Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Scarecrow Effect tee shirts now available ...

Available at Cafe Press at

That Ashley? (The Scarecrow Effect - Snippet 7)

This post is part of the continuing series of snippets from my upcoming project The Scarecrow Effect. Some of these are short and others almost chapter length. They are not in order. Other posts in this series can be located by browsing the blog or by typing the words "scarecrow effect" into the search engine field. This is not a children's novel.

But first ... who would have thought that life would continue to imitate art so much. When I first started the bikini barista part of this it was because of some of the hubbub around the girls and how local rivals were touting themselves as family friendly - which means not hot and fully clothed in layman's terms. Now, it turns out that some of these girls have been behaving badly near my place and have actually been charged with doing some things that clearly do cross the line. How many officers fought for that job?

That Ashley?

I went back home and found the photo I was looking for. There was blond bikini barista girl about ten years ago at a company picnic with her mom sitting at my table and smiling at the camera.

Words could not describe the alternating senses of relief and horror at this realization.

I had written a song about ... well ... basically her ass. An old friend and co-worker's daughter that I actually knew and I had written a song about her ass in a white bikini. That was the horror.

I had never seriously considered hitting on her and there was something that always held me back from going after all the younger women at our shows. That was the relief.

It was entirely possible that I could set aside the emotions and rationalize the hell out of this, but it was going to take me some time.

Forever Hold Your Piece (The Scarecrow Effect - Snippet 6)

This post is part of the continuing series of snippets from my upcoming project The Scarecrow Effect. Some of these are short and others almost chapter length. They are not in order. Other posts in this series can be located by browsing the blog or by typing the words "scarecrow effect" into the search engine field.

Forever Hold Your Piece

"We're only sort of punk," Adam said.

Nigel glared.

"Look at us. Our stuff is all over the place. We don't sound punk on half the stuff we do. It's pop or emo or scream core or something."

That was the most I had ever heard Adam say at one time.

I looked at Nigel. It felt likely we were going to get getting another serious meltdown. Part of me was hoping for it for a variety of reasons including the sheer entertainment value. Part of me wanted to yell, "Push him!" and get myself off the hook here. I didn't, and that fantasy distracted me a moment long enough to have almost missed Nigel's very softly spoken retort.

"You're right," he had said.

For several very long seconds it was silent.

"We're all over the map stylistically."

It remained silent.

"Our covers are crazy, but not really stylistically punk enough. We need to work on those things moving forward."

There are crossroads moments. The moments like, "Speak now or forever hold your peace". This really felt like one of those moments. Nigel had used the words "moving" and "forward" together clearly and in context. He meant them. I really didn't know these guys that well, even considering all the recent time together, but I had to assume that the silence meant that they were digesting this in much the same way as I was.

"Speak now or forever hold your peace."

I felt like it was my piece I was holding.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Ad (The Scarecrow Effect - Snippet 5)

This post is part of the continuing series of snippets from my upcoming project The Scarecrow Effect. Other posts in this series can be located by browsing the blog or by typing the words "scarecrow effect" into the search engine field. This is not a children's novel.

The Ad

I placed the ad only semi-seriously.

The act of placing the ad itself was the release. It was kind of like by placing it I could get it out of my system.

Midlife crises are a lot more entertaining in movies, novels, and on television. It's not like I came up with that thought all on my own, although I could have. i read it somewhere. In real life, midlife crises are a surface level of humor to those witnessing from afar and a tragedy to those caught in the wake. Broken marriages and strained relationships with one's children and coworkers, etc ... usually result. Dating people the age of one's son or daughter may look one way in the tabloids, but it is just plain creepy in person. Seeing that one guy way too old for a group wearing the younger styles should act like a scarecrow effect for young people.

Scarecrows, I like to call those guys.

It dawned on me when I woke up on a strange couch really hungover using some girl's (woman's?) bare thigh as a pillow that I really was too old for this shit.

