, doing very little to bring in new money to replace all of the piles of stuff that are breaking down, wearing out, or just generally giving up the ghost.

As well, this time off has really been cathartic for me; even fun, at times. I’m actually enjoying not thinking about all of the stuff that usually bothers me about this city and its government. It’s never too far from my mind, but I’m feeling less anxious about it. And in the meantime, I’ve been getting a sense of fulfillment from working on my writing and art and music, instead; things I’ve been cramming in around the sides for the last couple of years while I’ve been focussing on local politics. The last two or three books? Written during brief breaks in civic activities. No wonder no one bought them.

So, I don’t know if a decision has been made yet. But it’s not looking good for civic engagement, just now. People need to step up and take ownership of the changes they want to see happen in our society. But I’m starting to feel like I can do more privately than I have been able to thus far publicly, if I can only get my career interests in order and start making real money, instead of trying to leverage operating budgets that won’t come, or seeking grants that have more strings attached than flies on you-know-what. And consensus? I haven’t felt the warm glow of true consensus, even amongst my dearest, closest activist friends, for a while now. Support, yes; even gratitude; but consensus, not so much.

It’s been interesting (I won’t say fun; it’s rarely been that) trying to play the big man on the ideological campus of the civic landscape these past few years, and there have been a few lovely milestones, mostly thanks to the efforts of people who are much better at civic engagement than me, but I’m starting to think my time here is running out. Political activism is and has been in my heart for longer than my actual involvement (I was at the Red Hill Valley Rally at City Hall back in the early 90s, as well; that ended well), and I hate to walk away from any challenge, particularly when the cause is just. Direct Democracy IS how things are going to go, in the future; I believe that with all my heart.

But I’m growing tired of feeling like I’m the only one who is willing to carry this particular bag of unwanted goodies to market, and I’m long past wondering if I’m the right person for the job. Few have asked me to do it, some have suggested I shouldn’t, and almost nobody has shown me what I would call a real vote of confidence in my abilities to carry the ball further than I have. I certainly don’t hear anyone telling me I should try harder or be more proactive. I hear ‘build capacities’, which is good and right and true, but also sounds distinctly like ‘get somebody else’. Maybe my lack of proactivity thus far has left some people thinking I can’t do the job. Maybe they’re right. I don’t know. I may never learn the truth. I certainly don’t feel good thinking of walking away. But I feel as if the only way to carry it all off and make it work is to stick my neck further into the noose and abandon all hope. A month ago, I’d have said ‘Hell, Yes’.

But just now, when I haven’t heard from most of the main players on our team (or the Councillor, who admittedly–and somewhat reluctantly–asked me to email him for a follow-up appointment) in the last few weeks (my fault as much as anything, but very telling, nonetheless), I’m left thinking, maybe now is as good a time as any to just let it all go. If someone wants it, they should pick up the ball and run with it. Me? I’m thinking about going out for a burger and a movie. I hear good things about one or two films currently showing at Jackson Square.

Despite all this, I’m STILL deciding. Not sure which way things are going to go. Just saying, right now, it’s blowing me homeward. It would take more encouragement than I’m likely to get any time soon to want to keep carrying this particular ball, especially when I’m going broke and will likely to lose everything if I proceed further. Do I have the political will? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m feeling pretty lonely, right now, and it’s not a good feeling.

That’s what I’m thinking, anyway.

Thanks for reading.

Lee.

Coming Home: a realisation about Arts as a Career

Some time in 2012 or 2013, while I was becoming engulfed in civic engagement activities and local neighbourhood politics, very quietly and without much fanfare, I started painting again. It started quietly enough with four or five abstracts and one hand-lettered logo for a representational painting that still isn’t finished.

The theme of the paintings was Tarot. I’m not a huge supernatural phenomenon guy. Tarot is mostly an intellectual curiosity to me. But it intrigues me all the same. The psychological implications of reading people, that is. Prognostication is kind of a mug’s game, in my books, but you can lightly forecast probability by studying your querent’s responses to the lay of the cards.

But I was talking about art.

The paintings lead to drawings and plans for an entire series, not so much to make my own deck, but to have a large body of new painted work to show. See, I like abstract painting, but I’ve been doing graphic design and illustration for the last 15+ years, so I wasn’t expecting to pick back up on the whole abstract expression thing, which was a phase I went through from 1990 to 1992. I finished my last major piece after flunking art school, and then stopped painting for roughly 22 or 23 years.

But I’m back in a big way. Last year, I worked on or completed about 29 paintings (10 of which are mounted on two large boards of five each; plus, I also made 20 abstract buttons; four left, going for $15 a piece), and this year, just in the last month, I’ve painted another 14 paintings and am working on three more. All this, plus plans for a new series that I haven’t even started yet.

SOME OF LAST YEAR’s WORKS
Contact-Sheet-2014
IMG_0185

Now, I’ve only sold a few pieces here and there (not including the buttons, many of which sold, though some I gave away as Christmas presents), but I’m pretty happy with the direction my painting career comeback is taking so far. I did about fifteen or so abstracts in the early 90s, and I’ve tripled that in less than a year. The work is mostly ‘of a quality’, as I like to say (meaning it’s of a quality that I believe measures up to professional standards). I may not be selling yet, but I believe these pieces will fetch a nice sum one of these days.

I just hope I live to see it.

With any luck, this will be the year I break into gallery exhibitions. I don’t have an agent yet, but I think the proverbial corner is coming up. Maybe next year, if things don’t come together as I’m hoping. I also hope to have us living in a larger space some time this year, with more room for larger scale paintings. We shall see.

Lee.

Shaken; Not Stirred

Still haven’t made my final decision about civic engagement activities.

Still haven’t decided what to work on next.

Thinking about writing the rest of THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD. Also thinking more about writing PASSAGE TO BUJAH. Not sure which I’ll go with first. There’s a bit of a rethink for both titles dancing through my head. More humour? More pathos? More realism? Haven’t decided yet.

Haven’t decided on the next painting yet, either. 3′ x 1′, probably, but not decided whether to do another abstract or get back to work on the representational concepts I’ve been mulling over. TAROT is still on the planning table, as is my Zoe-meets-Edward-Hopper homage concept. But I’m wondering if I have another abstract in me at the moment…

Music is a little fallow right now. Still not able to practice or rehearse, because my wife has me on a strict no-practice regimen while my arm finishes healing. Feels pretty good to me, but hey, what do I know?

