Showing posts from 2017

My Favorite Places

I'm sure every person on the planet has places where they feel the most home. In random order, here are my top ten places:

The Tarantula Lounge: My garage is my ideal hangout. It's got a giant tv, video games, a giant Texas flag, great speakers for whatever music I happen to be into at the moment, my pleather recliner I've loved for six years, my bass amp, cool mood lightning. I don't know how it could be any cooler. Oh wait, I do know. I could have friends come hang out in it, which I also love to do. Long live the T Lounge.

Jazz Clubs: This may be heresy to purists, but in my mind the jazz club is as essential to jazz as the music itself. There's something special about being in a low lit, low-ceilinged room, a candle flickering on every table, people in suits and cocktail dresses, heads bobbing. It doesn't get cooler.

Dive Bars: There is a time and a place for fancy cocktails, but my Texan heart belongs in a dive bar. Cheap, bottled beer. Bartenders that know y…

Favorite Books of 2017

I read more than 60 books in 2017, and it was a blast. Below are my favorites. These are books that I read in 2017, not ones that were published in 2017:

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns. Johns is one of my favorite comic writers because, like Kay above, he is big-hearted. This imagination of the Batman origin is gothic instead of grimdark. It's all about doing the best with the hand you're dealt. Great Batman, great comic.
Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. The titular story is a depressing one that most readers can relate to, at least to a certain degree – sometimes we love someone despite our best judgment, consequences be damned. Mad love. That mad love defines Harley Quinn and Joker, Joker and anarchy, Bruce Wayne and his cowl. This is a great collection from some of my favorite comics writers.
Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.
This year I watched all of the original Twin Peaks television series. As a result, I became very interested in the ma…

Observations on Making Stuff

While I can't guarantee that this was my most prolific year for both reading and creativity, it has to be close. I read 63 books (and counting), wrote more than fifty book reviews, journaled consistently, had a short story published, hosted three separate podcasts, and participated in National Novel Writing Month. My biggest takeaways, besides loving all of it, are:

Creativity is an upwards spiral. The more we read and write, the more we can read and write. Creativity is more like love and less like farts in that the more we make, the more there is. Creativity is like farts in that we don't need to share everything with everyone all the time. Best to leave some mystery.

There is time. I'm not a guy that's into life hacks or being productive. I do think we need to be mindful about the choices we make. We get the idea that we "just don't have time" for things we want to do. That's not accurate. While we don't have time to do everything, we do make tim…

Top Ten Country Songs

My wife and I were recently on a little road trip, and it afforded us the time and space to have fun little conversations life usually doesn't give you a chance to have. We talked about dream houses, future vacations when our boys grow up, and country music. We worked pretty hard on our top ten lists of all-time favorite country songs (not necessarily best or most popular or any other qualifier).

For me, country music is about prideful screwups. A prideful screwup is someone who is proud of their allegiances (town, state, religion, occupation) and also regularly screws stuff up (relationships, drinking too much, not working enough). It's like the blues in that way. Even though the twang and the South may not be universal, the themes of country music are universal. So, without further adieu, and here is what I came up with, in random order:

Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson - I was elementary-aged when this song came out, but the nostalgia and fondness in this song rang true to me b…

Mass Effect: Andromeda

This post contains major spoilers of the video game series called Mass Effect. Don't read or listen if you don't want to get spoiled!

My all-time favorite video games series is Mass Effect. This trilogy of games, released from 2007 - 2012, was published during the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 era of gaming. This means the games were very big and would take dozens of hours to complete and voice acting was television or movie quality.

The concept of the Mass Effect games is conventional - humans begin exploring space and encounter many races of aliens. Some are friendly and some are not. Sentient life faces a life or death threat and must decide whether they'll work together or not. Sex, drugs, murder, and money all get in the way of what's important. Don't they always.

Part of what made the trilogy so special is that the game's maker, Bioware, gave gamers the ability to live out an epic space opera over the course of three games and six years. Events and characters in…

Zosima + Lynch + String Theory on Love

What do The Brothers KaramazovDavid Lynch, and string theory have in common? The idea that we're all connected, and that how we feel and act literally reverberates and touches everyone and everything.

While it sounds hippy dippy, I think there's a reason that most major world religions, philosophy, and science throughout history have touched on this idea of connectedness and interdependency. Maybe in 2017 we all need to remember how much we're in this together.

Let your light that God gave you shine, because we all need it.

Words of the Day: Fall 2017 Edition!

In my line of work, my busy season is January - May, every other year. During that five month period, my average work week is 65 hours long. Long hours and high stress do not lead to healthy habits. They lead to bad things. The comfort food, happy hours, and sleep deprivation lead to a lot of "off-road miles" on my body. The wear and tear is noticeable.

Whether we (all of us is "we") are working long hours or not, we can always find a reason to be busy or stressed out. Life is hard. Life in the internet age is weird. We're too connected. Every day we absorb more information than our brains know what to do with. Maybe in a few hundred years our bodies will have adapted to the internet. It hasn't happened yet. I don't think physiologically or socially we know what to do with 2017.
After I got out of my busy season this year and saw the damage that I had done to myself, both physically and otherwise, I decided to renew my dedication to wellness. I'm c…

Welcome to the Tarantula Lounge

A couple of years ago, my wife and I bought a house with a finished garage. This was quite the development. I've always wanted to hang out in my garage! Dreams do come true!
Guided by the vision of my stylish wife, we put a giant tv (Thanks, Sam!), a classic 1980s sound system (Thanks, Uncle Eddie!), two coolers full of libations (Thanks, Garrick and Nate!), and various other sundries out in our new space. We opened the sliding door, had a get-together and dubbed the garage The Tarantula Lounge
The space is named in honor of Harry the Tarantula, the giant spider that was literally hanging out on the garage when we bought it. My friend Christie designed a sign to perfectly fit both me and the space. 

My garage is the place where I go to write, draw, play video games, watch loud movies, listen to music, and bask in the glory of realized dreams. I love it. That's why this website is called The Tarantula Lounge, and why my podcast is called The Tarantula Lounge. They…