This time, there were seven of us asleep in the living room. Another young woman (girl?) was asleep and using my thigh as a pillow. There was a stale smell, kind of greasy, that hung in the air. I didn't pick up a lot of bodily function aromas (think puke) and someone was snoring, but it was clear that most of us had simply ended up there and fallen asleep.

My eyes felt like they were glued and dried closed and that someone or some force was determined to keep them that way. There were times when I woke up unpleasantly, where I could just say "whatever" and wake up again a few hours later. I love snooze alarms. This was not going to be one of those times.

Adam was asleep alone in a chair, his head tilted back, feet shoulder width apart, hands each on an armrest. I could not have posed him better. He could have been, should have been, the snorer. Were I in such a position it would have been moi.

Another girl (woman) was on the floor in front of the couch I was on. She had managed to either get a blanket on, or one of us, likely one of the girls I mused, had covered her up. She looked peaceful. She was at least fifteen years younger than me.

Colin and the other girl were cuddled together on the love seat. They looked like they fit right together, like a couple that knew how to cuddle from years of fitting together. They had met some time after 10:15PM last night.

I was pretty sure it was 6:25AM from the clock, although it could have been 5:30AM. Without my glasses and the angle made it hard to tell which hand was the big hand.

The girl on my leg was the snorer. I moved and she wrapped her arm around my leg tighter.

We were all clothed.

She was gonna have to let go.

I really needed to pee.

It occurred to me I was not really hungover, yet. I was still drunk and buzzing, but the headache was starting. I needed sugar and fluids.

It also occurred to me that I needed to be to work by 7:45AM.

It then occurred to me that Nigel was not visible in the room. It was apparent the red head was not visible either. Nigel was in bad with a girl (woman) a year younger than his daughter.

I wanted to shake my head, but was just waking up on a couch with two young women myself.


Ahhh ... crap.

Gently, I pushed myself up. The thigh was actually quite nice. She was wearing a short denim skirt, not unclothed. The one using me as a pillow made another soft, but audible complaint, but let go and shifted herself so as to be facing the other way. A quick survey of the room led me to the conclusion that these were all attractive 20 somethings. As the youngest male in the band and just over 40 I understood why guys pick up a guitar.

My leg was asleep.

I nearly tripped trying to get past the coffee table without stepping on blanket girl. The leg tingling was not helping the need to peeing feeling.

As I leaned past the tequila bottle came to my eye level. The cap was off. There were maybe a few shots worth of silver left in it. Three shot glasses surrounded it. Two slices of pizza on the floor and two empty boxes explained the stale greasy smell. I found that observation to be oddly comforting.

Limping down the hall to the bathroom I paused and looked in Nigel's room. The door was wide open. There both still (?) had their jeans on and were on top of the covers all flopped out, like they intended to have something private happen, but neither of them could get past staggering into the room and simply collapsing before clothes could be removed.

I closed the door.

A few minutes later I emerged somewhat refreshed from cold water in the face and relieved enough from other activities to make my way back to the living room.

No one had moved.

By shifting herself, snoring girl had stopped.

It was 6:30AM and I didn't want to be late for work. There was a shower there and a change of clothes I left after our emergency planning meeting and program last spring.

I wasn't sure that waking up on a couch on a Wednesday (?) morning with two women too young for me in what looked like the aftermath of a college frat party would really be an emergency, but it was nice to know I had an inadvertent back up plan anyways.

My wallet and keys were still in my pockets and I was wearing the jacket I had brought with me last night.

It didn't seem necessary to say goodbye to anyone, nut I at least thought about seeing if anyone else needed to be at work soon like me.

I just left.

The hangover was hitting me hard.


2 Months Ago:

"Were you in a band years ago? Miss it? Too much free time in front of the TV or online? Do you even have an instrument? Was PUNK new when you were younger? Middle aged awful singer/songwriter wants to for a middle aged punk rock band to show these young punks what's what."


