15 November 2015

PARIS, November 13, 2015

We ended up there by accident.

It was mid-July and we wanted to go somewhere. Anywhere. Berlin, Budapest, and Barcelona were on our short list. Paris was too obvious, and we ended there for the lamest of reasons—it was a direct flight from Pittsburgh. Besides, everybody knows you don’t go to Paris in August. Restaurants and cafes might be closed. Everybody’s on vacation. The admonishments stung, and I felt like we were making a huge mistake. Then I spotted a line in an article that made it okay. A waitress, or shop girl, or bookseller describing what she loved best about summer in the city. “August in Paris is like a month of Sundays.”

Odéon was the closest metro stop to our little Saint-Germain-des-Prés hotel. But I got confused at CDG, forgot about transferring from the RER to the metro once we got into the city, and popped up onto the street at Saint-Michel–Notre-Dame instead of transferring to the purple line. And there it was. Our Lady and her gargoyles. And on the walk to Rue de Buci it hit me.

I’ve been lucky to have experienced many, many amazing places in my life. But there are a few that fly above the rest because of the permanent impressions they’ve left on me. At 19, I trained to be a whitewater raft guide on the Cheat River in West Virginia and took some big first steps toward understanding what it meant to be a man. When Heidi and I got married and moved to Florida in 1998, a rapid-fire series of events helped me learn what it meant to be a husband, and when she sat down to write her first novel there at our little kitchen table, she inspired me to want to give it a go myself. In 2005, I followed her to Seton Hill—defying a personal vow to be done with school forever—and realized maybe it wasn’t silly to pursue a dream after all.

But when we started exploring Paris—first, small loops on the Left Bank and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the bouquinistes along the Seine and museums, then an expedition via the Grands Boulevards up to Montmartre on the last day of our trip—I felt like I was a part of a much larger world that had somehow existed forever. And it had nothing to do with Hemingway. Paris felt like a door to something very special. A visceral river of thought and ideas. Where I grew upa rural, blue collar areaexpression and intellect made you an outcast. I'd been threatened and beaten up for being different. But in Paris I felt a sweeping validation of my life choices in the spirit of the city’s art, architecture, food, and people. I no longer felt so silly for having embraced love and creation because I’d finally experienced a place that embraced those ideals at its core. And when we left, my heart ached to go back.

We are not made better by the good things that happen to us. We grow when we push toward the light. But to be a city of light in a world half-covered in darkness, that is a different thing altogether.


14 August 2015

Catherine Adams, February 29, 1924 - August 8, 2015.

Early last Saturday morning, my grandmother passed away. She'd been admitted two weeks earlier for a fairly minor illness that had been the only real hiccup in a long spell of fairly good health. At the time, I didn't know that she'd already spoken her last words to me.

I left the hospital at about one in the morning. Heidi and I had been there since mid-afternoon, and we'd gone to dinner with my Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Mike. My mom took the night shift, and I'd gone back up to keep her company. A few hours later I got the text. 

I'd seen this woman toss hay bales down from creaky barn lofts and wrangle young steers into the bed of her pickup. She'd gardened and danced until she was 83 or 84. And when I saw her in that hospital bed, frail and gasping, I felt as if I'd lost something substantial, and I realized that being an adult meant having a painful awareness of every single event that got you there.    

As a writer, I often get approached by people at signings or workshops who tell me their grandmother--or aunt, or brother--has the most amazing life story, and that I should write it. That it would be a bestseller, like ANGELA'S ASHES. And I never tell them that a lot of people think the exact same thing, and that in the end, the story is probably only meaningful to the people who knew their loved one. Instead, I suggest that they are the best person to write that story, that they be the one to sort through the personal anecdotes and details that made that person special, and organize them into a narrative that they'd like to share with family members. I stand by that always--writing the story is for you. Children and siblings and friends and cousins should never feel that if somebody else has done it, they shouldn't attempt to write their own version. Do it selfishly and generously, filled with joy and sadness, because in the end, you are the one who grows from the experience of shaping a penultimate version of a loved one.