I DID sign up on a Reddit thread to potentially jam with some locals. We’ll see if that happens.

I’ve got plans… big f%^&ing plans…

Not sure if I should post anything else today. nothing new on my mind. Just watching James Bond and relaxing for a change. Feels weird, and I’m a little tired and in need of engagement.

Anyway, that should do for now. Hope everyone is indoors and safe.

Lee.

Supertramp – Crime of the Century (1974) – a classic rock album review

Well, we haven’t done one of these in a while, eh? I have plenty of other bands I could choose to write one of these about, and I will, but I’ve been in a Supertramp mood just lately (I may or may not have recently written a short story that is most emphatically NOT Supertramp fanfic), so I figured I’d go back and look critically at a few of their classic albums, starting with their third album, the star-making Crime of the Century.

Supertramp Crime of the Century

tl;dr Version: If you don’t already know this album front to back, I have no idea how you got here. But just in case you need help deciding, here’s my review.

‘Splain, Lucy Version: This album was one of the then-current rock albums playing in my household around the time my baby sister was born, and it is as deeply embedded into my musical DNA as Sgt. Peppers, A Night at the Opera, and Boston’s first album. I don’t need any other reason to like it, but there are a great many reasons to do so, and most of them are musical.

Boring Version: My favourite art teacher basically hated these guys (he called them Supercramp), and in the late 80s, it was fashionable to dump on any band that had prog rock pretentions, and Supertramp was a pretty ripe target, given that they managed three albums of middling progressive rock sensibilities, and then began shedding that mantle for a more jazzy pop stance that eventually lead them to Breakfast In America and a brief touch with super stardom, followed by the obligatory 80s breakup album, and the long, slow descent into rock obscurity. But during this period of their career, they were brilliant, and this album, though not as commercially successful as Breakfast, is perhaps their critical high water mark, bookending their most fertile period.

THE REVIEW
School starts with high, wailing harmonica. We’ve heard plenty of harmonica in westerns, folk songs and classic blues records, but for a prog rock album, that’s a new one, at this point in the game. Roger Hodgson eventually takes over, singing the opening lines as guitars approach from either side like sparring partners feeling each other out, and then a crescendo of sound initiates the dance. This is a poignant number trying to explain the complexities of the social conditioning institution that is school. The instrumental on this is monumental and goes through a building phase and an arrival phase, never being too chops-heavy, but being both very muscular and melodic, piano and bass waltzing with a bit of synth in the background. The bridge back to the verse is pretty beefy, delivered by songwriting partner Rick Davies, and then Roger takes it back and hammers it home with a verse that leads directly into the surprise outro. Very strong opener.

Bloody Well Right opens up with a slightly bluesy chops fest on the mighty Wurlitzer electric piano, and then a mountain of saxaphone and funky guitar escort in Rick’s answer to Roger’s opening statement, thus establishing this as something of a concept album, though I hesitate to name it as such outright, for reasons I’ll explain later. This number is a rollicking, rocking number with a bit of a clever twist, as the chorus is pinned on this almost dancehall piano figure, and the outro, when it arrives, is a jazzy pop turn. A very cool song.

Hide In Your Shell is where the theme of the album gets a little more ethereal, Roger singing about a philosophical outlook on life against a gentle stack of layered keyboard lines, and then the chorus arrives. The thing is, as pop songs go, this has three or four different distinct sections of music that come and go almost too quickly to write about. There’s even Theremin in there. After the second go round of the verse and chorus sections, they go into a long refrain segment where Roger basically concludes that he needs to make some kind of connection to his audience. And then another distinct section of music as they wind to the finish with a singalong chorus and R&B saxaphone.

Asylum is where they dial it down a bit, Rick on grand piano, singing about his pal Jimmy and his funny ways, before it comes clear that someone wants to have our singer locked up in the titular asylum. The premise might seem a little trite or absurd from my little precis, but the thing is, the musical themes (and there are several) make it clear that this is a very considered piece of music. The lyrics are some of Rick’s most cutting, as he makes it clear that people really don’t understand him, even as he laughs at their confusion over his behaviour. It has this elegiac refrain section with organ, strings and carillon bells and all the rest, and the thing is, the twist is, he starts to break down towards the end, and it becomes apparent that the joke is on him, and it’s such a dark ending, you can’t help but feel a little hollowed out by the finish. And then it finishes with that jaunty little piano figure from the top.

Dreamer Is probably the first truly dyed in the wool pop song in their entire canon, and yet, this is no meager Britney Spears track. Roger delivers this refrained chorus intro with an electric piano figure bouncing along behind him that carries the entire song, and the piece winds round and round until we find ourselves in a call and answer section with big damn drums and the whole thing winding to a crashing halt with a little xylophone chiming away to the rhythm of the now vacant piano. Incredible.

Rudy opens with a truly gorgeous piece of grand piano figure, and then Rick starts singing about Rudy, whose story seems to tie us back to the main story, but by the slenderest of threads; a possible reference to his troubles as a school boy. There are several lovely sections of music in this seven minute track, including a bit with a voiceover in the background, and a fierce call and answer between Roger and Rick to a Shaft-like funk theme. It’s a truly powerful piece of music, arriving at an almost Day In The Life moment that leads us into a brief coda, and it becomes clear that he has been watching a sad movie, and he’ll soon be back on his train.

If Everyone Was Listening has another piano opener, Roger spelling out a theatrical presentation, alluding to the metaphor time and again as an analysis of the audience and life in general as a theatrical performance. The music goes through a few distinct phase using strings, clarinet and piano, but I won’t attempt to break it down for you. it’s short enough.

Crime of the Century is without a doubt the closing number, and it’s a moody thing with piano and huge drums slide guitar and then carnival organ as it becomes apparent that the titular crime of the century has been committed not by some criminal mastermind, but by you and me. And what is our crime, we’re left to wonder, as the guitars and pianos and swirling organ and Moog bass and immense drums and a string ensemble and finally the greatest saxaphone solo in the universe leave us to ponder. By the end of the song, you really want to know what the hell you did wrong.

SUMMARY
This album is and has always been a bit of a mystery to me: a concept album in almost exactly the same mold as Sgt. Peppers, where the story is actually made of several seemingly disconnected vignettes (a lot like my latest novel, but I digress), tied together by a unifying theme of powerful dissatisfaction with life and society as we know it. It burns through and exhausts easily two album’s worth of song segments in half the time, chewing scenery and leaving you feeling like you’ve just had open heart surgery. So it IS a concept album of sorts, but not a neat and tidy narrative one as we have come to know them thanks to the efforts of Pete Townshend and Roger Waters. It’s still a most affecting album for me, and chokes me up in a few places when I think too long about what certain lines have come to mean to me personally.