I got 37 responses. 11 of the responses were actually serious. Two guys freaked me out. 4 of us clicked. We became The Scarecrow Effect after ten minutes of rehearsing. I was going to need to get really drunk to actually get in front of a crowd and sing.

We were on to something.

The songs came fast. Nigel recorded our first three jam sessions where we created six workable songs out of thin air in a spectacular creative burst.

Within three weeks we had a myspace page with three songs, pics from the jam sessions and 347 new online friends.

A week later we were offered our first gig.

It made a lot of sense to stock up on tequila. I had always assumed that the volume I would need to drink to emotionally get onstage would be too much to keep me from actually performing. I was wrong about that.

After five rehearsals, total, and 38 days after first meeting, we played a drunken set of six originals and a punk cover of Number of the Beast. 34 people attended. Three of those in attendance emailed us pics and one of them posted an 8 minute video of us on youtube that got over a thousand views in 8 days.

That was roughly a week and a half ago.

This morning I was showering at work not knowing for certain the names of either girl I woke up, fully clothed mind you, on a couch with after partying on a school night.

Our second official gig was scheduled for Saturday night at a club where a couple hundred people were going to attend, minimum.

People at work had found out.

I was already sick of tequila.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Random objects on the way to my car

I stopped and felt like taking a picture of this for some reason. I have to admit though, that I felt like I needed to stand back.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Whip Cream (The Scarecrow Effect - Snippet 4)

This post is part of the continuing series of snippets from my upcoming project The Scarecrow Effect. Some of these are short and others almost chapter length. They are not in order. Other posts in this series can be located by browsing the blog or by typing the words "scarecrow effect" into the search engine field. This is not a children's novel.

"Would you like some whip cream on that?"

For several months I had been convinced that the blond girl in the white bikini at the espresso stand by the 7-11 was going to cause a multi-car pile up. Seriously.

I have to admit that acknowledging that means that I regularly cast a glance her way myself. It simply did not bother me to be at that particular red light. In fact, getting the green too quickly was a bit irritating unless a big truck was getting a coffee and blocking the view anyways.

Yes, I guess I do have a dirty old man inside me somewhere, but that is beside the point. The point of bikini baristas is to get me to look. She was doing her job very well in that sense. But, since I wasn't becoming an actual patron as a result, I felt better.

And why did I feel better?

Because being a real dirty old man would mean me driving up, lingering, and gawking while she bent down to get the milk or leaned out to hand me my change. Were I to be a regular patron - or not - was the difference in my own over-rationalizing mind.

Plus, I would have felt obligated to tip in singles.

So, I brewed my own coffee at home, saved a few bucks, and tried to feel better about things.

There were guys that were real womanizers - if that term is even used any more - when they were younger that super over-compensate and lose their sense of humor when they have daughters as if paying penance for their past sins.

The semantics of such arguments left me tired in a bad way so I started to make jokes about college cheerleaders being proof that God loves men and wants us to be happy and that bikini baristas were a cultural front in the War on Terror since our women were able to choose to exploit themselves this way.

A pretty girl in skimpy clothing lowers the average male IQ by 30 percent depending on proximity.

I could never tell for sure, but most of these guys who were super over-compensating and had lost their sense of humor must have found my dry delivery too hard to gauge and were taking me seriously so I eventually had stopped altogether and would change the subject to NASCAR whenever it would come up.

I cannot say that I actually follow auto racing enough to speak with authority on the subject, but it usually got a couple guys rolling about various issues and we could keep a lid on the super over-compensating lack of sense of humor topics.

And, it wasn't like this was just one stand with smoking hot bikini baristas in a five mile radius from home. No, at last count there were 6 just along main routes advertising hot girls and hot coffee, but most of them had the good sense to orient their windows away from traffic or major intersections, requiring that one be an actual paying customer in order to window shop. The names of the places were very clever too in many instances and because some people have entirely too much free time it had become an actual political issue with a lot of news coverage. Sometimes any publicity is good publicity. The lines seemed longer after the news coverage started, like men were starting to patronize these places to show their support for the right of hot young women to wear virtually nothing and serve them coffee.