And until I did it myself--until I stopped and considered how I'd describe my grandma in three-hundred words or less--I never realized that until I put it on paper, I'd never really known her. How she was a single-mom before that was even a thing. How she went toe-to-toe with the kind of men who'd wring the last penny from a less savvy woman. How she hid a lot of hardship from a lot of people who were close to her, to save them from having to worry themselves. When my aunt asked me to write down a few ideas for the obituary, I didn't know my perceptions of her would change so completely, or that I'd only finally realize what I'd lost. What follows is the version that ran in the Herald last Monday, which is slightly different than my original version.       

Catherine Adams, 91, of Smithfield, passed peacefully on the morning of Saturday, August 8, 2015, reluctantly leaving the family she so loved.

Catherine measured her life not in years, but in an abundance of experiences many would’ve thought unimaginable for the daughter of Croatian immigrants, born and raised on a small farm with a sister and five brothers in Little Summit, just outside of Connellsville.

The Muchnoks maintained a strong Croatian identity through the food they ate, the music of the Tamburitza, and their faith. 

But knowing that opportunities for strong, smart women were rare, Catherine joined the thousands of girls who answered Franklin Roosevelt’s request for all citizens to serve in the war effort, and found employment with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore. 

Catherine sent money home--minus what she needed for odds and ends--and received little reminders from the farm in the packages her mother sent. 

And when the war ended, she married a returning soldier, Francis Adams, and started a family of her own. As a wife, she tended to the home and family, which had grown to seven children, while her husband worked as a local coal operator. After becoming a widow all too early, she was left to raise the family on her own, a role she lovingly embraced. 

As a mother, she encouraged her children to explore athletics, music and dance, and academics as a way to seize the opportunities that she couldn’t, and was rewarded by seeing her family's values of hard work, unwavering tenacity, and maternal love reflected in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She did all of this while maintaining a farm and other commercial properties, leveraging her resources as a way to provide the stability and comfort she desired for her children. 

Her legacy continues in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who she taught to eat well and to cook more than needed, to never stop dancing, that a little whiskey is good for a cold, and that a little wine every now is more medicinal than recreational, that travel completes a person, that a mother’s love is always unconditional, even in hard times, and that there is no such thing as ‘hard times’ when you are surrounded by people that you love, as Catherine was during her final bout with the unexpected illness. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Anna (Bukovac) Muchnok; her beloved husband, Francis Adams; her son, Phillip Adams; and her brother, John Muchnok. She is survived by her loving son, Francis Adams Jr., of Connellsville; and loving daughters, Sandra Miller, of Uniontown, Marilyn Moncheck and husband, Leonard, of Uniontown, Cheryl Rega and husband, Mike, of Mt. Pleasant, Joanne DiCristofaro and husband, Dean, of Latrobe, and Lisa Gibson and husband, Paul, of Georgia; ; loving grandchildren, Jason Miller and wife, Heidi, Michael Miller and wife, Crystal, Ryan Moncheck and wife, Maria, Staci Moncheck Hiles, Skyler Moncheck and fiancee, Melani, Alysa DiCristofaro, Michael Rega Jr. and fiancee, Samantha, Lindsay Rega and fiance, William, Jessica Gibson and Benjamin Gibson; loving great-grandchildren, Caileigh and Macy Hiles, Levi, Evan and Vince Moncheck and Zayne Moncheck; brothers and sisters, Mike Muchnok, Helen Puzak, Charles Muchnok and wife, Barbara, Daniel Muchnok and wife, Nary Gladys, and Joe Mucheck and wife, Kathleen. As an animal lover, she also leaves behind her loyal beagle, Scout, and feisty feline, Snookie.

06 May 2015

COVER REVEAL: Tor Maddox 2: Embedded by Liz Coley


Tor Maddox, a heroine for our times

“I know that one day, I’m going to have to live in the real world. I’d like it to be a decent one.” - Tor

Book 2 Tor Maddox: Embedded

Life has been way too quiet for Tor Maddox since her fifteen minutes of CNN fame. Then agent-in-training Rick Turner reappears with what sounds like a simple assignment—to embed herself as his eyes and ears in her own high school. When she agrees to keep tabs on high school state swim champ Hamilton Parker for the Feds, she is plunged into the deep end of a sinister plot. Knowing that freedom, justice, and lives are at stake again, Tor jumps in feet first, but has she gotten in over her head this time?

When observe and report becomes kiss and tell, Tor’s first mission may blow up in her face.

Liz Coley has been writing long and short fiction for teens and adults for more than ten years. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and several speculative fiction anthologies: The Last Man, More Scary Kisses, Strange Worlds, Flights of Fiction and Winter's Regret.

