April 18th, 2015

Like I’ve mentioned before, the only time my relatives read my blog is when they’ve said something rude, and want to know if I’ve griped about them.

Maybe even that isn’t enough to bring them in these days. I guess only my traffic logs will tell me for sure …

Presurfer

April 4th, 2015

Here’s another blog I used to check out compulsively, but have slacked off in recent years: The Presurfer. Presurfer is a blog out of The Netherlands, and one of my biggest sources of links in the early days. Check it out!

Other blogs …

April 4th, 2015

I’ve been going through my blogroll tonight looking for linkrot, and as a result I’m visiting blogs I haven’t been to for a while. For instance, check out Anna Procrastinates, a Tumblr blog with some great items.

More to come …

New blog!

March 9th, 2015

Yes, people are still starting personal blogs! Well, at least one person is: My former co=worker Tanja has started a blog featuring her photography and her views on life.

Check out A Garden Full of Memories today!

“Remember … “

February 28th, 2015

In the wake of Leonard Nimoy’s passing this week, the internet is filled with Star Trek video clips, but those alone don’t do justice to the actor’s legacy.

With the memory of Star Trek being so strong, it’s easy to forget that he was well-established as a TV actor for years before being discovered by Gene Roddenberry. Here he is on Gunsmoke — as was often the case (see the Mission Impossible clip further down), in full ethnic regalia!

And of course, most of the Trek main cast “auditioned” on Perry Mason. Here’s Nimoy’s episode:

And speaking of his Star Trek co-stars, this episode of Man From UNCLE shows Kirk and Spock working together for the first time (Shatner as a drunken jackass, Nimoy as a Russian spy). Bonus points: Colonel Klink!

Like a lot of celebrities, as soon as Nimoy had a good bit of fame, he was allowed to try to leverage that into record sales — and one of the most notorious pieces was this novelty song based on The Hobbit. (And keep in mind that “hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were not household terms back then. Long before the blockbuster movies, the only people to have heard of Tolkien were the ones who had read the books — and for the most part, that was limited to stoned college students. This song was actually groundbreaking in that regard.)

According to a Wikipedia entry, “When the single was originally released, Nimoy lip-synched to the recording during a guest appearance on the July 28, 1967 episode of Malibu U, a short-lived variety television series [and] survives as a ‘music video’.”

In addition to the occasional original tune, his singing career was mostly propped up using that time-honored (though hardly proven) route of the cover song, in this case of CCR’s Proud Mary. (Listen as your own risk, it’s kind of pitiful. Your level of respect for Mr. Spock might never recover.) Bonus points: As if it weren’t bad enough that he sings “toinin'” and “boinin'” at one point in the song (but not always), he sings “Pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans”.

Nimoy’s next career move was as a regular for two seasons of Mission Impossible after the departure of Martin Landau, as “master of disguise” Paris. Shown here is surely his finest hour, in full Kabuki makeup!

And finally: Nimoy’s post-Trek career has been dominated with re-hashing Star Trek (including several feature films), but he did occasionally find work in other films, such as 1978’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with Donald Sutherland:

(Thanks to For the Win for some of these links!)

February 1st, 2015

It’s February, and that means it’s time once again for the RPM Challenge! As I’ve mentioned in past years, the Challenge is an annual event for writing abd recording an album during the month of February. I’ve done it twice, in 2008 and 2009, and now that I’ve actually writing songs with lyrics, and playing keyboards and guitar well enough to at least record in pieces, I’m doing it again this year.

In case you’re not familiar, here’s the latest video:

It’s not only a wonderful way to meet musicians from all over the world, it’s a great way to prod yourself into finally finishing some music — it certainly worked for me!

Twelve Year Blogiversary!

December 31st, 2014

Okay, so at this point I can hardly say that I’ve been blogging for 12 years — although I post regularly to Facebook, which automatically cross-posts to Twitter — but it was 12 years ago tonight that I started my brykMantra blog, back when about 1% of the population had even heard the word “blog”, so that’s something. And I like having my own domain name, so that’s something else. And when (hopefully) I can get a bunch of my songs recorded, this can theoretically be my promotional base.

So let’s talk about that music, in hopes of making this an ACTUAL blog post, and not just a “this is a post” post. Every day for about four years now (except for that one week in the hospital after my stroke) I’ve been practicing my guitar, and writing songs. My first two albums (I’ve mentioned those, right?) were instrumentals, and were recorded without playing a note. My new songs have actual lyrics — which means I’ll have to actually SING — plus there will be substantial guitar playing involved, so it’s a much trickier endeavor.

Okay, enough about that.

Are you on Steam, the online gaming portal? You should be on Steam. They constantly have sales, so I’ve been getting some fairly recent games for dirt cheap: I scored Fallout New Vegas and Borderlands 2 for $2.49 each! I only played FNV up to level 15, then got tired of the post-apocalyptic bleakness (and the deadingly-retro soundtrack). Borderlands 2, on the other hand, is colorful and full of possibilities, plus it’s funny as all heck. I’m playing the Techromancer class, which means that my Special Skill is summoning a killer robot to spend a couple of minutes helping me take out enemies.

I’m up to level 17 with no sign of being bored.

Okay, next subject: Oh binge-watching, where have you been all my life! I’ve been doing quite a bit of that this past year, starting with Breaking Bad. Yes, I saw the finale about a year after most of the rest of the world, but it was worth it: Instead of waiting a highly suspenseful week between episodes — and a year between seasons! — I was able to watch episode after episode after episode until it was done. I didn’t have to watch each installment trying to remember all the little minutiae that makes up the complex plotting. And the series ended for me with maximum impact.

By contrast, I decided to follow that by bingeing Arrow, the CW’s interpretation of DC Comics’ Green Arrow character. I got a watch two whole seasons in quick succession, then watch the first two episodes of Season 3 online … then had to start watching the rest of the series at the maximum rate of one episode per week! LIKE A CHUMP! How did we ever watch TV like this???!!! It’s excruciating!

ANYWAY: Twelve years ago tonight! I did a quick “more later” first post, then I wrote out my second post — by hand! Like a CHUMP! — at the laundromat and typed it in the next day.

Again, like that proverbial CHUMP.

Staking my homestead in the nascent social media landscape.

Thank you for reading this, which you didn’t, because nobody does any more. But it’s here. And so am I.

2 days to St Patrick’s Day!

March 15th, 2014

20140315-223923.jpg

This is a test …

March 10th, 2014

… To see if I can blog from my phone. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this a long time ago.

11th Blogiversary!

December 30th, 2013

Yes, it was 11 years ago tonight that I took the plunge and made myself start a blog. It was so long ago, not everybody knew what a blog was back then, but there were still quite a few of us in 2002 and 2003 that were eagerly jumping into this new medium — so many that at the end of 2003, ABC News named The Blogger as their Person of the Year. And I was part of it! Now, of course, all that excitement has subsided, and blogs have gone mainstream and establishment, and, in some cases, started to supplant the role of Big Media in several areas.

Translation: Blogging isn’t as much fun now. Still, I maintain my blog, mostly as a placeholder for my domain name, and for documenting significant life events, such as the stroke I had back in May …

What, I didn’t mention my stroke? I blogged all about it on Facebook, keep up.

Seriously, though, yes, I’ll post more about that tomorrow, in kind of a year-in-review thing. including pictures.

But still, back to the focus of this post: My 11-year blogiversary! Yay!