Three Leap Years Later

Hello, friends. Remember me?

It’s been awhile. Aside from the annual year-end (and occasional event based) music lists this blog hasn’t seen much action. Not to overpromise, but I’m hoping that will change a little this year.

Timely Persuasion was released on 2/29/08, making today the book’s third or twelfth birthday depending on how you count. (Leap year day was chosen intentionally due to it being kinda-sorta-not-really time travel-ly and so I wouldn’t have to celebrate anniversaries all that often…) What have I been up to since then?

Re-launched TP under the JL Civi pen name, plus finally started serializing that jury duty book:

Wrote a few drafts of a new novel, codenamed “LX” for now until I figure out a couple of permissions issues. (Like JL CIVI, it looks like a roman numeral but it’s not. Or is it…?)

And later this year, look for some exciting news about the Timely Persuasion audiobook with an absolutely perfect person narrating it.

In the meantime, this blog revival will begin with a new set of chapter by chapter commentaries from my older self who has been rereading. In the words of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals: “In the end my friend, 20/20 is hindsight.”

Anyways, it’s good to be back!

Rocktober Recap

I know I go to more concerts than the average person. But October was nuts even for me. Let me count the ways…

October 1 – The Felice Brothers at the Roxy
The Felices are my wife’s favorite band, and have come to hold a special place in my heart too.  Their show was a rollicking good time as always. Plus the opening act was Spirit Family Reunion who may have my favorite song title of the year: “To Fill My Heart With Love Until It Almost Breaks My Heart.”  Highlights: “Marie” (my favorite Felice Brothers Song), “Silver in the Shadow,” “White Limo,” “Lincoln Continental.”

October 5 – Conor Oberst & John Prine at the Greek Theatre
More spousal influence: my wife has dug Conor since I dragged her to see Monsters of Folk at this same venue 5 years ago. (And she discovered the Felice Brothers when they opened for Conor at Pappy & Harriets.)  His set here was pretty good, but John Prine really stole the show.  Somehow I’d never heard of John Prine before, but when I checked out his back catalog in preparation for this show I was blown away.  (Incidentally I had heard some of his songs before, most famously Evan Dando’s cover of “Sam Stone” from the Griffith Sunset EP.)

October 7 – Conor Oberst at the Grammy Museum
Seeing the same artist multiple times on the same tour isn’t a common occurrence, but it isn’t unheard of either.  Shows at the Grammy Museum have a neat talk show style format with a short interview followed by a short set of music.  They also keep video of every on site event in their archives that anyone can view when visiting the museum.  Highlight of the live set was closing it out with a cover of John Prine’s “Pretty Good” — my favorite John Prine song that wasn’t played by Prine at the Greek show.

October 9 – Damien Rice at Immanuel Presbyterian Church
Between the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and this venue, the “concert in a church” thing is starting to really take off in LA.  This was the first time I’ve had an opportunity to see Damien Rice since discovering him.  Venue suited him perfectly and he nailed it.  He didn’t play my two favorite songs (“Rat Within the Grain” and “Coconut Skins”) — but still blew me away.  Highlights: “Rootless Tree” (on piano!), “Cheers Darlin” (complete with wine bistro skit lead-in), “Volcano” (with full on audience participation).

October 10 – Bahamas at the Roxy
Bahamas made my favorite albums list in 2011 & 2012 and are likely to do so again this year.  I’ve seen him play twice before — both times as an opening act, and both times left me wanting more.  This was the first time I got to see a full set.  It was good, but the setlist left me wanting more.  (No “Little Record Girl” or “You’re Bored, I’m Old.”)  Sometimes I feel guilty for criticizing setlist selections since I agree it should be fully in the artist’s control.  But I really was expecting more here.  (Sorry, Afie!)

October 11 (morning) – The Record Company at the Taste of South Lake Festival
A rare day/night doubleheader featuring the best band you’ve never heard.  Scrambled to get here on time after brunch for an 11am start time.  Missed a couple of songs, but caught most of the set.  These guys continue to blow me away every time I see them.  They’re about to go on a national tour opening for Brian Setzer — check ’em out if you can.