So yeah, if you’ve actually never heard it–HOW have you never heard it?–and this review has done nothing to inspire you to check it out, or even if, like my high school art teacher you don’t like the band or the album, I’m at a loss for what to say. Truly. It’s a monumental album, and maybe not the most progressive, but certainly one of the most moving of it’s day. And in the end, isn’t that what life’s about?

© 2015 Lee Edward McIlmoyle

What Do You Say To People Who Won’t Buy Your Work?

I’m in the middle of a lot of long term projects, and trying to productize and market a number of finished works and ideas. so I’ve been a little quiet. Not disengaged. Just preoccupied.

I have a few problems in the offing. Projects I’ve been working on for months, or even years, are facing the scrap heap because people I’m working with are looking for either:
a) me to carry the ball the rest of the way myself;
or b) me to give up, so they can go home and get some rest.

SLOW DOWN
I’m sure that’s not the whole story. I’m certainly overreacting in the absence of actual data. But the impression I’m getting from a few different groups is that my efforts are not appreciated, and I’d be better off dropping the ball and taking it in the neck for getting people’s hopes up, rather than waste lots of energy trying to recruit new people to carry the ball for me, when in actuality, the ball has definitely dropped on at least three projects I’ve been involved with.

Perhaps my credibility is being questioned. Certainly my expertise is in question. And my results? Well, nothing has come of the work I’ve done so far, so what results would I be showing them?

What’s lacking in a number of the projects I find myself involved in is a simple matter of Vision. I have some vision (some would say too much, implying I’m delusional), but not enough consensus behind it to get even the slenderest of visions implemented. As always, to get what I want, I have to do everything myself. Good for publishing books and making paintings and albums, but not so effective when it comes to civic engagement and neighbourhood improvement strategies.

DEATH BY COMMITTEE
I’m all for consensus. I really am. But what I’m not so good at is waiting… and waiting… and waiting for the right number of people to say they agree, enough times to satisfy those who aren’t sure of the direction a project or team should take. There is building consensus (and capacities), and then there is committee rule, which tends to lead to inactivity. Inactivity CAN be the right answer, if the answer you’re looking for is ‘how do I get out of this?’ The Ostrich method of problem solving isn’t without its merits, because it gets definite results with the least amount of effort. It just doesn’t break any new ground, or achieve any major goals.

THE PROBLEM WITH ME IS…
I suffer from the problem that I never like any answer that coems too easy. It might be the right answer, but I still won’t like it. My motto is, “If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for”. The corollary to that is, “If it’s not worth working for, it’s not worth having”. Point is, Time + Work = Value.

If I offer to do a bit of work, it’s not because I want something specific from the project. My motives are often as simple as ‘Let’s make it better for everyone involved’. Occasionally, I see a personal opportunity in the offing, but they so rarely come to fruition that I rarely waste time or energy on pursuing them. I just take on the work and get it done to the best of my abilities within the time allotted, and hope it translates to successful objective results. Profit is somebody else’s problem.

SO, WHAT NOW?
I’m left with the options of either stating my intention to take over certain specific tasks /projects, or giving up and letting them fall to the wayside, for other people to pick up if and when they choose to.

Right now, I’m still on the fence about most, if not all of these activities. I feel as if I’ve been wasting a lot of my time and energy dithering over stuff that was already decided by the teams back when they were healthier and more proactive.

I’m talking around things, here, and I know how unentertaining that can be to read. I apologize for that. I wish I could be more direct, but things are still in flux. I just need to vent a little, because the tension and lack of activity is starting to make me rash. Even writing this is probably an exercise in self-immolation. I’m not going to self destruct. I’m just tired of having people–friends, even–question my abilities and my sanity. I’m thinking it might be more productive just to walk away and focus on my career interests again. I just don’t like quitting when there’s still a chance that things could get done.

I’ve babbled too much. Time to go do something constructive. Thank you for reading. Have a good day.

Lee.

Will The Music Be Your Master… Will You Heed The Master’s Call

Seems like I post more like once a week rather than once a day, lately, doesn’t it?

I’ve been posting art, so it’s over at THE ART PAGE.

My arm is healing, but it still feels weird, and it’s going to have a funky scar that I can actually feel (by the lack of sensation). Wish it didn’t feel as it I have a zipper that will pop open if I exert it too much. And my arm still gets tired if I type or especially play instruments for too long. *sigh*

I’ve been thinking about writing fiction. I’ve got two or three newish ideas, and a drive to reinvestigate the Passage To Bujah series, which has been languishing since I started to detect that YA Dystopia fiction is beginning to lose its cache. My main stumbling block was the strange sex concepts I had in mind for the series, which I rather liked, but feared were too Samuel R. Delaney for YA fic. I’m still waffling on that, but it occurs to me that it might be possible to handle it in a more light-hearted manner. Not convinced yet, but thinking about it. Also thinking it’s time I got back to work on Sterling Carcieri, who has been inordinately patient.

Got Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti playing in the headphones this morning. Kashmir is on deck at the moment. Still one of the most moving tracks in the canon. Still inspires me, after all these years. Give me a second… *stops track… turns it up… restarts…* Ah, that’s better.

The idea of working on a drum program isn’t that appealing just now, but my guitar student requires it to record himself playing Maroon 5’s Payphone. I may put in some time on it this morning.

I have canvases waiting for me to decide if it’s going to be representational or abstract work I use them for. There were plans, but they’re all in my head at present, and they’re pretty involved… sort of a cross between Salvador Dali (or probably more like Rene Magritte) and Edward Hopper. Lots of drawing involved, and I’ve had very little time for derwing, ironically enough. But I haven’t done any foundation drawings on the canvases yet, so I can pretty much just do as I like and buy more canvases if and as needed.

I feel like I should be doing both, but the representational stuff takes time, where the abstracts are things I can do in a day or two if I work at it. Sometimes, they happen so fast, I feel like I’m cheating, but really, it’s a special process and a mindset I get in that enables me to work faster than normal. I used to labour over them for weeks or even months, depending on the size. I may get back to that level of deliberation, but right now, I just want to build a body of attractive abstract work, so I can mount a show. I really feel like it’s time I put these little darlings in the spotlight to sing and dance.