In 2013, psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 was released by HarperCollins in the US and UK. Foreign translations have been published in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, and Chinese (simplified and traditional).

Her independent publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series.

Liz lives in Ohio, where she is surrounded by a fantastic community of writers, beaten regularly by better tennis players, uplifted by her choir, supported by her husband, teased by her teenaged daughter, cheered from afar by her two older sons, and adorned with hair by her cats Tiger, Pippin, and Merry.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColeyBooks.blogspot.com.

15 April 2015

COVER REVEAL: Tor Maddox: Unleashed by Liz Coley


Tor Maddox, a heroine for our times

“I know that one day, I’m going to have to live in the real world. I’d like it to be a decent one.” - Tor

Book I Tor Maddox: Unleashed

When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?

Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.

Liz Coley’s internationally best-selling psychological thriller Pretty Girl-13 has been published in 12 languages on 5 continents and been recognized by the American Library Association on two select lists for 2014 including Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Liz’s other publications include alternate history/time travel/romance Out of Xibalba and teen thrillers in the new Tor Maddox series. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and numerous anthologies.

Liz invites you to follow her as LizColeyBooks on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit her website at LizColeyBooks.blogspot.com.

17 March 2015

Mt. Pleasant Writers Circle to host award-winning author

Thursday, March 19
Book signing at 4:30
Discussion at 5:30 
At the Mt. Pleasant Public Library

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmtpleasant/7836081-74/miller-circle-local#ixzz3Ue2fDNKg

Uniontown's Jason Jack Miller will serve as the guest speaker for the Mt. Pleasant Public Library Writers Circle session at 5:30 p.m. March 19. He will also conduct a book signing beginning an hour prior on that date at the facility at 120 S. Church St. in the borough.

By Marilyn Forbes

Award-winning author Jason Jack Miller of Uniontown will serve as the guest speaker of the Mt. Pleasant Public Library Writers Circle at the group's meeting March 19.

Miller will be at the library at 120 S. Church St. at 4:30 p.m. to sign books. He will then conduct a discussion and reading at 5:30 p.m.

He will talk to members of the circle about his own works and the art of adding local color and flair to their work.

Read the rest: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmtpleasant/7836081-74/miller-circle-local#ixzz3Ue2fDNKg

10 March 2015


John DeNardo, Managing Editor at SF Signal and columnist for Kirkus Reviews, researched this great list of 385 Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror eBooks Priced Less than $5 Each. He has generously included my novels--The Devil and Preston Black, Hellbender, The Revelations of Preston Black--as well as Heidi's Marked by Light, the first book in her Ambasadora space opera series.

Other authors include fellow Seton Hill Writer Tim Waggoner as well as Brandon Sanderson, Paul S. Kemp, Michael Swanwick, Tim Powers, Peter Straub, Lilith Saintcrow, Gail Carriger, Philip Pullman, Marissa Meyer, Justin Gustainis, Chuck Wendig, and about 270 more, give or take.

19 February 2015


Taken from the recipe first published by the New York Times. Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

I mixed everything yesterday at 4pm and let it sit all night. I must've put it into the oven at about 11am this morning, so it didn't sit the full 24 hours. Somewhere else I read to let it sit about 12-16 hours, which is what I did. And I didn't do the towels this time. I shaped the dough into a ball and let it spend its last two hours on a lightly-floured cutting board, and dropped it into the French oven that way. I have a 3.5 quart Le Creuset French oven, and it came out just fine. (I think the recipe calls for a 6 or 8 quart.) So easy and amazing! Bon appetit! 

(I removed the knob on the lid of the French oven and replaced it with a nub of aluminum foil, just to be safe.)

No Knead Bread Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

18 February 2015


I'm not sure if the moment for Nineties nostalgia has passed quite yet, but I'm going to keep it going in my little corner of the internet for just a little longer (i.e., as long as I want.) I've had to hear about the Sixties for most of my life, so a little love for the Nineties shouldn't hurt anybody (any more than, say, a Slap Bracelet would.)

