My friends' daughter Sophie (who can be seen here) recently redesigned some of my album covers:
So my blog is fixed, but my world has been too full of activity to post much. I'm not used to activity. I'm much better at just sitting around.
I'm about to launch another week of stuff that may inhibit blogging, in fact, if you can believe that. I don't have a lot of the details at hand at the moment, but I wanted to mention a couple of things anyway.
I'm also playing on Thursday July 13th at the Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A & 6th St. 11 PM.
There may be few more NY things as well, so keep your eyes peeled.
UDATE: also, Saturday, July 8th, at The Village Bookshop, 7 North Village Avenue, Rockville Center, New York. 516 764-1395. Time tba.
There is a terrific interview with Paul Berman in the current Democratiya. Excerpt:
In the pre-modern age the rational and the irrational could both be understood. It was possible to think and to speak about such things as the soul in political terms, and to think about distortions and perversions of the soul. This became impossible after the rise of liberalism. Political language became impoverished. If you read Plato, his idea of tyranny is very different from a modern liberal idea of tyranny. For Plato, tyranny is not a system based on bad institutions. It's a perversion of the soul. The tyrant is someone who has lost the proper discipline over his soul and so is lost to his appetites and desires. There is even a fleeting passage or two where Plato mentions the tyrant might succumb to an appetite for cannibalism. This is amazing to see because it means Plato has already identified a cult of death as a temptation, one of the possible perversions of the soul that can take place. This is exactly the kind of thing that—after the rise of liberal ideas—it became harder for people to understand. We took all the questions of the soul, and of virtue, and of the perversions of the soul, and removed them to a corner reserved for religion or psychology. In a different corner we assigned political questions. In the political world, just as in the economic world, we wanted to accord everyone rationality, so we took all the questions of irrationality and put them in a different place entirely. It became very difficult to conceive that people might be behaving in irrational ways or might have succumbed to the allure of a cult of death.
That picture (by Kurt Rogers) is from the San Francisco Chronicle's crazy huge piece on me and King Dork. I like it because you can see Casey of Cato's on the phone in the background. There was also a cover story in the SF Bay Guardian last week, but it doesn't seem to have made it on-line. (They had web troubles just like mine and might have even been hacked or something. Coincidence?)
So what else has been happening?
Over at Richmond.com, King Dork is recommended for those who want their summer reading to be "a little less intense than Kafka or Joyce."
A ways back I did an interview on KPFA's Hard Knocks Radio ("the talk show for the hip hop generation.") It aired on May 30th, but you can listen to it here if you like.
Here's a review from the Arizona Republic.
Plus, somehow KD ended up on the LA Times education blog, and on this list of librarian's recommendations from NPR. Girl Detective reviews the book and responds to Emily's "role of women" complaint; the Book Diva seems to have enjoyed it.
Finally, Amysue reflects on the cruelty and sadism of high school, and I can certainly relate to this bit:
when I moved back to the area after being away for almost 20 years, I bumped into some of my school days tormentors. Not a single one has ever been anything but pleasant. If they mention our youth at all they will say something along the lines of "you were such an individual, I really admired that."That is, in fact, exactly how all those conversations go. You wonder if they remember, or how they could possibly not remember...
OK, then. If you're receiving me, great. Come to my show at the Rickshaw Stop tonight if you can. That is all.
Man, being able to post again is weird - I feel kind of like I'm getting away with something, so I better act fast. If anyone notices, I could be in big trouble... But while it lasts, it's like some crazy Prague Spring or something.
So here's a note, before they send in the tanks: over at Faster than the World, Michele and Turtle have been assembling a list of the "100 Greatest Punk Rock Songs," and now they would like you to vote on them...
,,,and I'm not.
As you have probably figured out, my blog has been totally broken lately. I get crazy error messages when I try to do anything with it at all, which puts the posting process far beyond my rather limited attention span. I am working on trying to fix it and figure things out. In the meantime I *think* if I patiently load and re-load and re-load again, there's a chance that I can get the odd post past the hosting company's gremlins. That's my theory, anyway. And if you're reading this, that means Operation Impossible Post was a success.