I had made the mistake of saying to one of my super over-compensating lack of sense of humor chums that a girl in a bikini changed the entire tone of, "Would you like whip cream on that?" At that point I discovered that one of his daughter's best friends, like since they were in pre-school together, was working at the bikini barista hut near me. It also turned out that despite his own super over-compensating lack of sense of humor on the subject he was a regular patron, his daughter found out and so did the dad of the girl in question who also shared his super over-compensating lack of sense of humor perspective and was no longer speaking to him. The girl in question was a redhead and the bikini barista I admired from afar was a redhead.

Yet, I still had not patronized the local bikini barista stand and felt much better at that moment. Hooters is another story entirely, so we shan't discuss that issue right now.

It also turns out that I am cheap.

So, I kept my distance and ogled from afar until the day that I saw the white bikini girl strolling from the bikini barista stand over to the 7-11. She was in sweats, but still drew the attention of drivers. I was just pulling in to buy some milk and had parked, held the door for her, and she smiled a smile that had to get her even more tips on top of what the white bikini already helped her bring in. Coffee customers must be ATM machines for her.

She was front and center at the show with several of her very attractive friends looking at me like she could not quite place where she knew me from just a few nights later at our second show.

"I can't quite place where I know you from," she said to me after our set.

My fellow Scarecrow Effect band mates stared in awe and wonder that this girl had approached me so openly and quickly upon completing our 8 song set - this time we through in a rousing "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" sing-a-long - a song we had not actually rehearsed, but sort of just went for - in addition to our 6 originals and the Maiden cover.

"You look like a girl I held the door open for at 7-11 the other day," I remarked back, figuring just being honest and straight was the best policy - that and the tequila.

"Oh my god, that's it," she said. Her vocal tone was friendly, but her brow was beginning to furl.

"I have that kind of memory," I said. I do, actually.

She seemed to accept that answer.

Three of my co-workers were working their way over. Blond bikini barista girl noticed my eyes wander over to them and took her leave, evidently satisfied that I was not a jerk.

A couple guys collided as we watched her walk away and my co-workers approached.

"God help me, but I love the tramp stamp," Nigel whispered in my ear. By whispering, I mean to say right next to my head and screaming loud.

I had made a conscious decision to drink less tequila this time. Maybe I could get to the point where I could get on stage without it, sort of like a reversal of Kris Kristopherson's early days.

Part of me was starting to think that this whole Scarecrow Effect thing was going to build and last. That felt dangerous. Dangerous to what or to who I could not say. My kids were going to want to come to one of these shows and they weren't old enough yet, and the lyrics were sort of questionable, too. They had found the online stuff though and I knew that they had downloaded the songs and some of their friends had heard them and watched the performance clips too. Their friends and friends' parents were looking at me differently these past few weeks, not like as a rock star, but differently. My comfort level with this was varying.

I needed to do something else. Our third show was to be on a Wednesday night in a small club ten days from now. Apparently, we were going to cover " I Ran" from A Flock of Seagulls. I love the song, but was against playing it even though I knew the words.

It was hard to say which was less comfortable though; my kids' friends and their parents or my co-workers and boss. A few of both had been in attendance this evening.

People were buying, I didn't want to be rude, and wasn't driving. As I wasn't driving I did not have a car here to worry about and already had a ride lined up for getting me home.

It wasn't a school night.

I took a few people up on their drinks offers.

I am rationalizing too much.

Novelty Act (The Scarecrow Effect - Snippet 3)

This post is part of the continuing series of snippets from my upcoming project The Scarecrow Effect. Some of these are short and others almost chapter length. They are not in order. Other posts in this series can be located by browsing the blog or by typing the words "scarecrow effect" into the search engine field.