Over the last few weeks I've gotten quite a few Nineties 'jolts' from unexpected places. Most of them came from '20th anniversary' something-or-others. Movie and CD re-releases, TV reunions, like Jimmy Fallon's SAVED BY THE BELL skit. The best came from Heidi when we were discussion something on Netflix that had been described as 'quirky.' She said, "...everything in the Nineties was 'quirky.'" And she's absolutely right. I mean, just look at Cake, which was basically OK Go before the internet created them like some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy/quirk Frankenstein, right?

And she's totally right. In a way, it felt like alternative culture had finally entered the mainstream, probably right around the time U2 did. With THE JOSHUA TREE they burst out of their little patch of real estate on alternative radio, paving the way for the moody surge that followed. (Remember when they were just a 'quirky' little band from Ireland? (So, maybe that descriptor doesn't hold up to bands originating in the Eighties.)) U2 recorded their next album, ACHTUNG BABY, in Germany (quirky) and shifted their influences from Americana to industrial/electronic dance (extra quirky.) That tour saw Bono adopt multiple persona (The Fly, Mirror Ball Man, MacPhisto) and prank-calling sex lines and local politicians from stage. (The White House would NOT take his calls.) The even quirkier PopMart tour came later in the Nineties. The electric spectacle included Golden Arch and giant lemon mirror ball set-pieces.

Between the fall of communism and the election of Bill Clinton, the stage had been set for a new wave of idealism to replace Eighties Gen X cynicism. Silent protests gave way to activism and social and political involvement on a much broader scale. The environmental movement swelled--Al Gore had just published EARTH IN THE BALANCE and 'tree sitting' became a thing. Rock the Vote got young people to the polls in greater numbers. In 1992, youth voter turnout was twenty percent higher than it had been in the previous twenty years, in in 1996, Rock the Vote registered over 500,000 new voters. 

Somewhere, I saw the definition of a bluesman as one who is a '...prisoner of hope.' And that's what the Nineties did to make. Take my Gen X cynicism and add two parts idealism, and you get what's described above. And I suppose that blind idealism has been the source of some of my happiest moments and greatest successes, both personally, professionally, and artistically. So I put this little playlist together to give me a little jolt of something I'm fighting to hang onto when the cynicism and sarcasm start to overwhelm the blue light of hope that fades in a dark corner of my mind. Hope it does something similar for you.


24 January 2015


Sir Michael of Mehalek tagged me in a ten question blog hop known as the LIEBSTER AWARD. So I'll answer the ten questions then nominate a few other people.

1. Where did the idea for your current Work-in-Progress (WIP) come from? 

Interesting question, because this one's been with me for a while. Probably since 1998. I was leaving UNIVERSE OF ENERGY at Disney's EPCOT, which was sponsored by Exxon at the time. (Could still be, haven't checked it out in a while.) On the way out, they had a bunch of stuff about tiger conservation, and I had an idea about a researcher in Siberia realizing that the subject of his study was hunting him. I know, it's brilliant.  Calm yourselves.

Fast-forward to 2015, and I have a LIFE OF PI meets THE THINGS THEY CARRIED thing going on. It's about a veteran of the war in Afghanistan coming to terms with his PTSD as the magic of Dia de los Muertos unfolds around him. So this book has been 17 years in the making, and I am very happy with the way it's developing.   

2. Quote a favorite line from one of your favorite books.

There's a lot that comes to mind, most notably the always-quotable Kerouac, but nothing that jumps out as a 'quotable line.' Sorry. I wish I had a favorite line that I could whip out at parties, but I don't. Does that disappoint anybody?

So here's my Kerouac quote: My witness is the empty sky. 

Now I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of my OWN quotes as a favorite. After all, I wrote it. Most of my 'quotes' come from passages people have highlighted in the Kindle versions of my books, and I get a kick out of see what they did or didn't dig.

My favorite quote is one nobody's highlighted yet:

Here's how I'll tell you what I think—if you see white smoke then you know I picked a new pope. And if I'm drinking a Snapple then you know I don't give a shit. 

Fucking brilliant.

3. Now quote your favorite line from your current WIP. 

How about this, without any context at all:

I know horse shit when I smell it and this is horse shit.

4. What unique challenges has your current WIP had that your previous ones did not?

The fact that this has evolved over the last seventeen years is a unique problem. I finished a few drafts, sent it out to agents and editors, then put it in a drawer. And I'm glad I did, because this book is the most ambitious thing I'd ever attempted, and I'm really happy with the way it's going. The Beatles couldn't have attempted REVOLVER on their first outing because the ideas were too big, the sound too ambitious. That's where I'm at with this.