Part of me thinks that there is a kind of sex appeal to the layers of paint I apply to these pieces. I want to strip bare the process and lay it all out naked for people to deliberate over, but I think the tension comes from seeing glimpses of something recognizable, like a slipped nipple or a glimpse of cleavage within the swirling, towering layers of paint, and wondering if there’s a full image beneath. The answer is… maybe? Get a little closer and see for yourself.

Coming up on 5:30. Been writing this post for a half hour. Time to get to work. Thanks for reading. Stay warm.

Lee.

Turn On My VCR… Same One I’ve Had For Years

I’m tired. No. really. Yeah, I know I said it before, but it’s true now, too.

Probably a little depressed at the moment. Please excuse the look of the place.

I did a set of paintings (I paint in sets, most of the time, when I’m doing abstracts these days). You can see them HERE.

I’ve got two novels on the starting block (THE THIRD RAIL and THE COMPLICATED PRINCE), and dozens more novels and collections jockeying for position in line (too numerous to mention). I started designing a game last year that I’ve lost momentum on, but I suspect it’s still a Very Good Idea™. STEEP INCLINATIONS (album). TAROT series (paintings). Guitar lessons for Drake. Stuff.

Time I got dressed and got stuff done. Laundry and dishes, too. Fun times. Thanks for reading.

Lee.

How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?

Okay, so a few of you may have noticed that I wasn’t posting anything for a few weeks there. Money problems. Website was down. thanks for asking. But the point is, I’ve been having problems with money lately, and that is largely down to the fact that my career of choice, writing, is not paying the bills. There might be a reason for that. It occurs to me that I don’t publicize my books in a way that everyone can get into. So, I’m going to look into rebranding my books and rewriting the book synopses and such, to hopefully make the books easier to get into. My attempts to be clever and artsy have met with failure. I’m thinking the whole thing needs to be redone with less frills, no vector artwork, no photography (I’m anti-photo covers; they bore me to tears), and only a brief but very clear synopsis on the back. It’s probably the wrong way to go about it, but trusting my instincts hasn’t paid off so far, so maybe just sticking with the KISS principle will do the trick.

See, this is because I’m not a hobbyist. I’m serious about writing. I’m just not successful. And I’m not able to go back to factory work (bad back), and I can’t work for another bottom feeding print shop (I’m looking at you, Hamilton Copy Copy), and can’t seem to get work in the shops that look like they might have a clue how to treat their employees with respect. So, either I write my way out of debt, or sell more paintings, or record a new album of rock songs and hope I can promote that and sell lots of CDs and pay my debts off. Yeah, you see how this works, right?

I may be redesigning this site, as well. Might keep the sliding doors theme, but change out the graphics and go ultra simple and clean. Something that screams ‘professionally designed’. Because I am, or at least have been, a professional designer, too. Not so much lately, and not in the current market, it seems, but I’m competent.

So there you have it. Things are gonna change. And with any luck, you will be swayed, and will finally buy (and read) something I wrote. Because you know I’m talking to you specifically, right? Not the other readers. You. You’re the only one I’m interested in.

Now, if only you felt that way about me…

One more thing: I’m considering doing audio books. Any requests?

Lee.

Is There Anybody Listening?

I’m tired. Really tired. I may also be developing another of my famous chest colds. I think I need to take a long vacation from the life I’ve been trying to lead, and not just because I’m doing such a poor job of it.

I’ve been getting steadily more civically-engaged in the last few years, and it’s been interesting and validating in a way, but I mostly feel like I’ve been pushing a rock up a very steep hill for too long. I feel broken inside.

So what I’m thinking is, I may be handing in my papers soon. I haven’t decided absolutely yet, but I’ve lost so much momentum and my faith in myself to bring it all back up to speed is waning. This might be the end.

We’ll see.

If I do quit, I may be stepping back from a lot of civic engagement for a while to focus on writing and composing and painting and such. I need to rebuild my career(s). I was getting somewhere a couple of years ago, before I got sucked up into all of this. It’s not a good time for me to be losing sleep and missing opportunities to get my work out there.

So, yeah. If it’s of any interest to anyone, I have a slightly soiled plan for the next year or two, and I know a few people who might want to help you get something going, whoever you are. Drop me an email at pbhamontDOTnetATgmailDOTcom if you’re interested.

Small Victories in Hamilton

Last night was the third day in a row I spoke in front of people about our plans for Participatory Budgeting in Ward 2 (Hamilton, Ontario), at least since the surgery on my left elbow. It’s been a little trying, not to mention uncomfortable, and my arm still worries me, even though the cast comes off today. But that’s not what I came to discuss.

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I have a dilemma. A dear friend is drifting away from me, and it may actually be more like two friends. They’ve both been key figures in my life over the last couple of years, and I actually have trouble imagining doing some of what I am without them at my side (or at least at my back). I feel like I have to win their confidence by pushing forward and winning a solid victory to show them we’re able to do what I’ve said we can do. It’s difficult for me, because I fear stepping forward and missing the mark will mess everything up, but I can’t see any other way around the problem but to confront it head on and blow back the barriers to our success. We’ve tried finessing the situation, but we’re stuck at an impasse, and winds are blowing up threatening to blow us off the mountainside.

Ooh… all of these metaphors and talking around the subject…. but what does it mean for the price of tea? Well, for starters, it means no more being quiet. This ‘Death By Silence’ thing is too easy, too convenient, and frankly, it sends exactly the message that our naysayers have been saying since I came onboard: we lack leadership, and can’t deliver what I’ve been saying we can.

I see the whole thing in front of me so clearly, and I’m sure I know what we need to do to fix it, but I don’t get to make my opening gambit until I deal with the obstacle in front of me: the Area Rating Special Capital Reserve Fund. It’s a millstone around all of our necks. Hard Infrastructure deficits plague the city due to 50+ years of short-sighted city planning and suburban sprawl.

Our Councillor wonders openly why PBW2_2014 participation was seemingly half of the previous year’s. Two reasons come springing to mind, because they’re the same reasons that voter turnout is down all across the board: Interestingly, the answers can be found in the late 80s hits of George Michaels, of all people: Freedom and Faith.