The Mask

It was a lame rip off of the scarecrow mask from Batman Begins.

I admit it, okay?


Stitched together like Leatherface.

The first time I threw it on I realized that I had not warned the band in advance.

Adam and Colin didn't seem to mind.

Nigel was actually pissed.

And by "pissed" I mean furious, raging, swearing, approaching random acts of violence pissed.

"Pissed" doesn't even come close to describing his response.

I also cannot adequately explain how entertained I felt at that moment.

About 14 second into his rant - which felt way, way longer, the video just doesn't do it justice really - Colin chimed in with an, "I thought it was kind of cool." This shut Nigel down so completely and so quickly that I thought the strain would cause him to pass out. In retrospect, I probably should not have posted it online, but Nigel really doesn't "do computers" and I am uncertain he really knows how many people are aware of our online adventures.

"I don't want to be just some sort of novelty act," Nigel said. He walked out.

We all resisted saying what it felt like we all wanted to say.

We are a novelty act.

But, that was something the three of us were okay with and Nigel apparently was not.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Come on Sounders score a goal ...

... score a goooooal ...

... or not.

Seattle Sounders FC 0
CD Chivas USA 0
September 19, 2009
X-Box Pitch at Qwest Field

Suite Life today for Jefferson ...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two alums at the game ...

WSU Cougars 20
Hawaii Warriors 38
Qwest Field

There was a time just 5 or 6 years ago when the Cougar D shut down Heisman Trophy winners. The D would give the O a chance to beat teams like USC or Texas. Our O had three straight starting QB's head to NFL camps ...

Now, we can't shut down the Hawaii offense or keep up with teams we should be crushing. The upper deck was full the first few years at Qwest, now there is a lot of blue showing through ...

I know the new coaching staff need a few more seasons to sort this all out, but the kinds of mistakes and simply poor fundamentals in regards to things like tackling is troubling. I have stated that we are in year 2 of 3 really bad years and I still consider Wulff to be a good long-term fit for the Cougs in principle ... but this was just hard to watch, even with the little come back we did.

It was good to take my son and a UH alum to the game with my brother, especially since this was the payoff for last year's bowl bet.

Win or lose, we go and cheer.

Go Cougs!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Making the mask for The Scarecrow Effect

I made this drawing one day while working on a scene for The Scarecrow Effect. It actually plays a part in the conflict between the main character and the guitarist over image and direction of the band.

The battle has left ruins

The battle between the blujays and the squirrels over dominance of the bird feeder has recently led to major destruction. The bird feeder crashed down and I have had to put it back up using metal wire. It has also been chewed up as the squirrels have attempted the direct approach to getting to the food. I am starting to look forward to hibernation and migration.

The new meters have some advantages ...

... but they still suck.

"The meter kept giving me my money back as I approached enough coins plugged in to get the hour and forty five or so minutes I needed to pay for so that I would not have to move my car before six when you no longer have to pay." I was so frustrated by the experience that I wrote that sentence without punctuation.

Recently ... I was in Seattle for the Seahawks and found parking after 4 on the street near the part of town I like to park in for sporting events. Since it was 2 hour parking all I needed to do was pay for enough parking to get to 6 and then the free parking period would kick in and I was free.

However, the new meters did not cooperate.

There are elements of the new meters I like. I like that I don't have to have coins to park because they take cards. I like that some of the tickets are mobile and can go with you. I like that the tickets print an exact time so you can make certain to know exactly how much time you have.

I don't like that you have to walk up the street to pay a meter and then go back to your car. I don't like that you can't simply add a coin later if you might be running late because you need an entirely new ticket. I liked the occasional free parking that would happen when people would randomly plug meters. I also don't like that after numerous times at two meters on a street I was trying to park on that I ended up with a ticket that read 5:55PM and really couldn't do anything about it but pay again and hope that it would not reject my quarters on the 14th try.