Of course, your natural inclination is to ask Is this your REVOLVER?

Fucking-A right, it is.

The ideas are bigger than anything I'd ever attempted. I'd gotten close with some of the stuff in REVELATIONS, but the setting and scope of this blow REVELATIONS away, and I love that book. So if you haven't read and reviewed it yet...


5. If you saw your main character at a party, how would you react?

This is a great question, because Heidi and I returned to Yucatan after I'd written a draft of this and it freaked me out a bit. Imagining my characters out there in the Mexican scrub made me a little nervous, because it had never occurred to me that by writing them, I'd made them real.

I'll never have the chance to encounter one of my main characters at a party. But if you've ever been to a party with me...

6. Who would play your main protagonist/antagonist if your current WIP were made into a movie?

I'd always imagined Paul Walker as Ben Collins, and that's all I'll say about that.

And I imagined Danicka Petráková Prochazka as Mila Kunis, of course. Who else could play this Slavic femme fatale?

7. What are your biggest inspirations for writing?

My wife, Heidi Ruby Miller, got me into this, and one of the biggest reasons I keep going with writing is that it lets me live many lives with her instead of the one I was given.

8. Summarize your WIP as a haiku.

Life gives us one shot, 
We squander it by living
As if it never ends.

9. What role does music play in your writing?

Music is the heartbeat of what I write. In essence, it drives me when I've lost my way. By knowing the themes of what I'm working on, I can construct a playlist that accentuates the emotions of the novel. If I get lost in the story, the music I've chosen can bring me back into it.

10. What’s one thing you’ve learned about the craft that you wish you had learned earlier?

That it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.

Tagging Lana Hechtman Ayers, Jay Massiet, Stephanie Wytovich, and Matt Betts. Your turn. 

22 January 2015

MIX TAPE: The Dream of the Nineties!

Was talking to Mikey Rega (of the concert t-shirt debate fame) and I was telling him a little about PORTLANDIA. Not sure whether or not he'd seen it, I sent him a link to the season one intro.

But I had been in a bit of Nineties nostalgia mode prior to this discussion. Has something to do with the idea of, "...it was twenty years ago today." A few weeks ago, I dug out PJ20 and listened to a bunch of old shows. Then I Googled pics of Lisa Bonet from A DIFFERENT WORLD. (Damn, girl.) All of it got me thinking what WERE the 90s and why do I care?

I turned 20 in 1994, and I know that has a lot to do with it. It was a golden era for me, as I'm sure it is for most twenty-somethings. I had killers jobs--whitewater raft guide, record seller at National Record Mart, bookseller at Waldenbooks, seller of Timberland boots, Guess jeans, and Oakley shades at American Outfitters, where I met the lovely Heidi Ruby. I am also keenly aware that my current age has finally given me perspective enough to realize the passage of time makes any era distinctive. Because news and pop culture are fluid events, eras tend to blend until we get enough distance to stand back and take a look at the collective material from the culture rather than a snippet or two.

So, how do I define MY Nineties?
In no particular order: NORTHERN EXPOSURE, Patagonia clothing, Tevas, the Alice in Chains three-legged dog cover, Nalgene bottles, SUPERUNKNOWN, PULP FICTION and its amazing soundtrack, beaded necklaces, Baja shirts, THE CHRONIC, Bill Clinton, Woodstock '94, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Lemieux, Jagr and the Pens, Drew Barrymore's Guess ad, Adam Sandler, Mudhoney, Structure, FREAKS AND GEEKS, Sony PlayStation and JET MOTO, Kurt Cobain, Silverchair, THE X-FILES, the Jennifer Aniston ROLLING STONE cover, OJ, coffee, SEINFELD, CLUELESS, THE LION KING, Netscape and Lycos, this Chicago Blackhawks jersey I loved and can no longer find... I could go on, but why?