FREEDOM
People who participated in the first year were told, perhaps naively, that the City Staff problem many of us had only heard vague but persistent mumblings about, would not affect what we were doing. There were precedents for doing good work with Area Rating money despite the City’s oft-repeated mantra ‘roads and sidewalks’. Sadly, a combination of hubris and perhaps jealousy disabused us of that simple tool: we were NOT to use ARSCR money for anything but hard infrastructure, set-and-forget projects, even if they’re more expensive, less satisfying, infinitely less sexy, and, quite frankly, NOT really our problem, because the City has (or had) money to fix those things on their own time. The Area Rating money was rightly seen as our first real opportunity to show the City Staff culture that we DO understand our needs, perhaps, just perhaps, better than they do. Long views and 2020 timetables are needed, but short term goals, though often viewed as ‘quick wins’ by the City, are much sexier, but just as hard hard to implement without consensus and common vision. The paradox is, these initiatives require both consensus building AND modern leadership skills.

Quick wins need to address immediate, pressing concerns of communities. You can tell a community that it costs $1.9 million dollars to properly fix one kilometer of road, but what they need to know is, will it make their lives measurably better? The short answer is ‘Yes’, but lots of things can do that. There’s no point in pointing fingers, but it helps to recognize that short-sighted thinking and problem solving have led to the infrastructure problems we have today, and incidentally divided this city so thoroughly that regaining the public trust is going to take some miracle working.

You think I’m babbling. Let me bring it back down to Earth for you: people who live in Ward 2 have a LOT of ideas about what will make their lives better, and some of those ideas are better than others. But the common denominator is that they are mostly problems that could and should be solved immediately, or as soon as possible. Our Councillor functions as a human weathervane, pointing whichever way the wind blows to direct problem solving resources and expertise–and no small amount of political capital, as it turns out–to fix whichever problem has the most impact. The problem is, he is only one person, and it’s impossible for one person to identify every problem AND solution for all 37,815 residents currently living in his ward. So he takes the most expedient route, which is to take advice from the six established community/neighbourhood associations, as part of his Ward 2 Community Council. They’re great people, and they try their very best to present the needs of their communities before the Councillor as best they can. But they’ve got a few limitations.

First, they’re MOSTLY fairly affluent, which means their problems aren’t necessarily the same as those of a lot of the silent majority in the neighbourhood; the perpetually marginalized classes who keep their heads down because the reality they live in is patently nothing like the one most of us live in.

Secondly, they’re not afraid of volunteerism or meetings or talking through problems, which is a sort of skill/mindset not all people possess.

And Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, they’re White. I don’t play the race card lightly here. I’m about 1/16th Native myself, but I easily pass for Anglo European Canuck. A room full of relatively wealthy, white, English speaking people is a huge barrier for most immigrants and marginalized people to get over. Accents alone are a problem, let alone culturally significant metaphors and allegories, even for those that really try, like myself, to hear what people are really trying to say. Seeing a rich white person coming to your door is scary stuff for a lot of these people. How can you break down that level of culturally-ingrained mistrust to get to the problems and solutions needed to make these people’s lives better? The answer is to knock on every door until you find the community leaders, and win them over, so they in turn can win over their less-certain neighbours. It takes time, effort, faith and vision. These are commodities in extremely short supply.

So what does that have to do with Freedom? We (The late, lamented PB Office) offered residents untold freedom to deliberate on the spending of $1,000,000 of OUR tax money. Freedom to fix any problem–within reason–is what made PBW2_2013 the dark horse winner it was. It got by on chutzpah, but it succeeded because it helped identify real, human-scale problems in every community we reached. That it had serious teething problems was beside the point. We reached groups no one had before. That’s significant, and it’s in no small part because we listened.

What’s lacking now is the City’s willingness to honour its mandates of community outreach and transparent cooperation with residents. we didn’t get here by accident, and all of City Culture’s attempts to turn back the clock to 1985 achieve absolutely nothing. People want more than just a choice of 16 mayors. They want a seat at the table. They want to help decide where their tax dollars should go. They can’t possibly do worse than some already have within City Hall’s white walls.

In short, they want a new deal. And they deserve it.

FAITH
The other big factor, which is like the 500lb gorilla in the room, is Public Trust™. Promises are nice, but results are key. Show Me The Money. Pictures or It Didn’t Happen. Where the F#$% is my proposal?

There has been a serious lack of transparency in both the City’s AND PBW2’s activities, and it’s eroding what faith there was in the processes of the last two years. We have tried to rectify some of this in the last few months, but our hands have largely been tied by fuzzy timetables and a singular lack of faith in our people and our process.

That ends today.

FAST FORWARD
I’ll be making a post on https://pbhamont.wordpress.com/ later today (after the cast comes off), outlining the entire PBW2 process AND timelines we (The PB Team) have identified as necessary for a successful PBW2_2015 campaign. I’ll also explain why this campaign is already in trouble, and present a few ideas about what can be done to move things forward without upsetting the apple cart or–hopefully–jeopardizing our relationships with the Councillor and City Staff. I hope you will all tune in and also share our plan around.

But now I’m going to take a short break, because I’ve been going since before 5AM, and my arm is aching.

More soon.

Lee.

I Wish That I Could Really Tell You All The Things That Happen To Me Aren’t All That I Have Seen

Day 4 of ‘Life With One Arm’. So tired of this. I know I need to be patient and let my left arm heal properly, but it feels weird and heavy and wants to work. Plus, the awkward positions I spend most of the day in are starting to give me body aches.

I’ve had to export all of my Scrivener working (writing) files to rich text files, because Scrivener won’t run on my ancient PowerBook (G4; PPC) under Ubuntu, and I can’t afford to purchase another Scrivener Key just so I can run it in Windows. I’ve got the 30 Day Trial running, and I’ve exported all of my working files (that I can find/think of from the last 4-5 years) at this point, but I’m not happy, because I genuinely hate working in MS Office/Word. It is NOT a real writing program. It’s barely an editing program. I’d rather go back to using yWriter5, except that Smashwords and Createspace both prefer conversion from RTF or Doc files. *sigh*

I’m fussing because RETURN TRIP is complete, but needs proofreading & editing prior to prepping it for publishing. I haven’t sold an Ebook since the summer, and haven’t sold a printed book since last winter. And of course, nobody has told me what they think, which leads me to conclude that the books have not been read *shrug… sigh*.

Nine Inch Nails and cold coffee fuel my ambition now. The kitten has mercifully gone away. My knee is aching. My left elbow feels strange. Anything could be happening under that bandage and half-cast. It could look like a pot roast, for all I know. It certainly feels like one. It’s heavy enough. I travel with a cushion or blanket almost everywhere I go. I haven’t left my apartment building since I got home from the hospital. I have 3 important meetings early next week, before the cast even comes off. Fun times.