October 11 (evening) – Ray LaMontagne at the Greek Theatre
At one point Ray said he felt bad that people think his old songs are better.  I love Supernova — so much it might have been my favorite record of the year so far if not for the forthcoming trio of Benji Hughes albums — but the old Ray songs really are better.  “Burn” / “Trouble” / “Jolene” / “Shelter” stole the show.

October 16 – Jenny Lewis at the Broad Stage
This was part of Q Live — a Canadian talk show I’d never heard of when we bought the tickets to see Jenny but has become somewhat infamous since then due to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Jenny was great; I just wish she played more than 2 songs. I thought Q was a cool show and Jian was a great interviewer at the time, but now I’m second guessing myself and remembering creepiness in hindsight. #IBelieveThem

October 18 – Mike Doughty at the Mint
A Mike & Scrap question jar show is always a must see event.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every Doughty show in LA since 1999 (at least in part — I got lost and only caught the last 3 songs at McCabes in 1999, and didn’t go to the matinee of his 2 separate admission sets at the Hotel Cafe a few years back).  I figured Soul Coughing was going to be reintroduced to the solo repertoire, but was actually a little surprised at how many songs made the cut.  “Janine” and “True Dreams of Wichita” would have been fine by me.  He didn’t play “True Dreams,” did play “Janine” plus the two hits.  “Lazybones” was a nice bonus surprise.  When it’s Doughty playing acoustic guitar with Scrap just about everything is a highlight, but if forced to single some out I’d go with “Janine,” “Looks,” “Put It Down / Pleasure on Credit,” “Ossining,” and “Train to Chicago” — plus his stopping to yell at chatty folks in the crowd!

October 24 – John Denver Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
Fun fact: John Denver is the 2,531st star on the Hollywood Walk of fame.  He was awarded the star in 1982, but never got around to scheduling the required personal appearance.  His family accepted it posthumously in his honor, with the band Trampled by Turtles covering “Annie’s Song” at the afternoon ceremony and an exhibit of John Denver’s photography afterwards.

October 30 – Citizen Cope at House of Blues
I used to hate full-album shows, but now I think they are absolutely brilliant.  The underrated yet iconic Clarence Greenwood Recordings record is 10 years old, and it’s still a humdinger live and by far his best work.  Only downside were all of the chatty folks in the crowd during “d’Artagnan’s Theme.”  (Where was Doughty when I needed him?)

October 31 – Nirvana Live at the Paramount
Ok, this one doesn’t really count.  But I figured the 23rd anniversary of this legendary show was as good a reason as any to break out the DVD and send off Rocktober in style.  I always forget how much the kinetic energy of this concert just sucks me in.  It’s also one of the first bootleg cassettes I ever bought as a kid and wore out in my car.  And it’s still powerful after all these years.  Wow…

Ramblings VIII

  • I mentioned before that I’ve only had 3 favorite albums in my lifetime. A three day stretch in April had me revisiting the whole Nirvana catalogue for the 20th Anniversary, the release of 6 new Benji Hughes songs, and the announcement of a new Mike Doughty album. Synergy is cool.
  • In that awesome Vulture article about Benji, it blows my mind that A Love Extreme album has barely sold 6,000 copies. But this part is so true:

Very few people have heard A Love Extreme, in other words, but some inordinate percentage of those who have adore it. If you go to Hughes’s concerts, you may find just a couple hundred ­people in the room, but they will be singing every word to every song.

  • No offense to the Devics, Shurman, Sake Bombs, or H is Orange – but The Record Company is easily the best live local band I’ve seen over my fifteen years in LA.
  • Somehow I never heard of the Time Traveling Robots in Space podcast until after it ended, but I love the time travel segments.