I paid $3.50, although I was trying to pay $3.75 instead. Apparently, It would not take the extra quarter because it was not giving me the full 6 minutes in value. That is a design flaw. In the past I could have just kept adding the quarters, or come back after getting a cup of coffee. Options are no longer available.

Bear in mind I was in Seattle, a place that likes to issue tickets. That 5 minute gap was hugely stressful, because the odds were that I would get a ticket between 5:56 and 6:00 on the streets of Seattle. So, despite the fact that they say you are not supposed to, I walked back to my car after getting a bite as 5:55PM approached and paid $0.85 on my debit card to cover the final little while and get a ticket that read 6:00PM.

I miss the older and simpler method.

Thai Kickboxing Haiku

This particular set of Haiku was brought on by a series of events during warm ups for Thai Kickboxing recently. A great group of people are in my classes. We "fight" over yellow dots and sides of the room, because the Feng Shui might get all thrown off if anything is off ...

So, to everyone in class - and to Master Richards who must corral us into order - here are some Thai Kickboxing Haiku ...

sweat drips on the mats
it even sprays on the walls
or on each other

yellow dots on red
three rows of six separate
enough space between

yellow dots divide
yet we must bridge this divide
of much too much space

when given a choice
boys and girls choose on their own
separate room sides

Friday, September 04, 2009

The boys in blue ...

Seattle Seahawks 31
Oakland Raiders 21
NFL Exhibition ... er ... Preseason ...
Qwest Field

So this is what a $92 ticket buys you ... nice (and free, but I will will protect the anonymity of my friend by calling him Jorge).

It is really, really, really hard to focus on what is essentially a glorified practice when the Sea Gals are about 12 yards from you and dancing the entire game. In a display of respect for their cheerleader professionalism I made certain to give them the proper attention that their efforts warranted. What was funny about that though was that when they came out to do a big pregame number and were in the end zone and started moving forward the Seahawks kicker faced a dilemma. They marched right through where he had set a tee. He couldn't kick. So, he picked up the tee and tried really, really hard not to stare so as to avoid everyone calling him a perv and moved his tee back about 20-30 yards. Then, he could not kick because a shank could hit them and that would be bad. Then they moved forward and he had to pick up the tee again and move it back to where it was in the first place. Meanwhile, the punter kicked a practice punt from behind midfield and it landed in the end zone, smack in the middle of Blue Thunder. How about actually letting the players have the field to warm up before a game? Doesn't seem like too much of a challenge to me to see the logic in that.

The Hawks looked really solid, although the name players barely played, if at all. Teel looks like a guy worth developing.

The Presidents of the United States of America for a halftime show? Cool. Ummm ...One song about the mascot with a bunch of kid football players as a mosh pit is the weirdest halftime show ever ...

It was cool to see Billy Joe sing the national anthem. Nice job.

Don't despair silly Seattle area Raiders fans, Oakland will get an NFL team again some day.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"We Win Trophies" Too!

In celebration of the Seattle Sounders FC winning the US Open Cup 2-1 over DC United last night, here are some photos I took of USL Sounders teams playing MLS sides in the Open Cup in Seattle between 2002 and 2007 ... and now on to CONCACAF next year ...

2002 vs SJE at Interbay - Sounders 3 Earthquakes 4 AET

2003 vs SJE at Husky Field - Sounders 1 Earthquakes 0

2003 vs LAG at Seahwaks Stadium - Sounders 1 Galaxy 5 (Quarterfinal)

2007 vs Chivas at Qwest Field - Sounders 3 CD Chivas USA 1

2007 vs COL at Qwest Field - Sounders 5 Rapids 0 (Quarterfinal)

2007 vs FCD at Qwest Field - Sounders 1 FC Dallas 2 AET (Semi-Final)

Congratulations to the Seattle Sounders FC! 2009 US Open Cup Champions!