It’s past 7:30 and still too dark to see what I’m typing. One handed typing requires looking at my hand and keyboard, which is frustrating, as I have been able to touch type fairly well since high school in the late 80s.

Gonna take a break now. Thanks for listening to me grumble. Have a good day.

Lee.

Progress Report – 2015 01 14

Surgery seems to have been a success, though I am still wrestling with the urge to do things two-handed,

PB Presentation A is pretty much complete, though I am wondering if I should be doing a statistical update page for PBW2 in 2013 and 2014 before I sign off and submit our presentation file.

PBW2 Presentation A

Listening to the deluxe edition of Dave Kerzner’s New World, and really liking the album muchly. More is not kess, in this case. Prog Lives, boys and girls.

Time to check on my wife and contemplate making breakfast if I can/if we have any suitable breakfast foods in the house.

Thank you for reading.

Lee.

A Dream Unthreatened By The Morning Light Could Blow This Soul Right Through The Roof Of The Night

Over a week with no new posting. Sorry. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and not all creative or even PB stuff.

Next Tuesday, I’ll be going under the knife to relocate my left arm’s ulnar nerve from my elbow, as it has been making a merry game out of popping in and out of the groove in the elbow that it normally inhabits. This bouncing activity (brought on by I have no idea what) is causing nerve deterioration, which my arm is trying to recover from, but may yet lose the fight. So it’s surgery. 70% recovery rate. Or else, 30% ‘The Claw’. 30%: No more guitar or bass; No more two handed piano or typing; no more a lot of things. Suffice to say, the prospect of possibly losing functionality in my left arm is bothering me.

I also have a number of important meetings both before and after the surgery, which barely affords me time to recover properly. I have to be careful, of course. But I still have to be present. And I have a lot of work to do before the big presentation on the 20th. Big rush to get it done before Tuesday, as you can well imagine.

Not much creative going on. I finished RETURN TRIP. I just need to edit it to make sure nothing stupid got through. Might rewrite a few things. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Gonna make a start on THE THIRD RAIL soon. Maybe DEPARTURE as well. It’s about time I got back to writing some stuff that people may actually want to read. Richard, apparently, is boring people. Again, we’ll see.

No painting for a little while. Costs too much. We’re broke, and it’s what, the 10th? Bad scene. Winter blahs are expensive.

Music may start happening again, but if I don’t do something in the next day or two, don’t expect anything until Spring, because it will take me months to recover my left hand after the surgery (if nothing goes wrong).

So that’s where my head is at.

Thanks for understanding. More soon, I hope.

Lee.

Dave Kerzner – New World (2014) – an album review

After a brilliant opening salvo from Sound of Contact, I openly wondered what they would do to follow it up. The answer to that question may not be apparent yet, but from one former SoC member, we have a clear sign of where he is going, and the answer is, to a New World.

Dave Kerzner New World

tl;dr Version: So, Dave “Squids” Kerzner has released his new… what? You don’t know who Dave “Squids” Kerzner is? How the… okay, let’s fix that.

‘Splain, Lucy Version: Okay, Dave was in a band called Thud, the psuedo-progressive rock act fronted by the late Kevin Gilbert, and featuring Dave on keys and Nick D’Virgilio on drums and a few guitar players, to tour off the back of his (Kevin’s) first solo album, also called Thud. Then Kevin sorta fired Thud and went off to reform Giraffe, but Dave and Nick apparently understood, and got to work with Kevin some more. And then Giraffe went away again, and then Kevin died. And that might have been the end of the story, if not for the fact that Dave actually has more than a little talent of his own.
He eventually hooked up with many, many different prog musicians over the years, and also got into the music software business, sampling his huge coolection of rare instruments. The story timeline is a little rusty here, but IIRC, around 2007, Dave found himself in the Genesis studio with Phil’s son, Simon Collins, and they struck up a partnership that lead to some brilliant work, starting with Simon’s take on the classic Genesis tune, Keep It Dark, and ending last year with Dave leaving Sound of Contact, the band he started with Simon. He’s done lots of other cool things, but those are the musical highlights, in my eyes.

Boring Version: That WAS the boring version. The cool thing was, Dave still wasn’t finished. He started recording his solo album, promoting it heavily on social media and through various other channels, and released it in December. And he still isn’t finished. More good things coming from Squids soon, I’m told.
Now, let’s get to the album itself.

THE REVIEW:
Stranded (Parts 1-5) comes in with an atmospheric intro on piano and keys that reminds me a little of Dave’s work with SooC, but that stands to reason, given his influence on that sound. The piano riff also evokes some other reference I can’t quite pick out [Pink Floyd – The Final Cut ~Ed.], probably because I’ve been listening to this intro section for at least half a year, so it’s pretty much gotten burned into my head at this point. There’s a really, REALLY classic 70s Pink FLoyd sound and feel to the first part of this piece, right down to the Gilmour/Wright vocal harmony styling. The whole piece is put together with such a beautiful air which continues into the second segment, before shifting into a heavier moment that crosses a little more into Brian May/Jeff Beck guitar territory. The sound on this song, especially through my new headphones, is so lush, the only thing missing is the obligatory Hendrix Perm… err, I mean obligatory proscribed hallucinogen (maybe another time). Dave slightly revisits one of his signature riffs from SoC’s Dimensionaut album as we segue into a reprise of the Pink Floyd vocal arrangement (complete with McBroom backing vocals). Then we get a fantastic vocal chorus exercise as a heavily processed choir of Dave spews forth the bridge section at a rapid clip. Very affecting passage. Then we go into another guitar-centric section with McBroom wailing magnificently over top, and it all fades away on a few lines of reverberating piano and desert winds. Very nice opener indeed.

Into The Sun changes atmospheres with a bank of heavily-tweezed electric and acoustic guitars competing with one another, as Squids does his best Dave Gilmour vocal impression (spot on, Dave), and the drums roll in. It’s a great groove. Gorgeous song. Nice guitar solo section, too; understated, serving the song quite nicely. Bridge vocal section adds some tension, and the countdown starts, as the lead guitar goes into overdrive and the jet screams across the soundscape. Great drums here, too. Nick has actually gotten better over the years, and every outing proves it. The song fades out spectacularly on guitar histrionics and magnificent drums, like a classic Bowie tune in overdrive.