I suppose one of the things I find most inspiring about the time period is the way some of these artists have continued to pursue art on their own terms, shunning the corporate ideals and commercialism that has reared its ugly head in some of the current era's art with seemingly greater frequency. (I know the money was present back then too, but Pearl Jam's fight against Ticketmaster is an important symbol, to me at least, of idealistically pursuing creation over money.) If nothing else, it gives me great pleasure to see MY heroes subtly rising through (with?) the ranks of Mileys and Pharrells to their rightful places as creative icons and veterans of a vicious industry. Maybe it's more a Gen X thing than a Nineties thing, but as somebody engaged in creative pursuits, I believe the ideals of that era are as important to me now as they ever were. Writing is about a fierce independence and living on your own terms. I feel like those are Nineties ideas.

Here's a little of the music I missed the first time around. (And it takes us back to PORTLANDIA.) Been loving Sleater-Kinney's new album. But here's a little taste of some older stuff to get you in that mode.

Sleater-Kinney - Live @ Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, USA, 30-04-2006

Source: Soundboard
1.     What's Yours Is Mine 
2.     Jumpers  
3.     Rollercoaster
4.     Sympathy 
5.     Oh!  
6.     Modern Girl
7.     Get Up 
8.     The Fox  
9.     Step Aside
10.  Let's Call It Love  
11.  Entertain 

Check it out here: http://livebootlegconcert.blogspot.com/2013/04/sleater-kinney-live-coachella-valley.html

14 January 2015


For a while I'd done a really good job (if I do say so myself) of 'curating' content from a wide variety of sources for this blog. Free material, cool stuff, hidden gems, and esoterica that appealed to me in some ways, which I felt compelled to share with people who enjoyed my books or stumbled upon the blog from elsewhere on the net. I'd done a few BEATLES COVER PROJECTS, where I'd scour YouTube for the best versions of Beatles covers for each album, starting at the very beginning and working toward ABBEY ROAD. For a while I was big on the 'Top 9' list, where I'd shared links to videos based on a particular theme, like Veteran's Day or guitar solos. I'd compiled essential concert bootlegs as a way to connect readers to the music in my books, AND to share some of the things that I love in an attempt to expose interested parties to new artists. The net is full of free, high quality shows that a lot of people don't know about, or have the energy to seek out on their own. (Usually a bit of 'digging' is involved, in order to avoid crappy recordings.) When I figured out how to embed Spotify playlists into the blog, that became one of my favorite things because I didn't need to stick with a specific artist or theme. I'd linked to PDF downloads that I'd found when I thought they might be of interest to writers and/or readers. My most favorite things ever are some of the self-mocking mash-ups and memes I'd begun to compile on this page: WRECK THE NET! The best was the 'Virtual Halloween Costume' I did this year. It even took my mom a moment to figure it out.

(Sorry, Papa.)

Until now, I never really thought about unifying all of that stuff under one header, if only to make it all easier to find. That's where the MIX TAPE idea comes in. Here's where I'm going to curate in one place the items I'd been scattering throughout the blog over the last few years. It's all going to be material that I love, or things that are very personal to me. The idea of a 'mix tape' gives me carte blanche to move beyond the realm of digital media, and I hope to review books, movies, museum exhibits, restaurants here as well. (I could've called it STUFF I LIKE) but the idea of a mix tape is a little more dignified, a little more Gen X, whatever that means.

Please note that I don't own, or host much of what I'll be sharing here. I'm simply collecting the things that please me.

I'm going to start with a little gem from Pearl Jam. Listening to it now, and it sounds great through headphones. I picked it because it was a soundboard, and because I'm thin in Pearl Jam stuff from the late 90s.  

Confession: I'm also in a bit of a PJ kick because the writing things are beginning to evolve in a number of different ways. I'd always admired the way PJ treated their fans, and the way they've fought, and changed, the system.

Disc 1:
01. Throw Your Arms Around Me (Ed pre-set)
02. Release
03. Brain Of J.
04. Hail, Hail
05. "To John"
06. Given To Fly
07. Dissident
08. MFC
09. Corduroy
10. Wishlist
11. Even Flow
12. Faithfull
13. Spin The Black Circle
14. I Got Shit
15. Improv
16. Habit
17. Off He Goes
18. "Lawn Orgies"
19. Present Tense

Disc 2:
01. Black
02. Do The Evolution
03. Porch
04. Go/Quarter Rant
05. State Of Love And Trust
06. Better Man
07. Alive
08. "Thanks"
09. Last Kiss

Check out the how here: We Got Shit...A Pearl Jam Bootleg Site

For some of these shows you're going to need a RAR extractor. I've been using this one: RAR Extract Frog