The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Books that have recently kicked my ass.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell- I recently sat down with this book and devoured it in about 3 hours. Someone came up to me and said that he tried to read it in one sitting and nearly went blind; I've been such a human behavior nerd since I started writing my book in earnest, I couldn't help myself. This book has both inspired me and validated a lot of my thinking about the social choreography that we all involuntarily follow.

To oversimplify, "Blink" is about going with your gut, albeit a well conditioned gut. It takes apart, scientifically, the conditioning of the subconscious to make more accurate snap decisions. It also shows how too much information can actually be harmful, if you actually want to make the right decision. I actually refer to a similar thing in my book called "Crossing the TMI line" when I've tried to sell somebody something and I go from educating someone to irretrievably confusing them in an instant.

Among other examples if what Gladwell refers to as "thin slicing" there's an amazing psychologist who devised shockingly accurate way to tell if a marriage will last if he just sees them interact for a few minutes. Even more shocking is after reading this, you think you can too. We think we're too smart to fit in the unconscious ways that this book illustrates, but we're not.

"Killing Yourself To Live" by Chuck Klosterman- Chuck and I have a lot in common, we love Music and pop culture(and the unpredictable weight and impact both can have), interesting(and difficult) women and pot. It was our differences that kept me from enjoying his writing at Spin, mainly his adoration of Metal and sports, but I LOVED "Killing Yourself..".
Chuck goes on a cross-country extravaganza, visiting the sites of the deaths of both rock stars (Kurt Cobain, the road where two members of the Allman Brothers Band died a year to the day apart) and those who loved them (Nancy Spungen, the poor bastards who died at the Great White show fire).
That side of the story was plenty interesting, but another part of the book had a bit more emotional resonance. Along the way, the logical and final conclusions come to three different relationships, both past and present.
For Chuck, there is Lenore, Diane and Quincy, who he breaks down into how they relate to members of Kiss; for me it's Helen (not her real name), the woman I've been in love with for the past few years. For me, it's been like one long spin on a rope swing, exhilarating but with nauseous after-effects that make you feel silly.

He tells anecdotes about each that echoes in my own experiences with Helen, but in one passage, he breaks it down: "If Diane is Dolly Parton's Jolene and Lenore is a fusion of the Big Bopper's libido . . . Quincy is akin to the girl in Ben Folds Five's Kate, multiplied by the woman described in Sloan's 'Underwhelmed,' divided by the person Evan Dando sings about in the Lemonheads' slacked up, Raymond Carver-esque dope ballad, 'Buddy.'" Change the dope to alcohol and you've got Helen.

All the laser-point insight, startling humor, intimidating beauty and also all of the emotional unavailability that seems to always come along with it, like fries with a cheeseburger.
These things are as doomed as they are beautiful, both Chuck and I have had to learn that lesson.
Fuck it, maybe I'll write a book about THAT too. I've got the time.

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