The Lie rolls down the track on a piano riff that leads into the main riff and arrives quickly at the verse, which is strong without being too hooky. The chorus, by comparison, is deliciously infectious, which is somewhat ironic given the condemning tone of the lyric. There is an excellent piece of guitar soloing (Hackett again, I presume?) over the keys and rhythm section. The song goes out on an effective use of the chorus, followed by a nice piece of guitar/piano duet instrumental, and the clock ticks away, leading us into…

Under Control has a significantly different groove, a sparsely arranged, slightly anxious verse leading to a paranoiac fantasy of a chorus. The third verse is more hysterical and belies the assertion of the chorus that the storyteller is as he says, under control. Some James Bond-esque horns, and the clock starts ticking again, with a soaring bit of synth and plodding piano. The refrain is all piano and strings and a plaintive Dave singing in a minor key. THis section has a slightly Tony Banks feel. The revery is broken with a return to the chorus, which sweeps out on heavy strings, horn blasts, and a little bit of frenetic Mike Garson-style piano, which finishes by being shoved through backwards and suddenly ends.

Crossing of Fates opens not so much gently but mysteriously, and then picks up quickly into a brilliantly choppy instrumental with breaks in the rhythm.. It goes from sections that sound like a Yes moment followed by a Jazz Fusion moment, soaring synth dueling with slashing rhythm and pointy lead guitar playing. There is a classic Genesis organ solo segment, which leads to a sharp precipice of an ending.

My Old Friend is a softly delivered piece of acoustic guitar-driven music which picks up considerably in the chorus. IT is dedicated to Dave’s former Thud bandleader, the late Kevin Gilbert, and is perhaps the most fitting epitaph of the man as anyone has ever delivered. Nick D’Virgilio delivers his best impression of the late John Bonham that I’ve ever heard, which is even more effective with the slightly exotic string section. Then the song quietly makes its exit on a strong breeze, and we are taken down to the…

Ocean of Stars washes up on the beach with a soft almost spoken-word verse. The chorus is significantly more muscular, with another Gilmouresque vocal impression. A lovely hook. The bass playing in the second verse is quite nice, and then the second chorus leads to a wall of dueling guitar solos, which leads to one more pass at the chorus melody, and a false finale that least back to the intro verse arrangement, and a strident outro that just goes to another place entirely, all wailing pedal steel and climbing guitars and synth washes. Very nicely done.

Solitude opens with a concert grand piano stuttering away atonally, while voices filter in from the ether, with wailing female vocals very much in a Dark Side of the Moon vibe. Couldn’t have been a more appropriate homage to Rick Wright if … Well, in truth, there’s nothing to compare it to. It IS a totally unabashed Wright homage. Kudos, sir.

Nothing is a peculiar number on this album, in that it is a very infectious modern pop song with a great 90s Bowiesque wall of slightly discordant, buzzing guitars and a steady rhythm section plodding endlessly. It’s a great lost Tin Machine track, if Reeves Gabrels had gotten it into his head to steal some slide guitar licks from George Harrison. The instrumental is brilliantly jangling, like Steve Howe playing in front of Smashing Pumpkins. The bridge back to the chorus is straight out of the Bowie play book, too. Tehre’s also a considerable amount of alt rock a la Sonic Youth or Sugar Cubes, and the synth is straight out of the 80s. Juno 8? Well, it might be Oberheim, but the point is, it’s got a classic feel with none of the Floydiana we’ve heard through most of the album. And it’s got that ‘built for radio’ feel that just doesn’t work anymore, because radio is broken. Shame. I’d love ot hear that one.

New World is a very Beatlesque anthem, with more than a dash of that same magic that Julian Lennon uses to great effect on his albums. Backing vocals by the amazing David Longdon (Big Big Train), and Dave Kerzner doing a more than creditable Julian Lennon impression as well. To be honest, this song was pretty much tailor made for me. It’s lovely. Just lovely. If he didn’t have the second half of a suite to go out on, this would still serve as a great album closer.

Redemption (Stranded Parts 6-10) comes in on a soft frenzy of cymbals and synths, and then settles into a bass groove that gives shape to the intro, before an almost King Crimsonesque riff kicks in, and a dissonant wall of Dave Kerzner almost chanting the verse to us, with a squall of guitar wailing and sailing between the verses. The verse returns, and I’m beginning to hear a shade of Steve Hackett’s vocal styling in Dave’s vocal performance here. Great instrumental segment. A lot of damned guitars in there. The passage softens to a piano/nuth combo, which is married to a Brian May-type guitar riff, before the track goes almost completely pastoral, and then actually does become pastoral, with a beautiful guitar solo over top. Francis Dunnery, I presume. The next section is even more gentle and reflective, like something out of a modern pop tune in a movie soundtrack. This continues to what you could reasonably expect to be the end of the film, but in fact, we’re only half way there, as the song grinds to a halt, and then turns into something slightly more menacing, with Steve Hackett wailing on guitar in the background like a banshee. An orchestra floating on the wind turns the song even more sinister, and you have to wonder if we’re being set up for a minor key finish. It certainly sounds like it, until the main hook returns, and more Hackteering drags us through to the outro. This proves to be every bit as harrowing as the section before it, and even though the moodiness of the piece threatens to suck every ounce of joy from your soul, it is implacable. Then the hot synth solo, followed by the dueling guitars, and then, yes, and then… Dave returns to sing the finale, which is elegiac. We’ll make it to the light… to the light…

Guitars guitars guitars, some piano and the rhythm section, and guitars take us away on wings of light, into the ether from which we came. Shut up, of course it’s poetic. You listen to this outro and try not to lapse into beat poetry. I triple dog dare you.
Anyway…

SUMMARY:
So there you have it. One man from the writing team that brought you one of the best albums of 2013, and my verdict is: Beautiful. Best thing I’ve heard in 2014. Good thing it came late in the year. I was listening to a lot of great albums last year, most of which I failed to review. There were a lot of worthy contenders, but no writing time. This album tops them all. Yes, even the final Pink Floyd album (which I loved). This album has everything I wanted from that one, except Rick Wright alive, and in as strange way, this one has that, too. Well, in spirit, anyway.

I want to take a moment to mention that, just because I draw a lot of comparisons to Pink Floyd in this review, this album in no way feels like a derivative work. It’s an excellent piece in its own right, and a marvellous homage at the same time. Maybe I’ve been listening to new prog too much. Maybe I’m too forgiving. But seriously, if this had been my first solo album, I’d be a pretty happy guy.
This album review is written with the knowledge that a deluxe double length version is due to be released soon, so I may be returning to this review in the weeks to come.