Ramblings VII

Another long absence from blogging means it’s time to invoke the ghosts of Pearl Jam Xmas singles past for some random thoughts:

  • Found this Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about the Back to the Future trilogy told through the eyes of the DeLorean Time Machine. Plan is to have it debut in time for the 30th anniversary in 2015. Sign me up! Check it out and pledge here.
  • Speaking of pledges, Mike Doughty is re-imagining a bunch of Soul Coughing songs in an effort to purge the darkness associated with his old band. Though it did spark some fan controversy across social network land, the PledgeMusic campaign blew away its goal and the early previews of the in-progress songs are intriguingly good. I’m excited for the finished product and tentatively reserving a slot on my album of the year list (right behind those rumored three albums from Benji Hughes…). Check it out and pledge here.
  • Continuing my loose segues through these bullets, my “at the half” candidates for album of the year would be We The Common by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Fade by Yo La Tengo, the all request all-covers set Wilco did at Solid Sound, and Charge by David Ford.
  • Made a good 4000+ words worth of progress on the forthcoming Duty Calls novel on a recent vacation. It’s slowly coming together, but still likely at least a year out. (Let’s say if I finish it before the aforementioned 30th anniversary of BTTF I’ll be happy.) I do plan on dropping another one of the stories as a standalone eBook like I did with “Fester” at some point, so stay tuned…

Year Zero

Recently finished reading Year Zero by Rob Reid and mostly dug it.  Learned about the book via this headline on the All Songs Considered Blog:

Aliens Have Landed, Hoping To License All Of Humanity’s Music

Gets a little wacky and a little campy at times, but overall it’s a heck of a fun ride.  I especially liked the hidden musical tourette’s scattered throughout ala Timely Persuasion.  (Less frequent, but I’ll admit sometimes less forced…)  And the epilogue is just plain brilliant.

Check out the trailer below.

Free TP for BTTF Anniversary

I didn’t realize it until a few hours ago, but today is the 27th anniversary of the original theatrical release of Back to the Future.

In honor of this red letter date in the history of cinema, the Amazon Kindle eBook of Timely Persuasion will be FREE on July 4th.

(If only I had a time machine to make it free on the 3rd…)

Tangentially related:

Timely Persuasion is a rock and roll time travel tale.  The narrator is a washed up music critic who tends to speak in song lyrics.  In honor of this promotion (and the birth of our great nation), he might reference the following:

Fourth of July — with Lucy in sky — I remember pine trees and the coat of many colors.  It was Independence Day…

Maybe I’ll call or write you a letter.  Maybe we’ll see on the fourth of July…

Don’t say we never tried, Miss Fourth of July…

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July…

What ever happened I apologize.  So dry your tears and baby walk outside.  It’s the fourth of July…

Where do bad folks go when they die?  They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly.  They go to a lake of fire and fry.  Won’t see ’em again ’til the fourth of July…

I should go out and honk the horn, it’s Independence Day…

I can remember the Fourth of July runnin’ through the backwood bare…

Jesus the Mexican Boy, born in a truck on the fourth of July…

Na, na, na, na, na, baby…

Bonus! — Tangentially relevant excerpt from the book:

The best way to figure out anything is to try it again.  How?  I was just thinking about that 270 game, and then I was there.  Where to now?  My mind was a blank slate, waiting for the thoughts to come.


Fourth of July!  


Leap year!


Figuring I wasn’t thinking hard enough, I got up and dug through my desk.  Eventually I found a word of the day calendar that hadn’t been changed since late January and randomly flipped to a page.  March eleventh.  The word was blink, as in “I’ll be back in a blink.”  Sounded good to me.  Let’s blink!

Happy fourth everyone!

Timely Persuasion eBook on Kindle – FREE on July 4, 2012!


His Name Is My Name Too

Stumbled onto this Twitter user the other day:

(Warning: link is somewhat NSFW)

Not sure exactly what to make of this.  An imposter?  A fan of Timely Persuasion?  Schizophrenia?  A time traveling other me?  Or maybe just a bona fide coincidence?

He hasn’t made any updates in over a year, but from what’s there we obviously have a lot in common.

Guess I should Google myself more often…