So remember how I said we'd have Sam Hellerman shirts soon? Well, we've got them, and they look like this:
Sam Hellerman is a character from King Dork, and "Sam Hellerman is a Genius" is a King Dork catch-phrase. Hence, this commemorative shirt, as the catalog copy goes. They, like the autographed books, are available through Little Type. Get one and confuse your friends.
(That's the girl's shirt version up there, but there also a more masculine version if that's your sort of thing. These and other assorted King Dork/Dr. Frank/MTX stuff can be found on this Little Type-administered Dr. Frank webstore. There will presumably be more of this type of thing to come. so keep checking...)
OK if you are reading this at all, it means we made it through another harrowing posting experience. Give yourselves a round of applause, because you've earned it, and because I could never have done it without you.
Colleen Mondor's new Bookslut column is about various and quite different recent literary attempts to evoke the high school experience. She reviews several YA novels, including Dairy Queen, Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies), Nailed, and others. There is a very kind review of King Dork at the end of the piece. Thanks, Colleen!
I'm also in the current Onion/AV Club's Random Rules, where you put your iPod on shuffle and talk about the songs that come up randomly. The guy said I was one of the only people he has "done" who didn't have Guided by Voices on there. There is Donovan and Rose Tattoo, though.
Otherwise, here's a pretty enthusiastic review from a 15 year old on Flamingnet.com; Library Girl, initially reluctant, finally surrenders herself to the buzz; Holly found it relatable, but supects that Tom might be a "little bit too precocious"; Scott laughed; on the other hand, Emily disagrees, breaking it down like this: "3/4 excellent read, 1/4 sexist bullshit," which is an even worse ratio than Watership Down, apparently; Mike Dirda of the Washington Post says KD doesn't sound like the sort of YA book he would "press on his kids"; and my name comes up rather confusingly in this gmail exchange between the Reader of Depressing Books and internet liter-auteur Noah Cicero.
Also, don't forget: I'm playing at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 14th with Uni and Her Ukelele. Flag Day. Paige's birthday. Come on, it'll be fun. It'll be an acoustic set, but there will be books there and I might read something depending on interest...
Finally, that's Kate in the picture. She has a terrific anecdote about how The Catcher in the Rye set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately end with the purchase of a washer and dryer.
As I've mentioned, I've got this sweet set-up with Pat and Erika of Little Type: they sell autographed copies of King Dork. They're the only people doing this over the internets, and lots of people are ordering them (and thanks!)
Anyway, this arrangement means that every week or so we get together to have a few drinks and sign books. Usually it's at a bar somewhere, but last week we ended up creating our own little piece of tranquility, parking in a relatively quiet Oakland residential area, setting up lawn chairs on the street, and drinking bagged Heinekins through straws. Signing books, talking of this, that, and the other. It was twilight. All was quiet.
It was a really nice moment, and I wanted to take a photo of it, but no one had a camera. Fortunately, Pat was able to draw a picture:
That's pretty much what it was like, and it was great while it lasted. As you can see, though, there were a few people with question marks over their heads scoping us out. Things took a sinister turn. We got nervous, because you can't be too careful. So I signed the last book and we got out of there just in time.
So I repeat: if you want an autographed King Dork, Little Type is where to go to get one.
(Sam Hellerman T-shirts are coming soon, by the way.)
Found in north Oakland, near Kaiser.
(via Annie Maud Newton's place.)
The only drawback is, now that can post regularly, I suppose I will post regularly; and I really enjoyed having the picture of Rick Nielsen reading King Dork at the top there. I have been bragging about it to everyone. Hey, did you see my blog? Yeah, it's Rick Nielsen! Really! I know. It is just about the coolest thing that ever happened to me. It certainly makes this whole book thing worth it, I'll tell you that. Wait, you mean you didn't see it? Here it is again. For real. I know, I couldn't believe it either.
Nevetheless, more later. In the meantime go listen to some Cheap Trick...