Thanks for reading. Now go buy it!

© 2015 Lee Edward McIlmoyle

Album Review Poll (2014)

Does anyone particularly care whether I do “Lee in Limbo’s Big 2014 Album Review”?

2014 main banner

Trick question. I already know that very few people ever read any of the previous two or three bumper crop editions I did.

I’ve got my list more or less ready to go, but time is exceedingly scarce lately, and my back and left arm are both giving me grief, which is making typing a real drag. So I’ll work on it when I’m feeling a little better and can make a few days’ listening/reviewing time.

I’m gonna go try to finish writing Athena’s Pause, the remaining chapter of RETURN TRIP. I may release the book when it’s finished, or sit on it for a few weeks to make sure I didn’t make any really obvious spelling errors. We’ll see.

I still hate that last abstract painting I did. It’s not a masterpiece in disguise. It failed utterly. Hideous mess. Glad I never gave it to its intended victim.

Oh yeah, and I finally got my iRig KEYS PRO keyboard, and installed most of the sounds I’ve been able to get my hands on, which is nice, and I suspect it will really help with the STEEP INCLINATIONS album project. Just gotta get a DAW that will run the VSTs and let me record.

Time to call Mom and apologize for not being able to clean today. Thank you for reading. Have a good day.

Lee.

Still The Beat Goes On

So it’s me and a coffee and Thomas Dolby’s Map of the Floating City this morning. Soon it will probably be How To Destroy Angels. I’m thinking about maybe spending the next few days writing and recording an EP of solo keyboard music. I’ve never really done that before. It’s too late for Christmas, but hey, I usually am.

Just thinking I’d like to record some music before the surgery on my arm, just in case I don’t get it back. Could spell the end of my musical career before it ever really started. Maudlin thought for the holidays, but it’s been bothering me quite a bit in the last week, though I’ve been trying not to let on. My left hand aches off and on, and the ulnar nerve in my left elbow has been making all kinds of strange little perambulations that aren’t right. If the surgery works, it’ll be a few months before I can play music again. If not… my left hand slowly turns into a withered claw and I probably spend what remains of my musical career playing keys and programming mostly with my right hand. No tour. The end of a dream. I can’t accurately convey how depressing that thought is.

I’m going to turn 44 on Boxing Day. A lot of old plans and schemes, not quite broken dreams, a lot has happened to keep them from happening on time, but I still hold out hope. So losing the ability to practically deliver on those dreams is not an easy pill to swallow. I’m just beginning to really come to grips with the instruments for perhaps the first time in decades. Almost as good as when we were a band, and also better in many ways. It’s almost time. And Yet it may already be too late.

The hand thing will also affect my painting and writing. I touch type with both hands, a skill not a lot of writers actually possess. I also paint very kinetically, using both hands, so that could also suck.

Basically, the next few months are going to be hellish for me.

And I’m going to be doing PBW2 stuff during all of this. I haven’t really told my team mates what’s coming. This is probably going to be a miserable winter, whether I recover or not.

I think I may have to stop typing. My pinky is starting to ache a bit. I was going to do some writing… maybe I’ll get some work done. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m practicing making a video game with a new program called BuildBox. Using their art assets for now. Here’s where I’m at:
VFMD-2014-12-23a
The game is called ‘Stevie Is A Menace’.
The barely-started song lyric in the text window behind WinAmp is called ‘How to Build Your Audience (From Common Household Items)’

Today is my hero Anthony Phillips’ birthday. I haven’t chosen which piece to post on the FB fan page yet. Probably another collected suite. Just gotta decide which one.

I’m selling a calendar I made and posted on RedBubble.
I’m also selling WINTERLUDE, the short story I released from THE BACK ROADS OF LIMBO, because almost no one bought or read it.
There’s also NEVER APOLOGIZE, which is also a seasonal tale.

I want an iRig Keys Pro and a five string bass for Christmas. Not gonna happen. Totes. Just saying.

My best abstract paintings are still selling for half what they’re worth. No buyers. It’s been a rough year.

Baba O’Riley is playing in the headphones. Time to get back to writing that song. You folks have a great day, and if I miss you before then, Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading.

Lee.

The Future’s Bright, Alive With Light

DESIGNS
Okay, I’m sort of goofing off today, thinking about projects I probably won’t get to start any time soon, but I was in the mood to go with a creative impulse. So there’s this:
Nemovitz-The-Big-Slumber-001

I’m also thinking once more about this stuff, if only a little:
LWBG Logos 001c-01

And I’ve also finally remembered to make a tee shirt/poster image of a graphic I did a couple of years ago and forgot to upload to RedBubble, so I’ll probably do that now.
fp,550x550,cherry,black,flat30,m,transparent

WRITING
Gonna do some more work on RETURN TRIP today. Hoping to have it finished tomorrow or the day after, for the holidays.

MUSIC
I’m listening to Rick Springfield’s comeback album of a couple years ago. It’s actually quite good. Shut up, Rick rocks mightily on this one. I mean it.

Helped pick out a sweet red Fender Squier Stratocaster for my guitar student yesterday. It’s a lovely guitar, with a nice, warm, mid-to-high voice. I’m so happy for him. I just hope I get to record it someday.

PBHAMONT
PBW2? Your guess is as good as mine. May meet with the ForWard One Advisory Committee in the next handful of (non-holiday) days. Also going to prep for Durand and The People’s Platform Town Hall presentations, and maybe even schedule an early February launch party. But we may be flying without a net for a while, if Council squashes the ARSCR Fund before we’ve secured other tax monies with which to run a 2015 budget session for 2016. Councillors/Mr. Mayor, if you’re out there, your constituents want PB; We know, we’ve heard them asking us for the last two to three years. We all need for you fine folks to come through for us, and be part of the change. Thank you.

The coffee seems to be broken today. Maybe a second cup wouldn’t hurt…

Thank you for reading. Have a great weekend, and if I flake out before then, have a great holiday season.

Lee.

Anger Is An Energy… Anger Is An Energy…

I don’t like admitting this, but it’s becoming obvious to me that I still deal with a lot of built up anger inside. Lately, everything has been frustrating and irritating me, and I’ve often found myself lashing out without thinking. I don’t abuse or insult people, but anyone who knows me as this calm, level-headed person I project to the world, doesn’t know me very well.

I thought I had a long post about this, but I was wrong.

More important updates coming, whether some folks would prefer I kept quiet or not. Just saying.

Lee.